Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Final Countdown

Hello Everyone!!
The final moments are coming and it is pushing us to do even more and more. We are still pushing our goal of inviting thousands and baptizing many. Unfortunately, people are having a hard time coming to sacrament meeting (which is such a fundamental step in the learning and growing process) so I will not get to be here for their baptisms. But its all okay because one day it will happen when they are ready and in the Lord's timing. Why stress about things you can't control?
This is an exciting but bittersweet time for me. I am reflecting on all of the things I have learned from friends, investigators, companions and leaders. Lately I have been reflecting on the time I have spent as a missionary serving here. I have come to realize that I have been very blessed to see many different aspects of missionary work. I have seen what it is like to unmotivated and motivated leaders and learned from both. I have been able to teach and find many and help prepare them for baptism and confirmation. I have come to learn to love the Lord's Work and rely on Him through prayer and guidance of the Spirit. I have learned to love the Albanian culture and its people. I have learned to accept my weaknesses and have humility. I have learned how to lead and how to be led. I have seen sorrow and success. And greatest of all, I have become converted to this Gospel and will never falter. I count this as my first and most important convert in the Church.
There have been so many things that I have learned that I never thought could or would happen. I do not remember much from my blessing when I was set apart to be a missionary and that makes me sad but I do remember the words Dad said. He told me that I would not return the same person I was when I left. I remember laughing inside to myself a bit because I thought I was good enough as I was. I now laugh even more to myself when I realize how much I needed to change and how far I still have to go. His words have been prophetic and I am so grateful for the change I have seen in myself and in others around me. 
Today I want to close with my simple testimony that I know this is the Work of the Lord. His Spirit testifies and witnesses this of this to me everyday. Even though the going is tough from time to time, if we stop we can always see the Hand of the Lord guiding us along. I know that Christ lives and that He is our Savior and Redeemer. He loves us and has provided the Way for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father. It's all true and it all points us back to our divine home on high.
Love you all!!
Motra Hawkins

Monday, June 9, 2014

Myriad of Miracles

Hey everyone!! 
It is interesting to me this principle that I have learned these  past few weeks. I have been surprised to see that the harder we work the more we have to do. I feel that the Lord sees that we are willing to do more and so he has provided it for us.
Lately, we have really been trying to find families, and the Lord has blessed us with them. It seems every time we go trackting, the only time anyone lets us inside is when it is a family. Not all have been ready to receive the Gospel but I know that we were in the right spot at the right time and for them it was the perfect introduction to our church. We are still struggling to get them to come to church but I know that one day in the future these people will want learn more about us- what we do and who we are.  
Even though there are hard days, I always try and remember that there is always someone out there who has it worse off.Saturday,  we learned from our investigator Halide that her best friend died suddenly from cancer. This came as such a hard blow to her but I am so grateful that she has an understanding of the Plan of Salvation to comfort her. I am not the best at offering good advice about death, but I know that the Lord will give her the comfort she needs. We consequently are pushing back her baptism. I guess this is a trial that she needs to help build her testimony. It is hard for us to see but I know it is according to the Lord's plan for her. She is such a great person!! 
Well, I hope you are all doing well and working hard as well.  
Keep strong and smiling on! 
Love you lots!!
The One and Only Motra Hawkins

Monday, June 2, 2014

100% Honest 100% of the Time

Hey Everyone! 
This past week was pretty awesome and let me tell you a few reasons why! 
First of all, there was a surprise baptism a couple of weeks ago that I forgot to mention. There was an investigator named Betim that called us and called us so we went to the church and sat us down to tell us a story. 
He said that while at FHE another investigator that has been investigating for more than a year told he, "We should get baptized...really, we should get baptized!" And then she told him that he should pray about it.  
So he did and what happened was miraculous! He told us that he prayed all night and in the morning when he woke up, he realized that he news it was true, that he had always known it was all true. Now he is our branch mission leader and is doing great! He knows all of the investigators and is doing a great job to help us keep them coming. 
The most exciting part of this week was our second baptismal covenant invitation that we extended to our investigator named Kate who is an English teacher from London (Swiss Cottage to be exact) here teaching the Italians on the base. One of her students is a high ranking official who just happens to be a member from Italy who is serving here. He brought her to the church, we met last Monday, gave her a Book of Mormon, then we taught her of the Restoration and in the meantime he has basically taught her everything else (we didn't know this until recently). We met with her again on Saturday and she refused our baptismal invitation because she said that she was already baptized as an infant. We were quite sad but decided to teach her more and then ask again after she understood more. To our surprise, Cosimo the Italian member, got up in sacrament meeting yesterday and bore powerful testimony and conveyed to all a very special message.  
Before he was preparing to come here to Kosovo, he told his wife that he felt we would be serving a special mission while here. He then told us how after we parted ways on Saturday, Kate expressed to Cosimo her desire that he baptize her. This came to me as such a great shock but wonderful news. I didn't know how to respond!! We are so excited to begin to help her as well! The best news is that she reads her Book of Mormon before teaching and all of her student have many questions about her special book. We hope this will be good exposure to a large number of people. 
Other than things are moving forward little by little. We had 35 people in sacrament meeting yesterday, and almost a third of them were investigators!! The Lord is moving his work along quickly here! We have five baptisms planned for this next month as a district!  
Health, peace and blessings to you all!! 
Motra Hawkins