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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Walked Home Victorious!


So we had a pretty awesome week. Last Monday was actually Elder Foster's birthday and we only had one lesson planned that night. It was with the Pjetri family. They are all members except for the dad and the youngest daughter but thats because she's six. Anyways we went to their home and gave a lesson and then out of nowhere they turned out the lights and brought out this huge birthday cake! We all sat and talked about life and what not and we just had a good time. 

Family that Jed and Elder F are teaching.  Beautiful:)
Well that was my cool thing at the beginning of the week. For the majority of the week it was basically the same. On Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Richards. Yeah I went on an exchange with another trainee. We had a whole day planned with lessons and what not but we got dropped by all of them except one. The lesson we did teach was with a recent convert named Armando. He's a way cool kid. He was the young mens 2 counselor I believe and then he started going inactive so we've been starting back up with him. He enjoyed the lesson with us and now he's actually helped Elder Foster and I with some other lessons with Zef in the mornings. 

So we had a lot of finding that night since all of our lessons had fallen through. We street contacted for about 3 hours before we had to go back home and we got 4 new numbers which is amazing for finding here!! So at least that day ended on a really high note which was nice and Elder Richards was fun to be with for the day. We taught Zef some awesome lessons this week too and I know it's definitely been because he's been reading faithfully and been keeping his commitments on everything. We had a lesson with him on Thursday and we ended by asking him to be baptized. His response was just a simple "do pagëzohem" which is basically just "I will be baptized." So yeah we were super happy about that. \
Elder Clawson and Elder F with an investigator. Handsome missionaries!
It's funny you should ask about J girlfriend because we've been meeting with her since J got baptized actually. I thought I had said something about her but I guess I hadn't. She has been taking the lessons very well and Julian has been helping her a ton with everything. But we had a lesson with her the same day that we had that good one with Zef and we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and at the end we invited her to be baptized and she said yes too!! She had a date in mind already too.  So yeah we were pretty stoked on all of that success and I know it's been the Spirit really working on these great people. So nothing else really interesting happened for the week........ UNTIL YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!

So we woke up at 6 because the night previous we had talked with the Pjetri family about coming to their house before church started and getting their dad to come to church. The story with their dad is that Motra Atkin and Motra Hoover were teaching them about a year ago and he didn't have anything against the church or against his family hearing about the gospel, but he just didn't have any interest in it for himself. So they were all baptized and he has just been floating off on the side. So we hopped on a bus and got out to their house and there he was!!! All ready and revving to go with his kids. It was awesome. We went to church and the Ford's were there and that was nice to learn from them. In priesthood session, Julian received the Aaronic Priesthood which was fantastic. So church was nice and afterwards J and A took us outside next to a sister in our ward and a couple friends that she had brought to church. 

This sister is a pretty well off member and she has some very well off friends. The friend she introduced us to was a large bald man. He had a way nice Range Rover, and had adorned his fingers and wrist with golden rings and a golden watch. He asked us if we could meet with him sometime during the week and of course we just said heck yeah. He was impressed with my Albanian for only being here 2 months and that made me feel like a superstar. After we talked for a little longer, the sister in our ward asked us if we could join them for lunch. I was kinda skeptical about this guy still so I was gonna say no but Elder Foster was just like OK!! So we got into this man's Range Rover, ya I rode in a Range Rover, and drove off with him, his five year old son, and J. 

I loved this comment from Jed, "It was like the Lion King, but I wasn't going to inherit this land at anytime."

Elder Clawson in the elevator up to the tower.

Pet tigers.
Once we had all finished eating, Julian asked if we wanted to go for a little walk. He guided us down the road and then down another little path that led towards these boxes. I was shocked as I rounded the corner and saw two massive tigers, 5 full grown bears, 1 bear cub, and 2 coyotes. Yeah this guy had tigers, bears and coyotes as pets. WHAT IS THIS!? Elder Foster and I were having a hay day! We took tons of pics and what not and we were seriously freaking out. We looked at the animals for a while and then we had to go. Iljaz drove us all the way back home and told us that he wanted to do this every single Sunday. I don't know if that's gonna happen but I wouldn't complain if it did. 

So we had a lesson with the Pjetri family right after we got home so we went out to their house and we watched the Restoration video with the family and their dad. The Spirit was so strong during the whole lesson and at the end of the video it shows Joseph Smiths dad being baptized. So at the end of the video we asked how the dad felt about all the things he had seen. His name is Ndue by the way. Not to be mixed up with NUDE. But he said he felt really good. Therefore, we invited him to be baptized and he said YES!! Holy cow! Everyone was so excited! The daughters were fist pumping and smiling from ear to ear and it was just a fantastic thing. So we ended the night with that and walked home victorious

Give Jane a big kiss for me right on the face. She is getting big from the pics that I've seen. And her hair is so crazy. I love you all and I miss you. The church is true and it does change lives!! YOU ARE ALL SO AWESOME!!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
If you haven't sent that package yet, I would like you to send a ped-egg in it. My heels are disgusting. I've been ripping my sheets like no one' s business. I hope you loved SLC and Bruge's. Me and Kirsten loved it. I hope everything is okay at home. I love you and thanks so much for writing me every week. LOVE YA!!

Love, Jed

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oct. 14, 2013

Long day of missionary work.

Hello Family!!

Wow 417 lbs. of apples?! That's ridiculous! And yes I'm super frustrated that I wouldn't be there when you make the juice! I loved the stuff that Fred and Rach gave us and yes, according to Fred it would give anyone a bad case of tummy aches. They actually emailed me this week and it was way fun to talk to them. Tell Spencer, Good Luck in Canada. And I totally remember when Ty left!! It's nuts.

So the weather here hasn't been too cold and I've actually been cooking in my suit most days. It's ridiculously humid here all the time. It's starting to rain a whole lot more often though which kind of changes things up. I actually explained to Elder Foster what Tomatillos were and he was flabber gasted at how I described them. I told them they grow like tomatoes but they start out growing in these Chinese Paper lanterns and so I just thought that was funny how you happened to bring that up.
Well I hope the boys have a good time in North Dakota!! Tell them to give Farmer Jim a nice firm handshake for me.

I would love some chocolates in the mail! I haven't received any mail yet so I'm anticipating some good stuff. But if I don't get anything thats okay. But yeah Kirsten has been super busy and she's actually doing some way cool things later this next year but I'll let her tell you about that stuff when she comes out to the house.

So this week regarding lessons and my investigators, it wasn't the best week but it was still productive. We did a ton of finding on the street and we got a few new potentials and I got man handled by a girl about my age, maybe a little older and so I just sat inside for a little bit and tried to forget the experience.

Pday activities.
We taught our investigator Deacon Anthony last night and he came to the lesson straight from his church in his robes so that was pretty gnarly. He told me last night how impressed he was with me and how young I am serving in a foreign country. He really respects the fact that I have come here and left you all at home. He's a cool guy.

So one of our investigators, Bledi, was kinda brought back from the dead the other day. He told us he wanted to start meeting us again and that he wants his family to meet with us now. SWEET!! That made our week a lot better.

We went to the beach today and I almost fell in as we were climbing on some rocks. We caught some crabs and had a fun time jumping around and then we went and got some ice cream. AND WE GOT ATTACKED BY THE SAME  GYPSY KID AGAIN!!!!! But this time he only went to me and the zone leaders. They came up from Lushnjë to hang with us today. Elder K and Elder B. Nice guys. But I was the one that finally took action and I just yelled "IK!!" and then I picked him up by his shoulders, ran back to a palapa thing, dropped him and took off sprinting with everyone else and he couldn't catch up. I was sick of that kid.

Tell everyone that I love them. Give Jane a wet one on the cheek for me. Tell SETH to email me! I want to hear how everythings going with him. I love you all so much and miss you. This church is true!! Oh and sorry to hear about how our whole government thing isn't really working out. That's why I should go into the CIA for my future occupation. I can fix this kind of stuff. Just pay the right people.

Speaking of paying the right people, I found out that a lot of Albanians think that the missionaries are drug dealers. Or JWs. They both aren't good things to be here.
Let all the Grandma and Grandpa's know that I think about them often and that I love them. Especially Grandpa Garner. I miss our Jetskiing and Bear Lake days together.

I love you all!!

Love, Elder Jed

Dearest Mother,
I really wish it was as cold as home right now. I am cooking as we speak. I don't really need anything special. Just put some money into my personal account every now and then and I'll buy what I need cuz everything here is ridiculously cheap. I met a Mafia guy that told me when I get off the mish, he can help me get a cheap motorcycle with his foreign "importing business". He' s one of our potential investigators we met this week. I love you so much. Have fun in Salt Lake with the girls. Go to Binghams Cyclery and right by it is Brugës waffles that me and Kirsten always went to. It's way good. Loves!

Love, Jed

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Highs and Lows of Missionary Work

Baptism this week.
Hello family!!

So this week has been interesting and it's funny you ask if I ever get disappointed while I'm here. I get frustrated plenty. It's mostly because I can't understand anything these people are saying. Some people just speak super fast and I'm just like WHAT!?!?!?!? It's ridiculous. And then I feel like I'm speaking perfectly but then they don't understand what I'm saying. That gets me too. And I'll give some insight to the disappointing times of a missionary. So 2 weeks ago on a Monday night, Elder Foster and I had an hour to kill so we went tracting to a large building on the outer edge of the city. We found one lady that was pretty interested but she told us to come when her husband was home. So therefore, we went this last Monday night to her house in hopes that her husband would be there. We rang on her bell and knocked but no one was coming and then the door behind us opened up and this guy just stood there and looked at us with this blank stare and then he asked us what we wanted. We told him that we were missionaries for Jesus Christ and that we wanted to talk with people about our church. He told us that no one in the building wanted to talk to us and that the people in the apartment didn't want to speak with us either. (I wasn't understanding any of his language by the way) Elder Foster proceeded to tell him that we had spoken with the people in the apartment beforehand and that they had told us that they wanted to meet again. The guy asked "Well who answered the door?" and we told him that a woman had come and opened the door and then his reply was "No women live in this complex."  Then the guy called his sons and escorted us out of the building. 
Another thing is probably when we street contact. We will talk to people and some people just straight up ignore you which is stupid but then there are other people that say they have work or they don't have time. Most people that say that are walking like .0005 mph and I can't help but think "This is the most important message in the universe and you are rejecting it!!!!!!!!!!" 

Elder Clawson and a few missionaries walking in the rain.
And a lot of lessons will fall through when it's raining because Albanians think that walking in the rain makes you sick and especially if you stand in front of the air conditioner. Weird.
Anyways, the rest of this week has been good. Conference was good. So I watched the Saturday morning session at 6pm Saturday night at the church with the other Elders and the Sisters. Just us, watching conference in English. Eating Haribo candy and drinking Fanta Exotic. OH and Friday we had our baptism for Zamir! That was pretty awesome. The APs came down and one of them baptized Zamir. The one that baptized him is Elder A. and he lives in Ogden and he told me he's gonna come visit my family when he gets home. I think he leaves in January but he is a way cool kid. So yeah the baptism was awesome. Dritan came and watched the baptism and afterwards he came up to us and took us aside and told us that he wanted a break in the missionary lessons. Talk about getting your heart crushed after such a high boost. He said he has some family problems that he needs to take care of before his family can start taking the lessons again. Sad day.
The Durres missionaries watching General Conference.  The 10 am session they
were able to watch at 6 pm that evening.  In English:)

For the rest of conference I watched the first Sunday session in English at the Institute Center last night and that was such an awesome sesh!! 

So for our P-Days, we don't really do anything great. Our area is the only one without a car or senior missionaries so we don't get to go to any of the castles or anything. We go for walks in the rain and eat out, play ping pong, study more, nap, email, and thats about how my P days go. It's kinda disappointing because it' s the one day that I get to do something for me but I can't enjoy it fully. But oh well, I'm not here for myself anyways so who cares. 

Our english courses this week were fun. We talked about families this week and I showed them all the pictures that I have and they fell in love with Jane and Kirsten. It was fun. I really enjoy teaching English Course. Our other investigators are going well. We taught Deacon Anthony last night and he called me his little brother in God. (Nacho Libre was what I thought of when he said that) Anxhela and Zef are still progressing and we are hoping for some definite baptismal dates from them this coming week.
So I've talked to Scott, Bryan and Tanner Lewis this week and they all seem pretty happy and stoked to be on missions. I love being here and I'm being safe. I love you all so much and I hope everyone is safe.
Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
I heard about the snow at home from Kirsten. That sounds super sweet. It hasn't gotten really cold here yet but we had to start wearing our suits yesterday. I hope the Thai Pumpkin Soup was delish. I stalk your blog and look at the Instagram side window all the time. Jake looks like a man already and Jane looks like a grown little girl. I miss you guys and love you all. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You Are So Golden! Jesus Loves You!

Elder Clawson and a member who is preparing to serve a mission!
Hello everyone!!
Thats awesome that the Mowers came up!! (Nic Mower is one of Jed's favorite friends that moved to TX about 8 years ago.  He came to visit the Clawson's this week, and is leaving for Spain on a mission in Oct.) So this week was pretty fun.
Last Monday, right after I had gotten done emailing, Elder Foster and I had started walking from our house and we were walking towards the crosswalk and we saw this like 48 year old guy crossing the street and then all of a sudden, this white scooter comes shooting by, clips this guys leg, the guy walking falls right on his back and the dude on the scooter slides out and crashes his scooter!! Then they both just stood up and the driver of the scooter just yells out "Hapi sytë!!" which means 'Open your eyes!!" and they just went their separate ways. It was nuts!! I thought someone was gonna end up dead.
 We have started teaching a girl named Megi in our English course. We'd had a lesson with her before and asked her to start reading the Book of Mormon and she told us at this last lesson that she hadn't had time. We told her the importance of reading it and what not. At the end of the lesson she prayed and "Unë premtoj ta lexoj Librin i Mormonit" which was her telling God that she promised to read the Book of Mormon. I was just rejoicing in my head like "AH!! You are so golden!! Jesus loves you!" So we feel pretty confident about her. Another cool thing is that we met a young man named Zamir and he started taking the lessons in Lushnjë and then he came to Durres for school and he's getting baptized! We've taught him these past two weeks and we are super excited for him. He's awesome.

Nothing super outstanding happened until Friday and Saturday. Friday, I had my first gypsy  problem. Elder Foster and I were walking down on the Vulga to meet a referral and then out of the blue comes this dirty, dark, small gypsy kid. He was like 3 feet tall and he was freaky. Gypsies don't really beg, they just sit there and chant their begs and it sounds like they're putting a spell on you. But anyways, we aren't allowed to give money, so I kept trying to give him a picture of Jesus but he wouldn't take it. Then the stupid kid latched onto my arm with the strength of 10 men!! We could not get him off!! After about 5 minutes of struggling with this kid, a big lady came over and ripped him off my arm and told him to leave. I was seriously freaked out. 

On Saturday, we got shut down by everyone. My first day with no investigator lessons basically. Elder Foster told me it might not be the first because sometimes we just have bad luck. Yesterday we had a lesson with the Pjetri family and their daughters, Nertila and Marieta asked us for blessings because they don't have a priesthood holder in the family. Elder Foster gave the first one and then I gave the other to Nertila. IN ALBANIAN!! I was sweating buckets and I was soaked at the end. But I was able to pull through and gave a somewhat understandable blessing.
So to answer your questions:

Durres is cool. It's large, dirty, and has every variety of human beings imaginable. I've been winked at almost 2,000,000 times by girls in the street and every once in a while you get a guy winking. It's weird. The food is heavenly. No matter what it is. It's just a really great place to be.
My typical day is I wake up, work out and eat until 8, have comp. study until 10, and then we have lessons from 10:30 until 1 which is when we take lunch. We eat lunch, and then we nap. We sleep till about 2:30 and then we have personal study, and then I have my language study. So I don't have an extra hour of language but I have an extra hour of Companion study, which is kinda like a coaching course. We leave the house at 5 and have lessons or find until 9 or 9:30 depending on if we have a lesson or not. Then we go shopping and plan for the next day and then we get ready for bed and hit the sack at 10:30. We're usually super tired at the end of the day, but we always have pillow talk for a few minutes.
Can you tell Jed is a baker.  He has flour running through his veins:)
His first banana bread!  All he had was a cake pan, and it looks great!
 And I made the best banana bread this week. It was in a cake pan because I don't have a bread pan but it was still delish. 

Well I love you all very much and I hope all is well with you!!
Love, Jed
Dear Mom, 
Thanks for telling me about the Mowers coming up. I bet Nic is super excited for Spain. Have fun in Lake Powell this week and listening to Conference. We watch the first two sessions at 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday but that's it. Oh well. I love you and miss you all so much! Have a fun week!