Dear Family and Friends,
This is my last email from the United States!! That's so weird, awesome, exciting, and scary at the same time! I really want to thank you for the letters and encouragement that you give me. It is always comforting to know that there are people back at home who are thinking about you and are praying for your success. I have felt the love of those at home and it has given me strength when things are tough. Send my love to the rest of the family, the ward, and everyone else! Thank you so much for the support you give me!
How much snow do you have at home still? I haven't seen snow in so long, it's kinda' weird. We have a map of Albania in our classroom and we've all been thinking about where we will be starting our missions in Albania. I figured that I'll be going to Prishtina, Kosovo, or to Shkodër, Albania, because they speak a different dialect than the rest of Albania. (That's just my luck). But we'll find out soon! I also hope that things are coming together for Phil. I've been praying about this situation a lot, and I hope everything goes well and according to the Lord's Will. Tell Aunt Janet congratulations or "urime"! That is so awesome!
I will be leaving for Tirana, Albania (Tiranë, Shqipëria) in 6 days! I'll be leaving onearly in the morning, and I'll be getting there on in the afternoon. I got my flight plans last week and I'm so excited! I'll be flying from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Chicago, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois, to Vienna, Austria; and Vienna, Austria, to Tirana, Albania. We did the math and we figured that we will be in the air for 24 hours total, and that's not counting layovers at every airport.
Wow, I have been at the MTC for a long time and I have seen a lot of growth in my ability to speak, teach, and love others. This past week we got 18 new Hungarian missionaries in our zone. Elder Bangerter and I had the responsibility to welcome them and get them acquainted with the MTC on their first day. It was an awesome experience because just a few minutes after meeting them I truly loved them and I wanted the best for them. It's really difficult to describe, but I think it was a little taste of the love that God has for us. I've also learned to focus on what I know and not get discouraged with what I don't know. When you get discouraged and overwhelmed with everything, you can't do anything because you're so occupied with yourself. I've realized how stupid that is! Yes, times will be tough and things will be hard, but when those thoughts occupy your mind focus on the things you do well. You will be happier and life will go smoother for you. I've also found out that when you are feeling like things are really tough for you, reach out and serve someone else. It takes your mind off you, and you refocus your mind on what a mission is about: helping others. Serving others is the best cure for selfish thoughts.
I want to talk to you a little bit about the missionaries I've been with for the past two months. First I'll list out every missionary (with their companion) and then I'll talk more about them later as I'm out of time now. Elder Dahl (New Mexico) and Elder Penrod (Arizona); Elder Simons (all over the world) and Elder Waters (New Zealand); Elder Temple (Pennsylvania), Elder Squire (Utah), and Elder Anderson (Kentucky); Elder Smoot (Utah) and Elder Myers (Arizona); Elder Schramm (New Mexico) and Elder Asler (Croatia); Elder Bangerter (Utah), Elder Outsen (Utah), and me; and Motra (Sister) Vermunt (Alberta, Canada). I have learned so much from these missionaries! They have all taught me things that I couldn't learn elsewhere! We all get along really well and we all are super excited to go to Albania.
I love you all very much! Thank you for your support!