Friday, October 30, 2015

WEEK #2 IN LYON, FRANCE

Wow! What a super fast week! I don't even know where to start! This week has included getting a new ami, and setting a baptism date with him, driving over to Switzerland to meet the General Relief Society President and a member of the Seventy. 

Also Imagine Dragons is also playing in the concert hall just down the street from our apartment tonight! So hopefully they’ll  play music loud.


Alright now get to the details. We called a guy who contacted the missionaries in the mall a  few days ago.  He was referred to us.  So we met him on Tuesday. His name is Gabriel and he moved here from Toulouse. He was born in Nigeria and speaks mostly English. He's 20 and is so cool!:) 

We met him near his apartment and we went inside and talked with him. He knew the missionaries in Toulouse, and had a Book of Mormon. He knew a lot of basics of the gospel.  So we were able to jump into his needs. 

Basically he wants to have good influences, and has a desire to be baptized. So we have decided to be his best friends! 

So that's Gabriel! Super awesome guy.

For this week: 

Tuesday: we dropped a dryer to some sisters in Lyon. That took up the whole morning. One sister knows my cousin John Passey from Utah really well, and the other sister is from Scotland. So I had her pronounce my name correctly. 

Turns out the dryer didn’t work, so we didn’t really know what to do... We have no others to give...:/

Later that day we had the first meeting with Gabriel. (See beginning of the letter)


Wednesday: we went and picked up around 12 tires from one of the office couples. We then drove to Geneva to drop them off at the Mission Mansion.  (Swiss mission home) 
Then we went to Ikea to eat lunch. We were to meet a senior couple there to help them get a bed.


We then followed them home and set up the bed for them. 

Elder and Sister Austin then gave us cans of root beer! It's been 10 months since I had real root beer! 


We then went to a Kebab truck they recommended. It is my favorite one so far! The owner is 24 years old  and speaks great English! 

I call it the “Ghost” Kebab because no one knows of it. 

We then drove home because it was late.

Thursday: we had zone training. So we drove to the church. We got a cool trifold pamphlet for our Amis to teach the path towards being worthy to go to the temple. It's only in English right now, so it's kinda hard to use. We then talked about how to teach simply! Always a good thing to practice...We had breakfast for lunch, and then we had to leave to go meet up with Gabriel at the Institute building. 

We met up and taught him the plan of salvation. We were talking, and he stopped and said he had an off topic question. He asked what would happen if his dad dies without being baptized.

So we stopped plan of salvation and cut straight to the temple. We pulled out the trifold temple pamphlet, and we taught him about baptisms for the dead. He said he wants to do that, so we put his name on the pamphlet, and set his baptism date for the 21st of November!:) 


We ended there, and then we played some ping pong. He never lost a game. He's too good! 

But that was a great day! I think we were the first companionship in the mission to use the trifold pamphlet to get a baptism date and goal towards the temple! We only got the thing a few hours earlier! 

Friday: we went up to Lausanne which is an hour north of Geneva. We had to set up beds for the zone leaders and move a fridge. I drove there from Lyon. Driving through the canyons with all the changing trees in the fall is so beautiful! 




The two Swiss Zones had a special conference with a member of the Elder David P. Homer of the Quorum of the Seventy, and Relief Society General President Linda K. Burton


We drove to the Lausanne chapel to get some keys from a few companionships so we could set up the requested items. All the general authorities and missionaries there were at tables eating. When elder Steadman and I walked in wearing our hoodies, shorts, and colorful socks, everyone stopped and stared. Then we saw our friends and went up and talked to them. 


President Brown was there and pulled us to the side. He said he wanted us to stay, and said we were in our uniform because we were fulfilling our calling :) Mission work in shorts, I like it! 

We told president about Gabriel and how he wants to go to the temple and be baptized. President was super happy! It was great to show him we do other stuff besides driving and moving things ;) 

We were then introduced to Sister Burton and her husband. It was weird to meet them formally in informal clothes wearing only my two hoodies and shorts. It was really funny and cool! 


We had some food, talked with old friends, and even saw my MTC companion Elder Tomlinson! It's been 7 months since I last saw him! 

We all then went into the chapel to have the conference. Elder Steadman and I sat in the very back of the chapel, we didn't want to bring any more attention to ourselves. Everyone was in suits, and we were in the back sitting comfortable in our gym clothes. 


President got up and made his opening remarks. He then asked Elder Steadman and I to come up and tell our experience with Gabriel with the General Authorities and the missionaries. Kinda scary and embarrassing to speak in casual clothes, especially in front of the relief society president! 

After the conference we had to head back to Geneva Zone leaders to set up the bunk beds. After that, we got another ghost kebab!

We then drove back to Lausanne to sleep at the other Zone Leaders apartment. 


Saturday: we replaced he fridge the ZLs, and then we had to drive to Geneva and set up drawers for the Austin Couple. That took all afternoon. We had more root beer and brownies! It's my first time being around senior couples! I love it! We are the grandkids during their mission. 

We had to drive home quickly after to go meet up with Gabriel and show him the church. We picked up Elders Hansen and Sorenson who were in Lyon for Stake conference the next day. So we all went and met Gabriel at the church. It was locked and we didn't know the code. So we stood outside and did a small lesson on prayer. 

We all testified on how prayer is something we can always do. How we can get help from it. Gabriel took it great! He is such a cool guy! He says he loves to be with us because he feels good about it! I know he is feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost. We all left, and the Grenoble elders came home with us. 

Sunday: us four missionaries went and met up with Gabriel and we went to a convention center in Lyon to have stake conference. We found spots up front, and listened. It was all in French. Sister brown spoke and that was in English. It was translated by President. Then Elder Homer the Seventy member back in Lausanne was there and spoke in english. He talked about Christ, and Gabriel was listening to every word. 

After the conference we brought Gabriel to meet President Brown, and he talked to Gabriel about how he knows we are teaching the truth. Gabriel agreed and said he felt it was true. 

We then introduced him to Elder Homer, and the stake president who is in our ward actually! Also to other missionaries, and anyone else who was cool. Gabriel plays basketball, so we introduced him to Elder Haws who will play for BYU when he comes home. 

So for Gabriel's first time at a church meeting in Lyon, he met the mission president, stake president, and even a member of the seventy. That is almost sounds like Utah!  Sister brown wants him over to play ping pong, so hopefully we can do that soon! 


We went home, and said goodbye to Gabriel. Elder Hansen and Sorenson were with us again, so we made a nice Sunday meal. Homemade pizza, with homemade pizza dough! With cheesy potato soup :) It turned out great! 

After dinner, we said goodbye to the other elders, and elder Steadman and I took the metro to the church. We met Gabriel there and we showed him around. We then sat down and went over the restoration. 

We summarized it, because he knows it pretty well. But we focused on the Book of Mormon. He said he read after the stake conference, and we just encouraged him to keep reading and praying! 

We finished, and went home. All in all, it was a great week! Lots of traveling, and teaching!

Well, as you can see from our new engagé Gabriel, the spirit works fast, and can touch the heart of anyone! 

Seek the spirit out! Because you will find it! 

I love you all, and I know Christ is real, and he helps even the missionaries who drive over the country in hoodies, gym shorts and colorful socks.


Love Elder Acheson! 



Sunday, July 19, 2015

From Tirana, Albania to Provo, Utah--Final Mission Email



Family and Friends,

I write from beautiful Provo, Utah. It is with mixed emotions that I write this. I have returned home and been released from my call as a full-time missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ. Though I am sad to have left Albania and Kosovo, I am happy to return to my mother and motherland. I received a warm and heartfelt welcome at the airport by my parents, sister,my cousin and her husband. 

Since being released I have given my mission reports in front of my ward and stake high council. I have given accounts to family and friends and I can't help but feel that it took place during a different life. I know though that it happened. I know that there are people that I loved across the sea; people for whom I worked, for whom I laughed, for whom I cried. I know that the Lord God called me to serve those people. 

I have considered posting a list of the people whom I taught but decided rather to bear my testimony to them in their language.

E di se Jezu Krishti është Biri i Perëndisë. Ai jetoi dhe ai jeton. Ai vdiq dhe e mori trupin përsëri të na mundësoi ringallje dhe shpëtim të përjetshëm. E bëri atë sepse Ai na do. 

Perëndia është Ati Ynë Qiellor. Ai ka përgatitur një udhë për ne, një shteg të ngusht dhe të ngushtuar. Neve na ka dhënë shkrime prej një natyre të shenjtë që ne mund të mësojmë ta kalojmë këtë humnerë që quajmë jetë. Na ka dhënë udhëzues dhe paralajmëtarë të cilët janë profetët e shenjtë.

Ungilli i Krishtit ka qënë i njohur përgjatë të gjitha epokave dhe periudhëve. Profetët që nga koha e Adamit kanë deshmuar të njetën ungjill që predikoi Jozef Smithi. E di se Jozef Smithi është një profet i Perëndisë dhe se ai hapi periudhën e plotësimit të kohrave. Që ai ishte qe personi ta rivendoste të vërtetën dhe autoritetin.

Ne mund t'i degjojmë fjalet e Perëndisë sot kur i degjojmë mësimet dhe bisedat e apostujve e të profetëve të ditës sonë. E di se Tomas S. Monson është profet, shikues, dhe zbulues për ne sot. Ne mund të marrim një njohuri të gjërave të thëna dhe të shkruara nga një dëshmi e Frymës së Shenjtë. Një dëshmi e tillë vetëm merret me qëllim të vërtet dhe të pastër.

Çdo dëshmi që do të marrim do të na drejtojë te Krishti, kapiteni ynë hjynor. Ai është burimi i çdo drejtësie, proi i ujërave të gjalla, dhe pika qëndrore e krijimit. Pa Atë, nuk mund të ishte dhe nuk mund të jetë lumturia e plotë dhe e vërtet. Le t'i bësojmë Atij. Le të jemi më të besnikë në zbatimin e udhërimeve që na ka thënë. U bëfshim bijë dhe bija sa më të rregullt të një Ati Qiellor dhe qofshim shembullor për vëllezërit e motrat tona në sjellje e në bindje. 

I love you greatly and thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your love, support, and prayers.

For the last time, with great love,

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm

P.S. There still remains an Elder Acheson who serves in France. I encourage all of you to follow and support him in his service. His letters can be read and enjoyed at racetolyon.blogspot.com

Monday, June 22, 2015

WEEK #38 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA



June 22, 2015


Family and Friends,


Hello from hot Tirana. We have had a hot week with a couple of scattered thunder storms. I am excited to be beginning my final week as a missionary. I will have one more P-Day and I will have an opportunity to write one last letter.

The Gift of 1,220 Albanian Bibles

This week was actually full of wonderful things. Right after I gave my last district training we had a miraculous happenstance. A man came to the church and asked to speak to the assistants. He took them to his nearby office and offered 1,220 Albanian bibles completely free. He felt that it was a sin to sell them and a greater one to throw them away. It just so happened that he had seen for years these guys in white shirts carrying a holy book that had a church in the vicinity. We spent about 45 minutes moving in his generous gift. We have to wait for an approval of the translation but it would be such a great blessing to distribute them to the members who do not have bibles, many do not.

Sokol's Girls + Elders and Anja Beleshi


It is a constant joy to teach Sokol and his daughters. Xhesika is progressing towards baptism. Unfortunately she will be ready after I leave but it is pleasure enough to know that I have had an opportunity to help her and the members of her family learn the Gospel. We have been using the Bishop’s daughter Anja in teaching them and this week we invited another friend Sara from the Young Women. Both Anja and Sara were fantastic in teaching and befriending the girls.

We have had a good week in finding new investigators. We have begun teaching two investigators named Koli and Hiqmet. Koli is an English teacher and a fantastic man. He was able to come to church and take the sacrament along with Hiqmet. Hiqmet is a professor of engineering and has some reputation. We have been using Brother Skuka, an engineer himself, in our lessons with Hiqmet and he related to us his notoriety. We are excited to be teaching both of these brethren.


On Sunday, Albanian Election Day, I had the honor to teach both 2nd and 3rd hours in Church. We talked about the Creation and Fall in Gospel Principles (which became an English Missionary Gospel Doctrine class because only missionaries and former missionaries were in attendance) and then Follow the Living Prophet in Priesthood. It was a lot of fun and I assuredly was just enlightened as everyone else in the class.
Hameid, the T2 Elders' investigator from Iran


I am very close to the end and I wanted to express my love and appreciation for every single one of you who has been such a great support throughout my mission. I thank you for all your letters and email of support and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you.

With great love,

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm 






Monday, June 15, 2015

WEEK #37 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA

June 15, 2015

Family and Friends,
Visiting the home of Mother Teresa

Hello from hot Tirana. The temperature is making things difficult but we endure. We are doing our best to pull people off the sweltering streets into the cool conditioned church. But most of our work has been tracting this week.

I would like to give an update on Sokol and his family. When we went for the first time this week we took Anja, the Bishop’s daughter, with us and we taught the 10 commandments with hand signs. The girls ate it up. We read through Mosiah 12 and 13 and taught the 1st commandment by using one finger pointing to heaven saying there is one God, the 2nd commandment by using one finger on one hand bowing to the second on the other to remind us to not worship images nor figures, and so on. Those girls learn like sponges.

We came back again two more times and taught follow the prophet and the law of chastity. Those girls have been prepared by good parents. It is so apparent for me that the Gospel is not just taught but lived. The parents of these girls have done what many parents strive for: they have instilled an open heart and quick spirits. They are independent and free in their approach to learning about the Gospel and coming with willing hearts. Xhesika’s understanding and assimilation is astounding and the change is great to see as well. I am grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity to teach them at the end of my mission. I hope that all the preparation that I have received has allowed me to be ready to teach these precious spirits.

I had a great opportunity to go to Vlorë and to sing with the Albanian Mormon Choir. We had the opportunity to bear
Election time in Albania
our testimonies with song. It was a powerful experience that I had to visit those people with my missionary friends. I am so grateful for the gift of music and that we can share it. I am excited to do that again in the future.

I love you all and am excited to report success.

Love,

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm



Monday, June 8, 2015

WEEK #36 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA

Family and Friends,

I am so grateful for a great week here in Tirana.

I would like to tell you about a fantastic family whom we are teaching. The father is named Sokol and when you first meet Sokol, you fear for your life. He has a bodybuilder frame and his biceps could be envisioned as shredding car doors. But your fears are quickly quieted when you see him smile. He is one of the nicest men I have meet in my life. He greets with warm hugs and embraces you with his hospitality. He is the ideal of what a father should be.

He has four daughters: Xhesika [said 'Jessica'] (13). Xhevehire (11), Ergysa (9), and Arlinda (6). They are the beacon of what well behaved and well nurtured young ladies should be. They are all the tops of their classes and fun. I feel as though I am in Pride and Prejudice every time we visit their home. 

Xhesika has accepted to be baptized and brought her little sister Ergysa to church for all 3 hours. Xhesika is sharper than sharp. The youth Sunday School teacher asked me and Elder Greener to come and do a role play of a ward council and to have the members of the class as the representatives of the various organizations. I was the bishop and Elder Greener was the Elders' Quorum President. Xhesika was the ward mission leader. She did fantastic and took an active role in offering advice on how to help hypothetical investigators. 

I am super excited for Sokol and his family. My companion and I love teaching them.

Some of the musically capable missionaries in Tirana have been requested to form a missionary choir to be apart of the greater stake choir. We have formed an octet and are singing a beautiful arrangement of 'Praise to the Man' and will be displaying it among sacrament meetings this month. This Sunday we will be in Vlorë singing and then two later Sundays in June we will be in Elbasan and in Durrës. I learned that my last Sunday in Albania will be in Durrës. I am happy to hear about that, I love Durrës.

For P-Day this week we had a cross-zone basketball game to say goodbye to Elder Rawlings. I am sad to see him go but it is nice to know that we will all see each other again at school. It is nice to know that life does continue after mission. I admit it nice to know that so many of us are going to BYU. 

Well I love you all and I hope that this week has been great for you and I will report more next week. 

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm

Monday, June 1, 2015

WEEK #35 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA





The Tirana 2/4 District doing group contacting on the empty boulevard due to the visit of the Serbian Prime Minister
Family and Friends,

Hello from hot and rainy Tirana! 

I don't have a very eventful week to report but I would like to but a note in about a new investigator with whom Elder Greener and I are working. His name is Mohammed and is not Albanian. He is from a Middle Eastern country and has accepted to learn about the Church. We are grateful especially for the opportunity we had to take him to a baptism this week.

The 4th Ward missionaries taught the 3rd hour class on Sunday and we addressed member missionary work and how we could better coordinate the work between the missionaries and the members.

For P-Day, most of the Tirana missionaries went to Krujë and had a fun time exploring the castle and city. I was also able to get some good touristy items to have as remembrances of Albania.

I have only positive feelings I wish to express. Even though today marks my last month in my mission, I have faith that the Lord will secure the success of our work here. I am ever grateful for the blessings He pours upon His children. 

With all my love,

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm
Singing and goofing around with Elder Wright




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WEEK #34 TIRANA, ALBANIA

Family and Friends,

Hello from hot and rainy Tirana. We have had a fun mixture of sweltering summer days and skies rumbling with lightening. The weather is in that fun mid-spring-summer stage.


A young man that I baptized in February of 2014 with Elder Bilodeau named Ersi has been living in Tirana and I have been able to work with him for the past couple of weeks. I love this young man very much and I have loved working with him again. He is moving down to Elbasan and I had to say goodbye for the second time. I am grieved but happy to have done that; I love him so much but I know that it will be better for him there.

We had a fun service opportunity on Wednesday. We helped the Tafili family move homes. They live in one of Tirana's suburbs called Instituti (or in English "Institute," I am sure none of you would have guessed that translation). We and the APs were able to help them move their stuff and we got to have fun with their great kids.

On Sunday we had a great and rather unexpected opportunity to go to Durrës to take part in a stake fireside for those who had callings (and the missionaries). President Mema, the stake president, passed on the counsel of the Brethren and we have new information as to how we should treat our ministration on the Sabbath and in teaching new members of the Church. The main part of the fireside was a discussion from a couple from BYU-Idaho, the Gibbons couple, who have performed scholarly work on the Book of Mormon and other topics touching Mormonism. I loved the discussion; they used the literary and scholarly vernacular that I love. It was a refreshing look on the Book of Mormon and was a great experience. I also was able to see many members with whom I have worked, laughed, and cried. I got to sit with Erlind and Qerime Dishnica and Sadush Malku. I got to see my people from Durrës, Fier, and Tirana. It was such a great experience from all aspects.


For this P-Day, we went to the Church of Laç. Some background: most Albanians, Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox (not so much the Orthodox) hold the Church of Laç (Catholic) as a sacred sight. People from all around Albania make pilgrimage to the Church of Laç. Many miracles and healings have been done there. When we talk to people in the road about faith and religion, I would say that I have heard a reference to the Church of Laç at least 3 times a week. We finally went and visited the site. We as the 4th Ward missionaries went and had a great time. It was interesting to sit in the church with believers and to hear their prayers and to see their faith. It was a fun experience.


I have sad/exciting news: I got my flight itinerary. I am expected to land at SLC airport at 10:00 PM July 1st. I, as every missionary, have mixed feelings. I am sure I will talk about this in some later letter.

I love you all and hope that you have a great week.

Love,

Elder Açësoni I Madhërishëm