Friday, May 2, 2014

Challenges and Blessings in Durres

This week has been really good. We have been working hard as always to get investigators.

K is doing well, but he has that smoking problem. We have pushed his baptismal date back into June because he needs to have it cleared up. Hopefully we can bring it forward again if he kicks it fast enough. We had a really great lesson with a member named Vellai(Brother) B. He used to have a terrible smoking problem. He said as soon as he finished with one he would start smoking the next. He went through tons of cigarettes, and he got to the point where normal stuff wasn't good enough so he started buying stuff that you roll yourself. He was great to have in on the lesson. He is a good story teller, and pretty motivational. K only smokes when he is stressed. A few a week so nothing in comparison, but still it is a trial he needs to overcome. He calls it one of Satans tricks. K came to church again though. Once again he had to leave early to meet a professor. His school schedule is not very accommodating for the Sabbath day, but hopefully he can do better in the fall. He liked it though!

This week we had our first official ward council here in Durrës. He was obviously brought up. They asked about the situation. We explained, and then almost immediately had questions flying at us from around the room. It got super stressful. I honestly never get stressed out in lessons and conversations here, but I got super stressed out. They picked us apart pretty good. I said a Jo when I should have said a Po because we got confused amidst all of the questions. Elder Gray just stopped talking because Albanians can be super pointed people. So I had to wrap stuff up on my own. We got our testimonies called into question by a member of the bishopric in front of the Ward council because he asked "Do you think not smoking will help him with exams?" but I thought he said "do you think smoking will help him with his exams?". Yeah it was kind of scary, but we made it out of there and Elder Acheson got torn to shreds too, and the third set of Elders don't have any investigators. So yeah I think the ward council thinks we are all incompetent. 

Vellai B was in on that meeting though! He is awesome. He is the Young Mens President. He is super respectful. This week on the street he stopped at the store and spent 200 lek that I know he doesn't have, to buy us a snack. We tried really hard to get away without anything, but he did it anyway. He is just that kind of person. He has done a lot of things that have really impressed me. He works like a dog all day as a postman, serves faithfully in his calling, and just serves others. He is a member highlight for the week!

This week while street contacting we found a family. They are really nice. We aren't exactly sure what the dynamics are for sure.. I has been hard to tell. But in the street contact she came up to us because our tags say Jesus on them. She told us that she had a really strong testimony of Jesus, but that she had never been baptized. She had been to a few churches, but never found the right one. We got her number, and all of the kids with her were super nice. Another couple was with her and they were awesome as well. We set up an appointment for the next day. We found their house and had a great lesson on the restoration. They ate it all up. There were about 6 people in on the lesson. In the end 6 of them came to church. They used to attend church every week in Italy, but haven't here. They said they will come every week. The kids liked primary too I think.

Another Street contact turned out good this week as well. We had a guy from Orthodox background pretty interested in the book. We set up a meeting with him. He came. He loved the restoration message. We gave him a Book of Mormon. He told us he would have it finished up in about 4 days. We showed him the promise. If he reads the Book of Mormon and prays about it he will get an answer. I saw his desire. I can't wait to meet with him again! It will either be tomorrow morning or Wednesday!

We are working with some Ward Members too! Two of the families we are working with have missionaries in the field, but the dads are not members. It blows my mind how that is possible, but we hope to help them see the light. Another girl we are working with is 9. Her two older brothers are in their 20s, but they are totally inactive. She has no way to get to church, and we can't figure out a way to get her there. We visited her once with the Primary President as well. She is looking into it also. The primary president here is fantastic as well! She helped us a ton at church with all of those kids!

Because everyone here loves Nutella, and because those little bottles eat money we decided to buy nutella in bulk, and save the Elders here in Durrës money for the next year. 10kgs for 28 dollars. It is a ton!! But it makes for a good decoration in our very empty house! Also it tastes pretty good on toast and other things! We will also be mission legends haha. When you do the math though it was actually a good money saver. It is awesome.

Today for Pday we played capture the flag by the sea with our whole zone. We got a picture. I don't have it yet but hopefully for next week. Those other ones I have are just us making teams and boundaries. South Zone is the best zone! The other ones are our district on the bus on the way to capture the flag. All of the Canadians in the mission are in the south Zone. The others thought it was hilarious every time we said Capture the FLAG. I have a lot of friends here now! We get to know each other pretty well because our mission is so small!

This week we have a very full week planned. We have lots of lessons planned. We have lots of investigators now thank goodness. The Lord has helped us out big time!! We have put in a lot of hours of finding! I just give you the highlights. One I forgot to mention though is two 20 year old cousins. Just thought they would be cool to mention for my cousins out there. Their names are Alteo and Albana. Guy and a girl.

Also, F. from Elbasan is now baptized!! That is very exciting for me!! He got everything in order. You have a picture of me with him. He is the one that was supposed to get baptized right before I left, but didn't.. But now he is!!

I am happy Arizona was so good! Thanks everyone for thoughts and prayers!! I appreciate it a ton!

Take Buddy on Walks! 
Love, Elder Stewart
Elder Gray, Elder Stewart and a 14 year old boy named E. He has a rock solid testimony and helps with lessons quite often.

On the bus on P-day on the way to play Capture the Flag.

Making teams for Capture the Flag

That's a lot of Nutella!!!

Elder Stewart's form of decorating. :) I may have to take him to Real Deals when he gets home to spritz up his  living space!

The church in Durres

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