So it's been another exciting week here in the ASM.
First off, my new companion is Elder Murray. He's from Missouri and he's really cool. One cool thing about him is that while he was in High School he didn't like his classes and felt like he wasn't learning anything so he decided to drop out and go to community college. So that's what he did, he's done 2 and a half years of college and has an associates degree now. He's a smart kid and a hard worker, and he's doing great so far. Training is super hard but it's also been a great experience so far. Elder Murray and I got here on Thursday afternoon, put our bags in the house and then got to work. The previous Elders didn't really have any work and our phone was broken so we couldn't call any of the members to set up lessons (luckily that's been fixed now) so we decided to go do some street contacting. Since then we've done a ton of street contacting and tracting. This is my first time being senior companion so it's been weird being the one in charge. This has also really put my language skills to the test, Elder Murray is learning quick and working hard, but being fresh out of the MTC he still has a lot to learn, so I've had to do a lot of talking, translating, and explaining. It's been fun being back here in Vlorë and getting to see all the members, a lot has changed since I was here, but there's still a lot that's the same. This week we have some more people to work with and that should be a lot of fun.
On Sunday we were able to talk to a lot of the members, and we as the missionaries have come up with some ideas for how we can help things get better here in Vlorë. One super cool person we'll be working with is Jani. He was less active while I was here and I never got the chance to meet him, but recently he's come back and he's doing super well. He's 14 and recently received the Aaronic priesthood and understands the gospel really well. We also talked to Kristi in church and we'll be working with her again. She's also doing super well, and it'll be really cool seeing how much she's changed from the beginning of her time as an investigator to now being a recent convert. We also are planning on doing a lot of activities and member work to get the ward active and excited. So we should be having a fun time here in Vlorë.
Going a little back in time, we had a really cool experience last Monday night. Last week I mentioned that we would be having a lesson with someone that President Anderson had met on the plane. So we went over to have a lesson with a member from England, her Albanian friend Kristina, and her friends family. They also ended up inviting President Anderson and his wife, and Vëllai Paja, and a neighbor family. They made us a ton of food and we spent a lot of time eating that and talking with all of them. Then we got into the lesson and it was really cool. We had Elder Harris translate for President and Sister Anderson and we decided to talk about eternal families. So we shared our message about families and the Book of Mormon and were able to give out a lot of copies of the Book of Mormon. Then Kristina started telling her story of how she has been meeting with the sister missionaries for two years and is coming along slowly. She said it took her a long time to believe that Christ is the son of God, because she's muslim, but through reading and praying about the Book of Mormon she knows that he is. Now she's just working to ready for baptism, she knows she needs to do it and she says she definitely will, she just isn't ready yet. It was cool because there was so much switching between English and Albanian but I was still able to follow along perfectly. Kristina speaks English perfectly and she's been translating for her friend recently so she kept starting to translate for us when someone talked and the she would remember that we actually speak Albanian. It was a lot of fun and a lot of them are now investigators with a lot of potential in Durres.
On Wednesday we got to out and work with all the new missionaries right when they got into country. It was so fun seeing how excited all of them were, they are so brave and quick to talk to all the people. They're definitely going to work wonders here in the mission.
To answer a few of your questions, we aren't the only missionaries here in Vlore. There are two other Elders, Elder Thomas and Elder Percival. Elder Percival is in Elder Ellsworth's group so he goes home in 6 weeks. He was trained here in Vlore so he knows a lot of the members too. The car stayed in Durres, hopefully we'll get one in Vlore eventually because we're super far from everything, but we'll see. Our apartment isn't bad. It's meant to be used as two different apartment so the layout is kind of weird, and missionaries have had it for a long time so it's not in the best condition. But we're working on fixing it up a little. I did talk to Alyssa a little bit, she didn't recognize me at first, but when I said I was from Highland she knew who I was.
Things are going well here. The work is a little harder here, but we've started to make some progress.
That's all for me. Love you all!
Mirupafshim, Zoti ju bekoftë!