Monday, August 29, 2011

the one about EFY

Alrighty then, what events will I pull out of last week's hat? Well (I think I overuse the word 'well' as a sentence starter), we met with the nice young couple who gave us the salty yogurt drink. They gave it to us again! Rejoice! But this time I was prepared with some Pepto-Bismol® tablets in my pocket. They helped the battle in my stomach after we left. Something about that drink just doesn't sit well with the body. But the lesson itself was good; I really hope they progress.

We also had the kids return from EFY. I was kind of worried that they wouldn't be able to control that many teenagers, especially because it was the first time for EFY here in Albania. But my worries died without being fulfilled! Everyone loved it! One girl said that she and her friends cried the first night because they weren't expecting it to be so churchy. I asked if they cried the last day, and she said they did because they didn't want to go home. In sacrament meeting yesterday I asked the kids who went to bear their testimony about how EFY helped them. One girl jumped up quickly and described how she'd never felt that kind of happiness before, and how she really wants to dedicate herself to God. We'll hopefully get a baptismal date with her soon.

So I guess that doesn't look like a very long post, but trust me, this week was very good. I hope everyone back home is doing well, and since I've been studying the Old Testament lately, I hope everyone is following the basics to having a good life.

Elder Weaver

Monday, August 22, 2011

the one about new tastes

Holy COW. I thought the latter half of August would be a bit cooler, not Hot-Pocket-hot like it has been. Seriously, I think my body chemistry has changed over these last 2 summers to adapt to the heat/moisture combination. I smell weird now. It's not necessarily bad, just different. Hopefully the clouds of deodorant I use will keep things settled down. 

This morning, we sent 9 kids off to Especially for Youth, which is cool because this is the first year they are trying it in Albania. Only one of the kids was a member, the rest were not, so hopefully they have good experiences and want to learn more. I'm super-relieved that my part is over, because as branch president I had to register the kids online, collect payment from them, and generally herd them. But, they're good kids, and I think they'll have the time of their lives.

Yesterday we tracted into a family who let us in, and we had a good first lesson. The thing that was not cool about it was they served us a drink called dhallë (th- [as in "the"]-all). You can experience it, too! To make this drink, take some plain yogurt. Now dump salt in it. Now water it down until it has the consistency of lumpy milk. Enjoy! I had to go home afterwards and be near a bathroom.

Also, in church we had one of our investigators come. He's a really cool guy named Jetmir (yet-meer). He's a really humble and funny guy, and I have high hopes for him. It was his first time in church yesterday, but he sang just like everyone else!

I wish the best for everyone back home, and all that stuff. I say that every week, but I really do mean it. If I could, I'd accompany my words with a song, but that would take too long.

Elder Weaver

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the one about pain

This week, and especially the last few days have been kind of trying.

At some time during the week, I forget which day, I just couldn't sleep. Not at all. I tried everything I could think of and even went out on the balcony to take pictures of the moon (they didn't turn out well, by the way). Finally, at 4:30 AM, I fell asleep, only to wake up a few hours later to go to a branch president's training in Tirana.

Then we went again on Monday (yesterday) to the greek hospital in Tirana. Let's just say I'll have to give my future children a good time-out, because they've been causing me lots of pain recently. But I woke up Monday morning at 4:30 and couldn't get back to sleep (of course), and had a miserable time in the bathroom. I don't know why, but I felt like I had just eaten a bucket of coagulated lard and it wanted to come back up. I fought the urge to throw up the whole day, which is hard when you're riding on a hot, slow bus on a bumpy road. But I made it there without making a mess! It also helps that my companion gave me a blessing that I'd be able to make it there in one piece.

At the hospital, they did some tests and exams and couldn't find anything wrong, so that's good. I guess I'll just tough it out.

As far as people other than myself (sorry for talking so much about me), we haven't had much time to meet with them :( It just seemed like people were so busy they could only meet in a very narrow window of time, and that window happened to open up to a brick wall of something we had already planned. But at least we can still contact them! Also, we still might have a baptism in September, so that's something to rejoice about!

Today, we went to Berat (bay-ROT) for our district trip. I've been there before, but the rest of the district hadn't, so we went. Here are some pictures. They've all been taken inside the castle walls, where people still live.

I wish all the best for everyone and everything!

Elder Weaver

Monday, August 8, 2011

the one about motives

Let's see, what has happened in the last 168 hours or so? Well, we met a few cool people while tracting. One guy was totally chill and let us sit down on stools right at his door and teach him a first lesson. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read, but sadly, they didn't answer the door when we went for a follow-up visit.

Another guy was just sitting outside at a table when he said he wanted to talk to us. Again,  I thought it wouldn't go anywhere, but it turns out he lived in England for a few years and wanted to practice his English. He seemed OK, kind of not interested in the Gospel, but we'll give him one last shot.

Also, we tracted into a woman whose sister happened to live in America many years ago. We did our usual speil when a neighbor lady opened her door and asked if we could get her to America. We said absolutely not, we have no ties whatsoever to the embassy, we're only here to talk to people about God, and that we cannot help her get to America. Of course, neighbor lady persisted and kind of ruined the discussion we were having with the first lady, but we'll go back sometime and see if she actually still wants to learn about God.

Other than that, it was a great 168 hours! Yesterday we had 12 people in church for fast and testimony meeting. I hope the best for all you good people back home!

Elder Weaver

Monday, August 1, 2011

the one about prepared people

So, first off, here's a picture of my new (actually 3-week-old) companion, Elder Ireland from Mesa, Arizona.

And now, down to business: This week was tiring! It started out early on with us helping our landlord with a bit of home improvement. He's going to lay cement and floor tiles on the roof (the roof is flat, so it's not as weird as you might think). He had a truck come with bags of cement and a big pile of sand. We unloaded the cement bags then the guy dumped the sand in the yard. Then, we had a big job to do. We carried these bags of cement up about 3 flights of stairs. By the way, they weighed 110 lbs. The only way to carry them was to give them the Heimlich maneuver. Then, later that day, we got 3-gallon buckets and filled them with the sand and carried them one at a time up to the roof. We made about 12 trips each until we tired out, then he said we'd work on it more another day. We probably only got a fifth of it done, and that's just hauling the sand up to the roof. There'll be a lot more work when we get it all up there.

We were walking next to a building one day and a lady turned the tables by stopping and talking to us. Usually, that's a sign they're crazy, but this lady was cool! She actually met with missionaries a few years before but lost contact. She works in a little insurance office and says that she and her friend read the Book of Mormon when they have free time, and she reads it to her daughter. That's crazy! I've never encountered that before. It's awesome how the Lord prepares people to receive the gospel. We have high hopes for her!

On Friday we went to Tirana to do some business up there and get me a 6-month dental checkup (no problems, woot!). But on the way to the Tirana vans in Lushnjë, we were stopped by a reporter/radio person on the street. They wanted a little shout-out to Lushnjë, and after some persuading, I agreed to say a few things into the microphone. They just asked how I thought the weather was, what we were doing and such. A fun little distraction to an otherwise boring day.

Yesterday we made Hawaiian pizzas! Man, I think that's going to be one of my favorite Sunday lunches from now on. But we overestimated the amount of toppings we'd need, so later that night, I had myself a little ham-pineapple salad!

I want to congratulate whoever thought up of the pineapple/ham combination.

That's all. I wish everyone all the best.

Elder Weaver