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,
– 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.