3 Nephi 5:13 Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Gëzuar Hallouin

Gëzuar Hallouin secili!! (Happy Halloween everyone)! A "w" does not exist in Shqip so they just make up the sound with "ui".
I am now a 3 week missionary, meaning that I am 1/3 of the way done with the MTC (just 6 more weeks to go) AND the English missionaries that entered the MTC with me on the first day leave tomorrow on their missions. Weird. The time really does fly by here. The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. I don't really know how that works....but all I can say is I love every second of being a missionary!

One thing I love about being in the MTC during holidays such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas season is that we have lots of events to look forward to and the courtyard already has Christmas lights all over the trees! I was a little excited to see all the lights....also tonight the sisters and I are doing anti-trick or treating because we have so much candy and SO MUCH food! Shout out to one of the Hungarian's sister's mom who sends a box daily.....we don't know what to do with all the food. Also I am very thankful for the Halloween gifts from my family and my grandparents. Packages are like Christmas! 

My branch president referred to my companions and I as the "3 amigos". That is how I would describe my relationship with these sisters! They truly are amazing and I am so blessed to be working with them! Our branch president (over the zone, comparable to a mission president) asked my companions and I to be the Sister Training Leaders over the zone until we leave. I am looking forward to this opportunity to serve the missionaries in my zone and contribute to helping them and serving them! 

This week I have learned a lot about faith. I wanted to start off with a scripture in the Book of Mormon,

Moroni 7:33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have the power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

What does it mean to have faith? To have faith in Jesus Christ? Faith in Jesus Christ is believing that He truly is the Son of God. He truly suffered for us individually. He suffered, so that we don't have to. Then through faith, we have the power to do ALL THINGS! Just like in the Bible in Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." This means that when we are suffering, Christ can strengthen us and comfort us. When we feel guilt, through Christ's Atonement we can be forgiven of ALL sins. This means that I can learn Shqip and serve the people in Albania. We can do all things through Christ. And what can we do? We need to do our part. Turn to Him through learning about His life through the scriptures. Pray to His father, OUR Father in Heaven and ask for comfort and for forgiveness. And for me, I  go into a lesson, knowing very minimum Shqip with poor grammer, with the faith that my message about Jesus Christ and His gospel will bless the people I teach. As we do our part and turn to Him, we truly will be comforted, blessed, and loved. I can feel of His love as I prepare to learn and teach His message to the Albanian people. I did not give 18 months of my life to Him, but more He is giving ME 18 months to live as He did through serving and teaching His gospel. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Until next week! I love you all so much!

Shqip Words of the Week:
1. Besim (beh-seem) means faith
2. Shoqet (show-chet) means female friends/companions
3. Bëj Shaka (boy-shah-kaaah) means just kidding :)
The 3 amigos (or shoqet)
My Halloween Care Package 

The Christmas lights in the courtyard!! I screamed. No joke. 
The Hungarian Sister and I getting the same Halloween Care Package.
Half of us didn't realize we weren't supposed to smile....
We have an entire bed filled with food....we don't even know what to do with ourselves.
Jashtëzakonisht (yahsh-kah-zahk-o-neesht)=wonderful. We had a little Ship hangman fun.
Standing next to Elder Horne (from NH) going to Seoul Korea
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2016

"I Just Couldn't Say Jo"


I hope everyone had a wonderful week with midterms and everything! My week has been packed with studies and classes. You may be wondering what I do everyday so here's the run down of a typical day at the MTC. Breakfast, class, GYM TIME, lunch, class, study, dinner, class, study, sleep. And then repeat. You really spice things up when you have a weekly devotional or go to choir. Although it's the same schedule everyday, I love every minute of it.

So gym time is my favorite time of the day. I literally play volleyball everyday! Shout out to my volleyball girls I coached and their help training me for volleyball at the MTC ;) Saturday was one of my companions, Motra Jones' birthday! To celebrate, I found a random package of bamboo paper straws and then put a little message together for her to wake up to. We got the whole cafeteria to sing to her at breakfast. It was the best.

I spend about 12 hours in the classroom everyday learning Shqip and teaching LESSONS IN SHQIP. So last week I shared with you my struggle of a first lesson and as I had hoped, it has luckily gone uphill since then! As missionaries, we focus on the people we are teaching and their needs! We pray so much for all of you and what we can do to help you and those we teach in all things! I'm not here learning Shqip. I'm here learning how to serve and teach others about how much our Heavenly Father loves you and you personally! And then to share that we can do all things through Christ and His Atonement. I just want to leave with you my love and testimony of our Savior. Jesus Christ suffered for us. He suffered every pain and affliction, sin, sorrow and pain, and every trial we would ever face because HE loves US! He suffered, so that we don't have to. As we ask God for forgiveness and for comfort through our trials, He is just waiting to relieve us of our hardships and our pain. Let us have the courage to let Christ take our burdens and our sins from our hands as we pray for strength to change and grow closer to Him. 

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. (Alma 7:11-13 in the Book of Mormon)

I'm not here on a mission for the adventure, the food, or the language. These experiences come with the package. :) I am here because I KNOW that we have a Savior who loves us and I am here as a representative of Jesus Christ, serving Him, and sharing with the Albanian people this truth that it is because of Christ that we can return to our Father in Heaven and feel the greatest joy through EVERY trial we experience today. I know this to be true, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Until next week! I love you all!​​

Shqip Words of the Week:
1. Jo (pronounced "yo") means "No". In one of my classes, my teacher was sharing with me something and asked what I thought and my response. We try to speak Shqiplish (relate to Spanglish haha) and I ended up saying, "I just couldn't say jo!"
2. Perëndia (pear-uhn-dee-uh) means God, or Ati Qiellor (uh-tee chee-eh-lore) means Heavenly Father
3. And a random word I learned....kokoshka means popcorn :)

​This language is problemat haha I just thought I'd give an example of a typical Shqip word. It's basically a tongue twister of a language.

​This is my District (districts are made up of missionaries according to where they're serving and zones are made up of districts)

​This is my classroom. I'm here longer than I sleep.

​I just wanted to give a shout out to the homemade pumpkin bread I received in the mail! Best package I have ever received! 

All the girls in my zone.

This picture is an example of what PCL (study time) looked like this week :) We didn't even realize we all fell asleep!​

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pershendetje per MTC

Pershendetje everyone from the MTC (Missionary Training Center)
First off, I want to share how much I love being a missionary! Everyday, I get to put on my tag and be a representative of Jesus Christ, preparing to share His teaching, His love for everyone, and His gospel. I LOVE IT!

As a missionary, usually you have one companion to teach with you and be with you 24/7. I actually am in a trio so I have 2 other companions, Motra Escarate (the one from Alaska!!), and Motra Jones (from Bountiful! Who knew!) We get along really well! They are so nice and we are able to experience the struggle of learning Shqip (pronounced "sh-cheap", it's Albanian in Albanian) together. Speaking of, the minute I walked right into my classroom just seconds after grabbing all my things, my teacher has only been speaking Sqip to us and wow the language is difficult. It is so beautiful though so I'm pretty pumped (mezi po pres) to learn it!

In my "zone" (or group of missionaries) there are 4 languages! We refer to each other as the Turks, the Huns (the Hungarians), the Dutch, and the Albanians. It is so cool because on Sundays when we go to church, we all sing in our own adopted language at the same time! Also, we prepare a talk every Sunday just in case we're called up and we prepare it in our adopted language. There are literally only 4 Albanians in the MTC so half of Sacrament (the first hour of church meeting) I don't really know what's being said but you can still feel that spirit, that love, and that joy of the message being shared. My companions and I received THE BEST calling. We are Sacrament Meeting greeters! We take our calling seriously as we learned how to say hello in the 3 other languages and used it when welcoming the missionaries to church.

So after 3 days of learning Shqip, we taught our first lesson and it was great until our "investigator" started talking. Let's just say from now on, I can't teach a lesson any worse. (or even teach at all. I didn't understand what she was saying as it was all in Shqip!) But I love this language and am determined to learn it so that I can use it to spread the gospel of Christ! One thing that really stood out to me was that I'm not here at the MTC to learn Shqip. I am here to learn how to invite others to come unto Christ and Shqip is just the tool for me to reach out and love, serve, and teach the Albanian people. I've heard a lot about relying on the Lord as I am teaching and having faith to speak what I have prepared and bring to my remembrance the things I've studied. I went into the lesson relying on the spirit but then realized that really, I may not have prepared myself to even bring things to remembrance. We need to do our part, before relying on the Lord to do all things. Whether that be reading a scripture to find an answer to a prayer, getting up to serve to know how to reach out or reconnect with someone, or studying the language to have things brought to my remembrance through the spirit. 

Finally, I had an experience where someone asked, "How do you know God is there? How do you know that you aren't just talking to yourself?" I just want to testify to you that I know that God is there and when you pray, you are speaking to Him. I thought a lot about faith and how it is a hope for things which are not seen, which are true. I challenge you to really kneel down in prayer. First address Heavenly Father, then pray from your heart. Not a recited prayer, but a real communication with your Father in Heaven. Ask if He is there with a HOPE that He is! You will feel the warmth, the peace, and the feeling that you are speaking to your Father in Heaven. Then close "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen" because it is through Heavenly Father's son, Jesus Christ, that we can do all things. I now am able to pray in Shqip and it's a beautiful experience! God (our Heavenly Father) truly is listening to us when we pray. I know that to be true and I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior. It is through my Savior that I can do all things! Even if that means learning Shqip. I love you all and I love being a missionary! Until next week!

Motra Olsen

I'm a missionary!
9 weeks of intense study to learn the Albanian language.

The Albanians. Elder Harris is solo.

My roommates! Other than my companions, 
the other sisters are going to the Hungarian Mission.
​Some missionaries from my zone!