Family and Friends,
We have had a fantastic week here in Durrës.
Last Tuesday I had an opportunity to assist Elder and Sister Homer, the 3rd Ward Senior couple with whom I served while I was in Tirana. They are the Humanitarian couple here in Albania and they came to visit a handicapped child care center here in Durrës and they want our translating assistance. But when they came we found they were not alone. They were accompanied by Elder Homer's uncle President Reber, the first mission president of Albanian. He had returned for the formation of the Stake and to spend time with Elder Homer.
|Elder Bilodeau to the rescue|
President Reber was originally President of the Vienna, Austria Mission back in the early 90's and he opened Albania. The story he told was purely amazing. I will try my best to reproduce it as accurately as I can.
A man came into his office in Vienna and said "My people [the Albanians] could benefit from your church in our country [Albania]." President Reber told the man that Albania is out of my control and I don't even think Americans can go there. The man asked to speak to the highest US official that President Reber knew; as it so happened the US Secretary to NATO, and a member of the Church, just moved into
President Reber's neighborhood and a meeting was arranged. With some temporal and ecclesiastical authorization, President Reber and a couple other church authorities flew into Tirana under a banner of Humanitarian Aid and were invited to meet with the Minister of Agriculture.
|Elder Acheson heading the call|
President Reber described the meeting like this: We were brought into this poorly lit room with men sitting around a large board room table. The smoke was so thick that we couldn't clearly see the people with whom we were conversing across the table. We sat down and looked at each other for a couple of minutes and then through the translator the Minister said "We would like 500 tractors."
|The photo with a "Nais" hotel: There is no word "Nais" in Albanian; that is the Albanian pronunciation of "Nice." I am sure it is a nice hotel.|
At this point in the story, President Reber began to describe how they offered service volunteers as their form of assistance as educators and government advisors. The first missionaries were volunteers and President Reber supervised the entrance of proselyting missionaries. He said that when they brought them into the country they all went out into the square in Tirana. Not one of them knew Albanian.
President Reber went on to describe miracle after miracle to the point where if something actually didn't go according to their plans, they were surprised. Elder Bilodeau and I were very honored to have had the opportunity to hear the story of the entrance of the Church into Albania from the man that facilitated it under the spirit of revelation and prophecy.
|Scripture study with newly baptized Ersi Myrtollari|
On Wednesday we had Zone Training that was held in Tirana. It was very nice to see many wonderful missionaries that I have missed. President Ford's new focus for us missionaries is that we invite people to be baptized on the first lesson as it is stated in Preach My Gospel. We experienced success with this already this week.
|Elder Acheson with Alma from Durres|
Well I am happy to be serving here in Durrës. The sunny beaches are hard to resist. We are working hard and seeing the fruits of our labor. I love being out here with Elder Bilodeau.
|Elder Acheson with an awesome young man from Durres|
Thank you all for your love and prayers. You are great and I love you.
PS The photo with a "Nais" hotel: There is no word "Nais" in Albanian; that is the Albanian pronunciation of "Nice." I am sure it is a nice hotel.