Monday, March 3, 2014

Here Comes the Stake!!

Hello Again Family (and Friends!!),
Here we are at the beginning of another beautiful week!
It's crazy for me to think that this time next week, Albania will be organized as a functioning Stake!! This is pretty much the only thing that gets me through the day..looking forward to the moment when it will all happen. Work and our key indicators have been really low lately because (in my personal opinion) that Satan is trying so hard to bring us down before the marvelous work and wonder comes into effect here. We are putting forth so much effort and seeing so little progress but I know that once a stake is established, Satan will have just a little less power here and the work will go forward at full speed again!! Now that I have come to understand this, I am so excited for Sunday.
One other important thing that is going to take place Saturday is a cultural event in which we will take part. Many VIPs are invited, including many of the country state representatives. As missionaries of Tirana, we are going to sing "Called to Serve Him" arranged together with the recently translated "Thirrur T'i Sherbejm Mbretit". With the new stake they will now start publishing the big hymn book in Shqip!! I am so excited for it!! I am also ecstatic when I think of the power the newly called Stake Patriarch will be here. This past week I have been listening to some BYU Devotionals given on the power of patriarchal blessings and I am excited for those blessings to be available to all worthy and desiring Albanians. Things are going to change in great ways here! 
We have also started doing some new finding opportunities through activities. Yesterday we set up a big screen tv at the church, popped some popcorn, and invited everyone passing by to come and watch a movie with us (The Restoration). It was a lot of fun, something different and we had some success! I hope that we will continue to have more success in finding more who are seeking for the truth.
Also, I wanted to share a bit about our Sunday worship service yesterday at church. As it was our last week as a branch and fast and testimony meeting, there were many who got up and bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and its effect on their lives. Sadly, they are realigning the boundaries here and many (okay all...) of my most favorite members will no longer be in our branch. I was all tears and joy as I sat and listened to their heart-piercing testimonies. As I work amoung the members I am beginning to recognize the hand of the Lord in this country to bring the true disciples of Christ unto His protective Fold. How fortunate we are to live in a time and place (I refer to America) that practices religious freedom and believes in God and His divine goodness. The Lord is building a strong foundation for the future generation of the Church here and I am so blessed to be a part of it. I never want to leave!!! This has become such an important part of my life and my testimony is that I know that I will never stop working to build, expand and edify the body of Christ, no matter where I am serving, always beginning with myself. 
I want to bear my sincere testimony to you all that I know that the Lord loves all of His children without exception, patiently waits for them the find Him, and always provides a way for them to return Home. I know that the Book of Mormon has divine power to change lives and I know without any doubt that Joseph Smith has been the source of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ back onto the earth. My testimony is that Christ lives, He loves each of us and invites all to come and follow Him!
Motra Hawkins

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