Albania ♥

Albania ♥

Monday, January 25, 2016

How Great Thou Art

This week was crazy and amazing. I can see the Lord's hand in the work here in Kosovo and in my life every day.  He is definitely aware of all of us and he answers our prayers.
     This week we had an awesome opportunity to see the Missionary Broadcast shown to all missionaries around the world. My heart was touched and I'm thankful that the Spirit was able to teach me the things I needed to learn and how I can be a better missionary. It's all about progressing and trying to be better so I love when the Spirit teaches me what my investigators need and how I can best help them.  We set goals as a mission and we were all pretty excited about it all and the blessings that will come from it.   
     While President Weidmann was in town my companion and I had the privilege of having him help us in one of our lessons.  It was amazing to be able to testify with him and my companion about the restored gospel and the power of the Book of Mormon. 
      On Sunday President Weidmann gave an amazing talk in church which really helped me. The Spirit was so strong to me and I was able to feel my Heavenly Fathers love for me which is a feeling that can't be replaced. I couldn't help but start crying from the happiness and comfort that I felt. It can't really be explained.
      I know that Heavenly Father works hand in hand with us and I know the importance of spiritual preparation so that he can help us in every way possible. My companion and I had been preparing all week for a lesson we were going to have with our investigator. We knew that the lesson was going to need to be guided by the Spirit.  We also knew that we had to be ready to be the messengers of the message that Heavenly Father wanted this daughter to hear. As we fasted and prayed we were able to feel comfort in knowing that everything was going to work out. As we got into the lesson we discovered how much Heavenly Father had also been preparing her to receive this lesson. The lesson went better than we could even begin to imagine and she is now on her way to Baptism. Since that lesson she has been turning to the Book of Mormon and prayer for the strength she needs to overcome trials in her life.  I can already see the atonement making a HUGE difference in her life. The most special part of the lesson was when we knelt  in prayer to close. After the prayer her eyes filled with tears and she just wanted to hug us. She told us that she felt it was going to be okay and she felt "relieved and something warm inside her" she was worried at first and said "Is this normal?!" we laughed and explained that it was the Holy Ghost comforting her and that was when she decided she never wanted that feeling to go away. 
      I know how she feels. The happiness I have been able to feel on my mission, I never want to go away.  When someone you love, pray for, and work everyday for begins to make changes in their life to become closer to their Heavenly Father, a happiness comes that you cant explain. I'm thankful that I am able to have the Holy Ghost as my constant companion. I know that I am never alone. 

"Me and my cute Fatime ♥ Happy 26th birthday!
I love you :)"

"Pretty excited about our new home!"

"We did some moving this week.  The Hydricks moved to Gjakova so we
got to move in.  Not the same without the Hydricks though...."

Monday, January 18, 2016

My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord.

 It's amazing how powerful the Word of God is. In every moment that I have been in need and turned to the scriptures (specifically the Book of Mormon) I have been able to find the strength I've needed to go forward. As I read the Book of Mormon every day in the morning no matter where I read, I am given the EXACT words that I need for that specific day. I can't begin the amount of times in just this week I have been going through something, or in a lesson, tired emotionally or physically and a scripture that I read in the morning has popped into my head that gave me the strength to push forward. Or when I get home from a long day and I am able to read the scriptures and I will read something that is exactly what I needed to hear. It proves to me even more that there is a Heavenly Father who knows EXACTLY what we go through. Nobody else could possibly know the things I feel or the things I go through. Nobody else could know that I needed to read a verse in Alma or that a scripture in Jacob could change my life. No one but an all powerful Heavenly Father who knows me personally could know exactly what I need. 
     "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee" 

I love my Heavenly Father more than I can write or explain. 

"Yummy healthy cuisines my compy and I have been making....
well SHE has been making/teaching me ;)  Stuffed egglant anyone?

"We got rained on....then snowed on..."

"These pictures say it all...literally."

"Thumbs up for missionary work! haha"

"My minions like the Book of Mormon challenge.
Minion/Hello Kitty pjs.  Children @heart ♥"

"My sweetie pie companion"

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sweet is the peace the Gospel brings.

This week at our Zone Training, President Weidmann gave us the challenge as a whole mission to read the Book of Mormon together cover to cover in a month. It hasn't been a week yet and I have already started to see the blessings of reading many chapters a day. I have felt my testimony growing stronger and stronger and the power of the Spirit I have with me is even greater than before.   It has helped me to realize the importance of helping my investigators to read every single day. 
     Before I came on my mission, the amount of times I had read the Book of Mormon was less than two (if your're any good at math you've figured out that number is one) yet, it was enough to know that it was true and enough to get me here on my mission. I have realized that the more I read the Book of Mormon, the happier I am. I have literally seen the Book of Mormon change peoples lives like it has changed mine. I have now read the Book of Mormon multiple times and it gives me the strength I need to do all that He needs me to do.
     My companion and I were put to the test this week. On Sunday a woman came to church. She has come before, but has been gone for a long time. I had heard a lot about her and knew who she was.  When she showed up I was so happy inside thinking that she had come to church and changed her mind about all the things she had said about the Church.  I was happy to be right by her side. Throughout sacrament she didn't say much and even in Sunday school the comments she had made were great. Then it was time for Relief Society and the Relief Society President began her lesson and quoted from the Book of Mormon. The lady began to degrade the Book of Mormon saying that it wasn't true. She said that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet and basically everything that had to do with him was a lie. You could feel the tension in the room and the Spirit left immediately. I felt a pit in my stomach and the Relief Society President almost ended the lesson because she couldn't teach with a Spirit like that, but then something amazing happened. We began testifying. Sister Lakaj bore a beautiful testimony of the Holy Ghost and power of the scriptures and immediately the lady went quiet and was speechless. The Power of the Spirit was so strong that I wanted to break down in tears. The lesson went on and the Relief Society President continued teaching  and testifying about repentance and the Book of Mormon and the Power got stronger and stronger. I was asked to say the closing prayer and as I said the prayer I thanked my Heavenly Father for the Book of Mormon and I testified of its truthfulness. I was filled with the spirit and the words I needed to say came flowing out. I knew I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and there was nobody that would tell me that it wasn't true. I literally felt the Power of God and Satan fighting against each other in the lesson and I am so glad that I was on the right side. I can't really describe the way I felt after the lesson, but I can say that I know without a doubt that I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God and that I KNOW without a doubt that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that he translated the Golden Plates with help from the Spirit of God.   It's true and I'll never be able to doubt it. I know that Satan is doing his best to change the hearts of men and that Satan knows the power inside of the Book of Mormon and that's why he tries so hard to bring it down and make us think that its not as important as it really is.  After the lesson a member looked at us and said "Wow, look at the light in their eyes" I know that it was because we were filled with the Spirit of God.
       When I think of the person I want to be, I realize that I still have a LONG way to go, but when I think of where my testimony was before my mission and what it has become because of the experiences I have had on my mission and because of the Book of Mormon I am filled with gratitude for my Heavenly Father. It was said in zone training this week that "Were not called because of the things we have done, but because of the things that Heavenly Father wants to do, through us" and he can only use us if we let him. We let him by reading the Book of Mormon and letting it guide our lives. 

"We forgot to take pics this week, but don't worry, we took a quick photo shoot
for you so you don't forget what we look like haha ;)"

"This picture describes my life.  Broken elevator.  Fifth floor.
Five billion groceries.  #harderthaninsanity"

"Got it a little after Christmas, but still meant the world to me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Flecks of gold

Well, I know its only been three days since I last sent an email and to be quite honest in the past couple of days, not too much new has happened :) haha There has been a lot of finding and contacting, which is always super important. Lessons have been hard to get with the Holidays but this week is going to be better because everyone hopefully got the break out of their systems and are now a little more focused:) 

Sister Lakaj is doing great. She is so fun to be around and she is so positive about the work and it really keeps us going and pushing. I know that we are going to have a lot of success serving here together in Prishtina. I'm excited for big things to come... I actually want to talk about my companion and the awesome things she has already taught me. First of all she sees the little successes in each and everything we do. Literally with EVERY number we get or even every pass along card we give away, she is SO EXCITED about it and it is AMAZING. She'll say things like "I feel really good about her Sister Cheshire" or "I know he's going to call... We'll give him to the Elders and he'll get baptized".

We try our whole lives to be positive, but after disappointments and failures I think we sometimes fail to see the blessings in every single day and piece of our lives no matter how small they may be. Being with Sister L has taught me a lot already and I feel like she is training me in different ways. It has really changed my way of thinking and my outlook on the work here in Kosovo.

It kind of reminds me of a Mormon message I've seen that is based on a talk given by M. Russell Ballard. He talks about a young merchant caught up in the California gold rush. The merchant sold everything he had and ALL of his possessions so that he could go to the California rivers where people had told him he would be able to find large nuggets of gold, but when he got there he dipped his pan into the river and there was never anything. All he could get was a big pile of rocks. Then one day when he was ready to give up and quit, a more experienced man came up to him and asked him what he was up to. The Merchant told him he wasn't finding any gold and was going to turn around and go back home. The more experienced man explained to him that there was gold and that he just has to know where to find it. Then he showed him one of the rocks that he had in is pan and you could see TINY flecks of gold inside. The merchant was still frustrated and explained that he wasn't looking for little flecks of gold, but that he was looking for GOLDEN NUGGETS. The old man explained again that he was too busy looking for golden nuggets, that he was failing to see all the specks of gold that together add up to something valuable.

It was just a reminder to me of the little flecks of gold and blessings in my everyday life that I often fail to see because I'm too busy looking for huge "WOW moments" or in my case too busy looking for a baptism or new investigators when there is success just in being able to smile or share a conversation with someone on the street.

We can learn a lot from the people around us and that's one thing I've constantly been able to learn while being on my mission. I'm thankful for every experience and every chance I have to be around and learn from new people. There is so much to be happy and positive about, sometimes we just have to look a little closer:)

"I took the newbie to Newborn:)"

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..too bad Christmas was LAST WEEK. haha"

"She is a cutie"

"Elder Eddings trying to stay warm"


"Making a snow angel haha"

"Some of my favorite people ♥"

"My companion is a doll...and a really good cook :)"


Gëzuar Vitin i Ri!

I'm happy to be celebrating the New Year on my mission in Kosovo:) 

We had transfers this week and I was SO excited to find out that I will be staying in Prishtina for a little bit longer. We were surprised when we got the call and found out that Sister Olsen was going to Shkoder and I am staying here training Sister Lakaj from Tirana 4th ward. (the first area I served in) She received her call to the Salt Lake City Mission (Which includes Layton Utah:):)) but she is starting here with me until she gets her Visa and gets to go serve in my hometown. So I'm training her before she goes to the MTC. These past couple of days have already been so awesome. Its been kind of crazy with everyone preparing for New Years, but Sister Lakaj has an excitement for the work and she definitely has that "greenie fire" She helps me see things in a positive outlook and I love it. Its exactly what we need here in Kosovo. I'm excited to work super hard and see what this new year has in store:) Its going to be great! 
SOMETHING AWESOME:We were very blessed earlier this week to have a lesson with one of our investigators and when she invited us over we were happy to see that she had some of her neighbors over. As soon as we got there she was having us explain the Book of Mormon, why we are here, and all the things that she has learned.  We joked about it afterwards saying it was a perfect member present lesson because our investigator was already so excited to share the Gospel with her family and friends.  We had a great lesson and the Neighbors told us they want to continue learning and invited us over for next week. It was really awesome, because first of all we were able to meet some new amazing people ready to hear the Gospel, but second of all we were really able to see how important this is to our other investigator and how happy it is already making her to share the Gospel:) 
As you know, I am happy here:) I had a great week and every week just seems to get better. I could and do go on for days about how blessed I am to be here. I know that Heavenly Father loves and watches over his missionaries. I've seen many miracles happen right before my eyes. Sometimes you have to look a little closer, but you can always see them. Gods hand is in everything we do. Missionary work is Gods Work and his Glory. 
I love you all and I hope you had a fantastic week and a great start to the new year! 
me shumë dashuri
Motra çeshër

"Some more pics from Christmas at Bondsteel :)"

"Still in Kosovo :)♥"

"New Years eve locked up in the house watching movies
(movies approved by President Weidmann of course)

"My cute new companion Motra Lakaj ♥
I just ♥ greenies"

"My half asleep self outside on New Years because I
was woken up by all the crazy fireworks"

"Good luck in America Elder Simons!"

"Christmas presents from the Elders..They know me too well ;)"