Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#15 WEEK IN DURRES, ALBANIA





Family and Friends,

We have had another great week here in Durrës.

The week began with our scheduled interviews for this with President Ford. It was a great opportunity I had to speak with him in that setting for the last time. He will be leaving the mission this upcoming month and I will greatly miss my interactions with President and Sister Ford. Accompanying each visit from President Ford is a discussion with Sister Ford. I feel a great love for Sister Ford and have enjoyed every conversation I have shared with her. I intend on connecting with the Ford as soon as we return from our missions.

Today for Preparation Day we went to a city about two and an half hours south of Durrës. Berat is a beautiful city that was built around the base of a mountain upon which sits a castle overlooking the range of mountains where the remnants of "ENVER HOXHA" can be seen. We took to travel and made it down as a district. We first visited the Church of St. Demetrius and enjoyed our time there. Afterwards we went to the Xhami (Mosque) of the Sultan where I was able to speak to the curator and assist in translating for some French tourists (unfortunately for them, my French has died with the birth of my Albanian; luckily for me, they also spoke English). Elder Ašler and Elder Clawson were able to get a hold of copies of the Quran and then we proceeded to the castle upon the hill.


The hike up through the streets of Berat was one of the more picturesque  things I have experienced. The streets have been untouched by the engine of communist concrete and capitalist glass and remain in their feudal cobble stone.
 The buildings have endured equally as well retaining their wooden doors and personal vineyards. The castle was one of the more well-maintained things that I have seen here. It could have still been a functional bastion of security and preserved within a collection of homes still inhabited by the descendants of those who built them. I was breath-taken.


This week we have a good list of items to accomplish and we are excited to enter the final month of this transfer. I am very proud with the progress and growth that Elder Ašler has experienced. This week he began speaking independently and freely with people before, during, and after our lessons. He has made exceptional growth and I am very excited to see where he is in one year's time.

I love you all and wish you a Happy Memorial Day!

Love,

Elder Açësoni

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