January 10, 2011

Greetings from Tirana! I made the safe journey here at the beginning of the week and it seems like Motra Yourstone and I have been going non-stop since I got here. I was worried I wasn't going to be able to fit all of my junk into my suitcases and I was a little sore after carrying all those heavy suitcases down the stairs of our Vlore Apartment, but we had an elevator here in Tirana so I'm doing much better. :)
So Tirana.....it is pretty much awesome! I loved Vlore and it was hard leaving all my people and my super awesome Motra Leit, but as always I just re-fall in love with the next place. Awesome things about Tirana that I had forgotten during my time in Vlore and that I'm now rediscovering and enjoying: tons of great places to eat!
Motra Hiland, Motra Kelsey Hall, Brisi, Motra Leit
Also, I have been in Tirana for almost one week now and only received one smart-aleck comment/cat call from a boy, whereas in Vlore we couldn't even walk outside without getting at least half a dozen or more stupid comments and pick-up lines. I guess I probably never have talked about it, but I pretty much hated almost all boys by the end of my time in Vlore. Anyway, moving on.....I am in two super legit branches. I enjoyed my first Sunday in a long time just sitting back enjoying church and not being responsible for anything except playing the piano in both Sacrament Meetings. Sister Yourstone was excited for the break from piano. And I was just loving the fact that all the classes had teachers and that the bulk of the branch was adults and families instead of just a bunch of chaotic kids. Don't get me wrong, I love my crazy Vlore Branch, but it is nice to experience something new now too!

Coming back to where I was exactly one year ago has also been super cool. We got to visit some of my old investigators, who are now awesome strong members. We also visited some of my old investigators that have been lost over the past year and are excited to have me back and start learning again. And I had a more than warm welcome from tons of the Branch Members in both branches. I was surprised that so many people remembered me and were so happy to have me back. All in all, it is just great to be here again!

As for my companion, well things have been kinda hard. I'm not sure how much I've told you all about Motra Yourstone, but she kinda is like an exact replica of me, but a more perfect version. So as you can imagine things are basically just crazy...we are having soooooooo much fun together that I'm surprised we get anything done. When I say things are hard, I just mean it is hard to get things like journal writing and letter writing done because we can't stop talking and loving life! It really is so awesome! I feel totally spoiled to just have one good companion after another....but I guess only the good companions can deal with my craziness!

Also, since Motra Yourstone and I are the old fart Sisters of the mission here in Tirana we are automatically designated as the Coordinating Sisters of the Mission. This was something I managed to avoid my whole mission while I was in Vlore, but my turn has finally come. It actually is kinda cool because we take part in the mission council and plan trainings for all the leadership and other missionaries, but we also have to GIVE the trainings. So we are now trying to prepare for a one hour training for all the District Leaders this coming Wednesday. We didn't have too much notice, so it has been exciting trying to find time to plan it all out. Luckily Motra Yourstone is amazing at this kinda stuff, so I'm not too worried!

This week we met with a super awesome little 12 year old girl named Klea who has a college-aged brother who is a member. She apparently has been coming to church for a while (a few years) but slipped through the cracks and never learned from missionaries. So Motra Yourstone and I decided to meet with her and ask her if she wanted to get baptized. She was kinda shy about it, so we told her what she had to do to prepare and promised her that if she read, prayed, and came to church she'd be ready and want to be baptized by the end of February. She then told us her birthday is February 4th and that it would be cool to get baptized then, so we told her no problem. It was like too simple to be true....like I said, we are just super spoiled and blessed!

We also are teaching lots of other wonderful people....I'm sure I'll go into more detail in the coming weeks. Just know that I'm loving the mission, from the area to the people to my companion....it is just all sooo good!

Love and Miss You all tons!
Motra Hall