Tuesday, March 20, 2012

So This is Albania-October 15, 2011

I'll admit I don't remember much about the ride from the airport to the Mission Home.  I do remember thinking that I would never be able to drive here.  The traffic is unbelievable, and there are few rules that govern the operation of a vehicle here.  It was my first introduction to the many things that are different here.
Mission Home Gate from inside
The Ford's put us up in the apartment just above their home.  They had kindly purchased bread, ham and cheese for a sandwich and some juice and treats-so that we could have a snack and take a nap.  After 23 hours of traveling, we were ready for a nap!  They gave us the option of joining them for the Institute class at 6pm, and we were anxious to go.  The Center for Young Adults is the assignment that we'd been given, and we were curious to see how it was done.  We couldn't have guessed what a great 'first night' in Albania we would have.

Elder Johnson made us feel right at home
Our first views of Tirana

We drove to the "2-4" building in Tirana, where the 2nd and 4th branches meet.  The Young Adult Center is on the 2nd floor, and the room was packed with young single adults (ages 18-30).  We had a translator with us on the back row to help us understand what the teacher was sharing.  It was fun to hear the language spoken by the natives, and I had absolutely no idea what they were saying on my own.  We had a long way to go on language! 

C.D. with the Ford's and the Volz's
After the meeting, President asked if we would mind waiting for a bit.  There was a young man that he needed to talk to, and it should only take a short while.  The young man was C.D. and he was trying to make a decision about baptism.  The short while became a long while, so Sister Ford took us out to find some dinner.  She said, with her lovely English accent, "Follow me-I know a short-cut."  I decided I had come to Albania to follow her, and follow her I did!  She disappeared into a narrow space between the buildings.  It was dark outside by then, and super dark in the narrow passageway that she was leading me through.  She was laughing, and we laughed too.  Fearless, she is.  We came out on the main street in just a minute, and we caught up to the other couple missionaries who were out getting a bite to eat also.  We were introduced to the crepe-a basic food group in Albania.  My favorite is white chocolate with bananas and cookie crumbs, but we'll talk about that later.  We struck up a conversation with an Albanian man while we waited for the crepes to cook.  We were amazed that we could talk with him at all, but here we were, speaking and understanding (in very elementary terms) our new language.  It was great!

Once we were back at the building, the questions had been answered and C.D. had announced that he wanted to be baptized right away!  So the font was being filled and we held a baptismal service at 9:30PM on our first night in Albania.  Now if that isn't a great welcome for new missionaries, I don't know what is!  We absolutely loved the Spirit that we felt in that room, and we will always have a special feeling for C.D.  It was a great first night.

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