MTC #5

Wowza. So much has happened this week and I seriously can’t believe that it is Pday. This seems to be a constant stream of thought that I have here, that this is all going so fast! Which is kinda good, because I seriously just want to get out there to Albania and start serving those darling people who have fantastic food that I can’t wait to eat….

So wow ok lots of thoughts today and I am a lot less organized than I have tried to be in the past few weeks. And when I am a little scatter brained I usually make lists so this week will be a list week:
1. Sister Zollinger and I are the new sister training leaders and wow has there been much to do this week! It can be a little tricky when you are responsible for helping shepard in new girls to your zone, and then we are also responsible for interviewing them each week and seeing how they are feeling and such. And when you have this many sisters in here, there are quite a few that we are in charge of here, there can be a lot of things going on. And we had a bit of a hectic week in that respect. But I have absolutely loved serving these sisters and I want them to feel absolutely wonderful here and I just hope that we can make as much of a difference for them as our sister training leaders had on us. It is truly an amazing thing when people open up to you, and I have loved having these sisters open up to us. It has allowed us to better understand them and to know how to better serve them. I love them so dearly and I hope that we can help them as much as humanly possible!
2. Elder Russel M. Nelson came and spoke at our devotional on Tuesday and it was wonderful! A bit less fiery and passionate than some of the speakers have been but he brought such a wonderful spirit to the meeting that it really helped me and Sister Zollinger out. Tuesday was hectic with a couple of the sisters. one was sick, and one had a really rough day and we had to work a few things out with her. but we testified to this particular sister that if she would spiritually prepare to go the meeting that the spirit would testify to her and that the speaker would answer her question if she came to the meeting with one in mind.
I am such a firm believer in this principle. If you spiritually prepare for a meeting, and if you make specific questions you are way more likely to receive personal revelation. And you are so much more in tune with the spirit. And this general authority did a wonderful job. We haven’t done our check up interview with her yet, but her spirits have been much higher and there were some things said in his talk that I believe were particularly directed to questions that she might have had. I loved it. This particular sister was having one of those “why am I here” days and the first thing that Elder Neilson started with was , ” many of you may be asking why you are here…” and me and Motra Zollinger just looked at each other and just smiled. The Lord is absolutely marvelous. And though it wasn’t as fiery as some of the speakers like I have said, there were some particular things said in that talk that I believe were catered just to one of our sisters and I am so grateful.
3. Some good quotes/thoughts from the meeting with Elder Nelson:
   – Having Character is better than being one….
   – Enduring to the Endowment: with this one I like to think of this as when we are meeting with our investigators we should not only picture them being baptized but continuing on past that point and enduring so that they may one day enter the temple and be sealed with their family forever that they might be able to enter the celestial kingdom and walk with God/ I loved this thought, and now even here in the mtc when we meet with our investigators I try to picture them in temple white, with their children being sealed for time and all eternity and one day walking hand in hand with their heavenly father.
   – Why are you on a mission? Because you follow Jesus Christ. > I love this. so so so much. Not enough time to address everything that I would wish to, but know that this struck a cord in my heart.
……etc, so many more but so little time.
4. Elder Nelsons wife gave a talk prior to his, and I know I probably shouldn’t say that I liked hers more, but on that particular day her talk resonated with me a bit more. She talked about desperation. We normally associate the word desperation with really negative feelings, and a place or state of being that we never really want to be in. But she talked about how when we are desperate we will do anything, that we will find a way to fix whatever may be causing that sense of desperation. She encouraged us as missionaries to be desperate to bring the gospel to the people of the world, to be desperately praying for help from our heavenly father, and to be desperately involved with our investigators. She said that when we are in a state of desperation ” All excuses and distractions rush away and are completely invalid. And our prayers change.” I want to have that feeling of being desperate. I have just begun to feel the mild pangs of desperation in respects to the language here as I only have less than 4 weeks before I head out to Albania… but I want a heightened sense of desperation, because everything that sister neilson was saying is completely true. When we are desperate WE WILL FIND A WAY. It is hard to wish desperation upon ourselves. But in this work that we are involved in, it is absolutely essential. Because only that feeling of desperation can motivate us to DO something that we otherwise wouldn’t deem essential.
That was probably my very favorite part of the week, and I really hope that I had prepared a bit more on that topic. Perhaps I will write more on that next week. But I encourage each of you, no matter what you are doing in your life to find a sense of desperation that requires you to turn to your father in heaven in earnest and sincere prayer. Because I KNOW that He listens and will help us through anything.
I love this work, and though my brain is exploding from different types of conjugations and command forms and past participles and noun declensions I know that I GOT THIS. I have so many great examples in my life, and I thank all of you for your support. Now just get me to Albania!!!!
Love- Motra Kollmën
more funnz thingsË
– One of the elders here wants to gain weight and has already put on like 15 pounds. It’s hilarious.
– Beach volleyball is where it is at. I am awful, but also the tallest girl so that means that I can jump up and hit it over the net. huzzah
– we might get to skype with a real Albanian in Albania next week…. ahhhhhhh
– I just want to go to Albania
-also I love the temple with all of my heart
-shquip është shumë veshtirë, por është shumë mirë sepse une dua të shkoj në shquiperi tani!!!!!!
– I had more things to say but I forgot. okkkkkkkkkkk unë ju dua!!!!!!
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Another fantastic week

Another fantastic week at the good ole mtc. Well, we were privileged to hear from another fantastic speaker this week… I’ll set the scene so you can appreciate this.

… OK.  Sister Zollinger and I, along with our district, head over to the devotional early because lately we’ve been having a lot of really fantastic speakers. So we claim the spots in the 3rd row, front and center, so if it is anyone super ferocious speaking we will be lucky enough to feel their spit hit us if they get super passionate… kind of like how it was when Elder Holland came… But anyways… we are sitting, all of us missionaries, intently waiting to see who the speaker will be, because unlike other times they have failed to announce the speaker at dinner… anyhoo… Then the MTC president comes out and announces that we will be watching Elder Bednars Character of Christ video instead… There were mixed feelings about this because many assumed another apostle was on the way, but this is also one of the very best talks ever. So that was good. So we watch the character of Christ talk, and mind you this was my 3rd time watching it in the 4 weeks that I have been here… so I love it . Talk/movie ends and the MTC president re-enters and who do you think was accompanying him this time? BEDNAR HIMSELF. We all gasped and shot to our feet to welcome him. We all looked like kids on Christmas morning.
He shared a few jokes and we were all beaming up at him like giddy school girls. Sisters AND Elders alike! And because we had just finished watching his talk mere moments before, Bednar opened the floor for any questions people might have. But he encouraged us to ask meaningful questions, saying: ” The best questions are inspired questions- specific to person, place, or time.” And there were many fantastic questions asked.
One sister asked about the very touchy subject of why women don’t hold the priesthood…. When she asked about it, everyone in attendance kind of shrank back a bit because we all know what a potentially touchy subject this could be… especially currently. However Bednar was completely undaunted, and even after going over this topic he came back to her several times to make sure that she didn’t have anything else that was bothering her, he wanted her to understand this concept completely because it is so important. This sister wanted scriptural evidence and references and Bednar simply said: “they are living” and in response to her questioning gaze he continued on to say ” They are living. We have living scriptures- the prophet, and the apostles- you won’t find every little detail you want within the scriptures, some of the instruction we need comes from your “living scriptures”.” (somewhat paraphrased)
He then went on to equate the priesthood to an umbrella. Saying that sometimes we may equate the priesthood with the male gender, but the priesthood itself does not have a gender. It is merely associated with males because they are the ones who hold the priesthood “umbrella” if you will.
What does an umbrella do? It shields and protects all of those who are under it. So too does the priesthood function.
I wish I could draw a diagram through this email of the things that Elder Bednar said… it was all beautiful. Because I can’t draw it for you- like the one I have in my notes- and for fear of confusing anyone about this important subject, I simply want to say again what Bednar said: that there is no gender to the priesthood, however the men of the church have been called to hold the umbrella of the priesthood which shields, protects and blesses everyone underneath: including women and children. The priesthood is a beautiful and wonderful thing. It blesses all of us, and how lucky are we to have people to hold the umbrella FOR us. This does not mean women are unfit. Men and women have divine differences which, when working together and doing their part, bring beauty and blessings. As a woman (whoa I don’t feel old enough to be called that yet..) in the church, and as a sister missionary I would just like to say that I don’t feel “slighted” because I don’t have the priesthood, I don’t think it proof of the church being sexist or anything like that. I LOVE this church and there is nowhere that I feel more respected, loved and equal..And if anyone does feel that way then it is a problem with the people involved not the doctrine or the gospel of Christ…. Women are incredibly respected in the church, they run half of the church within relief society and primary and young women (underneath the umbrella of the priesthood) and though they are different from the priesthood and young men- they are equal. We are all different but equal. And in our differences there is beauty.
I am grateful to those who hold the umbrella of the priesthood- it keeps me safe and blesses me constantly. And under this umbrella I have been set apart as a missionary to represent my savior, which is the most amazing and important thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. So thank you so much to those of you who hold and honor your priesthood.
Along those lines Elder Bednar talked about spiritual gifts, in particular was love but this can be applied to every spiritual gift, and potentially priesthood.- “(love) is a spiritual gift- we never receive a spiritual gift because we want to, but because God trusts us with that gift to be in the right place at the right time.”
I wish I could send you every word that Elder Bednar was able to share with us, each word was meaningful and insightful. I hope what I was able to furiously type in this short amount of time may help any of you who might read this… This part of the talk about the priesthood made me think a lot. I love this work, and I am so very grateful that I am a missionary at the MTC at this time when so many wonderful speakers come and share their wisdom with us, it really makes all of us excited to enter the field of labor. I cannot wait till I get to Albania. I love being a missionary. I love you all wherever you may be.
Love, Motra Kollmën
ps. another good quote from another devotional with Elder Evans of the 70 : ” Every person you meet is within your purpose” LOVE THIS. We need to talk to everyone we possible can as missionaries. I am still confined to the MTC and my “investigators” here but my friends already out abroad on your missions, Talk to everyone you can! you never know who the lord has helped prepare!

MTC Week #3

Well hello my dearest family and friends! Yet another week has passed, and all too quickly in my opinion! So I keep getting confused in thinking that today is our fourth week here (when in actuality it is merely our 3rd) because in our planners we are on week four, this also means that we are not here for a complete nine weeks… but like 8 and 1/2 ish or something! Anyways, again the days are super long as my brain turns to goo sometimes as I learn Albanian- but the weeks are incredibly fast!!

So we had another apostle at our Tuesday devotional this week! Elder L. Tom Perry. What an adorable man. He has a very calming countenance in my opinion. He really stressed the importance of the companionship unit and I love what he said: that ” You are sent in to because one witness is not sufficient.” And it is so true, even in the short time that I have been here and been a new learning missionary there is a special power in the witnesses of two. Many times in lessons with our investigators, the most spiritually powerful moments are when me or my cute companion testify and the other one of us is inspired to back up the others testimony with out own witness as well… I love those moments. We currently have an investigator named Linda from Tirana and Sister Zollinger and I have had some wonderful teaching moments with her already. I would say that we understand about 60-70% of what she says, and sometimes that 20% or so that we are lacking, and sometimes waaaayyy more than that, can feel like a lot… And for our actual ability to speak Albanian I would say we can say like 30% -40% of what we actually want to.  This can be a bit frustrating sometimes, but in one particular lesson we came upon a question with Linda that me and Sister Zollinger didn’t particularly prepare for together, but in that moment I knew exactly what Linda had asked and what to say and I said probably five ish important phrases which she understood perfectly and which allowed our lesson to progress really well. I had studied those particular phrases and vocab earlier and the fact that I was able to recall that during the very moment that I needed it was amazing. Just as it promises in D&C section 84 verse 85: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man…” It was amazing. I think missionaries sometimes think that just asking God to help you in that moment is enough- sometimes I do this, actually a lot- but we must study all we can beforehand and then trust that if we have the spirit with us, we will be able to have  a clear mind and recall exactly what we need to in that very moment.
I mention this coupled with the importance of companionships because in that moment I was able to offer my personal study in the lesson, and there are other times when Motra Z. is at the helm due to her own personal studies. And I am so thankful for her! I can’t imagine having to go into a room alone to face an investigator at this point all by myself! and in Albanian!!! So…  I am very grateful for companionships. Also, serving your companion. There is nothing more important in here than to serve my companion. And I know that when I focus on the happiness of my companion and those around me I find myself much happier. Ties back to the whole “turn out, when the natural man would turn in”. So good.
Alright some other fun things to talk about…. Ok so the past couple weeks our district has been labeled the “diseased” district because ea. companionship except one has had a pretty awful sickness.
-sis z and me have both been sick. she was sick week one, and I have been sick for the last week. Apparently last week I contracted some mutated form of strep-throat… it was kinda funny though because we had to go tot a clinic that was off campus and even though we haven’t been in here very long it was still weird to go out of the MTC and see the “real world” haha. also they decided to test me for Mono… bahahahahah I was like, ” I can promise you I don’t have mono…” but they decided they had to, to make sure the antibiotics for the mutated strep wouldn’t conflict with mono…. bahahah my comp was dying though. So in case anyone was wondering, NO I don’t have the kissing disease. When they came back to tell me the blood test was neg. I was like ” what a relief, now I can go back to being a missionary…” Oh man. Ok. I don’t know why I think this is so funny, i’m cracking up right now. oh ok.
So there’s us being sick, and Elder Opper had some variant of the flu, and Elder Muncy has some stomach thing…. but we are all nearly 100% and on the mend and back with more fervor and passion to learn now!! But everyone still calls our district the diseased district…
Oh also me and sister Zollinger have been called to be the new sister training leaders! so Woooohooooo! We start that on Monday when the Hungarians leave/ PS our zone = Hungarians, Albanians, Finnish, and sometimes a random Estonian but our last one just left like last week……..
Alright I love you all dearly, and hope all is well! To those of you around the world and those of you just up the street. LOVE Ya!!!
<3- Motra Kollmën
topë farë = super cool or ballin hahaha

MTC Week #2

C’kemi! 

What a week! I can’t believe that it is P day again already! This has been a fantastic week!

Firstly, on Tuesday for the devotional Elder Holland came! And what a wild and ferocious talk he gave! I feel so lucky because there have been such fantastic speakers while I have been here!
Elder Holland talked a lot about Enduring to the End, and how so many RM’s fall away from the church, and he was so passionate in explaining how wrong that is. One of the quotes he said that I absolutely love is: ” I can’t stand the thought of losing any of the sheep. But even worse, I cannot bare the thought of losing the Shepards.” That one struck me, because though I have never thought of myself as a Shepard, that is what we are as missionaries. We are helping people come unto Christ, and it is so sad when, after testifying of the truthfulness of this gospel day in and day out for 18 months-2 years, a Shepard falls away. He also stressed how utterly important the word “invite” is in our missionary purpose. Because to be able to invite someone anywhere, you yourself have to be there first. I absolutely loved this. Because it’s true, for us as missionaries to invite others to come unto Christ we first have to be there ourselves. How can we ask our investigators to Pray, and Read, and come to church, and love Him with all their hearts if we ourselves haven’t done it first. And we all know the common saying of if you can’t convert anyone else in the time you are on your mission, at least convert yourself… or something along those lines. Well it is so true! We must make sure that we come home absolutely converted unto Christ, and then endure to the end. To be converted you must come unto Christ in every way possible, and trust in Him. I want to come home completely different than what I was. Not that I was bad, but I want to be fully and totally converted and I want that to be visible. I want to be unrecognizable when I get back. Something else Elder Holland said was “there isn’t any old life. There is no going back…. Real life is missionary life.” I love this because once we accept this as missionaries we can lose ourselves in the work, and be eternal missionaries…
It was so funny because when he was expressing all of this with such passion, he kept saying “my mission has meant everything to me” and when he was expressing how much he dislikes those who take their mission for granted he said: ‘” I will hunt you down and put my knee in your throat if you take this experience lightly…I’m not above anything… I will hunt you down in the dark of the night.” haha good ole Elder Holland!
He also stressed how underused and under appreciated the Holy Ghost is. Which is so true. We have the ability to have one of the godhead with us at all times, who is just as equal and one in purpose and on par with Christ and our Heavenly Father. So I implore each of you to use the most universal gift that God has given to every member of this church… appreciate it and feel comforted.
Sometimes missions are hard. That is a given. It is called missionary WORK for a reason, and though I have barely scratched the surface of this work, I have already wrestled a bit with the language and gospel principles trying to become an adequate teacher for the people of Albania. I know that I have many trials ahead. However when we think of our hardships in comparison to what our Savior went through in his earthly ministry, I feel humbled and work harder. “Salvation is not a cheap experience”, and we are bringing salvation to people who desperately need it. Of course it will be difficult. Because we as missionaries are disciples of Christ, and a disciple is someone who walks where he walked, taught what he taught, feels a bit of what he felt. Elder Holland said “The road to Salvation always goes through the garden of Gethsemane… if you are a disciple, understand that we will weep and struggle and feel the pain and blood of this generation…. however it isn’t too much for you to endure a small portion of the weight he bore…. do not flee from Christ-like moments”.
I love this work. And though the trials still lay ahead, I know that if i put my faith and trust in my Heavenly Father I know that I can do anything.
I love you all dearly and hope you are well! Can’t wait to call home for mothers day this Sunday, first time in MTC history! My companion continues to be amazing and I love her so much, she is such an example to me. I love my district, they are hilarious and though they are these young boys they are spiritually mature beyond their years.
Sorry this is a bit short- Till next week!
Love, Motra Kollmen

MTC Week #1

Wowza. 

 
I can’t believe that I have been in the MTC for an entire week! There is a common saying here that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. and wow is it true. I feel like I learn enough in each day to equate to about a week if not more of maybe a highschool + language class! I am already learning so much Albanian- I have already taught 3 lessons in straight up all albanian for about 30 mins- it was crazy awesome the gift of tongues is real, and I absolutely love my district! there are 8 people in our albanian district, and I already love all of them dearly! WE are the absolute best district. My wonderful companion is named Sister Zollinger and she is a gem – such a strong testimony. We get along swimmingly, and we have quite a few things in common and think very similarly to the point that we are often thinking the same thing and we will blurt out the exact same thing at the same time! It is brilliant.
 
I love the mtc; I REALLY didn’t think that I would like it as much as I have. We have a room to ourselves which is unheard of usually but there aren’t too many missionaries here right now, apparently that will change in a few weeks though… supposedly. 
 
Ok. I had an absolutely life changing experience with a devotional video that we got to watch on sunday evening. It is Elder Bednar’s talk called : the Character of Christ. I had been recommended it before by Elder Osborn, or Christopher… and I had looked it up and listened to it, but the one they have in the mtc is much longer and far more precious. It is about an hour and a half long, and it was a recording of a special devotional that he gave for missionaries on Christmas Sunday, and it is literally life changing. It talks a lot about how our “natural man” tends to want to “turn in” when bad things happen, that we “turn in” and act selfishly… and this happens very often. However he said that the way to be the very best missionary you possibly can be is to “turn out” and be like Christ when you would otherwise desire to turn in. Christ like attributes are the way to find true happiness in this life, and I believe that this will be a quintessential factor in my missionary purpose and drive. I am now studying the attributes of Christ very closely in attempts to be the very best missionary I can be. Because I know that I can only do this amazing missionary work if I strive to be more like Him and to radiate Christ-like attributes. Through Him I can do this. 
 
I don’t know if you can look up the missionary edition of this talk, but if you can I encourage all of you who have not already read it to find a copy or even listen to the normal talk that I know is online。
 
So go and read it if you can。 I would encourage all of you to search the scriptures and obtain a copy of PMG and try to study the qualities and attributes of Christ。 
 
sorry that the font is all weird now
 
We were also privileged to have Elder Christopherson come and give a devotional to us on Tuesday and he did an amazing job。He said something that really struck me。He said be the kind of man or woman that God can one day say:That’s a (wo)man after my own heart。。。like with saul(paul)。 I want to have that be me。 I want my heavenly father to be proud of me and I pray everyday that Ican. 
Each time I am studying or working on my albanian or preparing something,  I have the thought of my future investigators in mind. It is a little hard to focus on others while we are here at the MTC but what I do now, I do with my future Albanian investigators in mind. I can hardly wait to get over there and start sharing the wonderful message of the gospel with the people of Albania, who desperately need it. I love the MTC and I love all of you dearly. Thank you for all of your support and love! I hope you are all doing well!
Motra Kollmen (Sister Coleman) 🙂