"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, January 29, 2014

2014 Jan 27th email

Wait, seriously???  No school and no exams?  Jake, as a junior, you are incredibly lucky.  Andrea, that's a good start to your exam life.  Man, I had to do them every year for 5 years......(We had no school last week.  Started with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and then 4 snow days.  It was exam week and by Thursday the county decided it would be best to just cancel exams......)

The branch is getting better!
Yes, we do still teach English, but this week will likely be the last week.

Yeah, Colin (a friend serving a mission) told me already when he goes home.  I think he was shocked at how early I will be leaving compared to when I began.  Not my fault....

1)  Honestly, nothing really in food.  In dialect, they use a couple different words than in other cities, but that's about it.  (Difference between Tirana and Lushnje)

2)  Branch work's good.  What happens after church Sundays is that we do the online stuff for tithing and expenses, and then we wait for President Spaulding to be done with interviews, then he pretty much tells us what work to do during the week.

3)  We actually just played on Saturday with members!  But they only know how to play soccer, so it was rough. (for Scott who prefers basketball)  No, only Elbasan and Durres church buildings are normal church buildings, the other buildings are for rent.

Andrea clearly has the coolest 14 year old trip of anyone by far, just saying.....(family tradition)

Anyway, Elder Foster and I had another good week lesson-wise.  From what I learned being a Zone Leader in the South, if you don't have at least 20 lesson a week, you're not working hard enough.  The work in our zone is just going so well right now, we're just excited to be the zone leaders over it, and it's also fun when we present our work to President Ford each month.  It's been fun.  (What a great thing to hear from a missionary!)

Well, Christmas was over a month ago, why is time flying?  I don't feel like I've been a missionary for a year and a half at all.  Maybe 6 months, but that's about it.  That's ok, there's still tons do do, we got that stake to get ready.

Anyway, have a great week this week!  Love you lots!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Jan 20th email

Hello everybody!

So, this week was definitely an interesting week.  It definitely felt like it started slow, but by Sunday we realized the week flew as always.

Yeah, the number of sisters has increased, but it won't increase again at least until after I get home.  3 sisters go home in April, with 3 coming in.

So, we just got back from Berat, another city I have already been to, but it was good to see the city again.  

1)  Yeah, we do the interviews for the District Leaders.  Two weeks ago I did one in Vlore, definitely the best interview I've done, never felt the spirit stronger in one than that one.

2)  No, they had to be pushed back.

3)  I like working with President Ford.
Jake and Andrea, good luck on tests this week! (So far we have had no school due to snow.....)

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 Jan 13th email


Anyway, how's it going?

Yeah, so we spent the day hanging out with Fier, going to Apollonia and the beach.  It's not very cold here.  Man, I stink at soccer.

It's great to hear that Grandpa's doing better!

Yea, I'm so glad Eric and Kristen enjoyed Florida, maybe now he'll actually write me.

1)  Google translate does an abysmal job with Albanian.  Don't ever trust it.  Yes it's supposed to mean I love you lots.  Yeah, "ç'farë në botë!" is just a literal translation, Albanians never say it.

2)  Yes, we never walk, always drive.  We switch off every day.  Gas prices are ridiculous here, although I don't know how bad it's gotten in USA, so I can't really compare it.  We are limited to 2500 kilometers, but since we have to drive so much for interviews and exchanges, if it's for good reason, it's fine.  

3)  I haven't run since I got to Lushnje.  Don't judge.  But my comp agreed we will run at least once this week.  He wants to wait until March when it warms up in the morning.  Because of that, I try to do some sorta cardio in the morning (jumping jacks/jump rope) and I have to be more careful what I eat, since I never walk.  Getting fat again is not in my plans.

Anyway, we for the most part had a great week last week.  We have 5 baptismal dates, and 2 should be baptized next weekend. 

Anyway, I like being a zone leader.

Alright, well, I'll send some pictures in another email.

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

Ju dua!

Elder Palmer

2014 Jan 6th email

Wow, Eric is married now.....

So, yeah, we had a busy first week in Lushnje.  We do travel a lot, there are a lot of villages nearby Lushnje that have members, and we did a lot of visiting this last week.  So, I don't know how many members in the Branch exactly, but there as 53 in church yesterday which is a really good number for Lushnje.  The Branch President grew up in Utah, but he and his family have lived in Virginia for a few years while he was doing training.  I forgot the name of the city.  But, he does security I believe.  Yeah, I can definitely sympathize with a ward clerk when I get home.  

So, the stake should be formed March 8 & 9.

1)  Juvenilje is just the name of the restaurant, at least as far as I know.  No, not Juvenle.

2)  So, in my MTC group, 5 of the 7 of us go to BYU.  One will do SUU and another will go to ISU.  I don't know how many before the mission went to BYU, but there are several that have applied to transfer to BYU or that have decided that they will attend BYU once they're done.  

3)  How small it is.  It is puny.  I have now done big city, normal city, now I am in borderline village.

OK, so like I said, we do a lot of branch work, which involves buying food for members.  We did a lot of that last week, which makes me appreciate everything I have.

Anyway, lesson-wise, we had 3 investigators in church yesterday.  So, I don't have anything super-interesting to say, but the work here is going very well!

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 Jan 1 2014

Well, I apparently am not destined to be in any spot for an extended period of time.  With what clearly looked like Elder Pierce and I would be staying together in 3rd Branch for 3 more months, the "Ford Factor" appeared and I got transferred to Lushnjë!  (Looshnya)  I am still a Zone Leader, but I am in the South Zone now, which makes up the cities of Lushnjë, Fier, Elbasan, Durrës, and Vlorë.  So, I am in charge of about half the missions in the city now instead of just 1.  And the best part was is that I am now back with Elder Foster again!  He was made a zone leader back in November at the same time as me, and he's already been here for 2 months.  So, we're really excited to be back together.  It was tough leaving 3rd Branch.  I was only there for 2 months, but I got really close to like 12 members, including 2 families.  So, it was bittersweet.  But it's good to be here.  By the way, since leaving Elbasan for Fier last year, this is the 5th time I've packed my bags and moved cities.
The Lushnjë Branch is a little different, the missionaries here are also the Branch Clerks, so we do a lot of Branch work.  So, because of that, we are almost always busy, if not having lessons, we're at the church doing branch work.  The Branch President is an American Embassy worker who actually lives in Tirana and makes the hour and a half drive every week to church.  So, we're pretty much Branch Presidents during the week.

1)  So, I'll explain more fully what happened yesterday, but since I got transferred, I was in Lushnjë for New Years. Lushnjë is the smallest city in the mission, it's pretty much a village.  Like last year, I filmed the fire works.  Fier last year was definitely bigger.  I'll explain more fully New Year's later.

2)  My birthday was awesome!  Thanks for the sweater, it's awesome!  You actually faked me out pretty good.  I told you last week that I opened my present earlier, like right when I got it, out of an impulse, and when I saw it was a box of fruit-roll-ups, I truly believed it was fruit-roll-ups, so I didn't open the box until after.  (I would never send fruit snacks as a birthday present!) So you got me.  Good.  Anyway, I did make the cake, and it turned out really well!  (Family tradition of chocolate cake with caramel icing.)  All of 3rd Branch went to this Restaurant called Juvenilja (the 'j' makes a 'y' sound in Albanian) and it was really good.  The sisters gave me a bag of beef jerky, because one of the sister's dad sent her a ton of bags.  Sister Homer gave me a bag of home-made caramel, and Elders Acheson and Wagstaff bought me a cool balloon that I wish I took a picture of.  It was a good day, I had a lot of fun.

3)  Like I said, I'm in Lushnjë, and my move I believe was the move that surprised everyone in the mission the most.  Like I said, I'm a victim of the "Ford Factor," meaning President Ford pulled a transfer move that no one saw coming at all.

4)  Yes, I know Knaras, but not really well.  So, he was in his last transfer when I came into the field, but I never really talked to him, just never had the opportunity.  He's a cool guy though, everyone only has good things to say about him.

5)  I have words, but not words of wisdom, so I'll just keep my mouth shut.  (For Eric and Kristen's wedding.)

So, yeah, yesterday in the morning we actually had Mission Leadership Council.  We pretty much destroyed every goal we had for the year of 2013 as far as baptisms, church attendance, number of Albanians on missions, Melchizedek Priesthood Holders, etc.  It was a good year here.  So, we just set new goals for 2014.  Anyway, then Elder Foster and I traveled down to Lushnjë and had to be inside by 4, so we unpacked and everything (by the way, my house here is INCREDIBLE!  I will never complain again), and then we realized our balcony doesn't point toward the main part of they city, so we had to figure out another area to go to see them.  We wanted to go to the roof, but the door was closed.  So, what we ended up doing is on the top floor, we found windows that pointed to the main city, but they were small and had bars, and it was a high reach.  So, what we did was we got all 4 of our chairs, took them to the top floor, and put them in 4 different locations.  Then, we opened those windows so we could stick our hands out and film the fireworks on our camera so the bars wouldn't be in the way.  We thought since we had Mission Leadership Council it would have been too late for us to get to Lushnjë in time and we could have spent the night in Tirana, but no.  No worries, though, last year in Fier was good.

Alright, well, have a great week!  Good luck Eric and Kristen!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer