So I just have to start by saying this past week went by in such a blur and we are exhausted, but it was by far the best I have ever had in regards to the work and blessings. It seems this past month, every week I feel we are more and more blessed by the hand of the Lord. Sometimes I wonder how things could get any better?
This week was especially great because we were able to reach almost all of our previous weeks goals and even obtained the Standard of Excellence! This means we had more than twenty investigator lessons with more than half with a member present (we had a 18/5 ratio) and seven new investigators (we were blessed with 16 this week!!) This has been such a great blessing because I remember many weeks here before where we were praying and searching frutilessly for weeks just to try and find one person! We are planning on working just as hard this week to see if we can make it happen again. Though the help of the members and doing splits (this is my first time doing this), we are going to try and attain both our goals and the standards of excellence- we are really excited!! This week we were blessed with a plethora of new investigators so we are excited to continue to meet with them and help them to work towards the waters of baptism.I guess I will take a minute to tell you what some of them are like. Our youngest are ages 8 to 12 and all are from English course. They are siblings and love to stay for our spiritual thouhgt at the end. They all came to church yesterday, but alone so we are hoping they will come with their parents next time. Our oldest investigator is 85 and her name is Arregjiro (it's Greek!). We were at a missionary correlation meeting and right after we finished, we came up to the Elders, asked where the church was. They gave her a map and then she walked away. The Elders said we should have just taken her to the church. I agreed and then realized we still could. I grabbed my companion, flew down the stairs, found her and then got on the bus and took her to the church. She is a little forgetful so teaching might be hard but we are excited.
We also have an investigator named Eldiana who has an exciting story. She is 26, Muslim (I guess I shouldn't need to explain that because everyone her is Muslim) and has been engaged for almost a year. She was found through English course and has been wonderful from the beginning! We are hoping that we can have the Elders in Tiranan start teaching her financee so that they can come here for a couple baptism and eventually go be sealed in the temple together.
And now for our craziest investigator story. Sunday we got up early, went out to try and take our investigators to church but unfortunetly all of them were busy or said no. Sadly, we walked to the church alone and got ready for the meeting to begin. At the very last minute, eight of our investigators show up so we were really excited. Just to inform you, President Ford was there for the meeting and we set a record for the Durres branch with having more than 110 people at church...usually we only have about 80. At the end of the meeting, one of the Elders less-active members came up to us and introtduced us to his neighbor and said that she was an investigator. We were really excited by this and completely surprized when she asked us if she could be baptized right then. We tried to explain to her that she must first learn and then could be baptized but she just couldn't except that. So, we took her to the mission president and branch president speaking and translating from the two different languages. Long story short, she started begging and crying to be baptized right then and there. We were all baffled and quite frankly I didn't know how to respond. Pres. Ford's commented that this is best kind of problem in the entire world and I agree. I have been praying to find people who are ready to be baptized, but this is not what I expected to find. After some negociating, we were able to convince her to wait a couple of a weeks to enter the covenant of baptism. We are going to visit her today for the first time to see how prepared she is. It's going to be great. This is a testimony to me that if you pray for miracles, the Lord will answer them-not always in the way you expect but He will answer them!!