Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Life in Albania - Week 34

Oh hey there!? You all should totally check out my Mormon.org profile! :) http://mormon.org/me/4K48/ You all should make some too!

I have attatched two photos and there are more to come after I do this email. The first photo is from Lushnje. His name is Klidi. I found him about 5 days before I left Lushnje and he called me up and asked if I could baptize him! Pretty exciting news! The second photo is of me and Elder Roney, and Elder Platt playing piano! I will send more photos after I get done with this email.

I will begin with the questions!

1. How are your investigators doing? How about Rudolf?

Our investigators are doing okay I suppose. I have some sad news about Rudolf that I will get to later in the email. We have a couple other Investigators that are doing well though.

2. How many people do you have in your English classes?

We have about 12 in the intermediate class and 7 in the beginner class.

3. How did your Family Home Evening go last week? What did you do and how many people came?

Only two people came to FHE last week but both of them were non-members. We watched "Finding Faith In Christ". It went alright.

4. How was church this week?

It was okay.. haha Fast and Testimony meeting is a little awkward with 10 people at church having 3 of them being missionaries, 3 of them members and 4 investigators. 2 of the members that were there are above 70 and 80 years old. The old woman stood up to bare her testimony and said a prayer haha. It was so sad. All of our investigators started laughing. We need youth or else it will be impossible to make this branch grow. Shkoder Branch has been open for 5 years now and only has 2 active members. It's pretty sad.

5. Is the church in the apartment? If so – is your apartment bigger?

It's a pretty big apartment. You will see a picture of the main room in the picture of me and Roney. It's nice.

6. How long is church?

We do Sacrament and then a short sunday school lesson. It goes for a little over an hour.

7. When you are in a threesome – are you in an apartment with two bedrooms or how does that work?

We have two bedrooms but we all have to sleep in the same room. It's crammed! haha but we should be getting a mini missionary this week for Elder Platt, that way we won't have to be in a threesome anymore. It's really hard to teach in a threesome.

8. How many missionaries are in your District?

Right now it's only us 3 haha. It will be 4 of us soon.

9. Do you get to hear how the missionaries are doing in Kosovo?

They are doing awesome. I am so jealous of them! There is McDonalds there!!!! ahhhhhhh. I miss burgers haha.

10. Where are you in the Book of Mormon and I will start reading with you?

Today I finished 2nd Nephi 25. I normally read anywhere from 3 to 6 chapters a day depending on how long the chapters are.

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So yeah. This week was SUPER hard and very fulfilling. I don't know how many hours of street contacting we did. But it was A TON. We had 22 lessons this week. I guess that is the most Shkoder has had in a long time. We worked our tails off. We also did a pretty cool street contacting idea one night just to change it up! I will send pictures of it for you! It was actually really effective. We got tons of numbers that night. I have a really cool missionary tan line :) oh yeah. So as I have told you, Klidi from Lushnje called me and asked me to baptize him which was obviously a great part of the week. We talked to TONS of people in the street and had TONS of lessons this week. I watched the Restoration movie about a hundred times this week! It is just as good every time. And we had some great lessons with Rudolf. We had a baptismal date for the 25th of June. Unfortunately Rudolf called us one night and told us he couldn't meet with us. We asked why and he explained that his father was totally against our church and our beliefs. He said he can no longer meet with us. It was a very sad night. I remember being so upset because of how prepared Rudolf was. How could God let this happen? Why would God stop someone from being able to meet with us about this incredible message? Well, I didn't let it get me down for long. I prayed a lot and I fasted for him and for Ashley yesterday. He didn't end up coming to church like he said he might be able to. I felt defeated. I felt as if my faith wasn't enough or as if it just wasn't meant to be. But as we were street contacting last night we got a phone call from Rudolf asking if we could meet. We met with him and had a lesson about faith. We talked to him about how Nephi had the faith to do what the Lord had commanded. We might not have been as bold as we should have been when we talked about baptism again. But he said that he might be moving to England pretty soon. We told him if he goes there he should meet with the missionaries. He agreed. He also said that if he doesn't go he may be able to meet with us again. It was an answer to my prayers. I felt calm and peaceful about Rudolf. I have no doubt that he will get baptized. Whether it's while I'm here or not, someday he will get baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ.

I want to read a section out of my journal for you. "June 2, 2011. We did some more street contacting tonight and I wasn't having much success but there was a man walking down my side of the street and I was prompted to talk to him. He looked like your typical Albanian man. I hesitated to stop him but I had the feeling again. I stopped him and he came to talk to me. His name was Antonio. He had the look of hopelessness and emptiness in his eyes. I don't know how to explain it but he just had a deep sadness in his eyes. While talking to him, he said that he had lost all hope in his life. He had no hope for anything. He said he had lost his family, work, house, and everything.He talked about all the people in the streets that night and how they would be gone within a few hours in their own homes and how he would be left alone with the dogs to wander in the streets. I felt the love that God has for him. It was a crazy feeling. The feeling of love I had for this man that I did not know was incredible. I tried to show him and explain to him the love that God has for him. I told him how Christ has been through all of the hardships he was going through. He told me that before I stopped him, he was on his way to the mountains to go and kill himself. He said he had nothing left to live for and it would be better for him to be dead. I had tears in my eyes as I tried to help him feel the Love of God for him with my simple imperfect testimony. I invited him to come to church and he replied by saying that he didn't know if he would still be alive by then. I again bore my testimony to him and gave him a hug. I told him that I would see him at church on Sunday. I'm not sure whether or not Antonio is still alive right now. But I do know that God loves his children. Each and every one of us. I felt Gods love for Antonio through the spirit as I testified of the divine love of God..." I prayed for Antonio a ton that night. Antonio was the first one to walk into church on Sunday. I don't know how much he got out of church but I hope he felt peaceful and the Love of God. I don't know exactly why I chose to share this with you but I think it's important that we take the time throughout all of our busy schedules to say hello to those around us. Even just a smile. We are surrounded by our brothers and sisters. Some people need to feel the Love of God through others.

On Saturday, We went to go visit a member named Zef. He lives SUPER far away. As we left for his house the sky was a bit gray and we decided we would probably be okay without umbrellas. MISTAKE! haha we weren't too far into our journey when a crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning started a sprinkle of rain which turned into a downpour. I have NEVER seen it rain this hard in my life. I don't know if you all remember this past year in Hilton Head when it was pouring but it was at least 3 times as hard as that! We got SOAKED! haha It then started to hail. It hurt so bad but we couldn't stop laughing. We were running through the streets to Zef's work. We were to the point where we couldn't be any more wet at all. It was pretty funny. I will send pictures of us after it.

Well I don't have much more time to write but just know that I'm praying for you all! I love it here in Shkoder. The work is difficult and very tiring but it's great. This is the best transfer of my mission so far. Alexis should totally date Elder Roney. He's the man. I'm sorry that this email is pretty short. Ashley, there is something you could send if you wanted to! The blue medicated chapstick! Not too many just 2 or 3 would be fine. Thanks Ash. You da bestttttttttt. Alexis, You should go to the Jack's Mannequin concert with Lucas! You need to experience the greatness of Andrew McMahon!

Kendra, I have a nice big fat letter coming your way today haha. Peace outttttttttttt girl scout.

Bye everyone! Love you all! Evan Baker is the man. P.S. Evan, Trash Stash is still in my contacts at home. We will give him a call when I get home :)

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