Transfers!

Transfers!

Soooooooo I will be staying here in the beautiful area of the Tirane Third ward! And my new lovely companion is Sister Vermunt from the glorious land of Canada!! (Let the Canadian v. American jokes commence)  We will be serving together starting tomorrow till the end of December!
Which means……… I get to spend Christmas with some of the most amazing people that I have ever met in my whole life, I love this ward! I can’t think of anything more beautiful. Why are you thinking of Christmas Motra Kollmen? (considering we haven’t even celebrated the beautiful festivities of All Hallows Eve or Turkey day yet…) Well, because this last wednesday, Sister Favero and I celebrated our transfers Christmas, with sweaters and hotchocolate and some David Archuleta/MoTab. Because it just had to be done. Now, I have never been one to listen to Christmas music early. I never agreed with people starting up the Christmas tunes as soon as they put the turkey leftovers in the fridge, but.. I am a changed sister now. Although, I am currently looking forward to Halloween again, so the christmas tunes are waiting till their proper time to come out again in December… as is proper. But I will say, It was a beautiful experience. Christmas in September. Good stuff.
This week we had a beautiful sister missionary conference at the mission home, where all 17 of us sister missionaries (in all of albania, kosovo, and macedonia) assembled ourselves, and had a beautiful training on the Atonement by our lovely mission president’s wife. It was a simple message, a story that I had heard before, about the debtor and his friend who pays the debt and then the debt is owed to the friend instead. But this time, I felt it more personally. We know the friend in the story, is Jesus Christ. He has paid for us in full. Our duty, my duty,  is to follow Him in everything, to give Him everything I have. Because even everything that I have, is not enough for what He did for me. But what He asks from me, from Motra Kollmen, is my very best, to yield all that I have to Him. And after I have done everything that I possible can to follow Him, then He will stand by me, taking my hand and plead my case. He knows me- he knows the feelings of inadequacy, awkwardness(let me tell you, sometimes it is awkward being a missionary, so just expect me to be a little weird when I get home, well… you all know I was weird before so I’ll probably be the same) But how nice to know that someone knows EXACTLY what I feel! He feels the little not so awesome feelings, but I know He also shares in our joy, or feelings of triumph and success, because we have those feelings and experiences because of Him too. And let me tell you, the feelings of joy and triumph that I have in my savior, far out-way those moments of awkwardness.  He loves me. He loves us all so much! So, it was a beautiful training. President and Sister Weidmann are very inspired people.
Sorry if that was a bit rambly, not quite sure how to formulate all my feelings and thoughts, and I forgot my journal at home. One day you can see all the notes! But amazing things are happening here!
Ooh forgot to say that Sister Favero is headed up to Kosovo~ with sister Zollinger, my buddy from the MTC! They are gonna rock.
Love you all dearly!
Read in your scriptures, study the atonement. Pray. Help each other.
Motra Kollmen
teaching albanians live long and prosper. sorry not a pic of me. but this is funny

teaching albanians live long and prosper.
sorry not a pic of me. but this is funny

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roza girl, and soni another investigator... like my skirt? sister f gave it to me. :)

roza girl, and soni another investigator… like my skirt? sister f gave it to me. 🙂

THE POPE WAS HERE

Well hello there. What a wonderful and crazy week it has been! So many things have happened, it astounds me every week just looking back. I love it.

This week Aferdita was able to enter the waters of baptism led and baptized by her brother Trashegim.
Let me just tell you about this last saturday that she was baptized because it was one of the craziest days and best of my life:
Saturday we did our weekly planning in the morning, and then we had a couple lessons. One of which was with about 7 amazing kids who are all over the age of ten but under the age of 16 and they are so lively and full of energy and they love coming to church and learning about the gospel and the book of mormon. And we were having a lesson with them, and invited them to walk and come with us to the baptism with some of the other members. SO if you can imagine this, me and sister favero leading 7 investigator children along with 2 member kids, and a couple other adult members herding them from the back, through this large city….. which! was crazier than usual, because who was in town? THE POPE.  FOR REAL. The POPE was in town this last weekend. So Tirana was just absolutely flooded with people. You can imagine my stress level at imaging losing one of the kids. I respect those parents who take their thousand children to disneyworld now and still manage to have a churro in their other hand, I have a lot to learn! -Somehow, and I know it was a miracle, we got to the other building where the baptism service for our dear Aferdita was taking place. Then we had a lesson with all those children and our dear Aferdita and her siblings Trashegim and Ilirjana about enduring to the end. It was a beautiful classroom setting with Aferdita front and center. It was great. Every time Aferdita or someone answered a question, the children lightly clapped their hands. Aferdita was loving it. And we were still able to have the spirit lead and we all felt it really strong there at the end. 
Then as the service started…
 
… was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen. When the baptismal service started, with good old Numero Bekimet (count your many blessings) sung in the beautiful off tuneness of the lovely albanian people,  our sweet Aferdita and Trashegim and their nonmember sister Ilirjana were all bawling. And it was so sweet to just see their smiles as streams of tears ran down their faces from the spirit. They were just clinging to one another and it was the most beautiful thing. It is moments like that, when you know that they have developed a deeper understanding of their Heavenly Father, and are actively taking steps to draw closer unto Him… that you just KNOW that this is where you are supposed to be. Even now, I can honestly say that I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I love these people more than I could have ever imagined that I could love people. And this work is hard. I am exhausted each night. Falling asleep in prayers. But that is how it should be. Because if we work hard, God will bring the miracles in His time. And as we  work hard, we can help these people forge these relationships with their Father in Heaven. And nothing is more beautiful than that.
And Aferdita was baptized by her 6 year member brother Trashegim. It was a very emotional day for both of them. And I just keep thinking about how we have only been teaching Aferdita for less than a month! we have known her for 2 but only taught her for 3 weeks… and her faith has grown drastically. She is a different person than she was before. She is truly coming to recognize her divine potential and is making steps to fulfill that potential.
As missionaries we see these peoples potential. When we are out finding, we see each persons potential to be a relief society president, ward clerk, primary teacher, bishop. Each of us has such incredible potential. And our Heavenly Father knows our potential. He is just waiting to help us fulfill our potential, and He will help us. As missionaries, we invite people to fulfill their divine potential. We invite them to learn who they were and what they chose before this life-to come here-, who they can be and should be here, and what their potential is after this life. Each person has the potential to live with God again, to walk with Him and be like Him. And we have to help them recognize that potential. Because every soul is precious in the eyes of God. We can never forget that.
There were a lot of other incredibly amazing things this week…. here is a little list:
-we are teaching a brother and sister, and the brother was being really persistant about having his sister pray for us, only because he said after that he feels so good when he prays and he wants her to feel that too
– had a great zone conference, 1, WORK WITH BISHP, 2, Pray seek and find-plead with the lord to be an instrument in his hands, 3, One new baptismal date per week or more
– Romans chapter 8 is one of the best chapters ever.
– One of the members here used to live in a mansion palace and have servants and be really rich, but the red mafia stole everything from him years ago….
– I had a dream that albania flooded last night, like to the top of the apartments, woke up to a torrential rainstorm! but it isn’t flooded, don’t worry!
– I saw a human skull by the trash cans… I just kept walking…. maybe a lot quicker…. yikes
Anyways. I love this place. And I love all of you wonderful people! Till next week!
love, Motra Kollmen
look aferdita was baptized this weekend! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE.

look aferdita was baptized this weekend! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE.

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Fire

Hello family!

What a wonderful week it has been! We were blessed with a lot of lessons this week and so many experiences. I never know where to begin!
Some things that happened:
-Aferdita passed her baptismal interview!!! This upcoming Saturday she will enter into the blessed waters of baptism and enter the fold! haha I love her so much. She is so sassy and wonderful. So stay tuned for that next week… 🙂
– yesterday in church stake president Mema came and gave one of the most amazing talks I have every heard. He is our only stake president here in all of Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo, and he is also the institute and seminary teacher and he is one of the most amazing human beings alive. He talked about something very interesting. He talked about how we commonly misunderstand something very important, and how we often teach this wrong… he talked about how when people receive the holy ghost, we think that it is them commanding the holy ghost to come down onto that person and then reside with them. NOPE. He talked about how we cannot do that. We do not command the spirit to come down. But that person is cleansed with fire, making that person cleaner than ever before. completely clean, and if their heart is open and if they are in fact clean, then the Holy Ghost may come and reside in them. -this was all in albanian so I am doing my best to translate back into english…but this is the best I can describe what he said, if there are any errors that is the language barrier hahah- but I just absolutely loved that. Because it is so true, first they are baptized with water, and then with fire and the holy ghost. When they lay their hands upon the head of the person receiving the blessing, they are laying their hands on them to cleanse them with fire. To absolutely cleanse them, IN ORDER that they may be pure for the Holy Ghost to reside in them. How cool is that?
I think about this baptism of fire, picturing a metal worker, thrusting a rough piece of metal into the furnace, the metal glowing brighter and brighter until it is absolutely blazing, then I picture the smith taking out that metal and working it into something beautiful. Something completely unintelligible from what it was before. Making it into something beautiful.
Now, this might  be a bit of a weird image for me to picture, but at that point where the metal is intensely bright, it is pure. And then the metal worker, the master if you will, can take that blazing piece of metal, that pure substance, and work it into something beautiful.
How wonderful.
– This week I have been really focusing on becoming more grateful for all that I am given. I am so incredibly blessed. I have been blessed with a wonderful family who supports me at home, I have been blessed with friends who are now all around the world inspiring me in different ways, I am blessed to be here in Albania, blessed with the gift of tongues, blessed with new friendships that will last an eternity, blessed with the opportunity to come closer unto my savior Jesus Christ, and learn not just about Him but of Him… Learning constantly how I can become more like Him. How I can help these people. And I love them so much, and cant picture being anywhere else but here. I love this place with all my heart. I love this ward. I love my companion. I love teaching the Gospel. I love being a missionary. He has blessed me with so much, each night I just pour my heart out in thanks to Him for everything He has given me. Is it easy all the time? No. absolutely not. This is crazy hard work. But through Him, we really can do all things!
I love you all dearly and hope you are taking steps to come to know your savior. I KNOW that He is here for us. He knows how you all feel. He knows how I feel. For he is mindful of us “wanderers in a strange land”.
Love you to the moon and back!
-Motra Kollmen
-transfers on the 30th! crazy. I hope I stay here, so I can be with all these wonderful people for Christmas! hehe

Hey it’s been raining lots!

Sometimes I am not quite sure what to write or how to begin! Everything is still going here, missionary work is missionary work and just keeps moving forward! I have been here for quite some time, 11 weeks now? So I am finishing up the missionary training program this week! Wow have I really been here that long? Crazy! And then me and Sister Favero have another couple weeks together. Transfers will be the last weekend of the month. We have long transfers here! I don’t even want to think about not being with Sister Favero. She is truly one of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. She has so much love for these people, EVERYTHING that she does is out of love for them and a desire to help them come closer to their Savior. She is truly such an amazing example to me and I have been incredibly blessed to have her as my trainer. We are both praying that we stay in this area so we can keep working with these amazing people and can keep rolling with the miracles that are happening here. But we know that whatever comes, will be fantastic and for the best. But I am truly so grateful that I have met this amazing missionary, and can honestly say that she will be one of my greatest friends after the mission.

I am so happy to be a missionary. I work with such amazing people. My companion, the other missionaries in my District, the members here are amazing, and the investigators are golden. It astounds me every time we find a new investigator how much the Lord prepares people. They have been prepared by the Lord LONG before we showed up and invited them.
Lets think of some think of some things that have happened this week in the wonderful land of ALBANIA ( I live in Albania… what the? )
– Oh Family Home Evenings are wonderful. Our Investigator Aferdita loves FHE. And the members here are so amazing to have us and our investigators over for FHE. We have a message, play a game, and eat traditional albanian cakes and things that are just absolutely scrumptious.
 -Today we cooked with a wonderful Albanian nuna named Luma. She is a treasure. She taught us how to make soup! It was delicious!!! be excited for Albanian cuisine day when I get back.
– We have been doing a lot of Returning Member lessons this week, they are all such wonderful people. We just need to remind them of their covenants, rekindle the fire that we know is there. These people love the Gospel, there are just so many forces holding them back from attending church; work, live far away, petty feuds… there are many things. But NOTHING is more important than Heavenly Father, and renewing that covenant of baptism each Sabbath day.Nothing is more important than that relationship we have with our Heavenly Father.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, just how wonderful it is that we can have a personal relationship with God. It’s such a simple topic that we teach, but it astounds me every time. I have a father in Heaven. Who loves me. Who watches out for me. Who knows the thoughts in my mind and the contents of my heart. Who knows everything. Who understands every feeling I can possible feel or imagine.. And I have the opportunity to have a real relationship with Him. I can talk to Him whenever I want. Whenever I have a need, I can turn to Him and ask for help or comfort. When I don’t know what to do, when I am having a difficult time talking in this difficult language, when I feel inadequate ateacher. I know that I can turn to Him and through Him I am made strong. My weaknesses bring me closer to Him, when I am weak I call on Him more, I grow closer to Him, and I recognize how desperately we NEED Him. We have a desperate need for His help, especially in this work. We must involve Him in everything, because this is His work. And If I need and want that help, I need to have a strong relationship with Him. So I can bring down the powers of Heaven, and so we can have blessings here in Albania.
No persons relationship is perfect with God, we aren’t perfect. We aren’t supposed to be. We are here to experience and to be humbled so we recognize our dependency on Him. Our relationship with Him is EVERYTHING.
ooh looks like I am out of time. Just know this land is full of adventure, and rain, and funny old women.
I love you all dearly, please take the steps you know you need to do to have a better relationship with your Father in Heaven. I know He loves you all dearly.Please get on your knees and strengthen that relationship. 🙂
Love, Motra Kollmen

this is me with aferdita (our awesomest investigator, she is going in the water on the 20th) and denisa our awesome member who helps all the time in lessons. I LOVE THEM

this is me with aferdita (our awesomest investigator, she is going in the water on the 20th) and denisa our awesome member who helps all the time in lessons. I LOVE THEM

me right this second.

me right this second.

​its a rainy day today! this was about 25 min ago! it is sunny and rainy at the same time. It is a beautiful place here!! I LOVE IT. RAIN all this week! so awesome.

​its a rainy day today! this was about 25 min ago! it is sunny and rainy at the same time. It is a beautiful place here!! I LOVE IT. RAIN all this week! so awesome.

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pictures of albania adventures, and clouds, lots of rain. but still sunny? hehe

pictures of albania adventures, and clouds, lots of rain. but still sunny? hehe

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Artificial Lake Kids

What a magnificent week! Everyday here is seriously fantastic. I am constantly surprised and find myself just marveling at everything walking down the streets and just thinking: “I am in Albania! I speak Albanian!” What??! How is this even possible? Needless to say, I love it. 🙂 2 months in country, and I still can’t get over it.

We have just picked up an absolutely amazing investigator. Her name is Aferdita (offer-dita) and she is golden. And there is a funny story behind her. Ok so Aferdita and her sister Ilirjana had been coming to our english course class every week for a month and a half, and they seemed interested but not very and never really responded too much to our invitation to learn outside of class. BUT. When our cutest girl Rosa was baptized, she invited the whole english class to come to her baptism. (she is a fantastic missionary already) and aferdita and her sister came! And I can’t think of a better baptism they could have come to, because Rosa’s baptism was absolutely wonderful and was so spiritual. At the end of the baptism in the closing song, my companion actually was holding hands with Aferdita because they were both feeling the spirit so strong. It was beautiful. We asked again if she wanted to learn more. This time she accepted. This last week we met with Aferdita on tuesday, and everyday since have had a lesson with her. And in our first real lesson with her on tuesday, she came into the lesson and when we started talking about her experience with the baptism, she told us she had already decided that she wanted to be baptized! She said it before we could even invite her! And as we got into more lessons, I tell you, she is so prepared. The lord really does prepare people.
ooh another interesting part of this wonderful story is that on thursday, we had a lesson planned with aferdita and she called the night before to cancel and we tried to set up another time and she said that we would just talk to us tomorrow… and then district leader calls and tells us a member wants us to call him because he has a referal for us… we call him, and he asks if we have time tomorrow… of course we have time! Next morning show up to the church for our lesson with this new “referal” and who is it? Aferdita. confused? haha The member who called us was Aferditas brother Trashgim, who has been a member for 6 years! And they hadn’t told us before that they were siblings!
Turns out that He had been keeping a distance from his sisters learning in the church because he wanted them to find the right path for themselves, but had encouraged them to come to english course. And I guess everytime after english course they would come home and ask questions to him about the faith part of our lessons and they would talk for a long time about the things we had taught. And when Aferdita had called Trashgim to tell him that she had a baptism date, he said he was so happy and they then decided to pull a surprise on us. 🙂 We are so excited for Aferdita, and we are hoping that we can meet the rest of the family soon. – her date is the 20th of September.
Aferdita came to church for the first time yesterday. And with the way that she was interacting with everyone and involving herself in the lessons you would have thought her an old time member. She fits in so well, and just loves everyone so much. It is amazing to see the growth that these investigators make. In such a short amount of time! It is such a privilege to be able to see that kind of growth, these people are so inspiring! And it is truly incredible the changes that take place once people start putting their trust in their Heavenly Father and start acting on that faith and repenting through keeping commitments.
Needless to say, I feel so very blessed to be a part of these peoples lives.
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” (John 15:16)
That is all for today, hope you are all well, LOVE YOU ALL DEARLY!
Love, Motra Kollmen
Other things…:
-went to an artificial lake this week for pday, just a big man made lake in the middle of Tirana, it was so calm and peaceful, that place is definitely my happy place
-for all those friends who know of my love for all things asian, I found an asian restaurant. That is also my happy place here in albania. I was the happiest kid to have some authentic and beautiful chopsticks in my hands once more… 🙂
– Sister Favero is the best companion that has ever walked the planet. And we only have till the end of this month together! (first companion… yes we have 12 week transfers here- and this one is 14 because we got a new mission president) So needless to say I love her
– Roza is helping in lessons and has such a solid testimony and is helping her mom learn so much. Hoping to get her mom in the water this month too 🙂
– tried Dhale for my first time ( think buttermilk+ salt) (mom- this is literally the stuff grandpa alder drank. I think he was albanian) And it wasn’t too bad… this one tasted more like kos (yogurt) than anything else…

went to the artificial lake today in the center of tirana, it was so big and so beautiful and just so peaceful it was fantastic. So calming... did some sketching :) good day I say

went to the artificial lake today in the center of tirana, it was so big and so beautiful and just so peaceful it was fantastic. So calming… did some sketching 🙂 good day I say

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