Thursday, August 20, 2015

Letter # 28 - 1 Baptism, 0 Confirmations - August 17, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

This week when we were reporting our numbers to the district leader, I said "Well, we had one baptism and zero confirmations....." Yup. It only happens in Albania that your investigator is in Tirana the morning they are supposed to get confirmed. But don't worry, she showed up two (nerve-racking, nail biting, anxious) hours later. But the president of the branch said it would be better if we confirm her next week in sacrament meeting. So Jueda is in this weird limbo stage right now. 

While I sat at the piano bench all sacrament, anxiously awaiting her arrival, all I could think of was Joseph Smith saying,  "You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost." And I was determined not to have a sand-bag baptism haha. But she will get the confirmation this week! 

Anyways funny story aside, this week was a good one. Every single night a summer thunderstorm sweeps in and tries to stop the work of the gospel but it will have to try a lot harder than that. On a random note, it was raining really hard one day and we had forgotten our umbrellas yet again. A random car stopped and it was a cute little old nun with the costume and everything, and she offered to drive us home. It was fun talking to her, and realizing that we both had the same conviction and love to serve Jesus Christ, and that we believed, like her, in the joy of serving other people. 

My favorite memory from this week though was talking with our (ahem, almost member) Jueda. She wanted to know everything and anything about serving a mission. I talked a little about the process of how people assigned a mission call-how it is divinely appointed from God. It is not a whimsical guess or fleeting thought, it is directed by the Spirit.

As I was talking to her, the Spirit just swept in and a bore such a powerful witness to me. Almost a year ago, I opened my mission call. I can't believe time has come that fast, but on September 3rd, I opened and read the words, "Dear Sister Jackson, you are assigned to labor in Albania." 

I remember the feelings of complete inadequacy, but those feelings were quickly reassured by the Spirit confirming to me that I WAS supposed to serve in Albania.

And yesterday, talking to Jueda the Spirit just confirmed to me so powerfully, that this is where I am supposed to be. I can't possibly ever imagine not knowing Jueda, not loving her the way I do, not seeing the happiness that has changed her life. And now she is going to do the same thing. Words cannot express how happy I am! 

And it is not just Jueda, but all the people here that I have met and loved. I know for a fact that the Lord sends you where he needs to go.

I listened to this talk this week, and I can say it has changed my life. I've realized that this mission is just the beginning of a life time of being a missionary-of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. I like, Peter can't ever go back, knowing what I know now. Seeing what I have seen. Feeling what I have felt. 

"Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world."

I testify that the gospel is changing people's lives here in Albania. And I am loving every minute of it.

I love you all.

Motra Xh (J) 
Jueda all ready for baptism!

My Albanian Companion for one day. I love her!

With Megi, Dennis, and the Missionaries

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