Friday, April 18, 2014

This week was incredible. I don't even know how to write about everything.

April 10th a year ago I had just arrived at the MTC. There are a lot of things here that remind me of that time. 
First, learning a new language. Our language study now is spent trying to learn this new dialect. Geg. Just like we were learning Tosk before. 
Second, we talk to people outside on benches. At the MTC, I remember going outside and practicing teaching each other on benches and walking around. That is literally what we do here. I love it. 
Third, its SPRING! 

Fun story. We found a name, phone number and map in our area book and decided we would call them. She invited us to come but...the map was pretty rough. It based everything off the location of a mosque...Something you should know about Kosovo is that chapels to Utah is like Mosques to Kosovo. Which mosque was it talking about?? We tried asking her on the phone which mosque she was close to but didn't understand. So we had her explain it to a random citizen we stopped to help us. We got the name of the mosque and after talking to half the people on the way as well as her neighbors we found it! What the miracle! 

It was crazy the plans that didn't work out so that better things could happen. We realized towards the end of the week we needed higher goals than what we had set. Saturday night we realized we were 5 lessons away from the standard of excellence so we made a goal to have 5 lessons on Sunday. Guess how many planned lessons went through that day. Zero. Guess how many lessons we had. 5. It was literally a miracle. We felt so blessed. 

Also. This one time we tracked a building with 111 doors. 

This other time we were riding an elevator to eat at the restaurant at the top. The other man in the elevator was also going to the same floor. He asked if we were friends of the Hotel. We said, nope, just eating here.We asked if he was going to be eating there too. He said no but wished our meal well..and then said that he was actually the owner of the whole place. What?! And then we got appetizers "on the house". But he left before we could talk to him. BUT our waiter is coming to our English course this week. 

We went to a waterfall today. It was beautiful. Even more beautiful was waving to all the people in the country as we passed. We drove with the Senior couple and they just smiled and waved at everyone we passed. Pretty soon we were all doing it. I really love the people here. There have been through some pretty hard things here. But they are so good. They have such good hearts. I just love them.

This Sunday the second branch in Kosovo was created! Woot woot! President Jones here used to be branch president of the whole country! Can you imagine that?! Its so exciting to see the growth here. The Lord is hastening his work all over the world. It never ceases to amaze me. I love being a missionary. I love the Lord. 

May we be seen well together! 
Motra Curtis

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A whole new world...

Kosovo, a dazzling place I never knew. There are so many things that are different! The currency. Instead of Lek we use euros. Phone numbers. Instead of ### - ## - ## - ### its a ### - ### - ### and a new area code. Instead of shaking their head back and forth for yes, its means no again (and I had just gotten used to it!). Most people call back when you call them. Everyone is Muslim (pretty much) and not just Muslim by tradition but there are many practicing Muslims. I thought Albania was Muslim but Kosovo is so much more. People have lower voices (even the women). People are taller. This city is huge! (I went from one of the smallest cities in Albania to one of the largest-if not THE largest city in Kosovo). The apartment is small. I went from probably one of the biggest apartments to the smallest. Its a quaint little 3 room apartment (bathroom, kitchen/living, bed room) I seriously love it. We'll be moving into the senior couple's apartment downstairs next month when they leave. Which will be the saddest day of my life. They are seriously the best. Also we go running with members in the morning. Running, yeah, in a park. Reminds me of when my sisters and I went running with our sister missionaries in the morning. I'm working on trying to get a group going to play sports or something...they are willing to come even early in the morning...whaaat?!  Awesome.

The Jones. Motra Jones is such an amazing missionary. We got to teach a lesson with her and she is fantastic. She knows her people. She is bold. She is loving. She asks inspired questions. She IS inspiring. We also watched the Priesthood session together as a district at their apartment and she made us an amazing 3 course meal (Salad with the works then roast beef/gravy/mashed potatoes/steamed broccoli THEN strawberry shortcake for dessert.) The food was delicious. The session was AMAZING! We kept wondering how the next talk was going to follow the last but they were all so good! All the other sessions we watched in Albanian. I love General Conference.

The language. This ain't the language they taught me in the MTC! Literally. They did not teach me this dialect. Oh boy is it different. For example. "Are you coming?"-English, "A po vini?" or "A jeni duke ardhur?" -clean tosk Albanian, "A keni kah me ardh?"-dirty geg albanina. Wow. But Motra Hawkins and I are doing our best to learn it. I feel like I'm at the MTC all over again, both of us just trying to figure it out. It funny since both of us have been on the training program pretty much our whole mission (technically not with my mini missionary but there was a lot of training that went on...side note: she got her mission call to the London England mission!). Its the first time since I was trained that I have a more experience companion. Its the first time since she was trained that she doesn't have a brand spanking new companion. We are gonna paint this city!
We have an awesome district. Today we went up to the place where Kosovo was dedicated almost 4 years ago. We read the dedication. It was powerful. Then we prayed together as a district, kinda dedicating our transfer together. It was a sacred moment. A sacred place. Then a car drove by blasting some rap music. What do you do? I'm really excited to be serving here. 

There have been tender mercies and miracles alike. After tracking/finding for hours I just wanted to teach a lesson since we hadn't had one all day (or the day before...traveling...) We went to the church to call numbers on our phone. A woman walks into the church and has a lesson with us...bringing her friend. She walked into the church people!! Right after I had expressed to Motra Hawkins that I just wanted to teach a lesson. The Lord answers the prayers of the heart.

Sorry this got so long. I had SO much to talk about!! I absolutely love it here. I started with the differences I'll end with the similarities. The members are awesome! People are nice. The work is hastening. The church is true. Probably lots more but I'm running out of time.

From the land of Kosovo! 
Motra Curtis

p.s. The Top picture is us when we first arrived!