Well, we are in the last part of our mission. I call it my tithing – consecrated offering to the Lord. These last two months are in essence the last 10% of our time here in Albania. If there is any devotion or service we can render and do better, it is this last time slot. Stay focused on the task at hand and not dwell on home. We need to lay it all on the line and give all we have left with full strength. “Never, never, never give up”……(Winston Churchill).
It seemed like for the longest time the walls of our little city, figuratively speaking, were too much to overcome and baptisms, despite the best efforts of some of the best missionaries, were not going to happen. It had been almost a year since our last baptism Xhoni Selimaj. Then from a small village just outside our city, came Christian Hoxha who showed us his determination and quite smoking in ONE day. Huge cracks appeared in the great wall. Then came Anxhela Kola, with her courageous determination to stand alone, bricks were tumbling down. Then came Lida Hoxha who resisted the call to join the church at first, but after reading the Book of Mormon 3 times entered the waters of baptism and left the wall in shambles.
Our little branch was growing and the feeling was rewarding. To see the next Sunday, Lida bare her testimony, Anxhela to give the invocation (opening prayer), Xhoni to give a talk and Christian to pass the Sacrament, was a humbling experience to see the hand of the Lord in this part of His vineyard.
As a missionary, it is amazing how the gospel can change the lives of individuals who begin with that small seed of faith and repentance and then watch it grow as they begin to sacrifice by making changes in their past habits. Watching them learn, read the scriptures daily, give up smoking, give up coffee, give up old life styles, and come to church on Sundays, sets an example even for us. The Lord sees their efforts and rewards them accordingly. 13 For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?
Love you all.