I have been realizing the problems that come when you are a quiet kid It is very important for me to speak as first and foremost I am a missionary, and second of all I am trying to learn a language that takes a lot of people a lot more than the time I have had to learn! Anyway conversations (like just general talking in group stuff in Albanian) and I think to myself what should i say? How can I contribute to this conversation? And then the ultimate question is what would I say in English? That answer is usually.. I would say nothing! Dang haha! I should have been more of a talker!
We have met with some new people this week, and are trying to follow up and get more than one lesson! Sometimes it is hard to get ahold of people or to get them to commit to a time to meet! The culture here is just so relaxed! One of our Golden Investigators dropped of the face of the planet! We are hoping to find him while street contacting!
I went on my first exchange this week! I have been surprised so far on my mission! Change was a real big deal for me before my mission! I hated it, and I probably still do, but it hasn't worried me or bothered me while being on my mission! Right from the start at the MTC I haven't really been scared or worried! It is a blessing! I spent the night and a day in Lushnea! It is a small town! Smaller than Elbasan I think! It was a zone leader exchange! i was with Elder Foster! He is exactly like Uncle Mark! Everything about him! He was tall! Kinda quiet, but outgoing! He drove.. fast, but always in control, and we never had any reason to worry! First thing he did when we walked into the apartment was line up all of the coins on the counter, and make sure they were in neat stacks. He slept with earplugs in! There were no ticking clocks in the room! He worked hard the day I was with him! Anyway.. all of those things reminded me of Mark! We got to go out to some villages because the Zone Leaders have a car, and the Lushnea branch is spread out! It is amazing here how the language changes! I could understand a lot more clearly the majority of the people we met with! I can't really comprehend why the language is so different from town to town! Apparently it changes a lot more! I haven't even been north of Tirane, or to Durres yet!
Hannah asked about driving. My companion and I do not drive. There are only a couple of cars in the mission! Only high up leadership positions and some senior couples drive. If I ever become a zone leader or AP I may get the opportunity to drive in Albania! Drivers here are crazy! Rules equal Zero! You can drive as fast as you want and park wherever you want and there aren't really stop signs or road lights. You put your nose in and hope for the best! On top of it people walk all over all of the roads. There aren't crosswalks... you just walk! While traveling we usually take forgons. They are big vans that we pile into!
This week we also went to Tirane for a day! Elder Austin had District Leader Training! I went on a day exchange with Elder Jorgenson while his companion went with Elder Austin! We took a forgon to and from, and one bus while in Tirane. Elder Jorgenson was very nice! We mostly street contacted! I took his spot in Elbasan, so he told me a lot about his experience here, and about some people we should visit. It was very helpful because we are whitewashing so even still there are a lot of inactives we do not know! He was trained in Elbasan. He is one transfer ahead of me so we were able to relate pretty well!
This week Elder Austin and I are fasting on Sat-sun for one of our investigators who is trying to get parental permission to get baptized. She is in her 20's. It is really tough on her because she knows it is true. I don't want you to fast haha (In fact the white handbook says that that is a no no), but continued prayers for our investigators are always welcome!
I have received a lot of questions about the food! I like it! There is a lot of fresh fruit because it is so hot and humid! Also there are a lot pasta and other grains! We eat local food from restaraunts most days for lunch. They serve a lot of deepfried meets and pastries! Some is a lot less healthy than others! Byrek, Suflace, Bugace, Petula, and Trilace are some very Albanian dishes. Of course there are pastas and pizzas as well! (c's make a ts sound and the e's on the end make an eh) We don't really eat at members house.. in fact I haven't had a meal yet haha! It would be hard to accept though just because they are so poor!
Thanks to everyone who continues to support me! I appreciate all of your prayers! They make the work here easier!
Take Buddy on some walks!!
Love Elder Stewart!!