May 11, 2015

This week kicked off with Zone Conference up in Prishtina. President Weidmann gave us some great training on talking to everyone and passing out cards to people, so that should help with our finding a lot! My favorite part was one of the members in Prishtina shared his testimony of how he found this church. He found the missionaries, but wasn't interested for a long time, and only came to church for the ping pong table that they have at the church. After months, he decided he wanted to start taking lessons with the missionaries. He wasn't really going anywhere after a lot of lessons, and he ended up dropping the missionaries. That night, he read several chapters from the Book of Mormon, and prayed the whole night. After pursuing that course the whole night, he called the missionaries and told them he wanted to be baptized. He was baptized a few days later. After his baptism, he was faced with the trial of telling his parents that he converted from Islam to Christianity. He told them, and his parents rejected him after finding out. He started to cry in his room. Then, he decided to pray again, and almost instantly, he felt the peace of knowing he was doing the right thing by becoming a Christian. And now, he's one of the strongest members in the branch there! It's ridiculous how much some people have to give up to be members of this church, and it helps me realize I'm not really giving up a whole lot at all!

There have been a lot of peaceful protests around in Skopje against the current government, which always makes things more fun (sarcasm!). Last Saturday, in Kumanovo, a city 15 miles from Skopje where Sasho is from, there was a rebel attack where 22 people died including 8 police. The whole place was in lock down, but the situation has calmed down now. Then the local ethnic Albanians heard reports of government corruption, spying and not treating them fairly, thus they are protesting. We are OK, when things get to heated, we missionaries stay home. Ethnic Albanians make up about one quarter of Macedonia’s population.

We found out a new sister was called to Macedonia! Her name is Sister Dow I think, and she should be here in September. We did not see that coming, but it's way exciting! I think Sister Hassell and Barch are a bit more excited than the rest of us though haha. Speaking of which, this Friday was Sister Riddle's birthday! We always find her alone near the center having lost her companions, so Elder Gierisch and I decided to get her a leash so she can make sure they don't wander off.

Farewell Elder Krajnc! He left us on Sunday. He's my first companion that I've had to go doesn't really feel like he's gone yet. He was such a beast of a guy, we're all going to be suffering here without him. We still don't know what we're going to do without our Slovenian :(
We had a lesson with Prend, who's a recent convert, on a bench in the outdoor mall here. We just sat down when a Christian guy and a Muslim approached us and asked  "Are you Jehovah Witnesses?" 
I said "No we're Mormons," and they had no idea who we were. So I started explaining, and they cut me off and started going off on me. We could hardly understand what they were saying, and after listening for a bit, Prend jumped at an opportunity. Prend was Muslim, and then Catholic before he became Mormon, so he had a bit of ground on both of these guys. Prend talked to them very sternly and with power, but in a kind way, unlike the way they were talking to us.  He ended up getting the guys to walk off, we had the lesson, and then we went our separate ways. The next day we got a text from Prend, with the name and number of the Christian guy, saying he wanted to meet up and listen to our message. Prend is seriously a wizard, I love that guy!

My favorite part of the week though definitely had to be getting to skype with the family this week in Tucson and Las Vegas! There's definitely nothing better as a missionary :) Love you guys! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY. Elder Rigby