"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2014 June 16th email

Crud, this is my last full week as a missionary.....

The work is still slow, we're still told to keep a low profile as the country adjusts to election results, so it's been pretty boring, so no street contacting or tracting, while we have 1 investigator and no members.  It gets pretty boring.

I don't know what kind of authority muslims claim, but for women, no it's not a concern.

1) Well, because of my weight loss, most of my clothing doesn't really fit me anymore, so I'm not taking home much clothing.  Most of my clothing I am leaving behind.

2) Yeah, I don't want to go to the temple right as I get off the airplane.  I was actually hoping if I could go Friday or something, or Saturday maybe after helping Eric?  Like I don't wanna wait a long time to go to the temple, I'm gonna need a spiritual rejuvenation asap when I get home.

3)  I probably am medium. 

4)  Yeah, we've woken up at night a few times to people cheering.  No, neither is in the World Cup.

5)  I can't do that out here, I can check when I get home.
6)  Volunteer?  As in unpaid?

7)  Yeah, I'll do one more backup next week.

8)  I haven't written it down yet, I'll do that next Monday.
So, Kristen stole my job, eh?  I might keep her soccer jersey now because of that.  Just kidding. 

So, yeah, unfortunately nothing really super interesting happened this week.

But, this week we have mission conference, which will be fun.  All of us 'dying' missionaries will be able to give our final testimonies.  So will the Fords.  They go home a week after me.  Man, let me just say again that I am SO happy I only had one mission president my mission, adjusting to a new one (especially at the end) I feel like would just be really tough.

Anyway, today for P-day we went to Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, and we played basketball. There was also a statue of Bill Clinton there.  So, that's why I'm writing now.

Well, I wish I had more to say at this point.  I can't believe I only have one more email after this.  Nuk më besohet fare.

Have a great week!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju du shumë!

Elder Palmer

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2014 Jun 9th email

Hey!  I hope you all had a great week!

Prizren at the Boulevard

Dang, school's almost over!  Next week you all are on summer!  Crazy!

Yeah, we have a car, but that's just to drive to Gjakova to go to church.  We still have no group formed here, unfortunately.  Peja now has a group formed, so they don't come to church in Gjakova except for fast Sundays now.

The food isn't too different, the byrek is in a different shape, but that's about it from what I've seen.

Dad, I will probably first call you in the airport in Vienna.  I'll get these numbers and make sure I have them before I leave.

So, you don't want me to call you in the middle of the night this time?  Because I know when I was flying to Tirana you were completely ok with that.

1)  Do you mean a mosque?  Yes.

2)  It's opel here in Albania and Kosovo.

3) We only drive to church in Gjakova.  Otherwise, we walk.  Yeah right, biking is a stereotype, as much as I want to wear those stupid helmets...

4) Kosovars LOVE Americans! 
5)  No, just Macedonia.  Fortunately, Montenegro is no longer in our mission, so I can say I've been to all the countries in my mission.  I'll be getting a Kosovo flag today I think, so I'll be set.

6)  Well, on Wednesday we ended up playing basketball with some investigators, and Elder Foster ended up getting a blister that covered a huge chunk of his foot, so he couldn't run after that.  So, I only ran once this last week.  Hopefully he'll be fine for tomorrow.  

Ok, so, any chance I can go to the temple sometime in the weekend or something?  Here's the thing: my G's are ridiculously big on me now, and I need new ones desperately.....
Also, because I heard the Temple is a really cool place to go to.  I forgot, it's been 20 months.....

Anyway, so this last week was election week.  So, we got notice from President Ford that we needed to lay low this week.  So, what I'm trying to say, is that this week was pretty boring.  Hopefully we can work this week, because I definitely don't want to end my mission having to lay low and not do as much as I possibly could.  So, we'll see how this week goes.
Have a great week!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 June 2nd email

Greetings from Kosovo!!!

So, stake conference is not until this Saturday.  Actually, it's a General Priesthood Meeting.  So, this week was supposed to be my last week in Special Assignment, but, the fact is that we finished all the lessons, and we got everyone interviewed and the final interviews with the Stake President.  So, we told the Assistants to tell President Ford that since we will have absolutely nothing to do this week, he needs to take us out of special assignment and put us somewhere for our last 3 weeks.
So, when Elder Tanner and I started special assignment, I was talking with Elder Foster about what President should do with us our last 3 weeks.  He jokingly said, "We should try to convince President Ford to take us up to Kosovo and blitz the city of Prizren."  Well, we told the AP's, who liked the idea, and the idea came to President Ford, and I guess, after weeks of discussion, he decided that would be the best thing for us to do.  So, Friday night, we got a call from President, and he said that for the next 3 weeks we would be finishing our missions in Kosovo, blitzing the city of Prizren!  I honestly thought it was good to be true.  What I thought would never happen actually happened!  I was bummed out at the beginning of transfer because I was the only one in my MTC group that never served/stepped foot in Kosovo.  But, I have 3 weeks!  The best part was that all 6 of us from my MTC group went to church together in the city of Gjakova!

So, the city of Prizren has only been open to missionary work for 9 weeks.  Right now, Prizren still doesn't have any members.  President Ford told me that our final assignment is to do what we can to get a group created here before I go home.  Obviously, that can be tough at this point.  But, that is one of his final goals as Mission President, so I will try to do my best to do what I can.  However, for the moment, Prizren still doesn't have any progressing investigators.  However, yesterday I went tracting with Elder Foster, and there was this family that immediately let us in.  They were extremely open to everything we had to say, and they had already learned a little bit about the church.  They accepted the Book of Mormon and we will meet with them again tonight.  The best part: the oldest son loves basketball and wants to play with us sometime!  After being used to everyone only knowing soccer, this was a pleasant surprise.  Kosovars love basketball, and they'll probably be able to update me on the finals every week if I asked.  

Also, the dialect in Kosovo is way different that the dialect in Albania, and I'm excited to be here because I have a goal of being able to speak more Kosovar by the time I get home.

So , I will miss the General Priesthood Meeting unfortunately, but honestly I couldn't have asked for a better ending to my mission that to work in a city that is brand new to the Gospel.  What's coolest is that all my MTC group is in Kosovo: 2 in Gjakova, 2 in Peja, and now 2 in Prizren.  The missionaries in Peja and Prizren go to church in the Branch in Gjakova because Peja and Prizren didn't have groups because Peja was also just opened as well.  But, Peja actually just became a group last week, but since yesterday was fast & testimony meeting they came to Gjakova one last time.  

I just realized that this might be the longest letter I've written in a long time.

1) I think I'm an 11.5.  I don't know still, I didn't have time to check.

2)  His foot is doing a lot better.  He's off crutches and can walk now.  I haven't run in 6 days. Tomorrow I will start again.

3)  I don't know, we'll see if I can.

4)  See above.

So, yeah, I am now in my final city.  6 areas.  5 cities.  2 countries.  9 companions.  It's gonna be a ton of street contacting and tracting, but I think that will keep the desire going to stay focused until the end.

Jake, nice job!  So, do you need to play the drums?  (Jake is Drum Major for the marching band)

Andrea, nice job at you recital!

Eric, that would be weird if you were in Innsbrook as a married man.

Have a great week!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju du shumë!

Elder Palmer

PS:  That city in the last picture I sent you.  Does that name look familiar?  Like in some movie about Albanian kidnappers and Liam Neeson?

2014 May 26th email

What is up?!?  Sorry I am this late at emailing, but I just got back from Macedonia, the city of Ohrid! I went there back on my 2nd P-day in the country.  It was cool coming back a year and a half later.
Mom, it's not June 25th, it was May 25th.....

Dang, Tanner Fiala left!  That's nuts!  Yeah, I'm glad I had some time before I left when Eric got home.

Interesting enough, we had an earthquake here too last week.  (3.5 earthquake in VA) It was in the middle of the night, and I was half-awake when I felt it, and I was too tired to really react, but it stopped before I could do anything.

Nice, so Toni is near!  Ima find him when I get home.

Wait, I thought Eric graduated.....(He did.  One more class for minor and Dental School)

Jake, get your eagle...

Andrea, good luck in PE

1)  I don't really know.  With a shower maybe?  (What should Eric and Kristen look for in an apartment?)

2) Yeah sure why not.

3)  I think I'm either an 11.5 or 12.  Wide. (running shoes)

4) well, not today.  I'll look next week.  I don't want to choose classes until I drop my major.

5th pick?!?!?  Are you !@#$%^&*)(*&^%#@ kidding me?!?  (NBA lottery)

Anyway, as I said in the heading, this week brought an interesting twist.  Elder Baker, in 2nd Branch, was busy trying to fix his toilet.  While trying to, he picked up the tank cover thing in the back of it in an awkward manner, and because of that he dropped it.  Right on his foot.  It was very heavy.  So, after a couple doctor visits and talks with Sister Ford, Elder Baker can't do proselyting missionary work this week, at least.  So, he has been put with me!  Elder Tanner is with his companion for the week and will work his area, and I will be with Elder Baker for the week, hoping that his foot is better by Sunday.

So, yeah, you never know what can happen on a mission.

Anyway, have a great week!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 May 19th email

What is up?!  Hope you all had a great week!

The special assignment is going great!  Right now we have 12 men who seem really solid and prepared to receive the MP.  So, hopefully they will stay strong these last couple weeks.  We are in Tirana every Monday for P-day.

Dang, Caleb is going to Portugal!  There's actually a kid from Albania serving there!  That will be awesome for him!  I was honestly hoping for Albania, so that eventually there will be someone I can speak Albanian to.

I probably was nervous for SOL's, I always got nervous for those things.

Jake, do your eagle.  It will help you so much in life later.

Eric, your Albanian attempt wasn't too bad this time.

Andrea, nice job on the dancing!

1) Yeah, in Tirana.  When I was in 3rd Branch I went to the 2 Chinese Restaurants there.  They were pretty good actually, and I never had any stomach problems.  All the foreign restaurants are mostly in Tirana.

2) Right now, the focus is getting mom one more thing, since I have 2 things for all of you except her.  I'm working on it.  I should have enough money to get the rest of what I want, and I don't plan on taking out anymore unless I absolutely have to.  It depends on whether or not I go to Kosovo after the special assignment.  (Aw, what a sweet boy)

3) I think that would probably be fine, we'll talk.

4) It's about 35 minutes.

5) No, that was just because I needed to send you the forms.

Man, I wish there was more interesting stuff to say about this assignment, but we've done basically the same thing last week that we've done every week on this job.  A ton of driving and crashing at other elder's houses.  It's good work though, definitely something other missions don't do.

But, I found out something cool!  A member here in Tirana named Toni is now in America!  In Virginia!  He was referred by the Gjoligu's to the church, and he might be living near them, so that would be cool if you got in contact with him and say that you're my family.  He remembers me, and I'm excited to see him in America, he has a 6 month visa and he's been there for less than 2 months.  So, someone to speak Albanian to when I get home!

Anyway, have a great week!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju dua shumë!  

Elder Palmer

2014 May 5th email

Happy Birthday Mom! U bëfsh një qind vjet!   (Something about 100 years.....)

Well, this was another crazy week.  But, it was successful.  We spent the whole week going from city to city working with those recommended for the Melchizedek Priesthood.  I think the coolest thing, is that the 3 men I baptized in Lushnjë are all recommended for it.  The one that was baptized last week the Branch President already has plans for him.  I honestly never thought at this point in my mission that I would baptize anyone that could be a Melchizedek Priesthood holder and a leader in the church. Man, I still remember last year when I was too discouraged about not having any baptisms at all.

Anyway, about skype, Sunday night at 6 PM should be good, pretty much the same as always.  Man, that was quick......(Mother's Day!!!!)


1)  We ran everyday this week!  I don't know how much specifically, but we have ran at least 2-3 miles every day.  Sorry, it's really all I can do right now.

2)  So, knowing that I probably won't get any good job in Virginia for less than 2 months, I would be so down with Manual Labor, since my goal is to not get fat again when I get home, so I have no problem with that.  But, that thing Eric does that you told me I could do last year, I would definitely want to know if I could do that as well.

3)  Yes, I'm sure.

4) Honestly, you probably know sites better than me at this point.  And, I don't think I will sit and complain the whole time this time.  (Road trip)

Alright, so, yeah, the point of last week was to just go through the names and eliminate all those who aren't going to make it.  So, right now, we have about 15 names of people who are looking good to get it in June.  Our goal is 12, so things are looking good!

Anyway, Elder Tanner and I are doing really well at staying focused.  I'll be honest, the thought of going home is kinda depressing.  Eric, sorry if I was a bum to you, I now understand.  I don't feel ready to care about life again.  Anyway, yeah, we are definitely going to end our mission strong!

Have a great week!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!  I'll see you Sunday!

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer