Monday, December 30, 2013

Letter #47 The Reason of the Season

So I feel real spoiled because in 9 days I get to skype home!!! bahhhhhh! So I am kinda freaking out. I am so excited and I feel oh so blessed to be able to see my loved ones on this special day!
Us girlies goofing off today in our cute albanian traditional costumes :)
The work this week has been pretty great. Me and Sister Robertson set some pretty high goals and although we didn't quite meet all of them, we had the best week I have had my whole mission. So many lessons taught. So many people seen. The Lord can work miracles when you set a goal. He helps you attain it! . . . Or get pretty dang close in our case. I am so excited and I am so motivated to work that much harder this week!
I love Sister Robertson. She is a visionary companion, I'll tell ya. She is so great with setting goals and not stopping until we attain them. She has taught me a whole lot throughout the chunk of time we have been blessed to have together on our missions. I just love her. Maybe I should ask President to stay will her for the rest of my mission? haha. Just playin! I know that would never happen.
Serious albanian face.
This week we went and visited one my favorite Albanian families. The Dishnicas. There is a mom and a dad and they have two boys who are married in the temple. The only one that isn't a member is the father, Ylli Dishnica. And let me tell ya, he is a sweetheart! Their family is the best and literally is among the strongest in the whole country. We have been teaching with the father to helping him come closer to joining his family in the faith! He knows it is all true. I can just feel it in my bones. But he just won't act. He works on Sunday and this is a HUGE obstacles for him. Hopefully come the new year, he will be able to turn a new leaf and close down their watch shop on Sundays! It would be an absolute miracle. Today we actually went to their shop and I treated myself. Hope that's okay mom and dad. I got two new beautiful watches and I am so excited about them. They give us the "special missionary discount"! They are the best family ever.
Today us Sisters in Tirana went and took pictures in Albanian Traditional Clothing! bahhhhhh! They are going to be classic. We won't get them until wednesday, so I will show ya on skype! They will be classic. Those outfits are a HOOT!!!!! haha.
Talk about winter whiteness.. and delicious sundays 
at Stephens Center (the american paradise)
I am so grateful for this wonderful time that I have been able to spend a world away for the holidays. Although it is very different being away during this special time, it has already been so rewarding. It will be the first and hopefully the last Christmas I will have away from home, but it will be a great one. It will be a great one because no matter where we are in the world, we can feel His love. This time of the year is for us to think about Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of the World. He truly is the Reason for the Season. What a special time of year it is and may we all share the love that fills our hearts with others through out this season! 

"6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God , The Everlasting Father , The Prince of Peace ." 

This scripture says it all. Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God, was born into the world, to bring peace and joy to every man. He is the Prince of Peace, and as long as we have faith in Him, we can have all that He has to offer us.

I love you all and I cannot wait to skype you in 9 days! Ahhhhhh, I am not counting down or anything.. By the way, don't forget. 9:30 am-12:30 pm your time. That would be 5:30-8:30 pm my time :) Sound good? I sure hope so! I love you soooooo.
Have a blissful Christmas season.
I love ya lots.. all of ya'll :)

Love Sister Shauntel Forte

Letter #46 may all your days be merry and bright.. :)

I am so full of the Christmas Spirit this past week and it is just beginning! It is pretty surreal being away from home for the holidays to say the least, but it is definitely an unforgettable experience! It is so wild because there are Christmas trees up everywhere, but these crazy albanians call them New Years Trees! I just like to pretend that they all really are celebrating the glorious birth of their Lord and Savior :)
This week was one for the books. Talk about the highest of highs and the lowest of lows..
Hear come the lows first.
Here is our district Christmas card by yours truly ;)
On Friday night we ran over to the Krasniqi's to get them to sign a permission slip for Drita and Jurgen to go to this Super Saturday activity with all of the youth of the Church in Albania. After a few attempts of them hearing us outside, Pranvera came to the door, looking at the ground and said, "I am sorry but we no longer want to learn from you girls. We do not want to divide our family and would ask that you no longer come to our house to teach us." I was so shocked. Hit with a Concrete wall of Godly Sorrow I guess you could say. It was rough. I won't lie. I have been working with this loving family from the beginning and watched them grow in their faith. They tasted of the goodness. They felt the Spirit. But now they want no part of it. That was a dagger for sure.
Then directly afterwards, we went to visit a member with two less-active children, one of which has severe depression problems he is working with. As of lately, he has been very out of control and has been ripping up all of the books in their home, including their scriptures, and has been cutting up the drapes, and being very violent. As his mother is telling us about these terrible things, he barges into the room and yells, "You! Stand up! Get out of our house! You are not welcome here! If you don't leave, I will kill you both!" We were both completely traumatized but did as he said as quickly as possible. His mother tried to calm him down, but it was use

less. We left their house and he pushed his mother out of the house and locked the door in the pouring rain. My heart hurt so badly for this poor woman that she has to go through this difficult trial in her life. We comforted her and she returned to a neighbors house. All is well now and the branch president is working on helping the situation. 
Our cute little albanian hipster :)
Lets end with the highs.
My dearest Suida Shima got baptized this weekend! Can you believe it? I am just on cloud nine for her right now! Her baptism happened. Although there were a few minor setbacks and pitfalls, it happened and it was beautiful! When I went back to help her change into her regular clothes after she was baptized, she started laughing and said, "I swallowed water!" hahaha. Poor thing! She forgot to hold her nose and swallowed a bit of water! Bless her little heart.. Other than that, it was lovely and beautiful! The day before she was baptized, we watched finding faith in Christ and had an extremely special spiritual moment together. Tears were streaming down her face as she watched her Savior bless the sick and afflicted. After the movie she said, "Girls, I am so happy and grateful that i met you. I know that God sent you to me to help me through out this life." I was so deeply touched. I love this girl with my whole heart and I know that she is a part of the reason I was sent to this mission. 
We got yummy desserts together at this cute little bakery! So much fun!
ps. the background is italy.. but i promise we never left albania! haha.

Although this mission is difficult at times, I know that the Lord is with us every step of the way. This is His work and we are His messangers of truth. Regardless of the agency of men, this work will continue to go forth. NOTHING CAN STOP THIS WORK.

I love you all so much and hope that your days are merry and bright during this Christmas season. May the Lord always be in our hearts and may be share His love with those around us. I love you and hope you have a fabulous week!

love your missionary,

Motra Forte<3

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter #45 the week of thanks

This will be my second thanksgiving away from home, but this time around, it is taking on a whole new meaning. I feel as if I have come to a whole new sense of gratitude that I have never reached in my entire existence! It is mind-blowing.. I wish I could explain it in a more comprehensible way, but that's all I got!
Because it is the week of thanks, I thought I would start off with a few of my thanks.
This week I have been focusing on simply praying about what I am thankful for. I have been given so much and I have so much to be grateful for! So often we get sucked into the trap of asking, asking, asking, in our prayers, that we forget to thank, thank, thank! This is, in fact the most important thing we can do is show our gratitude for our Heavenly Father!
This week I went on an exchange with my dear Sister Kokol. 
She is a balleressss :) (those are her terms..)
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary at this special time in the history of the church! This really is the prime time of missionary work and the Lord is hastening His work! I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and for the great love He has for each of us that He sent His Beloved Son to us that we might be able to partake of His grace and happiness! I know that this is His plan of Happiness and if we but have faith in Him and act on that faith, we can take part in His eternal love that He so freely offers us.
Me and my dear Sister Robertson! We took this last week so her eye is looking solid now! :)
How amazing it is to be His messenger of truth and light. I wish I could just tell everyone how happy this Gospel makes me. There is no greater joy. I am sure of it.
We found this cool grafiti wall that says, "Beso!" which means "Believe!" I thought it was fitting ;)
I also am so grateful for all of my wonderful family and friends that are supporting me back home.. You are all my angels. Your little bits of encouragement and love rejuvenate me for another week of hard work. I am so blessed to have been surrounded with so many inspiring people that helped get be to where I am today.
I am so grateful for the Spirit. I have learned and grown so much being able to recognize when I have it, and when it leaves. I need it always in this work. Without it, I am nothing.. I am just another punk kid on the block wearing a name tag! But I am not. I am His representative and I will wear His name with pride.
The fight vs. Good and Evil. Woke up to this beautiful sight!
I am so grateful for my incredible companion Sister Robertson. She is such an phenomenal missionary in every aspect of the work. Her strength keeps me pushing forward and motivates me to work harder. She is my hero.
I lastly am so grateful for all of the amazing people the Lord has hand-placed in our path. We have been so very blessed to have had the Lord's guidance throughout this past transfer. This week I went on an exchange in 2nd and 4th Branch in Tirana and in those branches people are literally coming out of nowhere saying they want to be baptized! Like, WHAT THE?!! The Lord is preparing these people. In some cases, we hardly have to search! 

The work is going! We taught a new family this week, two kids, and the mom. The kids names are Bjorni and Bjornisa! They are the cutest and like many others, they were found in English course! HECK YEAH! Suida is getting baptized on December 7th and I can hardly sit still in my sit! I cannot wait for her. She is just so ready :)
As for my golden Krasniqi's.. a bit of sad news.. They have cancelled on us twice and we have not met with them for a whole week and a half. It is a bit discouraging, but I will not give up on them! They need these things in their lives. I will not stop!

This Thursday for Thanksgiving we are having a Mission Conference and I am so excited! My district has been practicing our talent show and it is going to be AWESOME!!! :) We will blow everyone's socks off!

Well family, I hope you have the best Thanksgiving and remember that a little missionary across the globe is grateful for you. You are the best family in the world and I am so blessed to have each of you in my life..

Love your love,
Motra Forte

Ju dua juve më shumë sesa ju mund të kuptoni!!!!!!! <3
This is me with Skënderbeu! He is an Albanian war hero! This is right in the Center of the City!

Letter #44 Happiness

So this week was the kind of weeks where you look and think, "well, what did we learn from this week?" haha. The beautiful thing is each week is what you make it!
Sister Andrews, one of our dear Senior Couples, shared with us this beautiful quote that shaped my week. "The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything!" 
Isn't that the cutest! I just thought that was so applicable for this week! 
So what really defines our happiness as missionaries? Is it the few bumps in the road, or the great joy of bringing this gospel to those people that so desperately need it in their lives?
Here were some of our bumps:
1. At the beginning of the week, we mistakenly locked ourselves out of the house and had to wait until the next morning to get back in. So that was fun. bahaha. We had some good laughs!
 2. Then, about 6 of our lessons this week were "prished", therefore, they were cancelled and/or they did not show up. That put a minor damper on the week.
Elder Acheson captured the best picture of me telling some
nice man about the Book of Mormon! Isn't it the coolest? haha. I love it.
3. While we were street contacting together with the Elders a massive protest was coming around the corner and we had to pack up and leave quick! haha. We were having so much success too! BUMMER..
All is going SO well being back with Sister Robertson! I am so happy to be serving with her again. She is so adorable and has been such a great example to me. She is such a strength and I absolutely love her.
As for my wonderful people we are working with, I love them so much. I have fallen so in love with the Albanian people despite of their fun quarks!
Luli is doing so well and is wanting to help us out with our lessons, so its an extra bonus! 
I just keep thinking about how incredibly ready Luli really was.. Like if she was an apple, she would've been the ripest one! Maybe a marshmallow analogy would be better.. She was completely "golden" brown and gooey on the inside! :) haha. Okay, just joking. She is so amazing and her testimony just keeps growing and growing. She even told us she wants to serve a mission! WHAT?! haha.
So Suida is also doing so well. She has such a strong testimony and knows that baptism is what she is supposed to do! I love being a part of her growing process, because of her sincerity. She is so ready for this change in her life, although she has been living this way her whole life. 
Although we had a few setbacks/bumps in the road this week, we are walking on sunshine! woahhhhhh! And it feels real good! :D
Not every week in missionary work is going to go amazing, but we can notice the Lord's hands even in the down-weeks. He is the driving force of His work. I am His messanger and I will bring the world His truth!
I love you all so much. Thanks for being the best family ever and for all of your prayers!
I hope all is well back home and that your Thanksgiving Preparations are going well! haha.

Motra Forte

my camera isn't working i will send more next week! got to run! love ya