Monday, November 29, 2010

We were really blessed this week.

Hey Mom!

The subject line is definitely the most difficult part of the e-mail so don't worry about it. It looks like you guys had a pretty good week! I hope your Thanksgiving went well. It was pretty awesome here. We ate WAY too much dessert. Here in the Albania Tirana Mission we all gathered at the mission home for a "Zone Conference" and Thanksgiving Dinner which was graciously prepared by Sister Neil with the help of the couple missionaries that are here. And the dessert was up to the missionaries. Oh man there was some good stuff. Afterwards we got to watch Toy Story 3 which was actually pretty funny. I don't know if you've seen it yet, but that would be a good one! Ooh Dad said that the new Harry Potter was really good! Oh man I can't wait to see it! I love those movies.

We were really blessed this week. We had a lot of good things happen. Not really because of our work, but because of the Lord's work. Interesting how that works out sometimes. We've continued meeting with Leta (the basketball player) and she is doing well. She got to see a baptism on Saturday that was really really uplifting and I think she really enjoyed the simplicity of it. She also really enjoys "Count Your Blessings" like every single other Albanian on the face of the earth. . .But we had been wondering what to do for her son, Xhoi, who is 13 and kind of at that stage where you don't want to do anything that your mom says. Remember that? ;) He hadn't come to any of the meetings that we had with her this week and so we figured that there was no chance in an extremely warm place that he would come to church. But lo and behold on Sunday morning we were waiting outside the church greeting people as they came in and Leta shows up flanked on both sides by her two sons! I don't know why he came but I'm glad he did. I think he had a better time this week than he did last week, too. So although that might seem like a small step, I am grateful for whatever progress he's making. Leta is still doing awesome. When she saw that family get baptized I think it really reinforced in her mind how much of a blessing it would be to have your entire family in the gospel. Hopefully that will be able to happen in the near future.

But I still think my favorite thing that happened this week was with a woman named Liri (lee-REE). On Saturday, we had some time before branch correlation with Vëllai Toska so we decided to get out and tract for a little bit. After a while, we had to ask ourselves if we should go back or if we should keep tracting. There was obviously not enough time to teach a lesson if somebody let us in, but because we're idiots we figured we'd keep going. Idiots MY FOOT!!! We knocked on Liri's door and she was kind enough to let us in to hear a short message about God. We shortly found out that she and her husband had had one daughter who had died when she was 17 years old. That was an extremely hard thing for them to go through and her husband went through a period of serious depression. It was obvious what we had to talk about for the few minutes that we had before we had to leave. We asked her if being with her daughter again would be a desirable thing for her to which she replied, "Of course! I would do anything." We taught her that, because of a prophet in our day, we have learned more about God's plan and how all of us can return to God with our families if we will just follow his commandments. We asked her if she would be willing to try this and she said yes. We invited her to church the next day and she said she would come. We were able to say a prayer at the end of the lesson and ask God to help Liri to know what to do so she could see her daughter again. As we lifted our heads up after the prayer there were tears in her eyes. You could tell that she really missed her daughter. She came to sacrament meeting on Sunday and brought a friend and was able to meet some of the members in the branch. So many people say that they will come to church and then don't show. I can't tell you how happy I was when Liri showed up to the church. Ten minutes early even! I know that the gospel will be able to heal that wound in her life if she will act on the message she hears. We are going to visit her again tomorrow and I am so excited for it! I really hope that Liri is willing to let God help her family to be reunited again.

Sunday night finished off the week in like fashion when we were able to set a baptismal date with a fifteen year old boy named Dorian on his birthday. When is his birthday? December 25th. =) I don't know what else there is to say about this week. I'm grateful for the Lord and his hand in our lives. He really loves us. The hard times are hard, but the good times are so worth it. I know God answers our prayers.

-Elder Swenson

P.S. By the way, is there any way you could send me the recipe for the gingerbread houses that you make? I just want to see if it would be possible to do those here. The Albanians would love it. Thanks!

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