Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you so much for writing to me every week! I really appreciate hearing about what's going on in your lives. Yeah, there are quite a bit of gypsies in Albania and Kosovo. A lot of them that were here during the summer have gone back down to Albania for the winter. It's still pretty nice weather here. I was talking to a guy last night that said it'll get a lot colder next week, so I might have to finally get out those long-sleeve white shirts and get those ready.
This week was good here in Gjakova. The biggest thing that happened this week was General Conference! It was awesome to finally see it in Church. During the past few weeks, I had downloaded it and had listened to it during lunches and at night before bed. I really enjoyed doing this because when we were watching the sessions at church, I was able to gain a deeper understanding and personal meaning from those talks. It was a testimony to me of the importance of the words of living prophets. It was such a wonderful personal experience to take part in General Conference. It was also a great opportunity for the members that came as well. All those that I talked to were glad they came and learned a lot! It was all around wonderful! Everything is going well here in Gjakova. Elder Frroku is doing well. This upcoming week is his last full week on his mini-mission, so I'll be getting a new companion in about a week and a half. It'll be interesting to find out who my new companion will be.
This is a piece of a talk that Elder Richard G. Scott gave, that President Weidmann sent to me today in my weekly email. It is a wonderful message that talks about the importance of the basics:
In early life I found that I could learn gospel teachings intellectually and, through the power of reason and analysis, recognize that they were of significant value. But their enormous power and ability to stretch me beyond the limits of my imagination and capacity did not become reality until patient, consistent practice allowed the Holy Spirit to distill and expand their meaning in my mind and heart. I found that while I was sincerely serving others, God forged my personal character. He engendered a growing capacity to recognize the direction of the Spirit. The genius of the gospel plan is that by doing those things the Lord counsels us to do, we are given every understanding and every capacity necessary to provide peace and rich fulfillment in this life. Likewise, we gain the preparation necessary for eternal happiness in the presence of the Lord. A testimony is fortified by spiritual impressions that confirm the validity of a teaching, of a righteous act. Often such guidance is accompanied by powerful emotions that bring tears to the eyes and make it difficult to speak. But a testimony is not emotion. It is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions. These choices are made with trusting faith in things that are believed and, at least initially, are not seen. A strong testimony gives peace, comfort, and assurance. It generates the conviction that as the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future will be secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path. A testimony grows from understanding truth distilled from prayer and the pondering of scriptural doctrine. It is nurtured by living those truths with faith anchored in the secure confidence that the promised results will be obtained. I am reminded of an experience that occurred on a nuclear submarine some years ago. A nuclear submarine is different from a regular submarine in the sense that it has an extraordinary power plant, and those who laid the foundation for the development of those power plants did it in such a secure way that, unlike normal craft, a nuclear sub has the ability to go at its highest speed, called flank speed, without any difficulty. If you get on a normal submarine—a diesel boat—and it is up at nearly flank speed, everybody is on watch, wondering what is going to get carried away first and what is going to break down. Not so in a nuclear plant because they are so carefully designed. It takes hours to build a standard ship up to full power, but in a nuclear plant, as fast as the helmsman can turn the throttle, the plant follows and gives greater compulsion. On one occasion during the shakedown trials—the time when a submarine is put through all of its paces to make sure that it has been built according to specifications before it is delivered to the navy—a nuclear submarine was at full submergence status going at flank speed as the most critical test of acceptance trials. Everyone knew that if they went very much deeper, the pressure of the ocean on the outside of the hull would collapse the bow and the crew aboard would be lost. The helmsman noted that there was a slight upturn on the submarine, so he tilted the planes downward to correct that. The submarine started to become level. At that time, there was a power breakdown, so the submarine continued at flank speed going deeper and deeper, and there wasn’t any way to change the pattern of the planes. Panic, understandably, broke out among the crew members because they knew that in very few seconds their lives would be taken by the water rushing through the crushed bow. There was, however, a petty officer in the engine room pulling himself along the floor. He reached into a cabinet and turned a switch, activating an alternative power supply that saved everyone’s life. Later on, during an investigation of the incident, the petty officer was asked, “How did you know what to do?” Can you imagine him pulling the manual out and starting to read? He said, “I don’t know, I just did it.” As they questioned him further, he said, “Now, I know why I did it. We went to prototype school, and we went through these exercises that trained us how to react when an emergency came. It was so much a part of me that I didn’t realize that it came from training.” That is how to live successfully in this world today. Learn how to live the commandments when there is no pressure on you. Develop the standards and obedience by making correct choices repeatedly and you will develop the character that will sustain you when pressures from Satan come into your life. The principles of the gospel will have become such a part of who you are that they will produce miracles.
Thank you so much for the love and prayers that you give to me. Ju dua shumë. Javë të mbarë. Zoti ju bekoftë!
|For General Conference, I baked some cookies for the missionaries and|
others that came. I quadrupled the recipe! This is what happiness looks like!
|For P-day, we went hiking at a park that had waterfalls near|
a place called Mërusha. It was really pretty and a lot of fun.