Monday, April 21, 2014

Lushnje Is Fantastic!

Elder Clawson and Elder Watson street contacting.  Sharing the Good News with some cute little ladies:)

Dearest family,

I have had a lovely first full week here in Lushnje. Nothing crazy has happened so far but we are slowly getting work which is a more than I can ask for since we are opening a new area in Lushnje. Our days are still full of finding but we've also been able to really connect with a lot of the members here. The youth here are fantastic and make up like 50% of the entire branch but they are all really nice and like to have fun. 

Tis the season for hayfever!  Even in Albania.
So this last Monday we were out street contacting and we stopped this kid named Flosed. He lives in Berat which is about an hour out of here and he is in Lushnje for school. We asked him if he had time to come up into the church with us for a second. We gave him a Book of Mormon and promised him that if he read it and prayed about it, he would be given an answer from God. He accepted and then left. The next day we had an English Course and he actually came to that which was dang exciting. Unfortunately I'm the teacher for the beginner course and he is in the advanced class so I wasn't able to get to teach him any more english, but we were able to have a lesson with him about The Restoration of the Church. Juxhin came and sat in with us to help us which was flipping awesome. (I've actually known Juxhin for quite a while. Since October as a matter of fact. When I came down here on an exchange from Durrës, I met with him while I was with Elder Bullock. At that time, he was still an investigator and was preparing for baptism. We had a short lesson with him and we clicked from the beginning. I left and when it came time for his baptism, they asked him who he wanted to baptize him. He told them that he wanted me to do it. That was the same week that Julian was getting baptized in Durrës and so they told him that I was already busy with something. I really wish I could have done it but I'm glad he liked me enough to ask me if I could do it. Right now we are like brothers and we have some good times together.) Anyways, Flosed's lesson went really good and he asked a lot of really good questions that really made me think to answer them. One thing that he is having a rough time is the whole Resurrection thing. We'll have to explain that a little bit more the next time we meet him. (Perfect week for that!)

Going for the double chins.
I'll tell ya some other stuff that happened this week. We were street contacting and out of the blue comes this big gypsy guy. He comes up to me and asks me how I was doing except he was saying "ç'kemi? A je mire? Je i bukur." Which is kinda something girls would say to us. I answered him and told him we were good and then he smiled, stroked the left side of my face with his large hand, said "Oh, sa mirë!" and then walked away whilst blowing us a kiss.  Gotta love it. 

P-day at the beach!  

Blue crab from the Adriatic Sea.
In sacrament meeting yesterday a nice older lady was up bearing her testimony. She stated how she loves the work of the missionaries and how they bless the lives of other people. I was sitting on the very front row because I had to pass the sacrament so I was just sitting looking at her and listened as she bore witness of the truths she had seen in her life. Then she ended with a testimony of missionaries and the work they do and then she looked at me and pointed right at me and said "Ata janë shumë të mirë, dhe shumë të bukur!!" which means "They are so good, and so beautiful!" Everyone in the congregation got a laugh outta that because she legitimately pointed right at me! It made my day. 

P-day soccer game with all the other missionaries, and I think some members from Lushnje.
Today we went to Fier to go to the beach. We got there, parked our car, and were gone for about 15 minutes. We came back and found two cops out putting a boot on our tire. Elder Palmer and Bilodeau instantly were like "What the heck are ya doing?!" I won't go into detail but the Albanian police know what kind of cars the missionaries have and they know we have money so they like to swindle us. They asked for 70 euros to take the boot off and that was not gonna happen. They threatened to tow the car so we called Elder Morava, (an albanian missionary in Fier who is awesome.) and he came and lowered the cost to 30 bucks. Not bad. We paid and we left for the beach. The beach was cool. A little dirty but cool. 

Everything is going good with Elder Watson. He's quiet and kind.  He's definitely growing and getting into the rhythm of things. Defineately a good kid! 

Well I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week! Filled with sprinkles, candies, butterflies, snickerdoodle cookies, movies, snuggles, bunnies, hostess powdered donuts, and everything else that makes you smile. 

Love, Jed

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Officially Living In The Village!

Headed to the church with a TV to watch conference.
Well my beloved family, 

I am officially living in the village! Lushnje is absolutely fantastic and I love it here!
Documenting his first meal in Lushnje!

So after last P day I hooked up with Elder Ostergaard and we took off on a fergon (taxi or bus) down to Lushnje. We moved all of my stuff into my house, which is really nice by the way, and then we took all of Elder O's stuff to Fier where he is staying now with his new trainee. After that we went and stayed the day in Lushnje. President told us to ambient (I love his use of very proper English words.  He's learning to talk like Pres. Ford, and Jane Austen!)for the first couple of days with our new areas and then to begin the heavy work when we received our new trainees. So we had a good time in Lushnje. We walked around and found out where the church was and all that cool stuff. The youth here are awesome and I'm excited to be working with all of them. 

The next day, Wednesday, we took a fergon down to Fier and we basically ambiented Elder Ostergaard into his new area. Fier was really cool but a lot bigger than Lushnje. I think we both are really enjoying our areas. 
Elder Clawson with his new companion Elder Watson

So we got our new boys on Thursday!  I got an awesome kid called Elder Watson. He's from Minnesota and he is a killer with the language. He said a prayer for us as we were leaving the house and his language shocked us. He is so good. Probably the best MTC speaker besides Elder Gunther that I've ever heard. So I also don't have my own house. I live with the zone leaders in their ridiculously nice house. It's really hard to find a house here because everyone just wants to sell and we rent. So we are on a hunt for our own house. 
Nothing better than American (Actually Hispanic) hot sauce.  It made this kid happy!

So, Elder Watson and I have been contacting the streets of Lushnje seeing as we are opening a new area of Lushnje. It's really rough but the people here are so much nicer and more willing to talk to us. We only had three lessons this week but this coming week will be better. Elder Watson is very outgoing and takes the TALK TO EVERYONE theme very seriously which is awesome because it's something that I really needed to work on. 

I did get to see the whole Saturday afternoon session of conference which was really good but in order for missionaries to see any of the other sessions, we had to bring an investigator and I didn't have anyone to bring so I'll watch them when I can. Probably for Personal Study sometime. 

Today we went to Apollonia!! (click on this link and it will give you a little history of Apollonia.  Pretty amazing!)It's funny that dad mentioned that Paul was around my area because if anyone is familiar with Acts 17, Paul teaches in Apolonia. (you can click on the link and it will take you to Act 17 and YES it is in Apolonia!)So yes I have been where Paul stood and preached. CRAZY HUH? Yes, I know it's amazing and I'm awesome:) Every day I see something in Albania that just blows my mind! This place is so ridiculously overlooked by people. This place is awesome.

We got to see lots of cool stuff and had a good time. We live with the zone leaders who are Elder Palmer and Elder Bilodeau. They are both really cool guys and they set a good example for all of the zone. Oh and they have a car which I get to ride in quite frequently. Wham!!!

Well that's about it everyone. I love you all and I'm glad you had fun biking and stuff. Curse you all for rubbing that in my face. Just kidding. 

Loves you long time, 

Dear Mother, 
I am loving Lushnje. It is tons smaller than Tirana and I don't have to worry about teaching people that live in a different branch. Not a whole lot of good food here so we'll see how much weight I lose. Hopefully not a lot. Well I love you so much!
Love, Jeddy

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Have Faith People!

Jed makes friends with all the little bakery ladies in every town he serves!

Hello Fam!

Well I had a really good last week with Elder Eliason. So the week was fun and we were able to meet with a lot of people. We had two exchanges this week as well, which made things a bit different. On Tuesday night I had an exchange with Elder Tanner while the two trainees went together in mine and Elder Eliason's area. We had a great day filled with lots of lessons and English courses. We teach the Beginners class together and we have some fantastic people in that class. There's only like two guys and then like 14 girls, but they are very receptive and they enjoy the class I think. They always laugh at our jokes too.

Elder Clawson and Elder Harvey on splits.
Elder Tanner and I had a great exchange and then this Friday we had an exchange with the zone leaders. I had Elder Harvey here in 2nd Branch and Eliason went with Elder Pierce. That was a good day and we learned a lot from each other. There's not really any Elder in this mission that I don't get along with which is a really good thing. 

So unfortunately, we weren't able to meet with the boys again this week which made me really sad. I hope they can find the missionaries again because it is impossible for us to contact them. I got Grandma Roberts letter from February though! It was awesome and I've used almost all of the stickers that she sent me. I hope you got around to sending that package. I am dying for some mail. 

I guess I'll tell ya what you really want to hear which is my transfer call. Well last night President Ford called me and this is how the conversation went.

JC: Hello this is Elder Clawson.
PF: And this is President Ford, How are you doing?
JC: I'm good how are you? 
PF: I am great thank you. Well Elder Clawson you've done a great job training and I think you're great.
JC: Well I'm glad that you think I'm great.
PF: (laugh) In fact you were so good at training, you're going to do it again. You will be opening a new area in Lushnjë with your trainee and the other 4 missionaries down there and you will also be the District Leader. 
JC: Awesome! I'm excited! Thank you very much!

Yeah, I'm opening a new section of Lushnjë. I am actually way stoked to go down there. I hadn't considered that option at all during this transfer but it was a very pleasant surprise. 2 companionships are going up to Peja (A new area in Kosovo) and 1 is going to Prizren which blew my mind but it's awesome for them! Elder Foster (Jed's first companion in Albania, and his trainer.) is actually going to open Prizren right now as well. I've followed in his footsteps exactly and it's kinda crazy. 
Elder Eliason is going to co senior in Vlorë with Elder Holm and he is way excited because he was expecting to stay in 2nd branch. They'll do awesome! 

On top of The Pyramid in Tirana.  This was how he started out his first week in Tirana, and how he ended his last week in Tirana.  With Elder Tanner.

I head down to Lushnje tomorrow and I'm actually living with the zone leaders until I can find myself a new house. And Elder Baker is taking over my area here in 2nd Branch!! (Jed was companions with Elder Baker for a few weeks in the 2nd Branch before.) Now I know I'm leaving it in good hands. He'll do awesome here. 

The coolest things this week actually both happened yesterday. First one was right after church. We were asked to help out with a charity/humanitarian project. We just had to deliver some clothes and some food to some of the Romas (gypsies) down by the Artificial Lake. It looks like Hoover Ville from the Great Depression and we always see it when we go running in the mornings. We took the stuff to the little colony and we started to divide everything to the people but there was WAY too many people for all the stuff that we had. Some people were really grateful and then others were flipping out at us saying that they didn't want this stuff, but that they needed other things. Crazy but C'a do bësh. (Whatcha gonna do?)

Gypsie encampment.
The crowd started getting kinda crazy and crowding around us. One guy started throwing stuff and I was just thinking "Oh shiz, we are going to die." Fortunately I had gotten out of the crowd, but I saw that Sister White was right in the middle of it! I have never been so protective of a missionary before. I went to grab her arm to yank her out of the middle of the freaky guys, but thankfully she just ran out through it all. Then we took off before anything got worse. So yeah that was an interesting experience. 

Thankfully we had a spiritual experience about an hour after that. A sister in the ward asked us if we could come over and give her a blessing because she has some health problems and she really struggles with depression. Elders Eliason, Tanner, Baldwin, and myself all went over to share a quick scripture and a blessing. Elder Eliason shared Helaman 5:12 which talked about Faith. I love the topic faith because it's just the first step to everything and we can't progress without it. The lesson was good and then I administered a blessing to this kind lady. It was such a good feeling to be exercising the Priesthood of God. That's what really seperates us from other churches and I love having the great opportunity to hold the same power that Christ held. And the Power of the Priesthood can only come through faith! HAVE FAITH PEOPLE! We left after the blessing and then we went home to eat lunch because we hadn't eaten at all that day and it was about 8 o'clock in the evening and obviously we were starving to death. 

And they ate it ALL!  Goats head and hot dogs.  A well rounded meal.  
We had a bunch of hot dogs and pitas for dinner. And also a Lamb Head. A legitimate head of a sheep. We ate it's eyes, tongue, and brain. It was awesome. 

Well I hope everyone is happy. WAY TO GO SHMEMMA on Exec!! Well tell people to email me. I only got three emails this week and one of them was from the mission. I feel unloved! 

I love you all and I hope you have a great week. If you go to Moab or Zions, take Dawna (Jed's bike.) with you and have Jake ride on her. That bike will turn him into a downhill/freeride lover. Maybe he will even purchase it when I come back. Loves!!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
My health is great and I'm actually gaining weight in muscle lately!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!? I'm excited to train again and I can't wait to pick up my second Padawan! Also my title in the mission is now "THE CLAW" because I'm double training! I'm very happy to be going down south with good missionaries. I hope everything is okay with you. Getting ready for the garden yet? Well I love your stinking guts! 

Love, The Man with 4 Thumbs (he really only has 2!)