Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 78 - me një lule s'vjen behari

shower us with little gifts and huge flower bouquets and are so eager to pray and share passages from what they've read 

amazing family <3

they're adorable! and love having their picture taken :) 

our district! +Berat

finally got to serve with Motra Cheshire again :)

Hej! I have a new comp, another Macedonian (from Canada)~ Sister Dow! She's super great! Just switched her out with sis. Maxfield in Tirana today. :)

Another incredible week, packed with so much, which is definitely a blessing. Sometimes feels a little overwhelming with everyone's needs piling up and just not enough time/attention/energy for everyone's concerns but somehow everything works out and the Lord is definitely guiding our work here which I'm sure grateful for because there's no way us mere missionaries could do any of this by ourselves. Our little choir had their first musical number in sacrament mtg. which was sweet (Numero Bekimet, of course! ♪) A lot of our investigators are feeling swamped with personal struggles which can hinder progression towards baptism dates but luckily the scriptures and prayer are the best sources of comfort so we're praying for them to turn closer to God during the trials rather than away from Him. 

We've started teaching some incredible families, right here in Lushnjë. Started off with some roma kids we met on the street when we put out a "Questions for God" box but now we've met in their homes and teaching their parents as well etc. There's a lot more I could say about them but basically we had a huge group for primary yesterday. :) It was amazing having our sacrament hall packed with new faces Sunday morning... every single day we invite new people to come worship with us and it's awesome when they come check it out. Visitors (future investigators ;)) welcome! Also going out to the S family (pics with them), who are soo generous and were super excited to kneel down and pray together, was just a sweet experience, it's those little moments..

Also our YW program here has really been blossoming which is wonderful to see, the newer girls are re-kindling the less-actives' fire. 

I found out that Lushnjë will be closed to sisters after I leave. (We're losing more sisters than we're getting so they have to shut down some areas..for now). Understandably I was sad to hear that (especially since the work here is poppin' and there are soo many women and girls and families with tons of little kids here that just need love, support etc.), but I know President Weidmann's an inspired man and there's definitely reasons bigger than I can see. So I'm just cherishing every second I have out here, and I'm sure our great members will be able to hold their own. And they'll still have some elders so I'm sure they'll be in good hands.
Gotta go, but love you all and wish you the best this upcoming week <33333
<3 Motra Rajlli në Lushnjë

"creative contacting": Plan of Salvation on a huge whiteboard, set up on the boulevard for everyone to see and ask us about 

branch activity

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 77 - kur s'ke gurë, është mirë edhe thekra

one night for street contacting we dressed up the same, but only one missionary from each companionship held a book of Mormon, so we asked passersby to "spot the difference", and it was a great conversation starter 

mists of darkness+great and spacious building(s).. name that vision 

J and L are so great, we had a nice picnic lunch + lesson up by some WW2 graves/ monument   

freshly-squeezed juice ;)))

Hej! Qysh po kaloni? Shpresoj të jeni mirë...
Si gjithmonë, gëzohem shumë këtu se po shërbej dhe mundohem ta ndaj ungjillin me të gjithë.

But I had some things happen this past week that are funny now, in retrospect, but maybe not so much at the time. :)

Walked outside to go street contact and a bird pooped on my face. 

Found out my nice hardback Albanian New Testament is definitely a JW bible (new world translation to be exact, because some of the verses are different.. but it wasn't labeled, sneaky). 

I was in serious pain for a solid hour and we think it was food poisoning from some olives I bought off a street vendor. Anyways, glad that's over.

We met a super nice member on the streets of Tirana today so that was cool, a cute young mom with her 2 little kids in a stroller. A perk of being a missionary is that you're easy to pick out in a crowd

Besides a couple mishaps, had a wonderful week, especially now that the weather's beautiful and the streets are packed with people to talk and testify to. Sister Maxfield and I have had many great gospel discussions, which is both thought-provoking and mind- blowing, especially delving a little deeper into the Plan of Salvation. While it can be beneficial to speculate and wonder, I am glad that I recognize that here in this life, we'll never know all the answers because that would defeat the purpose of faith and being tested etc; essential aspects of this mortal state!. But it's wonderful that there is so much to learn and understand, and the scriptures are just packed with answers and truth. 

Also my comp. and I joke that she's Moses and I'm Aaron since I'm her translator. :)

Wish you all the best this week! <3 <3 Ju përafojj
Me dashuri të madhe, Motra Rajlli  


free-range llamas haha

Tirana zoo was a little depressing (caught a ride te Kryeqyteti with the elders who were headed up there) 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 76 - Qingji i butë pi dy nëna

Madi will finish her mission in exactly one month!  

looks photo-shopped but it's not 

this cute member is comin' back (had unfortunate work schedules-Sunday mornings) and is eager to help with lessons yayy

eci keci (they named him eriku)

operation disinfect (good thing I've experienced Florida cockroaches so I wasn't as grossed out when the mattresses were infested with bugs) 
this is after, idk if you can tell but it was wayy cleaner after taking everything outside and scrubbing everything down (including the past 3 layers of paint on the walls) 

I'll tell you the story behind this cake.. powerful lesson with it 

Mir►mëngjes! Si ju kam?  
This past week was great. We've been getting a little more creative with contacting, now that the weather's nicer for the most part and everybody's outside. We've also been aligning some street contacting time with the elders because strength in numbers (&strength in a roll-up poster of Christ), we seem to draw more attention and make more of an impact when it's all half of our district (the other half's in Berat). The other night we sang hymns (and played some on Irish tin whistle/recorders lol.. I have one that someone left behind and one of the elders has one so we brought those out and played hymns). We tried the singing approach again last night-in pouring rain, for two straight hours. We were drenched and I have to say I felt like a "true" missionary :) Also the other night we set up a table, advertising a challenge.. who can fit 6 ping-pong balls and a small bucket of sand inside a jar? It's only when you place the bigger balls in first and then pour on the sand that it works, so we related that to priorities and explained that we need to reflect on what we're filling our lives with- who comes first; God/faith/family etc? 
Cectpa Maxfield got to experience Adriatic South tracting (illegal në Maqëdoni) for her first time, where we met sweet and lonely nënës/ xhaxhis. 

A month ago we started a weekly "Kursi i Librit të Mormonit", basically a Book of Mormon study group, with the idea of providing a more causal setting for members to bring their friends to find out what the Book's even about. The other day we read 1 Nephi 5 and talked about genealogy as well as keeping our own records aka writing a journal. 

We had a zone training in Fier with some good discussion regarding sincerity and just getting to know these people we're trying to teach, which I agree is very important, as my comp. says "they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". 

We had a very satisfying service project (part 1, we'll be going back this week for the other back room) deep-cleaning the J Family's little house. Whew it sure needed it, it was nice to look back and compare the before to the after. 

The cake lesson! Bought a pretty little cake from a nearby pastiçeri, put a plastic bowl covering it, then frosted the bowl with chocolate frosting and decorated with sprinkles etc. Our friends were so excited when we brought it over for our lesson, but were disgusted (and a little angry!) when we squirted hot sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic etc. all over it. Our point was that something beautiful-our faith, our testimonies- gets ruined pretty quickly when we sin, esp. when we rationalize that it's just a little/ not enough to make a difference. We got just the reaction we were hoping for, which really drove the point home. 

I'd like to end with the words to a hymn I came across the other day, because the words to the 2nd verse are always gonna make me think of Lushnjë, this wonderful little place that's become my home. 

"The flowers around me may be fairer than those that bloom upon thy hills; 
the streams, great, mighty treasure bearers, more noted may be than thy rills. 
No world renown my humble village like these great towns may proudly claim; 
yet my fond heart doth thrill with rapture whenever I hear thy humble name. "
(here's the tune of the hymn:

So grateful to be a missionary here, for the opportunity to talk to everyone about the gospel of Jesus Christ, all day everyday (yes, even p-day;) ).
Ju puth! 
<3 Motra Rajlli 

they are amaazing (and insist on feeding us delicious, gourmet dinners when we go over for a lesson) 

J is soo awesome, and L grew up in Kosovo so she knows Serbian so her and Sis. Maxfield use their Slavic languages to communicate

her camera got a virus her 1st p-day here :( but no worries I usually manage to snap a few pics 

Sunday afternoon, some missionaries left behind "settlers of Zarahemla" (like Catan haha)