Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5th

Përshëndetje familja, ju dua shumë patjetër!

So just to start, this has been an amazing week here!

So to start with some fun experiences from this week. We were tracting earlier this week looking for a guy we had met in the road a few days before so we started with where he said he lived but no one was home so we decided to just try the rest of the doors in the building on our way down. So a few floors down we got to a door with really loud music/tv coming out the door that sounded like it was in English. So we knocked on the door and a guy came to the door so we started with just the regular door contact and after only about 15 seconds he just said "më fal, nuk kuptoj" (sorry, I don't understand) so turns out his name is Mike and he's from the United States but he's here with the Peace Corps! We didn't end up being able to have a lesson with him right then but we did have a pretty good introduction and he gave us his number so we're going to try and visit him again this week. 

Then we also had another couple lessons with Tauland too. He's so cool and he's really good about reading the Book of Mormon and he always asks us questions if he ever doesn't understand something which is so awesome. He seems like he really has a desire to learn more and the lessons with him have been going great. However, it has been hard with him because he lives in Librazhd on the weekends so he hasn't been able to come to church yet. Hopefully he can come next week though!

Then on Saturday we had just finished cleaning the church and had walked Ersi back home and we ended up taking a different way back to the center and then we ran into a guy named Antonio. He had met with the sisters a few weeks ago and we tried to get a lesson with him but he ended up not showing up, so we talked with him for a few minutes and then took him back to the center for a lesson. He's from Albania but he worked in Greece for a long time. He's a Muslim but while he was in Greece his pronari was a Christian(and from the sound of it a Mormon) and he was a really good influence in his life and ended up giving him a Book of Mormon, which we didn't believe at first because usually people don't understand that the Bible and Book of Mormon are different books and confuse them all the time but he's convinced it was the Book of Mormon, and he read it and really believes it's true! So we had a lesson with him where we read 2 Nephi 32 with him and taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was such an amazing lesson and the spirit was so strong in that, he has so much faith and we were able to testify so much and it was really powerful. At the end we committed him to baptism for December 31 and he seems like he has a really strong desire to get baptized. We told him to meet us at the center on Sunday and then come to church with us but he never showed up. But we met him later yesterday and he said that he slept in and that's why he missed church. So we set up a lesson with him again today and hopefully he comes to that!

Then we also had a lesson with a guy named Amarildo and he's super awesome. He's been coming to church for the past few weeks but we've never been able to set up a lesson with him. So his story is that he was taught here about 7 years ago when Vëllai Knight (one of the Albanian teachers at the MTC) was a missionary here. Apparently he was about to get baptized but then Vëllai Knight got transferred so he decided not to. Then there were a series of times where he was working in Greece and then some misunderstandings so he stopped coming to church for a while. But he's started coming back and in the lesson with him Elder Maurer and Elder Ingram(we were on an exchange so I wasn't in the lesson) really talked with him and figured out his story and committed him to get baptized! So now we just have to wait because he might go on a trip to America and that will change when he get's baptized but it should hopefully be sometime within the next month or two!

Then we had another lesson with a guy named Bardhi who we had met before and he's really cool too. He works in a lokal and doesn't have a very set schedule so he's really hard to meet with, also he talks super fast (like faster than sister Pace) and he literally doesn't stop, like I don't think he even breathes he just talks with no end. But he's super cool and when we can stop him long enough to teach him he seems to understand and learn really well.

Also, another super awesome thing that happened this week is that Xhuljo Kashari got back from his mission on Wednesday! His dad is the first councilor in the branch presidency here and their family is so awesome! He served in the London mission and he has a very strong British accent even when he speaks Albanian. He's so cool and he's always asking us how he can help, and he always talks about how he's still stuck in missionary mode. So it's been awesome having him help us and he is a super hard worker. We had a lesson with him and the other Xhuljo and that was so awesome, it's so cool to see the desire that so many of the youth here have to serve a mission.

And also Light the World has been awesome so far! We started with a service project where we all went and cleaned the park in town and it was so cool because a ton of people actually showed up and helped! We've been showing the video to all the members and everyone else whenever we get the chance and it's really cool to see how powerful yet simple it is.

Now onto the rest. Thank you everyone so much for all the birthday wishes! It's crazy thinking that I'm actually almost 19, time sure does fly out here. But honestly I couldn't think of anywhere else that I would rather spend my 19th birthday than being out here serving the Lord! And plus this Saturday is going to be a crazy day, we have a big devotional that we're planning on that day, and then that night we get transfer calls! I really hope that somehow Elder Maurer and I get to stay here and work together longer but I guess we'll see on Saturday.

And yes I have gotten the first Christmas package and I love the Advent Calendar! I haven't gotten the second one though, it might be at the mission office but as of right now I haven't heard anything about it.
I love hearing from you all every week and I hope everything is going well, even though it does sound a little crazy with everything going on. Also I'm so glad you're all doing the Light the World initiative, it's super cool hearing about that!

Regarding Devin:  That's so awesome!!! That's going to be such a cool mission, it's crazy how many of my friends are state side spanish speaking now! If you see him make sure and congratulate him for me! Tell him I'm so excited for him and that he's going to love it!

Thank you so much for everything, I love you all so much!
Mirupafshim, ia kalofshit mirë!
Elder GardinerIMG_3590.jpegIMG_3591.jpegIMG_3592.jpeg

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