Monday, January 2, 2017

January 2nd

Përshëndetje familja ju dua shumë!

Gëzuar vitin e ri! So a few things happened this week but I'll start with the most important ones.

As you all know new years was this week end! It was so crazy here! On the morning of New Year's eve pretty much everyone in the entire city was outside walking around, but unfortunately no one really wanted to talk. So we tried talking to people and having some lessons but nothing really happened with that. But then that night was awesome! So we had do be in by 4:00 and then we got to watch movies and fireworks in our apartment until 12:30. So we watched Madascar, Star Wars VII, Frozen, The Saratov Approach, and Tangled! And that was so much fun, also the Saratov Approach is super good, I'm not sure why I hadn't seen that before. Also the fireworks here are crazy! I took a video of them but I forgot my camera back at the apartment so I will send that next week. So basically everyone here has aerials and they just shoot them out of their windows or off their balconies, it's insane. The reason we have to be inside so early is because the fireworks get so crazy that people have died here from them, but we're all safe so nothing to worry about there. Also it was crazy because on new years day there was no one outside. Normally the streets are full when we go to church but there was nobody, and everything was closed.

So I decided to start the new year in the best way possible... by getting strep throat. So that really sucks, and my voice has been completely gone for about the past 3 days, but hopefully I'll get better soon! 

So this week was a pretty good week, but we did lose a lot of time with New Year's and with me being sick, I ended up having to just rest yesterday because I felt awful. (Addition from further email of panic from Amber to Austin...I talked with the mission nurse and I'm trying to take it easy for the moment to recover. We're going to go get an antibiotic from the pharmacy today or tomorrow but with it being New Year's most of the places are still closed, but we're trying our best!)

So some cool things that have happened this week were District Leader training and our new investigator Antonio. So we had district leader training on Thursday last week up in Tirana and that was so cool! All of my old companions were there and that was a lot of fun seeing them. Also President Weidmann is so amazing. He is so inspired and he has the spirit with him so strongly when he speaks. I learned a ton there and I feel really excited to get back to full strength and get back to work. 

Then we have Antonio, he's Lindis' friend from culinary course who was being taught by the sisters because they were also teaching his mom. But now his mom isn't really progressing and doesn't seem like she is going to progress so they gave him to us. He's super awesome and he learns super fast and has such a huge desire to learn. We had a lesson with him this week but it was while I was in Tirana so Elder Cani and Elder Holding taught that while Elder Wilson and I were gone.

Then we still have Lino. He's doing well, he was sick for a little bit last week and then couldn't meet with us during new years so we were only able to have one lesson with him. We taught the word of wisdom and that was really cool. Elder Cani was able to teach that in a really cool way that made it really easy to understand and to accept which was really cool.
Another cool thing that's happening now is that President Weidmann challenged us all to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover in the month of January. We're supposed to study how to teach repentance and the power of the atonement as we read and I'm really excited to do that. I'm a little behind at the moment but this is definitely something that I want to do. 

Now I also want to challenge you to do the same. It's a hard thing but I know that the blessings that come from doing that will be far worth the sacrifice.

Other than that there's not really anything else new. I'm still loving it here in Elbasan and Elder Cani is so cool. I've learned a ton serving with him and I've had a great time. My Albanian has improved drastically serving with him too, turns out I had learned a bunch of things wrong but now I feel like I'm starting to really get it, or at least I will be when I can talk again.

Also that's awesome that Devin and Carly had their farewells yesterday! They'll be such amazing missionaries! Also I didn't know that Carly was going on a mission, where is she going? (I told him)

I hope everything's going well back at home, I love you all so much! So until next week, or unless you have any other questions.
Ju dua, Mirupafshim!
Elder Gardiner

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