Monday, July 7, 2014

#2 WEEK IN GJAKOVA, KOSOVO

July 7, 2014

Family and Friends,

Hello from hot Gjakova! Happy belated 4th of July!

The Awesome Gjakova, Kosovo District!
This week has been focused on preparing our baptismal candidate for her baptism. Jasemin Morina is an awesome girl who learned with Elder Wagstaff and Elder Anderson before I showed up. She is one of three children, all of whom attend our English class. Her
Elder and Sister Tooley with Jasemin and her sister  Erëza
sister Erëza and brother Adem are wonderful and are likely potential investigators after Jasemin is baptized. 

This week we had two great honors.
Elder Tooley helping Sister Weidmann with the Weidmann's generous chocolate gift

Elder Acheson taking off with the chocolate
The first was that we were able to meet our new mission president. We held a North Zone (All of Kosovo and Macedonia) Zone Conference where we met with President Weidmann (Veidmann). He and his wife are from Switzerland and wonderful. President Weidmann professionally owns a surgical equipment firm and loves driving fast cars. He and Sister Weidmann brought a 10 lbs Tolberone chocolate bar to be shared amongst us. I am very excited to be working with President Weidmann.

The second honor we had happened directly after Zone Conference. We received permission to visit US military base Fort Bondsteel about 20 minutes outside of Ferëzaj.

Elders Acheson, Anderson and Tooley with LDS members at Fort Bonsteel
This week, I stepped on US soil in Kosovo. That was a wonderful experience. We were hosted by Major Jensen, Sergeant Bunges, and Sergeant Whitney who are all members of the Church. We had an opportunity to purchase AMERICAN food and eat at the "Chow Hall."
It was such a blessing to eat an American hamburger. It was a delight to talk to the servicemen. They were just fun to talk to and they gave us a refreshing reminder of what real life is.
American Food!!!!













Elder Acheson has been in Albania and Kosovo too long.

An investigator of note that we are teaching is named Sulejman Lokaj.
Elder Anderson, Sulejman Lokaj and Elder Acheson
He is an absolute delight. He is 83 and is an actor, an artist, and an author. Teaching him is an interesting, rather indescribable experience that I have never before had the joy of living. He has a life full of experience that has been enriched by a considerable amount of reading; though an older man living on pension, he maintains a second apartment that serves primarily to house his library and the occasional guest. When he reads the Book of Mormon out loud, it is a new experience for me. Though dramatic, the care and attention he places in emphasizing certain words and phrases gives the words a new, richer meaning. This last time with him, he gifted me a book with a collection of his artwork: a true treasure of my mission.

Today we attained permission to go to Prizren, a city about an hour outside of Gjakova.
Beautiful Prizren


It is a gorgeous city. The city is dotted with mosques and one could feel the powerful Islamic presence but it also is home to the St. George Renovic Orthodox Church.


We went to visit the church and the rather imposing guard came over to prevent our entrance. When he determined that we were American, he nearly skipped to show us the church. When he heard that we spoke Albanian... his day was made. We took the hike and went to the Prizren castle and enjoyed our self exploring the castle grounds and tunnels. Afterward we went in search of a copy of the Kuran for Elder Harvey and Elder Isufaj. In our search we came across a store carrying Islamic material.
As soon as we entered to the store the shopkeeper came and hugged me and did the typical Albanian head bump greeting, which he performed another 6 times. He was incredibly happy to meet us. And again, when he learned that we were Albanian-speaking Americans, he exploded in joy. He held my hand, kissed my cheek, and other very friendly Albanian expressions of affection... several times. Funnily enough, he name was "Afrim" which is a derivative of the preposition "afër" for "close" and could be rendered as "closeness" or "approach." I certainly felt... close. He was very nice.
Afrim and Elder Acheson

I love you all very much and I am excited to share these things with you!

Elder Açësoni


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