Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 23

Përshëndetje familja!

Another great week here in Shkoder. We've been way busy so this week has pretty much just blown by. 

The most exciting thing this week was the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the country of Albania to missionary work. 25 years ago today President Oaks came and offered the dedicatory prayer officially opening Albania to the fullness of the gospel. On Saturday we had a great activity in Tirana where some of the first pioneer members in Albania, one of the original 4 missionaries sent to Albania, and President Oaks(through a special video) shared their thoughts on the sacred moment when the dedicatory prayer was offered 25 years ago. It's was so cool getting to hear all of those testimonies, Albania really is the best, I'm so glad that I get to serve here now. Also I got to meet a bunch of members from all my past areas, so that's always a plus. Also it was super amazing getting to hear from President Oaks and feeling that he truly is an apostle of God and it's so evident from the miracles that have come from the day he said that prayer. One part that really stuck out to me in the dedicatory prayer is where he said " And now, in the authority of the holy priesthood, and in the office of an apostle which I hold, I turn the key for the preaching of the gospel in this land of Albania.  I open the door for thy work in this land that the gospel may be proclaimed here, that this message in its fullness may lighten this land and bless the lives of its people." And I can testify that the gospel has and continues to bless the lives of its people, day by day.

One thing that we've really seen this week is how much God has us in his hands as his missionaries. We had so many experiences this week where we "just happened to be at the right place at the right time." First example, on Monday we went contacting in a city called Laç for the first time and I got a few numbers and set up a lesson for Wendesday. We pulled into Laç got out and went to the place where we were going to meet the new potential investigator when right then Vëllai Jakaj walks right by. So he got his daughter (a member) from her English course and we had a quick lesson with them. Then that night we ran into two people that we had met days before but lost contact with. Friday we were at the church for a meeting and right then Amadeo walks up and says he wants to meet(we hadn't been able to find him for two weeks), and then as we're leaving we ran into two members who were looking for us so they could bring a friends to our English Course. Then that night there was a bit of a miscommunication which led us to have to cancel two lessons and left us with about 45 minutes to contact when right then one of the people I had called that morning walked up to me and asked if we had time right then to have a lesson. And it ended up being a great lesson, and now he wants to bring one of his friends with him next time we meet. I can't really do justice to any of these stories, but it was so awesome seeing all these miracles throughout the week.

Now for our investigators. Pali is doing great. We met with him a bunch last week including a member present lesson with Amadeo. He's continuing to progress, read, pray and learn. We're still trying to get a lesson with his whole family, but I think that may happen this week.

Julian is also doing awesome. We meet with him every time we go to Lezhe and he's come to church two weeks in a row now. We had a great lesson with him after church on Sunday where we taught the plan of Salvation. He understands everything we teach super well and is so ready to do anything we invite him to do. He's already in 1 Nephi 12 and he said he's felt something special reading the Book of Mormon and he loves it. So in that lesson we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! Lezhe really needs some solid members and he has the potential to become an amazing church leader. He's so awesome.

Well that's about it for me this week. Lots of amazing experiences, and a lot of work. I've been thinking back on my mission this week and I just feel so grateful that God let me serve here at this time. He's done so many amazing things through me and he's put me into contact with so many special people. It's an indescribable feeling.

I love you all! Have a great week! Zoti ju bekoftë!
Elder Gardiner 

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