Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7

Përshëndetje familja! Ju dua shumë!

So to start out with the big news that I alluded to in my email last week. I'm not going to Kosovo. However Elder Mero is getting "banished" to the north. So the reason I said last week that I could be going to Kosovo is because due to visa issues Elder Mero isn't allowed to serve in Albania anymore and we didn't know if I would be going with him or not. So on Saturday night we got a call from President Weidmann where he told us that Elder Mero is going to Gjakova and Elder Mower(I'm not sure if that's spelled right or not) will be coming here to Elbasan and finishing my training. It's sad that he has to go and I'm definitely going to miss him, but everything happens for a reason and I have no doubt that Elder Mero will accomplish Miracles in his new area. I've heard that Elder Mower is super cool too but I'm sure I'll tell you more about him next week. But for now we're just doing our best to work until the exchange tomorrow.  I'm glad I'm staying in Elbasan, I feel like there's still work for me to do here, however if I had ended up going to Kosovo I wouldn't have been disappointed. 

Another fun thing from this week was our family home evening with Lindis' family. So last Tuesday we asked Lindis if we could do simple family home evening with him and his family, so he said he'd ask his dad. The next day he told us that they'd love to do it so we set it up for Saturday. So then we went over on Saturday and his whole family was there! That was so awesome because we had met most of his family but we hadn't met his dad's girlfriend yet(she lives with them with her two daughters). So we gave our short spiritual thought about service from Mosiah 2:19 and then played some card games (mulan and old maid) and domino. Then we all ate the desserts we brought plus more that they made for us. And then they were like "we would really love it if you stayed for dinner" so we ended up doing that which was so awesome, they made us a ton of food. And then we were talking with them a little more and playing with the family when Lindis' dad started asking us some questions about the temple! He was asking us how long Lindis needed to be a member to be able to go, which I didn't know the answer to but luckily Elder Mero did. But so it turns out that Lindis has been teaching his family a little bit about the church and the things he's been learning which is so awesome, Lindis is the best!!! They seemed really interested and they loved looking at the pictures of the temple. Then his dad started talking about the Book of Mormon and how special it is for Lindis, he said that Lindis hasn't really been able to read books before because he has epilepsy but he's able to just sit and read this one which was so powerful! This really is a special book and I know that God wants for all of us to have the opportunity to read it. It was such a fun night and as we were leaving Lindis thanked us and said that they don't usually all get to eat together, but that it was really special for them to get to do that together. So what was originally supposed to be a short spiritual though ended up becoming a four hour meeting, but I loved it! It made me feel like I was back at home eating with my own family! It also made me wish that I had put more emphasis on having FHE every week and making it a really special time for us to learn together. But another good thing that came out of that was that his little step sisters both ended up going to church with us yesterday! So we're going to really try and work with all of them and I have a lot of hope with them.

Another cool experience I had last week was that one day we were contacting and I wasn't having a lot of success so I decided to say a quick prayer where I asked to find someone who was interested to learn more about the gospel. Then a little while later a guy and a girl walked by and I started talking with them and they seemed kind of interested but then they said that they were just getting off work but that their house was close by and they would come back in a little bit. So I kind of assumed they were just gone but then like 20 minutes later they actually came back, and they even brought another one of their friends! I was super surprised because that doesn't usually happen, but then I talked with them for a while and I got to share a little bit about the Book of Mormon and the church, then at the end the girl ended up saying that she believes in Christ and she has a friend who is baptized in a christian church and she really wants to learn more. So I tried getting their numbers but none of them had phones so I gave them all contact cards so hopefully something good comes out of that. 

One last thing. So there has been one person who has been coming to English course for a while and at the beginning he really didn't want to learn more about our church. But over time he's become friends with one of the members in the course and we've been trying to become friends with him and he seems to be really opening up. So last Thursday we made an announcement that we would do a "Special English Course" after branch family home evening on Friday where we would talk a little bit about the Book of Mormon in English and then give everyone a copy for free that they could read. So then Ervis, the guy from the course, ended up coming to FHE again and then he stayed for the Book of Mormon lesson and he accepted a copy! He also stopped by and talked with us for a while yesterday but we forgot to ask if he read the book so we'll have to check up on that tomorrow. But all in all that has been awesome and we're starting to be really good friends with him!

Regarding Mom’s question about proselyting with the Muslim people:  Our mission is different from a lot of others, we're totally allowed to teach muslims which is good because that's the majority of the people. However we aren't allowed to teach women. If we find a girl who wants to learn about the church we have to refer them to the sister missionaries. 

I got the birthday package during the week and that was a lot of fun to get! Also daylight savings happened for us a week ago so I understand the feeling of being in complete darkness, I'm sure it will be dark before I finish emailing. Also that daddy daughter date thing looked like a lot of fun, I hope they had a good time! Tell Annaka good job on her swim meet for me! And that's awesome that the cubs won!

So all in all I'm still loving it here in Elbasan so much! I'm having a lot of fun and everything's going great!

Love you all!
Elder Gardiner

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