Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12th

Përshëndetje familja!

This has been another great week here in Durrës!

First off, I'm loving our trio. We're working together great and it's been so cool seeing how much ground we can cover. It's really weird sometimes because there are things that we can do in a trio that don't work with just a regular companionship. It has been a little weird getting adjusted to teaching with three of us, but for now we haven't really run into too many problems. Elder Ellsworth is a stud and loves having a clean house, so this week we've finished most of our house cleaning/organizing as well as a deep clean/organizing of the teaching center, it's super clean now and things are actually organized, it's great. 
Other than that, we've had to go to Tirana a lot this past week. We had a doctor's visit for Elder Ellsworth, choir, and then today we went and got something with one of the members from here in Durrës. For one of our trips we went to a place called the Stephen's Center which is the only place in the country that has real American food so we got some burgers and shakes, but it's also the only place in Albania that sells Bibles so I finally got myself an Albanian Bible. So then other than that for our trips to Tirana, we had our last choir practice for the activity on Saturday. It's the 25 year anniversary of missionaries in Albania on Saturday so we have to go and sing for some special program, it should be good, but we definitely are not the best choir I've ever seen. 

As for investigators, we've had a pretty good week. We were able to meet with Kristi again and that was great. He still has a ton of desire to learn more and he's understanding really well. We teach him entirely in English which is really weird but luckily he speaks really good English. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon this week, and he said that he would read it more, he said he's going to read it in English though because that's the original and most correct translation. Also he came to church! We had met with him on Friday and he told us that he probably couldn't come this week because he had school but that he would be able to come every week after that. But then on Saturday night he texted us and asked if we could walk to church together on Sunday. Unfortunately he didn't show up to walk with us so we thought he probably wouldn't come, but then a few minutes into sacrament meeting he walked in! He ended up having a good time and he had really good questions in second hour for our investigator class, which doesn't happen a lot. Then other than him we also are teaching a guy named Rrapi, he's the one who was miraculously healed. We've had a few lessons with them since then, and the lessons go really well, but he keeps making excuses for not coming to church so we need to figure out how to help him understand the need for action to show our faith to God. He's had a really hard life and he has a lot of legitimate excuses, but we still just need to help him understand that if we do our part the Lord has already promised to do His.

Then we've also met with Collin twice this week. He's super cool and he already gets along great with Elder Ellsworth. We had a good lesson with him on Thursday and we talked a lot about committing our lives to God and how he blesses us for it. He loves the emphasis that we as a church put on progression and repentance. So many other churches have an idea of do a few simple things and have faith then you're saved, whereas we know that we always have to keep improving and work to unite our with with the Lord's perfectly(for more about that listen to the BYU devotional "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox; it's super good!). Then we talked about what justifies a leap of faith, in that how could he know that he needs to join our church or how could we know that our church isn't true. So we decided that we would all do a special fast together. It was a really cool experience, I was super tired and completely out of energy but at the same time I felt great. Our lessons went really well that day and I felt really happy. Then we all got back together at the end and talked about what would justify that leap of faith and had super good pizza, fanta exotic, and ice cream bars(the best way to end a fast). We challenged him to read the Book of Mormon every day and pray with sincere desire to know the truth and made a list of some of the most important chapters for him to read.

We also went to the house of one of the members yesterday for lunch and that was a lot of fun. His name is Vëllai Muça and he's so funny. He reminds me a lot of Grandpa Ott, he's so kind and loving and also super funny and a little goofy, we really love him. He made us some traditional Albanian milk byrek which was super good.

That was about it for me this week. I have a few pictures to send you, but a lot of them are still on my camera and I forgot the cord in the car. So those will come next week. Sorry again!

I love you all and hope you've all had a great week!
Kalofshi mirë, ju dua shumë. Zoti ju bekoft! Mirupafshim!
Elder Gardiner

A brief explanation of pictures.
1. Vëllai Muça
2. Our district selfie with Vëllai Muça
3. Another picture of our lunch with Vëllai Muça
4. A few of the puppies we found sleeping under our car
5. Us in Tirana at the new city center where Elder Wilson and Elder Ellsworth used to contact every day
6. Elder Ellsworth
7. Vëllai Muça again

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