This week was a good week. I will start off with telling you about the baptism that we were supposed to have. So our investigator is from Durres and so she wanted to have her baptism there because it has a real, bug church building that looks like a chapel. We told her it was possible that she could be baptized there, but she had her sights set on it. We asked President Weidmann and he said no and that members should be baptized in the ward where they were going to attend. She then talked to a really rich and famous member of the church in Albania and figured out what to do. We had the whole thing set for Friday afternoon and President Weidmann was going to baptize her. She decided on Wednesday night that she was going to move to Durres so that she could be baptized there. So she moved on Thursday night and was baptized on Friday afternoon there. We are still glad that she got baptized, but I'm sad that I didn't get to see it. President Weidmann ended up baptizing the T3(Tirana 3rd ward) sister's investigator on Friday in Tirana. So we still had a baptism it just wasn't our investigator. Our ward is the only one in Tirana with a font, so we got to go to the baptism.
Anyway, I LOVE my companion so much. We are literally like the same person, it's so great. We quote the same movies and the same tv shows (mostly) and we get along so well. We always know what the other one is thinking and our lessons are really good even though I don't speak the language. We get distracted during study time a lot, but we usually are distracted about another gospel topic...like we talked about the priesthood for like 30 minutes the other day. It also seems like we get the same spiritual promptings sometimes and are just always on the same page. We had some really great lessons this week. We also had to eat some gross things. One of the grandma-aged sisters in our ward gave us some jellied carrot things. I swear they were apricots because they were so sweet, but I could not eat it. We also were given some herbal tea by a different member and you have to ear/drink whatever they give you but the water they used was not filtered water so we were both just praying that the water wouldn't make us sick. And someone else gave us some yogurt that was so bitter and the flavor was so strong. Sister Zollinger tried pouring coke in it to dull the taste so that she could eat it. But on the other hand, the fruit and bread here is so good! One of the Nene's in our ward gave us a chocolate filled croissant that was warm and it was so good. Then she gave us like 6 more to take home with us. We tried to say no, but she insisted. The people here are so giving. They will give you all they have without blinking an eye. I also have to get used to hugging everyone. They do the French thing where you kiss on both cheeks as a greeting and a good bye. It is kinda awkward for me because I am so tall. And I am very definitely American looking. They already know I'm American before I open my mouth because no one here has blue eyes and natural blonde hair. Sister Zollinger and I get hit on all the time by creepy guys because we are American.
We have been working hard to get new investigators. We have found investigators for the Elders, but we didn't find one for ourselves. We got a referral from the T3 (Tirana 3rd ward) sisters because she actually lives in our area boundaries and she is amazing. She is so ready for the gospel and we committed her to be baptized. She has so many questions that we try to answer to the best of our ability. The member we had in our lesson last time (who is the only actual Albanian that I know that has blue eyes and blonde hair) saved us because we were really confused by her questions. I'm really excited to continue to teach her. I also have a funny story about this guy we met in the park while we were contacting. He stopped to talk to us and we invited him to the baptism. He said he might come and then asked out Sister Zollinger. Of course she said no...but he was awfully persistent and then he finally left. Then he showed up at the baptism. We told ELder Verushi to go talk to him. He apparently stayed the whole baptism and then they taught him a lesson after the baptism and they got a return appointment with him. I guess whatever it takes to get them to hear about the gospel will work. I told Sister Zollinger that I guess she just has to flirt with everyone to get them to come to church...but hey whatever works right? I'm joking of course....
Sis Zollinger and I decide in the morning what we are going to teach out investigators that day and then if we have time we study about that. Personal study helps a lot though. During our lesson in between sessions on Sunday, one of our investigators asked a really hard question about Moroni being a resurrected body like it says in the intro stuff to the book of Mormon. She was confused because she thought that Christ was the only one who was resurrected. That morning I had been reading 3 Nephi and I remembered this scripture that I had sort of glossed over while I was reading it earlier. I'm surprised that I remembered it. It's 3 Nephi 23:9 I think and it says something like Samuel the Lamanite prophesying that some saints were resurrected at the time of the resurrection of Christ and so I looked through and found that scripture and used it to answer her question. It was a pretty cool experience.
So today was really good because we woke up and had our studies and then we went to go to write the Mission President. Then we called the ZL's to see if we could go to the Stephen's center for lunch because it is out of our area. They said yes so we went over there. It is a perfect temperature over there. We got Mexican food and it was sooooo good. We also got apple pie and then mint chocolate chip ice cream. They don't usually have mint anything in this country so this fake American restaurant was the only place that could possibly have it so we asked and they said they had it. Sister Zollinger was so happy she could have cried. She has wanted that type of ice cream for all the 9 months that she has been here. We were so excited! Then we went to a book store. I had to get an Albanian bible. We wandered around the store for a while and looked at the different covers for some of the books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson that they have in Albanian. They also had a lot of art history books, I looked at the covers.
Once upon a time we had to go to the mission office to get more copies of the Book of Mormon and we got in the elevator and all the elevators here are kinda sketchy so in my head I was just hoping that the elevator wouldn't stop. But then it did. It was super awkward bc we were in there with 2 Albanians who looked super nervous. Sister Z and I started laughing. Then the elevator started bouncing downward until it opened and we all got out. Then we walked up 5 flights of stairs to the mission office. It was really funny to hear everyone panting as they went up the stairs. Then we waited as the Mission pres and the mission couple walked all the way up the stairs. The power was out so it wasn't actually our fault for breaking the elevator, but it was awkwardly hilarious.
Everything here is super cheap. We eat souflaqe (that's not how you spell it) sometimes. It's a gyro with french fries in it and it is so good. That's like their fast food here. We also have fasule and musaka and some other Greek foods. The olives here are so strong. I can only eat a little bit of each olive at a time. They also give you olives with everything because they grow them here and they are super cheap. If we pay $10 for a meal then we consider that pretty expensive. We only have like $180 on each of our cards for everything for a whole month of food and everything. I feel like that's not much money, but we don't really have to worry about running out at all. I think a souflaqe here is 150 lek which is just a little more than a dollar.
Also, our fridge doesn't work so we have to freeze everything...and our microwave doesn't work so we have to use the stove. Also, I have been trying to figure out the exact way to make hot cocoa with just sugar and unsweetened cocoa and no milk because the milk here comes in a box and you don't have to refrigerate it. I can't make myself seem to drink it. Also, the eggs aren't refrigerated so I don't eat them either. I will try eating them eventually when I get over the gag factor. The texture is weird. I can put them in things, but I can't seem to just eat them. I have yet to perfect my hot cocoa recipe. It's a struggle.
I also had to shorten my name. Apparently, Xhohansen is too difficult for the Albanians to say, so now our companionship is Motra Xho and Motra Zed because they can't say American names. They have names like Manushaqe and Skenderbeu here, but apparently my name is too complex.
I just want you guys to know that I am doing well. I am enjoying the work. I feel like I have a purpose and I am starting to love the people here and the country. Kolofshit mire!! (may you pass well:))
I love you all to Gallifrey and back!