Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gjakova is Prospering with Proselyting

Cool fact about Albania and Kosovo: Names have a huge impact on
religion.People know what religion others are just based on their
name. For example.. All Pjeters are catholic. There are set Muslim,
orthodox, and Catholic names.

This week we got 12 new investigators meaning we met with them for a
first lesson and they accepted a second! it was amazing. i will tell
you some of my favourites.

We met some cool families this week. We met a dad and son on the road,
and figured out how to get to their house. We took the Tooleys car out
to their house and visited them. It was a family of four. The two boys
were 18 and 14. The oldest boy had dropped out of school on order to
help support the family. The younger boy was brilliant however. He
just knew a ton, and loved to read. He read the bible! They were a
very Christian family. The older boy loved it, and we could tell he
felt great both times we were at hid house. The parents were both a
little bit protective against our message. The mom made a point of
saying that they held onto Catholicism for the past 500 years when
everyone else has become Muslim, and then they survived the war 15
years ago. Both parents really weren't open to our message, but they
liked that we talked about Christ. The youngest son is the only one
who I think really got it. It is cool to think the he is the same as
Joseph Smith was. The same thing will work for him if he asks for the
answer. unfortunately the Dad gave us a very hard drop as we were
walking out of the second lesson, and told us never to come back. I
still have a lot of hope for them in the future.. especially the kids!

This week we were also able to meet another family. We met B and
his family. I called them at like 10:30 to remind them of 11 oclock
church and 5 of them came to church! Elder Schramm and Elder Tooley
taught them a lesson after church, and 2 of them have a large desire
to be baptized. They committed to be baptized so that is fantastic! We
aren't exactly sure of the family dynamics. There are cousins and
uncles and aunts. There are a lot of people to say the least. I think
we have met 8 of them up until right now. It will be great to continue
to work with them.

I will tell you about our other investigators as they progress.

On Tuesday we got to go back to the military base. It was my second
time going there. It was snowing really hard as we drove there. We had
our district meeting in the car as to not waste time. We have a
district full of a lot of characters! Major Jensen met us at the gate,
and we got to eat the American cafeteria food. It was really good. I
love North American milk! Following dinner we had a fireside in their
little meetinghouse thing that they have on base. The other Elders
gave the lesson this time around and shared the talk from that really
young German seventy from the last conference about Approaching the
Throne of God. I think the soldiers really liked it. We grabbed some
snacks from the base and took off. The ride home was really funny too.
Quite the district!

I had an exchange with Elder Holm Tuesday night into Wednesday. It was
fun to serve with him for a day. We worked really hard, and got to
teach a few lessons together. The last time that I taught something
with Elder Holm was the MTC, and so it was pretty great to teach with
him again knowing what we now know.

This Christmas Initiative is really cool. I hope all of you Twitter
people are #ShareTheGift ing. Here we talk to tons of people every day
about it. We have a big sign that we contact with. It has attracted a
lot of attention. I will take a picture with it this week so I can
send one home.

The funnest part of my week continues to be our beginners English
Course. I think it is the best. I wrote down all of their names when
the presented themselves, and that night I studied them really so I
can call them all by name. There are like 15 on average, and we have a
blast with them. They are getting better at English too! It is my
favourite English class just because the people are more relaxed and
talkative, and we can do games and they are less embarrased to try
talking. At the end of one class we were teaching them the parts of
the body and we did Head shoulders knees and toes. They got a kick out
of that.

We have been doing spiritual devotionals every Wednesday and Sunday.
President Weidmann told us to so them throughout the month of
December. Elder Schramm and I did the one on Sunday. We did two songs
and a talk from the first Presidency Devotional. Everyone loves MoTab,
and it was good for all of the people to see some of the First
Presidency Devotional. We will probably use the other talks on another

I wasn't in on that lesson because I have been doing some translating
for Sister Tooley. There are some situations here that you just don't
run into in other countries. Sister Tooley did a great job of helping
a lady who is in a very tough spot. I was happy to be able to help
because I really do feel bad for a lot of these people here. They been
through and seen and been hurt in ways I struggle to imagine. Each of
us as missionaries take  few turns translating. Sometimes it is little
things and other times it is larger meetings like that one was.

So this is my last P-day before Christmas! We have planned to have
Christmas morning at the other Elders apartment. We will eat breakfast
with them and the Tooleys over there. We will probably walk around or
play games during the day. We have Christmas dinner midafternoon at
the Tooleys house. The Peja Elders will also be coming to that one. On
Cristmas evening I get to talk to you. It will be around 5 our time!
Thanks for all of the packages and cards! You are the best!!

While it is nice to be home for Christmas I am a huge fan of the
mission Christms thing. Our Christmas started in November and is
running right up until the end of the year! I love it out here!

Have a great week! Walk Buddy! Talk to you on Christmas!

Merry Christmas! #ShareTheGift

Love Elder Stewart

Pool fun on P Day

Splits with Elder Penrod

Sis Tooley wearing the Canada socks we sent her. :)

A vehicle in Gjakova

Their "Charlie Brown" tree. :) I think it's perfect.

Bowling from last P Day. Might be a little harder in dress clothes! 

A Christmas display at the mall. Looks pretty good!

Elder Penrod, Elder Stewart and Elder Holm

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