Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 21st

Përshëndetje familja, Ju dua!
So this week has been really good but not super exciting.
Elder Maurer is super awesome and we work super hard. By the end of everyday my feet are super sore but it's all worth it, but I'll share more stories later.
So to answer the big question first, Thanksgiving. So what we do for Thanksgiving is that we are all going up to Tirana on Thursday and having a big lunch together and we all have to perform a skit. So far we have no idea what we're going to do but I'm sure we'll figure something out, kismet. I'm super excited for that because it means that I get to see everyone from the mission! Also because it's Thanksgiving this week that means that Christmas time has begun, because we have to look forward to something of course, so we have decorated the house and it's pretty awesome. 
So now for more stories. So on Monday right after we finished emailing we got a call from a random number who turned out to be a member from Durres. So she ended up actually giving us a referral for this guy named Tauland who is from Librazhë but is currently a student here in Elbasan. He's about Mason's age and he's super awesome! Every lesson we've had with him he's brought a friend with him and he loves reading in the lessons. We gave him a Book of Mormon today and he really seems interested to read it. But that's all with him for now but I'll keep you all updated.
Another cool experience that we had this week was that we ran into this guy named Arjan while we were on our way to a lesson with Lindis. So we started talking with him and he's super cool but turns out he's not from Elbasan, he's also from Librazhë but he's living in a fshat near Durres. So we asked him if he had like 20 minutes that we could do a lesson with him right then and he said he did. So we took him to the center and had an awesome lesson on the Restoration with him and he seemed really interested, and it was super cool having Lindis help us and see how excited and ready he was to help share the gospel. So at the end of the lesson we committed him to baptism and then told him that we would give him the number for the missionaries in Durres and then we gave his number to them. So I don't know if anything has happened with him since then but it was a pretty awesome experience.
Then we had another guy who we had a lesson with that we met right outside the center. He's named Artan and he was really cool too. He said that he had actually already met with the missionaries before and that he has a Book of Mormon that he reads every once and a while. So at the end we committed him to baptism too which was awesome. We then told him about church and told him to come with us to that. Unfortunately he didn't show up though. Also he doesn't have a phone which makes it a lot harder to contact him but he did show us where he lives. However, he lives clear out in the outskirts of Elbasan like half an hour away. So we tried visiting them once but no one was home, but we'll keep working with that.
Then we also had another lesson with Vëllai Dhamo which was so awesome. He's so fun to listen to and he has the best laugh ever. He loves the missionaries so much and it's really funny because he knows all the stereotypical missionary jokes and he always talks about the time he got to go visit the missionary that converted him in Utah. Also we had the opportunity to bring him the sacrament yesterday and that was super cool. One thing that really sticks out about Vëllai Dhamo is how devoted and caring he is about the gospel, the first question he always asks us is whether or not there were people in church on Sunday, and then he always just tells us about how much of a blessing the gospel has been in his life.
Also on Saturday we organized an activity where we invited the members to come play soccer at the church and then afterwards we cleaned the church. The people here are crazy good at soccer, and let's just say I'm not the greatest soccer player. But it was still super fun nonetheless. None of the members ended up being able to stay and clean unfortunately though but it was all fine because we're used to just cleaning the church ourselves. But Ervis, who is one of our friends from English Course, came and played and then even helped clean up, which was awesome because we got to show him around the church. I'm super glad that we have a church building here, even if it is forever away.
Fortunately the weather has been awesome this week though! It's actually been really warm here and the sun has been out every day. I don't know how long that'll last but I'm definitely not complaining. 
Just to end with a little about Elder Maurer. He's ultra-obedient which has been awesome. Also I'm pretty sure the apartment we live in has never been cleaner and never been better organized which I've loved. Also we actually eat three meals a day and we have food in the fridge, most of which makes a balanced diet, excluding the baklava, which has been a bit of a change after my time with Elder Mero where we basically just lived off of sufllaqe. But honestly Elder Maurer is one of the hardest workers I've ever met and he's super sensitive to the spirit and he's just all around super awesome. So, so far I'm still loving serving with him!
So all in all things are still going great here and I'm still loving serving! So until next week, I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!
Love, Elder Gardiner

Thank you for everything! One funny thing that's been going on recently that I've talked about a little bit before is how I talked about how no one can pronounce Gardiner here, so a lot of people here have started calling me Elder Garden so that could end up becoming my name for the rest of the mission. Also everyone is still convinced I'm Chinese, which is also pretty funny.

I have a theory about the Chinese thing.  All your pictures you are smiling so big that your eyes are basically slits.   So, I'm guessing you are just so happy all the time that you are smiling and your eyes are non-existent.  But, you are basically as white as can be.  Your ancestors come from England and Denmark.  :)

Haha that's what I tell them all, but they never believe me, especially this one guy we talked to who was just absolutely plastered.

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