I hope that everyone has had a wonderful past couple days. I thank you all for your excitement and encouragement as I begin this new endeavor in Gjakova!
So.. Gjakova is treating me pretty well so far. It seriously is so cold. The worst part is that our heaters in our house are not working.. So, we have a little space heater in our bedroom and that's it. Seriously, we do EVERYTHING in our bedroom. It's freezing. It's hard because you just go to bed chilled.. and wake up chilled. Haha, it's never ending. We're hopefully getting the heaters fixed soon. But yeah.. it's pretty brutal. We woke up one morning and we could see our breath.. In our apartment.. Not cool.
I'm getting familiarized with Gjakova, it really is not a big city so it's not too hard. But, I can already tell you that it is so different! We contact A LOT. There just aren't too many people to have lessons with yet.. So, we gotta find 'em! We've done a lot of tracting because it's just way too dang cold to street contact. So.. I never found too much success in tracting in Tirana.. But, every night that we have gone tracting here.. We've been let in! People here are very nice, and I think that when they see us girls standing outside they don't feel threatened or intimidated or anything. And often.. the people are practicing Muslim or do not have interest.. But it is still so satisfying to just sit and talk about what I know to be true.
That is one very big difference.. The people here are practicing Muslims and are very connected to that. We are THRILLED when someone says that they are Catholic or that they believe in Christ. Also, the branch is small. There are probably about 25 members or so.. But on Sunday, I think there were like.. 8 members there and the rest were missionaries. The branch president is the senior elder, Elder Tooley.
To my next point.. the Tooley's. They are the biggest tender mercy ever! I don't think I've ever met more Christlike people in my life. This is their 3rd mission and they are just amazing.. I love being around them, they are the best examples ever. They are hilarious too. Oh my goodness, I'm so lucky to serve around them. It's like having parents out here. I love it!
I'm not going to lie.. I think it's going to take a lot of prayer and a lot of guidance from the Lord in order to really find those prepared souls. I know that they are here.. But I also know that this is going to be a difficult place. It feels different, and I know that it's not going to be easy. But the best things never are, right?
I am so grateful to be a missionary. A few missionaries and I were talking today and about how lucky we are to be out here. Obviously there are things about home and about 'normal life' that we miss.. But truly, there is just so much meaning to life out here. Every minute, I know that I'm doing something that matter and I know that I'm developing characteristics that matter! I'm grateful for this experience.. and to learn and know that I can be close to the Lord and be guided in all aspects of my work.
I hope that you are all staying warm!! Talk to you next week!
With love from Gjakova,