Dear Family and Friends-
Another amazing week here in the beautiful land of Albania! This week, Motra Coleman and I did an exchange in the city of Vlore. It was gorgeous! It is right next to the Adriatic Sea. It is where most of the tourists go. We went there and I went out with Sister Olsen and Motra Coleman went out with Sister Beezus. It was really fun. We got to eat a place right by the sea, and smell the salty air. It was quite great. We had more fun driving there then anything else. The Albanian countryside is soo pretty!
It is funny being here for only a month and picking up on the little things that Albanians do. When people talk now, I always shake my head back and forth like them. When I first got here I thought they were shaking their heads like "no, no, no" but it actually means "yes, yes I am listening to you". And the other night we woke up to the sound of hundreds, literally hundreds of dogs running down the street. They were barking like crazy and it was almost like a bad nightmare! It was kind of scary. But luckily they only do that at night and we live on the 9th floor. The other funny thing, is every time I introduce myself they pause "Wait, like Michael Jackson, do you know him?!' I guess they really like him here in Albanian. But just some cultural stuff for you.
We have just been swamped this week with lessons, which is something I can never complain about. People are so ready here to hear the gospel! We are teaching this one new girl named Syla. She has quite possibly had the hardest life I have ever heard. We had a lesson with her this week and it didn't start off so good, but then we starting talking about miracles. We taught from Mormon 9 and read it with her. The Spirit just came into the room and all the sudden this girl changed. She is really quite tough on the outside because of all she has been through, but the moment we talk about the Gospel she changes. I have never really experienced anything like it. The Spirit changes people's hearts in a way I didn't know was possible. Then she offered the most beautiful prayer I think I have ever heard. I think Heavenly Father really helped me understand it so I could feel the Spirit of it. Everyone in the room was crying because her prayer was so sincere and so humble. I don't think I will ever forget kneeling in the small little shack and praying wtih Syla. It was a type of moment that missionaries live for!
Another cool thing that happened this week, we taught the Plan of Salvation to this super solid investigator named Mertia. And the look on her face when we explained stuff, I realized that this was the first time she had heard this before. I realized I have been taking the Plan of Salvation for granted. That knowledge to me is so much more precious. I think we teach so many lessons we sometimes forget, hey this person has never heard this before. But I realized, how lucky I am to know things and have the Gospel in my life!
I think I have realized this more and more on my mission that miracles are real. Like what we read with Syla, in Mormon 9, God still gives us miracles. They aren't neccessarily always miracles like feeding the 5,000 or the dead coming back to life, but if you look for them and ask for them and work for them, God gives them to you! I have really come to see how loving He is, how personal He is with each of His children. The gospel is true, that is all I have to say.
Thank you for all your love and support and emails and letters! I love you all!
Love, Motra Jackson