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,