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,