Dear Family and Friends-
I think that each week here in Albania just gets better and better! (Maybe it is because I am actually starting to figure out what the people are saying). This week an old woman told Motra Coleman and me, that we had "cookie faces!" I love the Albanian people.
We are just busy teaching lessons this week! We have a baptism on Friday. She was taught by the last sisters who were here, we just have helped her get to her baptism date. But I am really excited because she comes from a rough home life, and I know how much the Gospel means to her. I am just excited for her to have that constant gift of the Holy Ghost in her life, because it is will really help her with everything.
We also got our cute little family to come to church this week! The dad couldn't come, but the mom's name is Esmerlda and she has two little daughters, ages 10 and 9. We walked to church with them. The little girl, Regina, held my hand all the way to church. She is adorable. She can speak some English and I can speak some Albanian haha, so we just talk and try to figure out what we are saying. I think I have always had a testimony of going to church, but taking the that family to church changed my whole perspective. When the Sacrament got passed around, Esmerlda told all of her daughters that this was the time when you thought of the Savior and prayed to God. I was so impressed! It really made me realize how lucky we are, to get to do that each week and remember what the Savior did for us.
Our other favorite family is Gurie and her little daughter Alexia. If her husband is there, we teach him too but he is usually in a fshat (a village) because that is the only place he can get work. Motra Coleman and I always prepare things to teach when we go over there, but she ends up teaching us. I have never meet someone with so much faith! We were going to teach her about fasting this week, but she said "Oh, I know fasting works, I believe it with all my heart." Then she told us that when her daughter Alexia was born, it was just her in the hospital. She gave birth all alone, her husband and mom both couldn't be there. Then after she was born, she had that facial deformity and the doctor told her that she wouldn't live. The doctors just said "I will put her under a sedative and she will pass away" but Gurie said "No, I know she can live!". So they took her daughter away, but after a while Gurie overheard the doctor say they were still going to give her the sedative, so Gurie gets out of bed, just after having a C-section, steals into the nursery and grabs her daughter and gets in a taxi and goes home all by herself. Then she fasted that her daughter would live and Alexia lived! It was the most amazing story. That is how it basically is every time, we have something to teach her but she ends up teaching us. But she is getting baptized on May 2nd and I am just so excited for her. I never met someone who puts so much trust in God.
Although I have only been in Albania for 3 weeks, I have really felt my testimony of faith increase. There are certatinly moments out here when you wonder what you are doing. I think that every missionary has that. There are moments when you wonder if you will ever get this langauge, because it all sounds like gibbersh. Or walk for miles in the rain to a cancled appointment, or people throw pamphlets of the Restoration on the ground, or tell you that everything you believe is a lie. And I know I haven't even experienced half of it (I haven't even been here for a full month!) But there are certainly moments like that in every missionaries life when you just wonder but I can tell you that I believe it is really is best thing I have ever done. Because then you see people like Gurie and Esmerlda and I am reminded why I am here. My favorite scripture has become, Matthew 14:31 "And immediately, Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" I have seen Jesus stretched forth his hand IMMEDIATELY for me in my life since I have been here, and I know that He does that for everyone, and waits with His arms forever outstretched.
I love you all and thank you for your prayers and support!
Love, Motra J