Monday, June 22, 2015

Love One Another

May 4, 2015 email

My family in America, 

Getting ready for a baptism!
So yeah this week was super AWESOME and super SAD at times. But to be honest it was one of the most intense learning weeks of my life. 

So Tuesday started off great. We had an awesome district meeting full of love and I even got to choose the hymn (Elder Price has forgotten to give me an assignment for the meeting every week) And so I chose a Christmas hymn. Nextly, Filip asked us if we could come and chill with him for our lunch time and so we said sure. He drove us out to a place called Dhermi which is this beautiful hidden gem of a town about 40 minutes out of Vlore and it was awesome! While we were driving we talked to him about his smoking issue and fortunately it was a relaxed situation so he was open with us and we were able to kinda get to a better level with him. We chilled on the beach and skipped rocks into the ocean and just had a good time. We drove back and then we had English Course to teach and that was fun. Two ward members basically taught it because I don't know how to teach English good enough I guess. So we did that and then we just contacted all night and had a good time and then we had a lesson set up with Gentjan. We taught him the lesson and then we ended. He was planning on feeding us that night but right when we said the closing prayer we got a call from Elder Price. I answer the phone and he says "Hey, you need to get down to the Boulevard now." And I start freaking out because I think someone is dead or getting robbed but then some girl's voice comes on the line and says "Hey there's this girl here that really wants to see you." And I'm wondering if there's some crazy Albanian girl with a weird crush on me and then I totally recognized the voice. We apologize to Genti and book out the door and run down to the road and guess who was there?! SISTER KOKOL!!!!! It was super awesome! I didn't have tons of time so we just talked for about 10 minutes and took some pics together. It was such a good end to my day. 
Sister Kokol! A quick hi, but fun to see a familiar face:)

The following day was cool too. We started the day with a lot of finding which is basically my favorite thing to do now. Then we had a meeting with our ward mission leader, and that was interesting. Sister Coleman and her trainee, Sister Jackson, also came down that day to do an exchange with our sisters and it was fun to see them. Both cool people. After that we went to lunch with the Larsons and ate by the sea. I got lasagna. GOOD! Later on in the day we went group contacting which was pretty balling. It's always fun to just be unified in one massive contacting effort. After that we had two lessons to do. One with Filip and one with Emiljano. So Elder Befus went with Filip and a member that we were using. The Brother had come over smoking and so we wanted some input from his side of the  experience. One thing that I've been doing to help with Filip is I've been trying to not bite my nails. In Preach My Gospel it says that if you want to sympathize for your investigators a bit better you should try to get rid of a habit that you have such as popping knuckles, chewing pens, biting nails and etc. So I haven't bitten my nails for like a week now. While they had that lesson, I went with Elder Larson and Emiljano. We are making some killer good progress with Emiljano. He is totally starting to open up and understand everything. He is so ready to be baptized and he actually told us that he wants to be baptized. He told us this last night so we are going to meet with him as soon as possible to set him up on a date and such. But in that lesson we read Alma 32 which is the classic seed=faith story and he loved it. The lesson went well and I just waited with Elder Larson till Befus got out. They ended and I guess Brother Duraj had done a fantastic job on telling Filip that God doesn't just let us sit on our cute bums waiting for Him to take away our addictions. WE GOTTA DO SOMETHING BOUT IT!!! So Filip left happy and inspired. Then we went finding... 

Favorite people in Vlore, Albania

Thursday. This was the day where things changed a bit. We had a service project that morning helping a member move some bricks up to her roof so she could build something out of them later on. We did that and she made us breakfast. They have this thing called Petula which is like scones or navajo tacos except it's just more yeasty and you eat with cheese. We all ate and had a good time and did service. After that we went to a baptism for the sisters. It was really good but the lady didn't want a lot of people to be there because she is kinda embarrassed to be a Christian now. I say be proud but we all got free agency. So after that we had ANOTHER baptism for Elder Dahl and Elder Baldwin. Their guy is named Xheku and he is awesome! He asked me to give a talk on baptism so I was pleased to do so. Filip came to that baptism so that was great for him to see that. After the baptism we had a lesson with Filip. We got into the lesson and I started out by asking him how the lesson the day before had gone and what he was thinking. He said it was a good lesson but he said that it had got him thinking a lot. He looked at me and said that his time hasn't come yet to give up smoking. He explained that he just doesn't want to give it up. He knows it's bad but it calms him and he just enjoys smoking. And then he continued saying that he just can't do it because he isn't strong enough right now. We continued with the lesson as planned but I was not there. Right when he said those words, my heart died. I had never had such a feeling of despair and sadness come over me. We ended the lesson and said goodbye and I came upstairs and just broke down in tears. It had broken my heart to see one of God's children that I had come to love so much could just lose all faith in himself. Some of my most intense prayers have been on this brother's behalf. I know God has a plan for him and I know he will stop one day. I sat there for a few minutes just blubbering like a little girl not knowing what else to do. After saying a prayer with Befus we took off for another lesson with Gentjan. 

Friday was full of planning and finding but we also had another productive lesson with Emiljano and Elder and Sister Larson and that was great. Later that night we started an exchange and I got to go with Elder Clemans! That night we just made quesadillas talked each other's ears off. Saturday we worked together and met with some of his investigators. We met with a part member family named the Zeqiri's and they were great. The mom and dad aren't baptized but need to get married before they are given a date. But they are awesome and should be getting married in the very near future. They also live like 3 miles out of Vlore and so we walked FOREVER. All in all I had a good time with Clemans. He's good people. 

Yesterday we got the sad news that 2 of our recent converts have some problems with some people in the ward so they have decided to go to church elsewhere. I hate the fact that people hate other people sometimes. JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!! With all of that we had a good meeting. The testimonies shared were solid and happy and all of the other lessons were great as well. And I also gave the Priesthood to a recent convert named Patrik yesterday. That was awesome! After church we went and ate lunch with the Larsons and they made us taco soup!! Heavenly. Afterwards we met with a new investigator named Arel and we have big hope for him. He seems like a good brother. We just taught the Restoration and got him excited for more. Afterwards we went and taught Genti because he had some doctrinal questions from an assignment that we had given him from section 93 of D+C. After that we came home and did our thing. And then we slept. 

Today we just played Phase 10 and ate lunch together. That's about it. Well I love you all! Enjoy these last two months without me. Have fun!

Love, Jed

Dearest Mother, 
So I will be on Skype at 6 o'clock so be ready. It should be like 10 o'clock your time.  But anyways, I love you Mom and I hope you all still love me. Have a fun week and enjoy your time with Jane!! Loves!!
Love, Jedediah

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