Monday, March 25, 2013

Letter #10: "Where the streets have no name!"

So just to let you all know, I was assigned to labor in Prishtina, Kosovo with my trainer, Motra Hoover and it is so amazing here! I can't even begin to describe how amazing it is! Holy smokes. I am the first sister missionary, ever to be trained in Kosovo! There are only 6 missionaries here in the country, 2 of them being sister missionaries, and I AM ONE OF THEM. Can you believe it?! I had no idea this was coming, that's for sure! Dad, you totally guessed it! Somehow you knew I was coming here before I was even here! So wild. It all kind of feels like a dream to be honest. Waking up in a different country every day is quite the experience! Europe is SO different from the United States! I love it here, but it is definitely different!
Today we went drove up to Germia Park here in Prishtina with
the Elders and Sister and Brother Jones, who are the
senior missionaries/branch presidents here in Kosovo.
Here is me and Motra Hoover!
My first day when I arrived in Albania, our amazing mission president, President Ford and his sweet wife picked us up from the airport, we went to the mission home, had a meeting with the President, had lunch, and went tracting that night. TALK ABOUT TERRIFYING. I don't think I have been so scared in my whole life. Luckily people in Albania and Kosovo both love Americans, so they would take the time to listen to my broken Albanian! I gave out a few pass along cards and was feeling pretty good afterwards. That night we had a testimony meeting than we went to sleep a little early to make our jet leg a little bit easier the next day. In the morning, we were assigned to our areas and immediately after, we left! I am now in Prishtina, Kosovo and it is unlike anything that I have ever seen before! It is so beautiful here. The people are so amazing here and there is a great work that is about to come forth in this land! I am so happy to be a part of this great work. 
We went to the exact spot in Gremia Park where President Nelson
of the Quorum of the 12 dedicated the land of Kosovo as a
proselyting country for the Church! It was a really cool experience
to read the dedicatory prayer and to feel of the Spirit here
in this beautiful country! WE ARE BRINGING FORTH

So let me tell you a little about Prishtina. The roads we walk are either a poorly paved cobble stone path, or a cement path with potholes! The drivers here are pretty crazy, but not even half as crazy as Albania. In Albania, the driving is pretty much organized chaos. SO CRAZY. I have to admit I feared for my life a few times. There is trash in a lot of areas, but it is defintely a step up from Albania as well. So here in Prishtina, they speak Kosovar which is Albanian with a completly different dialect called Geg. IT IS INSANE. I hardly understand a word people say to me sometimes. It is pretty rough. Not gonna lie. I just keep banking on the fact that the Lord sent me here because He knows I can handle it. I sure hope he is right!
Here is a picture of one the homes from the war that apparently
has active mines in it! 

I absolutely love my trainer, Motra Hoover. She is such a wonderful example to me and I have learned so much from her already! I love my companion, I love my apartment, I love the members here, I love Brother and Sister Jones,(the senior missionaries here) I love Prishtina, I love my mission. My missionary president said to me on our way to Prishtina, "You really do have the best mission." Everything is going well here. Obviously, the language is very rough for me still, and it is very difficult to understand Kosovar, I know that with the Lord's help I can master this language. I have been working on relying on my Heavenly Father in every aspect of my missionary work. When I am not praying out loud, I always have a prayer in my heart that He will direct my feet and fill my mouth with the words He would have me speak. So far it has benefited me, but I am hoping that as time goes on I will become more and more comfortable with the language. The members here have such a great spirit with them and I am positive that they are the "noble and great ones." The Lord has to build up His church here, so He needs his strongest children to be the foundation of the church here! Although I can't communicate with the members all that well, I have come to a realization of how important it is to listen to the Spirit in this work. Because that is pretty much all I can do, I have grown so much spiritually in just 5 days. It's amazing really. The Lord really is looking out for me.

This is the sign that tells you not to trespass because of the
active mines! haha. CRAZY.
Prishtina is amazing so far! It is such a blessing to be here and to feel of the great spirit that resides here. I feel like the work is growing here ever so quickly and I feel so honored to be a part of it. Kosovo is a war-stricken area and many people are still recovering from the war. There are many buildings left over from the war that are completely destroyed. The war really tore Kosovo apart Many people I have talked to since I have been here have brought up many stories from the war and it is a very sensitive subject for them. They are in a very humble and lowly state, and now it is time for the love of the Savior to fill their hearts and rid the hurt and pain from the past. 

This was one of my last pictures I took with my
district in Albania at one of the famous monuments!
So sad leaving them!
This week we taught 9 lessons and I was able to invite one of our investigators named Ermira to baptism. Although it was pretty broken Albanian, she understood and commited to pray about baptism and she understands why it is important for her life. We went tracting many times this week and I have impressed myself with how much confidence I have had talking to strangers here although I can hardly speak or understand a lick of Kosovar. haha. Hopefully once the language starts coming I will be able to merge both skills and be very successful here in Prishtina.

My dear family and friends, I am so happy to be a missionary at this time. I know that the Lord is expediting His work, and as a result I am here in Kosovo as the first sister missionary ever trained here!!!!!  What an honor to be a representative of the Lord at this time. It is such a special calling and I am in the most amazing place. 

I took this picture on our way up to Prishtina with my my mission
President, his wife, and my companion from Albania and I was in love
with it!! Can you say National Geographic?
Family, thank you thank you thank you for being so supportive of me in this work. I couldn't do it without you!!! I can defintely feel you prayers bear me up. Please continue to pray for me as I push through learning this CRAZY language! I love you so much!
Love your baby girl all the way in Kosovo,
where the streets have no name,
Shauntel xoxo