Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Staying in Gjakova and Still Finding Friends!

This week was our final week of English course. We go for a month and
a half for two months, and then break for transfers. After transfers
we start it up again type thing. I have used a lot of those ideas that
you sent me, Grandma. They have been very helpful! The last class that
I had was out of control, off the walls crazy, so the games really
helped. I am very grateful for them!

Transfer calls came last night. Elder Lesi and I were pretty sure we
would be staying because we are in the middle of the training program.
We are having a lot of fun together. Our district is all staying, and
we are getting two more Elders here in Gjakova as well. It should be

Elder Tooley is really working to get everything stabilized as he will
be getting replaced as branch president in the near future. He has
been working really hard to get everything ready for the next guy. He
has had quite a few interviews and things this week so I have been
sitting in on them. He has a tough job. That whole "Judge in Israel"
is quite the calling. I have a lot of respect for Dad, Grandpa, Papa,
and all other current or past ward and branch leaders. That is tough

We have taught a lot of new people this week. We have some families
now!! Hopefully they all keep listening to us. We met a man on the
road with two little twin boys. He is a great guy. We met another man
on the road and got to meet him in his house. He is a father of two,
and has a great family. The Tooleys had a new family move into their
appartment building, and Elder Tooley took us with him to meet them.
We talked at the door, and they invited us in. They have 5 kids, and a
re super nice. We shared the Restoration with them. They were very
receptive. They had another lady in their house, and we got to go to
her house, and have a lesson with her as well.

We thought that was such a good idea to get to know the people in our
own appartment that we tracted it out, and just introduced ourselves
as their neighbours, and then went on to talk about Jesus Christ. For
the most part it worked out well. No one invited us in, but I know a
few more peoples names now, so we will see how far that goes.

Our best lesson this week (in my opinion) was with a man who has been
to church twice. He is the one that paid his tithing. He is really
trying to find the truth, but he just can't grasp it. We talked to him
about the Book of Mormon. I was reminded of one of the District
episodes when the missionary says "you are sitting with the evidence
of of what we say in yours hands, and you haven't read it." That was
pretty much how it was. He came into the lesson, and was feeling sad,
and right before he left I asked him.. how do you feel when you learn
about these things? He said he felt great.l He jumped down the steps
of the church and was smiling afterwards. Hopefully he reads the book.
Elder Lesi and the Tooleys did great! It was just a good lesson.

The bakery by our house is run by a small family. The one son asked me
about the pamphlet I had in my hands. The kids that work there are
awesome. We are in there every few days buying bread, and we always
end up talking to them for about 15 minutes.

One day at lunch we saw a small little sandwich place so we decided to
give it a try. The food was good, but my favourite part was that there
was an Ontario licence plate on the wall. Of course they had a couple
from the states, but they also had Ontario. I thought that was

Well things are still going good. We are trying to work really hard,
and we are having a fun time. It is fun serving out here.

Have a great week, and take Buddy on some walks!

Love Elder Stewart
Notice the Ontario license plate that he spotted on the wall in a restaurant in Gjakova.

Qebaptore te Bimi is a central spot where they often have investigators meet them.

This Tango juice was what he used to do a toast to his dad on Feb 19 for  his dad's birthday.

Classic missionary pic!!! I  (his mom) love it!  :)

Elder Lesi

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finally a Font...and a Baptism in Gjakova

This week had been really good. On Monday we were in Prishtina for a
meeting. We saw a lot of people there so that was really fun. There
were a lot of missionaries, and members from Prishtina.

It was very exciting this week because this week we got a meeting with
a member that had avoided meeting with people for quite a few months
now. He always sets appointments and then cancels last minute. We have
tried to meet with him, Elder Tooley has tried, President Weidmann has
tried, some other Elder were brought in who knew him when he was
active to try and get as meeting with him. He has cancelled with all
of us. It has been an ongoing process. However, we were street
contacting one day, and his brother walked passed. We felt like we
should give him a call. He said ok, and he said to meet him at 8
o'clock at the church. We have heard that kind of thing a thousand
times but we set the appointment. At just after 8 as we were wrapping
up another appointment that had started late, I got a call from the
man and he said he was at the church. I was super surprised to be
honest. We said the closing prayer and sprinted to the church. We got
to know him a lot better. He has a lot of outside pressure from a
number of people. The original plan was for him to be the nest branch
president. We will see. The lesson was really good. We read some very
straight forward scriptures. We did our best to be "Bold and Loving".
He seemed to take it pretty well. Time will tell.

The sisters had a baptism this week. It went really well. The font has
been sitting at customs for months because the church has not been
able to get clearance to get it across. They finally got clearance,
and the Tooleys went to pick it up. It cost an arm and a leg to get it
out of customs, but it made it here just in time. We got it all set up
and it looks fantastic. It is a lot nicer than being baptised in a
public pool I think. The lady that was baptised is in her 50's. She is
very nice. She was very happy! The service was great. The water was
warm, we had investigators there, the members all showed up. Our one
investigator who is friends with one of the members came. I called up
that member and asked if he was coming to the baptism. He said he
didn't have time, but then I said "we need you. Your friend is
coming." At that point he agreed to come and it was great to have him.
It was awesome for him because he hasn't been coming a lot, and it was
great for his friend to have him there. I played the piano a bit to
keep the peace during all of the breaks. Turns out the piano can be
useful. Who knew? You would have thought someone would have told me
that by now!

We have been meeting with that man. He has now been to church twice.
This week he didn't come because his preacher got mad at him. I think
he is beginning to see what makes us different though. He is a super
nice and humble guy. If he takes Moroni's challenge we will get an
answer. We are trying our best to help him along the way. He is
looking very promising!!

Church was wild this week. There were some crazy kids. I  got up
halfway through, grabbed Elder Lesi and we ran a primary during Sunday
school because things were getting crazy. I feel like I probably
belong in primary anyways! I had a lot of fun!

We always spend a lot of time with the Tooleys. They come to lessons
with us. We often eat lunch with them and the sisters. We have a
really fun district.

Have a good week! Take Buddy on walks!

Love Elder Stewart

The Gjakova District after bowling on P Day. Elder Stewart said his bowling skills are lacking but he did get one strike. It guttered but then bounced back out and was a strike! Sadly, he'd turned around after seeing the ball go in the gutter and didn't see the strike!

Elder Stewart
A member in Prishtina and Elder Rasband with Elder Stewart.

Elder and Sister Tooley with the new font. 

The new font and their district.

How the font drains.

Elder Lesi and Elder Stewart

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lots of Potential in Gjakova

This week we have had some great lessons. Although many people do not
accept our message there are a ton of great people here in Gjakova.
This week proved that. We have the opportunity to tract a lot here,
and we meet a lot of different kind of people. My favourite tracting
lesson this week was when we tracted into our Barber and his wife.
When he opened the door we were so surprised, and it was an awkward
exchange at first, but he invited us in, and we sat down and started
talking. His wife then walked in, and I was super surprised when I saw
her. We talked to her in the road twice last week.. to say she gave us
a cold shoulder in the road would be an understatement. She made it
very clear that our work was pointless, and that she wanted nothing to
so with it. After that she learned I was from Canada and did the same
thing again in English because she lived in England. So when she
walked into the room we were pretty surprised. We started talking with
them, and it was awesome. They are great people. She realized we were
normal people, and it was great. They were really funny, super open.
They let us pray. They listened. They had great thoughts. We talked a
ton about them, and their family. She thought we were great. We left
them with a Book of Mormon and some pamphlets. We will see where that

We had some very cool experiences. We have found an awesome man. He
isn't "Progressing" yet because he hasn't said yes to baptism, but he
has been reading and praying. We had a lesson with him one night, and
right before the lesson we ran into one of the members. We had had a
lesson with him a few nights before, and he was really mad at us
afterwards because we explained the hard truth to him. We explained to
him what he had to do to get the M. Priesthood, and he was not happy
with us. Anyway, when we ran into him in the street he came and
literally begged us for forgiveness. Of course we weren't mad at him.
he then went on to ask us about hid friend. It turns out the cool guy
that we were about to meet with was his friend.. so he helped us with
the lesson. After the lesson on the Restoration we were walking out
the door of the church, and the member told us to wait just a second
so he could sill out a tithing form. Of course his friend asked about
it, and then saw him paying his tithing. The investigator came to
church for his second time, and paid tithing!! We haven't even taught
tithing yet. He has now paid more tithing than a lot of the members.
We are going to invite him to baptism again in our nest lesson.

On another day we had three lessons in a row fall through. We walked
out into the stairwell to pray and to reevaluate the day because
everything was falling through. About a minute later a man and his
wife who we had tracted into a few nights before came walking up the
stairs. He said, "Hey do you have time that we can meet right now?" It
was just what we needed. He was awesome. He is a catholic man, and we
have now had two lessons with him. We talked a lot about baptism last
time. Elder Lesi was also baptised as a baby so he was really able to
relate. Although he has not committed to baptism he is well on his
way. Our good friend Eugen didn't come to church this week, but he is
still on to be baptised on March 7.

The sisters have a lady who will be baptised this week. That is very
exciting! I did the interview yesterday and she passed. She has been
an investigator for about 2 and a half months.

I like our English class a lot now. I guess it just took some warming
up to them. We have had an awesome time together. While I still miss
my beginners class I love this one now too.

Our District is really fun. The sisters are really cool, and the
Tooleys are great. Today for P-day we played phase 10 with everyone
and had a really fun time.

I have to keep it really short today because I have my monthly
District leader training in Prishtina tonight and we have to get
driving. Sorry for not sending out individual letters to everyone!
Have an awesome week. Good luck all basketballers! Take Buddy on lots of
walks!! Hannah, I loved the pic of you sleeping on the floor with
Buddy! I'm very happy to hear that cousin Carolyn survived her surgery!

Thanks for the support. Love Elder Stewart

Sis Tooley with two of the children in the branch.

Elder Lesi, Elder Stewart and two branch members.

He got the Valentine's Day package...and in time!

The Gjakova District

Elder Stewart and the Tooley's :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Zone Conference in Gjakova

The highlight of this week was our Zone Conference that we had here in
Gjakova on Saturday. Usually it is in Prishtina, but there have been a
lot of riots in Prishtina related with the government. So they
scheduled the conference to happen here in Gjakova. President and
Sister Weidmann came up here, as well as Elder and Sister White (the
office couple). Our Zone is all of Kosovo and Macedonia.

Zone conference was great. We received some good training. In the
morning all of the soon to depart missionaries gave their testimonies.
It was super weird. All of the sisters that were in the MTC with me go
home at the end of March. Going home with them is Elder Austin,
McGrath, and the rest of the guys in their group. It seemed really
early for them to give their end testimony, but this is the last Zone
or mission conference before that. The Weidmanns then gave their
testimonies. Their daughter just got home from her mission last week
so she was with them. She is staying with them for a couple of weeks.

Some of the members here made the meal for our lunch. It was really
great of them. They made an awesome soup and some buns. Electricity
costs less in the middle of the night so one of the ladies got up at 3
in the morning to cook the buns. That is dedication!! They did a great
job. There isn't much to buy as far as food goes here in Gjakova so we
were super grateful when they accepted our invitation.

President Weidmann put on a great training for us. It was based out of
PMG 11 and 3 Nephi 19. He is a very good teacher. It is pretty cool
just listening to him speak. He is a great speaker.

We had a "Special training" as well. None of us knew what it was. It
ended up being the new "Meet the Mormons" video. It was a great movie.
They did a really great job of it.

We had our interviews with President Weidmann this weekend. I feel
like I know him now. Being a mission president must be tough because
it is almost impossible to get to know all of the missionaries. After
this weekend though I feel like I know him a lot better. The interview
was good, He is a smart and caring man. I also had the opportunity to
do some translating for another missionary's interview. It was
interesting seeing how President Weidmann works.

This weekend we also did the Branch Audit. I am the branch clerk so I
looked through old files and pulled up expenses and signed some
papers. It was quite the time. Elder White is the one in charge of the
auditing so he went through it all with Elders Tooley, Lesi, and I.
Audits must be wild for a large ward!

We have met with a young man named E. 3 times now, and he has
accepted baptism for March 7. He met with missionaries before, and
then we met him street contacting. He is a really nice guy. He is 24.
He was at church last week, but not this week.

We have been tracting a ton. We have had some good lessons. There are
a lot of really nice people here in Gjakova. We pray daily that they
will accept our lessons. I can't remember if I already told you, but
we met a man with 4 sons that live in a four story apartment. They
each own a level of the apartment, and the dad lives with one of the
sons. How is that for a close family? We are trying to get back there.
Can you imagine how awesome that will be if they accept the gospel.
They would double our branch. That would be awesome!!!

Elder Lesi is still doing well. We are working hard. I really like it
here in Gjakova! The people are great. There are a lot of people who
we see on a daily basis, and it is hard to explain all of them. They
are really nice. We have invited a lot of people to come to church, to
learn from us, to come to activities, and so forth. There is a lot of
potential in the younger generation especially.

Have a great week, and take Buddy on some walks!

Love Elder Stewart

Two favourite kids at English class that Elder Stewart taught previously.

A young girl at church who "stole" Elder Stewart's magnetic name tag.

The "Canadian" district. Sister Boettinger, Elder Stewart and Sister Vermunt

Elder Stewart and Elder Lesi borrowed the Tooley's car to her move the sisters to their new apartment. Efficient use of space!