Happy Thanksgiving! I can't believe it is already the end of November. I have been so busy that I didn't even notice that I have flown by my one month mark on the mission. Wow!
It was an amazing week at the MTC as always and I have lots to tell you, so I'm just going to type as fast as I can. So no judging my terrible spelling and grammar. :)
We started off this week with a new district goal to SYL (speak your language). So basically we only speak Albanian, except during certain times when we are with other people who don't know Albanian, like at church meetings, etc. But otherwise, we speak Albanian all the time in class and in our residence halls. It is really hard, but it is helping us to get better, so it is totally worth it. I can already see an improvement in my language ability after only a few days of doing this.
As always we have been so blessed to have some amazing speakers this week. On Sunday for Relief Society we had Sister Mary Cook, the first counselor in the General Young Women Presidency. It was a great talk on "Virtue" and it was such a blessing, because later on Sunday I taught the District lesson and the topic was virtue. Elder Smith had asked me earlier in the week to teach the District lesson on Sunday (which is basically like Sunday school but only with the eight of us Albanians and sometimes a Branch Presidency member and his wife). So I had used a lot of the same stuff that Sister Cook then used, which was great to prepare me even better. I think the lesson went okay. Since I didn't pack all my Relief Society stuff, I made a doiley out of kleenex so that I could have a centerpiece. Ha ha!
On Sunday us four sisters(me and my companions), who are the only sisters in the branch, sang a special musical number, "This is the Christ." It was really pretty and I got to sing and accompany on the piano. In answer to the question about it I get to play the piano still, yes. I get to play every Sunday for church and I also get to accompany special musical numbers. I am currently practicing a number with a friend from Utah State who is here and she hopes to perform at a Christmas Devotional next month. I really love playing and it has been such a blessing to have be able to share that talent. Thank you so much Mom and Dad for paying for lessons all those years and making me practice!
I received one of the most awesome blessings this week, and couldn't wait to tell everyone about it. If you read my letter last week, you'll know that I had a most interesting experience cleaning bathrooms. When we got to service this week, the janitors informed us that they just found out that there is a rule that says Sisters can't clean Elders bathrooms! So unfortunately I'll not be getting an opportunity to do that again, so I'm so glad I at least was able to experience that once before they started enforcing that rule. Otherwise I wouldn't be as grateful for all the other cleaning assignments we get!
This week Sister Peatross, Sister Yourstone, and I started teaching a progressing investigator named Bobby. So he actually works here part time and just pretends to be an investigator so missionaries can practice teaching someone and then coming back to the same person and teaching more, but you would never know he isn't a real investigator. He is an amazing actor, plus he is a real person, so he has real concerns in his life too. We have been trying hard to meet some of his own personal concerns and he is really loving us. Every time we teach him the spirit is so strong and he can't wait to have us come back. It is an amazing experience, and I can't wait to start teaching real people and then I can see the gospel change their lives.
Last nights devotional was amazing! As always, Sister Peatross pulled some strings and got us like third row seats, right near the front. The speakers were Elder and Sister Dallin H. Oaks. Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, Sister Oaks was here for R.S., but we got to hear from her again and it was great. She is so cute and she shared a fabulous message that really was comforting to us who are struggling to learn a language. She said, " Your spirit can shine above your speaking ability." I am so grateful to know that the Spirit is the true teacher, because my Albanian sure isn't good enough yet to teach much of anything. Elder Oaks also gave a great talk and was very straightforward and bold with all of us. He gave lots of council and advice and it was just amazing to have an Apostle of the Lord in the room talking to us. I realize that as I'm writing this that maybe not everyone knows who I am talking about, but I know that Elder Oaks has been called of God and truly is an Apostle of the Lord. I would recommend jumping on LDS.org and try watching his most recent conference address. It would give you a small taste of what I experienced here last night.
Also in answer to a question about my knee, it is doing great. I have been playing basketball and/or volleyball everyday at gym and I have my knee brace so I haven't had any problems. My only problem is that Sister Yourstone is amazing under the basketball hoop, and I'm having a hard time guarding her. Ha ha!
I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving! I wish you could all be here, because we have so much great stuff planned here tomorrow. We have a huge humanitarian project planned and two firesides/devotionals. I have heard rumors about who will be speaking tomorrow morning, but I will make you all wait in suspense till next week.
I hope you all take some time this Thanksgiving Holiday to thank the Lord for all the blessings you have been given. I wish I had more time to just list everything I am grateful for, but since I don't in summary:
I am so grateful for all of you family and friends for your support and prayers. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary and serve the Lord and the people of Albania. I am so grateful for my knowledge of the gospel. I testify that Jesus Christ Lives. I know that he suffered the atonement for each of us and that he understands our trials and heart ache. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson leads our church today. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and that our Heavenly Father loves us all so much!
I love you all!