Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Letter # 68 - Last Letter - June 27, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Due to crazy scheduling next week (we are hosting a 4th of July party for all the Albanians) this will be my last email home. I will not be emailing next week. (So if you have anything to email me today-speak now or forever hold your peace) 

Sooo...it is hard to imagine that this is actually coming to an end. I still haven't come to terms with the fact that I am going home in just 10 short days. Sisters don't get those extra 6 months and I can't believe I am finally coming home.

But I hope that you can all know what my mission has really meant to me. I never thought I would serve a mission. I never thought I could leave the comfort of my family and set on an adventure, not knowing if I could like any food besides spaghetti. Now looking back on those days of doubt, I realized what I truly lacked was the faith to step forward. I didn't think God would be able to help me learn a language, love a foreign people, or live without my family for 18 months. 

How wrong I was. I am here to testify that God loves the missionaries. I never want to take off this missionary badge. The power and Spirit that this badge has brought me has been incredible. God helps the missionaries every single day. There isn't a moment when He doesn't walk with them. I felt the presence of angels throughout every week of my mission and I know it comes partly as a result of all your prayers for me.

I can testify of the reality of the Atonement-that it can make us strong. 

2 Kings 6:16

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and,behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

I was like this little servant who said, "What are we going to do?" But I know that God, never leaves us alone. That is the beauty of the Atonement. That is the beauty of the Gospel. That Jesus Christ suffered for us, that he can understand what we are going through. That He can strengthen us. 

Is a mission the hardest thing ever? Yes. But is it worth it? Yes. And why is it that something so hard, so frustrating, so long can become the most rewarding thing of my life? Because for a small moment, I get to "labor for life's short day for Jesus the Crucified."

I was reading another email from an friend, and he said, that someday on the mission you feel like potter's clay. Smashed down and broken but every time God rebuilds you into something better. Into a better servant for  Him. Into a better disciple.

I could go on and on about how much I love my mission, but I know that this is the most important thing I have ever done. Working day in and day out for the salvation of God's children. There hasn't been anything better. 

I know that this the true Church, that it was restored by Joseph Smith. That the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. That Christ is the Head of this Church and that He will come again, and we can finally thank for everything he has done for us. He lives! 

I love you all and the support you have given me through my whole mission. 

Love, Sister Emilie Jackson 

(Also, if you do have anything you need to tell me, I will be on the computer for then next 2ish hours). If not, see you on the other side :) 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Letter # 67 - June 20, 2016

Hello Family and Friends-

Not too much to write about this week! But things are going good! The work is awesome and I am loving every (last) minute of it! 

A little thing that I have enjoyed about this week, me and my companion have had some extra time so we decided to memorize the Living Christ. It really is one of the most powerful things I have ever read, and it is so cool that it is signed by prophets and apostles who are special witnesses of him and know that He lives.

I love you all! 

Motra J 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Letter # 66 - June 13, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

We had a baptism this week! Ondea, a sister of a member, got baptized! It was so awesome. When she bore her testimony she said, "You know when you just feel like a piece of you is missing, something that you can never find the answer to? Well, I felt that piece of me being completed when I came to this church."

Everyone.....the church is true! I couldn't be more certain of it.

I love you all. And Happy Father's Day this upcoming Sunday.

Motra J 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Letter # 65 - June 6, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

A small miracle of yesterday, we had a lesson with a woman who asked us why we allowed everyone in our Church to take the Sacrament, and we read this scripture with her

2 Nephi 26

24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.

 25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.

I was so grateful that this scripture is true. That Christ accepts us no matter what. There is nothing better than being a missionary.

Sister Jackson 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Letter # 64 - May 30, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

The summer heat has finally begun. To all of you future missionaries, let me just say that missionary work is not always the most romantic thing. Sometimes you lose 5 pounds in day just by sweating. (Definitely not something they teach in the MTC)

But life goes on, and so does missionary work. We had a great week.We had a lesson with a girl we had met on the street, and she starts crying in the middle of it. She turns to us and says, "Why am I even telling you this? I just met you." Of course, we know...it is the SPIRIT.

It is just so interesting to see the way people react when they come in contact with that. I've realized more and more that we do nothing-just invite the Spirit to be there with us. Then people have their own choice to accept or reject that.

I love you all and want you to know how grateful I am for the gospel. 

Motra J 

Letter # 63 - May 23, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

Eni got baptized this week! It was one of the best baptisms I have seen on my mission. It was the best. She got up and bore her testimony about feeling trapped, not knowing where to go. But since she has found the church, she talked about finally finding that release.

D&C 123
 12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

Wow, I can't really express in writing what is it is like to see someone get baptized, but I think it is a small equivalent of how God feels every single day, watching His children grow and blessing them. There is really nothing better or more important than sharing the gospel. 

I love you all.

Motra J 

Our Apartment

Letter # 62 - May 16, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

It was a good week. We managed to avoid bad food, alcoholic drinks, and for the most part the crazy people of Tirana. But somehow every week they manage to find us on the buses. We don't quite blend in as Americans.

Our investigator, Eni, came to church this last week and got up in Relief Society telling all the sisters how lucky they are to have the gospel and how they need to share it with everyone around them. She has only known the church for about 2 months now, but the change that it has made in her life is dramatic. 

I am so grateful for my mission every passing day, the things that it teaches me and how it testifies to me every day that Christ lives and loves us.

I love you all. 

Motra J 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Letter # 61 - We've Got the Power - May 9, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

First off, I want to say Happy Mother's Day yesterday. I hope that you all had an amazing day-especially my mom who is the best.

Can I just say that I love missionary work? It is the best. This last week, we had to give a training in Zone Conference. Sister Eliason and I started planning on Thursday night-and our training happened to be on Friday morning. (Yes, we procrastinated just a little bit). But we sat there going through every Holland talk, watching inspiring Mormon Messages, reading random scriptures just trying to think of something to inspire the missionaries. We were pretty stumped at what we should say.

I can't remember exactly how the idea finally came to us, but we were reflecting on a past experience about two weeks ago when we were confronted by a less than happy father who didn't want his children to learn about the Gospel. Sister Eliason said, "There were two parts of me-one was the scared American girl who was only 20 years old but the other part of me was the missionary." That second part that helps us realize God doesn't ever leave his missionaries alone.

So, we ended up giving our training about the power that we have as missionaries. We were set about to have the authority-but our power depends on us. Just like a superhero-we can choose to exercise those powers to make the world a better place for those around us. Or we can let our kryptonites-disobedience get in the way.

I've realized that nothing is more powerful that a testimony from a missionary. I don't say that because I am a missionary, but just because for a short time we are the representatives of the Lord and He helps us out a little more. (We really need his help.)

Anyways, missionary power is awesome! I love being a part of His work! 

I love you all.

Motra J 

We went ice skating today :) And yes I am the shortest one in my district hahaha. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Letter # 60 - May 2, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Soooo....I am just going to apologize now that my emails are going to get shorter each week. But this week was awesome. Like all the weeks on my mission, things are just getting better.

We saw a lot of miracles this week. I have one of those missionaries stories to share with you this week.....

About two weeks ago, we forgot our umbrellas and coats and it was a downpour of rain and it was 8 pm and we were super tired, wet, and cold. We got on the bus to go back to our house and my companion starts talking to this lady on the left. She tells us that she is looking for true happiness in her life.

Yesterday we actually got to have a lesson with her. We read from Moroni 7 with her,

Moroni 7 
40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

 41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

We then talked about the power of hope with her. I just thought it was so neat-that we found this lady at the last part of the day, when we really didn't want to talk to anyone. 

There is a line in "Praise to the Man" that I really have come to believe, "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." It is so true.

Well, I love you all.

Motra J 

Also, we watched this video at Zone Conference and I thought it was hilarious...maybe I have been a missionary too long, but this song is sooooo true. I loved it. 


Monday, April 25, 2016

Letter # 59 - The Best Law of Chasity Lesson Yet - April 25, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Sorry, last week I totally spaced on emailing. I ended up watching a lot of Bible videos and basically falling asleep at the computer place-it was a long week so I was a little tired. But, I am a little more awake today. 

This week was a miracle week! I really enjoyed this week. They keep getting better and better here in Tirana. 

I will share a quick funny story before getting onto to the more spiritual part of the week. This last week, we had a lesson with our 10 year old investigator named Gabriela. We were teaching her the Law of Chasity-so we are just basically saying "Dress modestly, treat your body like a temple, and act nicely." 

Then she interrupts us and says, "Michael Jackson-he didn't keep the Law of Chasity. He didn't dress modestly or love his body like a temple. He didn't like his body and so he changed the color of it and cut off his nose and got new hair. If we all love our bodies, we won't die like Michael Jackson did." 

My companion and I were laughing so hard. It was the best Law of Chasity lesson I've taught on my mission.

I want to share a little experience that happened this last week that was really neat. But a little prelude to the story-I used to think missionary work was kind of miracle after miracle. That you walk form building to building, knocking on doors and although you do face rejection-you find that golden family who join the church and get baptized two weeks later. And missions are miracles after miracles-but they are miracles that I wasn't really expecting. 

I've learned that God's plan is so much better for us then what we could ever plan for ourselves and we are just instruments in that enormous plan. One of the best parts about a mission is realizing that the baptisms are really not the miracles-that the little changes, the little ways you see the Lord working with you day to day are the most amazing things.

This last Saturday-we had 3 lessons planned for the afternoon. We were hoping to get a hold of the Bishop's daughter for 2 of the lessons because we were meeting with a lady that she knew. Anyways, we called the Bishop who was a work-so there was no way he was going to be able to tell his daughter we needed her help. 

But we are sitting in the church, teaching another lesson and all the sudden the Bishop's daughter walks in and says, "Hey, I was waiting for some people and they never came so I just came to the church because I didn't know what else to do."

My companion and I just stared at each other in disbelief. The Lord literally sent us exactly who we needed in that moment. It might seem like a small thing-but for us it wasn't.

There are other things that happened this week-similar to this story. I was just amazed at how much God really watches out for His children.

I am certain that He has plans for all of us, and no matter how much we think we have messed up there is still always time to fix it all and get back on track.

Life as a missionary is awesome. I love you all!
Motra J 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

More Pictures - April 18, 2016

Our P-Day Adventure

Awesome Albanian Grandmas we did a service project with...

Yes, I am wearing Nike's.  My feet are completely falling apart!

Our Awesome District

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Letter # 58 - April 11, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Again the wave of forgetfulness washes over me every time I try to write my weekly email. The one thing I did remember was to attach a picture of my favorite traditional food, stuffed peppers. It is proof, that missions can change people. Someone like me, who would have gagged, cried, then gagged some more to eat something like that, now loves food like that. Missions really can change people.

Well, what has been happening in my beautiful city of Tirana? Everything happens here! We are still working with Gabriella who is 10 and should be getting baptized in a two weeks. I have never had more fun teaching someone before, and we the lessons that we usually are nervous to give-Word of Wisdom and Law of Chasity are a breeze! 

One of the ways my testimony was strengthened this week was through prayer. It seemed like everything I prayed for, or we prayed for together worked out.
-We prayed outside a less actives house, that she would be inside and she was! 
-We prayed for what training we should give in Zone Training and we gave the exact training of the spiritual thought.
-I prayed to know what I should do about a certain thing, and about 5 hours later a Sister said something that was the exact answer to my prayer.
-We prayed to know what bus to use and we found the house we needed to find
-We prayed as we were running late to a lesson that the girl wouldn't be waiting at that church-and she ended up being late as well
On my mission, I have realized that God hears every prayer. It doesn't mean always mean he answers it the way we want, but I have seen that if I have just a little of patience, later I can see that He was planning something way better. Sometimes, I am just so overwhelmed that every little prayer I say, He helps me! It makes me grateful knowing that with all of His children, he is concerned for us individually. 

Missions are great. Albania is great. Albania is the only place where a old random grandmas in church can kiss and pinch my cheeks and call me "cookie" and I actually feel loved. Life is good and I hope and pray for all of you every day! You mean the world to me.

Motra J 

Also, we met the American Ambassador at a Zone Lunch! 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Letter # 57 - April 4, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

I am loving Tirana. I didn't think I would like being a big city, but there is so much to do and see and I am just loving it here! We spent the first couple of days trying to walk everywhere, and then on Wednesday we looked like little old grandmas because our feet hurt so bad. We are now slowly attempting to figure out the bus system. It has been eventful to say the least. The best part about being here is we aren't the strangest people on the street! So less people stare at us.

Funny moment of this week, we were teaching a Restoration lesson. We showed the 20 minute Joseph Smith video to her, and it was the end of a long day and as we switched the light off, I couldn't help just falling asleep. I totally passed out for the whole movie, but right when it was ended, I jerked awake, "And yes...I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet!" 

Anyways, this week has been awesome. One cool story, we are teaching a little 10 year old girl named Gabriella and she reads the Book of Mormon more than most older people. But we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation this week, and I was just so amazed at how well she was taking everything and how she just accepted everything we said. It reminded me that we are supposed to become like little kids-like it says in the scriptures. They are the sweetest ever and I have loved being able to teach them.

Missionary work is just awesome, like I say every other week. But there is an element of missionary work that I especially love. We plan every night at 9 pm. We have every hour planned out, we will be somewhere doing something. But then the next day, when we leave the house at 10 am-something totally different happens. We "coincidentally" run into people on the street, we manage to find the right house or be on the right bus, the Spirit prompts us to talk to someone. And this goes on until the end of the day so that when we come home at 9 pm, we can't help but say, "What happened today?"

I was reading this scripture and realized it answered how missionary work goes everyday...

"But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

That has been my mission in one sentence....being a witness everyday that there is Supreme Creator and he is working things out better than we could ever realize.

I love you all! 

Motra J 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Letter # 56 - March 28, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Gezuar Pashket! Happy Easter! I hope that everyone had a great Easter in the States. It was a great Easter here. I have been here in Albania for a year this week! It has crazy how time has flown, and how much I have come to love this little country. 

Here for Easter, we all dyed eggs. We mostly dye them red in remembrance of the blood of Christ and we tap them against each other and whoever has the bigger crack in their egg has good luck for the rest of the year or something like that. 

But on Sunday, after a really crazy and long week we sat down and ate our little 2 dollar Easter meal of ham and potatoes and watched some Bible Videos. 

I was just so incredibly grateful for everything that the Savior had done for me yesterday. It is hard being a missionary sometimes, and for the last couple of weeks I have thought a lot about how hard missionary work is but yesterday I was just so happy to be a missionary. Because it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done! 

This last week, we had this amazing lesson with this woman who loved the "Hallelujah Video". She just starting crying and said, "I don't know how people just can't love Jesus Christ." Amen, sister.

Also, for those of who are wondering about my last transfer I am staying here in Tirane, 2nd and 4th ward with Sister Eliason. I am super excited to be here in the big city! 

I love you all! 

Motra J 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Letter # 55 - "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." - March 14, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

I hope you enjoy the title of my email :)

This last week, we were out teaching the Restoration all day, every day. We were getting a little frustrated that no one seems to understand the need for the Restoration after a long night of Apostasy. It gets a little discouraging sometimes to be out all the time all day, when no one seems to understand that you aren't a JDUB or Catholic.

Then we got the new video for Easter with the new video-Hallelujah. I just want to say that although sometimes life gets a little hard, that the tomb was empty on the 3rd day. So we can be joyful knowing that someday everything will work out. 

Like Elder Holland said, "Whatever the question, the answer is always the gospel of Jesus Christ." I know that it is true. I am so grateful to be a missionary. Life is good-even when it is hard because we get to work with the Lord in His vineyard. 

Love, Motra Jackson 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Letter # 54 - March 7, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

This week was a great one. We got to see the new Easter video! One of the benefits of being a missionary is getting access to everything earlier. Since we don't get to watch movies, we get to see all the Church videos first. 

The new video is called "Hallelujah!" and it is amazing. It talks about Jesus Christ's resurrection and what it means for our families. We are so excited to show it to everyone.

This last week, we had an amazing lesson with 4 Muslim girls I had met on the street. We taught the Plan of Salvation and showed "Because He Lives" (last year's Easter video). Anyways, at the end I was certain that they would accept an invitation to be baptized. But they said, "No, we can't change our faith because are Muslim." 

The rest of the day I was upset, thinking about those Muslim girls and other problems. I realized later that all those things, their denial of baptism and other things were out of my control but I read this scripture in Nephi

"23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life."

I love it when scriptures just speak to me! I felt like God was telling me to keep going and to worry about those things we can't control.

We also got to meet with President Weidmann this week and he said the same thing, "This is God's work not ours." So it was just a reminder for me to keep doing what God wants me to do-He has a bigger, better plan.

Well, I love you all. Miracles are real. God directs His Church here in Albania and I love being a part of it! 

Love, Motra J 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Letter # 53 - February 29, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Everyone thinks we are nuns here. When we walk down the street, we are talking and every other sentence we tell people, "We aren't nuns!" or "We aren't Jehovah's Witnesses!" Then I was thinking about the missionaries in Utah, who can't go anywhere without people honking their horns or waving. What a different world! Someday people will understand who we are. 

This last week was a good one. Super rainy but good. We had a little testimony meeting yesterday for Fast Sunday and this little 11 year old got up and bore his testimony about the BOM. He started crying and it was so sweet. It reminds me that the Church is growing super slowly here, but the families that are in the Church will grow and grow. They are the pioneers here! 

One of the cool things about this week...we had a lesson planned so we took a member with us. During the lesson, one of the woman's friends unexpectedly showed up. I think she was more interested in the woman we were actually teaching. We were able to give her a BOM and she wants to meet with us again. She said, "I just feel so much stress in my life and I am just looking for peace." Over and over again, God has lead us to these people. Even when they don't get baptized, I am still certain that we were supposed to be meet them.

I am realizing more and more that missionary work is less of just baptizing (although it looks like that to people who haven't served), but more of doing what the Savior would do if he was here. He always taught, but he always served when he taught. So this last week as we took desserts to a nursing home, massaged an arthritic lady's hands, or taught a young mom how to read, I've realized those are statistics that can't be measured and reported. But when was it ever about statistics if Jesus would leave 99 to go after the 1? I just love being a missionary. 

Well, I love you all!! Zoti ju bekoft.

Motra J 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Letter # 52 - February 22, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

I hope all is well in the home of the free and brave. Things are good here. 

I want to write about a short little experience I had this last week. Because of our President's invitation to read the BOM this last month, the power of the BOM has been on my mind a lot. 

We had a lesson this last week with a new girl, she only met with us because she had misunderstood our message. She thought we were Catholic and it wasn't until the end of the Joseph Smith story that she realized we weren't the same church. But, we were able to continue and invite her to read the BOM. I felt confidence in telling her that her questions about what church would be answered if she read.

We assigned her to read Alma 32 and agreed to meet the next day. I was so excited. I read Alma 32 in English that night and then in Albanian trying to imagine what she thought about it. 

The next day we met her at the Catholic Church (the irony). Anyways, she pulled the BOM out of her bag and gave it to us, and I was just in shock. I thought, "She read it and didn't feel that power?" But she said she didn't even get past the first verse before she put it down. 

Then I understood-she hadn't read it. She didn't even read 3 words in it. She hadn't felt the power. I felt sorry for her. We actually let her keep the BOM and told maybe it would come in  handy someday, but as we walked away I thought of this scripture, 

2 Nephi 33 

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.

 11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.

I love the Book of Mormon. I am more certain each passing day of its divine origin and its power to bring people to Christ. Everyday we leave the house at 9 am with our Book of Mormon in our hand because who doesn't need it? 

Well, I love you all. 

Motra J 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Letter # 51 - Welcome to Shkoder - February 15, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Happy Valentine's Day yesterday! It just felt like another day (every holiday feels like that as a missionary). But I do want to say that I love you all! 

Anyways, Shkoder is a beautiful city. It is super dominated by the Catholics. They swept in here and settled after the fall of Communism. I can't tell you how many times I hear, "We have a bible, and we don't need any more!" It surprises me that no one seems to want more scripture from God. It takes a lot of self control to not get on a soap box and start reading, 2 Nephi 29: 10-11

" 10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.

 11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written."

But don't worry, I don't do that because I want to avoid being tarred and feathered. 

The best part about Shkoder is the fact that everyone rides bikes-even the nuns. I love seeing a 60+ toothless nun cruising down the boulevard, with her coif flapping in the wind, pockets stuffed with candles and the Holy Bible, and as she passes the giant Catholic church she bows her head and does the cross. It doesn't get more Catholic than that. 

But I am enjoying my time here so far. There is a lot of potential here. I love changing areas and just going to a new place and meeting the members there. I am always so surprised at the strength of members here. Especially here in Shkoder, we only had 5 of them but they are so solid.   

I really have a testimony that people are waiting out there for us.  After seeing the members in Shkoder, it makes me realize people are just waiting for the gospel, they just don't know where to find it. True, there is a lot of rejection and pain along the way, but I would suffer a whole lot for those 5 members to find them and give them the gospel. 

We are already teaching some cool people, all of them are Catholic and trying to teach priesthood authority has been an adventure. One day I just pray they will understand. Because of Communism in the past, Albanians have a hard time accepting the idea that just one religion is right. Everyone was a loser in Communism, so now that they are no longer under oppression they just want everyone to be winners. I try to explain everyone can be winners in the Church of Jesus Christ.

Well, you all are awesome. I love being a missionary. I say that every week, but it is true. There is nothing better.

Motra J 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Letter # 50 - Surprise, You are getting Transferred! - February 8, 2016

I am going to miss this place

Dear Family and Friends-

So it was a typical Saturday night, we had just finished planning and we were cooking our usual pot of cranberry tea when the phone rings. It was President Weidmann. I knew that he was going to ask for me and tell me that I was getting transferred. It is called ESPT (Extrasensory Perception for Transfers).  So normally transfers are at the end of 3 months, but I am getting transferred at the 6 week mark instead. So it was kind of a surprise to say the least.

And I am heading back to the beautiful land of Albania. To a little city called Shkoder. It actually isn't that tiny, but from what I heard it is a beautiful place to be! 

It has been hard to think of leaving Kosovo as I have tried to come to grips it I have

thought a lot about why I love this place so much. Every day people ask why we are here. Why would I be here when America is so much better? But, when you realize what we do as missionaries when you know our purpose-everything just clicks. I have come to love Kosovo because of what I have been able to do here.  What I have been able to testify of.

One highlight from this last week. We had a lesson with Sarah. An investigator who was supposed to get baptized back in December, but fell off the face of the planet. Anyways, we have been reading the BOM as a mission for a whole month. Earlier that morning, I had finished reading it and as I read the final verses of Moroni, BAMMM, I just felt this incredible sense of the power of the BOM. And I knew again it was true. 

In our lesson with her, she mentioned that she still hadn't gotten an answer for her prayers. I asked if we could kneel and pray about the BOM and she said okay. Her prayer was very sincere, "God, tell me if this book is true...because I want to follow Thee." After it was over there was a minute of silence where that same Spirit I had felt that morning, came rushing in.

I broke the silence and said, "Do you feel that?" And Sarah's little 7 year old nephew who has been in all the lessons and never speaks, says "I do!" (And that's why we are commanded to be like little children-they are so much closer to the Spirit). Sarah said, "It feels like a fire in me." 

It was the neatest thing ever. I feel like trying to write about it, doesn't really explain it. But that is what a mission is-moments like those. 

I love you all. I love the gospel with all my heart. Maybe I will just be a missionary forever.

Motra J 

Catholic Church - Our Field Trip Today

We also visited a mosque

Monday, February 1, 2016

Letter # 49 - Busy Goodness - February 1, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Another great week. I was too busy to even breathe so I think that means it was a good week. We went to Tirana, Bondsteel (The American Military Base), Peja, and of course we spent some time in good ole' Gjakova. 

This last week we were able to have a visit from the Europe Area Presidency. President Kearon, the President of all of Europe came. He is from England and is just super awesome. His main motto to us was "Work hard, worry less." I have thought about that a lot. There is so much to worry about in missionary work. There is so much to worry about in life too. But he said that if we just work hard, the Savior will provide the rest. I really liked that. 

Then we also had an amazing lesson at the military base. Normally we just teach one member up there, but this last time an Albanian came. She had expressed interest to come and said she was just looking for more peace in her life. I was so touched that it seems like those seeking peace always find the church. She expressed the desire to be healed of some things that happened in the past as a result of the war in Kosovo. As we talked with her and shared the message of the gospel, I was reminded of the verse I had just a few days ago, 

3 Nephi 9:13 

 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

That really is His invitation. And there is nothing better than sharing that with people all around the world.

I love you all.

Motra J 

Is Kosovo not so beautiful!

I love this place.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Letter # 48 - 1 Year as a Missionary - January 25, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

Have I really been a missionary for a whole year now?! I can't believe that it has been that long. It just seems like yesterday that I was sitting in the car on the way to the MTC, thinking I knew a lot about missionary life and that Albanian wouldn't be that hard to learn......hahha oh how far I have come! I am certainly glad I only had to say goodbye to my family once and learn the language once. I am more grateful to be here where I am right now, having a year of experience. I would say it is more like 10 years of life experience crammed into one year. And I wouldn't trade that for the world. (But I am glad that I don't have to eat MTC food ever again.) 

This last week was pretty amazing. We did a ton of tracting! We can't stay in the same spot for too long or else our feet freeze to the ground-so we couldn't street contact. I think a lot of people took pity on us and just let in. We felt like all we did this week was eat people's cookies and teach them the Restoration. I can't complain here! 

This last week as I was explaining the Restoration to a family, I was thinking in my mind, How strange does this sound to them? Gold plates, angels appearing to minster keys, a young boy who saw God when he was only 14? But, it doesn't sound strange because the Spirit is there. Although we still have our heavy American accents as we teach these people in Albanian and as we tell them a story they have never heard before-the Spirit is always there confirming our words. And my favorite thing is saying at the end of the lesson is, "this is our message that the true church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth." I think it is so powerful knowing that. Seeing it change people's lives. And I have loved teaching it over and over again this week.

I know that all missionaries probably say this but there is nothing better than sharing the gospel. I am kind of ashamed that I didn't even try before my mission. But now, I've realized that I love people too much not to tell them.

Well, I love you all. 

Motra J 

The Serbian Monastery, this time in the snow.