February 24, 2014

So, last week we went to the beach for pday. I brought home some pretty sea glass and rocks that I liked from the beach as my little Durrës beach tokens. I put them on my dresser and went on with the week. Well, the next day I was looking at my mouth guard I wear every night and huh, what's that? It's moving.... it's a bug! BAH! My mouth guard was crawling with bugs. My desk was crawling with bugs. Everything on my desk was crawling with bugs. Let's just say I had a freak out moment. So, in my freak out moment, I, with great zeal, killed all the bugs and sprayed the desk down with strong chemicals just to be sure. Sick. I figured they might have come from my beach stones because I didn't know where they came from. Went on with the week and everything was great. Well, last night I looked at my desk and there were a couple more bugs back. These suckers are tough to see because they're white and really, really small. They look like dust until you see them moving and crawling. After squooshing the little buggers, I went to bed. Looked at the side of the desk and there were a couple on the side of my desk. That was upsetting, don't want those things on my face! So I killed them. And then looked at the wall..... and there were hundreds.... hundreds of bugs... covering the entire wall. And the other wall. And.... my pillow! AAAHHHHHH!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 
Ya, I freaked out.
The black mold, the bugs, I was so done with that place. So we beat out our beds, put them in the middle of the room and told our district leader the next day. And now we're living with the other sisters. It might be a little too much fun :) It's basically The Best Two Years sister style. And I'm the awkward greenie that can't speak squat. For example.... The other night I called a sister in the branch and this was our conversation....
Me: "Hola! Si jeni?" (As you can see, I started the conversation out with spanish....)
Sister: ".... *awkward pause* ..... Mirë mbrëma." (Good evening)
Me: (By this point I was laughing so hard that I started the conversation in spanish that I didn't quite hear what she said.... so I responded like this...) "Mirë, falëminderit!" (Good, thank you!.... as you can see, this is definitely not the appropriate response.)
Sister: (In Albania, I'm just translating) "You know you don't have to say that when I say good evening right? ...."
Me: "Uh, ya...... *stifled laughing in the background*...."
So yes, I am definitely the awkward greenie in The Best Two Years. 

We also had a zombie apocalypse. Okay, not literally. But it felt like it. We had a city wide power outage for a few hours. (Not too uncommon actually). But walking around Durrës.... at night... in total dark. It was creepy. And sketchy. And apocalyptic. And there are holes everywhere that you can't see that would be terrible to fall in. Wouldn't recommend it. I had my umbrella in hand like a weapon ready to smack down anything unpleasant that came our way... creepy man or zombie alike. 

So yes, that was the gist of my week. Plus a lot of fresh bread and ice cream. Aaaahhhh :) 

Thought for the day.
I love this scripture. 2 Nephi 32:3 "... feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."
I so strongly and so fully believe in the power of the scriptures and how reading them every day is so crucial to our spiritual well being. I explain it like this to our 9 year old recent convert. Scriptures are like food. You have to eat every day to be healthy and strong. If you eat once a week you're in trouble. The scriptures are a beautiful way for us to receive revelation from God. They rejuvenate us. They strengthen us. So if you are struggling with reading the words of God, please, evaluate what's stopping you, change it, and move forward with a fresh determination to be better and I promise you that it will bless your life.

Much love!
Motra Missy

A random picture of a sunrise :)

February 17, 2014

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentines day! Want to know what I did? I walked around Durrës handing out Law of Chastity pamphlets... haha, kidding ;) We did celebrate by eating a lot of vegetables, it was great :)

I just want to first say that I love the Muslim call to prayer. I think that it's beautiful and I love hearing it as I walk the streets in Durrës. I am definitely in a Muslim land. 
Speaking of Muslim. I think it's hilarious when people tell us they're Muslim... and they are also Christian.... uh... ? I'm confused... Do you know what it means to be Muslim?

Today was beautiful, we went to the beach. Our secret beach that's not really secret but we like to think that it is. It's a hike away and off a dirt road. Doesn't have very much garbage and it's away from the city. It's beautiful. We had a picnic there today and just relaxed in the sun. It was amazing. And perfect weather. Man. 75 on the beach, how much better can it get? ;) (It's February and 75, I'm going to die this summer haha) 

The other day the other sisters told us about a new bakery down the street from our house that's amazing. We went there and bought.... a lot... okay... um... maybe almost one of everything hahaha BUT it only cost $4 AND I walk it off with all the walking and walking and walking and walking and walking ;)

My whole world changed this last week. Want to know why? I discovered the fruit treg. Why did this take me so long? I have no idea. Want a description? Okay. Covered tin area with a sea of fruits and vegetables fresher than fresh. Want a bag of fresh off the tree clementines? So fresh it still has the stem and leaves attached and is perfectly ripe? Well, here's a grocery bag full for $2. 
I've never had so much fruit in my diet in my entire life! I'm so proud of myself.

Want to know some incredibly exciting news!?! Albania just got approved for it's first Stake!! Durrës is going to have a ward! This is a big deal, it's the first Stake in the Baltics and it means that we can have a Stake Patriarch and people can get Patriarchal blessings. I don't think I ever appreciated how special those were as much as I do here knowing that members can't get them. So yes, I think it's happening next month. So so so exciting. What a blessing this will be for the members here!

Last story of the day. 
Remember our dear friend who accepted my first baptismal invite? After that lesson, it was pouring and so we gave him an umbrella so he wouldn't be soaked. Well, we stopped by his house Sunday and he told us that he'll never forget us and our kindness for giving him an umbrella when he needed it. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a pen and gave it to us. He told us that it was his gift to us because the umbrella meant so much to him. I don't think a pen has ever meant so much to me. It was given so sincerely with so much love. It really touched my heart.... How blessed I am.
Here's an excerpt from True to the Faith that I read the other day and loved.
"You should not blame your circumstances, your family, or your friends if you choose to disobey God’s commandments. You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness, regardless of your circumstances."
I know that if we keep the commandments of God, we are happier. It's just a fact of life. I know that they are given to us to bless us and not to restrict us. We are children of God, a divine lineage. We have great power to choose righteousness and happiness despite our circumstances, no matter how hard they may be.

Much love,
Motra Missy

Pictures from the beach and surrounding areas.

February 10, 2014

another week in shqiperi

Ya know what I think is just hilarious? We'll be sitting in a lesson, they're talking about who knows what.... I obviously don't understand (refer to the who knows what comment). Albanian turns to me, "did you understand that?" and I respond with a "uuuh, no." They then proceed to explain to me what was said... in Albanian. Uh... I don't think you understand that the problem is that I don't understand... Albanian
Hahahaha, makes me laugh every time :)
We had a baptism last week! Woo! That was exciting and beautiful and full of the spirit. I love the girl, she's enthusiastic and kind and so full of potential. She always so "ooooh motër!" in the funniest way and then winks at me, love her to death :)
We were teaching a recent convert last week. She invited a friend. So we adjusted the lesson to her friend. At the end of the lesson he basically asked us to be baptized. Uh, yes. We can help you with that. It was pretty fantastic. I was kind of on fire the whole day about it.
We played soccer on the beach today with a bunch of other districts. Yes, it's February and we're playing in the sun on the beach. Sorry people living in the cold. Actually, I'm not that sorry, I'll be suffering in the death heat of summer haha
I just realized how crazy unorganized this email is. My apologies. Truly.
Okay, I'm going to end my email on this last story.
Remember the guy I invited to baptism who said yes that I talked about a couple weeks ago? We finally got to go to his home and meet his family yesterday. I wish I could describe the experience. There are a lot of people who are very, very poor here, but I haven' t been into a home like this one before. We turned off the mud road into a mud yard to walk into a cement box that couldn't have been half the size of my kitchen. Cement floor and tin roof. When we sat down, the little girl went out and very proudly with a huge smile on her face brought us out some coke on a tray with a handmade lace cloth. They were so humble and so kind. My heart ached for them. In the middle of the lesson, it started pouring and we had to pause the lesson so they could put plastic over their windows so that their house wouldn't flood like it normally does.
I realize that a lot of people live in these circumstances and a lot of people serve with people who live in these circumstances. But it was my first time being in it. And it really was a reminder to me of how much the Lord loves us each individually. No matter how hard life is, no matter what injustices we are served, the Atonement will make everything right. Christ suffered all so that all could be made right in the end. What a gift that we have to come to earth, to learn, to grow, to receive bodies and an opportunity to practice our agency. And if we choose to turn to the Lord, He will bless us and He will make our burdens light. I love my Savior. And I know He loves that family. Mortality is but a brief moment. Turn to the Lord and you will be able to find happiness.
I love you all. Look for the God's hand in your life, it's there.
Motra Missy


February 3, 2014

Okay, I'm on a terrible keybard where the o and l don't always work, so please forgive the more than likely common misspellings :)

I first want to talk about the pro's and con's of not knowing the language.
Pro- When people are yelling at you, they're easy to ignore, you don't know what they're saying anyways.
Con- When visiting an investigator who serves you food that you have no idea what it even is and it tastes disgusting, you're told to eat more... and more...and more... they talk to your companion and tell you to eat. Definitely a con haha
Pro- It's really easy to make people laugh when you sound like a 5 year old and people can be very patient with you and love you for your efforts.
Con- Some people hate how you sound like a 5 year old and just ignore you haha
Pro- Being so obviously American in how you speak can get you into people's homes to teach them, they like America :)
Con- I don't know what's going on about 80% of the time.
Pro- I'm learning another language, that's pretty cool I think :)

This last week I was pretty sick, that was rough. But! I was still happy and loving the work, that was a blessing. Hurray for the Lord supporting us in trials!
Let's see, oh boy, time blurs, I can't even remember what happened this last week...
We got some new awesome investigators, as in awesome, so golden and so ready for the gospel, I'm so excited to see how they are blessed with the gospel.
Okay, I think I'm just going to accept the fact that I don't have much to say this week haha But know that everyday we strive to live God's commandments and live according to His will, we get so much closer to Him and are blessed with so much happiness. This is my testimony and I see it every single day in my life and in others. No matter how hard life gets, there is always peace and happiness to be found.

Motra Missy

New tags with my Albanian name, woo!
And one of my favorite girls ever :)

More photo's of Durras and stuff

January 27, 2014

Let's start out with some more stuff about Albania :)

-Most of the meat shops I see advertise their meat with adorable pictures of baby animals. It's basically a vegetarian's nightmare. 
-Speaking of advertising.... it's a copyright infringement mess out here. Google images is where it's at.... That's all I have to say about this topic haha
-Addresses do not exist. Okay, lie, they do... kind of. But they're pretty much worthless. Example: "Pl.563, Rr. Mujo Ulqinaku K.3 Door on right". Does that make sense to you? Good. Me either. It basically says, plot 563, the road, the floor and the door is on the right. Good luck finding the apartment building, the numbers usually don't go in order and to find this number, you look for a spray painted number somewhere on the building. A lot aren't numbered at all. If you want anything done, you draw a really good map. Literally.
-The clementines and oranges are fresh and amazing here. So juicy. So heavenly. So fantastic. Fresh plucked off the tree with stem and leaf still attached, doesn't get better than that.
-Motra Heathcote and I were in a bakery and Fresh Prince of Belair (spelling?) came on TV. Happiness. It was utter happiness :)
-If I forget to wear a sweater to church and only have on short sleeves, all the nëna's get mad at me. It's cold or something here, missed that memo.

Let's see, what happened this week....
Today we went hiking. My heart was so happy by this :) The view was gorgeous. Unfortunately my camera died..... But! I got some awesome polaroids, so all is well. There were old bunkers from communist era everywhere, that was pretty cool. Then hiked down to the coast line to enjoy the beach. The water crashing against the rocks was gorgeous. The air was fresh, the beach was clean. It was basically like pressing a restart button. It was so nice. And then some missionaries were hopping around on the rocks... Motra Singer decided to hop on a rock too.. but didn't have the best hopping skills and got stuck on a rock as a giant wave crashed up and soaked her.
(This is where I pause and laugh hahahaha) 
Oh man.
It was like watching a slow motion movie as the wave grew and grew and grew and crept up behind her while she crouched on the rock like a sitting duckling. Nothing I could do except yell brace yourself. Hahaha, poor girl :) Don't worry, she laughed too, I'm not a terrible person.

We started teaching someone rad this last week. On the first lesson, I invited him to be baptized and he said yes without any hesitation. Best. Day. Ever. Man! I was on fire! I am so excited for him! Here's one thing that I've really come to learn about the gospel. There are a lot of happy people out there. A lot of people that have good lives and make good, righteous choices and are overall good people in comfortable, good lives. This guy was one of those people. But the gospel is what makes life that much better. His life is now going to be that much better. It's seeing the light in people's eyes when they start living the gospel and accept it in their lives that makes missionary work so exciting. The gospel is a gift that anyone can have. An awesome gift that makes everything better than it already may be. Here's what I'm trying to say... If you're happy, wonderful! I am so glad for you! But I promise you that if you accept the gospel in your life and live it's principles, you will be that much happier. That's a promise from yours truly. I've seen it in my life and countless others. It's a scary change, but I promise you it's worth it. Don't take my word for it, try it yourself ;)

Much love,
Motra Missy

Sheep in the  middle of town

View from our hike