Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for all the emails you send me each week. I really appreciate hearing about what is going on back home. Wow! It sounds like you had quite the busy week! You did a ton of travelling! That's really cool that you had stake conference this last week. We had a stake conference here in Albania a few weeks ago, and it was really cool. It's interesting noting the differences between the two, but also they're really similar in many ways. It's really interesting because with a new stake and a small area, the mission president went to stake conference, and nearly all of the members here in Albania know him. I don't think I've ever met the mission president for the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission. It's interesting to see little differences like that. That's crazy that President Zimmerman got released. That's also awesome to hear about all the missionaries from the Saint Cloud Stake! I'm really exicted to hear about where Matt Walker will be going, and Frank and Kathy Curtis! I think you said that they requested to stay in the States, but that would be super sweet if they came to Albania! There's a couple in Macedonia that asked to be humanitarian missionaries in the United States for a 6 month period, but they received their call to Macedonia for 18 months... It could happen. Plus, our mission needs more senior couples. A ton are going home this year, so we need more! I haven't had the chance to serve around a senior couple, but everyone says that it's really awesome! I love "Meet the Mormons" it's such an awesome film! We watched that a few months ago at a zone conference, and I think that video will be translated into Albanian and we'll be able to use it as a finding tool throughout the summer. I really hope that'll happen! It's a super awesome film!
So here in Durrës we're a pretty special district. Only one of us is from Utah, which is unheard of! I told that to one of the members and he couldn't believe it! Members here refer to Utah as "fabrika e misionarëve" or "the missionary factory." When I heard that the first time I laughed pretty good. So the district consists of Elder Roemer (Nevada) and I (Minnesota), Elder Richards (Colorado) and Elder Simons (...around), and Elder Holm (Nevada) and Elder Eddings (Utah). Elder Simons is from my MTC group so it's really awesome to be serving around him again. He's lived all around the world. Most recently he had lived in Israel. His dad is an embassy worker and has lived all around the world. Elder Eddings is super funny. He's always cracking jokes and he can play piano insanely well. He's super awesome. Elder Holm is also really funny. So having Elder Holm and Elder Eddings together in a companionship is crazy at times. They also like playing games so a lot of the time during lunches and P-day we'll play some sort of card or board game together. So that's kinda' the district we have here in Durrës. As for the food we've been eating, we eat a lot of pasta and easy things that we can make ourselves. It's interesting because a lot of the time, it's cheaper to eat out than to make food yourself here. The average restaurant is really cheap. Man, what would I give for Mexican food ... or hot dogs, well not really hot dogs but brats. They have something kinda' like that here, but it's just not the same as brat cooked on a grill in the Minnesota summer.
On a normal day for us, we'll wake up at, work out, eat breakfast, study and be out of the house by . We go out and we work, sometimes we'll have a meeting in the morning, but the days vary. Occasionally we'll have a lesson scheduled for the morning, or we'll talk with people in the road. Here in Albania and Kosovo, we have a two hour break for lunch in the middle of the day because a lot of people will go inside and sleep during the hot part of the day, and then we just work straight on through until the end of the night without a dinner break. People here eat at different times than us in America. They eat breakfast late in the morning, lunch about and dinner at about or . Also, we have an English Course that we teach twice a week as a way to find people to teach the Gospel. We'll have a little spiritual thought at the end of the lesson, and sometimes really awesome people are found. That's how Esmeralda was found. It works out pretty well. I've learned a ton about English by teaching people English. Most times I'll learn something in the middle of a lesson while I'm explaining a principle to them. I actually like teaching English pretty well.
So this week was a really awesome week as Elder Roemer and I had a missionary leadership meeting in Tirana. It was really cool because we're able to meet with missionaries from all over the mission and were able see friends and talk about how different cities are doing. This time at the missionary leadership meeting we learned of a new way to help teach our investigators the principles of the Gospel. We learned about how we were able to help them become more like the Savior during their progression in the Gospel. It's a really cool way of incorporating Christlike attributes into the lesson by using a specific instance from the life of Jesus Christ and inviting the investigator to develop that attribute within themselves as well. It was really cool. We've been able to have a couple lessons like that and it helps both the investigator and the missionaries to come to know the Savior better and to become like Him. Also, we had a the chance to watch General Conference this last weekend. It was super cool being able to listen to the words of the prophets. I'm grateful that God has given us prophets in our day to lead and direct us. It was really spiritually recharging to listen to their words and find strength and areas in which to improve. I'm very grateful for a loving Father in Heaven that has given us so many blessings that we can't even begin to number them. Two of our investigators came to all the sessions of General Conference. They are Luli and Xheni, a mother and a daughter that have been learning for a while about the Gospel. They are so prepared! After the first sessionI asked them how it was, and Luli (the mom) said that it was so amazing that she wanted to cry. It was awesome to see the Spirit working in them during the conference. They should be getting baptized this weekend or the following one (we're just waiting on an answer for logistics). It will be an amazing day when they get baptized! They're so prepared and they love the Gospel so much. Luli said that all she wants to do once Xheni gets older and has a family of her own, it to serve as a missionary for the Church. She has a strong desire to follow the Savior and it's awesome to be able to meet with them!
Thank you for the love and support that you give to me! Ju dua shumë! Javë të mbarë. Kalofshi mirë. U nglifshi shnosh!
Me dashuri të madhe,