Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 67 - fjalet i merr era

ëndrra ime u plotësua <3 
got to wear a traditional costume!! ;) after a really cool lesson (with a whole family of returning members who initially said they never want to have anything to do with the church again but ended up volunteering to pray and remembering parts of Joseph Smith's 1st vision experience.. I'll tell you about it because it ended up bein a huge step towards re-activity)  
haha DON'T THINK this is what every day of my mission looks like. I wish lol! This was the best dinner appt. ever... also it happened to be this nënë's bday  

hahah had to take one true Albanian picture... EVERY wedding picture I've seen, the bride is all dolled up, but frowning/looks miserable.... 

Mirëditaa si ia kalon?
Due to tons of missionaries extending, we recently had some big changes in our mission but nothing new with me- I'm still here in Lushnjë with Motra Pitërz, and I'm SO GLAD to be staying/serving/tryna make a difference here because I definitely feel like my work is not finished here, with this city and branch...

Working backwards through my week~
Yesterday afternoon we spent at a Christian rock concert. Actually it was an evangelical church. One of our friends ("friend" is now the politically correct term for "investigator") goes there and agreed to come to church with us if we'd go with her in the afternoon, and so we did! I'll spare you the details but there were a lot more flashy lights and hallelujah chants and electric guitars and clapping than a typical sacrament meeting. 

Saturday morning we got up earlier than usual (and we're usually outta bed at 5:30am because winter schedule.. so if you don't believe that missions change people, here is some proof haha) and went running around the dark and deserted streets of Lushnjë (totally safe mom!) with our amazinggg friend, L, who currently is waiting a year and a half to get baptized once turning 18 since her older bro doesn't approve, but she is incredible and smart and more active (no pun intended) than most of our members. 

Later that morning we went and helped an inactive family shovel and plant trees in their backyard, the idea was to do the mom and daughter's portion so they could be in church but they still weren't able to make it (the dad is super active and awesome though) but last night the daughter, T texted us asking when she could break her fast because she hadn't eaten all day and we reminded her it's 24 hours-just 2 meals! Anyways this is a girl who hasn't had much contact with the church for who knows how long so these little steps are actually pretty big. It was super cool out there shoveling, not just for the workout ;) but chatting philosophies and talking about literature and the history of the Albanian language and truths of the gospel with the xhaxhis (another member came to help as well). I may not be able to pass as a Shqiptare when I speak but hey if I can follow their intriguing conversation I guess I have improved a little since the MTC after all ;) shyqyr. When we came inside they insisted on serving us a feast for lunch, followed by some Words of Christ, served by us ;) It was a very powerful lesson. 

We stopped by another friend, who is no longer on baptismal date because she'd been MIA but she was home! In her greenhouse actually, so we had our lesson in there 1. because it was warm, 2. to make it more convenient and 3. smelled super good from all the tomato plants. That was a neat lesson too, just testifying and reminding of the hope and light the gospel gives us despite overwhelming challenges. Does anyone have any advice I can pass on to her? She's super worried and starting to get depressed- her son, my age, is in prison, apparently for something that's not even his fault. Also she reallyyy wants to read but has no glasses so we're constantly on the lookout for some, meanwhile she begs her neighbor (a cute older friend of ours) to use hers, but this poor lady needs them as well, to use her phone and see who's calling her..

Our YW program is flourishing here, thanks to some inspired new callings, and it is suuch a relief to have one fully functioning class in 2nd hour of church to not have to referee. 

Last week, we tracted into an amazing young family. Two adorable, cute little girls and super nice, loving parents. No strong religious background and open to learn/read, "why not?" they said to each commitment we extended (besides baptism, that they need to read and know/feel for themselves. but that's exactly right) After a smooth, clear restoration lesson a few days ago, the father said the closing prayer, all of us kneeling in their living room. Just how PreachMyGospel likes it. :) 

Familja M, who I mentioned last week is still super nice and great but the dad, D, disappointed us when he didn't show up to church after PROMISING to be there. What's new. I have a list of 12 other friends/members that happened with. :) But it's super cool because D's sister, M, and her husband and son are all baptized members who decided a while back that they didn't want to have anything to do with the church again (no, that's not the cool part. lol). But after a lesson at the M's, D skyped his sis K and said, "hey, look who's here, it's the sister missionaries, they really want to meet you!" and she was like okay, but NOT if it has anything to do with church. Just to drink herbal tea to be polite since you insist...then I found out she worked for 12 years as a Russian teacher!! so we hit it off from there, and of course when we did meet she talked about church the whole time and told us her story and ended up inviting us to her house in the near future! (Originally she'd said, we can meet but somewhere public otherwise you'll show up at my door everyday. lol she knows our ways!) and later when we went for our lesson at the M's, her entire family was there (we're convinced D had set it all up) and she offered to say the opening prayer (a big deal, they usually go for closing) and everyone jumped in, sharing details they remembered as we reviewed the story of the restoration. 

Also after this lesson, they had us stay for dinner since it was the grandma's birthday, and Z, the mom, had found a traditional Lushnjë outfit for us to try on and take pics- I had mentioned that it was my dream to wear a popullore dress and I got to! <3 It was so sweet of her to go to the effort to borrow it! Haha I tried it on before dinner and left it on, and they called me the village bride. Sorry, but not marrying either of the 16-yo boys there. Luckily I have a good excuse, as a sister missionary. :) Also it was so nice to enjoy a good meal after a cool lesson because this week felt like we had NO BREAKS or real meals and I'm sure every missionary feels like that, so tired all the time but there's always a million things you need to do and you have to do them all wholeheartedly.. but this week it hit me harder! Also I felt super sick for a day (so we did technically take lunch time..just not super relaxing lol), and still wasn't feelin 100% for Zone Conference but our training went really well, thanks to inspired comments/great participation from the missionaries in our zone. I told sis Piterz maybe I should be sick every time we give a training so it will be more spiritual. jk. 

Whew this is longgg and I have a bunch of pics (as usual) to go with it..
President Weidmann committed us to read the Book of Mormon within the month again, this time highlighting the power and blessings of the atonement. It's been a really spiritual/ testimony-strengthening experience so far, and I challenge whoever's reading this to share it with me! Cover-to-cover by Women's Day 2016 (March 8th.) I know that this gospel is true and I'm so grateful to not only know it but live it and share it, and I'm also grateful I never fully lost sight of these truths even when I brushed them aside. I know that through the Lord we can improve and move forward with joy despite past mistakes and that as we endure to the end, as we make righteous choices every day, we truly are blessed and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation that just leads to a desire to study/learn more and become better and try to become more like Christ. 
Ju dua <3
Madi :)

my comp motra peters <3 transfer 5 togetha  

went to Berat last p-day, mostly to just walk around and take pics since it's beautifulll over there <3  

exchange with Motra Kelli

gave sister Piterz cornrows haha 

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