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!