I hope that this week has been just stellar! We had an opportunity to go to a trainer-trainee meeting early this past week which was great. One of this biggest struggles that I have in being a trainer is letting go of the reigns enough. It is a really terrible habit that I have, to just kind of plow through and just do what is necessary. However, as a trainer that is really a terrible thing to do because, well Elder Simons needs to have experience in order to learn. Since the meeting I have been working harder to let go of the reigns and encourage him to do more. It is a slow process but hopefully bit by bit I will learn how to be a better missionary and in the process help Elder Simons to find everything that is necessary to become the best missionary he needs to become.
This week we have been continuing to work with Pamela. She has read up through Helaman 5 (let's remember that she has had this book for like 2 and a half weeks or so) and comes in usually with a bunch of questions underlined in her book that we help her to answer. She has so many questions though. We have taught her everything but she has a really difficult time still believing in life after death. She told us a week ago that she had received an answer on whether or not she would be baptized...she just would not tell us what the answer was yet...but if she says yes we should think about who would baptize her...but only if she says yes. So we have committed her to pray specifically about it and then to tell us if she should be baptized on the 24th of May. She sent us a text later that night saying that if she got a 10 (or the top score) on her English exam then she would be baptized. We decided to not pull out the chapters on those who tempt God. On Saturday she came to the baptism and said that she probably wouldn't come to church and wouldn't say why. She in fact did not come and we just met with her earlier today and all she would ask is if God even thinks before He acts, because sometimes it doesn't seem like it. We testified to her of God's sincere love for us and then prayed together. I think that there are some pretty big things that are going on in her life that could either potentially harden or soften her heart and I our job is to kinda stand by with our meat tenderizers and take whacks whenever we can to help her find that answer and courage to act on it.
We have also been meeting with Ema and Eda, the two twins who are also friends of Pamela to help them with English and teach them at the end of lessons. Eda doesn't have a whole lot of desire for the Gospel (she has come to church and stuff probably just because her sister comes and and said that she got nightmares when she read the Joseph Smith pamphlet...that might take some time. Ema however has read through all of 1Nefi without a whole lot of push from us. At the baptism she was talking with the sister missionaries and told them that she was a bit offended that we had not really asked them if they wanted to learn about the Gospel. We were pretty shocked by that as we discuss it blatantly every time we meet and invite them to act on it...but hey if she's open to hear more we are sure open to speak it!
This week there was also a branch talent show which was pretty fun. We didn't really prepare anything, but Sister Kokol, Sister Forte and I were able to throw together a last minute song (as in the performance was really the first practice) and it turned out alright! Thank goodness Albanians are not blessed with large amounts of musical talent or ears for it.
There are some other investigators that could also really use prayers. Florjan just needs to capture a bit more understanding and desire for what he is learning and the steps that he knows he needs to take. We haven't been able to meet with Desdemona all week and when she didn't come to church we went and knocked on her door. She told us that her ex-husband's brother was killed the day before. We were pretty floored and she could really use the help of prayer from outside as well as from inside. Also Ina has been having some health issues and could really use the help of prayer.
On an exciting note, we woke up last night at about 2 in the morning to our beds shaking. Earthquake! "Earthquakes, in divers places...and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in the heavens..." (Matthew 24:7,30) Just sayin'.
Well, have a great week! Go do something for someone else. I was thinking a couple days ago how easy it is to put others down in joking and how totally unnecessary it is. If everyone walked away from talking to me feeling better about them self how much better would the world be? Imagine if everyone did that? Let's try it.
These pictures are from the trip to Berat we took today.