Monday, July 29, 2013

For the Fam -- July 29, 2013

Well Family, 
Not too many new things have happened this week.We are still working like crazy with all of our investigators (about 15 right now) and helping members prepare for the temple. We have these two investigators named Rista and Pirro that we just recently started teaching. The woman is a sister of a member so she was a referral more or less through that connection. Long story short they are wonderful!! You hear about people saying that "They were just prepared..." and I never knew what that meant until now. All of the investigators that we have been meeting with, we have been teaching them everything from the very basic level of the gospel because they did not know anything but have the desire to learn. With this family (yes family- that never happens here in Albania!!) they have a Christian background and read everything we suggest and then more! It is so wonderful. It's so nice from a teaching point of view because they already have that foundation and then we can easily build upon it. Other than them, only a couple of other things worth mentioning happened. We saw a guy wearing a BYU-I tshirt while riding past on a bike, I was stuck in bed all day wednesday because I had a really bad sore neck and shoulder from sleeping funny- I couldn't really move my neck at all, and while making a member visit the father was taken away by the police as a witness of some hazing. Pretty much it was an amazing week full of lessons! I really love Lushnje and am sad that here in a month or so I will probably have to say goodbye. 
Welp, again I don't have any questions so that's all for this week. Love you all!! 
Motra Hawkins

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hey Fam!! July 22, 2013

Okay this week I have to start by saying, "Happy Birthday Drewby-Doo!!" before I forget. I hope that you had a great birthday yesterday! Go on some dates or something...yep that's all I have to say about that.:) Oh and when it's Colli's b-day you should go on a double date. Today for our activity we went to the beach and I made a picture in the sand that said Happy Birthday Drew but I can't get the picture to attach. Maybe I can send it next week. I know, I'm lame- get used to it...
This week in Lushnje was very exciting and we have been doing a lot more work with the members than the past couple of weeks.If I ever think we are busy, the next week is always soooo much more busy.  Now on top of our regular investigator/recent convert/less-active lessons, we are also doing and English course, Young Women activities  and now we are teaching the temple course to all of the members who want to go to the temple this October. Luckily we never have any extra time because when we do, we will have a member call us with a referral and poof we instantly have work. The Lord truly has blessed us with a lot of work lately!! We are now halfway through this transfer and have found 25 new investigators and have had five baptisms!!! Speaking of which....
We had a baptismal service for the Daka family on Saturday and yesterday they were confirmed and received the Holy Ghost! After weeks of waiting, it finally happened and they were so happy! (Again I cannot attach pictures sadly). Additionally, Ervis (the son) was interviewed and next week he will receive the Priesthood! Today we are going to teach them more about the temple and eternal families. A couple of years ago, Xhevarihe's husband passed away so we are excited to teach them about eternal families and encourage them to prepare to go to the temple.Other than helping some of the members here prepare to go the temple, we are working hard with our new and old investigators to prepare for baptism. Something interesting that happened this week is that we received a call from one of the native missionaries who is serving in England (he was in Albania for visa stuff),Elder Hoxha, and he requested that we begin to teach his family who lives here in Lushnje. Hopefully his desire can be fulfilled before he returns home, or even when he does return.
The greatest thing that I have learned about missionary work this week is that it is all eternal work- we can do family history for those who are not here, spread the Gospel to those who are, and live and teach in such a way that our children will learn from our example. We not only teach eternal principles but are in the midst of eternal work. When I think of this and the hard days come, it makes the work that much sweeter. I think I have finally gained that missionary spirit and desire that all can learn and apply the principles of the Gospel in their lives because I see how it has helped me and desire that they may do the same. 
One other great thing that happened this week was the exchange we had with the Sister Trainer Leaders. I went to Fier and while I was away thought about what things I wanted to change with my companionship, and when I got back discussed those things with my companion. It was not easy thing for me to be so frank with her, but I have seen the extreme difference it has made and I know that it is a good thing. We are teaching more in unity now and the Spirit is with us in our lessons more often. Things aren't where I want them to be but the difference is huge! Also, rumor has it that I will be training again this next transfer so I am excited to be able to do this all again. I have seen how different I am because of it and I am excited for the challenge because I see how much good it has done and how much I have changed. Sometimes the change is hard and a bit painful, but change it is and always for the better. I truly love missionary work and the people we are teaching. A lot of the time I wish you all could be here to meet them, the other half of my family, and I hope one day that can happen! It may not be in this life but that day will come.  
Well that is all I have time for today. I hope you are enjoying your vacation in Mexico, and like I said last week,if there is anything specific you want to hear about let me know. 
Love you all! 
Motra Hawkins

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hey Family!! July 8, 2013

Hey You Guys- Long Time No See! ;) 
I just have to start by thanking you all for the wonderful package that I received this past week. The letters and plethora of goodies was about more trunkiness than I could handle. You made me cry, you made me shout for joy and you made me wish that we were back together again. I love have the calendar and being able to look at pictures of all of you every morning when I wake up.
As for the work here in Albania, this past week has been wonderful! Well, I guess depending on if you asked me or my companion you might get different opinions, but from this companion it was amazing! I might even venture to say that it was one of my best weeks out here. As a companionship, we have been setting effective goals, working toward achieving those goals and the growth has been immense. Just this past week alone we found seven new investigators (with an additional seven last week! which is a lot considering we only ever had nine the entire time I was in Durres), had three baptismal interviews, had five investigators at sacrament meeting, twenty-one lessons (that's a big number as well), and we even had a less active member come to church both of these past Sundays. Long story short, we are having a lot of success( which also means a lot of work!!) 
We have a wonderful group of investigators now (not all of whom have a baptismal date) but we are trying to take it slow with them and wait until they are ready. We have been having a lot of success out in this little fshat called Zhame. There was a family baptized by the previous Elders who are all really interested in learning about the Gospel as well as how to improve their reading skills. There are a total of about ten of them who are interested so it is a bit crazy. The other day in our lesson, there was a total of eleven other people- a little insane but a great lesson with all of them. Since they are from the village, they are not very learned- very simple people but very accepting of everything we teach. A lot of the time I feel like we are teaching Primary, but that is how the Gospel principles should be taught- at a level that even a child could understand. It is really helping my teaching skills learning how to teach them. Most of them do not know how to read or write, so tonight begins our work of teaching them to read and write in Albanian. This will be a bit hard because it is not my native tongue but I know the Lord will help them to learn and grow if they have the desire. One of the best things that we are going to do with them is read out loud from the scriptures. I have seen in my own life that reading out loud from the scriptures was one of the best ways to improve my reading skills and I hope that it will begin to help these villagers as well.
Some other exciting things that we are working on right now include organizing and encouraging Mutual (called Sebashku in Albanian) to help the Youth work on their Personal Progress and Duty to God, teaching English course twice a week, buying food for members who need extra support, inviting and supporting less-active members and families, preparing three people for baptism, as well as our usual proselyting efforts. It's been a bit crazy and it will only get busier but I love it. The days that we don't have much work are always the hardest.   
Like I mentioned before, we have had a lot of success this past week and there is never a dull moment. It seems that there is always something to be doing so thankfully there is no down time, which is how I prefer it, though I think my companion does not feel the same. I have tried to slow down my pace for her but there still seems to be a lot of conflict when it comes to our timing. I am trying really hard to work with her, and I feel that I am putting forth adequate effort, but I do feel that she is doing the same. I am also really struggling trying to teach her principles of missionary work that I have learned from my experience. I feel that most of the time when I voice my opinion, I am met with opposition and so I am beginning to stifle my opinion and advice more and more. I have been realizing that this is not a good thing because I want to teach her but cannot find the way to do so. I know that it will get better with time, but from time-to-time it sure tries my faith and patience. I am learning so much and am ever grateful for the tender mercies the Lord supplies.
Well, that is all I have for this week. Thank you for all of your love and prayers. They are needed and greatly appreciated! 
Until next week, 
Motra Hawkins