Monday, January 1, 2018

January 1st

Përshëndetje familja!

This has been a bit crazy. But to start with the biggest thing, we got transfer calls on Saturday. So if you remember in the Skype we were talking about how it was pretty much impossible that Elder Schneider would come ZL with me... Well I forgot that President Anderson has no rules. So yeah, I'll be with Elder Schneider again next transfer and I can't even attempt to explain how excited I am. And as for Elder Draper he will be whitewashing AP with Elder Benson. I did think Draper would go AP, but definitely didn't see the rest of those changes coming. It's sad to see Elder Draper go, but I'll be seeing plenty of him over the next few weeks in all our meetings and conferences. Also I didn't think I would get to serve with Elder Schneider again so that was a super pleasant surprise.

As for regular missionary work this wasn't the best week for us. We had to move houses this week so the process of cleaning and moving and organizing everything took a good three days out of our work, and we both got sick. So once again I was sick for new years(fortunately not nearly as bad as last year though). Now we live in a brand apartment in the same building as the senior couple, which is a huge blessing.

We did have a really cool hand of the Lord moment though. Earlier in the week we went with the senior couple to give some cookies to a less active family and while we were there we told the son to take his best friend and come have a lesson with us some time. He said he would call us, which in Albania basically means that it won't happen, but then surprisingly this Friday we got a call from him saying he was on his way to the church. Luckily we had just gotten to the church, and sure enough a few minutes later they both showed up and we had an amazing restoration lesson. They even walked through a huge rainstorm to get to the church. They didn't come to church because they slept in, but as soon as school starts they should start coming back. So even when we don't have time to go out and contact God will bring his prepared children to us!

We had a fun service opportunity too this week. We went to an older member couple's home and got to help make cement and then went and picked oranges. Pictures and videos to come. Then we took the oranges to the retirement home and she gave us a bag too.
New Years was a lot of fun. We got to stay up to watch the fireworks, and like always it was insane. I took a video, but it turned out to be huge, so I'll work on getting that uploaded sometime and get that to you. My full year as a missionary is officially over. Now I just have to work the heck out of these last 7 months.

I'm doing great. I'm mostly better now, hopefully I won't be sick at all by the time Schneider gets here. I'm going to miss Elder Draper a lot. He's definitely been one of my favorite companions of all time and I'm hoping we'll continue to stay close through the rest of the mission and after. I love it here and I'm excited that I get to stay here in Fier. It's easy for things to look a little depressing and dismal here but recently I've just been feeling so much hope. I see the people who we have coming to church and they're perfect for what we need. If we can help them accept the gospel, be baptized and keep coming there are a lot of good things coming for Fier.

I love you all. I hope you have a great week and an amazing New Year!!!

Elder Gardiner

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