Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23rd

Përshëndetje familja!

So this has been an amazing crazy week here in Elbasan!

So I'm good now health wise, no more worries there.  So transfers aren't this week. We'll probably get the calls on Saturday and then change next week, if any of us change. These are only mini transfers so it could all stay the same.

So now other than that, things are going fantastic. We had a lesson with Ana and Helena, Lindis' sisters, and Helena said that she did not want to get baptized on February 4 because it's too close to her birthday which is February 3. So after a while of talking and testifying and figuring everything out Ana, Helena, and Antonio are now getting baptized on January 28, this Saturday! So this week we've been working super hard and meeting every day with the three of them getting them ready for baptism.

On Saturday we had a baptism here in Elbasan where people came up from Korça and had the baptism here. That was really cool to see and it was super cool listening to the woman's testimony after her baptism. Also it was cool because Ana, Helena, and Antonio all came! Also this baptism went a lot better, as in no problems with the water or heating system which was good because if that happened again I think it would scare Helena off from getting baptized. 

One of the big highlights of the week was yesterday at church. So sacrament meeting started and we had about 40 or 50 people which is a lot for here, but then I noticed that the sister missionaries weren't there. So then right after the sacrament was passed the sisters came in from the foyer, with like 20 people with them. Then later another 10 or 15 people came in! We ended up having 82 people in church which is the highest number of people we've had in years! It was so cool! And a lot of them stayed for second and third hour too!
Then, also yesterday we went and ate dinner at Lindis' house! We brought food and Elder Cani made pastiçe which is a traditional Albanian pasta dish, and it was so good! They ended up inviting the sisters too and we had a lot of fun. The sisters didn't stay the whole time because they had to go work (and because we were there for almost 4 hours) but it was really fun having us all talking with their family. I love Lindis' family so much, I know I've said this before but they really just feel like my second family. They remind me so much of you, and I just feel like I'm at home with them. It was awesome because I got to talk a lot with Lindis and just see how he's doing, and he never fails to amaze me. He has one of the strongest testimonies I've ever felt, and he doesn't just live the gospel because he has to, he truly has a desire to follow Christ and become more Christlike. He's so amazing, and it's been awesome having him in the lessons with Ana and Helena, just listening to him explain and testify to them, it truly is indescribable. Then at the end of the dinner we had a lesson with the family, except Lindis' dad, and we really just testified of baptism and how important it is, and it was so powerful. The spirit was so strong, and it was so cool having Elder Cani, Lindis, and I just take turns testifying. We were mostly focused on Lindis' brother with that and it was so cool seeing how much Lindis cares about his brother and how much he wants him to get baptized. I feel like he almost accepted too, but there seems to just be something holding him back. Also along the same topic, we did a lesson with Ana, Helena, and Lindis about missionary work and I talked about how Lindis is sharing the gospel with people and now it turns out Lindis wants to serve a mission! He says it will be really hard because his family doesn't have a lot of money, but we talked about how he could serve a mini mission for free, and we'll keep talking to him about serving a mission, but I think he will do it. Also Ana and Helena are already basically missionaries. It turns out they've been talking with their friends about church, and we gave them flyers for our English course and they were running around giving them to people on the street for us! They're so awesome, and I think they'll serve missions too when they're older! I put some pictures in from our dinner with them too.

So that's about it for them. We've also been teaching Antonio every day this week which has been awesome. He's super good with magic tricks and he loves showing them. Also him and I have played a lot of fusball together and ping pong too. Him and I have become super good friends and he's so cool. He's also getting baptized this Saturday and he's so excited!

It was also Xhuljo Trebishta's birthday this week and we had a party at the center for that. He's super amazing and he's definitely one of my best friends here. He's super funny and he's super amazing at soccer, whenever we play soccer he's basically his own team. Also he's helped us in a lot of lessons and he's an amazing teacher, he has a super strong testimony and he's so sincere, you can really feel it when he talks about how much the gospel has changed his life. It's amazing.

So that's about it for here. The weather has been a lot better this week, which has been nice. Sounds like the same is not quite true back in Utah though, so have fun with that.
This week we have a mission conference here in Elbasan which is going to be so cool. All the missionaries are coming from all over the mission and President Weidmann and a member of the 70 are going to talk to us and give us a training. I'm super excited for that!

Have a great week back at home! Hopefully everyone has better health, and success in everything else!
Mirupafshim! Ju dua!
Elder Gardiner

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