Whew, things have settled down now and I've gotten into the routine of things. Almost all of our time is dedicated to strengthening the members, like our nightly visits to a man named Ylli, and he's been coming back to church, which is great. We need more men to come; so far we only have 3 priesthood holders in the branch. It's a real challenge trying to get a branch to work on its own, right now the missionaries have to do everything, and that's kind of not how it's supposed to be. Every Wednesday we catch a furgone (taxi-bus-thing) to Lushnje about 30 minutes away, where we visit the one family that's still active and try to visit with other individuals.
I've been thinking lately about how the Lord helps us out. All throughout the scriptures, and in our lives, when people turn away from God, He withdraws his blessings. It's the times when we fend for ourselves and try to rely on our own strength that we utterly fail and realize we need the Lord in our lives. Once we realize that and truly repent, He is eager and happy to give us the help we need.
I've been studying the Old Testament a bit and it's interesting to see how only when Israel was being plagued with problems (heh, heh) did they humble themselves and turn back to the Lord. The same cycle is repeated all over in the Book of Mormon, too. It's my goal in life to not need that much chastisement from God, and any challenges that do come, I need to realized that they are only for my good. I'll share now my favorite verse from my favorite hymn, 'How Firm a Foundation':
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Stay strong in the Lord!