Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Letter # 21 - Transfer Calls - June 29, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

Well, transfer calls are finally here! And drum-roll....I am going to stay here in Elbasan for another 3 months...but the exciting part is I AM TRAINING. Yup, Sister Jackson the one who is still technically a trainee, is going to train someone else. I could include a whole email just about the emotions I felt, when I heard President tell me that on Saturday night. Everything ranging from excitement, to fear, to pure shock. 

So, that means on Thursday three girls from America will get here, and one will be my new trainee and we will conquer Elbasan together! A lot of thoughts have crossed my mind since I got the call, but I am certain that "Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies."

Besides transfers, Marsida and Endrit got baptized this week. Marsida was the woman I talked about in my last email. It was probably one of the sweetest baptisms with the Spirit just confirming to me that the Atonement is real.

I also gave my first talk here in Albania in sacrament. Needless to say, it was very simple and I told all the members that I needed all there help now that Sister Coleman is leaving. I love the ward members here. There are some of them who sacrifice so much to come to church every week and help the missionaries. It is amazing.

I love you all!

Love, Motra J 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Letter # 20 - Repentance - June 22, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

Is it really Monday again? I don't know how time goes so fast here but every time I sit down at the computer, I can't believe I am here again writing another letter. 

This past week was a really good one. I don't know if any of you remember Xhoana, she was a little 13 year old that got baptized about a month ago. We starting teaching her mom, Marsida, and things were going really well. We were going over the baptism interview questions this last week and it was going really well, until she told that she had 4 abortions. We were a little floored but we just told her that the was the message we had to share: repentance. 

We challenged her to pray about it and we left the house. The next day we had another exchange, so I went to Tirana for the day. So 2 days later when we went back, I thought I was teaching a different person.  I have never seen a person glow so much with the light of Christ. She told us that she prayed about it all night and she felt like God had forgiven her.

I am not sure how repentance works for every person but I can testify that it is real. That the Atonement isn't just a word that missionaries talk about all day, but is a power with the capability to change people.

When we were visiting with her I thought of  the scripture story of Christ and the woman who had committed adultery. All of the them were just waiting for him to accuse her, to condemn her, but instead he said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone." And the fact was Jesus was the only one worthy of that invitation. But he told her to go and sin no more. 

I've realized everyone has a need of this infinite power that Christ extends to everyone. His arm of mercy is extended to everyone. There is no one who does not need His healing grace. And I feel so grateful that I have seen that with Marsida. I testify that the Atonement is real. 

I've always read in the scriptures that it is a missionary's duty to preach repentance. I used to kind of cringe at thinking that I would have to tell people, "REPENT..REPENT" like a priest in church. But I've realized we preach repentance in a different way, we simply ask people to come to Christ and through that people experience the power of repentance. 

And I testify that it has changed Marsida's life and it is changing my life.

Love, Motra J 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Letter # 19 - June 15, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

Life in Albania....this week has been so hot. Whenever we go outside we feel like we are melting like the Wicked Witch of the West, so we have started readjusting our schedules so that we are out later because everyone has nap time in the hot part of the day. Needless to say, we make up for the heat by eating a lot of ice cream.

This week, I wanted to mention a little about the gift of tongues. I remember starting at the MTC and thinking that the gift of tongues was being able to speak fluently someday. It would be like a bolt of lightening and I would be speaking Albanian. Well, after a lot of struggling and prayers, I've realized that it doesn't work like that. The Lord works through small and simple means, and is able to make people like me speak a foreign language that is way beyond my own means to grasp.

This week, we had an exchange and it was Motra Beezus and I back here in Elbasan. I was little nervous because I was supposed to be in charge because it was my area and we had a lot of lessons planned for the day. I don't think I've ever prayed so hard for the gift of tongues before and it came, IT CAME. 

We have one investigator I can never understand, and her house was the last one we were supposed to visit that night. She started talking and I can't explain really what happened but I understood everything she said. Then when we talked, I could tell we were saying something but she was hearing something completely different. She even said, "Your words have made me feel the truth, that Jesus Christ lives". It was incredible. We went back the next day and I couldn't really understand her again, but in that one lesson I can testify to everyone learning a language that the gift of tongues is real. That the gifts of the Spirit make up for everything we can't do.

I love you all! 

Love, Motra J

One of my fav places.

Life at its finest.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Letter # 18 - Bugs and Baptisms - June 8, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

I always say this week was my favorite, but seriously, this week was it. Ledina, Sara, and Violeta were baptized! I think I have kind of indirectly told their story over the last couple of emails but I will do a recap because it is a miracle.

We meet them 3 weeks ago when they came to the English course and we showed the Easter video, Because He Lives, and they just started bawling because their dad had died about a year ago and the video was all about how you can live with your family after this life. And the rest is history. 

We have been over every day since then and I would consider them my second family. I am sometimes overwhelmed at all the love I have for this family! They are so amazing. They also have two boys. One of them is 11 and he is deaf so we aren't really able to teach him and another lives in the orphanage in the city because Violeta can't afford to keep him in the house. It is kind of a sad situation.

But they were baptized on Saturday and it was one of the sweetest experiences of my life. Violeta always wears black because when someone's husband dies here,  you wear black the rest of your life. So when she came out wearing all white, the Spirit was incredible!

So it was a really good week, and as for the title of this email....this week I am pretty sure I ate a bug or spider or two. We went to this family's house and they brought out this pan of manna and it was just covered with spiders, and beetles, and earwigs, and all other fun bugs.Just crawling everywhere. But bugs are protein right? Yum. 

Thank you for all your love and support! 

Love, Motra J 
A beautiful sunset


My Favorite Family.  They are very happy, Albanians just don't smile in pictures!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Letter # 17 - Miracles, Miracles, Miracles - June 1, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

Miracles, miracles, miracles are always here in Elbasan! This week we had another baptism! Her name is Marjeta and she was a member referral from this lady in the ward. It was all going great, but on Thursday we went over and she said, "Sisters, I just got a new job and I am the only one in my family that works, and I don't think I can get time off to get baptized." 

We were a little shocked, but Satan always tries to get people right before baptism. I see it all the time. So we invited her to ask that she would be able to get time off to get baptized. Then we went home and prayed and prayed and prayed. I have never prayed so much! Then we fasted. And the next day, she called and said "Sisters, I didn't just get an hour off, she gave me 2 whole days!" It was a miracle!!!

So, she got baptized on Saturday! It was so great. Most Albanians here are a little afraid of water, so when she went under she kind of started to freak out. When she came out of the water, she screamed pretty loud, almost like she almost drowned. It was pretty funny and I was trying hard not to laugh.

But it was an awesome awesome week. Prayers and fasting works! I am so humbled that we all we do is ask, and God provides so much for us!

Also, on the weird food update for this week, I ate manna. Yes, like manna from heaven. They look like little white grapes, all bunched together. And we went to this member's house and this little boy climbs up a tree and jumps up and down on this branch and shakes them from the tree while his parents stood underneath with a giant sheet to catch them. So it was literally like manna falling from heaven hahha.

Life is amazing here. The Gospel is true. It changes people's lives. I love being a missionary!

Love you all, 
Motra J