Monday, July 11, 2011

Life in Albania - Week 38

I'm super jealous that you were all in Hilton Head this past week! But it's all good. Shkoder is basically just as cool..... ha.

So here are Karen's Q's!

1. Have you met your new mission president?

I have! He is definitely an "English Man"

2. If you have met him – how did that go? Do you all meet together, have personal interviews, or how does that work?

We met him in a group setting. He told us about his family and his background. It was cool though. I like him a lot. He is coming to Shkoder tomorrow for interviews and he wants to have us teach a lesson with him there and so it will be interesting to see if we can get a lesson set up for 12. It's going to be nearly impossible ha. He made it sound like it was so easy. He just said "Set up a meeting with your investigators for when I'm there so we can sit in on the lesson" ha. Yeah. It's going to be tough to get Noj and Kristjana to meet at 12. They work. So basically I think President Ford is going to do some dirty work with us (Tracting and Street Contacting). He is going to get a good taste of Shkoder.

3. How was church on Sunday? Did more than your two old timers come?

Actually only one of the old timers came ha. Zef came. But Noj came and 3 people that we found this week came too!

4. How are the people doing that you are teaching?

Noj and Kristjana are doing great. This week was a great week for Noj. He is really an impressive kid. I will tell more about it in the body of the email.

5. So how will Elder Roney find Alexis? Did you give him her phone number? Doesn’t he leave in a couple of days?

Well I had an idea for this. I dont know her phone number so I am just planning on them talking on facebook first but here is my idea. I was thinking that a good Christmas present for me this year would be a hard drive because I am running out of space to put pictures and stuff and instead of sending a bunch of flash drives a small hard drive would be great. That's what a lot of the missionaries do. There are a ton of things that I didn't have enough room for (videos and photos from Elder Roney) and so if you buy me a hard drive ( I hear you can get a 300 gb hard drive for like 60 bucks these days) and then Alexis could meet with him at BYU and Elder Roney, actually Trevon Roney ha since he won't be a missionary, will put all of the videos and stuff on the hard drive and then you can have Ash or Lex send me the hard drive. He agreed to doing this. It was just a thought. So yeah! That's one way they could meet. Elder Roney actually leaves today! I'm super sad. He is leaving to go to Tirana and his family gets here tomorrow and then he will be heading back to America in a week.

6. Do Albanians go to school year round or do they get summers off like you guys did?

They get summers off too!

7. Do kids go to school for 13 years – like kindergarten – 12th grade?

I believe so. I'm pretty sure that is correct. Well actually, I don't know if they have kindergarten.

8. Did you ever get your package that had your allergy medicine in it?

I did! Thanks a ton haha that was so funny to see my companions reactions when I opened the box. There was SOO much medicine ha. But thanks a ton. I'm feeling much better now.


So I am very sad to see Elder Roney go home. I am also a little nervous because transfers fall next week and I am pretty sure I will be training which means I will know absolutely NOTHING about my new companion until I meet him ha. Oh well. Hopefully he is cool. It will be interesting to see if the new missionaries that come here will be able to understand ANYTHING haha. Especially our investigator Noj. He has such a HUGE thick accent. Shkoder would be a very difficult place to begin your mission.

I got a letter from Mike Eckel this week. It was great! I loved it. His seminary class wrote me messages and stuff. It was cool. I really enjoyed it. It was a nice pick me up. Every time we go to Tirana it's pretty tough to get back in a van headed towards Shkoder without getting a little discouraged but as I read those messages, It was a nice attitude booster.

So this week we went to Tirana for the "meet the Ford's" thing. It was nice to finally know who they are instead of just hearing rumors. They seem like great people. They are definitely going to lay down the law but I think that will be a good thing. They make fun of America quite a bit which is kinda lame but oh well. Then the Zone Leaders came for exchanges on Thursday and it was pretty cool. I was with Elder Johnson. Elder Johnson is pretty much the world's greatest missionary. We went tracting and found this family that had a mom and two daughters. Our zero lesson went pretty dang well for me and Elder Johnson not having planned anything before hand since we aren't companions ha. They told us they would get baptized if they found the Book of Mormon to be true. They also told us they would be living at the beach for the next 2 months which is like 45 minutes away. We committed them to come back for church every week! They came on Sunday. I'm not sure if they enjoyed it or not. They were the first ones at Church which made it super awkward. When your church is in an apartment and the investigators are the first ones there, that must be pretty weird. Especially when the investigators are 5 mintues late. Fortunately, Noj and Zef came. It was still pretty awkward ha. But then Saturday we went to Tirana again because we were told there was a Branch President's meeting. Unfortunately we weren't told that it was canceled. So we drove 2.5 hours there and went to the church building where it was supposed to be. No one came. We figured it must have been cancelled so we went to go pick up some parts to fix our piano (which is STILL broken ha) and on our way, the Assistants to the President drove by and saw us in Tirana. They called and then told us that the meeting was cancelled haha. So yeah. We already knew by that point. They felt bad for not telling us but oh well.

So yesterday was the last Sunday for Elder Roney. I feel so bad that he had to "die" in Shkoder. He gave his "Dying testimony" to 5 people. 3 of which he didn't even know. He was a good sport about it though. He gave a great testimony. After church we had a lesson with Noj about the 10 commandments. The time before that, we had a lesson about the Word of Wisdom. He didn't understand why he couldn't drink coffee. He is up against his wall of faith, that is, whether Joseph Smith actually was a prophet or not.

Last night we had a July 4th celebration. Elder Platt has an American flag pillow case which we hung from the light fixture. We then played (BLASTED) the Star Spangled Banner, and we did the Pledge of Allegiance, and then sang God Bless America, and then we went back to bed haha. Of course this happened at midnight (it's not against the rules haha I checked). And it was great. But seriously, America is so awesome. It was pretty hard to be living with someone that is going to be there in a week! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my mission and I LOVE Albania, but America is so incredible. You wanna know what's crazy?! Since today is July 4th, it means that I finish my Mission EXACTLY one year from today. 365 days from now. Craziness! It's going pretty dang fast. And I hear the second year goes even faster.

Well I don't have much more to say. Elder Roney just left and we just got back to the Internet to finish. I can't believe he is leaving! Don't worry dad, I gave him your advice! And haha I think Blizzard would love to be "spread" over the Horse Shoe. Plus that is just one more reason to go to a game!

Kendra! I forgot to tell you something. When you get #39, don't look at the pictures until AFTER you read the letter! Okay cool! ha. I also got your tape haha. It was hilarious.

I got a post card from Madison! It was great. It had some pictures in it. I ALWAYS love getting pictures. I think my favorite gift on the mission is pictures. Thanks Madison. You rockkkkkk.

That's all for now folks!

I love you all. peace!

Elder Eckel


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