Monday, September 30, 2013

#12 September 30, 2013

Well pershendetje another time from Albania!

Another week is in the books...weird. So, Elder Austin got out of the hospital, and then the next day the APs told them that he was going to be with them for the next few days until he recovered from his hospital stay, so I was back on a split again for the next few days. On Friday we rejoined with orders to keep it easy so that I don't kill him. Well, more or less.

We are really wanting to be working with more less-actives. This is good for several reasons. First of all, a baptism that isn't retained is a waste of time because the most important part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the enduring to the end. Second, we are really pushing to get a stake here in Albania and right now the biggest hindrance to that is active, worthy, tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders. If we can re-activate the members that are already there, that would be an awesome way to fill in that need. Third, there are a whole lot of Less-Actives, like a crazy huge amount. Fourth, the more lessons we teach, the faster I learn, and also the more lessons we teach....the more lessons we teach...and that's awesome. This is actually a bit harder of a task than it would seem though for a couple reasons. There really is not an address system here, so finding people is an art form. Along with addresses is phone numbers, we do not have a whole lot of them. So it is going to be a bit of a task to accomplish this, but hey, we're missionaries, we can help!

We have also been working to get investigators that we found contacting as well as one that we were passed down from the last Elders towards committing to a baptismal date. I think one of the hardest parts of this is that the people that we are teaching are not missionaries which means that they have lives outside of the Gospel. It is kind of a pain when trying to schedule lessons and get people to Church. Well, I guess once they recognize how awesome our message really is, those will be easier appointments to schedule. So, we need to be teaching with the Spirit and letting them feel the power of the message. I think it is an Albanian thing to talk about unrelated things during lessons, or at least things that aren't important to the lesson. This has been a bit tough for me as I have really been trying my hardest to invite the Spirit in and testify boldly to be met with a comment about something else, but I guess we need to be focused on bringing others closer to Christ and that is a step-by-step process. This happened a bit while we were trying to get Lidi to commit to a baptismal date and I think she was a bit focused on my broken Albanian. I am okay with the fact that I will learn in the Lord's time as long as I am putting forth the effort, but sometimes I think I let some impatience sneak in when it seems like it is interfering with the work. But that's okay, I will grow, it works out.

One thing that I realized that I haven't written (at least I don't think I have), is that everyone smokes here. It is crazy actually. It almost helps though from our standpoint, because there is no little automatic judgement because of it. I feel like in the states I would have a lot easier time talking to someone that wasn't smoking and here I realize that everyone can receive the Gospel. The other Elders in our branch are actually working with a guy right now who is down to like 3 or 4 cigarettes instead of 70--the Gospel has power and it will just keep getting better!

Well, it is good to be able to say hello and see how things are going down back on the homefront! Congratulations to Brigham on Homecoming Court, that is way cool! Also congratulations to Grant on winning his soccer game 3-2 as the wounded goalie (though I do hope that his achilles feels better). I also hope that you are feeling so much better today, Mom! Headaches and congestion are not the funnest thing, or even the second-funnest thing. I do not remember that exchange with someone at the MTC , by the way mom. Well, go have another crazy week, because it wouldn't be very fun any other way!

Me dashurine nga nje djale i kuq ne Shqiperi,
Elder Ostergaard

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