Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29th

Përshëndetje familja!

Well this week has definitely been an experience. I'm not going to lie it was a little rough, but the worst seems to be passed and got better by the end.
So to start, we had a lesson with the Gjergji family and it was awful. They aren't really progressing any more and even though they still love having us over to talk and make jokes they don't really have a lot of desire to keep commitments. Also Ramazan(the month where Muslims fast from like 5 in the morning til 9 at night) and the dad of the family said that he doesn't want to do more lessons during Ramazan because he wants to be focused on his own religion, which is understandable. So that's been really hard. We'll keep visiting them every once in a while, and hopefully one day they'll all be ready.

Then other than that one of our really strong members passed away this week.
Also third hour in church was super rough. Basically everyone just yelled at each other and argued for the whole hour over parts of the lesson that were completely unimportant.

But other than that we also had a few really good experiences too. One day we had a ton of time and nothing planned to do and we were just feeling awful because of the things I talked about before. So we decided to say a prayer and ask what to do. After that we had a few people come into our minds, so we decided to go visit them. We decided to start by visiting Fation's mom, so we went and stopped by her work. She was really happy to see us and gave us a quick update on Fation. She said that that morning Fation called a lot later than normal so she was really worried, until Fation told her that it was just because Elder Schneider stopped by and talked with him for a while. She told us that she was so grateful for us missionaries and that we were not just good missionaries but great people and the best friends Fation could have. She said that Fation is getting better and continuing to do well but that it's still really hard for her. So we shared Mosiah 24:13-15 and she burst into tears. She said she felt so good and that those scriptures really spoke to her. So we gave her the reference and she said she would go read the whole story later. Then we went to go visit someone else and we ended up running into Fation's dad and having a good conversation with him too. Then on Sunday we had to go to Tirana for choir so we decided to go a little early and stop by the hospital and visit Fation for a little bit. While we were walking from the car to the hospital we joked about how awesome it would be if Fation's family was there too, and then all of the sudden we heard someone call out to us and Fation and his family were standing at the little park/waiting area outside the hospital. So then we ran over and gave Fation a huge hug. It was so great, we talked for a while and he really wants to get baptized. He's so excited to get back and start going to English course again and get baptized as soon as he can. His family also seemed really interested in getting baptized too, especially his mom who said that she herself isn't baptized in any church and really wants to get baptized. So we'll make sure and work with them, I have a lot of hope for them.

We also had a good lesson with Collin, our American missionary friend. He really wants to have the spirit with him all the time, so we testified to him how he can do that by getting baptized by the right authority and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. It's cool because we've become such good friends that we can testify so boldly because he knows how much we care about him and how we want him to know the truth. We also challenged him to read two chapters from the Book of Mormon and from Acts that we would study together every time we meet.

Then we also had a cool lesson with a less active here. He hasn't been to church in a long time because of work and other things, but he loves the church. So last time we talked to him he said that he drinks coffee every once in a while, but that it's no big deal and it doesn't really matter. So this time we went and talked about the word of wisdom. He started out by justifying and saying that he only drinks a tiny bit, that he's not addicted, and that he doesn't drink enough for it to cause any health problems. He definitely didn't understand that the reason we don't drink coffee is because it's a commandment, not just because it's bad for your health. So then Elder Wilson told him that by drinking coffee he was insulting God and willfully being disobedient to him, he said that it was as if he was slapping God in the face every time he drinks coffee. It was cool because as soon as Elder Wilson said that the less active stopped talking, just looked at him stunned, and you could see the understanding come over him as he said that he would never drink coffee again.

Then lastly, I went on an exchange to Tirana for one day last week. I got to serve with Elder Benson who is from my MTC group, and that was a lot of fun. We had some cool lessons, and it was awesome getting to see how he does missionary work, because everyone does it differently. I really enjoyed it and had a learned a lot.
This week we also changed houses. That was a lot of work, and we still aren't completely done, but it will be nice having that done. Our new house is super nice, but it's also super far away. Luckily we have a car or we'd have a lot of walking to do.

Yeah it was a super busy week. And this week should be crazy too. We have President Weidmann's last mission conference tomorrow in Elbasan, and that should take the whole day. Then on Saturday we have Super Saturday for all the seminary students in Albania here in Durres and we're going to help with that. so it should be a pretty full week!

So that's about it for me. Happy birthday to Annaka from me! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Gardiner

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