This was an absolutely marvelous week here in elbasan! Every week I think that I have reached as spiritual a high as I can get, but then each week as we strive to work just a little bit harder to give just a little bit more… each week I reach a new spiritual high and see the hand of the Lord even more in my life and in the work.
Well skyping for mothers day yesterday was awesome! And I am not quite sure what else to say… except, family guess what, I forgot to tell you that I like eating beets now. Yup.” Bears, beets, battle star galactica.” I was really excited to tell you yesterday, knowing you would be proud, but I forgot. 🙂
“Relativism means each person is his or her own highest authority. Of course, it is not just those who deny God that subscribe to this philosophy. Some who believe in God still believe that they themselves, individually, decide what is right and wrong. One young adult expressed it this way: “I don’t think I could say that Hinduism is wrong or Catholicism is wrong or being Episcopalian is wrong—I think it just depends on what you believe. … I don’t think that there’s a right and wrong.”21 Another, asked about the basis for his religious beliefs, replied, “Myself—it really comes down to that. I mean, how could there be authority to what you believe?”22
To those who believe anything or everything could be true, the declaration of objective, fixed, and universal truth feels like coercion—“I shouldn’t be forced to believe something is true that I don’t like.” But that does not change reality. Resenting the law of gravity won’t keep a person from falling if he steps off a cliff. The same is true for eternal law and justice. Freedom comes not from resisting it but from applying it. That is fundamental to God’s own power. If it were not for the reality of fixed and immutable truths, the gift of agency would be meaningless since we would never be able to foresee and intend the consequences of our actions. As Lehi expressed it: “If ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.”23
This is just a small excerpt from this talk, and there are several others on the same topic and all of them fascinate me to no end. I know that God is real and I know that He is a God of order. We must humble ourselves and recognize that He knows better than us. Maybe sometimes we don’t like or don’t understand the need for a commandment that He and His disciples have set for us. But I testify that all of them are for our good. I know that He knows better than me. And I know that if we desire to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, true representatives of the light, we will be obedient and be examples to others. Even when being an example is difficult beyond belief. It is in that situation that we show our true faith and love for God.
I love you all dearly and hope you have a great week! Elbasan is doing fantastically! We are working with a lot of really fantastic and exciting people and there are miracles here. God’s hands are in every aspect of this work, and these people are prepared! Exciting things to come.
Love, Motra Kollmen
“Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have ‘moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (Col. 1:23). Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down.” -Neal A. Maxwell
Wow Ok, so this week so much has happened! And this upcoming week is going to be even crazier. This last week I have learned a lot about patience, and gods will. Yet again! We are working with a lot of investigators who just have so many things, so many terribly hard things happening in their lives… Lives so difficult that last night from just learning some of their stories, I felt so sad and just stressed out for them! I had stress just thinking about their circumstance, and can’t imagine the actual stress of being within those circumstances! However my companion when we were on our way back to our house and she could see me being stressed for these people, she stated the obvious and helped me calm down again, she said ” we can’t control everything, there is no use in worrying over what we can’t control. But we do have the message of the gospel, the thing that can change their lives and help them.” – Motra Jackson. She is so wise this kid (trainee) of mine.
And she is so right! We might not be able to take someone completely out of their hard circumstance and make everything happy for them physically or in a worldly sense, but we can share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. A message that has been changing people lives for years now, a message that has changed over 15 million peoples lives and counting! I testify that a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, the plan of happiness, Planin i Lumturise, brings true and lasting happiness. I know that through the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ, old wounds and hurt feeling and all kinds of sorrows can be healed. I don’t feel like I have ever faced anything as difficult as some of the investigators that I have right now, but I know that I have indeed had harder times in my life, and that it was through my Savior that I found the strength to overcome those hard times. I know he is the way, the truth and the light. And that because He lives, anybody, no matter how seemingly broken can return to the right path.
I have an investigator named Syela, and never have I heard of a harder life. She is only 17 yrs old but she has been in and out of the orphanage, her dad is in prison for murder, her mom isn’t what a mom should be and is never there for her… her brothers are into drugs and have pulled syela in to a life that she doesn’t want. She has never felt the true warmth of a loving and safe family. She is broken… and she is having a hard time seeing the light, and recognizing her own divine potential. I know that she has so much worth in the eyes of her Heavenly Father. When she expressed to me her thoughts of how alone she was, I couldn’t help but feel the tears coming into my eyes… not merely from sadness at her sad tale. But in that moment just looking at a soul who wanted so much to know light and love, my heart was swelling, nearly bursting with an amount of pure love that I have never felt before, and I know that it is just a portion of what her Father in Heaven feels for her. I stopped her, took her by the hands and testified of the love that was filling my heart, and the words that poured out of my mouth I know were right from her Father in Heaven for her. Some people never hear loving words.. they don’t know their own worth because the people around them have failed to tell them. But I told her she has a divine worth and destiny and that her Savior knew her. I have had some of the most powerful spiritual experiences in the last few weeks that I have known syela. I know that she is a big reason why I am here in elbasan. And I know with all my heart that the gospel will heal her, and that she will find the warmth and loving embrace of a heavenly father who loves her without end here. I just pray that she will look up to see the light, however small it may appear to her right now… long enough to start walking towards it and slowly slowly feeling the warmth envelope her.
I am grateful to be a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that this time is precious, and that it is making me the person that I need to be and that God needs me to be. For which I am eternally grateful. I love you all dearly and I hope that you look out for those who need that same warmth, there are people all around us who need help. We just have to reach out and help them up.
-Love Motra Kollmen
Fun things: Went to vlore on an exchange it is a tropical wonderland like florida or something, like hawaii. The elders did a Bugace challenge, eating 5 of these huge rolls rolled in butter and stuffed with byrek dough with sausage/// i refuse to try the thing. It would definitely stop my little heart. We have a lot of people progressing towards baptism this month, Gurie was supposed to get baptized this week, but she couldn’t come for her interview because she had to go to the hospital and they found a hole in her heart 😦 so pray for her please. But she should make it in two weeeks to the waters/ LOTS OF NEW INVESTIGATORS. this upcoming week we got an exchange and a zone conference and prez interviews as well as skyping my beautiful family for mothers day! See you soon cute family 🙂 ooh also I bought the fellowship of the ring in Albanian for the post-mission reading list. 🙂