Monday, April 8, 2013

Letter #12: We are as the Army's of Helaman :)

My beautiful family and friends!
Another week has come and gone SO QUICK!!! This week was conference and I was able to watch the two morning sessions live here at 6:00 pm while is was 9:00 am or something like that in Utah! So rad.. I felt so lucky that I was able to watch some of it! My perspective is completely different watching conference as a missionary and it is so cool to realize that the church is literally all around the world and we are all directed by an amazing modern day prophet that receives direct revelation from our Loving Heavenly Father! He loves us all so much that we doesn't want us to sit in darkness. We are able to receive light and knowledge from our Heavenly twice a year!! How cool is that?!

Here are all of us Prishtina missionaries at
Ylli's fshat called Bruce :)
It was like little house on the Prarie, Kosovo style! 
This is Ylli taking Elder Roberts down to the bees before
he got stung! hahaha.
This week I was able to go to this amazing 70-year-old member, named Ylli's, awesome fshat (village) called Bruce out in the middle of nowhere! It was so rad. We went out there with the Elders and with the senior couple here, the Jones, to give him a lesson and the help him out around his land a bit! I literally felt like I was in a movie. Ylli completely lives off the land, has tons of trees that produce different fruits through out the year, and has tons of bees that he gets the honey from to support him. He lives in such humble circumstances with a tiny little 2 bedroom house that is hardly livable, but he is just happy as can be! The few members here are truly inspiring and the gospel is all that they have! It was so cool to see the place that some of these people come from and to really get a better understanding of their backgrounds. As we were walking around his land, we took us to the bee hives, i think they are called, and he could only take one at a time down amongst the bees.. luckily he chose one of the Elders, Elder Roberts as the guinea pig. haha. Ylli warned him not to freak out and to walk slowly to not disturb the bees, but even then, a bunch of bees landed on his forehead and tried to sting him. All of the sudden one flew in him mouth and stung the inside of his lip! AHHHH. Ylli quickly got him out of there and took us to his well to wash it out, but the water is so contaminated here, we aren't even allowed to drink it! haha. We told him no and he didn't understand, but its President's orders! haha. It was so crazy and I am sure glad that it wasn't me!!! haha.

So can I just tell you that I love the culture here!! I forgot to mention that Albanians and Kosovars are SUPER touchy and all of the girls give you three kisses on either cheek to greet you and to say goodbye! I love it.. haha. Everyone is so loving here! They might be hard-headed and stubborn as can be, but they are very loving! A funny side note.. So the  men here are so obvious and are always cat-calling at me and Motra Hoover, mostly because we are American, but yesterday this guy made the LOUDEST kissy sound and both of us turned, then he gave us the most awkward, BIGGEST wink I have ever seen! Both of us just turned away and started busting up! It was so classic. Men here are ridiculous. Quick your cat calling, put your pig boy pants on, and come talk to me.. about the GOSPEL! hahaha.
We took a picture with our hairstylists after we got a
hair cut this morning! classic. Do you like the new due?
I cut off 2.5 inches!

*Another little side note for dad: So American music is always playing in the stores and other places, and thats how a lot of the people here learn English.. Anyways.. I got a hair cut today and at the salon they were playing the Scorps baby!!! "Still Loving You" was the song and I couldn't help but reminisce! I am such a rock-n-roll girl at heart.. haha.I knew you would love that! ;)

This week was pretty rough for the work. People here are just so set in their Muslim ways and claim they have to keep the traditions of their families. We had tracted into a family here that seemed pretty interested, named the Buzakus, but the last time we met with them, they told us that we were welcome to come back and visit as guests anytime, but that they weren't interested in our religion. It was rough to hear, because they have SO MUCH POTENTIAL!!! Oh well. Hopefully we planted a seed and they will have another opportunity later.
Elder Roberts gave Ylli an American Flag tie to match his
and they both wore them on Sunday! Ylli and most Kosovars
LOVE America! haha. Its so funny!
 It is so hard starting a church in a country, because it is hard for the people here to see the vision. They don't realize that the church has 14.7 million members around the world, and that if the church gets big enough here, we will be able to meet in an actual church! I just have to have faith that if we are faithful and constantly prayerful, The Lord will direct us to His children that are prepared to hear His message at this time! I wish I could just yell from the roof tops, "All of you Muslim people!!! There is a Plan of Peace from our Heavenly Father through His loving Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, and He wants you to come to Him!" , and then magically BAM!!! everyone will believe in Christ and get baptized, but unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way.. The Lord has His ways and has His timing. Everything will happen here in this country in the Lord's timing! I have faith that one day the church will thrive in Kosovo, we just have to work on strengthening the faith of the members as a strong foundation for the church!
It has been pretty rainy and cold most of the week!
This was today with my rain-boots and umbrella :)
Missionary work is quite tedious.. I won't lie, but I have, without a doubt, seen the hand of the Lord here in Kosovo. It is so amazing to see the change that has come over all of our members and our investigators as they strengthen their faith and testimonies in Jesus Christ. I know that this is the Lord's work and that He wants all of His children to come unto Him! He is just waiting with His arm outstretched to these people, patiently waiting for them to come unto Him. I feel so honored to be a part of this work and to be able to see the great change that the Gospel brings to people's lives. The church is so true. No buts about it! And each day I learn more and more, that rings more and more true to me! We cannot get through this life alone.. WE NEED HIM. We have to be strong and withstand the evils of the world. We have to share the Gospel with everyone we meet, because everyone needs to have an opportunity to know the truth! 
I love you all so much and I so appreciate all of your love and support you have given me!
Have the best week! :)
Love your missionary,
Shauntel, Sister Forte xoxoxo