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.