October 25, 2010

In case you haven't been keeping track, this week marked one year that you all have been missing me! Dang how the time flies!

As always it was a fun, exciting week with us 3 Motras here in Vlore. I guess I'll just start giving you the list:

We went back to visit an investigator that Motra Bentley found while tracting right before she left. Her name is Irena and she has a newborn son and a super cute little nine year-old daughter named Sabrina. I told her she has the same name as my little sister, and that basically made us instant best friends. She is super funny and really smart, and really does remind me of Sabrina when she was that age, just like fitting her way right into the adult conversation (and doing a much better job of it than I was in Albanian). Anyway, we were going for an unplanned visit and as we started up the stairs of the apartment building I saw two old Jehovah Witness Lady Missionaries standing at the door talking to Irena. I was just thinking, "oh great" / "this is really awkward." Luckily she kindly told them "no thanks, I meet with other religious girls." As we passed them on the stairs we just smiled and said hi, and then they just kinda stared at us as we then went and started chatting it up with Irena. I kinda felt bad for them, but what do they expect when they are competing with Jesus Christ's only true church?!

Service Project cleaning up Children's playground- the push mower was a pain, but fun!

Other excitement this week included our Law of Chastity lesson with the little boy Valerio. We decided that he probably needed to hear this lesson since he is madly in love with Motra Korita and always is trying to kiss her. Don't worry he really isn't a threat considering he is like 10 years old and less than 45 pounds, but we figured we'd just get that lesson out of the way. As you can imagine it is like my least favorite lesson to teach, but I don't mind at all teaching kids about it because they are more on my level. So we read him the story about Joseph and Potiphar's Wife from the children's picture Bible. We kinda adapted it to the situation though and said that Joseph had to run away from her because she was trying to kiss him, and that he was a good boy and was waiting to grow-up and get married before he would kiss a girl. It was all Motra Leit and I could do to keep from laughing aloud in that lesson, but I think it went well. Valerio was feeling pretty embarrassed/disappointed after we read him that story and he just sat there with his head hanging down, but he got over it pretty fast when all his buddies showed up.

Another memorable lesson this week was with Ana. I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned her before, but she just started coming to church and activities with her friend and finally after like a month and a half we decided to try and start meeting with her for the missionary lessons. Her mom has also come to a few activities and church and showed up with Ana for her lesson this week. Now her Mother is an interesting women...she appears very upper class and intelligent (she says she has a degree in Business), but really she is just a ding-bat. Sorry that isn't very nice to say, but well it's the truth. Anyway, in our lesson we asked Ana if she remembered who the first people on the Earth were. Her mom piped right in, "Well everyone knows that we came from monkeys." I doubt I've ever mentioned this before, but that is what they still teach in schools here. Luckily Ana remembered about Adam and Eve from a previous lesson we had and answered the question correctly. We kinda laughed about it later, but at the same time it is super sad that religious education/any education is so pitiful here. Anyway, I could probably go on for another page on some of the funny things Ana's mom has said and/or done, but I'll save those for another time.

Me, Motra Korita, Motra Leit- Service project cleaning up children's playground.

While I'm on this roll of sharing funny lesson stories, I'll tell one last little cute story from last night. Our group of little boys showed up at the church again last night for their lessons, so we did the usual teaching strategy of one by one. This time a tiny little boy came for the first time. His name was Denion, and he actually ended up being in 3rd grade and was an awesome little reader. He read better than any of the other older boys, and he told me that he wanted a Book of Mormon. I told him if he was good and came back next time for a lesson and had done his homework (to pray every night) that we could get him a book. At the end of his lesson he said the closing prayer and he asked if he could just say it in his own words. We told him of course, and then he said this cute little prayer asking a least twice in the prayer to be a good soccer player, and then at the end of his prayer he said, "good night" to Heavenly Father. It was super cute! I can't tell you how cool it is to teach someone how to pray and see their excitement as they realize they have this long lost Father who they can talk to! It's the Good Stuff!

Useless things I've learned this week from my awesome Danish companion:
-In Danish the word for a "backhoe" (those tractor machines) is translated as "digging cow."
-In Danish the word for "goose bumps" (those bumps we get when we're cold) is translated as "ant boobs."

As a final, slightly more inspiring note, we had an awesome visit out to see Eva, our investigator that lives up in the mountains like 1.5 hours away. We haven't really heard from her in the last couple weeks since we committed her to stop smoking, and obviously we knew that her avoiding us was because she wasn't able to give up the smoking. Finally we just felt like we would make the trek out to her house and just pray that she was home. We found her in her house, with a huge pile of cigarette butts in her living room, and she was simply at her wits end with stress and problems. Not only was she trying to deal with her normal problems, but also just minutes before had received news that her closest sister was diagnosed with cancer. We were able to be there for her at that moment as comforting friends, rather than a couple church girls who showed up to check on her smoking status. It is just amazing that Heavenly Father directed us to visit her at that very moment when she needed someone the most. It was a humbling and special moment to be instruments in the Lord's hands!

Well, I guess that is all I got for this week! Hope you all have a rocking week! Love and miss you all tons! Thanks for Everything!

Motra Hall