Gezuar te henen juve!(Happy Monday you all!-- or yous guys as I am told Michiganders say it)
Well, another week of missionary work has done been done. We have still been working on building up our teaching pool, but slowly and surely we can see that that pool is actually filling up a bit.
We had a couple interesting teaching experiences this week. A few days ago we were teaching Xhemaj about the Word of Wisdom. Alcohol had previously been brought up as a possible concern, so we went into the lesson hoping for the best. We told him the different parts of the commandment and he said that he was in agreement with everything, except for one thing. Alcohol. But not as we had thought it would be. He said that he was out of work right now, and the only income that he got for his family was from a based from home distillery where he made and sold alcohol. We were not exactly sure what to tell him as the Word of Wisdom doesn't really prohibit that. So we asked President Ford that night, and we are still in a sort of a buffering stage on that and have to learn some more stuff before we can tell him anything for sure on this. He is great though. Pray for him!
We were also teaching a lesson to this guy named Dori and were looking at the Book of Mormon. He opened up to the picture of Moroni burying the plates in the Hill Cumorah and he loved it. He told us that it was such a beautiful picture that there must be truth behind it. I am not sure if I could every build a testimony off of the beauty of a painting (though it is in fact a very nice painting), but if he can use that as a starting block, all the power to him!
This week I have been reading a bit in Jesus the Christ (which is fantastic by the way and you definitely should think about picking it up if you have not already...or even if you have already). One of the really awesome things that I read was actually about John the Baptist. John had a large following of disciples that really thought that he was something. John, however, had always testified of the coming Savior and when he indeed did come backed down in order to let the Lord take His position at the head of the work of God. That is an incredible work of humility and something that I look up to a ton. Maybe this is true with everyone, but perhaps most trying thing for me of all is my pride. I have such a hard time just thinking about -- me. I am really trying to follow the example of John and become a humble servant of the Lord.
Something else that I have loved is reading Elder Talmage's look at the character of Christ especially as relating to Christ's cleansing of the temple. He writes that contrary to an often thought of look at Christ as completely submissive, or Savior is the essence of manhood and has righteous passions and actions to accompany that characteristic. Meek when meekness was right, strong and bold when they were required to do the will of the Father. Studying the life of the Savior through this book has better helped me to learn about the everlasting sacrifice that was done and the eternal Advocate that He is.
Something that has been pretty tough with the work as of late is getting people to church! 3rd Branch here has some really great and strong members, but it is much smaller than we would hope it to be. Getting our investigators to church has been so far a pain. We had 13 people tell us that they were going to be coming to our Sacrament Meeting -- and 1 of them came. Don't get me wrong, that one was a great one and we are so glad for the growth in the Gospel the was fostered in his soul during that time. However, church attendance is so important and these wonderful children of God need to be a-coming! So if you were wondering what could require prayers here in the 3rd Branch district of Tirana, that is something that could definitely use those prayers.
Thank you so much for your love and prayers. It sure means a lot to me! It is pretty cool to be part of maybe the most prayed for group of people in the world and the members and investigators that we are working with sure could use those prayers.