Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cool Experiences and Beautiful Vistas!

Last Monday was pretty interesting. We got a call from some of the
stake people who were all down at EFY. The person who was in charge of
booking the Congress Building for Stake Conference had forgotten and
so they had Elder Greener and I go get it. The people thought it was
pretty funny that we were in there to book the building for a Sunday
less than a month away. Elder Greener and I made up a pretty good
looking form with Elder and Sister White (the office couple). I was a
little scared they were going to be booked, but it turned out the had
space. It was a once in a lifetime experience to book the Congress
Building. The Albania Stake is doing awesome by the way. President
Mema is working very hard.

Tuesday was a good day. We saw the Tafili family. When we got there
the parents weren't home so we spent about 15 minutes kicking the
soccer ball around in the street. It was really fun. Those kids have a
lot of energy. The Tafilis are doing really well. They have now been
members for a year. Their next oldest son turned 8 so he will be
getting baptized this month!

Wednesday we had a huge Zone Service Project. We all went up to
Shkodër and helped at an orphanage. We tried to build a soccer field
behind the orphanage. We got a lot done, but there is still a lot more
to do. It is a process.

We were on a 3 day exchange in Shkodër. I had the chance to serve with
Elders Simons and Penrod for the majority of it. We went there with
the Zone Leaders so we went from 4 to 8 Elders in Shkodër. We worked
really hard and had a very good time. We found a Dad and daughter that
appear to have potential. We had a few devotionals together. I had a
lot of Nerf battles with Elder Simons in the nights and during lunch.
Our opening devotional was on our mission motto. "WE serve with faith,
obedience, diligence, and joy." I fell it was a very inspired motto
from President Weidmann. Without any one of those in life or on a
mission we aren't very well rounded. We need all of them. We had four
missionaries move an egg with the tips of their pointer finger from
one place to another. If any one of them quit paying attention the egg
falls. It worked well.

We had a cool experience last night where we found 3 new
investigators. Two of them we met in the road.

We had a good p-day today. We went out to the Shkenderbeu castle that
I went to last year with Elder Rasband. We went with the majority of
the Tirana Zone and the Durrës District. I hope a picture is worth a
thousand words because this email has to be really short today.

I love you lots! Take Buddy on walks! It is still 3 months before I head home, and the work is
going really well right now. I try not to think about it. I miss you all a lot though!

Take Buddy on lots of walks!

Love Elder Stewart
Shkoder Orphange

Service Project as a Zone

This may take awhile to make a soccer field here!

The whole zone.

Elder Penrod, Elder Simons

Elder Simons and Elder Stewart

Near Shkenderbeau Castle

Elder Greener and Elder Stewart

The Castle

What a view!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Never a Dull Moment!

Their Stake Choir - Small but growing!
Dear Family! I am so happy that the bear did not eat you!

This week has been a very intersting week as I have been serving with
two companions, not 1. Mini-transfers took place this week and as a
result everyone came into tirana. Elder Wright was supposed to head to
Germany that day to receive surgery for a hernia. There was a little
miscommunication it sounds like, and he was not able to leave. He
didn't have a flight. We spent the following days waiting for flight
plans, but they never came. Every night he went to bed thinking that
he might be leaving the next day, but I guess that just wasn't the
plan. He was great to have around though. It was very interesting
teaching with threee missionaries, but I liked it a lot. With three
missionaries it also makes it possible to get a lot done contacting,
and when we have to come in here to the office. As well, Settlers of
Catan is pretty hard to play with only 2 people so we had some pretty
intense games of it the few nights he was here. I forgot how much I
love board games.

This last week I also went on an exchange with our District Leader
Elder Verushi. He is from Durrës, and he is a very good missionary. We
had a good exchange. He is madly trying to learn English so that he
can continue his studies. English is a really big advantage. I tried
to help him with that. He is doing really well at it now. He is a
super solid teacher as well. It was fun teaching with him. We also had
some time to cook some stuff together. My cooking skills are a little
rough around the edges, but we had a pretty good time doing it. I was
kind of hoping he would know some Albanian Traditional stuff, but he
didn't Someone else will have to teach me.

We have been working really hard with our one investigator named
D. It was quite the series of events this week with him. He has
progressed a lot. He re-found his desire the other week when we taught
him about the two greatest commandments. We told him that if he put
God first everything would work out. His whole persona has changed. He
has a huge desire to be baptised. He was already down to smoking very
few cigarrettes. This week we used a member who had smoked a ton. He
said that one day he just said I am done, and he prayed a lot and
quit. D has a huge testimony of prayer so he did the same
thing. He says he has been feeling really good. We did D's
practice interview, and he passed with flying colours. He had his real
interview on Friday, and the interviewer failed him saying that he
wanted him to be longer and better repented of smoking. It was a very
tough thing on D. I was super confident in him. He has changed
a ton. He first met missionaries 7 years ago, and has never had the
desire to quit smoking. His desire is now huge, and the steps he has
made are incredible. I felt bad for him, but we supported the
interviewer, and are now working for baptism on September 5th. I think
he can do it. We are just praying for him a lot.

I smashed a can over my finger again at soccer. Everybody loved it. We
always have a spiritual thought, and it was our week. Usually no one
listens so we decided to do something awesome. I explained the lesson
and smashed it once, Everyone was so surprised and they all went
silent and were just looking at me. I quickly reexplained what I had
just said, and smashed the can again. It went really well.

We saw our investigator O again. We met him in the stairwell one
night. He has lived in Canada and in the States before. His Dad just
passed away. He is married with two young kids. He is a very spiritual
man. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. His wife sat in on the end.
O heard the restoration a few weeks ago, and he is very open. He
told us he will come to church. He will be busy for the next couple
of days, but we will go back there at the end of the week. We are very
excited for him!

I hope you all have a great week! Take care of Buddy!

Love Elder Stewart

The Prishtina Zone Leaders stayed at our house one night. Elder Keck,
me Elder Muncy, Elder Greener, Elder Wright.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Zone Conferences

This week we had two Zone Conferences. We organized them. The first
was in Durrës with the Durrës and Vlorë zones. The second was in
Prishtina with the Prishtina and Tirana Zones. They both went great. I
will send you the programs so that you can see a little bit about how
it worked. Everything went great. Our training had to do with inviting
people. We had a powerpoint and did a lot of role plays talking with
people and inviting them. We took pictures of people that we see on a
daily basis and had peopl talk with them and start conversations. I
attatched a few of them. Everyone really liked it. President Weidmann
gave a very good explanation of the importance of obedience. Sister
Weidamnn told the story of a man pushing a rock. God told him to go
and push it daily. In the end he didn't move the rock at all and felt
like a failure. God said, "I didn't tell you to move the rock, but I
told you to push it. Look at all of the strength you have received.I
will now move the rock." It kind of reminded me of that scripture in
1st Corinthians where it talks about the peopl working but in the end
it is God that gives the fruit. It is so true, and I am grateful that
he has it all under control. It is sure a great work to be a part of.
We all have a great opportuniy to take part. We need to push.. not
lean.. but push.

This week we have been able to work a lot with D. He is the one
that is planning on getting baptized. He is so excited. Earlier this
week he was super stressed, and he said "I just want a break. I want
to break for 2 months, and then I will learn again. We talked him
through it, and gave him a blessing. He is progressing again. He came
to church an hour early to read the scriptures before church. He is
doing great. He has been learning for 7 years. His interview should be
on Saturday.

We had a really cool lesson this week. We met some really cool kids.
They are from ages 17-23. We met the one while picking up a broken car from
the car dealership. The other 2 came to that movie we had a few weeks
ago. We set up a lesson with Andi from the Car dealership at 7:30, and
a lesson with the A and D at 8:30. As it turned out they all
called and informed us that they would be coming just after 8. We
called our main man Ardi Markaj (one of the members) and he came flying
into town. It was a 20 minute ride by moped. He came and helped us.
The plan was to show a short film with them to kind of break the ice,
but there was no one at the church to let us into the bishops office
to get the TV. I resorted to picking th lock because it didn't look to
hard. As I was picking th lock a member of the Stake Presidency opened
the door. It turned out he had been in the bishops office the whole
time. He is a really cool guy though so he thought t was funny and he
let us take the TV. We got the movie going and everything was going
well. At that point President Kashari (of the stake presidency) walks
into the room and asks for the key. He had locked himself out of the
office. While he was in the room we said "Hey President, what is
baptism?" He totally explained baptism and did a great job testifying.
Our friends loved it. I then left the room with him and we called
around to get someone to come to church with the key. There were so
many small miracles in that lesson that all came together to make it

Elder Greener and I have made it our goal to get out of the way. There
are a lot of things that we could do for the ward, but we have decided
to try and help them more from the background. 2nd hour teacher didn't
show up at church so we were supposed to take it. Elder Greener saw a
good opportunity and vollunteered a different lady. She ended up doing
great. She was super scared, but we participated like crazy and she
did great. The same thing happened in 3rd hour, We didn't have a
teacher. It was only missionaries, and one other man. He refused to
teach the lesson, but i got him to team teach it with me. He nailed
it. We gave him a ton of praise, and I know he will be totally happy
to teach another lesson.

Have a great week.

Love Elder Stewart
Frozen Yogurt stop on PDay after soccer with his district.

Elder Cani, Elder Lesi and Elder Velushi - all Albanian elders serving in Durres. Apparently they are "ripping it up". Elder Stewart says that those who serve in their own country have an amazing connection with the people!

At the church in Prishtina after Zone Conference.

On the road back from Prishtina, it was totally flooded.

Eating out with Elder Wright and Elder Fowles, the Zone Leaders.

Albanian fast food - suflage! Looks very healthy!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Object Lessons, Skyping Lessons and Lessons from a Wise President

Object lessons work great! 

This week we met the B family this week.
They are one of my favourite member families here in the fourth ward.
There kids are 11 and 5. Sister B is the member that carries gospel
pamphlets in her purse. They have been gone for a lot of the summer
with vacation at the beach, but they are home now. We went over to
visit them, and brought a can of beans. (Editors Note: This is an object lesson with the Book of Mormon and a can, where the can gets squished and it is to illustrate the strength found in the Book of Mormon.)
The rest is history, but they loved it. We have developed a pretty good relationship with them. They
have a huge desire to do missionary work. As most Albanian families
they both have non-member brothers and sisters that they would love to
join the church. We invited them to keep praying for good
opportunities to share the gospel. We gave them a few good ideas. He
is the ward clerk, and she is the primary president. They are really

Sister Shehu is 72 years old, and has more energy than anyone I have
ever seen. We asked her about less actives, and let me tell you she
knows less actives. She goes out and helps us. She is willing to walk
around for hours with us, and visit people. She shows us where they
live. This week we went with her a few times. She is packed with
information, and loves the members a ton. She has a plan drawn up to
get 10 less actives in church next week. We are going to try it out.
This week she went with us to an old investigator as well. She rode
all of the busses with us. We went way out in the middle of nowhere.
The family that we met was so happy to see us. Apparently they have
quite a long history, but we are going to try and teach them and see
where we end up. Sister Shehus son is the man that was never
confirmed. We are still trying to work with him. She really wants to
help him, but he is just not interested yet.

We got a flat on the way back from Macedonia this week. It was really
a small miracle. We were driving down windy mountain roads, but the
tire went flat right by a gas station, and we had a place to pull in.
I never had to change a tire before my mission, but I have changed my
fair share while being out here. Maybe I will become a mechanic??  :)

We have been teaching lessons periodically over skype. They have gone
pretty well. There are some people in Germany and France that are
learning. The man in Germany was supposed to be baptised today, but
something happened and it got postponed. We have some pretty good
friends in France. He said he would teach me how to cook traditional
Albanian food if I am ever in France. Apparently he is quite the cook.

D came to church this week. He is a really nice guy. He is
scheduled to be baptised on the 22 of August. Right now statistics
show that almost 100% of investigators that come to church after
accepting baptism here in our mission will be baptised. He accepted
baptism and came to church so we are really hoping for him. He knows
the Gospel great. The ward seems to accept him as well so we are happy
for him.

We helped Brother Skuka move this week. He used to be the Elders
Quorum President. He moved into a different ward though now so he
won't be with us anymore. He speaks 6 languages. It amazes me how
humble people live here. They moved the great majority of their house
and belongings in a Dodge Sprinter. He is a seemingly well off guy
too, but just very humble. People live in pretty small appartments
here. They are very homy feeling. I like it.

The Bishop pulled me in yesterday before church, and talked to me
about the situation that we had last week with the father and his
kids. I had a really good talk with him I am super impressed with
Bishop Beleshi. He is a very young member when you compare him to
bishops around the world, but he is giving it everything he has. He
doesn't have a whole lot of the know-how, but he sure has the desire.
He is exactly what our ward needs right now. He talked with Brother
G a little while later. Brother G is a great guy, and I
think he will come around. His family is still at the beach, but when
they come back I hope we can work together to help him.

I bore my testimony yesterday about eternal families. We have such a
light in our lives because of it. People here need that so badly, and
the families that come to church are always so happy.

Elder Greener and I are having a great time. We cleaned our house up
quite a bit because President came and did interview with us there.
The interviews went good. He was really concerned about Dad. I told
him that Dad is doing good now. He cares a lot. President Weidmann is
a really good guy. He usually has a theme type thing that he takes
around the mission and does in each of his interviews. This time it
was on being Loyal. I had a really good interview.

We met President Weidmann another day this week. While talking about a
lot of different administative things he took a second and showed us a
few things in the scriptures. One of my favourites was where much is
given much is required. I had heard that a lot before, but he related
it to sucess of a missionary. He said that where God gives a lot he
expects a lot, and we will be judged for the work that we put in
following the sucess he gives us. He had a lot of different
scriptures. In the end I was super impressed. I did a terrible job of
explaining that, but I will get the scriptures together and send them
to you next week.

Take Buddy on a lot of good walks. Thank you for looking out for him!
Good luck with your checkup Dad! Tear it up in Thompsen Matt! Good
luck at EFY Sara. You be careful! ;) Hannah and Mom I love you both
and thanks for all that you do! 

Have a great week!

Love Elder P Stewart