Saturday, December 2, 2017

   This is how the Albanians stack their hay!  Like the little stair at the top so they can climb it and stand on the top.   I wonder how many broken bones have happened trying to do just that!  These haystacks are EVERWHERE!   

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sometimes you Meet the truly Meek
Those who are a special quiet supporting Force
of Goodness!  
 Her name is Motra Jennifer Saldana 


There is something endearing about those Macedonian Elders!  They are are rare and wonderful breed of men!  
And they are STYLING! 


Wait!---there is something strangely odd about this picture!  Have I shrunk?  Are the Macedonian Elders Giant?  Is Elder Lords a want-a-be Macedonian?   I look minuscule in this picture!  I am not little by any means!  Can't figure it out!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gone are the Summer Days

We had lovely Picnics, 


We played volleyball, soccer, played chess and checkers on the grass.  We ate and enjoyed the beach...    

In the Fall we had Stake Conference and Super Saturday/ Conference.  
We used our funds to take our branch across the country on long bus rides to go to these conferences so they could meet and see the possibilities of growth in their branch and what church buildings are like and how they function.....It was very expensive, but we felt that it was important for them to go.  We always want to use our funds appropriately and choosing what will make a difference is often hard to decide!
We are trying to give our new members a vision of a how the church works through it members.  That the members teach each other under the direction of a branch or ward leader/bishop.  That they counsel with each other , clean their own chapels, create activities to unify and then clean up after themselves. 
We encourage them to sing together and take turns leading the singing.  We invite them to prepare gospel doctrine talks for church and they do a fantastic job!   I have to say that the people in Pogradec do not know how wonderful they give talks and present themselves so well with really very little direction.  I am so impressed with their talks and beautiful prayers and how they pray for each other.
    Everything is so new to them we forget that our branch has only been members for less than a year!  The youth and the adults are uniquely impressive!
 We always try to be the example and show them what it will be like when they will be in charge of their own wards and have callings.  It is impressive indeed how well and willing they help and understand.
What can I say.... These people are AWESOME!  

We Now Have Sister Missionaries!
I love having sisters missionaries!  They add so much to help our Pogradec.  They balance out our male/female membership and do only what a sister can do.

Pogradec Group is Growing, Learning, and we are having Families come!  I would love to see everyone have the opportunity to go to the Italian Temple when it opens.  How special would that be?  We are helping them chart their family history and hopefully it is and will be meaningful to them to connect their family histories.  We do all that we can as our time goes so quickly!
   We  love them all!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I cross the line today:

Standing in line for school books with one of our members who really didn't want to stand in line and wait.  I cross the line and became that MOTHER who was making her son get in line until you die getting those books because you need to get your homework done!!!!

 Suddenly I jumped the line from helper and assistant to BOSSY MOMMY FACE!  I was thrown back dealing with my own 16 year old boys that would roll their eyes when they didn't want to do anything to help themselves !!!!

I crossed the line--- Lost my patience and I keep asking myself How does my love for this kid turn into a frustrated missionary?

There must have been something in the air because we all seem to be dealing nervously about the changes.  Summer ending, school starting, we just started our English courses again, we also have more missionaries and movement at the church.

Change is good but also it is hard to have the energy to get going.

Our Pogradec really had a nice summer.  Lots of sun and play and freedom
I am having a hard time with the changes --Our young adults and youth must surely be feeling the tug-of-war of emotions that come with change of schools, change of teachers, life changes, the unknown future.

Where can we turn for PEACE?

Ask for Forgiveness, Love Others and ourselves as Christ would Love,--- Choose to be Grateful.
 This brings Peace and Happiness.

Today in English class we learned of a young man who was selfless.  His selfless behavior made him a hero to others.
Today we also learned that it takes effort  and action to behave selflessly.  Some may ask why must I always be selfless when others are not?

The answer is:  Because Greater Wisdom and Understanding come from selfless behavior and forgiveness.
In the end...... That which is of greater worth belongs to those with great Patience.

Can I just thank my children today who are ever forgiving of their BOSSY FACE MOTHER and who rarely if ever fought or raised their voices.  

I think the most heartbreaking times here have been when my loved ones in our branch are angry with each other.  They can be mad at the world, with work, with school,   but when they raise their voices in anger to each other..... It wounds me!  I become heartbroken.  

God has given me a heart that can forgive..... for this I am deeply grateful
I want this for everyone!  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Have you eaten your "Mana" before it Softens and goes bad??

There is a green grape/plum like fruit that comes off the tree.  We watched as the owner was only picking the fruit for just the night meal.  We talked about about what a unique fruit it was and how we enjoyed eating this green plum grape shape fruit that was surprisingly sweet.

They told the elders that you have to pick it every day that within the day it turns bad.  Wow ok we will make sure to eat it within a few hours.   "What is the name of this fruit?"  Oh, it's name is an ancient name..... "Manna"................  We smiled and said....... "we will eat just a little bit everyday"......
Thanked them, Said good night to them and good bye to them in about 4 different ways as is custom. Then, ate our blessed "Mana" before the time period was up.

Reading Scriptures has definitely become our "Manna" during this mission.  A day without it and our spirits go soft and then turn negative.    Manna will always be a literal, physical fruit of the spirit forever more.

There are those here who are living just day to day not really knowing where the next job or payment will be sometimes and quite often relying on family members to help them.  They somehow have the mental  block that working for a little is better than not working at all. Some here feel helpless so they do nothing!   We try and try to help them have the blessings of paying a tithe.  The one commandment that you can fulfill perfectly and has a given promise for the Lord..... They have never experienced that blessing so they cannot see or trust..... Oh how we want them to see it work in their lives and given them Godly Power beyond their own.  How do we teach this....Yes it is hard, but they need only to test it and see for themselves.....

For me paying Tithing is such a privilege because I am so very aware that "IT IS ALL HIS ANYWAY!"

Saturday, August 5, 2017

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I had just about all the PIZZA  I can eat for awhile.   Lorin wanted to eat out and I like to just cook for us in (basically not pizza or sulfate.. again).... And I have had some intestinal trouble here since February when we ate the goat brain soup...

So enough with the pizza.  I had Lorin take us to a nicer white linen cloth restaurant that didn’t have Pizza on the menu.

Here it is:  Never complain because--- maybe just maybe pizza is a better idea:
What would you choose?  Bon Appetite!  YUMMY!  You can also get goat brains if you order in advance!  Keep that on you memory for you next meal!
I think Lorin was going for the veal entail glands. Let’s just say, I ordered greasy rice and a greek salad AGAIN!

When we eat in other cities the food is SOOOO GOOD!!!!  But here—they have a funky kind of Greasy menu going.
Lorin had a good laugh by my choice of a better restaurant! The Stuffed spleen was tempting!


Combined Seminary in Korce!

We love our Seminary Students!  We are studying the book of Mormon, getting ready for FSY and having a combined TREASURE HUNT together!  Pizza and Watermelon the staples of life around here.  Those are our Elder Samuel Carr and Farnworth in the background.  Elder Sami goes to home to England in a few weeks.... we will really miss him!!! 

Frenki, Manol, Costa, Alexa, Linda Rei me and Rea.


Saimir, Manol, Costa, Linda, Alexa

Check out the boat on the beach. first motorboat I've seen,  but the trailer is submerged in the lake still.  Sure would like to know the whole story on the boat.  Did they try to pull the trailer without an automobile?  Whatever, it happened in the night.  next day there was a boat on the beach.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thoughts for the Day...........................................
This past few weeks I have spoken to at least 5 PEOPLE who have gone to the United States or Germany to pursue what they thought would be the dream of their lives.  They would get jobs and get lots of money and be happier!

Some of the first things they found is that people afar are much different!  That school and work was very hard .   That once they became aware of how much everything cost:  Insurance, living expenses and especially food that all their hard work didn't go as far as they thought.  Also, they were STARVING once again with the INCOME of their dreams because....... NOW THEY WANTED EVEN MORE!  Cars, cell phones, expensive shoes and clothing.

Moreover,  the temptation to do something illegal became ever and increasing enticing.  Why, because there just are not that many RULES in Albania as there are in the States or Germany.   Every time they got ahead there was a ticket to pay or a cost for doing it "the Albanian" way.
One of the men I talked to got kicked out of Germany never able to return because he just could not conform within the laws.  They just didn't make sense to him.

Often I have talked about this with my English class as they would say "take me with you back to America".  I always respond...." be careful what you wish for."... What truly is  most important and precious to you?  Money or Family?  They always agree that it is family .  To leave is to leave your family and all the celebrations, the dinners, the jokes and the comfort of living and loving family brings IS HAPPINESS!
To speak a foreign language is really fun and exciting!  However,  when you are sick or scared it is so comforting to have someone speak and take care of you in your native language.
Love Is Patient Love Is Kind Print / Love Never Fails Sign / 1 Corinthians 13 / Wedding Gift Print / Gift for Newlyweds / Bible Verse Print This
Those who leave often come back tattooed and with morals that are not becoming.  So is that better?  I do not think so.

These people in Pogradec are very sweet and  always kind.  They are gracious and willing to help others. This beautiful town has fresh food, beautiful flowers growing everywhere, plenty of places to stop and have a cold soda with a friend.   Also living in a small town anywhere in the world, you get to know and love your Bread man, or the lady that sews up your husbands pants, or the family that you get your copies printed. The man that you buy your fruits and vegetables knows you by name.   You love them and they are happy to see you.  There is a friendship that exists.  In bigger cities there is not that camaraderie.
The people I talked to also mentioned that going away from home has created a more selfish attitude. They look at their home as if they are above it-- more special.  They have become well, how should I say it, RUDE and Arrogant  toward their own family and friends.

Are they changed?  Yes... For the better?..... I do not think so.

Everyday someone here tells me.. Oh I have a son or a daughter or an uncle in the United States, England or Germany--I say, Oh are they happier?  They respond, "Oh, they have lots of money, or they live in a Palace,  but then I say to them, "Are they happier?"
  Usually the response is ..... They miss their family or they came to visit and cried when they had to leave.


Family, Church, Friends, and confidence that .... you are right with God is HAPPINESS AND LOVE.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sister Power--Monika's Mother was baptized!  Just wonderful!

These are some wonderful people. Brother Salami, Elder Samuel, Elder Farni, Arian

Can Someone out there help me make one of these for Lorin?!  A three wheeled motorcycle that has rain protection and a basket with mirrors!  Padded interior for Cush and a light for when it gets dark.  
Peace on the Plazh

Our last Sacrament Meeting was a beautiful experience.  There was a spirit of peace and learning that I was so very happy to be apart of it all.
Sadly not all our members were there and I wished they could have been. We shared together a bond that spoke "We are here together to Pray together, to uplift and support one another, and to be at peace because we know that God is watching us.  We feel protected by our obedience and allow ourselves to trust in Christ's Atonement.  He has already Paid our entrance.  If we will accept His gift and simply obey his commandments, pray to him, read his map of instructions we can return home.
He asks us all to be fishers of men.... To simply share what we know with others.
The Plan of Salvation is something that when taught--- People will recognize like they always knew it , they just hadn't heard it.
This week we truly had Peace on the Plazh.....
National Park July 10--Galicica and Lake Ohrid--

We have driven past this area right off the Lake in Macedonia.  It is a museum of ancient way of life where they show how people used to live and survive off the lake. Apparently there are many foxes even bear in the area and opossum squirrel and of course Fishing season is year round.  Most National Parks in Macedonia are closed to the public on Monday our P-day but this particular Monday.... It was open!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Evening Baptism at the Lake:

Gjergi's Baptism:

Elder Winegar and Elder Weidman having too much fun with the Wheelchairs!  The are testing them out!