"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."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 December 17 email

Hey family, I hope you enjoy these pictures I sent you that I took while I was in Pogradec.  I know I am a terrible photographer, but whatever.

Ok, I will first start with that comment I got from my blog.  Yes, I do know who Elder Woods is, and I think I have actually heard about this person getting baptized.  Woods is training Elder Finklea, actually.  He does have a blog, and if you google "Adriatic South mission"  look for the blog that begins with "Two by Two," it's like the 4th entry, that's Woods' blog. 

Yeah, the Boydells told us about Connecticut yesterday.  It seems we've been having a lot of shootings lately.

Holy cow, one whole semester has already passed on my mission. (Friends from BYU are home for the holidays). That's messed up.  Tomorrow I hit 5 months, this thing is flying by, I can't believe I will be approaching 6 months.  What's crazier is that Juan hits 1 year on Friday.

So, yeah, it got freezing last week, and our heater broke and our pranari (landlord) was in Greece for a few days so we couldn't contact him, so yeah we had layers and layers of stuff, but now it's fixed and it's warm inside our house again.  Outside, it's bitter cold, and it doesn't snow here in Elbasan, it just rains like crazy.

That's awesome that y'all are in 3rd Nephi, I am almost done with Helaman, I am in chapter 14, right in the middle of Samuel the Lamanite prophesying to the Nephites.

Yeah, thanks for the skittles, and if you want, feel free to send more.  Yeah, the thing is, we're not really involved with the 'primary,' if you want to call it that.  The primary is made up of the kids at the orphanage right across the street.

Oh, yeah, about skype, I really don't know when I'll be calling you, so my advice is just to leave it up all day.  Obviously it'll be, my guess, around noon in Virginia or something like that.  Just make sure to give me your skype name so I can find it on Christmas.  It's so weird here, these people really don't celebrate Christmas at all, they like New Years a whole lot better.  I still have to remind myself that Christmas is next week, and that my birthday is in 10 days.

Jake, Andrea, I am glad you love school.  So, I got a question, any particular reason why school stops on Thursday?  (It doesn't.  School goes through to Friday.)  Is it why I think it is?  (No, it is not the end of the world.)  Enjoy the Christmas presents I sent you, I worked really hard to get them. (Sarcasm)

Ok, dad:

1)  Our phone is not international, I have no idea what phone we would use if I called you.  We don't text, only zone leaders and assistants text.

2)  Yeah, I just tried googling it,  (a dessert called tre lace) and I got the same problem.  It's a cake with a good icing, but the cake itself is also filled with milk, and it's pretty good if the proportions are good.  Honestly, other than candy bars, there's no dessert that I really like.

3) (Where did you go last week for P-day?)  Pogradec, as I said.  We're actually going there again because the zone leaders didn't go last week because they were in Tirana doing stuff.  It was fun, it's by the beach, I kissed a girl (as I have shown you in the picture I sent) and I finally bought my first two ties in Albania.

Ok cool, so this past week.  So, this week was pretty great.  We got 2 new investigators from English course.  One just wanted to be baptized, and her friend at first just came because the other one didn't want to come alone, and kept telling us that she has already been baptized.  But, after watching the Restoration, I think I saw a change in mindset in the both of them.  They both came to church yesterday and really liked it, and said they'll be back next Sunday.  We also had these 2 other guys from English course that have come to church two weeks in a row now, and one yesterday in Sunday school said he does feel something different when he comes to church.  We haven't had any meetings with them outside of English because they have been busy, but we're meeting with them this week.  They're really cool too.  It's crazy what's going on, I have 2 more weeks with Elder Knight, and then training is over, and we'll get transfer calls on the 29th, and I really want to stay in Elbasan.  I just want to be able to leave the place where I was born (started the mission) completely fluent.  Man, this week as far as understanding was awesome, I started having those moments where I didn't even have to think to be able to understand the people.  It isn't always happening yet, there are still a few people where I am like 'what?' but it's getting better.  My speaking is good, but I still think like an American when I speak sometimes, and that just makes no sense when you directly translate English to Albanian in your mind.  Oh yeah, we had an earthquake, it wasn't bad, no one was hurt and nothing was damaged, we're all good.  I think it was a category 4 or 5. (What?)

Oh yeah, something else.  With the new missionary changes as far as age and time in MTC, transfers will now go from 3 months to 9 weeks, so that could change when I go home.  President said if it has to be staying a little bit longer or going home a little early, he would prefer if we stay a little longer, which, overall, I am fine with that, but I really don't want to miss Fall semester.  I specifically wanted to leave in July so I wouldn't be in the predicament that Eric was in when he got home.  So, president is working on it now, because in our mission we will start to get Serbian speakers, and they are only in the MTC for 6 weeks, while Albanian speakers are 9 weeks now. 

We also had general priesthood meeting in Durres on Saturday, it was pretty cool.  We had 20 people sustained for Melchizedek Priesthood, including one from Elbasan.

Anyway, things are good, hope you all are doing well.  Be safe this week, especially Friday.  (12/21/12- the end of the Mayan calendar) I am confident nothing will happen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 December 10th email

Hey family, how's it going?

So, first of all, a bit congratulations to Ha Young for being called to serve in the Boston mission!  Is she speaking English?  (Ward member's mission call!)

Glad yall enjoyed this week.  They still haven't picked Jake's band teacher?   That's gjynave (I think that's how it's spelled, meaning 'messed up')  Glad yall enjoyed the Christmas activity, and hopefully Jake enjoyed the Hollyball.  I'll try to distinguish the letters, but I doubt I will since I don't really know anyone in the youth anymore.  (Youth members wrote letters to the missionaries during a stake dance)

Yeah, Elder Knight and I already destroyed the two big bags of skittles you sent me, and we're working on the little packages.  It has gotten freaking cold here too, so I have already broken out the warm clothing so I won't die, and I am pretty sure I already know what the Christmas present is, so that you, hopefully it will be very useful.  Yes, we love the root beer float gum, it's fantastic.

Yeah, the language was better this week, it's just everyone is telling me that after 2 months in the field they didn't really have any troubles with understanding, and I feel like I could be a lot better than I am right now still, but this week was definitely better than last.  I just looked through Chase's blog to find the picture, apparently when he brought up Jeremy just getting his mission call he accidentally wrote that he's going to Albania and not Armenia, that's pretty funny.

Andrea, glad you enjoyed going to elementary schools and performing for them.  (It is happening this week...)

Jake, I am glad you feel accomplished, but that stinks because I never had to do a research paper in high school until junior year.

K Dad,

1) Cash?  So far so good.
2) Desert?  I haven't really tried very many, but I like tre lace (I think that's how it's spelled).  (Well, he can't spell dessert in English)

Ok sorry I don't have much time now so I'll write this quick.  So this week we got 20 lessons down this week, it was exhausting but rewarding.  We got 2 potential new investigators, one is from Greece and he and his friend both came to church yesterday and liked it. We also have General Priesthood meeting this Saturday in Durres, and we are trying to get like 4 less active MP holders there.  Ok, sorry, I didn't have too much time to write this week because we're going to some city nearby that I don't know it's name, and we have to leave soon.  Take care!

Ju dua!

Elder Palmer

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 December 3rd email

Hey family, how's it going?

Man, it's warm back home, ain't it?  (65 + degrees)  It's started to cool down just a bit this week, but apparently the coldest doesn't come till January, so that'll be fun.  Yeah, I know dad weighs like nothing now, don't rub it in.  Kidding.

Yes, I got the package, thank you all so much it's awesome.  I am currently using the countdown calendar to Christmas.  Speaking of Christmas, for when we skype you'll just have to create your own account, and I'll just use my old skype account, I think I remember the password and everything.  I have no idea about what time yet, I'll let you know soon, probably the p-day before we skype.

Good luck with the Christmas program.  Yeah, we can listen to Christmas music, if it's appropriate.

Tell Spencer I say 'Congratulations.'  (Engaged)

So, how does the church basketball team look this year?  Champions?

No, people here don't make Christmas a big deal.  The only place I have seen decorations are in the YSA center and the couple's house.  This is gonna be weird, this Christmas.

Andrea, I am sorry that you're smarter than everyone.

Jake, glad you like school.  This is the best year of high school you'll have.  (sophomore)

Dad, stop mocking me, I know I am the fattest one in the family now.

Ok, dad's questions:

1)  President Ford is about to reach a year and a half, and they will go home I think just like 3 weeks before I go home, so yeah.  The Boydells have been out 6 months and now have just under a year left.

2)  Albanians, I love them to death.  I would say they are quite family oriented, a lot more than what America is becoming.

3)  I think there are either 4 or 6 missionaries in Kosovo, and one companionship in Macedonia and Montenegro.  Yeah, Macedonia is 50-50 Macedonian (but they can communicate with Serbian) and Albanian.  Yeah, I could serve in Macedonia at some point, and Kosovo as well.  But I would prefer to be fluent before I go there.

Also, during this last week was the celebration of the 100 years of Albania being an independent state, and so President told us to be inside early on Wednesday and Thursday.  Nothing happened at all in Elbasan, it was dead quiet.  Only in Tirana and in Vlore were there major parties in the country.  We are also working on strengthening Melchezikek Priesthood holders because we have district priesthood meeting on December 15, and we want to get as many people there as we can for that.

The language is coming along, I think I can speak pretty well, but for some reason for the last couple days I have been struggling a bit more than I have lately with understanding, I don't know what it is.  Last week I would say I could usually understand about 80-90% of what people say to me, and now I feel like I'm back to like 60%.  And that's with Albanians, with missionaries I have no problem understanding them.

Other than that, it's been a pretty good week, nothing else interesting going on in the boring city of Elbasan.  Take care, have a good week!

Ju dua!

Elder Palmer

PS:  Dad, po, kam ftohte.  (Yes, I'm cold)