Monday, April 7, 2014
First week here in Fier! Well, I guess partial week. Elder Clawson and I were companions for a days and bounced around between Fier, Lushnje, and Tirana before we got our new companions and got to know the area a bit and the such. There used to be 2 sets of missionaries here (2 Elders and 2 Sisters) and now there are three sets of us. We are opening up an area, but Elder Morava has been good about passing over some work so that we can start with our feet firmly planted. It is kind of weird, this is the first time coming into an area with work to do, I sure am hoping and praying we don’t screw it up! Fier is much smaller than Tirana (along with every other city in Albania) and you can actually see greenery which is nice. There is still street contacting opportunity, but I have decided that this is a good opportunity to expand my horizons and do more tracting. So far that has been a good experience. The church in Fier is on the second floor of a building and everyone knows where it is (well knows how to find it at least) which is a wonderful change from 3rd Ward. The Botts are the senior couple here ( I have been lucky enough to have a senior couple in every one of my areas) and Elder Bott is the Branch President here. He is actually the only non-Albanian serving as Branch President and we are hoping to see that changed soon here.
Elder Simons is my new companion straight from the MTC. He is 18 and is from…a lot of different places. Because his dad works in the State Department he has lived in a lot of different countries. His family is currently living in Israel. Elder Simons is a good guy. He has got a good start on the language and a firm testimony. He is much more humble than me (but I mean who needs humility when you have got everything else? Just kidding) and is very teachable. I just hope that I can get enough out of the way of the Spirit so that he can learn something. He is also, according to just about every nene (old lady) that we see, the most beautiful thing that they have ever seen. Yesterday probably 5 or 6 ladies told him how much of a bukurosh and “sa simpatik” he is. I laughed a lot and then translated what was going on to him. I think an old lady telling an 18-year-old missionary how beautiful he is loses some of its funniness in translation.
Coming in here has been a bit of a rough start. I can definitely tell that Satan doesn’t want me to like this place or the people that are here, but it is a good thing that decision is made by me, not him. Fier is the bomb and I am so excited to be here and do what is possible in the next short amount of time that I am allotted here. One cool opportunity that I have is to be in the same district as a native, Elder Morava. Natives truly can do some incredible things that we foreigners cannot. I am excited to learn from him and to try and become a much much better missionary. Looking at the work as a trainer is interesting. Everything must become so much simpler, because my companion cannot understand a whole lot of what is going on. All of a sudden, other distractions go out and it is just: 1) are we helping these people come to Christ? and 2) is my companion getting what he needs to be getting out of the current situation to become a good, but not just good, an exceptional missionary?
Some of the people we have started teaching are Saimir and Florian. Not a ton about them, but we are so excited to help these two progress and make covenants with Heavenly Father. I had also decided before the transfer started to work better with members, so that is something we are really going to try and do here. Not a whole lot to say about the work, but well, it’s a start.
Love ya a lot and hope and pray for your success in the big bad world out there. It’s tough stuff. A lot more complicated than on the mission. Keep it real.