Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life in Albania - Week 8

I'm not going to lie, this was the only day I was excited to see what happened in the Ohio State game over the weekend. I mean, I obviously wanted Ohio State to win those games, but this one was the only one that made it into my head every now and then over the weekend. It's good to be a Buckeye. That's for sure. Okay, I will start with the questions!

1. Did Denisa and her little sister get baptized this past week?

Denisa got baptized on Saturday, I will talk more about that in the body of the email. And her little sister Evan is getting baptized on December 25th!

2. Are you still teaching Egi? How is that going?

We are still teaching Egi. It is going good. We just finished teaching him the Plan of Salvation. He has been really busy with school and family activities lately but he really does love the church so much and comes to every activity that he can. Hopefully we can start finding more frequent visits with him during this week. He is so awesome. It's amazing to watch his testimony grow stronger and stronger each time we see him.

3. Any new investigators?

Unfortunately, no. We have found more investigators for the sisters though! So that's good. Tonight we are calling that woman with the two sons to set up a meeting with them. We couldn't meet with them last week. Keep praying for us to find people!

4. Did you move to your new apartment yet?

Not yet. We are supposed to get the keys to it TODAY! YEAHHHHH! I'm pretty excited. It is such a nice apartment. And we are getting it for a lot less of a monthly rent than the one we are currently in.

5. How many new white shirts do you need? Are they all long sleeved?

Probably just 2 or 3 long sleeved ones. They don't need to be nice ones. I prefer the ones with out the buttoned collars but whatever you can find will work! I also thought of two other things that would be nice in the Christmas package. If you can find a inexpensive pair of leather gloves, that would be nice. If you can't find anything cheap, you could just send me money and I can buy some here. It may be less expensive to do it that way. Things are pretty cheap here. Also, if you were planning on sending ties, don't worry about doing that haha. There are more than enough ties here. But the other thing I am running out of here is envelopes. I normally use the security envelope things. I don't know if that is exactly what they are called but they are the ones that you can't see through? I don't know haa. Thanks!

6. I would like to try Skype for Christmas Day – but maybe you should give us your cell number too in case skype doesn’t work. Do you know about what time you would like to do this on Christmas Day?

Skype should work I think. I will need to know Alexis's skype name that she has. I'm guessing later on in the day would be better for us. We have Eva's baptism that morning and so I think we would probably call sometime in the afternoon. Maybe 4 or 5pm (10 or 11am your time). So yeah, I'm way excited to talk to you all!

7. I am happy for you that you get to stay with Elder Warburton. Is he happy that he gets to stay with you? J

I think we are both way happy to be staying with each other haha

8. Have you ever thought about doing any music on the streets? You know – good wholesome music that would attract attention? Kind of like when you set up your drying rack to hand out pamphlets? Or even maybe doing a song or two after English class to add to the spirit in your class when you get to leave a message at the end? Just wondered!

It is a good idea, We may give it a try. I wish I had my Melodica here haha. I could play some primary songs or something.

9. Are you feeling more fluent with the language?

I'm getting better each day. I mean, I wouldn't say that I'm anywhere near fluent but I can hold my own in a conversation. There are words that I don't know but I know enough words to be able to fill in the words I don't know just from the context. Elder Warburton and I decided that when we are outside of our apartment we are having an English fast for a while. We started it this past week. It's really hard and kind of annoying but it helps a ton. Every night I translate to him from the Albanian Book of Mormon and that helps a ton too. I decided that I really want to take my language skills to the next level which is why we are doing all of these things. I want to be in the position where if President wants me to train someone at 6 months, I can do it. I think it's possible. My trainer is way good and ever since we started only speaking Albanian outside of the apartment, I have been getting way better at understanding people and talking to people. It's pretty amazing.

10. Have you had to give a talk in church yet?

Not yet, but I think I'm next on the back up list. I would totally feel comfortable going up and talking about a church related topic for 5 minutes in Albanian.

11. Are you exercising every day? If so – what are you doing?

Yeah. I do push ups and Ab Ripper X (dad will know what that means haha) and then I do some other exercises with the band thing I have. We don't go running or anything cause Elder Warburton isn't a big runner but if one of my future comps. likes running, I would love to do that.


So yeah, It has been a good week. It was really busy, but good. I have some really cool news too! So Eva, Denisa's little sister, is getting baptized on December 25th and she asked me to baptize her! She is soooo cute. And of course I said yes haha. So my first baptism ever is on Christmas day. Kinda cool! She is going to be an AWESOME member. I love her to death. She is like 9 or 10 and I will try to send a picture as soon as I can. I'm super excited for that. Okay I will go through each day a little bit now.

Tuesday November 23- Woke up at 5am to drive to Tirana. I had to go get this paper there that gives me the "Okay" to stay in the country. It takes FOREVER to drive to Tirana from Vlore. It basically took the whole day to go do that which kinda stinks.. But it was fun because I got to be reunited with my MTC group haha. It was really fun to see them again.

Wednesday November 24- I finished the Book of Mormon in English. We had English class and had a really awesome spiritual lesson with the class. In fact, it lasted almost over an hour of only the spiritual part. It was pretty awesome.

Thursday November 25- Woke up at 3:45am to go to Tirana for Thanksgiving. We had a Zone Conference there with the whole Mission. It was awesome. The "Fringo" group (the new group a.k.a. my group from the MTC) got to bare our testimonies to everyone and then after we bore our testimonies, the group that is "dying" (The ones going home this next transfer) bore their testimonies. It was really cool. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner. AMAZING. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, EVERYTHING that I haven't had in a long time haha. It was weird to be away from family on Thanksgiving though.

Friday November 26- We spent the morning setting up the baptismal font (swimming pool in the chapel) haha for Denisa's baptism. One set of missionaries have to be watching the font fill up the whole time it's being filled because water runs out here (Albania) pretty much by the end of every day. There is only so much water for each building for each day. And once the water runs out, if you have the water on and no water is coming out, it ruins the water pumps and stuff. So we had to stay and wait for the water to run out and then turn it off. Pretty weird huh? We had a lesson with Egi that went well. He is really good at understanding concepts. He loves the scriptures and gets really excited to tell us about what he has read. He hits EVERY detail in that he read ha. It's funny. Then we went to the Ruqaj's house for dinner and to have a lesson to prepare them to go to the Temple (Exciting!) it's always a really big deal for families to go the Temple because the closest temple is in Germany.

Saturday November 27- Denisa got baptized in the morning. It went really well. Probably 20 people showed up! That is more than how many come back home! The youth here love being at church. A lot of times, they like being at church because it means they don't have to be in their home situations because for a lot of them, their home situations aren't great. It's sad. But they love being at church and they always make all visitors feel welcome. They are also very good about volunteering to sit in on lessons with investigators. it's always nice to have members sit in on lessons. We also had a member lesson with the Kokaj family. They are really good people.

Sunday November 28- There were a decent number of people at church considering it is a huge national holiday here in Albania. It is Albania's Independence day. There were a few less people than normal but we still had a few investigators at church which was awesome. Then we had a lesson with Samantha and Geri. They are awesome. We committed Geri to get married in the Temple and to serve a mission haha. He rocks.


Things are good here. We really want to get another investigator though. It's so hard to find people who "receive religion". Everyone you talk to, once they find out you are a missionary, says: "Sorry I don't receive religion". Or "I'm Muslim" but when they say they are Muslim, almost 90% of the time it just means that their great grandparents were Muslim and so they think they have to be Muslim too. Oh well. Things will get better.

So how is school going (Lex, Ash and JD)? How is work going (mom and dad)? Kendy, Have you gotten all my letters? I have sent one every week so use your math skills and add seven days between each one and figure out if you have gotten all of them! I hate the mail system here haha! Alexis, that's pretty awesome that you finally are done with your application. I remember procrastinating a TON on my application haha. Sounds like you all had fun in Nauvoo. I hate missing out on family vacations! ha.

It was funny to hear that the two seats up in front of the movie room were empty for most of the game on saturday. Gosh, I miss football season. Not even watching football but I just miss knowing that it's football season here. Like you know when you walk outside and you can just tell it's a game day? It's not like that here. There are a ton of soccer games but there isn't A DAY for it. Games are on every single night and the bars and coffee shops are full every night of people watching the games. It's kinda cool, but not as cool as real football.

Anyways, I realized how expensive dictionaries are! I bought one dictionary and I still have to buy one more cause the one I bought is only English to Albanian and I want one for Albanian to English too. It's going to cost a total of like 50 bucks! that's ridiculous. So, how are things back home?! I love hearing from you all. Is there anything that you all want for Christmas? I probably wouldn't send it because that is way sketchy to send things from here but I could buy them and hold on to them until I come home? Dad, I will obviously have some ties you can pick from when I get back. You are going to have the coolest ties in the whole Old guys part of church! haha yeah i said Old! But let's be honest, you already have the coolest ties. That's probably why I have stolen like 5 of your ties already haha.

We are running out of time to be here at the Internet cafe but I love you all! Keep it real in Ohio! Oh yeah, if you try to open that video that I sent you last week on the Mac it should open up in iTunes. Have you tried opening it there? If you haven't, try forwarding Alexis the email and have her open it on the Mac. It's a funny video. Speaking of macs, I saw a store in Tirana with Macs. The first macs i have seen here so far. I almost passed out haha. It was great. Anyways, I gotta get going. Keep doing the stuff you should be doing. Read you scriptures and say your prayers and keep Blizzard alive! I gotta see that little booger before he dies. I get nervous every time i get an email that doesn't say he is alive cause sometimes you say "Blizzard is still alive and kicking" and so when his name isn't mentioned I freak out! Don't think you can let his death slip by me haha. If he dies, I wanna know! Ashley, I hope you had fun in California! Thanks for being an awesome family. Go Bucks!

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