Monday, October 2, 2017

September 18th

Përshëndetje familja!

Well this has been a week of ups and downs, but full of miracles!

First one. So missionary work is hard here in Vlore, people are more closed off and less willing to talk so recently we've been having a hard time finding new investigators. But this week we were out street contacting one night, we had been out for a couple hours and no one was willing to listen. But we kept going and just kept trying, then two girls and their mom walked by, saw us, and then stopped and walked over to us. So of course we started talking to them and they asked us if we could meet on Friday! Turns out they had met with the missionaries for a while before but for whatever reason had stopped. We had a lesson with them and it went great, their names are Ana and Meli. Ana is the older sister and doesn't really believe in God and spiritual things, but she's willing to read and pray and find out if they are true. Meli has a ton of faith and said she prays a ton. They said they were busy on Sunday and wouldn't be able to come, but that we can meet again next week and they'll come to church.

Second. We had a meeting with the ward mission leader, Xhoni, and he told us to go through our area books and try calling past investigators. So we looked through ours and found the teaching record for Aulon. He's an investigator that Elder Lords and I taught while I was here 6 months ago and he was super golden, but he ended up moving to Tirana and wasn't able to continue meeting with the missionaries. So I decided to give him a call, he said he was back in Vlore and that he'd love to meet. So we met him, had a great lesson and he said he would come to church next week. We read 2 Nephi 31 with him and talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he said that it makes sense that God has a set of rules that we need to follow and that he is ready and willing to follow them. He'll be moving to Tirana to start a two year training to become a national judge at the beginning of October so we we won't be able to keep teaching him for too long, but he said that he doesn't have school on Sundays and will go every week in Tirana.

Third. A super awesome guy named Arber who's been taught for a while just got back from being in Tirana for the summer showed up to church this Sunday and wants to keep preparing for baptism. He was an investigator with the other Elders before and he said he really wants to get baptized he just needs to get his family on board. He'll be coming to English Course and church every week too!

Fourth. We decided to call a random person we didn't know off the member list which got us a meeting with Vëllai Kapllani. He was super nice and loved talking with us. He hasn't come to church for a while but he loves the missionaries and the ward members and the Book of Mormon. So now we'll go visit him at his house and hopefully start teaching him and his non-member wife!

Fifth. Last night we had a similar situation to the first experience from this email. We had been out contacting for a long time and having no success. It was almost time to go back in but we decided to just keep going as long as we could. Then a couple walked by and stopped to talk to us. They asked when we got here and said that they usually come as their whole family to church, but haven't been able to come for a few weeks. Their 10 year old daughter is baptized, and they have another young kid who they want to get baptized when he's old enough. We asked if they would like for us to come over and they said they need us to come visit! They're super great and I'm excited to get to have a lesson with them this week!

Lastly, we're also meeting with a super nice old couple. The man's name is Kristaq, but I don't remember his wife's name. We had a good restoration lesson and today they called us saying that we can come again on Wednesday. They're some of the nicest people I've ever met and they love talking about their family. So next time we'll talk about the Plan of Salvation and eternal families, which I'm sure they'll love!
Other cool things: We talked with Jani this week and he was able to help us in a couple lessons. He's going to be a super awesome missionary one day! He also talked to his dad and invited him to come to church. So we'll try to start teaching his family this week, I've talked with them a couple times on the phone and they sound like amazing people. It was Amarildo's birthday yesterday and we'll go celebrate a little with him today. Also he just started work to raise money to save for a mission and was able to get Sunday's off!

That's about it for me. I'm loving it here in Vlorë, it's a great place. Elder Murray is awesome. And I'm doing well. I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!

Mirupafshim, Zoti ju bekoftë!
Elder Gardiner

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