Monday, September 27, 2010

This week was pretty intense


Well this week was pretty intense. Vasil got baptized last night. Oh man he is one funny dude. He loves to tell stories about his life and his village and stuff and it usually makes our lessons take about an hour or more. So when we were talking about the logistics of the baptism with him the day before, we made special mention of his testimony that he gets to give after he’s baptized. We didn’t want the baptism to go for like three hours so we really emphasized how his testimony was supposed to be short and concise. We told him it wasn’t a time for life stories, but instead a time to share what he knows to be true. So we got to the baptism and the speakers give their talks, he gets dunked, and we come out of the changing rooms. It’s time for Vasil to give his testimony and the first thing he says is, “I, Vasil, would like to tell you a little bit about my life. . . .” Good times, eh? But he actually did really well. He kept it short and it was a good testimony. It was really cool to see Vasil get baptized especially because of Brother Saraçi’s work with him. Brother Saraçi is probably one of my favorite members here in Albania. He’s just a really really good man that really cared about his friend. And look where that friend is now. We have something that is so valuable and the people that understand that don’t hesitate to share that with their friends. We’re really grateful we got to take part in the baptism last night.

We had another training this week. This one was two days long and once again based on the principles of Teaching More Effectively. It was really good to get a lot more practice in and actually led to some success this weekend. One of the principles is called the Doctrine of Christ which really outlines our purpose as missionaries. It is found in 2 Nephi 31 and focuses on faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. After all this practice you really find out where you can improve and one of the areas we found that we could improve in was inviting people to prepare for baptism early. Getting it out there so they know we’re not just teaching them so they’ll learn stuff about Jesus, but teaching them so they will make the changes needed to receive the ordinances necessary for them to return to their loving Heavenly Father. So we decided to try it this weekend in our tracting. We kept our purpose in mind and set baptismal dates with two people. One’s name is Agim and the other Sefer. Agim is probably about 45 and is a really cool guy. He loves his family and he was ready and willing to accept the invitation to be baptized. Sefer is probably about 55 or 60 and has a killer northern accent. Oh man I love it. I am learning so much Gheg from him. It’s sweet. He is an awesome guy too and he loves the word of God. We tried to get him to read the Restoration pamphlet after we met him the first time, but he really can’t see well at all and it hurts his head to read those small letters. So we made a HUGE copy of 2 Nephi 31 for him and read some of it together. He also accepted the invitation to be baptized. He was like, “Well if it’s the word of God then of course I’ll do it!” They’re both gonna be really fun to teach and I’m really excited to see them progress.

Also. Our English class is huge now. About 40 people come to the beginning class. It’s kinda stressful sometimes, but it’s really fun too. We talked about professions this last time and I learned a new word. “Banakier” in Albanian means “bartender.” I have no idea how I’ve managed to live in Albania for a year and three months without learning that word. Pretty embarrassing, but it was a cool word. Anyway, we’re looking forward to some good investigators coming from our English class.

I’m glad you guys got to go hang out with the fam a little. Where is the Jasmine? Have I been there. I swear that I recognize that place, but I can’t put my finger on it. Tell Sher happy birthday for me!

Well I hope that you have an awesome week, mom! I love you and pray for you every day. Take it easy!

-Elder Swenson

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