Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life in Albania - Week 16

What a week!

I will start with some questions.

1. Why do you think you have a parasite?

I'm pretty sure all of the missionaries here have parasites ha. It is actually pretty nice. Sure, it doesn't make bathroom experiences that fun, but it does make it so I can basically eat whatever I want and not gain weight! We basically just live with the parasite in us until we go home and take all those pills to clean our system out. I named my parasite Andrew. Yes. I did name him after Andrew McMahon haha I know that Brian, Steve, and Evan, and of course Kendy will appreciate this haha.

2. Do you ever clean your shoes? J

I wipe them down pretty much every day with water and a paper towel but by the end of the day they always end up dusty. I shine them every once in a while too. It's just a dirty place. I am pretty sure the shoes I am wearing are permanately ruined from Vlore. Vlore was the dustiest place in the world and I think that the dust became part of my shoes haha. I just want these shoes to last at least one year so that I can wear the other pair for the second year.

3. Why do you keep that much cash? (You said you lost $500 – but then found it)

haha I don't really keep that much cash with me. It was more like 200 dollars of our missionary fund! 500 just made it seem way cooler!

4. How is Lili and her family doing?

Lili, Not so good. She has been working A TON! and hasn't come to Church in 3 weeks now. Her Daughter Silvana is awesome though. We are hoping to get her mom back to church soon. Probably one of the hardest things to do is to ask these Albanian people to keep the sabbath day holy and not work. If they have an opportunity to work, they take it because you don't have regular hours here. If they skip an opportunity to work, they might not work for another week or two. So it is very hard to get them to not go to work. We are meeting with Silvana tonight and we have a pretty bold lesson planned about how she needs to get her mom to come to church. We are going to talk about how if she wants to be able to live with her family forever, she needs to get them to come to church. Obviously we aren't going to say it like that, but we want her to understand the importance of it.

5. In Elbasan – did you know about all of the rioting going on in Tirana?

Yeah haha. It is pretty nuts. I called Warburton (he's in Tirana) and he was saying that it was pretty wild. It kinda sounded like what happens when Ohio State loses a football game haha. Cars get lit on fire, riots happen, people die.

6. How is Rimi doing? Are you still being able to teach him?

Rimi did NOT come to church yesterday. He was doing really well until we taught him the law of chastity. It was a tough one for him to understand. We are going to try and meet with him as soon as we can.

7. What has been the highlight of your week this past week?

The highlight of my past week would have to be this lady named Alavera. She is probably in her 80's or so and back in communist times she tried to teach people about Jesus and that wasn't allowed at those times. She was taken by the communist police and tortured. Now she is a crazy woman who runs around the streets yelling at people. Whenever she see's us, she starts yelling at the top of her lungs, while pointing at us "Those boys know! They know the truth! Listen to those boys". Unfortunately, she is a crazy woman and nobody listens to her haha. But still, she comes up to us and will kiss our hands and she repeats the words "Thank you God, Bless these boys Lord." She is pretty awesome haha. I always tell her that God loves her and then she closes her eyes and looks up and points in the air and keeps saying "thank you thank you". I might marry this old woman haha.

8. When you told the story of your Branch President’s wife, her last name tells me she is Albanian. Does the branch you are in then have all leadership from Albania – meaning the Branch Presidency? (Your last Branch President was a missionary from the U.S.)

Our Branch Presidency is made up of 2 Albanians and Elder Preston (a senior couple).

9. Have you been using your index cards so you can get better with the language?

Yeah, It has been really helpful. I have gotten a lot better at the language. I pretty much understand everything when people talk to me and I have gotten a lot better at speaking.

10. I noticed you are spiking your hair up. Are you allowed to do that?

Yes haha. I wouldn't do it if I wasn't allowed. Here is pretty much the main rule: The more American/Flashy that you look, the less people think you are a Jehovah's Witness. The less people that think we are J-dubs, The less people that hate us/try and kill us.


So this week was good. The past few days have been SOAKING wet but oh well haha.

I went on an exchange with the new elder from the MTC Elder Carver. We really enjoyed ourselves. It was cool to be able to be better at the language because he depended on me which normally I am the one depending on my senior companion. I realized that I am a lot better at the language than I thought. We talked to tons of people, placed a few Book of Mormons, went into a store and talked to this random old man about prophets and about God's plan for us and then committed him to come to church, and then he came! It was a really cool experience.

We successfully got one of less active members Renato to go on the stop smoking program and he completed the whole 7 days and now has lost the desire to smoke. It is truly a miracle program that couldn't be done without help from God.

We had a training in Fier (a city) which was really good. We learned all about the new "Zero" lesson which is the lesson you do when you get in while tracting. It is awesome. I think it is really going to pick up the work.

We were able to go see Aisha and her family and got her daughter to come to Church yesterday. Her daughter and her daughter’s friend came and LOVED it. The Primary here in Elbasan is awesome because the two woman who are in charge of it are AMAZING. They teach the kids songs and about Jesus and everything. It is so cool.

Overall it was a pretty awesome week. We got 4 referrals from members yesterday and tonight we are going to a family home evening at a members home with the new investigators that they have referred for us. The work here is going great. We have a lot of great things planned for this week and hopefully everything goes as planned. Keep praying for me!

Sister Long, thanks for the letters! It was so great to hear from you!

Kendy, I have gotten a lot of your letters! Thank you. And I actually don't think I'm going to be able to send the card.. Sorry. But hey, don't even worry about doing what you were going to do. I promise, they aren't expecting anything.

I don't have much time today because we are cutting our P-day short because we have a lot of work this week and we didn't have room for all of it during the week so we had to cut some of pday out haha. It's all good. It's worth it. Oh, by the way, Alexis, I was laughing super hard when you told the story about BYU-Idaho. You would cry hahaha. And Ashley, don't feel bad for not writing me.It's all good. Being busy is a good thing. I hope classes are going good for you and JD. Mom, thanks for sending the talk. I will see if it works. Alright, I have to go.

Elder Eckel

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