Today we had a baptism and it was awesome! It was great! It was fantastic? Now her mom is next in line. She wants to be baptized too!
We went suit shopping with Elder Clemens this week because he wanted a gray suit. We came to the conclusion that European suits are the way to go. They are more sophisticated, and the way they are tailored, they are made to fit well. If you put them with a pair of Swiss shoes…bam, classy!
I would like to tell you about transfer madness. We are experiencing the most intense transfer ever! We are getting 7 new elders, and 3 of our mini missionaries are ready to leave. Two elders extended. We don’t know what’s going to happen, and we won’t know until Sunday morning. We have a white board with the name of everyone in the mission. We are trying to predict where everyone is going.
Voice recording from Sunday, September 27, 2015
It’s late Sunday night and my companion is packing. She has been transferred to Elbason. Packing things in her suitcase is like playing Tetris. I’m staying down here in the “southest of south,” Vlore. Elder Clemens is staying too, but he’s rather upset about it. This is his first and only area. He has been here 6 months already, and if he stays another transfer it will be 9 months. I keep thinking about a song I’ve learned. I sing it in Albanian because I like it better. The translation goes something like “No, I can’t say assuredly, but I am feeling something deep in my heart, I want to know with assuredly, but right now is a good start.”
Elder Larson, one of the senior couple missionaries, asked us what we have learned since being on our missions. It made me think. What have I learned, how have I changed? For a while I couldn’t think of anything. I wondered, have I learned nothing, has my mission been a failure?
When my trainer, Sister Z, gave her final testimony before going home, she talked about feeling like she was cursed because she would come into an area and all the work would leave. When she was training me, I thought it was my fault because the sisters before us had six baptisms and so many investigators, and then we lost all of them, except one. Then I was transferred to Shkoder, where Sister Dunn and Sister Kelley had had so many investigators. Then I showed up, and we lost all of them. I felt like it was my fault that this was happening, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. When I came to Vlore it was a different dynamic. After watching how many lessons we had, and how many members there are, I realized that it’s not just up to me. There are many things that you can do as a missionary, but if you are being a good missionary, it’s all up to God. Until I came into an area where I had success, I didn’t realize how much I learned from being in areas without success. In all actuality, Shkoder helped me a lot. I learned a lot in Shkoder about how to work hard and to face adversity.
I thought I would feel personal satisfaction by knowing that I am teaching this person the Gospel, or that I would feel satisfaction after a baptism for bringing this person to God. By coming here and having a baptism however, I realize that it was nothing that I did. There wasn’t a satisfaction coming from having a baptism, but more like God let this happen. She was ready and He allowed me to be a part of it. There is one thing that I hope will happen when I get home. I have been listening to this song I recorded about baptism called “Water Running in the Church.” It says that water running in the church is the greatest sound ever. The words say, the most sincere prayer he’s ever prayed was when he was thanking God for each and every day, then tells about the man that he became. I just hope that when I come home you won’t see me as who I was. I hope that I will actually be different. That I will actually have changed.
It’s Monday morning now and I just want to tell you about something that happened. We woke up at 3 o’ clock in the morning to watch the eclipse with our district. We were all up there just talking and laughing and Elder Waters brought his guitar and sang to us. When we came back Elder Dahl, our district leader, came over and was talking to me. He told me that he had a dream last night. He said it was about our weekly call in report. In the dream, he called Sister Bezus and me, and I told him that I had a problem. But, I didn’t tell him about the problem. After this dream, he woke up at 2 o’ clock in the morning because it felt so real. He felt prompted to write out this poem for me.
I used to believe that there was a hole in Christ’s atonement,
that He could save everyone except me, but I was wrong.
There’s not one hole, but seven. Two holes in His hands where they nailed Him to a cross at the behest of those He had died to save.
Two in His wrists where they insured the weight of His body would not cause His hands to rip through before His penance was complete.
Two holes in His feet where He stood as a witness to all,
of God’s unyielding love for each of His children.
And one hole in His side where they pierced Him to prove His work was done.
Seven perfect holes in Earth’s only perfect man.
The perfect atonement to patch the holes in our lives,
His holes make us whole.
I was wrong there is a whole in Christ’s atonement for me after all.
I was having a hard time last night and this morning with the fact that Sister Bezus is leaving. Elder Dahl said, I wrote this out for you because I felt prompted to. What a cool experience. God really does care for me and He shows it in ways that I was really not expecting.
I miss you guys so much!
I love you all to Gallifrey and back!!