"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."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Video of the organization of the Albanian Stake-in Albanian!

A Stake is organized!

2014 April 28th email

Well, this was an interesting week.

So, yeah, our work is to find and help prepare those to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and become Elders.  High Priest is not our work.  So, this last week, the focus was to meet with all the Bishops/Branch Presidents and EQPs to discuss possible names of people in each Branch/Ward.  So, we traveled to every city in Albania that has missionaries.  We spent one night in Lushjnë and one night in Durrës.  So, yeah.  We've made a schedule of which cities we'll go to each day, and tried to make it in a way so that we can drive smart and not waste a bunch of gas money driving to and from Tirana every day.  So, this week, we start meeting with these people.  Because we were so busy meeting with Branch and Ward Leaders, we only had time to teach 3 people lessons.  So, it will be good teaching again.

1)  Yeah probably.  (Mark question-don't know)

2)  Same as always.  Probably at 6. (Don't know)

3)  Yes, Elder Tanner and I have run every day since I got with him.  When we sleep in Tirana there's a lake we run around, and that is at least a 5K.  And when we stay in Lushnjë we do a lap around the entire city (it's that small).

So, this last week I actually had the opportunity to attend in what was probably my last baptism.   Elder Bilodeau and I found him street contacting.  He was incredible from the start.  Our stake President here said the goal for Lushnjë is to find the future bishopric counselors and Elder's Quorum Presidents.  I am convinced that we found one of them.  He is probably one of the most humble people I ever met.  Right after his baptism, the Branch President came up to me and said, "he needs to get the Melchizedek Priesthood ASAP."  Well, we're on it.  So, that puts it on a cap of 12 baptisms, which I'm happy about.  Not 1000000000000 like Eric, (who served in Africa) but I can at least remember the names of all my converts.  Anyway, I'll try to send pictures of the baptism.

So, yeah, another week of traveling.  Hopefully things will go well this week. 


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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 April 21st email

So, I'm not 1st Counselor after.  President Mema, the Stake President, spoke to President Ford about this, and President Ford told him I was leaving Lushnjë pretty quick, so Elder Bilodeau is the 1st Counselor.  Which I am so glad about!  Man, I hope I'm never bishop or stake president.  Ever.  (This may come back to haunt him....)
Anyway, Dad and Andrea, I hope you had a ton of fun touring Europe!

Yeah, I remember the trip to Delta,  (Utah) mostly that Eric and I went through a gynormous bag of Warheads.

Yes, I saw the email about Charottesville.  The thing is, when the office called, they told me you said Charlottesville, and I was like "forget that!  Richmond International!"  but, then I read your email now and now I understand.  Anyway, I just called the office and explained them the situation and they said they'll try to change it.  So, I don't know if you emailed them the specific airport, but maybe you could so they would know the exact one.  Either way, as long as the goal is to pick me up and take me to President Mullin's house so I can get released ASAP without waiting, I am down with that completely.

1) So, nothing really.  So, an Albanian Easter tradition is dying eggs red (only red) and then tapping them against each other saying "gëzuar Pashkët!"  which just means "happy Easter!"

2) Oh yeah. (Don't know)

3) Well, I've been pick-pocketed once, but in all honesty, not as bad as people would think.  (Mark was pick-pocketed in Rome last week....)

Alright, well, not being 1st counselor isn't the only surprise I have for you.  I have been released as Zone Leader, and President Ford has put me on a special assignment to help prepare men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood when the next stake conference happens, which is June 7th.  In other words, I have been taking out of proselyting.  I will be traveling around the stake working with the various branches and wards with those ready to receive it.  And the best part is that I will be with Elder Tanner, who was my MTC companion!  I am actually really stoked!  It will be weird, but I am excited for this opportunity to work with President Ford and President Mema to help the stake continue to grow!  I will be staying in Tirana, in the house I stayed in when I was in 2nd branch, but I won't be hanging around there too much.  And the best part dad, is that Elder Tanner ran in college, so he will be willing to run with me in the morning.

Anyway, that's all I really got to say.  It will be weird, but I am excited for this experience!

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 April 14th email

Hey what's up?  Well, yeah, yesterday I was sustained to be the 1st Counselor to the Branch President in Lushnjë.  I thought I made it far enough to avoid having to be in a branch presidency. But, it's only for a month.

Zone training went well. The missionaries really seemed to enjoy it.  We worked hard on it.  I think there will be one more mission conference, (before he comes home) and that will be it.

The work has been a little slow, especially since we had to give them (additional companionship) some of our work, but we didn't have much to give.  
No, I don't teach lessons at church, at least now right now....

Hardest part of driving stick?  Just consistently stalling out before figuring it out.  It will take a while. I wonder if I can still drive it....(Mom is going to teach Jake to drive the Corolla)

1)  We start with Sacrament.  Lushnjë here is only 2 hours right now for the moment.  No Sunday School.

2)  No.  Americans really don't come to Albania for vacation.

3)  Heck no!  I don't want to.  I want to say I did missionary work the old fashion way!  (Don't know.  This is a question from his dad and cannot get clarification at this point.)

So, yeah, I'm 1st Counselor now.  We'll see how that goes.  Also, our investigator, came to church yesterday and really seemed to enjoy it!  He's progressing very well!  He's on a baptismal date for April 26th and we're really excited for him! Otherwise, we have been doing a ton of finding.  A lot of traveling to outer villages for retention work.  So, we've been busy.

With the baptismal font, we have sort of a stair case that we climb in and out of it.  I'll send a picture sometime.

Andrea, hope you're having fun.

Jake, don't get too bored.

Eric. (?)

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 April 7th email

What is up?!

 Scott with his "son" and "grandson"

So, things here in Lushnjë are going very well.  We are now 6 missionaries overall in this puny village.  And, despite all the craziness of transfers last week, we still were very productive, so we're happy with the way things are going.

Elder Bilodeau and I are doing well together, we're enjoying our time together.  The new Branch President is getting more and more acquainted, but he still relies on us a lot.  That's ok though.

Yeah, we watched conference, well, some of it.  We had to set it up on the computer for the members to watch live translated sessions, while we were in another room watching them in English.  So, I saw some, but I haven't heard all of Elder Holland's in English yet.

No, I haven't talked to roommates in a while.  I am hoping kinda that I can keep most of that out of my mind for the rest of my mission.  But, we are all aware we are living together.

1)  Yes.  Man, sorry, but there are gonna be some good viruses on that thing when I get home.  Albanian computers, man.  (picture backup)

2) No.  BUT, we right now are living with the other 2 Elders because they haven't found a house yet. One of them, Elder Clawson, has gone running with me a bit.  Today, we did a circle around the entire city.  Lushnjë is pretty small though.  No, sign me up now. (1/2 marathon)

3) I would be completely down with that.  A roadtrip would be amazing!  (road trip to Utah in the fall)

Anyway, so as the new transfer starts, all our potential investigators decided to go on vacation for the moment.  So, we had a slow week, sort of.  But, we found this  man on the road and we have had a couple lessons with him, and yesterday he showed up to watch both sessions of general conference that we showed, and he absolutely loved it!  So, we're excited to work with him.  So, yeah, that's really about it.  We're just waiting for a couple others to get back from Greece and Italy.  Also, we have a zone training tomorrow, which I am excited for.  I am the King of my zone right now!

Baptismal Font

Andrea, enjoy your trip!

Jake, enjoy spring break!

Well, I have been picked the missionary in my group that's going to be the trunkiest, since this is our last transfer.  Fortunately, that has just motivated me to decide to kick the crap out of them and get the best numbers!  Which is good because a ton of them are in Kosovo, which is always more difficult than Albania!


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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 March 31st email

So, I'm...................................staying!

So, I will remain a South Zone Leader for 6 more weeks.  Meaning, right after you skype me on Mother's Day, I will get my final transfer call.  That's ok, I'm ok with staying for a half-transfer.  I will be with Elder Bilodeau, who I was with for about a week about 6 months ago when I got emergency transferred to Elbasan.  I'm really excited to work with him though!
Elder Foster, however, will be opening the city of Prizren in Kosovo!  He will be one of the first two to ever work there!  Prizren is an extremely Muslim city.  Also, a good majority of the people in that city only speak Turkish, so he's in for a fun transfer!  I'm really excited for him, this is what he wanted!

1) I just said.  (transfer)

2)  What??  I feel like the haircut I've gotten now is like the best look I've ever had.  I got messed up hairstyle.....and I thought I finally found the one that worked!

3)  I guess just general-ed classes.  Man..... I'll be honest, I don't really know exactly what I would want to do with Linguistics.  Except that I do not want to teach.  I don't know, if you want to do some research so I might someday know what I'm doing, maybe that would be good.

Ok, so the money, hopefully that will be the last transaction for doing souvenir shopping.  I got Mom's and Andrea's last week.  So, hopefully with this that will be the end of money grabbing from the bank.  I don't want to be too stupid with money.

Anyway, to end the transfer, we had two baptisms!  A mom and a son.  They were awesome to teach! Now the goal is the father, who has read at least half the Book of Mormon.  
Anyway, that's about it this week.  Just like with any end of transfer, all the work seems to go away, so hopefully we will pick up the work quickly.  Gotta end on a high note of course!
Anyway, have a great week!  Be safe!  Don't do anything stupid!

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 March 24th email

Alright, well, no email from mom yet.  (Yes, I forgot.  Felt horrible but we did catch each other later in the day online)  That's ok, it's like 4 AM there while I'm writing this.  But, I'm here now.

Dad, it sounds like you have a crazy trip ahead.  Bëfshi shumë qejf1

1)  Um, if they have pro basketball, it's probably the kind where I could make the team.  In all honesty I have no idea, but I want to say no.

2) I want to say it's a lot flatter, meaning less mountains, but at the same time that's completely false.  I want to say that the geography around the entire country is about the same.  Mountains and countryside.  A good fair amount of both.

3)  It's going very good.  Paç fat! (running)

Well, interesting weekend.  Our branch President just got released.  Like I said, he's an embassy worker and his time was already coming to a close since he leaves May.  But, once the stake was made the goal was to get an Albanian Branch President as soon as possible.  His name is President Deçka.  He's been a member about a year and a half.  He studies the gospel like crazy.  He was Elders Quorum President, so we'll see who that will be in the future.  Also, we are no longer clerks.  So, while I want to say we are free from the branch work, we as the former clerks need to train the new clerk on using MLS and all that.  And, because he lives in Tirana right now, we will still take the money to the bank and make deposits and withdrawals.  It's a slow process.

Anyway, this is the last week of this transfer.  Next week begins my last transfer as a missionary.  I can't believe it.  We have no idea what's happening to us.  Either one of us could stay another 6 weeks in Lushnjë, and we're pretty sure whoever leaves will go to Kosovo, which would be fun, but we honestly have no idea who's leaving.  Hopefully we'll stay focused.

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 March 17th email


So, the stake organization was held at the Palace of Congress, in Tirana.  Yeah, pretty much all the members from not only Albania, but also members from Kosovo and Macedonia came.  I do not believe that anyone from the government was there.

Yeah, there are definitely other attractions, but nothing like Blue Eye.  (last week's p-day, see that post for picure)  That was definitely a must see.

Yeah, Elder Perry always seemed like an energetic one despite his age.  I've listened to a lot of his talks.  I've really started to like apostles other than just Holland.  (Elder Perry was the speaker at our regional conference)

1) I want to say it was a Stake Conference, but it very well could have been the last District Conference.  If it was only a district conference, let's just say I won't be here for the first stake conference......

2) I know they have Duty to God pamphlets, but are they used?  I don't think so, at least not in Lushnjë.  They also have Young Women's excellence, again not sure if they actually do it.  Yes, we read a piece from the Strength of Youth every Wednesday at mutual.

3)  They've asked us about it.  Frankly, all I know is that a war is about to start or something. (Ukraine)

4) No.  (Dunno)

5) I would love to do a bracket!  Just, send me a bracket to fill out, you didn't send me one....(March Madness)

Alright, well we had two super awesome baptisms yesterday.  Two men who are 20 and 21, got baptized on Saturday!  The best part:  We found them street contacting!  I hadn't had any success on my mission from finding through my own efforts!  So, that was cool, because I honestly didn't think I would have any baptisms from street contacting at this point in my mission.  They are awesome.  They got confirmed yesterday, and they are set to get the Priesthood next week.  So, we are excited because the Branch desperately needs Melchizedek Priesthood, and they could provide a good boost, so we're excited for them!

Alright, well, I hope everything goes well for you all this week!  Crud, in two weeks the group that reported to the MTC before me goes home, so in two weeks, I along with the missionaries that reported the same day as me, will be the oldest missionaries in the mission.......  Time flies way too fast.  Luckily, I'm not trunky in any way!

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

"Byrek"-phyllo dough filled with cheese or meat-looks good!

2014 March 10th email

We Are A Stake!

So, I don't really have too much time this week to email.  We are visiting the fantastic city of Saranda right now.  It's way down south.  It's the closest I have been to Greece.

Saranda (I think there is a bug on the camera)

This is a spring called "Blue Eye"

 At the "Blue Eye"

Anyway, I'll give the great news:  WE ARE NOW A STAKE!  Man, I remember when I first got here and President told us his plans of creating a stake here, and how far away that was.....  But it was a great day.  I know like half the members in the country now because I have served in 5 branches, so it was just a great day to see everyone.

Yes mom, you can use my iPod, just as long as nothing gets erased.

Dad, I'll be honest I don't really wanna think about that right now.  Sorry, I don't wanna get trunky or think about home too much.  I might wanna car, I probably in the end don't need one/can't afford gas. Also, if I did, is there any chance on the truck?

Yeah, Tirana is like driving in Richmond, although I know my way around Tirana a lot better than Richmond.  It's extremely busy.

Yeah, we had a District President, and he was just made Stake President.  Dangit, they did not announce yet who the Patriarch will be yet.  I hope I will be here when it's announced.

Ok, well, like I said, I don't have too much time, so if I don't get back on:

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

Ju dua shumë!

2014 March 3rd email

Hey, what's up?  Another P-day is here.  Hope you all had a great week!

Andrea and Jake, school's coming to a close for y'all......(well, not really...)

1)  Well, I was kinda hoping that every episode that I've missed my entire mission would be accessible.  I'll figure something out, because I got to start with the episodes I missed before the end.

2) So, not really.  The word for pancake is 'petulla,' which can also mean 'donut.'  But, pancakes in general, not they don't eat them.

3) No, they don't celebrate it.

So, I really don't have much to write about this week, but next week should be a good one.  Good things happening this week.

As far as work goes, those guys who go to the American church came to church yesterday and really liked it.  They were wondering why everyone got up yesterday to say the church was true, and we explained to them fast and testimony meeting and its purpose.  They have really made a jump in the progression this last week, they've come to activities and have become good friends with a lot of the members, so we're really excited for them.

Also, those two little kids we were supposed to baptize finally came back from Greece, and we will meet with them tomorrow!  So, we're glad to finally meet with them again.

The clerk work also goes on, I think I finally got it down.  Also, I finally pretty much know my way around a whole country.  Crazy...

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer

2014 February 24th email

Hey, how goes it?

So, this P-day was slightly better.  Only that I wasn't able to go to the treg (mall-ish place) to start souvenir shopping for y'all, but it was good.  We played soccer with Lushnjë and Fier missionaries, as well as one of our investigators.

This last week was tiring, but it was a good week!

Jake and Andrea, nice job in basketball this week.

1) So, the thing with holidays here, they are celebrated.  People here don't really celebrate stuff for the religious reason.

2) No maps, no GPS.  It's called memorization.  It's amazing.  I know my way around half a country now.  The signs here to places are really good.

3) Cardio's good.  I've been trimming down pretty good.  This one member in Elbasan told me I am now officially in the 'skinny' category.  Dad, I should have those running shoes I got two years ago for my birthday.  I never took them with me.

Alright, well, we were supposed to have two baptisms this week, but the kids ended up leaving with their aunt for Greece for a week and a half.  It was ironic, their dad told us just as he was signing the baptismal record.  So, probably not this weekend, but the next weekend.

But, on a high note, this girl in Elbasan that I knew, but wasn't my investigator, finally got permission to be baptized.  I got to go because I did an exchange with the Elder who baptized her, who is now in Durrës, and drove him to Elbasan since it's really difficult to get to Elbasan from Durrës right now. She's cool, and I was happy to be a part of it.

Also, we have these two really cool kids.  I told you about them last week.  Well, they've kept coming, and both have read from the Book of Mormon, and one came to church and really loved it! We're excited because they could both be very, very solid additions to the Branch here.  We plan on getting them on a baptismal date this week!

Anyway, another week in the life of a missionary here in Albania.  The best!

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

Ju dua shumë!

Elder Palmer