Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you so much for your email! It really means a lot to me to hear from home! So yesterday, Monday (Sunday night), there was an earthquake here in Albania. I slept through the entire thing, I heard about it from the other missionaries in Durrës. Earthquakes aren't uncommon here, but they're never extremely powerful. It woke up a couple of the other elders, and they said that their beds were shaking and stuff was sliding around in the other room, but Elder Clawson and I slept through it. I think it was something relating to the earthquake, but we lost power in Durrës for most of Monday. We had power right away in the morning, but aroundwe lost power, which kinda' put a damper on our P-day plans, but we still had a good day. Since the power was out, we decided to just start working earlier on Monday so we could take some time out of today to finish up our P-day.
The Wadena Branch in MN, is about the same size as the Lushnjë Branch that I served in. I really liked serving in Lushnjë! Occasionally, Elder Clawson and I will get a phone call from one of the youth in Lushnjë, Juxhin. We got along really well, but when I was in Lushnjë I had to keep asking him to repeat himself and speak slower. When he called us this last week, I was able to talk with him on the phone and I didn't need to ask him to repeat himself, it was a confidence booster that I needed. You can't really see your improvement in the language on a day-to-day basis, but every once in a while you'll be able to see your improvement over a longer span of time
When I was in Tirana for my meetings this last week, I met a senior missionary couple named the Winders. They actually were having their farewell party when I met them, so they're home now, but they were so awesome to hang out with for an evening. From all the other missionaries, I've only heard good things about the Winders. They talked about how awesome it was to be missionaries as a senior couple, they encouraged us all to motivate our parents to serve a mission when they get the chance. They only had good things to say about serving a mission. They also said that it was awesome to be able to work with so many young missionaries and do see what their kids did when they were on their missions many years ago. I would encourage you to start thinking of serving a mission is in your future. Being a missionary, regardless of age, brings so many blessings to many different people! It's something worth considering.
This last week we had our half-way training meeting with all of the new missionaries and their trainers. It was really nice to see everyone in my MTC group again. The meeting that we had was really great! President and Sister Ford are so awesome! We talked a lot about being consecrated as missionaries, about how we can give ALL of our time and thoughts toward serving here in Albania. It was a really great meeting. It's weird to think that I've been here for seven weeks already! It's crazy to think about how fast June is coming up! Wow, time is flying by, and it seems to be flying by faster and faster! Older missionaries have been telling me that serving a mission is like climbing up a latter to a slide. The first year of your mission is climbing up the latter, and the second year is the slide. If time is moving this fast already, I can't imagine how fast time will go in the future!
Last night, Monday night, we had an awesome lesson with some new investigators. They already had strong faith in Jesus Christ and they knew the Bible very well, which is something we don't see in Albania too often. We taught this family the message of the Restoration of the Gospel and they accepted everything that we had to say. Everything seemed to make sense to them and they wanted to know more. It was so awesome to see how they were so ready to hear the Gospel already. At the end of the lesson, we extended the invitation for them to be baptized and they said, "Po. Pa tjetër?" which means, "Yes, of course." It was a super awesome lesson and we think that they will progress quickly. They are an awesome family and we have high hopes for them! This lesson was the high point of our week. The rest of the week was pretty average, a lot of hard work without getting a lot of new investigators. We also had a couple people decide that they don't want to learn from us anymore, which was really discouraging, but everyone has the ability to choose for themselves. I've seen that the Lord will give us a really awesome experience when we've had a lot of discouraging moments in a week. I've seen that the Lord really does love us and He's thinking about us constantly. He knows what we need in order to be happy, and since He is our Father in Heaven, He wants us to be happy. The Lord loves us and He's just looking for excuses to bless us. I know that if we do our best to keep the commandments of the Lord and we do our best to follow His example, He will bless us beyond our imagination. The Lord really loves us. Don't forget that!
Thank you for your love and your support. I couldn't do this without support from home! Thank you!
This is the Lana in Tirana. It's a big river that flows through the city. The bridge we are on is called the bouncy bridge, because when you jump on it it bounces. We got it bouncing so much one night where I tried standing still, but the bridge kept throwing me up in the air. It's not really that safe, but all of the missionaries love it!
My new name tag without the letter "W"!
We found a lizard outside of the Seminary building in Durrës.