Feb. 2, 2015 email
Hello American Family!
Well it sounds like you all had a killer time up in Sun Valley without the best skiier in the whole family! Just kidding it sounds like everyone has surpassed my abilities now. And did I see a picture of Jake using Jimmy's old Mantras?
|I got this picture from Ersi (one the left). He's a member that helps the missionaries a ton!! And Elder Clawson thinks he's awesome!!|
This week was a better week. Still not the most fantastic week full of butterflies and sunshine,but it was still super good. And it actually is just raining all the time now. Elder Braden doesn't wear a coat in the rain or use an umbrella and all the Albanians just get super mad at him and tell that he needs to love himself and wear a coat or else he'll get sick. I always just sit there and watch them yell at him because I don't know how to defend him.
So on Monday we had to go translate for the Orton couple because they are doing some big project up in Shkoder. After that we went and helped our Landlord do some moving out of his house. The next day was spent doing a flip ton of finding! We met with our English Course and taught them about the Plan of Salvation. That was pretty good and then we had a couple lessons not work out. We tried visiting this one member family but we got to the door and a voice on the other end said "Who is it?" and I just said "It's the missionaries." And then the voice came back and said "Sorry my mom's out of the house and I'm locked in." So... we kinda just said "ah, okay then. We'll come back later." Then we went finding for a bit.
Wednesday I had to get food for the zone conference that we would be having the following day. So I call this lady and ask her for these huge platters of food, and she was either deaf or didn't speak Albanian because she was not picking up anything I was saying. And I think I have a hold on this language. Eventually the food was ordered. A little bit later in the day we had a lesson with a guy that we had met in the road. He was awesome. He comes from the north part of Albania from a town called Mirëdita which means "Good day". And he speaks like a Kosovar. So we had a good time speaking our mother tongue. We had a member in our lesson to help us out and she did great. The lesson was fantastic and he loved it. Hopefully we'll be able to meet with him a bit this coming week because he had to leave for his hometown for the weekend so we didn't have the chance to see him again. Then we had our English course and dealt with some flirtatious girls and bad mouthed young man. The joys that come with English Course.
The next day we had a massive combined zone conference. It was everyone except the North Zone so I didn't get to see the Macedonian missionaries which made me kinda sad. I miss those people. We had an awesome training from President Weidmann on extending committments and then we heard the testimonies of the departing missionaries. It was kinda rough because there are 7 sisters leaving, AND I WATCHED THEM COME IN COUNTRY! It was weird to see Motra White, Favero, and Boettinger saying goodbyes because I've served a lot around them and it was sad! Afterwards we got to watch Meet the Mormons. Pretty good movie. Everyone enjoyed it and it was cool to see how this film is helping the world understand that we aren't weird people. It was also way cool to see that Costa Rica lady beating up people in her section. Also that one part in Nepal made me think about "Where the Trail Ends" when they go ride in the Himalayas and through all those little villages. Good movie.
After that we went to the church and showed the members and English Course people the Joseph Smith Movie. The long one. It was super good and there were tons of people just bawling their eyes out at the end. And yes... I was included. My mission has turned me into an emotional little girl. I always cry when we watch Ephraim's Rescue when the nice pioneer girl dies. I HATE SEEING LOVE DIE!! Then to make me feel like a missionary again, we went finding.
The next day we spent a lot of the day doing zone number work and weekly planning. Friday's are rough because we stay in the house for a long period of time and it's just hard to get going afterwards. So we try to break it up a bit. Later that night though we were able to meet with a part member family and we talked about the Book of Mormon and read the Introduction with everyone. We asked all of the members of the family to share something that they had learned from reading the Book of Mormon, including the non-member father. They all shared amazing insights and thoughts and then Elder Braden and I bore our testimonies of the truthfulness that it holds. It was a great lesson.
The next day we woke up and had to go help a member take some pictures of his house for the government or else he was going to be arrested. No big deal. Then we went finding and afterwards had lunch with a members mom named Luma. She is wonderful. She made some super good food too. I just love the old ladies in Albania! They didn't really have them in Kosovo, but here they just love you unconditionally and will feed you, hug you, offer you their daughters for marriage, and always smile at you in the road. After lunch we got to go to another baptism for a young man named Martin in 4th Ward. He is awesome and super good with the Gospel. We already all love him. We then walked all the way home and went to play futboll with members and investigators. Good night. Except I kicked Motra Fuller right in the face. But she took it like a champ.
~right now as i'm typing, the song "Shining Happy People" just came on and I'm singing it out loud~
Yesterday we invited a guy named Elton to church, we had talked with him on the road about a week ago and he came! I sat by him and talked with him during sacrament meeting while Elder Braden helped translate for the Embassy family in the ward. There were some great testimonies given and Elton was really feeling the Spirit. He was crying and saying that he hasn't felt like this for a long time. A little bit later Ersi tapped on my shoulder, (Ersi moved to Tirana by the way) and he asked me why I wouldn't bear my testimony and I told him that I didn't have anything different to say from what I had said the previous month. But then I started thinking about something I read in the Ensign the other day. I actually just sent an email to Kirsten talking about it, but it's about a teacher that got a potato from one of her students and she asked "Why did you give me a tater?" and the student said "Because I didn't have an apple." And it was basically saying that even though we may not have a big, beautiful thing to give (Apple), we always have something we can give (potato). So I am now trying to apply that lesson in my everyday actions now. So I got up and bore my testimony, sat back down next to Elton and he looked at me and said in super broken english, "When you say that stuff, I felt a thing in my heart."
After sacrament we went to the investigators class and the lesson was on fasting. There were a few recent converts and members and then two investigators. The teacher asked why fasting is important and one of the members said that it's so we can be healthy. It was a good answer because yes, our bodies benefit a bit from taking a break from food and kinda cleaning the system. But then Elton said, "No we fast so that we can come closer to God and help our spiritual state." I looked over at Motra Coleman and mouthed "He's my investigator."
Church ended, we set up a return appointment with Elton, and we ate lunch and spent the rest of our day teaching members for Temple Prep and making visits.
I love being a missionary. I love the Albanian people and I love doing this work. Sometimes it massacres me and leaves me in pieces but it's so worth it. Elder Penrod says that it's during hard times when we are putting blessings in the bank and every now and then we cash out. I know that this Church is true and I know that God loves each and every one of his children. He is the Captain at the Helm of this work and He leads and guides us in every step if we are willing to be humble and listen to His promptings.
I love you all! Have a good week!
So did Jane do good skiing? It sounds like you all had the best time ever. I love pics that dad sent me too. Good luck this week with the preschool children. I hope they don't destroy our home. Mom, I love you so much! I hope you enjoy the week and have fun with Sweetheart.