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

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