Alright Grandma Hill, here's your long letter!
Word of Wisdom Confusion . So we taught Bojan and Prosina the Word of Wisdom this week. I don't know what the deal is, but every time I've taught that lesson on my mission, it's SO HARD for the investigator to understand. When I taught it to Sasho (our recent convert), we had a member there. We gave Sasho the pamphlet the lesson before, and asked him what he understood the Word of Wisdom to be. At the same moment (we were in a cafe because it was cold), the waiter comes, and Sasho ordered an espresso, so we knew there was something he didn’t understand. Sasho said you can't have alcohol, but if it comes from the ground, then it's ok to consume. We told him he was off a bit, but then the member chimes in and says "No guys, Sasho is right. If it's from the ground, it's ok." They both started ganging up on us together about it, so we just dropped the subject entirely, and then had a lesson later with Sasho and the member about what the Word of Wisdom really is. Thankfully, now they both understand it.
Anyways, in the lesson, they understood everything until we got to tea. They said they drink tea all the time (like every person here), so we explained that you can only drink herbal teas. They still did not understand at all, so then I told them that they just can't have the tea from the tea leaf. Bojan, the father, looks like a lightbulb went off in his head, and he exclaimed "OH! Prosina we can't drink any tea from flowers!" We proceeded to discuss what a tea leaf was for about 15 more minutes. In the end, we had to show them a picture of a tea leaf and told them they just can't have black and green tea, which is made from it. But they both agreed to live by it thankfully, which is what really matters!
In the previous week, we had a really cool lesson with Bojan and Prosina. Prosina's dad died, so we changed the whole lesson plan and just talked about how families are eternal. At first, Prosina was so sad and in a depressed state because of her father's passing. But by the end, it was a total 180, where she had so much hope as she knew that she would get to be with her father for all eternity. It was one of those moments of my mission where that alone makes everything else all worth it, a hundred fold.
Usually we spend most of our finding time in the center of Skopje, but we've been trying to branch out a little more. One of the first times we did it, we felt like we should go to a little part of the city called Hrom. We were not finding one person that would talk to us, and then a biker crossed right in front of us. Elder Dibble stopped him, and he exclaimed that he knew me, and he went to our church. At first, I thought he was just really confused, but then he said he went to the open house in August, so I guessed I had to be the one mistaken. He invited us in to his house, and we taught him and his wife the Restoration. They were the Orthodox leaders of their neighborhood, so they weren't exactly open to the message, but they treated us with so much kindness. Even though they weren't interested, it was awesome to see how God guided us to one of the only people that slipped through the cracks of our open house, who we didn't get to really meet. I know that God guided us there at that exact time and place.
Also in the previous week, we had our general conference showing. We showed it in Serbian, but it's so excited to think about how next session, it will be in Macedonian!!! Except for the showing we had on Sunday morning, we average the missionaries + 2 members/investigators per showing, and one of those people was our branch president. Hopefully we'll see more excitement for it when it's in Macedonian.
We'll be doing the first English course for the church here next week, and so far we've already had a lot more calls about it than we had for the open house, so that' s a very good sign.
When President Weidmann was in Prishtina before he came down to Skopje to do trainings, he texted the District Leader there and told them that he felt impressed for them to visit a part of the city on the outskirts of Prishtina and go tracting there. So the 4 elders in the city went, and one companionship came up completely empty. After only 2 hours, the other companionship had 5 new investigators and 3 lessons from the tracting, which is absolutely absurd numbers for tracting here! I've only had 3 lessons in an entire week before, and it's a good month if you get 5 new investigators. It's awesome to see the spirit guide the work like that!
All in all, the missionary work has been slow here for the past few months. No one has been baptized since Sasho and Suzana in April, and nobody is too close to getting baptized. But it's the Lord's work, so it's going to go farther one way or another!
Time has been flying by lately. It's weird to think I've only got a bit more than 9 months left. Missions are very strange and impossible to expect, but they're great things. I'd say I'm finally entering good fluency for the language, which is a pretty great feeling!
There you go grandma! Love you all. Have fun with that new stake created for you guys in Tucson!