So that you all don’t get too bored, we try to write but one blog a month. Sometimes more sometimes less. If your signed up and have entered your email, it will notify you automatically when we post. We really, really appreciate your comments both privately and on the blog. It’s important to know you guys are out there and we stay in contact.
We haven’t written much in the way of spiritualness but we WILl SO, ….hang tight. This is one.
One of the considerations that will come under your determination to serve a Senior Mission is the mental capacity that old age brings. For example, “What was the reason I came into this room?”……, “I promised so n so I would do this” ……..(and you didn’t),….. “What day is it?’……., “Did I take my medication or vitamins?”…….., “I know I left it somewhere”…….., “Where are my glasses?”……… (on top of your head). You eventually get to the point of wondering or jokingly say, “Do I have dementia or Alzheimers?” Not that Senior Missionaries are called to learn new languages where you would need all your mental capacities, but it does make you consider just how inept you will be serving a mission. The language is coming slow, no….way slow, snail slow. Some days reverse, progress. It’s different because of the lack of contact we get with the people in day to day conversations. Not like the missionaries who are teaching and conversing in the language. We on the other hand don’t get the training nor do we get the practice, and many whom we come across, want to try out their english on US!! We want just the opposite. So some days we learn about 10 words and the next day forget 12. I have enclosed a video of that which I can say without looking and pronouncing well enough to be understood.
The day we moved from the “hotel room” to the palace, was the day we were also scheduled to be back in Tirana, the capital. After about ten trips hauling all our stuff (including those items we took from an apartment that the mission closed down), which included down 3 floors and up 5, it was none the less frantic and exhausting. The very first trip I removed my laptop from the ‘hotel room’ and hid it high above a book case in the new apartment so I would not forget it by accident. The day was long and after traveling, we ended up staying the night in Tirana. It wasn’t until two days later that panic struck me knowing that I couldn’t find my laptop and realized I must of left it in the “hotel room”. Racing back and checking the hidden area where I kept my laptop, panic really set in as it was not there. After inquiring around and checking with hotel staff and maids, all was fruitless. Stolen!!! I even looked through hotel security videos. I didn’t discover the laptop in our new apartment till almost two months later and after much duress and consternation.
Many times I considered not relating this story to you all. Some I’m sure will empathize and others of you will say, “Maybe I shouldn’t of come on this mission”, and some of you will just say, knowing me, “That sounds like Bob”, but all in all, I must be honest and expose my inner frailties of the mind and be embarrassed. This of course won’t be my last opportunity of embarrassing myself but don’t count on my telling you any more of those Senior Missionary Moments!!!
With all that being said, my wife would not let me send this blog out without letting you know about the spiritual aspect of my forgetfulness.
At the time I thought my laptop was stolen, we were a week away from conducting a virtual Pathway class on line with 5 students from Russia. This being the option for us, not having a “live” class here in Albania. Losing my laptop meant we could not conduct this “on line class” on Thursday evenings. We immediately told our area supervisor and explained that we had no means to conduct this class without a laptop or computer, and that he would have to get someone else to conduct the class. We then apologized to him for this last minute cancellation on our part. I swallowed my pride and frustration, and moved on. Therefore, with Thursday evening being available, we volunteered to help the missionaries out and teach an Advanced English class, which is usually is not available because the missionaries are busy teaching “Beginners class” using the Albanian language. These english classes are very successful in acquiring investigators and taught by every set of missionaries here in Albania. These classes are only conducted on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in conjunction with the entire mission. To make a long story short, we taught the english class with 7 special students from age 14 to 43. We grew to love and immensely enjoyed our time with them. We now have 3 investigators!!! Two have been to church already and one (pictured below on the left) invited us into her home to share a beautiful dinner with her family. Another (pictured below on the right) is actually taking the discussions presently and in her own personal xmas card to us she wrote, “Elder and Sister Lewis, you are the best present of 2017. Thank you for being a part of my life.”
If I had not forgotten where my laptop was, we would have never taught this class and would never have had these investigators. My wife calls my forgetfulness a “veil from God”.
Judge me not so harshly. We believe in “divine intervention”!!
Two of the english class students mentioned above
School performing in public square (sorry for camera rotation)