Saturday, July 29, 2017

Evening Baptism at the Lake:

Gjergi's Baptism:

Elder Winegar and Elder Weidman having too much fun with the Wheelchairs!  The are testing them out!  

Thursday, July 27, 2017



I mentioned before that we are teaching Seminary in two different cities with our Maliq and Korce group at 10:00am and Pogradec in the evenings at 6pm

Yes the groups are very different from each other.  Maybe it is the time of day or that we have many more women in the first group and more men in the second.  However. we are learning.  and teaching the Book of Mormon.  Also Pogragec has Book of Mormon reading twice a week.  Lorin and I spend many hours and prayer preparing over what we can teach in just 1 1/2 hours.  There is so much for them to learn and we want them to have a better foundation than what the missionaries started with them.   Those who read their manual before they get to class with the questions filled out already get so much more than those who just come and sit and listen.   However,  we are all learning.   My hope is that they will understand more than just what they are reading, but WHY  and how  it all pertains to them PERSONALLY in THEIR LIVES!  Oh if I could only teach in my own language, I feel that they would get sooo much more in a lot less time.  However, look at these pictures..... Can you not just help to love them and want them to have all the blessing they deserve!  Oh how I love them!
New Hope--Youth of the Church

Recently we went to Elbasan with our Young Single Adults---  We had been working on this for months to find a way and budget to get a few cities together to meet and enjoy each others company.  The coordination of it all took many hours of diligently coordinating and pushing our leaders to allow this to happen. Once approved,  it involved food, activities and an appropriate sleepover.  We were dealing with Adult members and quite frankly I didn't really know what to expect.  We were getting transportation between Korce , Maliq,  Pogradec and Elbasan --It was difficult.  We had to change many dates because of people working, or other mission assignments, baptisms that were going on in different cities and the Elbasan Church was getting painted and the lawn was getting sprayed for insects.

  Everyday I would get a new call that would put a halt to our plans--even up to the night before I was working with changing problems.  Moreover, we had two baptisms that we were involved with the Friday morning before we left in Ohrid Macedonia  and the Saturday night in Pogradec when we would return.  It just seemed like it would be impossible.

 However, Lorin and I just felt strongly that our Young Single Adult could do this.  If they took charge and helped out with the coordination it would work.  Prays were certainly said and answered.  Truly everything except an air conditioning problem in the activity room of the church and a fergon (bus) small problem getting our people home everything went according to plan.

 It went well because of the Beautiful Young Single Adults of Pogradec, Korce, Maliq, and Elbasan!  It was because everyone was agreeable, gentle and kind with one another!  No one was uncontrollable or unruly, angry or upsetting.  It was hot that day and night and it didn't matter.  They slept on the floor, or on couches or on couch pillows--the didn't put up a fuss.  OH HOW I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

I have new hope for the church in Albania (Shqiperia) because our lovely Pogradec and Elbasan , and Korce Young Single adults!  They were very accommodating and even when everything was new and different to them,  they adapted and involved themselves.  When there was an issue with an all night party that we were not going to allow--they responded agreeably and didn't create any contention at all!

I was so very impressed!  Our cute Rea was once again helpful with the language and made friends. Greta danced and enjoyed herself.   Our Elbasan Young Singles went out of their way to help organize, clean up, escort us back and forth to the teaching center and church house.  All I saw were agreeable Young Single Adults.    Our elders also helped out to get pizzas ordered and to check up on us to see if we needed help.


Let me add more to this.......
Our Youth in Pogradec are also impressive to me!  They come to church to pass the Sacrament in White shirts reflexing respect for the Priestood they have and the sacred sacrament ordinance they will perform.  They have been to members for just a few months and they will give talks and testimonies at church.....and let me just say.... they are impressive talks!

Yes in Pogradec, we have some reverence issues and they need to come to church on time and to not talk while in church and let others give their speech with reverence and respect for others,  but they are such capable and forgivable people.   They are learning at a phenomenal speed for new members. I want to protect them from the outside influences like not observing the Sabath day, or video game  or Facebook  addictions, smoking, drinking or the plethora of outside temptations that are theirs daily.  I have to keep reminding myself that they do not have family or cousins that reinforce going to church, service, sacrifice, tithing blessing, and getting ready for temple attendance.  They come because they made baptismal covenants to be at church to participate and to learn more.  


One last note:   there was a fire that broke out next to our church on the hill.  We were just about to eat our pizza, fruit and drinks.... Those young adults could see the fire was getting out of control.  They all got together to bless the food and more than one stated.... We need to pray for that fire to be quickly contained....without hesitation or even a second thought.... they prayed  immediately to stop the fire from moving.  After the prayer a fire truck swiftly swooped down the street and the fire was contained.  No one seemed to have another thought about it.  But I did... Their prayers were immediately answered and BRAVO for them to even know that they could pray over a fire breakout and that it would expedite the control of the elements or people who could extinguish it.
These youth have learned FAITH in the POWER OF PRAYER!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Something has happen to the Dog!
There are two dogs outside who have barked every night for the past six months and wake up the roosters about 1am nightly.... I am sitting here with NO sound.. None at all.....Just quiet....

The dog that cries helplessly and whines throughout the entire night has not barked  moped or yelp his helpless yell for an entire week..... Where is the dog?  What happened to it?  Did it finally bite through his rope that kept him captive?  Is he feeling freedom for the very first time!!!!

Run Rover Run and never come back!   Sh sh sh.... Listen..... No sound.... :)   good night!!! :)
Lunch in Ohrid near the Fortress looking over the Gladiator Arena
We sat out on a skinny balcony looking over the lake toward Pogradec.  This beautiful part of the city is historic and charming.  I love coming here.  We now have a lovely investigator who will be baptized July 21.  We are thrilled for her and she is our little but bold Ohrid Pioneer!  

This looks out over an ancient theater.  

The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, M.C., commonly known as Mother Teresa, was a Roman Catholic Religious Sister and missionary of Albanian origin who lived most of her life in India of which, since 1948, she was a citizen.  Born: August 26, 1910, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia Died: September 5, 1997, Kolkata, India Full name: Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu

Lately,  I've been wondering if with all this service is anything coming of it.  I feel that we are not holding our small crew of people and teaching them well enough .  We will have Seminary in one city Korce and have a beautiful meaningful experience and bring it back to our beloved Pogradec and the very same lesson that we worked so hard on for Seminary completely bombs!
Pogradec has become a giant party center.  We play volleyball with them,  entertain them for family home evening, we set up meet and greets with Korce, Tirana, and Elbason.  We try very hard to put a message of Christ and the Prophets voice in everything we do,  but somehow it is not sinking into the hearts of our members.

We serve, feed,  pray over, entertain, teach, preach, clean up after, plan and prepare with the hope that they will see an Eternal Perspective , have a desire to make the most of their baptismal covenant and someday enter the temple.     They have the desire, but not the maturity or the consistency of obeying the commandments, even the most simple of coming to church regularly.

Now in saying that:  I look upon my life, my family's life and wonder.....with all the knowledge of the everlasting gospel and a perspective that flairs out past this life into eternity.... Am I living up to my end of the deal?... meaning Im I living a kinder, more forgiving, more PATIENT life that is required of me because I have been given the extended knowledge and experience with the Holy Spirit over and over again to ...... KNOW BETTER.    Do I have the FRUIT OF FAITH which is Love giving charity, compassion and patience in my service here in Albania?

The  answer:   More Patience is required.   More selfless love is required.  More gentleness to my spouse and to those around me is required.  STOP MURMURING!

I must admit there are a few here I pray for ways to take them with me!  And there are a few that make me look at the calendar to count the months left.    I can sincerely say that my mission to Belgium was NEVER like this one.  Maybe it is because we stay rooted in one city, one branch. Maybe it is that I knew the language there and No I have been so bad at learning this language!  We never leave or get transferred.  In so many ways it makes you so very involved  in  these people's lives here in our city. Their joy is your joy!  Their pains and worries are your pains and worries.   In other ways there is not much room for a do-over or a correction of attitude.

We are teaching in Seminary about the complainers,  those who murmur and forget to trust and pray to the Lord.  I am just like the daughters of Ishmael who married with Laman and Lemuel ----I am holding the Murmuring Banner and I don't even have to eat raw meat and deliver my children in the desert.   Poor me Ha Ha:  I have to play volleyball on the beach and prepare Seminary Lessons that I love!  (by the way,  everyone should download the Seminary lessons and use them as they read.  The Pondering that goes on while preparing my lessons makes me feel like those in the Book of Mormon people are right beside me teaching me)

All in all I am here to SERVE  and it is my choice how I  will serve....with the loving fruit of service or the fruit that is rotting and has flies.

Oh that reminds me: it is watermelon, apricot, peach and grape season ---fresh from the garden and vine everyday!  Fresh fruit every day!   Once again..... POOR ME!  In Pogradec Paradise eating fresh fruit1

Linda My Seminary Student--She is full of the Holy Spirit.  A recent baptized member and I pray everyday that her darling Mother sister and Father will also join the church.  They are are very special  Family!

Exhausted the day of her baptism --We had three baptisms that day. She just sparkled for all of us and instead of supporting her--she lifted us.  A very special late afternoon baptism in the lake
4th of July! 
A Macedonian 4th of July

Elder Farnworth, Elder Stapleton, Elder Winegar, Elder Halverson, Elder Sutherland

Thanks to Elder Halverson for District Meeting helped us Remember our Country by putting up a Flag, having the Pledge of Allegiance and singing Patriotic Hymns.  
Thank you Elder Halverson!

Urime Qender
Congratulation Center

Spetim and Lliri opening day of the Children's Center
We have been involved with a center for families and children called the Romas and it is also for the Egyptians who are often force or choose to beg on the streets.  An Egyptian gentleman and his Roman Translator have spent many months maybe even a year setting up an after school program for children and their parents to go after school to learn how to read get help with homework and have something to eat.  LDS Charities have been involved setting up the facility with chairs, tables, a wood burning stove for warmth, a small kitchen rugs and books. They had a small ceremony to dedicate the school.

Albanians, Egyptians and Americans working together to help children READ and get off the STREETS!


The real heroine of the day is the woman on the far left who has donated her time after school to teach families in the center Free of Charge!  A silent ANGEL