What is up!?? Albania is awesome (as always) I will start with the questions!
1. You mentioned the pizza was amazing. What is amazing about it? Is it the crust, the sauce? Does it taste like American pizza?
I'm not sure what makes it so good. The Albanians just know how to make a good pizza. The place that I really like is family owned and they have AMAZING pizza. There is also a place that we went to in Fier (a different city) and it is called Pizzaroma and they have the only thick crust pizza I have heard of so far in Albania. It was really good too. The food here is pretty much top notch. I'm sure it's nothing like something Ashley could make but still, it comes close :)
2. How are your investigators doing? I know you mentioned the one girl was getting baptized at the end of November. Would that be this coming weekend?
Well, one of them is doing amazing... The other one we haven't been able to contact.. I will talk more about them in the body of the email. But yes, Denisa and her little sister are getting baptized in the upcoming days. Exciting?! I think so!
3. Were you able to send anything to Kendy for her birthday?
I sent a letter.. But its really hard to send packages from here. I am iffy about it because I have heard from missionaries that they have sent packages home that never made it home... so yeah ha.
4. Any updates on the boy’s eye?
Not yet.. We are working on it though! I will try and keep you updated with any news that comes about. Thanks!
5. Have you gotten the package we sent yet?
I did! Thank you so much! It was so awesome to see some American candy! haha I may or may not have already eaten most of it haha. I am seriously amazed/super confused about how you got the iPod in that sock!? The socks were still stuck together. Like I couldn't get it out of the socks! haha I had to take them apart and stuff. Did you staple the socks together? I was thoroughly impressed. I forgot how ancient that ipod was haha. It is pretty hilarious. The package came un opened which was nice too because all the other packages that the sisters here have gotten and stuff have been pre opened. THANKS A TON! :) It was pretty awesome.
6. Will you have a Thanksgiving meal?
Yes, We are going to the mission home in Tirana for a thanksgiving meal. Our mission president is pretty awesome. They take care of us over here.
7. Are most of the elders and sisters in the Albanian mission from America? I know the one sister that was in your group was from another country – but are most of them from the U.S.?
Most of us are from the states but there is sister Leit from Denmark, Elder Fej from England, and Elder (Crazy last name that I can't even guess how to spell) from France.
8. Do you mind if I let Ashley borrow your scout shirt??? Ha Ha – pretty sure you will tell me she can keep it!! She needs it now that she is a cub scout leader! I will make sure she gets a picture of herself in it so we can send it to you!
haha Yes, Ashley can HAVE my scout shirt. and yeah, if it becomes a hassle to hang on to after she is done with it, she can just burn it ha.
9. Any more ideas for things you would like for Christmas? What do other missionaries ask for??
I can't really think of anything else..Hmm. I will try and if anything comes across my mind, i will write it in my planner for next weeks email. Time is flying by huh?
10. Aunt Donna, No haha Elder Warburton has no direct association with the Warburton bread in England ha but he says probably somewhere down the line there would be a connection. Sorry!
11. Austin, Are you still super awesome and like the coolest person ever?
Yes. Of course. I can't believe you would think other wise!
12. On a scale of 1-10 how beautiful would you rate your ties.
I would have to give them an 11
So, it was a good week. The first transfer is officially over and now the news you have all been dying to hear. Where is Elder Eckel going to be serving for his second transfer? (drum roll please)......................................... I am staying in Vlore!!!!!! YESSSS! I am pretty excited about this. Not many big changes were made for this transfer. Elder Warburton and I are together once more! I would have been pretty sad to leave Egi( Rinalds Cousin). Plus Vlore is the warmest city in the Mission. And during the winter, it's pretty nice to be here compared to other places from what I hear. Next transfer either Elder Warburton will leave Vlore and I will stay, or I will leave and he will stay. We don't have to worry about that for another 6-7 weeks though. Okay, I will go through this week now. Oh real quick! I have been keeping track of how many old men have kissed me since I've been here. I'm at 5 right now! Yummy! haha That is one of the cultural things that I don't know if I will ever get quite used to.
Tuesday November 16th- We had our first real lesson with Egi. He is a very smart boy and has an incredible knowledge of the Bible. Previously, we had committed him to reading 3rd Nephi 11 and he accidentally read 1 Nephi 11. Turns out he LOVED the chapter haha. He thought it was beautiful and he was understanding all of the symbols in Lehi's Dream. AMAZING? Yes! His cousin Rinald came to the lesson with us (it's always best to have a member in on the lesson with you). The spirit was definitely there for the lesson. He was already talking about getting baptized. We talked about the restoration and he already had a solid knowledge on that as well. (I'm guessing from his cousin). Then we did a street table later that night. Basically what a street table is, is where we have a drying rack (for laundry) and put a sheet over it to try and make it not look so trashy haha and then we put a bunch of pamphlets (restoration, plan of salvation, and gospel of Jesus Christ) and english fliers and some Book of Mormon's out on the table. Then we stop people and talk to them and give out the fliers and stuff. We got a few numbers and talked to quite a few people but there is kinda a funny story from this night. This crazy man who was wearing a tiny light blue swim suit bottom and then a crazy color rain coat (it wasn't raining) came up from behind us. It was dark out and this man was wearing sun glasses. He came up and so I started telling him about the display we had but he didn't look like he was even acknowledging the fact that I was talking. He started moving all of our pamphlets and fliers and books around as if he was shuffling a deck of cards or something for a magic trick and then he just walked away hahahah. It was hilarious. I just looked at Elder Warburton and we just laughed.
Wednesday November 17- Rained alot. One cool experience we had was after English class when we got to the Religion part of class, Elder Warburton and I each shared a scripture we liked and why we liked it. Then Alseda (one of the sisters Investigators) wanted to share her favorite scripture. Then Marsel shared his favorite scripture. It doesn't sound that cool but the spirit was way strong and It was a really cool experience. To see an Investigator share a scripture from the Book of Mormon that has changed her life was just incredible. And Egi was there which made it even better. Here is a crazy statistic. 3 people from our English class have either gotten baptized or have a baptismal date. And Egi is about to have a baptismal date. Cool stuff! It's cool to see the seeds we planted grow!
Thursday November 18- We had a zone training in Fier. It is an unsaid competition for who has the coolest tie when the zone gets together. I obviously won haha :) But no, the training in Fier was awesome. It really made me think of ways I could be a better missionary and got me re-motivated to just go out and serve. Not that I wasn't motivated before but it is always good to get that re-charge.
Friday Novmeber 19- We had the Fier Training day 2! It was also awesome. It helped my language skills a lot sitting there and speaking Albanian for a few hours straight.
Saturday November 20- Kendy's Birthday! haha It was necessary. I had to sing Happy Birthday in the shower. I sang both versions too (obviously). I even ate a pop tart. It was the closest thing to birthday cake I had! haha P.S. Pop Tarts are really nice to have in packages. I forgot how much I love those things! But yeah. We may have found 2 more potential investigators on Saturday. We met a woman who wants us to come to their house and meet with her 2 sons. They want to learn a little English and she had heard of our church before and knows one of the members. She seemed pretty happy when we told her which church we were with. We also had our 2nd lesson with Egi. We talked about the first half of the Plan of Salvation. It was awesome. He keeps all of his reading and praying commitments. He really loves learning about the Gospel and I am sure that he is feeling the spirit. We are meeting with him again on Wednesday.
Sunday November 21- Church was good. Egi couldn't come though. I think he had a family issue he was dealing with cause he seemed really sad when he said he couldn't come to church. Ganiel gave a really good lesson on the word of wisdom during the second hour. It's too bad he doesn't follow it haha. He is a little rebel youth. He is 18 and is really funny and has a testimony of the church but he likes to be a rebel. It's too bad. But he did give a really good lesson. Then last night we had a member lesson with Samantha and Geri. They are 2 of the youth in our church. They are so awesome. Samantha is 13 and Geri is 11. They are recent converts but SO amazing. Samantha actually had a talk last sunday and it was incredible. She used preach my gospel and gave one of the most powerful talks I've heard. Anyway, we were at their house last night and they speak English really well. It was a good visit. When Samantha was saying the closing prayer, she said "thank you for our jobs..." and Geri right in the middle of the prayer said "We don't have jobs" hahahaIt was really funny.
So yeah, That was our week. It was really good. The work is going good here. I'm glad that you are all doing well. I loved the updates I got from the Baker family! I sent Evan a letter last week! Let me know when he gets it! I think he is going to like the decorations on it haha. Uncle Mike- There is a good scripture to share with your seminary class. Mosiah 5:13. It is a really good scripture that talks about why we should serve God.
Good to hear that the Buckeyes won a close one! haha Dang. I can see Mom getting up and punching the TV! That is super funny. I also miss the phone calls from Ashley either at half time or 4th quarter asking me if we were going to win hahaha. That is way funny. I'm glad that Pryor is staying for next year too! I was hoping he would. Next year we are taking the championship! So basically, I am going to owe KendyTucanos when I get back but hey. I am going to try and get a double or nothing deal saying that if Ohio State wins the championship next year, she will owe me tucanos, but if they don't win it, I will owe her 2 nights of Tucanos haha. I have faith in my buckeyes! Anyway, I'm getting off track here haha. That 3d TV thing sounds pretty crazy! I would love to see how that thing works.
I think it's funny that all the cub scouts are obsessed with JD. I don't blame them. I have the coolest brother in the WORLD! I can also see how JD would love it that they love him haha. I love it when he makes that bashful face that he makes when Alexis shows him that she is obsessed with him. Alexis, I am glad that you are doing well! Sounds like senior year is going good. Is it as good as High School Musical Senior year?! haha. I'm glad you got Elder Knowells letter. He was really excited to hear what your reaction was. I will probably make a up a bigger reaction because you didn't have that big of a reaction. haha. Kendy, If you could send me the Ensign that would be awesome. I would be down for either the temple one or the conference one. Is the Temple one cool? I haven't seen it yet? You can surprise me when you send it :) haha. I hope you had a good birthday! If I recall Andrew McMahon shares the same birthday month as you? I am probably wrong haha I'm trying to remember where his beautiful face was on your calendar. You should be jealous of him haha. I am sending you a letter today. Yes dad, you are going to LOVE the food here. So I'm assuming since you didn't say no, that Evan and Brent coming is a yes?! haha Sweet! This place is so awesome. I loved all the pictures on the ipodhaha. There were some funny pictures on there. I couldn't stop laughing when I saw how Tourist Mom and Dad looked on their segways in DC hahahaha. Gosh. We are so blessed to have such an amazing family. Thank you all for that you do and have done! Keep it real people's I miss you all and pray for you every day. Oh real quick, I notice that I don't shake my head the american way anymore haha. It's pretty crazy. I don't even have to think when I do it anymore. It's pretty weird. I shake my head no for yes and yes for no! YES! haha. Well. I am going to send an email at a different email place in a little bit with a video attatchment of a funny video from this week. I can't do it here because these computers are being lame. It's a video of this little girl in our branch named Saraja. She was in a fighting mood so she started fighting me. I was pretending to fight her back and stuff and Elder Warburton took a video of it. IT was all fun and games until she took a cheap shot at my tie! how could she! hahaha. It is funny. Anyways. I'm out!