Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16th

Përshëndetje familja!

So this has been another crazy week. So I'm happy to say that I am almost completely better. I still have a little bit of a cough but my voice is back. I have been taking medicine, but it probably isn't the strongest thing, but I'm still getting better.

Other than that, things have been a little stressful with the whole police clearance letter expiring thing. That was not the funnest call to get, but thank you so much for being so quick to respond and get that done. Hopefully it all works out. It is kind of funny though because that's what happened with Elder Mero and the reason he got sent to Kosovo. Luckily though I shouldn't get banished or anything.  So I talked with them today, and I think there might also be something wrong with the contract for the apartment here in Elbasan, so that might hold me up too. But we're working on it, and they said they're going to try and figure it out for me in Tirana and that they'll keep me updated. 

So this week we've been teaching our awesome investigators a lot. We've been meeting with Antonio, the kid from church, every day and he's doing so well. He was super stubborn at first and wouldn't pray or read, but now him and I are super good friends and now he prays in every lesson! However, he actually doesn't know how to read. So now we're actually teaching him how to read, which he didn't want to do until I told him we could learn to do it together because that's something I'm still working on. So for now we gave him one of the "stories of the Book of Mormon" books with the pictures and told him to look at that. Also he does magic tricks with cards and it is so crazy. He's just taught himself how to do all of them and he's super good. He can switch and flip cards faster than I can blink, it's insane. Also he learns super fast. We taught him how to play ping pong, and then learning the lessons he understands really fast. He's super awesome and he really wants to get baptized. It's awesome because all his friends, the other kids that live by the church, all are against the church and make fun of him for wanting to get baptized but he just stands strong and tells them that it's something that he wants to do and that it's the right thing to do. And he also came to the baptism we had on Saturday! So he's super awesome! 

Then we've also been teaching Ana and Helena, Lindis' sisters. They are so amazing and so cute. It's so funny because we had a lesson with them and they kept talking about their baptism and that they wanted to change the date to be earlier and they wanted to show how much they remembered and what they had read, it was awesome. We also gave them Stories of the Book of Mormon books and they loved it. So we ended up finalizing the date for them for February 4, and we set the same for Antonio. Unfortunately they were at their grandparents house for the weekend and couldn't come to church. But it was awesome because Lindis was also out of town at his other grandparent's house and so he said he probably couldn't come to church, but then he did! So far he hasn't missed a Sunday at church since he started meeting with the missionaries back in September! He's so amazing and he's such an awesome friend. I'm so glad that I was given the opportunity to serve here with him. His testimony and loyalty to the gospel is so amazing, I learn so much from him.

So other than that we haven't taught a ton of people. We had another lesson with Lino, who is someone we had been teaching a while ago but then dissapeared. So he randomly just showed up at the center again one day so we had a lesson with him and put him back on a baptismal date. But we haven't seen him again since then. We keep trying to have a lesson with the other Antonio but he's been really sick and he doesn't want us coming to his house so we haven't been able to do that unfortunately. But his culinary course starts again this week and so does English Course so we should be able to meet with him this week. Then Ergys has been nowhere to be seen and has changed his phone number. So hopefully we meet with him again, but for now that doesn't seem too likely.

Then yesterday we went and had a lesson with the Kashari family which was so amazing. They're one of the only families where they are all members and they got baptized a long time ago. They're so awesome and for the lesson we just had a testimony meeting, and it was so amazing hearing their testimonies and how much this gospel has blessed them. It really made me grateful for my family and that we also are all members and that I'm blessed enough to have grown up in this gospel.

But as you may know, we had a baptism here in Elbasan over the weekend! Nora is one of the sister's friends and she's super cool. She has a super strong testimony and she loves the gospel, which is good because the baptism was a little rough. So things were definitely fighting against us trying to not let us have that baptism. First off, because it's cold the pipe for the baptismal font broke and a ton of dirt got into the water, so it had to be drained and refilled. Then the water didn't work at all so we were only able to fill it to about mid-calf height. Then we were able to get more water but it was freezing cold, and both the water heater and the heater for the church building weren't working so it was already cold outside. So we were only able to get the water to a little over knee height. So they did the baptism kneeling down in the freezing cold water. But since there was so little water it took 7 tries to get it right. I felt so bad, and she looked like she was absolutely freezing. But then she bore her testimony and she told us it was definitely worth it, that she felt so happy, and that she knew it was the right thing to do. Then she got confirmed yesterday, so now she's a member!

Then today we went to Tirana for a P-day trip which was a lot of fun. Elder Cani bought a suit and then we went to the mission office and I talked to the office couple about my Visa stuff. Then we went to President Weidmann's house and talked with him which was awesome! Then we went to the big mall between Elbasan and Tirana and got some KFC which was so good!

So that's been our week. It was a little crazy but over all it was really good!
I love you all and I really hope you're having a good time! Thank you so much for everything! Have a great week!
Elder Gardiner

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