Friday, 28 February 2014

1 Month Down

I have officially been in the MTC for a month! Nailing it!! It's been an amazing adventure to be here. I'm so happy. :) I love it! I love my mission. It's unreal. 
And that's me and my LIM. (Libri I Mormonit) I read it out loud every night and its getting easier and easier, so that's a good thing. 

Tell me/send me pictures of Mack's baby!! I wanna hear everything! Thank you to my wonderful family that sends me letters throughout the week, it seriously makes me so so so so so so happy. 
I'm grateful for you all. 

This week has been wonderful, and I'm so grateful for the experiences that I have. I have so much faith in this gospel, I can't even explain it to you. It's amazing. I'm gonna try and focus my thoughts haha they're kind of everywhere. And knowing you only have 1 hour to e-mail is scary. Haha, it's like a time bomb. I don't like it. 

This week we got new Fin's. The sisters are so cute and I love them. They're so nice. It'll be way fun to be getting to know them in the last little while that I'm here. Also, I see Etienne on the daily, he's chill. He totally fits in with the missionary life. He's awesome. 

These are the new Sisars and Sister Feil and I. They're all so nice
This week I have felt the Lord's hand in my life. He has answered my prayers in SO many ways. We got a new Branch President who is AMAZING. I met with him this past week and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It made me feel so good. 

I'm feeling a little more confident with the language, I talk in lessons, I can have conversations with my fellow Elders and teachers, and as a read the Book of Mormon in Albanian, I realize that I recognize/ know many words. So that's nice. 

I had a really cool experience this week. We were teaching our "investigator", and our goal was to commit her to read/pray each night individually. So, as we were teaching her about the Plan of Salvation we were leading up to that commitment. In my heart though, I felt like I needed to ask her to pray about being baptized and since I didn't know exactly how to say that, I was about to look it up in my book and as I started to do that, my companion Elder Myers asks her EXACTLY what I was thinking. That was not my own thought, that was the Spirit telling us what this person was ready for. We both had the same prompting. I'm so grateful that we were both able to recognize and act upon it. It was a huge blessing, and I'm so grateful that the Spirit is with us so that we can feel those things that we need to feel. 

So, on Sunday I had to give a talk.. and here at the MTC they announce during the meeting who will be speaking (Mom's worst nightmare) and it was on the Spirit. And I was actually so happy to be able to give this talk because this is something I feel so strongly about. I rely on the Spirit every single day. I'm pretty sure I say like 20 prayers a day and in each one I pray that the Spirit will be with me because I KNOW that the Spirit is what will lead to my success, and that it will comfort me in the hardest of times. I bear witness that having the Spirit as your constant companion will bring you so much joy and you will get so much more out of life when you live in such a way that it will always be with you. 

As I've received answers to my sincere prayers, I am so grateful for our loving Heavenly Father. He knows each one of us individually, in the most specific ways. As I pray about other people, I feel His love for each of them and I hope that all of you can feel that love as well. If any of you feel as though you are insignificant or unknown, I challenge you to kneel down and pray to Heavenly Father and simply ask him.. "Do you even know me? Do you know where I am, what I'm doing or what I want? Heavenly Father, do you love me?" I promise that if you genuinely seek an answer He will give it to you. I know He will. "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you." 

I hope that everyone is happy and well, it's absolutely beautiful weather here. I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm still in Utah.. As far as I'm concerned I'm in a jail somewhere. Haha, we call it Spirit prison.. because that's literally what it is. But, it's the best!!!! I'm getting so excited to get out to Albania and meet those people that the Lord has sent me to find.

Te Dua family!!!! 

The sisars decorated our doors because they rock and we're the bomb. :) 
I love it because "shume mire" means very good but they didn't know to spell it. I love it. It's awesome. 
Motra Say Jay

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Week 3

Hello, hello, hello!

I think I've been here for 3 weeks now.. I don't even know anymore. But, hey whatever. I hope this e-mail finds everyone happy and healthy! 

This past week has been a huge learning experience, so that's really good. On Sunday night Elder Holland was at our devotional. Oh my gosh, when he walked in the room I literally felt the Spirit enter along with him. Oh my goodness, I was so excited, I had both of my hands like clenched onto the Elders on either side of me. So cool! He didn't talk for too long because his son was the main speaker of the devotional (his talk was amazing). But what he did say was this, "When you get home and start looking for a spouse, do not focus so much on finding the right person. Instead, place your emphasis on BEING the right person." It was amazing. He's incredible. I love his talks so much. I listen to them often. 

Elder Holland's son - Matthew Holland gave a talk on Joseph Smith. It was absolutely incredible. The MTC choir sang Praise to the Man and I got immediate goosebumps. Oh my goodness, I love this gospel. Joseph Smith truly is one of the greatest men to ever live. And that doesn't mean that he was perfect, because he certainly wasn't. But, the courage he had is amazing. I spent a lot of time studying Joseph Smith History and I have so much admiration and love for that man. 

I had some ups and some downs this week. I'm gonna explain the downs though, because those are the lessons that really stick. Basically - the Elder's I teach with got into a fight right before we had to teach an 'investigator' and let me tell you.. the Spirit of contention is a real thing. We couldn't speak, we couldn't understand.. It was terrible. It showed me that without the Spirit, learning this language, teaching the Albanian people will literally be impossible. It was so humbling and I'm HOPING that the Elders learned the same things I did. 

Words I memorized this week
I can't explain how frustrating learning a language is. It's difficult because my testimony is so strong and I literally just want to share with my investigator exactly HOW I know the gospel is true, but I physically cannot. I pray every night and every day that the Spirit might help me learn. I think I'm doing alright at it, I work really hard. I study whenever I can. I take flashcards with me to the gym, I read the Book of Mormon in Albanian out loud each night before I go to bed, I say my companionship prayers in Albanian and I literally just conjugate words in my head while I'm in the shower. Haha. 

I love the MTC. Time is retarded, and the days are long but each night I think about how lucky I am to be here. I am surrounded by amazing people. All the time. They are incredible. My favourites are Elder Myers and Elder Temple. Elder Myers is a straight up G. He's hilarious. Elder Temple is amazing at Albanian. And he's a great leader. He's a crazy good example to me and I love him! That reminds me, I've been called to be a Sister Training Leader (which is like the equivalent to a zone leader with less responsibility obviously) Haha, but it's a cool experience. Lots of meetings and things. So that's cool. 

Myers is on the left, Temple on the right and then Penrod. 

So, my Elders are pretty rad and at breakfast on Valentine's Day they came in and dumped a bunch of cut out hearts on me. So, that was sweet :) They're so funny. I laugh so hard. All the time. Sometimes though, I'm like.. what kind of sick invention was the boy. Because sometimes they're so ridiculous. But it's cool. 

The last thing I want to share with y'all is my favourite mormon message. Check it out it's called "The Will of God." This past week, I've been like.. I'm working so hard, I'm trying to grow! Why is there no progression, why do I feel like nothing is working! Why did you call me to Albania? If you knew my mind, you would have seen that I can't learn Albanian!" But.. Okay, that's retarded to be  that negative. So, I watched this mormon message and it completely altered my view on everything. Rather than thinking "why would you do this to me?! Why would you cut me down?" We ought to be grateful for the lessons that we learn during hard times. The Lord knows everything that we do not. He understands our strengths and our weaknesses and He would never give us anything that we would not be able to accomplish or endure. I am so grateful for my loving Heavenly Father, He sends me messages of encouragement each and every day. Whether it is through feelings, thoughts or through other people. I know that the same applies to each and every one of His children. 

I am so grateful for everyone that sends me DearElders, I love hearing about what's happening there and I love all of your encouraging words. Keep being awesome! I love you all! 


Motra Vermunt 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Week 2 at the MTC

What up!!
Oh my goodness, well.. lots has happened so let's get down to it. I am now officially a "solo-sister" aka.. Motra Martin went home and I'm now the only sister missionary going to Albania. Haha, so I have a "solo" on my name tag so people don't think I'm breaking the rules as I'm walking around with Elders all the time. Haha. It's sad because Motra Martin and I really got along and she was my Canadian homie. But, she went home to get married and continue on with her life in that regard. If there's one thing I can tell you its that missionary work is something that has to be done with your WHOLE heart. Otherwise, it's impossible. So, yeah.. I can pretty much promise you that being the only sister among 14 elders was not what I anticipated my MTC experience to be. But, it's okay because they're all awesome and I love each one of them. It's like Heavenly Father is repaying me for not giving me any brothers. 

I now have a "companion" who is also a solo sister. She's going to Hungary. It's actually crazy how it all worked out, Sister Feil was already here and she was in a trio with the Fins. At first I was like, whoa how crazy what a coincidence. But no, nothing is a coincidence. Heavenly Father knows everything. Sister Feil is a sweetheart, she's so tender. Haha, the other day she thanked me for coming on a mission because I have a special spirit. It made me so happy. Comments like that are so uplifting.

The MTC is great, I mean.. it's pretty much spirit prison, for real. But I love it. When I think of the fact that I've only been here 2 weeks, I'm like um what.. It feels like I've been here for so much longer. Time doesn't exist. It's crazy. But, ya this campus is like pretty much my domain now. I got it all down. Haha. 

Good news mom, I weigh myself everyday and I have yet to gain weight. Haha, I hope you're proud of me because I'm pretty proud of myself. The food here is meh, my favourite things are probably the lemon poppyseed muffins. Delish. 

THANK YOU to everyone who's been sending me DearElders, it's so nice! And mom! Thanks for the Valentine's Day package.. which was more like.. diabetes in a box. I'll be sure to share that with Elder Myers. He'll enjoy it. He's hysterical. Between him, Elder Temple and Elder Penrod I basically cry laughing every single day. They've been so kind and make me feel like one of the Elder's pretty much. There's not a span of time where I don't get made fun of for saying sorry or sounding Canadian. Haha, the Indonesian elders sing "O Canada" every time I walk by them. 

Albanian is so hard. Oh my goodness. I sometimes get so overwhelmed. But some days are better than others. It's frustrating because I want to know it now. I want it NOW. I've been studying a lot on patience and I've learned so much. I'm grateful that I get frustrated because its in the waiting in the working where we grow. Not when we get what we want right away. Heavenly Father knows me, He called me to Albania because he knew that I could do this. 

The devotionals here are unparalleled. Tuesdays and Sundays are the best days. The speakers we get are unbelievable. You should see my journal. Notes for days. 

I wanna share with you what really touched me this week. I was reading during personal study and I read Hebrews: 35-36. These verses are amazing and Elder Holland actually gives a talk called "Cast not away therefore your confidence". I suggest that everyone read it. I love its message. I pray that we all have confidence to stick to the path that we know we ought to take in life. Heavenly Father has answered every single one of my prayers. Maybe not in the exact minute that I want, but He always does. This talk is an answer to my prayers. 

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement, missions are not easy. There's a lot to face and there's a lot to learn. But I would not rather be anywhere else right now. 

I heard that Canada is killin' it in the olympics. YES. And please say congratulations to President Prince for me! North Stake just got the sweetest new stake president ever. He's the best! 

I love each and every one of you. I hope that all is well up there in the great white North. 


Motra Vermunt.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Sarah's First Letter Home


So, we only get a little bit of time to e-mail, so firstly I would just like to ask dad not to judge my grammar in this e-mail because I'm typing as fast as my little hands will go. 

Second, Meaghan wins the prize for best sister. I got a card AND a DearElder letter from her, which was so awesome. Getting DearElder letters are the best! Seriously, anyone who is willing to send one.. Please do! It's so nice to get letters at the end of the day. Speaking of which, Dad.. your letter came to me on a day that I desperately needed some encouragment. Thank you so much. I love you. 

Alright, so let me tell you that.. a week in the MTC literally feels like a month. I feel like I've been here forever! But it's all good because I'm convinced that this is one of the best places on earth. Having Auntie Jo drop me off was such a blessing. I felt so good coming in with her and meeting President Nally. Auntie Jo is literally an angel. 

So, as it turns out.. my companion and I are the only Sisters going to Albania. Crazy right!? On the first day, my companion was late because the airline lost her luggage.. Such a gong show. She's from BC! So, we're the only sisters and we're both Canadian. She's a sweetheart. Her name is Motra Martin and she's wonderful. I'm so lucky! 

But seriously guys.. My testimony has seriously grown so much. I have been here 7 days and I already feel so much closer to the Lord. I cannot begin to articulate how it feels to be here. It's so fun!! The food is not even that bad. I eat salads and wraps mostly Mom, so don't even worry. We also work out everyday and get this.. While I workout I listen to Elder Holland talks. Its ridiculous, I wish I had my journal with me so I could take notes. He is the greatest. 

Albanian is hard. Understanding the grammar is really frustrating. Also, the Elders in my district have all learned other languages, so they kind of have a step up. So, it's hard because I kind of feel like I'm behind. I study ALL the time. But, I have faith that the Lord knows that I can learn the language. 

I have had so many incredible experiences this week. I can't even explain them all to you. But, I'll give you a few: 

Sunday's at the MTC are incredible. I cannot even explain it to you. We have church and everything and then there is a devotional and then you watch a talk/video. The devotional was really great on Sunday it was by the MTC presidency. But before it started, we say Sisters in Zion (yes mom, your favourite song) and we sang the new lyrics.. Which say, "We go forth enlisted with Helaman's army, in numbers much greater than ever before." And I kid you not, listening to over 500 sister missionaries sing that was the most spiritually uplifting thing I've ever experienced. 

After that, we watched "Characteristics of Christ" by Elder Bednar, and it was an address he gave at the MTC a few years ago, and if you can find it.. I suggest you all try and read/watch it. It was so good. The Church is the coolest thing ever. I love it so much!!!!  

So, there are 16 of us going to Albania, and I'm not even kidding you we have the greatest group of missionaries ever. I have so much love for all of the Elders. When we bear testimonies as a district it is incredible. The first counselor in our branch presidency stood up and said "we have been here for 2 years, and never have we felt the Spirit so strong in a district." It's so true. They are all like the brothers I never had. Elder Myers is my saving grace. He's hysterical. He sits right next to me, and always helps me study conjugations. He's great. Before a meeting, a German elder got up and sang some opera-ish musical number. And it all kinda took us by surprise cause we didn't expect him to sing like that.. And Elder Myers leans over to me and goes "aca-believe it." I cracked up. I was trying not to laugh throughout the whole thing. He's brill. 

The last thing I want to tell you all, is that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I had the neatest experience this week as I sought to know if I could really do this. In Uncle Brent's blessing he told me that in "D&C 6, God is talking to you." And on the second day.. they expected us to teach a lesson.. IN ALBANIAN. It's been so hard. Because you try to understand what they're saying and you have no idea what to say back.. and you want the Spirit to be there so much and it just can't  because there's no way you can understand each other. Anyway.. I was feeling really discouraged after this.. and I prayed to Heavenly Father and I just pleaded to know if I could do this. I asked him if He by chance made a mistake by thinking he could send me to Albania. And during personal study, I had a prompting to read D&C 6. You guys, it is the most perfect verse that is directly connected to what I'm doing in my life right now. Verse 14 is my favourite because it literally tells me, that had it not been for the divine instruction I'd received in regards to serving a mission, I would not be at the MTC right now. I promise that we can receive answers to ALL of our blessings. Our Heavenly Father is so aware of each and every one of us. 

AND.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! I love you so very much. I miss you, but please know that I have never felt more safe and happy. I know this is exactly where I need to be. I love the MTC. I love my Albanian companions and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please have a wonderful day, and make sure that Dad buys you perfume or something nice. 

So, I'm kind of a big deal and have lots of people to e-mail. Just kidding. But, I love you all so so so much. Please update me with things that happen at home. 

Much love, 

Motra Vermunt 

p.s I'm trying to send pictures, but you might have to wait till next week.
p.p.p.s. Mom, I desperately need a watch.

I've added the like to send her a Dear Elder Letter... just click right here!
 ***Unit #71 and departure date April 2