"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."

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 January 28th email


Yes, Berat was very fun, it was good to check out another city.
So, yes, there is an Albanian hymnbook.  But, it only contains about 60 songs.  We have a piano, and in Fier Sister Casady usually plays it for us during church.  And no, I don't mess around when I sing.  (Scott used to sing half a beat behind and half a tone beneath just to bug us.)
We have a washing machine in our house, but we have to hang our clothes to let them dry.....No, I wouldn't say they're very similar to the ones at BYU.  The directions are in Italian, so it took us a little bit to figure out how to work them.

Dang, congrats on the snowstorm.  No, we never had any issues that prevented me from going to class last year, so that stinks about the bad air in Utah.  Eh, what do you do?  (Inversion in Utah)

Ok, dad:
1) Ok, we probably could buy carrots.  But, we have started eating kiwis and pomegranates, so we're expanding.
2) I have dreamed in Albanian, it's kinda weird.  I don't remember the last noun or verb I have learned.  I have been reading the Book of Mormon like a champ though.  I am now in the beginning of Mosiah.
3) Yep, church works the way it usually does.  Mid-week youth activities?  We have mid-week branch activities.  Scouts?  No.  So, like I said, our building consisits of two rooms on the second floor of a pallate (building), so we have no cultural hall whatsoever.  Yeah, we have nothing around it.  No one in Fier likes basketball anyway.  (Again, Scott hasn't played basketball in awhile.)

So, dad, I really don't know how much I weigh right now, you probably still weigh less than me, but I know I have lost weight since I got to Fier.  I have been exercising like a champ since I got here, and the only weight I know I have gained is muscle again.  We'll see what happens.

 Jake, do work.

Andrea, yeah, the time does go fast.

So, yeah, I speak Albanian.  Never thought I could do that a year ago.  I don't know what to do once I finish the Book of Mormon.  I'm thinking about taking up Spanish so I could talk to all my friends once I get home.  Or maybe I'll re-learn French and show you all up.  We'll see.
Alright, well that's my week.  I hope that you all are doing well, enjoy the snow, I wished Fier had some. Anyway, take care!

Ju dua!

Elder Palmer

2013 January 21 email

Hey, family, what's going on?  Things are going good here.

So, dad, you're traveling a lot again, eh?  Didn't we move to Virginia in the beginning so that you didn't have to travel as much as you did with American Express?
Dang, congrats on the snowstorm.  I wish I had a big snowstorm here, I miss snow.  Too bad Fier is on the coast and is too warm for snow.  Pretty much all of the areas in Albania don't really get snow.  I'll have to be transferred to Kosovo if I want to experience snow, but transfers won't happen till the end of March, and it'll probably be too warm by then.  Oh well, next year maybe.

So, anyway, something good happened last week that I would like to share.  I finally finished the Book of the Mormon for the first time!  It was awesome!  It was Wednesday I think, that morning during personal study I read to Ether 5, and I realized how close I was, so I just made a push that night after we went in from working.  So, yeah, I can finally say I have read the Book of Mormon sincerely all the way through.  Yeah, so now I am reading it in Albanian, I am in 2nd Nephi through most of the Isaiah chapters, which gave me a bit of a headache.  If you thought understanding Isaiah in English was hard, try Albanian.

So, mom, yeah, there aren't any sister missionaries in Fier or Elbasan right now.  There are two in Tirana, two in Durres, two in Vlore, and during this last transfer the first two sisters have been put into Kosovo.  But apparently by June there's supposed to be 14 sisters in our mission, so I would assume that just about every area in Albania would have a sister companionship by then.  We'll see.
Yeah, if appointments fall through we street contact or tract, which isn't very successful because Fier itself is so small that everyone knows who we are and what we do.  President has established 3 standards of excellence for every companionship.  Every week, every companionship should have at least 20 lessons (with investigators and with inactive members, lessons with active members don't count), half of you investigator lessons being with members present, and we need to get at least 3 new investigators every week.  That's tough.  Definitely reach-able, but tough.   I try my hardest to get 20 lessons every week, but it's hard, we only got 14 last week.
Ok, dad:

1)  Dad, we do get a vegetable in there a couple times a week.  Don't worry, you'll get a picture of what I eat today.
This totally goes against our family rule of:
Don't eat anything bigger than your head!

2)  Albanians love soccer (meaning Scott hasn't played basketball for awhile)
3) kot means worthless

Jake, keep doing work.

Andrea, broken ankles build character. (it was a slight sprain.)

Ok, this last week.  I think I can honestly say that I am now fluent in Albanian.  Not to be proud or anything, but people here have been very impressed with my speaking, which always is good, so yeah.  My understanding here is doing just fine, I think I realize now that people have different accents so I won't be able to understand everything all the time, but yeah sometimes people have originally thought I am albanian, so that's a good feeling I guess.

Anyway, yeah, so you might notice that I am writing this email a little bit later than usual.  That's because our district went to the city of Berat today for p-day.  I'm gonna send you pictures right after I finish this.

Anyway, this is all I got for this week.  Everyone take care, and have a good week!
Ju dua,
Elder Palmer

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 Jan 14th email

Hello, how is it going, family?  Good? Good.  So, yeah, mom, the food here just tastes a lot better.  The sufflaqes are incredible, and the pizza is better, so yeah quality is better.  We do eat oranges like champs though.  Yeah, there is definitely more humidity here than in Elbasan, but it wasn't too foggy this week.  Yeah, our zone leaders were transferred to 2nd or 4th branch in Tirana, so yeah we went to Tirana Tuesday for zone training.  P-days here are not much different here than in Elbasan, but I think we have more cities in our district, so we can go to more places if we wanted to.  Not today, though, we ain't doing anything special. 
ok dad:
1)  Families?  I'll say 3 or 4 max.  The rest is just individuals.  It's the second floor of a building, we have one big room for the chapel, a room on the side for relief society, and another for branch President.  Then there's another hall where we have a primary room, a sunday school room (we use that room when meeting with investigators), and a bathroom and a room for cultural activities.
2)  My diet has not changed at all.  We eat pizza and sufflaqes, no fish whatsoever.  We only ate at his house once, and that was at the beginning of transfer.  Man, you guys are gonna hate me, because I probably won't have any recipes for you at all.
3)  Yeah, I can receive photos usually.  I can send like 3 pictures per email, but I can't really send videos, too much memory I guess.  Just backed up my photos yesterday.
Anyway, that's about it from this week.  I was looking at the blog, um, yeah, I am pretty sure that Jacob's brother also served in Puerto Rico as well-(Scott is correct this family in our ward has had 5 sons serve in just 3 missions.)
Anyway, take it easy this week.
Ju dua

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Jan 7th email

So, yeah, I am no longer in Elbasan, I am in Fier.  Fier, known for the best food in the mission as well, which is true from what I have tasted, so that's not good.

Ok Dad:

1)  Both Fier and Elbasan are pretty quiet cities, but the quality of food in Fier is better than Elbasan, like I said.  There's no church building in Fier, we have a building that we use instead.  There's only about 30 people in church here, compared to about 60 in Elbasan, and Elder Casady (of the couple) is the Branch President, and I believe Elder Bair is the 1st Counselor.

2)  Nope, separate apartments.  I think there is only 2 companionships that live together in this mission, and they both are in Tirana.  So yeah, we have the Casadys in here, but the city of Lushnje is also in our district, but there's no couple there I don't think.

3)  What else do they do?  They close down their shops for at least 3 days.

Jake, who's 'Hayward' jersey did you sport?  (Jazz Basketball)

Andrea, that stinks.  (Andrea had the flu on the plane ride home from Utah)

So, sounds like it you all had fun in Utah for Christmas vacation.  Yeah, I am sure that was another movie I need to watch come post-mish.  (Hobbit)

So, yeah, Fier.  It's a nice city.  The work here is definitely a lot bit tougher than in Elbasan, no doubt about that.  Yes, Elder Bair is definitely the best cook in the mission, not just Fier.  No, the branch is definitely a lot smaller than in Elbasan, about half as many people come to church than in Elbasan.  It definitely is a lot warmer here than in Elbasan.

Ok, so this last week.  Obviously the first week is tough for two missionaries white-washing a city,  so we're pretty much starting from scratch.  We found a man on the road, had a good discussion, gave him a Book of Mormon, and he showed up at church yesterday.  But we're taking it slowly,  because he still has a few questions.  We also met with a few contacts that the other missionaries left for us.

So, Jacob (from our ward) is going to Puerto Rico, eh?  Didn't his brother go there? (no)

Yep, that's really it for now, the work is slow but we're working hard, so take it easy back in America!

Ju dua!

Elder Palmer

2013 Jan 1 email

Well, I am out of Elbasan.  I have now been transferred to the city of Fier, which is close along the coast now.  Elder Knight is staying in Elbasan with his new companion, Elder Ferguson.  My new companion is Elder Christiansen.  I am kinda bummed out that I left Elbasan already because I just grew attached to that city in 3 months and really hoped that I could do one more transfer there, but no.  But I am excited to start work here in Fier.

Yep, I am 20, which means dad is 51.  Yes, I am now no longer a teenager, but the real question is, is the maturity level any different.  I'll just say kismet to that..

Eric, you're right, the mission is the best, and that's why it was hard to leave Elbasan because I became tight with a lot of the members, and honestly it just stunk to leave, I felt like I didn't finish my work there, but what can I do, eh?

1) Yeah, like I said, I got transferred, I am in the city of Fier now, at least until March 20.

2) Yeah, on my birthday, like I said, we just had some very interesting lessons.  I haven't bought myself anything yet, but maybe today, although I think we are just going around town to get to know the area better.

3)  Last night was incredible.  Right at midnight the city pretty much exploded with fireworks, it was awesome.  I got a video, but I can't send video through this email.

 (This is a video of New Year's fireworks in Fier from YouTube.
All the fireworks are being set off of rooftops at random!)

4) There's 44 missionaries here in Albania.  1 Australian, 2 Canadians, the rest Americans.  But the new guys come in on Thursday, and one of them is British, so the Ford's will like that.  The old guys left for home last night.

Dad, I will let you know that I was very awkward when I first hit the mission field, and didn't get really comfortable until like halfway in the transfer.

So it sounds like the trip to Utah is pretty fun.  Anything else you did other than a magic show in Vegas, or was that it?  And you just finished hanging out in St. George?  What else are you going to do in Riverton, other than a Jazz game?  Just hang out?  That always is fun.

Anyway, so yeah, both Elder Christiansen and I are new to Fier, the only Elder still in Fier from last transfer is Elder Bair, from Blackfoot, ID, and he is with Elder Wagstaff from my MTC group.  And the couple here is the Casadies, and they're pretty funny, so this should be a fun district.  This week we will probably just try to get to know the area, meet some members, and and try to get with the investigators the last missionaries were working with, so it should be an interesting week.

Anyway, that's really all I have to say this week.  I am gonna send some pictures of some members in Elbasan too, so enjoy them.  Take care, and g√ęzuar vitin e ri! (Happy New Year!)

Ju dua,

Elder Palmer

2012 December 24 email

Hey what's up?

So, is it official that we are doing an "alumni quartet" in 2014?  (Middle school band reference)  That would be cool.  Man, y'all didn't really send much this week.  (We are skyping tomorrow) Yes, today is still my P-Day, and tomorrow we are working.  But we are eating at the senior couples' house at 9, 3 and whenever we are done skyping.  And with skype, yes I do plan on calling at like 6 here, which should be 12 noon where you are, but you should probably have it open like an hour before or something, just in case, and if something's jacked up, keep your email up dad and I'll email you the deal.

Anyway, about this past week, so we had an interesting sacrament meeting yesterday, I actually got up and gave a talk about how we Americans celebrate Christmas, and I talked about how we watched "the Nativity" every year to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and I think they understood me with my American accent.  And then we had a little "dramatization" of the nativity with the primary.  Yeah, the language is getting better, but yeah I don't have an Albanian accent still, which I am aware, but Elder Knight has been getting on me about that with the training coming to an end.

Ok, well that's really it, I'll have more to talk about tomorrow, I am pretty excited, see you tomorrow!

Ju dua,

Elder Palmer