Fiqeret was baptized!!

Alright, let me tell you a tale of this wonderful girl named Rozalinda. (my golden girl) She was baptized about three months ago now! She was my first baptism. And in every essence of the the title golden investigator, she was it. She is so solid. So spiritual. And since her baptism, we have been working with her mama Fiqeret. And after months, this last Friday she entered the waters of baptism and was later confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! It was such a special day. I felt incredibly proud and loving and warm at Rozas baptism three months ago, there are just some people that you have this undeniable connection to, Roza is one of the people I know with all my soul I knew in heaven. But I was so uncontainably happy this past weekend, so proud, when Rozalinda was able to give a lovely and powerful talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost at her mothers baptism.

I felt like such a proud parent or something while she was at the pulpit, I don’t even know how to put into words how much I love her. I seriously can’t describe how much I love her, she feels like my kid. But just seeing the spiritual progression that she has made, and what an amazing example she has been to her mother has been absolutely inspiring. It just warms my heart that they read and pray together every night before curling up in bed. It brings a smile to my face thinking about them making personal commitments to go to the temple together as soon as possible. It is in things like these, little triumphs and big that I know this work is the most important on earth. We aren’t just baptizing and effecting individuals, though that is great, but we are helping build eternal families, helping them grow closer to the Lord together. We are helping them get on the path that will lead to the happiness of their eternal family. I am so honored, so very very humbled to be a part of building families. I love that I am still in this area, that I can see the progression, the spiritual growth of my recent converts, to see the effect that they are now having on their friends and family, I am so very proud of them. Again, I feel like my heart is going to explode when I talk about them.
I know I talk about this a bit each week, but each week I feel like I develop and even greater love for the people and I ask myself how is it even possible? How can I possibly be blessed enough to be here, because in all truthfulness I feel like I am spiritually growing a months worth in a day. Not even lying. Some days feel soooooo long, just packed full of learning and growing experiences. And I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that I am here sometimes. But I am so very grateful that I am, I would definitely be a very different person had I not chose to come on a mission. not a bad person, but just not the same. And it is so humbling to see the hand of the Lord in my life, and especially the lives of my investigators and those we work with. I love it. And I know that this love that I feel for these people is only a small portion of what their Father in Heaven feels for them, how amazing is that?! And that means that I could love them even more!
As far as other things go, over here it is finally cooling down! it is officially that lovely crisp fall weather! ooh something interesting is that the government is tearing down all illegally built buildings, and that contains the majority of the street we live on…. so it might look like our neighborhood got bombed… but we are good and safe, have no fear! I also hiked a beautiful mountain today, brought back the adventure day memories, except today I was hiking through ancient olive trees… so that was amazing!
I wish you could all experience this, it is like nothing else. Don’t think it isn’t hard. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, But the fruits are oh so rewarding. I love this!
I love you all so much and hope you are doing well! This week, I have made a goal of saying more prayers of gratefulness for what Heavenly Father has blessed me with, trials and blessings alike, I hope you all will to!!
love, Motra Kollmen

baptism photos! fiqeret and roza

baptism photos! fiqeret and roza

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fiqeret was baptized by the bishop so that is a pic of him and them and his wife and kid :)

fiqeret was baptized by the bishop so that is a pic of him and them and his wife and kid 🙂

Climbing mountains:) and some cool houses in the mountains. chickens, goats you name it. love this place

Climbing mountains:) and some cool houses in the mountains. chickens, goats you name it. love this place

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Kishe Loc

Hello there! Wow, so many wonderful things have happened this week, it feels like the events of a month have taken place this week… where to begin….

1. GENA WAS BAPTIZED! – Gena is so wonderful, really, I have never met anyone so repentant and willing and devoted to changing her life for the better. She has such a beautiful testimony, and just everything that she has shared with me from her life seems to have been building her up in her faith to receive the message of the restoration, and seems to have been leading her to our church. On the day of her baptism, we were waiting out at this bus stop to meet her, she lives 30 minutes out, and as missionaries tend to be pre-baptism we were like nervous little bees, but she came and just was absolutely glowing. She was just so excited and ready to enter the waters of baptism. After she came up out of the water, she was just smiling and giggly and told us that she totally thought that she was going to die in the water, she said she hadn’t wanted to tell us but she actually had a huge fear of water and was positive she was going to die. But said when she walked down into the water, she wasn’t afraid, only happy. She had enough faith to go down into the waters of baptism because she was that set on following the example of her savior even though she thought she was going to die! I am telling you, she is a women of great faith, and I love her so much!
2. Something really interesting that we do now when we do our nightly planning: (instructions from president)
1 Pray on your knees and ask for the spirit to guide you
2 Each one read a scripture out of the Book of Mormon
3 One of you shares a 2 to 3-minute testimony how he had recognized the enabling power of the atonement in the work today
4 Give account to the Lord of what you have achieved during the day
5 Pray for next day goals, write them down and discuss how you want to achieve it and write it down in your daily planer
6 Pray on your knees for confirmation
7 Listen to the receive the desired confirmation
8 Make changes if necessary
9 Pray again for confirmation and listen
10 Enjoy the Spirit
This has absolutely changed how we do our nightly planning. It definitely takes a lot more time, but It also invites the spirit far more than we had it before, and it really involves the lord a lot more in His work. I’ve seen an amazing difference in our plans as we have tried applying this, and I know it was inspired. 
 
Another crazy amazing mission changing policy has also been implemented, From now on Sisters are only allowed to teach females, and Elders are only allowed to teach males. This changed the work for A LOT of Elders. They had to turn their female investigators over to the sisters, and though many are a bit flabbergasted we know  it is revelation, and we know that this is going to drastically increase priesthood numbers here. We didn’t gain any investigators out of this new policy, didn’t lose any.. we only teach women here… but I know that President Weidmann is so inspired, and I can’t wait to see how these new policies and Ideas play out. 
 
3. Fiqeret, Rozalindas mama, passed her interview! I’ve been working with her for 3 months, and she is finally ready! 🙂 
 
4. We started choir practice for Christmas already! Let me tell you, it is a lot of fun singing translated christmas songs with a whole room of loud albanians. I absolutely have a smile on my face at all times! 
 
5. My companion is hilarious. That is all there is to it. 
 
And all you really need to know is that miracles continue to happen out here. Even if something unexpected comes up, have faith, it will ALWAYS work out with the Lords time. Come what may. Just have the faith. 
I love you all so much! 
 
Love, Motra Kollmen 
 
ooh and today for pday we went up to Kishe Loc, which is somewhere that people go to pray at this litle church on a mountain to pray for miracles. Pretty cool. It was a fun Fregon (van) ride up the mountain. Travel here in albania is very fantastic. You go to these big parking lots where TONS of vans are parked with signs in the windows saying where they are going, and you just all chip in money and it is wonderful. Essentially carpooling. 🙂 I love Albania. 
 
PIc of me and my awesome canadian comp. 
 
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today for pday we went to this cool church called kishe loc (loch) where supposedly many people go every sunday to pray for miracles and believe they will be healed. its on the mountain and is a very beautiful place!

today for pday we went to this cool church called kishe loc (loch) where supposedly many people go every sunday to pray for miracles and believe they will be healed. its on the mountain and is a very beautiful place!

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baptism pics with cutest gena!

baptism pics with cutest gena!

What a week!

Conference was absolutely fantastic! We watched it yesterday in church, translated, so it was a week late, but it was so wonderful! With each talk, each topic, I had the confirming feelings that these men, our leaders, are truly and absolutely inspired men of God. I know that President Monson is the prophet and I am so grateful for modern day revelation. I learned a lot from this conference, and even though it was in Albanian, I found so much comfort in the messages that were shared. Probably my favorite talk, one of them, was Elder Bednars talk which was addressed to investigators/non members, on why we do missionary work. Probably it was my favorite because he shared a passage out of enos which has become one of my favorite blocks of scripture. But it just spoke to me so much, because that is exactly why I am out here! I have experienced for myself the joys and the redeeming power of the atonement, I have learned of the peace and comfort living the gospel brings to me, and I want everyone to feel what I have felt, to know what I know. So that is why I am here. I love what E. Bednar said, something along the lines of, “do you understand now why members of the church are so desirous to share this with you? However awkward we may do it… it is out of a pure desire to share what we have come to know is true and good…” Something like that, remember I was listening in Albanian… haha. But it is so true! It is potentially awkward to do missionary work. But I (we) do it because even though initially awkward, to let someone know about something that has been the biggest and most life effecting part of my life – makes that initial awkwardness worth it! So moral of the story, share the gospel, and just embrace being a bit awkward. I promise it gets less and less awkward. 😉

OKKKK so this week we had a whopping 23 member present investigator lessons. Which is a crazy big number for around here. And it was with lots of different people! And we had a day where we had 8 lessons. The most I’ve had in a day. The numbers, and the people behind them were amazing this week. This area is continuing to have miracles. Third ward is definitely the place to be.
Since being with my new, and wonderful Canadian companion (oooh happy Canadian thanksgiving today-we are headed to the mission offices for a Canadian waffle party after this) I have learned that in many other missionaries minds, third ward was perceived as a sort of barren wasteland…. Upon learning this I was so sad! Because since this is the only area I have been in, I had no previous knowledge to go off of. I am so glad. I had a firm belief before that God was preparing people, no matter where I went. And.Since being here, miracles happen daily before my very eyes. I have built insanely strong relationships with members, and investigators and I honestly love these people as if they were my own family. And through hard work, through the Lords guidance and hand in this work, this area is now the promised land. I am a firm believer that life is all about perceptions. I feel like this area is similar to an area that President Monson talks about from when he was a Mission President in Canada. I can’t remember the name of the area, but like third ward, it was regarded as a wasteland, there were no baptisms. But, as soon as President Monson started telling people about the success that was once had there, long ago at the beginning of the mission, people started having hope that they too could have success like those early missionaries. If you believe that somewhere is unsuccessful, it will be hard to have success. But when you look at it with potential, with optimism and a firm belief and faith that God has prepared people, then we will have success. When we have that hope, we will work hard.  Then we will accomplish miracles that God needs us to accomplish.
Speaking of miracles, our cutest investigator Gena passed her Baptismal interview and will enter the waters of baptism this Saturday! So be excited for photos. Never have I met a more repentant soul. Her life is one full of miracles, and she has faith to move mountains. Maybe next week I’ll share a couple of her incredible stories.
I am so privileged to be a missionary here in the Adriatic South Mission. I love Albania. I have never met a more warm and loving people. You would all love it here.
Read your scriptures. Love one another. Pray every night for charity, the pure love of Christ.
Love, Motra Kollmen
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MRI’s 1/2 off! Get ’em while you can!

Well people. My new companion is fantastic! Sister Vermunt is wonderful! Unfortunately she has a couple body issues as of late, so we have become very good friends with the Greek Hospital staff this week! Don’t worry. She is ok. Just has some weird things that we don’t know what they are, and also we know that she has kidney stones. Poor kid! But I am taking care of her, and she is still working way hard. Probably harder than she should be. But she is seriously a feisty and hard worker. Anyhoo, the title is like that because Sister V. had to get an MRI and while we were scheduling one for the next day, the lady said that it was better to pay for it today because today they were half off! SO she paid for her MRI and got it for like 150 Lek instead of 300 or more. So it was a good day. who has sales on MRI’s? anyhoo. Gotta love it. Then we go back the next day, and they put some needles in her and get her ready for her big test…. only then does the nurse come back and say that we would have to come back the next day because the power was turned off, and they were running on the generator! These are stories we will remember forever. Don’t worry, she got her brain scanned and is all good up there 🙂 But truly, she is amazing.

I have already started to learn so much from Sister V.. She has taught me to embrace who I am and recognize that the Lord called Sarah Jane Coleman to work here. That the lord has a particular plan for my particular person. My particular set of skills/oddities/craziness/oddness/talents/etc/whatever you want to call them(don’t know why oddness crept up twice…)! And I am only just beginning to learn what that means. I have only just started exploring this. I had heard countless missionaries before tell me this in emails home, and I thought cool, they are being more confident in who they are, merely thinking good for them, because I thought I had a strong grasp on who I was. And I do. I know who Sister Sarah Jane Coleman is, but I want to know who she is becoming, who she needs to become while she is a missionary. Because I don’t want to be the same person I was at home. Yes I want to still have the fun and good qualities that I had at home, but I want to be more consecrated, more solid in my knowledge of who I am and what I am capable of, more confident and more reliant on the Lord. I would say that I am becoming this, avash avash, slowly slowly out here in Albania. And I really can’t wait to see who I become. I will work hard to develop those qualities I know I need, and work at strengthening the good qualities I already had. I am really excited for this transfer, for embracing Sister Sarah Jane Coleman, and working to become the missionary, the person that I need to be!
Good things are in store for this transfer. Got a baptism coming up in two weeks, and a couple others a few weeks after. Good things are happening over here in third ward. These people are my best friends. I can’t even stop smiling thinking about everything that is happening over here.
Sorry for this shortie-ish and abstract email. LOVE you all dearly!
Pray hard. Study the words of the prophets, old and new, with a hungry soul. Be good to other people.
Love, Motra Kollmen CIMG5293 CIMG5294 CIMG5292