Monday, September 21, 2015

A Mission Is Seeking ....... Weeks 72 & 73

Hello Hello!! :) 

A water way in Berat, Albania
I hope everyone had a wonderful week this past week!! It was yet another eventful week for me! Actually the past two weeks have been super eventful and I have lots of highlights. Sorry for not sending out an email last week, we went to Berat. It was a beautiful, but long day and we only had about 40ish minutes for email; hence  the reason why it will be so long this time. :) 

Prego palace. Unlike what happened in Prishtina, it was on purpose that we went to the prego palace. The sisters in Lushnje called us to tell us that their recent convert was at the prego palace waiting to give birth to her child and that she would love visits. So we went! A lot. haha. We gave her a call to see when we could come visit her, and she wanted a blessing from the Elders and so they came with us. When I saw the member I couldn't keep my mouth from dropping open. She was for sure pregnant, i mean SUPER PREGNANT. She looked like she was going to have quadruplets but alas, it was only one. Our investigator came with us as well and kept touching her stomach...i sat inbetween our investigator at the pregnant member; so it was a little uncomfortable when she kept touching her stomach. haha, but it was a lot of fun! We got to talk to her roommates and their spouses that were there. The elders gave her a blessing and then we left. After we had left she was talking to one of her new friends and she too wanted a blessing. So we came back the next day to visit her and the elders gave her a blessing as well. It was a real neat experience to be there! Both of them have had their babies and are doing well! 

Motra Z and Sister Hysa
Every sunday for the past two transfers we have been have choir practice. It has been really good, tiring, long, and a lot of work. Everyone who has gone to church in Albania or heard Albanians sing they would think that an albanian choir was the biggest oxymoron ever. Well, it isn't anymore. hehe. It actually went super super well! We had a concert last saturday to kick-off our stake conference weekend. The concert was an hour and a half. It had narration throughout, meaning before the songs that we sang. It went so well! :) A lot of people showed up as well!! There is a famous opera singer in Durres that is a member of our church, and he sang! Sister Davis was her pianist and it was the most beautiful song ever!! It is the song that Dallyn Bayles sings called "I have seen Him". Oh my heavens i had so many goosebumps throughout it. I could have wept it was so good. Then the day after we had Stake Conference at the Congress place in Tirana! It was so so good!! It was so much fun to see all of the members in Albania get together! People from Kosovo even came down, which meant that I got to say goodbye to some of the people that I came to love so much up there. It was a big tender mercy that they were able to come down! I also got to see Sister Hysa. I love my albanian sister so much! The conference went so well. President Mema's talk about keeping the sabbath day holy was absolutely amazing and so incredible. Gosh, it was so good. Everything about it was amazing. 

So we have marshmallows in our apartment and sister white wanted to roast her marshmallows. So we made a fire in a bowl so that we could roast the marshmallows. It was a lot of fun! :) but don't worry mom, we were safe and no smoke detector went off or anything. 

Berat, Albania
We have district lunches on Sundays and we started playing Mafia during lunch. It is like murder in the dark but we just sit in the chairs instead of walk around in the dark. It is a fun game but a super confusing game and I still don't know if I know how to do it correctly, so i keep getting confused super easily. haha. it is fun though, because i always sit by sister white. and I will just tickle her side or something so that everyone thinks her making the noise is because she is guilty, and then she tries to blame it on me. ha. c'are thua. :) hehe. 

Berat, Albania
Sister Cheshire had her birthday this week!! She is a good old' spanking 20 years old now! So we went to the Stevens Center and got super yummy milkshakes and super yummy food! It was quite delicious. They even had Dr. Pepper there too. So I had one. I asked the waiter if they had lime and coconut syrup to make a dirty dr. pepper...but they didn't.. 

Berat Castle
Instead of playing chess sister White and I have started to play slug bug. It is more entertaining. I am totally winning! haha. but now she is totally cheating. By doing "bruiser cruiser". I'm pretty sure that's not even a thing, and besides cruisers don't even exist here. She sees a fiat and hits me saying that it is close enough to a cruiser. ha. false. 

We went and did service at a less-active's house. She had us clean her house for her. It was a lot of fun! She was really sweet too, and made us stuffed peppers and byrek. It was super super good and a lot of fun! The food was stinkin' good. :) 

Berat, Albania
We went the the Lakaj's house and they taught us how to make byrek. It is super super simple! I am totally going to be making that when I get back home because it is so good and oh my heavens. I am totally going to be doing that all the time when I get home. :) it make take quite some time of practice first...but avash avash. 

We started institute back up this past week. It was the last time for the senoir couple Smith. But the first time in country for the Abrahamsons. It was so much fun! A lot of people came to say goodbye to the Smiths. It was super good. It was super cute too, because we got to hear stories from the Abrahamsons. One member asked how they met, and then all the girls in the room were just smiling and paying so much attention. haha. Sister White and I were laughing so hard. haha. 

Byrek making
final product of Byrek
Elders enjoying dancing?
Dancing that Motra Z watched
So. Dances. I absolutely hate dancing and I hate dances. But we did a ward dance this past weekend, and it went really really well! I was having so much fun watching everyone dance and have so much fun! I got a lot of good photos of it. haha, i just feel so uncomfortable (and trust me I probably look terrible too) with dancing. so i watched through most of it. until my companion and the elders and some members ganged up on me and told me that I had to dance, and then the Bishop ganged up on me too and POW! all the sudden i was out there dancing. haha. It was probably pitiful dancing but it was a lot of fun! One of the missionaries got a video of me trying to do a traditional dance, haha. that happened. haha. It really was a super good success! A good amount of members came and they all brought someone with them. It went so well! 

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Yesterday there were 91 people in church! That is more than it has been in a really long time! It was because the Smith's gave their farewell talks. Their talks were so good and it was amazing. I also gave my last talk/testimony... it was rather intimidating having so many people there too. but I didn't have to act out any words in this talk.. hehe.  But it went really well. I love this ward so much! They are all so amazing! 

Today for p-day we went to City park and we rode the mechanical bull. That is an evil little machine. haha. It was a lot of fun! People were walking by and just laughing at all of us. It sure is a stinkin' big thigh work out in less than a minute. Holy cow. haha. The only war wound that I have from a fake bull is a partially torn off big toe nail. But what doesn't kill ya makes you stronger. and in my defense that stinkin' bull is a lot harder to get on than it looks. I spent more time falling off the bull and then trying to get on it than I was actually on that stupid bull. which was quite embarrassing, haha, but totally worth it. haha. 

Wow. Missions fly by. My favorite thing about my last transfer is how much reflecting I have done. How I have been able to really get a feel of who I am now when I compare to who I was when I first got in the MTC and first got in country. Missions are amazing, and even that is an understatement. I have wondered over and over again what is it exactly about missions that make a mission a mission. Granted there are so many answers and reasons for this, but I think one answer can be found in Ether chapter 12 verse 41. Whether Ether is encouraging us to "to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen." As missionaries we are set apart as representatives of our Savoir and Redeemer Jesus Christ. We cannot represent someone who we don't know. A mission is a mission of seeking. All my mission I have sought after Christ. I have studied harder, deeper, and longer of Christ than any time before in my life.  Because I spiritually cannot represent Him if I do know know how He reacts, how He loves, and how He teaches; and it wouldn't be fair to the recent converts, investigators, members, and missionaries if I don't represent Him to the degree that He deserves it. I think that is one of the reasons for why mission has been so amazing. Because I have sought Christ ever single day. Before my mission I thought for someone to see Christ, that it would need to be physically, like of the sacred experiences we have heard that happen.  But I have learned that I over thought it. I'm not saying that that doesn't happen, because it does. But I have also realized how easy and often we see Christ. Because it is through others that we see our Savoir. It is through members here in Albania that I have seen the love of Christ. It is through my Mission President and his wife that I have seen the devotion and love that Christ had. It is through some of the missionaries that I have served with that i have seen the loyalty of the Lord. I have seen Christ inside of so many people here. When someone has completely changed their life around and embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ; we are not seeing their past or their sins or mistakes. We aren't even necessarily seeing their future. When we see them, what we are really seeing is the Atonement and Grace of Jesus Christ. and that sight never gets old. It lasts for forever, it is unconditional, and it is life changing. When we seek Christ that is how we stop to only exist and we begin to live. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savoir and my Redeemer. The key to heaven was hung on a nail. Christ is the key. He is the key to eternity, to peace, to life, to everything and anything good. It literally is Christ or nothing. Let us all use the gift that God has given us. I know that Christ lives and that He loves us! 

Have an amazing week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials. 

Motra Zollinger