Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jesus Christ, this Church, and My Family Week 6

Hello Hello!!

This week was a great week! It was a fun, hard working week. It sure did have its ups and downs this week, but overall it was great! 

The big highlight was yesterday; we Skyped an Albanian, a real-life speaking Albanian. It was crazy. I had such big butterflies!!! The first few attempts with Skype wasn't working very well, which I was okay with because I was so scared to do it!! Then Motra Hoopes was gonna try one last time and as she was dialing it I was praying "please don't work, please don't work..." but it worked. But, the cool thing was that as soon as we said hello to her I felt such a calm and peaceful feeling. It was a lot of fun talking to her! It was hard to hear what she was saying because the connection wasn't too good on our end, but the things that I was able to hear, I understood! And she only gave me the "girl what are you talking about" or "what language are you speaking" look twice; so I count yesterday’s Skype as a glorious success!!! :D We get to do it again this coming Thursday or Wednesday; I don't know when but we are going to start doing it now every week.  So, that was the big highlight of this week: that we talked with a real live Albanian and she said that she was able to understand us and everything! It made me so happy! 

Yesterday I realized how blessed I am being here at the MTC. I am so grateful that I am enjoying it here and that Heavenly Father has helped me thus far with the language. It has been truly humbling. For me, it just goes to show how important this work is to Heavenly Father and that if I try to do my best in personal and language study that He will bless me in more ways than I expected.
Enjoying Sunday on the Temple grounds at the MTC

Our devotionals this week were great!! There was no apostle though this week, which was sorta weird, but hopefully this week? The mission presidents do come soon and the entire First Presidency and 12 Apostles will be staying here at the MTC. I can't wait, I might be able to shake hands with Jeffrey R. Holland or even see our living-day prophet. I do hope that I am able to see one of them, because there is just something that is so empowering about them just when you are in the same room with them! Our Tuesday's devotional I really liked a lot, the speaker was Elder Schwitzer of the Seventy. The main theme that I got out of it was how important it is to care; to just love those people with whom I will be serving with and those who I will be teaching. I leave for Albania 19 days from today. It is so nerve wracking, but that devotional just gave me a complete sense of peace and calm. Why? Because it really all comes down to your attitude and Christ-like Love. "It isn't going to matter if you get a verb conjugation right, all that matters is that they know that you care." That quote is so true! I will get the language and I will eventually be able to speak it well. But even if I were able to speak it fluently right now, if I don't teach with the spirit present and without caring for whom I'm teaching nothing is going to come out of it. It won't be a lesson; it will just be a pointless meeting if the spirit isn't present. I don't know how long it will take for me to be able to speak the language well enough, but I do know that I can invite the spirit into the lessons by testifying and for caring for those whom I am teaching. In our lesson with Besnick (MTC instructor) yesterday, we started to talk about the atonement. Besnick asked why Jesus would suffer for him. My answer was "Because He loves you." When I said that, I got the goose bumps and the spirit hit me like a wave of water. Teaching does not have to be complicated and that is something that has taken me a while to figure out. Teaching should be simple truths. It is said all the time in the Book of Mormon that they taught simple truths line upon line, precept upon precept. Simple truths are just that, they are simple; but they are powerful enough to soften the hardest heart, to mend a broken heart, and help anyone in need. So that is what I learned this week: that my main priority is not to speak the language fluently, rather, my main priority is to love and to testify. Testifying invites the spirit and the spirit knows every language, and he always knows every dialect of every person. 

Another thing that Elder Schwitzer mentioned is how there is a time and place for everything. Here is the poem that he shared:
Clowns in the circus are as funny as heck
But clowns in the church house are a pain in the neck
I like that poem a lot because it just emphasizes how there is a time and a place for everything. I love it here at the MTC! I have never felt happier before in my entire life. I have never worked harder, prayed harder, studied harder, focused more or had such fun as I have worked hard. If you are not having fun at the MTC, you're not doing it right. Just because it is hard, doesn't mean that you can't be happy or be having fun as you do it. There are moments here where 100% focus is needed, and there are other times like at gym where 100% good attitude is needed. 

Fast Sunday was such a great day!! It is amazing what fasting does for you. This fast Sunday was incredible. It was my last fast Sunday here at the MTC (weird. I know). I have only known these new missionaries in our zone for about 2.5 weeks, but I realized on Sunday how much I love all of these new Elders and Sisters. The love was overflowing from within my heart. It is truly amazing how quickly you grow to love people you have never met before in your life when you are all working so hard for the same thing. So, needless to say, my zone is the best zone. Like ever. #wildandferocious My district though, is outstanding. All the Elders are such great examples to me, and I have learned so much from them. They are like brothers to me. Last night we were all talking and we were just having so much fun. We were all worn out from a long day of speaking in Albanian yesterday that by the time night time hit we were all laughing. They were even laughing at some of the things I was saying, and that just shows how tired they all were. haha, jk. I am pretty funny sometimes. Honestly you should hear Motra Coleman and mine conversations. haha. Seriously though, I have been so blessed to be in the district that I am in. I have learned something from each and every one of them. I have such a big respect for all of them. And Motra Coleman, she is an Angel. I don't know what I did to deserve her, but I am so grateful for her. She has helped me so much, and whenever I say how something is hard or something like that she just says "është mirë, Motra!" which means "it's good, sister!" I am so grateful for her! So much! 

You know how you hear about angels surrounding missionaries and protecting them in the mission field. Well, I'm not in the mission field quite yet, but I do think that angels are on double time with surrounding and protecting their assigned missionaries during gym time. True story people. For instance: a few weeks ago I was shooting hoops in the gym. One Elder in my zone played basketball in high school, so he was trying to make a half-court shot or something. I was getting my basketball and I hear him yell "watch out" and so I look up, and the ball had hit the ground just a couple feet in front of me and was heading right towards my face at a super fast speed. So, I did my man-scream and closed my eyes, and I didn't even get touched with the ball. I really do think that my guardian angels were on double time during that gym session. Another thing happened this week. Motra Coleman and I have such ridiculously great softball skills. We play this game where we will throw the ball to each other and every time you don't catch it or drop it you have to do an awful punishment, like a plank or crunches or yeah. So, on Tuesday she had thrown the ball super high, and it was going through some leaves and I knew I wasn't going to get my mitt up in time to catch it and that it was probably going to hit me on the head. Then all of the sudden it somehow hit a branch and fell at my feet. I'm pretty sure it was, again, Angels. I do think my guardian angels like to play the sport games with me. Some people might say that those were just "lucky" but I don't think they are. There is something about being a missionary; you know that you are never alone. Even if you are having a tough day with the language or whatever it may be, I am never alone. Never. 

I would also like to say how amazing it is being here! How amazing it is to be a missionary. The three things that I care most about, that I would give my life for, that I would do anything for--I wear on my chest every single day. That is (1) Jesus Christ, my eldest brother who I will forever be indebted to because of His unconditional love for me. I am a missionary because of Him. I get to go preach this gospel to the people of Albania, with Him by my side. (2) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What an amazing restoration this Church has had and under such humble circumstances. Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They do have a body of flesh and bones, and they called him by name and told him to restore the Church of Jesus Christ; to restore it to its proper and original form. I am so grateful for the priesthood, what an amazing blessing that has been in my life. What a humbling experience it is to interact with priesthood holders every day, to have one be my Dad and my brothers, and to see them 24/7 here at the MTC. To be enlisted in the Army of Helaman with Priesthood holders. This gospel is true. I cannot wait to go and share that with the people of Albania. Death is not the end; it is only a glorious new beginning. I don't know what the future holds, I don't know what is going to happen in my mission, I don't know a lot about life but the one thing that I do know is that this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! Jesus Christ is my elder brother, and Heavenly Father is such a merciful and loving Father. I am a daughter of God. I am never alone and they never leave us alone. I know it is true! I also know that Satan will forever and always get the "BIGGEST FATHEAD" award. He wants us to become miserable and to doubt anything and everything we know. But, pray whenever that happens. This church is true. There is no way that this true church cannot be true. Thousands of people have tried to find a fault in this church and no one has succeeded; anyone who has tried has been converted. Even Satan has a testimony of what God is capable of doing and of His power. Fan the Flame of your Faith. IT IS TRUE. (3) My family. My best friends, who I get to spend the rest of forever with. I am so grateful that family is such an important unit to Heavenly Father. I love my family with all my heart and I would do anything for them, I would die for any of them without even giving it a second thought. Families are forever. It is not easy being away from my best friends, not being able to have my giggling fits with my little sister, or have our Muppets jam session with my little siblings, or to have our competitive family card games, or to just sit and talk with my wonderful parents. But, I know that they will be protected and safe. I know that this is where I am supposed to be and that we will all come closer. I love my family with all my heart!! 

Being a missionary I strive to bring honor to the three things that I care most about; my Savior, Jesus Christ, this church, and my family. I love it here! I love it with all my heart! I love you all! Thank you for all of your support, it truly means the world to me! :) 


Motra Zallënxhër