Monday, March 30, 2015

Leaving Gjakova and the "Dream Team"...

This week has been quite the week.

Gjakova had two baptisms this week. The Sisters are doing great! Two
sisters (14 and 15) got baptized this week. They are super awesome.
They come to everything! They are a great addition to the branch! They
add a ton of life. Elder Tooley was commenting that it is pretty cool
that 3 of the few active and punctual members are very recent converts
from this transfer. It is great to see! Elder Lesi baptised one of
them, and Elder Baker baptised the other one. Elder Fowles and I did
the confirmations. Gjakova is doing well.

Elder Lesi and I have been working a lot with a less active man. He
has a problem with coffee and cigarrets, and lacks a lot of self
confidence because it has been hard for him to get and keep a job due.
He is 32, and a really great guy who would love to be married, but it
just hasn't happened yet. We have been working hard over the last
months to get him to come back to church. He knows it is right, and he
faithfully pays his tithing, but I guess it has just been hard for
him. Up until this point he has been pretty resistant to invitiations
to begin living the Word of Wisdom, but this week we felt prompted to
invite him to fast with us. We explained fasting, and its powerful
effects. He admitted that he really wanted to stop smoking and
drinking coffee. We met him on Saturday afternoon, and started the
fast with him. He was nervous because he hadn't fasted before, but he
was very excited. After church on Sunday we ended the fast together.
He said a fantastic prayer. He pleaded for the Lords help and
expressed his desire to change his life. Up until this week he has
kind of been 'whatever' about it all, but this week something changed!

We met with one of the part member families this week. They have been
incredibly difficult to meet with, but we got a visit there this week.
It was very hard to keep them under control. There were 1000
conversations, internet, facebook, selfies, and a zillion other things
happening. At the end we left, and we were happy to have seen them,
but we weren't really sure it we gained any ground. Two of them came
to church the nest day, and then they brought their brother to our
devotional last night. Apparently something got through because they
have not been to church in a very long time. They also got to see the
confirmations, and they really liked meeting the new girls.

Our main man, the barber, received a lot of anti-Mormon and
anti-Jehovahs Witness material this week. It was very unfortunate to
see. We felt pretty good about it though. We think it is actually a
compliment to the gospel. Other people have quit trying to fight their
case, and are now just trying to break ours. The man said he felt
terrible when he read it, and quit reading it. Instead he read the
gospel pamphlet, and is almost to fourth Nephi. We really hope he will
be baptised soon!

We had a cool tracting experience this week. Elder Tooley was with us
as well. We knocked on a door, and they let us right in. It was a lady
and her mid-20 year old son. Her shirt said "Religion- A Weapon on
Mass Destruction." They were very interested to hear our message. They
had about 1000 questions, and they were all quickly answered with the
story of the Restoration. I think they were quite shocked. She said
she believes in God, but nit in religion. He said he was Atheist. It
was a great lesson, and we testified a lot. Elder Tooley did a
fantastic job as well. The man ended up coming to sacrament meeting.
We will see. He is committed to read the Book of Mormon. We will see
how it goes.

This week was our last week together as a district here in Gjakova. We
have tried to get as much out of it as possible. We have eaten lunch
together quite a few times, and played a couple of card and dice
games. We really do have a fantastic district, and it is going to be
tough splitting up. Sister Tooley calls it the dream team because we
have been through quite a lot this transfer. We have worked hard, and
had a lot of fun. Elder Lesi will be staying here with Elder Kreins
from Macedonia. Elder Kreins speaks Slovenian, English, and Macedonian
so they will be speaking English for the most part. Elder Baker will
also be here with Elder Rawlings (That really tall guy in those photos
a few weeks ago). Elder Fowles is going to Prishtina to the area I was
in. Sister Davis is staying here training. Sister Boettinger catches a
plane on Wednesday. The Tooley's are here until the end of April. I am
heading to the Tirana 4th ward to serve with Elder Bangerter, and help
President Weidmann. As far as others go... Elder Austin heads home,
Elder Baldwin is in Vlorë, Elder Gray went to Lushnjë to be a Zone
leader, Elder Rasband is a Zone leader in Prishtina, Elder McGrath
takes off, and I haven't heard about Elder Schramm yet. It will be really
fun! I was very surprised!

Well that is my week! Goodbyes in Gjakova are very tough, but I have a new
adventure ahead of me!

Have a great week! Good luck to all of the Japan travelers! That will
be awesome.

Make sure Buddy is well taken care of!

Love Elder Stewart

Cards with his district at the Tooley's. :)

Members in Gjakova

Some of the children from Gjakova Branch

The "Dream Team" District

Elder Stewart and the Tooley's. (Not sure what he's holding...)

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