Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28th

Përshëndetje familja!

Well this has definitely been the craziest and busiest week of my mission so far, so I'll just get into it.
To start with the biggest news first. We got transfer calls this Saturday! As expected I will be leaving Durrës, and I will be white-wash training in Vlorë! Because of some of the interviews I had had with President Anderson I was pretty sure I was training, but I can honestly say that I was not expecting to go back to Vlorë. I'm super excited for this opportunity though. It's definitely going to be hard, but I'm really looking forward to the challenge. My trainers have had a huge influence on my mission so I just hope that I can carry that on. I've learned a ton on my mission so far and I'm excited for this opportunity to work with a new missionary, we're going to work really hard. I love the members and the people in Vlorë already and was sad that I had to leave so quick, so I'm excited to go back to them. Other transfer news, Elder Ellsworth will stay here in Durrës. He'll be with Elder Jakaj, and two more Elders will be coming, Elder Benson and his trainee. Elder Harris will be going back to Shkodër and he'll be training there. A ton of people from my MTC group will all be training.

Other exciting experiences, Kristi got confirmed yesterday! He actually came early to church! It was a good Sunday and he's continuing to get along great with the members. Now he's on his way to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. It's sad that I have to leave so soon after his baptism, but we have Stake Conference in two weeks here in Durrës, so I'll get to see him soon enough.
We also had a super fun service opportunity this weekend. This Saturday there were two weddings at the church, so we got to go set up, clean up, and talk with all the members and non-member friends and family members that came! It was a super fun experience, but it was crazy seeing how stressed everyone was about it, luckily I still have a while before I have to deal with that! Funny coincidence, the first wedding was a member named Xhoni from Vlorë so a few of the members came up for that and it was a lot of fun seeing them again. I was talking with the bishop from Vlorë about how I had a great time and he asked me when I would come down and visit them all, so I said I'd try to go down for a P-day, but I guess it turns out I'll be seeing them sooner than I thought!

Besides that, we've also been working in Shkodër, Lezhë, and Laç. We've spent over 12 hours driving this week, and had to fill up the car twice. But it's also been super cool working up there. There's a recent convert named Amadeus in Shkodër who was baptized two weeks ago and we've been working with him whenever we went up. He's super smart, loves studying the scriptures, and is really good friends with one of the members. He's basically golden. Also while we were up there we've gone to Lezhë for a family home evening activity. There are only 3 members in Lezhë, and they usually come, but for some reason they didn't show up. So we just got some some consolation ice cream(10 cents a scoop) and went off to have a lesson in Laç. There's only one member in Laç and she's a recent convert. She's the sister of one of the missionaries, Elder Jakaj, the one who is taking my spot in Durrës, and she's super cool. She was away on vacation for about a month, so she hadn't been in church for a little while, but she started the Book of Mormon over and has read all the way through Jarom and understands everything super well.
We also had a really cool experience on Friday. President Anderson was coming back from Germany and on the plane ride he met a member from England who is coming to stay with her friend in Durrës. The friend has gone to church a few times in England but can't always go because she's in work, but she's interested in learning more. So they called us and set up a lesson at their home today, and they came to church yesterday. They also invited President Anderson, so we get to teach a lesson in English with our mission president, it's going to be awesome!

Then in the rest of our time we've had apartment inspections and then had lessons with Kristi and Ergita. We had a lesson with Kristi about pioneers and we watched part of 17 miracles with him. It was a really powerful lesson and now he wants to get all the church movies he can so that when he's bored from all his studying he can still learn and feel the spirit. Then with Ergita we showed the restoration film and then we read the Book of Mormon with her. She gets really into the book and she always has a ton of questions, but it's cool to see that as she reads she finds the answers by herself! She also wants to get her brother to read the Book of Mormon because she knows it would help him so much! 
Durrës is doing really well right now, and I know that with the new missionaries coming that it'll get even better!

That's all from me for now. There will be pictures to come too!
Mirupafshim, ju dua të gjithëve! Zoti ju bekoftë!
Elder Gardiner

Also that's crazy that you met up with Elder Mero! Did he have like a welcome home party or something? That's a great picture though, my mission dad and my real dad in the same picture!

Pictures by the Sea

 Mosque in Durres
 City Center Durres

 Elder Wilson and Elder Ellsworth, the tripanionship!

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