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!