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!!!

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