Monday, May 31, 2010

June Message for "Ties that Bind" Newsletter

Hey Guys!

I honestly cannot believe it is time for me to write this again. This month has gone by incredibly fast. But I like it that way so it’s been a really good month. Not gonna lie, because I forgot that it was newsletter week I didn’t really have anything in mind to share. But hopefully I’ll be able to remember a couple things to share.

The one thing that was super awesome actually happened to us last night. We had planned for a night full of tracting, but after church one of the youth in our ward, Grisi, asked us if we could go do his home teaching with him because his companion was in Kosovo for the weekend. He home teaches one of the new members and an inactive family so we figured it would be good to get to visit them. The new member’s name is Lavdie. A couple weeks ago, her younger sister died and it hit her really hard. She had seen her sick for seven years and it was just a really hard thing for her to go through. When we went over to visit her you could tell that it still hurt her really bad. But she’s awesome and she told us that she knows that this is a part of God’s plan and we just have to take it and become stronger. She said she will always have faith in God no matter what happens. We talked about it for a minute and gave her some words of comfort and moved on to the home teaching message. Lavdie’s neice (the daughter of the sister who just died), Senada, came in and listened to the message. She had learned a little bit from the missionaries before, but apparently had problems with her dad and it became more of a burden than anything else so she stopped for a while. Anyway, during our discussion, Lavdie told us that Senada had also decided to be baptized. Now a lot of times Albanians just decide things for other people and so I didn’t know if this was just one of those awkward moments or if she really wanted to be baptized. But oh man—she wanted to be baptized.

The reasons she gave were so incredible. She realized that nothing really matters except for being close to God. Everything else comes and goes, but the only thing that really matters in the end is that relationship with our Heavenly Father because that’s where we’re going. We’re going to leave all this behind and go where He is. Both of Senada’s parents have died now. They are both where He is and she knows that. She said something that hit me pretty hard. She said, “Both my parents are now close to God so however much closer I get to God, I’ll be that much closer to my parents.” That was such a cool idea for me and you could really see that she had just been humbled completely. She realized that there was a God and he was all powerful. She wanted to know Him and do what He wants her to do.

She was SO pumped to be baptized. It was so funny because we were discussing when we could set a date with her and we tried for July 4th, but you could tell that she didn’t really like that. So we moved it up. June 27. Eh. Still not terribly satisfied. So we moved it up. =) She will be baptized June 20th and it’s gonna be awesome. So we set her up with the sisters and she is so ready to take those steps towards baptism. She told us that this whole death thing had turned her to smoking again so we explained that she was going to have to do the Stop Smoking Program that the church has. She said, “Okay I’ll just finish this pack and then I’m done.”

We were like, “HECK. NO. Go get that pack of cigarettes right now.”

She went and got it.

“Crush it.”

She is now a non-smoker. I can’t wait to see her progress. It’s funny how the ones that are really prepared somehow find you. Honestly I’ve never had an experience like that in my mission so far so it was just amazing to see someone so ready and so earnestly desiring to come closer to Jesus Christ.

That really is what matters in life. We need to find those things that are eternal and hold on to them. Our families. Our friends. Our testimonies. Our Savior. Nothing else really matters. I want to let you know that I know that God loves us. He loves every single person we see in the streets. They all mean SO much to him. Lets go help him bring them back.

Love you guys. Have an awesome month!

”Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.”

-Elder Swenson

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