December 14, 2015

We had a first Branch Council in Macedonian, with Prend and Suzana joining us. It's such a big step forwards with the members running more things here. They were offering a lot of advice with members and investigators, since they have the inside scoop of what's going on. Sister Barch translated for Elder Nelson so he could know what's going on, since he's probably one of the most important at that meeting.

Sasho is a stud!! We went down to Kumanovo this week, invited by Sasho, to visit him. We had been talking for about half an hour, when he told us he's going to get his mom to make us lunch. She was apparently making a whole lot of food, because after we had been sitting there for 2 hours total, there was still nothing. Finally she came through and gave us HUGE plates of Kumanovski Sujuk, which was similar to meatloaf and sausage blended together, with a side of fries. It was soooo nice of them to do that. Sasho's mom is so adorable, probably one of the sweetest people I've ever met. We got full pretty fast since it was just straight meat, but Sasho saw to that we cleared both dishes. That's the first time I've had a member meal like that since I've gotten here!

It's awesome being able to stay in the same city for so long. Sasho and I have grown very close the past 7 months that he's been a member, and it brings me so much joy to see how he has changed, and how much more joy he has in his life with the gospel. He has said his life was hell before he was baptized, but now he feels like he's flying. I know the gospel changes lives whenever it is truly applied. Following the the gospel gives us a road map for the tricky course of life. God wants to help every one of us, and it's just on us whether we're going to let him or not. 

Love you all! Hope you're enjoying the Christmas season. Remember to spend it with those that matter most.
Elder Rigby

December 7, 2015

1 Year in Македонија!  I have been here in Macedonia one year! I've gotta say, it's been the most fast/slow moving time in my life. The thought that I'm winding down a little bit on my mission now is a weird thought, I still feel like I'm one of the new guys! I guess that's how most of life works.

Elder Dibble and I are getting pretty psyched for Christmas. We've got all our Christmas lights up around the apartment and a whole lot of Christmas music! Only 18 more days!!

Yesterday, we had the first Elder's Quorum and Relief Society. Suzana was set apart as the Relief Society President. Elder Dibble and I taught Elder's Quorum. The lesson was going pretty decently, and then it ended in an argument about whether reading the scriptures or getting experience is more important. The important stuff. Especially in a lesson about the priesthood. Prend has been doing great as the Elder's Quorum President though, his is already making a plan for how to prevent that from happening again. 

New Missionary. We are supposed to be getting another new missionary soon. Apparently he flies into Albania on the 9th, but he won't be coming to Skopje until New Year's. I feel bad for him; he learned Bulgarian in the MTC, now is going to be surrounded by Albanian speakers for 3 weeks, then finally he will get here to start learning Macedonian. He's going to have quite the few months coming up!

Terrorism. Bro. Nelson was called by the Macedonian ministry of religion and they asked the LDS Church to sign a joint declaration against terrorism. It was approved by the higher ups and Bro. Nelson went to the ministry of religion and signed the document in behalf of the Church. I don’t know which is more unbelievable: religious people killing other people or believing God wants them to do it.

Baptism Goals. We've been working a lot with the Church’s “A Savior is Born” video. We went tabling with it this week, showing as many people as would watch the video. Sasho has been on fire about missionary work lately. He made a goal for us to have 15 baptisms by the end of the month. I don't want to let the guy down, so we're going to be working our butts off this month!

Love you all! I hope the Christmas season is treating you all well :)
Elder Rigby

December 1, 2015

I'd say Thanksgiving here was a definite success! We went down to Tirana (the 3rd time this month) and spent the night with the APs on Wednesday. The APs had to set everything up for our mission conference we were having that day, so they left real early, while the rest of us got to sleep in until 6:30 am. Elder Dibble and Bischoff left to go help the APs out with some work, then Elder Chingas and I left a bit after them to guide people to the venue where we were having the conference. 

At the conference, the Christmas initiative was revealed to us, "A Savior is Born". We made plans about how we were going to use it, and then, most importantly, we had a pretty legit Thanksgiving feast! We had turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, peas, carrots cranberry sauce and stuffing. It was very good. Afterwards, each district presented a skit. For ours, we pretty much just ate Domino's and Burger King in front of everyone else because we have the only ones in the mission, and that's all the rest of the mission really knows about Macedonia.

Afterwards, we asked the APs for the key so we could grab out stuff and head back, but they said that they left the key on the table in their apartment for Elder Chingas and I to grab, even though they never told us... and the spare key was also in the apartment. The landlord, who had the only other key, refused to open the door for us, so then our only option was to try to break in. After taking folded pieces of paper and going at it for a while, it seemed pretty hopeless. Elder Dibble had been working on it for about 10 minutes, when suddenly, the door just popped open. It was one of those "I can't believe that actually happened" moments, but it was way awesome. So we ended up making it back that night, and the APs could sleep in their apartment!

Also this week, President Weidmann came down to our Skopje branch and created an Elder’s Quorum. The accompanying Relief Society will hopefully be made next week. Sasho also received the Melchizedek Priesthood!!

 I included the links for a “Savior is Born” below. We're lucky this year, it's also in Croatian, so if you want to hear it in a language similar to Macedonian, check it out! This Christmas season remember Jesus Christ, and help everyone else to remember him as well.

November 23, 2016

I'll start this email again talking about Bojan and Prosina. We had waited for a bit over a month to bring up baptism with them again, since they've rejected it so many times, despite believing the church has been restored through Joseph Smith. We were having an awesome lesson, the spirit was there strong, and Elder Dibble asked them perfectly to be baptized at just the right time. Bojan answered with a hard no again. We then pulled open Doctrine and Covenants 22, which apparently had a big effect on him, because he then agreed to baptism, saying the whole family needs to be baptized. We were really excited about that, and when we came back the next time to set the date, he had changed his mind again and doesn't want to get baptized anymore, because he got baptized 5 months ago, and he feels like you can't get baptized into a church, but you just get baptized once, and then you can find out which church is true. It's a pretty legitimate concern, so we'll keep working with them on it. They're such great people though, I'm so amazed by their humility each time I go over there!We went out to Kumanovo this week, originally to go visit Sasho since he lives there, but then we ended up scheduling 3 lessons out there. It also turned out Sasho would be in Skopje that day. So we took the trip out there, but none of the people showed up. A bit disappointing, but what do you do.

The flu strikes again! Apparently the flu has been going around Skopje, and I caught it, so we spent Saturday and Sunday inside, because the last time I got sick, I got 2 other missionaries and 2 investigators sick. In other news, I also got significantly better at Sudoku, but I'm definitely ready to start working again after being inside that long.

I baked my first cake this week! It was a kind of cheesecake, but it was basically the first thing I've ever cooked in the oven before, besides chicken nuggets, so I was pretty proud of myself.

Enjoy Thanksgiving y'all! Be sure you show your thankfulness, especially for those nearest to you!
Elder Rigby