"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 22, 2014

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

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