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) 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. we went to Elbasan. we covered southern Albania and visited Vlorë (and had a wonderful lunch with the Andrus couple there), Fier, and Durres. 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)