Monday, July 15, 2013

Letter #26: Rejoice Evermore :)

My beautiful people of the American continent, and apparently all around the world wherever you might be reading this...

Can I just start out by saying. I love this work. I love being a missionary. Missionary work is so incredible. It literally changes lives. Little by little, seeing this changes take place in the people I teach, I am able to see the power, first-hand, that the Lord has. He is the director of his divine work, and he is hastening it people!!!! Sheesh. 

This week I read D&C 88: 73-75... and it says..

73 Behold, I will ahasten my work in its time.
 74 And I give unto you, who are the first alaborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and bsanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and ccleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you dclean;
 75 That I may testify unto your aFather, and your God, and mybGod, that you are clean from the cblood of this wicked generation; that I may fulfil this promise, this great and last dpromise, which I have made unto you, when I will.

How amazing is that? This is the time that the Lord is hastening His work. And we are His missionaries and in the front lines, gathering His lost children, from the scattered tribes of Israel. His chosen people that are being prepared at this very time to receive these divine things in there life! ITS UNBELIEVABLE.
Facemask time baby!!! HAHA.
You gotta end a long hard day at work with a little mud on your face :)
I hope all is going well at home. Your vacation sounded absolutely fabulous and I hope you had a great time
This week was hard. It was amazing. But it was hard. Let me give you some background. So this month is the month of fast called Ramadan, when the Muslim Religion fasts all day from sun up to sun down, then feasts all night until the next day! This is what we are dealing with people. Basically, everyone that is fasting, will not even look in the direction of our table set up on the boulevard, because they are to focus on the words of the Koran, cleanse themselves of all evil and come closer to the Spirit of Allah. All of these things are great fabulous ways of showing their faith. It is all great in principle. BUT. It is lacking the most important part. JESUS CHRIST. Our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. These people are so ignorant and have no idea that it is through Jesus Christ that we are saved. They take away his role completely and pray in the Mosques 5 times a day, to forgive THEMSELVES! Do you see the problem here?! It is my job as a missionary here to help these people to realize that only through Jesus Christ can we inherit eternal life! One day, they will all know it. Its just a matter of time.
So as you can see, with the month of Ramadan (Ramazan) in Albanian, these people are pretty much walking around with blinders, and it is very difficult to find anyone to teach. We have had tons of lessons "prish"ed (cancelled) this week because of this special month, and so we are trying to keep our heads up and keep pressing forward! 
Funny story. On Wednesday, we actually talked to a man whose name was Ramadan. Yep. Thats just about as Muslim as it gets! hahaha.
Looking over Prizren last p day!!!! Such a blast! :)
Okay, now for the amazing part of the week. My little love, Arberesha, who we have been meeting since my trainer found her and contacted her at Albi market across the street from our church, she wanted to meet with us this week! So we met with her and talked all about her and where she was at Spiritually. She told us that she had received that feeling that we had been talking about. That strong feeling of the spirit testifying to you about the Book of Mormon, and she told us she knows without a doubt that it is true. She told us that she knows she will be baptized at some time, she just doesn't know for sure yet when. She feels like she doesn't have enough strength and courage to be baptized yet. She still has a few things to work out and then, in the due time of the Lord, she will be baptized. What a beautiful event it was to hear her say those words and to see that the power of the Spirit made itself manifest in her heart. She knows that it is true. I told her, "Arberesha, just promise me waiting for baptism won't make you forget about your answer!" She said to me, "Forte, I will never forget. I can never forget those feelings. They are deep in my heart now and I can never deny it!" I was feeling the spirit so incredibly strong in our meeting this week. I love her. I love her desire to want to be 100% ready for baptism. Because when she finally commits, she will never, ever, fall away!
My cutie little companion enjoying the rain storm!
Totally candid! 
We also taught our Shtufi family family at the beginning of this week and they are progessing! They are reading the Book of Mormon and loved the Plan of Salvation that we taught. They really are a special family and I am honored to be teaching such amazing people. They are out of town this week for summer vacation, so we are having to push back their baptism date, because we wont be able to meet them, but keep praying for them! 
Our other progressing investigator, Pajtim, is doing so awesome. He finally kept his commitment and read a few chapters in the Book of Mormon. We watched the Restoration movie with him and he loved it. He said, "wow, now I have such a better understanding of how Joseph Smith felt when he was looking for the truth, because I am doing the same thing now!" I absolutely love when these people have their "ah-ha!" moments, because I can't give that to them! Those are all possible through the spirit! :)
So even though this week, not many things went on, we didn't find many people, and our investigator pool is stagnant, we have so many little miracles to be grateful for. Today I read one of my favorite, most simple passage from the Bible in Thesalonnians 5:16. All says two simple words that clearly dictate the attitude that we must have when we have challenges: "Rejoice evermore!"
I love that. That's all we have to do. We have all been given so much and we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. We have many things to rejoice about! The Church is true. God loves each and every one of us and I know without a doubt he hears and answers each of our prayers. Let us rejoice and be grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives! 
All of my love,
Your favorite missionary,
Sister Shauntel Louise Forte

ps. sorry for the novel. I hope you enjoy :)