Monday, January 30, 2017

January 30th

Përshëndetje familja!

So as I'm sure you know this has been the craziest week of my mission so far! 
I hear the surprise is already ruined, but yes, I am being transferred to Vlorë! I'm super excited to serve there and work there and I've heard that it is so beautiful. There's actually a ward there instead of just a branch which will be nice and I've heard there are a ton of really cool people! However, of course I am very sad to leave Elbasan (and not just because I have to pack), there are so many amazing people here and I've had so many amazing experiences here. I've changed and grown so much here, and really does feel like my second home. And that's where we get to the best part of the week.

So, all three of our baptisms happened!​

There are a ton of pictures and I'm not sure which ones are good so I just sent them all! So that was definitely one of the most special moments on my mission so far! The baptisms all went great, however the water was a gross yellow/brown color, but they said it was clean, just colored weird. Ersi baptized Besjana, Elder Cani baptized Helena, and I baptized Antonio. It was so awesome, and I love them all so much! They bore their testimonies after and it was so special listening to their testimonies which are so strong, and they all thanked us so much, it was so cute. Then Besjana and Helena decided that they also wanted to give a talk in sacrament meeting the day after, when they got confirmed so they did that and they did really well. They talked about things they liked in the scriptures and honestly they were great talks. It was really cool because Antonio wanted me to confirm him too so I got to do that, and it really is special feeling the spirit during that and listening and saying the words that come while doing that. It's amazing. Then President Karanxha confirmed Helena, and Hasan confirmed Besjana. So those are the three newest members of the Elbasan branch, and I think they'll be strong ones too!

So other than that, we also had mission conference in Elbasan this week. That was really cool, and we were in charge of the food. We set up a big dinner and made spots for everyone and stuff, it was pretty good. But a big part of that, as I'm sure you've all heard, was the worldwide missionary broadcast. That was really cool and we learned a lot from it, but two of the biggest things from that is that they're changing the missionary schedule and also our key indicators. Now we're free to change and adjust the times of everything we do so that it will best fit the circumstances of the area. Now we can change the timing of things so that we are out proselyting when there are actually people and we can do the other things at times that are less productive during the day. Which we had already kind of been doing, so it won't change too much for us now. But during the summer this will really let us work a lot more effectively, instead of just having to be out at the hottest parts of the day where no one is out, or when no one is willing to talk. I really like it. Also mission conference was awesome just because President Weidmann is amazing! I'm sure I've said this before but he is one of the kindest, most spiritually attuned person I've ever met. He taught us so much and he's so inspiring! We also had our individual interviews with him after mission conference and that was so cool. He has such a unique ability to make every person feel so valuable and appreciated, it's amazing. However, that took a whole day away. We got to the church at 8:30 in the morning and then went straight home and got back at 9:00 at night. 

Also with that, remember the pictures I sent you of our apartment, we had 6 other Elders staying with us that night. It was crazy!! We had two beds and one extra matress, and then one couch. So if you do the math that doesn't fit 8 people. So we had a few people sleeping on couch cushions, and sharing beds, or just sleeping on the floor. Luckily that only lasted one night, but it was a lot of fun. I love the missionaries in this mission. Here's a picture Elder Bowen took with my camera just for fun.​

​So that's been about it for me. Of course we've had the rest of the normal stuff too, but nothing else too big. I gave a talk yesterday and that went pretty well, but I decided to try and do it without having to write it all down so it was a little scattered, but it definitely could have been worse. I love the people here so much and I'm going to miss them a ton!!! But we do have stake conference coming up at the beginning of March so I'll get to see them soon enough! I also took a picture with Xhuljo Kashari, so I'll put that in here too.​
We actually don't move today. How it works is that, everyone who is moving goes to Tirana tomorrow and then we all meet and go to our new areas. But I do have to pack today. Also I forgot to mention it, but we just got back from going to a Greek restaurant here in Elbasan, and it was SO GOOD! We ate a lot of meat.

Also I forgot to write a few things in the email. I forgot to write about how awesome it has been working with Elder Cani. He's such an amazing missionary and I've learned so much working with him. We've had so much fun and we've gotten along so great! We drank a lot of juice, like really a lot of juice, and we ate a lot of meat. It was fantastic. He's staying here in Elbasan with two other missionaries, Elder Nielsen and Elder Qoka, and they're going to do great!

Also I'm going to be serving with Elder Lords, who mission wise is my half-brother(he was trained by Elder Maurer too). I've heard that he is super cool, and I'm super excited to work with him!

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