Monday, April 25, 2011

Life in Albania - Week 28

So what uppppp?! I will start with the questions.

1. Have you started playing your music out on the street yet?

Yeah, We went out and gave it a shot. It was actually pretty cool. We played a few songs together and then Elder Mugleston continued to play some violin pieces that he has and I just started talking to people in the road. People actually came up TO US instead of us calling them over. It was a really cool idea. We had some ideas to make it better but we haven't had the chance to do it again yet. We will probably give it a shot this week again.

2. How are you doing with the people you are teaching now?

It's going pretty well. I will tell some stories about it in the body of the email.

3. I have noticed a few times where you have talked about people going to Greece for the summer. Is this like the popular place for people to vacation – like how Ohio people go to Florida and Hilton Head? And why do they stay so long?

haha yeahh kinda.. but not really. People in Albanian hate Albania. They are super prideful of their country but they always talk about how terrible their country is and how they wish they could get out of this jail cell. There is no work here in Albania, and no way to get out. Until about 4 months ago, people from Albania couldn't leave Albania unless they snuck out or got a Visa which was INCREDIBLY difficult. If they had the chance to get one, they left and never came back. But now, Albania is "kind of" part of the European Union. They are kind of a partial member. They are allowed to go to other countries for only 3 months at a time. In between each time they leave and come back they have to wait 6 months before they can leave Albania again. So people have been leaving Albania a ton lately and Greece is the closest place that costs the least money to travel to. People try to go over there and get a job for 3 months. Even though it is against the law for them to get jobs there as part of the European Union rules. I'm guessing that the European Union is going to kick Albania out after they figure out all of the people taking advantage of the system.

4. How many people were at church this past week?

We had 11 at church yesterday. It was a really great meeting. The senior couple that was in Elbasan came to Lushnje and gave talks. They both talked on Families and Temples. They gave great talks and the spirit was incredibly strong.

5. I know you said they don’t really celebrate Easter in Albania – but would the members of the church celebrate Easter? Or they don’t because their country doesn’t.

They kinda celebrate it. On Saturday we colored eggs as a branch activity. it was pretty fun. It's definitely not as big of a deal here as it is in America though.

7. How is the weather? Are things warming up?

It is getting pretty toasty over here. It was really hot yesterday. I don't really know what the temperature is cause we don't get any weather updates of any sort but it's getting hot.

8. Do you have to drink bottled water?

We either drink bottled water or filtered water. Our main sink in the kitchen has a filter built onto it and so we can drink the water from the filter.

9. What is your apartment like? You said you live in the church? How does that work? It is probably pretty convenient!

We actually live in a house. On the first floor we have a family room and kitchen. Upstairs we have the main room where we have church and stuff. We have a big bathroom and then we have a bonus room thing, and then we have our bedroom. It's a pretty big house. Especially according to Albania standards.

10. When do all of the new missionaries come? I remember you saying that a big group was coming in.

The new missionaries are already here. They got here when the last transfer began. (When I got to Lushnje)


Okay so I will go through some stuff that happened this week.

So I found out that Sister Braha (the woman in Elbasan that I started teaching) is getting baptized on Sunday! Super exciting stuff.

haha this week our mission played a game of mafia over the phone ha. It was really fun. The mediator selected 2 mafia and one detective and then like 7 towns people. Elder Mugleston and I were a townsperson. (we did it in companionships) and each day was a real live day in the game. So we would put in our vote every night and would get the results. Then the mafia would kill someone during the night. We would call each other and talk and stuff during our lunches. It was pretty fun. The detective was killed the very first night by the mafia but the towns people still pulled it out and won! It was cool haha. It made those 5 days pretty interesting.

So this week we were out teaching with one of our members. We went to the family that we have been teaching and it turned out that their sister was in town. She lives in Austria. We ended up teaching her the first lesson and it went super well. She really seemed interested and we hooked her up with the website and how she could find the nearest church building to her in Austria. It was a really cool experience. The family is also doing really well. I don't know their names ha. I should probably figure them out.

We had some success in our English class this week with this girl named Livia. She is a little 10 year old girl and she comes to church pretty much every week. She is getting closer and closer to baptism every week. I hope she gets baptized while I'm here but we will see what happens.

I got a little package from the Bakers with some sour candy! It was delicious haha. Thanks!

I also got a letter from my friend Carter from BYU and it was hilarious! I was laughing so hard. He told me about how Jail was. Yes he went to jail haha. It was hilarious.

I ALSO got a tape from Kend. It was also really funny. I was laughing pretty hard during it. It was good to hear from Kendra lou.

Ashley, thanks for sending the birthday messages! And yes I did find that email! I accept your challenge!

Alexis, sounds like you had fun with Sophie over the week. You are soooo close to being graduated. That blows my mind. Craziness I tell you. I still picture you as a sophomore.

Brian Martin- you better write me back! haha. I'm awaiting your letter :)

Well I gotta go but things are going better. Thanks for your prayers. Peace Love and Happiness! and Andrew McMahon!

-Elder Eckel

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