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

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