Dear Family and Friends,
It's so awesome to hear from you each week. It's amazing how we can communicate so easily when we are half a world away. Modern technology is amazing! We go to an internet place every week to send emails. It's really nice because everything is already set up at the business and it's really cheap to use. It's a really nice set up.
Today I do have more time to write. Today is actually Bajram. Bajram is essentially the Muslim equivalent of Christmas. Bajram signifies the end of Ramazan, so people are celebrating with their families. So the city is dead. Shops aren't open. Restaurants are closed, except for the Chinese place. It's a miracle that we found an internet place open. But anyway, essentially email is the only thing open that we can do today.
Wow, I can't believe that Mikey graduated from high school! Tell him "Urime!" from me! It's crazy, time is flying by like crazy! Yeah, I've been a missionary for 6 months! Wow. Tomorrow is the actual day that I hit my 6 month mark. Wow. It has gone by so fast. I can't believe it! It seems just like yesterday I was at home preparing to go on a mission and now it's nearly August! Wow. I'm in awe every single week.
Rachel, that's awesome that you lost a tooth! How many baby teeth do you have left? I can imagine that you mainly have adult teeth now. How are you adjusting to your braces? It can be tough at times, but just remember that it will be worth it in the long run. It sounds like you had a fun time at the fair. I hope that you enjoyed working at the booth there. That pizza sounded really good too!
That's awesome that you got to meet with the missionaries so often this week! Wait, has Elder Betz been in Princeton for over 6 months? That's crazy! I really hope that one day Sister Topi will serve in Princeton. She's a missionary from Tirana. I haven't met her family, but I think that would be really awesome if you got to meet an Albanian while I'm here! I hope all of the missionaries back home are enjoying their missions. Send them my regards!
This week has been pretty interesting. We had a lesson with a man named Shpend. We've met with him once or twice before. We hadn't been able to meet with him for quite a while, so we stopped by his house one evening. We stopped by and stared talking. He started telling us that he's really busy with work an he doesn't really have time to keep learning. We asked if we could just share a quick spiritual thought with him, but he wouldn't let us start off with a prayer or anything. So we continued to small talk for a few minutes. We talked about his family and what they're up to. I felt prompted to talk to him about family history. We started talking to him about it and he got out his laptop. We introduced him to FamilySearch.org and had him create a profile. He started adding in his parents and started filling in his family tree. At the end of the lesson, we asked him if we could end with a prayer. He agreed and he was very thankful as we left his house. It was a wonderful lesson! I was afraid that he was going to tell us that he wasn't interested and he didn't want to meet again. But at the end he was a lot more open to the Gospel. It was a miracle in our day. I was very grateful for that prompting from the Spirit to talk about family history. Because I followed that prompting, he opened up his heart a little bit more to hear about the Gospel. I'm so very grateful for that miracle!
After that lesson, I felt a lot more interested in family history. I pulled out the family history stories that I have and I've been looking at them quite a bit over the past few days. If you come across any other family history stories or interesting facts about them, can you pass them on to me? I know that when we talk about the importance of families, we gain more love and respect for our own family. From that lesson with Shpend, I've been thinking a lot about the people that came before me and the stories that they hold. It's interesting to learn about them. I know that the family is the most important thing that we have in this life. In our families, we grow and learn in a house filled with love. When our families are stronger, we become stronger as individuals!
This week we also had a visit from the new Mission President. President Weidmann and Sister Weidmann came up to Prishtina this week. They met with us in our homes and we just talked and got to know each other. It was a very wonderful experience to get to know him better. Every week we have the opportunity to write a letter to him on P-day, and every week he responds. This week he sent me an email. We were talking about agency in our emails and he told me, "remember what the uncle told Spiderman, 'with great power comes great responsibility'". That made my day! He's an amazing man, and I'm really excited to get to know him even better as I work with him.
Yesterday we got a call from President Weidmann. We were planning and we get a call from a number in Albania. We answer and it's President Weidmann on the other end. President Weidmann gave us transfer calls last night. I'll be staying in Prishtina, but Elder Bangerter will be going to Vlorë in Albania. Elder Bangerter's a little sad to leave, but he'll have a great time in Vlorë. I've been there once on P-day, and it's a really nice city! In Vlorë, he'll be serving with Elder Penrod, another missionary from our MTC group. I'll be staying up here in Prishtina and my new companion will be Elder Roberts. Elder Roberts is a great missionary. He just got released from being assistant to the president. He's served a lot in Prishtina, and he's really excited to come back up here. He's close to finishing his mission. He has about 2 months left. I'm really looking forward to serving with him. One of the other elders from Prishtina will be leaving as well. Elder Austin will be going to Durrës. And the elder that will be coming up here is... Elder Clawson! I'm really excited to see him again! It'll be a little weird not serving with him, but it'll be really good to serve around him again. President Weidmann has also called me to be the District Leader here in Prishtina as well. It's a lot to take in, but as long as I rely on the Lord I'll be fine. I know that He'll help me out in this work. It'll be sad to say goodbye to the missionaries I've come to know, but it's also exciting to welcome the other missionaries here!
I'm very thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary here in this mission. At times it's difficult, but it's always super rewarding. The time goes by so fast, so I hope that I'm doing everything that I can to use this time most effectively! Thank you so much for the love and the support that you give to me. I couldn't do it without you! Thank you so much!
Zoti ju bekoftë! Ju dua shumë!