Monday, October 27, 2014

WEEK #19 TIRANA, ALBANIA

Monday, October 27, 2014


Family and Friends,
 
Hello from Tirana! I would like to give you an investigator update.

We have been focusing on the quality of our encounters with our investigators. We have 2 investigators with whom we are working. We have Suleman. He is a professor of political science and conflict solutions. He is a father of 3 children. He believes the Church to be true and is ready to be baptized.

The second investigator upon whom we are focusing is a YSA-aged man named Ledi. We have been bringing him to YSA activities and getting him acquainted with other people his age. There are not many male YSA priesthood holders in 3rd Ward. Elder Richards has a great way with the 16-25 male group. He is blessed with a gift in connecting with them in a way that I just don't have. I guess the Lord doesn't give us all the same blessings.

We also have been focusing on the non-member fathers of families here. There are several families in the ward where all members of the family excepting the fathers are members. We feel that these fathers would be excellent priesthood supports for their families and for the ward. We are working in particular with one father, he has two grown sons who served missions and his wife is the Relief Society President in our ward. We are teaching the Doctrine of Baptism in each lesson as invited to do by our Zone Leaders.

We had a service opportunity of chopping wood and we cleaned our ears the natural way this week but I am sure that we will have some great Halloween stories to share next week.


Love you,

Elder Açësoni


The Tirana 3rd Ward Missionaries with visitor, Jill Jasperson, in the middle


Monday, October 20, 2014

WEEK #18 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA

Monday October 20, 2014


Family and Friends,

Hello from all around the mission! This week was an awesome week.

We had family home evening with the Vogli family (my Tirana Family) on Monday and it was such a sweet experience to see how the children have grown. Arben and Violeta are even more faithful and have more developed testimonies than before. Arben was telling us how he hears the promptings of the spirit in his work telling him to do little things and help him improve himself. The level of spiritual connection that this man has is astounding and inspiring.


On Tuesday we had a Tirana Zone Training where all of the missionaries in our zone came together and learned from our great zone leaders Elders Ostergaard (my MTC companion) and Rawlings (also from my group), It was great to see how far they have come along since the MTC.

After training, President Weidmann gave me a call and invited me to come to the mission office invited to chaperon and translate for Elder and Sister Greenwood from Frankfurt.
Elder Greenwood is the Europe area medical adviser and he came and toured the major cities in our mission to assess their medical capabilities and whether or not our missionaries should seek treatment at those facilities. I was asked to drive him and to interpret. On Tuesday we went to Elbasan. On Wednesday we covered southern Albania and visited Vlorë (and had a wonderful lunch with the Andrus couple there), Fier, and Durres. On Thursday we covered Kosovo and Macedonia and visited Gjakova, Prishina (and had Thai Food there), and Skopje. It was a great honor to serve the Greenwoods and get to know them. It was also wonderful to get to see my entire mission. As part of going to Macedonia, we had access to the 1st world. I ate at a Burger King! I, under normal circumstances, tried my best to avoid such establishments but this was a rare pleasure. I was also able to bring Elder Richards a cheeseburger from the restaurant.


Elder Richards and Elder Sadiku did marvelously in their work in our area and were able to secure a powerful new investigator sent to us by my son Elder Asler in 4th Ward. Suleman is his name and he is a rather educated and had a very great desire to be baptized. I pray that we will meet the Lord’s expectations in teaching him.

On Friday we went to a baptism for a new sister in 3rd Ward and then said goodbye to Elder Sadiku with President Weidmann. I have loved serving with him and I know that he will be a fantastic missionary when he joins us full-time in a couple of months.


After saying goodbye to Elder Sadiku, Elder Richards and I decided to treat ourselves at a nice restaurant called Fusion (we celebrated Sister Heathcote’s birthday there last year around this time) and we had a spectacular time. Elder Richards and I shared a Salmon Mieulle to begin with and then he got the Sirloin while I got the Tuna steak. And after that terrific dish I got a chocolate cake filled with cream with a scoop of ice cream and he got the apple strudel. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at a lunch that would have easily cost in the US 90$ at a quarter of the price.

Being back in 3rd Ward is wonderful. My favorite happening this week was when we were walking down a poorly lit road, I heard a little girl voice yelling at the top of her lungs “Açësoooonnnniii!!!!!!” It was 7 year-old Aina Lamaj whom I haven’t seen for about 8 months who ran and jumped into my arms. This is the girl who wants with all of her little heart to be a missionary but first she has to wait to turn 8 to be baptized then she can be a missionary. She saw me from a far, in the dark, after 8 months and she still remembered playing “helicopter” and my semi-magnetic Senate Page ring. Off all the things that happened this week, that was my favorite.




Today for P-Day, Elder Richards and I joined up with a former missionary, Spencer Kendal, who is here for an internship and we went to Shkodër, the last mission city that I had not visited. I now have all the mission cities checked off. We played at the castle in Shkodër for a while and came back. This week has been a long and good week.





I know that despite how we may compare ourselves as missionaries and as members, the most important thing that we can do is follow to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. There were other happenings this week that we testimony builders for me and reconfirm to me the power of a missionary calling.





I pray that all the future, present, and past missionaries and their past, future, and present investigators can feel the promptings that a loving father sends us every day. He wants us to do well and right in our lives. He hopes and waits for us to act in a manner that will bring us happiness.

I love you all and hope that this week brings you even more blessings than the last.

Elder Açësoni (We are back to a hard “ç” sound in Albania)


Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 17 in Tirana, Albania (Continued from Last Year including Last Week)



Elder Acheson and a find at a used clothes bazaar on P-Day
Family and Friends,
Hello again from rainy Tirona! I have returned to my 3rd Ward home in Albania. I am in a different home from where I started with a beautiful view of the city. I am with Elder Richards of my group.


Last week I sprained my ankle while walking in the road in Tirana and was confined to 10 days of being the Assistant to the Assistants to the President and the The Office Elder. Despite being on crutches and being unable to greatly participate in teaching or finding, I had a good time being confined. I was able to be of help to the Andrews and White couples in the office. The Andrews are ending their mission soon and the Whites have been reassigned to work in the office. I was able to be the  young technical help and moral support. I additionally was able to assist in the changing out of the mission office computers. In doing so I be came acquainted with Michael from Germany, the Church's tech that came to facilitate the change. I was able to show him around and take him to an Albanian style dinner.

I am now back in 3rd Ward and am 100% again. I am excited to work and to find those ready to learn. 
Elder Sadiku on our roof looking at the Kryeteqe - the Headquarters of the Bektashi Sect of Islam

Elder Richards and I have been joined by Elder Dorian Sadiku and we are now a tri-companionship. I am excited to work with both of my companions and accomplish what the Lord expepts from us.

Love,

Elder Açësoni

The view from my new home





Thursday, October 2, 2014

WEEK #14 IN GJAKOVA, KOSOVO

Monday September 29, 2014




Saying Goodbye to Elder Bilodeau who just completed his mission




The Elders of Gjakova, Kosovo


Street contacting 
Family and Friends,

Hello for the last time from Gjakova! I have received my transfer call
to Tirana 3rd Ward. I am returning to my home! I get to serve with
Elder Richards from my group and we are co-senioring and I am very
excited to be with him.

I am very sad to leave Gjakova. There are many wonderful things about
Kosovo and living here. The work is difficult here proves your metal.
There are many aspects that make life in Kosovo different. People have
a greater understanding of belief and what devotion means but then
again, most people are faithful Muslims. I have really grown to love
what Islam is. Though I have a testimony of Jesus Christ, His
Generation, and His Atonement, this doesn't mean I can't love Islam. There are those that abuse Islam and make of it what they want just as there are those who twist Christianity into something that it is not.
Those who use the Qur'an to justify murder are no more Muslim than those who use the Bible to justify bigotry are Christian.

I love the members and investigators and non-members here. In Gjakova you get close with the membership and you get to know them intimately.
You learn to accept yourself as you accept them. I love Gjakovars and
Kosovars in general. I love this Church. I know that it is the true
Church.




I have loved serving with Elder Schramm.


I have enjoyed everyday with
him. He has this great ability to make you feel at ease around him. I love talking to him and learning his interesting insights on many diverse topics of discussion. I love Elder Schramm and I am glad that I will be able to see him again.

I love you all and I will write to you tomorrow from Albania,

Love,

Elder Aqësoni