Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Any Prayer That Comes From Your Heart Is PERFECT

Elder Clawson and Elder Eliason with the 2 young men they are teaching
Hello Family!

Well I had a fantastic week with Elder Eliason!! It sounds like a lot of exciting stuff is happening back there in Utah too!
The week started like usual. P-Day ended last week, and we had a good lesson that night with a recent convert. The next day we had our usual district meeting and that was wonderful as well. Elder Tanner is still holding the position of my favorite District Leader! So after we had that, we had a lesson with my main man, Evi. He's doing so well! I'm so glad that he's progressed the way he has because it's so hard for young men here to stay focused on the gospel. They are constantly surrounded by friends that are smoking, drinking hardcore, or looking for girls 24/7. And Sam is also doing great. They really enjoy coming to church and preparing and passing the sacrament together. One thing that makes me sad is when I see less active members, or youth, that aren't as active as they could be. Out in the streets doing things they shouldn't, or cat calling some girl. I just wanna sing "IT'S A, IT'S A, IT'S A....... IT'S A SIN!" (Insert Voice of Pet Shop Boys)

Later that night, we had a lesson with the 2 young men that we met in church last Sunday. (Remember, they just showed up at church wanting to be taught!) Only two of them came but I wasn't about to complain seeing as I haven't taught a whole lot of new investigators. The boys names are Hermes and Fatjon. They are both fantastic young men that have just had really rough lives. They haven't ever been given a break. Hermes is 20 years old and Fati is 17 years old even though he looks like he's 25. Fati's parents both died when he was very young and Hermes' mother passed away shortly after his birth and his father gave him up to the orphanage. That's where they became best friends. 

Elder Clawson with a member in their congregation.

When they were old enough that they had to leave the orphanage, they decided that they just wanted to serve people. So they have jobs, but they spend almost all of their free time serving at the orphanage with the kids, or with the gypsy kids that don't have any clothes or any food. They are just awesome boys!! They were introduced to the church by a member named Doriada who met them a little while back. They were interested to hear that our church really emphasized a point on service a lot of the time and that really peaked their interest. They found out that there was a form of service that youth did called "serving a mission" and they wanted to know how they could do that. They definitely came to the right people.

We taught them that night about the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And they just ate it up. We asked them if they would be baptized when they came to know that these things were true. (We've been challenged by President Ford to invite investigators to baptism on the first lesson and he promised us that we would see blessings in our work.) And they said yes! President Ford was right when he said we would be blessed by inviting them on the first lesson. We were stoked for them! We met with them again on Friday night and we taught them about the Plan of Salvation. This lesson was awesome as well. Hermes asked tons of good questions that we were happy to answer for him. He asked where would we be if Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the Apple? Do we all go to the same place when we die? Were we all together before this life? Golden Questions for Golden Investigators! And at the end of the lesson, Hermes gave the closing prayer and he was way nervous about it. But he did fantastic job and we were so proud of him for praying in front of us.

The next lesson that we had with them was actually yesterday right after church. We didn't have quite enough time to finish the whole Plan of Salvation lesson, so we finished that up and started on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They had great questions about that segment too.  Before we closed that lesson we told them how baptism was a key ordinance that we needed in order to live with our Heavenly Father, and then we asked them if they would prepare to be baptized at the end of March. They both said "HECK YES!" (not really but it was basically just as awesome) and then Fati gave the closing prayer for us. It was the second prayer that he had given in his whole life and he did fabulous. Any prayer that comes from your heart, is perfect.
We've also met with a couple part member families and those have been great as well. We meet with the Hoxha Family and their son is actually Vëllai Hoxha who teaches Albanian in the MTC (The Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT). I've never met him but almost all the missionaries in Albania know him. They have one little boy that's not baptized that we really want to join his family. We also visited one of the families of the 1st councilor in the branch presidency. Vëllai Shima is his name and he is awesome. His wife isn't a member but she would be a fantastic one if she was. The sisters are trying to work on her and we have hopes for her as well. Their son looks just like Brandon Flowers.(A singer Jed thinks is pretty awesome!) So yes, I love him. 
Jed during yesterday's P-day in Skenderbej Square in the center of Tirana, eating his favorite Byrek, and feeling VERY European he said. 

The first Albanian Stake is getting organized this week too!! We are all so stoked to be a part of it! We get to sing "Called to Serve" in Albanian at the Cultural Festival thing that they have before they organize the stake. Pretty exctied for that. Elder Patrick Kearon is coming to organize the stake. I guess he and President Ford are pretty tight and what not. Like so tight, Elder Kearon calls him, Andrew. Whoa.

Well that's about it for this week. I love you all and I hope you enjoy this week. It's starting to warm up slowly here. I'm safe, healthy, and very happy. One cool thing that I saw this week with Fati and Hermes, was the power that the Book of Mormon has. I know there's lots of people who are skeptical about it and think it's just some book from another religion. But from my own reading and studying, I know that it is the word of God. I've seen how the knowledge of knowing it's truthfulness has changed people. They see that God is still here today to help us. He's not going to let us wander in the dark. The Book of Mormon- Another Testament of Jesus Christ,is the light that we need in this world at this time. If you haven't read it, I think you should. It's fantastic! 
I love you guys!!

Love, Elder Jedediah "The Gunslinger" Clawson
Dear Mother,

 I love being here.  But yeah transfers are coming up really soon. I have no idea what's going to happen to me. I did have a general idea that I would be staying in Tirana when we had transfers last time but I did not think I would be training. I'm kinda hoping I get taken out of Tirana. Kosovo would be really cool, but every single missionary wants to go up there so my chances aren't fabulous. From what others think and from what I think, I'll probably stay in 2nd Branch. BUT WHO KNOWS?! I'll go where I need to. I got told to F- Off this last week too by some homeless guy. Love my street contacting time. Well, I will simply say that you are the most fantastic mother every. I love you so much and I hope you have fun in Florida this week with Dad and the Adams!! Ski it up!

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