Monday, May 29, 2017

May 22nd

Pershendetje familja!

So this has been a pretty good week.

This week we haven't really been able to meet with the Gjergji family a lot. We had a lesson with them on Tuesday and it went pretty well. The mom of the family, Mimoza, has been doing a really good job at reading even though it's really hard for her. She doesn't really understand anything she reads, but at least she's putting in the effort to do it. We've been trying to meet with them all, but for one reason or another Suzana and Indrit haven't really been showing up for the lessons, but we have at least been able to talk to them a little bit. And we should be having a lesson with everyone tomorrow. They all promised to come to church yesterday, but none of them showed up, which was a little disappointing. That's definitely going to be their biggest obstacle towards baptism. So far they've only come once, but they all loved it when they came.

They're also pretty much our only investigators for the moment. We also kind of have a guy named Aleksander, we've met with him twice and we had pretty good lessons. We showed him the church and he really liked it. When we got to the part of the tour where we show the baptismal font he said that he wants to get baptized, but we haven't seen him since then. He's a good guy, but he'll have a long road ahead of him for baptism, but luckily this is the true gospel and by faith and the power of God all things are possible.

One amazing experience we had this week came from Fation, our investigator who wasn't allowed to meet us for a while. So for now he's in the mental hospital in Tirana because he's been going through a really hard time with his anxiety and depression. So one day we felt like we should try and find his moms work to go see how he's doing, and she told us what I just told you. So we felt like we needed to share the talk "Like a Broken Vessel" by Jeffrey R. Holland with her(I would recommend all of you to go and read that because it's super amazing). So we showed her where she could find it and then left. Then a few days later we had a little bit of time and we felt like we needed to go visit her again. So we went to her work and she saw us coming and waved us in, then she told us that she had printed off the talk and that she carries it with her at all times and reads it whenever she needs help. So that was so amazing. Also she told us that we could visit him, but since we're here in Durres we can't. So we told Elder Schneider to go visit him(Elder Schneider actually found Fation) and one day we were tracting and we knocked on the door of this one lady who recognized us as the people with the church of the Latter Day Saints, which never happens here, then all of the sudden she started asking us about Fation. So turns out she's his aunt, so we talked about Fation for a few minutes when all of the sudden Fation calls us while we're still talking to her. Apparently Elder Schneider had just visited him and he felt like he needed to call us too and tell us he's doing a lot better. So then he told us to make sure and teach his aunt because she really needs the gospel. So that was a really cool experience, there are definitely no coincidences. He should be getting back this week, and I can't wait to meet with him again and give him a big hug! He's such a big teddy bear.

Other than that, the only other things that have happened is that yesterday it rained super hard. We probably got a years worth of rain for Utah just yesterday. And that gets amplified because Albania doesn't have the the best draining system, so the roads had about a foot and a half of rain/sewage overflow. It was crazy driving home from church. Then yesterday we also had to go to Tirana for a choir practice. We're singing for the 25th anniversary of missionaries in Albania this summer and not a lot of people come to the choir so the told us that we have to come every week. Which choir is fun, and it was awesome getting to see the other missionaries, especially Elder Schneider and Elder Lords, but it's also kind of a big chunk of time out of our day.

Then today Elder Wilson and I went to Shkoder for a p-day trip. I did get some pictures, but we also got back a little late so I don't have time to send them today. So next week you'll be getting a lot; all the ones I still haven't sent from Vlore, the ones from today, and the ones I'll take of our new apartment that we'll be moving into throughout the week. We had a super fun time. We went to an Orthodox church and talked with the priest, hung out with the missionaries for a bit, and then we went up to the big castle on the hill. It was a blast, but it was also super hot.

So all in all I'm still doing great and I still love it here. Thanks for everything, and have an amazing week! I love you all!
Elder Gardiner

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