I hope that this past week was a great one! Over here in Fier it was another one to keep us on our toes.
One big thing that I have learned here in the last little bit especially is how easily Albanians get offended. We have had two experiences in the recent past of guys just walking into our lessons to help us out when we meet with an investigator. We appreciate the thought of them wanting to help us out in our lesson, but we don't want too many people in there and we had already asked someone to help us out. They then proceeded to get mad at us and tell us that we might as well never ask them to help out again. I guess in both cases they had helped to teach that investigator several times and figured that they would be the only one we ever asked. Oh, silly people. Both of them have calmed down since then, so that's good. Here's a lesson for you. If you are thinking about being offended...don't. It's not worth it!
We are looking forward to the baptisms of two investigators this week: Ema and Jona. Ema is doing great and has a whole lot of faith. We are excited for her. Jona is also doing great. She and her sister Alda are both learning together and Alda is excited to be baptized too... she just needs to come to church another week and so we will be holding that next week.
I remember thinking a few months ago how I had not really seen the process of the Gospel changing someone's life. I saw the after-effects and knew that it could happen, I just never really had eyes open to see it I guess. That is a huge blessing that I have been able to receive here in Fier. An eye-opening. These people are taking the Gospel, embracing it, loving it, and progressing in it. What a blessing for them and for us watching it happen. These people hearing the Gospel that have open enough hearts to receive and act upon the message which it contains reap the blessings within. I want to be a better and better missionary so that more and more people can see what these few have seen. I am working on it.
One thing that I found the opportunity to study this week was a look into David and his fall. I have had two thoughts in particular about how such a stud and man among men could lose his footing on the path to exaltation. My first thought was that it happened when David was on his roof. He was the king, he had everything...but he was looking beyond the mark. While we must always be progressing, we cannot look beyond the sights and parameters the Lord sets. Wherever you have been chosen to be right now in life, be there and love it. That's what it is all about. However, I read a little bit earlier in the story. Here is an excerpt from I Samuel 11:1
1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle ...But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
Where was David supposed to be? At the battle. Where was he? It probably doesn't matter a whole lot beyond the fact that he was not at the battle. We are called to stand in holy places because upon that rock of our Redeemer who is Christ the Son of God, we cannot fall. Temptations come to all, however, we are told that if we are watching and praying always that we will not be tempted above that which we can bear (Alma 13:28, Dad sent that thought to me a while ago). When we are purposefully do what is not correct, that promise cannot apply to us. David was not standing where he should have been and was therefore weaker in spirit. There is safety in the commandments of God, even the ones that can seem ridiculous sometimes.
A cool thing that I have felt more than ever this past 2 months or so is an increase of love for everyone here. These are great people even with all their craziness and such! Albania is the place.
Hey, I love you family! Dad, my clothes are pretty good for the most part. The biggest problem is probably ink on my white shirts. And Mom, it is a bit early, but Happy Birthday!!! I didn't think that my own mother would ever turn 29, but that's okay, I won't tell anyone. Shume urime per ty! Edhe nje qind!