Monday, 25 May 2015

Hello family! 
It's been a crazy week here in Toronto East.. I feel like I say that every week, and I probably do because.. well, crazy things happen all the time. Seriously. Yesterday, Sister Leung was like.. "what else could possibly happen this week?" But it's been great! 
We really saw some great things happen this week, we started working with a part member family and saw some great progression in our investigators. I think that a lot of the miracles we saw came from the fact that we've really started to work with the ward and ask them about who we should go visit or how we can help. It's been amazing! 
One of my favourite experiences from this week was when we went to teach a member referral from a Hungarian woman in our ward named Bettina. Her friend has only been here 2 weeks and quite literally only understands the word "good". Haha, so with Bettina's help in translating, we taught Anita and her family. What was so amazing to me was their facial expressions as we talked about the Restoration. Even before Bettina would translate what we said, I knew that Anita was feeling the spirit. It was such a testament to me that the language of the Spirit is one that is understood by all. It was really amazing, and we're looking forward to working with that sweet family. 
So, on Saturday night we went to drop by a less active member.. who wasn't home. Okay, and I'm not going to lie.. the less active member is Ann Gosling. As in, Ryan Gosling's mother. To be straight real I have this dream.. that we'll drop by and her son might be in town for a visit.. But anyway. We had an appointment shortly after and we knew that the bus didn't come very frequently in the neighbourhood so we started to walk to the main road where we figured there would be a bus route. We were mistaken. So, we ended up having to walk over an hour.. pretty much uphill the whole way. At one point I just said a prayer in my head and I was like, "Heavenly Father please help my attitude and make this day better." We finally get to the subway station and we see that the subway we need was closed for scheduled repairs. We were like.. COME ON. 
We ran to catch the bus before it started to leave, but we missed it. So, we waited and we finally get on the bus we need to get on, which was super packed and hot.. And it was still really difficult to enjoy this day.. But a lady sat in front of where I was standing and I remember thinking that I should say something to her. So, brilliantly I say.. "I hate transit sometimes." We start talking a little bit, and she had an accent just like everyone else I talk with in a day so I asked her where she was from, and she says.. "Albania." 
Okay, I know that you are reading this and probably thinking, "that's super cool, what a sweet coincidence." But, as soon as she said that she was from Albania.. I literally felt this peace come into my heart that I can't even begin to explain. I felt as though the Lord was reminding me that He knew where I was. I thought about all of the little things that had happened that day that set us back or seemed to be frustrations but they all allowed to me to be in this place at this time on a bus of like 100 people, to sit next to this woman and talk to her about everything that I love and miss about Albania. I loved her, and I loved what it meant to me to be able to talk with her. 
This leads me to something that I studied just this morning. I was reading in D&C 100 and I read verse 4 which reads, "Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls." In this section, the Lord is talking to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon as they are away from their families preaching the gospel. Something that I really want to point out here is that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were preaching the gospel in Ontario, Canada. 
Many times I have allowed myself to feel that I was placed in this mission because of logical reasons or kind of through a "process of elimination". But, when I read this and really pondered what it meant for me, I realized that if the Lord had wanted me to be reassigned to any other mission, I would have left Albania earlier or I would have been originally assigned to somewhere else. But Heavenly Father suffered me to come unto this place, and I although sometimes I wish things could be different.. I am grateful that He did. I've learned incredible lessons that I don't think I could have learned in any other way. 
I love this gospel, I love the Lord and I love the opportunity that I've been given to share it with the wonderful people in this world. I love you all! I hope you have a great week. 
With love from Toronto, 
Motra Vermunt

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Important Lessons

Hello Family, 

Happy long weekend.. Our p-day is today because all of the libraries were closed yesterday. It's been a long week, I'm grateful for this p-day! 

This week has been interesting. I think that I was under the impression that in the last 6 weeks of my mission I would feel like I've got this whole missionary thing down and just feel super confident in my abilities. To be honest, in the past week I've kind of felt the opposite. We had 2 exchanges with different sister companionships and I was just like, I'm your sister training leader but.. quite honestly, I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. 

I think some of these feelings of inadequacy stemmed from the fact that Sister Leung and I have been struggling to find new investigators. We literally talk with EVERYONE. But nobody responds very well to us and it was pretty discouraging. On Saturday I was on an exchange with a sister from Edmonton, her name is Sister Raymant. Sister Raymant and I were walking down the street and she said hi to a group of black guys, and they said hi back and I felt an impression to go and talk to them. So, we turned around and talked to them. Nothing really came from the conversation, other than clearing up misconceptions about our church. I felt kind of confused as to why I felt like we needed to talk with them. 

We continued on and went to tract in a neighbourhood. This neighbourhood is beautiful! I loved it.. But, here's a sad fact for you.. I always dread going into a neighbourhood because I know that if they are nice homes and the people have nice cars, more often than not they are not very nice to us. It's sad because it is so evident that often times those who are blessed enough to be comfortable materially often have no desire to strengthen their relationship with God, because they don't feel like they need Him. 

Later on in the day, we had a lesson that ended earlier than we had anticipated. I felt that we should go drop by one of our investigators. We went to her house, but no one was home. As we were leaving the building we heard someone call out to us and ask if we went to the church on Ossington Ave. We approached the man and Sister Raymant recognized him as one of the men that was in the group of black guys that we were talking to earlier in the afternoon. He introduced himself and said that he had been to our church before. As we talked with him we learned that he was being taught by missionaries in Brampton a few years ago and was preparing for baptism. He said that the missionaries he met with were transferred and then he moved to Toronto shortly after. Sister Raymant and I invited him to meet with us and prepare once again to be baptized, and he said yes! He also wanted us to meet with his wife, and he took us over to meet his friend, Francis who also became a new investigator. 

I learned two very important things from this experience. The first was, that I needed to repent and humble myself to remember that our desires, regardless of how righteous they might be, will be fulfilled in the Lord's time and in accordance to His will. I had been frustrated all week because I was placing more trust in myself than I was in the Lord. Everything that had happened in that day led us to be in the right place and at the right time so that we could find Michael. It is in moments like this where I am in awe of the goodness of our Heavenly Father and in His love. 

The second thing that I learned was that we need to act on the impressions we receive and to trust in them, even if the outcome we expect doesn't immediately manifest itself. When I walked up to that group of guys I think I half-expected to give some eloquent sermon and gain 5 new investigators right then and there, and then later when we went to drop by our investigator I think I expected her to be home and to have an awesome lesson with her to keep her progressing in her faith. Neither of those things happened, but I was diligent in following the guidance that the Spirit gave me and because of that, we were rewarded in a better way than I had expected. 

Mom reminded me today in her e-mail that I have 6 weeks until I am home. Truly, that seems insane to me. It seems far but so close at the same time. All I know is that I'm grateful for the time I have left to be able to be on the Lord's errand. There are truly miracles in every single day and I am so humbled to be able to experience them, and to learn from them. Missionary work is truly one of the happiest things we can do. :) 

Me dashuri te madhe, 
Motra Vermunt 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Lumturia e përjetshme!‏

Hey everyone! 

It's been a crazy week, Sister Leung and I literally felt like we didn't have time for anything!! Transfers are fun and it's good to have a change.. but its also pretty rough trying to figure out how everything works with your new companion and everything. 

Toronto is crazy, I seriously have so many stories that I wish I could share.. but I think the best one from this week is that Sister Leung and I almost got punched by this crazy lady. She had her fist in the air and everything.. Hahaha, it was intense.  But super funny after it happened. 

We had mission leadership council this past week and it was really good!! President Clayton has some really great goals for the mission and I'm really excited for these next few months. Miracles are going to happen!! President Clayton keeps on saying that "now is the time" and he's right! Sister Leung and I are so pumped and we're finding some awesome people. We found a SOLID investigator this week and he was so awesome and he called us on Friday to tell us that he got a job and would be moving to Edmonton... the next day. So, that was a bummer. But what do ya do. 

We were able to visit both the Gallanis and the Dautajs this week and I just love them SO much. Motra Gallani made me speca te mbushur (stuffed peppers) because I told her it was my favourite, it was so good!! Seriously.. I love being in their home. Before we ate Vellai Gallani said that he was so happy to have us in his home.. Not just because we are missionaries but because we are like his daughters. I love him so much! He is just the sweetest man, and I cannot wait for him to be able to return to church. It's going to be the happiest day of my entire life. 

Yesterday we went and saw the Dautajs (Shpresa and Leo) and they are SO close to coming back to church. I know it! Leo said that he would be there next Sunday and I can't wait. Shpresa made another one of my favourite Albanian dishes.. It was SO good. It was awesome to spend a little bit of Mothers day with her :) .. Another cool thing, Albanians.. LOVE chinese people.. Haha. Seriously, in both homes I had to translate these long stories about how China and Albania were partners in times of communism and stuff like that. Haha, Sister Leung was like.. I didn't even know what Albania was... haha. 

I love my mission. I can truly say that I have never been happier in my life. I know that probably sounds crazy, coming from a 20 year old girl that doesn't have access to instagram or facebook, or who can't watch movies or listen to the radio.. But I think it is such a testimony to the fact that true happiness comes from living the gospel. There are so many good things that we have in our lives, and they can definitely help us feel happy. But none of it compares to sharing the light of the gospel and to seeing others find their faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. It is such a privilege to leave behind and "sacrifice" the things that I have in order to be a missionary. For anything that I might have left behind to be here, I have been rewarded so much more. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! :) 

With love from Toronto, 
Motra Vermunt 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

All I can say is… WHAT?

Saying goodbye to Sister Monnie at the airport
It has been quite a week this week, that's for sure. Unfortunately, Sister Monnie had to return home. It was so unexpected and seemed to happen like overnight. Saying goodbye to her was sad. As she was packing up her things and we took her to the airport, I realized how not too long ago I was in that position, and its devastating.
Sister Monnie said that she knew she needed to be companions with me at this time for this reason. I talked to her so much about my experience and the feelings that I felt and now I understand why. She needed to know that it was hard and that the things that were to come would be difficult, but I know that she also needed to know that the Lord would be with her every step of the way and that it would cause her faith to become unshaken in Him.
As I was with her throughout all of this, I was amazed at how much I feel that I have grown as a result of my experiences. As I felt I was able to speak to Sister Monnie and maybe help her a little bit in what was happening, I felt myself really understand how much I have learned from all of the hardship that I have had, and I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have gained. I can 100% say that I am a different person because of my mission. My faith in the Lord has become steadfast. I am so grateful because through the difficulty of leaving Albania and the people that I loved and feeling that no one understood me showed me that I had no where to turn but to God, and it has meant everything to my relationship with Him.
I used to say that my mission scripture was D&C 31:3, because it is how I decided to come on a mission. But, it has changed to Alma 17:11 that says, " And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth... and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls."
This is Ana, she getting baptized in a few weeks
This seriously touches my heart so much. One of the things that I find the greatest joy in, is testifying about how the Lord is aware of each and every one of us. Whether we are in a time of comfort or despair, He knows us and He cares about the details of our lives. I know that when I testify of these things, the Spirit confirms my words because I have had experience that has solidified that principle to my soul. I feel humbled to have had the opportunity to experience hardship so that I can come to the aid of another who is in need.
Oh, the other crazy thing.. I got a transfer call. I'm staying in Toronto East and I'm getting a new companion. Her name is Sister Leung and she is from Hong Kong and she's hilarious and the cutest little Asian ever. I love her. I've been staying with her since Sister Monnie went home on Friday. And guess what, we've been called to be Sister Training Leaders. It's super unexpected! I didn't think I'd be called as STL seeing as I've only been in this mission for a few months, but I'm humbled to be serving in that position!
So, that's my week! I hope you all had a great one!
With love from Mississauga (temporarily),
Motra Vermunt