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.