Monday, 11 August 2014

August Sucks

I hope you're all doing really well and enjoying the summer. I know it definitely sounds like Mom and Dad are just traveling all around. So, that's fun! 
Of course the weather is still so hot and humid here but not only is that frustrating.. the other thing is everyone has left on "pushim" or vacation and therefore NO ONE has time to meet or answers their phones. So, there was literally a day this past week where we just contacted for 4 hours!! But you know what, it's all good because it will get better in September.. I think. Haha. 
But I'm finally getting the hang of things here in Tirana, I know where I am now and I'm starting to get to know the people better. So that's really nice. I don't feel so out of place. 
So, one cool thing that happened this week was that we got one of our investigators, Orkejda, on a baptismal date. So, Orkejda is the daughter of one of our recent converts and before I got here apparently Sister Pitcher and Maxwell worked SO hard to get her to accept baptism. But she was just kinda like.. meh, I'll get baptized but not right now. So, they kinda just gave up on that. So.. this week we were running out of ideas to teach her. I've been reading in 3rd Nephi and so we decided to read a few verses to her from there. So, during the lesson Sister Pitcher asked Orkejda's dad why he decided to be baptized and then the Spirit just hit me so strong and I knew that Orkejda could feel it too so I asked Orkejda to explain her feelings about the gospel. She bore such a sincere and heartfelt testimony. She said, "I don't know how to say it but there's just something inside me that's changed." So, I then asked her that since she knew these things were true if she would commit to be baptized. She. said. YES. I looked over at Sister Pitcher and her jaw was literally just wide open. It was so exciting. We're hoping that she can be baptized sometime in September. 
One thing that I really love is that Sister Pitcher listens to conference talks in the morning. So, while I get ready in the morning I just get spiritually fed. One of my favourite talks from this past week was "Forget Me Not" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. The talk has so many amazing things but I wanted to share a few things that I learned. First, Elder Uchtdorf talks about not forgetting the "why" of the gospel. He talked about the fact that we focus on "What" we're supposed to do, or "how" we ought to do it. Of course we have to think of the what and how but when we put our focus on the why, the things we must do don't feel like obligations that weigh us down. I really considered this and related it to my work as a missionary. So, as a missionary it is my purpose to bring other people to Christ, to give them the knowledge of the Gospel that I have been blessed to have in my own life. We report our numbers of lessons, investigators, and returning members. We wake up at 6:30 each morning and dedicate every day to this work until 9 at night. I know "how" to do this because I have leaders, Preach My Gospel, and the white handbook to help me know how I can do these things better. I realized that I could probably spend a lot of time worrying excessively about either of those things and be a great, obedient and relatively successful missionary. 
But what became very clear to me as I listened to this talk was how much the "why" influences all the rest. When I think about why I'm doing this.. I'm overwhelmed with a desire to bring people happiness. To bring them light in a world that becomes increasingly more dark. To help answer questions and help those who need love. I'm serving a mission to show the Lord how grateful I am and how much I recognize all the things that He has given to me in my life. I'm serving to come closer to Him myself. And when I think about those things, all the goals, the guidelines, hard work and frustrations don't come to me as irritating obligations or restrictions. I have a genuine desire to do whatever it takes to be successful so that I can fulfill my "why" purposes and then the "how" and "what" just seem to make sense. One thing that I've been blessed to learn is that a mission is not something you can do while withholding part of your heart. You have to completely devote yourself to the Gospel, to the people and to the Lord because when you do that.. When you have heart behind your work and you really embrace the reasons why your doing it.. When you think about the blessings that can be had, our burdens truly become lighter and easier to bear. 
I've been having a lot of fun experiences out here. Something happens everyday where I'm like... Oh.. Albania.. Haha. I know I say this every week, but I'm seriously so blessed to be able to serve here. I'm really so grateful. 
Alright, I hope you all have a wonderful week! I wanna leave y'all with Elder Uchtdorf's other counsel. Which is, forget not that the Lord loves you! 

"Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love...  You are closer to heaven than you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life. Cherish the gift of activity in this great and true Church." 
I love you all!
Motra Vermunt

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