Monday, June 3, 2013

Letter #20: Hello June!!!

Family and Friends,
So first I would like to start out by saying....

Sheesh...Talk about a busy week for my beautiful family!!! I am so excited for all of you and for all of your fun adventures you have ahead of you this week!

In front of the doors to the Church
Grounds in Pejë
Second matter of business... all of my best friends are getting married!
1. Samantha Skene Wright and Braedin Rae Oakley are engaged!!!!!

As for me.. This week was crazy! To start off.. 2 of our favorite investigators, Dardania and Arberesha are all ready for baptism, but have told us that they just aren't ready yet. So unfortunately we had to drop them and told them that we will just wait for them to be ready.. It is such a bitter sweet thing. My heart is torn in half because I want this so badly for both of them, and I know that when they get the courage to stand up for what they believe is true and go against the cultural traditions of this country and their families, they will be so happy and will rejoice in the Spirit! I know the Lord will bless them immensely when they are ready to make the leap. In the due time of the Lord, miracles will happen.. I just know it. Both of them will get baptized! Its just a matter of time. Luckily they are both still coming to activities and reading their scriptures. That's all that need to do.. Strengthen their faith to be ready for it.

Last week we rode bikes up the Canyon in Pejë!
It was so much fun! :) Gorgeous ride!
As for Agim, he is our only progressing investigator at the moment, having dropped our other two lovelies. He is continually reading the Book of Mormon, detail by detail, as he wants to understand every detail perfectly! At the beginning of our last lesson with him, we discussed the importance of feeling the Spirit of the Book of Mormon verses worrying about every little detail. He came to understand it a little bit better, but I think he is still partially reading it like a history book of great war stories. haha. We had a lesson with him about keeping the Sabbath day holy because  he still hasn't come to church and he said he would do his best to try and come.. Come on Agim! Just commit and come!!!! Sometimes, I have had to develop so much patience to work with these people, because its always a "I dunno, maybe if I have time", or a "Kismet.." which means, "Be God willing, I will come" but no one will ever just say, "Yes! I will be there! See you then." If only.. we are still working on breaking the cultural traditions here of just going with the flow and trying to help people to make commitments! 

We waiting patiently for him to show up to church, but still.. nothing. He didn't show. BUMMER. Let's cross our fingers for next week..

From the Serbian Orthodox Church we visited last monday.. kinda creepy.
but beautiful.. No Spirit there.. so sad.
Yesterday at church we had a Turkish Travesty. The Elders are teaching this family, 2 kids and one father, at the moment, and I got the great opportunity of teaching the kids in Primary. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and how we can come closer to Christ by reading it. I then told them that we learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Book of Mormon: we have to develop faith, repent, and be baptized like Jesus Christ--just like Kamil is going to be baptized this week! Immediately the little boy stopped me and started going off saying, "I don't want to learn about Jesus Christ. I am Muslim!" I tried to calm him down and told him that as we read the Book of Mormon, we learn about Jesus Christ and about his divine role as our Savior. This just ticted him off even more and he yelled, "I DON'T WANT TO LEARN ABOUT JESUS!" and stormed out of the room. I then turned to the girl and asked her if she wanted to learn about Jesus, and she clicked at me, like Albanians do, and said, "No." and walked out. Freak.. they both went and grabbed their dad in Sunday School to tell him the problem, and he started going off in Albanian that I could not understand, slams him book of mormon down on the desk, and walks out with both of his kids. 

Gjon surprised us at Game night and gave us both flowers!!!
How sweet, right?! He said, "I am poor, so I stole them from the park." hahah. Classic.
Sheesh. Talk about a scene. I was completely mortified. My stomach dropped and I felt like it was all of my fault. That clearly they misunderstood me or maybe I said something that offended them. My emotions got the best of me and I couldn't help but cry. I felt so sad that they felt that way about Jesus and that they were throwing away their chance to learn more about Him. Everyone was comforting me and telling me that it was all good. Just another Anti-Christ! Sheesh. I need to grow a back bone.. IM A FORTE. Forte means strong for crying out loud! haha. Later that night the Elders talked with him and cleared everything up. Basically, he claims that the children misunderstood me and felt like I was mocking their Turkish traditions? WHAT THE HECK MAN?! I have no idea how they got that, but lets just say I am going to take a break from teaching Primary.

On a good and happy note, we have Kamil's baptism, the Elder's investigator, this friday and I really think it is going to be amazing! We are going to try and get everyone to be there, investigators, members, soldiers, the whole bit. It will bring such a great Spirit to the people here to witness a sacred priesthood ordinance and it will motivate them to have the courage to do it as well!
Hopefully the rest of this week goes a bit smoother and we can find those that are ready to recieve the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sorry for the novel,
Love you all,
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for next week! ;)

Love Sister Shauntel Louise Forte