Monday, March 5, 2018

January 29

Përshëndetje familja!

This has been a great week here in Fier. A lot of good things are happening here.

One cool experience was with a guy named Shkëlqim. He came to the last like 5 minutes of church last week and then said we could go visit him sometime throughout the week. He told us the area where his house was and after a knocking a few doors and asking some people no one seemed to know him. But then as we were leaving we went around a corner, and there he was! He said he had just gotten back from Tirana and was tired so he couldn't meet that day, but that we could come back the next day. So we did, we taught a little bit of English to him and his son and then taught the restoration and put him on a baptismal date! Turns out his wife is a devout Jehovah's Witness though, so we're hoping that doesn't become a problem.

We're still working with Redi, things are about the same, but they're looking up. We've had a few lessons about what someone needs to do to be baptized and we're working to help him get over anything that could be holding him back. Also, it's his birthday today so we'll meet him if he has time. 

We had a lesson with Nikolin this week too, and he's so awesome. He's a member here who was reactivated right before I got here. He was baptized about three years ago now and he loves to read and study the scriptures so he invited us over to study with him. He speaks really good English and actually studies the Bible in English instead of Albanian because he likes it better. He's also super strong. He has a makeshift gym that he made in his house, including a deadlift bar that he made from an old train axle and tires filled with cement. He said his maximum weight that he can lift is 440 lbs. but to do that he has to eat 4000 calories a day, and he attributes it all to living the word of wisdom. Right now he's just preparing to get the Melchizedek priesthood, which he should get at stake conference in a couple months. I'll attach a video of him to the end of this email.

We had a cool experience yesterday before church. The three girls who have been coming to English Course all came to church half an hour early to study the Book of Mormon. We came out from preparing our lesson for second hour, and they were all sitting on the front row quietly reading their own copies of the Book of Mormon that they had marked. Now if we could just get more members to do that church would be so good!

A lot of people here in Albania, especially older people, have a hard time reading and can't afford glasses, so it's hard for people to read the Book of Mormon. That's the case with one of the members here named Bilbil, he can read a little bit but because he is a welder and doesn't have eye protection his eyes get tired really fast. So we made him a big copy of the Book of Mormon, and now he can read it! We gave him the book and he was so excited! In the lesson he insisted that he was going to read the whole chapter that we were going to discuss. So now he should be able to study and learn at home too!

Then on Sunday we made a mistake. We unknowingly told two member families that we would come over for lunch that day. So we ate lunch with one and then found out we were supposed to go to the other too. So we had to eat lunch twice. Which with how much members feed us is pretty much impossible. But the food was super good. The first one made us enchiladas, which I haven't had in years now. The members here are awesome, and really good at forgiving missionaries for their stupid mistakes.

Lastly, we had a stake priesthood conference on Saturday and that was really cool. They had a general meeting and then three separate classes where they talked about missionary preparation, for the strength of youth standards, and how to perform priesthood ordinances. We actually had a lot of people come from Fier and they all seemed to learn a lot and loved the conference.

I'm loving it here in Fier, and Elder Schneider is the best. I love him a ton!

Just as a heads up, we're planning on going on a P-Day trip to Gjirokaster next week so I'm not sure how much time we'll have to email next week.

I love you all so much! Have an amazing week!
Elder Gardiner

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