April 13, 2015

ITS SUMMER!  It's finally warm :) I was getting real tired of it still being cold in April, so I am one happy missionary!

On Tuesday, one of our members, Nejat, invited us to a celebration for a Roma (a large ethnic group in Macedonia) holiday. We thought it would be a showing the culture or something of the sort, so we figured why not! We met up with him, and then headed to a large building near Center. At the front, a very official looking man was waiting for us, who turned out to be his father in law! We headed up with him to a large room where many people were gathered together. A ton of people were going out of their way to say hi to us since we're easily identifiable Americans. We got a really good spot near the front, and waited there until the event started. Everybody was talking amongst themselves, and we were all confused out of our minds, when all the sudden everybody started clapping. A man with 10 bodyguards following him walked into the front in the center, and Nejat whispered to us that he was the Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski. We were about 10 feet away from the man, so you could say we were pretty astonished. They commenced the event, and explained who the Roma are, the history of the holiday, and the relations with Macedonia. Gruevski said a few words, then the event ended, and he seemed to vanish.
Then we got a another good surprise! The Nelson's the senior couple, were pretty sure we weren't going to get the building, like I said last week. But to all of our surprise, about a month late, they finally got the word to sign the lease for the building! Such a huge huge miracle! We don't have to meet in a hotel anymore!! We should be moving in there in about 2-4 weeks. It's kinda far away, but it's so beautiful it's way worth it.

Some Macedonian members that live in Germany came down and visited. They were originally from the east side of Macedonia, and they were speaking some funky dialect. I heard a lot of stuff I hadn't heard since the MTC when I was learning Bulgarian, since they live right next to the Bulgarian border. We went out to eat with them, and their non-member cousin who lives here. We've visited him a few times, and he's not too interested yet, but hopefully time will change that.

President Weidmann and his wife came down on Saturday to interview Elmaz, Zoki and Nejat for new Branch Presidency now that President Swineford is leaving. We came to church, waiting anxiously to find out. President Weidmann made the longest introduction ever for them, and then announced that Elmaz would be the Branch President, Zoki 1st Counselor, Nejat Branch Mission Leader, and Elder Nelson as the Ward Clerk. It's going to be super cool to have a lot more native members running things now.

After the sacrament meeting, we went to the Nelson's for lunch with the Weidmanns as special guests, and then we all checked out the new building. It is MASSIVE. It's got like 10 rooms, and it's own apartment. The members are going to love it, and we can actually decorate it and leave all the church materials there. President Weidmann made us aware that the Elders would be having interviews with him, so we headed back to the Nelsons, and did a lot of waiting. I was last. He talked to me about the importance of keeping Christ at the center of the message, and helping ourselves and our investigators to become more like Christ. The man is a genius, I learned a lot. He seemed a lot more personable this time around than in the past, cracking jokes all around.

Sasho was supposed to be getting baptized this coming Sunday, but after working a 7PM-7AM shift on Saturday, he barely missed his bus, and came two hours late, when we were all leaving. He was pretty sad about it, especially after all the effort he put to get there. But I don't thing it will bug him too much, he seriously such a good guy. I've never met anyone willing to make so many changes to their life! We'll see if next week gets better for him.
Elder Rigby