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Monday, December 12, 2016

Last and BEST letter!!

December 12, 2016

 Alright so I seriously can't believe I'm writing this but I'm now at the end of my mission! These last 2 years have past like the blink of an eye, I still remember first arriving here in Albania and thinking about how foreign everything seemed to me. I remember not understanding a thing people said to me and sitting through church like a blank slate. I know this email can't possibly contain all the feelings I have for what my mission has been to me so I apologize if it's not all you expect but I'll give it a shot. 

   First of all I know that I was called to this specific mission not out of chance but with definite purpose. My president, President Weidmann, has been such a huge example for me. I know that he is called of God and I hope that I can follow his example to always be ready to answer when God calls me. He is such a huge example to me of a latter day saint and really has put so much into this work. I love him so much and am so grateful for the time that I have had to serve with him.

   I'm also grateful for the Albanian people and all that I have learned from them. The difference between them and Americans is so much more than just language. They have so much culture and tradition, I'm going to miss the crazy church blocks where I just sit on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what someone is going to say next!

  I've had amazing companions my entire mission that have each taught me so much! My trainer Elder Verushi was so great for me and really taught me to forget myself and go to work. I grew so much my first transfer and I know I really needed it. I gained a much more personal relationship with my Father up in heaven because I really needed someone to talk to during those first few months. Elder Holm taught me how to have fun in this work, my second transfer is when I really figured out who Elder Guymon was rather than just being another missionary. He was a huge example of working hard and playing hard and this mission would have been a long grind if I hadn't had the chance to learn from him. Elder Mero was definitely the most exciting companion I have had. Everything we did together was the most exciting thing we had ever done times 1000. It was a blast and I really learned to appreciate the little things and the small victories. With Elder Anderson we had a crazy interesting transfer but I'm so glad that he was my companion because he was so willing to just consecrate himself and put everything out on the street everyday I really learned so much about giving everything to the Lord and putting faith that he would work miracles if I did my part. Then I had a totally new experience serving with Elder Befus who taught me a ton about about loving the people we're serving and putting everything into helping them draw closer unto Christ. Elder Rogers and I had a great time together even though a lot of the time it just seemed like nothing was happening with the work and I learned a lot about what really mattered and what real success looked like in missionary work. He also taught me a ton about how to care about all the missionaries that I was serving and to be much more compassionate. Finally, this last month with Elder Clayton has been awesome and a lot of it has just been me doing a lot of pondering about these experiences that I have been having I'm grateful for his example to me of always being willing to answer to whatever the people we are serving need. Even if it's maybe not the thing that I necessarily desire to do!

  Every week we set goals for the coming week and I'm going to be honest, some of the goals I had at the beginning of my mission are still the same things that I'm wanting to work on here at the end. I know that this road never really ends, Ether 12:27 means something different to me now. I learned that as I came unto Christ I started seeing less and less imperfections in myself but I started seeing more and more!!!!! The difference is that I saw them as things that I can work on, future strengths as my president puts it. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can do ANYTHING. I think that God shakes his head at me all the time just in awe of how thick I can be but I know that he is always cheering for me and is never going to give up on me.

  The greatest thing that I have gained on my mission is hands down my testimony in my big brother and savior Jesus Christ. I love him so much. I don't totally understand how he was able to make that sacrifice for me and I know I still need to use his atonement so much more in my life but what I do know is that because of him I am changed. I have found new life in Jesus Christ. I have learned that if I just fully rely on him that nothing is ever going to go wrong. I think that is why my second area (Prishtina, Kosovo) is so sacred to me. I had never met people that had never even HEARD of Jesus Christ before then. I also frequently met people that mocked him and mocked me because of him. It was a time that I really had to figure out who Jesus Christ was for me because all of a sudden he wasn't the main stream belief. I have had spiritual experiences that I can never deny that allowed me to stand up tall to the man that just tore up my picture of Christ and spit on me and tell him that Jesus Christ is his Lord and that he is going to meet him at the last day. I had the very special experience of teaching someone who ended up becoming one of my best friends about Jesus Christ and there was a very real very literal light that appeared in his eyes as he learned about these eternal truths. He went from someone who said he had heard of Jesus Christ as a name but nothing more to testifying that he can't imagine his life without him! There was nothing more beautiful than that in my mission.

  I love our great God and I know that he has my life in his hands. I have learned that I don't really need to worry too much about what's going to happen in the future. If I put God first in my life he hasn't let me down up to this point and I know he won't let me down now. I wouldn't trade the experiences that I have had out here for anything in the world. I know that the things I have learned here will continue to support me for the rest of my life and loudly proclaim to all those considering on going on a mission to take this step! I can give a 100% guarantee that you won't regret it. 3 Nephi 13:33 is your promise.

  I hope that maybe reading this you can feel a small part of what the mission has meant to me. I have put my heart into this service and it's with great sadness that I part from it now. Yes I'm so excited to come home, to come back to all my comforts and to my family. But back there I don't get to have this special calling to be a special representative of Jesus Christ. But I know that because of this calling that I have receieved that I can't go back to "fishing" just as the apostles couldn't go back. I will continue to have Jesus' name with my written upon my heart at all times and hope that those who see me will know that I am Christian which is the greatest thing anyone could call me. A true Christian. There is no way we can learn to truly be christian if we aren't willing to do what Christ would do. SERVE! 

I love you all and am excited to see and talk to all of you! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Second to last email!

December 5, 2016

 So I'm going to be honest I don't have a ton to write about this week because unfortunately towards the beginning of the week Elder Clayton was pretty sick and we were inside for a bit and then I got sick and so we were inside again for a bit! Really unfortunate timing considering it's my second to last week but we are both feeling better now, not 100% but good enough that we should be good to work all week! I guess this bug hit the whole mission. 

  Being stuck inside definitely did not help with the emotions of going home considering how much time it gave me to think!  I'm actually having a rough time sleeping thinking about what it's going to be like going home and it's freaking me out!! So insane!!!! 

We had fun today for our Pday.  We went to some super cool ancient ruins that supposedly Paul was at!

  Another thing that was fun that we were able to do this week is in the short time in between Clayton being sick and me being sick we were able to do some good service this week! We helped a member family in Fier move houses and then in Lushnje we helped a family out in a village with a big greenhouse do some work with the plastic stuff to keep the temperature up there! I wish I could have served in areas with villages like lushnje more just so I could have had more opportunities to do service in farms it's so fun and I genuinely like helping people!

  Another super awesome thing that I have gotten to do in Lushnje is we have been able to teach a few families! It's really cool to be able to teach families.  You can just see how much the gospel can help families and I can really testify of how much it has done for my family!

  One of the saddest things for me right now is all the branch drama here. It's kinda a stereotype here that all the branches in the south have a lot of problems and it's so hard cause I don't know what to do about it.  Even these super great members have problems with other people and I'm just going to try to be super blunt this last week and start telling people to stop talking behind each others backs!!! Its ridiculous!

  Anyway, final week now! Super crazy stuff! Hoping to just push it really hard and finish in a sprint! Next week will probably be a much more exciting email! 

Love you all thank you so much for all your prayers!! Make sure to check out for the awesome initiative!!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

November 28, 2016

So lots of exciting stuff this week! To start off at the beginning of the week we visited an awesome member family! They got baptized a little more than a year ago and are so fun to talk to! They feel like my mom and dad out here. We are going over again tonight so I'm super excited! 

  So the main thing that happened this week was Thanksgiving! Wednesday night Elder Clemans from my MTC trio came and stayed the night which was a lot of fun because we haven't been able to spend much time around each other on the mission, then thursday morning we went to Tirana. Man I was so anxious leading up to it because I was going to have to give my "departing" testimony. I was surprised about how nervous I was considering I had given so many trainings and stuff in front of people but this was different. Of course they made me go last so I had to sit there in agony watching Crandall and Clemans give theirs. I got up there and said "man it's so weird being up here" and after that the tears started! I was not expecting it but I totally just cried through the whole thing. Reminded me of my farewell. We'll see if I can make it through my homecoming!! Get ready for some water works! It's just something that means so much to me and has such a big spot in my heart it really touches me whenever I talk about this stuff!!!

  It was way fun being able to have a final day seeing everyone before I leave. Crazy to think I won't see some of those people ever again probably! Luckily a lot of them I will see again! I missed a lot of old faces there. There are just so many new missionaries I don't know that well!! The meal was awesome! Totally authentic thanksgiving! We had a bunch of skits which were pretty funny but the best part was that President showed up towards the end!!! He had been in Switzerland for a back operation and when he came in it was so amazing to see him. He is so awesome and it's great to know he is back! 

 Last week we went and visited a member who left the church and he lives in the middle of no where! Like crazy conditions.  All he does is care for 6 goats and read the scriptures so he knows the standard works like by heart! The problem is he misunderstands some things and thinks that he has some sort of higher calling. Just a lot of pride but he can't see it because his mind is just so clouded. It's tough I have no idea how to help him. There are a few members like that here. Just have let these strange things cloud their testimonies and now it just seems impossible to help them. I know that sounds pessimistic but it's so hard!!

  We got fed twice this week! It was awesome! The first time was with a member family who had a bunch of extended family over and it was a lot of fun. It was cool being a part of a family gathering like that. I haven't been in something like that for 2 years!! The food was awesome too! Super interesting... bread soaked for a super long time in duck juice so it's kinda like thin mashed potatoes with duck served on top of it! The second time was with an investigator family and it was pretty interesting! Most of it was really good except they had fish that their son had caught in the nasty canal by their house. I was like oh boy I'm probably going to die but I ate it all! It actually wasn't too bad. They are a super nice family and I really hope they progress!!

  Also the church's christmas initiative came out!! It's sooooo cool!! It's my favorite one so far! I definitely encourage everyone to go check it out at I love how it's just an invitation to everyone to make this world a better place and be Christ's hands!! 

  Anyway, its super strange the end keeps getting closer and closer (crazy how time works like that) I'm so grateful for these last few months of my mission though. I feel like I have really learned a lot about myself and a whole lot about the gospel. I'm only going to send two more of these! Crazy stuff! 

Love you all! Ciao!

Thanksgiving dinner!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Good work in Lushnje

November 21, 2016

This week was once again super awesome. We're just meeting with so many people it's awesome, we are really getting into the area and finally I have a progressing investigator again!!!! His name is A. and he is awesome, we have met with him every day and it's been cool over only a week to see how he has changed each lesson. He is a super relaxed guy which is really good for this branch because sometimes people get a bit high maintenance. We also have another investigator who has investigated the church before and the night before her baptism decided to back out because of some problems but she says she is ready to get baptized now! She is way cool and keeps in contact with all her old missionaries.

So in this branch there is a pretty big problem with members not getting along and gossip and finger pointing. Nearly every time that I have visited a member they have talked bad about another member. It's so sad a lot of them blame it on the branch president and it's like ya I totally recognize the guy isn't perfect but first of all they are hanging on to old grudges and he has improved a lot, second off your eternal salvation doesn't depend on who is leading the church it depends on if you GO! I just tell them just come sit in the back take the sacrament and leave at the very least. But to be honest the real reason they aren't coming is because they don't have a testimony. 

This week during weekly planning I realized that after this next week I will only have two weeks left and it was kinda like a holy cow moment I'm actually leaving this country at some point. It just seems like such a foreign concept to me, like Albania is my home now. This is my life! Its hard to believe this is coming to an end. Really wanting to end my mission in a full sprint though. I don't want to miss a single second of this madness! 

We went to this members house this week and they are probably the poorest people I have visited my whole mission. Like their entire house could easily fit in my old room. And the living conditions are REALLY not good. They really have it rough and living kinda far outside of Lushnje but they are at church EVERY week without fail. It's so awesome to see an example like them. There are people that live right next to the church that don't come because "they have been offended" whereas this family has every reason not to come and get judged all the time because of their situation but are there every week as a family it's so awesome. 

Church was pretty exciting this week too. There is a member who knows a lot of the scriptures and stuff but kinda gets sidetracked and during priesthood who was pretty off topic and then the elders quorum president made a passive aggressive comment that we should stay on topic with our comments and THEN the teacher got involved and was like you two just argue every sunday you need to quit taking things personally and figure things out! So perfect recipe for disaster. The guy who gets sidetracked after lots of arguing and practically yelling stormed out of the room yelling "GOD BLESS YOU" on his way out. Now as far as I remember that kinda stuff doesn't happen in America, man it must just be so boring back there!

Anyway the work is going forward in Lushnje. We are now setting baptismal dates for after I leave which is kinda sad but what do you do! Love you all! Hope you're doing well!

Monday, November 14, 2016


November 14, 2016

 Holy cow! I knew that it was going to be a big difference going from AP in Tirana to Senior Companion in Lushnje but I never could have predicted how different it feels! Pretty crazy week honestly but so far I'm just way happy, I think it's going to be an awesome last month! 

  So to start off last Monday I had my last FHE and man it was sad to say goodbye! Leaving T4 really felt like I was leaving the mission just because everyone was like we are going to miss you so much and all this stuff and I was just like jeez guys I'll still be around!!

  Transfer day was INSANE! There was a huge flash flood in Tirana and there was like a lake on the freeway and so tons of people were mega late! It was so interesting because normally all that stuff really stressed me out, like transfer stuff not going right and then there was just a bunch of chaos as always with people in the office and it would just make me super anxious but it was like all the stress was just gone, I no longer had the calling and I didn't have to worry anymore! I would have had to leave Tirana super fast and not say hi to a bunch of people but Lushnje actually got stuck and weren't able to come in to Tirana so I got to spend a bunch of time with all my homies going out to get lunch kinda a last hurrah it was a nice blessing! Then the APs drove me across the lake to meet up with my new comp, Clayton and we were off!

  We got to Lushnje and it didn't take me long to realize that we did not have much work that I was coming in to, like when I say not much I mean none. But hey I have done that twice now so I was like man this is exactly what I was made for! So we just hit the streets super hard for like 2 days I was just trying to be 110% positive and going hard and it really paid off! Those two days were kinda rough and I was like whew this might be a rough month of this but after them we had so many people to work with that we haven't contacted since then! It's awesome to see the Lord blessing us so fast!! Since getting here I just feel like an itch to work the heck out of this last month. Like I have always tried to work hard my whole mission of course but I don't know it's like I just want to make a big difference for this last area and put a nice little final stamp on my mission. I'm not going to lie after seeing such instant success coming into the area I definitely have been working on just staying super humble and always praying to thank God and reminding myself that it's all because of him it's not anything I do. It's still just so sad to me how hard it is to get rid of pride! It really hangs in there!

  After being in Lushnje for a few days (and a huge deep clean of the house) I realized that I just felt sooo at peace. Like nooo stress! No worrying about what calls were going to pop up during the day all I have to do is put my work in and I don't have to worry about anything else! Plus no traffic and constant horn honking. Needless to say the knots are working their way out of my shoulders. Also naps during the day are heavenly! I forgot how nice they are! I have gotten one almost every day since I've been here!

  As for the area it's awesome, it's like a really small city that's surrounded by villages and pretty much everyone here is a farmer! Lots of really humble people. We went and visited one of the members this week and their house was soo tiny like probably the poorest people I've ever visited it was crazy, but they pay for a ride to church every week! So much faith! The branch here is pretty awesome, we had 30 people at church on Sunday. We have four 16 year old young women that are super awesome members and no young men.

  We also had Zone Training this week and it was a lot of fun! I felt so old because there are no elders after my group so there is a big gap between me and the next group of elders. It was really good though, just a big spiritual pump up! It's weird though just because each zone training and mission conference I go to it seems like more and more of my friends are missing! AHH so many people I want to see when I get back.

Today we played soccer and went to an old mosque for pday!  My comp in Elder Clayton and he's from St. George.  Super fun kid!  We're going to work hard and have fun together!!

Anyway I'm doing awesome, hopefully we'll just be able to keep this good stuff going! Love you all!

Adam teaching a little girl in Lushnje

Pday soccer game!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Good-bye office life :)

November 7, 2016

 So the transfer calls came through and I'm going to Lushnje!!! I'm super excited it's a small city a little south of Tirana that is known for all the produce that comes out of it and is just surrounded by little villages! It's wayyy cool there! Actually kinda reminds me of Idaho! There are some super good people there so I'm really excited to be able to serve around them a little closer! It'll be a HUGE difference from being AP in Tirana so much crazy busyness all the time to just having the two of us in a quiet little town. There are things and people I will miss but I'm excited to do things like... have full studies, have full lunches, have full pdays, full sleep, and the list goes on. :) No I'm kidding I have loved being AP and it's been a super amazing experience but the sleep thing will be nice! I will also be with Elder Clayton, I'm excited to serve with him, we are going to have a blast!

  This last week in Tirana has been pretty awesome we went out to dinner with two really awesome families, it was fun being able to hang out with "mormon families" they are few and far between here but man they are awesome, walking into one of their houses was like walking into a typical LDS home, like pictures of the kids on missions on the walls, general authority quotes, and temple pictures! It felt so good being in there, just the spirit is so peaceful!

  The last Sunday in 4th ward was pretty sad. I was here for so long and made some pretty solid relationships and it was super sad saying goodbye to everyone. I got up to bear my testimony and almost started crying which surprised me!

  Anyway I apologize that these keep getting shorter and shorter I actually don't have a ton of time today but everything is awesome and I am super excited for my new area! 

Love you all! Have a great week!

Ultimate frisbee for pday today!
Elder DeBell & Rogers

My mission "grandsons"
Mission Office family

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2016

 So lots of traveling this week! It was a lot of fun, definitely exciting as one of my last weeks as AP! So to start off on Tuesday after District Meeting we took off to head up to Prishtina and that was a ton of fun! I have never been able to serve with Elder Thomas and so it was cool being able to be with him for a day. We had an awesome time together and got some good work done! It's so much fun to go up there every time. I just love the people up in Prishtina. It's fun being able to hear the language up there too as I can continue to grasp Albanian more and more it makes me appreciate the gheg accent more! It's way cool! We also got to hang out with B. which was awesome! It was my last time seeing him until he comes to America!! He's coming December 8th I think! like a week before me! 

  Then Thursday morning we drove back to Tirana stopped for like 2 hours and then took off again to go to a city in South Macedonia that is super beautiful called Ohrid! Elder DaBell, the office elder came with us and it was awesome! I've gotten super close to him being here and he is just so cool! It was really fun being able to just talk to him the whole car ride and get some awesome "fatherly" advice from him! I've definitely been missing it out here on the mission. Especially since I feel like I can finally maybe appreciate stuff like that!

  We got back and set up for a halloween party for the 2nd and 4th wards. It actually turned out super well! The party was a lot of fun and it kinda felt like a bit of a goodbye party for me with the 4th ward. I'm sure going to miss them! They have a lot of spirit in 4th ward. It was crazy every Albanian party that I have done just ends up turning into a traditional dance party, it's pretty fun though. You haven't lived until you have been to one of those, and like all of them know how to do it! I think its in the blood!

  Hummm other than that this week was kinda dissappointing with lessons, we just didn't have a ton of time, but over the weekend we planned 12 lessons with people where the person said yes I will come at that time and then only 1 of those 12 people we planned came. It's just so frustrating to plan because you almost expect them not to show! 

  Anyway apologies that I don't have much to say! Life's good! Excited to be going to a new area next week I'll let you all know where it is! Loves! Ciao!

Exchanges with Elder Thomas

Tirana 2 & 4 ward Halloween party!