Monday, 21 April 2014

Week Three in Albaina

Okay.. So I'm a day late.. But Happy Easter. Well, what a treat it was when I got onto the computer and received 27 e-mails.. Thank you all so much for the love and encouragement. It makes me so happy to hear from home :) I'm glad to hear that all is well, and really interested to hear about the changes that are happening! Congratulate Bishop Mulholland for me.. Ugh.. I miss MJ. I hope Brianna loves her as much as I did.

This past week has surprisingly gone faster.. Which, I know is a bad thing to be grateful for.. But it's really been nice. Anyway.. I'll update you on some of the work here! So, Mark.. our progressing investigator is still doing pretty good.. But last Sunday he was in sunday school.. and the teacher kind of taught in a way that was not good for investigators.. She was really brash and kind of intimidating. So.. our next lesson with him we (and when I say we.. I mean Motra Smith) did a lot of patchwork.. He was under the impression that we didn't like any other religions.. which is SO not true. So, hopefully he's still okay. I tried to reassure him that the gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect.. But the people of the Church are not and never will be. It's really a struggle. Elder Bednar once said that if you get offended by someone or something it doesn't mean that the church isn't true.. it means that you're not true to the church, there's a big difference. Which is SO true. Some golden words right there. And then we have Jusi. She is this cute little 16 year old and she actually was a referral from a member in the ward. She's a ballerina and she's so sweet. We've had 2 lessons with her. She saw a video about Jesus Christ and wanted to know more, so her mom called us. In our first lesson, we didn't really feel like we connected with her too well.. But the last lesson was a lot better, she asked us why we came out on our missions. (She also speaks English pretty well, so she let us answer in English which is nice), but it was really great because it just made me realize.. I'm only 3 years older than her, I'm just a teenage girl like her.. but I'm out here in Albania.. I wake up everyday, and spend all day trying to catch a little bit of what people say.. and I struggle so hard to convey the things in my heart.. in order to simply attempt to deliver the happiness that I have found to anybody that will listen. I have received so much throughout my life. I have been blessed in so many ways and I honestly don't know how I could not try and help other people to receive the happiness and peace that I feel every single day. People are always like, why would you leave America to come here? Why are you sacrificing your school and your time? And all I feel is like.. Yes, it's hard. I get frustrated a lot.. But there is nothing I would rather do, then TRY to help these people. To help Jusi see that Jesus Christ loves her more than she could ever try to understand, and that through Him anything that she comes up against in life, she can overcome. I love her so much, and I hope that her faith causes her to act. We'll have to see. Missionary work really is so rewarding.

One of our Elders' investigators at Church, he's awesome
I have a cool experience from this past week.. So, Sister Smith and I were talking about the Spirit of discernment, and I was just like.. How does that even work? And she told me that she sees something in people's eyes, when they're open to at least listening to what you have to say. But, when she was talking about it I was like... Um... I don't know if that's a real thing. I look at people's eyes.. all I see is that they're brown. Haha. But, we were walking to the house of one of our recent converts and I was just saying hello and smiling at people when we passed.. And we passed this one lady and I was just like, "si jeni? mire?" and there was just something about her.. And she smiled at me and I stopped to talk to her. She was SO kind and she just had the nicest smile on her face :) and as we talked to her we told her that we were going to visit a family, and she was like, "jam nje besimtar!" basically saying that she was a believer and that she has faith in Christ and things like that, and then she gave us her number and asked if we could come visit her. It was really really cool. I don't know if anything will come of it.. but I will say that I now understand what that my companion meant when she talked about seeing a light in someones eyes. It was a really neat experience. 

The language is still frustrating for me. If there's one thing that I've learned it's that I suck at having patience with myself. I feel like I should have it all down right now and I should be like fluent and understanding everyone because I've been here a month. But, that's not how it works.. So, I just have to keep working at it everyday. I'll be honest.. there are days when I'm walking down the street and I'm like.. Why couldn't I have just been sent to Salt Lake City, UT where they speak my language!!! There are days when I seriously consider the fact that I might have a learning disability. Things just don't stick. SO FRUSTRATING. I'm learning a lot though. It's hard sometimes to have faith when you don't feel like you see progress. But, where doubt is faith cannot be. So.. I'm just gonna keep on keeping on.. but I really am so grateful to be here. Albania is so different, and I'm really enjoying being immersed in another culture and with different people.

There are stray dogs everywhere. Ive claimed this one as my own. He's cute
My companion and I get along really well so that's sweet. We laugh a lot. I think I realized that we were a good match when we walked in an apartment building the other day and we looked up at the ridiculously long stair case that we had to climb and she just says "this is a sick joke." I was like.. yes. Your attitude is terrible. I love it. Hahaha. But really though.. If she didn't get my sarcasm.. That would be so rough. My hair is still so bad :( It makes me sad. I just throw it up in a bun everyday because it's literally like.. just bad. I don't know. If y'all ever send me anything.. Maybe throw in some Moroccan oil or something to help it. It's pretty much retarded, but whatever. 

Alright, well I love you all so much and I'm excited to hear from you again next week :) 

With much love from Vlore

Motra Vermunt
A Lizard we found, he scared me a bit.

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