So here is my long weekly email. I hope y'all like it. Here goes...
Tuesday, we had a lesson with 2 of our new investigators. They are super nice, I hope they meet with us again. We also had a meeting with the Relief society presidency. One of the sisters in our ward just got called to be in the Stake Relief Society presidency and she needs ideas for activities and how to organize everything in the stake. If anyone would like to give advice about Relief Society then that would be awesome for her.
So on Tuesday night we got a call about an exchange for Wednesday. Sister Dunn (my companion from the MTC) and I were going to be companions in Tirana! I was supposed be in charge because it was my area. I started freaking out on Tuesday night because I was super excited to be with Sister Dunn and I was super nervous about trying to do everything with just the two of us who don't know the language well. I basically didn't sleep well Tuesday night. I was just freaking out until Sister Dunn got there and then I calmed down. We had a lesson with one of our less actives and it went really well. We challenged her to come to church. She hasn't been to church in a long time, but she came this Sunday. Then we went to lunch at Tartari's which is like traditional food. It was super good. When we walked out though my bag got flipped upside down and I dropped the phone out of it. Sister Dunn wanted to see more of Tirana so I showed her the Pyramid and Tajvani's and qender and then we went to go get some stuff from our apartment before group contacting. We went to open the door and I couldn't find the keys. We went back to Tartari's where I had dropped everything and finally found them after like 20 minutes of looking. Then we did contacting and we got a lot of numbers. One lady was super nice. She kept telling me how beautiful I am and then she took all of my bad luck with her when she left. None of them have worked out so far though. I hope that they will. We went back to the apartment and did language study after that. Then we waited for our investigator to go to institute with us, but she was at work and she couldn't go. We went contacting, and we called Amy and she told us to come over to the institute. We went over and we saw President Mema. He was a missionary in Seattle, WA when Sister Dunn was little. He's the Stake President now. When he saw Sister Dunn he just hugged her and it was really cute. Then he told everyone all about her. She was so happy.
Then Amy called Anthony for us, it turns out he had been sick for a while and that's why he didn't come to church or institute or anything. I don't know what was up with the gift of tongues, but I basically understood everything Amy was saying to him and everything he was saying back to her. I could tell she was going to have me talk to him because she looked at me, then she handed me the phone and I talked to him for like 10 minutes. He talked to his sister, Sonia, about meeting with us on Thursday and we set up a lesson. She never answers her phone, so the only way to reach her is through her brother. It is a cultural thing to live with your parents until you are married so Anthony and Sonia both live with their parents. Afterwards, we had a lesson with Amy. Sister Dunn has a super good voice so I played the piano and Sister Dunn sang Amy’s favorite hymn, which is I Know That My Redeemer Lives. Amy was so happy and she kept saying "I'm just so happy that you're so happy Sister Xhohansen!" Then we went home and went to bed.
Thursday was super good. I have already written a lot so I will just tell you the highlights. We had a lesson with Sonia after Pathways. We made her a little card and got her some pretty carnations. We went into the institute, but they were still in class, so we waited for her. When we left the institute we walked with her to her bus stop. She told us that she and Anthony consider us family which was super sweet of her. I seriously love the Larsen's (changed the last name) so much.
On Friday it was just super exhausting. We did weekly planning and then we went out to Kombinat and had 7 lessons. They were good but we came back exhausted and just fell right into bed. We had texted our Pronari (owner) in the morning and asked him how to explain how to get to our apartment because we wanted to order pizza. But there are no addresses in Albania and he texted back directions with no questions asked. That's how you know he's dealt with Americans before. Elder Verushi called us on Friday night to give us referrals and it was super funny. He is trying his hardest to learn English. He spent like 10 minutes trying to give me these referrals and then he thanked me for my patience and then we went to bed.
Saturday was also a super good day. We had soccer in the morning. We had one of our investigators come and she brought one of her friends. It was super fun. Then we went to lunch and then did studies. We also went to institute because we go with Sonia so we can meet with her, but she never showed up so it was awkward because we aren't supposed to be there without an investigator or someone to meet. We also had a baptism on Saturday night. It was super good!! It was for the 4th ward sister's investigator. Then we went out and did a lesson with someone out in Kombinat. When we got back on the bus to go home Sonia called us and said she could see us. We got off the bus right then and went and hugged her. The bus waited for us to get back on. Then we were talking to this guy who was super nice. We got his number and gave him to Elder Verushi, he is always super excited about getting referrals.
Sunday morning threw me off. We did things different than normal and then Anthony didn't show up to church which was super weird of him. Now I'm kinda worried that he is super sick and I can't do anything to help him. We had lunch at a member's house after church and it was super good. Then we went and did studies and then went to choir. After choir I was talking to Elder Verushi, and Sister Zollinger said that his English is really good and he didn't believe her, but when I said it he high fived me and said he believed me. Sister Zollinger is convinced that I'm his favorite sister. He started saying ju dua shume (I love you lots) and jeni motra shume e mire me e vertete (you truly are an great sister missionary) which could be interpreted as being said to both of us because that conjugation of you is either formal or plural, but I got embarrassed and Sister Zed said that he was just talking to me and not her at all because he never once looked at her. The ward members are great!! There are about 90ish members with a small primary and a small ym’s and yw’s (youth group). We had six people come to church this Sunday that haven’t attended for a while, after we had met with them or called them this week. The church has only been in Albania since like 1990 so basically everyone over the age of 15 is a convert. We have a bishopric that is super interesting. They aren't totally sure how to organize everything because they haven't even had a stake here for a year.
Anyway, on to Monday. This morning when we left our apartment Amy had heart attacked us (covered our door with hearts) and it was so sweet. It made our day. We then walked to Skenderbeu in the center of the city. Then we went to a treg. A treg is like a farmer's market, but they also have some nice stuff. I almost bought this super awesome camera that was a German made film camera in its original case, but they wanted a hundred dollars for it, so I didn't get it because I didn't think that it would work. Then we went out to the teg which is a HUGE American looking mall. Everything was expensive like an American mall too. Everything here is usually super cheap. Then we went to a Chinese restaurant in T3 which was super good. Then everyone else went to go rock climbing, but we were wearing skirts so we didn't. I met another elder today that enjoys Supernatural (the tv show) just as much as I do. He's from Croatia. He is super cool. Then we went and got some nutmeg so I can make some banana muffins tomorrow. Then we came here to email. Elder Verushi and Elder Guymon came in a minute ago and I asked them about the surprise heart attack we found on our door this morning. Elder Guymon said that he didn’t know what we were talking about, but then they admitted that they helped Amy with it. She works super early so they woke up at 5 am and met her and found out where we live so that they could put it on the right door. They said it was a huge favor for Amy because of how many lessons she helps them with. I just feel so loved by our Elders and by Amy. We bought her a flower because she's amazing and she freaked out. It was adorable. I was on my way up the stairs with it behind my back and the elders started yelling "Prit! Prit!" at me (it means wait) and told me to give him my camera so he could take pictures. I'm super glad he did that. I love these pictures so much. She NEVER EVER poses for pictures. I guess I am just going to have to buy her a flower every time I want a picture with her.
Oh and also MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!!! I wanted to make sure that I remember that. I really enjoy saying that to people...especially Albanians who don't understand. Basically no on in this country has seen Star Wars and it is a travesty. Verushi was super super confused and Guymon and I were just like ska gje...(don't worry about it). This week has just been super great. I love this country so so so so so much and I never ever want to leave it ever. I think that I will live here someday.. I love you all to Gallifrey and back!!!
Love forever!! Motra Xhohansen
Tell Parker that that is so cool that he got to baptize his friend Blake. I am so happy for him. While the work goes on in America, the work goes on here. We had a baptism on the same day and I bet that people were being baptized all over the world at the same time. Blake is now part of a global family...people that don't know each other, but are connected in ways we don't even know. I love you all to gallifrey and back! May the 4th be with you...also...I didn't forget that it is Garrett's birthday...we have decorations set up for him in my apartment. Tell him he is as cool as a cucumber and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Or GEZUAR DITELINDJE!!