Monday, May 27, 2013

Hey Fam!! May 27, 2013

How are y'all doing? 
It sounds like you guys are all doing some pretty crazy things. It still blows my mind to think that Mom's dog business takes our family all over the world. I'm glad that Dad is back safely from Puerto Ric and I hope that Nelly will be safe and have fun in Croatia. Erica and Eman, good luck with your pathways program- I know that it is doing wonders here in Albania for the young single adults and I hope that you are having success down there in Mexico. To Casey and Jenni, I love hearing about Emma! I can just imagine how cute you all are with your little house and garden (complete with the mole and all) and all of your nice neighbors. I would love to see some pictures if you can send them. Emma sounds like she is getting so big now. I can't believe she is already talking and eating solid foods now. To Nelly and Jessie, I hope all is going well with the housemates and your jobs. Nelly, are you still working at the orphanage? I wish they had more orphanages here in Albania. There are so many children that roam the streets because they simply do not have a home. It is really sad for me to see how skinny they are, but that is what you get when the government doesn't really care about their people. To Drewby-Doo and Colli, how is wrestling going? I assume your season went well because I haven't heard anything negative. Are you happy that school is over? I know I was last semester....Have fun with your last fews days of school. Rolls down the windows, put on some Hot Chelle Rae and sing Tonight, Tonight for old times sake. To Aaron, have fun with the wedding. 
The work here in Durres is just going stellar- this week has been quite miraculous!
Last Sunday we went and taught the Seiti family again (the family that I mentioned in last weeks email) and they are very interested to learn. There are two parents and two litle girls named Adelsona and Anesa. They are a referal from one of the members here, and I am begining to realize that referals from members are very effective because not only do they already have a connection to the church, but they have that second opinion from someone other than the missionaries that they can ask questions. Our lessons have gone very well- we started teaching them half focusing on English and the other half on strictly gospel principles. The two daughters are nine and eleven, and both are very excited to learn and are progressing very quickly! One has a baptismal date and we will hopefully help the other one to have one as well! They absorb everything we teach like a sponge! Everytime we are with them, I am reminded how the Savior is always telling us how we need to become as a little child or else we cannot inherit the kingdom of God. This past week I have truly come to understand what this means- how we can become as a little child. As we are teaching, they are constantly asking questions and applying what they learn. They so readily accept what we teach and have no doubt that what we are teaching is the truth. It is amazing for me to see their faith grow and hopefully blossom here soon. Sadly, both of their parents are not very accepting of the gospel, but I hope with the passing of time that they will want to share the gospel with their parents. They were both able to come to church with us this past Sunday and they really enjoyed that. It was weird taking our investigators to Primary but they loved it! After church all they kept telling me was how excited they were to come back again and again Their father brought them but would not come inside the church. Maybe with a little bit of time, both of the parents will want to attend and started learning more about the Savior. 
   This past week was better than the last, and I hope that we can continue to improve. We are finally beginning to see improvement with our investigators and I have really seen the hand of the Lord in my life this week. There have been so many times that we have had something planned and it falls through only to have another opportunity come up that was even better than the first. Everyday has been full of miracles, mostly little but all important and meaningful in my eyes. We were also very blessed to hear one of the senior missionaries that served here awhile ago named Brother Preston. He is actually from Eden, Utah! I loved what he had to say in sacrament meeting and especially liked one of his final comments. He said that the strength of the Church is not in the size of the meetinghouses or in the amount of money we have but in the faith of its members. I really liked this because it is so true. Without faithful members who are willing to sacrifice everything for the Lord and work according to His will, we would have nothing and be nothing. Albania is growing slowly but I know that the Lord has great plans for His children here!
I love you all family and I hope you enjoy the pictures. I will try and send more if | can figure out this computer.... 
Again I love you guys so much!! 
Motra Hawkins

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Super Sister Missionary in the Adriatic South Mission -- May 21, 2013

Dear Hawkins Family, 
Sister Bott and I are serving in the same district as your daughter and we just wanted to drop you a note and a couple of pictures of your wonderful missionary.  She is doing such a great job.  She is coming so fast on the language.  As you can see from the pictures she can be everywhere and do everything at once.  This was at a preparation day activity where french toast was served.
Sincerely, Elder and Sister Bott

Monday, May 13, 2013

A quick update from the life of Motra Hawkins -- May 13, 2013

Here is a copy of the email I sent my mission president for this week in regards to my opinion of the missionary activity we had with the youth of Albania this past week. Enjoy. :) 
This week has been one of my favorites so far because we had that missionary activity with all of the youth on Saturday. When I first heard about the activity, I was hoping that we would be able to help and now I am so grateful that we were. It was a very good time for me to stop and realize what my purpose here is as a missionary and help the youth here understand that as well. Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is how powerful the youth are here- they give me so much hope. We do a lot of street contacting/finding and we are constantly being told by the older generations that they cannot change religions. We are constantly being told by them that their grandparents were Muslim, they are Muslim and that they will raise their children Muslim and they will never change. Even though most do not practice religion, they are still unwilling to soften their hearts to hear the gospel. I am constantly reminded of the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that say people will not open their ears to hear the gospel or the words of the prophets, and I have witnessed what that is like. The thing that gives me the most hope is that the youth here are different. They are willing to open their eyes and ears to more- they are willing to tear down those oppressive walls of tradition and decide for themselves what religion they will practice. And the thing that gives me the most hope is that none of them are afraid to share that with those around them. I enjoyed going around with the youth and hearing them bear their testimonies about the difference the gospel has made in their lives. Sometimes it is discouraging when so many reject the gospel but the youth give me hope. I know that the Lord is preparing the Albanian people for something truly great. 
I also really enjoyed Elder and Sister Windors' presentation on the Pathways program. The Spirit testified to me very strongly that there was a reason why little tiny Albania was chosen as one of the first places to host the program instead of in Germany. (They are a senior couple here that gave a presentation on this program which allows students to go to college through BYU-I for an extremely low cost). Some days are a bit discouraging, but when I step back and realize what the bigger picture is, I realize that right now all I can do is plant seeds and hope that one day those seeds of faith will grow into strong trees. Again, another lesson that I am constantly reminded of is that everyone has their agency and can do with it as they please. My desire is that I can do my best every day and help others begin to cultivate their seeds of faith and reap the fruits of the harvest! 
Love you lots family!  
Motra Hawkins