Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 17th

Përshëndetje familja!

Gëzuar Pashkët! Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a great Easter holiday! It's not a very widely celebrated holiday here(because most people are muslim) but we still had a great time. This week to get into the Easter spirit and to use the special church initiative we've held a daily half-hour devotional at the teaching center based on the last week of the life of Jesus Christ's life. So if you look at the Prince of Peace website there is a part that talks about the Holy Week, and describes what Christ did on each day of the last week of his life. So we decided to connect that with the priciples of peace videos. So we would talk about one day of the last week and we connected it with a principle that we can learn from each of those days. It was super cool because even though it was just a short simple activity we had a good amount of people come and we learned a lot of really cool things. Another cool thing about that is that there is a member who we've been trying to work with and help but we've never been able to set up a lesson with him, and we've never really been able to connect with him. But we ended up inviting him to the activities and other than the missionaries he was the only person who came to every single devotional! Now we're friends with him and he's seemed to become a lot more involved in church and with the rest of the members!

Also yesterday for Easter the Stake President invited us over for an Easter dinner. The Stake President is an Albanian but he's married to an American and they have an amazing family. We had a traditional Jewish passover setter dinner and learned about some of the ancient passover traditions. It was a lot of fun eating with them, and I got to sit with all of them at church too. They have 4 little kids from like 11 to about 1 years old, and it was super funny because I had forgotten about how normal kids act at church back in America. 

So other than that, the difficulties of last week continued to the point where every person we were working with either decided not to keep meeting with us or their families told us to stop. But then our luck took a change. We met two families this week that we're teaching now. 

The first one is the Beqiri family. They're a family of 5, and we met them because we were trying to meet with someone in the same apartment building as them, but he wasn't there. So then we decided to knock on a couple of the doors a few floors down and they let us in. We taught them the Restoration and they said they'd read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. So we came back and went over the Restoration, but they didn't really understand it and hadn't read the Book of Mormon yet. They're great people but they're in a bit of a rough economic situation and they don't really seem to have a lot of real intent, but I guess we'll see!

Now the other family is so amazing! They're the Gjergji family, we met the dad on the bus one day when we were going out to meet another person we knew. We talked with him for a bit and just from the few minutes we were with him we could tell that he was a really respectful and great person. So we got his number and said we would come back another day. So we finally were able to get over there and have a lesson with him, his wife, and his daughter. We taught the restoration and the spirit was so strong. They were super interested and were listening really intently, and they had a lot of really good questions. Also the daughter is one of the only people who have understood the apostasy when we taught it. Then we got to the end of the lesson and were about to say the prayer. So we asked the daughter if she could say the prayer, but she said she didn't know how. So we taught her and then told her in her prayer to ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Then she started the prayer and for some reason all the dogs in the neighborhood started to just go crazy, but she kept going. Then she got to the end of the prayer, and it was so cool, she asked "is Joseph Smith a prophet" then she waited a few seconds, then just said "thank you" and finished the prayer. We looked up and she was so excited, she said she felt so happy and peaceful, like there was some swelling excitement that came over her when she asked about Joseph Smith. So then we invited her to be baptized which she excitedly accepted. So then the day after we came back and taught them again, but this time the daughter was at work, but this time her little brother was there. So we taught the restoration again, and had him say the closing prayer. Then the same thing happened to him! So now we're going back to meet them again tonight and the four of them should all be there. 

Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, Fation's dad called us and said that meeting/talking with us is stressing him out. So we aren't allowed to talk to him until he gets better. That was really sad and hard for us, but I hope he'll get better soon so we can meet again.

Also I still haven't been to Tirana yet, because it's not something we do often. So I haven't gotten the package yet. But it should be there. But we are going to Tirana this week for Zone Conference so I'll update you again next week. Also I don't have any pictures for now, but I should get some on Wednesday at Zone Conference. 

My companion, Elder Wilson is super awesome. He's a runner and he works super hard. He has a super strong testimony and he loves to share it and teach. He's an amazing teacher and I've learned a lot from him. He loves Imagine Dragons, and we like a lot of the same music. We're getting along really well, and we work well together.

That's about all for me this week. I love you all, have a great week!

Re Zone Conference:  So that "Adriatic South Zone" should have just been South Zone or Adriatic South Mission, South Zone. And that's the zone I've been in until this transfer. Now I'm in the Tirana Zone. I'm not sure how it is in other missions, but in ours we just have 3 zones. We have South, Tirana, and North. South zone is huge and includes most of the cities in Albania plus part of Macedonia; except Tirana, Durres, and Shkoder. Then North zone is Kosovo and Skopje. 

Re Easter:  Easter is very different here. First off, most people don't really celebrate it. But those that do mostly just dye eggs red. Then they keep those eggs in their house for a year until the next Easter(as a reminder of Jesus' blood from the cross and the garden of Gethsemane) and then they throw them into the sea. 

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