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


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