January 18, 2016

Aerodrom has been treating us pretty well! We already knew the general area pretty well because we used to come over here every day when we were having language classes with Zoki. There's a little park called Jane Sandanski that we contact at a lot, frankly only because we've managed to find a lot of good success there and there's always empty benches! We're calling it the Park of Milk and Honey though. The only bad thing is that there are 3 Orthodox churches in 3 directions from it, but you can't win them all!

With all the first lessons, it's still been a struggle to get people to want to meet up again. We've only had 2 return appointments with people. We were contacting out there one time, and there was a guy walking right next to the street about 30 feet from us. Most people just ignore us straight up, especially when they're farther away. You get really bored contacting so much, so I decided to be a bit obnoxious and yell out to him. Much to my surprise, he actually stopped, and started walking towards us, so we scurried on over to meet him. Then we managed to have a lesson with him! It was a pretty funny experience. It's also gotten SO COLD this week. It's supposed to get down to 8 degrees tonight.

I forgot to talk about a fantastic lesson Elder Chinas and I had with Bojan and Prosina a few weeks ago. Prosina has been struggling giving up coffee, so we decided we were going to have a lesson cracking down on it hard. We started it watching Finding Faith in Christ (super good video), and then just discussed the principle of faith. We transitioned it to the coffee drinking, and it was so peaceful and warm because of how much the spirit was testifying. Every time in the past, she's always avoiding committing stopping completely, and I asked her to give all her coffee to us so it won't tempt her. Well on that night, she did both of those! She also talked about how she gets bad headaches if she doesn't have a coffee in the morning, so we offered a priesthood blessing to her. I had the opportunity to give it, and it was one of the few I've given in Macedonian, but it was also the easiest blessing I've ever given. God wanted her to know that message. She was promised that she would have the strength to succeed to never drink coffee again and she would not get a headache. And sure enough the next day (we called her every 2 hours to make sure she was doing good), she said she didn't get any headache! Although when we had a lesson that next night, she looked extremely tired. That was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever gotten to be a part of, and I learned so much about how much God loves all of us and cares for each one of us.

We got a referral named Aleksander who we've been teaching at his house. Usually referrals have fake phone numbers, which I don't understand at all why they would fill the referral request out and then put a fake address and phone number, but that's a discussion for another day. Aleksander was a 7th Day Adventist, but he doesn't agree with the teachings, but agrees with everything that we've taught him so far! He's one of the most golden I've seen! He lives with his super communist-thinking parents though, and in the last lesson, the father interrupted 3 times talking about how God doesn't exist, and then at the end of the lesson his mom kicked us out and said she never wants us to come back. So we'll have to figure out a different place to have the lessons now! Also when we were contacting, I talked to a couple, and they said they didn't want to talk, explaining that they were communists. That was the first time I heard that excuse.

Macedonian celebrated Стара Нова Година (Old New Year) since they go off a calendar that's 2 weeks behind our, so the holidays continue. This week is Водици (Vodici) which is celebrating the baptism of Jesus where the archbishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church throws a cross into river and a ton of people go swimming for it. Whoever gets it gets money and becomes a priest. I don't want to say that's pagan, but that's super pagan.

Here's a little patriotism and liberty for MLK day.

I testify that America is a choice land. (See 2 Nephi 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.) This was the required prologue for the restoration of the gospel. (See 3 Nephi 21:4.) America will be a blessed land unto the righteous forever, and is the base from which God will continue to direct the worldwide latter-day operations of His kingdom. (See 2 Nephi 1:7.)
-President Ezra Taft Benson
Elder Rigby
Hear him sing a song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OYKvXkwJqA