December 13, 2010

Howdy everyone!

Just a quick hello today- Me and my Motras (Yourstone, Hiland, and Peatross) and 4 Elders are down here in Sarandë partying it up for the night. Don't have too much time to explain, but I am on what is known as the Death Trip of the mission that all missionaries who successfully complete a rigorous Progression Program earn at the end of their missions. It consists of an overnight P-Day trip that will extended till tomorrow afternoon. Since Motra Hiland was going to be the only Motra on the trip, us three all opted to go on our trip a little early so she wouldn't be the lone Motra. So far today we have just done a lot of driving and we also got to go see Butrint, a place with lots of can look it up on Wikipedia or something and learn a lot more than I know. It was pretty cool though.

District P-Day Activity---bumper cars American Style. (Albanian style is to just drive alone around without touching other cars. Good thing we were the only ones driving)
The most exciting things of the week I included in an email to my Mission President this morning, so I'll just copy that here...
"The Preston's (a senior couple) had a mini Super Saturday down here in Vlore for all the Seminary students, and the youth from Elbasan and Durres were able to come down and join our Vlore youth for a day of spiritual learning and fun. There were over 30 youth here and I think they all just had a wonderful time. It was especially exciting to see the young people that we have been working with here, as well as Alseda, our investigator that is going to be baptized this Saturday, get excited about the scriptures. There were lots of the typical Scripture Mastery chase competitions, and our youth were so prepared and had them all memorized and were so excited to recite them. I especially was proud of Alseda, who isn't even a member yet, but had memorized all the scriptures that the Preston's had assigned the youth a few weeks ago when they visited the Vlore Seminary class. Also, Alseda got up and bore a beautiful testimony and shared that although she wasn't baptized yet, she knew this church was true and how it has changed and blessed her life. It was just one of those rewarding moments as a missionary!"

Also, we finally had some time this week to visit a woman that we made contact with over a month ago. Due to scheduling conflicts and the fact that she lives kinda far away, we never really had a chance to visit her. Plus, I also thought after she told us that she was really busy that she didn't have too much interest, so she was pushed down our priority bad. Anyway, once we finally got out to meet her, the first thing she asked is if we had brought her anything else to read. So I asked her if she had read from the Book of Mormon that we gave her, and she informed us that she had read the entire thing cover to cover, as well as the Restoration pamphlet that we had left, which is why she wanted something more to read. She said she loves to read and has read tons of books and material both religious and other, and she has never felt so good and so much peace as she did when she read the Book of Mormon. She said she has had a lot of stress lately with one of her teenage daughters, and that reading the Book of Mormon just helped her and took it all away. So we started talking and she had just one question; about why a new church was needed, etc. So we just taught the first lesson exactly with prophets and dispensations, Jesus Christ, and Joseph Smith's answer to "restore" Christ's church just as it had been. She was just like "oh, that makes perfect sense." Anyway, it was just an awesome experience and we are excited to start teaching her and hopefully her three daughters and husband as well!"

On Saturday in Vlore we had a power-outage all day for like over 10 hours. Anyway, sometime that night while we were in the church trying to teach and have activities by candlelight, my bag that I carry around got taken. Obviously there's nothing to do but laugh about it....why cry over spilled milk. At first I hoped that the stupid little boy who came in and stole it would trip on his shoelace and scratch his knee or something, but I repented pretty quickly of that mean thought and decided it would be a better story if he read my scriptures that were in my bag and came back to the church and got baptized. I'm praying for that option now! :)

As for other excitement this week there isn't too much. Our weather in Vlore went from a sunny Mediterranean climate overnight to what seemed like a windy Alaskan terrain. But I prefer that to the ridiculous rain storms we had the week before. I forgot to mention it last week , but the floods in Tirana were so bad when we were coming home from exchanges last week that it took us almost 3 hours to just get to Durres, which is less than like 40km away. But the floods there were nothing compared to the northern city, Shkoder, which flooded really bad and is still underwater. We have four missionaries up there, but they have all been moved down to Tirana for the time being. On the news it just shows people paddling around the city in boats. Super sad!

Anyway, Motra Leit is doing great too and is holding down the fort in Vlore with Motra Halabuk. I'm sure she is enjoying the break away from her crazy trainer!

Hope you all have a rocking awesome week! I'm going to go hit up the town now in my jeans....yeah! Don't worry I still love missionary work....but we are having a dang good time!

Motra Hall