I hope that you all have watched the new Mormon message called Lift. It's about service and it is super good. https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/lift-the-power-of-service.
It is getting a lot hotter this week and it's going to get hotter and more humid. Apparently, it gets to be about 40C (104F) here. I'm not excited for that.
Monday night after P-day, we went to Kombinat. We had invited someone to FHE, but she didn’t come. Anthony challenged me to a game of chess, but we couldn't play because we had lessons. He thought that I didn't know how the pieces moved so I hope the next time we play chess I can live up to my trash talk...I'm really not good at chess, but I do know how all the pieces move. We had 2 lessons on Monday night with our recent converts out in Kombinat. They both went really well.
Wednesday we had district meeting and I was feeling super inspired afterward. We went street contacting and we had a lot more success walking around and talking to people. We also used our new pass along cards that we got at zone conference with pictures of the prophets on them or a picture of the Book of Mormon. Afterwards, we went to a member’s house and she fed us a ton of food. She gave us byrek with spinach and a whole thing of pomegranate juice and a huge piece of cake. We went back to the institute because we were supposed to meet a member there. We were there with her for a while and then halfway through class she got up and left. Sister Zollinger just looked over at Elder Verushi and they both just shrugged. So we went contacting and then went back to talk with Amy, and did language study. Sister Z and Elder Guymon had been sick with the same thing, but Verushi and I aren't sick so of course we rubbed it in.
Thursday was a super great day. We went to a member’s house and then went to lunch with the Elders at this place next to Wilson's square. It was pretty good. Then I made chocolate chip cookies for Anthony and Sonia because he had asked specifically for chocolate chip cookies, Sonia said that they were too sweet though. We met with one of our investigators. We have a hard time leaving her because she likes to talk, so we called Elder Verushi right before we went in and asked him to call us at exactly 4:30. He didn't even question it at all. He just said ok and then hung up. We wanted him to call so we could be on time to our English class. So the lesson we had with her was pretty good. She talked A TON like always and then Verushi called at EXACTLY 4:30 on the dot. I seriously would trust Verushi with my life no questions asked. He called twice. When we got to English he just asked if it worked and we said yes. He gave us a “thumbs up” and then went in to teach his advanced English class...which is funny because he doesn't actually speak English. Elder Guymon basically teaches it by himself. After English we went over to the institute and waited for them to get out of class. We had saved an hour of time from lunch so we could go get some qofte from this place that Anthony thinks is amazing. We also went with another member who served his mission in San Francisco. He started talking about it and I loved it. We talked about the beautiful parts of the city of San Francisco and the other three thought we were crazy. I love San Fran though so I really enjoyed just talking to someone else who has also been there. They walked us back almost to our apartment to make sure that we were safe. Anthony keeps making jokes about Sister Z and I, that we have been in Albania too long because of the way we cross the road. Sonia said to make sure that when we cross the street we don't run because if you run the cars won't slow down for you. Overall, it was just a great night.
Friday we did group contacting by the qender (chender-center) and got a few numbers but it was very hot. Then we went out to Kombinat and had lessons with our recent converts and less actives. One family told us stories from Albanian folklore. I loved listening to the stories. I don't have time to tell them all right now, but if you wanted to look them up I really enjoyed the story of Rozafa and they also told us the story of Kostandini.
Saturday was the best day ever! We had choir practice in the morning. They are doing a big celebration for Joseph Smith and we are going to be in the travelling missionary choir. From what I understand we are going to Vlore and Elbason and Durres to sing. I'm not totally sure about all the details though. Sister Z and I are the only Sopranos and then Sister Foller and Sister Henderson are the only altos and then there are a lot of elders. We played soccer and it was super fun, I really enjoy playing soccer with our ward and investigators. After soccer we showered quickly and met Sonia at the church. I taught her how to make banana muffins and we ordered some Chinese food. It was super fun and the food was good. Then we tried to do a lesson with her, but the two of us kept talking. She was telling me about the history of Albania from the Albanian perspective, when the Turks came in they destroyed a lot of things like their temples and historical sites. We talked about a lot of historical things. I feel a lot closer to the Albanian people and Sonia after talking to her about that stuff. We are planning to go with her to the beach in Durres when she has time on one of our pdays. It is only 30 minutes away on a train. Then we did a lesson with her and walked together to the institute. She was appalled that I have never seen an olive tree. She said she was going to tell Anthony to find somewhere to see a big olive tree and take me over there because it is a travesty that I don't know what an olive tree looks like. I was asking about the trees on the way over and she was like: oh this fruit is good, so she reached up and grabbed one off the tree and told me to eat it. I washed it and then tried it. It was super good and I'm craving it right now. It's called nespull. I don't know if we even have it in America. It's tart, but really good. They also eat not ripe plums here. They are actually pretty good, but kinda sour. We were gifted some the other day. Afterward, I introduced Aaron (the American intern) to Amy so that they can go hiking because apparently most Albanians don't like hiking, so Amy wanted to find someone to go hiking with. Afterward, I made Aaron some flashcards that he can hold up because he doesn't speak Albanian. They say things like "My name is Aaron" and "I don't speak Albanian" or Anthony told me to write "You are awesome" and Aaron was super excited about them. Then we got a call from Alice saying that she needed to talk to us. Something bad happened at work so we left and walked out to the artificial lake with Amy to talk to her. We talked a lot and made sure she was doing ok before we left and went home. I love her a lot.
On Sunday we went to church...obviously...we had 4 less active people come to church! It was awesome. The people here are super touchy and super loving. Alice leaned over and told me that I looked really pretty. I just feel so loved here. I would do anything for any of these people. After sacrament we were talking again so we were late for class so we did a lesson with Alice outside. It was a beautiful day. Anthony came with us and we did it in Albanglish. It helps that they both speak English. I don't feel like I speak Albanian very well, but Anthony and Sonia both say I speak it very well and they don't give out compliments lightly. Then we went to relief society and Alice gave the closing prayer! I also got te keqed (when they squeeze your cheeks) during relief society by some lady. She kept playing with my hair and gave us some candy. Then we went and did training and other stuff before choir. After choir we had lessons that went really well. Our super merzit investigator was happy. Sunday night we were planning to play soccer for pday with the Durres zone, but Verushi called and asked if we wanted to go to the big treg (farmer’s market), with him so we told him we would.
Today was SO GOOD! We were planning on going to the big treg but the bus was taking forever so we decided to walk around for a while and I asked Verushi if he had ever been inside the huge museum by the qender. He said he had, but that we should go see if it's open. The museums are never open on Monday. It turns out it was open for some special reason and it was free so we got to spend the day in the museum. It was super great. I loved looking at the history of Albania. They had a bunch of Greek looking statues and things. If dad remembers how happy I was at the Metropolitan Museum in New York you can imagine how awesome today was! Then we got some lunch and went to the mission office so we could go to the US Embassy, we got our Visa things today. In other words we got to go to America today. It was really enjoyable to be on American soil again...technically. It was funny because Elder Guymon was companions with me and Sister Henderson. So basically Elder Guymon broke pg 33 of the handbook for about 45 minutes. Then Elder Bangerter drove us back to the mission office. We saw Sister Jackson today as well. Basically today was just awesome. We get to see everyone in our MTC district tomorrow because we have the “halfway through your first transfer training”. I am super excited to see Sister Ariza (from the MTC) again. Anyway, I have to go because we are going to FHE tonight. I love you all to Gallifrey and back! Talk to you all next week! :)
I LOVE YOU ALL!!