Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20th

Përshëndetje familja!

So after the big surprise of getting transferred to Durrës things are going well, and I'm loving it here. So first with just a things about Durrës, it's the second biggest city in Albania and it feels like a mix between Elbasan and Tirana. There is a lot of good food places and the people here are great! The people are a lot more open and accepting than they were in Vlorë, it's great. It's right by the beach and the weather is great. It's a little less humid than Vlorë which is nice.

We're teaching a few people, but some of the most promising ones are Fation and Joni. Fation is so cool, so apparently one day Elder Schneider was just contacting and he came up and asked if he could talk, so they talked and he asked if they could be friends, which Elder Schneider of course agreed to. So he started explaining about how he's going through a really hard time and that he wants to become a member of our church. So he's met with the missionaries pretty much every day since then. He loves the hymns and we sing a lot with him, we usually sing two opening songs for our lessons and one closing song. He loves meeting with us and we love him so much, he's basically just a big teddy bear, he's awesome. Then Joni is another guy we meet with, this week we taught him the plan of salvation and it was really cool seeing how much he understood it. He's also reading the Book of Mormon and he remembers what he reads super well. He has work so we can't meet as often, but he has a lot of desire to meet and he's super cool too.

My companion is awesome, we get along super well! He's almost at the end of his mission so he's super good at teaching and he works super hard. We've been doing a lot of our work differently than I have before and we're trying a lot of new things and so far things seem to be going great!

Yesterday in church I got to share a quick testimony because I'm new here, and I got to meet a lot of members. Once cool thing about the church here, other than the fact that I'm in a real church building again, is that there are a ton of families here. In a lot of other places there are a bunch of youth or some older people, but here there a lot of young families it's super awesome. Then also at church Elder Cani gave a talk about his mission, and it was amazing. The spirit was so strong and you could really feel the strength of his testimony in it. He talked a lot about the challenges he's faced on his mission but how through the Atonement he was strengthened and he grew closer to the Savior. It was amazing, and it was so powerful.

Also just because you asked, Durrës is pronounced d-oo-rr(rolled like in Spanish)-es
So far I'm loving it here! There are a ton of great members and other great people too. So I think this will be a great transfer.

Mirupafshim familja, ju dua shumë!
-Elder Gardiner

So my companion is from Idaho. So far I have served with every missionary in the mission from Idaho. All my companions have either been foreign or from Idaho. Also I've still never had a companion longer than 6 weeks.

Also, we were walking to our house one day and we ran into this old lady carrying a big bag of dandelions. So we asked her if we could help her carry it so she let us. Then this morning we ran into her again and helped her again. It was super funny how happy she was, she was super happy with us. So she told us to say to you all for her. So Keni të fala nga nëna. 

I forgot my camera so I can't send any of my pictures, but here are some that another missionary sent me from back in Vlorë that I thought you would like.
1. Our district with the bishop and his wife
2. Us at a Ward activity at the beach
3. The Vlorë sunset

Notes:  In the picture at the bishop's house I'm wearing Shapka(Albanian sandals). In Albania people don't have carpet or great heaters, so when people have guests they give them shapka to use so they don't get cold.

And yes, the beach is beatiful, there is a lot of trash there unfortunately. They don't keep it very clean, but it is so beautiful out there.

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