Monday, February 24, 2014

I Will Never Forsake Thee

Hello Everyone!!
To start off my family email, I would just like to thank you all for the wonderful emails you always send me. It is such a pleasant experience to read the things that you are experiencing in yours lives and learn from both the good and bad things happening to you. I am still hoping to get some more stories from you all about your favorite memories but I guess I will have to wait to hear about those until next week. This is an important part of family history that I am beginning to understand. If we now record our memories and things we have learned, it leaves a great heritage for our children and grandchildren as well. We need to let them learn from our mistakes and joys (it's like the prophets in the scriptures!!).
Things here in Tirana are passing well. We are working diligently to get everyone ready for the new Stake. Things are still slow with all of our investigators but we are having a lot of continued success with most of our less active or returning members. We continue to have over 60 people in sacrament meeting and are in need now of a building with more room. There are many changes in our branch in regards to the members taking action and it is very exciting to see. In preparation for the new stake we are going to try something new with all of the members that we meet. We are going to encourage them to do three things before they come to sacrament meeting: bring their own personal scriptures, come prepared with a personal question which can be answered through personal revelation and leave 5-10 minutes early such that we can start our meeting on time. We hope that this will increase the activity of the members and encourage them to be more engaged during church.
This Sunday, I was again blessed with the opportunity to give a talk in sacrament meeting. For the first time I was actually able to prepare and  loved the things that I learned as I was preparing. I really feel that through personal preparation we learn so much more than we can ever try and teach in the small talk we are given to present our talk. It was exhilarating and I hope that before I leave I get to give another one! 
Also, I believe that I found the secret to effective missionary work! I was reading in Alma and I believe he teaches us the answer. See if you can find it below:
"And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them." (Alma4:19The answer is pure testimony!
Motra Hawkins
P.S. Here is a picture of a sulking mouse, my things as I was preparing to give my talk and translate everything and also an awesome quote from our favorite ice cream store called Me Gusta. :)

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