Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Great Week!

Hello Family!

Another great week! We are working hard! This week has been a highlight. It came a little late in the transfer, but I can't really complain. It has been awesome.

It kinda started on Wednesday at Zone conference. Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal. On Wednesday we had a Zone Conference. It is like a Zone Meeting on steroids. We all travel into Tirana instead of to Lushnea where the Zone leaders are, and with that the Fords are also present. in a Zone Meeting the highest leadership present is the Zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders. President Ford delivered a great message which included hastening the work continuing to work hard, but it also came with a couple of challenges. He has heard from many of us around the mission, including our companionship, that getting second lessons is sometimes hard. We aren't positive why. We have had very spiritual lessons with some peopla and then never seen them again. So he gave us two challenges. The first was choosing the venue for lessons. The second had to do with choosing the people for lessons. The third had to do with daily contact. The ones that we have really seen make a difference so far are the first and third. 

Elder Austin and I made a goal to act on his goal. We really put it into affect. We have been into five of our investigators homes this week. Usually those would have been done at the church building because it is convenient and they prefer it because they don't like showing us their homes because they are poor. As we have strived to keep these goals we have realistic baptismal dates. We have seen miracles. Actually we have seen lot of them in the last four days. We are getting into homes we never ever thought would be possible. We have been given excuses to not to for so long, and then this week the walls came down.

We got a visit in M's home, and we taught about family and the proclamation, and eternal families. Sister Tooley came with us on that one. M was fasinated, and we will be going back. We got a visit in A's home this morning. He finally caved and let us come over. It was amazing. He has told us for a very long time that he believes the church is true but he hasn't acted. He has now commited to act. He told us today that in his heart he knew that when he was baptized before it was not with authority. Tons of walls came down for him. He did not commit to a specific date, but he has given us a very open invite to teach more lessons in his home. An was a very special case. We had a lesson with her at the center before driving to her village with the Tooleys. In the lesson we had a very big scary bridge to cross.. baptism in the Orthodox Church. We had no idea how she was going to take it. We were very scared that we were going to lose the appointment with her family at her house, but we felt like we needed to teach it before we went out there so that we weren't hiding anything. We got to that point in the lesson, and explained authority from Jesus Christ connecting it back to Joseph Smith. And as it just so happens she said "yeah I need to be baptized again. When?" So the date got set for a few weeks down the road. We went out and met her family. They were all super nice, but kinda shy. They gave us tons of food and drinks. I hope the lesson touched them. It was pretty simple on the Plan of Salvation. They didn't participate much, but they appreciated the fact that we traveled all of the way out there. Another visit we had was with E and his wife. E is a less active recent conver from last transfer. I am not sure what happened, but obviously that is the worst kind of recent convert. Anyway we got an appointment in his home with his nonmember wife, brother, mother in law, and nieces, and his sons. That lesson also went very well. They are fascinated by eternal families and temples. All of them a Muslim, but not practicing. Overall it went very well, and we hope to see them all join the church. If that is the case I see no reason why E will remain inactive. Other house visits were also good. And we have some people who have commited to live lives as members of the church and be baptised. We have also seen a lot of sucess in contacting investigators daily. I felt like we were being an annoyance, but it seems to be working.

On the not spiritual side Elbasan has been a huge party! We have had the Summer Fastival, Flower festival, and Ballakume (cookie festival). It has been wild. We haven't celebrated much, but i have seen lots of stuff. The streets were super crowded. The pic of the concert thing is in the boulevard. Usually it is pretty empty. You have seen a pic of it before. This pic is taken from the same spot as my one from the beginning off the castle wall.

Also on a not spiritual not.. actually not even close to spiritual note.. I tried Alcohol for the first time this week. At A's house one of the drinks was alcoholic. One sip and it burned all the way down my throat. Needless to say we did not continue drinking that drink. They assured us it was not alcoholic and brought out the bottle. Sure enough the drink was alcoholic. It was wild I was totally drunk for like a bunch of hours, and couldn't remember anything.. haha jokes.. but it was wild!

Also I took a picture by the McDonalds sign here in Elbasan. I'm not sure if it is a joke or if they are actually trying to claim affiliation with McDonalds. It is super greasy like McDonalds food. But there are roaches crawling all over the counters and I am sure McDonalds is more sanitary than that ;)

The work is going well! I love it!

Have a blast and take Buddy on walks! Best of luck to Matt in Basketball Provincials!!

Love, Elder Stewart

This is the concert he referred to in this weeks letter.

A store named after his sister - doesn't really look like her type of store though! :)

A cookie from the cookie festival. Elder Stewart told us they are really good and about as big as his face!

Elder Stewart and Elder Riber. Elder Riber has just completed his mission.


A bakery full of cookies for the cookie festival - Ballakume.

Cookies for sale on the street. Editor's not: I think I would REALLY like it there!!:)   )

Elder Stewart - cookie stand in back.

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