I hope you all are great! I am doing great. We just had the mini-transfer calls last night and I was thinking that I had pretty good chances of getting taken out of T2, but no call came and I am in the clear, so I will be here for another 6 weeks in Tirana! At the end of this transfer I will have spent 13 months in this beautiful city (mainly beautiful because of the wonderful people here, because this concrete jungle is not the most picturesque of Albanian cities...which would probably make me sad if I took more pictures than I do, sorry Mom).
This week started out and continued a bit rough on the work side. On Thursday and Friday we were able to have Elder Dyches of the Second Quorum of Seventy in our mission. On Thursday went down to the city of Durres that actually has a built from the ground up church building (it totally looks like America!) and had a mission conference. It was way good. The next day we had Mission Leader Conference. Almost all of the time was spent with a training by Elder Dyches about agency and accountability. Those moments in my mission where I have been able to really look at myself, my companionship, and the work that we are doing and analyze before the Lord that which we have done have led to the most lasting changes in what we do. When we truly feel accountable before the Lord for everything that we do, how can we use our time poorly. When we were baptized we covenanted to always remember our Savior and how much better off we would be if we would just do that. Yesterday morning we were reading in the White handbook during our companionship study and read a part where it said that by following the standards of the handbook we would magnify our calling. It is crazy how just by doing exactly what we were asked to do we could magnify our calling. So often we just land so far under what we should be shooting for that magnifying our calling seems like something you hear about in General Conference where really if we are doing what is asked of us with our full heart, we will be fulfilling and magnifying our calling.
This past week Elder Rawlings and I had an opportunity to try and help some elders in our zone try a little harder to be a little better. It was a bit difficult to sit down and talk to these missionaries that we love and tell them that there were some things that needed to be improved in, that they were things we knew that they knew they should be doing and could be doing. It was a great learning experience for us as well as for them.
Our week this week was a little rough on the work side comeSunday morning, but we had faith that the Lord would fill in the gaps we could not. Friday night we had called a lady in the ward that has several children that are not baptized to come to the baptism. She was not able to come, but brought them to church the next day for the first time in a long time. we sat down with them and told them that we wanted to help them take the steps necessary to be with their mom here and were able to plan to meet with them during this week. The night before I had the feeling that we needed to try hard to meet with this recent convert that just moved up from Fier and her parents. So we called them up and were able to go over to their house Sunday evening and help them catch the vision of joining with their daughter on her way to eternal life. Pretty cool. On the way home from that we stopped by the little stand of a less-active guy's family and talked with his non-member wife. While talking to her about her family she told us about her brother that lived right next to them that needed a lot of help and started crying about it. We were able to testify to her and will be going by again soon to see what we can do.
This is definitely the Lord's work and it goes forth at His pace, not ours.
Love you everybody!
So these are some photos that Sister Russell (she is like my in the mission mom) took of Elder Rawlings and I in our new suits. Some of them are kind of ridiculous, but I will send them anyway.