Tuesday, February 11, 2014

News from Elbasan...After a Week Hiatus!

Thanks for all of the emails!! I apologize that I did not email last week. Elder Austin was out of commission for Monday and Tuesday and then had to take it slow on Wednesday because he still wasn't feeling well. Do you know any good doctors??

We had our record high last week of lessons. 25 on the week. Elder Austin had never been above 20 before. Mind you it is a different city, but we were happy with it. I am not satisfied, but I am happy. We are gonna break 30 a couple of times this transfer even if it kills me. This week has been a bad week for numbers because of Elder Austins illness at the beginning of the week! We have had some good lessons though.

We had our first baptism this week. He is 8, but a convert. His mom got baptized just before I got into the field. His dad is not at all interested, but he has given them both permission. We have been teaching him lessons, but in the end Elder Palmer our Zone Leader baptized him. It was good because Elder Palmer has a good connection with their family. He was in the area before us! It was the way it should be!

Elbasan has a ton of women, but hardly any men. Two more sisters got baptized this week. The other Elders were teaching them. We have very few count on one hand type deal (no joke) Melchizedek Priesthood holders. We have had a lot of meeting with Males, but they all have one thing in common, and that is that they have a very hard time looking at the eternal perspective when they don't know what or how they are going to eat tonight. Most of them drop us after the first lesson. We really have to rely on the spirit to get them to feel something. Saying that though we have had some really great lessons, and we hope to have a lot more this week!

This week at church I did not have to give my talk. Brother Arben Vogli (possibly the most spiritual man on the continent, he is widely considered the strongest member in the country.. he has been a member since before the war here) came to our ward. He is in the district presidency. He talked at the end, and my talk got canceled. As well my Elders Quorum lesson turned into his lesson. I was fine with that. He is way more spiritual than I am. He has some awesome stories... and he is only 48. He is an amazing sculptor. He has been offered jobs by many large companies in Germany for large amounts of money, but he has turned down money to live a poor life here in Albania, and to help the church succeed. Anyway.. I have to talk next week! Scary!!

On a hilarious note I ordered a pepperoni pizza this week. The titles were in English so I ordered pretty quick. I didn't read the Albanian ingredients. Whoops (see pic) Those are peppers alright! Also a highlight of the week was the three wheeler with a cow in the back, and the two buses that were obnoxious to each other and caused a huge traffic pile up outside the center.

Elder Austin and I made fresh Orange Juice this week! It was an adventure! It was good though!! We are probably going to do it again!!

Also my umbrella broke... haha.

I have met a lot of really great people here in Albania! I certainly have made some new friends with a lot of the branch, and some investigators, and I hope they will accept the goslpel. I also hope that the current parenting genereation will have their hearts softened and let their children be baptized. They have obviously been through some really tough things, and so I think they are just very tentative! They do not want to 'lose' their kids!

One girl who has been investigating for a while convinced her parents to have the missionaries over for dinner last night. She is being taught by the other Elders so they and the Tooleys went. She is so involved in the branch and missionary work, more than most members. Anyway after a 6 hour visit/debate and a really crazy story where they said they could literally feel Satans presence, and then the light of Christ overtook. She got permission to get baptized. We need a lot more miracles like that one! This generation of Albanians is gonna be sweet! Hopefully we get some appointments in homes this week! This success story might give some of our other "waiters" hope. 

Just to get things straightened up our apartment is definitely livable, and if this is the roughest week of my mission I think I can honestly say I haven't had a bad week on my mission... gone stir crazy yes... always had an excess of energy yes... tried to push the pace constantly yes... but I have always had a fun time doing it!

Good to see that Buddy survived the vet! Keep taking him on walks!!

Elder Stewart

Local butcher shop. What's your vote on what animal this is?

His bedroom. Looks not too bad! Cool drapes!

Closet we assume. So nice to see the towel hung up. :)

The "pepperoni" pizza.

They must have wind like we do! This is the fate of every umbrella in Southern Alberta.

The three wheeled vehicle with a cow in back.

An outdoor "grocery store".

Homemade orange juice. Notice the counter tops...we don't even have granite! Looks pretty ok to me! :)

Inside the church building. The Elders help clean it every Saturday. Those floors look pretty shiny! Nice job Elder Stewart!

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