Monday, December 16, 2013

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland...

Hey Family!!

There may be no falling snow here but the blessing have been pouring down to make up for the lack of snow. As the year is coming to a close, it is amazing to me to reflect back on this year and think about all of the miracles happening around the mission and district. It is hard for me to believe that a year has almost gone past. It seems it was just yesterday that I got out of the car at the MTC and said good-bye to Mom and Dad. Now I am here in Durres inviting everyone to be baptized!! I realize that my time as a missionary is slowly slipping away and my time is waning, but I am so excited to see what the next couple of months will hold! As the Lord is hastening His work here in the Adriatic South Mission, I am so grateful that I have the chance to participate in this marvelous work. Every week has it's ups and downs and some weeks are a lot harder than others but there are always miracles and the work presses on. I can hardly wait for March (if all goes as planned) when there will be a Stake established here. And that is when the work will really begin to blast forward!! It is going to take a lot of work and a lot of willing hands and I pray that I may always be on the front-line fighting the battle!
This past week was amazing because Ndue Pjetri was able to be baptized! It was an amazing baptismal service and it was great to see him with his cute little family. It has always been a goal of mine to complete a family with a father baptism and how wonderful it was to see that goal come to life! As Motra Smith and I were thinking about it, we realized that every baptism that we have had this transfer has been a bit of a surprise. We have found many investigators and all have been progressing towards baptism but something has come up and all are now gone for one reason or another. It is really hard for me to see so many people prepare for baptism and then other distractions or problems have gotten in the way ( I can think of at least seven people off the top of my mind).
But the miracle is that those who are prepared have been put in our path and this is where the true miracles lie. My first transfer here, I was able to be in the home of a member who received her mission call. She is now serving in the Leads, England Mission and we have been teaching her mother. Many times we have invited her to be baptized, but every time she has said no because she was already baptized in the Evangelical church. But, this week the atmosphere in their home was different. They have started to read their scriptures together, they pray as a family, they have family home evening and best of all, the Lord has softened her heart and she has finally accepted the invitation to follow the Savior's example and be baptized! We will not be here (most likely) but I know it will be a wonderful day for her. She already knows everything and for the first time came to church yesterday!! It was such a great miracle in juxtaposition with the not so good week that we experienced. The moral of the story is that you must have patience with those who do not know how to use their agency and encourage those who do not know how to use it.
Love you all and I can hardly wait to see you all soon!!
Talk to you next week!! 

Motra Hawkins

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Hey Everyone!
   This past week was exceedingly great! Again we were able to exceed the Mission Standards of Excellence as well as have a baptismal interview. We were still not able to find our missing investigators but we were blessed to find eight new investigators instead. Since we have been weak in this area for a couple of weeks, we decided we were going to try really hard to find some new investigators and we did. We met with all of the families of the children who come for English course. One family seems really promising considering they are Christian. They were not able to come to church this past week but we are praying that they can come this next week! And for the first time in my entire mission, we had success with a potential investigator contacting us through a pass along card. We were in a different city (my old area Lushnje!!) for Zone Training, and on the way home a woman got in and sat by me. I started talking with her and before she got out, I gave her a pass along card about Christ. I have given out hundreds and never have I had had someone give me a call, but she did!! The reason why this is so amazing is because she is from this little city named Kavaje and there is only one member (Dorina Dauti) who lives there. She is so amazing (I call her my sister) and has been praying for so long for someone from her city who wants to learn about the Gospel. We are really excited to start teaching her and invite her to be baptized this week! We were also blessed to be able to watch our investigator Ndue (he is the one who is the father of a recent convert family who has had a smoking problem for sixteen years!) receive a blessing for his smoking problem, stop smoking and prepare for his baptism. We are really excited for his baptism on Saturday. If you didn't catch that...HE'S GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!! The most important lesson I learned this week is that if you plan and have faith in something and then you act as if it will happen, that is when the Lord steps in and makes it happen. This is how he accomplishes miracles in our lives and in the lives of others.If you think you can't do it, follow the counsel of Paul and "...never weary in well doing." (2 Thes. 3:13).
 With Love,
 Motra Hawkins
 P.S. Here is a picture of all of the missionaries in my zone. :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy December!!

Hey Family! 
I am very short on time this week so I have to make it quick. 
This past week was a bit crazy but still good nevertheless. It was not my favorite but there was a lot of learning. Our biggest disappointment is that two of our serious investigators have quick answering their phones and we are no longer in contact. It breaks my heart because one was ready for her baptism and the other was eagerly preparing. We are hoping that the problem was a matter of school or work but either way we pray that everything will happen for them in the Lord's timing. We are comforted with the thought that this simply is not their time yet. We still are trying our hardest to contact them again but we have had no success yet. Now that it is close to Christmas we hope they turn up again. 
The good news (I always like to end on a good note) is that we were able to go to Tirana and celebrate Thanksgiving with all of the other missionaries. We had a talent show and our act was one of the best- a bit silly but really fun! 
The weather here is getting really cold and so we have to really bundle up now. I go out with thermals, a shirt, a sweater, and my big coat as well as a hat and gloves plus stockings and boots..and it is still cold. I thought the winter would be pretty mild but I guess the humidity plays a part. It is as if the cold seeps into your bones. My favorite thing is seeing my breathe while makes me chuckle.  
Other than that, things have been pretty normal here. We are trying our hardest to help all of our investigators prepare for baptism but problems keep coming up. Please pray for them! 
Love you all! 
Motra Hawkins