Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Exchanges with Macedonian Elders and Chili Cheese Dogs

This week has been great!

I have had two exchanges this week. The first was with Elder Kreins
from Macedonia. The Macedonian elders all came up to Prishtina so all
of us had an exchange. Three of them went to the American Military
base this week. It was their turn. We have seen the Macedonians a lot
lately, and it has been really fun. They are really cool guys. Elder
Kreins didn't go onto the base because he is from Slovenia. Instead he
got to contact and teach with us that evening as well. It was a
freezing cold evening for contacting. It was rainy and windy and no
one was stopping. I don't really blame them. I don't think I would
have either. After a lesson at the church a member suggested to us to
try contacting outside the mall. He said people all the people go
there in the rain. So we tried it. It didn't work all that great, but
it was cool to try something new. Elder Kreins and his companion Elder
Garrish stayed at our house from Tuesday into Wednesday. It was really
fun to have company.

The second exchange was our district exchange. I went with Elder
Clawson this time in his area. He had a really fun time. We have
become pretty good friends! we taught two lessons together. It was
kind of a weird day for an exchange because we had to clean the church
in the morning, but whatever.

We met a few times with one of our really cool investigators. He is
the famous one. He is 62 years old. We taught him Tithing and Fast
offerings. He very readily accepted it. He especially liked the fast
offerings for the poor. He made a comment that as he learns more and
more about our church it all just seems so right. We managed to keep
his lesson shorter this week. It was quite the accomplishment.

He is quite the character.  He is a huge talker. In church they had to
cut him off on his introduction in Elder Quorum. He was up close to
ten minutes when they ended him. He loves attention. He is a lively
guy, an I think the members really liked him! He announced in church
for himself that he will be baptized on December 20. We have a lot of
faith. Just so you can get into perspective his funloving character..
On Sunday night he said he stayed up until 5 am because his son and
his fiance were at home, and they were playing games and talking. He
is a really cool guy, and he has a cool moustache!

The poorer of our cool investigators from last week fell of of the map
for the entire week. He doesn't have a phone, and we had no way of
contacting him. We thought we might have lost him, but then at 3
o'clock on Sunday he came strolling into the church. We were there for
another lesson. It was so great to see him. He was really happy.
Apparently he has been really sick all week. He said he was really
sorry that he had bailed on our appointments. We watched the
Restoration Video with him to try and drive our message home. We have
found that the visual really helps. Many Albanians are visual learners
it seems.

Elder McGrath and I taught the institute lesson this week. The members
here is Prishtina are great. The lesson was on chapters 4 and 5 of D
anc C. They are trying to get the D and C going here in Prishtina. We
have one member here who knows the bible like the back of his hand. He
is super funny. When we ask him to say a prayer he asks us if we want
him to say it in Hebrew. I don't think he actually can, but he is
quite devoted to the bible. He loves taking Selfies so I will send you
one with him. He also loves pretending to be Mr. Bean. He does a
pretty good imitation actually. The participation in Institute was
super good.

We had a special thing this week. There was a Seminary and Institute
conference this weekend in Prishtina. All of the Semianry and
Institute teachers from Albania were up here in Prishtina. I saw some
people I knew from Elbasan and Durrës. It was really cool. Kind of
nice to be able to talk to the people from Elbasan haha. When I was
there (for the first half especially) talking with them was tough! It
was fun to see them as well as some other people from around Albania
that I have seen here and there. President Mema put on a presentation
for the Prishtina YSA in the evening. He invited the missionaries so
we went and listened. He did a great job. He is a really good teacher.
His message was based on Elder Hollands "Souls, Symbols, and
Sacraments." He hit home with a lot of people I think. LDS standards
definitly do not fall in line with the Kosovar YSA standards.
President Mema does a great job of putting on great lessons, involving
people, and inspiring people to do even better. I love the way he

We played soccer again this week. It was really fun. A couple of the
members are pretty good. It gets pretty competitive sometimes. I think
it is pretty funny.

We found a really cool place to eat this week that sells American
food. I am talking Caesar salads and chili cheese dogs. Needless to
say we have eaten their food a few times this week!

All is well in Prishtina. It is getting cold, but from what I hear you
are even colder.

Have a good week and walk Buddy!

Love Elder Stewart
Elder Stewart

A rainy night in Prishtina

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

The washing machine...it's very ancient.

The apartment... the suit in the corner???

Elder Stewart and Elder Clawson

A fountain in the centre of town.

Elder Stewart in town square.

Elder Stewart and his Christmas tie! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mission Conference and More New Investigators

First sulfage in awhile in Tirana after mission conference.
This week has been great! We got 7 new investigators this week! It has
been amazing up here. I will tell you about a few of them.

Last week we were waiting for a man to show up to meet with us. He
called us and said he was going to be late so we decided to go to a
better spot, and contact for about 15 minutes. As we were walking down
to the boulivard to contact we walked by a happy looking man around
our age, and we started talking to him. He was super nice. We got his
number and said we would meet up again. My favourite part was at the
end right before he put his phone away he yelled 'Selfie' and snapped
a photo with us. We thought he was pretty cool, and so we met with him
this week. He was really nicew and respectful. At the end of the first
lesson everything was going super well so we extended the invitation
to be baptized. He said he should be baptized on Dec 20 as long as he
knows these thigs are true. We met with him again this week. I think
he will put in the effort to get an answer. I was pretty excited for
him. He is 24.

On Friday we met up with a man. He is in his 60s. Apparently he is
quite the public figure. He told us he likes to feel unknown, and
behind the scenes but it is hard because he is famous. I thought that
was pretty funny. He is a chatterbox! I love it. We get along great
with him. he was asking all kinds of questions about the Plan of
Salvation so we ended up teaching the Plan of Salvation as a first
lesson rather than the Restoration. He loved it! At the end he said
this is great, but it isn't really fair if i am happy and others
aren't. It turns out he does community service all of the time. He
also runs an NGO. He also is on TV all of the time and wants to say
stuff about the church. This guy is super good. He commited to be
baptized on December 20 as well. He loves the things our church does.
He loves the Plan of Salvation. He came to church this week and loved
it. He was super in favour of the no crosses thing. We taught him the
Restoration on Sunday night, and it went great!

We met the third cool investigator on the road on Friday. He didnt't
have a phone number so I gave him a passalong card, and we invited him
to church on Sunday. It was a pretty big longshot, but he came! I was
amazed! He had a great time in church. Sacrament was really good, and
he liked it, but in Priesthood they had him stand up and introduce
himself. The Prishtina branch does a pretty good job of making new
people feel like a million bucks. They hit it off with him super well.
We then met him again a few hours after church. He is the nicest guy.
He is 51. He is not rich and famous like the other guy. In fact he is
quite the opposite. Humble is a good word for him. He is very open.
his main questions were centered around Jesus Christ so we taught him
a first lesson with a large emphasis on the role of Jesus Christ. He
wants to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized on Dec 20.

Wow just writing those three paragraphs got me really excited again. I
am praying that all three pan out. We still have a lot of work to go
before December 20, and so do they. But this has been an unbelievable

On Wednesday afternoon we had to take off for Tirana for our mission
conference with Elder Dyches. The Sisters had to take the 4am bus
because they had a bunch of stuff to do in Tirana on Wednesday so that
meant Elder McGrath and I went with the other Elders in the Gjakova
car because the Prishtina one was smashed. We had a good drive down to
Tirana. We didn't have any problems. We got into Tirana and were
really hungry so we grabbed some Sufalqe. They don't have any in
Kosovo so it was a good treat. On Wednesday night Elder McGrath and I
stayed with the APs and two of the Macedonian Elders. It was fun to
see the Macedonians because they are kind of off in their own little
section of the mission. On Thursday morning we drove with them to
mission conference. Elder Barber and Price are their names. It was
really fun to get to know them better. We have met a few times before,
but this was the first time we were really together. we had to be at
mission conference a little early to take a mission photo. Hopefully I
can find it somewhere and send it to you. It was great to see
everyone. There were a lot of people I didn't know this time so that
was weird. I hadn't met any of the new group yet so it was good to
meet them.

At mission conference we heard from the Weidmanns, Elder and Sister
Dyches, and Stake Presdident Mema. They all do a great job. Elder
Dyches talked a lot about teaching and revelation. Sister Dyches hada
ton of personality. She had me laughing pretty good. They all had some
really good points, and I took some good notes.

I drove home to Kosovo with three Macedonian Elders. Elder Barber the
fourth one went with Elder McGrath on the Prishtina bus. I don't
really know why they had us do that. It may have been to just switch
it up for the Macedonians. They are always together, and it never
changes so they go a little stir crazy. All four of the Macedonians
stayed at our house on Thursday night. It was fun to get to know all
four of them!

On Saturday morning we had more driving to do some more driving. we
had to return the Gjakova car. I drove to Gjakova with Elder Clawson
in the Prishtina car, and Elder McGrath and Jorgenson went in the
Gjakova car. It was a fun ride. On the way back we all rode together
in the Prishtina car. The reason Elder McGrath and I went is because
they can't drive on their own.

I think that is our week in a nutshell. Thanks to the Wilde Family for
an amazing package!!

Have a great week! Take Buddy on Walks!

Love Elder Stewart
A wonderful package from some great friends at home. It was so appreciated and shared by the whole district!

A "family" pic. Elder Rasband, who he trained, Elder Austin , who trained him, and Elder Stewart.

Road tripping with Elder Clawson, his Zone Leader. Sounds like they had a really good time together. :)

Veteran's Memorial in Prishtina

Broccoli pizza...He LOVED it!

Two Branch members. The man on the right is the one for whom they picked all the potatoes.

A young boy from the branch with whom Elder Stewart has become great friends.

The Albi market near their apartment.

Elder Stewart, Elder McGrath and Elder Clawson in background by the church.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Very Busy Week with some REAL American/Canadian Food!

This week has been a great week.

Monday was a great night. We had two lessons. One of them was with our
best investigator who you have all heard about. the second was with
that family. The Dad has been the only one coming to lessons. We had a
great member in on that one too. I will keep you posted on all of
them. We still haven't been able to set a baptismal date with them,
but hopefully soon!

Tuesday was a fantastic day. We had District meeting in the morning.
District meetings are always fun. We have a spiritual thought, a
language tip, a spotlight of one person in the district, a review of
everyones areas (we all talk about good things a nd troubles so we can
be on the same page), we have announcements, and then the District
Leader gives a training on something (sometimes the topic is assigned
and sometimes not). After that we had two great lessons. The first one
was a second lesson with a muslim man who has catholic relatives. He
is curious about our concept of Jesus and his role in our lives. The
second was with a guy who I met on the road last week. We were out
contacting, and i waved him down. He asked what I was doing, and I
began to explain. Partway through he pulled two books out of his
pocket, and said look what I just bought. He had two books on
understanding the Bible. I have high hopes for him because he is a
really cool guy!

on Tuesday night we got to go to the Military base here in Kosovo.
Every week 4 missionaries go up there with the Tooleys. They hold a
fireside thing, and the missionaries get to see the base. We took a
bus to Ferizaj, and met the Tooleys and Elders Schramm and Elliason
there. We all rode onto base together. On base we met up with Major
Jensen and Sergeant Eyerly. They showed us around a bit. They have a
small store on base with American foods so we picked out a couple. The
big purchase was 40 Ego Waffles. After that we ate dinner on the base.
It was 4 dollars for the whole caffeteria. Lets just say I got my 4
dollars worth. I haven't eaten like that in quite some time. The food
was amazing, and I didn't know what I was doing. I followed a big guy
through the line and just did what he did. Everyone knows wasting food
is bad so I ate it all... I didn't have to eat for the rest of the
week. While in the cafeteria a cool thing happened and a  man came
running up to us because he recognized us by our clothing. It turns
out he is a member from Elder McGraths town. He didn't know about the
member gatherings on base. He was very happy to see us all. From there
we went and gave a lesson. Elder McGrath and I had the lesson. He had
the lead on it because we had decided to share his favourite story
from the New Testament. It is of Peter on the water. It turned into a
great discussion. We took pictures with the soldiers, and invited the
four of them to church. We headed home after that.

On Wednesday we had our interviews with President. He is a great guy.
It was scary though because I got a text on Tuesday saying to set up
President Weidmanns schedule in Prishtina so we could all get
interviewed. So I had done that, but then on Wednesday morning
President texted me and said he wanted to go in on a lesson with one
of us so I had to quickly switch things. It wasn't a huge deal, but I
wanted everything to run well, and I didn't want to mess up anyones
days. In the end everything went fantastic. President Weidmann got to
be in on two lessons. The interviews went good. He is a very wise man
with a lot of good advice. He is always very supportive.

During the day on Wednesday Sergeant Eyerly was in Prishtina wandering
around because he was unable to go to a meeting due to lack of seats,
and he was a lower rank. He was really bored so he found us and talked
to us, and took us out for lunch. That was really nice of him. He is a
great guy. The soldiers are pretty impressive. On Wednesday night
Elder McGrath and I had the institutle lesson. We are doing D and C
right now.

Thursday we weekly planned due to a crazy Friday. We also had two
great first lessons, and English course. We teach a ton of first
lessons out here. it is really cool. It is just hard to get be people
beyond curious to actually interested, and willing to act. I love how
many people we come into contact with. This week I have been trying to
focus more on families. Our strategy is changing all of the time to
spark interest, and get people moving. It has been great to see that
everyone seems to agree that families are important. People are often
very happy to tell us about their families. English course is great.
We had debates this week, and really worked on expressing opinions. We
have some funny students!

On Friday the Zone Leaders held a training for the District Leaders.
There are 4 districts in the north zone. We are Prishtina, Peja,
Gjakova, and Macedonia. The training was really good. It had a lot to
do with finding through our own efforts because we do a lot of that.
They had some good ideas. They also presented goals for the Zone.
After which we had lunch together. It was good to see Elder Holm, and
Elder Braden from my MTC group. Elder Holm doesn't eat vegetables so
that was kind of funny to bug him about. Friday afternoon was the
longest I have contacted consecutively in quite a while. We received a
lot of numbers. the night ended with another first lesson so that was

Saturday was quite the day. We had a lesson in the morning, and then
right after we had soccer. Every couple weeks up here we have a soccer
activity. We had it weekly back in Durrës. A ton of the members come,
and they bring their friends. It was a great time.Some of these guys
are really good. I managed to get a couple of goals so that felt good.
I can kick the ball pretty good again now. For the last 5 months I
have had a pretty bad ingroan toenail. (My foot used to be covered in
blood after every game) I think i have it under control now. it took
some experimenting, but my foot is in goal scoring condition once
again. Following the lesson we had another lesson with a really cool
guy who lived in Texas for a couple of years. From there we helped the
other Elders prepare for their baptism. It all ended up going great.
One new member! There were some investigators there too. It was great.

Sunday was church. After a crazy week it is always awesome to go to
church. We had some lessons after church, and our missionary
correlation meeting. On Sunday morning I finished the New Testament.

I think I hit all of the major points. Life is good!

Take Buddy on walks!

Love Elder Stewart

Carving pumpkins at the Halloween party.

Pumpkins look a little different there!

This is the sweater now fitted for Buddy!

Life lesson: Sweaters do not go in dryers! :)

The home of the man from their Potato Harvest adventures from last week.

Digging for potatoes

More harvesting! What a huge help all these missionaries must have been!

From the Internet Cafe where they email home.

With some of the LDS soldiers at the base.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Potentials in Prishtina, Party Planning and Potatoes!

Well this week flew by, and to be honest it is kind of tough to keep
everything straight as far as what was what.

We still have that family, and our other investigator. He is 21. They
have been hanging on, and we are supposed to have lessons with both of
the again tonight. As far as the family goes they said yes.. and no to
baptism. Prishtina is a very Muslim place. The father feels he will
put his wife and children in danger if any of them were to be
baptized. Apparently he has some very practicing family. While we
never feel any danger we are told by members that among families it
can be a very real problem. It is very tough, and not a problem that
we would ever have to encounter in Canada. We have a member coming
tonight, and hopefully we will be able to get it all worked out. We
had our missionary meeting with our Branch mission leader, and the
bishop. In the end it is probably going to come down to how the family
feels. Where there is a will there is a way. We are really hoping for
them!! The 21 year old is great. He hasn't been able to come to church
yet because he has family in Peja, and was there on the weekend. Maybe
he can start going to church there. The thing is he is in between
cities all of the time!

English course is still really fun! We have a great member who is in
our class and helps us out. Elder Austin actually taught him when he
was here so that is really cool. He helps us with lessons too. I have
mentioned him before in letters. This last Tuesday the rest of our
district went to the American Military base to teach a lesson, and
they left us with all three english classes. We just played English
games with them, and everyone loved it. We played this game called
fruit basket. It is usually played where everyone is given a fruit.
For example Apple, orange, and grape. When I say grape everyone who is
a grape has to change chairs. The person in the middle try is to get a
chair. We played it with all kinds of English words. The people here
love it. I really like it too. It is quite entertaining.

That English course was the last night for my burgundy sweater. It met
an unfortunate end when it turned out to be handwash only. It might
fit Buddy now?! I guess I should read more washing instructions.
Speaking of washing our washing machine is always going now because
the other Elders washing machine broke.

So we met 5 Muslim guys on the road one day, and they kept going off
on tangents, and wouldn't hear us out for Joseph Smith. Finally we
said we have a really cool 20 minute video.. will you watch it. I
think I already told you about it. After the video they still weren't
super interested. they wouldn't let us pray. One guy took a B of M
though and said he would read. On the way out of the door they said
they were opening a restaurant right by the church, and invited us to
check it out. We said we would stop by. They were great guys. Pretty
respectful for the most part. The restaurant opened this week, and we
tried it out. The food is amazing, and a whole meal costs one euro and
a half. The guys in there all love us. We are really good friends. I
think it is cool that they have all seen the Restoration. Hopefully
they will get interested in the Gospel eventually. For now we will
just keep being great friends. Our church road is the best. We are
great friends with the grocery store worker, the bakery workers, and
the workers at this new restaurant.

We have spent a ton of time on the boulivard this week trying to get
some good contacts. It is a test of patience, and faith. We have
managed to get a few people in for lessons. 3 of which agreed to come
back and learn more. It is a great time teaching. President gave us a
training a while back on finding and how it is so important to have
new investigators every week. We have done a pretty good job at that!
A new investigator is anyone we have a lesson with that agrees to
learn more.

Friday was awesome. I have become great friends with a man in the
ward. I don't know why, but for some reason we just kind of clicked
right off the bat. He is the Elders Quorum president right now. He is
a great guy. He has to be in his late 50s. We were talking and he
asked me if I could help him with his harvest of potatoes. In the end
the whole district was able to go out to his place. We dug and dug
potatoes all morning. We had a ton of potatoes. it was hard work.
Digging, and hauling potatoes. I think it was my favourite service
project that I have been able to do out here. It would be hard to
beat. The weather was chilly, but we were all sweating like crazy.
This man got baptized about two years ago. His wife is super sick with
cancer. He says there is no hope. I am sure he must be lonely and
tired all of the time. He leads a tough life. He was so happy having
us out there though. It was the highlight of my week!

The Halloween party turned out to be a go. Apparently they changed
their minds last minute. The missionaries threw it together, and we
held the event. As far as event planning goes, I don't think I have
ever had to do anything like it before. It rocked. Everyone loved it.
The sisters got two new investigators from it. We had quite a few
nonmembers there. We had hot dogs, and finger food. There was apple
bobbing and doughnut dangling. It went super well. I think it was even
better than any of us expected!

We had the funniest Elders Quorum lesson on Sunday. It is really hard
to explain while typing, and without you knowing the people, but it
was great. It went all over the place. One part you will appreciate is
that the old guy who was the main teacher for the lesson started
ending it just like a prayer, except his eyes were open, and it was as
if he was teaching. In the middle someone asked him. "Are you ending
the lesson or saying the closing prayer?" He answered, "I am doing
both at the same time." It was a fabulous lesson! It was hard to keep
composure for the whole lesson!

Today for pday we started our district talent show skit thing for
American thanksgiving when we have a mission talent show, and each
district has a part. It should be good. It is top secret. it is still
in the making, but I will keep you posted as it develops into

My fingers are tired! Have a good week! Thanks for the letters! Take
Buddy on walks!

Love Elder Stewart

Elder Stewart celebrated mom's birthday with one of her favourite things!!

Wouldn't you want to talk to these two on the street??? :)

Pumpkin Carving at the Halloween Party

That's A LOT of potatoes!!!