Albania ♥

Albania ♥

Monday, May 9, 2016

me shume dashuri / Goodbye

This day came a lot faster than I thought or wanted it to but I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve a mission.  Especially here in the Adriatic South. This mission was for me and I haven't doubted it since the first day I got my call.  I was thinking about what I wanted to say and how I could summarize all the lessons I have learned on my mission. I have come to the conclusion that its impossible. There is no way to describe all the things I have felt and the experiences I have had in one email, but I can say that they have changed me.  With the end point in view I realize that I still have a really long way to go but when I look back at where I started and how much I have learned, I realize that Heavenly Father has blessed me more than I can even begin to put into words. 
     Every returned missionary says that their mission was amazing, that they learned a lot, and that it was very hard but worth it. Before I came on my mission I thought I understood this and what it would mean to be a missionary, but it is so much more than I could have ever imagined it to be. It was amazing, i DID learn a lot, it was so hard, and it was so much much more than worth it.  I know now who I am and who I want to be.. I have seen miracles happen right here in front of me. I have felt my Heavenly Fathers love more than any other time in my whole entire life.  I have learned to recognize the Spirit in my life and how it speaks to me.  I have been humbled beyond belief realizing how much more is out there in this world and how much more we have to do.
     The people. I don't even know where to start. The people here have changed my life. I have now, forever friends that I will never ever ever forget. When people ask me what I will miss most, along with just being a missionary and everything it entails,  it is this. The people are AMAZING. They are humble, honest, and the most loving people I have ever met. I can't even think about what my life would be like if I wouldn't have met them. They have been there for me through it all.  Loved me unconditionally and kept me going. Teaching them, laughing with them, and loving them has been one of my greatest blessings.  They treat me like I have and always will be a part of their family and they will always always have a special place in my heart. 
    I know with all of my heart that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. He loves us more than we can begin to comprehend.  I know and have felt his love and the comfort he gives me. He is real and He hears us. He is there for us in the the good, the bad and the ups and the downs. My thoughts can be summarized in Doctrine and Covenants 88:41 "He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever." 
     I will forever be grateful to my Heavenly Father for my mission and for calling me here because my life is changed. I know that Heavenly father works according to our faith, that he just wants us to ask him for help and humble ourselves before him. I know that Heavenly Father gives us weaknesses so that He can strengthen us and I know that everything that happens in our life happens for a reason. I know that there is life after this and that we can be happy and live forever with our families. I know that the Gospel can change anyone and there is always more to learn. I know that we are placed in peoples lives for a reason and that God works through others to change our lives. I know that there is something good in everyone and everyone has a heart and feels pain and happiness. God knows that we aren't perfect but that's why he gives us experiences to change us and help us grow. We cant be perfect in a day, but we can be better than before.
     I'm grateful to all the people I served around this past year and half and for all the things they have taught me. I am thankful for my companions for putting up with me, teaching with me, and strengthening me. I am thankful to the members in Albania and Kosovo for loving me unconditionally and taking care of me and teaching me.  I am thankful for President Weidmann and all the things I have learned from him. I'm thankful for his testimony which has strengthened mine and the the love that he has for all of his missionaries. I'm thankful for my family who has continued to be there for me from across the world. I'm thankful for their patience with me and for their love and examples. I'm thankful for my friends and their prayers and support. I'm especially grateful for my brother Jesus Christ who has been there for me throughout this whole adventure. I'm thankful for his sacrifice for my sins so that I can try again and again to be better. I'm thankful that no matter what happens he knows what I feel and what I am going through.  

I am just thankful for everyone and everything I have learned. Its been the best year and a half I could  have ever imagined. I love you all. See you soon. And for those of you that are still here...God be with you till we meet again. 

"Lots of goodbyes this week...prepare yourself.
Bye bye Elder Mero."

"Elder Medvecsky (My MTC brother)

"My beautiful companions.  Love them with ALL my heart♥"

" best friend.  goodbyes are hard."

"My cute Xibraku sisters. (Ignore my shirt)"

"Sonila. (Sidorela's twin sister) sweetest girls ever.  LOVE YOU"

"Back to Krast one last time.  So beautiful."

"Going to miss this."


"Xhoni boy."

"My forever friends."

"Sidorela.  The sweetest, smallest person I know.
My last Sunday here was the most beautiful/most
bittersweet thing of my life."

"These girls have some of the strongest
testimonies I've heard.  Thank you for
everything.  Love you."

"Bajame.  My teaser."

"Going to miss you so much.  Thank you
for changing my life."


"My daughter.  Boy was I lucky getting to serve with her twice.
She. Is. Amazing."

"My girls. My heart. ♥"

"Xhoni.  Funniest kid ever."

May 2, 2016

"In the mouth of two OR THREE witnesses, shall every word be established"

I'm in a trio now. I think for the rest of my mission. Sister Bennett (I'm sure you remember my trainee) was added into our duo making us a trio. The Three Musketeers they call us;) 

This week was awesome with lots of splits. We each went out with a member to do some lessons meeting with more people this week than I have any other week my whole mission. It is super fun and weird being in a trio but I love it. We have had a ton of success this week and we all work super well together. 

This week I had my last zone conference and it was so amazing. President Weidmann never lets us down and the spirit was so powerful.  I  received answers  and inspiration as we talked about the importance of asking for referrals, testifying at every moment, and praying for unplanned opportunities to teach and serve.
As we applied the things we learned into our work, we saw some awesome miracles this week as we asked the family we are teaching if we would be able to teach more people that they knew. They suggested the family next door and let us in with open arms and we are now teaching them. The Gogunja family (the ones I talked about last week) are amazing. We saw the hand of the lord in their lives as they had struggled to keep the word of wisdom. One of the family members smoked 20 cigarettes in a day and didn't think there was any way possible to stop. We committed her to just smoke 15 and slowly limit every day. She didn't think it was possible but with lots of prayer and the strength of  God, the next day we went to follow up and she said she only smoked 5. It was a miracle.

Heavenly Father has blessed us so much and my love for these people just keeps growing as the weeks go by. The people in Elbasan are a huge blessing in my life and I am so grateful for their testimonies that they share with me. 

I also got a message this week from one of my friends in Kosovo that I taught and she told me that she is getting baptized next month and I cant even explain to you how happy that makes me. I remember the day she told me that she didn't want to waste my time because she wasn't getting baptized and now she said that her heart has been changed and she feels like she has found her place and her and her brothers will be getting baptized. The Lord works miracles and I can never doubt that. I am happier than I have ever been. 

I have so many emotions to express and so many things to say but I don't know how. All I can say is that I know that this Gospel is true. I know that it changes lives and it changed/is changing mine. I know that God works miracles and the work we do is not in vain. He loves us so much.

"Two is better than one and three is better than all."

"Sweet Elvira.  She calls me her daughter ♥"

"Love all around."

"I walked out of the room and sister Cajupi busts up laughing and says I look like a teacher."

"Exchange with Sister Cani in Berat.  IT IS GORGEOUS. And so is she:)"

"Seriously so pretty.  Can't.  Handle.  IT."

"My heart forever.♥♥"

"The beginning of the "see you laters" I love you Sister Pierce."

"The sweetest gift from my sweet Sidorela.  I love you too. ♥"

Monday, April 25, 2016

True Happiness

 I gained an even stronger testimony of prayer this week.  How powerful it is and how powerful it can be if we let it and use it in our lives. President Weidmann invited the leaders of the mission to read and study chapter 9 and 10 of Preach my Gospel.   We were reading in chapter 9 and there is a part that talks about how we should pray for unplanned opportunities to teach people and to pray to be able to recognize them. We talked about it as a companionship and decided that this was something that we really wanted to apply in our work.
     The second we walked outside we said hello to a man sitting down at a little cafe.  He stood right up, walked over to us and asked us who we were. We explained of course, got his number and continued walking to the lesson we had planned. When we got there we realized that the people we were supposed to meet were not at their house, but at the same time two women walked over by us.  We said hello and they asked who we were. We explained and asked them if we could come over. They took us to their house and we taught them about the Book of Mormon and they invited us to come again the next day. The next day as we were walking to their house we said hi and talked to another lady that lived in the same neighborhood.  She told us to come over and we told her we would after our next lesson.  We  taught the other ladies and their whole family the restoration and five of them excepted baptismal dates. IT WAS  A MIRACLE. Then we went and taught the other lady that had said that we could come over. As we were walking home it was dark and we walked past a cafe that had a lot of men inside. We didn't talk to them (for safety reasons) but one man said hello to us and asked if him and his friends could come to church next week. "OF COURSE" we said and got their number. 
      I think Heavenly Father was trying to teach us a lesson on faith and humility. He was so ready to give us all of these opportunities so when we just simply asked and did our best to talk to everyone, he poured out the blessings. I know that he is so ready to give us blessings and miracles and we just have to ask and do our best and he will give them to us. I'm amazed by his love.
    Another awesome blessing... We called one of our friends we are teaching Sunday morning to remind her about church. When we called she had just woken up. She lives pretty far away so we weren't sure if she was going to make it on time.  We waited anxiously for her to meet us and walk with us. In about 15 minutes we saw her coming around the corner with a smile on her face. We all made it to church on time.  She loved church and reading the scriptures. The blessings keep coming and I am just so grateful for everything in my life right now. Being a missionary is amazing. At the end of the week, Sister Cajupi and I were basically skipping to the house because we were so excited and so happy. There is nothing that brings more happiness than missionary work. 

"I got to go on one last exchange with my MTC companion. 
We've come a long way.  Sooo fun to be with her again for one
last HOORAH!  I love my Sister Riley."

"Exchange in Lushnje!!  Check out this sweet house!!
IT"S PINK!!! :):)"

Happy Birthday beautiful Sidorela:)"

"So much love for these people! ♥♥♥"

"I got in a fight with a bench...the bench won obviously.  I
coordinate my outfits to the cute rainbow colors."



"I love them so much"

"More compy pics"

"My people"


"I love this companion of mine ♥"


"Group pic"

"KRAST activity with the youth :) It POURED
but it was worth it! :)"

"My new favorite snack ♥ To. Die. For."