Monday, June 19, 2017

June 19th

Përshëndetje familja!

So, another week come and gone! It's been a crazy week with a lot of amazing experiences.

To start off with a fun blessing, so talking about the whole lost package thing. Look what ended up at the mission office today! It was a little messed up and looked like it got run over by a truck, but it finally got here. (see picture below)

​​So some other good parts of our week. Our investigator Kristi is super awesome! We were able to meet with him again on Friday, we meet once a week for certain and more if he has time because he's really busy. But he also came to church again on Sunday! He was awesome in church too, a lot of investigators I've had on my mission are a little weird and make off the wall comments in church, or just have no experience with religion and don't know what to do in church. But he's great and actually understands our message! Honestly that is such a blessing, I could probably count on two hands the number of investigators I've had on my mission who have actually understood anything we teach. He's on a baptismal date now for August 12 and I'm super confident that he'll get baptized.

Another amazing experience, Fation is back from the hospital! We've run into him a few times on the road and he's looking so much better. I love that guy so much. He's still not completely better but he's improved a lot, so we'll probably wait before baptizing him but he still really seems to want to get baptized. 

Then on Saturday we had a service project in the morning here at the hospital in Durrës. The missionaries from Tirana and Shkodër came down to help, as well as some Americans from the Albanian Faith in Every Footstep Foundation. It was a lot of fun! I worked by painting the trees with some limestone paint thing that keeps bugs off the trees, I don't think that's a thing back at home but they do it a lot here. Then we all worked to pull weeds and paint benches. We had a great time and worked hard. Also Motra Kokol who was one of my teachers from the MTC was there, it was a lot of fun getting to see her.

Then that night we went up to Tirana for the 25 year anniversary celebration of missionaries arriving in Albania. They had Matt Wirthlin, one of the original 4 missionaries sent to Albania who came and gave a talk and helped with the service project. We had to participate in the choir but that turned out all right. There were a lot of amazing talks, including probably the last talk I'll hear from president Weidmann. President Weidmann talked and President Mema(the stake president) translated for him, then president Mema gave a small talk thanking him for his work, it was really sweet. I love president Weidmann, it's been so amazing serving with him. There was also a slideshow showing the progress of the church over the past 25 years. After the program finished we got to go around and talk to some of the members who came, which was a lot of fun, there were a lot of members from my past areas so I loved getting to see them again.

Then Sunday came. Church went pretty well. There were a good amount of people, more than we've been getting in the past few weeks. The lessons went really well. People only got into an argument once, which is a tender mercy, and that was only because Shaul(he's crazy) went off on random stuff. The sisters were transferred out of Durres and so, for now, we will be alone as us three Elders in Durrës until Elder Wilson leaves. But on the bright side now we'll be in a district with the Tirana missionaries which might mean I'll be in the same district as Elder Schneider. 

Today we went up to get our car from the mission office which was good because I also got my package while we were there. Also we went bowling with Elder Bowen and Elder Schneider at the only bowling ally in Albania and that was a blast.

So all in all not a bad week. I'm doing great still. I love my companions, they're super great. This is Elder Wilson's last week here so we're going to make it a good one. We'll probably meet with a lot of members which is always a blast and make sure to work our hardest. I love you all and I hope you're doing great too!

Also because I forgot this earlier, our new mission president will be President Anderson. He's from Saint George Utah. I don't know a lot about him but he seems like he'll be great.

Mirupafshim, Zoti ju bekoftë!
Elder Gardiner

now for all the pictures I haven't sent over the past couple months.
A couple pictures of members in Vlorë.
1. The bishop and his wife
2. Us and Emigert
3. Elder Lords and I with the Zeqiri family

Pictures of the Orthodox Church in Shkodër we went to and then...
1. Elder Lords and I with Luan, Anxhela, and Kristi
2. Two of me and Lindis
3. Elder Wilson and some kid from English course in Elbasan

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