Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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Dec 5 NDODHI!!!!

Hey Familja! Sorry, I don't have a whole lot of time, but my week was top fare!

We found this awesome place to serve this week! It's this place that serves old people that live on their own, and it gives them tea and lunch! We got to go there and help out, and I'm super excited to keep going back and seeing what kind of people we'll be able to influence there! We also set up a Christmas tree there!

We've been working super hard this week with Less Actives! We met with four families on Saturday, and unfortunately, only one lady came, but we're working! So remember how last week I told you about that "almost miracle?" Well we found that house this week! We met with a member, and he gave us the number of another member, and we went to where he told us, and we went to the wrong building, but we met with this guy who was super awesome, and has 3 daughters, and he's a good guy! Which is awesome! It's a treasure to find genuinely good people! And then we asked this lady where the Bako family lived, and we we're on the fourth floor, and she's like, "oh yeah, let's go!" And we went down the building, and out, and found his building! Then we were taking some pictures of the 696 on the wall, and this guy walks by, and we say hi and find out he is Haxhi Bako!!!!! WHAT!?!?!? That's like 6 miracles by now or something! So we went up to his room, and met with him, got his number, gave a lesson, and now we're gonna go back there! It was incredible. We couldn't believe it. Almost. Miracles happen. By the way, "ndodhi" means "it happened."

I love my mission so much. I am being sanctified and purified. I love my Savior. I am being changed, and I love the process of coming closer to Christ. He is my Savior, and my Redeemer. I am His servant, and I will profess His name as long as I live and into the eternities. I am coming to know Him more and more every day. We have a commitment from President Weidmann and it says, "I will with all my heart dedicate my life to the Savior. He can then sanctify me and purify me so that I can know Him and see Him." President Weidmann was inspired when he made that. It's real. I love my savior. :) I love you all! 

Elder Shnajder

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Nov 28 So That's What Miracles Feel Like...

Oh Familja Ime! Ç'bëni!? Më ka marrë malli për ju të gjithë! Ditë Falëndërimi ishte një kenaqësi! Ok, that's enough. I said, "Oh my family! What's up!? I miss you! Thanksgiving was a pleasure!" I got a good email this week! Siguroni vetët tuaj!

E Hënë- So Elder Jaunay and I have a bad habit of not being very well planned for P-day. At 6 p.m. every p-day, we resume our normal proselyting work, and recently, we've been a little rough at that! But last week we were blessed, and got to go to the home of a less active! And we played Uno and had a surprise very Albanian dinner, and by that I mean we had kos, which is yogurt, but more sour, some cabbage salad that was swimming in this oil/water mixture, french fries, which Shqiptar have at dinner like all the time, pastiçëri which is like this pasta thing with cheese that's kind of like lasagna, but not with the red sauce like lasagna, and qofte which is sausage! Whew. It was good. I actually didn't have any kos. It's too sour for me. We're looking forward to meeting with them some more! They're an awesome family :) 

E Martë- We had district meeting, and filmed part of a skit we were making for our Thanksgiving party! It was about some of the funny stuff that has happened in our district, because we're all really new in Shqiperia still! We have 2 sisters and us in our district, and about 3 weeks ago, there used to be 3 sisters here. One was the trainer, and 2 brand new missionaries like me. Haha but 3 weeks ago, the trainer just got transfered because another sister finished her mission! The 2 brand new sisters were left to train each other! Ha! And then my trainer, Elder Jaunay is in his second transfer, making our district the most "new" district in the mission! Haha, so a lot of funny things can happen because of that! Also, I was studying family history and temples and I had this really cool thought. I wrote this in my planner, "This work isn't only for one person that will be baptized, but for her ancestors, her children, until eternity. Wow." It's true. Think about what kind of possibilities are opened up for work in the temple if one person is baptized. Hundreds or thousands of people now have a greater likelihood of receiving the restored gospel, or of receiving the essential ordinances needed to enter the Celestial Kingdom. How incredible is that!? It was a cool thought to have. It encouraged me to talk to more people and work harder, because there's a whole lot of people on the other side hoping that I will talk to their descendants. I know it. Also, that night, we went and watched the Restoration film with Aden's family, and it was sweet! His dad seems really interested, but his mom isn't too keen of the idea of having more lessons. We're hoping to teach the Plan of Salvation, and that his dad will be touched with the hope we can have in the Resurrection. Right now, he can't see out of his right eye, and he can't see very well out his left, so I was thinking it would be so cool to teach that his body will be restored to perfection in the life following. I'll let ya know what goes on with them this week!

E Mërkurë- We worked on our stinkin' video all day! Then we had dinner with Familja Pina, the first counselor in the bishopric here! They're so awesome! He loves joking around, and he even knows english! One thing you should know about Shqiptar is that they love teasing and joking around! Brother Pina is exactly like that. Awesome family. That morning during study however, I had a great study! I was in Alma 37:36-44. It was incredible, because, I have wanted to improve my prayers, and read the Book of Mormon more lately so that I can be inspired, and use the daily inspiration I receive from the Spirit in my missionary work! It talks about how the Book of Mormon is like the Liahona, because it simply and clearly leads to "eternal bliss." That's why i want to read the Book of Mormon every chance I get! I love the Book of Mormon. I told Claire before, that when I read the Book of Mormon in Shqip, it's like I'm reading it for the first time, because some words have different connotations for me than the translation from English, so I get a different insight on like the entire Book of Mormon! It's so cool. If you know another language, or even if you don't, try reading the Book of Mormon in another language, and I bet the same thing will happen!

E Enjtë (Ditë Falëndërimi "Falëminderit Day")- It was Elder Jaunay's first Thanksgiving! Ha! It was great! We ate a kind of classic Thanksgiving meal with turkey and mashed potatoes and peas, and stuffing, and corn, and carrots! It was awesome! And the whole mission was there, including Elder Gardiner my MTC companion, who I had really missed! It was great though! We watched our skit, and people liked it, and we also got to hear the departing testimonies of some missionaries, and we had a little presentation about the Christmas initiative! Have you heard about that yet? It's like last year's "Because He Lives" thing. This year is "Light the World." Here's the URL: https://www.mormon.org/christmas/light-the-world?play=hero  I'm way excited for it! It's got an activity we can to each day leading up to Christmas to encourage us to share our light! I would challenge each of you also to watch that video, and listen to the feelings you have, and decide how you will share your light this year. I'm excited for it :) also, I got my package! Ah man, and I'm loving the Sour Patch Kids and fruit roll ups right now! I'm saving the other stuff for later! I read all your letters also, and they made me smile, laugh, cry, and love you all even more! Tell Grandma, especially, that I loved her letter, and I cried a little bit, and I will try to write her a letter also! I love you Grandma!

E Premtë/E Shtunë- There was a baptism in Durres of a girl from Shkoder which is about 45 minutes from Durrës, and it was incredible. It was the first one I've seen in my mission, and it was so cool to see one again after teaching about it. She came out of the water, and after a second, she was just incredibly happy! The Spirit was palpable in that room, and it was so cool to see the "end" result of missionary work!

E Dielë- So we've been doing more work with Less-Active members lately, because in Durrës, we have maybe 300+ members in the directory, and only about 70 are active! We're trying to get 800 as a stake before Christmas. We were searching for a family, and a cool thing happened. This is the message I sent to President Weidmann today: This week was great! We've been working hard to meet with some more families that are less active. We searched for maybe 4 hours for this one family, and we had an interesting experience at the end of our searching. We said a prayer, and immediately after, we asked a woman if she knew where their apartment building was, and she said, "That's my apartment building." My jaw dropped, and I felt like I was floating. It was incredible. The only thing is that it wasn't actually her building. She thought we said building 996, but we said 696. I was a little bit crushed. I felt so incredible the moment she said it was her building, and I almost couldn't believe what had happened, because it truly was a miracle. I felt a confirmation that miracles are real. They can happen. With the prayer of faith, miracles can happen. I felt it was true. I believed it. However, when she told us that it wasn't actually the correct building, I had this thought, "If it had been the correct building, you would have believed." And it was true. If it had been building 696, I would have definitely believed in miracles. It was not building 696, but I still felt a confirmation from the Spirit that miracles happen. For me, it was still worth it. I believe in miracles. I will exercise faith in my Heavenly Father, and I have faith that I will see more miracles in this work as I do so.\ I can testify that God will teach us the things He wants us to learn if we allow it, and seek to learn from all situations. Even though we searched for 4 hours, it wasn't fruitless.

Today was actually really different from most P-days! We woke up at 6 this morning and ran to the sea shore, and then waited to watch the sunrise! Which we didn't actually end up seeing. But it was raining lightly, and we were running in the rain and there was nobody outside, and it was still dark, and it was so beautiful! Haha but after that, we went and got Byrek and a croissant for breakfast, and it was so good. Anyways, fam. I love you all so much! I told Dad before that I feel like the things that should be happening to me as a missionary, and as a maturing adult are happening! I'm understanding people better, I feel like I'm growing closer to the Savior little by little, and I feel like I'm doing the Lord's work, and I love it :) Be sure to take pictures of you all! Also, how are Sister Kirby, Taya, and Sidney? Will you say hi to them for me, and let I'm know I miss 'em? Love you! 
Elder Shnajdër

November 21 Falëminderit që Ti Ekziston

Hahahaha! Guess what! (I wish I knew how to say "guess what" in Shqip.) We met with Armand! He's that one guy that I said kind of disappeared! We met with him Saturday morning! Woot! I'll talk more about that in a bit. Just a li'le bi' na'! Mbaj kuajt e tua! 

E Hënë- We had another lesson with Elona, the wife of Festim, and it went super great! She's doing incredible. She's super funny, and likes joking around with us which is great, because it shows that we've got a relationship more than just missionaries that are teaching her, but she's like a sister for us! She's actually only 23, so it really feels like she's my sister! Festim is super hilarious too. He's got a pretty high voice, and he laughs a lot and loves joking around too, so it's super fun to see them interact, and just to hang out at their house. Also, he's got such strong incredible devotion, and it's inspiring to be in lessons with him. So normally, we do weekly planning on Thursday, and normally missionaries would finish on Thursday, but we haven't been so good at that lately, and so we finished up Monday, and at the end, we do a companionship inventory, which is kind of like a DTR for companions, and you also share your personal goals, ask for help from your companion, and tell him of his strengths, and what you appreciate about him. So we did that, and it was something. We've been together now for like 6 weeks or 7 maybe! Ha! Wow. Kallon kohë! But Elder Jaunay was close to crying in the companionship inventory! He really does love me so much, and I feel it. I love him so much too. He's a party to be around, and a pleasure to teach and work with! He helps me out so much, and is so loving, and so fun to work with. Such a great example, has a powerful rooted testimony in Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. He's definitely a brother. Gosh, I don't want to separate from him! :(

E Martë-"Happy Burfday Son!" It was a good birthday! We had district meeting, and my district bought me a cake, and it was incredible! Ah! I always think about how different my mission is from Conrad's, because I'm eating really well here! To be honest, I've probably never ate as well, before in my life, because we have a ton of member dinners, and the food here when we eat out is so good and so cheap! Whew! But yeah, we ate cake, and then we all went and each had two suflaces each! They're so good. I don't know if i'll be able to recreate a suflace when i get back, but I'll make some byrek! We had bryek with apple last week. "It was heavenly!" -(does somebody say that in Spongebob? I feel like somebody said something like that in Spongebob.) It was a good day though! We taught English Course, and apparently, English isn't very hard for Albanians to learn! Ha! We also taught Elona again, and we taught Word of Wisdom, and The Law of Chastity. Oh man. Ready for an awkward Law of Chastity story? HAHA! Ok, so first off, the lesson went great, and I really felt that we were directed by the spirit! To be serious before I tell the funny part, I'm actually really thankful for the Law of Chastity. It is so beautiful, and so is the Word of Wisdom. Studying those, you can just feel that the church is true, because we embrace such great values! I love it. Haha, so we taught it well, and Elder Jaunay was testifying of how he has been blessed from his parents living the law of Chastity, and we had just finished talking about staying completely faithful to your spouse. Elder Jaunay says something like, "I have been blessed because my Dad and your Mom--" and then stops, and we all bust out laughing for like maybe three or four minutes until we refocus again! Ha! It's really easy to mix up the possessive pronouns in Shqip like "my, your, our" and stuff. Haha, but yeah, basically, we were feeling the Spirit, and then the next second, we're like dying laughing! Ha! Oh man. I gotta write that one down.

E Mërkurë- We helped a less-active boy with his English homework, and during that, I was getting a little bit annoyed, because I didn't feel like we were using our time well, but I said I prayer in my heart, and my attitude changed, and I focused on Mateu (the less active) and we are able to have a lesson, that I hope helped him! The power of constant prayer is real. Later that day, we taught another less active man named Gezim, which means Joy! He was pretty upset that day, I think because he lost his cell phone, but we had a good lesson with him, and I really felt directed by the Spirit. We had planned something, but we changed what we taught, because it didn't feel right for me, and as I did so, I felt a concern for Gezim and for his happiness. I wanted him to experience the happiness I have felt from coming to church, reading the scriptures, and praying. It was quite an experience. The Spirit is real. It can and will change you and the people you teach.

E Enjtë- Oh man. We had an incredible dinner appointment with a family on Thursday. It was with the Cani (pronounced "Tsahnee") Family, and we had homemade byrek and groshë! I'm telling you, it's so good here. The mom works hard, and she has three kids, one of which is a missionary in Kosovo right now, and another 19-year old girl, who is waiting for a mission call, and a 13-year old boy who is really cool! We got there, and she opens her mouth to show us that she doesn't have any teeth now! She had them last week, but she just doesn't have any now! I don't know if she'll get dentures or what, but she seemed to be pretty bummed about that. We shared Alma 26:27 which says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."  I had studied that chapter a day earlier, or maybe that morning, and wrote down the reference that we could share it with members who are feeling depressed, and it seemed to be the perfect scripture for that day for Motra (Sister) Cani. Elder Jaunay also gave her a photo of Elder Cani, because they had met up at a training, and it was touching to see how joyful she got when she saw that picture. Thinking about it now makes me miss ya, Momma! But we shared this scripture, and I asked how the Lord has comforted them before when they have felt this way. Motra Cani answered and I don't remember everything she said, but I remember that she quoted Ether 12:27, and 1 Nephi 3:7, and talked about how the Lord can make our weaknesses into strengths, and how He can remind us that He has prepared a way that we might accomplish every commandment. It was incredible for me to see how well she knew her scriptures, because she hasn't been in Seminary, or a mission, but she knew those scriptures word for word, and they meant something to her. I'm sure that she knows those scriptures and has that testimony through a constant, diligent study of the scriptures. It was really incredible for me to see her faith.

E Premtë- We had an exchange with the Zone Leaders, and it went really well! We learned a few things that we want to change in our work, and I actually did pretty well without Elder Jaunay in Durres! He went and served in Tirane, and I stayed in Durres and served with one Zone Leader. I'm finding that my relationships with people in the ward here are really blossoming, which I'm really grateful for! I am hoping more that I can stay here for another transfer, because I've become good friends with some people here.

E Shtunë- Oh Armand!!! Hahahaha! Alright, so like I said earlier, Armand met with us again! It's been two weeks since we've had a lesson with him, and we didn't really know what happened, he just stopped answering his phone, but we had a lesson Saturday morning! I wish you all could meet him, because it's hard to describe him what he's like in person, but it was so great to meet with him again! He always wears this white shirt, and ah, what a bro. Haha, but we watched the Restoration film with him, and he's kind of got a short attention span, and about 12 minutes in, (we were in another room in the institute building) the sister missionaries entered into the main room, which we weren't in, and we heard them enter, and in the middle of the Restoration film, Armand just stands up and walks out and is like, "Hi Sisters." Hahahaha! Elder Anderson  was cracking up, because Armand just left in the middle of the film! Haha, but he came back, we finished it, and he seems to understand the events in the life of Joseph Smith much better than before! He told us the answer that Joseph Smith received from Heavenly Father, and he talked about the Gold Plates, and about the Book of Mormon a bit! Whew. It was great to hear that, because before,  Armand didn't seem to understand things very well, but he does understand! Whew. Also, we had another lesson with Elona, and she's really progressing towards her baptism! Which is December 3rd! Whew! We're so excited for her. Also, remember Aden? That boy we've been teaching from our English Course? Well his family has a store right outside our house, and we're friends with them, which is a really important part of the story, and we talked with them the other day, and told them we wanted to meet with them, and we had dinner at their house and taught the Restoration and gave them copies of the Book of Mormon! AUGH! It was so great. And his dad even said the closing prayer. They said we're welcome to come back anytime, which is just the coolest thing ever. We're praying real hard for them. They are so loving and so kind, and I'm so thankful we have a good relationship with them, because especially with Aden, when we teach our friends, it just feels normal, because your desire for them to be blessed by the gospel is rooted in your friendship! It was great. Also, I've changed my personal study a bit. I want my desire to share the gospel to grow always, so I've been trying to be inspired more and simply to read more when I have time!

E Dielë- We met with a member that's been a member for a long time, and we found a bunch of info for some less actives, which means we've got some work to do, and a whole lot of cookies to make! 

Momma, I think any candy like  airheads, sour patch kids, jelly beans, blowpops, hubba bubba would make these kids happy! I can't think of anything I need besides letters, twizzlers, sour patch kids, Jelly Beans, and On the Border chips and salsa! I love you all! Thank you all for your emails! I'm out of time, but I read them, and I love you all! Thank you for inspiring me, and Daniel, you made me cry. I can tell you've already grown so much. Crap man, I miss ya, but I love you! You inspire me! :)\
Elder Shnajdër

Nov 21 - More photos








Nov. 21 Photos








November 14 Biskota!

Ç'bëni familja!
I don't have a lot of time today, but this week was a great one! I finally was able to make cookies this week after I found brown sugar finally, and the members so far have liked them! Also, by the way, this week I had Byrek with apple inside, and it was stinking good. I played that Piano yesterday in church, kind of unexpectedly, and whew! It was fun! It could've gone a little bit better, but it felt so good to play the piano again! Daniel, don't stop practicing. 

We had a super cool zone training on Friday, and Elder Jaunay and I both learned a lot and we're looking forward to using everything we learned to help establish the church here! We plan on working a lot with less actives and members to encourage people to come to church and do their missionary work, and bring friends to church. We had some awesome meals here this last week! The food here is incredible, and the members are so nice! Some of the old ladies here are so hilarious! Elder Jaunay has a really good relationship with the members here, especially this one family, The Pina Family, and the mom is so funny! Dinners here are so much fun! Haha also, we went tracting one night, and we knocked on this door, and this old lady opened it, and after talking a little bit, she gave us cookies, and she was calling us, "zemër" which means "heart." Haha it was sweet! And i think she even like kissed us on the cheek also! Haha! 

Aight! So for our investigators. Elona, the wife of Festim is golden. She's got a solid support system, (Festim, who is a recent convert himself), she reads the Book of Mormon, and she's having a baby in three months! She's incredible. As long as we can figure out her work problem, I think she'll be baptized on the 3rd of December.
Then there is Aden, who is that boy in my pictures, and he is super smart! He remembers and understands the gospel really well. He's only 13, but I feel like he really is special. He always does that thing where you stick out your hand to shake hands, and then you pull it away really fast and like slick back your hair, and he gets me like every time! Gah! He's awesome though. and really funny with his english!
Armand, who was super cool a couple weeks ago has kind of disappeared. He won't answer our calls, and we don't know what happened, but we're praying that we'll be able to meet with him!

Haha, so I uploaded a video where Elder Jaunay is beatboxing, and there is another kid that's saying "macë!" Haha! I had to get a video, because now that kid saying that is like a joke between our district. "Macë" means "cat," and we don't know why he says it, but one time, we were just messing around at Sindi's and Celeste's house, and being silly, and beat boxing, and he's like "Mace, mace, mace!" Hahahaaha! I love watching people here being so entertained at little things like beatboxing and stuff like that!

I read a really cool scripture this morning in 2 Nephi 2:3:
Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men.

I liked it because it shows that the Savior has agency. It was possible for Him to sin, he just didn't! He is the perfect example, and while not making any mistake in His life, he took upon Himself all our sufferings however big or small, in order to prepare a way for us to return to live with Him. I love the Savior. I know that the power of prayer is real, and I know that He will help us when we seek Him :)

I love you all! I pray for you every day :) Please keep sending pictures! I love getting pictures!
Elder Shnajdër

November 7 It was 10:00 p.m., I was running down the street in the sketchy part of Durres, and then I saw something I never thought I'd see...

C'beni! How are you all doing!? I hear Conrad's got a lady friend! *Spongebob eyebrow raise* Hahahahahaha! Dooty, I miss Spongebob! My companion doesn't like Spongebob a whole lot, but there were a couple times this week where i quoted it, and I wanted to laugh with him about it, but nope! S'ka gje. 

Anyways, I have a lot of insights I want to share this email, so I'm gonna alternate with a spiritual insight and then a story! Here we go! Insight 1!

We were studying the Plan of Salvation this week, and we were studying in the Pre-Earth Life, and we talked about how cool it is to think that all our investigators, everyone we talk to on the street has already accepted to follow Jesus Christ in a life before this one. Everyone we know has accepted to follow the Plan of the Savior, and they are children of God like us. I am here as a messenger to help remind people of what they've already chosen! What an opportunity we all have as members, as those who have come to a remembrance of the beautiful Plan of Salvation, to help our brothers and sisters remember and come to a knowledge of this Plan we all have for our lives! It's so cool. If you have fears of doing missionary work, study the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, and as you do so with real intent to be taught and gain an understanding through the spirit, you will be filled with a renewed zeal to share this gospel. I promise that.

So our English course was way better this week! We taught about passive reflexive verbs, and how we do them in English! It's funny, because I'm learning more about English than I did before, but at the same time, I'm kind of forgetting how to be a normal English speaker! Haha! But it's sweet! We met this one boy named Aden from English course. He's 13 years old, but he's like almost as tall as me! He plays soccer, and he's a goalie! Sidenote, in Albania, if your even a little chubby, they'll let ya know! Ha! The sisters in Durres were in a lesson and they were showing one of their investigators one of their rings, and the investigator tried to put it on, and it didn't fit, and she was like, "Why doesn't it fit? You all are fat, and I'm not, but it doesn't fit! You have like meat on your fingers!" Haha! But yeah, Aden is a homie. He's like a little brother! Two weeks ago, he asked to come to church with us, and he did! And he came again this week too! We taught him the restoration, and watched the restoration video, and it was so beautiful! I had a thought that I shared with Aden that we don't know the desires of his heart, and what he truly desires, but God does, and He can help Aden to recieve that. It's true. Right now, I think Aden may just like being our friend and speaking English with us, but we're praying that he'll have real intent, and a sincere desire to be taught the gospel.

I had a thought this week as I was in a lesson. Ever since I've been here it's been a little bit hard to focus on people and to stay focused so I can understand them, because it takes a lot of focus. This week though, after I had that thought about the Plan of Salvation, and I realized that if I strive to focus on the person I am teaching, the Spirit will come and guide me, because the Spirit is working to speak to the heart of that person, and when I focus on helping the person I'm talking to, my worries of understanding them are suppressed, and I am able to focus on that person, and help them! I just have to remember that they are a person who is in need of the gospel, who I can help, and when I seek to do so with love, I feel the Spirit help me! 

Haha ok, guess what! We cleaned out our Area Book this week, and we found a paper from 2007 with a bunch of names of potential investigators! We started calling them, and we get to Muhamet. So not knowing what to expect, I call him, and surprisingly, his number still works from like 10 years ago, and he wants to meet with us! We meet him the next day, and he's about 55 years old and he seemed really interested in the message! Woot! Also, apparently he had met with some missionaries in the past, but didn't make any progress.

So we saw a little fight between two boys this week! It was kind of intense! They were right in the middle of the sidewalk punching each other in the face and stuff! It was kind of awful to watch because they were just going at it and attacking each other. It made me think about what Joseph Smith endured, and about what the Savior suffered for us. I can't imagine what they went through for us. I also read this scripture this week and it helped me feel the love of the Savior more. I read 2 Nephi 1:1-5, and 1 Nephi 22:24-25. Here is 1 Nephi 22:24-25:
24 And the time cometh speedily that the righteous must be led up as calves of the stall, and the Holy One of Israel must reign in dominion, and might, and power, and greatglory.

 25 And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture.

I thought about how beautiful it is that in verse 24, it talks about how powerful the Savior is, and then in contrast, it talks about how He is a Shepherd, and He feeds His sheep, and they know Him. He is a King that knows every single one of His sheep. And then when I read 2 Nephi 1:1-5, I thought about how the Savior truly is our Big Brother. He brings us through our challenges over and over again, blessing us with his mercy, and He does so not asking for recognition, or appreciation, but that we seek to do as He does. 

So we had some AWESOME food this week! We went to this pasta place here, and I had this pasta with shrimp, and it was stinkin' incredible. We went with this senior couple that came and did an inspection, and it was way fun! Mom and Dad, I'm so excited for you two to be able to do that when Dan moves out! We also had a meal with the Tahiri's, the family of Sindi and Celeste, and it was cool! They're pretty poor, so we had this like boiled spinach, eggs, french fries, hot dog, with kos, which is yogurt, but it was more sour. Hehe, I didn't actually drink it, but yeah! It was fun! Their family is amazing. They don't even have a toilet in their house though. Ugh. And they have two beds that Sindi and Celeste use. They are really special. It's actually really hard for Sindi and Celeste, because their family are not members, and they are recent converts as of 2 months. Their whole family is incredible, and we've got a really strong relationship with them, so I hope that with time, they will want to have that joy that Sindi and Celeste have!

Haha! Ok, now for the kind of crazy story! So there is a recent convert here named "Festim" which literally means "party" and he's so cool! Whenever we think of who would be a good fellowshipper for an investigator, we think that Festim would be perfect for them! Well his wife is not a member, and they've got a baby on the way, and we started teaching her last week! It was a little late, and after Festim surprised us with dinner after the Restoration lesson, we left his house at like 9:20, and he's like, "Oh yeah! You can catch a bus back to your house!" Cool! Well, no bus. We're like 45 minutes from our house right now. Crud. So, we start running! We're running down the street, in the sketchy part of Durres, with some clubs, and there it is... A stray horse eating out of a trash can with his trusty dog friend behind him. I felt like I was in some kind of twisted Budweiser commercial. It was one weird side all together. A horse eating garbage, with a dog friend with two missionaries running down the street. Haha! But yeah, we got back to the house at like 10:20. Oops. That won't happen again. Haha! Funny story though! 

Anyways, gotta go now, but I love you all so much! I'm praying for you! I love America! I found some tortilla chips today! I'm so excited!
Elder Shnajdër

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Oct 31 -- Hallouini i lumtur

Yo! Ç'bëni familja? This week has been great, like seriously, better than last week! Haha, and I wanted to tell you all about some of our investigators that are pretty funny! 
First off, my Marrëdhënie with my companion has gotten more like were brothers than two missionaries! It's something I have been specifically praying for this week, and we really are having more fun together. I've loosened up a lot this week especially! He's seen some more of my weird side this week! Ha! It's so much working together when you get along well, and you enjoy being with each other! Also, Elder Jaunay likes singing. Ya know that song from Tarzan, "Son of Man" by Phil Collins? That song's got a special connotation with Elder Jaunay now, because we listened to that a whole bunch one week! Ha!
In fact, yesterday, we were doing some contacting in this one area, and it was just so much fun, because we are growing and learning together, and we had a common goal. This is only his second transfer, so he also is still learning, which makes it fun to do this work, because we're both kind of new still! It was awesome, though. We were walking down the sidewalk, and there was this guy that had a 7-month old German Shepherd, and me missing my doggies, this was guy was practically asking for us to talk to him. So we did. And it turns out he's met with the missionaries before and has been to church, and knows some people in the ward! Ha! I really hope we can meet with Him. How is that not a miracle that we met with this man randomly who has been to church and I think he even has a Book or Mormon! But yeah, that was sweet! I've started doing something different this week. In my planner, under the key indicators section, I put a daily goal for how many pass-a-long cards I will give out, and it's really helped me to open my mouth and just talk to people wherever we are and wherever we are going. I feel so much better when I've taken every opportunity to talk to someone, and not just wasted my time.
So I had a cool experience yesterday. Earlier yesterday, Elder Jaunay and I were studying the Plan of Salvation and planning how we will teach it, and some of the most important parts of each principle. We talked about how cool it is that we can tell this to our investigators, and I did actually say something close to this when we were in a lesson with an investigator. We taught about how we we all lived together in Heaven before this life, and then I started talking about how we all listened to the plan of salvation before we came here, and I said something like this, "We were all together in heaven before, and we listened to Heavenly Father and he said something like this, 'You're all going to go down to earth, and have a lot of experiences, some will be difficult, but if you do the right things, you'll be able to make it back here.'" Prior to this, some of the boys that were nearby were kind of being rowdy, but as we talked about this part, it was so quiet, and I felt like the veil was being lifted in part. I know for me, I felt the Spirit working through me, and I have a little stronger conviction, understanding, and gratitude for the Plan of Salvation. In fact, I was just emailing my mission President, and I talked about how happy I am right now. I am grateful, because I know I am in the best place I could possibly be right now. I know that I am in the right place, and I also know that I have a Savior, and I believe that all things that I have to do are possible for me because of Jesus Christ. I have a duty, a calling from God, and I have no doubt that I can accomplish all that He has for me, because it is part of His plan, and I have a Savior who will help me all along the way. What a blessing this is :)
Sorry if I'm a little bit scrambled with my email today! I've got a lot of things I want to share, and I'm trying to make it flow well! Ha! 
Oh yeah, so our investigators, first, Adriatik. Adriatik is this 65-year old guy that probably needs an iron lung. People here smoke a lot, and he must have really done it a lot, because his lungs are just awful! When he talks though, he kind of sounds like that one guy from Pirates of the Caribbean 3 when they're in that council with all those Pirate Leaders and that one asian guy is like, "And so we go to war." That was Adriatik. I don't know how he got the part in that movie, or how they made him look Asian, but that's him. Jk. But Adriatik came to church last week after the sister missionaries in Durres invited him with a text, and I guess he just walked there, which is pretty impressive, because it's kind of a long way! He came to our English class, and he actually knows English really well! We were talking about the names of fruits and vegetables in English, and we said that "Kastravec" means "cucumber," and Adriatik leans over to me and in his Asian-pirate voice says, "Cool as a cucumber!" And I was like, "Yep! Cool as a cucumber!" Haha! After English Course, we taught him a lesson, which I'm not sure if it was the right thing to do, because I think he might have been a little tired, and now we haven't met with him, and that was Thursday. I hope we can meet with him! He actually seems pretty sane for a 65-year old, and had really good answers when we asked him questions in his lesson!
One of our other investigators is named Kopi, and he's cool! He's probably like Dad's age, and he likes joking around with us! It's sad though, because he doesn't have a very good relationship with his family, and because of his wife's health, they are seperated. We joke around that we're going to help him find a new wife sometimes! Kopi is interesting though, the first time we met him, Elder Jaunay was sending someone a text on our phone, and were standing outside the little building where they have institute and seminary, and Kopi walks right up to Elder Jaunay and says he's a member of our church! Well we go talk to him, and turns out he's not actually a member! Haha, I don't know if he was just joshing us, or if he was confused, but he's not a member! But he has met with missionaries before, and has a Book of Mormon! We've tried a couple of times to meet with him, but it's rough. One time we met with him, and we wanted to teach about the Restoration, but after we talked about how the gospel blesses families, which is in the beginning of the Restoration lesson, he says he's gotta go, so we say a prayer and he leaves! So we hope that we can meet with him again.
Aden is a 13-year old boy here that comes to our English Course. He's super cool! He loves clash of clans, and he also plays goalie in futbol! We've got a nice relationship. He's come consistently to English Course for like two weeks now, and he even asked, I think, if he could come to church with us! And he came yesterday! Haha, I felt bad for him though! He speaks pretty good English, and in the middle of Sacrament meeting, he leans over to me and says, "I want to sleep." Hahaha! And I was like, "Të kuptoj," which literally means, "I understand you." Haha, yeah! Right now, I think Aden comes to church and English course because we're just buddies, but I really hope that he will develop a desire to take the lessons.
Finally, Armand. Armand is a miracle. Armand had met with Elder Jaunay and his companion in the last transfer, and a couple of weeks ago, I got to meet with him the first time! He is so cool! I've talked about him a little bit right? Well he's 30 years old, married, and has like a 1-year old daughter named Aurora. Armand is kind of like an Italian gangster! He works at a call center and speaks Italian, and he talks like one a little bit too! In Abanian, when someone is like a homie, we say that they are, "nish." I forgot what it actually means, but basically it means, "you're a homie." When we first met with Armand, he didn't seem to be understanding very well what we were teaching, but Armand seems to have a real desire to keep going. Armand now can name the 5 parts of Gospel of Jesus Christ, and is progressing! He came to church with us, and even came to Halloween also. It is incredible to see Armand progress. This last week, we taught a lesson about Baptism and Confirmation, and I felt so joyful for Armand. I hope literally with all my heart that Armand will read the Book or Mormon, and that he will be converted to this gospel. I am starting to understand how one can feel so much love for those they teach. Armand is so precious, I hope and pray that he will hold on to this gospel.
Speaking of prayer, I have changed the way I pray this week. When I pray now, I feel connected to Heavenly Father, and I try to speak as if I was speaking to Him as if I was looking at him. The power of prayer and the feelings that can come during prayers are powerful.
Anyways though, this week was awesome. I love this work. I love the Plan of Salvation, and my part in the Plan of Salvation! Haha by the way, we had a Halloween Party for the ward on Saturday, and it was kind of awful! We were in charge of having games for the people to play, but sometimes Shqiptar are like people in Nacho Libre. The kind of just sit down and stare at you blankly. Haha not really, but it was rough. Also, the boys here are crazy. Our district all agreed that if we would have had that party in our home wards in Utah or Idaho or California, or New Zealand, it would have been a "huge embarrassing failure." (Tommy Boy) We didn't actually say that, but for real, it was rough. But! The ward loved it! Haha. They celebrate Halloween here, kind of. I'm not sure what they're going to do today, but people dressed up on Saturday, and we had a type of trick-or-treating activity! It's fun. By the way, on October 19th, they celebrated this holiday for Mother Teresa! Apparently she was Albanian! Huh! Anyways, I love you all! I am loving my life here, and learning so much :) Don't forget to send me pictures, please! I love seeing pictures of whatever you all are doing! Love ya!
Elder Shnajdër

Marrëdhënie

Here's your cool Shqip word for the week!  Ok, so in Albanian, we have past participles that we use for certain things. "Marrëdhënie" is the word for relationship. The past participle for "to receive" is "marrë" and the past participle for "to give" is "dhënë". So in Albania, the word for relationship literally means, more or less "a giving and receiving". Think about that! You can pretty much apply that to any of your relationships you have right now, whether it be a marriage, a friendship, with a boss, with a coworker, or most importantly with Heavenly Father. We have a relationship with Heavenly Father. It's easy to think about and to name things that Heavenly Father gives us. They are infinite. It's easy to think about, but not easy to list them all. But what about what we give to our Heavenly Father? We cannot repay Him for everything he has done for us, and we know that after we have spent all our days in His service, we would still be "unprofitable servants." But we know that still, our Heavenly Father wants a "marrëdhënie" with us. Think about that a bit :) I don't have a lot of time, so I'll keep going with the rest of my email, but yeah! Isn't Shqip the coolest!? 

So before I forget, I have some songs that ya'll need to look up! 
First, "Seeking what's good" -EJ Molitalo   It's by this polynesian singer, and he rocks. I know Conrad will like it for sure. and "Nevoj për ju" -Filio Isofaj    It's in Shqip, but it's got a cool beat! And then another song by some polynesian singers called "I will lead you" -Sammy J, Aotea Beazley, Niu Ta'Ala   It's so pretty. Their voices are insane. My companion listens to a lot of poly music, because that's popular in New Zealand, and I really like some of it! Ok, Lauren, Daniel, and everyone else! I say Lauren and Daniel, because I know Lauren likes Christian Rock type music, and Dan likes One Republic! There is a band called Stars Go Dim, and I'm pretty sure it's actually One Republic with a different name. From what I've seen, all their songs are gospel related, but they're incredible! Dan, look up "Walking Like Giants" and check out their other songs! They're so good.

This week was awesome! We had a dinner with a member family, and one of her daughters just returned from BYU-I! Her last name is Arseda Cenollari. She's super cool! Keep an eye out for her when she returns, Conrad! She's cool! Also, I had an exchange this week with Elder Benson who is another "fringo fare." Fringo fare is a nickname we use for missionaries are completely new. It was just me and him in Durres and it was so much fun! Also, we went to a colloseum today, and it was stinking incredible. It felt crazy just to be there!! I felt like I could almost hear these people from thousands of years ago like screaming and watching me battle someone. Wow, it was so cool. Also, we met someone named Floriani this week! Remember female bruce wayne? He's a referral from her, and he's so cool! On a side note, Albainan babies and children are super cute. He's got a baby, and he's a super hard worker, really good guy, and we've got a lesson with him soon, so I better go! Also, I was a little bit sick this week, and we had to stay inside for a day so i could sleep and get over it, and the sister missionaries in our area were talking with one of our investigators named Armand, and he asked the sisters if they could all say a prayer together for me! Wow! That was so cool! And they did! I'm better now, and I gotta go, but i love you all! Be sure to follow the instructions for sending packages if you haven't already. Make sure you don't set the value too high, or I might not receive it. USB, sour patch kids, tortilla chips, gardettos, goldfish, jelly beans, and letters from friends and family is all I desire! Momma, and Conrad HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope Conrad will get his video, and Mom, I was a little bit mixed up with being sick, but I will take a video for you too! IO love you all!
Elder Shnajdër

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Female Version of Bruce Wayne lives in Durres, and She's Like the Best Member Missionary Ever

Ç'bëni!!!! Si keni qenë? Me punë? Me shkoll? A jeni të lodhura? 
Anyways, this week was awesome!! I'm gonna talk first about some of the stuff I've left out lately! I can't remember if I said this already, but there is this place here called "The Pelican", and it is like this gourmet ice cream and sweets place. Holy cow, it is heavenly. It's super crazy here! We live about a ten minute walk from this Pelican place, and right outside our apartment is this farmer's market where people are selling olives, all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and everything, and then we walk down to the Pelican, and they're playing American music, and they have like the best ice cream I've ever tasted, and these super crazy delicious delectable yummy cakes and baked goods that look like they came right out of Food Network. I'll try to remember to take some pictures next time. You wouldn't believe it. It's so good! And, it's not even that expensive! 
In fact, nothing in Shqipëri is expensive. Today, we went to a bakery, bought a loaf of white bread, 6 hot dog buns that were freshly made that day, and are good size, and a croissant with chocolate inside, and it was less than $1.40!!! It's stinkin' cheap here!!!! If anybody starts struggling financially, make your way over to Albania, and you'll be a king. 
However, there are a lot of poor people, and practically everybody either doesn't have work, or they do, and work a lot! It's crazy. These people here are stinkin' hard workers. There's some recent converts that we teach here, named Sindi and Çeleste (I've told you about them, they're incredible), and their Dad works all the time. Whenever we go over there, even if it's like 8 p.m., he is still working on something. It really is inspiring, and yet it makes my heart ache. Sindi and Çeleste live there, and their mom, and I believe they have two step sisters that live in their same house, and then their step sisters have at least one child also. The mom The only people that have beds are Sindi and Celeste. This week, their power was out for two days for some reason, and might still be now. I think it had something to do with the electric company owner. I know they need like $350 dollars to get the power back on, which is a lot here. The mom was saying that the dad works all the time, yet they have no money. She also told me she sleeps on the floor with her grandson. Oh my goodness, they are such amazing people. It is so much fun going over there! They kind of live in a village type set up, because all these boys from all around play together, and it is so cute to see all of them! They had these little tiny guns each with a single plastic bullet that they were playing with, and they were having so much fun with them! It's so fun to go over there, because they family knows us really well, and all the boys like to come up and talk to us! Yesterday, as we were leaving, I shook the hand of this little boy and we were just joking around, and I just shook his hand really hard, and he laughed super loud, and thought it was so funny! Ah man, they're so cool! On a sidenote, they have some pens here that are "Schneider" brand! Ha!
By the way, did I mention before that we're getting a ton of member dinners? It rocks! I need to take more pictures of those too! The members are so cool here. People here love talking. It's kind of a shame, because sometimes we'll be at a dinner appointment for like an hour and a half or more. Whenever we have a dinner appointment, we always teach a lesson, and try to center it around asking for referrals, because a referral from a member is like Christmas! It's the best way to do missionary work. We figure that we should have about as many member referrals as... as... as there are stray dogs in the streets or as many people that smoke in Albania! No kidding, there are so many stray dogs here. They're so sweet though! I don't do it often, but sometimes, I'll pet one, and give it a little hug. This one time, one almost bit my hand. You should have seen it. It was all foamy and cross-eyed, and I was like, "Hey Elder Jaunay! I think this dog wants a pass-a-long card," so I tried to give him a pass-a-long card, but he tried to bite me, so we left. Just kidding about all of that. I hope I scared Jessie and Mom with that. There actually are a TON of stray dogs though! Where was I... Oh yeah! Referrals! If everyone thing went right, and we all had the same understanding, we should be getting more referrals. However, it seems like a lot of the members here have fears about talking to their friends about what they believe. Do you have any advice for that? Or what you do to share the gospel in your life, and what you did on your mission when members were afraid to share the gospel? By the way, Motra Xheka, the female Bruce Wayne is awesome! She's shared the gospel with several friends, who have gotten baptized, and she gave us a referral this week that we plan to meet up with! She's incredible. Other than the fact that she is an incredible member missionary, and has shared the gospel with so many of her friends, she's in her 30's, owns her own construction company, has incredibly strong testimony, and fights crime in Goth-- Durr-- ... Durrthem at night! She's so cool.
 Something that's surprised me since being here is that we spend a lot of time studying and in our appartment. Each day, we're supposed to have 1 hour personal, 2 hours companion study, because there is a program new missionaries do called The First 12 Weeks, and we also have 1 hour language study, and then sometimes we take 2 hours for lunch, since ordinarily we don't take a lot of time for dinner. I was expecting more that we would be working like all day every day, but it's a lot of time indoors. We're being obedient though! We still do work hard, also! Also, guess what, I haven't gone door-to-door tracting once yet! Apparently, it doesn't have a lot of success ordinarily, but I still want to try it! The language is also coming really well! This week we started speaking only in Shqip, and I plan on doing that for the rest of the transfer, and then by then, I hope to have a pretty good grasp that I can just go the rest of the mission! I can tell ya right now that speaking English when I get back is going to be rough. I've decided to do this because I want to be consecrated. I want to learn this language and immerse myself in it so I can start being myself here with this people! When you can't speak the language to these people as well as you'd like, it can be difficult to express yourself in the way you want, but I want to be able to talk, teach, and interact with these people like I would with you all, which is why I'm speaking only in Shqip! 
Anyways, to close, I want to tell you about a man named Anesti that we met this week! We were out contacting people, and Elder Jaunay and I had just finished talking to someone, and we walked by Anesti, and I looked at him, and got the feeling like, "He's different." And I later found out that Elder Jaunay got a feeling that he was ready for the gospel. Well, it turns out those feelings were both real. We stopped and talked to Anesti, and while I couldn't understand a whole lot, we had a lesson, set up a time to meet with him, and left! We met with him on Friday, and taught the first lesson, and invited him to be baptized! And he accepted for November 12th! Then the next day, we taught Plan of Salvation, and invited him to church! And he came! AND we had a lesson later that day and taught him the end part of the Plan of Salvation, and Gospel of Jesus Christ. This guy is incredible. He has a little bit difficulty reading, not just reading the Book of Mormon, but reading in general. I don't think he's been to very much school, but I believe that the feeling I had when we contacted him was real. I cannot deny that. Everything is happening miraculously. It's incredible.
I want to take a moment now, to testify for how my testimony of the Savior has grown this week. As I said earlier, I've been speaking only in Shqip this week. As a result of that, the language has come to me much better. I know that it is because of the Enabling Power of the Atonement and the Gift of Tongues. I had an experience this week that touched me. It was very brief, and in fact only a feeling, but it was profound. We were talking to this man that was sitting outside his barbershop, and we shared a scripture, maybe, or were about to ask if he knew anybody that would be interested in our message, and I was testifying of the Savior, and he kind of interrupted me, and said something about... in fact, Idk what he said, but he pointed to his heart, and his head, and then to his lips, and I understood that to mean that he was saying something about how sometimes it's only our lips that say things, and I tried to tell him that my testimony of the Savior is from my heart, but we started talking about something else. As I told him that my testimony of the Savior is from my heart, I felt a love for my Savior and a confirmation that I know he is real in my heart. I am so thankful for his enabling power in my life. One other quick experience. As I reflected on this experience later this week, I had just looked at some photos of Conrad and Dan, and I was thinking about them, and about how awesome it will be when we get to be back together again! Then later that day, I was thinking about the Savior, and it was incredible, because I had the same feeling in my heart as I did when I was thinking about the Savior as when I was thinking about Conrad and Dan. The feeling being that I can't wait until we are reunited, and about how much joy I will feel. That was a testimony for me that the Savior truly is my brother. I love my Savior, and I know He lives, and has an un-ending, brotherly, perfect love for us. 
I hope you all have an awesome week! I have some requests! How do you make Salsa? I would like a recipe for that, and other easy, simple recipes for dinners we could make here! Also, a recipe for cookies. Also, if you all could take pictures of whatever is going on in your life, and send them to me, that would rock! I love seeing them! Oh, and momma, for my birthday package, my main desires would be sour patch kids, goldfish, On the Border chips and salsa if possible, letters from the family and friends and whoever else is in town, and... Jelly Belly Jelly Beans! And anything else that would either make me laugh, or that you think I would like! OH! And twizzlers! Honestly, if you sent me like stinkin' a bunch of that stuff, that would rock. I would have a lot of fun with that :)
I hope you liked the email! I'm so sorry, I'm out of time, but I'll try to email individually next week! Love you all!
-Elder Shnajdër

Friday, October 14, 2016

October 10, 2016

Yo what's up family, and Gehrig, Casey, Lauren, Ammon, and Claire?

This week was better than last week! I'm getting a little bit better at talking to people and a little bit better with the small talk and stuff! Last week I was scared out of my pants, kind of, to talk to people and contact. For a few reasons. Obviously, I'm still learning Shqip, so I don't know completely if something I say makes sense, because not everything translates exactly, and still I understand maybe like 15%-20% of what some people say. Sometimes it's less, sometimes it's more! Haha but I'm getting a little better at talking to people, and street contacting and finding people. One morning, I talked to this lady by myself that was selling tortillas, and it was sweet! Because Elder Jaunay is great at talking to people, and usually if I want to talk, I kind of just have to jump in, which isn't a problem, because that's how Shqiptar are. They like to talk a lot, which sometimes is ok! And then on Tuesday, I got this guys number all by myself! Haha, it kind of feels like I'm a kid again, because I get so excited when I do things "all by myself!" (Brian Regan) Also on Tuesday, we got like 4 referrals from people on the street, which rocked. Also, I'm getting a little better at understanding people on the phone! I had a full phone call all by myself this week also! Woot! Way fun. Haha, Dad, I konw you in particular will like this. I was talking to this one guy on the sidewalk, and I was trying real hard to understand him, and it wasn't going so well, but he said something and that started laughing, and so I just started laughing too, and I remember kind of making this Fletch-face that he makes when he's impersonating someone. My eyes just got all big, and I just laughed and smiled kinda cheesily, but I had, and still have no idea what he said! Haha, but ya know what? S'ka problem! I find that when I laugh off my mistakes, and smile more, the work is way more fun, and I don't get down on myself. 

So remember Familja Dalipaj from last week? Well Renato, the 20-year old son came to conference on Sunday! It was way cool to see him on Sunday! We are hoping to start teaching just him and his brother, because their parents really like talking about politics and about how hard life is. I don't mean to sound insensitive at all, but they probably would literally talk for an entire hour if we let them, and we are there to teach about Christ. We have tried to tell them that the gospel can bless us temporally and eternally, but they don't seem to understand that. My point is that we are going to start teaching their two sons who are reading the book of mormon and making some progress! I'm excited for them. Also, we have an English course here that we teach! That's pretty cool! It's a super great way of finding people too! 

So this week, it rained pretty hard a couple days! It was awesome. I love it when it rains! It's so nice. We had one lesson with Sindi and Çeleste and one of their friends name Xhesi (pronounced Jessie) and I told her that my sister is named Jessie! But yeah, we were teaching, and they are pretty poor. They have a house that they sleep in and live in most of the time (I'm actually not sure how nice it is), but we teach them in this little room with a tin roof, and it started raining, and we were like candle-lit, and it was like dripping water, and we were teaching the Restoration, and I was saying the First Vision, and AUGH! It was just so cool. This sounds like a classic missionary story, and that's exactly what it is! And it was so much fun! Xhesi was actually invited by Sindi and Çeleste, and Elder Jaunay and I invited her to be baptized in the first lesson. Right now she's pretty quiet, and it's a little bit difficult to tell if she has a sincere desire to follow these things, but we are definitely hoping for that. Anyways, though, it was way fun! Also, we had like 5 dinners at members houses this week! It was stinkin' awesome!! Haha so in Albania, or at least in Durres, they have like 2-3 course dinners, but they aren't exactly like a 3-course meal you'd think of from a fancy restaurant. First they'll have the entree, and I usually ate that up pretty quick, because I was hungry, but then if you finish, they offer you more, and you may or may not want some, and you may or may not tell them that, but  for me, I would usually get more. But this is where they trick you, because you think, oh yeah, I got room in my stomach! Bring it on, and so you have seconds, but then round 2 comes on! Fruit! I think like every family this week after we had entree brought out various fruits that we would eat after we had the entree! It was sweet! But often, you just don't have room. That's why you gotta eat strategically. Haha and occasionally they'll have some kind of dessert also! I'm getting fed like a king here :) And also, it's super stinkin cheap for groceries and everything. You can buy an entire loaf of good bread that is similar to GH bread for like less than a dollar. Groceries are super cheep too. And there is this sweets place here called the Pelican, and they have like gourmet ice cream and little cakes and stuff, and it's cheap, and delicious. But anyways, back to the members, I had an idea earlier this week. I'm in Albania, and right now there are around 600 active members in the entire country. Therefore, if the members and missionaries were both on the same page and had the same vision to work together, we should be getting member referrals like nothing. We've kind of made it a goal to turn that around here, because member referral lessons with the members are the best way to teach investigators. That's also the reason we've been doing a little bit more contacting and that kind of thing this week. We actually don't go door-to-door tracting. I've heard it's because that's what Jehovah's Witness do and the people don't have a great relationship with them, but I'm not sure if that's the only reason. But that is ok! I am in fact enjoying contacting a lot more than last week! This week was awesome with me for that, and I was actually excited this week to go contacting!

I made a goal this week to be more friendly with people. I don't want to be exactly like Elder Jaunay, but I love his example of how friendly he is with so many people, and I want to develop that in the way i interact with people. I had a really cool personal revelation come to me this week. We were listening to a talk Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave in the General Women's session, and he said this, "Faith is not to change God's will, but to empower us to act on God's will." I loved that, because occasionally I'll just pray straight up that I can be happy and have success, but I don't always consider that it is through and because of my trials that I am able to really find eternal happiness. Everything in this work is with God's timing. Including the amount of success we have in a day. Maybe it is not God's will for us to get a thousand referrals, but maybe that is because in this trial, we are able to learn something that will prepare us later in our missions, or lives to be able to serve Him more effectively. Maybe if I pray for happiness and strength, and I don't feel happy or strong that day, Heavenly Father may be withholding blessings for a time, because it is preparation for me to receive eternal blessings, or eternal happiness, and eternal strength. It was incredible. I've changed the way I pray now. Instead of asking straight up for me to be happy and to have strength, I pray for those things if it be His will. Incredibly powerful for me this week.

Fam, I'm gonna each email you individually because you all sent very helpful emails, and I want to address you directly. Well... Almost everyone... (*cough, cough* Daniel) But s'ka gjë! I know Dan is busy gettin' swoll, and building chicken coops, so I understand! :) But seriously, I love you Dan :)

I love you all! I'll probably send a package home, so let me know if you want anything from here! Love you!

-Elder Shnajder

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016 More photos









October 3, 2016

Also, in that last email with the picture of Elder Harris and I, that was us in this little hotel room next to the mission home, because since we had so many missionaries in our group, President rented a little hotel that actually was a bar on the ground floor, and we stayed in the various rooms, and Elder Harris and I got to stay in this room that had these random shower sandals, and these sharp pipes sticking out of the ground, and some of the light switches didn't work, and the shower was really small, and the toilet pipes leaked..... It was so much fun! 








October 3, 2016

So this guy on the plane, I first started talking to him because this toddler next to him was really cute, and I was like, what's his name? (This is in Shqip, by the way.) It turns out it wasn't his child, it was actually the lady's next to him! Well we started talking about his family and whatnot, and we connected really well! Elder Wood and I ended up talking about the Book of Mormon, and we gave him a Book of Mormon with our testimonies! It rocked! It was a big confidence booster for me before we got there. Hopefully something comes of that. He was on his way to visit some friends in Kosovo, because he actually lives in France currently. I left my email though, so we'll see!



October 3, 2016

Wow. Remember how before I left it felt like it wasn't real? Well it feels like that again, and I'm even IN Albania!!! Doesn't make sense, but really!

Yep! I am now in Albania! It is wild. This is like nothing I've ever, ever experienced. We live in Durres, which is about 10-15 minutes from the coast! It's beautiful here in a special kind of way. In the way of like nature-beauty, it's a little sparce. But I think it is beautiful, because I've never seen these people before, and we live literally right outside this farmer's market type thing. They have fresh fruit, veggies, olives (there's a lot of olives), fish (we don't eat them), and other stuff. So yeah! I've had a bunch of the traditional food so far! Elder Jaunay was really good at helping me try all the cool Albanian food! I've had suflaqe which is like the albanian equivalent of a hamburger. It's in a little pita tortilla, and it's got chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sour cream (I think), some red sauce, and then french fries IN the suflaqe! It was stinkin' delicious, and they eat it with a little plastic pitch fork-looking thing. Haha it was awesome! I also had Byrek (pronounced Burek, kind of), and that was sweet! You can have either like spinach, meat and onion, or cheese, and it's in this crumbly little bun thing, and it rocked! Their ice cream here is so good, and so cheep! Everything here is incredibly cheap. Like, we are going to be well fed for the next two years. It's so cheap to live here. There's only poverty because there are a ton of people that don't work. I had fasule today! (Foss-oo-lay) that was good. It was like a bean soup thing. OH! I had Dhalle. Yuck. So gross. Dhalle is a drink made up of water, yogurt and salt, basically. I don't know exactly how it is prepared to be ready to sold, but yeah. It tastes about as good as it sounds. Pronounced "thall, (in Albanian, Dh makes a "th" sound like in "they" as opposed to in "thaw"). We had some weird fruit yesterday that probably could have been in the garden of eden. It actually wasn't that good, but it looked super cool! 

 It's wild. In the middle of the day, people are just stinkin' everywhere on the street selling whatever they can get their hands on. I've seen people selling what looked like just chargers for stuff, a bunch of knick knacks, "the kind of stuff you'd throw away!" -Weird Al, shoes (people are selling sandals and high heels all over). It's actually kind of sad though, because in the part of the city where we live, it's pretty poor. We have this one family we teach, and their name is "Dalipaj" (pronounced "dolly-pie"), and they are probably the poorest i've seen here yet. We've taught them at there house twice since i've been here. On the first time, Elder Jaunay invited them all to be baptized, and I think like 5 of them said yes! There are two parents, three boys, and one girl. The oldest boy had an accident when he was younger, and is now blind in one eye, and doesn't really have any fingers on his right hand. A firework blew up while he was holding it, and a piece went in his eye. It's super sad. But so we went over there on Saturday, and we watched the restoration video, because we taught it in the lesson before, and we were going to teach about the Plan of Salvation this lesson. So we watch the video on that little tiny portable DVD player you'll see in my video, and one of the sons seemed to really like it, but after the video, the father started talking about politics and money or something, and basically, we tried to tell him that the gospel blesses us eternally, and that when we first seek to follow the commandments, that God will provide. That didn't work so much. While all this was going on, I was just listening, because this guy has like 0 teeth I'm pretty sure! So I just sat there and listened to my companion try to teach this guy. It was rough, and definitely could have gone like a thousand times better. I found some cool stuff in PMG, and hopefully things will go better next time.

I've adjusted really well to the time change! I was actually like fine. I didn't really notice any problem, at all really. We met President and Sister Weidmann on Wednesday, and they are awesome! We didn't spend a lot of time with them, but they seem super loving! I'm really looking forward to spending more time with him :) We got to Durres about like 3 or 4 o'clock on Thursday, but it feels like I've been here for months. It's unbelievable. Time is the weirdest thing here. Also, Elder Jaunay is awesome! He is from New Zealand, and this is only his second transfer! He was in the MTC group right before me! He trained in Durres, and now he's training me, and he is awesome. He knows the language really well, and helps me so much. He's like super chill, and probably one of the most friendly, loving, warm people I've ever met. He's really able to connect with everyone we teach, and it's so great! He is an amazing teacher as well, very engaging. He's super cool awesome because he's like a bro! He the oldest of 6, 5 boys and 1 baby sister, and he loves his brothers more than almost everything, so it's super cool, because we both love our brothers so much. He's incredible. He's so generous and gives of his time, and his food, and everything for me. He's pretty much the coolest!

Also, people here are so kind! Pretty much whoever we talk to is willing to help me with my Albanian. They are so kind here. It's still pretty scary going street contacting though. Whew. I understand that's important to try to set up a bond with them, because when you just go like, "Hi we have a message about Jesus!" It's not very effective. So that's something I wanna get better at for sure! The small talk here is something I want to get better at! When it comes to lessons and testifying, I do pretty well there, but when it comes to talking just about normal stuff, it's pretty rough! I'm learning though! It's also stinkin' hard because people here talk fast, and don't pronounce their words as clearly as they do in the MTC, and it also doesn't help, because a lot of people here are missing teeth! So there's that! Elder Jaunay says that understanding will come with time though. Overall, I'm doing well! Another cool thing, we've been teaching these two girls named Sindi and Çeleste (Ç = Ch). Elder Jaunay and his trainer baptized them last transfer, and they are incredible! Çeleste bore her testimony yesterday, and it was awesome. We are helping to prepare them to go to the temple, which is in Switzerland! They are 15 and 16, so they'll do baptisms, but they're so excited! It's amazing to see the miracles that can happen through the Atonement. 

Oh yeah! We've had dinners at some members houses already, which rocked! We also had dinner at the Stake President's house! That was sweet! His wife is American, so they're children are half Albanian, half American, and they are so cute! They know English and Shqip, so it's super cute to hear their toddler say "Uji!" Which is "water" in Shqip. But yeah, we've got a ton of member dinners lined up this week. Elder Jaunay was saying that our mission does not get very many referrals, and this is my thought. There's like 2,400 members in Albania, total, right? Not even all of those are active, therefore pretty much everyone these members know are non-members, so there should be no real excuse that we're not getting wheelbarrows full of referrals! I've made it a goal of mine to turn that around here, because teaching an investigator with a member who is already there friend is like the best scenario. We're gonna work hard! 

Dad and Mom, 
Thank you for your counsel from your emails! It was so nice to talk to you two last week! Momma, I'm so sorry that we couldn't talk for as long as we wanted! I felt real bad afterwards, and I'm really sorry for that! Thanks again for your emails though! This week and last both had things that I really could learn from. Thank you, and I love you so much!

Conrad,
Dude, I'm sorry about Heather. Ugh. That stinks, man. I think it's super cool how you continue to learn right now though, and thanks for sharing it with me, too, dude! Thank you for your counsel, as well. Everyone's counsel came at a great time!

Daniel, You're stinking 5' 10"!? No way! You're taller than me, already!? Wow. I'm ready to take you on! I don't sweat you! But I am sweating right now. It's really hot in this internet cafe. It's all dark, and there's a bunch of Albanians playing League of Legends or something and they're screaming Albanian at each other, and it's pretty cool! 

Aight, Fam. I've got two requests.
1. Can someone tell me some of our family history on our german side? Because sometimes when we meet people, they see my name, and they're like, "Shnajder! Gjermanisht!" And Elder Jaunay is like, "Yeah! He's from Germany!" And then I'm like, "Haha no, but my family is!" And then I don't know what to say after that, because I don't know as much about that side, but can you let me know some of that so I can tell some people something?
2. When have you had to do something you didn't want to do, but you did it anyway? Because right now, in order to obtain a lot of the growth I'm seeking for, I know i'm going to have to be out of my comfort zone, but I don't want to, ya know! It's freaky! I'd love some counsel for that.

By the way, on this computer, I can't go back and edit really, so if I want to add something, I just put it in in the end! I forgot to tell you this cool story about Elder Jaunay! We were looking for the sisters in our area, and there was this guy smoking, and we started talking to him! Elder Jaunay talked to him for a while, and after a bit, we got onto the topic of smoking, and Elder Jaunay asked him for this cigarette that was behind his ear, and he didn't give it to him, so Elder Jaunay grabbed it, and asked him if he could destroy it, and after a while, he consented, and he destroyed his cigarette! It was just awesome, because I was able to see an example of how bold Elder Jaunay is! It was stinkin awesome. And we still had a good relationship with the man by the time we left, it seemed like! So cool.

Anywho, I reckon that's about it! I know that this is the work of Salvation, and that I am called to invite these people to Christ. I know that this is the best possible thing that could ever happen to these people. Think. What else could I offer to these people that would bring them more security, love, happiness, and joy than this gospel? I know of no such thing. Know that I am doing well, and that I love you all. I am doing great over here. No homesickness :) I love you all so much! 
-Elder Schneider