Monday, September 9, 2013

I Love Being Here Already! I Love The People and I Love Elder Foster!


So I am finally here and holy cow it is awesome!! When we got to Munich that was when we got our first interaction with Albanians. There was a good handful of natives that were very happy to talk with us. But it was super hard. We then landed in Tirana and got our first glimpse of life as our plane landed right next to a guy plowing his field. Like seriously he was just out having a party with his plow. We were greeted by the APs and the Fords. Elder Webb is an AP and he is crazy, but super fun. President and Sister Ford are super awesome. He calls her 'darling' in that english accent like from the movies. She is super funny and I can definitely tell she is a mother figure to all the missionaries.

I went out street contacting for a little bit and I was drilled. It was so hard to stay awake. But anyways, I was getting pretty comfortable talking with everyone and every once in a while people would stop and I placed two books of Mormon and then one guy came and talked to us and agreed to have a lesson with us.  So we walked back to his Hotel and sat in the bar that was on the main floor and we taught about the Restoration. Unfortunately I angered him when I told him that Christ told Joseph Smith that there weren't any true churches on the earth. The only thing I could understand from him was "You mean my church is false?" and then it was just a hellfire storm of Albanian words. So he escorted us out of the hotel and we were on our way home. Good first couple of hours in the country.
Also the roads here are crazy. When Vellai McGlothin said there were no rules on the road, I was just like 'pfff whatever' but really, there are no rules, no lights, no signs, no cops directing traffic, and the APs and the Fords are just as bad!! Its a mad house here!!

Elder Clawson with his favorite little kids.  Jed and his companion are teaching the whole family.
We spent the night and we were allowed to sleep in the first day. Went to bed at 7 and slept till 8. It was like heaven. The next morning I got paired with my companion Elder Foster, who is super awesome, and from spanish fork, and then we headed out to Durres. We got there a little late so we just had time to unpack and then we had to head to a baptism actually. It was about a two mile walk to the church which is actually a really nice building. Anyways, at this baptism, there was a group of guys there and so I decided to just start talking with them. they were very kind to me and accepted my mistakes. Turns out all three of them are my investigators now. And I committed one of them to baptism that night. First day of missionary work and I have a baptism date. And i actually gave the commitment. Crazy.
One of the cute little kids that plays in the
alley leading up to Jed's apartment.

So me and Elder Foster have been quite successful. The guys that I met at the baptism are Fabjan, Dritan, and Bledar. We met with Fabjan later that night and he is a baller. He is so cool. He's from Mire Dita and and speaks Geg. He is a bartender on the outskirts of Durres and he's very generous. He offered me a free Heineken. Anyways so that night we watched the Restoration with him and he was totally feeling it. So Elder Foster told me to give him the baptismal invite so I did. And he said PO!!!!!  I was stoked!! We left that night and i was on cloud nine. We've met with him two more times now and taught him the Plan of Salvation and the Word of Wisdom. He seems good with most things but since he is a bartender he has a little prob with drinking and what not, but he is trying really hard.

Dritan is 32 and has a wife and 2 adorable kids. They live in extremely humble circumstances but they are a great family. He has a son named Aldioni and a daughter, that makes my heart melt, named Adella. The son is 12 and adorable Adella is 7. But they are so small. Aldioni is the size of a five year old and Adella is A bit bigger than Jane. It's crazy. His wife's name is Anxhellina. She is great as well. She loves that I'm trying to learn Albanian. We taught them the restoration the other night and all but Adella accepted to be baptized but Adella will be baptized  in December. BOOM!!

Another investigator we have is Deacon Anthony. He is a deacon in the orthodox church but he likes the missionaries and the spirit we have. He was passed down to us from the previous missionaries. He's very receptive and we taught him the Word of Wisdom last night and he accepted to live by it. He is super intelligent. He knows the Bible like the back of his hand. He appreciates that I've come to Albania in my young years. But he prefers the lessons to be in English so he can practice his English. Fortunately he's the only one that we teach in English. He's awesome though.

Elder Clawson's apartment.  Not too bad. 
We have a few other investigators as well. We have Zef, Lilljana, Agron, and Julian. Julian is a professional singer. And he is getting baptized on the 21 of September. He's super cool. I met him at church yesterday along with his fiance. Church was great yesterday. I've become really good friends with most of the youth in the ward. The young men are Giraldo, Agron, Esnajder, Genaldi, and Armando with a few younger boys. Genaldi is leaving in a month for a mission in Milan, Italy. He's super cool and him and Esnajder come help us with lessons quite often. I don't know the young women but I see them almost every day at the institute building in town. The institute is a decked out studio apartment and it's where we actually meet a few investigators for our lessons.

The food is super greasy but super good. Suflaqe is like eating heaven. cereal for breakfast every morning and something greasy for lunch. My apartment is super fun too. There's about four little 2 year old kids that play in the alley leading to our front gate and they are so fun to goof around with. We have a pomegranate tree right next to us as well. Our windows need to be closed at all times though.

So I think I have already fallen in love with the people. They are so fun to talk to and be around. The xhaxhis are so fun to talk with as they play dominoes in the street or something.

I'm sorry this is ridiculously long. But it's all been so eventful. I'm sure I will have plenty of more stories to come.  I'll talk a little bit about some of the crazy stuff thats gone on.

Durres, Albania
Last night we had to move some stuff into our apartment from one of the other houses. The zone leaders were in town so we got to use their car. We filled it way up with crap and there wasn't enough room for all 4 of us. So Me and Elder Brown decided to just sprint to our house from there while the others drove. So we took off like speeding bullets. IT WAS SO FUN!! We were dodging people drinking on the sidewalks, jumping over little gypsy kids begging for money, and people were yelling at us and trying to stop us but we were running so fast. then we got to the street crossing and like I said, there's no rules in Albania. So we just took off into the bust street. I got to use some parkour moves dodging cars and we got a lot of horns blared at us. I realized afterwards that what we had just done was my closest encounter with death but it was so exhilarating.

Another fun thing was i saw a goat get chopped up in a butcher shop. that was cool.

I love being here already. I love these people and I love Elder Foster. He's a hoot. I love you all so much. Hope all is well with everyone. I was so happy to hear about Lotoja and Jane riding down the hill!! And tell Jake he better be hitting those jumps or they are going to be super overgrown.


Dear Mother,
I am being safe. I haven't felt sick yet and I'm staying healthy. I'm glad the garden is doing well. Sorry about the deer and racoons though. I love you.



  1. With tears in my eyes mind you..... I was just telling Nic that I really need him to write me long letters on his mission. I told him this is one of the top hard things to do as a mommy! He told me that he is just going to write me this each week..... You is Smart You is Kind You is Important!! UGH... I brought him in here and made him look and see how long letters from Jed are!!! I am hoping for one half this size!!! Nic and I are taking a road trip in a couple of weeks for some Mandarin Garden CHICKEN AND RICE and to go to the Logan Temple (he has only ever been able to just look at the outside). He really wants to see you :) Still love you gobs and tons Lisa!! I still miss you :) WOW.... we sure do know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true to send our sons off to serve for 2 years!!

    1. Lori!!!! I can't wait to see you guys!! You let me know when you'll be here and we will meet you where ever you'd like. This letter from Jed astonished me!! I think I was expecting a little home sickness, or culture shock, but it seemed to me like Jed was typing as fast as his fingers would go to tell us all the good stuff. He sounded SO excited! Nic will be a great letter writer. I think James had a little heart to heart with Jed and just told him that these letters are REALLY important to moms. He told him to think about silly details that he thinks aren't important and put them in. This missionary stuff is a wild ride! I'm loving it! Good luck the next few weeks, and see you soon!! OOOOOOooooo! I'm so excited!!