Hey guys I’m in Shkoder now. How is life in Utah, I bet it’s hot, probably not as hot as it is here though. It is like a million and a half degrees here, not joking, also not exaggerating, a million and a half degrees exactly.
Nothing terribly exciting happened this week. There are only 4 members here in Shkoder. I can't understand the language here at all. It's a completely different dialect. I miss my friends in Tirana so much that it hurts. I am trying to be super optimistic about being here. I've been trying to memorize scriptures in Albanian to recite in my head every time that I need to get my mind off of Tirana. The only problem is that all of my favorite scriptures remind me of times I used them in Tirana. I have been praying for strength, but I am a weak servant (Alma 26:12). I'm struggling.
I just felt like I should tell you my new favorite scripture. I got a text from Elder Crandall, yes, Elder Crandall from the MTC, yes the red head, he’s super cool. He asked me to do the spiritual thought for district meeting. I picked out a couple of scriptures, but none of them felt quite right. Well, I’ll just go for it and the Spirit will help me. So I get to district meeting and I realized that none of scriptures I’d chosen were right. The scripture I actually shared was John 17: 3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” I only have one scripture marked in my Albanian Bible and it’s this one. I think it’s beautiful, Albanian is a beautiful language. It’s my new favorite scripture.
I have been having a really, really hard time up here in Shkoder, because I basically lost my “friends” when I moved here. They occasionally text me, which pretty much makes my day every time. On Thursday morning I had an epiphany, it was an interesting epiphany I realized something that Anthony, in Tirana, had told me. Every time he’d ask how my mission was going he would say, “yeah, my mission was really hard, but it was totally worth it”. I’ve heard that from a ton of people before, but then last Saturday he said, “My mission was totally worth it, because I got to know Christ.” It was really powerful for me. I realized that so far my testimony has grown, but I don’t know Christ. Then this scripture came into my head. Two weeks ago a member gave a really good lesson about this during Sunday School. I realized that life eternal is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ. Even though I’ve had a really hard time up here in Shkoder, I’ve only been here 5 days, but it’s already been super, super hard. But, I also realized that I have gotten to know Christ much better than I had in Tirana because I’ve had to lean on Him only and God only, and that makes it all worth it. On Thursday morning I made this connection between the Sunday School lesson, and what Anthony said about his mission being worth it, and it all makes sense with this scripture. That eternal life comes from knowing Jesus Christ and I want that more than anything.
Sorry I’m totally turning into Strom right now, at least I didn’t use my Skype time to teach you a lesson.
Shkoder looks more like Europe than the rest of Albania. Tirana looks like Western Europe meets the Middle East, I love that city. Shkoder has mountains, well Tirana has mountains too, but in Shkoder you can actually see the mountains. Well I guess in Tirana you can also see the mountains too, but not very often. In Tirana you kind of forget they’re there because you’re surrounded by tall buildings all the time. Here in Shkoder there are bells going off on a constant basis. Hopefully, I can get used to that.
I can drive now. I drove up here and it was super fun, it was amazing drive. We didn’t get lost but we almost did, we almost took a wrong turn and went to Durress instead of Shkoder, I don’t think the mission president would have been very happy about that. After we got here, we kind of gave away our car to the elders, so I haven’t driven it since we got here. Now we have to get it back.
I miss you all so much. I love you all to Gallifrey and back!!