Albania ♥

Albania ♥

Monday, June 29, 2015

Okay... The moment you have all been waiting for.... (more like the moment I have been waiting for haha) 
TRANSFERS! We got the call on Saturday that Sister Peters is going to Gjakova (Kosovo) and I'm staying in Tirana and TRAINING. 
I didn't think my voice showed my emotions at the time but I guess I wasn't too sneaky because President said "Is that alright Sister Cheshire?" hahaha 
I was just in shock, but I AM excited. I am a little nervous to train but I know that this is where I am supposed to be for the next 3 months. I don't know who I am training yet and I don't think President does until they get here on Wednesday, but I know Heavenly Father does, so all will be well:) 
I know that I have been in Tirana for 6 months already and the fact that I am staying another 3 (half my mission)  was a little crazy to me, but the more people I meet here the happier I am to be staying. I have met some AMAZING people that I cant imagine leaving so I guess its a good thing I don't have to yet;) 
Here is a little shpjegim about my week this week:
So we have this recent convert that moved from Lushnije to Tirana and we wanted to meet with her.  When we did she had brought her cousin so we of course invited her cousin to listen. The lesson ended being more directed towards her (the cousin) and at the end we invited her to be baptized and she said "You know, I've actually been looking for a way that I could gain a stronger relationship with God. Its something I've really been wanting lately and I think this is it. This is how. Yes I want to be baptized." IT WAS FANTASIC. Its still so amazing to me how Heavenly Father provides a way for all of His children and prepares them to hear the Gospel. 
Now about Anxhelina.  Anxhelina is a woman that Sister Peters has been teaching for about a month now. She accepted everything and has wanted to be baptized super bad but she couldn't find a way to come to church... Last week she finally came for the first time and she said now that she is prepared to always find some way to get there.  I wasn't there this week for church because I was in Durres for choir but Sister Peters said she came in a hurry and said that she didn't get permission from her boss to leave so she just left on her own. haha  It makes me so happy that she realized how important partaking of the sacrament is that she was willing to risk her job for it.  Now we just have to get her keeping the Sabbath day holy right?? ;) She's amazing though.  Sister Peters and I also had a really special experience with a member this week that I will remember the rest of my life. Being a missionary is awesome!
That was the main events of my week, but I'll leave you with a quote that has made me a little more optimistic and brought a lot of comfort to me lately. I think we can all apply it to our lives somehow because lets be honest... we all have these days.
"When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked.  When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship. When we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the assurance that God will not over program us; he will not press us more than we can bear."
- Neal A. Maxwell. 
I know this is true.You can do it. I love you all. 
Me dashuri, until next week
- Your Motra 
"Look who came to Tirana today ♥ So good to see my Motra Qosja again :)"

"Keqja family.  Words can't describe the love that I have for this family♥"

"This is my angel Franklin.  I'm taking him home with me ;)♥"

"My girl Marjana♥"

"Fjorela and her cousin and sister...AMAZING PEOPLE♥"



"These boys ♥"
"Marku didn't want me in the picture obviously..."

"We painted a house for service this week and had a little too much fun :)"

"We had mission conference so of course we had to
take a picture with the MTC group♥ Good times.."

"Sister Riley, Sister Bezas, and Sister Pierce. LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM!"

"Had to take a pic with my old Tirana 4th ward district.  Miss them tons.  Good old T4 :)"

"Hey...I'm in Albania akoma"

"Here are some pics that we took a couple weeks ago that I just got :) Up at Kruje♥

Monday, June 22, 2015


Every week gets crazier and more awesome here in Albania:) Ive decided that you just cant describe what a mission is like in words and do it justice. You just have to be there and experience for yourself what it is really like.  I remember before my mission I thought I had an idea of what it would be like. I thought I knew what "great experiences" were ahead of me, but BOY WAS I WRONG.  Missions are SO much better than I had ever imagined.  I've learned so much about myself and who I want to be. I'm closer with my Heavenly Father than I ever have been before. I have the best job in the world and it's not even a job. They say that if you find a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life and its so true. Its hard, but hard is not bad, it's just hard:)
     So, like my heading says, my week was basically centered on families. Which is awesome because families are the important part of the Gospel. As you know, I am in Tirana still, but in a different area/ward (first ward) and so I have all new investigators and people to work with.  It has been so fun getting to meet new people.  My trio was split up and Sister White went back to Tirana fourth ward, but I'm still here with Sister Peters for another week at least. (transfers are this Saturday so I'll let you know how that goes) Anyways, back to families. We are teaching this family here that I already have such a deep love for. They are the Keqja family (fun fact: Keqja means "the bad one" in Albanian) but they are some of the greatest people ever. Their family has such a strong relationship. They are a family of 7 which is a GIANT family in Albania. We had a cool lesson this week with them. Let me tell you a little bit about this family though. Their dad does NOT stop talking and he argues ALL THE TIME (they say it's just conversing in Albania but it's arguing haha) Nese, we haven't really  been able to get more than a few words in and really connect with him in the lessons. The rest of the family is GOLDEN and ready, but we want to help them all get to that point. So we talked about something that we know means a lot to him... HIS family. When we started talking about families he lit up. He cut us off as usual, but then he paused and said with the biggest smile I have ever seen and he said "Did you know that I am a millionaire?" He said this as we are sitting in a tiny house we all barely fit in, with broken tile and old furniture. He went on to say "I'm a millionaire because I have five healthy children." "The richest person in the world can say that he is rich because he has nice things and a nice house and a nice car, but hes not rich. I'M rich and I'm the luckiest man in the world with my family!" I've never seen a man in Albania talk about his family with such love before and the spirit rushed in and the room was filled with the spirit testifying to us all, and for the first time in a lesson I've been in with him, he listened to us talk about families and the importance of families in Heavenly Fathers eyes and he said "You know why i like your Church? its centered on families and their importance. I've been to many churches and when I came to your church it was the first time I heard someone talk about families like that". Skender may still be a little hard headed in his opinions, but in that lesson I think his testimony grew at least a little  bit as we talked about eternal families and that was a miracle and success in my opinion. :)
     I had en exchange in Shkoder this week with my Sister Training leader Sister Kelly. I learned so much in just a few hours of being there. Since all the lessons we had fell through we decided to go tracting.  Before we went, we said a prayer and then went outside. We sat there for a minute and then Sister Kelly said "okay, on the count of three, point where you feel we should go" and on the count of three we both pointed in the same direction knowing that that was where we were supposed to go and so of course we did. We knocked on door after door.  Nobody seemed interested. I think in this case I usually would have gotten a little bit frustrated and discouraged, but I was so sure that we were supposed to be here in this area.   We kept going with Faith that someone would open their door to us and then finally, we knock on the last door and out comes a little girl who goes to get her mom. The mom comes out and immediately lets us in. We explained who we were as soon as we got in and she continued to listen as we taught her the restoration. A few minutes after we began, in came their grandma and she sat and listened, and then after awhile, their dad came in and sat and listened. We taught the whole family about the amazing plan that Heavenly Father has for them and they loved it and said they wanted to continue learning and come to church. As we were teaching I was so sure that this is the family we were supposed to teach that night and because we listened to the Spirit, we were able to find them. 
     This week my testimony of eternal families has grown as I have testified to other families of this truth.  I'm so grateful that I get to be with my family for eternity, that we get to learn and grow together as part of Heavenly Fathers perfect plan. This week happened to be my awesome parents 24th Anniversary and Fathers day and I was able to reflect on how blessed I have been to have two amazing examples as parents and two best friends as brothers. I love this Gospel. I love my family. I love my Heavenly Father and I am forever grateful for his plan for us and for the opportunity that I have to teach families about this plan. 
I love you all. Me shume dashuri- Your Motra. CHOW

"Companionship inventory TRUST EXERCISE. #haircut :O"

"I got to see Motra Shehu yesterday and she yelled at me and got
mad at me for leaving and not saying goodbye.  I love this crazy nene. :) 
You can't see her but shes there hahaha"

"Relief Society activity at the lake.  These women
are amazing.  I love them already ♥"

"On the way to Shkoder and I couldn't help but take a picture of all the GREEN. 
I don't get to see much grass in the city so it was awesome for me.  #thelittlethings"

"Lunch with the sistaaas"

"More of beautiful Shkoder and Happy Sister Cheshire :)"


Monday, June 15, 2015

I honestly don't know where to start with this week haha... So much happened so I will do my best to describe all that I learned and my feelings and whatnot:) ...
     First of all training a missionary was one of the greatest/hardest things I've ever done. Motra Qosja was a blessing to me and I learned so much while serving with her. Unfortunately, some things happened with her family and she decided to go home. So now I am in a trio with Sister White and Sister Peters (triple senioring I guess you could call it;)  serving in Tirana still, but in another ward. The situation was sudden and unexpected so I didn't have any time to say goodbye to my ward and the people there, but I know that everything happens for a reason and I'm sure I will have another chance to say goodbye to my 2nd family. They will have a piece of my heart forever no matter what. 
     Luckily this week we had the privilege of having interviews with our mission president (before Sister Qosja went home). He said something that really changed my perspective.  He told me that before they had decided to separate me and put me with a mini missionary they prayed long and hard about who Sister Qosja would go with and they actually had decided to have me with Sister Peters at first and Sister White with Sister Qosja.  After He had made the decision, he decided to pray about it to confirm it with Heavenly Father and as he was praying he had a very strong feeling that I was supposed to be with Sister Qosja in Tirana 4th ward still.  I dont know why.  My time was short with her, only a few weeks, but those few weeks mattered in Gods eyes and we were meant to serve together. When he told me that, things were easier knowing that it was all for a reason.  Maybe I dont know the reason right now, and maybe I never will in this life, but I know there was a reason. 
      Same with this situation... This week, Sister Qosja and I were walking to a park to go street contacting and I had a really strong feeling that we needed to go down this one  road we had  passed. We had already planned to go contacting somewhere else though so I kind of ignored the feeling but the further away we got, the stronger the impression, finally I told Motra Qosja that we had to go back... We started walking down the street and I didnt feel a certain way about it.  I was completely clueless as to why we were there so we left... As we walked away, a picture of an apartment popped into my head, so once again I told Sister Qosja that we had to go back and when we did, sure enough, there was the apartment. We went in and up to the top floor to begin tracting.. It was getting close to the time we had to be inside, but I was determined someone was going to answer the door and I would have an amazing experience and meet a family who would want to be baptized!  But that didnt happen... as a matter of fact, not one of the doors we knocked on opened... We got in the elevator to leave. We pressed floor zero and to our surprise the elevator stopped at the 3rd floor and a lady came  in and as soon as she walked in I knew that she was why we were there. I began talking to her and I guess she had met with the missionaries before but she got super busy with work and didnt have time to meet with them anymore. I asked if we could get her number and she said no unfortunately... I dont know why I had to talk to her.. I dont know her situation or anything about her, but I felt very strongly that that was what we needed to do. 
     Blessings on blessings... In english course this last week we talked about the Book of Mormon and we asked the class if any of them would be interested in reading this special book and to our surprise, a 13 year old girl raised her hand and said she wanted to. We met with her the next day and now she is on a baptismal date... Then we also received a referral from BYU for a girl who lived in our area so we called her that night and we met the next day. The funny thing is is that she didnt know what she was signing up for. She said "I was just online and something popped up and told me to put in my information so I did it and here I am" Even though she may not have known what she was signing up for she wants to meet again and keep learning. God knew what she was doing and I know he has a plan for all of us. 
     Although this week was crazy and really hard at times, I learned a lot and feel like I have grown because of the things I have experienced. I see more and more everyday the hand of the Lord in my life. I came across this scripture this week that was a huge strength to me. Isaiah 41:13 - "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee" All though I get scared sometimes and I admit, I have felt alone, I know that I am not and I never will be left alone. No matter how many times I am rejected on the streets or told "Go home, Jesus Christ doesnt exist" "There is no God" I find peace knowing that I am not alone. When people say those things I can smile with confidence knowing that He infact DOES exist and He is by my side always. 
     I love my mission and I wouldnt trade it for anything in the world. Thank you for your prayers and your support. They help me so much. I love you and I know that God lives and loves you too. Until next week, me shume dashuri- Your Motra 
"Elder Greener modeling a members sun hat...We have too much fun in our District:) haha"

"Motra Qosja saw a picture of pancakes and said "What are those?! You have to make me some!"
So I did...picture of my childs first pancake♥ precious."

"Sweet little girl from my English class that brings me flowers/weeds everyday.
(she can't tell the difference) I lucked out and got some flowers this week:)"

"Having lunch with our awesome investigator so of course
we took some selfies, also I fell in love with her dog..."

"We got to go to Vlore this Sunday to sing in the choir and GUESS WHO I GOT TO SEE?!!
I was just a little happy ;) Missed my Bezas so much"

"My new apartment:)"

 "All these sisters are amazing and Elder Smith is lucky he
gets to serve around all of them;) poor guy..."

" her so much:)" 

"In another trio for a day with my girls Sister Fuller and Sister Henderson.
Love them with all my heart ♥ They took good care of me:)"

"These two make my life...I'm going to miss them
Sister Zollinger and Elder Acheson:)"

"Beautiful Vlore...Bezas is a lucky duck;)"


Monday, June 8, 2015

 So just to be clear on one thing. When I said I had a "Mini Missionary" as a companion I did not mean someone short haha She is taller than me. (I know that's not saying much haha) but still. My companion's name is Motra Qosja and she is AWESOME. She was baptized only 5 months ago and she has a SOLID testimony of the Gospel. She also is Albanian (from a place called Elbasan) so she can connect and communicate with the people so well.  ITS AWESOME, and this week has been so fun getting to watch her grow as a person and as a missionary. Training her has been a real pleasure for me. Oh kenaqem shume.
     Being a trainer has a lot more to it than I fully realized though and its a lot harder than I had imagined it, but the strength that Heavenly Father has given me cant go unrecognized. Ive done things this week that I honestly didn't think I had the strength to do. Just proves the fact that Heavenly Father knows our full potential. When we see things as impossible, he sees them as possibilities. When we see them as challenges, he sees them as growing experiences. 
     I learned a lot about prayer this week. We had a zone training where our Sister Training leader (Sister Kelly) talked about prayer in a way that I had never thought about it before. Prayer isn't just asking God for things we want and hoping they will happen but knowing that we might not receive it because it's all in Gods will anyways. Its about aligning our will with Gods. When the things that we ask for are in line with the will of God, our prayers will be answered and the things we ask for WILL happen. By starting our prayers off with asking for the Spirit to be with us and then listening to the Spirit, we will know what to ask for and what God will give us. 
Ive actually tested this out this week. I have felt the spirit more in my prayers because its not just me asking for selfish things I want to happen or answers I want to receive.  My prayers have been more in line with Gods will and what He can give me and what is right for me. This has helped me a lot this week as Ive realized what prayer really means and how strong that they can be. 
     Sister Qosja and I met this amazing girl this week. She is 17 years old. We met her on the street while street contacting and she was so excited to meet again. She is kind of struggling at the time with the wrong group of friends and she wants to be better and change her life around.  I know that this is EXACTLY what she needs. First of all because its what we all need, and second of all because it is what saved me. She has started reading the Book of Mormon and I have seen a happiness in her eyes each time we meet with her. Its amazing to see the Atonement work in the lives of these people that I teach, meet and also to see it work in my own life. When times are hard, its so relieving to know that someone knows how I feel.. how we all feel. 
     "Don't you give up. Don't you quit. You keep working. You keep trying.  There is help and happiness ahead... You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."- Jeffrey R. Holland 
Missionary work is awesome...I'm telling ya. It's crazy and tiring and addicting. 
Until next week... Me shume dashuri - Your Motra


"We took some selfies...."

"and we took some more...I'm a little crazy....
crazy for MISSIONARY WORK! ;)"

 "This is Diti :)  She makes me so happy.  Her personality is one of a kind haha
and I love her so much.  Unfortunately she leaves for  America this week for a month.  So I
probably won't be able to meet with her too much longer :/  We're going to give her
information to the missionaries in Pennsylvania though, so they can take good care of her:)"

"Take a good look at the worlds most flavorless cookies that were an EPIC fail on my part haha. 
Let me explain a companion was having a hard day and I wanted to make her cookies to make her
happy so I started making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies but guess what tiny unimportant ingredient I left out??
THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS.  hahaha I decided to cook them anyways.  Whatchagonedo?"

"I had to do a cliché trainer/trainee pic;)"

"Some ADORABLE little kids we saw yesterday <3 and a little note that a recent convert in Elbasan
left in my planner <3 love all around with these people."