Monday, December 16, 2013

Another New Companion

Hello my dearest family,
They bought a real Christmas tree!
So this week was really awesome with Elder Baker. We had a fantastic week and we got a lot of work done. We've been working very hard with E and with the family we've been teaching, and they are all still planning on being baptized!! We met with E the other day and asked him about his parents allowing him to be baptized because he said it was a bad idea for us to come and talk with his family about being baptized. So he came to us the other day and said that his dad wouldn't allow him to be baptized because his dad is a different religion.

After talking a bit longer we found out that his dad is really just frustrated with him because he's been sluffing his last hour of school almost every day and he's starting to get bad grades. So I told him he needed to go to school and to be a good kid and then we asked if he had prayed for his dad's heart to be softened and let him be baptized into our church. He said he had so we told E that his prayer would be answered very soon. 

The next day was Sunday and he came into sacrament meeting with a huge smile on his face saying that his dad had given him permission to be baptized!! We were all super stoked and jumping up and down like little girls. Good day!!

So that's all the amazing stuff that happened this week. This last Tuesday though, Elder B and I were walking after a District Meeting and we were just walking and chatting about life and in front of us is this 16 or 17 year old boy. Pretty tall and big and I was noticing that he was flipping something in his hand. I thought it was just keys to a house or something and then he turned around and approached us and Elder B got this big concerned look on his face and then I heard him ask if the kid had a problem. I watched Baker grab the kid, twist his arms around his head, and then B slammed him into the side of a parked car that was off to the side of the road. I guess this kid didn't have keys to someone's house, he had a butterfly knife. Thankfully B saw it and realized what it was. The kid just walked away and we went our way. So that was kinda crazy. 

Missionary life!
But I had to say good bye to Elder B today. Elder O (An Albanian elder waiting for his visa.) left today to start his mission and I am being put with Elder A who is going home in 15 days. He's really excited to go home but we are super excited to serve together for a short little while. He was on Special Assignment with Elder W but they got taken off that and now I'm with A. (Special assignment missionaries work strictly with men working to get the Melchezadic Priesthood.  Albania is hoping to form their first Stake in the next few months, and they need a lot of priesthood leadership.  Exciting for Albania!!)I'm really excited to serve with him. He lives close to us and skiis all winter long. So we have a lot in common. We've talked about Lee's Mongolian  BBQ a ton and lots of other stuff about Utah. It should be fun if he doesn't get me too trunky and stuff. 

Cleaning out the baptism font this last week.  Jed said it was growing some serious mold, and these missionaries are having a lot of success and baptizing, so it needed a good cleaning!

Sunday dinner at the Senior  Missionary couple's home.  This wonderful older couple feeds this group of missionaries every Sunday.  So kind!!

Dinner must have been good!  
Thanks for telling me about Gus. (One of our dogs died this week.  It was so sad.)I'm incredibly disheartened that he is gone though. I honestly thought Lucy (Our other dog.)was gonna go first but I guess not. I feel bad if he was hurting before he died. It does break my heart though. He was a stud of a dog. His ridiculous crooked run. Or when the hay in the field would be up super high and you'd see his head bobbing up and down like a rabbit. 
Our favorite Gus died this last week.  He's been with our family for almost 13 years.  Such a good dog!  He will be missed.

Well I haven't gotten any packages yet. I did get the one from Erin though and it was awesome! She made me a sweet pillow case for Christmas and this fantastic peanut butter jello stuff that I ate for breakfast one day. It was amazing. 

Well I love you guys so much. I'm glad you got to see Kirsten this week at the farewell. She loves seeing you guys. Enjoy your week and have a good time getting ready for Christmas. I'll be skyping you at about 6 o'clock here which is about 10am there so be ready in the morning. I"M EXCITED!!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother,
those cookies on the blog look fantastic. Elder Brown is also sitting next to me and he was stoked to see his pic on the blog. I love you so much and thanks for writing me every week. 

Love, Jed

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Companion This Week

Hello Everyone!!
Mes Bridge (Albanian: Ura e Mesit "bridge in the middle")[1] is a bridge in the village of Mes,[2] about five kilometres (straight line) northeast of Shkodër, in northwestern Albania. It was built in the 18th century, around 1780, by Kara Mahmud Bushati, the local Ottoman pasha,[1] and it spans the Kir River.[3] It is 108 m long, and represent one of the longest Ottoman bridges in the region.[4] It was built as part of the road that goes up the Kir Valley, eventually to Pristina.[3](from Wikipedia)
Jed said the bridge is 2000 years old, but it seems that it's actually about 250 years old, but still impressive!

This week was the craziest week of my entire life.  I have a new companion.  It's Elder B.  Pres. Ford called last week and proceeded to tell me that I was going up to Shkoder with the Assistants and we would be picking up Elder B. who was in the same MTC group as me and then he would be coming down into Tirana with me and we would continue workin here. 

Shkoder, Albania.  Beautiful little city. Sightseeing before everyone wakes up.

Saying goodbye to Elder M!!  He will be missed.
So we left at 3:30am and got into the big blue van that they use to transport the missionaries. We drove all the way up to Shkoder which was about an hour and a half. I wanted to sleep but I just got talking to the AP's the whole freaking time so unfortunately I didn't get any sleep. We pulled into Shkoder at about 5:30 that morning and since the elders there weren't awake, we decided to not go wake them up. We got a loaf of bread and then just took off to go see a really cool old bridge that's been there for like 2000 years. It's huge and way cool, I've got a few pics. So we looked at that for awhile and after we kinda looked around the town of Shkoder for a while. It's a really pretty place and I would love to serve there now that I think about it. 

So 6:30 rolled around and we went to the Elders house in Shkoder. They were in a triship meaning there were three missionaries serving together.  One of them is an Albanian missionary waiting for his visa to go to Australia. We had a good breakfast with them. Lots of eggs.

Breakfast with the Shkoder missionaries.  Lots of eggs:)

This is Elder Brown and he wanted a feature on the blog:)
So we took Elder B with us after breakfast which was a little bit sad for him, I know exactly how it feels to be taken from your birthplace, (They call the city they started their mission as their birthplace:) but we were both glad to be serving together. On the ride home we got about an hour of sleep and then the AP's dropped us off at our home. We took Elder B's stuff up into the house and unpacked all of his stuff and then I just explained how I was going to die if I didn't take a nap. I had been up since about 3 in the morning and now it was time for me to catch up on some sleep.  I slept from 12 to 2 and then we had a lesson with Evi!

So now to the work subject. Evi and the family we've been teaching are all doing fantastic! They're still planning on being baptized, so that's awesome as well. We have to go talk with Evi's mom or dad this week and have their permission to have him be baptized. I hope that all goes well. He's reading and praying every day and he's a great kid. He has those moments where he acts like the teenage boy he is, but for the most part he's fantastic. 

Elder Clawson and Elder B with a favorite investigator.
We also have a new investigator from our English Course named Eli. She's about 55 years old and has a son that lives in Canada. She really wants to learn English so she can go and visit him. She showed a little bit of interest in the church when we would give our spiritual thoughts and she really knows a lot about God. We had our first lesson with her last Saturday and then we met with her everyday since. She reads and loves coming to church. We had two baptisms for some of the other missionaries this last Saturday, and she came to one of them and said it was absolutely beautiful. Elder B and I invited her to be baptized and she said she'd try her best to be ready. So I call that a yes if she stays as golden as she has. 
Elder Clawson and Elder B on Pday.

Missionary life.
Elder B and I are really struggling with the language but we can already see the improvement that we've gotten in the last week. We are getting work done. He's a really hard worker and knows his purpose for being here on a mission. It's always fun to talk about our adventures from our past life. We get along super well and he likes Tirana already. It's pretty big and the people are kinda weird sometimes but he's accepting the fact that it's just where he is. 

We are the first of our group to co senior which means two from the same group are comps in the field. We are also the youngest to co senior seeing as no one coseniors their first transfer into the mission. 

Jed's Christmas tree courtesy of Elder Matson's family.  Thanks Matson's!!

I love this pic!!!  The entire Adriatic South Mission.  It is small compared to other missions, but big in heart!  Jed is right in the middle by the sister with the yellow scarf:)
We're are being safe and having fun doing the work. It's starting to get really cold which is awesome but Kirsten told me that it's ridiculously cold at home. I'm glad to hear that you all had a fun and eventful week. 

Tell Eric and Devan that I'm excited for them. (Some of Jed's friends leaving next week for their missions!) I miss seeing their ugly faces.  Well anyways. I can't wait to hear about the skiing adventures that you guys have. It'll be fun to talk to you all on Christmas too!! Have a good week and I love you all!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
I haven't gotten the packages yet but I did get Erin's today. So maybe at the end of this week I'll get them. The mail here just sucks. I'm excited to eat those pretzels!! Thanks for all of your prayers. I can definitely feel the influence they have on me.  I love you so much. 

Love, The Eldest

Monday, December 2, 2013

Have You Ever Received An Answer From A Prayer?

Dearest Family,

Mishies outside the church.
I'm glad to hear that all is well with you and with everyone else. I'm glad the canyon was open and you were all able to go through that way for Thanksgiving. Sorry Basin wasn't good enough for you all to go skiing though. That kinda makes me sad. How was the food at the party and the Clawsons? Probably superb. 

Jed made 4 fruit pizzas for Thanksgiving and a mission conference.  Can you tell he is a baker's son:)
My Thanksgiving was actually really good. So I left for the mission home with 4 huge Fruit Pizzas that looked like HEAVEN!! We had a good mission conference for a couple hours where we received training from President and Sister Ford, which is always fantastic because they are funny and can always help us do better, and then from a couple of the missionaries as well which was fantastic as well. I was kinda down on myself though and a little bit homesick. But that exact day, I got a letter from Dad and also from Kirsten. They were sent about a week after I got into the country and I got them about 3 months late. But their letters really comforted me and got me back into the Spirit of Working. I was very grateful to get them and know that I'm not forgotten!! Just kidding, I know you all love me. 

Elder Clawson and Elder R. who was in Jed's MTC group.  Mission Conference.
After we ended our mission conference, we all went down into the basement where all the senior couples had prepared a meal for all of the missionaries. There was turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, tons of desserts, and loads of fruit salads. It was all so good. The only thing that I was kinda bummed about was that the stuffing wasn't Stove Top brand. I really like that stuff but oh well. It was fun to just talk and to chat about whats going on in all of our areas. It's nice to see the Elders from Kosovo that we hardly ever get to see as well. I talked with Elder Rawlings and Allgaier a ton and got to know how everything is working up there. Seems all is good and the work is coming along slowly but surely nonetheless. 

So for the talent show stuff, I sang a remix of the Pokemon theme song with the district from Durres, and for the district here in Tirana we did a midget dance to a cool primary song. Unfortunately the zone in Lushnje and Fier won but they had a sweet talent. They had a way cool rap that they did. The overall winner was Elder Brown from Shkoder and his "magic" tricks which were hilarious. All the Elders from Shkoder are actually going to be staying at our house tonight which should be a party.

The dessert contest was really good. I genuinely thought I was gonna win the contest but I lost to a cheesecake! All the missionaries just like chocolate stuff cuz they're a bunch of cheesecake lovers. Just kidding. Or am I? 

Elder Clawson with two young men who are going to be baptized!
I had an exchange this week with one of my zone leaders. Elder P. We had a really good day together and got work done! Our (Jed and Elder Matson) goals this week for numbers were 10 member lessons, 10 other lessons and 7 new investigators. It meant that we were gonna have to work really hard. We reached 2 of the 3 goals and we are very happy. We got a golden new investigator named Evi. He's really good friends with a boy named Samuel who is already one of our investigators and he's been bringing Evi to the seminary classes and to church for a bit. He asked to be taught because he wants to be baptized and we were just like heck yes!! 

He's being baptized the same day as a family we're teaching and he asked me to baptize him. My first legit baptism if this goes through. He reads every day and yesterday I had a lesson with him about reading and praying often and one of the questions that I asked him was "Have you ever received an answer from a prayer?" And he just beamed and said "Yeah, one time I prayed and I received two answers from one prayer!" Instantly I was just like, You are a stud Evi. You know this stuff is true and YOU ARE AWESOME!! So we are also teaching several of the people from our English Course. They are very happy to meet with us and I'm hoping that they go places. They have fantastic potential. 

Today for P Day we went bowling as a zone basically. I took 3rd which definitely boosted my ego more than it should. We left from bowling and came to the Winders home and had some fantastic BLT sandwiches. They seriously are some of the nicest people. 

We have a Christmas tree taped up on our wall with a few of Elder Matsons presents wrapped up underneath. Maybe I'll buy myself a present just so I can have something under the tree. I've eaten the pumpkin bread and all of the other mixes now. They were delicious. I'm saving the wassail a little bit. I want some Christmas morning before I go and work. I'm excited to talk to ya'll!! I may ask you to take my bike into the frame so I can see it. 

Snow in the mountains above Tirana, Albania.
So, this morning I got on to read the emails that I'd gotten from everyone. I read Mom's first and I was instantly bawling like a baby. It has broken my heart to hear about Mr. Litizzete. (Jed's favorite teacher of all time died Sat. in a tragic accident.  Here's a link to the news article about it.That guy was not only the best teacher I've ever had but he actually helped strengthen my testimony. He wasn't a member but he was a God fearing man and every now and then we had some good conversations on the subject. Having little chats every now and then with him was one of the funnest things to do during a busy, rushed, and hectic school day. I loved watching some sweet GoPro video every day before class started. I enjoyed going to the Banff Film Festival with him too! I enjoyed talking with him about "Where the Trail Ends", downhill biking, skiing, kayaking, rock climbing, and all sorts of crazy stuff. He was the one that influenced me and Scott to go skiing at Alta during the middle of a school week. He had an awesome beard and ponytail for heavens sake!

But the best thing that he did for me was this: He helped me see God's hand in everything. When he would teach us about how plants use the light to survive, how DNA replicates itself, or how animal populations could effect everything around them, I knew he was thinking the same thing as I was. All of this is part of something bigger. He was definitely one of the best people I've ever met. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week. I love you all and remember that this is the true church!!!!

Love, Jed

Dear Mom, 
Thanks for keeping me posted on everything. And thanks a ton for the recipe for fruit pizza. They turned out fantastic and they should have won because they were good. All the senior couples told me it was amazing. I'm actually making one for the family we're teaching tonight so that will be fun. I love you so much and thanks for everything. 

Love you, 

Monday, November 25, 2013

We Were Booming With The Spirit

It's the FAM!!! 

So Elder M. and I had a very enjoyable week. I'm sorry but all these weeks are just blurring together. It's pretty messed up. But one thing that hasn't changed is my language abilities!! This language sucks at times. It's all cool sounding and stuff but it's only cool if you can speak it fluently. 

The Mishies as Jed put's it.  
Anyways, last week we had two lessons set up in the morning on Tuesday and both of them didn't show up so obviously we went out finding like we always do. We had been out for like 5 minutes on the sidewalk and then this guy comes up to us and I could see that he recognized one of us. Eventually I realized that he was looking at Elder M. They started talking and I caught that they had met on a bus in the upper area of Tirana and Elder M. didn't have enough money to pay for the bus and this guy had been next to him and just paid for his bus ticket. 

We talked for a little bit in the road and then we invited him to come sit with us for a lesson and he said yes. That in itself is a miracle. People always say that they either have work or something. We walked to the church and prayed and began the lesson. When we usually teach the intro lesson we read the last two paragraphs of the introduction of the Book of Mormon. They basically just say that "Everyone in the world is invited to read this book and to pray to know if it's true or if it isn't." So we read that with him and afterwards we asked him how he felt. Right then he said, "I can feel that this book is true." I was just like, YOU GOT THAT RIGHT SON!!! Just kidding, I didn't say that. 

Jed's favorite food on the planet is crepes.  We may never get him to come home if he has to leave his favorite crepery.
Elder M. and I both just simply bore our testimonies and told how we felt about the Book of Mormon and our investigator got all giddy! So basically we got a great new investigator. He turns his phone off quite often because he doesn't have a lot of money. So we are going to try really hard to get him into our weekly schedule because he was awesome. His names Samir which basically translates to "How good". Kinda weird but we like it. 

A member in Jed's branch.
So we had the lesson with him and then we went back out onto the street because we had a little bit more time. And we were pumped from the previous lesson so the first guy I stop is smoking a joint and I basically just invited him to come walk to the church with us. He was just like "Ok." So we had a lesson with him and he asked lots of really good questions which we like because then we don't feel like we're talking to a wall. We gave him a book and he told us that he was interested in learning about more prophets and stuff. So yeah that was two new investigators in as many hours. It was a very productive morning and we were booming with the Spirit.

Last week I talked about the girl Malvina that we had such high hopes for. She's kinda shut us down now. My hopes and dreams were dashed into a thousand tiny, sad, lonely pieces of my heart. Oh well. We'll keep trying. Hopefully we'll see her in the street at sometime. 

Fire truck outside Jed's apt. last night:) 
One other cool thing that happened this week was that last night, the roof of our building caught on fire. There were firetrucks and stuff parked outside shooting water into the top of our building which was cool but inside my brain, I was just thinking, "Freak. My house is gonna burn down." But fortunately they let us into our house while they were watering it down so I guess there wasn't too big of a risk of the fire spreading. We went outside for a second to go see if they'd put it out and stuff. As we were walking back into the house this young lady came out of her door and watched Elder M. go inside and then she looked at me and asked me if I wanted to come in. I said I'd need my friend first and she just said "No, you. Come inside. There's smoke out here." And she kept motioning me into her house so I basically just kindly declined and went into my nice quaint little home. Kinda weird. 

Well it sounds like your guys' week has been full of cool stuff. Thanks for sending another package!! I'm super excited to receive it. So I have some suggestions for my Christmas package if that's okay. 

More buttery pretzels,
The scarf that Lydia made for me,
More Brownies,
More seeds,
New zit tool, Mine was destroyed. 
Kirsten's red tie that I forgot at home. 
 and what ever you want. But thank you so much. 

Love, Jed

Dear Mother,
Dad told me of your concern for me. Don't worry I'm doing fine and I'm staying safe. I'm happy and healthy also. So are you guys chopping down a tree from the forest like usual again? Nice new vaccum by the way. It looks fancy. I love you and miss you so much!! Have fun this week. 
Love, Jed

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rise Up From the Dust and Be Men

Hello Familia!! 

I had a great week!! So much happened but to be 100% honest I can't remember a whole lot of what happened. 

On top of the church in Tirana Albania
Well, we got 5 new investigators this week which was freaking awesome!! Two of them are these two guys named Arion and Besnikë (he goes by Bessie) and we met them through English Course which was fun because we haven't gotten anyone out of that yet here in Tirana. I gave a spiritual thought at the end of the english lesson and these two started asking all of these questions. I was just like "Crap they're gonna start yelling at me or something and then I'm gonna start crying or screaming." Just kidding I don't cry, but I did think they were gonna start Bible Bashing me because they said they were Orthodox. But their questions were really sincere and they came up to us after the class and asked if we could meet sometime. We met with them a few days later and they seemed super excited to learn more. Arion had downloaded the Book of Mormon onto his iPad and was already reading it basically. We'll be meeting with them a lot more definitely. 
Another good investigator that we got this week was this girl named Malvina. She is a student and doesn't have a lot of time but she's anxious to see what we have to say and what we're about. We found her street contacting which is definitely a bonus because sometimes I just think it's super kot.(Albanian word "for nothing", worthless.) 

Good looking lunch I'd say.
Some graffiti that Jed said the missionaries liken unto Jesus.  He's got their backs:)
I also had an exchange with Elder Austin from Idaho Falls. Let me tell ya, I needed that exchange. He's a super cool kid and I enjoyed being with him. We got hit on by a ton of girls that day though. We were street contacting in front of this store and the workers just turned up some music and started dancing all nasty and waving at us. We decided to go find a new spot. But we had a good time hanging together and we spent a lot of time just talking in bed the night before. Maybe one day we'll be comps but who knows. 

The countryside on the outskirts of Tirana Albania.

Downtown Tirana Albania
So yeah, I have a zone conference every month, mission conference every six months, and district meeting every week. Mission conference is on Thanksgiving next week and it's a big deal. We're having a talent show and tons of food and stuff. It should be fun. 

One really crazy thing did happen to me this week though. So about Tuesday, I was not feeling good. Emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. I wasn't physically sick but I'd been in this sad stage for a while and it kinda just started when I left Durres. I didn't wanna sound like some little woose face punk that couldn't handle being taken from his trainer, so I didn't say anything to anyone. But slowly it just got deeper and deeper and eventually I wanted to just not get up and work. I was so down on myself with the language and I was just like "Man, how can I be here and how can I do this if I feel like this?" And I was genuinely worried. Then I started reading my scriptures and the first thing I read was the words of Christ saying that he picks his servants from the midst of the furnace of their afflictions (1 Nephi 20:10 10 For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.)and something to the effect that no matter what I've done or what I do, I'm still going to be okay and I'm chosen by him to get this work done. I talked with Elder Austin about it that night too and he told me that he has those days where he just doesn't want to work so he just prays in the morning and asks for the desire to do missionary work. After the trial of his faith, he finds that he has a huge desire to get the work done. So I've been doing that and I have been so much happier. The language is still coming slowly but I've seen that people can understand me when it matters. SO, yeah my testimony of the Book of Mormon was really strengthened this weak. Another scripture that Vëllai McGlothin (Jed's teacher in the MTC) from the MTC came into my mind this week which is (2 Nephi 1:21  And now that my soul might have joy in you, and that my heart might leave this world with gladness because of you, that I might not be brought down with grief and sorrow to the grave, arise from the dust, my sons, and be amen, and be determined in bone mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;)the one when Lehi was dying and he basically told Laman and Lemuel to grow up. Rise up from the dust and be men. I tried taking that one to heart this week too. 

So I hope all is well for you guys at home!! I did get the package and I love it! Thanks a ton.

Love, Jed

Dear Mother,
That Ped Egg has turned my nasty heels into sweet baby bum cheeks!! It's awesome! And I got a kick outta how you called it the Pedifile. Elder Matson was super disgusted by the fact that it was basically just a cheese grater. Thanks for the caramels too. My Pranari (Landlord) came into my house the other night and took like 5 cuz he liked them so much. I'm glad Hawaii was fun. I honestly could just live out in the country there. It's awesome. Kinda by Tex's. I love you so much and I'm so excited to talk to you in a month!! And Jane, does she really speak so fluently? Well have a good week and I love you.

Love, Jed
Jed is fascinated with the olive trees in Albania. 

P-day hike sighting.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Love Being Here In Albania!

Hello my dear family,  

Tirana, Albania
So Tirana has been treating me well so far. The branch is really interesting. Lots of older people and about 5 youth which I'm trying to change, but the kids in Tirana are all so busy with school or they just call me a "Jehovajt" and don't talk to me at all. They mistaken us for JW's quite often.

The food is still way good and we've been busy with finding people on the street. There's a lot of people here that are way crazy. One old guy came up to me and told us that he was the "last prophet" and that we needed to go back home to Obama in America. He's talked to us a few times and told us that we are full of it. But there are also a lot of really nice people that we get along with. And there are gjarpers. That means snake in Albanian and it refers to girls that flirt with missionaries or any American guys. They say we're beautiful, they wink at us, and just try to ask us to go drink coffee with them. We kindly decline and ask if they want to learn more about Jesus Christ. That usually gets rid of them. 

So the work has been good. We got a new investigator this week but he was kinda drunk we think, so who knows where that one goes. We are working with three kids in a family that are on a baptism date in December and I enjoy going and teaching them. We play UNO with them afterwards which gets kinda crazy sometimes. 

Nothing like a good game of UNO!
We meet with a lot of part member families and try to work with the people that aren't members but they skip out on us a lot. That's how it goes I guess. But I love them. The missionaries in my zone are way fun to be around. One elder from my MTC group, Elder O, is a beast with the language and it blows my mind! People always come up to him and ask about his red hair and he's always so happy. I think he's a good role model to look up to. Some new sisters are getting sent to my area of Durres tomorrow from Tirana so I was kinda jealous of that. But it'll be good to have a couple more sisters there. The Couple missionaries here are from Idaho. They are awesome and they are so great to all of us missionaries and we love their guts. 

We play soccer on Saturdays and invite the few youth that we have in the branch to come. We tell them to bring there friends that aren't members but they have't yet which kinda makes the whole thing kinda useless. But this last weekend we got two non members to come. Two twin girls that lived in Italy and they're friends with one of the members. Hopefully we can get to teach them because I'm starting to get a little tired of finding. 

So the group thats leaving next only has 49 days left. They like to remind me that they have less days than I have weeks. It doesn't bug me though. I told them all that you would feed them and go skiing with them if they came over. They are all really nice guys and I'm pretty sure you'd love them more than me. Just kidding. I know you love me more than any other child. The food here is still BOMB!!! I get brioche a lot and it is awesome! It's got chocolate in the middle and it's incredible when it's hot. 

Well it's getting colder here which is fantablulous. I played basketball with the zone from Tirana and the Elders from Shkodër today which was way fun. I realized that I suck more than anything but it's still fun and no one yells at me or anything so that's nice. We all went out to lunch and had a good time. 
Lunch with Jed's zone after a great game of basketball:)

Jed (Elder Clawson)  and Elder Matson.  Handsome boys I'd say!
So I'm happy. My companion is good, and I'm coming along okay with the language. I'm definitely humbled though by my lack of communication skills which is a Christlike Attribute that I can work on. I love being here in ALBANIA!!! And it's almost Thanksgiving which is apparently one of the best days to have here for missionaries. I love you all so much and miss you like a fat lady misses chocolate cake while on a diet. Have fun in Hawaii!!
Christmas lights are popping up in a lot of Jed's pictures lately.

Love, Jedediah, The Boy With The Mole In His Eye

Dear Mother,
I hope you are having the time of your life in Hawaii!! It looks so fun. I hope you're eating a ton of awesome food. Don't eat the pineapple malasadas though. Thats what I threw up the night I opened my mission call. That taste is vivid in my memory. Tell everyone that I wish them good tidings and kisses and sprinkles. I love you mom and I appreciate you writing me. Loves!

Love, Jed

Monday, November 4, 2013

Whip My Big Boy Pants On

Dear sweet family,

Elder Clawson at his evening planning session.  His apt. is up above this "locale" or little cafe.  He drinking his favorite warm cinnamon pudding drink:)
So it sounds like you guys have had an awesome week!!I'm glad to hear that Jane and Bryson are still good friends. I saw the adorable picture of Jane in her blue monster costume and such. It was fantastic. 

So this week has been pretty cool and super interesting. So Monday after I had gotten everything done for the day, Elder Foster and I had to go vistit all of our investigators, and tell them that we were going to be moving into different areas and such. We said goodbye to Arta and she seemed kinda sad that we were leaving. Then we took the long walk out to the Pjetri's home. We got inside and the mom just had us sit on the couch while she left to go get the kids an her husband. We just sat their by our lonesome and then the first person to come in was Nertila the 15 year old. She was freaking crying. OH NO!!!! That pulled our heartstrings a little bit. Everyone else came in and sat down and we explained to them where we were going and that we would try our hardest to come to the baptism of their dad. We gave a short spiritual lesson and then I told Elder Foster that it was time to go. They escorted us out and then the mom started crying when we said good bye. It was so sad! 
Jed and Elder F. with a little girl from a family they were teaching in Durres.
The local baker or byreke.  

We went home and met Julian and told him that he was going to be meeting with the other elders with Arta. I might see him in Tirana sometimes, but who knows for sure. That night we bought some ice cream and ate it like a bunch of depressed little girls. 

The next morning we had to leave early so we ran to the Byreke (bakery where Jed buys a loaf of bread just about every day.)  place and got one last byreke. The byreke lady told us that it was like her sons were leaving her. She started crying and we got some pics with her and went on our way to the buses. I said goodbye to Elder Foster with a big hug and then I was off to Tirana. (I think as a mom I will forever be grateful for Jed's trainer Elder Foster.  He was kind and patient with Jed and taught him how to work hard and be a good missionary.)

Jed at dinner with his new district.
Crepes!!!  Jed's favorite food in America is now a daily staple.
A very traditional Albanian dish.  He didn't tell me what it was called, but
it looks...............different.
I had a training meeting at the mission home with all of the other elders from my MTC days. That was fun. After the meeting ended I took off for my new house. Elder Matson is a good guy.  Our house is a bit bigger than the one in Durres and it's built over a locale (I think a locale is a little cafe or coffee shop.) which is actually way cool. Our pranari (landlord) is the owner of the locale and he calls us his Brioche. It doesn't make sense but whatever, he's still a fun guy. So there were two problems with the house: It was a disaster, and the fridge was broken with tons of mold in it and it leaked. Therefore, we spent the next couple of days looking for a new fridge that was somewhat cheap. We found one at a mall and we are gonna buy tomorrow maybe and have it delivered. One day I went to town and cleaned that house. It was so perfectly clean. Then I took the fridge out of the wall and took it outside and tossed it into the dumpster. That fixed the leak. And we both got sick this week so I think it might have actually come from the mold growing in the fridge. It was leaking for about a month is what I've heard.

We don't really have any investigators here right now so we've been doing an awful lot of finding. We've gotten a few numbers that seem promising and I'm hoping that it all goes somewhere happy. I met a really nice police officer that approached us while we were street contacting. He was walking towards us very purposefully and I was just thinking, "Oh no he's gonna tell us to leave and then he's gonna arrest me." But he was really nice and didn't kick us out. It ended with us getting his number and getting a return appointment for this week. Super awesome! Every night for our planning we go down to the locale below us and order some tea or salep, which is like this cinnamon pudding drink and its awesome, and we plan our next day outside at a table and that's super relaxing. One of the highlights of my day for sure. 

So yeah I'm just hoping to kinda get a kick start into the work this week which will require me to whip my big boy pants on. Thank you for teaching me how to clean by the way Mom. Today we went to a mall and I rode a mechanical bull and got a free soccer ball with a CLAW MACHINE!!! You can actually win on those things!!! We ate at a really good place called Mish Helli. Tirana is a lot bigger than Durres so therefore it has a lot of really good food. I get crepes almost every day, they're only a dollar twenty, and loads of other good stuff. I do miss Durres but hopefully I'll be going back for a day after Thanksgiving for Ndue's baptism. 
The soccer ball Jed won from the local "Claw Machine". (like in Toy Story.)

Super jealous about your vacation. And for the kids at home that get to party with Fred and his french girlfriend, Raquel. Give them some love for me. So I don't necessarily need anything that I can't find here. Gypsies honestly have everything you could think of. So yeah, just stuff that you think I would enjoy. But so far I'm having a good and enjoyable time here in Tirana. I can get along with anyone so I know I'll be a happy camper here. 

I miss you all so much and think about you every now and then. My district is actually super awesome here though. We are all very young. Elder Matson is the oldest and he's barely been here a year. But yeah I've been here for 4 MONTHS!! It's gone by so fast! I love Albania and I love you all!! Have a good week!!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
I saw the instagram video that you made about the snow. Kinda made me sad when I saw that you tagged me in it. But thanks for remembering me. Sorry you all cried about the missionaries. Kirsten said Elder Perry came and talked! Thats awesome!! And thats way crazy that Tanner saw Gina in New Zealand!! It is a small world. I talk with him almost every week. He's already training a kid. I'm not even done being trained and we've been out the same time. Well have fun at Mauna Kea next week. Eat some bacon for me. I have a nice senior missionary couple that feeds me on Sundays which is awesome by the way. I love you so much.

Love, Jed

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Am Going To Miss The People Of Durres

Hello Family!!

Well this week was pretty fantastic! This might not be super long because nothing super crazy has happened but it was still a very productive week full of happy feelings and cookies and sprinkles and stuff. 

So Ndue has been awesome this week. (He's the father of a member family.  There's a picture of Jed with the family last week.) We met with him twice and taught him the Plan of Salvation and last night we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Plan of Salvation lesson, he participated a ton and gave a lot of really good insights. He really knows his stuff when it comes to the example of Christ. He has a good heart and he's full of Christ like love. Last night, we taught just him while his wife sat in on the lesson while the children all made dinner. It was really peaceful and it really invited the Spirit into the lesson which is always necessary. He hasn't been reading what we've been assigning him to read but he has been reading other things. So we just emphasized why we give him these specific topics to read for later lessons and also for him to better learn and apply the lessons that we have taught previously. Once we had said the closing prayer of that lesson, they asked us if we would like to stay for dinner. Of course we said HECK YES!! We had a traditional dinner with loads of olives, bread, salad, meat, peppers, pasta, and soda. We all talked a lot and had a jolly time. That  family is the most awesome family I've ever met.

Julian and Arta are doing well. Julian has expressed his hopes and dreams of being married in the temple. He said it would definitely be worth the wait and that he was willing to wait if Arta was. Arta has been doing good with commitments and I have high hopes for her. Zef is still being a stud. He's making good progress with his drinking problems and I know that if he sticks to his guns he'll be able to get through it. 

Elder Clawson and 2 other Elder's getting visa's in the capital.
So interesting thing happened last night. Tomorrow marks halfway for this transfer and we got a call from President Ford. We'd had some speculation as to if we might be moved this week because there's been things going on here that require people to fill positions and move around throughout the area. But we had decided that no matter what happened, I would be staying in Durres and Elder Foster might go to a leadership position. So this phone call wasn't a total surprise until President Ford asked if he could talk with me. He said I am going to the 2nd Branch in Tirana with Elder Matson. (Tirana is the capital city of Albania.  It's about 20 miles to the East of the coast town of Durres where Jed has been serving the last 8 weeks.) Elder Foster is going to  be the new south Zone Leader. I cannot express the sorrow that we felt last night. We had just gotten back from the Pjetri's and we were on Cloud Nine. I am truly going to miss the people here. I'm going to miss the youth that helped us with lessons all the time and the great support that we constantly had from the Branch.So tomorrow morning I hope on a fergon and drive to Tirana to get into my new apartment. Me and Elder Foster have been super busy today with trying to get stuff ready for the other Elders and the Sisters. Our area of Durres is getting closed until the new transfer starts which is right at New Year's. 

An ostrich egg from last weeks adventure.  Jed's making it into breakfast!

The finished omelet.  Bon Appetit!
So next week I'll be writing from there! Elder Foster was born (Being born means it is the first area a person serves in.  For example, Jed was born in Durres.) in second branch and he says the food is awesome. Lots of rich people live there and so maybe I'll convert Alban Skenderaj. You should look this guy up. He's the best Albanian singer. Look up Mrekulli Tet and Mire Mengjes by him. Good songs. We hear them all the time out on the street and stuff. 

Lunch at an American restaurant.

This mornings haircut.  Handsome kid!
Well I saw the pic of Jane, butt naked on the floor. I'm glad to see that Gus is alive still. How's Lucy? Halloween is celebrated here but not as big. It's considered very evil here by the older people. I didn't get to eat at the zoo yesterday because the people were all in Korça but they said we could next week. Dang. Thanks for sending off that package!! I hope it gets here. I haven't gotten any of the mail that everyone says they're sending me so maybe you are all just a bunch of filthy liars or some Albanian dude is stealing my letters. Either way it's messed up. 

I miss you all and think about you all the time. LOVE YOU!!!!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
The new missionaries enter the MTC this week which is crazy!! I'm not a total fringo anymore. Elder Linderman and I see each other pretty often cuz we're in the same zone but when I go to Tirana I won't see them very often. But he's doing really good down in Fier. Motra Hoover was actually companions with Motra Atkin (Who's in Andy and Kristy's ward) and they taught the Pjetri family. Everyone but the dad and got them baptized. I hope everything works with them. I love you and miss you. Thanks for the prayer

s. I definitely know that they are helping me.

Love, Jed
your eldest