Sunday, January 22, 2017

January 16, 2016


Mirëmbrëma familja ime! This week was a good one, but tough! The work has been a little bit sparce recently, but I'm trying hard to learn still and to do what I can to hasten the work!

Monday: We met with Motra Xheka, who has two girls under the age of 5 and her husband works in Germany, and taught a lesson about temples, and gave her a picture of the rome temple, since that will be the closest one for Albanians when it's finished!

Tuesday: We started English Course again and found some awesome people! Tomis and Aleks seemed real sincere and were asking good questions about the Plan of Salvation. Also, Mateu, a recent convert showed up at the institute center one day because he didn't have school, and just wanted to be taught! That is the hand of the Lord. We have wanted to meet with him for a while, but we didn't have success before, and he just came! It was cool. He's a good kid.

Wednesday: We met with a person that we contacted out of our Area book named Bledi, and had a lesson! He's a crane driver!

Thursday: We met another cool guy at English Course named Shikim Moshallari, and he's intermediate with English right now. I got to teach him English one on one, and it was cool! A lot of members have been found through English course, so I've got high hopes for these people we met. We also had another lesson with the Farrici's, and they're awesome. I feel like I have a good relationship with the Dad in their family :)

Friday: We met up with Festim again! Woot! He's had work, and hasn't been able to come to church for nearly a month, but he's quitting Tuesday. It's incredible. He has no fallback, his wife is pregnant, and they're living with his dad, but he's still quitting so he can find better work. Festim's faith is so incredible.

Saturday: I felt like this: (I sent this to my mission President) This week has been good! I've felt a little bit down though. I've been reflecting on my time here in Durres and what I have accomplished. I did not baptize anyone, which troubled me a bit. The ward in Durres has lessened in church attendance while I've been here also. I know it wasn't because of me, but I still was troubled that the ward activity hasn't been strengthened while I've been here. Right now we have 1 investigator with a baptismal date, and our teaching pool is a little bit sparce. I'm troubled because I can't tell if these problems are a result of anything I have done or not done. This morning, however, as I was reflecting, I felt in my heart that I have given almost all my heart, might, mind, and strength. There have been times that I haven't been completely focused, but I have given this work my all in these past 4 months. I also have grown to love the Savior more, and understood more about my purpose to teach repentance and baptize converts. I know this work is the Lord's work, and I know that He directs His work. I know that all things are in the Lord's timing. I want to learn the lessons the Lord wants me to learn, and regardless if I see the fruits of my work, I will stay faithful to the Lord, my Savior, Jesus Christ. Occasionally, I feel that I could do something different to work more effectively, I just don't know what that thing is! Do you have any counsel for this President?

The work here is hard, but I'm trying. Do you all have any counsel?

Sunday: I met with this kid named Arian, who totally has been prepared to receive the gospel. He loves the church, and has a heart of gold, and told me that on Sunday he was in Tirane, which is about 35 minutes from Durres, and he got up in the morning and thought, "It's Sunday. You should go to church." So he asked his Aunt to drive him to Durres, and he came! He said himself that God has changed his heart. This kid is amazing. I hope his parents will let him be baptized.

Grandma, I heard you're a little bit sick! I want you to know that I'll be praying for you in every prayer. I love you so much, and miss you a lot. I can feel the influence that your example has had in my life. Love you so much, Grandma!

Daniel, what the heck happened to your hand!?

Conrad, How's your internship? Thank you for your advice!

Jessie, Thanks for those pictures! Whatcha doing now? Where are you?

Momma, Thank you for always emailing me! I look forward to it each week :) I love you so much!

Daddoo, Thanks for your funny emails last week! I'll be praying for you and mom this week!

Claire, I'm so excited for your mission! Thank you for your incredible example and leadership for me :)

Gehrig, You're a dunce stool.

Casey: You're a dunce hat.

Ammon: You're a stud.

Dillon: You're yll fare.

Love you all!

Elder Schneider

January 9, 2017

"Thank you, but it's too cold to learn English."

Wooooooo doggy! How's my family!? How is Idaho? Is the weather still crazy there? I remember that you had like a crazy storm warning or something there for Christmas, right? If it is, I'm not too surprised! It snowed here on Thursday, and there is still snow on the ground here! It hasn't snowed for 7 years in Durres, and when it did it was only there for like a day, and then it melted! It's mostly gone, there's just a good amount of ice now.

Anyways, this week was a good'n!

Monday- We had another Family Home Evening with the Farrici family, which are part less active. It's been awesome getting to know them. They live pretty far from the church, so it's a pretty long walk, and I think that's one of the main reasons they don't come, but they also had a concern with the bishop. If someone is less active here in Albania, the problem often is either something with leadership or financial problems. It's sad. Satan takes advantage of the fact that the economy is bad here, and uses it to lead people away. And of course he uses pride as well, which is almost always the problem with leadership. The Farrici Family is awesome though. They have strong testimonies, are really sweet, and always accept us when we call to set up an appointment!

Tuesday- We had District Meeting, where we talked about inviting to people to be baptized in the first lesson, and I'll talk more about that later. We also met with the Rristo family. He was the Branch President, but went inactive after he was released. They've got a few problems, but mostly it is pride. Apparently this has happened a couple times before. Leaders will get released and then after will fall inactive. It stinks man! Haha, sorry, this is kind of a dark start to an email. It gets better!

Wednesday- Albanians really don't like the cold. It "stops" a lot of people from coming to church and lessons, and a lot of people are also inside. We did however teach Andon Shkodra on Wednesday so at least we had one lesson! I did have a cool personal revelation however. President Weidmann has challenged us to read the BoM in one month focusing on Teaching Repentance and the Atonement! As I was reading Lehi's dream I felt that I needed to use the Book of Mormon more to help others come unto Christ. In Lehi's dream, it leads straight to the Tree of Life. It wasn't the persuasions of Lehi, or how well he could teach, but it depended on how tightly they held to the Rod of Iron or "Shufra e Hekurit" in Albanian. The Book of Mormon really is the most true of any book on Earth. I've read the Book of Mormon more in these last 3 and a half months than I ever have, and I'm coming to understand and to feel the power it contains. They are fewer better uses of your time than to read the Book of Mormon.

Thursday- We met with Tiku again, but this guy had to work a 17-hour day so we shared D&C 121:7-9 and told him about how he has a Heavenly Father, and that his trials will only be a moment, and that we, his friends, stand by him. Tiku rocks. I think he'll be baptized. He just works a ton. Then that night we had a dinner with the Kurti Family, and we ate like gluttons. Literally, it was like a full plate of food, I had maybe 4 or 5 pieces of pizza, bacclava, and before that I ate 5 fish sticks and peas and corn at our house. It was rough. But it was great! The people here are really friendly and nice! I was able to carry a conversation with Brother Kurti throughout the night, which is just another testament to me for how the Lord has shaped me since I've been here.

Friday- We had Zone Training where they taught about extending the baptismal invitation in the first lesson. Before, I did not feel confident that extending an invitation to be baptized was the right thing to do in most cases. I feel now that is in most cases, one of the best things I can do to accomplish my purpose as a missionary to invite others to come unto Christ by being baptized. What Conrad said in his email was awesome. I feel more now that Baptism should be at the forefront of nearly every lesson I have with the people I teach. I know that the blessings of Baptism are for every single child of God. I have faith that when we teach with the Spirit, openly, and direct for baptism as early as possible, they will understand why we are here, and they will be more likely to progress. I was really excited after that training to go and teach and find people! Afterwards, we had a lesson with Martin, the bodybuilder. He has had a baptismal date before, but didn't progress. We talked about it, and after some discussion, he didn't show desire to learn or be baptized, so we decided to drop him as an investigator. He still came to church, and will probably come to English Course, though!

Saturday- So in the morning, we had a lesson fall through, so we went and handed out English Course fliers! We went down by the city center, and then as we were making our way back, instead of taking the main boulevard, we went to this other road, because it seemed like it had more younger people! Haha! So we're going down this road, and near the intersection we were going to take, Elder Cox says to this one lady, "Free English Course!" And she says, "I already speak English perfectly!" So I started talking to her in English, and I tell her I'm from America, and then she asks which state, and I tell her Idaho! Then she gets excited and says, "Idaho Falls!?" "Yeah!" And then she tells me of this one family that is with a protestant church there or something, and i don't know them, but then she said that her daughter is in school, EITC, in Idaho Falls, Irla Doçi. HA! So I tell her that I've been emailing Irla, and that my mom is in Irla's class! So we took pictures, and then she sent them to Irla it looks like! So I gave her a pass along card with our number, and she said that in May when Irla returns to Durres, she'll give us a call. I asked for her number, but she didn't give it to me. I think she was thinking I needed it to receive the picture, but she said she'd just send it to Irla! So right now we don't have her number, but MOMMA! Can you ask Irla for her mom's number? I'll definitely call her and try to set up an appointment when we can meet again. This doesn't seem like a coincidence to me anymore. We've gotta do something about this. Woot! This is so exciting! So later that day, we get a call from the Assistants to the President, and they tell us that we won't have a car anymore! So we drive up to Rrogozhine and give the car to some other Elders, and then they drive us back! Also, I gave Sindi Tahiri a blessing because she was sick this week! It was my first blessing I'd ever given in Albania. It was dang cool.

Sunday- We taught this man that has a problem with smoking, a member, about the temple, and gave him a picture of the Rome temple, and helped him to set a commitment to prepare himself for the temple. We haven't taught about the temple a whole lot since I've been here, so it was so cool to talk about the peace I feel inside the temple, and to promise blessings that are eternal. It was also really cool to promise that he can become worthy with the Lord's help to enter the temple one day. I know the power of the Atonement is real and applicable for each of us. I love this work. I love how I am growing. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, and that this gospel is for every single inhabitant in Earth. I know that the Elect are in Albania, and I'm trying to find them. Grandma, I love you! And I love you all also! :)

Elder Shnajdër

January 2, 2017

Na, Na, Na, Na na naaaaa.....

Gezuar per shume vjet! Happy New Years, fam! How was it? What did you all do? Watching Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Star Wars 7 and part of Lord of the Rings 3 was awesome! But I'll talk about that later!

This Tuesday was a good day! We met with these two teenagers named Jurgen and Devitt. It was interesting meeting Jurgen the first time. The first time, he and his friend, Amarildo came up to me while we were doing street contacting, and his friend Amarildo asks, "How innocent can one person be?" I was a little taken back, and my first thought was that they were just trying to tease me, so I didn't really pay attention to it, but they stayed and asked it again, so I talked to them a little bit, and they actually weren't just being doofuses! So we got their numbers, and we met with Jurgen this week! It was incredible! We met, gave them some copies of the Book of Mormon, and they said they'll meet with us again! Jurgen said something about some bad stuff happening at his house, and he said he wants to learn more about Jesus Christ, if I remember right. It was sweet! I can testify, that if you're trying your best to do your duty, the Lord will help you to fulfill your purpose, and accomplish your goals. We weren't all that successful with people we talked to ourselves, but had we not been where we were that day, we may not have met with Jurgen for a long time. The Lord is here in the work, and He is guiding His missionaries. It is in His way, and in His timing.
We also met with a man named Armando this week. He's homeless, but it was a good first lesson. It was rough after the second lesson though. The second lesson, he talked a lot about money, and he was a little bit upset that the church here doesn't give homeless people food and things like that like some other churches do. Then after the second lesson, he sent us a message that said that he was at the institute center and asked us if we could give him 20 bucks so he could go to Tirane. Obviously we told him we couldn't. After that, we didn't really complain a whole lot for anything. We used to complain because the heater in our living room doesn't work, but now, we are more thankful that we have a living room and a bed and a fridge with food. Meeting someone who is homeless puts things into perspective.
On Thursday, we had a training from President Weidmann for all the District Leaders. He gave us a commitment there to invite all investigators to be baptized in the first lesson, and he asked us how we are at doing this, and why we don't do it sometimes. I said that sometimes I feel like I will scare off people if I invite them to be baptized in the first lesson. He was a little bit taken back when I said this. He explained that really, we don't have anything to lose if we do this, and that Baptism is not a bad thing. I just feel sometimes like with the way the lesson is going, sometimes it would be better to wait. Do you all have any counsel for that? Especially Conrad and Dad?
We also met with the Bishop this week to talk about Home Teaching. This week in District Meeting, we talked about how every member needs a friend, an assignment, and nourishment by the Word of God. Home teaching is an incredible way to accomplish these three things, and it's not happening so much here. I don't know why we didn't capitalize on this before, but Elder Cox pointed it out, so we'll be working on that this week.
Haha so New Years! We had to be in at 4 o'clock, and we were! We just had like literally 5 seconds before it became 4:01! It was great! My companion had not seen Star Wars 7 yet, so we tried to watch that, but it wasn't working with the USB or with the DVD we bought. Crud. So we watched Secret Life of Walter Mitty first, and then we called President, not thinking that he would let us go to the institute center and let us use the computer there to redownload it, but he did! So we went there, undercover, and we watched it, and it was awesome! It was scary though! I felt like Jason Bourne when we were outside past 4 o'clock, because it's pretty dangerous with the fireworks here, but we were fine. The fireworks were incredible though. I'll send pictures and videos next week.
Check out 1 Ne. 7:12. I read that yesterday, and had a thought that I need to keep in mind the miracles the Lord has done. I am learning Albanian and preaching the gospel in a nation I had hardly heard about 1 year ago. I also had the thought that everything is according to the will of the Lord. It may be according to His will that we try to figure somethings out on our own. For example, I would love to be the best street contacter I can be right now, but I know I'll learn a whole lot in the process of seeking to improve.
Also, real quick!
Mom, Thank you so much for your email :) Say hi to Grandma for me. I hope she's alright! I'm always so proud of you, momma!
Conrad, Where are the pictures man!? Also, remember these quotes, "Jimmy! JIMMY!!! JIVBEEF!!!" "'Why the long faces guys?' 'I was born this way.'"
Claire, Yeah! When is Matthew coming!? Durres is such an amazing place to vizit they totally should at least for a day!
I love you all! I know the Lord lives and has conquered death and sin and has set an example for us to follow and find peace! :)Elder Schneider

December 26, 2016

Pashë një Gomar Sot... (Put that into google translate)

Oh, my family! Holy cow. That was the best present ever yesterday. I have missed your sense of humor SO MUCH!! I didn't even realize until yesterday, but dang. Those were the best 49 minutes I've had in a while! It had just the right amount of tears, and dang I laughed a lot. I love you all so much. I'm pumped to see you and talk to you all again, which will probably be Conrad's wedding! I bet President will let me Skype in for your wedding! When are you planning that anyway? Oh man, that was soooooooo fun yesterday! Wow. I love you all so much :)

I was thinking earlier this week about the song, "If the Savior Stood Beside Me." Serving my mission, I feel more like a disciple of Christ, and I thought about how I'm literally doing the Lord's work. I thought about how it must have been for the apostles of the Savior during his mortal ministry. They walked with the Savior, taught people with the Savior, and I'm sure were watching his every move learning from Him every single second, and being strictly obedient, being patient, doing their very best to exercise Charity, forgiving others, and seeking to please their Savior. I hadn't thought about all of this before, but now, typing this out, I want to be like the disciples of old, seeking to follow their Savior literally, step by step, and also in character.

Also, this week, we taught some more Islamic people, and two in specific were strictly against the doctrine that Jesus Christ IS the Son of God. I feel the best way to handle those kind of situations, which I failed to do is to testify that you do know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, the Only Begotten Son of God, and move on. It's real tough to talk it through with them, and frankly, I don't know if it would change how they think. But I know that when we testify, the Spirit is there, and I know that the Spirit is what changes hearts, definitely not our limited knowledge. This week was great, because we were even more focused on the Savior than normal. I got to think about the fact that Jesus Christ actually was born the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father. Before in my life, this fact wasn't disputed. But this week, I talked to people who were sure that God can not be the Father of us all, and surely He can not be the actual physical Father of Jesus Christ. However, I am a witness that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of Our Eternal Loving Father, and He lives today. He directs His church. He directs His missionaries, all His children when they allow Him. I have no doubt that He is my Savior, and that my salvation is possible, my peace is ensured only because of the merits of my Savior, Redeemer Jesus Christ.

Also, we met a sweet investigator this week! His name is Petrit Xhoka! We were taking pictures the other day after church, and he just walked in and asked about what kind of programs we have for children, and he said he wants to come one day. So we got his number, he came to church, and then we met with him on Thursday! He's grown up having faith in God, and he's read parts in the Bible, and he's read the Book of Mormon, and he's prayed plenty of times, and he's felt the spirit before in his life. It really seems like he's been prepared. So we taught him about the restoration, and the lesson was sweet. I really felt the Spirit strong. I'll let ya know what happens with him!

On Friday, I had an exchange, with another elder from England, Elder Miller! It was awesome! I learned a lot from him. One of the things I learned is that it's really important to testify throughout the lessons, rather than just at the end. That way the Spirit is there throughout the lesson, and can testify to the people we teach. It was in a lesson with Adriatik "Tiku" Lisha that I learned this. Adriatik is 24, and we met him one day when we were searching for a place to play volleyball! Haha, we weren't even doing street contacting, but Elder Jaunay just said hi to him and we talked and got his number! Now he has a baptismal date, and is progressing! He can't come to church right now, because of work, but he has read at least one time from the Book of Mormon on his own at home. He also has told us that he wants to meet with us so that he can find the right path for his life. WOOT. He's sweet. He even came to the Christmas activity! That Christmas activity was awesome! We had members from several wards and branches in Albania, and it was great! We had some nonmembers, less actives, and we got the numbers for some nonmembers that we're planning to meet this week!

So today, was a full P-day! We went to this really small city called Shetaj that is north of Durres! It was about a 1-hour drive, and it was just SO beautiful. I almost can't believe this is my mission. I saw the Adriatic Sea, a castle that was around the time of Skenderbeu, an old Catholic church, a beautiful cliff and beach, and AUGH! It was just too beautiful. I am so privileged that I get to serve here. :)

I love you all so much! I know that we are an Eternal Family. We are so, so blessed. I know Jesus Christ lives. He is my Leader :) Love you all!

Elder Schneider

P.S. Don't forget to incorporate some of the ideas from the Light the World challenge into your lives! I know that you will come closer yourself to the Savior, and help others do the same! :)

December 19, 2016

Gëzuar Krishtlindjen!
I had a sweet week! I can tell you more about it on Sunday!!!! WHEW!!!! Elder Cox rocks. Rhyme. Also, I was thinking this week. Do you know what this means? I had a companion from NZ, one from England, and my mission president is from Switzerland. That means we can travel to all those places and stay for free! Ha! 

Also, yesterday, we had a lesson with a less active family, and it was real rough. The parents were yelling and arguing and the mom was crying, and we 4 missionaries were there, and their 9-year old daughter. They've got a whole lot of problems. It just strengthened my gratitude that we have an eternal family. It is such an incredibly drastic difference from what I'm used to. I am so SO grateful for our eternal family, and I'm so pumped to talk to you all! The skype address we'll use is either xhozef.anhel or 

I'll see you on Sunday! I love you!

Elder Shnajdër

December 12, 2016


Hahahahaha!!!! Dangit! So there's this guy that we always see around Durres and he doesn't have any teeth, and he always has a cigarette, and we always run into him in some of the weirdest places! That one time we were searching for building 696, he just liked emerged out of the shadows, and he was like, "Mirëmbrëma!" Hahaha! Dang, I wish I could tell these stories in person, because this doesn't even seem funny now. I promise it's funny!

E Hënë- We had a stinking awesome FHE at the house of a half-less-active/half-active family! It was awesome! We had a lesson, played Uno, I got trashed, and we ate a tort, which is like a cake, but it doesn't taste good. I'm getting chubby. It's official. I remember the first week here when I ate, I used to almost not be able to handle the whole meal, but now I have room still after the meal! I've got a little bit more love on my love handles now. A little more top on the top of the muffin if ya know what I mean. But I'm still gonna beat you in the face, Daniel and Conrad! Also, Elder Jaunay for some reason hasn't had as much room in his stomach lately, and at that FHE, he was having a rough time with the tort, and he actually dropped his fork on accident on their carpet twice, and then he dropped his cake on their little coffee table, and we just about died laughing. Oh man. I'm still laughing.

E Martë- Oh boy. So tuesday was sweet. We had a lesson with the landlord of our little appartment building and gave them a book of Mormon! Ha how sweet is that! we'll keep in touch with them. I hope they will read it! Also, we're teaching the Albanian weight-lifting champion right now! Haha! He called one day and asked about English Course, and then he came a little early while we teaching Aden, and we tried to give Aden a baptismal date, but he said he wasn't sure about it still. Martin (weight lifter) was saying a bunch of great stuff about Christ, so we asked him if he would follow the Savior and be baptized, and he accepted! Ha! It was like within 10 minutes of meeting him! Maybe 15. Haha, but yeah! He's super cool, and we've been teaching him this week. Also, we taught Sindi that night, the recent convert that Elder Jaunay baptized, and it was a rough night for her. She said, "My family is destroying my faith." Her family situation is pretty rough. I was looking at the pictures you guys sent me last week with Conrad, Katie, Dan in the car, mom and dad, and Gehrig and Lauren, and I didn't understand why and how we are so blessed. Every single member of our family, is active, and loves the Savior. It just doesn't make sense. I don't know if we did something in the Pre-mortal existence to deserve this, but as I pondered and looked at all of you, I felt such an obligation to do something. I would invite you all to consider our blessings we have, and think about what you can do, how you can teach others because of our bounty of blessings.

E Merkurë- We had a lesson with a family we found while we searching for building 696! It was great! They're awesome, and we'll be working with them some more this week. Also, we taught Llashku, this 81-year old guy!

E Enjtë- Speaking of Llashku, he's pretty hard of hearing. And he loves talking, like most Shqiptar do. It's so stinkin' hard to understand him, and we were teaching the Restoration, and I asked him something about prophets, and he starts going on about his work at the police station, and something, and I asked him nicely, "Does this have something to do with what we were talking about?" And he didn't really understand, and just kept going on, and I just lost it, and started laughing, and I couldn't contain myself. Dang. I was trying to stop, but I was like crying, because I was laughing so hard!

E Premtë/E Shtunë/E Dielë- We got our transfer calls! I'll be staying in Durres for another transfer, and Elder Cox from England will come and replace Elder Zhonej! Elder Zhonej will serve in Kosovo! I was pretty nervous when I got the news, but as I was praying yesterday, IO remembered that the Savior did not always want to suffer, but He did it anyway. I know I can do this, and that I'll come to know my Savior so much better this transfer. Also, my momma taught me that "I can do hard things," so I know I can serve here. Also, I'm district leader! Ah!

Anyways, I love you all a lot! Oh crud, what time do you want to Skype on Christmas? Love you!

Elder Shnajdër