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
– 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!