Hey Everyone -
So I am not really sure how to say this, but I am home now. Actually, I have been home for about 4 weeks now (sorry for the SUPER late update). I arrived home in Maryland on Dec. 17th in the evening and was immediately released by President Cook (my stake president). I was sent home for medical reasons that the doctors believed needed immediate attention. That being said, I was honorably released and I have the option of returning in 6 months if: 1) the doctors approve and 2) I prayerfully decide that going out on a mission is right for me. I haven't decided yet what I will do, but I am planning on staying home AND going back on a mission. This means that I anticipate my recovery and assume that I will feel ready to go back out, but if that doesn't happen I am also making plans to attend BYU in April.
I apologize for getting this post out so late because I know many of you read this and I don't have the opportunity to see all of you in person (especially my missionary buddies! I love you guys!) I just wanted to let you know where I have been and what has been happening.
As for my life right now, I am a percussion instructor at Urbana High School and I am living the "good" life. I have had an amazing amount of support from family and friends that welcomed me home with hugs, smiles, and words of encouragement. I am so thankful for them. Thank you everyone for the support you have given me the past 7 months and if you see me, holler at me!
(Elder) Tyler Allgaier
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Hello Friends and Family -
- Elder Allgaier
Sorry for not writing last week. It was a very long P-day and I didn't have the energy to write any big emails. (Writing half decent emails can be very difficult sometimes). I also wanted to thank Hollie and Aunt Mary for sending me packages! Thank you Mary for the food and the Emergen-C, especially. That has really helped me lately. Hollie, I apologize, but I opened your package before Christmas. I forgot that it was the Christmas package until I looked into it. I assure you that I will wait until Christmas to use any of the stuff : )
Since I didn't write an email last week I suppose I should tell you a little bit about the Thanksgiving here. Every year all of the missionaries in the Adriatic South Mission go down (or up) to Tirana for a day of missionary training/Thanksgiving dinner and festivities. The dinner was phenomenal and we had REAL turkey. Don't ask me where we got it because that is still a mystery to me. After the dinner we had a talent show and dessert followed by a testimony meeting for the missionaries that are leaving at the end of this month (shout out to Elder Peterson). It was a really good day of food, fun, and remembering all the things that we are thankful for.
Last Wednesday we had our Zone training in Prishtina and all the missionaries from Prishtina, Gjakova, Shkoder, and Skopje (Macedonia) met up at the church building in Prishtina. I wanted to share 2 scriptures from that training that I really liked:
Many of you have asked about people that we are teaching, so I will tell you about one of my favorite families that I have taught so far. We have been teaching Mergim, Marigona, and their mom Jenny, for about 2 weeks now and it is easily the highlight of my week teaching them. After teaching so many people in Albanian, its nice to be able to teach someone in English. We usually go over to their house 2 or 3 times a week and have a relatively short lesson planned, but we almost always end up staying for 2 or 3 hours just answering their questions. Marigona, who is 13, has been asking really good questions like "If we knew each other before we were born, why don't we remember?" I LOVE getting questions like that and it makes the lessons with them so awesome. We also were able to teach them how to pray and it was so cool getting to see Mergim and Marigona pray. I really look forward to seeing where they go in the next month or two! I also know that they are reading my blog, so hey guys!
Christmas is coming up soon and I am really excited to be a part of the Christmas season in a different part of the world. I know that it won't be as full blown as it would be if I was back home, but it will certainly be something special. I am really looking forward to Skyping with my family! That will probably happen around 12 noon your time, by the way.
The weather up here is getting quite chilly. It has snowed a couple times and there is constant ice on the ground. They don't use salt up here on the sidewalks and that makes it really dangerous to walk around. I heard you guys got snow back home? Nice. I am starting to really love the snow and cold more and more. You can always add clothes, but you can't always take them off : )
Anyway, that is all for me this week. Stay safe everyone, and enjoy the snow!
- Elder Allgaier
|Some guys from Tirana came to visit us in Gjakova|
|Math class in Gjakova|
|The Christmas tree at the church|
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Hello Dear Family and Friends -
Another week down here in grand 'ol Gjakovë. I just want to thank everyone who has sent me mail in the past month and a half because I just got it all yesterday! Also, a big thank you to grandma Allgaier for the blanket she made me. It kept me very warm last night.
As for the weekly round up of events, I don't have many to report on. Things have been relatively slow here, but we did have a fun day in Prishtina yesterday that I will tell you about.
We had Elder Christopher Charles of the area seventy come and visit Kosovo yesterday and he was able to speak at our sacrament meeting in Prishtina. Obviously with a member of the area seventy coming we wanted as many members as possible to hear him. So we rallied the members here in Gjakova (about 20 all together) and took 2 vans to Prishtina at about 8:30 in the morning. When we finally got there we went into the little church building that we have in Prishtina and it was PACKED full of missionaries, members, and military (they come to church from the military base). I have never seen that building so crowded and it was awesome to know that we were all there for a good purpose. During the meeting, the new members gave their testimonies, President Ford spoke, a soldier woman sang a beautiful song, and Brother Charles gave a really good talk. That was the first full-length sacrament meeting I had been to since I left Utah 3 months ago and it was really good!
After the meeting we all gathered together for a delicious lunch that included roast beef sandwiches, chips, and more brownies than I have ever seen in one place. In was a pretty good meal to say the least.
So that's really the only story I have to tell you all. Enjoy Thanksgiving this week and remember to thank people for the things that they do for you! I promise it wont go unnoticed. I love you all and stay safe!
- Elder Allgaier
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Hey everyone -
It has been a pretty good week and I have had the opportunity to meet some really cool people. Last Thursday, my companion and I were out tabling in the center and a teen-aged boy comes up to us and asks, "Are you guys from England?" in perfect English. Turns out that he was born and raised in Michigan and just moved back here to Gjakovë with his family last September. He has an equally cool sister. They are 16 and 13 years old, respectively (I think). We have spent a lot of time with them and playing ping pong at the church and hopefully we can keep seeing them! It is always nice to chat with other Americans.
This past Saturday we had yet ANOTHER baptism! It wasn't our investigator though, it was a man who has been taught by the other two elders in Gjakovë. He is the husband of one of the members in our little branch.
On a completely unrelated note, Spencer won states on Saturday! Congratulations to him and on his undefeated season!
There is a girl in our branch and she is getting married to another member really soon. Because of the wedding, her sister flew in from America with her kids (her husband will come out soon) and they will be here for the next month or so. With this visiting family and the kids from Michigan, we might as well start an English branch out here! Just kidding, but that would be something special.
Aside from those few things, there isn't much else to report on. The weather is getting pretty chilly up here and I really look forward to the first snow fall. We are going to be heading down to Tirana on the 27th for Mission Conference and thanksgiving at the mission home. I am really looking forward to that.
I guess that is all from me for this week. I love you all and stay safe!
- Elder Allgaier
(Again...going to load pictures as soon as I can. Please check back.)
(Again...going to load pictures as soon as I can. Please check back.)
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Hey Everyone -
I have been getting some emails about where to send packages, so I decided to address the issue on the blog so everyone can see it. Packages can be sent to this address:
Elder Tyler Allgaier
Adriatic South Mission
PO Box 2984
Rruga Qemal Stafa, Vila 1
Perballe Postes Nr. 22
That is the address for regular letters and packages. If you have a special need for a special address, talk to my mom about that and we can work something out. Thank you for thinking of me!
So now for the weekly recap. The beginning of last week started off a little rough because of some safety concerns that we have had here in Kosovo. We were directed to spend most of our time indoors and just to be careful. The 4 Gjakova elders all stayed together for a few days, and during those few days we had some good fun. We did an ab workout program that about destroyed my stomach.
This past Saturday we had a baptism for 2 of our investigators, a husband and wife. They have come such a long way since the other two elders started teaching them 2 months ago. My companion and I picked up teaching them about a month ago and they have changed so much since then, as well. Their baptism was held at Hotel Pastriku (the same place as a young woman) and my companion baptized them both. The Prishtina group even came down here for the baptism and it was really good to see them. It's always fun to have more people at a baptism because 1) it shows the new members that they have a large group of people that are happy and support them and 2) we like to see our Prishtina friends. The following day I had the opportunity to give both Mirlind and Vlora the Holy Ghost. It is really hard to describe the feeling that I have when I give someone else a blessing like that in another language. I don't mean to boast at all because I will be the first one to admit that the blessings were far from grammatically correct, but the important part was the gift that they received from God. And I did that correctly. Baptisms like these are amazing because we can see the kingdom of God growing and we get to see people make changes in their lives that make them happier.
I don't have much else to say because it was a relatively uneventful week (aside from the baptism, of course) so I will end with a shout-out to my brother Spencer. YOU GUYS BETTER GO WIN STATES!!!!!!!
I love you all so much and I appreciate the support you give to my family. I wouldn't be able to be here without you guys. Stay safe!
- Elder Allgaier
Friday, November 8, 2013
This has been quite the week here in this part of the world, to say the least. As of Sunday, I am now 1/6 of the way done with my mission. That also means that I have now been in the field for as long as I was in the MTC.... crazy. I feel like I haven't been on my mission for that long (and I really haven't), but time is flying by out here. I look forward to the next 20 months.
Last Wednesday while Harvey and I were talking to people in the Center, 2 teen aged boys came up to us and started talking to us in half decent English. They were probably 17 or 18 years old. The first thing they asked us was, "Can we have visas to America?" Obviously we said no, but they decided to stick around anyway and chat with us. Long story short, it is a bummer to see how skewed the youth's (and some adult's) view of America is. The kids here have such potential.
As all you Americans know, the 31st was Halloween and much to my surprise, we had Halloween here too! Although it was celebrated a little bit differently, it was still fun to have that holiday. Instead of going door-to-door asking for candy, the kids just dress up in costumes and walk around the town with their friends or parents. It's basically just an opportunity for the kids to dress up and hangout with their pals. That night my companion and I went to my favorite pizza stand called "Të Cimi". Since it was Halloween night, the line was ridiculously long. We decided it would be fun to order 10 pizzas just for ourselves. At 1 euro a pizza, it seemed like a great idea. So we did. And everyone behind us got mad. Oh well....
Saturday was a super awesome day. We had an 8 AM baptism for one of our investigators. He is in his 30's and we met him about 2 months ago while we were waiting to pick up another member (Dafina) to go to church. The baptism was held in a local river because the hotel we usually use was being renovated. At 8 AM you can probably guess how cold the water was.... yes, freezing. Luckily for me, one of our members baptized him. So now for the funny part: The first time he went under the water his knees didn't go all the way under so they had to redo it. As he was being pulled out of the water the current knocked them both over and they fell completely into the river. Pretty funny. Then the second time he got dipped, he was so cold and worried about not going completely under that he just curled up into a ball and rolled over into the river. Again, pretty funny. At the same time, though, it was a spiritual moment and I got to see someone who I had taught from start to finish get baptized. After the baptism at the river, we all went back to the church to finish the program. I even gave a talk on the Holy Ghost, which was fun.
The day after the baptism we had church at the normal 11 AM and as part of the program, Shkumbin was given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Guess who did it...... THIS GUY! I had no idea he wanted me to do it until we all stood up in the circle and he pointed to me. My heart flipped out, but I gave the blessing and it was awesome. that was the first time I have ever given anyone the Holy Ghost and it was in Albanian, too! As a completely unrelated side note, we got our piano at the church (its a really nice electric keyboard). The cool thing with this piano is that it has all the LDS hymns pre-loaded onto it and you can play them by just tapping one key to the beat. Because it was that easy to play it, I volunteered to be the pianist for Church. Totally awesome.
Yesterday for P-day the Gjakova district went to Macedonia! This was a really special trip for us because usually missionaries aren't allowed there unless they have serious business to do.... we didn't. We really wanted to get our passport stamped. That was about as serious as it got. I wont cover the whole trip because that would take forever (plus, you can just look at the pictures) so I will just talk about the highlights. The Macedonian elders have the only dryer in the entire mission, the have Domino's pizza, Burger King, and a radio built into their shower. Talk about high-rollers. For lunch we ordered 4 pizzas from Domino's and it was nothing short of spectacular. Sometimes you just need American pizza to make you feel good. We also go to see a castle and walk around the city for a bit. Skopje (the capital) is sooo clean compared to the rest of the mission.
So that's about all I have for this week. I apologize for writing it a day late, but I had a really busy day yesterday and didn't have time to get on the computer. I hope you are all doing well, and stay safe!
Love you all.