The Mustard Seed

Well I don’t have much time to write today, we had planned to come and do email earlier, but we were learning how to make byrek and it took a lot longer than expected, but good news is that now I am a pro byrek maker! byrek is a glorious pie like pastry thing with either tomato and onion, or cheese, or spinach.. the last being the best 🙂 and so I mastered that today!

But this was such a great week! Greis was baptized~ and you should all know that it was a miracle that she got baptized. It has been a struggle for months with previous missionaries working with her to keep commitments and to work with her difficult father… but in the time we have been here I have never seen a person change so much and grow so much in their faith. Her reading is extraordinary now, and the light in her eyes is impossible to miss. She is one of the elect, and she just needed a strong invitation to change for herself.. and she has. I am impressed with her, and grateful to have been here to witness this change of character. She went from not really reading for herself but more for her parents, to reading for herself more than we ask of her, and asking for her assignments and sharing her favorite ones with us! I am a firm believer in small and simple things making the difference, and I know that through diligent following up with Greisi it really made a difference. Something fun with her baptism which I have never experienced thus far on my mission, is that as soon as she came out of the water her father and mother started clapping and then the whole big crown was cheering. And she was laughing and just beaming. It was one of the happiest moments of my life 🙂 I love that girl. And all the young women were just so excited to see another girl enter their ranks! #youngwomenbuilding I love the young women with all my heart!
So a fun thing I was reading in Jesus the Christ today was in connection with the grain of faith like that of a mustard seed, and it says that : “the seed is a living entity. when rightly planted it absorbs and assimilates the nutritive matters of soil and atmosphere, grown, and in time is capable of affording lodgement and food to the birds. So the seed of truth is vital, living, and capable of such development as to furnish spiritual food and shelter to all who come seeking. In both conceptions, the plant at maturity produces seed in abundance, and so from a single grain a whole field may be covered.”
This is talking about the mustard seed, small in comparison to some seeds, though not the smallest. But what is impressive is its capability to propel the growth of far more than the growth exhibited by that of other lesser or greater seeds. A single mustard seed has a great germination capacity… and as we compare that seed, recognizing its potential to grow and spread not merely one small plant but incredible growth beyond itself… and as we compare that to our faith… as we have faith, and show that forth through our example and invite others to exhibit their own faith and grow, then the growth of faith that will be seen is unimaginable.
This week Elder Osborn serving in thailand said in an email to me ” It’s such an important thing to make sure that you not only do you do your work and see success, but that you help others to do better than you” and I thought of what I read this morning in personal about the mustard seed. I want to have the faith of the mustard seed… and propel the faith of others. That the growth that will follow my one small seed of faith will continue to grow far beyond my time here in albania. That I will not just have success, but that those after me will have even greater miracles. So I will work on my faith, growing it one drop of water and one ray of sunshine at a time, pushing to show my savior how grateful I am to be His servant in this part of His vineyard. And so that after my time here, that the growth will continue to spread, the miracles continue to be seen and worked for. I want to be that mustard seed, but man does it take work! But with His help, it is possible.
I love you all dearly. Keep working hard. Life is hard. But has so much potential, and is oh so sweet.
Love, Motra Kollmen
Pics: me and greis the girl who got baptized, some youngwomen in the ward, me making dough for the byrek, some goat heads that people eat here… no I haven’t had the pleasure yet… FUN!
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“Spiritual light is shown to be greater than any product of physical illuminants”

“The Greatest achievement mankind can make in this world is to familiarize themselves with divine truth, so thoroughly, so perfectly, that the example or conduct of no creature living in the world can ever turn them away from the knowledge that they have obtained.” -President Joseph F. Smith

This week has been miraculous. I was just flipping through my spiritual journal, looking at quotes today.. and this one really stuck with me this morning so I thought I would share it. It sticks out to me, because I want that faith and knowledge that nothing in this world, no matter how enticing or deceitful or tactful it appears, could make me falter from the truths and knowledge that I have already gained. I feel so blessed as a missionary to have a dedicated hour to personally study the doctrine of Christ, to feast upon the scriptures and really come to know my Savior. Through this study, I feel like I have come to know who my savior is far more than I knew Him a year ago…(I’ve been set apart as a full time missionary for a whole year this week…where in the world did the time go?!) I still have so much to learn, but in this year I have been humbled learning who He was and Is.
Through studying the word, the light within us grows… for me whenever my hour of personal study is over… I don’t want to stop! There is a fire within me, a desire to know more… and I know that when we have this desire, when we are coming closer and closer to our savior we then desire to show forth what we learn in our actions, aligning our will with the Fathers.
“Spiritual light is shown to be greater than any product of physical illuminants. What does the brightest light avail the man who is blind? It is the bodily eye that discerns the light of the candle, the lamp, or the sun. and the spiritual eye sees by spiritual light; if then man’s spiritual eye be single, that is, pure and undimmed by sin, he is filled with the light that shall show him the way to God; whereas if his soul’s eye be evil, he will be as one full of darkness..” (Jesus the Christ ch.17, treasures of earth and of heaven)
I know that when we have our eye, our spiritual eye, single to the glory of god… that is when we understand that God is a God of miracles. One who desires miracles to occur in the lives of His children. Then we naturally will work to propel those miracles… God has an impressive plan for each of His children.. and I am so humbled to be a missionary… It is so special to see the light in the eyes of others grow… it is a visible light. When I look with my spiritual eyes in lessons, and take in the beautiful soul before me who has so much worth in the eyes of God… that is when the most powerful teaching happens. When the spirit is invited… and the recognition of truth and glory comes into their eyes… and that light, that beacon of divine truth and recognition grows stronger and stronger.
As we are constantly nurturing that light… aligning our will with that of the father… that is when true joy is found… when the father and the child become one in purpose and understanding. We are all far from this… but daily we can make the steps to come closer unto Him… and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I am helping convert others, but more importantly I am becoming converted. So converted that nothing could rip me away from the knowledge that I have gained. The gospel is good, and it is true, and I will follow it until the very end of my life and into eternity.
 As far as other things go here… elbasan is definitely the place to be! When we walk down the boulevard, the castle to my left and palm trees lining the road, I feel like I am in Shrek and in “far far away” and then the shrek song starts playing in my head. So, needless to say this is a great city 🙂 And miracles are happening. We are finding TONS of prepared people, and working with many people to prepare them to enter the waters of baptism 🙂 this week we have a cutie investigator getting baptized! Her name is Greis and in the last two weeks she has grown faster and farther than I have ever seen someone grow closer to their Savior. #YWbuilding
Me dashuri, Motra Kollmen
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“Jesus Marveled”

So this last weekend, we were finally able to watch all of conference, because it has finally been translated into Albanian! And it was so good. 🙂 I really liked all the ones about family especially. Because that is what all this is about ya know? 🙂

So this week I felt like I have seriously been spiritually fed! And still I want more! haha This week was general conference, as well as MLC, and then I was invited to do a training in a different zone than our own about the importance of attitude in missionary work. I was really grateful to be able to talk about this subject because, and anyone who has worked with me here or knows me, ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. So I was very grateful to do a little 45 minute ish training on that and about the concept of working miracles. I really capitalized on the authority and importance of our calling as missionaries. We are called of the Lord, and just like the great missionaries of old, we have the same power and capacity to work miracles in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. How amazing is that! However the difference between us, and those incredible missionaries of old is…. our faith, like President Weidmann said in MLC. Therefore we must strengthen our Faith in our Lord. Do we believe that He can do anything? If the answer is yes, then why don’t we show more of that faith and belief in our actions and boldness on the streets? If we really do believe in this message, we will believe that He truly will fill our mouths if we open them, inspire our comments so that we might not be confounded before men. We need more faith. Faith leads to boldness. We learn in James that Faith without works is dead. WE MUST BE BOLD. ALWAYS. And as we show forth our faith through actions, we will constantly be climbing in boldness and success. We have the capacity to be like the greats… We have to do what might be hard today so that tomorrow will be better… we have to keep pushing!
One of my favorite quotes, for the past couple years has been : “Words without action are the assassins of Idealism.” -Herbert Hoover.
And this quote has had so much application on my mission. If an area is struggling… make it better. Work hard. And rely on the Lord. And Miracles follow.
But we first have to believe that we have that capacity to make a change and make a difference no matter how difficult the area, no matter how difficult the situation. As we adopt the attitude that whatever we are faced with we can overcome, that is when we transcend missionaries or people merely being on a mission…. and we really serve a mission and accomplish what the Lord needs us to. And that is when we grow and change, and take the next step towards fulfilling our divine potential and calling.
(well there is a snipit from my training kind of, haha I don’t know if you can tell but I am pretty passionate about being a missionary!)
Side note also.. I have been studying in Jesus the Christ today about chapter 18.. and a section is talking about the fact that “Jesus Marveled” at the faith shown by the centurion, who begged that his beloved servant be healed (mathew 8:10, luke 7:9) ” The meaning of the passage is evident in the sense that when the fact of the centurions faith was brought to his attention, he pondered over it and contemplated it, probably as a refreshing contrast to the absence  of faith He so generally encountered.” Christ marveled at this mans faith. I want to have that same faith that when I finally meet my Lord and Savior again, I want Him to marvel at the trust I have in Him. My Faith that with Him all things are possible. I want to have that faith to move mountains. So i am working on developing that faith. I am coming to know my Savior each day I am here, learning How he walked.. and How I might follow Him.
Me shume Dashuri, Motra Kollmen
-pday was spent at the markets here on the streets. Beautiful fruit and cheese and all kinds of things markets! and eating lunch in the castle 🙂
oh GERTA GOT BAPTIZED! Taught her when I was in my last area for a couple months. and president weidmann baptized her this weekend 🙂 love her.
and we got more baptisms coming in the next couple weeks!

In Love with Elbasan

Ok all you beautiful people.

I first want to testify to all of you that I know that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ lives. I am so grateful to have a knowledge of what He has done for me personally. And for the knowledge that through Him we might all be saved. I testify that He lives. I testify that He is with us always, guiding us as to what we must do, and what we must say. And I am so grateful to be a representative of Him here in Albania!

This week in Elbasan we have seen miracles! Firstly, we didn’t really have a full week here, I did go pick up my new Trainee!! Sister Jackson is her name, and she is wonderful! She is willing and ready to work hard, and that is the best trait she could possibly have in my books. It has been a crazy week of driving (did I already get a parking ticket you may ask? why yes, yes I did. but have no fear. It was definitely at no fault of mine. The police here ticket the randoms.) and just sifting and getting to know the new area (yay whitewashing)! But we have been working hard, sifting, and being BOLD. Never have I talked to more people! And never have I seen this kind of success. People here… are so prepared. This place is the new Vlore (often called the land of milk and honey among us adriatic south missionaries) We have found more people who are humbled and ready to change their lives than I have ever found in one weeks time before, and we essentially invited everyone we laid eyes on to be baptized. 🙂 The success has been astounding. I am humbled to be here, and I eagerly await to see what the future holds!
Sorry this is a little email… but the salvation of souls calls!
With so much love from Albania,
Motra Kollmen
Fun things:
-Elbasan has an actual church building a bit out of town, and it is beautiful!
– We have a wonderful view from our 9th story apartment 🙂 which we deep cleaned today while listening to conference! SO GOOD!
– The Gosturanis came up to visit today for pday! I love that family so much!
-Bekim Gosturani got confirmed yesterday! Yay!
– Gerta is getting baptized this week!
pday fun with gosturanis

pday fun with gosturanis

Gurie and her daughter Aleksia

Gurie and her daughter Aleksia

castles and such

castles and such

castles and such

castles and such

, Gurie and her daughter aleksia, castles and such