Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Letter #58 we'll keep marching on and on and on.

The weeks are speeding up faster and faster. I cannot even believe that it is monday again?! What in the world people? Where is the time going?!
I really cannot even think about the reality that Sister Wendt will be leaving me in 2 weeks, and then my final transfer will begin. It blows my ever-living mind!

So Fier this week. Wowza. Every week a new problem and every week a new miracle! I have really come to recognize the blessings that God tucks in between every rocky road. Lately things have been a whirlwind. I got to the point where I kind of just felt like the work was at a stand still because of all of the problems with the members and that this branch would never grow. After the many prayers and miraculous creation of our stake, the fire has been rekindled inside me and I am determined to help this branch grow. I want to leave Fier better than I found it. This is all I want for these people.
 here is me, wendy, and bela sitting in a flower patch in Ballsh ;)
So just when I thought we would never have any new progressing investigators, the Lord blessed us through our wonderful Sister Gjika, an old member, with a mother and her two precious daughters! The mother's name is Liliana and her twin daughters names are Viviana and Joana. They are such a wonderful family and they just have that glow about them. They are ready and waiting for the Gospel! The girls came to English course and got a little more familiar with the church there, and now they are on fire! The first meeting we had with them was so great. They were so intentive and it was as if they were hungry to keep learning more. We came back to next day to teach them and both of the girls had read the pamphlets and read from the Book of Mormon. We set a baptismal date and they were very excited. The mother was a bit more hesitant but very open. The twins came to church and seemed to really love it. They live above their restaurant about 15 minutes out of town and have a lot of land and animals behind their house! We got to hold their bunnies and play with their dogs after the lesson ;)

It was such a breath of fresh air to have a new family to teach that the Lord pretty much handed to us through a member. So awesome :) 
We also had a wonderful zone conference this week! President and Sister Ford always know what to say. I feel so lucky to have them as my leaders!

This is me milking a cow! Yeah, its real! I really did it! 
Dream come true my friends! hahaha.
On Saturday we went to a recent converts' village called Ballsh with her brother and the elders to do service and it was such a blast. Guess what mom?! I finally milked a cow! It was the coolest thing ever. Who knew I would get a chance to do it on my mission! Not i! haha. We helped to turn the land over on a piece of their property and got to milk their cow. Such a blast. Later they fed us homemade fshat bread, green olives, homemade cheese and I tried to choke down some Dhall which is basically sour milk with salt and chunks of yogurt. It was terrible. Definitely not something I will be drinking ever again.. Yuck.. Overall, it was a great service activity!

While serving in the difficult city of Fier, I have learned quite a bit about patience and gratitude. Towards the beginning of my stay I was constantly thinking, "Oh if only the branch here would get along." or "Oh I would rather be in Kosovo.." but I have really come to understand that the Lord has put me in this area for reason whether it was to help the people learn to love eachother, or whether it was all for me to learn patience. Regardless, I have really come to love it here in Fier. I have come to realize that regardless of our circumstances, we can learn to love it and be grateful for the tender mercies that the Lord gives to us. 
In my reading, I stumbled across the end of 1 Nephi 1:20, and it made a big impression on me..

 20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had acastout, and stoned, and slain; and they also bsought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance.

I was completely struck by this scripture as I know that at this time I have been chosen of the Lord to serve Him and He has shown me His tender mercies. Because our my faith, I know that no matter what struggles or hardships that I face, the Lord will always show me His tender mercies and bless me. There is always a silver lining my friends. It's just up to us to look past the big black billowing clouds and see it.

I am so grateful for this mission that is constantly teaching me things I could never have learned anywhere else. I love my mission and I love my Savior. I will continue to serve Him with all that I have!

Until next week my loved ones!
Shaunie Bear<3