Wednesday, 27 August 2014

August… you can leave

Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone is doing wonderfully and enjoying the last little bit of summer. As people have been talking about the Labour day weekend I've been a little bummed about that.. Man.. Go Stamps! I wouldn't mind watching a football game and eating some peanuts.. But hey. Enjoy it for me! 

This past week went by pretty quickly. I realize that as I move along in my mission and feel less and less like a fish out of water that time actually seems to pass quite nicely. Haha, seriously a blessing. It's been so hot here. The whole mission got e-mails regarding dehydration because apparently it's been a little bit of a trend... But literally, I don't think I've ever sweat more in my life. It's absolutely ridiculous. Shoot, I can't wait for fall. 

P day with my peeps
The work here has been kinda slow just because a lot of the people we meet are out of town on vacation and it's just hard to get anything really going. But, I'll tell you a little bit about the work we've got here. We have an investigator that is planning to be baptized this upcoming Saturday. Her name is File. She's in her 40's and she's from a city in Northern Albania called Shkoder. She's been a Christian her whole life and knows the Bible SO well.. So, as she reads from the Book of Mormon she always tells us that it's just like the Bible but more clear. Yes! She's awesome. She comes to everything.. stays in church for 3 hours.. She's just good. So, hopefully all continues to go well with her. We also have Orkejda who will be getting baptized in a few weeks too. She's 13 years old and her dad, Ylli was just baptized a few months ago. She was kinda slow at first, but now her testimony has really grown and I'm excited for the progression she's making. It's been difficult for her to get to church lately though, so we've pushed back her date a little bit. 

So, in Tirana the ward boundaries are kinda weird and sometimes hard to decipher.. But this week the Tirana 2nd Ward sisters handed us over an investigator that they found through English course. He's like a 60 year old policeman named Dashi and he is SO cute. Apparently, in their first lesson with him they described to him that we dress our very best in the church to show respect for the Lord and His house and stuff and as they were explaining that to him.. He looked down at his uniform and buttoned up his top button and like fixed his shirt. We met him, and he's SO sweet. He brought his wife too. Her name is Lejla and I'm SO excited to work with them. They seem like just really really humble people. 

This week I had an exchange with my Sister Training Leader, Sister Kokol. Seriously.. that girl. I love her. I'm so excited because she's going to BYU too.. She's so great. I had such a great time with her. She helped me with a few things in the area and she just really gave me a lot of great counsel. Being with her on that exchange just reminded me of how much I love being here. Of all the goals that I have for my mission. It was so great and really helped me to solidify the path I want to be on as a missionary. The Lord literally works through other people all the time. I love it. 

Shopping at the treg… I literally don't have patience for it
So.. Yesterday, I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. I seriously thought I was going to throw up. Any of you that talk about being nervous for giving talks or bearing your testimony.. Try doing it in a different language.. Y'all are LUCKY.  I was so nervous. I chose to talk about repentance. In the Gospel, repentance is the second principle. As I studied repentance and the true meaning of it.. I realized how blessed I am to be able to see how repentance changes people, how it has changed me! When we are truly repentant we seek to align our desires and our actions to the will of the Lord and to His teachings. That is a continual process, and it doesn't matter if we're investigating the church, if we're recently converted or have been members our entire lives.. It should be our constant goal to enhance ourselves and allow ourselves to be truly converted and consecrated to our Savior. 

One thing that I continually learn while I'm here is that no matter how hopeless things can seem, the Lord will always provide light in our lives. I can't express how much I love the enabling power of the Atonement. I love that the comfort of the Lord can always help us to keep going. Even if our trials seem to last longer than we think we can bear.. He enables us to keep going and to make it through. He can provide us with that strength because He has already overcome the things that try us. When I think about the things that trouble me or how overwhelming things might be.. I often wonder if I'm a strong enough person to go through the things that I face. And to be quite honest.. I'm pretty sure that in a lot of respects I'm not a strong enough person, I have a ton of weaknesses and I can get pretty down. But one thing that gets me through those tasks that seem insurmountable is that I have more faith in Jesus Christ than I do fear of my in capabilities. 

I testify that there is nothing that we cannot do if we turn to the Lord. One of my favourite verses are found in Jacob 4 verses 6 and 7:

"Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.
 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." 
I hope and pray that all of us can remember that we are never alone and that the power of the Lord comes to all those that seek it and those that will be believing. I love you all and I pray for your happiness and safety! 

Love from Albania, 
Sister Vermunt

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