Tuesday, 11 November 2014

With patience bear they cross of grief or pain

Dear family and friends, 

I hope that you are all enjoying the snow, I'm actually kind of jealous. I don't know how Christmas is going to be Christmas without snow. But that's okay.. I think I'll live :) 

This past week was a rough one in many aspects. Unfortunately, my health isn't doing all that well again which has been really hard. We weren't able to work for a few days out of the week. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than being a missionary and being stuck inside. It just really sucks! Everyone was telling me to take it easy and I just could not! But, President Weidmann talked with me and told me that he thought it would be appropriate for me to have a "study day". So, to be obedient Sister Coleman and I stayed in all of Wednesday.. I was miserable. Haha. 

Can I just say, that Sister Coleman is one of the greatest people I've ever met. Seriously, I love her to death. She's incredible. She has been so patient and loving in all of this and I love her so much for that. She's a great missionary and a great example to everyone around us. I'm so privileged to be her companion. 

So, on the days that we could work.. it was really rough as well! We'd set up lessons and then they would all cancel. It was very trying on our faith. It was like the Lord was saying, "rest.. or I will compel you to rest." But, we still managed to have some good lessons and experiences as always. One of them being that we've started teaching the wife of our 2nd counselor. Pajtim Hoxha is our 2nd counselor and he is awesome! He has an adorable little daughter that he brings to church and she just sits there completely patient and silent the whole time. She's a doll. But anyway, his wife Elona has taken the lessons before but has never felt ready for baptism. Pajtim wants nothing more than to go to the temple with his wife and daughter and she agreed to take the lessons again.

So, we go over to her house on Sunday and the gate to go up the stairs is locked. So, we tried ringing the bell and no answer. Then we tried calling both of them.. No answer. We were like, oh my goodness.. No! So, we stand there for a second and then, jokingly, Sister Coleman says, "By the power.." and grabs the door handle and the door clicks and pushes open. What! I kid you not it was locked.. We laughed about that for a while. It was cool. So we get up to their apartment and ring the doorbell and it turns out that Elona was cleaning and couldn't hear over the running water.

So we had this lesson about prayer, and it was a really good lesson. But toward the end of the lesson I was just overcome by the Spirit and as I was testifying to her about the power of prayer I just felt the Spirit completely take over what I was saying. I started to talk to her about the power that this gospel brings to families. The strength that it would bring to her marriage and to her daughter. I told her about the first time that I remember hearing Brooklyn pray. And when I said these things, Elona was just fixated.. I know that she recognized and felt the Spirit. 

After, Sister Coleman was just like.. that was incredible. It was such a powerful lesson. I have such a passion for completing families. There is nothing I want more than for all of these people to enjoy the blessings of eternal life with one another. I cannot tell you how much of an honor it is to testify to these Albanian people of the things that I know to be true. Of the blessings that await them as they turn to their Savior and follow His commandments. 

Another tender mercy this week was that I gave another talk. I'm not a shy person.. But there's something about speaking a foreign language in front of a room of native speakers that's a tiny bit intimidating.. My talk was about building a strong foundation in the gospel. I emphasized reading and praying daily and attending church. I talked about that we cannot simply choose 1 or 2 of these things and think that it is sufficient. If we want the power of God to be its fullest in our lives we must realize our own personal responsibility of doing those little things to ensure that it can be there. Of course I wrote out my talk, but was pleasantly surprised when I felt myself not needing to look down. Several members after commented on the fact that my Albanian was 'perfect'. It is times like that where you realize how real the gift of tongues is and that the Spirit truly speaks through us.

Being sick has truly been hard. There have been times where I'm walking down the street and I feel that I don't have the strength to keep going. But then I think about our Savior, even the Son of God, and the things that He experienced. I think about Him carrying the cross and how He must have thought that He did not have the strength to keep going. He continued step by step with unwavering faith and a determination to do the things that were pleasing to His father. When I think of these things, I am strengthened so much. How can I put on my black name tag every day, and claim to be a representative of Him if I am not willing to experience in some tiny aspect, a part of the pain He experienced. We all must take up our own personal crosses and walk as He did. 

I absolutely love being a missionary. There is no greater privilege than to do this great work. I know that all of our trials and difficulties are given to us for specific reasons and that the love of the Lord will abide us in every moment. I can truly say that I feel as Joseph Smith did when he said in section 127, verse 2:

"As for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me... God knoweth all things... and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth." 

I testify that we having a loving Father in heaven. I testify that He knows our every thought, desire and need. I know that this life is an opportunity for us to become what we ought to be. I testify that our trials are blessings, and  that they are an opportunity for us to learn and grow closer to our Savior who descended below all things. No one understands our pains or afflictions more than He. 

I pray for the happiness, health and safety for you all. 

With much love, 
Motra Vermunt

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