Sent Aug 1, 2013
Family and Friends,
Week 5 of the MTC has begun and everything is great. We are past the half way mark in our MTC stay. The Albanian is getting better. We had a full SYL (Speak Your Language) day yesterday and have another one tomorrow. Our district has made a plan to add an additional SYL day to each until we are done in the MTC. So last week we only had 1 SYL day, this week we have 2, next week we have 3, and so on until consecration week where we speak nothing but Albanian.
The Old Hungarians from our zone left this week. It was very sad because we all grew to love each other. Our first zone leaders where Depallens and Waldvogel Elders (in Hungarian, the title comes after the name) left the zone in the hands of Vanhimmat (Elders) Money, Keddington, and Bascom from the Finnish districts. The Finns leave near the end of August along with the Estonians. After they leave it will be only us, the Albanians, and the Young Hungarians. The Young Hungarians, though they arrived a week after we did, will be leaving at the same time as we do; there was some complication with the transfers in Hungary and they need the new batch sooner rather than later. Additionally when the Finn and Estonians leave, we, the Albanians, will be the most senior missionaries at the West MTC. We have seen 4 transfers of English missionaries come and go. It is as if they are shoving baby birds out of the nest expecting them to fly.
It is really interesting to see the difference in behavior between the English speakers and the rest of the missionaries who stay in the MTC longer. I can best decribe the English MTC stay as a pseudo-EFY experience. We see them sitting out on the grass in the evenings holding devotionals while the rest of us are studying our languages, lessons, and gospel topics. Additionally because of the brevity of the English stay, they do not hold as strictly to the rules or customs as the foreign missionaries do. For example, some English speaking missionary in our building brought a radio (which is expressly prohibited by mission rules). Just last night while studying on our classroom balcony, my companion and I watched a sister missionary without her companion lounge on the grass with two elders from her district for an hour.
Elder Ostergaard and I are doing good work with our 'investigators.' We have a baptismal commitments from Alma and Sedi. Last week's TRC (Teaching Resource Center, where Albanian members of the Church or returned Albanian Missionaries come and receive lessons from the missionaries) went much better than our first time and we anticipate an even better experience this evening.
I love getting every one's letters and DearElder.com letters. I really appreciate every one's support, love, and updates. Some one needs to send me a picture to the New Prince. What is his name? What is his title? These are important things I need to know! Again, DearElder.com is free and same day communication with me. The missionaries in our mission are having a competition to see who can get the most DearElders. Let's see if we can do it!
I love you all. Your Albanian for the week is "Të buftë të mirë!" or "May it do you well!" This is what Albanians say to one another while walking down the streets and they see each other with food. If you are in a restaurant, and they see you have something that looks good, Të buftë të mirë! Everyone will say it to you, especially if you are an American.
All of my love,
|I got to see one of of my closest friends Sister Kristen Blair and her companion|
|Wow! I even got to see my dentist, Dr. Braithwaite, and his wife|