Monday, March 10, 2014

Tirana Albania Stake

Hello All!
There are so many things that I want to share this week but I just don't know where to start...
I guess I will start with the surprise that I received Friday night. We were waiting at the church for a family to come so we could teach them about the new Stake when President Ford gave us a call. Motra DeFriez answered and quickly handed the phone to me and said, "It's for you..". You can imagine my great surprise when he invited me to speak at conference that following afternoon. Like so many times in the past I gave him a quick yes and then realized I didn't even know what the topic was, where or when the meeting was. When I exclaimed my surprise to the invitation, President Ford simply replied that he knew I could do the job and that it wouldn't be a problem. He was correct on both accounts and my mind quickly began to think of what things I could share. I was asked to talk about the joys and blessings of missionaries working with members. It was easy enough to prepare since there are so many things for me to share. My preparation experience was different than any that I have had before because I trusted solely on the Spirit to prepare. It was amazing for me to see how easily the words and references came to me. As I stood and shared these things before everyone (no one told me until I got there that it was being broadcast to the entire stake via satellite) the Spirit was so strong in bearing witness of my message. It was a very unique experience indeed. (also afterwards a member complimented my language skills and said that I speak like a native but I believe the Spirit was speaking through me such that they could understand perfectly). 
So that was the good news and now for the bad news. Shortly after attending this wonderful session of conference and then attending a celebration at which all of the missionaries sang, we went home and prepared for the next day of conference. The next morning when we both awoke we were both extremely sick and Motra DeFriez couldn't even get out of bed because she was so sick. We both received a Priesthood blessing and then spent the rest of the day in our apartment. I cried when I realized that the day I had been looking forward to for more than a year was taken right before my eyes but I then understood that the Lord had a greater purpose in keeping us because in those hours we were taught some very wonderful principles. From the others, we learned that everything went well and that everything is set up for the stake to run at full force! I am excited to see how everything will play out now!
I love you all and am grateful for your prayers and encouragement!!
Motra Hawkins

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