March 23, 2015

Maybe we won't be getting a building...  So it turns out I got some wrong information, and the building isn't for sure yet. The church still has to sign it first, and they've been waiting awhile to do so. It still looks pretty likely, but everyday it's more and more unlikely that we'll be getting it, so we're hoping for news about it sooner rather than later! We are having beautiful weather:
There's one really cool experience we had this week I want to highlight! We had a lesson with a woman named Lidija, and we felt like we should teach her about the Plan of Salvation. In the lesson, she pulled the classic Macedonian behavior and dominated the whole lesson, so we couldn't share much of anything. Unlike a lot of people though, it was all pretty pertinent stuff about her life that is very useful to know now. Anyways, Elder Krajnc and I were a bit disappointed with how the lesson turned out. We tried to set up a return appointment, but she said she was really busy the rest of the week. We were having high hopes for her because she's the nicest lady, but after that, they were dimmed a bit.

The next day, we were walking to go contacting by a government building, which we never do, considering the government is not too fond of us, but we decided to try it out. As we were crossing the street to get to there, we heard our names being called. We looking behind us, and it was Lidija! She said she has to run to work right now, but something fell through, so she would have some time to talk in 15 minutes. We felt to go with the Plan of Salvation again, and this time she was ready to listen to the whole thing! And she was super accepting of it! It was easily one of the best lessons I've had while I've been out here, the spirit was testifying hard. She was getting choked up with emotion. It's awesome to see how these simple gospel principles can bring so much happiness to some people when they find out about it!

We took a trip down to Tetovo to teach a referral, Oliverra from Church HQ. We met with her a couple weeks ago when she was in Skopje, and she seemed really interested. She found out about us from her friend who is a member in Texas. Her friend said she has to meet with the missionaries, so Olivera agreed to it! We met in a smoke filled cafe that was really loud, which makes it difficult to have good lesson. We hit reading the Book of Mormon hard in our first lesson, and it turned out she was almost 100 pages in! She talked about how much it's already helped her life, and how calm she feels when she reads it. We promised some blessings for her if she would read it, and after being unemployed for a really long time, she found a job that week! Awesome miracles :) She brought along her sister too, and Olivera was telling her about how awesome all this stuff is and how great the Book of Mormon is.

Elder Gierisch should be coming back from Kosovo for good next week, and hopefully Elder Lessi soon after that. That's all I got. Have a great week!
Elder Rigby

March 16, 2015

Blessings on Blessings!

Quite a few people have been getting sick this past week, which has provided us some chances so see some miracles! Elmaz almost got pneumonia, and he was in the hospital for about a week. We finally got the chance to visit him, and he asked us for a blessing. He was supposed the leave the hospital the next day, but before that he started doing a bit worse again, so they pushed the date back. After the blessing, he felt completely better and ended up leaving the next day! Which was a real miracle, because from the looks of that hospital, it probably did more harm than good. Then one of the sister's investigators was recovering from surgery, so we went over to her and gave her a blessing. Sister Davis, who has been visiting her son here, passed out in the mall. Brother Davis was really scared for her, and they called us to come over. She had been feeling ill for quite some time, and it was just getting worse and worse. The doctors had no idea what it was. A few days after the blessing, she started feeling a lot better, and she felt well enough to come to church yesterday, which was a huge surprise! The last one was Sister Swineford. First of all, they are such an amazing family. She fractured her ankle, and they called us over so we could take all of the church materials to church since they wouldn't be able to make it, and while we were there, she asked us to help with the blessing, which President Swineford gave. It's awesome getting to see the power of the priesthood everyday as missionaries :)

We were teaching a lesson to Prend, our most recent member, in a cafe this week. There was a woman there whom he knew. We were getting ready to leave, when Prend was not budging. He seemed like he did not want us to get up yet, so we stayed. The woman finished her drink and got up to leave. Prend called her over and said that he needs some translating help since she speaks English. She sat down with us, and immediately he started talking about the church to her. She showed us a video of her baby boy, and he said that he would love it if she brought him to church, because there's some other families there that he would get along with very well. Prend totally blew me away with that whole thing. That man is a genius.

We got a call from President Weidmann a few days ago informing us that Elder Prince would be returning on Sunday! We were scrambling trying to figure out how we could find some time to pick him up, but the next day we found out President Weidmann planned to drive him all the way down here. It was such a blessing! It's good to have Elder Prince back, and now it's just Elder Krajnc and I together until he goes back to Slovenia in May.

With us moving into the new building soon, we decided it would be a good idea to hand out our hundreds of cards that say we meet in Hotel Arka. I can't say how many hundred we ended up giving out, but we got one guy that came to church because of it! For him to go just because of a card he received, he must be really interested, so were exciting to meet up with him!

March 9, 2015

We are getting our own building!! This week had definitely picked up! These are the highlights :)

Car accident! So this week we had our Zone Training. As a part of that, President Weidmann wanted to meet up with the District Leaders as well as the Zone Leaders, so we had to drive up to Kosovo for 3 days while Elder Krajnc went off to his training. We were about to leave for our 2-hour journey, when we stopped by my old apartment to pick up some CDs for the ride. We got the CDs, some tasty snack food, and were ready to hit the road...when Elder Krajnc hit another car getting out of his parking spot. The guy he hit starting getting all flustered and angry because he was only the driver. We weren't really too sure of what exactly we should do, but luckily one of our members, Zoki, was there, so he calmed the guy down and helped us through it. It was a pretty big blessing to have him right there! The damage was only a few small scratches on the other guy's car, but we had to go, so we agreed to take care of it on Friday when we got back. The rest of our journey to Prishtina wasn't as exciting, but we got there, and pretty much just went to bed.

Elder Krajnc headed off with the Zone Leaders, and Elder Chingas and I were with another Elder in Prishtina. We had a few lessons that cancelled that we hiked pretty far to get to, which was disappointing, but we ended up having a really good one that night. The investigator only spoke Albanian, so I couldn't do too much or have any idea what was going on, but in the middle of the lesson, I felt the Holy Ghost rush into the room. It felt so peaceful, and I felt so happy. The missionary later said in the middle of that lesson he started testifying of Jesus Christ strongly. The investigator was found because he is very Muslim and wanted to make fun of Christians, but then saw that we are good people, so he wanted to know more. It was an awesome experience seeing the power of testifying!
We got challenged for each one of us to get a baptism this month. We did a zone-wide fast for it yesterday, and have been praying for it a lot. It will definitely take a miracle, but it's still possible for it to happen. We have a few older people that we've been meeting with that are very interested, but have been difficult to meet up with regularly. If we can figure out a way to see them more often, then they will be as golden as anybody!

We returned from Kosovo and took care of business with the car. We met with our lawyer, Elena, and she found out that Elder Krajnc's license expired 4 years ago, so from now on, it's probably only going to be Elder Chingas and I driving. I have yet to see the drivers here obey any law, so I'm not looking forward to it.

One morning this week, we had the privilege of taking some very cold showers. Our water heater busted, so we talked to our very awesome landlord about it and he got it fixed that day. He asked us if there was anything else we could use, and it ended with him buying us a mixer and a grill. Like I said, this guy is a stud.

Filip ended up getting a job in Qatar, and so he left this week. It was frustrating, because he just recently started getting very interested, but his girlfriend is still here. We had as good as a lesson can be in a very noisy cafe this week with them about the Plan of Salvation. They both like it a lot, and both agreed to baptism. They always talk about how good they feel whenever they meet with us, but Filip just can't seem to realize that's the Holy Ghost. They're both very prepared people though, and were excited to keep working with Ana!

We have another investigator named Lazar who read the whole Book of Mormon in a week. He's read every religious book he knows of, and he said he's never felt closer to God than when he read the Book of Mormon. He has a big concern with actually joining our church though, and again, doesn't like meeting with us often, but luckily Elder Chingas and I will be in the same exact spot for 2 years to give him all the time he needs!

On Sunday, I gave my first talk here. I decided to opt for English with it because I didn't have quite the confidence to give it in Macedonian, but next time will be Macedonian for sure! Zoki translated for me. We had quite a few American guests here for a service project with the Nelsons, so that part gave me a good excuse for the English as well. That night, with Zoki and Nejat getting the Melchezidek Priesthood recently, we had Macedonia's first Priesthood meeting at the Swineford's house, which also happened to be National Woman's Day. President Swineford encouraged the members to use their priesthood when the can, and described more about what it is.

The most exciting thing this week is that we put a down payment on the new building!!! It's seriously going to be such a blessing for us, even though it's way far away. Now people won't look at us like were crazy when they here we have church in a hotel on the Muslim side of town :')

That's it for this week! Things are going well for us right now, and with the will of God, we might even add some new people to our branch soon!
Elder Rigby

March 2, 2015

With Elder Gierisch in Kosovo and Elder Prince in Albania, it's Elder Krajnc, Chingas, and I left in Macedonia with the sisters. It's been weird not seeing other companionships around contacting people since it's just us. That also means the 3 areas got merged into one, so we've been a lot busier this week! But busy is good, because it means less hours on the streets and more time with people that actually want to meet up with you! So that's been nice.

The number of people we have at church at the hotel is usually somewhere in the 30s. I'm not sure what happened this week, but we only had 20, including the Swineford's baby. We had a lot of investigators this week tell us again that they would come to church the day before, but again, none of them showed up. It's getting frustrating! But with is being fast Sunday this week, I had the opportunity to bear my testimony, which always feels so good. I got a bit nervous so the Macedonian was pretty bad, but it's still coming along!

Here, there's a drink called боза (Boza) that everybody LOVES to drink. It's fermented wheat drink that is basically beer, but it's not alcoholic, even though it still has a pretty strong taste and smell. A lot of times when we have lessons in cafes, the people always get it and want us to get it too. I'm just starting to get used to it, but I always have to get it with a lot of fruit juice in it, or else it's just nasty.

Elder Chingas' mom sent him a couple tennis racquets with Sister Schofield's parents, so we went out and played for the first time on our missions! It felt so good :) Elder Chingas has been playing a good while longer than me, so he can beat me pretty easily, but it helps me play better so it's all good! We're looking forward to playing a lot for the next year and a half!

That's all I got! Have a splendid week 
Elder Rigby

Dad research: Boza is a traditional beverage made by yeast and lactic acid bacteria fermentation of millet, cooked maize, or wheat flour. It is rich in vitamins and carbohydrates. A nonalcoholic version became common in Baltic Muslim countries. In the Republic of Macedonia, Boza is much thinner and lighter, and tastes sweeter, compared to neighboring countries. Other lactic-acid fermented foods include yogurt, sourdough breads, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi. The presence of lactic acid is responsible for the sour taste. Boza-like fermented drinks date back to 8000 BCE.