Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21

Përshëndetje familja!

It has been a very busy week here in north Albania.

To start with the biggest event of the week, Kristi got baptized! It was an amazing experience and the baptism was great! He chose me to baptize him, and that was really special. I've sent some pictures from the baptism. We had a good amount of members and even some investigators that showed up too. On the other hand though, he was supposed to get confirmed yesterday. But he was late for church and didn't come in a white shirt and tie, so he'll get confirmed next week.  But he's still doing great, he was a little sad that he couldn't get confirmed then, but he talked to bishop about it and even set up a time for an interview so he can get the priesthood, so all's well that ends well! 

Well that was definitely the most exciting thing that happened this week, there were still plenty of other great moments. As I kind of mentioned last week, we're now working in Shkodër, Lezhë, Laç, and Durrës. On Wednesday Elder Mero, who was serving in Shkodër, went home so now we picked up his companion Elder Harris. Elder Harris was in my MTC group and he's super awesome. He's actually the one we met at Tucanos on the day I went into the MTC. We're super excited to have him and it's been a blast so far. So on Friday we decided to go to the other cities. We had a lesson planned in Lezhë and then we were going to go to Shkodër for a lesson, then on the way back stop by a recent convert in Laç. But then the traffic turned out to be super bad, so we had to cancel our lessons in Lezhë and Laç. But we'll go back up tomorrow and have a full Shkodër day tomorrow. It's kind of funny though, the sisters that are serving in Shkodër right now are the same ones that were with us here in Durrës, so we got our district back. 

We finished English course this week. Most of the people had stopped coming, but there's one girl named Ergita who seemed really interested to learn more about the gospel. So now we have a lesson set up with her for tonight, she's already had most of the lessons she needs for baptism through English course. We just need her to understand why now, it should be a great lesson. 

We also had Zone Conference this week! We also had interviews after that so we were in Tirana the whole day. Zone Conference was so good though, president has put an emphasis on accelerating the work we're doing and rescuing less active members and it was cool to see that emphasis reflected in the trainings. Our leaders really emphasized the worth of souls and the idea that even if we can only bring back one less active, which may not happen in the time we serve there, that our joy with them will be so great in the last day. President and Sister Anderson are so great, they are so excited to do the work here and they love involving us in everything. I'm excited to see the work keep going forward under their inspired direction.

Other exciting news, transfers are coming up this week! It's so crazy to think that I've been here in Durrës for almost 6 months now, it feels like I just got here yesterday. I'll probably leave, but honestly I have no idea what will happen. The APs were at Zone Conference and they told me that I'll never guess what's happening to me at transfers. So whatever happens it's bound to be exciting. I've loved it here in Durrës though, the members are so amazing and having a chapel is so special. The spirit is so strong there and there are so many great people here, I'll definitely miss it a ton whenever I end up leaving.

Well that's about it for the unusual things. We've had a few other lessons with Zubide and other people, but nothing too interesting. We've been super busy so we haven't had a ton of time for finding, but all in all we've definitely been blessed to have as much work as we do.
And in regards to heat wave lucifer, it's still been super hot but it is cooling down. It rained last night and might rain again today or tomorrow which would be great. And we didn't come up with that name, we were just at lunch one day and the news came on talking about it.
I've been having an amazing time here. I love my companions so much, and we've been having so much fun together. 

That's about it for me today. Next week should be a pretty crazy week too, so be prepared for next Monday!

I love you all, have a great week! Mirupafshim, Zoti ju bekoftë!
Elder Gardiner

Last time with Elder Mero
 View from apartment in Durres
 Baptismal Font in church at Durres

 Elder Gardiner with Kristi at his baptism

 Elder Ellsworth, Kristi, and Elder Gardiner
 Fatjon at Kristi's baptism

​​This is Eqerem. He's super funny, he's been a member for almost 20 years and loves the members, but I'm his favorite right now because I'm from Utah. He's so great, and he reminds me a lot of grandpa Ott.

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