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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