June 14, 2010

Greetings! I think I've been spoiled too long in Logan with air conditioned summer desk jobs, and I've forgotten how hot it can be outside in the middle of the day. That's okay though, I think I might be adjusting little by little.

As always Motra Larson and I had a great week here. She has been helping me alot with my Albanian, which I really need. I'm sure that sounds pretty pitiful that I'm almost halfway through my mission and still struggling with the language, but what can I say, Shqip is just a ridiculous language. I do take some comfort in the fact that she is now finishing her mission and is one of the most talented speakers I know, yet it isn't terribly unusual to walk away from a conversation and both of us just look at each other with really confused faces. I'd say that usually when it is necessary we are blessed with the gift of tongues and are able to communicate, but sometimes we just feel a little forsaken, and we just nod and pretend to understand. For some reason it hasn't gotten me down though, so I just keep trying my best and the Lord has blessed me.

We had a pretty normal week with lots of teaching but also lots of tracting. The highlight of my week was definitely our meeting with Aurora though. We met Aurora tracting one of our first weeks together (her father is the one named Hate). She is absolutely amazing, and just a very spiritual young lady who just wants to do good. She is a strong believer and every time she prays or sees pictures of Christ she gets emotional, which we don't find that much here.
So the Sunday before last she came to church for the first time and it turns out she knew three or four of the youth in the church here already, and is neighbors with Eris (the really awesome 17 year old boy who served a mini mission in Tirana a couple months ago). So she came to church and hit it off with everyone and just loved it. Then she stayed for a baptism that we had for some twin boys. When we met with her this past week, she said she thought the baptism was so beautiful and she wanted to know how people knew when they were ready for baptism. So our next lesson we talked about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and we told her we thought she was ready to get baptized on July 4th and we gave her this little calendar to keep track of the days till her baptism. She was absolutely stoked! It was like when Alma teaches baptism and invites the people to be baptized and then they clap their hands for joy (Mosiah 18:10-11). She was so grateful that we thought she was ready and she said she has always had this desire to be baptized. It was just amazing, and the perfect lesson and invitation. It seems like so often we have to convince people that they are ready and that they have a testimony, but for once it was beautiful to have someone realize what am awesome opportunity it is and to be overjoyed with gratitude just for the invite. Anyway, definitely the highlight of our week. It is especially cool, because Motra Larson and I found her together and she'll be baptized before Motra Larson leaves, which is rare because usually people don't progress that fast here. Oh the tender mercies!

We also had our first Young Single Adult (YSA) opening social at the senior couples (the Smith's) home this week, because that will be the organization that they will we working specifically with here. It actually turned out really great, and everyone had fun. I think the most impressive part was that of the 10 YSA's that came, only five are even members, and the other five are just investigators right now. We think the start of the Insitute program with them is going to really help with the missionary work that we are doing here in Vlore.

We also had Zone Conference this week, which meant another hot ride in a fergon, but of course it was worth it. We had some good trainings and talks and as always it was great to see Sister Bentley and Sister Yourstone. Since we are so out of the loop down here in Vlore, it is good to get together and remember that there are other Americans in this country too! :)

Sorry I don't really have too many exciting stories from the week. Usually I try to flip through my journal to get highlight ideas, but I just didn't have time this morning.

I guess since I won't be emailing before next Monday I should wish everyone a very Happy Father's Day! Maybe this can be a reminder so all the kids can go out and feed the animals and get chores done Sunday morning as a special Father's Day treat!

I love and miss you all tons! I hope you know how much I love this Gospel though too. It truly is the greatest blessing in the world to know the truth and to be able to help others find that trueth for themselves. Like we always tell people when we meet them, I'm not here to force you to believe or to tell you what you should believe, rather I'm just here to invite you to pray and find out for yourself. I know that if we pray to know the truth with a sincere heart, we will receive an answer of the truthfullness! Heavenly Father loves us, so of course he wants to talk to us through prayer! And it isn't just a one way communication!

Much Love and Thanks for all your prayers and support! Have a great week!
Motra Hall