Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Shnjadër

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

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