Mother Teresa in Skopje

Did you know that Mother Teresa (real name: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxihu) was born and baptized in Skopje, Macedonia, where Elder Richard is staying? Agnes lived in her hometown from 1910 to 1928. Most years, she would go with her family on a pilgrimage to the Catholic shrine of the Black Madonna on a nearby mountain (center picture below). By the age of 12 she determined she would be a nun. In 1928, while praying at the shrine of the Black Madonna, Agnes made her final decision to give her life to God.

She left Skopje at age 18 to learn English and join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland; she never again saw her mother and sister. The next year she went to India.

It is a 6 minute walk from where Richard lives to the Memorial House of Mother Teresa (where she was baptized) in Skopje.

January 26, 2015

Last Monday was a pretty big holiday here, where they have the Archbishop throw a cross into a river and people jump in to go swim for it. We went to see it at the Vardar River, right in center of Skopje. The people went crazy...there was a couple thousand people watching, and about 50 who went swimming for the cross in the cold icy water. They believe the cross is blessed, and whoever gets and kisses it gets good luck for the entire year. (picture credit: AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
We brought Zoki, one of the members, to watch it with him, and while we were there, a guy came up to us and was like "THE MORMON MISSIONARIES". Nobody here really knows who we are so it surprised us. It turned out to be an American who works in Serbia, and is also a Baptist minister. The guy talked to us for a bit, and asked Zoki what religion he was. He said "I used to be a Baptist, but now I'm a Mormon." The guy’s response was priceless to that, just a face of shock.
We got an update about our request for a church building here in Skopje. Apparently the Macedonian Orthodox Church bought every single plot of land that could legally be used as a church, and they don't like us very much, so it looks like our getting a building is still years away. I thought not having a Book of Mormon would be the hardest thing, but not having a building is rougher. We don't have anywhere but the Nelson's home to meet in big groups, and it is a decent distance away. But everything is on the Lord's time, so it's all good :)

Elder Prince found out he has a pretty serious bone infection in one of his teeth, so we've been taking some trips to the dentist. He's pushing through it like a champ, but he's going through a lot of pain right now. We find out today what they're going to do about it.
The Davis', an American couple whose son lives here, came this week. They're hilarious people, and they come to visit for a few months at a time. Strong testimonies, and great examples. It will be good to have them :)

A big culture thing here, apparently, is to sun stare. They have an obsession with "the energies" and some people think they get more energy by staring at the sun for long periods of time. I haven't seen people doing it yet, but it's supposed to be pretty big in summer. 

We were contacting at the start of the week. Elder Prince and I both were not feeling it that day, so it was going pretty bad. About 1/2 hour into it, a young man came up to me and asked me what I was doing here. I taught him the Restoration, and we agreed to meet the next day. We taught him (Phillip) in a cafe nearby, and he told me that he felt like there was something really good about me, so that's why he stopped and talked. That definitely made me feel good! 

The Lord is very gracious. It's amazing to see all He does to help us, and it's also amazing how easy it is to be blind to it. It takes a constant effort to give thanks for everything, but that is something I'm really learning how to do while being out here! 

Have a great week everybody!
Elder Rigby

January 19, 2015

I don't know what it is, but warmed up here a ton in the past week (4degC, 40degF). It's been beautiful :')

This week hasn't been the best for us working wise. Most of our investigators have dropped us, and we're running out of numbers in the area book, so we're pretty close to ground 0. We've just got to keep working at it! The warmer weather has definitely opened more people up.

Sister Barch has arrived. She came down with the sister training leaders, so with the 4 sisters here and the 2 of them, there were 6 in the sisters' apartment that night! I'm sure it was a lot of fun for them. Sister Barch seems like a great missionary so far, so she will be a great help here.

Elder Prince and I were in charge of family night, and we wanted to make it more interesting, so instead of a normal lesson, we made a play out of it using the account of prophet Abinadi and wicked King Noah from the Book of Mormon. It worked out pretty well, but in the end two investigators got in a big argument, hurling some big Macedonia words at each other. 

Prend, our newest member, spoke in church this Sunday and invited his whole family. We had 47 in Sacrament, which destroyed our old record because of all his family who attended. It was a miracle to see. These members inspire me.

It's hard out here, but I've still been enjoying myself a lot! We continue to see small miracles everyday, and how much the hand of God is in this work. He his gracious to every one of his children, and has shown that through his son, Jesus Christ. No matter what I do here, I will never be able to repay him, but I'm going to try my best to.

Elder Rigby
(left) The Asan family, our only family. GREAT people!    (right) typical packaging