June 2, 2014

I don't know how it is possible for a mission to move so slowly and so super fast all at the same time! It's a pretty incredible phenomenon if you ask me.

This last week was a little slow. Good ol' Sister White was a sicky and so we stayed in a lot. Which is why it was a little slow. But that's alright, I got some good study time in :) 

We had a lesson with our fabulous recent convert who I love so dearly! She's basically our Albania Mom :) We walk into our lesson and surprise! she has a whole meal made up for us. She was so proud of that meal, I was so touched. We also know that she isn't employed and so feeding us can't have been easy on the wallet for her. It was so sweet though, I can't even tell you the smile she had on her face to feed us lunch. It was pasta, chicken and salad and wow was that chicken actually really good. So we're eating and of course she tells us to eat more because that's what Albanian's do and so I get another piece of chicken and I take a bite.... hmmm.... I cut off another piece and look at it reeeaaalll close. Yup. Definitely not done cooking. Oh goodness. I had definitely eaten a few bites of uncooked chicken. I know I'm a missionary and all, but salmonella russian roulette is not a game that I want to play. So I don't know what to do. I didn't want to offend her because she was just so stinkin' proud of that meal.... but I also didn't want to die.... sooo.... right as I'm thinking that her son calls her into the other room. Miracle! hahaha I immediately seized the moment, wrapped the chicken in a napkin and stuck it in my purse and then prayed a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father hahaha My bag still smells like chicken but I am pleased to announce that there was no food poisoning over here :)

We teach the advanced english class here in our ward. It's pretty fun, I really like it. They keep asking us about slang words, they really like to learn slang I guess. One of the kids wanted to know what "freaking" meant. So we told him. Then we started the class with a prayer, he says the prayer and I quote... "I hope this class gets freaky awesome as usual." I'm sure Heavenly Father got a good laugh out of that one :)

Ya know what always makes me laugh? Showing people my family photo. There are usually always 4 things that happen. 
1- "Oh my goodness! Little dogs! Aaaahhhhhhh!! I can't even handle how cute and little they are!! Oh my little cutie pie! I just want to squeeze him! hahahaha They are soooo cuuuuuuuuttttteeeeee" (obviously not a literal translation, but you get the idea)
2- "Wait.... the bangs... that's you? How is that you? Your hair is different. And you're fatter now." ........ Thank you. I really wanted to know that I'm fatter now ... *sigh*.... haha
3- This is when they tell me who looks like who. It's usually pretty different who they think looks like who... but one thing is consistent, they always think it's pretty darn funny how different Chris looks hahaha
4- "Oh woooowwwww... your sister is BEAUTIFUL. Wow... wow wow wow... " Sometimes they just end it at that, buuuuuuut, I get the occasional... "She's much more beautiful than you." (ug hahahaha) or the classic "She is so beautiful.... are you jealous?" I have definitely been asked that before hahaha
So yes, it's pretty predictable. But always pretty funny :) I get a good laugh at how blunt these wonderful Albanian's are. In weird areas, too. They are blunt where we're not and aren't blunt where we are. Throws me off sometimes. But it's always really funny to see their reactions :)

As far as my thought, I was reading in the Bible. Guys. It's a really good book, you should read it (that makes it sound like I've never read it cover to cover before... and that's because you're right. I haven't haha ... I'm doing it now and I definitely have a greater appreciation for the Bible that was not there before.)
Okay, this thought is scattered, bear with me.

I was reading the story of how Stephen was martyred in the book of Acts. He's literally being stoned to death for his testimony of Jesus Christ and his last dying words as he's suffering a horrific and, as far as I can imagine, agonizing death are " Lord, lay not this sin to their charge"
I was reading that and I was just amazed. What an unjust and horrific death and his last words are a pleading for forgiveness to them?
As I continued reading I started reading about Saul. Good ol' Saul that persecuted the saints hardcore. He even participated in the death of Stephen. In chapter 9 is where Christ appears to him and basically says, "hey, what are you doing this for Saul?" and Saul completely turns his life around. What I love later in the chapter is how the Lord prompts Ananias to go and help Saul and Ananias says, "hey, this is one bad dude... you know that right?" And Christ says "Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me.
I love that.
After that moment, Ananias goes and Saul is baptized and later becomes Paul, one of the great apostles of the New Testament. 
Now go back to Stephen. He understood something incredible that a lot of us, myself included, often forget. That we all are children of our Heavenly Father; we all have a right to the Atonement to repent and change; and we all have incredible, divine potential. Stephen was a wonderful example of eternal perspective, of forgiveness and understanding that we have no right to hold back forgiveness if we ourselves desire forgiveness. He forgave one of the men that put him to death and that man later became an incredible apostle. 
My dad, as a lot of you know, is a pretty stellar guy. I remember one time when I was in high school, someone had done something stupid to me and I was really upset. I don't remember who or what had been done, I just remember feeling very justified in being upset and that there was nothing that I could do about it. We were driving on the freeway as I was venting my feelings of anger to him and I said something along the lines of how I really hoped that one day, he got all the justice he deserved. I will never forget what my dad said in response... 
"I hope he receives all the mercy possible because I want to be treated the same."
That moment has completely changed my life. And I think it's something that Stephen also understood.

Christ did not atone for every single person born into this earth so that we could pick and choose to whom we would offer forgiveness and mercy. 
We are all children of God.

That's something that I hope I can always remember. I think everyone has potential to be a Paul. We should always treat these people as such. 

I looooovvveeee you all :)
Motra Missy

And some other black and white photos... I'm having darkroom longing these days...

Fashion nowadays? I dunno..

And some pretty shots from my apartment window :)

Look what cutie came to visit me from Durrës!!! Completely made my whole day!!!

the elder 2nd in from the right reminds me so much of aaron! it's trippy! hahha

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