Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24th

Përshëndetje familja!

So this has been a pretty good week. To start off, this week was the week of transfers, and for the first time ever I'm not changing companions! Elder Wilson is a stud and I'm super excited to serve with him for the next 9 weeks, which happen to be the last 9 weeks of his mission. 

So other than that, this week we had zone conference, and that was so amazing. It started out with a talk from the Stake President, President Mema. He talked to us about the spirit of Elijah, something usually mentioned for family history work, and talked about how that also applies to the people here. It's super unique here because almost all the members are baptized as individuals. President Mema said that there are about 2,700 members in Albania and 2,000 of them belong to different families. So he challenged us to work with the families of these members to find new people and to bring strong members that will last. He also challenged us and all the members to work better to bring people into the gospel. Then we had a few other trainings about giving/following up on commitments, learning about the life of Christ and applying his example in our work, and about sacrifice and how it brings blessings. It was an amazing meeting and I went away very inspired and ready to work hard. Also it was super fun seeing some friends, like Elder Schneider and Elder Benson.

Then, the day after I went on an exchange to Tirana and got to serve with Elder Samuel for a day. That was cool, we met with a lot of people did almost all our work in English which was kind of weird. While I was gone, Elder Wilson and Elder Benson had a lesson with the Beqiri family and ended up putting them all on a baptismal date. But, later this week we talked to them and they said they can't afford the rent for their house so they have to move back to Lushnje. They said they'll try and come back some day later, but for now they don't really have a choice.

Then, we've also met with the Gjergji family this week. They didn't end up coming to church unfortunately, but they have started reading the Book of Mormon now. And they're also super good about doing missionary work. So far we've already met with the mothers brother and his wife, their catholic neighbor, and also the daughter is talking to her coworkers about it when she's at work. They're super awesome and understand what we teach super well, the only hard thing is getting them to come to church because they work on Sunday. 

Also, this Sunday President Weidmann came to church here in Durres. Sacrament meeting was super good, President and Sister Weidmann both gave talks and they were great. Then second hour was good too, we talked about the organization of the priesthood, which is something that very few people have a good understanding of here. So it was a good lesson. Also it was cool because we had one of our investigators named Mustafa at church, and he's a Hoxh(I'm not sure what the direct translation of that is, but it's the person who is the leader of a mosque and does the prayer call) and he said he liked our church better than worshiping in the mosque. Then in third hour we talked about tithing, and that was a big mess. It ended up turning into this huge argument where everyone was yelling at each other about whether tithing gets paid on net income or gross income. In the end one of the members just had President Weidmann give a final call on it all and then it went fine from there. Also this week at church, two members from Elbasan, Ersi and Jueda, came to church here in Durres because they're going with the youth on their temple trip to Switzerland. So that was super fun to see them. And Vëllai Cani(Elder Cani) got back from visiting his family in Italy and it was awesome seeing him again.

This week we also got a car! That's been super helpful because for some reason all our investigators live forever away, but we had to get that registered today and that was a huge mess.

We also met with a guy named Agim. He's a guy that we met a while ago and then finally met this week. He came in for a lesson with us and he was just talking about how work is going really hard for him, then he got really sad and started crying because of some things going on in his life. So we showed him the Prince of Peace video, and he looked a lot better. So then we talked a lot about how Christ can give us peace, and we showed him the church self reliance program, and recently we've been going through that with him. It was super cool because they day after our first lesson we talked with him and he was so grateful to us because of the video and that he felt like he was spiritually healed after that. So he's really cool and we've become really good friends with him, and now he even accepted to take a Book of Mormon and read that!

We might be moving houses soon, so that'll be a hassle. It's been cold here this week too. Definitely not as cold as home, but with it feeling like summer recently it was a big change. Also I still haven't gotten the package. It wasn't there at the mission office last week, but they may have just not gotten the mail yet that week. Hopefully that comes soon.

So in general I've been doing great. I'm still loving it here and the people here are great. 
Mirupafshim, ju dua shumë!
Elder Gardiner

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