Monday, June 22, 2015

WEEK #38 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA



June 22, 2015


Family and Friends,


Hello from hot Tirana. We have had a hot week with a couple of scattered thunder storms. I am excited to be beginning my final week as a missionary. I will have one more P-Day and I will have an opportunity to write one last letter.

The Gift of 1,220 Albanian Bibles

This week was actually full of wonderful things. Right after I gave my last district training we had a miraculous happenstance. A man came to the church and asked to speak to the assistants. He took them to his nearby office and offered 1,220 Albanian bibles completely free. He felt that it was a sin to sell them and a greater one to throw them away. It just so happened that he had seen for years these guys in white shirts carrying a holy book that had a church in the vicinity. We spent about 45 minutes moving in his generous gift. We have to wait for an approval of the translation but it would be such a great blessing to distribute them to the members who do not have bibles, many do not.

Sokol's Girls + Elders and Anja Beleshi


It is a constant joy to teach Sokol and his daughters. Xhesika is progressing towards baptism. Unfortunately she will be ready after I leave but it is pleasure enough to know that I have had an opportunity to help her and the members of her family learn the Gospel. We have been using the Bishop’s daughter Anja in teaching them and this week we invited another friend Sara from the Young Women. Both Anja and Sara were fantastic in teaching and befriending the girls.

We have had a good week in finding new investigators. We have begun teaching two investigators named Koli and Hiqmet. Koli is an English teacher and a fantastic man. He was able to come to church and take the sacrament along with Hiqmet. Hiqmet is a professor of engineering and has some reputation. We have been using Brother Skuka, an engineer himself, in our lessons with Hiqmet and he related to us his notoriety. We are excited to be teaching both of these brethren.


On Sunday, Albanian Election Day, I had the honor to teach both 2nd and 3rd hours in Church. We talked about the Creation and Fall in Gospel Principles (which became an English Missionary Gospel Doctrine class because only missionaries and former missionaries were in attendance) and then Follow the Living Prophet in Priesthood. It was a lot of fun and I assuredly was just enlightened as everyone else in the class.
Hameid, the T2 Elders' investigator from Iran


I am very close to the end and I wanted to express my love and appreciation for every single one of you who has been such a great support throughout my mission. I thank you for all your letters and email of support and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you.

With great love,

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm 






Monday, June 15, 2015

WEEK #37 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA

June 15, 2015

Family and Friends,
Visiting the home of Mother Teresa

Hello from hot Tirana. The temperature is making things difficult but we endure. We are doing our best to pull people off the sweltering streets into the cool conditioned church. But most of our work has been tracting this week.

I would like to give an update on Sokol and his family. When we went for the first time this week we took Anja, the Bishop’s daughter, with us and we taught the 10 commandments with hand signs. The girls ate it up. We read through Mosiah 12 and 13 and taught the 1st commandment by using one finger pointing to heaven saying there is one God, the 2nd commandment by using one finger on one hand bowing to the second on the other to remind us to not worship images nor figures, and so on. Those girls learn like sponges.

We came back again two more times and taught follow the prophet and the law of chastity. Those girls have been prepared by good parents. It is so apparent for me that the Gospel is not just taught but lived. The parents of these girls have done what many parents strive for: they have instilled an open heart and quick spirits. They are independent and free in their approach to learning about the Gospel and coming with willing hearts. Xhesika’s understanding and assimilation is astounding and the change is great to see as well. I am grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity to teach them at the end of my mission. I hope that all the preparation that I have received has allowed me to be ready to teach these precious spirits.

I had a great opportunity to go to Vlorë and to sing with the Albanian Mormon Choir. We had the opportunity to bear
Election time in Albania
our testimonies with song. It was a powerful experience that I had to visit those people with my missionary friends. I am so grateful for the gift of music and that we can share it. I am excited to do that again in the future.

I love you all and am excited to report success.

Love,

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm



Monday, June 8, 2015

WEEK #36 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA

Family and Friends,

I am so grateful for a great week here in Tirana.

I would like to tell you about a fantastic family whom we are teaching. The father is named Sokol and when you first meet Sokol, you fear for your life. He has a bodybuilder frame and his biceps could be envisioned as shredding car doors. But your fears are quickly quieted when you see him smile. He is one of the nicest men I have meet in my life. He greets with warm hugs and embraces you with his hospitality. He is the ideal of what a father should be.

He has four daughters: Xhesika [said 'Jessica'] (13). Xhevehire (11), Ergysa (9), and Arlinda (6). They are the beacon of what well behaved and well nurtured young ladies should be. They are all the tops of their classes and fun. I feel as though I am in Pride and Prejudice every time we visit their home. 

Xhesika has accepted to be baptized and brought her little sister Ergysa to church for all 3 hours. Xhesika is sharper than sharp. The youth Sunday School teacher asked me and Elder Greener to come and do a role play of a ward council and to have the members of the class as the representatives of the various organizations. I was the bishop and Elder Greener was the Elders' Quorum President. Xhesika was the ward mission leader. She did fantastic and took an active role in offering advice on how to help hypothetical investigators. 

I am super excited for Sokol and his family. My companion and I love teaching them.

Some of the musically capable missionaries in Tirana have been requested to form a missionary choir to be apart of the greater stake choir. We have formed an octet and are singing a beautiful arrangement of 'Praise to the Man' and will be displaying it among sacrament meetings this month. This Sunday we will be in Vlorë singing and then two later Sundays in June we will be in Elbasan and in Durrës. I learned that my last Sunday in Albania will be in Durrës. I am happy to hear about that, I love Durrës.

For P-Day this week we had a cross-zone basketball game to say goodbye to Elder Rawlings. I am sad to see him go but it is nice to know that we will all see each other again at school. It is nice to know that life does continue after mission. I admit it nice to know that so many of us are going to BYU. 

Well I love you all and I hope that this week has been great for you and I will report more next week. 

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm

Monday, June 1, 2015

WEEK #35 IN TIRANA, ALBANIA





The Tirana 2/4 District doing group contacting on the empty boulevard due to the visit of the Serbian Prime Minister
Family and Friends,

Hello from hot and rainy Tirana! 

I don't have a very eventful week to report but I would like to but a note in about a new investigator with whom Elder Greener and I are working. His name is Mohammed and is not Albanian. He is from a Middle Eastern country and has accepted to learn about the Church. We are grateful especially for the opportunity we had to take him to a baptism this week.

The 4th Ward missionaries taught the 3rd hour class on Sunday and we addressed member missionary work and how we could better coordinate the work between the missionaries and the members.

For P-Day, most of the Tirana missionaries went to Krujë and had a fun time exploring the castle and city. I was also able to get some good touristy items to have as remembrances of Albania.

I have only positive feelings I wish to express. Even though today marks my last month in my mission, I have faith that the Lord will secure the success of our work here. I am ever grateful for the blessings He pours upon His children. 

With all my love,

Elder Açësoni i Madhërishëm
Singing and goofing around with Elder Wright