Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 70 - gënjeshtra i ka këmba të shkurtra

Hej Prindërit si jeni?? 

Another great week here in the Adriatic South! 
We actually have a great teaching pool right now.. I am so grateful to be blessed with awesome friends to teach/ work with. Been fasting and praying extra hard lately for at least one to make it to baptism. It's a little heart-breaking when someone makes it so far~ recognize a change after learning about the gospel and want to become better and receive all the blessings, but for whatever reason they are unable to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. But at least they're left much better than we found them, for the time being. 

Anyways, progressing friends...
Remember that new big family I mentioned last week? Lives out in a fshat, not too wealthy..? Well me met the older teenage son, who works as a shepherd, and he is amazing. Came to church and showed us what he'd read from the Book of Mormon- up through Jacob 5, and loved church and afterwards double-checked if we have church next week, and every week.. we sure do! The parents and other siblings are super nice and learning well as well, but this guy is prioritizing the gospel and it is so refreshing to see his commitment and desire. 

We had a great turnout for our little branch choir! Might've helped that President Weidmann was there that week too.  

The other day we carpooled to a village with the elders to save gas/money/the planet and the returning member family we were meeting with invited us to stay for lunch, of course we agreed, but the parents left to do some farmwork right before the elders showed up so it was just the teenage daughter.. so we ate the nice lunch she'd prepared, outside on the porch steps. Bibla e bardhe! 

ALso one of our recent converts is amazing help (and also just hilarious and so fun to take along for lessons) with one of our progressing friends because they both have sons in prison and find peace in the scriptures from the stresses associated with that. 

My comp. Motra Piterz is great, I love Lushnje, and I love this wonderful opportunity to serve and share the gospel out here. 

Also, today-p day yay- we went to Berat and explored some nearby communist caves with Tirana elders and the ones here and also went up to the castle, hence the sweet pics. Nuk ka si Shqipëria...! And driving home in the fergon, chatting with nice elderly couples sitting by me about their kids and grandkids and gospel blesses families and how they met with shkesë (arranged marriage back in the day) but are still so happy together now, and inviting them to church and getting invited to their houses for homemade spinach byrek and fasule. These people are so friendly and kind, I love it. <3 
Love you, wish you all the best this upcoming week! 
<3 Madi 


Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 69 - mos e bëj qimën tra

meet Roza, our new investigator. 


haha sister Ariza bought my dress in Durrës so of course we matched for district meeting..  

these are our new investigators who wanna get baptized.. pray for them to have enough faith to make the needed sacrifices to be in church (they live kinda far..) 

this is Motra çajupi (native Shqiptare/ goes to BYU), she is soo awesome and fun and also answered my 129833723 language questions during our exchange  

haha creepin but Albanian kids are the cutest, walkin the streets hand-in-hand..

Hej fam, si jeni?
This past week felt like roadtrip Albania for me and sister Pitërz. Don't get me wrong, I love the scenic drives in our sweet makin, but I have to admit I prefer walking the streets because 1. talk to people/ hand out cards along the way and 2. I feel like an actual missionary: tired and going sketchy places to get to cool lessons. Also fresh air and exercise!

One of the reasons for all the driving was an exchange in Elbasan. It was soo great, sister çajupi is incredible and so are the people they're working with and teaching.

We're trying to cut down on village work, but we found a couple on the street the other day who was eager to check out the church and loved the paintings of Christ, and we went to their house the next day and met the kids, as well as the sister-in-law and cousins... whew always an adventure finding the houses based on vague directions in far-off villages, with static-y phone calls, asking roadside shepherds if we're headed in the right direction.. it's a miracle every time we end up at the right place! :) These families (well technically one family) are really cool, but unfortunately live a solid 30 min drive from Lushnjë aka the church. So we'll be emphasizing sacrifice and priorities and we'll see how that goes.. I'm skeptical after so much disappointment with these kinds of situations but also not about to let that influence whether or not we give them a chance. A few of the older kids have already read a lot and are just soaking up the things we're teaching them.. and now they'll be reading out-loud since their moms are without school aka don't know how to read. Speaking of the moms, they're super nice, but also blunt- pretty typical of Albanians. One of the ladies likes to interrupt me while I testify and say, "she does not speak Albanian well"... so ya she keeps me humble lol.

Also one of our friends had us help with some chores before the lesson so I milked a goat. The grossest thing I have ever done.

Our Relief Society is having some problems so as usual we're emphasizing charity and love and patience and selflessness rather than selfishness....

Our recent converts' testimonies are skyrocketing and they bring a lot of strength to our branch.

I am loving reading through the Book of Mormon within a month (again), getting so much out of it. Every time... some verses I've loved lately are:

~Alma 4:19. Missionary work in a nutshell! That's really how it is.

~Alma 5:19.. But can you? Makes ya think.

~Alma 3:27. Who are you listing to obey? The truth?

~Alma 5:33.. Christ is always there, hand outstretched to lift us, we just need to accept it. Also verse 38.

~Alma 22:14. It's all about Christ and what he did for us. I still don't comprehend all that his atonement entails, but I sure am grateful to understand it better each day.

I am so grateful for the restored gospel. I really do know that it is because of our Heavenly Father's incomprehensible love for us that he not only sent his only-begotten son to suffer for our sins, but he also made sure to have all of the truths of the gospel available to us today. Not just parts of the whole but every doctrine and authority and ordinance available to us, in these latter days. There's no arguing the fact that we desperately need His divine guidance, so I am very grateful to have it, through His prophet, Thomas S. Monson. As mentioned above, I am really grateful for the Book of Mormon, which answers questions and testifies of Christ and strengthens my own relationship with God. I'm very grateful to have this indescribable experience, sharing these comforting truths with my Albanian brothers and sisters.

Also thanks for all your love and support, and hope you all have an amazing week!
Me dashuri, Motra Rajlli <3

hung out with some animals today.. sister peters is turnin me country  
p-day trip to visit Dakota (jk that's sister Peters' horse's name back home in Virginia) 

these were snapped by sis piterz on the way home from a lesson.. isn't Albania beautiful?  

pointing out where her house was, and picking flowers to put on her grandma's grave

this is our adorable friend, L, who is just amazing. (The guy is our 1st counselor/ Italy RM and apparently the missionary who baptized him years ago reads my blog so now he can see what he's up to lol!)

lotsa scenic shots.. took a wrong turn tryna get to Elbasan lol

hopped a random fergon and got off in a random fshat because p-day, this is our new little friend we met there (her dad was nearby too) 
pointing out where her house was, and picking flowers to put on her grandma's grave