This week has indeed been a good week. Nothing too crazy, and we did see some lulls in the work, but there are definitely blessings everywhere. I want to tell you about one of them.
Franc is our most progressing investigator. He is the friend of another guy named Franc in our ward and is a big 20-year-old guy (we get along). This past week there were some planning problems as we tried to send both members and investigators down to Durres for a YSA activity. It ended up making some of them pretty disappointed and several didn't come to church which was a shame. Franc, however came by himself. After the meetings (which in total last about 1.5 hours still) we sat down with him and taught him the Word of Wisdom. Franc has a baptismal date for the 7th of March and we knew that he at least smoked a bit and drank coffee (because he is a living, breathing boy in Albania...it generally comes in a package deal). However, as we taught and committed him to live this law he knew that it was something that he needed to do and said he would live it. We asked him how he was going to overcome this smoking and coffee especially and he said that he was going to pray about it. Perfect answer. He is so humble and just wants to be better. Elder Szabo called him up later that night and asked him how he was doing with it. He told Elder Szabo that he had thrown away his cigarettes. How awesome is that?
It has been warming up here in Shkoder. That has no relevance to the email, I was just trying to throw salt on freeze burn there in Michigan. Haha, just kidding. Because it has been warmer, there have been more people out and about in the last couple of days. This city is pretty lively and it is exciting. We are working to be public in how we work, to be seen! I think that is such a sad part of many missionaries' missionary work because they are just so afraid to think that someone might actually see that they are there with a book. Isn't that the point though? I mean I totally have my fears, I am no Abinadi that just threw himself in front of everybody, but I think that we should all try to be! Just because someone is naturally shy doesn't mean that God was trying to prevent them from being a good missionary in that way, but because He really knows that they will grow by overcoming that barrier. Tad R. Callister gave a talk in the MTC several years ago called Becoming a Consecrated Missionary. It is fantastic. It is also a bit of a spiritual 2x4 that whacks you between the eyes. One of the things that he mentioned was that a consecrated missionary is focused on the work of salvation so much that every conscious thought is based on it. That is a lot of thoughts. I have been working over this past week to be better at that, and I don't know if I am any better, but I am trying to be!
Well, that is about all of the excitement here on the Shkoder front. This is a land of miracles, and the hand of the Lord is just everywhere. I will often come back to the apartment at the end of the night and as Elder Szabo and I kneel to pray together before we plan for the next day and I think about the blessings that have been poured out upon us just feel so inadequate and unworthy of the blessings that the Lord has seen fit to lay upon us. It makes me want to be better. A lot better. Over the last many months realizing the amount of growth that is necessary has been very humbling and grateful for the promise of eternities in which to do so.
I love you so much everybody!