Monday, June 23, 2014

WEEK #19 IN DURRES, ALBANIA

Kosovo Map
Family and Friends,

Hello for the last time from Durrës!

I have been assigned to serve in Gjakova, Kosovo with Elder Anderson and will be leaving Durrës tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM. Elder Ašler will be remaining in Durrës and will be serving with Elder Linderman from my group. They will be opening up a new area in the southern section of Durrës called Plazh (meaning Beach).

Durrës will be having 4 missionary companionships this next transfer. Elder Ašler and Elder Linderman, and Elders Foster, Gray, and Stewart with their 3 trainees. Elder Clawson is going to Shkodër, Albania with Elder Dahl and Elder Watson will be serving in Prishina, Kosovo with Elder Bangerter.

In Gjakova, Elder Anderson and I will be serving with Elder Harvey and his mini-missionary companion Elder Isufaj, who will be continuing on to his full-time service in England after a month's time. Additionally, I will be serving with Elder and Sister Tooley again! They were moved from Elbasan a couple of months ago and have simply been preparing Gjakova for my arrival. I am very excited to be with them again.

Despite my excitement to go to Kosovo, I am not excited to leave Durrës. I love the people here in Durrës. I love the members. I love our investigators. I love our neighbors. I love the people that I have come to know and my heart truly aches to not have the opportunity to get to know more people better.

We celebrated the end of the transfer going to Missionary Beach together and it was gorgeous.

We will have a better report next week. There was little time with the beach, final meetings and packing to write this week but next I will ensure that all will be described.

Love you all,

Elder Açësoni

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

WEEK #18 IN DURRES, ALBANIA

June 16, 2014

Family and Friends,

Hello from Durrës!


Elder Acheson in Krujë

This transfer is near its end. To celebrate that end, I received permission from our leadership to go to Krujë, the home of Albania's hero Skënderbeu, with the Durrës District. It was a fun experience in particular because we were joined by two companionships from Tirana: Elder Baker and Elder Squire accompanied by Elder Rawlings and Elder Smoot. It was a particularly great time because Elder Baker, Elder Rawlings, Elder Clawson, and I are all from the same MTC group and we are all training.
"Daddy-Time" With Elders Acheson, Baker, Rawlings, and Clawson
We had a great daddy-date while the kids ran up the mountain with Elder Gray and Stewart to see the Bektashi Teqe (or Mosque). We talked for about 3 hours and reveled in the fact that we are nearly half-way done with our missions. I am very grateful for the that time I had with them today.

This upcoming week will be our final full week of this transfer period. I intend on finishing very strong. My goal is that we can secure a good investigator family for this next transfer. It will be a good gift to myself or whomever replaces me in this area. I have loved the time I have spent here in Durrës.

I want to thank those of you who have been kind enough to send me a friendly message of encouragement and love. I thank you and I wish that you may have every blessing that Heavenly Father has set aside for you.
 
Elder Acheson with a man at Krujë selling the Book of Mormon
The next letter I send out will be accompanied with information about where I am going and with whom I will spend the next period of my mission. I have loved my time with Elder Ašler and can recognize my growth and his. I love my companion and I am excited to love the next.

I love you all,

Elder Açësoni

[Photos]




Monday, June 9, 2014

WEEK#17 IN DURRES, ALBANIA

Family and Friends,

Hello from Durrës!

This has been a slower week. Both Elder Ašler and I were sick this week and couldn't do much towards the end of the week.
Teaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ by the Adriatic Sea

But during that time we were limited to our home I have had some wonderful enlightenment. I have grown very much to love and admire the teachings of Elder Bruce R. McConkie. I have access to audio recordings of several talks he gave at Brigham Young University. I feel that the heavens have been opened to me in part and that my understanding, particularly to the importance of temple marriage, has been strengthened.

Our apartment elevator broke. We live on the 10th floor.
A special opportunity we had this Sunday was to join in a regional stake conference held in Bern, Switzerland where the presiding authority and key speaker was President Utchdorf. The conference was broadcast to our stake here in Albania. We are still working on establishing a proper system in broadcast activities like this. The church building was not equipped with adequate sound instruments and so Elder Ašler generously lent his speakers from the apartment. The broadcast cut out about 20 minutes into the service and I had to improvise with a talk from General Conference. We fortunately were able to listen to the majority of President Utchdorf's talk.

Well I love you and next week have will insure that the week is full of re-portable items of discussion.

I love you and hope the best for you.

Elder Açësoni 




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#16 WEEK IN DURRES, ALBANIA

June 2, 2014

Family and Friends,

Hello from Durrës! I hope that everyone's week has gone well.

This week has been an interesting one. I would like to start off talking about something that happened last night.

We are beginning our English course tomorrow and we have been handing out fliers to let everyone know that we are beginning. Last night we were in the park by the stadium here in Durrës passing out the fliers and there was a group of women who were sitting and talking together. We gave them a flier and they asked us about the course which lead into talking about why we are here. After maybe about 5 minutes of talking, one woman stops me and says that the only thing more amazing than the fact that I could speak her language was how beautiful I am. Then the rest of the group chimed in agreeing that I was one of the most beautiful people that they had ever met. That was a wonderful moment. We as missionaries do receive a certain degree of romantic attention but this happenstance was a wonderful confidence booster.

On Thursday, I felt that it was due time that the two trainees in our district were ready to brave the lone and frightening world of Albania without their fathers. So Elder Ašler and Elder Watson had an exchange this past week where Elder Ašler was the senior companion in our area and Elder Clawson and I had a wonderful time together. As part of our exchange, we got to go on a "Daddy-Date."
Elder Clawson and I went to one of the higher end restaurants called Ventus and had a very Acheson meal consisting of stuffed octopus, muscles, shrimp, and lobster. It has been one of the more tasteful moments of my mission.

One of the blessings of being in Durrës, one of the older cities in the mission, is that we have some of the "old guard" members who were baptized in the early days of the Church here in Albania.
One of those old guards is a member named Motra (Sister) Gjoni. Motra Gjoni was baptized in 1993 and has only missed church when recovering from a surgery. She is one of the greats in the Church here. She has such a large heart and has been considered the mother of many missionaries. Several years ago she even did the laundry and ironing of some missionaries. She is simply one of the more delightful people you could ever meet. Not only is she sharp as a razor but her sense of humor is unmatched. Her husband is not a member but will sit in on our lessons. She will turn to him after we have taught a principle and say to him "A je dakord me këtë, burri im i dashur?" (Do you agree with that my, beloved husband?) She insists on feeding us every time we are at her home and she makes rather fantastic stuffed peppers.

I am very happy to announce that we will be holding a mission conference on June 18th. This will be President Ford's final conference and then we will usher in the ministry of President Weidman. I am sad to see the Fords go but they have served their time well and we are thankful for them.

Thank you for your love and prayers. I am very happy to say that I love my mission and the people of this country.

With great love,

Elder Açësoni