Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for your emails! I really look forward to reading them each P-day! I'm glad to hear that you've been able to go and help out the missionaries! We're always very happy when members are able to help us out with a lesson. So I know how happy the sisters must have been to have you help out. I'm glad you got to go to Feed My Starving Children! I had a lot of fun with it when I've went before, so I hope you had a good time. This weekend should be pretty interesting for us. We have the Thanksgiving Mission Conference, and then , there is going to be a baptism in Durrës. It's not an investigator from one of the companionships here, but it's a group of investigators from Lushnjë who wanted to use the Durrës building for their service. It will be super exciting because 5 people will be baptized ! It's already going to be a great birthday! I'm super excited for it. I'll send you a picture of the white out next week. This last week we had a lesson with the Mema family. They're actually among the first baptisms in Albania about 20 years ago, and now he's the President of the Stake here. He's married to a woman he met at University in America, and they've lived all around the world. Sister Mema is from Ohio, so when we met this last week she was telling us about all the snow that hit the northwest United States. It blew my mind! I thought getting two feet in one storm was pretty crazy. So how much snow do you have left if a lot of it has melted away?
This last week was filled with some awesome experiences. So first off, we have to go back 6 months when I was in Durrës with Elder Clawson. One night, we stopped by the bakery across the street from our house like we did many times before. We order our byrek like we normally do and we are talking with the girl that works there. There are two guys standing near us and I think I hear them talking about us, so I turn to one guy and say hi. We started a conversation and I learned that he had lived in England and Italy for a while, and that he had actually met the missionaries before. He talked about how they would play soccer together every once in a while. We continued talking to him and his friend and we ended up getting their number. Unfortunately, we never got an opportunity to meet with them. Okay, fast-forward to two weeks ago. Elder Keck and I were out talking to people in the road. When all of a sudden, I see these two guys walking along the sidewalk towards us. I said hi to them and they stopped. We started a conversation and one of them was interested in getting a picture of Jesus for his house. I told him that we could help him out and we got in touch. We were able to meet and have a lesson and explain a bit about the church. It was a pretty good lesson. We also invited them to play soccer with us and they came! They had a blast and they're willing to meet with us again. It's kinda' cool sometimes to think about why you are placed where you are. Sometimes you wonder why you were placed in a specific place at a specific time. I think that this could be one of the reasons why I came back to Durrës at this time. Because no one else would have recognized these two guys.
Also this week, we had a lesson with a less active member that we normally meet with about once a week. I talked about him last week in my letter. His name is Vëllai Shkreta (vëllai = brother). We really enjoy our meetings with each other. We had a really great lesson about hope and how hope and faith are related to each other. It was a really great lesson. Okay rewind again... At Mission Conference a couple weeks ago, President Dykes taught us how to make little origami white shirts. He told us that he encouraged his missionaries to make these, and write thank you notes on the opposite side and give them to investigators, members, and others. So he taught us how to make them and encouraged us to use them in our missionary work. So fast-forward again to our lesson with Vëllai Shkreta. At the end of our lesson we told him that we had something for him. We gave him the little white shirt, on which we had drawn a little missionary nametag and tie, with a thank you note on the back. He got the biggest kick our of it!! He laughed and laughed! He loved it! He said that he could keep it in a special place and protect it. It's amazing how something so small as a little piece of paper folded into the shape of a shirt with a little ink on it, can have such a large impact on someone. It was one way that I learned that even the littlest of things count.
There's one last awesome experience I'd like to share with you in this letter. So this morning, we decided to gather together as missionaries to play frisbee for our morning exercise. We were playing and in the course of the game, I ended up getting hit in the left eye pretty hard with the frisbee (Mom, don't freak out, just keep reading). I got a little scratch on my eyelid. It bled a little, but not anything to be concerned about. It was fine. When I got back to the house I cleaned it up and put some ice on it. Nothing major, just very simple first aid. So the morning continues and, during my personal study, I notice that my left eye was pretty blurry. When I closed my right eye it was kinda' hard to read things. I could make them out, but my vision was drastically different than that of my right eye. It was really bugging me, and I was starting to get kinda' nervous about it. I tried doing different things to maybe clear out any tears that might be blurring my vision, but nothing I did yielded any results. I thought that I'll just have to see if it stays or goes away. Anyway I continued to study, but my eye kept bothering me. So I sat there and the thought came into my head about Jesus Christ. When He was here on the Earth, He did many miracles. He healed the blind, raised the dead, cured the sick, and many more things. I thought, "If He could do that then, why can't He do it now?" So I bowed my head and prayed. I explained the situation to my Father in Heaven. I explained that I knew that faith in Christ can bring blessings and even miracles in our lives. I prayed for a while expressing my thanks, and then I asked God if He could fix my vision. I explained that I didn't need it right at that second, but I said that I would accept it in His own time. I closed my prayer. I didn't feel any different. However, I felt that I should close my right eye and just see if anything happened. I closed my right eye, and the vision of my left eye was perfect! It wasn't blurry anymore! It didn't bother me at all! And it hasn't bothered me since! A miracle happened! Because of a simple prayer of faith, God was able to perform a miracle in my life. Some people might try and explain it away as just clearing up on its own, but that's not what happened at all. From that experience, my faith in Jesus Christ grew. I was grateful that He cared enough about me to show His love for me by causing a miracle to happen in my life! In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Mormon taught that God still does miracles, even today! "And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles" (Mormon). God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has done miracles in the past, He does them today, and He will yet do them in the future. Some people will say that miracles have stopped with the scriptures. About this, Mormon said, "And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust" (Mormon ). So we learn that miracles our dependent on our faith. If we don't have faith, we won't be able to experience miracles, but if we have faith in Jesus Christ we can experience miracles in our lives. I am very grateful that we have a loving God of Miracles. I know that if we have faith, we can experience miracles in our lives as well. I've experienced one this morning, and I know that you can experience them too!
Thank you for all of the love and support that you give to me. Thank you for your love and prayers. Ju dua shumë! Javë të mbarë. Kalofshit bukur!
|When the Elders eat lunch together, we split everything we have in sixths . . .|
and we eat it all . . . including a whole batch of Rice Krispie bars!