July 18, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
Dear Family and Friends,
I began Week 3 in the MTC yesterday and it is wonderful. The Albanian is really beginning to become beautiful. It is still very difficult and increasingly so with every additional concept we learn. But it is easier to understand audibly.
My companion, Elder Ostergaard and I, taught 2 new investigators this week. Sedi and Alma are our 2 new practice investigators from Albania. We got a baptismal commitment from our first investigator, Mihal, on Saturday evening. For those unfamiliar with the Missionary Training Process, teachers, who are fluent in Albanian, double as investigators to the church. Usually they take their character directly from their personal mission experience.
Our zone is made up of the Hungarians, Albanians, Fins, and Estonians. We are the largest and longest zone on the West Campus. All the missionaries in one of the languages typically all arrived at the MTC at the same time except for the Hungarians. A new batch of Hungarians arrived this last week; the Hungarians are the only missionaries who overlap with their predecessors. The older Hungarians go into the field 2 weeks from yesterday. That means their Consecration Week began yesterday. Consecration week is where foreign speaking missionaries speak that language 100% of the week prior to their last week in the MTC. Typically the easier languages do not have consecration week because they simply don't have the time. As a result, everyone in our zone is learning Hungarian. Fortunately, new Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders where chosen this past Sunday. They spend the next 2 weeks shadowing their Hungarian elders. One of the new zone leaders is Elder Tanner Money whom I went to high school with. He is serving currently in a tricompanionship with Elders Bascom and Keddington. All three will be departing to the Helsinki, Finland mission in August.
We begin meeting with non-teacher investigator actors this evening. This will be our opportunity to try our new skills on actual Albanians. We'll see how that goes.
Aside from the new investigators, this week has been mostly uneventful. President Hinckley's son Elder Richard G. Hinckley and his wife Jane Hinckley spoke at an MTC devotional. At the devotional, everyone in the Albanian mission sang in the choir. We sang Nearer, My God to Thee. Afterwards I was able to meet up with my EFY brother Conner Kaegi whom I haven't seen for many years. Also I reconnected with Sister Catie Brown who is serving in the Ykaterinberg, Russia Mission.
The work continues and I am excited to press on. Again, as it turns out, DearElder.com is the most effect means of communication. It same day service and is free while contacting missionaries in the MTC and in countries where their mail infrastructure is poor. Guess what! Albanian has an incredibly poor mail infrastructure and it should be free to contact me via DearElder.com.
I love all of you and I keep all of you in my prayers.
Your Albanian the week: Gjithë fate qfotë me ju -May all the luck be yours