Monday, January 27, 2014

Well, What Do You Know??

Hey All!!!
I have to start by saying that I absolutely love missionary work, especially when it leads to change and growth. This week I have seen these two very important things with the correlation between the missionaries and branch leaders/members in Tirana 3rd Branch. Our missionary meeting with our Branch Missionary Leader and Branch Council was spectacular!! There was so much good communication about investigators and returning members. And not only that but plans were made and goals set to go and find even more!! Then yesterday in Relief Society, I was so touched when all of the women started to offer their help to go and find lost members, setting up times to go do their visiting teaching and offering their homes as places to teach others. I was so touched that I began to cry. For so long I have been reading in PMG about all of these things that we can do as a companionship if we want the help of the members and yesterday it was as if all of our small daily planning and in depth weekly planning and prayer finally slipped into place. We have now seen the blessings we have been seeking for so many weeks realized. The Lord is blessing us with amazing new investigators who have truly been prepared and are ready to learn. One went to university for two years studying the Bible and is so grateful for all of the sacrifices of Joseph Smith in helping to fix the translations of the Bible. Another man that we found through tracting met with the missionaries back in 1994 when he was single and then moved. Now he has a family and wants his two children to learn about Christ. Our biggest success in tracting has come through what we call cookie tracting. We put a couple cookies, a picture of Christ and a quote from the Book of Mormon in a little gift sack and then we hand them out to people and invite them to learn about Christ. We have also seen a lot of success in taking time to offer service to others and then acting on it. Everything that PMG teaches is true!!!
Preach My Gospel has helped this week change from good to great. It has helped our companionship and friendship change from mediocre to majestic!! Change is one of the biggest challenges and blessings of my mission. I am so glad that I have learned how to make changes in my life and in the lives of others. At times I feel that this is the biggest struggle in learn how to change yourself and to learn how to emulate the character of Christ. I see it happening slowly in my life and it is amazing! A year ago I would have never thought that I would be at the level I now am. The Lord truly does take us from a cottage and wall by wall builds and fortifies us into a castle.
Some exciting things that happened this week include that my bed frame broke so I was sleeping on the floor for a couple nights, I saw a giant peacock sitting in the top of a tree (which is crazy because the only birds in Albania are pigeons and sparrows!!), and we saw a family tree in a picture frame in an investigators home (again this is so rare because Albanians do not even remember their grandparents names!!). Also, on Monday we had a dinner appointment and ate as quickly as we could so we could go to our next one which was a FHE lesson with a less active member. Unknown to us, she had also prepared dinner for us so I almost exploded eating it all. The best part is that the stew she made for us was made from cow head (brain, skin and all!!). Luckily I told her I was full so I didn't have to finish it. I thought it would be best to just stop while it was still a head. :) (I try to make puns in Albanian but they just don't understand my humor sadly...) 
There were many other small things this week that were wonderful but this is all that I will mention today. Thank you all for your advice and prayers!
With a grateful heart,
Motra Hawkins

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