Monday, January 10, 2011

Life in Albania - Week 14

Okay, I have SOOOOO much stuff I want to say today but I don't know if I'm going to have enough time. I will try and hurry. P.S. This keyboard I am using is super gross and greasy. And some of the keys don't work well. Too bad ha.
Okay I will start with some questions!

1. So tell us about the new area. What is the weather like there?

I LOVE Elbasan. SOOOO MUCH. It is a city that seems about the same size as Vlore. Maybe a little bigger. It is supposed to be the coldest here in the winter and the hottest in the summer. I hope I will be here for a lot of time. I LOVE the people here and love the area.

2. How was it going to an actual church building?

It is so amazing. Such a blessing. We are so spoiled in America to have church buildings everywhere. I always kinda thought it was weird when people would pray and thank God for the beautiful building we got to meet in back home but I completely understand now. I'm guessing that the people who prayed for that were return missionaries from foreign countries because you have NO idea. This building here is so beautiful I will attach a picture of it with this email.

3. How many people were at church today?

I think it was about 75. We had 7 investigators show up!!!!

4. How is your new companion?

I love him. Elder Vans (Vance) is so awesome. He is from Montana and has 6 months left here in Albania. he is the District leader too.

5. Have you gotten any more of the boxes? If so – how many and who were they from?

I think I have gotten the rest of your boxes! Thanks a ton! I got the flash drive and the shirts, stuff. and more candy! Ha, it was great. I also got a box from the Pumphrey's which was awesome! Thank you SOOOO much! I am wearing those big wool socks right now! they are so warm. When I opened that box, it smelled like Christmas in it! I don’t know how you did it, but it was awesome! ha And I got the beef Jerky from the Lenahans! THANKS A TON. IT was AMAZING! I also got a package from Kendy's family! It was hilarious! I LOVED the card and the candy and the taste test haha I still have no idea what those things were but oh well ha. I also loved the juggling balls haha. My companion knows how to juggle so he is going to have to teach me. Thank you all!

6. Where did Elder Warburton go?

Elder Warburton is in Tirana in the same area that he was in before he came to Vlore. He is loving it.

7. Do you do the same thing where you get a lot of contacts from the street?

We actually have a lot of progressing investigators. 3 of them were here already before I got here but we just found another family on "the road" this week that are now our investigators. They are AWESOME and came to church this week.

8. Do you teach English classes in that area?

Yes, but we are on break right now. We will probably begin teaching more english classes near the end of January

9. On the map, Elbasan looks like it is close to Tirana –how far away from Tirana are you?

We are about an hour drive from Tirana. In America it would probably take 15 to 20 minutes max to get from here to there though. There aren't good roads here.

10. How many missionaries are in Elbasan?

There are 4 of us. One is the Elder straight out of the MTC! haha It is kinda nice to see that I actually have improved A TON at Albanian since I've been here. His name is Elder Carver and it's funny because the word Car is really bad in Albania and so he might have to change his last name. People kinda laugh when he tells him his name. He is cool though. Yesterday we both bore our testimonies and it went well.

11. What the coolest Albania thing you learned / observed this week?

Well, hmmm. I don't know. I think the most humbling thing I have seen this week was on "the road". We call it "The Road" because in the last month of tracting on this certain road, the church has had a few baptisms and a ton of investigators from that road. That is the same road we found that family we are now teaching. It is humbling because the people on "The Road" have absolutely nothing. It is the worst I have seen since I have been here. The people are SO nice and so welcoming to us. It sounds weird but that road has a special spirit to it.

12. What is the coolest spiritual thing you learned / observed this week?

I think this week I really have learned that bearing testimony is one of the best things you can do to bring the spirit. That sounds kind of stupid because they shove that concept down your throat in the MTC and at church and stuff but this week I have had a few experiences where I wasn't planning on giving my testimony but it just happened and it brought the spirit into the lesson very strong.


Okay, So I have loved this past week so much.

One weird thing about Elbasan is that the language is WAY different here haha. It is super weird. They use tons of words that no one else in Albania uses. It took a while to get used to but I think I am finally starting to get good at speaking like a person from here. At first everyone could tell that I was from Vlore. People here use different greetings and they drop tons of endings to past participles. It's crazy! but a lot of fun!

I don't have a ton of time to write so I will hit the main points pretty quick.

We met with this family. The mom's named is Lili (Lilly) and she is the woman who was Elder Vans's investigator before I got here. She has a son who is not baptized and a daughter who JUST got baptized. We were meeting with her and she is so so awesome. She has a baptism date for the 23rd of January but we might need to move it back. We will see, But her main problem was that her dad was totally against the whole baptism thing (Her whole family lives with her dad). The reason he was against it was because some crazy man came and knocked on the door of their house while Elder Vans and his previous companion was visiting with them and came in and started saying he was a member of the church. To make a long story short, the crazy man screwed up the whole lesson and made the grandpa (lili's dad) freak out. So the next morning after we had met with them this week, we were having companionship study and we were talking about how we need to meet with her family again and have a good lesson. Right then, the phone rang and it was Lili. She sounded really happy and asked us if we could come over right then! We obviously grabbed our stuff and booked it over to her house. We sat down with the family, and started talking. Things went really well and there is a funny story about the cake they brought out/ tons of food they brought out for us to eat but I will save that for a different time. The point is, we ended up sharing a message and then getting the whole family/extended family (about 10 people total) to have a kneeling prayer that Elder Vans said and then we had another kneeling prayer right after which Lili said. It was AMAZING. and then we committed the entire family to pray every morning and night. The grandpa now loves us and is okay with her getting baptized.

We also did service Friday morning at a hospital here. You wouldn't believe how nasty the hospital here is. I really hope I never have to go to the hospital here haha. We cleaned the courtyard in the middle of the hospital. There were needles EVERYWHERE! It was so nasty. I have a picture of that too. There were diapers everywhere too. Gross. Anyway, it was fun and we handed out tons of pamphlets and pass along cards. Our district is awesome.

AHHH I have so many more stories but I don't have time. I Have to go! I'm Sorry. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you next week. Go BUCKS!
Enjoy the pictures.

-Evan, i haven't gotten your letter yet! I am stoked to get it though!
-Kendy, I am almost done with the Ensign, I will probably send it late this week or early next week. and yes, I have written you every week too! haha So we must just be having dumb luck with the mail system. It doesn't surprise me. Albania is crazy haha. and I am not sure If i will be sending the memory cards or not. I will let you know next week. Alrighty! Peace out everyone! I love you all.

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