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.