Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Grave Service and a 20th Birthday!

This week we finished up the transfers. We had a few more meetings and
everything worked out. I will be going to the Tirana 3rd ward. Elder
Greener will stay here in our area. I will be working with Elder
Szabo. I am very excited. I have heard a lot of really great things
about 3rd ward. Tirana is split up into four like a pie. I am in the
part of Tirana directly opposite of where I am right now. I think I
will really like it. We have a great district. Elder Szabo is the
District leader, but Elders Gray, Sadiku, Fowles, Befus, Lesi, and a
trainee will also be in our district. We also have Sisters Bennet and

We had an eventful last two days. We played soccer on Saturday
morning. We tried to get all of those kids to come to soccer with us,
but we got there just after 7am and they were all still asleep or off
doing chores and couldn't come. Soccer here is really fun though. The
kids are defietly better than little kids in Canada. Saturday was our
busy day that we spent for the most part at the office. For lunch we
went to the Lezos. i haven't been fed by members many times while
being out here, but we went to their house and made a super good soup
with them. We had a really great time talking with them. They are
certainly one of my favourite families here in 4th Ward. We played uno
with their son and looked at old photos of Brother Lezo. He had some
pretty crazy hair back in the day. Saturday night was fantastic. Elder
Greener and I have been working a lot with the Tafili family and the
Shehu family. We talked with Bishop, and organized their baptisms.
Arindi Tafili and Redion Shehu got baptized. The baptisms went well.
An RM baptised Redi and Brother Tafili baptised his son. He was pretty
nervous, and I thought he may have given his kid whiplash by how fast
he threw him under, but Arindi survived. Their testimonies were
awesome. Redi gave a good testimony. "I am grateful to be baptised. I
love you all. Amen." Arindis was slightly longer. "I felt so good when
I was baptised, but i will be even better when I get the Holy Ghost.
Amen." I guess we need to work on ending testimonies in the name of
Jesus Christ. The ward turnout was great. Redis dad is the one that
was never confirmed that Elder Bangerter and I were working with last
transfer. He is not super interested in learning about the church, but
he did come to the baptism. It was his first time inside of the church
in quite a while. We had a pretty good talk while he was there. He
liked the service.

The news of Sunday was that Sister Xhani passed away. She is a less
active that we were working with. She was right around 50. She wasn't
very old, but she had cancer. She is the one that we visited a couple
of times in the hospital. She sang us the song "A Childs Prayer." I
was super sad to hear that she passed away. It came to both Elder
Greener and I as a shock. It was very unfortunate timing. It kind of
felt that we didn't have a lot of things resolved. We were at there
house the other day, but only her daughter was home. I called Xhesi
(her daughter) on Sunday morning, and talked with her for a couple of
minutes. She was crying so hard. I felt bad for her. She is just one
or two years older than us. We got directions to the burial service.
Elder Greener and I left just after church. I don't know what
happened. It was really sad, but none of the members went. Elder
Verushi and Elder Baldwin came with us and helped us get there. It was
good to have Elder Verushi because we didn't know what an Albanian
service was like. We got to the graveyard, and beat the others that we
were coming. What I saw when I got there was horrifying. I had
nightmares last night about the whole thing. I have been to graveside
services before in Canada, but this was nothing like it. We saw one
happen before Sister Xhanis, and it was just like Sister Xhanis.

The parade all came in and parked right by the sight. Everyone jumped
out of the vehicles. Everyone with the exception of Sister Xhanis two
daughters looked completely disinterested. Xhesi and her Sister were
crying so hard, and no one would stand by them or help them. They
stood there all alone just crying. We didn't know what to do. If we
weren't missionaries we probably would have went and stood by them or
did comething, but no one did anything. 6 guys went to the back of the
car and just kind of pulled the casket out of the back. No one was
dressed up. The casket was rocking back and forth. There were two
grave diggers at the grave. The casket got carried over and
place/dropped 6 feet down. As the casket was getting carried there was
a family of beggers that were walking through the crowd asking for
money. It was so sad. Here there were these two girls 21 and 25
burying their mother and they were getting asked for 20 cents. There
were so many things wrong with that. I felt bad for the begging family
and the Xhani family. I din't feel as bad for the other people because
they were all talking about food, futbol, the weather, and every other
thing that had nothing to do with anything. They were smoking
cigarrtetes and making a lot of noise. I was not impressed. I really
liked Motra Xhani. Xhesi called us forward at that point and we got to
dedicate the grave. I felt the spirit super strongly because we were
standing in front of Muslims, and Orthodox, and Catholic, and
dedicated the grave with the Melchizedek Priesthood in the name of
Jesus Christ. I walked away from the grave really quietly.That was the
only point I heard silence. That was the only point where it seemed to
me that the crowd may have respect for the dead. The grave diggers
then continued. They grabbed their shovels and started throwing on
dirt. They said if anyone wants they can come throw on dirt. The two
daughters rushed forward sobbing. Some people threw on flowers, but it
all got buryed. The beggars continued. On the side of the grave there
was a plastic garbage bag. They put that in the grave to. We had a
little bit of time to talk with the grave diggers before the funeral
so we already knew what it was. Sister Xhanis 7 year old son was hit
by a car quite a few years ago. She was getting buryed in his grave,
and that was him.. in the bag. I couldn't believe it. Everything
finally got buried. The girls cried. Her brother came forward and said
there will be food at a such and such restaurant. He stood in a line
with all other relatives and one by one we all walked by and gave
condolences. We got in the car, and I think we were all in a little
bit of shock of what we had just seen. I have thought about it all and
it is still hard to grasp. Hopefully Elder Greener and Elder Opper can
see their family sometime this week.

We got a great new investigator yesterday. A lot of RMs are getting
back. The missionary force from Albania is really increasing. One of
them brought a friend to church and they stayed for three hours in 2nd
Ward last week. As is turns out he is living in 4th Ward and so he
brought him to us to teach. The boy is 17 and super prepared. I would
say he is the most prepared investigator that I have ever taught. It
sounds like he will probably be baptised in October. Member missionary
work is great. It is by far the best way to grow the church.

Last night we had the opportunity to give a blessing to one of our
investigators dads. It was a cool experience. He is 85 and it looks
like he is on his last couple of days. Miranda and Mateu are the
investigators and they were so happy that we gave the blessing.

My birthday was great this week. Thank you so much for the package
mom! Thank you for the birthday wishes. I really appreciate it! We had
a really good day. We were in meetings in the morning with President
Weidmann, and we had a lunch with the district. It was great. Sister
Weidmann made me her home-made bread! Elder Baldwin gave me a tie and
a razor. Sisters Zollinger and White made cupcakes. Elder Temple made
some really good food. Elder Greener soaked me with silly string in
the morning right when I woke up. It was a really good day!

Have a great week! Take Buddy on walks!

Love Elder Stewart

Silly string courtesy of Elder Greener for the 20th birthday!

Pres and Sis Weidmann and Elder Stewart with homemade birthday bread and chocolate.

Birthday lunch as a district! :)

Lunch with the Lezo family

Looks delicious!!

The Lezo family

Redi Sheu, Sister Shehu, Elder Greener and Elder Stewart

Arindi Tafili and his family

Albion. One of the boys who loves to play soccer.

Miranda and Mateu with Elder Stewart.

No comments:

Post a Comment