Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016

The Mero Family, Mariana, Edmond, and Angelina came to visit on Sunday.  Their son, Elder Mero is Austin's current companion in Elbasan.  They brought Canadian maple syrup to honor their current country and Albanian spinach pie to honor their home Albania.  It was amazing to meet them and get to know them.

Austin's email...
Përshëndetje! Ju dua shumë! (by the way there is no apostraphe on this keyboard so I wont be using those in this letter, just fyi)
So this has been a great week out here in the field! I am still not really understanding the language very well but it is getting better. I feel like I am starting to get settled in and that has definitely helped me calm down a little bit. As I have gotten more settled in I am starting to be able to hear the language a lot better so I think I am getting close to getting it, and Im understanding more every day. At least for now I can understand generally what people are talking about, I just have no idea what any of the details are.
Thats so cool that you met the Meros! And thats so cool that they brought some authentic Albanian food too! Thats one thing Ive definitely loved here is the food. Im glad that Elder Mero is my companion because hes so cool! Him and I are getting along so well. He is super funny and he knows so much about the doctrine, its so cool and its so fun studying with him! One of the cool things about being companions with Elder Mero is that hes had such a different life from me and I learn so much from his experiences. He has so many cool insights into the scriptures and he really knows how they can be applied to the investigators.
We had the amazing opportunity to watch conference yesterday and the day before. I definitely didnt understand everything, but I did understand a lot more than I expected. It was really cool because a lot of people came and watched it with us too! It was also a lot of fun seeing my friends from the MTC again in the choir, that and seeing both Thomas and brother Williams. That was so fun! Also Lindis even came and watched conference with us. He came to 4 out of the 5 sessions and the only reason he didnt come to the first session is that he didnt know we were doing it! Weve been meeting with him every day and hes so cool! Hes been accepting everything we teach him super well and he loves meeting with us. Hes also come to church every week for the past three weeks! If everything goes according to plan his interview should be this week and then he will be baptized next week! I think he will definitely be ready!
Also this week we had Zone Training and it was so awesome. All the missionaries in the south zone came up here to Elbasan and we did some training. It was awesome getting to see some of my friends from back in the MTC. We did some role plays and we got committed to ask for more referrals and now were working hard to do that.
Also thank you for sending me that video, that was so cool! Its so true and so powerful, this work is definitely not easy but the rewards that we bring into the lives of others are definitely worth the hard times! Just in the short time Ive been here Ive seen that beautiful light that the gospel brings into the lives of others in undeniable ways.
Another fun thing that happened this week was that we got to go to institute. Its taught by the Stake President here and he is so awesome! He speaks English fluently, but he teaches in Albanian, and the insights he has into the gospel are so cool! Were planning on going to that again this week and we asked Lindis if he wants to go and he seemed really interested in going as well which will be so awesome! Also we got the assignment to go to Seminary with one of the youth named Ersi. Hes so cool, he lives in an orphanage so we have to get him and bring him to all the church activities but hes so active and so much fun. Hes learning English and I think he wants to serve a mission some day. One cool thing about Elbasan is that the youth here are very strong in the church. Many of them have served mini missions and are planning on serving full time missions as well! They are so fun and they come to a lot of the activities and help us a ton in our lessons.
So all in all Im still loving it here! Serving a mission is definitely the best thing I could be doing right now! I love this place and Im sure it will just keep getting better as my language abilities grow!
So until next week mirupafshim!
Elder Gardiner

So here are a lot of pictures. A lot of them are from when we went up to the monument that overlooks the city where Elder Oaks opened Albania to missionary work. There are also pictures of my apartment and the view from our hotel room on the first day. And a picture of the soup we made that Elder Mero was really proud of. So hopefully these all work, let me know if it doesnt! Also Ill make sure to get more pictures in the coming weeks​

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