Monday, December 2, 2013

#13 WEEK IN TIRANA, ALBANIA

Family and Friends,

Happy December and I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving!

The Adriatic South Missionaries
We, in the Adriatic South Mission, had a wonderful Thanksgiving together in the Mission Home in Tirana. We held our Mission Conference on the same day and had a simply wonderful experience together.

 Andrew Ford, President of the Adriatic South Mission
During the conference we had a fun competition held amongst the districts on knowledge of the Missionary Handbook and Preach My Gospel. The lesson of course was that we need to be constantly studying out of and be checking up with the rules that we have been given.

This is President and Sister Ford’s last Thanksgiving in Albania and they both gave very wonderful testimonies and expressed their love and gratitude for the missionaries. It was very nice to hear what they had to say.
Our Missionary Thanksgiving Feast prepared by the Senior Missionaries

After conference we had a Thanksgiving feast in the basement of the Mission Home prepared by the senior couple missionaries. It was excellent! It was nice to have some good old American food. Aside from the excellent food, I had an opportunity to meet with missionaries from all around the mission. I was able to chat with a couple of the Macedonian Elders who arrived just a short time ago. They are the first Macedonian missionaries assigned specifically to learn that language. It was interesting to talk to them and feel their perspective.

After the feast we held a talent show and each district had an opportunity to do a talent. The Macedonians brought a box of Dominos Pizza and used it for their skit. We don’t have Dominos Pizza or any other American fast food chain in this country. They had fun shoving it in our faces.

Our skit consisted of the following song.

            (To the tune of Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer)
You know Peterson and Anderson and Ferguson and Webb;
Brown and Racine and Knight and Hoover
But do you recall the Kotest missionary of all……Elder……    
(FYI Kote means worthless i.e. doesn’t work hard)

(To the tune of White Christmas)
I’m serving in a crazy mission
Not like the one I thought about
Where the nenas hobble and the xhaxhis play scrabble
To hear Dasmas late at night    (Dasmas are Albanian weddings)

I’m wishing for a better companion
Just like the one I had before
Who isn’t a bore and doesn’t snore
And who doesn’t…… (Acheson moment)[Where Elder Acheson complains about how his companion gets a whole ton of letters from his girl friend and Elder Acheson doesn’t get any]
(Oh boo-hoo)

Pierce moment (Oh I’m I’m I’m I’m hoping) [Highest of high falsetto]
……for better leaders
With every number I report
Where the zone leaders shut up [zone leaders shoved off stage]
And the AP’s grow up [APs shoved off stage]
So I can be the favorite of President Ford
(APs: [bursting through the line of the petty missionaries] wait a second!)

I’m dreaming of a clean office
With puppies playing everywhere
With lots of Leke and Euro’s (Leke is the Albanian currency)
Reimbursements in the plurals
And Leje Qendrimi’s will leave me with some hair. 
(Leje Qendrimis are foreign residence documents)       

I’m waiting for a golden contact
Just like the one they promised me
With no sign of perdition; with parents permission
To be all dressed up in……..WHITE (Palmer only)

I’m dreaming of a golden convert
Just like the one in District 2 (Not Jynx!  But German!)
May the water in your font be warm
And they never say ‘kismet’ evermore

(Kismet = Turkish for God willing, Albanians use it a lot to say ‘no’ in a nice way.)

Our skit was simply put: astoundingly amazing.
Tirana Missionaries Having Fun on P-day

During the Mission Talent Show
The other memorable skit was from the Shkodër District with Elder Brown the Magician. He was able to perform some pretty great tricks but his greatest consisted of bringing up the entirety of the dying group of missionaries and invoked a spell that will take 31 days to come about but all 8 dying missionaries will disappear. True magic.

On Friday I had a small personal success. In the evening around 6 PM, Elder Wagstaff and I had scheduled to meet with Angelo, the friend of one of our priests Hermes from 3rd Branch, and with a man named Banush with whom we have had one lesson. We scheduled them apart but because Hermes and Angelo were late, Elder Wagstaff and I had to do a split: he with Hermes and I with Alfred Abdulari who thankfully was at the church. I had the phone and called Banush. I still am working on understanding people on the telephone and I thought that Banush said that he was where we had originally met with him, at a place called Shtat Xhuxhat (the 7 Dwarves). As it turns out he was outside of the gate of the church and that because of the confusion on the telephone he was about to leave when Alfred and I found him. He was not happy but was willing to sit down in a café and talk about the Book of Mormon. He told us that he was planning on leaving when he had finished his cigarette, and there were mere centimeters left.

As it turns out Alfred was perfectly suited to help and understand Banush. Banush used to be a deputy in the parliament in the time of communism and Alfred was appointed to be a deputy but because of other circumstances he wasn’t able to take office. Banush was in addition the head of agricultural education in the time of communism and is currently an economist. He, as evidenced by his career, is an intellectual. Alfred has developed a very great intellectual testimony coupled with a spiritual one. Alfred was able to really talk to Banush on a deep level and Banush has resolved to read the entire Book of Mormon in the next couple of days. My success came in that I was able to direct the conversation so that we could get the commitments and have an opening and closing prayer while in the café.

My other success was that I translated fast and testimony meeting after the Sacrament on Sunday. That was so much fun. I probably got about 60% of what was said but I was able to successfully convey the message. I really enjoyed translating and it was an excellent language growth opportunity.

Elder Acheson Street Contacting in Tirana, Albania
I
Well my beloved people, I wish you all a great December and kick off to your Christmas season. I hope that you know that you are in my prayers and in my thoughts.

Love,

Elders Acheson and Vershui
Elder Açësoni



Elder Acheson perfecting his form for Bowling Olympics.

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