The last call…

This week has been a busy one! First off, Marsida and Indrit got baptized! And that was just one of the sweetest baptisms. With Marsida, we had to overcome a lot of trials, Satan tried really hard to keep her from making that covenant of baptism with her father in heaven, but she made it, and because it was such a process it was all the sweeter.

 Also I got the LAST TRANSFER CALL. I can’t believe it, but also our transfers are 3 months long… So…. I will be heading to Lushnje to open a sisters area, and I get to train again! Round three! I am really excited. Everytime I train I learn so much and am stretched so much, so I am looking forward to changing a lot this upcoming transfer!

Sorry that this week is super short, but Elbasan calls for one last gjiro. (walk about)
I have included a decent amount of photos, and those are worth a lot more words I hear so have fun looking at them.
Love, Motra Kollmen
IMG_1621 IMG_1615 IMG_1604 IMG_1617

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Good ole Ferris Bueler. That movie has the best quotes. And that quote above is so accurate for life these days.

This was an amazing week, in which I gained a much greater understanding and appreciation for Repentance. We have this amazing investigator and her son who are preparing to be baptized this upcoming Saturday, and are family to our recent convert xhoana. They are amazing, and this week we really had to work through some really big repentance things with Marsida the mama as she has lived a very rough life… but this week through talking about repentance pretty in depth and really inviting her to repent and really study it out, then to get on her knees and ask her Father in Heaven for forgiveness and relief from that which she had done… when we asked her to do that she changed. Drastically. In how she carries herself, how she prays, how she speaks and how she listens and looks even. Through the power of the Atonement she was able to overcome the chains of sorrow and guilt of some pretty heavy things… and I was just absolutely amazed and awed at the change that took place, within only a few short days.
Seeing Marsida become cleansed through the power of the atonement was a humbling experience, because as missionaries we really hardly do anything… we just teach people of the tools that their Father in Heaven has provided them with to overcome sin and guilt to become happy and return to Him. Marsida and Endrit will be getting baptized on Saturday, and I know that when she goes into those waters and is raised out of them again she will be completely and utterly free from her past, and then she will be able to walk forward into her her bright and happy future. Nothing is more satisfactory as a missionary than to see the people you teach change, and come unto Christ, nothing more beautiful than to know that us as missionaries are just the mouthpieces… but that Christ is who changes them and lifts them out of the darkness and sorrow.
I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and I know that it is something that I personally under-utilize in my own life. I sometimes like to think that I am really strong and independent, that I don’t need help from anyone. I don’t like showing weakness. But in reality I am so terribly weak. And I desperately need His divine help. And it is only through His atonement that I find true and lasting strength
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good and it is true. And it is the way that I will live my life, because I have learned for myself that it is the road to everlasting happiness.
Love, Motra Kollmen
Fun things:
-I will be getting my last transfer call this upcoming saturday… where did the time go.
-It is boiling hot here in Elbasannnnnn
-Still waking up at 5ish to work out, today we hiked up to krast the mountain! Fun times.
PS.emails are and will get progressively smaller and smaller. #sorrynotsorry. LUVS

I’m Meltingggg….

Dear American Family,

Well typing away on this little computer I am melting from the extreme heat that has struck Elbasan! It is 30/32 C here, whatever that is in F… But let me tell ya, it is quite hot. Today we went and got our makine (car) washed, it was drastically needed, and while the men were working on washing it we ran and got ice cream for them. They were happy kids. 🙂 And they said they would try to come to church on sunday. #alwaysinviting And that was the best car wash that I have ever seen, and it was only 2 dollars. or 200 leke, which $ equivalent is like barely anything. I love Albania.
This has been quite the week here in Elbasan. We are working with lots of wonderful people, but since we just got a lot of people baptized, this week has been one of refocusing and setting more goals on how we want to end our transfer together. Me and sister Jackson only have two weeks left together for this transfer, and then…. my last transfer will begin. I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that I only have one more transfer… granted our transfers are about 12 weeks long… but still. Sometimes I still feel like I just got here, but this place is home now. I feel so comfortable here, and to think of leaving it honestly scares me!
 But all is well in zion.
Yesterday one of the Elders that was serving here in Elbasan, finished his mission, or in mission lingo: “died”, and it just made it seem so much more real that missions do come to a close at one point or another. But though his mission came to a close, that doesn’t mean that his mission ends. He will always be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because we are called forever to follow him, we do not follow Him for a mere 1 and a half years or 2, but FOREVER.
One of my favorite stories in the new testament is when after a time the apostles return back to their fishing after the death and resurrection of Christ… and Christ comes to give them a little call to repentance and to get back to work:

 15 ¶So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (JOHN 21:15-17)

I love this especially in reference to an MTC talk that Elder Holland gave talking about how Christ calls His disciples not only for an exacted time, but FOREVER. We are His disciples, His followers for life, we cannot go back to the life that we lived before. We have burned the bridges and there is no return, there is only a life of discipleship to be lived. And I have felt this keenly as a missionary. I see no other option. There is nowhere to go back to, no returning back to the person I was. Only moving forward, step by step growing closer to my Lord and Savior, and helping His sheep in the process. As we lead His sheep and serve them, we grow and change… we become the people He needs and wants us to be.
I am grateful to be a missionary. And I know that in this time I have left as a full time missionary with a tag on my chest I have to work as hard as humanely possible, because it’s a short time that I have left. But I also know that I am not merely a missionary right now. But that I have been called, FOR LIFE, to be a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I will stand in His name, because I cannot deny the miracles I have seen and felt in my life and in the lives of others here. There is no going back. This is real life. And I love it.
I hope all is well and thriving wherever this letter finds you in the world. I love you all dearly.
Miracles are real. Never forget.
-Motra Kollmen
IMG_1570 CIMG6450

No time.

Hello American family. I am so sorry that I am getting progressively worse at writing you all emails. But update on violeta who had the heart attack last week, she is a healthy kid now and she actually is now baptized with her two sweetest girls Lejdina and Sara. And let me tell you  that was definitely one of the sweetest baptisms I have ever witnessed. It was a bit of a rough road getting Violeta there she had lots of questions and fears, but through prayer all were answered and she gained such a confidence for herself. And when her girls entered the waters of baptism she was bawling, and the girls were crying too… this family was super prepared and it was an honor to work with them and help invite them to come closer unto their savior jesus christ. When they recieved the holy ghost after in church their testimonies were so sweet, and they were all just crying and the whole crowd was just crying. I was crying. The spirit was felt so strongly in that congregation, and that is what this is all about. Helping Gods children bring their lives into harmony with the will and standards of God so they can prepare themselves, repent, and become worthy to recieve the Holy Ghost and feel Gods guiding hand in their lives. I love being a missionary.

Hope you are all doing well, this work continues to be one of miracles and surprises.

Love, Motra Kollmen

pics of the wonderful girls who were baptized, and then there is ai i gjati elder rawlings. sorry the photos arent so awesome, it was a hectic day. also ps now we are teaching their deaf little brother and he will get baptized in a couple weeks , teaching with lots of signs, and pictures. interesting stufffff

IMG_1559 IMG_1546 IMG_1550

By small and simple things are great things come to pass

Well family. This has been quite the week. Baptisms, basketball, 5:30 am runs, rock breaking and epic moments, as well as taking care of heart attacks. I kid you not.

Firstly, this week our wonderful investigator Marjeta was baptized! And it was truly quite a miracle. She has been absolutely soaking up the gospel in the last couple weeks that we have been teaching her, and she didn’t have any problems with commandments, nothing. And as any missionary I am sure would agree with me, each investigator has their hard moment or hard thing to overcome before they get in the water. And we were two days from her baptismal date, when she got offered a new job… and now the hard part, she wouldn’t be able to make her confirmation because she was so new at work and her boss is quite strict.. but through practicing roll plays of asking her boss and showing forth faith and being firm, and through some fasting and prayer, her boss, which never lets people take breaks, took an extremely unexpected trip to Macedonia and the second in command told her to take the weekend off and enjoy her baptism. God is a God of miracles. And it was a lovely service, though she kind of lost her breath and when she came out she was gasping for air… oops.. but then she started laughing. All is well. 🙂
Immediately after her baptism we changed shpejti shpejt into our service clothing and hopped into the back of this huge construction truck to go far up the mountain with some members to break up some rocks so he could build a wall. And let me tell you, no other service has ever been so breathtaking. Just riding up the mountain, the lighting that hit the trees, the wind making our hairs whip around uncontrollably coupled with the beautiful Mediterranean countryside comparable with that of the famous bible videos we all know and love… as well as having classic 80’s songs playing in my head was GLORIOUS. It was a long ride out, and it really gave me time to think about how much I love this place. Every olive tree, every chicken, every rock.. is my Albania. And I love it so very dearly.
It is all of these little things that testify to me that there is a God. As missionaries we see miracles everyday. Especially when we are actively seeking them, and working hard for them. Miracles are things that I know are real, and I have learned that on my mission. I know that our God is a God of miracles. But it is more through the accumulation of the small things in my life that I see His hand. I remember being in Sunday school class with Brother Brockbank a few years ago and him telling the story of when he was getting his interview with a general authority for his mission, he told us how the general authority asked Brother Brockbank to bare his testimony to which Brother Brockbank went on to explain and expound upon various large spiritual experiences that he had had that had brought him to that point in his faith and in his testimony… and he said that after he had shared these experiences, the general authority paused and said, “do you want to know how I know that there is a God?” the general authority pointed to a tree outside his office window and said “I know that God lives because of that tree.” We continued on to discuss how we often put to much stock in the big majestic spiritual experiences, though they are wonderful and beautiful and necessary, God is in every minuscule detail of our lives.
In my mission. I have seen miracles. I have seen things that I know were of a divine and godly nature, and I will never be able to deny them. Because I know that God knows that I know they were of Him. I am grateful for the miracles I have seen. But the real miracles are the small ones, the ones that often go unappreciated and are not spoken of. I know that God lives. Everyday that I wake up I praise His name for letting me be here, to be a piece of His grand plan. As I sat on the back of that big construction truck, up in the hills of Albania, gazing out over the olive groves and fields of red and yellow flowers, I couldn’t help the tears from welling up in my eyes out of love for this work and for this place that has stolen such a large piece of my heart. A part of it was probably because of the wind that was so strong it was making my eyelashes get all tangled, but I felt such an appreciation for my Lord who created this world for me to live in. Every piece of the landscape, wherever we are, not just here in Albania, testifies of God and of His son Jesus Christ. Each detail so intricate and beautiful, designed and sculpted by the masters hand.  “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” 
I know that the Lord Jesus Christ lives. I have felt His influence and love in my life and in the lives of the Albanian people. I know that in every little piece of our lives His signature can be found like an artist on His masterpiece. We are His greatest creations, His most prized masterpieces. And I know that as we look at and remember the little details, the difficulties that we all have and face will loose their intensity as we remember the grand plan that our father in Heaven has created for us. 
Me shume dashuri dhe perulesi,
Motra Kollmen
PS.
– yes I wake up now at 530 to run and work out, and yes I like running now.
– last night as we were over at our three little family investigators house, who are getting baptized next saturday, the mama violeta had a heart attack and after the police and ambulance didn’t pick up their phones… we had to drive her to the hospital. She is ok, but if you could all pray for her that would be great. luckily the elders were there to give her a blessing, and she was just holding on to me and calling us her angels all night, she wanted us to have a sleep over at her house… I promised her after the mission was over her house will be the first albanians house I sleep at when I come back to visit. 🙂 she is like my mama here.
-yes. elbasan is indeed nje vend mrekullish.
marjetas baptism

marjetas baptism

Elder Rawlings, Ai i gjati dunked her.. These people are the best. :)

Elder Rawlings, Ai i gjati dunked her.. These people are the best. 🙂

brought sister Gjonca on exchange here in elbasan with the crew!

brought sister Gjonca on exchange here in elbasan with the crew!