Thursday, December 23, 2010

P-day and Denisa's Baptism

Looks like Austin and his zone had some fun on bumper cars for a P-day!

Baptism Pictures

Here are some pictures of Austin and Elder Warburton from Alseda's baptism.

Life in Albania - Week 11

YES it is true! i get to see all of you this Saturday! We got an email from president saying that it is now allowed! We are all confused too but I'm not complaining! I'm super excited. It's a Christmas miracle!

1. How did Alseda’s baptism go? Did you get to perform the baptism? Do you guys do the confirmation at the baptism or do you do it the next day at church?

Alseda's baptism was AWESOME! Yeah, I got to perform the baptism and it was a very cool experience. I was obviously a little nervous to do it since it was in Albanian but we did it perfectly the first time through and it was a beautiful baptismal service. The talks were great, and her testimony after the baptism was amazing. The spirit was very strong. Elder Warburton confirmed her the next day at church. It was also a very great experience. I got to stand in on it and the blessing was beautiful. She is going to be a very strong member here in Vlore.

2. Is everything still on track for Eva to be baptized on Christmas Day? Are her parents members?

Yes, Everything is still on track for Eva this saturday. Her parents are not members. Her older Sister is Denisa.

3. How has teaching English for the family with two boys gone where you were able to tell them a bit about the Book of Mormon? Are you going to their home to teach English, or are they coming to the English Class held at the church?

That family ended up going on a vacation last minute and we haven't got to meet them yet. They should be getting back soon! Pray for them!

4. What time do you want to talk on Christmas Day

Because Elder Warburton's family lives in Utah, we figure that 6pm our time is when we will call. It will be 12pm (noon) your time. Get on maybe 15 minutes early just in case but that is when we will be coming to the internet cafe. I am going to make sure my skype works! If it doesn't I will make a new one and just send you a message at 6pm.

5. Do you have a Christmas Program at church like we do here in the states?

We do not. We don't really have a primary program at all. Primary is more like babysitting. There are only 2 or 3 primary aged kids. Most of the branch is made up of age 12-18 year olds unfortunately. We need more families. We don't even have a primary teacher because there aren't enough adults to fill the positions. It's pretty sad.

6. Do Muslims join in Christmas festivities? Like would they hang up lights? Isn’t Albania like 70% Muslim? Does that impact the whole Christmas Celebration thing?

Everybody here seems to at least recognize the Holiday. A lot of people have lights up but it's a lot different than home. There aren't really houses here. So people hang lights on their balcony of their apartment haha. We are in two completely different worlds ha. You will be astonished when you come here. I think it will blow your mind. But yes, A lot of Albanians are "Muslim". They say they are Muslims because their great great grandparents were Muslim. During Communism, religion wasn't allowed and so there was a good chunk of time where there was no religion at all. Now people just kind of grasp onto what their ancestors did. But there are some real Muslims here too. It's just hard because you can never tell if they are the real ones or if they are using it as the excuse to get two guys in suits away from their door.

7. Do they do any celebration of New Years in Albania?

OH YEAH! haha I'm pretty excited. We aren't even allowed to leave our apartment on new years because it's so dangerous. And we come in early the day before. I guess the fireworks and other explosives are given out like candy. I'm pretty excited. I will take pictures for sure! There are going to be fireworks EVERYWHERE! and there aren't really laws here which makes it even better. People can light them off wherever they want haha.

8. How often do you have Zone Conferences?

Every 3 months

9. Did you see the email from Br. Petterborg about the boy’s eye? He has contacted the boy’s doctor, but I don’t think his doctor has responded yet. But if you read Br. Petterborg’s email, he thinks that there may be an easier fix – at least for now. He also emailed President Smith and President Smith did respond thanking him. I will keep you posted if I hear anything else.

Yes, Thank you a ton. You don't know how much this family loves you and they don't even know you!

10. Do you think Bird Man lives anywhere?

haha I think so. He has clothes and stuff and he changes. I think he has some mental problems but like he is actually a really nice guy.

11. What do people do there when they don’t have a job? For example, here in the great USA – the government pretty much takes care of you if you don’t work (not that I agree with this.) Does that happen over there too?

You are pretty much on your own. It's a lot different here.

12. Do you eat at people’s homes very often? If not – do you usually go home to eat or eat out?

We probably eat at peoples homes 1 or 2 times a month. Believe it or not, it is about the same price (sometimes even less) to eat out than to eat at home. We do a little of both. We like making pasta but it's more expensive to eat pasta than to eat out. There are some really awesome Albanian traditional food places here. DELICIOUS!

13. I remember reading something about the people over there closing their businesses for longer lunch times. Like it is typical here to do an hour for lunch. I think I remember them having 2 hour lunches or so. Is that true?

It is about 2 to 3 hours. I hear in the summer lunch is more like 4 hours. But yeah, It is crazy. People don't really have employees here which means the owner of the store is the worker. They go home for lunch and when they come back they come back. They take as much time as they want haha. It's crazy. You can never trust a store to be open from like 12:30 to 5.

14.Alexis got a letter from Brent this week. It was pretty funny. He said you are the only person that writes him – I hope he is kidding because haven’t you only written him once???

I have been writing Brent back and forth. He actually just sent me a letter and a tie! I'm gonna kill him! haha He sent me pictures a few weeks ago and then I commented that I liked his tie and then guess what comes in his next letter?! His freaking TIE!!! and I couldn't even do a dang thing about it ha I'm in Al-freaking-Bania! So don't worry. I am putting together a box right now for him. I bought him 2 ties and a belt. And some Albanian candy. He is getting pay back now!

15.I’m really excited about Alseda getting baptized – did it happen? How did it go?

Yeah! It was awesome.

16.Are you going to have another baptism on Christmas?

We actually have 2 baptisms planned for Christmas! Eva is one of them!

17.How did you end up touching Birdman? (Shake hands, give him a big hug, etc.?!).

Birdman came up and brushed up against me haha. It was actually pretty scary.

18.So does your companion and the other elders all talk to their families at the same time?

We all talk on Christmas but it's at whatever time we decide with the familes/ whatever is best for our schedules.

19.How has your Christmas season been?! Sad it's almost over!! So did you end up watching the Christmas devotional?

Christmas season has been good but really weird! It was really hot again today! This weather is freaking me out! Yesterday it was like 30 degrees and then today it was like 75. Hmmm. I don't really know what's going on ha. We did not watch the Christmas Devotional. I am kinda bummed about it but oh well. Hopefully when I get back.

20. Have I gotten all of my packages?
I haven't gotten any of them yet because mail doesn't get sent to Vlore. It goes to Tirana and then we don't get mail until either someone from vlore goes to Tirana or someone from Tirana comes to Vlore. But we are going to Tirana this Thursday so I should be getting quite a few packages hopefully! Thanks a TON! I received a letter from the Bakers again! Mrs. Baker! I'm going to come home from Albania and smack you if you keep spending that much money to send me letters! I promise you that all you need to do is send me the family updates! haha I love you for going the extra mile but that is EXPENSIVE! I also received a Dear Elder from Sarah Pratt! and Also a BUNCH of letters from the Young Women! Thank you all SO SO SO Much. But guess which young woman didn't write me a letter?! ALEXIS GOSH DANG ECKEL! haha I was getting so excited to see yours and it never came! haha You are LAMEEEE! I also didn't get one from Dayna Miller! haha.


Hey family! I sent a ton of pictures and a video today and that took a lot of time. Sorry I can't talk very long cause we have stuff we need to do pretty soon and I get to talk to you all on skype in like 5 days! YESS!!!! But basically I just want to fill you in a little on the week. We had two days of training on the new preach my gospel principles. Then the baptism on saturday was awesome. It made everything I have ever done in the church worth everything. I can't even explain it. It was amazing to see someones life change the way Alseda's life changed. Even her physical appearance changed to a happier person. The scripture that says How great will be your joy if you even bring save one soul unto me (or however it goes) it DEAD ON right. I can't even explain it. Being a missionary is awesome. it is also WAY HARD. But it's worth it. The language is coming along. I have to go but I will Talk to you all on saturday at noon (your time) I love you!
-Elder Eckel

ps. Kend, I don't know when I'm going to finish taking notes on the conference talks! I'm trying to hurry! It definitely won't be done before Christmas! Happy Holidays freak! Peace outtttttttttttt!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Life in Albania - Week 10

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing great. I love reading your emails. It sounds like you all have been having some fun lately. Especially Ashley with her exams! haha I'm guessing Kendy is going through the same thing with her exams too! I'm way happy that I don't have to worry about those things for a while. Speaking of Kendra Lou, I got your Ensign's this week! Thanks a bum load! I will get going on that as soon as I can. Alexis, I remember how great it was to see the words Perrysburg Public Schools - 2 Hour Delay or Closed run across the screen thinking that life is amazing..... Until about 9 O clock the next night when you realize that there is a project due the next day or something haha. Yeah Now i'm more realizing the other side of the whole bad weather thing that I never understood why Mom and Dad were so mad about the bad weather (because of work). When it is pouring rain here and freezing cold, I understand that although it may be great for those who don't have to do certain things because of the weather, I am still walking around outside in the rain looking for people to talk to. People don't really like to stop and talk when it's raining. ha. Anyways, I will get to the questions.

1. What is the name of the little Country where they speak Albanian that you said Elder Nelson dedicated right before you got out there? Do you think that will become a part of your mission? Have they said anything about it?

Kosovo. We don't know anything yet but the rumors going around the mission are that some elders here are going to be the ones that go to open it! That would be awesome!

2. Have you been able to teach Egi this week?

Nope.. It's really sad. He has completely stopped coming to everything and doesn't have a phone to contact. We have no idea where he has been. We have talked to his Cousin Rinald who was recently baptized but he hasn't been able to get Egi to come to anything. I don't know what happened. Things were going really well I thought.

3. You didn’t mention anything about Eva – except that things hadn’t gone well. Is she still scheduled to get baptized on Christmas Day?

Oh, We are talking about two different Eva's ha. Sorry. There aren't that many names here in Albania (compared to America) so a lot of people have the same names haha. Eva the little girl is still getting baptized on the 25th. The older Eva on the other hand hasn't been coming to anything anymore either. I don't know how serious she really was with learning.

4. Are you feeling better? Did you have to take any medicine? What was wrong with you?

I'm doing much better now ha. I think I might have eaten something that wasn't so good if you know what I mean? ha I spent some quality time in the restroom. (gross ha)

5. You mentioned the guys on the street that you have talked to in the past and this time you had a really good conversation with them. Are they just visiting with friends or do you see them on the street while they are working? It just sounds kind of weird that you “see them on the street.”

It's kind of a culture thing. I see a TON of the same people everyday. This city isn't that large and a lot of people don't have jobs and something they just do culturally is walk down the main street through town and there are tons of little coffee places everywhere and we see the same people at their favorite coffee places and they call us over to talk. I don't know if that makes sense?

6. You mentioned in your last letter that you went to Seminary Class. Is that Seminary Class like we have here? Is it more like Home Study where they have it once a week? Do you go every week?

Yeah seminary is once a week and we try to have one set of missionaries there every time. You have to remember that the longest members of the church here in Vlore have been members for 6 years and so a lot of times they need the missionaries help. The seminary class is great though! There are probably 10-15 people that come weekly. it's awesome.

7. You also said that all the investigators in the class are elders/sisters. This didn’t make sense! You mean everyone in the class are the missionaries?

woops sorry. I didn't mean to say that. I meant to say that when one of the Elders or sisters here have an investigator, it is almost as if they are everyone’s investigator because we all teach each others investigators a lot.

8. Did you get any pictures of the castle? Are there lots of castles there? Do you get to go inside of them?

I got some pictures there at the castle. I haven't seen many but I hear there are a few. The one we went to last week was more like a castle wall and so we could just walk in. It was really cool though.

9. Have you had any more knives pulled on you or been beat up lately?

Haha nope. We get hazed occasionally but it's not too bad.

10. Do they do Christmas Trees over there and all the same sorts of decorations that we do?

They have had a lot more Christmas decorations than I had expected but it's not like home. They have some cool lights though.

11. when you go on splits with your District Leader – is that in your area or is that somewhere else? Do you have to travel far to go on splits? Will you ever find out how Irma is doing?

Our district is only in the city of Vlore and Vlore isn't that large. It only takes us about 30 minutes to walk to the other Elders house. So it's not too far. I will hopefully get to see Irma progress!

12. Shirt size:14.5 - 32


I don't have a ton of time to write today but I will try and get you all caught up on what's going on over here! I do have some bad news though. I guess it's not bad news but kinda disappointing. I can't do video skyping for Christmas anymore. President sent us an email saying that we can't do video skype anymore. LAME! oh well ha. We can still do Audio skype though which is still cool because it's free! So I will still do that. I hope I can remember my user name and password for my Skype. I think I'm already friends with Alexis on skype so we should be okay there. Anyways! I will talk a little about this week!

So last Monday night, I actually TOUCHED bird man haha. It was kinda a funny experience. Birdman came up to us while we were taking money out of the ATM. A little scary ha. A lot scary. But he didn't try to take money. Anyways. Tuesday we went back to that woman who said her sons wanted to learn some English. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and then her Husband came in and asked us a ton of questions about the Book of Mormon. It was really cool. Then afterwards, he drove us to their house and we met their sons. They seemed really nice and they set up some meetings with us. Hopefully they will be interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon. And also we got to do service on Tuesday morning where we painted a fence at a mental hospital, it was pretty cool. Wednesday we had English class that went really well. Alseda (the girl who was having problems with her family allowing her to come to church) got permission to be baptized! She is getting baptized this Saturday! I am so excited for her! It's amazing. She asked me to be the one to baptize her. It's really cool because we have got to teach her a lot of lessons. She is going to be an amazing member. She comes to EVERYTHING and came to this seminary super saturday thing we had two days ago and had ALL of the scripture mastery memorized. None of our members even had it memorized haha. She is legit. anyways, It is an exciting time in Vlore. We have 5 or 6 baptisms planned before this month ends. Overall it was a good week. We did some tracting and didn't really find anyone. Those are the days that are really hard for me. It's hard not to get discouraged but it's okay. I know everything will pay off.

Dad, thanks a TON for doing the memory stick thing for me. I realize how much of a pain that must have been. Thanks! I'm glad to hear little blizzard is alive and kicking! I actually saw a dog just like him this week! It was so cute. Just imagine me talking in the voice I talk to blizzard but in Albanian haha. Yep. It was following us down the street. hahaha I am going to die when I hear "O holy Night" haha. That's hilarious! Sounds like your talk went well! Oh and if you could throw some index cards in the next box you send that would be awesome. It makes it way easier to memorize words! It doesn't have to be a ton but yeah. Thanks! Seeing Youtube on a TV must be pretty cool! haha I think it's funny that you watch those videos of mine. Are you talking about the behind the scenes one of my old album where Eric Jones is talking in the video? haha!? Yeah I don't even remember what else is in that video but I'm pretty sure it has me doing a ton of lighting things on fire and blowing stuff up! Pretty typical Austin and Evan things to do haha.

Mom, sounds like you have been having a good time lately. I am jealous that you get to hang out with Mrs. Baker so much these days! I miss the whole Baker family! I was actually just thinking about how Evan would die at how funny some of the people are here. People do some really funny things here. Evan Baker if you are reading this, you better find a way to come with my family when they come to Albania! You would love this place! It's amazing. Anyways, Mom. I went to the Rucaj family's house last night. They are the one with the boy with the eye problem. It was a very sad experience. Telling a boy that he needs to get his eye removed is a very sad and hard thing to do. I will send your work email an email after this email with some more information we got last night. I really hope things can work out. They are such an incredible family. Seeing the faces of his parents when we told them the news was one of the most humbling/sad/emotional experiences I have ever had. It was so crazy to see the love they have for their son in their eyes.

Alexis- I have not gotten anything from Carter yet! Has he sent something?! That's fun that you are getting your college stuff back! I hope you get in to BYU!!!! Nick Algretti is talking to you? That's awesome. I love that kid. I think he is going on his mission soon.

Ashley- Congrats on passing that exam! I don't remember the quote exactly but I remember you saying at one time that you are Ashley Eckel and you Rock exams haha. Anyways, I miss you and the whole fam. I can't wait to talk to you guys for Christmas! Keep it real everyone!

Sorry that this was so short but I can't talk very long today. It is FREEZING here in Albania right now! I mean not as cold as it is in Ohio or Utah I'm guessing but when all you are wearing is suit pants, the wind blows right through it! It's cold ha. And my hands are frozen to death ha. Well I love you all! Keep on keepin on! Ask me more questions to answer for next time! I hope that this wasn't too boring of an email! I'm doing great. Thank you all for your prayers!

-Elder Eckel

Monday, December 6, 2010

Life in Albania - Week 9

You are probably wondering why the title of my email is "And my father dwelt in an umbrella". Well, I was reading the scriptures in Albanian this past week with Elder Warburton and I read it in Albanian first and then go back and translate it to English to him. Well, I know the word for Umbrella because it rains here ALL the time ha. Well, Turns out that the word for umbrella and tent are exactly the same in Albanian. It was pretty funny when I was translating that verse. I said "And my father dwelt in an...... Um, Elder Warbuton. Why does it say Umbrella?" haha Yeah. Now I know. Çadër is the word ha. So yeah. I will begin with the questions!

1. Will you get to see the Christmas Broadcast? If so, when? Will it be translated in Albanian?

I don't know if we will get to see it or not. I am pretty positive it won't be translated into Albania in the near future. We didn't even have all of conference translated.

2. How do you know what to teach when you teach the English classes? Has the church put together a teaching program so you know what to teach?

The church does have an English program put together but it is.... okay. I am sure they have a better program for the spanish speaking missionaries or other popular languages. The Albanian one is very sub par. We normally create our own lessons using vocab that we choose and then we use the church's lesson plans for teaching concepts and then kinda do our own things with it.

3. How many people usually attend the English Classes?

We have anywhere between 5-10 people in our english class every session. We only teach the intermediates. The sisters teach beginners english and the other elders teach advanced. There are quite a few that go to beginners english and one or two people that go to advanced.

4. How do people know about the English Classes? Do you hand things out on the street or what?

We passed out fliers a ton when I first got here but now the english class is coming to an end in the next few weeks. We are going to start another one up again soon. We don't have it as a continuous thing because then we would never have new people coming. If we have an "end" to it and then a "beginning" to it, people will actually come. They are more likely to come if they think it is just beginning because they don't want to feel like they have missed anything. We had A TON of people showing up to the english class the first 2 weeks and then the rest that stay for the weeks after that are the ones worth teaching ha. It is actually a really great way of finding people.

5. Where do you teach the English Classes?

At the church building. I will send a picture of the church building sometime.

6. We bought you some new white shirts from Joseph A. Banks. Can you look at one of your other Joseph A. Banks shirts and tell me what the neck and sleeve size it? They looked it up in the computer – but we just wanted to be sure we had the right size before we sent them.

I will put it in my next letter home. I don't have one with me right now. sorry.. But yes, I would totally be down for the Melodica! ha that would be awesome. Also, I don't remember if I said peanut butter of not, but chunky peanut butter would be delicious!

7. Have you liked living in your new apartment?

The new apartment is WAY nice. I really do like it a lot. The only problem we have with it is that our water pressure isn't the best. But other than that, It was a very good change of apartments. Our new Landlord has been more than amazing with us. He treats us like his children. It's pretty great.

8. How are your investigators doing? I think their names are Egi and Eva?

I will go into it a little bit later but they are actually not doing well.

9. Have you found any new investigators?

Nope.. :(

10. How is the Albanian coming? I know you mentioned you are trying to move to the next level, do you feel like that is happening?

The language is coming a lot better. I have actually been told a few times this week that my language is getting better by certain people. Elder Warburton is such a huge help to me. He is one of the best speakers in country right now from what I hear. And he only has 9 months in the country. There are people leaving this next month who aren't much better than him. I am way blessed to have him as my trainer.


So, it has been a pretty tiring week. I have been feeling kinda crumby the whole week too (health wise). Things are going good though. On Monday night we had a member retention lesson and then afterwards we were walking down the boulevard street contacting and some men who were drinking coffee called us over. We sat down and talked to them for a long while. They were some of the same guys who talked to us before. They seemed much more interested in the Gospel this time. We were able to talk a lot more about the church with them and I think it was a very good experience. They really enjoy talking to us whenever any of them see us on the street. I don't know if they are completely ready yet for the Gospel, but I do think they will be ready eventually. Maybe not when I'm still here in Vlore or even in Albania but I really do think one of the guys (Klajd) will eventually take the lessons from the missionaries. We had a talk given to us in zone conference about how normally it takes a person 7 positive experiences with our Church/ Church Members before someone is ready/takes the lessons. Hopefully we are moving people up on that scale every time we talk to them.

Tuesday we got the key to our new apartment. We didn't really have time to do any moving or anything because we had a busy schedule for the day. We had our weekly district meeting and then we had a Lesson planned with Egi. Unfortunately he didn't show up. He doesn't have a phone and so we have to contact him through his cousin and his cousin had no way to find out where Egi was. We also had a lesson with the Kokaj family. They are members here in Vlore. Wednesday we did a TON of moving. It was a huge pain. We woke up early cause we thought we could get it out of the way in the morning and then have the rest of the day to do finding activities. We were wrong. It took FOREVER. We had the other Elders over to help and we had the senior couple come help us because they have a car. It took us all day and it made me really sore hah. We had a lot more stuff that we had to move than we thought. And because we had to be out of the other apartment by the 1st of December we needed to get it all done. We also had to clean up the one we were leaving. We weren't even able to finish everything before we had English class. English class went well. We had Ganiel (a church member) come and he bore his testimony to the whole class and told his conversion story. It was awesome. Then after that we had a member retention lesson.

Thursday, we were supposed to have an exchange with the Assistants to the president but that didn't end up working. We finished everything with the new apartment and giving the key and finish cleaning the old apartment because our old Land lord devil woman was freaking out. Friday was pretty good. We did our weekly planning and then went out tracting. Then after lunch we had Seminary class. It was AWESOME. Ela is the teacher and she is probably 17 or 18. I don't really know. But she taught a really awesome lesson and did a very good job of bringing the spirit into the class. There were two or three investigators there which is awesome. It's kinda funny because here in Vlore, all the investigators in the branch are pretty much all of the elders/sisters. We probably have just as many teaching opportunities/lessons with the other Elders and the Sisters as they do. It's really cool because you get to know everyone and see how their lives change for the better. Saturday I was on exchanges with our District leader Elder Hixson. It was really great. He is in the group that is leaving right now and so I take every chance I get to learn from him. He always teaches me a great deal. The exchange was a really good experience for me. We had a lesson with Irma (one of their investigators). It was great! I talked in a lot of the lesson and we asked her if she would be baptized if she came to find the Book of Mormon to be true. She said yes. It is so awesome because the Book of Mormon is the proof of our Religion. If the Book of Mormon is true, Our Church is the Church of God. If it's not true, our religion is fake. And the promise in the back of the book is incredible. If you read, and pray to know that it is true, God will tell you it is true. If only more people would try the experiment.

Sunday was good. We have a family in the branch and their last name is Rokaj. They have a son who just got back from his mission in Italy this week. He is going to help Missionary work here in Vlore a TON. I am super excited to work with him. He gave an awesome testimony yesterday at church talking about how tracting and street contacting are incredibly time consuming and very rarely successful. BUT when you work through the members, you can find more investigators and have more success. I think it kind of helped the members realize that they need to play a bigger role in missionary work. He said a lot of awesome stuff but I think the spirit was really strong during that part. I hope the members start to work with us more.

Today we went to a Castle at the top of the city and ran around and did some fun stuff. We were chasing cows around and then dropped a watermelon off of a castle haha. It was really cool. And WAY beautiful up there. It looked over the whole city and there were no people up there so it was really peaceful. Now I'm in an internet Local emailing all of you! So now you pretty much know everything about this week haha. Anyways, my memory is pretty bad so I can't really remember what else happened this week. I wrote Kend today and I'm going to try to write Brian. Brian I got your letter this week! Thanks a ton! It was great to hear from you. Evan, Did you get my letter? I sent a letter to you like 3 weeks ago I think? I don't know. You couldn't have missed it if it came haha. The whole thing was covered with Hannah Montana stickers. I hope Brent got a letter I sent him a while back too. I am still waiting for a response from him. Dad, where did you put the TV in the house? So how is Arkansas looking this year? Are The Buckeyes gonna win? I hope so.

Mom, I'm glad you are getting to hang out with your best friend again (Mrs. Baker) haha. You two have had too much time away from each other. I miss that whole family so gosh dang much! I love hearing about the Bakers when I get her weekly letters! But Seriously, Mrs. Baker! You can't be spending 7 dollars every time you send me a letter! That is WAY too expensive! You should just leave out all the other stuff and just send your family updates! I really did appreciate the other stuff but I promise, the most important part of those letters are hearing about you and your family! So, family, I miss you all and love you all so much. I thank God every night for all of the amazing blessings that He has given me, Especially for such an amazing set of parents and the two BEST sisters in the world. I can't imagine not having Alexis and Ashley, JD and big Karen and Cory.. Oh and of course little Blizzard. And also the most amazing friends in the world. I am so spoiled! Anyways, I don't have much time left and I need to email President his weekly email still! Peace out everyone! I love you all! JD, You are in my prayers. I hope your family is doing well in these hard times. We are so blessed to know that you will get to see your grandfather again. Oh and I also got a package from the primary class!!!! It was beautiful! Tons of amazing Christmas drawings! Thank you Perrysburg Primary class. You guys ROCK! ha. Later!

-Elder Eckel

Albania News!

Here is a fun article I found about missionary work in Albania! Maybe Austin will meet this woman one day!