Monday, August 24, 2015

By Small and Simple Things.... week 69!!!! (We are SOOOOOO Excited!!!)

Forgetting Sunscreen Motra Z??
Hello Hello!! :) 

Wow. What a week. The weeks here just keep getting more and more exciting, it is amazing!! I absolutely love being a missionary more than anything else in the entire world. Honestly, it is miraculous. 

Good luck Poopers and Parker with starting school! That is crazy sauce, but I hope that it all goes super super well! Stay strong. Work hard. and don't procrastinate because it only brings you sorrow. You really should try and fix it, but you could do it tomorrow. ;) honestly though, don't procrastinate. I am a living witness of that. Go get 'em! :) 

Poor Elder Stuart forgot tennis shoes
Service project clearing for futbal field
This week all of the Tirana missionaries got together with the Shkoder missionaries and did a major service project! We went to the near by orphanage and we were working in their back yard, starting to build a soccer field for them. That day we were just taking out tree trunks and cement borders and the good old dirty stuff. It was so much fun! I miss getting all sweaty and dirty working in gardens. It was a stinkin' blast! Everyone got some pretty good blisters from that day. It was totally worth it. It was exhausting though, we were up there all day. It was so much fun though! 

Sister White and I have started to have super intense chess matches during our lunch hour or after nightly planning. It is a lot of fun though, because neither of us are really good at chess-but we pretend we are. haha. and yes, we are keeping score. It is tied 2-2. hahahaha. 

Missonary selfies are the best... 
This past week we found some spaghetti squash!!! So we baked it!!! It was so good!! It didn't taste how I remember it tasting, but maybe that is because I don't have my couple tablespoons of Costco butter to put in it. But it was still super super good. Afterwards we baked the seeds as well. It was a ton of fun. It smelled like fall. We loved it! 

We have started visited a widow in our ward. She is so stinkin' adorable, I can't even handle it!! :) She is the sweetest thing, she can't hear really well though. So we are practically yelling at her so that she can understand us, and she just laughs and smiles because she still can't understand/hear us all the way. During the prayers she has to peek so that she knows when we say Amen, and she just giggles when we say amen. She is stinkin' adorable!! I am pretty sure that cute widows/widowers in wards are the meat of the ward families. I love this girl so much! 

American football. I don't think that Albanians have ever heard of that sport nor seen the football. It was hilarious, because the Elders had brought that with us to play the real manly sport of soccer. But on the walk home, Sister White and I stole the football and started throwing it to each other. It was really funny to see all the facial expressions of everyone around us. I guess they haven't seen one of those before. hehe. 
Motra White and Motra Zollinger
Yesterday we had another member visit, and I was able to visit the real Linda Inftiu!! :) I was so excited!! I had met her already a couple of times at church but I was able to go to her house! I told "her" in the MTC, as her daughter pretended to be her and we practiced our albanian and our teaching. I was so happy when we left her house last night! She is amazing! and while we were there, her daughter, Sister Iftiu who was one of my MTC teachers skyped her and I was able to say hi to her! It was super cool! :) 
Missionaries trying to get the frisbee...

Still being obedient
Coastal View of Durres

Coastal View of Durres
Another view of the coast Durres
Missionaries Pday Activity at Skenderbeu's castle

Today for p-day we went to Durres. We went to Skenderbeu's castle. It was absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking!! The castle was a little ruined down, but it was so cool to go there! It was right on the beach too. oh my heavens, it was so gorgeous! That was such a big temptation being that close to the water, especially because the sun was just beating down on us. But we didn't get in it! A couple of times the elder's football got in the water. So we threw rocks behind it to get it to push to us. Then when the frisbee got in the water, we tried the same time. But not all elders have good aim, and it hit the frisbee right in the center and broke it. haha, it was actually hilarious. We hung out at the castle for about an hour to goofing off and playing and having a blast... but then little satans had to come around the corner and ruin everything.There were about 5 teenage girls in bikinis that were coming over; but as soon as the elders saw them coming we all left. so take that Satan. ya fathead.  Durres is gorgeous though, especially the beach and everything. I took a lot of photos too. But the photos just don't do it justice. It was so much fun hanging out with the Durres Missionaries as well!! I got to see Sister Riley again! I miss that girl so much, she is amazing! and Sister Davis! I love them both so much!! :) 

This past week I became obsessed with the scripture Alma 37:6. It has taken on a whole new meaning for me, especially as we have done that for a lesson with all of our recent converts and active member lessons. It has been so good!! We are so lucky that we have the Book of Mormon, because in verse 6, we can learn how God works. We can learn His pattern to answering our questions, and how our personal revelation  will come. God gave us the answer and what His answer will look like. He literally put the answer in our hands. It is by small and simple things that God works. Every thing in this Gospel, is line upon line and precept upon precept. Because it is avash avash we can grow so strongly in our faith and our patience and our character as we are preparing ourselves and working so that we can receive answers. Joseph Smith is a perfect example. He had a question to learn of the truth, and so he studied and prayed. Then eventually he went to the grove to ask God which church to join. That answer that he got has changed history, and God knew the impact that that answer would have, and so God instructed Joseph Smith line upon line, avash avash. Joseph didn't have the first vision and then that next day find the golden plates, and get the priesthood, and then fully restore the church. That would have been absurd if it happened like that! God doesn't work like that (not saying that God couldn't have done that, but God worked how it explains in verse 6). First, Joseph had the first vision. Then a couple years later as directed by Angel Moroni he recovered the Golden plates. He received the priesthood. After some time the whole church was restored. But it didn't happen over night. It was a year span before everything was restored that needed to be restored. It is just like a sunrise. It isn't dark one second and the next BAM! light. There's no beauty in that, and there's no learning in that. We can't be grateful for the light if we don't know what it's like to be in the dark. This past week I have been thinking a lot about my mission thus far and I am just amazed at this same principle. All throughout my life God has been working with me in small and simple things so that I could be here in Albania at this time interacting with the people that I am. When I first got in the MTC and I heard people speak Albanian it sounded like complete and utter gibberish. But i took it one day at a time, and it was small grammar principles added upon other principles and I was able to speak a little more. And now, almost 16 months later, I am able to talk to people and converse with people and they can understand me! This most certainly did not happen overnight. But I am so grateful that it didn't. Because if it had been easy to learn this language, then I wouldn't have been able to grow as much as I have. I wouldn't have the testimony that I do now about how God keeps His promises and how He helps us in everything. I am so grateful that God works by small and simple things, that He tries us with our patience.  I also know that once we are familiar with how God works and how He will answer us, that our lives will change! We will know even stronger that God in fact does love us and cares for us. That even when we think that we are not getting any answer, that we will realize that we have already started to get some answers. I know that it is true! God loves us, so much! 

Have a wonderful week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials!!! :) 

Motra Zollinger