This week was a little bit more of a trying week, but that's okay because we always seem to learn so much more from those weeks!
We started the week off by having Family Home Evening with the Gosturani's. I love Trazhgim, Aferdita and Illirjana so much!! I cannot even explain it. They are just so incredible. Just a reminder.. Illirjana is our investigator. Anyway, so.. a little back story.. Trazhgim was baptized like 7 years ago and his parents were pretty against it. His dad actually asked that the missionaries not come back to his house so Trazhgim always had lessons at the church and things like that. Elders have been trying to get over there forever, and it just never worked.
|My fav people.. Illirjana, Sister Coleman and Trazhgim|
So, on Monday we knew we wanted to have an FHE and I was talking with Trazhgim and he was like, "Illirjana and I had an idea.. what if you and Sister Coleman came to our house." We were like.. WHAT!! Oh my goodness, it was so exciting! So we were the first missionaries to be in the Gosturani's home in like 5 years or something. It was so fun, we traditional danced and made cookies and stuff. His mom made us a greek salad, homemade bread (which is TO DIE FOR) and pumpkin byrek! Seriously, she was amazing. She listened in on the lesson and everything. Halfway through, Trazhgim's dad came home and I was pretty nervous to be honest.. but, at the end of the night he ended up driving us to our bus stop and he asked Trazhgim why we couldn't just stay the night! What!!
Later, Trazhgim texted us and said that we were such a blessing to his family and that his mom said that we are welcome any time. Seriously.. I can't tell you how much that meant to Sister Coleman and I. Even if the Gosturani parents start to soften their hearts to us a little I think it will be a huge step and blessing for their family. It was so awesome!
On Saturday we had a Halloween party at the church! It was pretty crazy. We had a bunch of games and it was a huge mess! But it was successful! We had a lot of investigators and non-members come and they had an enjoyable time! Halloween in Albania was pretty different... Haha, they don't really do the whole trick-or-treating thing. And with costumes.. they kinda just seem to think that you're dressed up in a mask. So, yeah.. that was pretty dang FREAKY. Haha, we'd walk down the alley and there would be a group of little boys all in scream masks. Not my fave.. But I loved seeing the pictures from Halloween, you guys are all so awesome!
As far as the rest of the week went, we had a lot of things not go as planned. But that's okay because we did the things that the Lord needed us to do. We met some really great people and we were able to have some powerful lessons. I will say.. Sunday's as a missionary are the most stressful days!! I seriously just sit in the sacrament hall with butterflies in my stomach waiting to see if the investigators we invited to come will actually keep their commitments. It's so stressful.
Yesterday.. none of our investigators came to church. All of them were either out of town or sick or something crazy prevented them from coming.. It was so disappointing. I was just like, what am I doing wrong! Am I not testifying enough? Why don't my investigators understand the importance of the commandment of church? But.. because the Lord is merciful, He reminded me that my purpose here is to invite. My purpose is to reach out to people and give them the knowledge and allow them to feel the Spirit, but at the end of the day, it has to be their agency that brings them to act on that knowledge. As I was feeling disappointed, I had this brief understanding of how our Heavenly Father must feel when we don't use our agency to do the right thing. I know that the Lord wanted my investigators to be in church more than I did. As I thought about these things I was so humbled to have an opportunity to recognize in some small way how our Savior feels when we make choices that turn us away from Him.
I am so grateful for the Savior. I am so grateful for the sacrament. How great is it that we have the opportunity to renew our baptismal covenants every single week. The sacrament is a spiritually strengthening experience. I think the greatest thing is that we commit to taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. President Henry B. Eyring said, “That means we must see ourselves as His. We will put Him first in our lives. We will want what He wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want.” When we take the sacrament, we also covenant to “always remember” Jesus Christ. As we partake of the sacrament, we witness to God that we will remember His Son always, not just during the brief sacrament ordinance. This means that we will constantly look to the Savior’s example and teachings to guide our thoughts, our choices, and our acts."
I hope that next week as we partake of the sacrament we can remember how truly sacred the ordinance is and how privileged we are to partake of it. I know that our Savior loves us, I know that He sacrificed His life for each and every one of us and because of that sacrifice we have the gift of repentance and that we can walk away from sacrament meeting having left our burdens there for Jesus Christ to wash away.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful week and that you feel the love of the Lord each day.
With much love,