Incredible Miracles Everywhere

Hello my friends.

Wow, wow, wow. I honestly don’t know where to start. This week has been absolutely incredible and we have experienced so many REAL miracles and I just wish that I had a camera in my head at all times that I could just upload to you each week so you could just see this life that I am living here in Albania because it is absolutely incredible. And the blessings are just rolling in.
As many of you know we have started using this new approach, where we contact using pictures of baptism that act as initial facilitators for an active dialogue with the potential investigator and we start really simply talking about what baptism is and then testify of restored truths powerfully and invite them to a church tour (or if we are really feeling it, we invite them to be baptized). Now, this week has been really crazy, we broke our record of lessons taught, and surpassed some of our teaching goals, but I know we can push harder and teach more and FIND MORE. But unfortunately we didn’t get as much contacting time in as we were planning on, so we are still adapting to this new approach, and we are planning on doubling our contacting  time this week- but we did set up several church tours and one tour in particular was very successful and we met a wonderful older woman who is just amazing and just so ready for the gospel. And we are hoping to have her into the waters of baptism on August 23rd.
There have been so so so many miracles this week. And I just HAVE to talk about one in particular. And her name, is Rosa. And I know that she is one of the biggest reasons that I have come on my mission. I KNOW that I promised to meet her here in Albania and teach her about the gospel and the wonderful plan that her Heavenly Father has for her, and I honestly have never met anyone so preciously prepared. And the absolutely amazing thing is that she was found through our own finding efforts. And just the thought that we were the ones to invite her, makes me think about the alternative if we hadn’t invited her. She has become an integral part of our lives in just the past week and I can’t even bare the thought of not having had the courage to walk up to one more person and invite them to learn more about the word of Christ.
She is a younger teenager (we have met with her mom and have permission to teach with a member present of course.. and her mom is very supportive and interested also) , but never before have I met anyone so thirsty for a knowledge of where she came from, what she should do, and where she is going after this life. She wants desperately to find her purpose in life and I know she has the gift of recognizing truth. On our very first lesson with her, we taught her about her Heavenly Father and how much He loves her and we discussed Prayer and invited her to pray, and invited her to be baptized as she comes to recognize the truth of our message and she accepted, and that night she had a very simple and profound experience with prayer that has skyrocketed her faith and she now exhibits such faith that astounds me. And she always offers the most sincere prayers I have ever ever heard.
We have met with her for about 4 days straight now, and I can’t believe that we have only known her for this one week. I feel as though I have known her my entire life, and I know that she is one of the biggest reasons of why I am in this area at this time. And like I said earlier, I cannot imagine the thought of not having her, and her incredible light, in our lives right now. The fact that we stopped her and invited her on the street to learn more, the fact that we were the ones that actively sought her out… makes me think about how many other people, just like Rosa are out there who are just so golden and waiting to be invited. They are just waiting! They are out there, and now it is up to us to find them. And each day I think about how many people I passed who have the potential of being just like Rosa, and it motivates me to open my mouth more, and talk to more people. And I am so grateful that we have been blessed to take care of Rosa right now. I know that Heavenly father is showing such trust in us to nurture the teaching of this precious soul, and I pray that we will be able to teach clearly and powerfully, because I know that if we do the very best teaching we possibly can, I know that it will register in her because I know she has that ability to recognize truth. And I know that because Heavenly father has entrusted her to us at this time, I know it means that He knows that we can do it.
There have been so many miracles this week. I really can’t believe that it has only been a week. Its been a month or even a life times worth of miracles this week. And I know that there are more miracles now more than ever because we are working harder. We are spending more time on our knees in earnest prayer, we are planning more and more effectively, and we are pushing and stretching ourselves, and we are inviting boldly. I love this gospel, and the more I learn about it for myself the more I find myself wanting to run up to every person and talk to them about it, because it really is so intensely wonderful! Now I’m just working on becoming fluent at Albanian so that I can run up to everyone, and shout it from the rooftops… 😉
Miracles are real people. Because our God is a God of Miracles. I was reading in Mormon this morning and in  chapter 9:19-21 it hit me particularly hard. Especially because this last week has been FULL of miracles. Our God is a God of miracles. If we can’t see the miracles or when they aren’t happening as readily it is because of the fault of the people… but. If we can have an unconquerable faith and “doubt nothing” then everything we pray earnestly for will be granted unto us. I KNOW that this is true. I know that we can help make miracles happen. And how wonderful that we are able to be a part of this work of miracles. And if we can just continue to work at perfecting ourselves so that we can have the spirit with us at all times, become better vessels for the spirit, I know that Miracles will happen through our diligent hard work.
I love you all and hope this email finds you all well!
Love, Motra Kollmen
Fun things: \
– Rainstorms are so fun and so sporadic here it is amazing
-We love juicing things at our house 🙂 we are becoming professionals
– The clouds here are absolutely amazing and I often find myself triping over my own feet just staring at the beautiful landscape here. This is a truly beautiful land.
– My companion is hilarious.
– SO MANY MIRACLES THIS WEEK. you will all just have to come over and read through my journal from this week when I am home. But I don’t know if I will ever come home because the work here is just too amazing!
Love you all dearly! 🙂

visited a fshat village and we played with some of the kids. well. we just played ring around the rosies. they are adorable

visited a fshat village and we played with some of the kids. well. we just played ring around the rosies. they are adorable

Tirana week #4 LITTLE MIRACLES

Hello my wonderful family and friends! I hope that you are all doing so well!

Well this week, we have started to make some serious goals and are really beginning to implement some marvelous ideas. So now when we street contact. We have a picture of Baptism and we ask if they know what it is and then we talk about it very simply and explain that it is the way that we can be forgiven of our sins and get rid of our feelings of inadequacy and shame that comes from making mistakes and sinning in our lives. And we ask if they would want something in their life. And ask how they think something like that would change their lives. Then we invite them to be baptized. And so on and so forth. As soon as we get it super down to a science here in Albania and figure out what works, I will share our dialogue with you! But it is way fantastic.
This new method of contacting is still in the process of being adapted to the Albanian people, and we are still adapting ourselves to this kind of approach. We are doing role plays in the morning to start getting used to this kind of approach- yes, we do many role plays here to get ready for teaching, oh the joy of being on the missionary training program for the first 12 weeks! It’s way helpful I promise-  and we are just trying to teach and contact so so simply. This is seriously so amazing, and though we have just started to use it. We are really seeing success in this kind of approach. We haven’t had anyone accept yet. But we have gotten some numbers for church tours and we will be contacting much much more this week with this idea. We are upping our contact time per day to at least an hour and a half. At LEAST. and just talking to as many people as humanely possible. The hardest thing here, is muhabet. small talk. People love to small talk here. But we are just going to be bold and if they shut down the baptism thing and start moving into muhabet mode, we are just gonna move on quickly and politely. Because we are looking for people who Heavenly Father is preparing for us to meet. And I KNOW that He is preparing people for us. We just have to talk to as many of these people as we can, sift through, and find the preciously prepared ones.
This approach is bold. Because we don’t have time to beat around the bush when it comes to someones salvation. – as one of my MTC teachers said. And it is so true. This contacting approach is not only making us more bold on the streets when we are contacting, but making us bolder in general. We are bolder setting up appointments, bolder as we testify. And it is making us bolder in just sharing with people. With Everyone.
And now I will share a mini miracle with you:
So one evening after 2 hours of contacting using our new baptism approach, with little success, we were headed back to our apartment to take care of some phone calls. We were walking in between some houses in an ally when we saw a girl walking and I said to my companion ” wow I really like her bag..” and then my companion and I decided to run after her and tell her that we liked her bag and try to invite her to be baptized. And to our amazement. this is what happened. So we run up behind her as she is starting to walk up the stairs to her house. And we start our conversation with the bag shpeal and then she says ” actually I used to be a member of your church. I saw you walking, and wanted to say hello, but felt bad because I haven’t been active for nearly 2 years.” WOW. She then proceeded to invite us in where her mother and nephew were and we shared a brief message with them and talked and they have been through the temple and everything and have just moved here from Fier. And though they haven’t been active for personal reasons they really do believe and love this gospel. The mom and the nephew accepted our invitation and came to church the next day and we are going to do a service for the daughter after I email. But they had said how much they missed church and how they still knew that it was true. So now we have a few more returning members. But how wonderful! And that wouldn’t have happened without us being bold and LITERALLY running after her!
We have to be bold. And we have to share with everyone we can. Because we never know who the lord is preparing or trying to help return home to him. I know that nothing on a mission happens by chance. And I know that as we consecrate ourselves to our Father in Heaven and this mission, and strive to be PERFECTLY obedient, and strive with every fiber of our being to be the best missionary (person) we can be, I know that he will put people in our paths and will help us accomplish anything.
I love you all so much, and I hope that you will be bold this week.
Love, Motra Kollmen
Fun things:
-bought a juicer today…. woohooooo!
-saw some cows eating out of a dumpster yesterday
-went on a hike through a jungle like place to reach an appointment yesterday in the boonies
– we have found a brand of pear juice that tastes like the pear jelly belly
– people here ask me and motra fevaro to marry them sometimes. and it gets a little awkward. just keep walking. just keep walking.
– we got another baptismal date. its our other baptismal persons friend! They are both so great and just trying to work in times to meet because they are way busy with work. But they should be taking place in the middle of next month.
– We are really excited about that juicer. like really really excited. 🙂
OK LOVE YOU PEOLE BYEEEEEE

Crepes people. CREPES. They are wonderful.

Crepes people. CREPES. They are wonderful.

So this is our apartment...

So this is our apartment…

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hiking in the jungle to get to an appointment... with our member in her high heels... hehe she is the best!!!

hiking in the jungle to get to an appointment… with our member in her high heels… hehe she is the best!!!

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It started with the pudding.

Ok weird title. And I will explain shortly.

I would just like to start by telling you a few wonderful blessings and miracles about Albania:
– It is so hot, and the sun is always out so I will get tan soon
– The clouds here are absolutely beautiful all the time. I want to paint them
– I love all of the old men and women walking around in their cute little outfits. when you say hi to them they stop in their tracks and just look at you without saying anything. But they have beautiful faces full of history and hardship and I love their wrinkles.
– I learned the worth of smiling this week. People may not always understand the things I am trying to say, but when I smile and if I have light in my eyes. The spirit testifies and they understand perfectly.
– I learned the power of Remembering this week…
So, many wonderful things transpired this week. The work is just about to pick up and we have some amazing ideas at how to do it. Borrowed from the Thailand mission… and I am expecting that they will work. We are just working on trying to cater them to Albania right now. But. I would just like to share an experience that we had yesterday with a wonderful woman named Motra Xheko. She is a returning member and we have visited her every week since I have been here. And she came to church yesterday! And wow was it good for her. She ran out essentially after sacrament, she had to go tend her grandchild, but we met with her later that evening and some truly amazing things transpired.
So we arrived at her home and she greeted us so very kindly, and as every albanian woman, with two kisses on either cheek. Then she sat us down and fed us some beautiful vanilla pudding that she had just made. Now when people give us little treats they just give it to us to eat and save some for themselves for later. Or at least that is what this motra does. But this time we invited her to eat with us. And unlike other times. She did. We ate those big bowls of pudding and were all smiles and jokes and pleasantries. It was beautiful. And after that she began to open up. Slowly and then so quickly it was like a flood! Last time we invited her to write her testimony and share it with someone and to our surprise she actually did. And she read it to us also. And wow does this motra have an incredible testimony. It is astounding that she is inactive. And then she started reminiscing about her baptism and she showed us all sorts of pictures and was telling us about her conversion story.
In 1996 the missionaries knocked on their door. And they shared a quick lesson, asked for a return appointment and they said of course. Because they already knew it was true. They were so prepared for the gospel. And she even found an  old little note that she had written herself right after her baptism and she read it out loud and it was so strong and beautiful. She was remembering everything that had brought her joy in this gospel and in her life. And then we started talking about her goal to go to the temple one day. She wants to. But its expensive to go up to Germany and do that. But we invited her to read Preparing to enter the Holy Temple, and we read the intro and you could tell that she really was very touched. And said she would talk to bishop about preparing.
Then after all of this beautiful reminiscing and remembering baptismal covenants, and hopes for the future of her family in perspective of eternity, Motra Favero closed with a beautiful prayer. And while she was offering that prayer, I prayed so fervently in my head that she would receive revelation of what to say to touch the heart and inspire change in this wonderful and dear woman. And when amen was said, I looked up to find motra xhekos face wet with tears. The spirit was so strong. And I know she was remembering how much joy she had had in this gospel, and I could tell she was feeling bad for not coming to church and not living the fullness of the Gospel. And then we all embraced. And it was so beautiful. And she is coming to a few church activities we have going on tonight, and we have an appt with her on Friday. And she was so so sincere. I have never seen a light like I saw in her yesterday, She is so strong and she just has it. And I have never felt a persons love so much for me here in Albania. I know that she really cares about me and my companion and I could feel her gratitude. She invited us fervently to come back after our missions with our families, and said we could stay in her home on the couches when we come to visit. And she was so sincere and serious. I LOVE HER.
 I just wanted to tell you all about this experience, because returning members are so important. We are here to help others to come unto Christ. And though we are here to really bring new people in, we are also here to help rekindle the fire that has temporarily started to die out for some…. but I know that it is still there. And I know that if we pray for our companions fervently and earnestly, Heavenly father will send the spirit to that person if they are open to it. And miracles happen.
We just need to expect them. And I am working on moving from just believing that miracles will happen to EXPECTING them to happen.
I love you all so much. I love this place with all my heart. Good things are happening in this part of the world. I know the work is just about to explode. I’m expecting it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. But this isn’t my work. It’s His. And He can do anything. Through Him I can do anything.
Love, Motra Kollmen
Fun things:
– I made a traditional albanian dish this week: stuffed peppers! just grill some green peppers stuff them full of onion/tomato/garlic-rice and bake them till brown and it is great= another testiment that I am actually in the mexico of europe
-bought some awesome Mediterranean flowy shirts today, it is awesome. I look like a native
– There are some awesome names here let me just name a few: Fatjone (what does this look like? Yes. Fat John) also Fatbardha(=white luck), Dashuri (love), Yllber (Rainbow… yes this is a mans name), also dyllber (this is double rainbow.. also a mans name)
I love these albanian people!

 

ok everyone. calm down. But yes. I did make this lovely dish. No im not in mexico, I am in europe actually. But I might as well be in mexico. I love it

ok everyone. calm down. But yes. I did make this lovely dish. No im not in mexico, I am in europe actually. But I might as well be in mexico. I love it

this is the lana river that cuts the center of tirana.. it is quite poisonous..dont fall in. ok I wont.

this is the lana river that cuts the center of tirana.. it is quite poisonous..dont fall in. ok I wont.

this was my first day in tirana. I thought Christ himself was going to descend. Wow. It was beautiful.

this was my first day in tirana. I thought Christ himself was going to descend. Wow. It was beautiful.

Ok everyone. This is big treg. It is a glorious market that is huge, and everything is very cheap and awesome. Did I buy some things? why yes. yes I did.

Ok everyone. This is big treg. It is a glorious market that is huge, and everything is very cheap and awesome. Did I buy some things? why yes. yes I did.

Ok so I am very tall for a young lady here in albania. This is the average size of albanian girls. she is my same age. Her name is arjola and she rocks. She is a member and I love her

Ok so I am very tall for a young lady here in albania. This is the average size of albanian girls. she is my same age. Her name is arjola and she rocks. She is a member and I love her

average meal here. chicken is a bit sketchy..... but these greek salads are our life! we make them all the time!

average meal here. chicken is a bit sketchy….. but these greek salads are our life! we make them all the time!

this is me being festive for the fourth of july. I bought that purse at big treg. I love it,. oh america.

this is me being festive for the fourth of july. I bought that purse at big treg. I love it,. oh america.

 

WEEK 2 Tirana

Hello there wonderful Family and Friends! What a week of sifting it has been! We were able to work through a whole slew of people who at this moment just aren’t ready and willing to accept Christ in their lives right now. And it is alright because now it allows us to find the people who are prepared and wanting the touch of Christ and this Gospel in their lives.

But It has been a crazy week. We have absolutely packed days. The night before in nightly planning we call all of those people we were wanting to assess or not really active members we are trying to bring back or potential investigators and we line them up for the next day, and then nearly every single lesson falls through the next day. In the moment when they don’t show, I won’t lie, its a little disheartening. BUT, it helps us work through the people who actually care… and  the number who actually care is very very small. Its crazy. This area is just so busy and everyone is struggling to feed their families so they are working as many hours as possible and just cant find time for God in their lives. However instead of being frustrated with the people, it motivates me even more to find the people who are actually prepared. Because I KNOW that He is preparing people to receive the message that we carry.
I have been thinking a lot this week on all of these busy Albanians. They are all of them struggling and I know that if they would just stop for one moment and TRY to invite Christ into their lives, their lives would improve tenfold. So I have been really studying on how in the world do I motivate these people to Action? And the conclusion that I have come to through my diligent study of the scriptures is that All that I can do as the missionary is constantly testify, and invite others to come unto Christ fervently and sincerely, and serve them with all of my heart. That is really what I am here to do. To live a life in accordance to the Gospel, live a life that testifies of Christ. And open my mouth and preach to as many as will hear through the Spirit. But once I say my part and invite the spirit, He is the one that carries the message to the person, and then it is entirely up to that person to decide whether or not they will let the message into their hearts. Because everyone has their agency.
Agency is one of the most beautiful gifts that mankind has ever been given. But at times it is so very frustrating. My job is to “Open (my) mouth at all times… declaring (the) gospel with the sound of rejoicing…” *D^C 28:16… but as it states in PMG : People have the agency to choose whether to accept (my) message… I love agency. It is so beautiful. But just as with every other most amazing gift, when used the wrong way, they have the potential to become very harmful. And I pray each night, fervently that these people will use their agency to let Christ into their lives to help them. Because I KNOW that He will. If they will but just let Him in.
This area is very tired. The people work insanely hard to support their families and are saving in hopes of leaving Albania to create better lives for themselves in other countries. But I pray with all of my heart that we can be a light to them. My companion and I are stressing living in perfect obedience, because as I learned in the MTC, there is a true power and blessing that comes from perfect obedience. And I know that many blessings will flow from this decision of ours to be perfectly obedient.
I love this work. It is very hot and it is quite humid. And though hardly anyone will stop to listen, I know that we will find the preciously prepared ones. We just need to widen and deepen our pool of people. And though tiring, I constantly smile. Because what I am doing now is but a small similitude of my gratitude for what my Savior suffered for me, and it is the very least I can do to show my gratitude and help these wonderful brothers and sisters of mine return back to the fold. I am so lucky to be a part of this marvelous work. And I am determined and motivated to change this area!
I love you all to the moon and back!
Love Motra Kollmen (Sister Coleman)
Fun things:
We have one baptism set up for August 2nd! Her name is Xhena Lena she is 16 as she is a gem. I pray that she will be open to the spirit and continue on this path\
Also my companion is hilarious. I should keep a quote book of the things she says.
And I’m running out of timee. ….. but the old people who are here are absolutely lovely and fantastic. They stop us in the part and like making jokes with us and they think we are JW’s and we have to clarify and they joke about things that I don’t understand and it is beautiful and they are all playing chess and just chuckling. Ahhhhh what a wonderful people I am privileged to be serving…
Ok byeeeee