Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Challenges make for Great Growth

Our week has gone well. On Monday night we were street contacting. We
stopped at a fruit stand and were talking with people. We talked to
two guys for about 10 minutes. They were pretty cool, and we invited
them to learn. They weren't super interested so we invited them to the
movie we would be showing on Saturday. They said maybe. On Saturday
afternoon they gave us a call and asked where they could meet us. We
took them to the church, and they had a great time at the activity.
They came to church the next day and stayed for 2 hours, and loved it.
They ended up knowing some people there as well. We will be meeting
with them throughout the week. Theyare pretty cool guys. They are 18
and 21. 

The man in our ward, whose family we have been working with, is really working hard against us. We are not sure why. He is so mad at us for continuing to meet with his 19 and 21 year
old son and daughter and his wife. His family, especially his son have
been doing great. His son E loves the Gospel. He is super good
with computers, and we set him up doing Family History. His wife is a
little mentally sick, but she lights up every time we do a lesson. She
even prays. We invited them to the activity but they couldn't come so
we went over there on Saturday night, and the dad was home. He
is in Korca throughout the week except on weekends. We were really
excited to have him in the lesson. His kids know it is true. With a
little positive encouragement from their father they are guaranteed
baptisms and a family in the church, but the dad yelled at me... alot.
He was so mad. We are not sure why, but he was so mad at us for
working with his family. We explained to him why we do our work, but
he was so mad. Elder Greener gave a super powerful testimony to try
and get the Spirit back, but nothing was working. We didn't know what
to do. We tried to calm him down. We offered to give him a blessing.
He wouldn't have it. We prayed and he walked us to the door. He came
to church again by himself yesterday. He admitted that he had been
acting out of line. I had a pretty good talk with him. He is a great
guy! I figured everything was fine until I talked to him last night
and he told me that we are not allowed to visit his home for at least 2
weeks. We are praying a lot for him. I think he is just super
stressed. He is maybe a bit embarrassed about his wife, but there is
no need to be. It is a very interesting situation. We have always got
along great, and we aren't sure what happened. He doesn't want to talk
with us. He said some very negative things about us. He and Elder
Greener had a bit of a clash at the door. I know he is super mad at me
because he sees me as the instigator in meeting with his family. He
just doesn't understand. He told a lot of the members about what
happened. They all have come up to us asking what happened. There is a
lot of internal gossip that can break up the ward. We just have been
trying to keep our heads down and keep working. President called us on
Saturday night, and talked to us about a few things. He asked us about
our day, and we explained it to him. It is quite a frustrating
situation. I am sure it is all just a misunderstanding because with a
little positive energy their whole family could be happy in the

D, a long time investigator committed to baptism this week, and
we will work very hard with him! Brother Lezo (our ward mission
leader) helped us in that lesson, and we sure saw the effect that a
good member can have on a lesson. He is scheduled for baptism on the
22 of August. I promise one of these baptisms is going to work out! He
is a 45 year old man. His family is super Muslim, but he is a
Christian. He knows the gospel perfectly.

I had a super good exchange with Elder Gray this week. It was just
like the Durrës days. We both agreed that those were probably three of
the funnest months of our missions because they were so hard. We
worked like crazy, and did a lot of fun stuff. We talked about our
first lesson together with a lady named Bruna. Brother Toci helped us,
and he was probably like 'what is going on? How did we end up with
these two duds?' But after being energized by a ton of nutella, being
chased out of appartment buildings, teaching awesome investigators..
 figuring out that people would give us their
attention if they didn't understand us and using the word "stationwagon"
as our main street contacting approach (the whole mission started
copying us), seeing Elder Clawson and Watson almost every day at
lunch, being super thrifty and saving hundreds, getting rocks thrown
at us by kids, running around Durrës every morning, taking Ersi with
us everywhere, working with the young men, learning how to deal with a
ward council, comparing how fat we were getting during nightly
planning, sweating like crazy in a house with broken air
condidtioners, going out every single morning and contacting as hard
as we possibly could, figuring out how to survive without our
trainers, building up an area that didn't have investigators, fruit
for days, becoming best friends with the bakery ladies, weekly soccer
with investigators and ym... and much more it all added up to
greatness. My testimony grew a ton. We tried our very best to help
everyone, and we had a lot of fun doing it. In Lushnjë we got to teach
a few lessons together. We contacted a lot as well. He is a great
missionary to work with because we get along great. We ran stairs in
the morning. We played some basket ball on a mini hoop in his house.
It was good stuff. I have certainly met many great people on my

This week we also went to Shkodër to translate for President. The
church is looking to donate a little bit of money to help out a few

We have been doing quite a few skype lessons. One of the people we
have been teaching will be getting baptized in in Germany on Saturday.
His name is A.

There was a small transfer that happened this week, and as a result
Elder Greener and I are in Macedonia right now helping people move
around. We will be headed back to Albania tomorrow with 3 other

4th ward is doing well. We have very good realtionships with most of
the members. We are working hard to help them. They have helped us a
lot lately. In Sunday School for example we had two young guys help us
with our new friends that were at church. Martin and Ardi are the
members names, and they are great. Martin is a pretty funny guy. We
are the same age he has about 300 pounds of muscle on the average
bear, but is super blonde haha. We get along great. It is sure fun
working with great members.

Have a great week, and take good care of Buddy!

Love Elder Stewart

Elder Griffiths, Elder Gray, Elder Stewart, Elder Greener

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Travelling through the Mission

We went up to Prishtina this week, and we did an exchange there. I got
to serve with Elder Rasband. The exchanger was great. We had a really
good time together. The Prishtina Boulivard is beautiful, and it is
filled with people now that it is Summer. We talked with a ton of
different people many of which were tourists seeing the city. Elder
Greener had never tried the famous Tango Juice so we got him some of
that to try while we were up there. The Prishtina exchange is always
interesting because we stay with 4 of us in the same house so the
amount of time that we are actually "exchanged" is less, but it is
still really good.

We had a mini transfer. Some of the sisters moved around. We took the
Prishtina ones back with us. Part way to the border I made a comment
about everyone having their passport, and one of them realized they
had forgotten it. We had to drive back and get it, and as a result we
had to stay the night in Prishtina again. Elders Rasband and Keck were
on exchanges with Gjakova and so we stayed with Elders Holm and
Guymon. It was great to see them. They are in my old area, and have
seen/see many oof our old investigators. It sounds like the branch is
doing pretty well there as a whole.

We have been meeting with that same family very frequently this week.
E, X, and A. They are right on the edge. They really
like the lessons. They read, and pray as well. They know it is true,
but most of their concerns about membership in the church are social.
We need to find them some friends. If the ward will help them adjust
in they will be solid. We are really trying to work with the ward for
them. There mom is great though. She is that lady who I tiold you
about that totally changes in lessons!

We are trying to keep the energy up in the ward. As a whole the church
here in Albania is still very dependent on missionaries, but they are
making great progress! The summer is very hot, and everyone goes to
the beach for vacation. To be honest I don't really blame them. It is
boiling! However, we still really need them in church on Sunday!

We played soccer for p-day today.

Serving here is great. We are having a great time, and working hard. I
am so excited for Matt. You sound like you are doing great! Congrats
to John on his homecoming! Time sure flys.

Love you lots! Take Buddy on lots of walks!

Love Elder P. Stewart

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's a Hot One in Tirana!

Sister Shehu's birthday party. She has been a great support and friend to the missionaries.
It is about 1000 degrees here in Albania. Everyone is sweating like
crazy. The summer heat is quite intense! We have to drink a lot of
water. Even early in the morning when we go running it is hot. It
makes for great fruit though. The fruit is incredible right now. We
have been eating peaches, figs, and watermelons. It is heavenly.

We have a good investigator right now. His name is N. He is married
with a child, and another on the way. He is very funny! We have met
with him 5 times in the last week. He accepted baptism on August 8th.
Unfortunately Satan is working against us. He showed up to the factory
where he works on Sunday morning to take his shift and they told him
they no longer had a spot for him, and that he was to be transferred
to the Shkoder factory. He was sent up there on Sunday. He doesn't
know how long it will last, but for now he is apart from his family.
His job situation will have to be worked out in order to allow him to
meet with us and attend church.

That part member family that had us over last week had us over again
this week. We were at their house almost every night this week. E
is 19, A is 18, X is 21, and then their parents. Their mom
has suffered some depression and hard expereinces in her life that
have affected her entire being. She is very solemn, and to herself.
However, when we teach she smiles, I think I even heard a laugh. Her
kids are happy. She is so happy. It is a really amazing thing. During
the lesson she becomes alive again. We end with a prayer and are
leaving, and suddenly she is back in her own world again. It is a
tough situation, but it makes the truthfulness of our message so
clear. I have loved working with their family. They have a few
concerns about baptism right now. It took their dad 8 months to get
baptised, but I think that they are coming around. Ardian is their
cousin. I am not sure how consumed in it he is, but Ervis keeps all
reading commitments. They are all great!

This week we were trying to get our investigator, N, into a members house for his
lesson because we don't have a place to meet him. He takes care of his
parents, and they won't let us come to their house. We have been
meeting in little coffee bars. I called all of the active members in
that area, and even the less actives that we meet with to see if they
would open their house to us. They all said no. I had a really strong
feeling to contact a less active I had never met, but that I had seen
on a list. Her name kept coming to my head. Turns out she is in the
Hospital with cancer. She had a massive operation. We asked to visit
her, and went and found her. She said she had been praying for the
Elders to call and to give her a blessing. We had a great conversation
with her. She has a super strong testimony. She got sick at the end of
last year, went less active, and lost contact with the church. She was
so happy to see us. We talked with her for about an hour, shared a
message, gave her a blessing, and as we were about to leave she was
just so happy. She sang to us "A Childs Prayer." She has an amazing
voice. It was a very powerful experience. There were doctors, nurses,
patients, and people flying all around us, and everyone just kind of
stopped. Time seemed to stop.Her less active daughter just kind of
stared at her in awe. Honestly can say it was a highlight of my
mission up to this point. Elder Greener and I walked out of there very
quietly. We have been back to see her twice since. What a lady. She
has a huge background.. lost children, divorced. She hasn't always
believed Jesus to be her Saviour, but now she knows, and I know that
she knows. We told the relief society about her, and two sisters took
the initiative! We actually saw them there. It was a fantastic

Sister Shehu turned 72 this week. She helps us in our work all of the
time. She is a long time member, and these photos are from her
birthday party. She was so happy!

We are teaching a members boyfriend right now. he looks like he has
pretty good potential. We are hoping that he turns out to be like
Patrick. That wopuld be pretty awesome. He came to church for his
third week in a row!

I can't believe Matt is in the MTC. Enjoy it while you have it Matt!
Study hard. Go easy on those three pointers in gym time as well.

Love you all! I hope you are having a great summer! Take good care of Buddy!

Love Elder P. Stewart

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Great Elders Heading Home and a Miracle

This has been a very busy week! We have been running around like crazy
arranging everything, but in the end everything went well and the
transfer took place without any problems! I was a little nervous at
the start of the week because I knew that Elder Bangerter was taking
off, but Elder Greener is doing great, and he sure helped out a lot!

On Monday we were running around like crazy getting everything ready
for the transfer and departing missionaries. We had a big list of
things, and we got it all done. We finished up all of the computer
stuff, emailed, and were just about to go into our meeting with
President Weidmann when I realized that we did not have a mini-bus to
take all of the leaving missionaries to the airport. We called all of
the potential numbers in our phones to try and find a mini-bus, but
nothing worked out. I had no idea what to do so I just kind of said a
prayer in my heart that it would all work out, and we went into the
lesson with President. On the way over to President house afterwards
we were walking and I saw a Furgon (van) drive by. I told them I was
going to chase it down and talked to him. Turns out he is President
Weidmanns neighbor. He speaks German. They had never met one another,
and he agreed to drive for us. It was a great miracle. He did great.
Elder Bangerter and I both knew that the Lord had been looking out for

Tuesday was the transfer. We had a lot of missionaries here. I really
like transfers because we get to see everyone. Everything went great
though. We had the soon to be leaving missionaries run a lot of
errands for us. That night they had their farewell dinner. It will
sure be different with all of them gone. Sister Weidmann made tacos,
and afterwards there was a testimony meeting. The Spirit was so
strong! I had served with 7 out of the 8, and it was really neat to
see how far they have all come.

Wednesday morning we all drove to the airport. No problems, just weird
seeing them leave. It was sure hard for the Weidmanns to say bye after
dinner. They don't show it to much, but it sure is hard for them. The
new missionaries came in on Wednesday afternoon. There are no Elders
and 3 Sisters. They seem great. We met them, and drove them to the
mission office. President Weidmann interviewed them all. He is a great
interviewer, and so I am sure they all enjoyed it. They then had an
introductory thing, and a dinner. They didn't look nearly as tired as
I remember being when I first got into the country.

Thursday morning was a very spiritual morning. We went with the 3 new
sisters, and the Tirana Sister Training Leaders up to the Monument of
the Heros. It is the place where Elder Oaks dedicated Albania for the
preaching of the gospel. We went there and had a little devotional so
that they could all start their missions on the right note. The
Dedicatory prayer has some really cool things in it. There are some
great promises. Sometimes I feel like getting baptisms should be way
easier, but then I just have to think to myself that this work is
going at his pace. Albania is still very mush in the begining stages,
but it is coming along.

The new trainer-trainee meeting went very well. All of the sisters met
their new traininers, and were sent off to their new areas. I am sure
they will do great!

We are working with a man named D. He is a great guy, but he
has a smoking problem. His self-confidence does not seem to be very
high. We are trying to help him. He is in his 30s with one girl, and a
boy on the way. He really wants to stop smoking, because he knows how
much damage it is doing. We are trying to support him.

There is a man that sells clothes on the street everyday, and we often
talk with him. He invited us to his house, and we had a lesson. We
have another lesson set up for tuesday. He is a really nice guy. We
thought that he would come to church, but he wasn't able to make it.

Our ques for the part-member families continues. We figure that is the
best way to get quality new investigators. I sent you a picture of the
new family that we met this week! They are great. We will see them on
Tuesday as well.  the father is a member and the rest are not. He bore
a very strong testimony though! I love working with Elder Greener. We
get a lot done, but we have a lot of fun!

It was sad to hear that President Packer passed away. He and Elder
Perry both gave great talks in the last conference. It is interesting
to note that they both spoke about the reality of Eternal families. I
am grateful for their last talks!

All the best to Matt on his new experience! He is going to be great,
and he will meet great people! I am very excited for him!

Take care of Buddy!

Love Elder Stewart

Elder Clawson and Elder Stewart

Elder Jorgenson and Elder Stewart

Elder Linderman and Elder Stewart

Elder Price and Elder Stewart

 Elder Ostergaard and Elder Stewart

The Gjegjaj Family

Friday, July 3, 2015

A New Companion and More Finding!

This has been a very good week. It was the last week of the transfer.
We worked hard right until the end.

The mother of the kids who was supposed to be baptised still is not
baptised. It has been a work in progress. She has a lot of
hesitations. We had a really great lesson with her last night however,
and she is doing well. We cleared up a lot of her concerns. For one
reason or another she just doesn't seem to grasp the value of it.. or
maybe she feels hopeless because her husband is inactive.  I hope that
she will be baptised. We will continue working with her. It was our
first lesson with her in about a week and a half because she just
wouldn't meet with us. We could tell that she has been very stressed.
She works very long days for not very much money. Life seems like a
bit of a burden for her. It is sad, but she stays happy. We gave her
Alma & to read, and gave her a blessing before we left. If anything
gets her it will be Eternal families, and so we figured the Atonement
and Priesthood power would really help the cause. She has a really
cool brother that lives with them as well. He got home just after we
had ended the blessing, and while we were on our way out the door. I
met him about 2 weeks ago very briefly. God helped me remember his
name, and so I struck a conversation with him. Their family is golden.
I hope for the best.

Sadly this week Elder Smoot, one of the Elders up in Prishtina, got
pretty sick, and he had to leave. He came down from Prishtina, and we
met him in the road on his way to visit some people before heading
over to his interview with President. We talked with him in the road
for a little bit, and a man walked up to us. It was a less active that
he had had a few lessons with when he served in 4th Ward. We were able
to get his contact information, and we met with him the next night. It
is always exciting to meet new less actives. We were lucky to have
Elder Smoot with us.

This week was Mission Conference. We met in Elbasan. The whole mission
came. There were a few parts. Sister Weidmann gave a training. We
heard from all of the missionaries that are leaving. There are 8.
Elders Acheson, Baker, Clawson, Jorgenson, Linderman, Ostergaard,
Price, Richards. With the exception of one, I have served in the same
district as all of them so it will be sad to see them leave. They all
gave great testimonies though. We gave a training as well, and then
President Weidmann had a question and answer session just like Elder
Bednar does. He did a really good job.

We have worked really hard with a recent convert family over this last
transfer. We saw them last night, and they are doing great. This
transfer they have become reactive, have started holding family home
evening, read and pray daily as a family. It has been really good to
see the change. They fulfill a year as members in July, and their next
son turns 8. Hopefully his Dad will baptize him. That is the plan. We
are all going to talk with bishop on Monday to get it all worked out.

Elder Bangerter is moving to Berat. Elder Greener from our District
will be my new companion. Elder Bangerter is excited to go to Berat.
He will do great! Elder Baldwin is coming to Tirana so it will be fun
to serve around him!

I am so happy that Dad is doing better! Take good care of him and
Buddy as well! Good luck at the Temple Matt!

Love Elder Stewart
A good looking group of Elders! Elder Eliason, Elder Stewart, Elder Holm,  Elder Roemer, Elder Baldwin, Elder Gray and Elder Braden.

He met up with Elder Lesi again. :)

The Bjeshku family.

His good friends - the night guards. :)