So another great week here in Elbasan! So this week has definitely been different, we've had a ton of people not show up to lessons we set up with them so we've had the opportunity to do a lot of contacting. We went tracting twice this week, and let's just say that it didn't go so great. We've gotten rejected at every door we've gone to and yelled at a few times, because people are still convinced that we're JWs. But we decided not to let that get to us and so we've done a ton of street contacting. That was really hard for me at first because I'm still not very good at the language yet but as the weeks have gone by I've learned to love it! At this point I can even do solo contacting pretty well. I've definitely gotten better at the language in the time I've been here and I think a lot of that is from contacting.
Now for the usual Lindis news. He got baptized last week and that was such an awesome experience! We've been teaching him almost every day still which is so much fun. Now that he has been taught all the lessons we're really just working on helping him understand everything more solidly and that's been awesome. For one lesson we had him teach us the Plan of Salvation and we would help him if he didn't understand something and that was so cool! It was so awesome seeing how excited he was getting when he knew the answers and he's been participating so much in church too. It's been so cool seeing the difference the Gift of the Holy Ghost has made on his life, and that's definitely made me work harder to have it with me at all times. Also he got the Aaronic priesthood yesterday! That was so so cool to be a part of. And lastly, he's been bringing his (kind of)step-sister with him to English course and to church and she's been loving it! We've had one lesson where she came with him and hopefully we can do a few more of those.
Also this week, we had one person who was an investigator back in August come back from Germany which was awesome. He came to church this week and we had one lesson with him but the other two lessons we've planned with him he hasn't shown up to, but hopefully we can get another lesson with him soon. He's super awesome, his name is Arjan, which is a very common name here, and he's super funny.
So other than that life's been pretty normal. We found a new sufllaqe restaurant that we've gone to a ton and is super good. You'll be proud to know I even ate a salad once this week, tomatoes included. Also it's super windy here in Elbasan recently but other than that the weather here in Albania is awesome!
Now I'll get to some of your questions mom. So when it said I pulled out $8 that's the equivalent of 1000 lek, which isn't a ton of money but things here are really cheap so it'll last for a while. The pictures of us on Facebook are from Sister Weidman (one of the senior missionaries not the mission president's wife), and they're at their apartment, which isn't in a rough neighborhood it's just in Albania. There's a ton of graffiti here, and when it comes to construction they're really good at tearing things apart but building things comes a little slower. Also thank you so much for sending me the picture of Lindis and Ersi! Elder Mero has one that has us with them and he should be sending that this week, we just didn't have time last week. And so yes they kind of celebrate Halloween here, but it is different from how it's celebrated in America. Here in Albania they don't do trick-or-treating and I haven't seen a lot of people wearing costumes but aparently they do do haunted houses and parties for it. We had a big branch party on Saturday that Ersi was in charge of planning, that was a lot of fun and a ton of people came. Lastly, we do transfers every 12 weeks which is very different from most missions. Most other missions have transfers every 6 weeks or sometimes every 9 weeks. But just because the transfers are 12 weeks doesn't really mean you'll for sure be there for the whole time, there are mini transfers every 6 weeks where some missionaries get moved around and there are also ETs where you could be transferred at any moment if necessary. However, this transfer is 2 weeks shorter because of the holidays so it does vary according to needs. We'll probably stay here for the full transfer because I'm being trained but there is a small possibility we could get moved to Kosovo, but we'll see.
All in all things are going great! Elder Mero and I are continuing to get along fantastically. The language is coming a lot better, but as always I still have a long ways to go. I'm loving it here and it's definitely starting to fly bye. I love you all so much!
So another thing before I get to Annaka's thing. I gave my first Albanian talk yesterday in sacrament meeting! It was really hard to write but it seemed to go pretty well.
Now for Annaka's thing. Missionary work definitely blesses everyone, so I'll start with how it's blessed me. I've grown so much closer to my Savior through this work, I've searched and studied the scriptures way more diligently than I ever had before. Not only do I enjoy studying the scriptures now I look forward to getting to do it. My testimony has grown indescribable amounts and I've been able to feel much more powerfully and constantly the love that God has for all of his children. There truly is a connection that comes through sharing the gospel with someone that you can't find anywhere else. I've seen that especially through Lindis and the amazing opportunity I've had to share this amazing message with him. I've seen him change so much, even though he by no ways was a bad person before he was baptized the amount of joy and light that he has gained is amazing and it truly can't come from any other source. The gospel has such a unique power to heal even the deepest wounds and it truly can make us whole. There is no other way that we can have true happiness in our lives than through the peace and love that comes from God and this church. I'm so glad that I have the amazing to opportunity to do this work and I know that I will never forget the things I've learned and the people I've met. Also as we turn our lives over completely to the Savior he is able to do so much more with them than we ever could by ourselves.
Hopefully that's what you wanted.
Love you all, and no I didn't get any pictures of myself yet. I think other missionaries might have some so maybe I'll give you some eventually. And maybe I'll eventually take some myself but we'll see.
So here are a ton of pictures for you. The first one was the view off our balcony one morning, then there are a ton of pictures of our drive to Korça which were all taken from a moving car so they aren't the greatest pictures but honestly Albania is so beautiful! Then there are a lot of pictures of Korça, we got to go in this huge Orthodox cathedral which was really cool. Also a picture of Elder Mero on a communist bunker which is always fun. And a picture of a park in Korça with a big toy train. So hope you like them.