February 23, 2015

Farewell old companions and welcome my new ones!

Things are really starting to pick up here. Last night we got a call from our mission president, who said that I was joining Elder Chingas and Elder Krajnc's companionship, which I though was weird because they had already been together for 3 months, and Elder Prince and Gierisch have already served together for about 6 months. Then he talked to Elder Prince, and it turned out that after 15 months in Macedonia, he's getting transferred to Albania, which is a totally different language. Then Elder Gierisch talked to President, and found out he's going to Kosovo. Both were very surprised to say the least. No missionary that has been called to Macedonia has ever been taken out. It will be the first real transfer we have here, instead of just always staying in Skopje. They leave tomorrow, which means in 1 1/2 weeks, Macedonia has gone from 5 companionships to 2, with Elder Barber and Sister Schofield gone as well.

It was sad to see those two go home. They were some awesome, kind missionaries, but I know they're happy to be with their families! Elder Barber took off early in the week, while Sister Schofield was heading out on Friday. Her parents were some fun people to be around while they were here! They took us out to eat many times, which were my first member dinners while I've been here! I never thought I would get any of those. On Friday, they went to the airport, only to find out that their destination was snowed in, so they got to stay a few extra days. Now they are currently stuck in Istanbul, so they have been having all sorts of problems.

We were supposed to get our half-way training at 6 weeks in the field, but since were so far away, that didn't happen. President Weidmann finally was able to come down here this past week with his assistants, wife and daughter. He gave us a pretty good training. Then the next day, I went on an exchange with Elder Lenderman, one of the assistants. That guy is a hard worker. We were definitely blessed on our day together. He only knows Albanian, and it seemed that every person we talked to that morning was an Albanian, so that was awesome! Except then I couldn't speak with anyone...there was one guy that knew Macedonian, Albanian, and English whom we talked to for about 10 minutes, constantly switching from all 3 languages, which was pretty funny.

We were going home one night, when we ran into Phillip and his girlfriend, Ana. We found out that she's really interested, and that she's read quite a bit of the Book of Mormon, but neither of them can understand it very well since it's in Serbian. That gave us a new hope for Phillip. That night with Elder Lenderman, we tried to meet up with them, but only Phillip showed. Usually he just talks through the whole lesson about all this random stuff, but we actually managed to keep it pretty focused the whole time. Then we ended, went outside, and found Ana! We talked to her for a good bit and had a prayer with her, which ended up really awesome! 

We might be getting a building soon. The Nelsons are looking around for a big house we can use. Right now the only good one it far away, which would make it hard for some members investigators to get to. But it's better than the hotel!

Elder Rigby

February 16, 2015

I've officially been a missionary for 6 months now. The tie has been burned and everything!

There's an American Army base called Bonsteel in Kosovo because of all the problems they have with Serbia. There are a few members on the base, so they let missionaries on base to teach a lesson there through the senior missionaries in Kosovo, the Tooley's. It was our turn to go this week, and Elder Chingas, Krajnc, Gierisch, and I headed up there and met the Tooley's. A soldier named Major Jensen was our escort and he brought us in. It felt like I was in a movie, with all the short spaced out buildings covered in snow. We entered the chow hall, which had so much good, American food! Then we went into a side room with the 3 soldiers that showed up, and we had our institute lesson there. Afterwards, the best part, we got to go the store on base with AMERICAN products. The Macedonian peanut butter was not doing it for me :)

For exercise, we go running pretty frequently, but when we don't, we jump rope, and do push ups and sit ups. I have been getting in some good language study by reading the Bible in Macedonian.

Our investigator Phillip had been talking about how he and his girlfriend want to go to America, so Elder Prince and I have been less excited to meet with him. He dropped the question this week, and asked one of us to marry his girlfriend so that she could get there (then after a green card, she would divorce and marry Phillip to get him over). We told him we couldn't, which he didn't accept very well. We probably won't see him again for some time.

Sister Schofield and Elder Barber are heading out this week. Her parents arrived in Macedonia on Saturday, which was awesome to see! They are great people. I'm going to miss those two missionaries. They are both some of the best people I've ever met.

Elder Gierisch will be joining our companionship until the new Elder arrives. That'll shake things up a little bit being in a trio! Elder Lessi is an Albanian, knows little English, and is currently waiting for his Visa to clear.

Elder Rigby

February 9, 2015

This week was probably the most uninteresting I've had so far on the mish, so don't expect too much. Elder Barber and Sister Schofield are heading out over the next two weeks. It's pretty weird for missionaries that have already been here; the 6 of them were together for almost a year straight, and now they're finally getting broken up.

The language has been coming along really well! People are a lot nicer when I begin with saying I'm trying to learn Macedonian, and then eventually they ask why the heck I'm the tiny country of Macedonia. The gift of tongues is real!

Two recent converts, Zoki and Nejat, are hopefully going to be getting the Melchezidek Priesthood soon. Elmaz is the only one right now, and with President Swineford and his family leaving to Moscow in April, we need to get some people for the branch presidency!

I bought a ping-pong set for about $3 that we set up on our kitchen table. We've been playing on it with our downtime at night. Sister Schofields' parents are coming on Saturday, and hopefully they bring some tennis racquets for Elder Chingas and I :)

We were having a lesson with Elmaz a couple weeks ago when an old investigator named Alex called us. He disappeared for a bit, and said he wanted to meet up again. He's a very loud, very funny, and very smart guy. He works as a tour guy and speaks some really good English. Every lesson, Alex comes with about 20 questions and just drills us on every one. He's researched the church for hours on the internet, but seems hesitant to read the Book of Mormon. The last lesson, he brought a flash drive with pictures about church history and taught us all about it. It was an interesting lesson. He's a fun guy :)
 Elder Rigby

At a cool cafe nearby

February 2, 2015

Elder Prince had his surgery this week for his infected tooth. The guy was supposed to be the best in Macedonia, which isn't saying much. He gave Elder Prince anesthetic and then ripped the tooth out a couple minutes later. Now he's has got to wait 3 months before they will do the tooth graft, and it's just wide open. I do not envy that guy right now.

Elder Barber and Sister Schofield are both leaving in a few weeks. It's crazy, the 6 missionaries when we got here had been together for almost a year straight, and it's finally coming to an end. They're gonna be missed!

We bought a table that we were going to use for Christmas to display all of our missionary goodies, but we never got around to it. We decided to use this week, and it worked out really well! A ton of people stopped and wanted to know, which is a lot better than the usual avoiding you like you got the plague. It's technically illegal, but the city patrol just had us move to another place when they found us, and then they were fine with it. 
 My apartment building is just north of the dot, we have the first floor apartment, Elder Snowman.

We had our zone conference this week. It was going to be in Tirana, which is 6 hours away because in Prishtina there were riots and they evacuated the missionaries, but thankful they decided to have it in another city in Kosovo. It was great to feel the Spirit that strongly in that meeting, and it rejuvenated me. At the end, we got to watch Meet the Mormons, which was the funniest thing ever because of our lack of entertainment. On the way back on the bus, there was this black guy that got on, who we got to talk to. He's a has a contract on the Kosovo US Army base, and he was such a funny guy. It was good to talk to an American, and you could tell he liked talking to us. Hopefully we'll get to see him a lot more!

We got back on Saturday and we saw we had some missed calls from an unknown number. I called the number, and it was a random guy named Tommy who wanted to learn more. I asked him how he found out about us, and he replied something back I couldn't understand, so I just invited him to church the next day. He came, and he said Elder Barber talked to his friend and the friend gave him our number. Tommy seemed pretty cool and open, so we'll see if he goes anywhere!
Elder Rigby
In a grocery store at the mall (the girl looks like Avery)
and my Elder Rigby cooking surprise!