Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome to Tirana 3rd Branch!!

Hey Everyone! 
This past week has been a bit crazy for me and my companion. We are still trying to contact all of the investigators that we were handed at the beginning of the transfer but they are almost all impossible to contact or find in their homes which has left with a lot of finding to do. We have located the homes of some lost members and we even get to meet with one of them the day after tomorrow!  
Finding her home is a bit of a funny story actually. For a couple of days we spent quite some time looking for her home. We searched long and hard, up and down with no success. We enlisted the help of some local Albanians and still we could not find this hidden apartment complex. Luckily, we finally found someone who knew where she lived and the craziest thing is that she lives right behind us. The very road we had been looking for was our very own road. We had searched every other road but never thought to look at what our road is called. It just goes to show that the thing you are looking for is always where you least expect to find it. :) 
Another fun thing happened to me yesterday when we arrived to the church for sacrament meeting. The second counselor in the branch presidency came up to me and informed me that one of the members who was supposed to give a talk would not be coming and he asked if I could do it in her place. Since I am now used to this, I excitedly said yes and sat down to gather my thoughts.
Over the next twenty minutes I was then told I would not be speaking, I would be speaking, then the mistake was made and it was announced I would be speaking, then I was reassured that I would not speak by hand signals, and then for the third time I was told I would be speaking. Since it was all a big surprise, I realized that I needed to just let the Spirit speak so I didn't plan anything. Anyone who knows me knows this is never how I do things. I always have to have a plan so I was taking a jump of faith with this one. Right before I got up to speak, I led the music for the special hymn which was, Did You Think to Pray. As we sang the closing verse, I knew what I needed to speak and testify about. As I began to speak, I saw in the congregation many upset faces. It was then that I knew why I need to speak about prayer. I testified that I knew prayer is a powerful tool of communication from our Heavenly Father. I then proceeded to testify about the healing power of prayer and as I did I saw the frowns melt and tears begin to fall. I also began to change myself and the tears freely fell from my face. It was such an amazing experience to feel the Spirit working through me touching the lives of others and watching it shape their lives. This has been my favorite thing about missionary work- seeing the Spirit change the lives of others. It makes up for all of the harsh words said of Christ, the slammed doors and tiring days. Seeing miracles happen in the lives of others is the most valuable gift I have ever been given. 
In other news, I taught a girl about faith in sign language, was invited to attend an Iranian Muslim festival by some Iranian refugee leaders and and was offered a bottle of wine. Not quite the norm but the Lord's work nevertheless. 
I love you all! Thank you for your many prayers on my behalf!! 
Motra Hawkins

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