Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hobbies for a 40-year old smoker

Yevgen, So we talked with President Weidmann this week about Yevgen, because right now, he doesn't really have a future, or a home, so we wanted to know what we should do, like if we should baptize him, or if he should go somewhere where he can stay active to be baptized. He suggested that we suggest to Yevgen to back to Ukraine, because there he won't be a refugee, and he could receive support from his ward, home teachers, and he can also keep progressing and prepare to go to the temple in Kiev Ukraine! He also said we must make sure Yevgen is attending church regularly before his baptism, because if not, it's like we're baptizing him, and he's immediately becoming inactive. The only problem right now is that his camp doesn't let him out until 11 o'clock on Sundays, and church starts right at 11! Gah! So this is an excerpt from my email to President Weidmann, "We took your advice, and we fasted and prayed about Yevgen and about your counsel for him to return to Ukraine. We talked to him about this, and he does not want to go back to Ukraine. He said he does not have any family there, and that he would be persecuted by the government if he returns. He said that because he does not have family there, if he went back, he wouldn't have anywhere to live. What kind of help the church could give to him if he moved back there? Would we be able to help him get a fresh start? We will keep thinking about this and keep praying. We invited Yevgen as well to pray and to think about where he can return so he can stay active in the church. He does seem to be progressing. He also told us that he will ask the leader of his camp to see if he can get special permission to leave early so he can come to church." Yevgen is so cool. He wants to come to church, and I believe has real intent, he just has such a hard life. He's progressing though, and he seems to be a little bit more happy each time we see him :) Also, We ate lunch with Elder Bowen, the Russian Elder, and Yevgen today, which was fun! 

English Course Quotes, Haha! Ok, so there are some pretty funny things that get said in English Course sometimes, because their accents are a little bit different, and they'll confuse words and stuff. I'm gonna start writing them down, because they're stinking hilarious. Haha so we play catchphrase in the class each time. We write a word on the board in English, and one person sits with their back to the board, and the other students have to describe the word in English without doing gestures of speaking in Albanian! So the word on the board was "acne." And one guy named Dean, who is actually really funny, says, "They're like pimps! Pimps! Pimps! Pimps!" HAHAHAHAHA!!!! He was thinking of "pimples," but was just a little bit off. Haha! And then for another one, I can't remember what the word was, but he was describing something, and said, "How do you call the big finger of the foot?" Ha! In Albanian, the word for toe and finger are the same word, so it's just the direct translation. Haha! Another time, Dean didn't know what one word meant, and so he looks it up in the dictionary, and reads the definition out loud, and they still don't know it, and then at the end he reads, "first used in the year 1677." Haha! Oh thanks Dean! Now they know what the word is! Haha! Funny stuff. I'll write down the funny quotes this week, and get back to you with more.

Fredi, We begun reteaching a friend this week named Fredi! He was an investigator with Elder Draper and Crandall, who were teaching him back in October, and he came to us last week and said he wants to be baptized, so we are helping him put that desire into action right now! He understands gospel principles well, the only setback is how much he smokes. He smokes a lot, but we're working to help him develop a testimony of Joseph Smith so he can have a firm base to help him understand why he needs to quit smoking. His dad is also an alcoholic, so that's pretty hard on him. Fredi is a great guy though. One hard part about helping people stop smoking here is that it's like one of the only things they do in their free time. For example, Fredi is unemployed right now, so he spends his days drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes with his friends. He doesn't really have any other hobbies. So if you have any ideas for hobbies that a 40-year old guy could pick up, that would be great!

Rajdi, We found someone awesome this week! On Friday, Ahmed didn't show up to a lesson, so went tracting because it was raining, and we started from the bottom, and didn't really find anyone showing interest until the top floor, which was pretty creepy, almost too creepy, but we knocked anyway and a man opened his door, and was super friendly! He said that he was watching the soccer game for Partisan vs. Kukes, or else he would have invited us in, but he said that his son might be interested in what we have to share, and gave us his son's number, who is named Rajdi! We met with him yesterday in his house with his mom as well! His mom had a copy of the Book of Mormon from some sister missionaries 8 years earlier! We got to their house, and we small-talked for like an hour, which was too much, but she was so cool! She totally loves serving people, and just being nice to people! She works as a school receptionist at a university, and she said that sometimes the girls can be really hard on themselves, and they might be crying or something, and she has stopped to talk to them before, and she'll talk to them, and just kind of build them up, and lift their spirits, and help them feel better and hopeful! She said she wants to be the school therapist, but she just hasn't done school, so she probably wouldn't be hired. Also, her son, named Rajdi, who is 20 years old told us about how he wants to make a film that will encourage people to be better people, or something like that! And he also said he's seen all the movies about Jesus Christ, and loves the feeling he gets when he watches them! Woot! So they seem very prepared! We've got high hopes for them :)

Clawson's, So you already know, but an RM came back and visited the mission with his family! We were waiting in the church for an appointment, and then this guy knocks on the front glass and says in English, "What time is 3rd ward?" We thought it was just an Albanian that speaks English, but then his mom asks us if we still know our mom's phone numbers so they could send you a text. Then they ask us where were from, and it turns out they trained John and Tiff, my old bosses at Great Harvest! So that was way cool. She reminded me a lot of momma in fact, which made me miss you, mom, but made me real excited for Sunday! Woot!!!!!

Church/Members, I talked with Sister Decoursey on Saturday while we were playing Futbol, and she mentioned how she's been visiting a lot of the members, and the fruits that have come as a result. We decided to try this, and we have set a goal that we want to visit all the members in our ward so that they can know us, and trust us to teach their family and friends, and so that they can be more excited for the missionary work within the ward. We plan on asking if they have any family members who may have interest, and asking for when they will have time to help us with lessons, and other commitments which we will plan when we do companionship study. For this week, we already have at least 3 meetings with members set up, and possibilities for others. We hope that in doing this, we will be able to include the families of these members as has been encouraged by you and President Mema!

3 Nephi 13:25-34, I understood this scripture better this week! I understood better the part about the "fowls of the air" and "grass of the field." If I now understand correctly, the Savior is telling us to just not worry about yourself, because of course Heavenly Father will take care of us! Just look at the birds and the grass! They don't do any work and He takes care of them! Surely He will provide for those that do His work. I testify this is true, and that I have felt this on my mission as I have striven to devote myself to the work :)

25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
29 And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.

I love you all! Momma, we will either skype at 4:30 or 5:30 my time. Which one is better? I will send an email in the middle of this week to confirm, but I'll make sure we both know when it will be! I love you! 

Elder Shnajdër

I picked up my own dry cleaning today. Pretty grown up.

Ahmed: We met with Ahmed again this week! He's the one from Libya. We met with him, and as we were walking back to the church, he was like, "Today were gonna talk about where we came from, and where we're going right?" "Yep!" "Finally! I've waited two weeks for this!" Haha! He was so excited! And he loved the lesson. He loves and has recognized feeling the Spirit, and wants to get baptized, he's just going to talk to his dad about it! Woot!

Yevgen: So we had another lesson with Yevgen and Elder Bowen, the Russian Elder this week! We're trying to get him ready for his baptism, but it's difficult sometimes, because he talks a lot to Elder Bowen, and he also might leave Albania soon. We've set up plan that we can meet with him at least like two days per week so he can get baptized and received the Holy Ghost! We then had a lesson with him on Sunday, and this one broke my heart a little bit. He's got such a hard life. He's so paranoid that the KGB is everywhere, and he has like two outfits, he has about 25% of his top row of teeth, no job, no family, no passport, practically no identity, no home, is sick, and eats nasty food in his camp. He told us in this lesson that he got beat up in 1994 and that he still has pains in his shoulders because of it. He doesn't have much a future right now, because he doesn't have a passport. We were telling him about how he can have happiness and peace in this life and in the life after, and he said, (This is the part that broke my heart a bit) "Maybe I will just be happy in the next life." Ow. It's so hard, and I feel so bad for him. We asked him however, why he likes meeting with the missionaries. I asked something like, "Do you feel peace? Happiness? Hope?" And he said he feels hopeful when he's with us! So we promised him that he could have this hope when he gets baptized and receives the Holy Ghost. He said he believes this. It's just so hard for him in his conditions. We had planned to go to a nearby city called Lushnjë to meet up with Elder Bowen, but we couldn't go today, so we went out and ate breakfast together! That was fun! He seemed happy to be able to eat some good food and to just talk to us about his life. It was good to see him smile and laugh. I as well as Yevgen have had a hard time having hope for Yevgen's future, but I want to testify right now that the Savior did atone for Yevgen. The Savior, Jesus Christ knows Yevgen's pains, knows what it feels like to lose family, especially to be seperated from His own Father, and to be "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He, Jesus Christ, was "wounded for [Yevgen's] transgressions, [and] bruised for [Yevgen's] iniquities. The chastisement of [Yevgen's] peace was upon him; and with his stripes, [Yevgen] is healed." (Isaiah 53:3-5 or Mosiah 14:3-5) I believe this to be true. Whew.

Earth Day English Course: We had a lesson with Yevgen at the mission office, and as we were walking back to the church for English course, we remembered that we had nothing prepared and no time to go to an internet local to prepare anything. Dooty. So we're like, "Hey! It was Earth Day last week! We can pretend that Earth Day is a big thing in America and do it Earth Day themed! Haha so we did, and they loved it! They said it was their favorite English Course class, and we did the least amount of preparation for this class!

Sindi: Sindi is a cool evangelist guy. He's actually kind of like Christopher! He's a cool guy, and hopefully humble enough to act and to read the BoM. I'm glad we were able to meet with Christopher though, because I feel like meeting with Christopher has prepared us now to meet with other people who have objections.

Self-Reliance: We had a training as a ward council on how we can use Self-Reliance, and it was pretty interesting! I've been thinking recently as I've been around Yevgen and just living in Albania, that maybe when I get back, I would like to study and do something to help refugees or the poor when I get back from my mission. I got to talk to a guy that helps with the Church's Self-Reliance program, and he told me I could study finance or economics or something, so I might do that!

Mansul and Reza: These are two Iranian guys! Also refugees who are seperated from their families. Gah! Way cool though. We met with them, and gave them copies of the BoM in Farsi! Haha! Dan! Farsi! Keep learning Farsi Dan! Maybe you'll get called somewhere Farsi speaking! We got Mansul's number last week when we took the wrong bus and got lost, and he doesn't speak very much English, so he brought his friend Reza as a translator! It was so cool. Reza isn't interested in learning, but he listened to the whole lesson and translated it for Mansul so that was cool (rhyme). Mansul said he would get baptized, but we didn't set a date, because we don't know how often we'll be able to meet with him.

Arlind: We had a crossover lesson with the 4th ward Elders. Arlind is so cool and so so so humble. He is probably the most prepared person I have ever met in my mission to receive the gospel. He has had several spiritual experiences before in his life, and loves reading the Book of Mormon. He is now in 2 Nephi 5, and last week he was in 1 Nephi 8. He wants to make sure he knows these things before he get's baptized, and he said he hopes that one day he can know these things the way we know them, and we explained that having had the Book of Mormon and learning these things for two weeks, he knows so much, and is just the stinkin' coolest ever. He's a great guy, we just won't teach him now, because he lives in the 4th ward boundaries, which means he'll be going to that ward when he gets baptized, so he's now going there now. :( But that's ok! Because we're all on the same team! :)

3 Nephi 13: 16-21:
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

I understood this scripture better this week! I've been studying Charity and reading from the Savior's Ministry in 3 Nephi. I had a great thought about what kind of things we deisre in our lives. Often times we may find ourselves seeking to be seen, to be right, to be heard, to be recognized, to be bigger, stronger, smarter. I understood better that what we seek in this life can display the attitude of our hearts. If we seek to be right over someone else, to do things our way, to be pleased, that shows what kind of heart we have, and the Savior warns against those kind of treasures in this scripture, and earlier in this chapter in verses 16-18:
16 Moreover, when ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Notice how in v.16, it says "they have their reward." Present tense. In v.18, it says they "shall" have their reward. Future tense. While we do receive temporal blessings, the Savior teaches us that many of the temporal rewards are corrupted, stolen, or eaten by moths. We know as Latter-Day Saints that those blessings that will keep blessing are the ones that require patience, long suffering, diligence, no small amount of prayer, a firm base in the understanding of this gospel which we receive by diligent scripture study and church attendance, and a relationship with our Savior. I testify that if we want to have Charity, the pure love of Christ, it may be rewarded unto us as we pray earnestly, and follow our Savior (Moroni 7:48) I testify that God's blessings, the ones that may not come today are the ones we want. They are not easily obtained, but they are obtainable in and only through Jesus Christ. There is no other way to peace. There is no other way to happiness. There is no other way to eternal progression. I love Him. I love you all so much, and invite you to follow the promptings you felt as you read that spiritual thought. I promise you that is you do, you will fill a void in your life that you've been seeking. I love you all :) In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Shnjadër

Dear Memo, DDDDUUUUUUDDDEEEE!!!!!! Guatemala! That is so stinkin' cool!!!! I'm so happy for you man! When are you leaving? Are you going to the Mexico City MTC? Oh man, I'm so proud of you man! How is your family? Can you send me an email? I'd love to hear from you!

2700 members, 2000 families... Oh

April 24, 2017

Fatjon, So we called up Fation last week after we got done emailing, and he answered! His phone has been off for like 3 weeks. Anyways, we went and ate a crepe, and we watched the Restoration video, and went over the Restoration! It was good! He understood better that Joseph Smith was really searching for the truth. Fatjon is interesting, because he has seen Dragon Ball Z and Star Wars, and a bunch of American shows and likes them! Most Albanians don't like them. He's learned a lot about Mormons from the Internet, so right now, the challenge with him is helping him to understand that all these things we say actually are real and important. We met again on Thursday and began to teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It went pretty well! He expressed to us that these things have "touched his soul," which is a big improvement from Fatjon! He's a great guy. :)

Elder Lords and Anderson, So transfers were this week, and we're staying in Tirana, but the Sisters in our District left, and now Elder Lords (Andrew Lords from Idaho Falls that was in our stake when we first moved in) and Elder Anderson ,who is in his last transfer, are in our district! I'm looking forward to serving with them and learning from them, and especially to serve close to Elder Lords, because he's from IF! P.S. I saw a video that showed a first glimpse of the IF temple on the inside, and it looks so pretty!

Elder Halverson, Zone Conference and the Spirit of Elijah, We got to work with one of the Elders from Macedonia for two days while he was here for a zone conference! It was way fun, he's way cool. Zone conference was great as well! President Mema, the Stake President, spoke to us about the Spirit of Elijah. He also told us that the membership in Albania is 2700 and there are 2000 households of members. This means that 2000 of the members are the only members in their families. Oh. We were encouraged to really try hard to meet in the houses of those we teach and to include their family as much as possible, which would be absolutely incredible to teach a family and to see them get baptized. We'll keep you updated on that!

Lorencë and Anxhëla, These two are part of an Evangelist church here in Tirana! Three weeks ago, we were singing to publicize a fireside we were putting on for Easter, and I met with them and two of their other friends! They were way cool, and before we said goodbye, they prayed for me! It was so cool. Anyways, we met with them on Wednesday after Zone Conference with Elder Halverson! We went to a little cafe (not our preferred place for a lesson) and started talking about what we believe. It was cool being able to teach someone that already has a strong faith in Jesus Christ! We talked about our baptisms, about Joseph Smith, and a lot about the Book of Mormon. Anxhëla accepted one and said she would read it, and Lorencë took one, but said he wanted to finish the Bible first. We'll see where things go with them.

Ahmed, We met up again and discussed the Restoration, and discovered that he didn't understand it completely, which is understandable, because English is his second language, and it's a pretty unique message. It was interesting with Ahmed, because everything he knows about Jesus, he has learned from the Quran. He did not think that Jesus died, so when we told him that Jesus really did die, that was something totally knew for him! We've planned to have a lesson centered around Jesus Christ with Ahmed, and we're going to use the Bible Videos! I'm looking forward for that. We also have to go over faith and prayer with Ahmed, because he's a little bit confused about that I think.

Arlind, is golden. Turns out he's not in area, so we'll probably let the other elders teach him, but this guy is so cool. We taught him about repentance, and I think Arlind is probably the most prepared person I've ever seen on my mission. He was deeply touched as he read from the pamphlet about repentance. He is so sincere and humble and has been prepared by the Spirit in his life up to this point. He didn't come to church, but the reason why was because he was up until 1:45 a.m. reading the Book of Mormon, and he forgot to set his alarm for the morning. He's so stinkin' cool. I had a special experience as we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. He was expressing how happy he is to learn these things and about what he was feeling, and I promised him that Heavenly Father is pleased that another one of his sons has returned to him in faith. As I said this, the Spirit testified to me that what I said was true, and it was a very humbling experience

Yevgen, We met with our Ukranian friend again! We set up a day to meet with him last wednesday, but we miscalculated how long zone conference would be, and we couldn't meet him. He came to church, and told us that he was at the mission office waiting for us, and he was wet and cold because it was raining. Dang it. If there's one thing that can make you feel bad, it's a homeless hungry Ukranian refugee asking you why you stood him up on teaching the gospel. So we apologized, gave him some more food, and then he came to an activity later that night! He seems to be doing better. We'll meet with him tomorrow, and might go to Berat on Monday to meet with the Russian missionary that is helping us teach Skype! Woot!

I love you all! I know that prayers are heard as we exercise faith! This week, try saying your personal prayers out loud. I promise you will see a difference. I love you!
Elder Schneider

More 38 of 39 Print all In new window He wanted to get baptized, but the Branch President was a member of the KGB, so he couldn't get baptized.

April 17, 2017

Buckle up. This is a big one.

Alrighty, so let's start with Yevgen! Yevgen (which is pronounced Yevhen) is as I said before, from Ukraine! He's like 55 years old, and he's living as a refugee here in Tirana. He's been here for like 6 months now. He had a son and a daughter, and was married, but they got seperated, his wife is remarried, and his two children were killed by the Russian police, KGB. He says as well that the KGB is trying to kill him, because he is a member of a Ukranian Aktivist political party, and that since Albania was Communist, there are people here trying to kill him as well. The refugee camp that he stays in right now has about 10 other refugees, and it's pretty bad. They said they feed him stale bread, which he doesn't eat, and also which has caused him to have stomach problems now. For the record, he only has like half his teeth as well. This guy has got a really really rough life right now. So we met him about two weeks ago now, and we had a lesson on Wednesday, and he has commited to be baptized on May 13! So. How did we find him? Miracle #1: A few days before, we went to this area that was out of our area to meet someone, and he didn't show up. While we were waiting for the guy to show up, we did a little bit of street contacting, and got some people's numbers! Miracle #2: Normally we would have given their numbers to the elders in that area, but we didn't remember to do that until after we had set up appointments with those people that we got numbers from. So we got the meeting, and they don't show up either. Miracle #3: We now decide that we can go to the artificial lake to do contacting, and since we're out of our area, we try to take a backroad back into our area as a shortcut. Well, we end up kind of taking a longer road than usual, and we're walking in this backroad/wooded area behind the lake, and at this point, I feel a little bit guilty, because there were not a lot of people to talk to, and that was proselyting time. Well, after about 5 or 10 minutes of just walking in this really pretty forest, we hear someone running behind us, and we look back, and this scruffy-looking guy with white hair is behind us, and says in broken english, "I ran to catch you! Are you the LDS missionaries?" At this point, we're pretty taken back, but we tell him yes, and then for about 40 minutes, he tells us his story. Then we go and sit down somewhere else in the park, and he tells us more of his story. He also told us that he met with the missionaries before in Ukraine, and they taught him, and he wanted to be baptized, but (and this is actually what he said, I'm not making this up) the branch president was a member of the KGB, so he couldn't get baptized. Darn KGB. They're everywhere! So we tell him that we can continue to teach him and give him a Book of Mormon in Ukraine, and/or Russian, and we promise him that as he will build his life upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, he will not fall, and he will be happy. He also told us that he had not eaten anything that day, and I had a PB and J with me, so I gave it to him, and we agreed to meet on Saturday! We meet on Saturday, and bring a Book of Mormon in English, Russian and Albanian. We take him to the church, and we're small talking, and he tells us that he liked the sandwich, and that he saved a piece of the crust for later. Ugh. We set up the lesson with this American girl that is here for an internship, who speaks Russian! It was awesome. We taught the Plan of Salvation, and it was hard, because we spoke in English, and we spoke really really slowly, but he understood it well! We testified that we can be happy in this life, that he accepted this Plan of Salvation before this life, because he knew of the great joy that could come to him if he followed Jesus Christ, that our trials help us to have joy, that his children will have a chance to learn the gospel in the Spirit World, and that he can and will live with his family for eternity if he follows Jesus Christ in this life. It's amazing teaching someone like Yevgen who has nothing. Testifying of those blessings can be a little bit daunting, because it is so hard to see what his future entails, but I know that as we remember what the Savior endured, everything is possible. Even for someone in Yevgen's position. Also, he said that he has read the Book of Mormon, and knows it's true. Woot woot. So he accepts a baptismal date for May 13th, and we set up an appointment to meet with him again! We met with him on Wednesday, gave him some more food, which he didn't eat immediately, even though he again had not eaten anything that day, and said he would save it and this time we do a skype lesson with a missionary in our mission that is Russian! He speaks fluent Russian, and we were able to teach Yevgen the Restoration! Yevgen loved talking to him, Elder Bowen, the Russian missionary, and wants to meet him real bad! Anyways, we gave him a flashlight so he can read the Book of Mormon in his camp, because there is no light, and he said he would come to church! He actually didn't end up coming, but we have another lesson planned for Wednesday, so hopefully he'll be able to make it to that one! There's no doubt we were directly led by the Spirit to find Yevgen. None of the things that happened were planned to happen that way, but we ended up finding a very lost, distraught child of God.

Ya remember Ahmed? The cool Libyan kid? Well we miraculously met up with him again this week! We went to the lake for a lesson, he didn't show up, then we bought some ice cream, and we ran into Ahmed at a round-about... with our car! Just kidding. We only run into Albanians. Just kidding. We don't have a car. We just run into them with our bodies and heads. Just kidding again. But yeah! We met him there, and he said that he hasn't been able to answer his phone, because his dad took it away, because he got some bad grades, but we set up another lesson! And he came! Then we went to the church! It was super stinkin' cool. I think it was the first time Ahmed has been in a church. He's been in plenty of Muslim Mosques, though! Haha so we show up to the church, and our church doesn't really look all that much like a church, but he's like, "Can I go in? I still have my hat on and everything..." And we're like, "Yeah! No problem! Come on in." So we walk in, and he's looking around, and we go up some stairs that lead to the chapel, and he asks us if he can come up as well, (because i think in the mosque, the hoxhas (Islamic Clergyman) are only allowed in certain places) and then we go into the chapel, and we take some pictures there, because he likes it, and we explain what we do, and sing a hymn, and then we teach him the restoration! It was way cool. We taught him how to pray, and we told him about Moroni's promise. He loved praying, and when we read Moroni's promise, he got super into it, and loved it! He asked us afterwards, "Why does it feel different reading it here than it does in my house?" I knew the answer, but I didn't say anything for a few seconds, because I the Spirit was there, and I didn't want to rush in and distract the Spirit. We explained that the church is a special place, and it's a place where we can feel the Spirit of the Lord. He loved the lesson, and told us that he would like to become a Christian! We didn't extend a baptismal date quite yet, but next time we meet, we will. Way cool.

So Christopher. We had another lesson with him, and well... It wasn't quite as great as the other lesson we had. We planned to teach the Plan of Salvation to him because he asked about what were those plain and simple truths that were lost from the Bible. First off, he didn't read the Book of Mormon from the time of our last meeting. Instead, he looked up the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon on wikipedia, and read about them, and found some stuff that may have been true, but not uplifting about them. So that was a rough start. Then we start to talk about the Pre-Earth Life, and we tell him about our potential to become like Heavenly Father, and he starts talking about his objections again. In the end, we tell him that the reason he can know all these things are actually true is to read the Book of Mormon, but he's not willing to do that, because he believes it's written by Joseph Smith. He basically told us this time that we need to tell him why Joseph Smith was chosen and why he's significant. We understood something better about his needs after he left. We understood that in order to exercise faith, he must have hope. The hard part is finding what part about the gospel will give him hope that these things are true. He must have a desire to believe what we tell him, and hope that what we say is true, really is true, then he can exercise faith. So that's where we are. I'll let ya know how that turns out!

Easter was great for us. Elder Harris's dad served in our mission like 23 years ago, and we ate with one of the people he baptized for Easter! It was awesome. This Easter season, I've understood the Resurrection of Christ better. Before, I understood that the resurrection allowed us all to be resurrected as well, but that was basically the extent of my conception of the Resurrection. I understand better now, however, that without the Resurrection, Christ took all our sins upon Himself, and died. That's it. The fact that He resurrected means that he really did overcome everything He suffered! It's because of the Resurrection that all of the incredible blessings we have from Jesus Christ are available. I love Him, and I testify He lives :)

Gehrig, I cried several times watching you opening your call, and I'm stinkin' ecstatic that you're going to Texas!!!

Conrad and Katie, I'm just all bubbly and happy inside for you both. I cried, and couldn't stop smiling looking at your pictures :)

I love you all! See ya next week!

Elder Schneider

I hate it when my investigator's old branch president was a member of the KGB so he couldn't get baptized.

April 10, 2017

Man. My dang big brother's gettin' married tomorrow. What the heck. HAHAHAHA!!! That's a good "What the heck?" I just can't really believe it's happening! Being on a mission, it doesn't really feel like real life. Conrad said one time that it is like the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragon Ball Z, and while I haven't come out of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber yet, I feel like it's a pretty good description. I'm pumped for them though. :)

Anyways, this week was way stinking cool, mostly because of the amazing people that we are teaching! First, 

Christopher, is an American, and is a theology professor here in Albania. He's like 37ish, or something like that. To explain his religious background, he was born a protestant I think, then when he was in High School, he became a Calvinist, and then he started studying in a university somewhere in Europe, I think, and he had a time when he was Atheist! Then he said that at a time in his life, he sincerely prayed to God to know the truth, and to find original Christianity. (When he told us this, I got really excited, because that's totally what Joseph Smith did!) Anyways, he prayed to God, and he said he felt that God led him to the Greek Orthodox church. And he now is Orthodox. Anyways, we met him about 3 weeks ago. We were doing street contacting, and I walk up to him, and he was in a hurry, and I say, "Mirëdita! Si jeni?" And he says something like, "I don't have time right now, I'm in a rush." And hearing English always throws us off a little bit, so I was like, "Where are you from?" And he says something like, "I know who you are, you're the Mormons, I'm a theology professor, I've studied your religion, I probably know more about your religion than you do, and if you would like, we can meet and I can tell you all the reasons about why religion is wrong! If you'd like, we can meet, and I can give you my number!" And then I said something like, "... Yeah! I'll take your number!" Hahaha! So we get his number, and he tells us that several members of his extended have been LDS, but now are not, and then I got his number, and he left! Anyways, we set up a lesson with him on Sunday, and we sit on this bench and have a lesson, kind of. We decide we wanted to do the Restoration but a short version. So before we start, we do some small talk, and he was kind of closed, and kept saying, "but you don't want to know that" or "but that's not why you came." I want to interrupt here and say that we did and do want to know the people we teach. These are our brothers and sisters that we have met in the Pre-mortal life, that we are now re-meeting, and giving them what they need to return with us to our Heavenly Father. So yeah, I love Christopher. I want so much that he will accept what we teach. Anyways, we ask if it would be alright if we start with a prayer, and he said we can start, but that he didn't think we pray to the same God. Anyways, we start, and start into the Restoration! We explain that God is our Heavenly Father, the Gospel Blesses Families, Prophets, Jesus Christ, and up until here, he mostly agrees with what we said. Then we start talking about the Apostasy, and Joseph Smith, and I'm saying the First Vision, and he cuts me off in the middle of the First Vision. Dangit. Here we go. He then tells us his objections and why he believes the Church can't be true. His objections were centered on these three: 
1.) God's Transcendence. God can't have a body because if He has a body, that means that He is dependent on the body, that someone created His body, and if someone created His body, then we should worship that God that created God's body, because He's the real God. Augh. Vjell. 
2.) God has always revealed His gospel to people through a long period of time, through a community of people through scriptures, through people, etc. And with Joseph Smith, it was not like this. 
3.) Why Joseph Smith? What is his significance? 
Whew. So we try to answer some of the questions, but then we gotta go, and we leave. We met him the week after, and we mostly just asked him to restate his questions/objections so we could study it better, so he did, and we wrote them down. Then. Meeting number 3. :) We met him on Saturday at about 4 or something. We realized as we were preparing for our lesson with him that he is still an investigator like anyone else that we teach, and while it may require more preparation to teach him, the principles are the same. If we just try to answer his questions without preparing, without using the scriptures, without studying, without the Spirit, there will not be progress. So last week, we asked him to study and pray about 2 Nephi 27 to know if it is true. We as well study this, and we come to the lesson prepared to finish the Restoration and to help him understand the events of the Restoration better. We use 2 Nephi 27, and explain how the Restoration unfolded, or rather, began to unfold. While we did this, we testified sincerely of what we taught. The difference in the lesson was drastically better. There is a reason we should use God's word rather than our word to address concerns and objections. I felt that I had always had Charity for Christopher, but we weren't properly preparing to teach him. After we taught him, he seemed to have a little different complexion. He also asked us what are those plain and simple truths that were lost from the Bible, and what is now restored from original Christianity that other churches are missing, so we're looking forward to answering that! Whew! I love him, and I love teaching him. I hope I can see him accept these things.

Yevgen, I'll tell y'all more next week, but he's a Ukranian Refugee! Crazy story! 

Dan, I love you to death. I miss the snot out of you also! I'm going to print out your email, and I'll respond next week!

I love you all! Woot! Wedding tomorrow! Woot! Woot!

Elder Schneider

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Yes, Ahmed, I do like girls.

April 3, 2017

Hello glorious family and buddies! Mom reminded me that I haven't done a group email in a while, or at least not one that is very thorough! Well, well, well... Those days are over! Yes! Heeng hwah cherfing snootsil! (Buckle up.)

Monday (27 March)- We met with this older guy named Bashkim! We met him on the road a few days prior, and he stopped us, and said, (in english), "Yes, hello. Will you please tell me the meaning of these two english proverbs? 'The second wife sits on the right knee.'" ... Uh... Haha we told him that we didn't really know what it meant, and then he asked us about another one, and Elder Harris gave his interpretation, and then he thanked us and started to leave, but we told him that we share an important message about God, and after a little bit of discussion, we got his number! We met with him on the 27th, and we shared a short version of the Restoration, and gave him a book of mormon! Way cool guy. He was really focused while we shared the message, and agreed with all the things we said, so that was way cool! Then afterwards, we met with a guy named Ahmed! He's 19 years old and from Libya! We met with him the day before, and gave him a book of mormon in Arabic! Which looks sweet, by the way. We met with him on the 27th, and we start walking and talking, and we talk about my mission, and he asks if we like the girls here, and we explain to him that we don't date while we're on our missions. Then he asks me if I have a girlfriend, and I told him I've never had one, and then he's like, have you ever kissed a girl? No. Then he's like, People in America think you're gay if you're like that right? Hehe. Oh man. Haha! I assured him I'm NOT GAY, and that I like girls. Haha, then we talk about the Book of Mormon, and he tells me he read it for about 30 minutes the day before, and I'm thinking, "cool! He read a little bit of it! Maybe like 2 or 3 chapters!" We keep talking, and we find out that he read the ENTIRE BOOK OF MORMON in 30 minutes the day before! We should have asked him some more follow-up questions, but we didn't... Oops. Anyways, we talked a little bit more, and he had a buddy with him that didn't speak english very well, so we were explaining what our message is about, and after we explained, Ahmed said that he would be interested in joining our religion! YEAAAAHH!!! I got excited and said that we could meet again, so we planned a meeting for Saturday at 8! Woot! He's a way cool guy :)

Tuesday- We taught a member named Sulejman! He was baptized about a year ago, but I don't think he had a firm testimony when he got baptized, because he has never read the Book of Mormon, and is now inactive, but we are helping to come to know that this church is the true church.

Wednesday- We did a whole bunch of street contacting! I met these cool two Iranian guys! And we're gonna meet with them next Saturday and give them copies of the Book of Mormon in Persian! Ha! Then later in the day, we met with Andrit. We had a lesson with someone, but he didn't show up, and we were walking, and Andrit, a street vendor selling some belts was like, "Hey! Will you give me one of those bibles?" And we're like, "Do you have 10 minutes so we can explain where it came from?" And he did, so we explained it, and gave it to him, and he started reading it when we left! It was cool!

Thursday- We go to this Dentist's work to give him a Book of Mormon! Cool guy. His name is Orgis. We also taught our last English Course for 2 weeks. English Course here is way fun! We teach grammar, and then play catch phrase, and tell them idioms, and then do a spiritual thought! It was cool.

Friday- We did some more street contacting, and we also sang at this boulevard and handed out some fliers for this fireside we'll have! It was way cool, because even President Weidmann came and did street contacting with us! He's so cool.

Saturday- We went out to the artificial lake, and gave this older couple a copy of the Book of Mormon! Then we went to a baptism! Way cool. The man who got baptized is named Nadir. He's also from Iran, and speaks Persian! Way cool. Then afterwards, ate out at Fast Xheni Fast, started our fast, and met with Christopher, which is an American Theology Professor here at a University in Tirana! Our lessons with him are pretty interesting! He himself is Orthodox, but he knows and has studied and been a member of several religions in his life. I'll tell ya more about him next week!

Sunday- We had lunch as our two districts in Tirana, and we had burritos! Yum. We even had real taco seasoning! Did I tell you about my black friend from Durres named Cleon? He's a missionary for another church, and he gave me "a ketchup" and some taco seasoning! Hah! When we were at his house, he was like, "Do you want a ketchup?" And well, how could anyone deny a nice black guy in Albania giving you "a ketchup?" So I said yes. We then went to have a lesson with this guy we meet who is pagan, but he wasn't there. Darn. We ended up teaching this group of like 10 crazy rambunctious Albanian kids the Restoration. This sounds way cool in theory, but they didn't really pay attention except for these 2 12-year old girls. So we gave them a pamphlet! Then we watched Conference, and HOLY COW! POCATELLO AND NAIROBI!! HOLY COW!!! Then we went to go meet with Ahmed! But he didn't show up, and didn't answer his phone, so we're hoping he still wants to meet with us...

Today- We played Football and Futbol in the morning! I'm down to about 176 lbs. Whew. Too many crepes. Then we got haircuts, and our barber agreed to hear our message, and then we cleaned up the appartment, went shopping, put our suits in the dry cleaners, and came here... after eating a crepe.

My spiritual thought for the week is below, (it's out of my email that I sent to my mission president):

This week was a slower week, but a great week nonetheless! One great thing that has happened this week is that my testimony of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has been strengthened. As we have been showing the Prince of Peace video, I was having trouble seeing and understanding why the Resurrection of Christ has so much significance for us. I understood that because of His resurrection, we will all be resurrected as well, but I wasn't seeing the present application. I understood better this week that when the Savior conquered death, He also conquered all imperfection, shortcoming, sickness, sin, human frailty, sadness, and all other mortal difficulties. It is because of His resurrection that we have the ability, and hope to become something bigger and better than ourselves. It's because of His triumph over death that we can triumph over our shortcomings, our weaknesses, anything. I love my Savior, and I am really enjoying studying about Him.

I love you all! :) I'm sorry the email was a little bit scattered, but I hope you loved it! :) I know this is the work of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I testify that He lives, and that His Resurrection is for us. These things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Schneider

"Be Careful! Don't talk to them! They're savage! Protect yourselves!"

March 20, 2017

Hey! How were your weeks? Mine was good. A little bit long, but it was good! Tirana is cool! So is Elder Harris! He's a good singer too!

Anyways, I don't have a whole lot of time, but Tirana is cool! I like it a lot! It's a little bit more developed than Durres, so that's cool. There's also a bunch of people. Like two bunches. It's a huge city. There's also like 16 missionaries in Tirana, or something like that, so that's pretty crazy. My district is still only 4 missionaries, but we see the missionaries that are in the other ward in the church building we use often. We play frisbee in the mornings sometimes, and we had a fun P-day together today, so that was cool! But it's cool! I feel like the people might be a little bit more closed off here, like it's kind of harder to get them interested, but maybe I haven't had enough time here yet. We'll see... Oh yeeesssss..... We'll see......... Ahahahahahahaha!!!!!!! We do more activities here also. On Saturday, we played soccer and frisbee with the ward, and we did service on Thursday or Friday. I'm not used to that, but I like it! It's nice to take a break from only doing street contacting, and teaching.

It's a huge city, but it's already a good start to this transfer. We found some really cool people to teach already, so we'll see how it turns out! :) One is named Xhulian. He's 19, and we gave him a book of Mormon yesterday, and he was really looking forward to getting it. It was way cool. Haha, it was a weird meeting though yesterday when we met with him. We met him in a park, first off, and we all sat on the same bench, and then this lady came over and asked us to help her change her ringtone, and that took like 5 minutes, because she couldn't decide which ringtone she wanted, and then we just sat and gave a small restoration lesson, and gave him the Book of Mormon. Then later this old drunk guy came over, and he's like, "Hey, you never gave me one of those books!" And we were like, "huh?" And then he's like, i got your number! And he pulls out his phone, and he's got the number for the elders in Durres! His name was Ivo Savo, and it turns out I had talked to him like 2 months before, but apparently he lives in Tirane! Anyways, then this old lady told us not to talk to him and to wash our hands because he was drunk and not very sanitary looking, and then she started telling us about the Orthodox Church, and then we invited her to hear our message, and we got her number, and then as we were leaving, we talked to some guys that were in the park, and they were like 8 kosovo guys, and then the old lady, was all like, "Be careful! Don't talk to them! Kosovar are savage people! Protect yourselves!" Hahahaha!!! Oh man. The elderly here are so funny.

I visited a cool Communist bunker today, which was fun. I'll send the photos and videos next week, but it was cool! I love you all! The work is rolling here! I know that we are capable of progression when we are obedient, and don't let the natural man take control. Love you all alot!

Elder Schneider