June 13, 2016

I gotta say, it terms of all the weeks on my mission. This one was probably the most average that I've had. A straight 5/10. Not bad, not good.

We've lost contact with quite a few investigators in the past few weeks, but we've gained a few instead. We play soccer on Saturday mornings as a branch, and a 16 year old kid with a full beard usually plays with us. We've been inviting him to church, but it always seemed like a fat chance he would actually come. Last week, he said he would, and he was a no show. This week, he said he would come again, and our hopes weren't too high at all about it. But sure enough, there he was at 10! We also had a really good lesson with him afterwards.

In Prishtina, a city in our zone in Kosovo, a woman named Besiana got baptized. She's been meeting with the sisters there for a long time, with a lot of support from the soldiers there. And it was one of the soldiers that baptized her!

For my studies, I've been reading a lot in the Old Testament in Macedonian. It started off pretty interesting; Genesis ran through the lives of many different people, and Exodus detailed the great escape of the Israelites. And then I hit Leviticus aka the Law of Moses priest's manual. There were a lot of random phrases that I would get to know really well in Macedonian, particularly having to do with sacrificing large beasts, unless you don't have enough money, then you can just sacrifice a couple pigeons and doves. It makes me thankful for Jesus and for what he did for us so that we can live the different law, the higher law. It's beautifully simple.

Macedonian government protests. Skopje has become colorful over the last few months (see pics). It’s political and I haven’t said anything about it since it hasn’t really affected our work.
Elder Rigby
 [background from Elder Rigby’s dad, 20 June 2016: the Macedonian protest is called “Sharena Revolutsiya” or “the colorful revolution” and began in April 2016 when protestors demolished the office of the Macedonian president. It has been generally been peaceful in nature and is a revolutionary protest against the government. Thousands of protesters have marched through Skopje and pelted paint-bombs at the main government buildings and police. Protests generally occur around 6pm every evening, Sundays exempted. The protestors say they are spied upon and persecuted minorities and others demand economic justice. They want the government’s resignation or at least “fair elections”. Protestors come from the social democratic opposition party (SDSM), ethnic Albanians, LGBT people, and other ethnic, social and political groups. The government and police have continued to allow the protests.

Macedonian politics boiled over in Jan 2015 when the government charged the SDSM leader with planning a coup d'├ętat. In Feb 2015, the SDSM leader accused the Macedonian government of wiretapping and illegally spying on thousands of Macedonians and he provided example evidence. With the help of the EU, early elections were planned and protests subsided. With the EU relying on Macedonia to help stem the refugee crisis, EU pressure evaporated. Early parliamentary elections set for June were cancelled by the Court and the wiretapping scandal investigation was suspended and wiretappers were pardoned, so in April 2016, the Colorful Revolution began, called for by the SDSM leader. The President revoked some of the pardons in May and made other concessions. This weekend a protestor ultimatum demands were not met. The atmosphere seems to be getting more tense now. Follow news here:

This Colorful Revolution seems to be the latest in the series revolutionary-minded movements occurring in several societies in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, and Middle East since the early 2000s (Rose Revolution: Georgia 2003, Orange Revolution: Ukraine 2004, Purple Revolution: Iraq 2005, Tulip or Pink Revolution: Kyrgyzstan 2005, Green Cedar Revolution: Lebanon 2005, Blue Jeans Revolution: Belarus 2006, Grape Revolution: Moldova 2009, Green Revolution: Iran 2009, Jasmine Revolution of 2010 of Tunisia leading to the Arab Spring movements).]