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.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Letter # 47 - January 18, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

I am sorry, I am getting worse at writing emails and sending photos. I heard that it happens the farther you get on your mission. I will try better but there are no promises. 

This last week was a great week. We saw a ton of little miracles in the work. I remember before being a missionary hearing about those great miracles where someone gets baptized and or someone reads the Book of Mormon in one day, etc. But I've learned to love all the moments along the way, the moments that become that great moment when they finally get baptized.

Someone of the moments from this last week included

-Being in Macedonia and talking to an old man outside the hospital. His wife was in a coma and we ending up giving him our Book of Mormon. He said he would read it while he was waiting for his wife to get better
-Finding a less active and helping her start the Book of Mormon again. She said, "Wow, I feel the happiness I felt I was baptized."  
-Having an unplanned lesson about the Restoration with a new family who had amazing questions about the the restoration of the priesthood authority 
-Tracting into a British family with accents who said we could come back in a month, then we run into her at the grocery store and she mentioned, "My husband felt something when you guys came into our apartment and he thinks it is a sign from God. He is so excited for you to come back."

Just little miracles that make our lives great! I am so happy to be a missionary.

Love you all, Motra J 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Letter # 46 - January 11, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

I've been a little under the weather for the last couple of days, so this email might be a little shorter today. Having the flu and trying to write emails to everyone hasn't been a super good combination. 

This last week was a miraculous one. Our little Catholic family came to church! President Weidmann actually came with us to a lesson at their house and invited them to church. They came and it was amazing. President got up and gave a talk about his family, explaining their lives before they were members of the church and his family was actually super similar to the Catholic family we are teaching. 

Life is good as a missionary. It is awesome to feel the Spirit all the time and have such an amazing opportunity to serve the Lord. 

I love you all! 

Motra J 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Letter # 45 - The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyways (well just a little bit) - January 4, 2016

Dear Family and Friends-

It is a winter wonderland here in Gjakova. it has been snowing for the past 3 days straight.Trying to channel my inner Elsa and survive the cold. So I am staying here for another 3 months and my new companion is Sister Johasen. (So yes, the whole Draper 5th ward can be happy that we are serving together).

We successful survived the New Year's here. We had to be locked in our house at 4 pm because Albanians just go nuts, NUTS, with fireworks. We got to stay up till 12 and watch them go off, it was even bigger than the 4th of July in America. 

One little miracle this week, after our little Catholic family decided to be Catholic again, we decided that we couldn't give up on them. We have been working super hard with them and we made a video with our family's testimonies. (We translated them into Albanian) 

Two nights ago we took it over and we showed it to them. The whole family just loved it, but especially the youngest son.. And for the first time in 1 month, he read from the Book of Mormon and started praying again. The light of Christ was shining again in his eyes! 

God never gives up on us, so it reminds me to never give up on them. Someday they will come around. It really is the little things that make a difference out here. I've never loved being a missionary more, the more I realize how much God is involved in the work here. We literally work side by side with him-I LOVE IT. Miracles are so real.

I love you all! 

Motra J 

(Also, on the list of things that I don't like to eat-cabbage soup.)