Today was a very busy day for our new missionaries. They had a good night sleep at the mission home, got up and had breakfast with President and Sister Weidmann. Then they were taken to the place where the dedicatory prayer was offered for the preaching of the gospel in Albania. It was a very spiritual experience for them. They read the prayer, then separated to study, ponder and pray. They fell in love with Albania. It is hard to describe but you can't explain the wonderful spirit that is there that causes you to fall in love with this special place and the people here. They were brought back to the office and jumped right into training, then had lunch, and met their new companions.
i dashur familja!
On our way travelling from the MTC to Albania we were able to meet the outgoing group of missionaries who had finished their missions in Albania and were on their way back home to the United States. We met them in Vienna.
The outgoing missionaries were really great, but they all seemed really sad to leave Albania. They also seemed really tired.
I am in the Tirana 2nd ward which is the same church building as the Tirana 4th ward. There are 4 wards and 1 stake. The church building is just 3 floors with classrooms and things and the chapel and font. It's all tile.
They don't have carpet anywhere in all of Albania. There are 2 church buildings in Tirana and others in other cities. The 4th ward is the mission office/mission home area so the AP's are in our district and the Whites (the office secretary senior couple) are in our ward. We had meetings for church on Sunday. General Conference will be next week and it will be at the church.
My companion is Sister Zollinger. She has been here for 9 months already and she is from Bountiful. She's really great. She has helped me with a lot of things. I was having a really hard first week. I've been really sick since I got here. I was recovering from jet lag and I was feeling so dizzy that it was making me nauseated. It feels like I'm still on a plane and I'm just kinda lightheaded and dizzy. My district here is really great. Elder Acheson came over and gave me a blessing on Thursday when I was dying...not really, but I felt like I was. He's my district leader and he is determined to be President someday.
We spent the first night in the mission home, then we walked to my first area from the mission home. We live in the middle ish of the city. We walk mostly, but we can also take buses. There isn't any underground transit. Our apartment is on the 4th floor. We have to open a locked metal door and then walk up all 9 flights of stairs and then open our triple dead bolted door.
It's a nice apartment, but the light in the bathroom doesn't work and the door doesn't close all the way. Also, the insulation isn't super great. It gets really cold at night in our apartment, especially when it rains, so I have like 4 blankets, and you can always hear all the noises outside like the window is open. I wasn't sleeping very well for a while. The pillow I had was too tall and was hurting my neck, so I got a new pillow that works better. We don't have a lot of hot water. We have a water filter in our apartment, which is good. We take water with us when we leave, but sometimes we still buy water. The food seems good. I've only tried the bread which is super good and then the thing I had for lunch today. I have no idea what it is. Other than that I haven't really been eating anything. We haven't bought a lot of food yet. I have everything that I need.
We took a p-day trip to Kruja today. Kruja has a cave and a castle so we went up to see the cave first and it snowed on us. It was really sketchy getting back down the mountain switchback roads in a fregon. (it's basically like you pay someone to take you somewhere, but it's super cheap because you can usually fit like 8 to 15 people in it so it's great). Sister Z, the AP's and I were all wearing normal clothes, but the others were wearing church clothes. The poor sisters were so cold when we got back to Tirana. Kruja is about an hour to an hour and a half drive away. We also went to the castle which was really cool. (The villa which houses the museum was built in 1762.
Its collection includes mostly 15th century artifacts related to the Albanian-Ottoman wars.) The Albanians really like this guy named Skenderbeu. He's basically a hero to them and the whole museum in the castle was dedicated to him (Skanderbeg's military skills presented a major obstacle to Ottoman expansion, and he was considered by many in western Europe to be a model of Christian resistance against the Ottoman Muslims.
Skanderbeg is Albania's most important national hero and a key figure of the Albanian National Awakening). We have had a long day. I am also soaking wet. The weather was really nice the first day, but then it has just seemed to get colder. I have been freezing basically since I got here.
I have tried contacting people on the street, but I have no idea what they say back to me so that's an issue. Our investigator is going to be baptized this Saturday in Durres I think. She was born there so she wants to be baptized there, but we would get to go down there with her. President Weidmann is going to baptize her, we think. She met the Weidmanns when they first got here and she went touring with them. I hope it all works out for Saturday. She's really great. We have another lesson with her tonight at
6:15 and then we are going to do family home evening with a family in Kambinat (a suburb (I think) of Tirana). A lot of people here speak English.
It's really great because I can actually understand them.