Friday, August 29, 2014

Aug 25 Letter- A Move!

This week has been good.

We moved houses this week because our last house is falling apart. It
has a lot of problems (electrical, water, and many others). We had
stalagmites, and stalagtites forming on and below our collapsing roof.
We hung in there for a while, and battled it fixing things along the
way, but finally we realized that it probably wasn't worth it. So we
are out! We are in the same building one entrance over, and a couple
houses down. It is where I lived with Elder Gray.

I feel the weather is cooling down. We recaived a notification this
week from Germany about staying hydrated. It is totally true! It maybe
would have been helpful a couple of months ago haha, but they are
definitly looking out for us!

This week A completed the "Stop Smoking Program." We have had
events for him throughout the week. We set it up so we all got invited
to a member house for family home evening! It was a huge success! On
Saturday night we had a party with all of the other missionaries, and
Vellai Balla for him. It was pretty short, but it did the trick. We
ate cookies and fruit, and played ping-pong. We shared Ether 12:27
about weaknesses becoming strengths. All in all a success. Also he
came to church in a white shirt and tie.

Another man who we are working with is named A. He kind of found
the church on his own. He has been a few times before. He is in our
English course. He is a father of two little boys. They didn't have a
Book of Mormon before. We have met with them twice after English to
establish expectations and gain trust. Now we are making a huge push
to get to his house. I am pretty confident that he will get baptised.
We got him to that baptism last week, and it was great. At the start
of this transfer President Weidmann told our companionship that if we
had faith and worked hard we would have 3 baptisms by the end of it.
We are going to get them! The Gospel will be great for their family!

I promised I would tell you a bit about Albanian weddings. Before the
wedding they have multiple huge parties for the entire week before.
Weddings are a huge deal! They spend a ton of money on them. The day
of the wedding they have a huge party (around 12 hours straight of
eating, and drinking, and dancing). It lasts all through the evening
and night. On the morning of the wedding they have a car parade with
nice cars decorated. They drive around honking, and making noise! It
is really cool. They usually have a big camera sticking out of the
roof videoing the parade. We have been in a couple of videos walking
along the road and talking with people.

Also I didn't really explain Krujë. Back in the day Albania had a
bunch of cool castles. Skënderbeu had a huge thing going. Krujë was a
big base. THey have old maps with all of th cities labeled. They say
things like Paris, Istanbul, Frankfurt, and other big notable European
cites, but Krujë is also listed. It was a big deal!

Today for p-day we basketballed it up in Tirana! I had a blast. I love
playing basketball, and I really like getting together with the other
missionaries. It is good to get to know the ones that I don't know as
well also. We had 4 teams of 4. Halfcourt kings court. We played hard
for two hours straight. I loved it. I also saw Elder Holm, and Roemer,
and Brayden from my MTC group as well as lots of other Elders! It was
fun! The gym was pretty nice too!

Walk Buddy!!

Love Elder Stewart

The gym where they played basketball. Not bad!

August 18 -Late Post! :)

I have air conditioning! So I am surviving the heat!

We started off the week for the halfway training meeting. The trainers
and trainees were all in Tirana. We had a good meeting with President
and Sister Weidmann. They are both very cool. They did a great job of
giving advice and input so that we can get the most out of it. The
Church has put out a "First 12 Week" training program, and it is very
good. We then ate lunch all together at the mission home, and got to
talk with the Weidmanns.

We had two baptisms in Durrës this week. Two girls who have been
investigating for a year got permission to be baptised. It was great.

This week has been a great week. We have been doing a lot of teaching
this week! We got A started on the 7 days to quit smoking
program. I think he will nail it. Tonight we have it set up to all go
to a members house for family home evening together. It is going to be

K is back. He leaves on the 20 to Italy so we are getting
everything set up for him so that he can get baptized in Italy. I am
pretty excited for him! I look really weird in the pic I sent haha,
but that is Kristi!

A and E are back and taking lessons. We have been to their
house twice this week. They are on a baptismal date for Sept 13. We
are going to have to work really hard with them to make sure
everything goes through. They are a member referral, and we hope the
ward will get on board.

This week we also began meeting with a man named N. He has been to
church before, but never accepted formal lessons. He is a young father
of 2. He saw the baptisms this week as well.

One interesting thing that happened in Albania at this time of year is
weddings. They have huge festivals.

I don't have much time because we went to Krujë today!

Love you all!

Thanks for walking Buddy!

Elder Stewart

These were all taken in Kruje. Looks amazing!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The BIG Picture... :)

This week has been awesome. So it turns out the big picture is pretty
big. As of two days ago five people who we worked with very closely in
Elbasan are baptized. J and K, and their friend H all got
baptized on Saturday! I am so happy for them. I guess they finally
realized it was time. It is cool to think that Elder Austin and I were
the ones who started teaching J and K! Also I already told
you that F got baptized, but R V also got baptized. He has
been on and off with missionaries for a long time, but his mom and him
had a big talk and the huge mid-20s R was left crying and saying he
needed to get baptized. Apparently he got baptized a couple of weeks

I met up with M the other day. She came back from Italy for a
little bit. She will be going back to Italy and living there,  but she
found the church in Italy. She used the addresses that we gave her for
meeting houses. She met the missionaries. She got an Italian Book of
Mormon. She was on a baptismal date when I saw her, and she was so
excited. I probably won't see her again.. maybe ever here on this
earth because I have no way of contacting her, but I think it is
pretty cool that she actually found the church!

So anyways the moral of the story is God has a plan! I hope that a lot
of our investigators stories end well!

This week we had three investigators in church! K is back!! I am
so happy! He came to a ward activity, and to church. He wants to be
baptized, but he is going to Italy on the 20th for 5 years for school.
We can't baptize him here apparently. This time I think we are going
to put in a formal referral because we have a lot more information. I
hope we can get him to church in Italy. I think everything should go
through. we fasted today just because past events have made us realize
just how powerless we are and how powerful the man upstairs is. K
is awesome though. Honestly i think we would have been great friends.
We are right now anyways.

This week we have also been working with J. He came to church, and
was very well fellowshipped. He has unreal potential, and as far as we
know he isn't going to Italy or Greece :)

Astriti is still doing great. It has been pretty crazy to work with
the Ward. Everyone has the best intentions, unfortunately so many good
intentions make it impossible for him to progress. we are meeting with
him tonight. Hopefully everything will come together for him to be

We are also working with a cool couple we met street contacting. The
first lesson they just wanted to play us in Dominoes and tell us about
their life, and their child in America. We cooperated and had a
spiritual thought and got a return appointment. The second time it was
just the man (Avdul). We taught the restoration and he was pretty
interested. The third lesson we had both of them. He had read the
Restoration pamphlet and had lots of questions. They committed to read
the Book of Mormon. Now they are looking to have great potential.

This week we also had Zone conference. 3 out of my 4 companions were
there. That was very cool! Also this week I went on an exchange with
Elder Foster. We had a pretty fun time.

Everything is going great out here. We are being kept very busy with everything!

Have a great week! Thanks for the emails!

Take Buddy on some walks!

Elder Stewart

Some fruit purchases on the street - melon season!

Homemade peach cobbler!! (Matt wants to know where he got the Cars plate???)

On P Day they found a cool music store. This electric drum kit looks exactly like the one we have at home and that he practiced on for all his years of percussion in the GPMS band! Good memories he said!!

Melon season is on now in Albania and there are trucks full of them to sell.

Durres is Great!!

Well it has been another fantastic week out here in Albania. Elder
Rasband and I are keeping very busy and having a great time doing it!

This week we got to give two priesthood blessings. I would say that
was probably the highlight of the week. The first was quite the
coincidence, or maybe something more than that. We had a lesson
planned way out in the middle of nowhere so we walked out there to
have them cancel on us when we got there. We stood at a bus stop to
wait for a bus to take us to a different part of Durrës, but we say a
road sign and we knew a less active member lived up that road
somewhere so we called them up. It turned out he was in the hospital
with a stomache infection. the busline runs past the hospital so we
got to go to the Hospital and meet with him. Dad and Grandpa would
have loved it! I was tempted to take pics, but we aren't supposed to
while we are working as not to look like tourists. He was doing well.
It seemed to us that he really appreciated a visit from the
missionaries. He hasn't been to church in quite some time! He is 60
years old (quite old for an Albanian). Elder Rasband got to give his
first blessing in Albanian. He did a really good job!

It was the same night, and we met with A. He is super great, but
there have just been some definite obstacles. He could be a very
powerful force if he was baptized, and I don't think Satan is a fan of
that. Anyway I am sure he will get there. We got to give another
blessing. He definitely felt the Spirit. To be honest he looked kind
of stunned by it all. I think it hit him pretty good. He is awesome!

This week we met a 27 year old guy named J. We have now met with
him 3 times, and he is very promising. He met with missionaries a few
years ago, but he wasn't ready then. We hope that he is ready now. We
had A C, a member in his early 20's who is preparing for a
mission. It was great for J to see a regular Albanian member.
Members help!

We were reunited with K this week. He still has a desire to
learn. I know he will be baptized.. eventually! We had a great lesson
with him. We just really focused in on the simple stuff. The
Restoration, Book of Mormon, and prayer. R P helped us out. He
is 14, and really cool. We have been trying to get close with the YM
and single adults, and it has really worked and we have had a ton of
fun doing it!

Today we ate some qofte. It is like hamburger.. only we don't know
what animal it is from.

Yep, that was our week.

Take Buddy on some walks! Thanks!

Love Elder Stewart


The Fruit market

A cool statue

Selfie with a statue

Albanian wildlife

The coast line along  Durres

Elder Rasband and Elder Stewart

On top of the world!