Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9th

Përshëndetje familja!

So to start with the one thing I'm sure you're all wondering. I am still a tiny bit sick but I am feeling a lot better. I still have a little bit of a cough and my voice is still coming back, but I honestly feel a lot better. New Years is the worst time to get sick here because all the pharmacies were closed until Wednesday. But I think I should be completely better tomorrow or the day after.

So other than that it's been a crazy week! I sent a few pictures with this email so I hope you like them. I also sent a video of the fireworks on New Years, it's not the greatest filming but I hope it gives some sort of idea of how crazy they get. Even though I know it doesn't do it justice.

So this week it snowed in Elbasan! That hasn't happened in 4 years so everyone was freaking out! It's super cold here so a lot of people aren't super willing to talk to us, and we didn't have a lot of people in church yesterday because it was too cold for them all. Because it's so cold, and because everyone is sick, the schools here are all extending winter break another week because they don't have any sort of heaters in the schools. But since we're missionaries we haven't let it slow us down, we have been wearing all our warm clothes though. Speaking of which, mom make sure and save that spider jacket for me for when I get home, I don't really need it here because we don't wear normal clothes very often but that would definitely be nice to have at home.

So this week we've really seen the Lord's promise that we will find his elect, either by us finding them or them finding us. So first we have Lindis' family! We were finally able to set up a lesson with them and it was so awesome! His family reminds me so much of our own, it's crazy! To explain, Lindis acts just like I did before my mission, and is super awesome. Then his little brother Fation is just like Mason, he loves music and doesn't like school. Then his little sisters, the older one is Annaka's age and they might as well be twins, she acts just like Annaka, it's crazy. Then the youngest one Helena reminds me a lot of Jordan. So I love their family and they're so cool. We had a really good lesson with them, and then when we were about to leave they made us dinner and said we had to stay. So we ended up being there for a long time again, but it was all worth it. We invited them all to baptism, Besiana accepted immediately and said that she actually already wanted to and that she wanted to get baptized in October, but she decided when we invited them that she would be ready in February. And Helena also accepted but she took a little more convincing because she's afraid of the water. Then the rest of the family said they would all think about it. So the girls should be getting baptized on February 11!

Next we have Ergys. On Christmas we went tabling where we all went contacting together with the members and that was a lot of fun and we got a few numbers but nothing else really seemed to happen. But then this week someone called us and asked us if we could meet right then at the center. So we went to the center and started talking to him and found out he was a guy named Ergys who Ersi and I talked to on Christmas. He then told us that when he saw us on Christmas he was so impressed that he felt like he wanted to become a member of our church. So of course we were super excited and then we went on to explain what he has to do to become a member. He's super awesome and seems like even though he already wants to become a member he also wants to find for himself if this is true. He also asked us what he has to do to become a missionary, and now he really wants to do that! So we invited him to be baptized on January 28 which is really soon, but hopefully we can do it!

Then we have another guy named Antonio, but it's not the same Antonio as last week. This Antonio is one of the little kids that come to church every week, but unlike the other ones he's super reverent, and polite, and respectful. So we've been trying to become friends with him and asked if he wants to do the lessons. So he went and talked to his parents and then this week he told us that he can meet with us and that he asked his parents if he can get baptized and they said yes! That was awesome because he decided for himself before he even met with us. So for him we just had to set a baptismal date and now we're teaching him. Today we taught about the Restoration and he seems to accept it all. But unfortunately he says that he doesn't really know how to read which makes it a little harder to read the Book of Mormon. So we're working with him on that and it seems to still be going well. He accepted to be baptized on February 11 with Lindis' sisters which is awesome! Now this week we're just going to make sure and meet with his parents too. But I'm not too concerned with that because he's actually cousins with some of the other members here.

Then as you already know, we had zone training this week. That was really cool and I learned a lot. It was also a lot of fun because this was the first zone training since exchanges so it was cool seeing where everyone is now and talking with all of them. 

Also this week was Elder Cani's birthday! He turned 25 and we threw a huge party with all the members and anyone else who wanted to come. That was super fun and really crazy. We did traditional Albanian dancing which is basically rhythmically sprinting in a circle, and is super hard. I looked like a complete fool but it was a lot of fun and we had a lot of members come and bring friends which was cool. We had a lesson with one of the members friends named Klejdion and he's super cool. He is a singer and he was super good at dancing, and we had a cool lesson with him about the will of God.

So it's been a crazy week. I haven't been able to talk like all week but it's been cool seeing Elder Cani teach and listening to how he does it and I feel like I've learned a lot. I've definitely seen the hand of the Lord in our work here and I know that he's always with us.

I'm sorry for any worry I've caused, I honestly am fine. I've been pretty sick but I'm getting better and I'm doing my best to take care of myself.
I love you so much and I'll see you next week!
Ju dua shumë! Mirupafshim!
Elder Gardiner

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