Monday, December 15, 2014

So Great To Serve Here

Dec. 8, 2014 email

So yes I had a fantastic week full of busy-ness and stuff like that. Monady we were able to meet with this guy named Arber that we had found in the street a while back. He saw us and asked us if we pray everyday and we said "Yeah..." And then he asked us if we would pray for him and we said "Of course we can!" So we got his number and he left. It took a while for us to meet with him but we finally did and we taught him the Restoration. His first lesson he had before, he learned about the Plan of Salvation. He was pretty interested about Joseph Smith and he had some good questions. And he also prayed in Serbian, so yeah that was interesting too. 

Christmas Tree harvesting.
That night Elder Jorgensen and I did the zone goals. That's always fun because we totally have to rely on the Lord 100% because we don't know what the heck we are doing. The next day we woke up at 3ish and drove to Tirana again! We had the Leader Meeting with the Assistants and the other Zone Leaders. We got there at about 8ish and the meeting started at 10 so we decided to take a little nap in the car. Elder Jorgensen fell asleep instantly and when he falls asleep he breathes like a washing machine. It's not snoring it's just super loud breathing that is louder than..... I don't know, something super loud. So needless to say, I did not sleep. I sat in the car and listened to some hymns and thought about Prishtina. The meeting went well and it was kinda interesting. We had a great training from President Weidmann and then we presented our goals. We have some pretty high goals this month. Super stoked to achieve them! 

P-day playing H-O-R-S-E.  Looks like Elder Clawson got out pretty quick:) With Motra F.
After that we drove home and stopped in this little village by the border and cut some trees down for Christmas. They were way better than the ones we had found last Monday. We got home and met with Nezir and Ajdin and showed them "He is the Gift" and they loved it. We asked Nezir to ask his family if we could come over and show them the video and he said he would ask. Turns out they don't want to. Sad day. 

The next day was awesome! The sisters found a guy named Pashku and introduced him to us. He talks a ton but he is from a Catholic background and likes Jesus. So we listened to him a lot during our first lesson and we didn't have the opportunity to say much because he just went off on the Bible and stuff. Afterwards we invited him to Institute where we should "HitG" again and invited the members to invite their friends the next week. We also met with Arthur and Adhurim again and we had good lesson on Earth Life with them. They are both praying in lessons now and it's a super cool thing to watch. Hopefully we can get them on baptismal dates soon. 
Motra Z. putting up with Elder Clawson and Jorgenson.  Bless her!

That same day we also met with one of our older investigators named Nexhat. He has some family problems but he really enjoys learning. He said if he didn't live with his mom and dad then he would have no problems with coming and learning. But we taught him the Plan of Salvation and he had some good questions and just loved the whole thing. Hopefully we can see him again soon. 

Thursday we picked up garbage in the road and then had a few lessons set up. We met with Pashku again and to restrain him from talking we watched the Restoration film, (My idea. Genius.) and he was quiet long enough for us to testify and invite him to learn more. So it was good. Then we met with Ajdin and Suad that night. 

Saturday we had zone training! It was good. We talked a lot about the new Christmas initiative and the goals. And we got some new Macedonian missionaries!! 2 Elders and a Sister! Good kids! After that Elder Jorgensen and I gave a training on obedience and diligence. It was good for everyone including us. Then we met with Ajdin again that night. 

Ajdin is still doing great. He is so ready for baptism. We don't know what's up but we are just praying that he receives and answer to his prayer soon. He needs the church in his life! We read with him in his lessons now so that he can become more familiar with the Book of Mormon. 

Yes, those just happen to be homemade Oreos!!!  Jed's favorite!!  Those sister missionaries are way to nice to the Elders.  He loves them! 
Suad's cousin passed away this week so he wasn't able to come to church this week. It was a sad thing for everyone. Nezir came to church and helped me prepare the sacrament which was sweet because he got to exercise his priesthood! Church was good and we fasted for the zone so that we can accomplish our goals and for Ajdin so he will get baptized. It'll happen. I'm sure of it. 

Mission Conference in Durres a few weeks ago.  It's a fuzzy picture, but I can pick Jed out.  He's on the left side, front row, red tie.  7 or 8 over.
So that's about it for this week. I am so grateful for this time of year! And for the opportunity that I have to serve here! I never thought in a million years that I would be around so many Muslim people that are so great! I love teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is helping me understand the Atonement so much more! I love being here!!

I love you all!

Love, Jed

Dearest Mamacita, 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope you have a great time! I'm sorry I won't be there but I'll definitely be taking a picture for you that day. I love you so much and thank you for being the best mom in the whole world!! Thank you for yelling at me when I had bad grades and when I did stupid stuff because it's helped me be a bit better. At least I think so. I hope you have a good week and have fun!! Go ski! 

Love, The Eldest Son

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Refiner's Fire

Dec. 1 2014 email

Hello Family of Avon and everywhere else, 

Elder Clawson with a cute little girl in his ward.  She looks to be about Sweetheart's age:)
It sounds like you guys had a killer awesome Thanksgiving up in Eagle!! I was exceedingly sorrowful to hear that the Velodrome was a little too muddy for the biking enthusiasts but it sounds like you guys had plenty of other schmutz to do. 

Well this week was a very nice one for Elder Jorgensen and myself. Monday night we had some stuff planned but only one lesson worked out and that was with Suad. Betim was at the church at that time as well, so we had him join us for the lesson. We showed them the Mormon Message about the Refiner's Fire (The video below is the video Jed is talking about.) and talked about how in this life we all have struggles and challenges but we gotta get over them and continue in life even though it sucks at times. After that we had a discussion about our lives and some challenges that we've all had to deal with and it was good for them to kinda reflect on those experiences and see how it helped them in the end. 

So we were contacted Monday night by our leaders and asked to do an exchange in Gjakovë the following day. So we woke up Tuesday morning and took off for Gjakova. We got there and we both worked with a set of Elders over there. It was good. We did a ton of finding and got some numbers and then we had some lessons also. It was a great day in Gjakova.

It's Elder Watson!  Mission Conference on Thanksgiving Day.
We were able to meet with Nezir, Ajdin, and Artur and Adhurim the next day. It was really good to meet them. Nezir is doing so good! He's been off smoking for quite a while now and he is just progressing as a member and we love to see it! Ajdin has been good too. He might need to have his baptism pushed back a bit more because he wants to read a bit more. We think that he is ready but he really just wants to have more experience reading the Book of Mormon. It's a good desire for him to have and we're not gonna force him to get baptized if he doesn't think he's ready. We showed Artur and Adhurim the new He is the Gift (#sharethegift campaign and video are below. Click on it.  It's AWESOME!)video for Christmas and they really liked it. The men we are teaching celebrate Christmas pretty often, even though they're Muslim, so we were glad to hear that. That night I went to bed early because we had to wake up at 3 in the morning the next day. 

Thanksgiving Day!!! We woke up bright and early and picked up the sisters. They had made banana bread for us the day before and had gotten us chocolate milk so we were totally ready for the ride. (I tell you these sisters are amazing!) We drove to Tirana Albania with them just talking about all kinds of funny stuff. The sisters make me laugh because they are both super fun. Elder Jorgensen spilled Banana Bread all over his brand new suit pants while we were driving. That was a shame. Just wanna say, right now in this internet locale that I'm writing this email in, Viva la Vida is playing, and I am singing to it. Music is dearly missed in my heart. Anyways, we got to Tirana right on time and we had a special training on the new Christmas Initiative for this month. It is such a great idea! It got us all super stoked for Christmas and we are excited to share it this month. After that training we all went downstairs and ate the fantastic food that the senior couples had made for us. They are so great. Then we had our dessert contest and Mother....... I won. My prize was a can of sweetened condensed milk. I made the Chocolate Orange Butter cookies. Ya know the ones that are like the Mexican Wedding Cookies? So yeah they all liked those. Next we had a talent show and guess who's talent won? OURS!! Our whole district did it and we did a P90X workout video but we called it Book of Mormon X and we did a bunch of funny exercises. President and Sister Weidmann were laughing up a storm. It was fantastic. So our prize for that was another can of sweetened condensed milk! One for every companionship in Prishtina. After all that we had a quick testimony meeting where I got to hear the sisters who started their mission the same time as me bear their dying testimonies. It murdered me. I almost lost it like a wee lad that gets coal for Christmas!! MY SISTERS ARE LEAVING!! That hurts me. I love my sisters, they are so great. I'm lucky I've been able to serve around both of them. After that it was about 5:30 and we took off with the sisters again for Prishtina. Crazy thing happened too. I was driving and it was pitch black outside and I can't see anything except for the lights on the passing cars and so I wasn't paying the best attention but right at that moment I felt the car move in a weird way so I sat up more and focused on what it was and then all of a sudden this car comes whizzing around the corner, on a bridge, passing 3 semi-trucks, coming right for us! I pull as close to the side as I can and the car misses us by like 1 foot. We all about peed our pants and the sisters and I screamed. But we lived. Because God caused something to make the car move in such a way that it would get my attention so that I would be able to pull over super fast. It was awesome. We got home at about 9:30 that night and went straight to bed because I hadn't had a lick of sleep since 3 in the morning. 

Blue flag is for Kosovo, and the red double headed eagle flag is for Albania.

Albanian Flag Day or Independence Day.  Nov. 28, 1912  Ward party for the occasion.
The next day we just had a bunch of planning to do for the coming week and then we had to help set up for the Nov. 28th party! Here they have Dita e Flamurit which is Flag day and it is pretty big. (On Nov. 28, 1912 the country of Albania declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire.  Kind of like our 4th of July!)We had the party at about 6 o'clock and we had tons of people there. We had byreke and kos and it was super good. We played games and all kinds of things. Nezir sat next to us and we played Pit and he was getting super into it.  He could only stay for an hour so we just sat and talked with investigators and members. Then we all got up and did some traditional Albanian dancing.  Then they played Cotton Eyed Joe, the Macarena, and the Cha Cha slide and no one knew how to dance to those songs so all the Elders showed them how it was done. Fun stuff. Then we went home and slept. 

Saturday we cleaned up the church and then went finding. We found for most of the day and got some numbers. We met with Betim that night and showed him the new Christmas video and he fell in love with it. Instantly started Facebooking and hashtagging it up. Then we met with Ajdin and talked about Enduring to the End. He totally gets the Gospel and we love him. Just gotta get him feeling ready. 

Yesterday was a good Sabbath. I actually gave a talk. I talked about Faith and the Brother of Jared which is one of my favorite stories. 

Ajdin came to church and afterwards we read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with him and then we just had a discussion on it. He is a good guy and he will definitely be baptized. After that we went to dinner with the Bodell family! He's the branch president and they made us orange french toast which really ringed my chimes. I brought over the leftover cookies from Thanksgiving and I said they were like Mexican Wedding Cookies. Pres. Bodell is sitting at dinner and says "Hey can you pass those Mexi-Balls over here?" I chuckled to myself quietly because I didn't want anyone to judge me inappropriately. After that we shared a spiritual message and they gave us some Christmas presents! It was all American food! I was so happy! Love me some Jello pudding, BBQ sauce, and Kraft Mac and Cheese!!!!!!

So glad Elder Jorgensen's family loves him, because it doesn't look like Jed has anything yet!

P-day with Elder Jorgensen.
That was all that happened yesterday and today we woke up and had to take care of some insurance stuff in connection with our car. It's almost done. Then we actually had a lesson with a new investigator named Arber.  We shared the Restoration with him and he liked it and understood it. He's a good guy and he prayed in Serbian for us. Kinda cool. After the lesson we went and looked for a Christmas tree but turns out there's no wild small pine trees. Curse the soil of this land. Then I came home and changed and got lunch. 

Well that's it my loves. I hope you guys have a good week! I love you guys!!!!!

Love, Elder Jedediah Jim

Dearest Mom, 
Sounds like you guys are having the best times of your lives! Tell everyone that I love them still. How's everything going in primary? I'm glad Jane gets to come. She seems like she is going to be a very social butterfly. Well I love you mom! Have fun and be safe!

Love, Jed

The Priesthood Rocks!

Nov. 24th Email

Dearest Family!!!!

So this last week was a good one. Not too much stuff happened but nonetheless it was happy and not too stressful.
Monday was good and that night we had a lesson with Ajdin about the Priesthood. 

He came to the church and we asked him how he was feeling and he said that he was feeling perfect!!! BOOOM!! Priesthood rocks and God is real. So that was a good thing for him to see. We explained to him how right after he's baptized he can get the Aaronic Priesthood and do the sacrament. He was pretty excited about that so we are super stoked for that moment. 

The next day the Macedonian Elders all came up and had an exchange with us. We've decided to switch off every month so we can save some gas personally. So Elder Prince and Barber stayed with us and Elder Gierisch and Krajnc stayed with the other Elders in Prishtina and we all spent the day working together. There was a lot of street contacting and stuff like that. So Elder Jorgensen and I then taught our English Course and met with Suad. He is doing good and we are trying to help him feel a little bit more comfortable doing sacrament and such. 

English course.
Later at night the Macedonian Elders came back and slept at our house. That morning we woke up and studied and then had some more finding time which was good. We got some good numbers and we were happy. Then we went to this awesome restaurant that we found called "Sabaja". It's a brewery but it's owned by an american and they have some killer good food and it's not expensive!! Hallelujah! That made us happy and then the other Elders had to leave back to Macedonia. It was also Elder Prince's birthday that day so we said "happy birthday" a lot. 

That night we just spent a lot of time finding and then we had  our private English Course with Artur and Adhurim. They are good kids and we love teaching them. We taught them some english and then about the Plan of Salvation. They answered our questions really well and they are definitely learning something from that. I hope we can get in contact with their parents really soon. Afterwards we had our Institute Activity. That was really good and it was good to learn from them. And then right after that we got to meet with Nezir! It was our first recent convert lesson with him and we reviewed the Priesthood with him so that he would be ready to receive it on Sunday. He had been out of town for a while so we weren't able to meet with him very often and it was kinda sad because I would usually talk with him all the time for a lesson or for setting something up. He's doing good though and still is off smoking. I really hope he keeps up with that and I definitely know that he will be blessed by it. 

Happy Birthday Elder Prince! (on the right)
Thursday was the day that we played soccer. We went with some members and a bunch of investigators. I made 3 goals!! And they were sweet goals if I might say. One of them was off a corner kick and I pulled this crazy kung fu move and drilled the ball into the goal like Jackie Chan. Or like Po. After that we went home and got back to finding and working. We had a lesson with Betim and then our English Course. It was our last one for two weeks so everyone was all sad because they love us so much. Just kidding.

Friday we did service in the road. It was good and the road looks much nicer now. But anyways after that we went to Sabaja again and I got a chili dog. TO DIE FOR!!  Later that day we had some more finding to do. We've been trying really hard to get some new investigators. Later that night we met with Suad again and then with Ajdin and we just kinda explained more about Prophets and then about Baptism and Confirmation. It was good stuff. 

Sister missionaries are the BEST!  They feed the other 4 missionaries almost every Sunday.  Jed says they are awesome!
So the next day I actually had an exchange with Elder Stewart. That was awesome. In the morning we had a lesson with a new investigator named Ismail. He wasn't very interested and we had to end the lesson early becasue he said that he needed to go to work so hopefully we get to see him again.  After that we went to the church and cleaned up for the activity that was happening last night. After that we went finding and such and then we met with Agim. He's the guy that keeps asking us how to get visas to England. But he shows potential every now and then so we have kept him for a while. We taught him about prayer and prophets because he basically thinks that a prophet is someone that just has a good idea and then when he prays, he prays to me and Elder Jorgensen which is very flattering but incorrect. 

Elder Stewart and Elder Clawson

After his lesson we had a big activity for the young single adults. The Stake President came up with a bunch of Institute teachers from Albania and he gave a great lesson on putting on the armor of God. When he got to the part that explains 'loins' he kinda started ripping on the young men.  It was good for them to hear it. They needed a little guidance I think. Another sweet thing that happened that night was I got to meet Elder Euglid Hoxha! He served in Leeds with Kelbie which was super awesome. He is a way nice guy and he actually lives in Lushnjë but he wasn't home when I was down there. Good stuff. 

The next day was church. We had all the soldiers there from Bondsteel and all the Institute teachers as well. Nezir was also able to get the Priesthood in the second hour and I got to give it to him!! It was awesome and I loved every second of it. That was basically all that happened yesterday. 

Well I'm sorry I'm getting worse at emailing. I'll try to improve on that. I hope you guys have a good week! Love ya'll!

Love, Jedediah

Dearest Mother,  

Well how much snow do you guys have? We haven't had any since that one time but it's getting a bit colder so I'm sure it'll come down soon. Have fun at Sam and Hollie's this week! Tell them all that I said Hi! I love you!

Love, Jed

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lots Of Driving

Nov. 18, 2014 letter
Well my family, 

I don't have a whole lot to talk about this week because I was out of my area for a lot of it with a mission conference but that doesn't mean that I didn't have a fantastic week!

So monday was good and we met with Suad and taught him about the Bible a bit more and he really liked. That was about it for that day. The following morning we decided to have a quick district meeting and then we did service. Later on in the day we met with Betim and Suad together and talked about Christ appearing to Thomas after he mentions that he won't believe unless he sees for himself. They really liked that lesson and they both speak pretty good english so we were able to watch the Bible Video with them and they loved that. A bit later we had our English Course class. Our class loves us to death. We get them all laughing and having a good time. They just don't want to really talk about the church all that much. Our spiritual thoughts are always pretty good and they participate all the time and give pretty good comments. But then they say 'Yeah we like this but our parents are Muslim so we can't learn about this church.' 

Lots of meeting and conferences this week.

Nice parking job Elders.
The next day we had a killer day set up and planned but all of the people that we had planned to meet with decided to ditch us. We also rode a bus to Gjakova early in the morning to get the mission car that is there, and then we drove back to Prishtina in that because our car was still in the shop and so we got permission to use theirs. We got to Prishtina and then found out that our car, which was in the shop, was actually done and being washed at that moment so we had done it all for no reason. But we took the other car anyways because it was automatic and Elder Jorgensen could drive it. We left and didn't get the chance to meet with anyone but we got to go finding which was good. At about 3 in the afternoon we headed down to Tirana with the other Elders and had a good long drive in the dark because it gets dark at like 4 here. We got there, got a suflaqe and then dropped them off at the AP's house and we drove to Elder Acheson and Elder Richard's house. I did want to go visit some members like Eli, Evi, and Sam but I didn't get the chance because Eli said it was too late and Evi and Sam were too far away for us to go. So we just chilled with the other elders and talked about life. 

Elder Clawson and a cute little kid from church.
The next morning we woke up and Elder Jorgensen and I picked up Elder Smoot and Elder Walley and we drove them to Durrës where we were having our meeting with Elder Dyches. The whole mission was there and I didn't know like half of the people. They were all so new and it was weird seeing them all. Maybe I'll get acquainted with them a bit later. But the Mission Conference was really good and Elder Dyches and his wife gave us some great trainings. After that we ate lunch together and had a good time just chatting with everyone. It ended at about 3ish and then the Gjakova elders told us that they needed to take their car back to Kosovo and Elder Jorgensen and I had to stay overnight again because we had MLC the following day at the mission office. So we drove back to Tirana in the big mission van with Elder Rawlings and Ostergaard, Sister White, Sister Davis, Elder Asler, Elder Wright, and Elder Opper. That was a pretty crazy ride. Then I had to drive the big van, Big Blue, back to Durrës and get a bunch of stuff loaded into the back of the van. Unfortunately I wasn't able to meet anyone in Durrës either. Kinda sucked. But I got to call Ersi but he didn't answer so I just talked with his mom instead. We drove back to Tirana dropped off all of the stuff and helped the Assistants set up for MLC for the next day. Then we got to drive the Golden Astra to the Tirana Zone Leaders house because we were staying with them. So I just wanna say that two of my mission goals were recognized in one day. I got to drive big blue and the golden astra. The best cars in the mission I say. 

Elder Clawson, and Elder Jorgensen's English class.
That night we stayed with Elder Rawlings and Elder Ostergaard and that was a good time. I slept in Elder Rawlings' bed that night because it's really big and it feels like a dream. We woke up the next morning and headed out to MLC. Elder Dyches gave us a wonderful training on how to take responsibility and it was fantastic. We all learned something from that. We presented our zone goals and stuff and then we all ate lunch together. Right after that we said goodbye to everyone and drove back to Kosovo with the Tooleys. They are the senior couple in Gjakova and we love them. They are pretty darn funny and they were giving me some great marriage advice the whole time. I learned a lot about what I need to look for in a future wife. We got into Kosovo and the Tooleys had to drop us off in Gjakova because they didn't have time to go to Prishtina. Once again, we took the Gjakova elders car to Prishtina and then we got home just in time to get to bed. 

A lot of driving this week.

The next morning we drove with Elder McGrath and Stewart in two cars, ours and the Gjakova elders (Gengar and Bathsheeba are their names. Mine is Bathsheeba.) and we went to Gjakova and then quickly returned home. Not much happened on Saturday but we did have a lesson with Ajdin. We taught him about the 10 Commandments and about Reading and Praying Often. He really picked it up and committed to read more and to pray about Joseph Smith. At the end of the lesson we got on our knees and he was the one to give the prayer. He asked right then and there if Joseph Smith was a prophet that helped restore the church. We finished the prayer and he said that he felt really happy! Sweetness! After all that we were actually able to give him a blessing because he is really sick. He works all the time and never gets a break and it just kills him and he doesn't have time to just relax. It was a good opportunity for me to give a blessing. It had been a while and I really enjoy it. At the end of the blessing he was super calm and said thank you and then went on his way. It was so great. 

Elder Stewart's broccoli pizza.  Jed said it was good:)
Yesterday Ajdin went to the hospital to see if there was anything they could help with so he couldn't come to church and Nezir had told us before that he was gonna be in his fshat working on his orchards. So we had no one to really sit by in church. Elder Jorgensen and Sister Favero gave some great talks that really made us think. After that we had lunch which was some super good spaghetti. Then we spent the rest of the day finding. Good stuff. 

Today Elder Jorgensen and I did yoga. I am getting super flexible. Its AWESOME!!! Then we went with one of the counselors in the Branch Presidency to go get some visa stuff done because he is pretty influential in the political area of life. We got a bit closer to getting visas so hopefully that will pan out. Afterwards we got haircuts..... And we like them. 

A little Christmas cheer in Kosovo
This week I'm going to end by letting you all know what a miracle it is to have the Priesthood here on the earth. I know that it is power given to us from God, to act in His name and do His will. It blesses everyone and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a Priesthood Holder. GOD LOVES US!

Well I love you guys. Have a great week and I hope Jake stops wrestling so you can all go skiing. Loves!!

Love, Jed

Dearest Mother, 
That Christmas tree looks great! We put one up in our bedroom this last week but we are gonna get a real one pretty soon. Probably the P-Day after Thanksgiving. We are pretty excited for Christmas. Oh and don't worry about sending a package. I'll be fine with being here this Christmas!! Save the money. 

So how much snow actually fell at home? Has it been snowing in the mountains a lot? Have a good week mom! I love you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Baptism This Week!!

Hello my beloved family in America, 

A baptism this week!!  This is the first picture we've seen of Jed's investigator.  He says it's bad luck to take pictures of them before they're baptized.  Handsome group of men!
Yes, this week was full of love and great things. 

Monday was good because we were able to meet with Nezir and get a Priesthood lesson review because he was kinda iffy on who could baptize him. He was blown away when he found out that I had the priesthood and could do it.  He was excited to hear that he would be able to get the Priesthood shortly after his baptism so hopefully everything goes well with that. 

Tuesday was full of all kinds of wonders and such. We had a fantastic district meeting given to us by Elder Stewart and that was a good spiritual boost to my life. After wards Elder Jorgensen and I walked about 30 minutes to the place that we had the car accident so that we could meet the guy and talk to him about all of the specifics so that we could get our car fixed. Anyways after that we had our english course which went well. There was a new bunch of guys that came in that were like 20 ish years old and they were all in college and wanting to know english. There's also this 14 year old girl that thinks she knows the entire language who always asks me if I have a girlfriend. 
After the english section we were going to have our spiritual thought and Elder Jorgensen looked at all the guys and said, "If you guys don't want to stay you can leave." And so they all stood up and left, along with almost the entire course!! Fortunately some of them stayed and listened to my FANTASTIC spiritual thought on God's love for all of us. So yeah I wasn't super happy with the disappearance of those other people though. We then had a lesson with Ajdin who is doing awesome! He is progressing super well and he may very well make his baptism date! He reads whenever he has time and loves learning and he has made tons of awesome friends in the branch so we're happy for him. 

Wednesday was the day that we had interviews with President Weidmann! 

He came in and we had our interview and it was awesome! He is such a good guy. He just sits ya down and asks ya how life is going, how the investigators are, what they need, what can we do better, and then he checks our planners. I've been keeping a super good planner this transfer and he said he was super impressed with how I had it set up so that made my day. Then we just talked about how we could progress the work in my area and then we talked about the zone and stuff. It was super good to have that interview with him because Elder Jorgensen and I have been super frustrated with stuff and with little errands that we need to do that have been taking our attention away from our area. After our interviews Elder Jorgensen and myself went to a turkish restaurant and got some somun me suxhuk which is like a calzone loaded with cheese and sausage. Super good stuff. Love it!
Futbol with the members and other missionaries.
Later that night we had a personal english course kinda thing with two boys named Artur and Adhurim. And yes that Artur has no "H". So they come to our normal english course but they are super interested in the gospel so we had like 30 minuts of english and then 30 minutes of gospel and they ate it up. When we were talking about Joseph Smith we were showing them pictures and they were leaned over trying to look up close and asking questions and they loved it. Good kids. After that we had a lesson with Nezir but we had invited President Weidmann to come and help us out with it. Betim (a member  also wanted to help and so did our recent convert Suad! So we decided to just do a lesson with all 6 of us and we taught a review of the Restoration and it was great! 

The next day I was in Peja with Elder Baker on an exchange. We worked there and found for most of the day but we were able to find them a new investigator and he was in love with Americans. He just kept telling us how much he respected us and how much he loved what we did for Kosovo during the war. We had a good lesson with him on the Restoration and he was pretty interested. He is Catholic originally so it's good to be working with a Christian. The day was good and I actually had the opportunity to teach a lesson with the other elders in Peja as well. We went to a recent converts home and I went with Elder Morava who is from Albania, and Elder Baker went with Elder Simons and they taught a young man named Sahiti, and Elder Morava and I taught this lady named Dashuria. She is deaf and can't talk. We just sat there and wrote on a piece of paper some questions and answers and then she would circle the answer and then we would say some stuff in sign language. Sister Curtis had shown me some stuff in sign language before she left and so I was able to use some of that in the lesson which was super awesome. It was definitely a humbling thing to see someone learning about the gospel in such a different way. 

Elder Clawson filling the portable font.  
The next day I came home and we had a meeting with all of the district leaders and presented the zone goals for them. Then we went out to lunch. Later that day we met with this guy named Agim who hasn't been progressing and such and we were planning on dropping him but we had a member come to his lesson and his presence kinda made Agim listen and think a bit more. The member shared testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and gave a story from the Bible that tied into the lesson. It was super good and we know that Agim felt the Spirit so we'll see how he acts on that. 

That night Nezir came to the church and we explained what would be happening the next day and we tried on some baptism suits. He was very happy. 

Saturday. That morning we started heating up the water for the font and then we went and played soccer with some investigators and members. We returned and started filling the font. At 6 o'clock that night, everyone came and Nezir came all ready for his baptism! We had a good service and Sister Zollinger talked on baptism and gave a great talk, and then a member, gave the other one on the Holy Ghost. Then we had the actual baptism and I got to baptize Nezir! It was so great!! He was super excited and happy and loved every second of it. We had refreshments afterwards and then everyone left. We walked home and slept well that night. 

Yesterday, Elder Jorgensen confirmed Nezir and Ajdin was able to come to church and see all that stuff which was good for him and all the LDS soldiers from the base were able to come and join us as well. In the hour after that we were able to give Suad the Aaronic Priesthood!! It was great to see that. He is a good guy. 

So all in all I have learned a lot this week. I noticed a couple nights ago that something was nagging at me and I talked with Elder Jorgensen about it and I kinda realized that I haven't been the nicest person towards others. Saying snide comments and making little jokes here and there and I realized that I wasn't necessarily showing love the way I should have. So this week I'm going to work on that a lot more. I also remembered a quote from Chaplin that says "Only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural." and that kinda made me think that if everyone is loved by God then there is no reason to hate. We are all the Children of God and He loves us more than we can realize. I also was able to study about the first and greatest commandment which just kinda solidified that knowledge. 

I love working here in Kosovo! This week we get to go to Durrës for a little mission conference and I'm excited to kinda go back for a bit. I love you guys and I hope you all have a great week!

Love, Jed

Dearest Mother, 
I love getting your emails! Thanks for sending them. It looks like everyone has changed so much since I left! I'm gonna hate coming home because it's not gonna be anything like it was! I'm gonna come home to a whole different family!! So you guys ripped out the gardens and stuff? How'd that go? Well I hope you guys have fun this week. Hopefully you guys can get some more skiing in! 

Love you so much!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Baptisms And Potatoes

Dearest Familja, 

Elder Clawson and Nazir harvesting potatoes in Kosovo.
Once again I have encountered another week in the land of Prishtina, Kosovo. I have lived and I have conquered and come on top victorious. 

This week started out really good. On Tuesday we had a wonderful district meeting and then later that day we headed out to US military base with the sisters. We met with the Senior missionaries, the Tooleys, and then we headed to the base. So I don't know if I explained this, but the last time that I went to the base, I wasn't feeling very good. I had been sick and so when we all went to eat I couldn't eat a whole lot and it was super sad because I had been looking forward to getting some American style cafeteria food for a while. This time around I was able to take full advantage of it and I loved it! I had a bacon cheeseburger, onion rings, salad with ranch dressing, white milk, and lots of bacon. It was a good time. Right after that we went into a seperate room with two soldiers and had a lesson. The sisters prepared it and we talked about prayer. It was super good and really made me think about how I pray. Sometimes I am just sitting there trying to get my prayer over with so I can sleep but I have realized that God is like a parent on P-Day that is waiting to hear from his missionary to see how they're doing and I need to be a better 'emailer'. All in all it was a spiritual lesson that benefited everyone. 

The car didn't fare to well this week.
Wednesday. Oh the lovely Wednesday. So after studies and what not, I decided that it was time for Elder Jorgensen to learn how to drive stick once and for all. Therefore, I drove out to this abandoned little piece of town with a big hill on it. I park the car on a little incline and switch him places. He starts it up and rolls backwards for a bit trying to get a start on the clutch. I say something to the effect of "You might wanna hurry." And then he hits the brakes and looks back and sees this big semi truck backing out of a parking lot. Unfortunately Elder Jorgensen couldn't quite get the clutch into gear fast enough without rolling back even further. So this guy ended up smashing the back end of our car. Good stuff!!! I get out of the car with steam puffing out of my ears because this guy would've seen us had he looked into his mirrors. Then I cooled down and got his insurance and our insurance and called the police and all that jazz. We ended up going to the police station and getting everything figured out. Wasn't our fault so we were happy. Now we are just waiting for our car. 

Elder Clawson at the church.
Thursday, just had lessons. We met with Betim and Suad separately that night but we taught both of them about the Atonement and gave some clarification on that. At the end of both of their lessons we watched "Because of Him" which came out for Easter last year I guess and I almost lost it every time we watched it. Suad almost lost it like a little girl and it was just really nice to sit back and have a relaxed lesson talking about what Jesus did for us and how much it blesses and helps us. We also taught our english course and we had one really annoying girl that thought she knew English better than me and everyone else in the universe so I may have had to humble her with some street talk and Bible talk. Nothing too hard. 

Harvesting potatoes in Kosovo.
The next day we had service in the morning! We woke up at 5:30 in the morning and met one of the members at the church at 6. We then drove out to his village which is about an hour and a half away from Prishtina right next to the Serbian border. Didn't really know that but we were okay. We helped him with his potato harvest and had a great time. All the elders took a hoe to the soil and we were digging up taters like there was no end. The sisters tried to switch off with us but the then Nazim, the member, told them that they were the ones that needed to gather all of the potatoes and then go back to his house and prepare the food for us! It was kinda funny but not at the same time. We went up to his little farm house and had a lunch of bread, jam, and cheese. We ended up getting back into Prishtina at like 4:30 which gave us enough time to run home and shower and then get ready for our fantastic halloween party! We were in charge of the 'Donut Dangle' (I named it that) and the Apple Bobbing. We set everything up and had a great turnout! Everyone was having a great time and we ate hot dogs and drank juice and laughed and partied. The games were super fun and everyone was being a sissy la la about the Apple Bobbing so I had to take off my tie and show them all how it was done. One highlight from Friday night was in connection with Nezir. He had his baptismal interview with Elder Stewart that night. AND HE PASSED!!!! Oh he was super excited, I was super excited, Jesus was super excited, and the world rejoiced. He asked if I could baptize him and of course I said yes. So he will be baptized this coming Saturday and we are super excited for him. 

Lunch after harvesting consisted of bread, jam, butter and ketchup.  A floor table and a wood stove:)  Heaven!
He hasn't smoked for two weeks now and we are blown away with his spiritual change. He is so great!! So there was that and also our other investigator, Ajdin came to the party and had a great time. He is getting super interested in the church and he loves coming to Institute and stuff and he is loving meeting with us. I think he'll be baptized for sure. He's just a solid guy that wants to do right. 

Saturday was a good day too. Met with John Jashari and talked about Charity with him. He kinda hates Serbians a lot because they imprisoned his son and he wants revenge bad. But he took the lesson well and is going to work on it. 

Jed's district harvesting potatoes.
Sunday was great! We fasted for an inactive member and she came to church and even bore her testimony! It was a tender mercy I tell ya!! I bore my testimony as well. It was good. The soldiers from Camp Bondsteel actually were able to come attend church with us yesterday as well and it was great. One of them said a testimony and said the closing prayer and it was great. 

For lunch the sisters made us french toast and hashbrowns and they were to die for! I loved it. After that, we went finding, and then had a meeting with the Branch Presidency about how the work is going and then we got everyone's numbers for the zone. 
Today we just sat around and got errands done. Elder Jorgensen and I have been overloaded with busy work this last week and it is killing me. I'm getting a cold and I'm super tired!! But I love being on my mission. I love the Kosovar people and I love chatting with Muslims everyday trying to learn more about them and how I can help their faith in God grow, if they accept my message is up to them, but I love being a missionary and doing this work. And I know that God loves us all! 

Another area Jed says he wants to live in some day.
Love, Jed

Dearest Mother, 
I hope you guys had a great time in Hawaii! I loved everyone's costumes too! Emma's was great and I loved Jane's. I hope the snow stays! It looks like you guys are all having a great time and loving life. Keep having fun and be safe. 

Love, Jedediah

I Took That As A Yes!

Oct. 27, 2014 email
Well Family, 

Pumpkin selections for carving.
It's been another week here in Prishtina and it was definitely a good one.

The Ap's came up from Tirana on Monday and had an exchange with us on Tuesday. It was super good because they both just stayed up here and we had two companionshps working one area so we just went finding and found tons of people and tons of numbers so we were set for the rest of the week. The following day we met with Nezir. It was the first lesson that we had since he had started the smoking program and it was going to be our first impression on seeing how well he was doing. 

Handsome Elders.
We came into the lesson and talked for a bit and then I asked him how many cigarettes he'd had that day and he told me that he hadn't had any smokes since the day that he started the program. My mind was melting out of the side of my face! So Nezir has been making some amazing progress. He hasn't smoked since last Sunday and we are planning on his baptism really soon. He's such a good guy and I"m blown away by how much he has changed from the first time we had contacted him in the road. He was super quiet when we had started teaching him and he would hardly say anything in his lessons and when we would ask him to pray he would say it in his head and then say "Amen" at the end of the prayer. But now he is super open, asks tons of good questions about the priesthood, temples, baptism, and all kinds of other stuff and we love it. His prayers are super sincere and out loud! We are so happy for this guy!!

Elder Jorgenson, and Elder Clawson
So that was one success that we had this week. Another happened a bit later. Elder Linderman and I got a number from street contacting from a guy named Ajdin. We called him up on Wednesday and got a meeting with him and we had a great Restoration lesson with him. He is Christian and he loves Jesus! That was a miracle in and of itself. So there was that and the lesson was just very spiritual. We set up a return appointment for Friday and parted ways. 

Church with members and an investigator.
Friday came around and we met with him again. We taught the Plan of Salvation and explained how one way we can get closer to the Celestial Kingdom is by baptism! We invited him to be baptized and he was like "Yeah, right now?" And then we had to explain that there was more stuff to learn but he was super excited to hear he could be baptized! He is such a good kid and he's 22 and super cool. We're excited to work with him. 

It snowed in Kosovo last week.  Looks like Utah today!
Another cool thing was that we got to meet with Agim from a village outside of town. We haven't had a lesson with him for a while because he has been busy but we finally got to meet with him again. In the last lesson that we had with him he mentioned that baptism looked a little weird and awkward so in the recent lesson we explained a bit more about baptism and how it can bless and then we asked him if he would like to come and see a baptismal service one time. He said 'me gjithe deshire' which means with all desire. So I took that as a yes. Hopefully he can come to Nezir's baptism real soon. 

Pres. Monson the slayer.

Visa stuff. 
Thursday I had another exchange with Elder McGrath. We taught some lessons in his area and had a good time. I really don't know what else to say about this week. 

Today I carved pumpkins with everyone else and Betim. We did the symbol of the Rebels in Star Wars. It was pretty sweet. After that I had to do some visa work and stuff to see if I can stay in Kosovo and I didnt' really get anywhere. They either tell me I don't need it or they direct me to someone else. Kinda rough. 

Well you guys! I love you all and I hope you have a good week!
Love, Jed

Dearest Mom, 
Sorry this email was a little short. I'm super tired and I wanna just take a nap. But I am super glad to hear you guys are having a good time in Hawaii! Keep having a good time and eating good food! I love you!

Love, Ted