Monday, September 30, 2013


Elder Acheson at Krujë  Castle, Albania

September 30, 2013

Family and Friends,

This week we solidified a baptismal date for one of our investigators named Maliq. Maliq is in his late 60’s and is originally from a city called Korça near the Greek border. Maliq began investigating the church with my companion maybe a month before I came to the mission and has “eaten up” the gospel. Maliq has had a very exciting journey with the gospel. We have been able to observe a marked change in his disposition. He has described his experience when he prays as “a warm shower.” He loves the gospel and has wanted to get baptized for the past couple weeks. His baptism will be held this Friday the 4th of October.

This week has been filled with a lot of good work. The Missionary Routine is finally setting in and I feel wonderful. Tirana is awesome because there are always more people to be found, taught, and baptized. There is no shortage of work for us.

On Thursday, I had an exchange with one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Ferguson. It was very fun to spend time with him and interesting to see how another missionary does his work. It was weird not to work with my investigators and but great to have the opportunity to care for someone else’s. We celebrated the end of our exchange with eating dinner at a sister’s house in the branch. The food was awesome and it was fun to laugh at things I didn't quite understand, which made the joke even funnier.

Aside from Maliq we are working with our other investigators continually. We are dealing more with the problems associated with our investigator with the mafia boss uncle. That is still stressful because he can’t read his Book of Mormon at home because his family at home has to report anything out of the ordinary to the uncle. Reading a religious book is a red flag. But we are still trying to figure that out.

The beautiful Krujë Castle in Albania
Today, as a district we went to a town called Krujë about an hour north of Tirana. Krujë has the beautiful castle that pops up if you Google search Albanian Castles. The town is a small tourist trap with the Castle of Skandërbej, Albania’s national hero. He is like the George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Queen Elizabeth combined of Albania. I’ll write about Skandërbej in some future email. At Krujë, we visited a Gjami or Mosque high in the mountains and the castle. I also had my first bartering experience in getting an antique razor from about $30 to $5 and had the guy repair it for me. A small success.

Elder Acheson  sporting his freshly cut "çuns" hairstyle, popular with males his age
 and his companion, Elder Wagstaff
Today I want to describe a social aspect of Albania. Males aged from about 12 to 25 are called  çun  (Ch-oo-n). If an Albanian çun were to walk down the street in the United States, you would be surprised at the garish combination of a poor haircut (shaved sides of the head coupled with a messy mop on top), tightly fitting feminine jeans, and a bright flamboyant shirt or jacket that we would categorize as feminine. There is a very very definite çun look. No one would have a problem with çuns if they didn't also act like çuns. The typical çun mentality is centered on attracting Albanian girls. They have collected decided that the best way to attract Albanian girls is to act like the biggest jerk possible to everyone from old men and old women to young children and the same women that they try to attract (not to mention missionaries).

After observing the difference in young males and young females, I am thoroughly convinced that in the next generation or two, the women are going to either rule or leave the country. All of the girls that I have met are actively engaged in improving themselves and doing things like going to college. The men are content to live as their predecessors have for centuries: go to a poor earning job, drink coffee with your friends after work, come home and eat, and then go out and drink with their friends. And that is after starting the day drinking coffee with their friends in the morning. All of the young women are either actively engaged in self improvement or are trying to leave the country and marry someone other than an Albanian.

My friends, I love you all and thank you for your prayers and support.


Elder Acheson

Taking a break from saving the world!  Bowling for missionaries!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013


Monday, September 23, 2013

Family and Friends,

 This week has been a full week in Tirana.  On Tuesday, we dealt with a problem one of our investigators has had. This investigator progressed rapidly in the discussions and made some very difficult commitments and has kept them. A short while ago, while just after we set an initial baptismal date, we felt that something was wrong and put off  the date; we thought maybe alcohol. In our next meeting with this investigator we discovered that the issue had nothing to do with his personal worthiness but the fact that he was not in a safe position to join the church. This investigator has an uncle that he has a problem with. Normally, that would not be an issue. But it is an issue if that uncle, in the time of communism, was a smuggler with a private army and now, in the post-communist era, is the head of one of the larger organized crime groups in Albania. The investigator had it out with his uncle a while ago and now he dodges unmarked vans, receives multiple anonymous phone calls, and the like.

 But on Tuesday, in an interview with President Ford, we determined that since joining the church is not further endangering his life, he should join! We are working with him right now on setting a date for baptism.

 After the interview in the afternoon, it started raining. Our landlord is in Italy for the week and they have a pet rabbit.  When we left the apartment in the afternoon, the rabbit was loose in the garden. We thought of course that it had escaped. So we spent the next 20 minutes in the torrential rain running through the landlord’s garden chasing this demon rabbit that would not stay still. We finally caught it after I had slipped and smeared the side of my coat and pants in mud. We put it in a makeshift cage and continued with our day. We came back and didn't think anything of it. The next morning, we looked out and saw the rabbit in the garden again. We couldn’t believe it because he had secured it in the cage. It was only then when we realized that the landlord had hired someone to release the rabbit and re catch it every day. We felt dumb but had a good laugh.

 We had Zone Conference on Wednesday and everyone in the Tirana Zone met together at the Mission Home and we trained. We had training on how to be better missionaries and set zone and district goals from now until the end of the year. We have goals to get branch church attendance to at least 80 in our branch and have 20 convert baptisms before the end of the year.

 On Thursday we did some service in a member’s yard. The zone leaders, Ferguson and Pierce; the Sisters, Forte and Heathcote; and us, Acheson and Wagstaff worked in Motra Balalari’s yard for a couple of hours.  Motra Balalari’s yard has not been attended to in about 10 years and it gave me an excellent opportunity to show off my axe skills. I did accidentally break her axe but she didn’t mind, I took down a row of trees that she had wanted to get rid of for 15 years. After the service she feed us. She used to be the head cook at the International Hotel in Tirana, which was good. She just happened to hear that the new American Elder in the branch (Elder Acheson) was overweight and she wanted to make him feel like he was home, which was bad. She made so much food. I was stuffed after the first large plate of beans. I was very uncomfortable after the second plate of rice and meat. I was in pain after the third plate of more beans. The dessert wasn’t even tempting but as my companion whispered to me in English, it would have been insulting to not eat the dessert but it is only made for honored guests. I didn’t eat until the next day. I was so stuffed.

 Later on Wednesday evening, we met with our newest and most promising investigator Krenar. We met him at a placed called Taivani (or the old Taiwanese embassy which has been converted into a park and a public amusement area). We walked from Taivani to the church and had a wonderful lesson. Krenar has a very strong Christian background and is our most promising new investigators at the moment.

 On Friday, we celebrated Sister Heathcote’s birthday by going to one of the best restaurants in Tirana called Fusion. It is situated in a skyscraper and had a beautiful outside view of the city. What would have cost well over $200 for 6 people in the United States cost us just under $50. We had some of the best food in the city for just under $9 a plate. The lunch was great and a very nice break from the work. The Elders did get “The Best Cheese Platter Ever” as an appetizer. The plate was called “The Best Cheese Platter Ever” and we had to check to see if it was truth. It was good, but I have a feeling somewhere in the world, maybe in Paris, New York, or Portland, some chef probably would disagree.

 In the evening we had a member lesson with our other stellar progressing investigator Maliq. We brought a recent convert, Alfred Abdulari, to the lesson and it was an incredible experience. Maliq is an older man who lives in a very humble home. But he is kind of the community patriarch and his home is a species of community hub. Almost every lesson we have taught has had someone just pop in and sit and listen to the lesson. This time a man named Ermal was there and we had spoken to him before. Maliq had also brought him to church. Ermal had some questions about the practicality of being a member of the church in Albania. Luckily we brought Alfred.

 Alfred Abdulari is an older gentleman who is a lawyer and reads and writes English better than his Albanian, which is pretty good already. He doesn't speak so well but that is no issue. Alfred has also dealt a lot with the corruption of the Albanian government and organized crime in his area of Tirana. He hasn’t told me much yet but I’ll be working with him for 3 more months. He converted to the church in July and has, in that short time familiarized himself with many of the deep doctrines of the church.

Alfred immediately befriended Maliq and Ermal in the lesson and was a perfect tool to address Ermal’s concerns. He was an invaluable tool in explaining in a way that wasn’t limited by our poor Albanian. We were able to set a baptismal appointment for Maliq and have fully welcomed Ermal into our lessons.

On Sunday, Elder Wagstaff and I taught both a Gospel Principles class 2nd hour and Priesthood 3rd Hour. My Albanian skills are slowly and surely progressing but there is a lot of road ahead of me before I reach my potential.

 We planned in the evening to visit Alfred Abdulari and his mother Lumteria at 8:00 to help explain more for General Conference coming up and we were met with a full meal! We had intended on sharing a brief message but the lesson ended at 9:00 and we had 20 min to eat a very full meal and leave so we could be home before the 9:30. We fit in a discussion about the various ways ancient Albanian influenced Greek and Latin and how many things that we believed to be of Latin and Greek origin are actually Albanian. For instance, the word Security. In Albanain the word is Siguri. The Newer Latin is Securus. The Older Latin is Sikerti. In the early Tusacany (or the area of Italy to the north of Rome) or Toskani dialect, Sigurti. The modern southern Albanain dialect is called Tosk. Ancient Tuscany or Toskani means land of the Tosks who were a group of Illirians or ancient Albanians. The modern and ancient Albanina Siguri literally means like rock. (si – like, guri – the rock). The conclusion is that Albanian might have given Latin and Greek many words that have come to us in English.

 Next week we might talk grammar… exciting.

 I love you all very much. I want everyone to know that all is well in Albania. The work moves forward.


 Elder Acheson

Monday, September 16, 2013


A Wonderful Addition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS District Conference at Academy of Art, Tirana Albania

September 16, 2013

Family and Friends!

This week has been full of great experiences for me and Elder Uagstaf (Wagstaff) . We had my first baptism among many other great things.

A couple of Elders in our zone ate some Mexican food they probably should not have eaten and ended up in the hospital for 5 days. Elder Ferguson, one of our zone leaders, and Elder Anderson, a semi-AP, ate some chimichangas at a restaurant called "Serendipity" and came away with debilitating food poisoning. Elder Ferguson's companion, Elder Pierce, spent the duration of his companion's stay in the hospital with us. We visited the incapacitated missionaries in the hospital on Monday and brought them "get well" posters. Elder Ferguson's poster had written upon it "Të lumta barku" which translates to "May your stomach get prayed" (which made nurses at the hospital laugh) and Elder Anderson's poster had "Wasn't that Serendipitous?" written on it as well as a chimichanga menu with toppings like rice, cheese, salmonella, e coli, and 3-7 days in the hospital. They loved their posters. They left the hospital on Wednesday and are doing well.

When Elder Pierce was with us, we had to amend our proselyting strategy; people aren't going to open doors to 3 Americans in white shirts and ties in Albania. We were able to do member retention work but we found little success with finding efforts in our threesome. We gave Elder Pierce back to his companion on Wednesday when he left the hospital.

We had my first convert baptism on Thursday. Anisa Miliku was baptized by her fiancée Elvis Lulo at the 2nd and 4th Branch Building. The service was beautiful and many missionaries in Tirana were able to bring their investigators too.

On Friday we had two faith building experiences. Because of our time as a threesome, we were behind on our goal to finding new investigators. We set a goal Friday morning to have two new investigator lessons that day. We had scheduled an appointment with a man we met the day before in the street. He didn't come and didn't answer his phone. Se we went and began street contacting along Unaza or "The Ring" (a main thoroughfare encircling most of Tirana) at 9:00. We said we would contact until 10:00 and then go back to our house and do weekly planning. At 9:56, we considered leaving and calling it bust but we decided to stick it out until 10. At 9:59, a bus had just unloaded and a man was about to pass us by. I felt prompted to talk to him. I did. He didn't ignore us and we began talking. We invited him back to the church a couple of blocks away to have a lesson about this book we had. He came and we had our first lesson with Krenar.

Krenar is a carpenter from a city called Korça near the border with Greece. He has a powerful belief in Christ and felt as though he has not come across Christ's church. He told us that he had taken lessons from Jehovah's Witnesses, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and others, but when he was with us, he felt something different. We have a lesson scheduled with Krenar this afternoon at our church and plan on expounding on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Krenar has one of the most awesome accents and I hope that I can talk to him enough to pick it up.

The other faith building experience we had came in a similar manner. An investigator called and cancelled a lesson we had scheduled at 5:00 with the Branch Mission Leader. It was around 4:00 and we decided to go street contacting again to find someone to bring to the lesson with the Branch Mission Leader. At 4:50, we stopped a man who had been a member of the communist intelligentsia under Enver Hoxha. He had been educated at the premiere University in Moscow in the 70's and he spent the next 15 minutes bashing the concept of God and religion. When we attempted to end the conversation, he would grab my or Elder Uagstaf's shoulder and continue. We broke away from this man 5 minutes after our lesson was supposed to have begun. On the way to the church to give the Mission Leader a lesson we had planned as a backup, Elder Uagstaf felt prompted to stop a man in front of the bank. He literally said "Hey would you like a lesson about the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ?" The man, to our surprise said yes and he came.

Ardian is from Tirana and at first glanced looked crazy (there is a lot of mental and physical disability in Albania because of the harshness of the communist regime and the poor health care system). Ardian's eyes point in opposite directions rather dramatically. But in the lesson, though very animated, he followed what we taught, asked great questions, expressed rational concerns, and recited some of the English he could remember from learning in school. Something that shocked all of us was when we asked him to remove his hat for a prayer, he said he usually didn't take it off because he didn't want to scare people. He took off his hat and under his unkempt, grey hair: a sizable portion of his skull, beginning 2 1/2 inches above his eyebrows and as far back as his ears, was missing. It had been surgically removed. The skin had been crudely sown back together and the contours of his brain were visible beneath the skin. We discovered the source of his aliment. The interesting thing was that he was able to function and converse so well despite the missing portion of his brain.   

The next night, Elder Uagstaf and I were again street contacting along Unaza and Ardian came up to us and asked for another lesson. In that lesson, I was prompted to challenge him to be baptized. He accepted. We will see what needs to be done in order for everything to work.

Sunday was District Conference. It is the equivalent of Stake Conference in areas where a Stake doesn't exist. Members and missionaries from all over Albania came and held church together in the theater at the University of Art in Tirana. One of the advantages of living so close was that we had 5 investigators come to District Conference. Elder Charles of the 3rd Quorum of the Seventy was our visiting General Authority and he spoke very well. President Ford, our mission president and presiding resident authority gave a talk in broken Albanian that received a round of applause that was quickly silenced by the district presidency. I must admit, it was one of the funniest things I have heard. President Ford is a Brit from London and can't speak or pronounce Albanian at all. He muscled his way through the talk and was so funny while delivering it. He refused translator help. Sister Ford was so embarrassed. 

Your Albanian for the week translates into something that might be recognizable for those of you literature readers. I just purchased a copy of one of my favorite books in Albanian that I will be able to read in 2 years. "Lufta është Paqe. Liria është Skllavëri.Injoranca është Forcë." This the Albanian translation of the phrase "War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength" found in George Orwell's 1984. 

But since I am a missionary and would never end on anything but a spiritual note. I will relate the beginning of a phrase that has universal power and is a formidable tool in the hand of any missionary. I will leave it up to you to find the translation. 

"Unë pashë një styllë drite tamam mbi kokën time, me i shkëlqyeshme se dielli, e cila zbriti gradualisht derisa ra mbi mua...

Kur drita pushoi mbi mua, unë pashë dy Personazhe, lavdi dhe shkëlqimi e të cilëve i kapercejne të githa përshkrimet...|

I love you all and am thankful for your prayers and support. You are a blessing and I hope to make you proud.


Elder Acheson

Elder Acheson with some future missionaries from Albania

Elder Acheson playing Monopoly with a  LDS members:  the Vogli familiy

Elder Acheson street contacting with good friend and former MTC companion Elder Ostergaard

Some Albanian graffiti:  "END THE OLD POLITICS" 

Monday, September 9, 2013


September 9, 2013

This is the mural Elder Acheson references

This is the Tirana, Albania  Museum
All the new missionaries stayed at Freddy's Hostel

The missionaries borrowed beds from the Seven Dwarfs

Mission President Ford, Elder Acheson, Elder Wagstaff and Sister Ford

Tirana 3rd Branch

Dear Family and Friends,

I have arrived in Shqiperi! I am living in the Tirana 3rd Branch area
and my companion in Elder Uagstaf (Wagstaff). Tirana is the capitol of
Albania I love this city!

I hardly know where to begin. The first and most apparent difference
from the United States and other countries I have been to that I
noticed was that things we might call traffic laws in the US are...
non-existent. On the drive from the Airport to the Mission Home, I
quickly learned just how fun driving is. The AP driving our car was
casually weaving in and out of close traffic at 70km/hr. The
interesting thing was that we were being passed. All the time. I just
laughed and had a ball. My companion at the time Elder Ostergaard had
to keep on telling himself that "this is normal, everyone isn't mad,
this is normal."  Finally people in someplace in the world know how to
drive. This is what Utah has been preparing me for right?

President and Sister Ford are awesome. They are from London and just
some of the funniest people I have met. Within the first hour, the new
missionaries were paired up zone leaders, the APs, and a few other
missionaries and we went street contacting. I went with an Elder Pirs
(Pierce) to Qenderi i Tiranes (Center of Tirana) where if you google
search photos of Albania, and you see a museum with a very communist
looking mural on the front, I was directly in front of that museum. My
first lesson in Albanian, to an Albanian was to an old Xhaxhi
(pronounced Jaji and translates in to "uncle"or "old man") named Nebim
on a bench in the Qender. We read out of 2 Nephi 4 together. As is
turns out, he had a very tough life under Enver Hoxha, the communist
dictator, and has been praying to God to end his life. Nebim did agree
to meet with the missionaries again and I hope the missionaries who
have his area contact him.

My companion and I live  in a beautiful apartment. I will be
preparing more information about my mission and Tirana in general.

Your Albanian of the week is in Wishing Tense. Albanian has a tense
that indicates a wish or positive sentiment on behalf of the speaker
for their audience. "Rrofshi mire!" This translates into "may you live
well!" Nenes or Old Ladies will say things in wishing tense to you
during the entire conversation that you have together.

I have lost my address book and all of the email addresses and mailing
addresses within. Please forward my emails to whomever would like
them.  Also, contact my mom at and she will take care of whatever  you need.

Sending mail to Albania is not as bad as previously predicted. It
costs about $1.30 to send a letter to me. It might just talk a longer amount
of time to get to me than email and My address is

Elder Thomas Chase Acheson
The Adriatic South Mission
Rr. Qemal Stafa, Vila 1
Perballe Postes Nr. 22

And this address will never change throughout my mission. If you
decide to send a package,  add PO Box 2984 after Adriatic South Mission.
If you do send a package, tape on to the package religious pictures or
Jesus or the Virgin Mary. People will not tamper with packages of
religious natures, its taboo. Put pictures on top of the stuff inside
as well.

I love you all and I thank you for your loving support. I intend on
staying in contact with all of you throughout my mission. Thank you
for your prayer and I will do my best to keep up with the emails. My
P-day is Monday and so that is the day I can email.

Love you all, 

Elder Acheson

P.S. from Barbara Acheson

David and I asked Chase via gmail how things are going in a nutshell. This is what he had to say:

Wonderfully! Companion is great, Branch is great. Investigators are
great. Food is great. Apartment is great!

Our awesome bedroom

Our living room
The water filter system

A typical Sunday lunch

Friday, September 6, 2013


Hello, This is Sister Acheson again for Elder Acheson.  We just got a nice, but brief, email from President Andrew Michael Ford.  President Ford is the mission president for the Adriatic South Mission. Here is the email we received: 

Dear Brother and Sister Acheson,

Your son, Elder Thomas Acheson, arrived safe and sound at the Mission Home today. He will be serving in the Area of the Tirana 3rd Branch.  This will be in the District of Tirana.  His companion will be Elder Jonathan Wagstaff .

Sister Ford and I are so pleased to have Elder Acheson as one of our missionaries and look forward to getting to know him well. We know that he will be able to contribute much to the missionary effort of teaching the people of Albania about Jesus Christ.

Missionaries absolutely love to receive mail and can be contacted either by email or by sending letters through the post office to:

Elder Thomas Acheson
Albania Tirana Mission
PO Box 2984
Rruga Qemal Stafa, Vila 1
Perballe Postas Nr. 22
Tirana, Albania

Sincerely Andrew Michael Ford
President Albania, Tirana Mission

President Ford, Elder Acheson, Elder Wagstaff (photo bomb from some elder) and Sister Ford

Elder Acheson with his trainer Elder Wagstaff from Spokane, WA

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hello!  This is Barbara Acheson, Elder Acheson's mom.  Today the Adriatic South Missionaries left for the mission field.  During a layover we had the opportunity to talk to our son.  For Family Night the night before we created a long list of questions that came from Grandpa Tom Lee all the way to Grace, Elder Acheson's little sister.

It was great to finally get the answers to our burning questions like: "Which tie is your favorite?" or "How many pounds of licorice did you receive in the MTC?".  All in all, it was wonderful to hear his voice and tell him how much we love him. 

Chase is the first missionary for the David and Barbara Acheson family.  It was a little heartbreaking for me to hear Race tell Chase, "See ya in three years!"  Race's (age 17) current plan is to leave for his mission shortly after high school graduation in May 2014.  As happy and thrilled as I plan to be to have two missionaries out at the same time, my heart is going to have to toughen up a little.  I might have to adopt some of Grace's guy friends as sons.  The house will definately be too quite. Plus, who will take out the trash, mow the lawn, shovel the snow and bring in all the groceries?

The time is finally here.  Chase was anxious and ready to get going.  We are happy for him.  We are grateful for the wonderful companion, fellow missionaries and fabulous teachers that have prepared him for this moment.  God speed, dear son.  We love you.

Elder Acheson has left the states and we can not wait for the next chapter in his two year adventure. he comes!

Elders Ostergaard, Hald and Acheson at the Salt Lake City Airport ready to go !

Our last meal at the MTC West cafeteria

Monday, September 2, 2013

MTC WEEK 9 August 29, 2013

August 29, 2013

Family and Friends,

This is the last email I will be sending from the MTC and the United States. The Adriatic South Missionaries will be leaving the MTC at 4:30 am on Tuesday morning and fly to Dulles in Washington DC then to Munich, Germany and then to Tirana, Albania on Wednesday morning. We will meet with President Ford the next day and be assigned our first areas and our parents (trainers).

Briefly something funny about the Albanian missionaries: The MTC is the "Pre-existence". You are "born" in your first area. Your trainer is your "father" (or "mother" for sisters). Your "blood siblings" are those trained by "father or "mother." Your "adoptive siblings" are your companions (everyone ends up begin cousins anyway). And then when you leave the field you "die." And mission reunions are parties in the Celestial Kingdom. Fun Right?

We just finished our Consecration week. Briefly, it was rather difficult but an essential component of my MTC experience. 100% Albanian was tough but great preparation for the actual mission. I am grateful for the blessing that I have received by doing it.

This week we had Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak to us at our devotional Tuesday night. It was very powerful. He spoke to us about the potential ripple effects that we have a missionaries, both positive and negative. an interesting note was that there was an electric storm going on and we were prevented from leaving the Marriott center. So we stayed and sang hymns for 1/2 an hour. 

Well I must thank everyone for the wonderful gifts and letters that I have received. I wish that I could receive post at a similar rate in Albania but it is rather expensive to send things. I do encourage using It is free and will get to me faster and with more certainty than other forms of mail. I have forgotten my address in Albania off the top of my head but it is on my Facebook. I will put the address in my next email as well. The rough translation of the address is "the white building across from the post office in Tirana." (This is an actual address and is an indicator of the superiority of

I love you all and have felt the blessings from your prayers.

Your Albanian for the week is a Shprehje commonly heard at soccer games. "O sa mirë me qënë Shqiptar Ohej! Ohej!" or as rendered in English: "Oh how great it is to Albanian Hey! Hey!"

Love you all,

Elder Acheson

Elders Ostergaard, Acheson with the zone leaders
(Sister Acheson's favorite photo thus far)

A winning combination!  Acheson and Ostergaard.  We are ready!

MTC WEEK 8 August 22, 2013

August 22, 2103

Family and Friends,

We have finally reached Consecration Week. Our mission is speaking 100% Albanian from now until we leave the temple next Tuesday. We spoke our last English before we began our session at the temple. Additionally this is an indicator that our time in the MTC is finally coming to an end.

We are officially the most senior missionaries in the MTC. The Finnish and Estonian districts left this past Monday. They have been with us the longest and we were sad to see them go. More accurately, we were jealous to see them go. There is a certain commradery developed from being in the MTC for the same amount of time. But we filled up their empty slots with new Finns yesterday. It's too bad that both of the other missions in their zone have Consecration their first week and then we will be jumping ship directly after that.

Yesterday our district was asked to "host" new missionaries. Essentially it was helping get their bags to their rooms and give them a tour of the facilities. We have finally met the English missionaries that will be leaving at the same time we do. We have been anticipating the day when this group of English missionaries would come. We have had something like 7 different groups of English missionaries at the MTC with us.

I want to thank everyone who has sent me letters and packages while I have been in the MTC. I have appreciated your love and support so much. I received some of the most excellent gifts this past week and I want to express my thanks. Additionally I really appreciate the letters and DearElders that I have received. I really take inspiration from the stories that have been shared and I love the breath of fresh air from the outside world (speaking of, someone needs to send a picture of the new prince with weight, height, the whole story). It is really nice to feel the relief from Albanian and Gospel study; though both excellent things, it is nice to have a break.
But as part of Consecration Week, we give up something we value, a sacrifice if you will. The thing that I am giving up this week is opening letters and packages this week. That is not to say don't send them. I would love yours to be one of the letters I read and respond to after I leave the temple next Thursday.

Your Albanian of the week is how to start forming sentences of your own! This week is going to be 'He, She, It is...' Now realize that in Albanian, there is no 'He' or 'She.' There is only 'It' masculine and 'It' feminine. 'It' masculine in Albanian is 'Ai' and 'It' feminine is 'Ajo.' The Present tense form of 'is' is 'është.' Let's begin.

'It is good' becomes 'Ai (Ajo) është mirë.' 'He is fun' becomes 'Ai është qefë.' 'She is beautiful' becomes 'Ajo eshtë bukur.'
You now know who to say three complete sentences in Albanian! We are now on the same level.

I love you all and thank you for your continued support. As always, I encourage you to write and tell me what's going on. I would love to hear from everyone. The fastest (same day), and cheapest (free) method of communicating is through
I love you and I hope all is well with everyone.

Elder Acheson
The Sister Missionaries in our district: Motra LeBlow, Motra Smith, also Elder Ostergaard,and Elder Acheson