Monday, January 15, 2018

January 15th

Përshëndetje familja!

This week was a really good week! I don't have a lot of time, but here are some of the highlights.

First off, Zone Conference. This was my first Zone Conference as a ZL which means we got to give our first training. Also the Vlore elders got to stay the night at our house, which was super fun. We were super stressed getting everything ready throughout the week and it took a lot of time out of our area, but it ended up being great. So the way it worked is we were given an hour and a half to split between accountability (where we talk about numbers and goals), our training, and a training from the sister training leaders. We started with accountability and that took way longer than we thought, but it was really good. We have a habit of setting super high, unreachable goals and then just getting discouraged because we don't hit them. So we decided to put a huge focus on the zone creating a realistic goal and holding each person accountable for our success. So we'll see how that goes. Then the STLs gave an amazing training about Christlike attributes, and then by the time they were done our hour and a half was over. So we stood up played a short video and gave a five minute training, and it was great. Then we of course had the trainings from president and the APs, which were both amazing. One of the best parts of Zone Conference though was probably getting to spend some time with Elder Murray. When we served together we didn't get along super well and it was really hard, but now both of us have grown a lot and we've become really good friends. I loved getting to talk to him, he's an amazing missionary.

Other than that, we also had Redi. He had kind of plateaued for a while but this week we had some great lessons with him. Last Monday we had a lesson just on the spirit and how powerful it is and why we want it. The spirit was so strong, he was focused super intently and and shared an awesome story about a time where he felt the spirit super strong when he was younger. And then I had the opportunity to promise him that if he prays to know if the church and the Book of Mormon are true that he'll be able to feel that again. And he listened and promised to do it. Then for our next lesson he said he hadn't had time to put himself in the perfect situation to do a prayer like that, but that his regular prayers had been super powerful and sincere that week and he said he felt different and felt the spirit more. 
Unfortunately right when we were about to invite him to baptism he had to go to work. But we'll meet again on Wednesday and I'm feeling really good about that lesson.

Then today we had another amazing lesson. We met with someone named Entela. She's been coming to the Lewis' English Course and church for a few months but we were just waiting for the perfect moment to ask her if she wants to start taking lessons. Then this Sunday while Elder Schneider and I were teaching second hour president Lewis felt inspired to lean over and ask her if she wants to start taking the missionary lessons, which after a little bit of explanation as to what those are she gladly accepted. She's so cool! She's a literacy teacher and she's super smart. We gave her a Book of Mormon and now she's working on reading two pages a day to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. The lesson went practically perfectly. She has a ton of faith in Christ and understood everything we taught, we used a ton of scriptures and we could tell she was really feeling the spirit. We kept mentioning baptism and she seemed to just light up every time we mentioned it. So then we got to the end and invited her to be baptized and she said she would love to, we invited her to be baptized on 17 February and she said there's no way she could do everything she needs to before then, so Elder Schneider shared 3 Nephi 9:20 which talks about how we need a broken heart and contrite spirit and then we're ready for baptism and she said that that was the perfect scripture for her. So she'll keep thinking and pray about that date, but so far things are looking great! 

Church was amazing yesterday too! We had had a lot lessons with less-actives this week and invited them all to come to church, and then surprisingly, they did! We had a ton of less-actives, semi-actives, and investigators in church and the spirit was super strong in church. Xhoni, the kid we baptized right when I got to Fier, gave his first talk and did a really good job. And then president Lewis shared some of his favorite parts from President Monson's funeral, and it was so cool looking at the audience as I translated and everyone just seemed to be concentrated so intensely on the words that we were sharing. It was a really cool experience.

That's about it for me now, I'm doing great. I love things here in Fier, and Elder Schneider and I are doing great. He's an amazing missionary and I'm enjoying serving with him again.

I love you all! Have a great week, hopefully this gets to you all!

Elder Gardiner

​Picture from MLC. 3 of the original 4 companionships in our MTC district

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