Monday, November 30, 2015

Letter # 42 - November 30, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving. We had a great little Thanksgiving with our whole mission and ate some good turkey. I love my mission and especially my mission president. And now only 25 days until Christmas!

This week was a lot better then the last one. Although our little family has decided to be Catholic, I have really felt over the last couple of days that no effort is wasted. Who knows if down the road they will remember the two sister missionaries who talked about the Book of Mormon? You never know.

Anyways, I don't have too much to say this week but I hope that you can all watch this video, A Savior is Born. It is so amazing and we will be using it for the whole Christmas season! 

I love how happy everyone is in the video, because it is true, we have good tidings of great joy! A Savior is born, we have a hope that no one else haves. I hope that we can all share the gospel a little more this Christmas season and be a little better.

I love you all! 

Motra J 

This is my district.

The basement of our church flooded this week.  

Our little "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Letter # 41 - November 23, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-
Normally, I start off every email, "This past week was good..." But I am not going to lie this last week was pretty darn rough. I won't go through and name all the bad things that happened, but just know it was a wrong turn after wrong turn. Just when you things couldn't get any worse....
Our miracle family that we were teaching decided that the Catholic church is the right church. We have been meeting them with everyday for a month now, so you can imagine what a shock it was. I even asked them if they were pulling a joke. Nope.
It is probably the worst kind of heartbreak when something like that happens. You aren't really sad for yourself, but more sad for the people because you have come to love them so much and you are giving them the one thing that matters the most to you. 

But, to quote Batman "Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves back up." 

That is the best part of the gospel, that we don't have to be perfect but as long as we keep picking ourselves back up when we fall. That is what really matters. 

So even though this email sounds depressing, and we don't have any investigators now, I want you all to know the church is still true. And we are fighting on the winning team. Nothing can ever stop us even though it looks like it sometimes-we are going to win. 

I love you all.

Motra J 

Also one my favorite (returned) missionaries sent me this photo this morning. It is rather fitting and I really liked it. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Letter # 40 - Let the Good Times Roll - November 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

Sorry, we didn't get a chance to email last week because we were in Macedonia. But we stayed in good ole' Gjakova today and enjoyed the sunshine. 

These past couple of weeks have kind of been a whirlwind of things. Some fun things that have happened the last couple of weeks...

-Did an exchange in Macedonia and understood absolutely nothing
-Got locked out of our house and tried to break in using credit cards with the Elders
-Preparing our little family for baptism and having them finally understanding we are not Catholic
-Talking to a girl for one hour about aliens....
-Starting playing Christmas music in our apartment

Anyways, the work keeps going forward. But the last couple of weeks have been filled with a lot of contemplation for me. The thing that I love most about a mission is the fact that for a year and a half I get to think about only the gospel. Heaven knows how distracted I get at home with my music, books, and movies and everything in-between but I've been thinking a lot about change and how to become a better person.

There have been plenty of times on my mission where I have felt discouraged, that I am maybe too weak for the task that has been placed a head of me. And I've always heard that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, those burdens can be lightened. I use to think that meant He would take the burdens away, but now I understand that He just makes us stronger so that we can face them with His help. 

Of all the places that my mind wanders on my mission, one that I find myself continually drawn back to is the path that Christ walked on the way to Golgotha. When He carried His cross alone. I think when I was there, I didn't understand how much that path would later mean to me. Because now I realize, He walked that path alone so that we never have to.

Mosiah 3 

8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

 9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.

 10 And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.

I read this yesterday actually with the Smith Family. We talked about the Atonement and as I was testifying of it to them, the Spirit settled in the room and testified to me (perhaps more to me than them) that Jesus Christ lives and His grace and power are available to everyone. There was a moment with them last night, where we were all still because the Spirit was testifying so strongly that it was true. I don't think you can ever forget moments like that.  

Wow, I love being a missionary more than anything else in the world. I love sharing that message with the people. 

I love you! 

Motra J 

This giant cross stands on top of a hill in Macedonia.

At night on the bridge.


Last night with some of the Elders.

Ahh!  Beautiful Sunsets!

Our gift of oranges to our neighbors because we burned our brownies!

Letter #39 - November 2, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

I hope that you all had a great Halloween this past week. 

This last week was a great one! We had an amazing lesson about the Word of Wisdom with our little family. The dad who usually is smoking and drinking coffee was just staring at us and then at the end of the lesson he stood up and threw his cigars across the room and hasn't been smoking or drinking! It was so awesome to see. Seeing people change for the gospel is one of my favorite things of being a missionary. 

I was reading this morning about changing and changing our hearts. I realize that for people just joining the church, they really have to change so much, but after baptism we still have to change gradually so that we become like Heavenly Father. I've seen that the happiness comes into their lives when they start to change. 

I loved what President Uchtdorf said, "Exaltation is our goal discipleship is our journey." There is nothing more awesome then helping people find that road to exaltation and teaching them about the gospel! I love you all! 

Love, Motra J 

The Elders with the street dogs that follow us when we street contact.

Letter # 38 - October 26, 2015

Dear Family and Friends-

As far as great stories go this week, it all began at 6 am on an exchange with Sister Chesire. We decided to try our luck at running the streets of Kosovo. There we were strolling along, when 5 giant dogs start barking at us. Accustomed to this, I keep running until I realize that they aren't just barking at us but chasing us down the street. I grab Sister Chesire's arm and do the only logical thing to do in that situation, run! We ran and ran and finally turned down an ally. When we were finally in the clear, we stopped to catch our breath (nothing like 5 angry dogs to make you run super fast) and I just about fell over laughing. You can either laugh or cry your way through life, but crying makes my face all puffy so laughing it was. We very cautiously ran home and were very wary of dogs the whole rest of the day. Good times. 

But besides the angry dogs, this week was great. It is getting cold outside which means we drink hot chocolate every night. 

We love our little miracle family and go over there every night! They always feed us chestnuts, and two nights ago we had pasta with spicy ketchup on it. So yummy. 

Life as a missionary is the best. We get to testify of the Savior every day and feel the Spirit in every moment. There is nothing better than watching a family read the Book of Mormon for the first time or seeing them decide to keep the Word of Wisdom.

Those changes, whether for big or for small are the most amazing things. And I know that they are not changing for us, but changing for their love of the Savior. 

I love you! 

Motra J 
We visited a monastery.