Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15th, 2016

Ç'kemi Familja, ju dua! So I don't have a lot of time to email right now because we're saying goodbye to the Hungarians who are leaving today but I'll finish emailing again later. So for now I'll just fill you in on the most important things. 
First, Elder Schneider and I became the new Zone Leaders yesterday! I wanted to tell you last week but president Allen said not to tell anyone until Sunday. We're so excited to serve and we'll do our best in everything we do! We're losing the old Hungarians today but on Wednesday we get a new group of them. Because we're zone leaders we're in charge of welcoming them and teaching them all the rules which is super exciting, especially since it feels like we just got here. We're also hosting this week so we may even get to welcome one of our new zone members at the curb.
Also last Tuesday for our devotional Elder Neil L. Anderson came and spoke to us which was so cool! His message was amazing and it was so full of hope. He talked a lot about faith in Christ and focused on how his elect are out there, no matter where we go and that we have to constantly work to find them.
Thank you so much for the package and for all the notes that were in it! It's so much fun hearing from you all throughout the week, and the snacks are fantastic!
Additionally, I've run into so many people I know here! There are by far too many to name but some of the funnest new ones have been Elder Swalberg, Elder Hunt, and Elder Trainor. There are so many people here from Lone Peak, and honestly it's kind of weird seeing them all. 
Us Albanian elders are having so much fun here! Our rooms are right next to each other and trust me it's a party. They're all so funny and everyone is so different. We're getting really good at four square and it's pretty much the official Alby sport here.
I'm learning the language so well! I'm starting to really understand the basic grammar, except I'm still not great at clitics and articles, and even cases are becoming easier. I still need to get a much better vocabulary but it's definitely coming. I already have the missionary purpose and the first vision memorized në shqip(in Albanian) which is awesome. Our lessons are going so much better too! We got a new investigator, Kejti(Katy) aka Motra Kokol, and the lesson went amazing but we forgot to bring a Book of Mormon to give her so that was a mistake. But our other investigator Maksim committed to baptism so now we're getting to lessons we've never taught before. Also in our most recent lesson with Maksim I ended up phrasing my question wrong so it ended up taking us into a way different lesson that we didn't plan but that ended up being one of our best lessons yet so we can definitely thank the gift of tongues for that. The gift of tongues is so real, we've learned so much here that there is no way we could have learned this by ourselves. It's so amazing and I'm so grateful for that.
We loved the snacks you sent this week, and if it's possible could you send me an Albanian Hymn book. We thought they sold them here but turns out they don't. Also if you could send me my brown shoes that'd be nice, but if not it's totally fine. 
I'll try to email again later but we have to go for now.
Mirupafshim, ju dua!

So that didn't take as much time as I thought. It was sad to see them all go but I'm so excited for the amazing things they'll do. It's crazy how close we all get here, it really does feel like our district and even our zone is just one big family. So we got to leave campus this morning to go to the doctor for my companion, and good news he's all fine. It was really weird walking around town though but it was fun talking to regular people. So far the hardest thing for us has probably been waking up in time. We've been doing pretty good but we accidentally slept in like 4 minutes late one day, which was pretty rough. So now we've started all yelling "Shqipëria!" (Albania) when the alarm goes off and it makes it easier to get up. It feels weird that we still have a month and a half left here though. I'm oddly excited for Adam to get here though, even though that's still a ways away. Because we're the new Zone Leaders we got an email kind of congratuating us and giving us advice but they haven't changed it for the new MTC president so it says it's from President Nally which was pretty funny. Laundry has been going well and the stuff works great, thank you for sending that. I'm really glad I took all those years of Spanish though, not only have I used it here but it's also helped me understand some of the more complicated grammar principles like possessives. However I do keep accidentally using Spanish words when I try to speak Albanian and Albanian words when I try to speak Spanish which is kind of annoying. But all in all things have been going great and I still love it here.

Also just some more random thoughts, we learned an Albanian proverb that I really like. It goes "gur gur bëhet mur, mur mur bëhet kalaja" translated it means stone by stone you get a wall, wall by wall you get a castle. That has been so true and such a critical way of thinking here while learning a language. Sometimes I get frustrated that I'm not understanding everything all at once, but then as we keep going and I put it together piece by piece I've been able to look back and notice how much I've already learned and how fast it really is coming. 
Also thank you so much for sending me my friends emails during the week, it's so much fun being able to see how they're all doing. I'm so excited for Chaz to finally start his mission, it truly is such a unique experience and he'll do great. 
Love, Elder Gardiner

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