Monday, November 11, 2013

# 10 WEEK IN TIRANA, ALBANIA


 November 11, 2013

Family and Friends,

Another great week in Albania.

It began off with Zone Training held at the District Offices given by our Zone Leaders Elders Pierce and Palmer. It was an excellent experience. We averaged 20 more total lessons than last month which is an excellent increase and indicative of great growth. Elders Pierce and Palmer challenged us to talk to 10 people throughout each day independent of our scheduled finding activities which is going to be a challenge, but do-able.

Elder Acheson's tongue and his lunch of goat tongue!
Directly after, some people in our zone went to lunch at a restaurant called Fiore nearby the district offices. I have made a personal resolution to try as many different foods as I can while in the country and so Elder Lee from my district ordered goat tongue for me to eat. Tongue, for the first couple of bits, could have been described as perfectly fine tasting roast beef. Tongue, after the first couple of bits, could have been described as squid dragged through the mud and seasoned with the contents of a pig sty. Despite the poor taste, I will be able to tell my children “I ate grosser things than your mother’s casserole on my mission, eat up!”

I want to give some more background about the missionaries in my district.

Elder Pierce, my zone leader came from Utah and was my companion Elder Wagstaff’s companion in the MTC. Elder Pierce was actually the first missionary I met in the country after the APs. He took me out on the first day to do contacting after we got off the plane. Elder Pierce is one of the easiest people to get along with. He is so warm and accepting. He has a knack of just making you feel comfortable no matter what you are doing. He is very funny and just one of the best guys. He comes from a 12 kid family and, as everyone jokes, he will probably be getting married within 6 months of returning. I love him very much.
The Tirana District enjoying lunch together


Elder Pierce’s companion Elder Palmer is just as awesome. He just got transferred from Elbasan (not Lushnjë as I said in a previous letter) and is the new zone leader with Elder Pierce here in 3rd Branch. Elder Palmer is ridiculously hilarious. He has one of the driest and most sarcastic senses of humors I have come across. He will say some of the cleverest and spot on funniest things. I am glad we got him from Elbasan because he makes hard work seem very easy.

Elder Lee in 1st Branch and I must have been friends before this life. I love the guy. He is one of the most loving and understanding people I have met. He is from Minnesota and is the second son to serve a mission from his part-member family. Elder Lee has told me about his family and I can feel the degree of love he has for them. It is easy to work and relax with Elder Lee because he is just such a good friend. I really hope he and I become companions sometime down the road. He is in the group ahead of me and so we will be here in Albania during essentially the same time. He is the one who offers the most sincere prayers I have heard. He really knows that he has a direct and 2-way line of communication with his Heavenly Father. I love this man.

Elder Hallulli is Elder Lee’s companion. He is an Albanian from Durrës and solid as a rock. Elder Hallulli is so awesome. I first spent time with him when we went and hiked to the Cave of Pëllumbs or Doves and I have loved him since. He is such a sincere friend and is always willing to talk through problems. He is understanding and loving. He is the kind of guy to share personal jokes and be up front, one-on-one with. He doesn’t hesitate to extend his hand and assist with either the work or with the language. He is actually serving in the Milan, Italy Mission but we have been waiting for his visas for the US and Italy. But he will be leaving soon and I will miss him very much.

Sister Heathcote is one of the sisters who have served in our district. She and her companion Sister Forte have access to both 1st and 3rd Branch and can travel between them at will. Sister Heathcote is from Minnesota along with Elder Lee. She is studying music and plans on returning to study at BYUI after the mission. She is always willing to smile and laugh and make things easier. She has a talent for making people feel welcome and included in the group. She is trustworthy and capable.  Sister Heathcote is a great missionary and an even better friend.

Sister Forte is Sister Heathcote’s companion. She is incredibly fun and kind. She is one of the nicest people and makes people feel as though they are appreciated and wanted within the group. She is from Utah and is one of our mission’s examples of what an effective sister missionary can be. She can handle any challenge thrown at her and accomplish it with grace and talent. 

Elder Wagstaff hard at work preparing for a lesson
And finally, my companion Elder Wagstaff. I have been blessed to have one of the best missionaries in the mission as my trainer. He is the best in the language, obedience, work ethic, humor, and just being an all-around good person. He is my friend. I know some missionaries can’t say that about their companion but I can. I love Elder Wagstaff and I know that we will be friends long after the mission ends.
Elders Wagstaff and Acheson getting a good look at the work ahead of them in Tirana, Albania.


Well, I love you all and I hope to continue giving good news. Thank you for all your support and I can feel your 
prayers.

Ju dua shumë!

-Elder Açësoni

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