July 11th, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
I have been a week at the MTC West and am loving it! The Albanian missionaries have been located at the MTC West (formerly the Wyview and Raintree Apartment complexes) because there are so many missionaries serving right now. There are a total of 3,400 missionaries on both campuses combined, the largest in Church History.
So I will be leaving the MTC for Albania either the 3rd or 4th of September. I will be in the MTC learning Albanian for 9.5 weeks which is longest amount of time that they are allowing at the present time. My companion is named Elder Ostergaard from Midland, Michigan. He is 19 and is studying Chemical Engineering at BYU. Along with his flaming red hair, he is an incredibly hard worker and loves singing. He is awesome and we work very well with each other.
We are in the same branch and zone as missionaries going to Hungary, Finland and Estonia. We are the HAFE (Hungarian, Albanian, Finnish, and Estonian) Zone. Our Zone Leaders are Depallens Elder and Wadlovegel Elder and the Sister Training Leaders are Peterson Novere and Atkinson Novere (not Acheson, there have already been some mistakes). Our Branch is lead by President Anderson. He is a soft spoken but very powerful gentleman who is willing always to offer a hug and sprint across the street when the crossing light is flashing. The night we arrived, we meet with our Zone and Branch Leadership. I was called to be the District Leader of District 157-E. I am steward of my companionship, Elders Richards from Colorado and Gunther from American Fork, and Motrat (Sisters) Leblow from Wyoming and Smith from Sandy. Our district is awesome. Those of you who know Elder Hald, he is in the other all-male district in our mission. There are a total of 14 Albanian Speaking Missionaries.
So Albanian, as difficult as it is, is one of the most awesome languages. So Shqip (Albanian in Albanian) literally translates to the Languages of Eagle. So Shqiperia (Albania) is the Land of Eagle and Shqiptuar (Albanians) are the Eagle People. They kind of have a thing for Eagle. If you don't know, the Albanian flag is a red background with a double headed-black eagle. The grammar is very complex. Each noun has 20+ forms and the verbs have 30+ forms in 3 tenses and 5 moods. This is not to mention 3 different voices and a concept completely foreign to English speakers called Clitics. When I understand better what they are, I will explain. Exciting no? I almost forgot to mention they have 36 letters many with sound that are indistinguishable to English speakers. For example there is a Ç which sounds like the Ch in Church and a Q which sounds like the Ch in Leech. Do not forget the Ë that sounds like the U in Ugly. Very fun!Well I am on a timer and I have to go but I love you all. The Dear Elder service is the cheapest (Free!) and fastest (Same day!) means of communicating with me.
|The elders in my district: Elders Gunther, Richards, Ostergaard and Acheson|
My new companion, Elder Kimball Ostergaard