Saturday, January 1, 2011

Life in Albania - Week 12

I wont be using good grammar in this email because i am at an internet local that has a stupid albanian keyboard haha and it is a pain to use the shift and apostrophe buttons. So anyways! It was awesome to talk to you all on saturday! I will start with the questions.

1. When will Elder Knowles get a new companion? I’m assuming he comes and lives in your apartment until he gets one?

He gets a new companion at transfers which is in 1 week! Yeah, he is living with us for this week.

2. Does this mean that you have a new batch of missionaries coming out to Albania? If so – how many?

We have one Elder and one Sister coming from the MTC at this transfer! Pretty cool stuff.

3. Did you get the box with the stocking in it?

Yes ma'am! Thank you so much! I loved the packages that I have gotten so far!

4. Are you teaching any new people?

We are teaching both areas of vlore now because we now have Elder Nollz people too. So we haven't been doing too much finding anymore cause we have more member and investigator work from the other elders now. In fact, Elder Warburton is now the first counselor of the branch for the next week and a half since Hikson left. So we have a lot of branch work we have to do now too (the senior couple that is the branch president doesnt speak albanian and so we have to translate a ton)

5. If we come to Albania – would it be a long way to go over to Italy too?

Italy is about an hour boat ride from Vlore. I would be down to go to Italy but I refuse to go to Greece. Greece is the Michigan for Albania.

6. When are the next transfers?

1.5 weeks

7. What temple would the people in Albania go to?

Right now the closest temple is in Frankfort Germany but soon will be the Rome Italy temple.

8. Is President Neil basically over the church there in Albania? Like normally you would have a Stake President over a stake –but I think Albania is just like a big district. Is he considered the District President too – or is there someone else that serves in that capacity?

We have a district president here in Albania too but I am pretty sure President Neal is somewhere up there. I really am not sure how it works. I will get back to you on that one.

9. About how many youth members are there in Albania?

maybe about 250. thats just a rough guess

10. Has the weather stayed warm or did it get cold again?

It was a little colder today but not too bad. It gets pretty cold when it rains but the weather here is unpredictable.


I dont have too much to say today since we just talked about two days ago. It was pretty awesome being able to skype each other. I am sorry that the quality for you wasnt that great. I think it was just the mix between crumby camera and internet connection because i was able to see all of you perfectly and it was moving perfectly smooth too. Looks like i got the better end of the deal. There isnt much else to say though. Things are going good. I am excited for new years! I hear that new years here is absolutely crazy. I will take pictures for you all. Ashley, You asked if it was okay to send me pictures. Yepppp. Do it! I love seeing pictures. So yeah,

You all heard the highlights of this past week from me on Saturday and we are going to make this a short internet time so that we can go do some other fun stuff today. Sorry that this email is kinda lame. Evan, I got the message that you wanted to talk to me. I wish I could have talked to you too man. I miss all of the stupid stuff we would do haha. dont worry though. There is plenty of time when I get home to do stupid stuff! I dont know, maybe something to do with shopping carts and some place back in the country? Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas. Christmas was good here. Yesterday at church we got to watch the Christmas broadcast for the second hour of church. It was really good. It was in Albanian. I like it in Albanian and I can understand most of it but sometimes I just wish I could hear the apostles and prophets real voices instead of their translator haha. Oh well. It was good.

Elder Nollz family sent little christmas gifts for all of the kids in the branch. It was really cool. All of the kids were going crazy. I am pretty sure that it was the only gift that most of those kids got for Christmas. They were all so gosh dang happy. It made me realize how blessed I have been. When we got to go to Tirana this past week, so many members came that dont normally come to church. It was cool to see how many people are actually in the Church here. It is a little sad though to see that a lot of them are inactive. I think that is a huge reason that member retention lessons are emphasized as big as they are here in Albania. The church is so small here that checking up on members often is very important. They dont have alot of member friends to turn to. One of the little boys here in the branch named Geri has told me quite a few times that i am his best friend. He always follows me around ha. He is really cute. It is a little sad to think that I am his best friend though.

I had a lot of cool experiences this week with prayer. There were a few times where I was able to see my prayers answered within moments. I know that Heavenly Father is listening to us always. He cares about us so much and I think a lot of times he is just waiting to bless us. He has so many blessings just waiting for us if we would only just ask him for them. I will stop ranting on now but I am going to send you all some pictures from the past week. Have a good week! I love you guys so much. Keep on Keepin on.

-Elder Eckel

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