Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Go Hard...Before Going Home...

This week has been fantastic. God really does qualify and help his servants.

We have been working with Myslym and Lumturia. They are an older
couple, but they are so open. Many of the older generation are not as
open due to communism, but Myslym and Lumturia are great. This week we
taught them twice. The first time we taught them about following the
prophet, and the second time we taught them about the Sabbath day and
coming to church. Myslym is a goof ball because he doesn't like to
keep commitments. Lumturia says he is like the kid in school that ever
admits to studying but somehow magically aces the final exam. He soaks
it all up. Lumturia usually tells us about their reading assignments
and he fills in the details she misses. They both came to church.
Myslym told us he wasn't going to because he had a meeting with some
other people. I told him we go to church for God and we put him first.
On his way out from church he leaned to me and said.."I came to church
for God today." They have a great light. I love them both. They really
enjoyed church. Their phone went off in the middle and some of the
members glared and whispered things to them. I was scared they would
get offended, but they laughed it off. They are great!

We were very worried about our other family. Zamira had been acting
very tense on the phone, and we were worried that she was unhappy with
us, or going to drop us, or something. We got an appointment set up
with her and Marin, and met them. It turns out they just had some very
hard finacial struggles throughout the week. Zamira looked like she
hadn't slept as much. Marin was his usuall self, but he said he had
missed a lot of things througout the week. His mom stays on track of
his schedule just like you do for us mom, and she hadn't remembered so
he missed a few classes and practices and such. We listened to her
talk for quite a while. The amazing thing for me was that she didn't
once curse God or swear or lose he composure, she just went on and on
about how she had sheen God helping her through he trials throughout
the week. I felt the spirit very strongly. In some of the toughest
circumstanses of her life she praised and praised God even reading
scriptures from the bible and Book of Mormon. We talked about the Holy
Ghost, and the atonement. She believes very much that Jesus Christ is
her Saviour. She showed us a cool note as well. Sister Fronk (a sister
in 2009) had made her a cake and wrote her a birthday note 6 years
ago. While reading through her Bible she found the note and thought of
us. We didn't know before, but Zamira met missionaries for about a
year about 6 years ago. She seems super prepared now. Now that Marin
is grown up a little more I think she is very strongly looking into
our church.

We met Ilir for the first time while walking quickly down the street.
I felt to talk with him and said hi and tried to talk with him, but I
missed him and he got a few meters passed me before he turned around.
I looked back and saw him standing there so I went to talk with him.
He is 28 years old. He just finished school to be a doctor. He is the
oldest of four children. Boy boy girl girl. We had a great converstion
on the road. He said he would like to learn more. We had our first
meeting with him on Saturday night. It was fantastic, but he did not
want to pray. He let me pray once, but it weirded him out. We didn't
pray again. We had a good lesson for him and he committed to read and
to come to church. He came to church on Sunday morning and said his
family had gotten mad at him for meeting.. mostly just that jis
grandparents were mad. They all live together and it had become the
topic of conversation. We told him that we aren't here to force people
to do anything. He said he didn't feel comfortable coming into
sacrament, but that he wanted to meet us again. We set up an
appointment for 4 oclock. We met him at the church and talked about
his reading. We hadn't hit to much on the Book of Mormon so we were
hitting it again. He had read 30 pages!!! and he remembered every word
of it. We talked through it and answered his questions. We talked
about Jesus Christ and about his role in the book and in our lives.
W|e talked a lot about the Holy Ghost and the way he felt. At that
point he made one of the most sincere comments I have heard. He said..
"I have been thinking a lot about that prayer stuff, how do I do it?"
We explained how and asked him if he would try. He said yes. I don't
remember what he said.. all I remember is he was having a
conversation. For about 15 seconds he talked with his father in
heaven. After 28 years he made the connection. You could tell he felt
it. I felt it a ton. Elder Szabo and I were blown away. The spirit was
incredible. We left on cloud 9! I can't wait to meet him some more
throughout this week.

Ali is doing great. He is in a rough spot. He doesn't really fit in
here in Albania. He doesn't speak the language, and he is just a
little different. He often feels like an outcast. We met the Toronto
missionaries again. Ali is such a great guy. He came to the lesson
with an empty pot. I asked him about it. He said.. there is a very
poor lady that lives near by. I made here some pasta and gave it to
her. Wow Ali. You have nothing, but you still give!

Other fun things that happened... we teach Seminary, we planned a
pumpkin carving FHE, we planned a Zone Scavenger Hunt. Our motto is
that if we are going to do something we are going to go it awesome,
and we definitely did all of those things awesome. Elder Szabo is great
and we are having a really fun time together.

Walk Buddy!

Love Elder Stewart

Adriatic South Mission Conference October 2015. Elder Stewart is in the very centre.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Many Small Miracles and one in Farsi

So P-day.. I remember standing on top of lone peak and someone
saying... the trail is right there. We can just go down right here and
catch the trail. It will be easy.

So there we were. We took the gondolla up to the base of Mount Dajti.
We climbed Mount Daijti.. and it was really fun. There were 8 of us,
and we had a great time. We then hiked back to the base. We had only
bought a one way ticket for the Gondolla, and couldn't find a bus to
take us back down. Being 8 cheap missionaries we didn't want to buy
another ticket for 5 dollars so we decided to follow the road down. We
realized the road was a really long ways to walk, and not wanting to
waste time we decided to hike down the side of the mountain. One of
the drivers on the road said it was a trail. We got ourselves in
pretty far and realized we didn't have much of a trail. It began to
rain, and we had to bushwack our way out. It was really fun. As far as
P-days go it was pretty far up there!

On Monday night we met with our new investigators Zamira and Marin.
Zamira is 48 and Marin is 15. They are great. They found us through
our English course. They are very open. She is Catholic. The lesson
with them went fantastic. She was asking great questions, and she told
great stories about the hand of the Lord in her life. Marin plays the
Cello and is a really nice kid. He is a little bit shy, but we get
alongh with him really well. The continuation of that story was on
Wednesday night. President Weidmann decided to join us for the evening
and so we went back over there. She had a lot of questions. She seemed
a little tense. I was a little tense too, just because I was trying to
make sure everything went well. We got going though. They are so great
to teach. I love teaching with Elder Szabo because we can work
together. The lesson went great. At the very end we let President bare
the last testimony. Save the heavy hitter for last. He testified. She
cried. Marin was in awe. It was awesome. If all men could be as
President Weidmann.. I am 100% sure the powers of hell would be shaken

We met with Bishop Zela on Tuesday for lunch. He is a super great guy.
All Bishops are great, but I have got along really well with the two
that I have been with here in Tirana. We had a really great talk with
him. He cares a lot about the ward. We are hoping to have some
baptisms coming up in the nearish future so he was helping us with
that. He has been a member for 13 years. His oldest daughter was just
sealed in the Temple. He is doing great. He said that he has had a lot
of opportunities to leave Albania, but he feels that Albania really
needs him. I agree.

Tuesday night was English Course. I really like the class we have. We
have been able to help a lot of them to learn English better, and have
been able to teach a few, and hand off some others to the sisters. One
lady from our class came to general conference with us. We gave her to
the sisters, and they are teaching here and got her to church. We also
had Ward Council on Tuesday night! We have a pretty functioning Ward
Council. I have been impressed. We are getting integrated with the
ward. After Ward Council we felt pretty directed to tract a pallat. We
found an older lady who is a member who has not received a visit in
quite some time. That showed me that the spirit truly directs us.

Wednesday and Thursday were good days. Friday was awesome because we
ran a ward FHE. The ward brought up a little while ago that we need
more activities to get people out so we set up a once a week
gathering. We only had 3 member come this week, but it is a start. It
went fantastic. We had songs, prayers, a lesson, a game, and treats.
The missionaries in 3rd Ward are really great to work with so they all
helped Elder Szabo and I set it up. Next week we hope to have more.
the goal is to get people to bring their friends.

On Saturday morning we went contacting. Elder Szabo and I had a
conversation.. and the result of the conversation was that whatever we
do we are going to do it absolutely fantastic. We are going to take
everything to the next level. So we started with contacting and took
two rollup signs out and set up a big display. We got a lot of
attention and ended up getting a lesson with an old dropped
investigator. He had investigated for 6 months, but fell away because
of social pressure. It is quite evident that he missed the spirit. Our
lesson with him went well.

Sunday was church. I really appreciated getting the sacrament as I had
not received it in 3 weeks due to conference and investigators getting
to church late. Zamira came to church as did Ali!

Sunday night we did a mission Prep Class. Elder Szabo and I are the
stake Mission Preparation teachers. We made it awesome. We had 4
members and 4 missionaries show up. Hopefully we will be able to get
more out in the future. We talked about teaching the Plan of
Salvation. We talked it over and did some roll-plays. Everyone loved
it! It will be good.

Story of the week goes to Dad! Elder Szabo and i have been meeting
with our Iranian investigator named Ali. It is really hard to teach
anything deeper than the surface because he doesn't understand English
or Albanian. Halfway through the week I had an idea. The mission
office had not been able to find anyone and we had no way of finding
someone to speak Farsi... but i figured Dad could. I got permission to
write him in the middle of the week. He got back to President
Weidmann, and we got set up with some Farsi speaking Elders in
Toronto. It was awesome. We arranged a Skype call for Sunday. It went
great. He was so excited and grateful. He really wants to get
baptised! We will see. We are going to skype those Elders again to
make sure that he understands everything. The ward really likes him.

Serving a mission is a great experience. Miracles happen daily. All of
the talks on Sunday were about the Sabbath Day. One man made a comment
that when he was on his mission the Sabbath Day was every day and how
much he loved it. I thought that over and realized how nice it really
is. I have seen a lot of peoples lives change because of the Gospel.
It is great to be teaching it daily. I work with amazing people!

I hope you are all doing well. Have a great week. Love you!

Take Buddy on walks!!

Love Elder Stewart

Mt Daijti Adventure

"The Trail"

This sort of looks like a trail...

Elder Szabo and Elder Stewart

Elder Stewart, Elder Gray and Elder Roemer

Finally at the bottom of the mountain!

Ali on his skype call with the Farsi missionaries in Toronto.

Early morning at the church for his work out.

Recognizing Miracles

Dear Family,

There have been many miracle throughout the week. Everything came
together on Sunday when we were able to have 3 investigators in
Sacrament meeting.

We have been working a lot with Ali. He is from Iran, and he has
learned pretty much all that we can teach him as far as Preach my
Gospel lessons go. He is a very spiritual man. We always have great
lessons with him. He is reading from his Persian Book of Mormon. He is
set to be baptised on the 31st, but we really need a Persian Speaker
to answer the questions we can't and to go through the baptismal
interview with him. We are currently trying to communicate with an
email address that Elder Whit gave us. We sent the email last Friday,
but have not received a response yet.

There is a couple named Myslym and Lumturia. Lumturia came to church.
Myslym mas in Berat. They are not religious, but very open. Lumturia
loved church.

Our other investigator in church was a boy named Eraldo. He
disappeared and we couldn't get ahold of him, but on Saturday night
God helped us get ahold of him and he came to church. He is a very
busy guy, but he has some very serious questions and concerns about
God. he seems sincere.

Throughout the week God has been putting people in our path to talk
with and meet with. Elder Szabo continues to impress me. He is a good
worker, and a great missionary to be around.

We have been trying to develope a good relationship with the bishop.
We are going to his house tomorrow at lunch to talk with him.

We had 3 general Authorities come here this week. Elder Hamula, Elder
Dyches, Elder Nelson. Elder Hamula is in the First Quorum. They gave a
firside and did great.

P-day was more of an adventure than we bargained for this week.
Details to come... next week :) Some good pics though this week.

Love you all. Take Buddy on walks!

Love Elder Stewart

Friday, October 16, 2015

France 2016 and Opposition

3rd Ward has proven to be a little bit difficult up until right now.
We are working with everything we have, and so are the other Elders,
but we haven't been able to generate a whole lot yet. We are stilll
going and praying a lot though.

We have a really cool investigator named Ali. He is from Iran. The 2nd
Ward Elders have been teaching him for about 2 months, but hew moved
into our area. It is a blast teaching him. He speaks a little
Albanian, a little English, and Persian. Our lessons with him include
the scriptures, Google translate on his phone, and a lot of actions
and arm movements. He is learning really well though. He loves Jesus
Christ. He has a very long history and has a strong testimony of the
atonement and forgiveness. He is scheduled to be baptised at the end
of this month. It is very exciting for him. He is trying to give up
smoking right now. He has a lot of will power. He is pretty

We are back at English Course. Elder Szabo loves teaching English so I
am happy to let him. It means he teaches and I get to interact a lot
more with the students. We have some pretty cool people in our class
right now. One family is very Evangelical so they knew all about
prophets. The oldest one came to a session of General Conference.
There is a mom and her little son that always come. She seems really
lonely, and we have a fun time with them at English. Hopefully the
sisters will start teaching them pretty soon. My favourite kid sits on
the front row. I think he is 16, but he is pretty funny. He respects
what we do.

A good scripture that I read this week is Alma 13: 28 and 29. I liked
that it talks about humbling ourselves and calling upon God. If we
humble ourselves we get a lot of other Christ-like attributes. It
really stuck out for me this week. I think I already mentioned it, but
a couple weeks ago I read Alma 18:35 and i really stuck out to me and
we have been using it a lot lately. It talks about having the Spirit
and what the Spirit does. It gives us knowledge and power according to
our desires and our faith. So if we have the Spirit and have desire
and faith to do something God will give us the power and the knowledge
to do it. It has a lot of different applications.

Our super awesome investigator Ilir kind of dropped us this week. He
really just stood us up and we couldn't get ahold of him. We have come
to realize that he had alterior motives for meeting with us. He wanted
a job and thought we were getting paid so he wanted to get baptized,
become a missionary, make money and then use the missionary thing to
start working in a new country and start a new life. It is to bad.
Hopefully he eventually realizes the truthfullness and reality of our
message, but I guess time will tell. He really was in a tough
situation without work. If he can see past the physical for just a
second I am sure it would all work out for him. The church has a
really cool program for single adults here called the "Pathway
Program". They can get a degree through BYU Idaho, and it can really
help them finding work here.

We have a new awesome guy though. His name is Ernaldo. We met him
street contacting in the road. He asks all the right questions. He
came to the Saturday morning session of General Conference, and we had
a lesson with him after it. We had two members in our lesson. The one
is a RM of about a month, and the other has been baptised for about 3
months. They were both around his age. The lesson was super great.
Awesome questions, and powerful testimonies. We set up the appointment
for Sunday at 12. He wasn't going to be able to come to the session,
but to meet at 12. He didn't show up, didn't answer my text, and
turned his phone off twice. We were super sad. Last night I called the
phone again. His mom had it. She needed it for the whole day, and we
had disturbed her at work. Apparently Ernaldo was really busy. We are
hoping for him. We will give him a call tonight and see if we can work
something out. As far as first lessons he has big potential. He seems
like an honest seeker. I think it will be great when missionaries in
Albania can use facebook because they will be able to keep better hold
of investigators. Everyone here has facebook.

Conference was really good. I really liked President Monsons talk. He
looked really sick, but his talk was very powerful. Elder Bednar did a
great job of explaining why the Lord calls older men to lead our
church. I liked the talks of the 3 new apostles. Elder Stevenson is
really young. He seems to have a fire about him. Elder Renlund appears
to be very wise, and a powerful leader. I loved the things he was
saying about seeing others through their parents eyes. That is pretty
hard sometimes. It is a really good way to think about it though. I am
sure there area lot of people in heaven praying for their sons and
daughters here to accept the Gospel.

We tract a lot. We are praying for a family. We have seen a lot of
resistance this week. The people have been very un-accepting this
week. It has been pretty weird actually. We have been very diligent
though and have been going out and tracting a lot. The worst one was
last Monday night. Looking back on it it is pretty funny, but in the
moment we were really confused. We knocked once and no one answered.
We could here people in the distance so we knocked again. This time
they came to the door. The door flew open and instantly I got punched
in the chest and then kicked in the side of the leg. The guy then jab
kicked Elder Szabo in what seemed to be an attempt to kick him down
the stairs. He started swearing at us like crazy. We hopped down the
stairs, and just walked home. It was almost 9 so we had to be home
pretty soon anyways. The miracle of that story was the next day we
went back to finish the building. We tract from top to bottom so he
came up the stairs and we were at a door in the corner. He kind of had
his head down and didn't even see us. I know that the two of us could
have taken him if he would have come at us again, but the Lord
definitely saved us some conflict.

Last night we went to a house on the US Embassy Compound. We ate
dinner with the Roberts family. They fed us really well. They arrived
a few months ago and will be here for 3 years. His job takes him all
around the world. They seemed like a really great family. It was weird
hearing kids speak English. He said he served his mission is Taiwan so
I asked if he knew an Elder Hill. Turns out Elder Scott Hill was a
mission legend. He hit the field about a year after Scott so they were
there for a year together, but had never served near one another.
Small world. I thought that was pretty cool. We shared the smashing
can lesson with them and they loved it.

The big news for the Albanian country this week is that we beat
Armenia and have qualified for France 2016.. the Euro Cup. To my
knowledge Albania has not been in it before, at least not in recent
history. Everyone is so excited. I am sure if you jumped online you
could see highlights from the game downtown Tirana is packed today.
There are people everywhere. There is a big celebration and concert
tonight that everyone is planning on going to. When the won last night
Tirana got pretty loud. We had lost to Serbia on Thursday so it looked
like we might not make it. Everyone was a little worried because
Armenia is a pretty good team. I guess that Albania played pretty hard

We are giving it absolutely everything we got out here. Elder Szabo is
fantastic. We get along great. He is big into trying to cook so we
have been trying different things out in the kitchen. He seems to know
what he is doing. He cooks good chicken. He is also big into working
out... all body weight stuff. Today we took our pullup bars to the
church because they don't fit on our house door frames, and tried it
out for a little while. It is fun working with him though. We have
been working with 2 less actives in their 20s, and it has been a great
time teaching them with Elder Szabo. It is really funny because the
one less active in particular is playing tough to get. He just likes
the attention so we have a good time getting him. Our lessons with him
are super spiritual. Elder Szabo is a solid teacher because he always
teaches in unity like it says in Preach My Gospel. I say something and
testify, and he always follows it with a testimony, new principle, a
question or two to check for understanding, and he always end with a
testimony so I know when to come back in and keep the process going.
He is reliable and I really like that.

Hope everything is going well! Love you lots! Take Buddy on lots of walks!

Love Elder P. Stewart

Elder Szabo and Elder Stewart

Post soccer celebration

Post soccer celebration

Post Soccer celebration. 

Third Ward and His District Goes Home...

Third Ward is a great place. I am really enjoying it. Tirana is a
fantastic city to serve in. I have loved all my areas, but I am happy
to get so much time here in Tirana.

Monday night was my last meeting with President Weidmann and Elder
Greener. I am so happy for the chance that I had to get to know
President and Sister Weidmann. They have taught me a lot. They are
both very remarkable people. It has been so great to see the interest
that President Weidmann takes in each of the individual missionaries,
and in his calling as a mission President. He knows why he is here,
and relys on the Lord to help him lead the mission.

We had our Family Home Evening right after that. Like usual it was the
Whites, the Otons, the Weidmanns, and ourselves. For the lesson we
watched Elder Scotts Funeral service. It was very reamrkable. My
favourite parts were Elder Hollands prayer and the testimonies on the
end of each of the talks. I really loved Elder Scotts sons talk as
well Mom! When Elder Holland prayed though it seemed like he was
giving a report directly to his dad. I hope you all had a chance to
see it. I didn't see the other two funerals, but I would imagine they
were great as well.

Tuesday was moving day. It was really weird because Elders Baldwin,
Holm, and Eliason were all leaving.  They took off and all got home.
There was a President Ford mission reunion in Utah on Friday so I
think Elder Holm went to that.

I got into Tirana 3rd. Elder Szabo is super solid. We are having a
good time together. On Wednesday we started our English course. It is
fun to be back teaching English. We are teaching beginner. It seems
like we have some pretty cool students. We will see who stays around.
Usually it fluctuates a little bit for the first few classes, and then
we are left with our class. We had ward council that night. It was the
best functioning meeting that I have seen on my mission. It was great!

Thursday was a good day because we met our first investigator. We were
out street contacting, and he was sitting on his bike watching me talk
to people. I talked with him, and he seems very promising. We had a
great first lesson with him. He is looking for a little bit more in
his life. He has a ton of faith. He was baptised in a church 8 months
ago, and has been going there every once and a while. We explained the
Restoration and he really liked it. That evening we went and Elder
Szabo interviewed 2 girls that the sisters are teaching for baptism.
They both have been going to church for quite some time. They both
passed and were so excited for their baptisms. On Thursday night we
were also able to visit the Juba family. They are super awesome. We
hit it off great. The dad and 3 of the kids were home. The dad seems
like a funny guy. He lived in America for a couple of years, but not
the kids. The boys are like 16 and 10, and the girl is around 13. We
did that smash the can on your finger lesson. They loved it. We also
used a pretty solid analogy with Messi. They thought it was pretty
funny. We committed them to read Alma 7. At church I asked them all
about it. The two older ones did, but the other one hadn't I got on
his case and told him to read it. He thought it was funny and said he

Friday was amazing because we were able to meet with a lot of people.
We met again with Ilir. He wants to be baptised in our church and we
set October 24th as his baptismal date. Wouldn't that be cool to have
a baptism on your birthday Mom? We also met a really cool less-active
named Julian. He has been to the temple, and is a very nice guy!
Tracting in the evening we got into two doors. The first one was a
grizzley bear. 3 foot shoulder width 6'6 pushing 300 pounds biggest
man I have seen in my entire life. He was super nice though. He wasn't
super intersted in what we had to say, but he was nice to talk to and
very respectful/ He works in the army here in Albania. He was married
with 2 small kids. The second man we met with was married with a small
kid, and he was very nice a well. He was very respectful. He took the
book of Mormon and said he would read. We tried to get a return
appointment but he said that he will read some of it and we can talk
again in two weeks. He was very smart. He studied at Oxford.

Friday was a tougher day of finding. We didn't have a lot of immediate
sucess. One really cool thing that happened though is that we got a
lesson with the Vogli family. Their son Roi just barely got back from
his mission. His mom was baptised in 2001 by Elder Ryan Peterson. They
were showing us pictures, and I was like.. I know him. They want
contact with him again very badly. Apparently they kept in touch with
his companion but lost touch with him. Can you send me his email? They
want to email him. Small world.

Saturday and Sunday were both great days. Third Ward seems strong.

A funny thing that happened this week is we lost water. We are 4
Elders in one house, and we lost water. We cooked lunch one day and
made a ton of dishes. As we went to wash them we realized we had no
water. We spent about 2 days with it coming and going. It was funny.

Take care of Buddy and have a great week. 
Love you! Elder Stewart

The Shehu Family

Elder Stewart and Elder Greener at FHE with Elder and Sister Weidmann and the office couples.

Elder Stewart and Elder Baldwin - His MTC comp.

Elder Stewart and Elder Holm

Elder Eliason and Elder Stewart

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Grave Service and a 20th Birthday!

This week we finished up the transfers. We had a few more meetings and
everything worked out. I will be going to the Tirana 3rd ward. Elder
Greener will stay here in our area. I will be working with Elder
Szabo. I am very excited. I have heard a lot of really great things
about 3rd ward. Tirana is split up into four like a pie. I am in the
part of Tirana directly opposite of where I am right now. I think I
will really like it. We have a great district. Elder Szabo is the
District leader, but Elders Gray, Sadiku, Fowles, Befus, Lesi, and a
trainee will also be in our district. We also have Sisters Bennet and

We had an eventful last two days. We played soccer on Saturday
morning. We tried to get all of those kids to come to soccer with us,
but we got there just after 7am and they were all still asleep or off
doing chores and couldn't come. Soccer here is really fun though. The
kids are defietly better than little kids in Canada. Saturday was our
busy day that we spent for the most part at the office. For lunch we
went to the Lezos. i haven't been fed by members many times while
being out here, but we went to their house and made a super good soup
with them. We had a really great time talking with them. They are
certainly one of my favourite families here in 4th Ward. We played uno
with their son and looked at old photos of Brother Lezo. He had some
pretty crazy hair back in the day. Saturday night was fantastic. Elder
Greener and I have been working a lot with the Tafili family and the
Shehu family. We talked with Bishop, and organized their baptisms.
Arindi Tafili and Redion Shehu got baptized. The baptisms went well.
An RM baptised Redi and Brother Tafili baptised his son. He was pretty
nervous, and I thought he may have given his kid whiplash by how fast
he threw him under, but Arindi survived. Their testimonies were
awesome. Redi gave a good testimony. "I am grateful to be baptised. I
love you all. Amen." Arindis was slightly longer. "I felt so good when
I was baptised, but i will be even better when I get the Holy Ghost.
Amen." I guess we need to work on ending testimonies in the name of
Jesus Christ. The ward turnout was great. Redis dad is the one that
was never confirmed that Elder Bangerter and I were working with last
transfer. He is not super interested in learning about the church, but
he did come to the baptism. It was his first time inside of the church
in quite a while. We had a pretty good talk while he was there. He
liked the service.

The news of Sunday was that Sister Xhani passed away. She is a less
active that we were working with. She was right around 50. She wasn't
very old, but she had cancer. She is the one that we visited a couple
of times in the hospital. She sang us the song "A Childs Prayer." I
was super sad to hear that she passed away. It came to both Elder
Greener and I as a shock. It was very unfortunate timing. It kind of
felt that we didn't have a lot of things resolved. We were at there
house the other day, but only her daughter was home. I called Xhesi
(her daughter) on Sunday morning, and talked with her for a couple of
minutes. She was crying so hard. I felt bad for her. She is just one
or two years older than us. We got directions to the burial service.
Elder Greener and I left just after church. I don't know what
happened. It was really sad, but none of the members went. Elder
Verushi and Elder Baldwin came with us and helped us get there. It was
good to have Elder Verushi because we didn't know what an Albanian
service was like. We got to the graveyard, and beat the others that we
were coming. What I saw when I got there was horrifying. I had
nightmares last night about the whole thing. I have been to graveside
services before in Canada, but this was nothing like it. We saw one
happen before Sister Xhanis, and it was just like Sister Xhanis.

The parade all came in and parked right by the sight. Everyone jumped
out of the vehicles. Everyone with the exception of Sister Xhanis two
daughters looked completely disinterested. Xhesi and her Sister were
crying so hard, and no one would stand by them or help them. They
stood there all alone just crying. We didn't know what to do. If we
weren't missionaries we probably would have went and stood by them or
did comething, but no one did anything. 6 guys went to the back of the
car and just kind of pulled the casket out of the back. No one was
dressed up. The casket was rocking back and forth. There were two
grave diggers at the grave. The casket got carried over and
place/dropped 6 feet down. As the casket was getting carried there was
a family of beggers that were walking through the crowd asking for
money. It was so sad. Here there were these two girls 21 and 25
burying their mother and they were getting asked for 20 cents. There
were so many things wrong with that. I felt bad for the begging family
and the Xhani family. I din't feel as bad for the other people because
they were all talking about food, futbol, the weather, and every other
thing that had nothing to do with anything. They were smoking
cigarrtetes and making a lot of noise. I was not impressed. I really
liked Motra Xhani. Xhesi called us forward at that point and we got to
dedicate the grave. I felt the spirit super strongly because we were
standing in front of Muslims, and Orthodox, and Catholic, and
dedicated the grave with the Melchizedek Priesthood in the name of
Jesus Christ. I walked away from the grave really quietly.That was the
only point I heard silence. That was the only point where it seemed to
me that the crowd may have respect for the dead. The grave diggers
then continued. They grabbed their shovels and started throwing on
dirt. They said if anyone wants they can come throw on dirt. The two
daughters rushed forward sobbing. Some people threw on flowers, but it
all got buryed. The beggars continued. On the side of the grave there
was a plastic garbage bag. They put that in the grave to. We had a
little bit of time to talk with the grave diggers before the funeral
so we already knew what it was. Sister Xhanis 7 year old son was hit
by a car quite a few years ago. She was getting buryed in his grave,
and that was him.. in the bag. I couldn't believe it. Everything
finally got buried. The girls cried. Her brother came forward and said
there will be food at a such and such restaurant. He stood in a line
with all other relatives and one by one we all walked by and gave
condolences. We got in the car, and I think we were all in a little
bit of shock of what we had just seen. I have thought about it all and
it is still hard to grasp. Hopefully Elder Greener and Elder Opper can
see their family sometime this week.

We got a great new investigator yesterday. A lot of RMs are getting
back. The missionary force from Albania is really increasing. One of
them brought a friend to church and they stayed for three hours in 2nd
Ward last week. As is turns out he is living in 4th Ward and so he
brought him to us to teach. The boy is 17 and super prepared. I would
say he is the most prepared investigator that I have ever taught. It
sounds like he will probably be baptised in October. Member missionary
work is great. It is by far the best way to grow the church.

Last night we had the opportunity to give a blessing to one of our
investigators dads. It was a cool experience. He is 85 and it looks
like he is on his last couple of days. Miranda and Mateu are the
investigators and they were so happy that we gave the blessing.

My birthday was great this week. Thank you so much for the package
mom! Thank you for the birthday wishes. I really appreciate it! We had
a really good day. We were in meetings in the morning with President
Weidmann, and we had a lunch with the district. It was great. Sister
Weidmann made me her home-made bread! Elder Baldwin gave me a tie and
a razor. Sisters Zollinger and White made cupcakes. Elder Temple made
some really good food. Elder Greener soaked me with silly string in
the morning right when I woke up. It was a really good day!

Have a great week! Take Buddy on walks!

Love Elder Stewart

Silly string courtesy of Elder Greener for the 20th birthday!

Pres and Sis Weidmann and Elder Stewart with homemade birthday bread and chocolate.

Birthday lunch as a district! :)

Lunch with the Lezo family

Looks delicious!!

The Lezo family

Redi Sheu, Sister Shehu, Elder Greener and Elder Stewart

Arindi Tafili and his family

Albion. One of the boys who loves to play soccer.

Miranda and Mateu with Elder Stewart.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stake Conference

I went on an exchange in the first ward this week. I was with Elder
Anderson for a day. They have a new center for meeting with people so
we did a lot of contacting people and trying to take them directly to
the meeting center for a lesson. It has been a very sucessful way of
finding in their area, and I really enjoyed it. We were able to meet 3
new people that way. I quit enjoy street contacting. We meet all kinds
of different people that way. There are certainly a lot more effective
ways to work though... through the members.

We also had an exchange with Shkoder this week. Elder Greener and I
both went up to Shkoder. It is a beautiful city. It has a lot of
history. The branch in Shkoder is very small even though it has been
open for quite a few years. The members that they have though are very
solid. We did a lot of contacting up there as well. Shkoder has a lot
of Catholic people so we were able to talk a lot more about the Book
of Mormon and the uniquness of our church. Albania is very interesting
in the fact that there are many Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox, and
Atheists. There is a very wide spread so we end up talking about many
different points of the gospel depending on their interests. We had a
good time with the missionaries up in Shkoder. They are hard workers.

We met a new man in Germany this week over Skype. He is super solid.
His wife speaks english so she was found/taught/baptised in the last
few months. Her husband has been going to church. His German and
English are still coming along so we will teach him over skype. He is
awesome though. He accepted baptism for moms birthday. He already
knows quite a lot so I have no doubt he will be baptised. They have a
little daughter so it will be great to have them all baptised

Transfer meetings continued this week. We are getting ready for the
transfer calls that take place this weekend. Due to the size of our
mission President Weidmann is actually able to make all of the calls.
We follow up his phone calls with another phone call that includes
travel plans and times. The transfer is all coming together.

I have had the opportunity to give and to participate in giving a few
blessings this week. It is always a great experience. I got one last
week and it helped me a ton when I was sick.

We met 2 new investigators this last week. Remember all of those boys
that we brought to soccer a few months ago? Well we went out to go
check on that area and see how it was. We found a lot of them. Albion
( the little one) took us to his house. He lives in a very small
shack. We met his father. He is a very nice guy. Albion is a great
kid. Being out in those parts I thought of Alma 32. Poor people sure
are humble. They didn't necessarily accept our message, but they are
sure open to learn it. I hope that is goes well. All of those kids out
there could benefit from it a ton because otherwise they often turn to
drugs and alcohol. Many of them have been to a local church by their
house. We told them that we would pick them up and take them to soccer
again this week so we will be headed out there early Saturday morning.
We will also be going there throughout this week to meet with this boy
and his father.

Mateu and Miranda are coming along. Mirandas father is 86 and dying.
She is so sad, but Mateu has a ton of faith. They asked us for help,
and we were able to give both of them blessings this week. They are
making progress. Mateu appears a little slow, but he is fantastic at
math. We challenged him to read the Albanian Book of Mormon in 2
months. He agreed because he likes challenges. He worked it out to 11
pages a day. Hopefully he will be on page 33 when we see him tomorrow

Dashamir is holding on strong. He was interviewed for the Aaronic
Priesthood and he passed so he will get it this next Sunday. Martin
(the one who baptised him) was sustained in Stake Conference, and he
just received the Melchizedek Priesthood yesterday. He was very
excited. He will be serving a mini-mission starting next Tuesday. He
is preparing for a full time mission.

2 boys that we work with will be getting baptised on Saturday. Arindi
Tafili and Redi Shehu. They are both 8, and we see there families on a
regular basis. The ward is excited. I am sure they will get a very
good turnout. The Sisters have an investigator that is doing really
well. She will be baptised next week.

Take good care of Buddy and take him on lots of walks. I love you all!

Love Elder Stewart

Stake Conference. This is Klajdi 

Stake Conference with Brother Metushi

The Congress Building where Stake Conference was held. Elder Greener and Elder Stewart were assigned to book this building just weeks before Conference. It was a miracle that they were able to and Conference was a success.

Elders at Stake Conference

Betim, Valmira, Egzona (Prishtina)
Shkumbin Olloni (Gjakova)
District lunch - Elder Greener, Sister Alushaj, Sister White, Sister Zollinger, Elder
Baldwin, Elder Temple, Dunn, Elder Eddings, Elder Verushi