Monday, July 11, 2011

Life in Albania - Week 39

haha Mom.. You need to re-read your email that you gave to me. It was rude! But it's okay. I still love you. And I wanted to say Happy Birthday! You're gonna be a grandma soon!

Here are the questionsss!

1. How are your investigators doing?

We basically are just down to Noj now as an investigator but he is doing well. His little sister Kristjana hasn't been able to meet with us very often because of the Mom. But Noj has been progressing a lot and has a baptismal date for the 24th of July.

2. How did the day go with your new Mission President? Did you find anyone to teach or did you do all street contacting?

President ended up only coming for Interviews in Shkoder because he didn't have a ton of time. So after interviews, he left. Interviews went really well though. I really like President Ford a lot.

3. How was church on Sunday? How many people came?

It was the weirdest Sunday of my life ha. It was me and Elder Platt. And that's it!

4. I couldn’t tell from your last letter – were transfers last week or are they this week?

Transfers are this week but we got our call on Friday night..... here is the big news........... drumroll please...................................... I am staying in Shkoder! haha. So President Ford called me and said that I will be staying in Shkoder and that I will be training one of the new missionaries that gets here this week. He also told me I am going to be the Branch President of Shkoder and also the District leader of the Elders in Shkoder (me and my companion) as well as the Elders in Durres (the 2 zone leaders and 2 other missionaries). So it will be a pretty crazy transfer. So my first Sunday as a Branch President, nobody came. So it was kind of a bummer. But what do you do.

5. Did new missionaries come out last week or are they coming out this week?

They get here on Wednesday and I will taking mine back to Shkoder on Thursday.

6. Did you get to meet Elder Roni’s family? Was Shkoder one of their stops?

I didn't.. They didn't have time to come to Shkoder. But It's all good. I expect to hang out with him after I finish my mission.

7. Is it pretty hot over there right now?

SOOOOO HOT. I hate it haha. It's like 100 degrees out in mid day. It's terrible ha.

8. How do you know that July 4th 2012 will be the last day of your mission? Have they already told you that?

I did know that. It says it on my preaching certificate. It's pretty crazy huh? So I'm guessing if you didn't come get me in Albania, By the time I would be flying over America, it would probably be Fire Work time (with the time changes taken in to account)

9. How is your soccer injury doing? Do you think you have a hernia? If so – do you think you should get it fixed?

It is feeling a little better but I haven't really tried to do any running yet. I'm hoping my new companion will like to run cause I would love that.

10. Do you cut other missionaries’ hair?

Nope. We normally just go to the barber. I have shaved my head a few times but barbers are so cheap and convenient.


So I will start by saying, NO it was NOT against the rules to dye my hair haha. The missionary handbook just says that we can't dye our hair to a color that isn't a natural hair color (blue, bright red, purple, etc.). And President Neil said it was fine. So yeah, President Ford doesn't even know it happened cause the first time he saw me it was brown. But my hair is already dirty blonde again and it gets blonder every day. It looks pretty much like it did before cause my hair was pretty short and the sun is turning it blonde. So you don't have to worry about my hair anymore. I'll send some more pictures though. I actually really liked it brown. But it's blonde again.

This week was pretty cool. We had a few lessons with Noj that went really well. He finally prayed for an answer about the Book of Mormon and received the answer that in fact it was true. It made teaching him a lot easier.

So one night, Elder Platt and I finished a lesson at 8:45 which is in our house and it meant we had like 15 minutes before we were supposed to be inside and it would have been really easy to call it a night and stay inside, but we decided to go out and street contact for 15 minutes. These two boys walked up to us and one of them started speaking to us in PERFECT English. Like he was an American (which is rare). Turned out he Lived in Michigan for 11 years. He is 15 years old and he got deported back to Albania. So it was him and his cousin (his cousin has lived in Albania forever and doesn't speak much English). They were super cool and EVEN THOUGH he was from Michigan I was super nice to him and when I told him I lived in Ohio, he said "No way! I went to Cedar Point right before I got deported"! It was awesome! we were totally loving this conversation. We didn't have much time to talk but we set up an appointment with him and his cousin and we met them on Saturday night. We sat and talked with them for about an hour. It started out just talking about his family and his background and stuff and then religion came up and it was awesome. He has a LONG way to go before he can be baptized but I definitely see it happening. He is your typical American 15 year old high school kid but I feel like we can work with him and get him to where he needs to be. If we would have stayed in for that 15 minutes, we would have never met with him. Same thing happened last night. We got done with a lesson with noj at like 8:50 and went outside to contact for 10 minutes and a guy who is a religious historian stopped and talked to us. He knew quite a bit about the Mormon church and I think it was a great conversation and experience for him. He seemed really interested to learn more from us. Hopefully that will go somewhere.

So tomorrow, I will be going to Tirana and I will be working with Elder Anderson (my MTC companion) in Tirana for 2 days and I will also be getting trained on how to be a trainer and then I will be coming back to Shkoder on Thursday.

I don't have much else to sayyyyyyyy. I did get a letter from Brandon Sharkey! It was awesome haha I love that kid so much. I am going to write him back today. I also got a letter from Brent that I also need to write him back today. Well now, I'm going to send some pictures to you all now so you can get your cool Austins new hair pictures even though my hair is already blonde again. These two pictures that I am sending in this email are from a service project we did up at the Shkoder Castle. There was a tunnel full of garbage that we cleaned up. I will send more emails with photos.

K bye! I love you all!

-Elder Eckel


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Samuel Bradshaw said...

Hi! I haven't been able to find anyone with a copy of "Himne dhe Këngë të Fëmijëve" (Children's Songbook in Albanian). Do you have or know of anyone who has it? I'd like to add the titles of the songs to my website,, and then we also need someone to scan and transcribe the book for the church's LDS Music app. My email is, if you are able to help...

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