Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Letter #2 : On the Lord's time

Pershengjetje Familje Ime!!!!
Oh how I wish I could communicate all of this over the phone, but unfortunately we are limited for a short time! Ahhhh.. This week was one for the books!
Everything was great! I am getting so close with my district, considering there are only a four of us, and we are seriously like a little family. I love it!
The Elders in my district are seriously like my brothers! We are all so comfortable.. maybe a little too comfortable.. hahaha. Motra Hawkins gets a little upset when we goof off, 
but we don't really care and do so anyways.. haha. I feel bad. I feel like I am the good guy and she is the bad guy because she is always the one to get us back on task.. OOPS.
There are definitely reasons why we were put together! Thats for sure. She cracks the whip and keeps me in line!
1st of all, I would like to say TE LUTEM!!!!! for all of the dear elders and nice gifts this week! I definitely needed them and they are so appreciated!!! Mom, you are seriously an angel..
Your packages came at the perfect times and just made my day so much better! I am so grateful for you! I love being updated on normal life, because everything in the MTC is so routine and never changes!
How are things? How is home? KACI B WAS KICKED OFF BACHELOR??? HOW?! She is my favorite! haha. I shouldn't be worrying about stupid reality TV shows, but I can't help it. haha.
So typically, I have at least one weekly breakdown that occurs towards the beginning of each week! hahaha. I'm such a boob. This week the language got to me and I became frustrated with myself.
I think I just expect too much of myself and expect that I become fluent over night, but unfortunately it doesn't quite work like that. I have to be patient with myself and remember that good things take time and
we learn best line upon line, precept upon precept. This principle has been a huge one for me to learn this week.. But really, your great love and words of encouragement help me so much when the going gets tough! 
This week I really learned so much! I cannot believe how much I have learned here already! I have only been here 2 weeks but I feel like it has been 2 months! hahaha. We have 16 hour days here.. 
They are SOOOO LONG!!! The craziest part about it though is that the weeks fly by! Its crazy.. I don't understand it but its true.
On Tuesday night we had a devotional with L. Whitney Clayton, of the Quorem of the Seventy. Him and his wife gave the greatest talks all about missionary work. 
It really helped to change my perspective on the mission and it also helped me to have a happy heart. Sister Clayton gave a great lesson and focused on our attitudes and our growth. 
One of my favorite quotes from her was "The edges of our comfort zones and the perimeters of our capacities are the areas in which Heaven steps in and helps us grow."
This is so true! If we never leave our comfort zones, we will never grow! I have felt that so much this week when I pray for help and strength, as long as I do my part and have faith, The Lord does all the rest.
Although the MTC is difficult at times, I am stretching and growing spiritually more than I ever have before. The Lord is shaping me, and molding me into the missionary that He wants me to become. 
We are being polished and refined so we can become more diligent and converted servants of the Lord. It is such a cool opportunity that we get as missionaries to hear from the General Authorities!
I hope that I get the opportunity to hear someone from the Quorem of the Twelve before I leave! 

Literally the night before I got here, freaking Jeffrey R. Holland came and spoke!!!!!! Can you believe that? I was so mad that I missed it by ONE DAY!!!!! ONE DAY PEOPLE!!!!! 
Ahhh.. hopefully I get another opportunity to hear from someone awesome! Not that the Seventy's aren't awesome, but a member from the Twelve would be soooo sweet!
Anyways.. This week during personal study, I was reading in Mosiah and I found the most killer scriptures that perfectly define my duty as a missionary. You should look them up!
The best ones are Mosiah 26:20-21 and Mosiah 28:3. They are so incredible and make me want to be a better servant of the Lord. 

I am so grateful the I am able to be one of the 59,000 missionaries in the world today. Right under my name on my name tag is the reason for my service. 
Jesus Christ, my Savior, Lord, and Redeemer is the reason for it all. I am honored to wear his name with pride and I hope that I can make a small difference in the lives of those ready to hear the Gospel. 
I am out of time but I love love love love love all of you so much and I am so grateful to have such fabulous people in my life. 
Thank you for being the best!!!

Love your love,
Sister Shauntel Forte/Motra Forte

Une te dua!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Letter #1

Pershendjete familjet!!!!
Ahhhhhh how joyous it is to finally be able to email you and inform with what is going on with me! I wish i could've sent this out to you sooner but my P-days are on Wednesdays! Exactly one week from today we said our bitter goodbyes.. that was the hardest thing I think I have ever done in my life having to walk away from all of my favorite people on this planet knowing that I wouldn't be seeing them face-toface for 18 months! BAHHHHH... I miss you guys more than words can explain!!! I can't think about it often though or it makes me cry.. Luckily the MTC is brilliant and packs my schedule so full and so planned out that I hardly have any time to sit and mope about it.. I am so concentrated and focused on this work and truly it is a blessing. 
BREAKING NEWS!!!!!: I am only here for 9 weeks now because they cut the time so now my departure sate is on March 19th!!! WOOO HOOOO!!! YAY!
The MTC is absolutely incredible. The first few days were ROUGH. Real rough.. I am doing so great now though so don't worry about me!!!! The Spirit here is incomprehensible. Imagine packing 3,400 missionaries all with an immense amount of faith into one tiny campus, where no evil can exist, to study the Savior day in and day out! IT IS AMAZING. Evertything we do here is centered around christ, our Savior and Redeemer and we open and close each and every meeting in His name. It is incredible.
Well to tell you a little about my mission and what I have been up to here in this zoo, basically my new name is Motra Forte (aka Sister Forte in Albanian). I am one of 4 people in my district which is absolutely insane. The typical size of a distric here is generally around 15-20 missionaries and WE HAVE 4!!!!! All four of us are the only ones in the MTC going to preach the Gospel in the Adriatic South Mission. It is so awesome because all of us are super close. The Elders are practically my brothers now and we are all so close with eachother. I literally feel like I have been here for 3 weeks. Its the oddest thing. The days go by SOOOO SLOW. But the weeks fly by!!!!
My companion's name is Motra Hawkins and she is awesome. She is 19 just like me and got her call just 2 weeks before me! WE ARE MEANT TO BE HERE IN THIS PLACE, AT THIS TIME!!!!!! 

I'm sure you are all wondering about my Albanian language... basically THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS REAL PEOPLE!!!!! I have only been here for 1 week and I can already pray, bear my testimony and express myself in Albanian, and great people ALREADY!!! I never even learned this much in a year of Spanish class. I'm not gonna lie to you.. this language is NUTS. Its very complex and involves so many different cases, odd sentence structures, noun declintions, acclitics and many other aspects. Nothing like English. haha. I know that through my faith and through the Lord's strength and guidance I will be able to learn this insane language! Ahhhh.. How conforting it is to say that!
So this past week I gave 3 lessons to an investigator named Albana ALL IN ALBANIAN!!!!!! Can you believe that? yeahhh.. me neither! I am learning so much here already. Its blowing my ever-living mind!!! My teachers are awesome... I have one Albanian teacher and a return missionary from America! my albanian teacher's name is Brother Hoxha and is pretty rad but really strict and tough on us! He has a way thick accent that makes him sound like Gru off of Dispicable Me!!! SO FUNNY. I love it here! i have seen so many Elders and Sisters from high school including Elder Moulton, Sister Zundel, Sister Godfrey, Elder Enslow, Sister Mckay(Breea's cute cousin speaking Mandarin) and Sister Mcdonald from the ward! It is so awesome being here with the same desire to serve the Lord as all of my friends! I LOVE IT!

People here in the MTC freak out when i tell them where I am going! haha. I sort of love it. Not going to lie!!!!
So I have limited time but I just wanted to thank you guys for all of your love and support you have sent to me! I love you all with all of my heart and I couldn't be doing this without you!!! I LOVE YOU FAMILY!!!!
P.S. I LOVE YOUR DEAR ELDERS MOMMY!!! Thank you for my package! The cookies were great and I shared them with all of my great friends here that had a rough first few days! I will write you more in writing when I have more time! I will bear my testimony to you in a letter okay?! OKAY!

Your favorite daughter/ sister/ friend,
Motra Forte<3

p.p.s. PRAY FOR ME! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo