Hello all from Albania!
I hope you all are well. I am well. Just wanted to shout out to my Brother in Law John: Happy birthday! Going to probably be a little shorter of an email because we decided to go on our district trip today and it was awesome! We saw on a map a castle called the Castle of Turres. It looked like it was only 30 min away from Durres on the coast. We asked some people about it but they had never heard of it. We called up Landi the furgon driver, who has been used by the missionaries since the beginning of the mission, and asked him to take us in that direction. It was quiet an adventure. Fortunately, when we got into the neighborhood, people knew what it was. We had to trek on foot through back passes for about 30 minutes. On a hill, from a ways a way, we saw an old run down house and decided that that must be out castle, so despite the immediate disappointment, we continued on. Well, the house really wasn’t part of the castle and what we were looking for indeed was not a castle either but an old underground communist fortification. We explored the tunnels, and found many empty boxes of ammunition. The tunnels came out on the other side of the mountain and they connected a serious of old artillery positions. All in all, we were really surprised and it was extremely fun. We also saw an old tower down on the coast so we found our way down and got to the castle. On top of all this the scenery was beautiful. The trip was a number of hours long, lots of hiking, climbing, and running: all well worth it. So, it is now one of the two best P-days I have had on my mission (the other being the time Elder Flack, Smedley, Soule and I climbed the random mountain). And fear not, I took many pictures, just no time to load up today.
I have some sad news. This week Sister Charma died in the hospital. We helped with her funeral service at the church and then went to the graveyard for the burial. According to Albanian custom the body must be buried with in 24 hrs. It was a real surprise how fast they moved. About 80ish people came to the funeral and the speakers all talked excellently on the Plan of Salvation. It was really quite beautiful. I also heard my first grave dedication that I can remember. While we were sad, we all very much knew that she was in good hands on the other side.
I wanted to pose a random question to John and Ken. On your missions, how much did the missionaries speak the mission language to each other? Were all of the meetings (district mtg, zone conference, etc.) all in those languages? I know John was in a multi-lingual mission so how much would you Spanish elders speak to each other in Spanish? I am just curious to know.
Did the church just come out with a new Gospel Principles book? Mum mentioned it in the last email and on Sunday the Elders Q. president said that soon we would be getting new copies of GPs and that we would begin to use them in first hour.
Wow, that’s crazy that you all got snow. I am glad I wasn’t there! LOLOL! Last week, just after emails, elder Thackeray and I got stuck in a hailstorm…. More than getting stuck I just told him we were going to not be babies and just troop through it because it was time to eat. It was pretty intense. Other than that it has been raining almost everyday this week, with a very large thunderstorm a couple of nights ago. It was excellent tracting weather.
Speaking of tracting, we’ve been doing a lot of that. Last week was my lowest numerical week on my mission but that is ok. It didn’t down my spirits at all. We are trying our best and the Lord is blessing us. This week was actually a very good week. It was very spiritually refreshing, especially the way we ended it with a fast. I do not understand why, but every now and again I have a short period of time on my mission when I get into a really bad mood for a couple of weeks and finally, through much prayer, scripture study, and self examination, the Lord pulls me out of it. This week was the end of another one of those times and it felt like a very good refining period. Missions truly are our own Zion's camps.
Alright, I must go. I love you all and I miss all of you. I promise pictures next week. I know it has been awhile. This is the Lord's work and this is His true church. Thank you for all your prayers and your support. Take care, and may God be with you!
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