May 18, 2015

It's pretty crazy with everything that's going on here right now, we had to stay inside yesterday because of the protest (about 50,000 people we heard). The other protests throughout the week have been getting around 10,000 people. The protesters said they would stay camped in front of the government buildings (many are in tents) until the prime minister (in office for 9 years) and his cabinet quit. Tonight the political party in power, VMRO, is launching their response protest at 6, so we have to go in when that starts. Hopefully, things will remain peaceful. 

In the separate shooting event, Sasho's house actually got shot at in Kumanovo, and he had to go 2 days without eating or drinking and couldn't go outside at all. Kumanovo is up by the border with Kosovo and Serbia. We heard from a couple members in our ward the armed group planned on doing much more, but the police were successful in stopping them early in the attack, even though 8 lost their lives and 37 were injured. The gov't is checking everybody coming across the border from Kosovo to see if they have any terrorist connections. That’s where the ethnic Albanian rebels came from and lived.

On the other hand, every day when we go outside, I see more and more people with American flags on their clothes. Apparently, America is the newest trend in the Balkans, so at least that means being an America here isn’t bad.
I don't know what the deal has been, but the people seemed much, much nicer this week. We managed to get quite a few numbers from people with some of them becoming some new investigators for us! It came in pretty good timing too, because our investigator pool has been shrinking the past few weeks.

We met with Sasho this week, and he's been opening up a lot with us. He told us about how life has been a lot tougher the past year, but even though it hasn't gotten easier since he's met us, he feels like it's been a lot easier to deal with, and that he's a lot happier. I don't know how it is for other missionaries, but it was one of the coolest moments of my mission being in that lesson with him. I know that through Jesus Christ, we do get extra strength to do things we normally can't do. God has helped me out more times than I can even imagine in my life, and I love being able to see it more and more on my mission.

Sunday we went to church, then we had to spend the rest of the day inside because of a protest going on. There should be a few more happening this week, so it looks like we might see some repeats of that this week!
Elder Rigby