Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12, 2016

Ç'kemi Familja! Ju dua shumë!
Thanks for all the awesome stories and pictures! That was awesome logging on to my email and seeing all those. That really looked like a great time!
So to start, this week has been so amazing! Last Tuesday Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke to us! He taught us all about repentace and what it really means for us and how we repent. It was so powerful and it's so amazing hearing about these things from the Apostles because of the amazingly powerful testimony they have. One phrase that stuck out to me is when he said that Christ personally leads this church, I know it through faith and experience. Another awesome thing was when he said that "faith is the reward for obedience." I know that's true and I've definitely seen that here. I've gained so much faith here and I just keep doing my best to be obedient.
But that's not all, yesterday Elder M. Russel Ballard came and spoke to us! That was so cool to have Apostles two times in a row. The spirit that exists in the room when they are there is completely indescribable. It's so powerful and I learned so much through it. The focus of his talk was that we are here representing Christ. He said that that is something that we have to understand right now because when we understand that it will completely change our mission. He talked about volunteers who went in and helped people after the floods in I think Louisiana and how they were going into the homes of people who had lost everything. Then he related that to us and told us that that's what we're doing, people need our message and we have the opportunity to help them. This Gospel should be everything to us because it is everything, I'm so glad that I was blessed to grow up in this church and for the countless blessings that have come from that.
We also had our first Skype TRC on Friday! So as I've explained before our teachers take upon themselves the personalities of people that they taught on their missions, for example we've taught Juxhin and Maksim, and right now we're teaching Mysteak and Fjorela. But for the other class for their second investigator their teacher was Mimoza who was a person she taught on her mission. But then on Friday we got to the computer for Skype and the person we taught was Mimoza! That was so cool and she was so amazing! She pretty much taught us the lesson, we would share a scripture or our testimony or something and then she would just go on for like 5 minutes with these amazing thoughts and stories! She is such an amazing example and that made me so excited to get out and serve! So turns out now she has missionaries living at her house and we got to talk with them for a little bit too! That was such a cool experience and ever since then it's all felt so much more real! I'm so excited to go out and serve these amazing people! 
Also we get our travel plans on Friday!!! We're so close now but we're making sure to listen to our presidency by finishing strong!
I'm doing great and the language coming really well! In our lesson with Mimoza I couldn't understand everything she said but I understood a lot more than I expected! This language is so weird but I love it! Every Saturday we do "SYL (Speak Your Language) Saturdays" where we speak vetëm në Shqip për gjithë dita, and even though it's really hard it's definitely helping. I'm actually starting to be able to think in Shqip now and it's becoming a lot more natural. I still have a long long way to go but I'm working my hardest and I'm excited for the challenge. We're even lucky enough that we get to watch General Conference në Shqip in our first week!
Just one last thing to tell you all about is one of our new friends here. His name is Elder Folkman and he's going to Korea. He's on our floor in the residence, and we leave our door open so he kind of just walked in one day and we've all been friends ever since. He's super funny and we see him around pretty much everywhere now. It's been awesome getting to know some of the other missionaries here too, there are so many amazing people here, it really is unlike anywhere else.
Also I did run into Adam finally! I just saw him at choir on Tuesday so I went and talked to him for a minute or two. He seemed to be doing well but that's about all I got.
All in all another great week!  Mirupafshim!
-Elder Gardiner

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