August 25, 2015

Apparently our members like chalk drawings... We did the Plan of Salvation chalk thing where you draw it out, and we added the question of "What are you thankful for?" There weren't a ton of people in the park that day, but a lot of families stopped and took time to look at it together, with the kids staying to play with the chalk, so it worked pretty well! We'll have to try it again.

We got a call from a blocked number one morning. They asked who it was in English, I said you're calling us, you tell us who you are, and it went back and forth a bit. Finally he revealed himself as Chase Adams, the guy who opened up Macedonia for missionary work. He was in the city on his way to Jordan for his Arabic Major, so we met up with him and he told us all about his endeavors here. In the early days, he wasn't allowed to talk to people about the church, so they had to find a variety of ways to get people to talk to them, like just holding a door open for people all day until someone asked what they were doing. He also talked about meeting Elmaz, which was sweet!

Apparently our members like the Restoration...  In Sunday School, we started studying from Our Heritage, so we watched The Restoration in Serbian. The members came out after in love with the movie, wanting to get their own copy. I have no idea how some of them have been members for over a year without ever having seen the movie, but it was sweet they all liked it!

Elder Prince and Gierisch are gone next week, and then it'll just be the 5 of us when Elder Chingas and Sister Barch come back.

I know that this is God's work, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. God will always be there for you in tough times, even if you aren't there for him in the good times. We can always be forgiven through our Savior, and we can always have a new hope. 

Chao from Ohrid!
Elder Rigby

August 17, 2015

1 year, holy cow! I passed by hump day this week. It's crazy how time flies by sometimes! It's been a tough year, but it's been so rewarding and worth it, filled with a ton of miracles. And this next year is going to be even better :)

The big event this week was our open house for our newish church building. We had about 30 people come, which was good for how out-there it is. A bunch were old missionary contacts. A lot of members showed up wearing nice shirts and ties, and they all were amazing in showing everybody the different rooms. All in all, it was a success!

On Sunday, Sasho showed up a little late to church, right in the middle of the sacrament. He didn't realize what was going on, so he started shaking everybody's hands for a solid minute. I finally whispered to him to sit down, and then he finally realized that we weren't all just sitting there quiet for nothing. It was pretty funny haha. Also, Prend got the Melchizedek Priesthood, wooooo!
Love you all!
Elder Rigby

August 10, 2015

Elder Lesi and I went on an exchange this week, and most of it was contacting as usual. There's definitely a lot of cultural difference since he's from this side of the world, but he's a really cool guy! He got baptized about 4 years ago, and really turned his life around, wanting to serve God, and that's why he's on his mission. We had been contacting for a while, and an older lady started watching us from a nearby bench. She got up after watching for 15 minutes, walked by us, so we stopped her. She started speaking English to us, talking about how she's atheist. Her husband died of cancer, despite prayers from her, and she figured God doesn't exist. Elder Lesi and I testified hard to her, that even though we go through hard times, God still is there and he loves us, and He's there for every step of the way. By the end, she was close to tears, believed in God again and agreed to read the Book of Mormon that night, all the way through! It's awesome to see the Gospel touch peoples’ lives.

I don't have a lot of time. I gave a talk this week about growing through trials, even though I just gave one not too long ago...We had zone conference this week about personalizing contacting to the people, and we've seen more success since then!

I got a new haircut… next time I will have to better explain what I want. For P-day we went to the nearby Matka canyon and lake that was beautiful.

Love y'all! Elder Rigby

August 3, 2015

So much moving! Holy cow, my first days back in Skopje have been jammed pack. First of all, it's really nice being able to understand the people again. The Macedonian came back pretty quick, which was nice, and I still get to practice my Albanian with Elder Lesi, even though it's quite poor, haha. It's great to be with all the missionaries and members again, I've missed them! And we still have another year of experiences to make.

We hosted the APs [Assistants to the Mission President] last Monday night. After emailing, we went directly to Elder Prince's apartment. After walking a long time from the Nelsons, since there's free parking there, we arrived at the apartment and got no answer. We called Elder Prince and he said they moved into a different apartment, so we hiked all the way back to the Nelsons with all my stuff, and drove over to their new apartment. We finally got there after 10, and were dead tired. But there were 5 of us and 3 beds, so we gave the APs two of the beds, Elder Chingas and I slept on a queen together, and Elder Prince took the couch. Not the best sleep of my life, but I definitely appreciate a good night’s rest more now!

When the APs left, they took off Elder Chingas and Sister Barch with them, and so Elder Prince (my new companion, again) and I started the move from the apartment they just moved into, to another apartment that was just acquired, which took forever. We also had to go with our lawyer to get Visa extensions for me, Elder Prince and Gierisch, which required a whole lot of waiting, since Macedonia doesn't do things too efficiently. Then that night, the ZLs (Zone Leader) came down for exchanges. We did the exchange, which went well, and then it was back to missionary work as normal with Elder Prince and me. Super crazy days.

It's good to have the additions of Elder Lesi and Sister Kelly. Elder Lesi is such funny guy, and for only having learned English for 7 months, he's extremely good. The Macedonian though...might take him a bit longer. Sister Kelly, who has only learned Macedonian for about a month, and has a reputation around the mission for being a wizard at Albanian, is already as good as all the rest of us at the language. That woman has the gift of tongues if I've ever seen it.

Zoki got married to a woman from the Netherlands! It is wedding season here and many people get married this time of the year. They had the wedding here in Skopje, and then they're going to have the sealing in the Netherlands. We went to his wedding, which was super cool to see so many longtime Mormons gathered together with the bride's family being there. Church was also packed, because they all came, along with the Weidmanns being there. At that time President Weidmann told us we will actually only be getting 2 elders (not 4), and that we all will be based in Skopje, so no new cities to open yet! One day.

We took a nice strenuous hike up to the top of Mt. Vodno, where the cross is, which is something I've wanted to do ever since I got here! The easy way up is to take ski-lift style cable cars. It was the 6 missionaries, plus a member, Ana. It was a good time :)

Hope all is well with all of you! Lots of pics today.  Elder Rigby