Monday, December 30, 2013

Letter #47 The Reason of the Season

So I feel real spoiled because in 9 days I get to skype home!!! bahhhhhh! So I am kinda freaking out. I am so excited and I feel oh so blessed to be able to see my loved ones on this special day!
Us girlies goofing off today in our cute albanian traditional costumes :)
The work this week has been pretty great. Me and Sister Robertson set some pretty high goals and although we didn't quite meet all of them, we had the best week I have had my whole mission. So many lessons taught. So many people seen. The Lord can work miracles when you set a goal. He helps you attain it! . . . Or get pretty dang close in our case. I am so excited and I am so motivated to work that much harder this week!
I love Sister Robertson. She is a visionary companion, I'll tell ya. She is so great with setting goals and not stopping until we attain them. She has taught me a whole lot throughout the chunk of time we have been blessed to have together on our missions. I just love her. Maybe I should ask President to stay will her for the rest of my mission? haha. Just playin! I know that would never happen.
Serious albanian face.
This week we went and visited one my favorite Albanian families. The Dishnicas. There is a mom and a dad and they have two boys who are married in the temple. The only one that isn't a member is the father, Ylli Dishnica. And let me tell ya, he is a sweetheart! Their family is the best and literally is among the strongest in the whole country. We have been teaching with the father to helping him come closer to joining his family in the faith! He knows it is all true. I can just feel it in my bones. But he just won't act. He works on Sunday and this is a HUGE obstacles for him. Hopefully come the new year, he will be able to turn a new leaf and close down their watch shop on Sundays! It would be an absolute miracle. Today we actually went to their shop and I treated myself. Hope that's okay mom and dad. I got two new beautiful watches and I am so excited about them. They give us the "special missionary discount"! They are the best family ever.
Today us Sisters in Tirana went and took pictures in Albanian Traditional Clothing! bahhhhhh! They are going to be classic. We won't get them until wednesday, so I will show ya on skype! They will be classic. Those outfits are a HOOT!!!!! haha.
Talk about winter whiteness.. and delicious sundays 
at Stephens Center (the american paradise)
I am so grateful for this wonderful time that I have been able to spend a world away for the holidays. Although it is very different being away during this special time, it has already been so rewarding. It will be the first and hopefully the last Christmas I will have away from home, but it will be a great one. It will be a great one because no matter where we are in the world, we can feel His love. This time of the year is for us to think about Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of the World. He truly is the Reason for the Season. What a special time of year it is and may we all share the love that fills our hearts with others through out this season! 

"6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God , The Everlasting Father , The Prince of Peace ." 

This scripture says it all. Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God, was born into the world, to bring peace and joy to every man. He is the Prince of Peace, and as long as we have faith in Him, we can have all that He has to offer us.

I love you all and I cannot wait to skype you in 9 days! Ahhhhhh, I am not counting down or anything.. By the way, don't forget. 9:30 am-12:30 pm your time. That would be 5:30-8:30 pm my time :) Sound good? I sure hope so! I love you soooooo.
Have a blissful Christmas season.
I love ya lots.. all of ya'll :)

Love Sister Shauntel Forte

Letter #46 may all your days be merry and bright.. :)

I am so full of the Christmas Spirit this past week and it is just beginning! It is pretty surreal being away from home for the holidays to say the least, but it is definitely an unforgettable experience! It is so wild because there are Christmas trees up everywhere, but these crazy albanians call them New Years Trees! I just like to pretend that they all really are celebrating the glorious birth of their Lord and Savior :)
This week was one for the books. Talk about the highest of highs and the lowest of lows..
Hear come the lows first.
Here is our district Christmas card by yours truly ;)
On Friday night we ran over to the Krasniqi's to get them to sign a permission slip for Drita and Jurgen to go to this Super Saturday activity with all of the youth of the Church in Albania. After a few attempts of them hearing us outside, Pranvera came to the door, looking at the ground and said, "I am sorry but we no longer want to learn from you girls. We do not want to divide our family and would ask that you no longer come to our house to teach us." I was so shocked. Hit with a Concrete wall of Godly Sorrow I guess you could say. It was rough. I won't lie. I have been working with this loving family from the beginning and watched them grow in their faith. They tasted of the goodness. They felt the Spirit. But now they want no part of it. That was a dagger for sure.
Then directly afterwards, we went to visit a member with two less-active children, one of which has severe depression problems he is working with. As of lately, he has been very out of control and has been ripping up all of the books in their home, including their scriptures, and has been cutting up the drapes, and being very violent. As his mother is telling us about these terrible things, he barges into the room and yells, "You! Stand up! Get out of our house! You are not welcome here! If you don't leave, I will kill you both!" We were both completely traumatized but did as he said as quickly as possible. His mother tried to calm him down, but it was use

less. We left their house and he pushed his mother out of the house and locked the door in the pouring rain. My heart hurt so badly for this poor woman that she has to go through this difficult trial in her life. We comforted her and she returned to a neighbors house. All is well now and the branch president is working on helping the situation. 
Our cute little albanian hipster :)
Lets end with the highs.
My dearest Suida Shima got baptized this weekend! Can you believe it? I am just on cloud nine for her right now! Her baptism happened. Although there were a few minor setbacks and pitfalls, it happened and it was beautiful! When I went back to help her change into her regular clothes after she was baptized, she started laughing and said, "I swallowed water!" hahaha. Poor thing! She forgot to hold her nose and swallowed a bit of water! Bless her little heart.. Other than that, it was lovely and beautiful! The day before she was baptized, we watched finding faith in Christ and had an extremely special spiritual moment together. Tears were streaming down her face as she watched her Savior bless the sick and afflicted. After the movie she said, "Girls, I am so happy and grateful that i met you. I know that God sent you to me to help me through out this life." I was so deeply touched. I love this girl with my whole heart and I know that she is a part of the reason I was sent to this mission. 
We got yummy desserts together at this cute little bakery! So much fun!
ps. the background is italy.. but i promise we never left albania! haha.

Although this mission is difficult at times, I know that the Lord is with us every step of the way. This is His work and we are His messangers of truth. Regardless of the agency of men, this work will continue to go forth. NOTHING CAN STOP THIS WORK.

I love you all so much and hope that your days are merry and bright during this Christmas season. May the Lord always be in our hearts and may be share His love with those around us. I love you and hope you have a fabulous week!

love your missionary,

Motra Forte<3

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter #45 the week of thanks

This will be my second thanksgiving away from home, but this time around, it is taking on a whole new meaning. I feel as if I have come to a whole new sense of gratitude that I have never reached in my entire existence! It is mind-blowing.. I wish I could explain it in a more comprehensible way, but that's all I got!
Because it is the week of thanks, I thought I would start off with a few of my thanks.
This week I have been focusing on simply praying about what I am thankful for. I have been given so much and I have so much to be grateful for! So often we get sucked into the trap of asking, asking, asking, in our prayers, that we forget to thank, thank, thank! This is, in fact the most important thing we can do is show our gratitude for our Heavenly Father!
This week I went on an exchange with my dear Sister Kokol. 
She is a balleressss :) (those are her terms..)
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary at this special time in the history of the church! This really is the prime time of missionary work and the Lord is hastening His work! I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and for the great love He has for each of us that He sent His Beloved Son to us that we might be able to partake of His grace and happiness! I know that this is His plan of Happiness and if we but have faith in Him and act on that faith, we can take part in His eternal love that He so freely offers us.
Me and my dear Sister Robertson! We took this last week so her eye is looking solid now! :)
How amazing it is to be His messenger of truth and light. I wish I could just tell everyone how happy this Gospel makes me. There is no greater joy. I am sure of it.
We found this cool grafiti wall that says, "Beso!" which means "Believe!" I thought it was fitting ;)
I also am so grateful for all of my wonderful family and friends that are supporting me back home.. You are all my angels. Your little bits of encouragement and love rejuvenate me for another week of hard work. I am so blessed to have been surrounded with so many inspiring people that helped get be to where I am today.
I am so grateful for the Spirit. I have learned and grown so much being able to recognize when I have it, and when it leaves. I need it always in this work. Without it, I am nothing.. I am just another punk kid on the block wearing a name tag! But I am not. I am His representative and I will wear His name with pride.
The fight vs. Good and Evil. Woke up to this beautiful sight!
I am so grateful for my incredible companion Sister Robertson. She is such an phenomenal missionary in every aspect of the work. Her strength keeps me pushing forward and motivates me to work harder. She is my hero.
I lastly am so grateful for all of the amazing people the Lord has hand-placed in our path. We have been so very blessed to have had the Lord's guidance throughout this past transfer. This week I went on an exchange in 2nd and 4th Branch in Tirana and in those branches people are literally coming out of nowhere saying they want to be baptized! Like, WHAT THE?!! The Lord is preparing these people. In some cases, we hardly have to search! 

The work is going! We taught a new family this week, two kids, and the mom. The kids names are Bjorni and Bjornisa! They are the cutest and like many others, they were found in English course! HECK YEAH! Suida is getting baptized on December 7th and I can hardly sit still in my sit! I cannot wait for her. She is just so ready :)
As for my golden Krasniqi's.. a bit of sad news.. They have cancelled on us twice and we have not met with them for a whole week and a half. It is a bit discouraging, but I will not give up on them! They need these things in their lives. I will not stop!

This Thursday for Thanksgiving we are having a Mission Conference and I am so excited! My district has been practicing our talent show and it is going to be AWESOME!!! :) We will blow everyone's socks off!

Well family, I hope you have the best Thanksgiving and remember that a little missionary across the globe is grateful for you. You are the best family in the world and I am so blessed to have each of you in my life..

Love your love,
Motra Forte

Ju dua juve më shumë sesa ju mund të kuptoni!!!!!!! <3
This is me with Skënderbeu! He is an Albanian war hero! This is right in the Center of the City!

Letter #44 Happiness

So this week was the kind of weeks where you look and think, "well, what did we learn from this week?" haha. The beautiful thing is each week is what you make it!
Sister Andrews, one of our dear Senior Couples, shared with us this beautiful quote that shaped my week. "The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything!" 
Isn't that the cutest! I just thought that was so applicable for this week! 
So what really defines our happiness as missionaries? Is it the few bumps in the road, or the great joy of bringing this gospel to those people that so desperately need it in their lives?
Here were some of our bumps:
1. At the beginning of the week, we mistakenly locked ourselves out of the house and had to wait until the next morning to get back in. So that was fun. bahaha. We had some good laughs!
 2. Then, about 6 of our lessons this week were "prished", therefore, they were cancelled and/or they did not show up. That put a minor damper on the week.
Elder Acheson captured the best picture of me telling some
nice man about the Book of Mormon! Isn't it the coolest? haha. I love it.
3. While we were street contacting together with the Elders a massive protest was coming around the corner and we had to pack up and leave quick! haha. We were having so much success too! BUMMER..
All is going SO well being back with Sister Robertson! I am so happy to be serving with her again. She is so adorable and has been such a great example to me. She is such a strength and I absolutely love her.
As for my wonderful people we are working with, I love them so much. I have fallen so in love with the Albanian people despite of their fun quarks!
Luli is doing so well and is wanting to help us out with our lessons, so its an extra bonus! 
I just keep thinking about how incredibly ready Luli really was.. Like if she was an apple, she would've been the ripest one! Maybe a marshmallow analogy would be better.. She was completely "golden" brown and gooey on the inside! :) haha. Okay, just joking. She is so amazing and her testimony just keeps growing and growing. She even told us she wants to serve a mission! WHAT?! haha.
So Suida is also doing so well. She has such a strong testimony and knows that baptism is what she is supposed to do! I love being a part of her growing process, because of her sincerity. She is so ready for this change in her life, although she has been living this way her whole life. 
Although we had a few setbacks/bumps in the road this week, we are walking on sunshine! woahhhhhh! And it feels real good! :D
Not every week in missionary work is going to go amazing, but we can notice the Lord's hands even in the down-weeks. He is the driving force of His work. I am His messanger and I will bring the world His truth!
I love you all so much. Thanks for being the best family ever and for all of your prayers!
I hope all is well back home and that your Thanksgiving Preparations are going well! haha.

Motra Forte

my camera isn't working i will send more next week! got to run! love ya

Monday, November 4, 2013

Letter #42 No tricks, only treats!

Ahhhhh, this week was such a fun one!!
Although Albanian doesn't celebrate Halloween, me and Sister Heathcote made it a fun week my making Halloween cookies and having a little Halloween party in our English Class! Everyone loved it so much! I definitely missed my spooktastic season, but, it was definitely fun being in a different country and bringing my American traditions with me! haha.
Here are my cute zombie Krasniqis! :) Aren't they the cutest? Jurgen looks like dylan! haha
Our cute Krasniqi's showed up at the church unannounced one day as they were confused about the day for our halloween party. We came up the stairs and it was pitch black, but we could hear giggling coming from our classroom! We walked in and all three of them, dressed up as zombies, jumped out and scared us! haha. It was so cute how excited they were to dress up because they don't usually do so! The church had a little party last week for halloween, but its nothing compared to our wild parties at home!

Elevator pics with our cookies! :)
The work was pretty good this week! We have been working a lot with our progressing investigators, Luli, the Krasniqi's and Suida, to help them progress toward their baptisms! Luli will be baptized this Saturday, but we decided to change the Krasniqi's to the end of November, because they aren't quite ready yet. Their sweet mother, Pranvera, is moving a bit slower than her children, so we decided that it would be best to teach everything to her speed so she doesn't get left behind.
Our cute cookies!! bahhhh, I loved them. They turned everyone's mouths colors! haha.
 They already love the Book of Mormon so much, but Pranvera hasn't had much time to pray about it to know that it is true. She is being a protective mother and wants to make sure she knows what she is getting herself into.. She doesn't know everything yet, but I know when she does, she will be thrilled to be baptized. It is much better this way knowing that they are all on the same level and growing together. On sunday I was anxiously waiting for them at the church and I called them to make sure they were on their way.. To my unpleasant surprise, their water and electricity had been out all night and all morning so they weren't able to shower and get ready for church. She was very upset and said how she refused to enter into the church all sweaty and gross from the day before. I told her that it didn't matter what she looked like, but she refused. So, what do we do? We wait with patience and help them to come the next week! haha.

Luli is so ready to be baptized. She told us that any later than this weekend would be way too far away. She is such a great woman. She worked as a seamstress for over 15 years, but this past year she was diagonosed with Parkinsons when her arm went completely paralyzed and disabled her to continue in her profession. It is better now, but she now has continual tremers and cannot lift her arm. It is similar to Grandpa, but she is only 45 years old. How terrible are these diseases!
She will be baptized on the Saturday, so please pray for her that everything goes well! I cannot wait! :)

I forgot to send this pic from the caves two weeks ago! Its a sea horse rock! haha.
We had an experience with a Jehovah's Witness lady yesterday that I thought was pretty cool. She invited us into her house as we were out tracting her building, and we played the "teach her a little, listen to her a little" game as she told us about her faith and we told her all about ours. As explained how our religion is different and I testified of the Book of Mormon, the Spirit was so incredibly strong and I know she felt it. I told her how we have a living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and that completely blew her away. I dunno if anything will come out of it, but it was such a testimony builder for me as every time we spoke about the true doctrine of Christ the Spirit was blazing! Then every time she said one word, it just had an empty feeling. THE TRUTH IS RIGHT HERE FOR YA BABY!!!!!
Ahh, I hope she felt it.

We are looking forward to a great week, and are all of you at home! I just wanted to Congratulate my baby girl, Hermana Forte as gets set apart tomorrow and she enters the MTC on Wednesday! She is going to kill it! :) 

I love you all, thank you for all of the prayers and love! I really feel them<3

me dashuri,

Motra Forte<3

Monday, October 28, 2013

Letter #41 ye are the light of the world

My beautiful sister Jordan Ashley Forte had her farewell yesterday!!!!! I am so proud of her! I know she going to rock those Argentine's world!!!!
So basically, I love my area. Tirana gets better and better with each passing week and I just can't get enough of it! We are working a lot lately with the Krasniqi's and Luli to prepare them for their baptisms! I cannot be more excited to see them enter into the waters of baptism and make their first covenant with their loving Father in Heaven. Ever since we have begun teaching the Krasniqi's, they have had this excitement for the Gospel, but now that they have their baptism to prepare for, they are ecstatic! I love going over to their house because they all just light up and get so excited to learn more from the Book of Mormon. Could they be anymore golden?! We taught them the Plan of Salvation last night and it pricked each of their hearts, because we told them that their Dad was there in the Spirit world now, and it cheering them as they continue to learn about Christ. Pranvera is such a strong single mother, but she has a longing for her husband and I feel like hearing that helped give her comfort. He is much closer than she thinks :)
So I have this obsession with jet streams.. So pretty..
This week I have been thinking a lot about the concept of light. How we all have the light of Christ, and when we become closer with Him and learn more of Him, that light grows brighter and brighter. I love being able to see that light grow in the eyes of my investigators. As they begin to learn more and more about their Savior, that little flame inside of them is kindled and grows brighter and brighter. While I was studying during personal study this week, I stumbled upon this scripture again and it really hit me deep to the center. There is no maximum capacity to the light we can recieve! 
In D&C 50:24 it says:
 24 That which is of God is alight; and he that breceiveth clight, anddcontinueth in God, receiveth more elight; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
Here is a flashed out picture of my planner! :) 
I will take more pictures of the cute people here! nexttttt weeeeeek.
I can see that light growing brighter and brighter in the eyes of my investigators and it is such a joy for me to be able to see. Our cute investigator Luli, is now returned back from Fier and we have been meeting with her more often! She is planned the be baptized on the 9th of November just like the Krasniqi's and she is so ready! When we first met her, she already had a very strong testimony of Christ and knew He was her Savior. As she has connected her previous knowledge with the light of His Restored Gospel, the light in her eyes has grown so immensely. She is a very special person, that one! 
I am so happy to be a part of this work, being the carriers of His light to all those that will recieve it! YE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!!!!!! That is us! All of us that has tasted of His goodness and felt of His love are His disciples. As His disciples we have to be sharing His light with those that stand in darkness and cannot find their way out. 
I love 3 Nephi 18:24
24 Therefore, hold up your alight that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the blight which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.

We are His carrier of His light. This week I made one of my favorite planners I have made so far. It has a picture of Sparklers igniting eachother. When we share the Gospel with others, we can then ignite their flames inside their hearts. 
I thought I was pretty clever.. haha.
Ah, I love missionary work. It isn't perfect every day, but His word is perfect, so it makes up the difference! I hope everything is going well in the good ol' USA!
Or the land of the free, and the home of the brave!!!!

Jo jo, good luck with the mission preparations baby girl! I am there in Spirit and love you so dang much!

me shumë dashuri,

Motra Forte<3


Letter #40 the miracles dont stop

Just when I think it cannot get much better, the Lord blesses us with yet another week of miracles!
I just can't get enough of it. I am not complaining one bit and pray that He will continue to bless us as we work to keep His work moving.
My faith is growing more and more each week as I see the Lord answer not only my prayers, but the prayers of my wonderful investigators. 
Had an exchange with my love, Motra Hoover in Fier! 
It was such a joy being with her again
The spotlight for this week goes out to my wonderful Krasniqi family who we found in Engish Course. They are seriously the most incredible family. The mother, Pranvera, is a single mom who was widowed 4 years ago to raise 3 amazing children all by herself. She has a 13-year-old named Drita, a 12-year-old named Jurgen, and Enea, the baby is 11-years-old. Last night we visited them at their house and watched the Restoration film with them. I told them to pay attention to their feelings as they watched the movie and the notice if they feel something different. The spirit was so strong as we watched the movie and afterwards they all were so entranced and awed. Jurgen's mouth was dropped and he just looked at me and said, "Wow, that was so beautiful and I felt something very special." I told him that the feeling he felt was the Spirit witnessing to Him of the truthfulness of these things.

As the Sister Trainer Leader, she gets to drive! Woo hoo! :)
We told them that just like Joseph Smith, the Lord will answer their prayers and tell them through the holy ghost that the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the true church. Enea, the 11-year-old, mind you, told us that he already knew that it was true for many reasons. One of which was because a little while ago, he had a dream and Jesus came out of a pillar of light to him and was talking to him, but he couldn't understand him. I just sat there in awe and realized how incredibly prepared this family is. We committed them to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to be baptized together as a family on November the 9th and Enea shouts out with a huge grin, "THAT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!" Talk about an inspired date ;) They all said yes and expressed their excitement! That special day will be a birthday to always be remembered! We left their house last night on cloud nine! Just completely filled with the spirit and so excited for all of them to make their first covenant with their Father in Heaven. I cannot even sit still I am so stoked!
The miracles just keep on coming. We are trying to continually balance out our retention work and finding more and more of God's prepared children. 

I just cannot even express my joy right now. I have never felt so happy in this sort of way. It is a feeling that cannot be completely express in words, but in feelings. It is the most Godly love that I have ever felt knowing that I am taking part in bring people the everlasting Gospel of happiness and helping them receive eternal salvation. There really aren't enough words I could use to express how I feel towards these people, but I am just so grateful to be a part of it and to be responsible for this little part of the Lord's vineyard. It is such a blessing.
Fier is the most South in Tirana I have been now, 
and it is so different! ALL COUNTRY! and farm land!
In my personal study this week I came across this verse and it really struck me deep to the center.

 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to adeclare brepentance unto this people, that you may bring csouls unto me, that you may drest with them in the ekingdom of my fFather. Amen.

I know that this short time of my life will really be of the most worth to me not only is this life, but in the eternities! I am also sure that the great immense joy that I feel now is probably just a slice of the great joys that wait in heaven. I love being a part of this great work and helping people feel the God's love through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is such a joy being a full-time messenger of Christ.

We are heading to some cool caves up in the mountains today so that is the reason why I am emailing so early! I hope you all have the best week and celebrate up season of Spooks! I love this time of yearrrrrrr.


Love always and forever,

Motra Forte xoxoxo

Monday, October 14, 2013

Letter #39 The Lord is in Charge Here.

Matters of business:
My beautiful sister went through the temple this week! Congratulations beauty.. :)

Me and Sister Heathcote had an amazing week this week. 7 new investigators. SEVEN PEOPLE!
We took a trip to the artificial lake today! It was gorgeoussssss
Panarama of the lake :)
Yeah, and there is no way any of them were a coincidence. The Lord placed each of them perfectly in our path. As if it were one of those miraculous "meant-to-be" moments. Yeah no.. I'm not buying that. The Lord hand placed each of these wonderful people in our path. Its amazing how He works. He works in small in simply ways, and a lot of the time, we don't recognize His hand in the details. In the little things that you thought had no importance. Yeah, those are the little details that mean the most.
For instance, we went to go have a retention lesson which a Recent Convert and coincidentally they weren't there. So we decided to tract their Apartment building, went to the tippy-top and began knocking doors. The fourth door we knocked on was a woman who had a few lessons with the Elders 3 years ago. She had been to church a few times and loved it! Shortly after she got very sick and never met the Elders again! Yeah. That wasn't a coincidence in the slightest! The Lord knew that Mehmet and Lavdie wouldn't be in their home. He knew that Gushi would be home though and would welcome us in with open arms. 
Next. I randomly decided to go get my hair done by the cutest girl named Nora that is usually packed and has tons of people in her salon. And lo and behold, we show up and there was not a soul in the building. While we were waiting for my hair, we taught her the whole Restoration lesson and she was so interested. Completely engaged and was excited to learn more. I have no doubt that the Lord made it possible for that lesson to happen! Her salon is always full of people, but with the help of the Lord, the environment was prepared perfectly for us to have a lesson with her.
So cool to be a servant of the Lord as His tool to witness His many miracles. The Lord is 100% in charge here and I get front row seats to witness His mighty miracles. Oh boy. How I love being a missionary :)
The power randomly went out and now I have zero time to write this lettter, but I want you all to know  that I know this church is true. I am blown away day after day as I witness His hand moving His work forward and shaping me into the tool that I need to be to assist Him in this work. This is the best experience I have ever had in my life and I cannot wait for the many more miracles that lie ahead! 

Have the best week loves! :)
Put yo smile on, God loves you! ;)

Love Motra Forte<3

Monday, October 7, 2013

Letter #38 We're one of the lucky ones.

My cute little sister just wrote me and quoted the profound words of Lana Del Ray.. 
We're one of the lucky ones.
Isn't that the truth?!
This week was incredible. Conference was so inspiring, as it always is, but this time even more so. Our Prophet said it best, and I know the Lord really is requiring more of us in these days and times and I just feel so happy to be a part of it! It is such a blessing to be able to say I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. The Book of Mormon is the Word of God translated for our benefit so we can come closer to our Lord and Savior and attain eternal life. I know that my Redeemer lives. These simple words are my testimony and I truly feel like one of the lucky ones that knows it and not only knows it, I get to tell people all about it every single day! How lucky am I?
One of our favorite little members,
Ansa Deda. She loves me :) and I her.. and our cute investigator,
the Dedas cousins! She lives far out at school but we hope to go
visit her to teach her more of the lessons
Conference was incredible. They broadcasted it at the church in Albanian and I just sat and thought, "Holy smokes, there are people all over the world listening to this live in over 70 languages around the world!!! How great is this work?"
The Elders had a baptism and Saimire insisted that we were there! prandaj, we went!
Luckily, I was very fortunate that us missionaries got to watch the sessions up stairs in English to get the full understanding of it, then the final session President Ford invited us special missionaries to watch it with him and Sister Ford in their living room! It was so great. The Spirit from conference was ON FIRE!!!! I just have a scorchin' flame inside me now and I want to talk to every person that I come across. Everyone needs to take part of this great joy! It is just too good to be selfish and keep it to ourselves! We gotta get out there! Everyone needs to have their opportunity to accept or reject His message. And we gotta be the ones to give it to them! So what the heck are we waiting for?!

So Suida had her baptismal interview this week and minus a few technical difficulties, she passed and she is getting baptized this week! I cannot even wait for her to be able to take apart of the blessings that the Lord has in store for her. She is the most golden investigator I think I have ever had. She is so ready. Its as if she already knew everything and we are just reminding her about it. She believes everything so freely and is so ready to be baptized.. MEZI PO PRES!!!!!!!! (translation.. I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!)

Next, we met with our sweet Luli this week and she told us the most incredible thing. She was very excited to meet and we didn't understand why until she sat us down and told us that she received her answer about the Book of Mormon. Just a few nights before, she woke up the middle of the night and was still in dream perhaps, looked towards the window and there on the windowsill sat a young girl holding the Book of Mormon. She told her that the Book was true and that she had better read it. I was completely taken over with the Spirit when she told us this experience. How incredible that not only does she know her answer that the Book is true, but she saw her answer! She is so spiritually in tune, that one. She is prepared, I'll tell ya! She should be getting on the 19th of October and we are so excited to continue teaching her. Not many people are like her, thats the truth. The Lord is so completely aware of all of us and I know He is aware of each of His children here in Tirana, Albania. 

Check out this Gorgeous sunset! I died. You know me and my sunsets.. haha
I feel so lucky that the Lord has been blessing us with some golden contacts and I pray that He helps us to find 100 more! :) The Albanians use an expression here "edhe një qind!" Which means, and 100 more! They use it for birthdays that you might have 100 more, anniversaries, and for many other instances! haha. I love it. 

Let us all be a missionary today. In the words of my cute little brother Dylan, "Go find some Mormons!" haha. I love that kid. 

I love you all so much and I hope that you feel my love from across the world. 
Missionary Countdown for Jo Jo: 28 days!!!!!
bahhhhhhh! Sister Forte's to the rescue! haha. :)


Motra Forte<3

Monday, September 30, 2013

Letter #37: c'kemi. hi. hello. conichiwua.

What a week..
I really have limited time this week, but I wanted to catch you all up with me and whats the new and happening!! Sheesh. Well lets just say, the longer I am out the more and more I have been able to recognize the Lord's hand in my life. Sometimes I just have to take a step back and watch the miracles happen, because they are for sure happening! The Lord is in charge here. Not us.

This was inside a cave mosque in the side of the mountain!
The candles really set the mood. Kinda creepy.
They had just done some animal sacrifice outside of the cave. NASTY.
We started up an English course and passed out fliers all over Tirana. We had a rockin' turn-out and so many people were to excited to learn. At the end of each lesson, we teach 10 minutes of Religon, and boy!!!!!! This group was incredible. The Spirit was so strong and I just felt prompted to teach the entire Restoration! WHAT THE HECK?! You would think that they would be completely overwhelmed getting a big bite from such a short time, but they LOVED it!!! At the end of class, 8 people came up to us asking for a Book of Mormon and they all took one home! We plan to meet with all of them outside of English to help guide them in their personal conversions to Christ. 

We met with one lady from English named Luli. She is an angel that woman, with the strongest faith I have ever seen. To our first lesson she showed up having read 5 chapters of the Book of Mormon and was all fired up and excited to learn. We committed her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon to receive a personal witness of its truth and she said, "I already believe and know it is true. I can feel it!" She is unreal. This was the first meeting people!!!!! That is it! It was the coolest thing to see her great faith. We committed to do so anyways to confirm her believe of the Book of Mormon and she also accepted a date for baptism in 2 weeks. She is so willing to do everything the Lord asks her to do. She knows that she will be blessed as she does His will. She has definitely been searching for the truth for a longggggg time. We are stoked to keep meeting with her.

We finally got one good jumping one! haha.
The wind was insane.. (photoshop the garments out! haha.)
So I told ya a bit about the pups last week. So this week, we had one of the families give back one of the pups tonight because it didn't get along with their cats, so we had limited time to find this pup another home! She was put back with her brothers and sisters back behind the church, but we were scared her mom wouldn't take her back and feed her anymore because she smelt like people! ahh, so we searched and prayed that we would find someone to take the pup. We had an idea to visit this less active named Rajmonda and her adorable deaf daughter, Denota that could use a friend. She is completely coherent and has expressed to us how she would like something to do! WE went and she told us she has been looking for a puppy for a long time and would be delighted to take it! We were so excited, ran to the place of the pups and they were all gone! NOOOOOO! We were distraught. We felt so terrible that we had told this poor deaf girl that we would bring her a puppy and now we couldn't anymore. So... long story short, we are walking back from a lesson and a little boy off the street asks us, "Have you gotten anymore puppies?" We told him how they were all gone and he convinced us otherwise and found us a whole new liter of puppies! YAY!!!!! We hired one of the little street boys to crawl down in this hole to grab one for us to take to Denota for the deal of a new soccer ball! haha. DEAL! We took the pup to Denota and she was so ecstatic and lit completely up with joy! Later, Sister Andrews went back to check on the other pups and found the others in a box! This man made her pay 5 bucks for it and we found her a home as well with the Deda's! :) They love her and now she will have a great home, not on the streets! If we hadn't been in the right place, at the right time, and that boy on the street wouldn't have talked with us, none of this would have been possible! The Lord was so completely evident in this experience! Ahhh, I love Him and his divine guidance and help.

Albania!!!! The look out from up here was insane! :)
Next, our darling Suida! She is preparing for her baptism next week, and she was ready from day one. The Sisters found her 2 weeks before I came into the area, but we have completely clicked and bonded and she is just the cutest little hipster you would ever see! She speaks great English and is so committed to the Gospel already it feels like she is a member. This she called us up on the phone ecstatic. She told us she had great news to tell us when we met with her. When we went over to her house, she told us that she had felt it. She had read a piece of the Book of Mormon and sat and pondered for a short time.. instantly, the spirit came over her and enveloped her as if someone was hugging her. She explained that it was exactly the way we had explained it to her. She was so excited and said, "I know that this is the right path." It was so special to see how happy she was! 
The Gospel brings such great happiness to all people! Not just a few.. BUT ALL!

e di që ky ungjilli është e vërtetë me të gjithë zemrën time. kam shumë deshirë me tregu të gjithë njëriez në tiranë që ne kemi vërtetësi edhe s'ka një kishë tjeter që mund të sjellë aq më shumë lumturisë në jetën e tyre. unë e dua shpëtimtarin tim. e di që ai jeton sot edhe që ai është drejtuesi e kishës sonë. unë e lë këtë gjera në emër të jezu krishtit, amen.

me shume dashuri,
Motra Shauntel Louise Forte


1-3. We went to Kruje today! Its the biggest castle in Albania. 
Even though it was so rainy, it was so much fun!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Letter #36: Rise up like the sun, labor till the work is done-- Be Still. The Killers.

This week has been wild.
My beautiful girls from Kosova!
Oh how I have missed them :)
It went by in the blink of an eye and I literally am tripping that I am here in this local writing home again on this beautiful P-day in Tirana, Albania.
Today was the best day ever! My beautiful ladies from Kosova, Valmira, Dafina, and Aferdita, came down for a YSA Conference down in Durrës tomorrow and they came to breakfast with us missionaries this morning, then came bowling with our District! It was such an exciting time to see all of them again.. They literally have a big piece of my heart those three, so when I saw them I literally couldn't contain all of my emotions! It was the best thing everrrrrrr.

So I don't know what is going on, but most of the missionaries in Tirana have been plagued with sickness the past 2 weeks and unfortunately we were hit! Sister Heathcote was pretty bad with fever achey chills, a cold, and threw up.. the whole bit on Saturday night, so we just kicked in our apartment to recover. I got a pretty gnarly sore throat and unfortunately still have it now. It feels like someone is carving the back of my throat with a potato peeler.. Sorry, terrible image. But its the worst. Hopefully it passes soon! The work must go forth!

I decided to give the bad news first then to give the good! That always the best way.. right?
This week was rad minus the bacteria infections and whatnot.. 
We totally got a picture with Adrian after our bench lesson! So rad..
About two weeks ago, Sister Heathcote and I were finding and without a bit of success, and 6'4 black man walked past.. (a bit of background knowledge.. it is very rare to ever see a black man, and if you do, he is from out of the country and it is likely that he speaks English.) Me, being the chocolate lover that I am said, "Black man! LETS GET 'IM!" So after literally chasing him down, we nonchalantly started up a conversation to share with him the Gospel! His name is Adrian and he is from France but he is here on vacation for sure would love to meet when he was free! We got to talking and he became so excited and told us that the missionaries had taught his mother when we was just a boy. SO RAD. We promised that we would get him a Book of Mormon in French and he was stoked! So then, we met with him, and lets just say, if I never have another success in my whole mission, I feel so accomplished to have had this experience of introducing the Gospel to Adrian from France. He was so completely hand-prepared by the Lord. It was no coincidence that we ran down Adrian on that day. Although this might sound kinda goofy, I know that the Spirit planted the desire in my mind to want to talk to this man. We taught him the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon and it was as if we finally placed the missing puzzle piece into his mind. The piece that has been lost his whole life. We gave him his Book of Mormon in French and he said, "Oh my goodness, I would have never thought I would have come to Albania to recieve the Book of Mormon in French. It was almost as if I was supposed to meet with you two sisters." He opened the book and said, "I am like a giddy little school boy that just recived his Christmas present! I am going to read this book tonight!" WHAT THE HECK. If that wasn't the most perfect response ever, I don't know what would be! He was for sure prepared. And the coolest part is, me and Sister Breea Linton will be crossing paths yet again in our work! I am sending him to her as a referral this week! So cool! He will get baptized. He just will.
This one is my favorite pup of the 7.. 
More pics will be on the way next week.

That was the most excited story of our week. Definitely. Another excited thing we are up to lately:
A few weeks ago we were walking along to one of our lessons and I heard a little whine from a small animal. I asked Sister Heathcote if we could go check it out and we found a whole litter of 7 puppies hidden underneath one of the wooden store stands at this flee market! I DIED.. We showed them to the Senior Missionary in our District who is obsessed with dogs, and we have been helping her feed them ever since! This week, our service project is to find homes for all 7 of them and so far we have 2 member families that want one! We are going to give them baths and deliver them tonight! OPERATION: SAVE THE PUPS!!!! It is so much fun! Hopefully we can find them all homes so they don't end up on the streets like the other 796 dogs running around the city! 

We found 6 new investigators this week and 2 of them are totally on board! They are friends and are both teachers! One is a professor of the French language, and the other teaches english to children. We taught them two lessons together this week and one of them, named Gert, came to church on Sunday! He is loving everything. Completely eating it all up. It is such a joy to teach him because he knows it is all true. We watched the Restoration movie with them, and Konstantinë said, "One word: Beautiful." They both loved it. I will keep you posted on them.. until next week!

I hope you all have a fabulous week and remember that a sister missionary out in Albania loves you very much!

Motra Forte