Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Letter #6: Week 7 BABY!!!!

Week 7 baby!!!!
Can you believe it? I have been here forever it seems like!!! haha. But I have just around 2 1/2 weeks left and I AM OUTTA HERE!!!!! BAHH!!! ALBANIA HERE I COME!!!
I believe we get our travel plans this week and I am tripping out! 
My fabulous District!!

So this week so far has been INCREDIBLE!!!
Reasons why...

1. Last night Elder M. Russell Ballard from the Quorem of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke to us!
It was the most incredible thing.. I can't even express to you effectively through my words through this email how powerful even just his presence in the MTC was! It was so cool! He spoke with such conviction and power that no one could deny the words that he was saying! He truly is a servant and an Apostle of the Lord! He spoke about many things, but the main points that I got from his message was that we must not shrink! The Lord is entrusting us with the divine responsibility of spreading His Gospel across the world, and we have to OPEN OUR MOUTHS WITH CONFIDENCE! We know the message that we have to share because most of us have been learning it our whole lives all the way back to Primary! Also, he said that we must Ignite the testimony inside of us of the Savior Jesus Christ and His great message to go share it with others. If we seek guidance and surrender our will to the Lord, He is entitled to help us carry His message to the people that are ready to hear it! If we all trust in the Lord, He will trust in you. Elder Ballard said multiple times, "THE SON OF GOD LIVES." This stuck out to me so much, because not only does he have a testimony, He is a witness. This blew my mind. This man that came to speak to us last night has likely seen the Savior, and he gave us his witness last night that our Savior, and Redeemer lives today. What a blessing is it to know that! 
My cute package from Auntie Jillie!

2. In the lunch room last week, a random Elder came up to me, handed me an envelope and walked away! The envelope said, "READ ME." on the front and the letter inside said "Hey just wanted to give you this note and tell you that you are very Beautiful... WRITE ME? --Elder Gasu." and he gave me his address! hahaha. It was a very nice gesture.. and it made my whole day! I am not interested at all, and i don't completely support his doing, but it definitely made me feel good! hahaha.

3. One day this week my district leader came up to me with a smug face and said.. Guess who got all of the mail today?" and he handed me 7 Dear Elders and a Package Slip!! It was amazing! I felt so loved and happy to receive so much love and to hear from all of my favorite people!

Mom your packages are the greatest things! Thank you so much for being the best mom any girl could ask for! haha. I may not have room to bring everything to Albania, but I will make it work! hahaha. 
Also, I received the most thoughtful package from Auntie Jillie! Will you please tell her thank you so much! it was the cutest thing and it made me so happy to hear from her!

Meghan/Hermana Godfrey leaves this week!!!
We finally got a picture together!
How is everything going at home?! I pray for each of you every day and I absolutely love hearing from you! I'm sorry that it takes me so long to get back to all of you but I want you to know that I think about you everyday and I pray for you always! 

This Church is true. There is nothing more to it. This week my testimony has grown so immensely. I have such strong faith in my Savior, Jesus Christ and I know that He atoned for all of our sins. Through Him, We can do all things. I have such a strong testimony that He will help carry us through any challenge that we are faced with. I love this Gospel and I love missionary work! 
I am out of time, but I LOVE YOU!!!!!!
Thanks for being the best always!
Love, Motra Forte

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Letter #5: It's That Time Again... :)

Oh my beautiful family and friends!
My cute District in front of our sick flag! REPRESENTING BABY!!!!
It makes me so happy when this time finally comes! So I don't know if I told you this already or not, (cuz all of the weeks have blurred into one big blob), but my District calls me Sister Strong, cuz in Albanian, Motra Forte translates to Sister Strong! haha. This week I have been trying to live up to my title and to be strong for myself. I officially have 3.5 weeks left and I am tripping out a little bit. I am trying to prepare myself as much as I can before I get out of here but obviously I know that I won't be fluent when I walk out of here. haha. Sometimes I think I expect myself to be speaking like a native Albanian and unfortunately.. thats just not going to happen. Keep praying for me as I need all of the help that I can get! haha. Also, please pray for an Elder in my District, Elder Austin. I haven't found out for sure yet, but something traumatic happened to his family last night and he is reallys struggling today! I feel so bad. These people have seriously become my second my family. We are all so close and it pains me to see any of them unhappy! :(
Me, Motra, and our cute roommates/Sisars going to Helsinki, Finland!
Cute little Brit came into the MTC last Wednesday and all week I was looking for her and she was looking for me, but we didn't find eachother until Sunday and when we did... AHHH it was such a beautiful reunion. We both ran to eachother and embraced followed by tears. We both just started bawling like babies! I don't know what came over me.. it was like a got a chance to touch a little piece of home! Its the same when I see Meghan Godfrey as well.. She is the greatest. I seriously love that girl with all of my heart! The crazy thing is, we got here on the same day and she leaves next week! I can't believe it!
Ahhh I am so sad that I missed my Ky Ky's farewell! I am so sure that she did fabulous! Please tell her that I love her to pieces and I am so excited for her! Oh and if you could, try and get her MTC address to me too! I want to be her pen pal while we are on our spiritual journeys together! Also cute Bree Bree apparently came in today but I haven't seen her quite yet! I hopefully will find her tonight and I CANNOT WAIT!!! It is so fun being able to see all of my friends come in! Luckily for me, by now I know the ropes around this town, and I try to lend a helping hand whenever I can!
My District with Motra Gjicka! She is from Vlore, Albania and she already
left the MTC to serve in Italy! COOL HUH? She is so cool!
Me and Motra with the Novers going to Budapest, Hungary!
They are in our district!
I am so happy to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am so blessed to have this opportunity and I cannot wait to get my butt over to Albanian and to teach the people the Lord is preparing for me. this week in Choir, our awesome conductor gave us an awesome little thought on our song entitled, "A Marvelous Work" and it really touched my heart. The song is combined with the Spirit of God and it was absolutely beautiful. I learned that we all have a bag of Gold that represents the Gospel, and we can give a spoonfull to everyone we meet and it will never run out! We have something much more valuable than Gold to share burning with us. We want it to burn within the hearts of others because it is such a great message. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning burns within each of us, and we have to quench the firery darts of the devil by strengthening our fire! It is then that we are able to ignite this fire within others and the Spirit of God will become incomprehensible among the Children of the Lord. Everyone needs to here the message we have to share and I wont stop until I have told every person I come across about the truthfulness of it. This reminds me of the inspiring talk "The Fellowship of the Unashamed"! Will you please send me a copy of this great talk please? One thing I really miss is GOOGLE. Who would've thought? haha.
Anyways, I love you all so much. With every fiber in my being. You are the best people the Lord could have ever put into my life and I am so incredibly blessed to have you all in my life!
Dad: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PAYING OFF MY MISSION!!!! You are the greatest dad and girl could ever ask for. I mean that! Thank you so much. I am so appreciative to you!
Mom: I have decided that as a mother, you have special powers. You always seem to get me the things I need even before I ask for them! Thank you thank you thank you!!
Me and my friend Elder Xander Bischoff from BYUH

Jordan: YOUR PACKAGE MADE ME CRY.. I love you so much. Thank you for all of the treats and goodies. You are making me fat. Great job.
Domi: Have so much fun at Prom! Live it up.. High school was the best of times.. for sure! Besides the mission of course.. ;) ps. let me know when you get into BYU! YAY!
Cam: You little butthead. Put down your phone. Stop texting Katie, and write your favorite sister a letter already ya hear? This is a threat.
Dylan: I love you, but you need to write me bud. Take 20 minutes off of Xbox and write a letter to your sister in the MTC! She would be happy to hear from you :)
Unë e di që Kisha e Jezu Krishit është shumë e vërtetë. Unë jam shumë mirërenjohëse per Ungjillin e Jezu Krishtit dhe unë nuk e di ku unë duhet për të qenë pa ai. Ne jemi shumë u bekohemi për të pasur që dituri ne kemi. Unë them këto gjerat në emrinë e Jezu Krishtit, Amen.
Unë ju dua familje!

Me shumë dashuri,
Your favorite missionary,

Shaunie/ Motra Forte

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Letter #4: Pershendetje Familjen i Bukur!!!!

Pershendetje Familjen i Bukur!!!!
How are you all?! Ahhhh I look forward to P-days so much so I can hear from you and tell you everything that is going on here! First of all.. GUESS WHAT?!
I hit my 1/2 WAY MARK ON FRIDAY!!!!!! Can you believe that? yeah.. me neither! 4.5 weeks down, 4.35 weeks to go!!! :)
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TOMORROW!!!!!! I may not be able to give you all a big smooch in person, but here is a big SMOOOOOOCH through the internet!!!! MUAHHHHH!!!!!
Did you get it? Cuz you should've! When is Domi's Concert for dance? Please record it cuz you best believe I will be watching it when I come home! 
Dad: I am so excited for you and this BIG Xbox deal!!! How exciting for you! Good luck with everything! I know you will kill it! :) I appreciate your dearelders and spiritual messages so so so so so much! Thank you thank you! You and mom sure know how to make me cry. its terrible. Thank you so much though.
Mom: You are the best mom in the world! ANOTHER PACKAGE? I'm pretty sure I am the most spoiled missionary in the MTC and I love it. SO MUCH! Thank you thank you thank you! Seriously, mother's intuition is a real things, because this week I totally broke out and then you sent me my favorite colored Soniclaire to clear up my skin and it totally has worked mom! You are the greatest woman. Thank you!
So this week was a great one. Just like all of them are. I am doing so great! Thank you all so much for all of your prayers and love you have sent me! Last night I was able to sing in the choir in Devotional last night! IT WAS SO POWERFUL!!!!
Ahhhhh. The spirit is seriously the best thing. I have a little advice.. not to be all preachy or anything, but whenever you get the chance, kneel down and pray and ask to have the Spirit with you.
If you are making good choices and doing the things you are supposed to, I promise the Spirit will be with you. We all need to strive to have the Spirit with us all day long. Cuz it really is the best. 
And it tell us things that we just wouldn't be able to figure out or feel by ourselves. I LOVE IT!
Haha, so guess what.. This week I found out that we literally use the dictionary from Taken. When Liam Neeson is in the rental car with the Albanian translator, they are using my dictionary! COOL HUH?
I thought it was pretty funny! I am finally getting to the point where I can understand Albanian pretty well. It is the craziest phenomenon being able to understand a foreign language. I can speak pretty well, yet pretty slow.. haha. I am learning more and more each and every day!
This week I me and my district are focusing on emulating the Faith of the Savior! My awesome teacher, Vellai McGlothin shared an awesome message and passage of scripture with us. He said, "There is no room for fear and doubt. We must fill our hearts with faith." I suggest that you all go read this passage as well. It is in Matthew Chapter 14:24-32. It is the story where Christ is approaching the disciple's boat, walking on the water, and Peter asks Christ if he can walk on the water to Jesus and Christ said, "Come." At first Peter got out of the ship and walked a ways to Jesus, then the second he thought inward about his humanly abilities, he began to fear and doubt, thus, his faith was gone and he began to sink! He cried out unto the Lord and said, "Lord, save me." and Jesus immediately stretched fortch his hand and caught him and said to him, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
I can completely liken this scripture to my life right now. Honestly, it is almost humanly impossible to learn a language in 8 weeks. It just cannot be done. It can only be done through our faith in the Savior. We must always have faith that we can do all things. We can do ALL things in the Savior. Not just SOME things, but ALL things. This really has taught me to keep an eternal perspective while I am on this mission. We can do all things if we have faith. Just with a particle of faith, we could move a mountain. Think of the possibilities. I have faith that I WILL learn the Albanian language and through my faith, I will bring people unto Christ. 
I love all and Miss you all dearly and I hope you have a fabulous week!
Love your favorite missionary,
Sister Forte/Shaunie Bear

P.S. tell the boys to write me. I wanna hear from my punk little brothers! I miss beating them up. It was so much fun! haha.
P.P.S. Please send me pictures. I am deprived of my family and I miss you oh so much! 
P.P.P.S. Tell Grandma Robin I LOVED HER PACKAGE!!!! thank you thank you thank you! :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Letter #3 : A day in the life of Sister Forte

My cute companion and our Finnish Sisters
My cute district on Sunday in front of the temple!
(it was gorgeous!)
Miredita Familjen dhe Miqem Ime!!!!
Oh how I love P-days! Wednesdays are the very best days!!! I have been here for 3 full weeks now and it is only getting better! The MTC is fabulous!! I am absolutely loving my time here and I am so grateful for all of the great people that I have met! In my room, I live with my companion, Motra Hawkins, Sisar Clifford, my other Finnish companion, and two cute red heads going to Virginia! This past week one of the red heads, Sister Price, went home.. :( it was so sad to see her go but she is happy with her decision and she feels that she is needed at home. Sister Price had a rough time making friends here and she had major depression and anxiety. Honestly, if she couldn't handle the MTC, there is no way she would've been able to handle the mission. She has way too much emotional stress and baggage. That was the worst part of the week.
The other redhead roommate just left this morning for Virginia and she is doing so well! I am so excited for her and the many adventures she has to come! I hate goodbyes!!!
This past week was awesome. So much happened and it is difficult for me to remember everything but I will do my best to compose my thoughts. 
HIGHLIGHT: This week we got a new investigator named Mihal and we had to practice a door approach with him. When we approached the door, we knocked and Mihal barely cracked the door to see who it was. He was SO stand-offish and was not interested in hearing our message. It was very difficult to loosen him up and make him feel comfortable. It wasn't until we explained who we were and why we were there that his heart became softened. I took the reins and said in Albanian, "Ne jemi misionare nga te Kishes se Jezu Krishtit te Shenjtoreve te Diteve te Mevonshme. A mund te ndiqni nje mesazh per Jezu Krishtit me ty?" Instantly he started asking questions about how old we were and the reason why we were there to share our message. I don't know what came over me but I broke out into my testimony and Mihal understood everything I said and invited us in to hear more! It was the most satisfying feeling to be able to soften his heart and be allowed in to his house to teach him more about his Savior. 
This week was so great. I just continue to get closer and closer with my District and it is so much fun!!! My Elders call me Motra "Strong" because is Albanian Forte translates to Strong! How cool!! Forte's are the Best! Me and Motra are doing really well. Our companionship is growing stronger and stronger everyday! Last night we built a fort and slept together in the same twin! Bahahaha. It was so much fun!
Everyday I pray to have the Spirit with me and to allow it to be unrestrained so I can get the most out of the MTC experience that I can! Because of this, I have learned so much this week. Let me share a few spiritual insights that I learned. In Luke 22:32, we learn that once we are converted ourselves, be must strengthen our brethren. This is such a great verse that really helps me to realize my purpose in being here. We must rescue our brethren!!! We are all put here all this earth to help our brothers and sister all return to our Father in Heaven again. This is His work. I am so lucky to be a part of it!
On Sundays we have our weekly Temple Walk and this week it was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! Seriously.. The sky couldn't get any bluer and I could finally feel the warmth of the sun! AWEEE SPRING IS COMING!!!!!!

I will send some pics in a different e-mail so I can fit more! So many sister missionaries are coming in now! It is blowing my mind. The Elders used to completely take over the MTC and now the Sister are giving the Elders a run for their money! In our fireside on Sunday night, all of the new Elders that are 18 years old and all of the Sisters that are 19 and 20 were asked to stand. Literally more than half of the room was standing! Missionary work is growing and growing!!! We heard word that a new MTC is being built in Mexico for all of the missionaries going to Spanish Speaking areas! HOW CRAZY IS THAT?! I was at the very beginning of the BIG BOOM but now they are all coming!
I am so lucky to have the best family in the world. All of you are the cutest. Jordan. I loved your package. And your postcard. You are the best. Dom, you better step up your game! hahaha. Just teasing. Mom and Dad, you really are the greatest parents in the world. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!! This week I could totally feel all of your prayers. Thanks you so much for praying for me and know that I pray for you everyday! Please continue praying for me as I do my best to tackle this bad boy of a language!

Our Random Celebration with our Sisters in our
Zone with the Martinelli Mom sent me!
(thanks mommy!)
I have 5.5 weeks left baby!!! AHHHHH I can't believe it! Next Friday will be our half way mark and I am tripping out!!!!
Mom and Dad.. Thank you so much for all of your love from your packages! I feel so dang spoiled! THANK YOU FOR THE COOKIES! There were 12 huge cookies in there so I shared with the Missionaries in my zone!
Tell Kenzie Holmes that I absolutely love her..  She sent me the cutest Valentines package with this hilarious shower cap in it and I died laughing!!! Tell her THANK YOU THANK YOU!
I am out of time for this week but I will be sure to write more next week! Write me dearelders. Thats the best way for me to hear from you the day of! Respond to this email as well! I want to hear from you to find out how home is!
I love you all the pieces!

Me Dashuri,
Shaunie Bear.