This week has been super busy! We're seriously working like crazy here and I absolutely love it. The days are long and sometimes you're just dead tired cause the heat gets to ya, but it's so fulfilling to sit at the end of the day and know that you did everything that you could have and should have. It's so great. This week Sister Wilding and I walked out to a village where we have a less active member. It took us like an hour and a half to walk one way, but it was so nice and I just looked around and I was like.. Whoa. I'm in Albania. It's still pretty crazy to me sometimes.
This week was really good, one of our investigators Jusi is on a baptismal date now! We have been teaching her for a while and I absolutely adore her, she's the one that we teach in English and she's just so amazing. She's on date for August 22nd. We'll see how she progresses, but I'm honestly just ecstatic! I love teaching her so much. She truly ponders and wants to know the truth for herself. When Sister Smith was still here we had a lesson with Jusi and we were actually wondering if maybe we should drop her because we didn't know if she was just interested in learning what our church is about or was actually wanting to act on what we were teaching her. So, we had a lesson and I just felt SO guided by the Spirit while we were teaching her. I was talking to her about sincere prayer and I told her that Heavenly Father will never let us go down the wrong path, so I invited her to pray and ask Heavenly Father if what we were saying was true and I told her that if it wasn't true she would receive feelings that would cause her to doubt our words. So, the next visit we had I was super nervous.. When we asked her if she had prayed she told us that she had and she said that she waited for an answer and she wasn't really sure if she got one.. But then she said that after she prayed she felt very calm and the thought just came into her mind that she should continue on the path that she's on. And she was like, I can't really explain how I felt I just.. Felt it.. I seriously wanted to be like.. THAT'S THE SPIRIT! It's such a hard thing to describe to other people but our minds and our hearts just know. They know! Ah, so I'm SO excited for her and I truly hope that she will get baptized.
This week I met our new mission president and his wife. President Weidmann and Sister Weidmann, and they are AMAZING. I'm seriously so excited!! I was really nervous cause he's from Switzerland right? So to be quite honest I was kind of ready for him to come in here and be somewhat dictator-ish. But he's SO kind and he cracks jokes and I'm just so excited. And his wife.. Oh my goodness, talk about the sweetest lady ever. What made it even better was the brought a massive toblerone chocolate thing for us.. YES! But I'm really excited for the things that he'll bring to our mission. I mean the Ford's were amazing, but unfortunately I didn't get to serve with them for that long or get to know them as well as I would have liked but I'll have the opportunity to be closer with President and Sister Weidmann and I'm so excited for that. When I met them I told them who I was and they love Jo and Greg and then they said that they spent a lot of time with the Thomas' too!! It was really cool. I'm seriously so excited.
So, I'm just continuing to work hard here in Vlore. We're really trying to reach out to our recent converts and our less actives here. There are so many! It's sad. But we go and we visit them and we have good lessons and things and then we commit them to come to church, and I'll tell ya.. Sunday is a rough day. Your heart truly is so invested in these people and you want them to come and act on the covenants that they made. So, truly I can't tell you how much joy comes to me when I see one of my recent converts walk in the door and how much sadness comes to me when a less active doesn't come even when she promised us that promised she would. It's really hard. But it only drives me to work harder. I heard something that was so amazing this week and I've really been pondering it. We heard it in zone training and it was, "Don't be so faithless that you have to see the results of your efforts." As I've thought about that throughout this week, I realized how profound it is. What I got from it was this: Of course when we work hard or diligently at something we want to see the fruits of our labours. And maybe those fruits for me would be the people that I work with bearing their testimony on fast Sunday about the truthfulness of the gospel, or my investigators being baptized. Those are successes that I can see. But what about the ones that we can't see. For example, maybe one of the less active members we've visited this past week knelt down to pray for the first time in a long time or found their Book of Mormon that was lost in a pile of old things. I guess what I'm getting at is that we ought to do good things and have faith that something will come of it and be humble enough to accept that sometimes our good efforts won't be recognizable to us. We won't be able to see them necessarily and receive that gratification but our efforts all have results and we just have to work knowing that our Heavenly Father uses us as instruments and we have to know that He sees and receives our efforts and uses them according to His will and His way.
I know that I am richly blessed to be able to be serving in this country and more specifically this city and I'm so grateful for every experience and opportunity that I'm given in order to grow and become closer to the person that my Father in Heaven needs me to be. I hope and pray that each of you can recognize the ways that He blesses our lives each and every day.
With much love,