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