Monday, August 7, 2017

August 7th

Përshëndetje familja!

Well, it's been another great week here in Durrës. 

To get right into it, Kristi's back! We were able to meet with him last Friday and we had an amazing lesson. We had Vëllai Cani(ex Elder Cani) help us in the lesson and the two of them got along great. It had been a while since we had met so we decided to go over the plan of salvation again and he understood super well. In the lesson Cani asked him why he keeps meeting with us, and he immediately responded that it was because he knows that our church is the only true church and the only one he could even consider joining. So that was really cool, I really felt the spirit when he said that. So now we have a baptismal date set for him for the 19th of August, and he'll totally be ready. He also came to church on Sunday and really participated and enjoyed church. He made a super good impression on all the members and is starting to have friends at church, which is so important. He's basically the perfect example of a golden investigator.

Then we've also had a couple lessons with Zubide this week. We went back on Tuesday and she was super excited to have us back over. Her daughter has had a big scab on her head ever since she got in the accident 6 years ago, but this time when we went over it was completely healed. Also she rents out part of her house to people visiting for vacation every year, but this year no one had come, then this Saturday we came back over and 3 families had come and were renting from her. So that was really cool to see that as she took the initiative to learn about the restored gospel that God has blessed her in all aspects of her life. When we went over on Saturday we brought Klaudia and Motra Agaliu to help her have friends from the church so she feels more welcome. They did a great job and they also really helped us teach, their testimonies are so strong and they're able to relate to the people so well.

We also were able to start teaching a family this week. We've been meeting with a guy named Selim for a little bit and then this week we asked if we could teach him in his home and teach his family with him. He said we could come and we had a good lesson with them. They've had some cool religious experiences in their lives but they don't really practice any religion, like most Albanians, so we decided to talk about prayer and the Book of Mormon. They all accepted a Book of Mormon and said they'd read it. We should be going back some time this week, so hopefully they've actually read.

We met with Artur again last night and talked about the church's self reliance program. He's a really nice guy, but he just has no hope in his life and for the moment he doesn't really want to look for it. He's had a really hard life so I understand that it's hard for him to believe that there really is hope, but it's still so sad when we give people the one thing that can truly change their lives and they just choose not to accept it. So hopefully one day his heart will be ready to accept the gospel.

Normally we play soccer once a week as a finding/ward bonding activity, but recently no one has been coming so we decided to play ping pong and card games instead. And this week we had Kristi, Artur, and one of the members, Norikson, all come. It was a lot of fun and now Kristi and Norikson are friends, so that was awesome. It's great how even simple activities that aren't necessarily spiritual can be used to share the gospel. 
It's been super hot here in Albania. Durres isn't quite as bad, but it's still been about 100 degrees every day. It's pretty funny, the first year of my mission has been both the coldest winter and hottest summer Albania's had in over 30 years. I guess the Utah weather must just be following me.

But other than that everything's been great. Normally in the summer there is very little success in missionary work because people just don't want to go outside, but we've actually been keeping pretty busy. We have some great investigators, and we've even finally had a little success working with less actives.

That's about it for me this week, love you all!
Mirupafshim, Zoti ju bekoftë!
Elder Gardiner

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