Monday, August 11, 2014

We Are Doing The Work Of God!

Hello my dear beloved family,
I need to start this email by letting you all know that my mission is probably the best thing in the world. I'm not just killing time sitting in Kosovo waiting for something cool to happen. We are doing the work of God and He is guiding our every move if we are humble enough to listen and willing to put forth a little effort. I love being here and I honestly don't want to ever leave this place. These people may be frustrating at times but I still love them with every licking stitch of soul that I have.  They are so ready for the Gospel in their lives and I'm stoked to be one of those giving them the message of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.
Lot's of baptisms this week.  Great week!

So a lot of stuff happened this week. Tuesday Elder Price and I had to give our very first zone training. It's super weird counseling other missionaries and teaching them when they are so much older than us and we have usually been getting instruction from them. We have a lot of baptismal dates in Kosovë so we decided to do a training on D&C 20:37 ( 37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humblethemselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having adetermination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.which talks about the Lord's Standards for Baptism. We just told them that we needed to always make sure that the people that are progressing towards baptism are following the Lord's Standards instead of our own personal standards. They need to be following the Spirit. 

The next day we had an exchange with the Macedonian missionaries so we drove to Macedonia with the sisters because they do exchanges with the sister missionaries over there while we do ours with the elders.  We sang songs and had a good time until we got to Shkup. Or Skopje is what it's normally called. But we got lost really fast. We didn't know where we were going and Elder Price was driving and he was flipping out and so was I and we drove around for about an hour and then we saw a Burger King so we decided to stop and unstressify ourselves and we were starving anyways. We finally found where we needed to go and we had a great exchange. I went with Elder Prince who is super great and he is a great missionary. I also know how to say several things in Macedonian now. On our way home we got stopped and checked at the border and they went through all of our stuff. Crazy!
Headed to Macedonia.  It was quite the adventure!

Finding investigators in Macedonia.


We drove home and started doing our own work that night and then we get a phone call. It's Elder Watson and he is stuck with Elder Roberts at a little town called Ferizaj becasue the buses stopped for some reason and they had no way to get home. They could call the senior couple and go home but they would have gotten home super late and so we decided that we would just go out and drive out there and pick them up. We made the 45 minute drive out there and picked them up and then we came back home. Pretty long day.
Friday. We had to go pay our power bill for the last two months as they had threatened to turn our power off. (I didn't know anything about this because I just got here. Kinda.) After we took care of that we had to go take our beautiful Opel Corsa to the service place because one of our headlights had gone out and we didn't want to get in trouble. We went throughout the rest of the day and then at night we had to spend the night at the church so that we could heat up the baptismal font.
So we spent the night at the church and woke up at 2 to start the heaters and then at 4 to start working the water system and then again at 6 to start filling the actual font. 
Sleeping over at the church to tend to the filling of the font.

Almost full.

4 of our investigators were baptized this Saturday and I was able to watch Elder Watson baptize his first investigator as well. Talk about a proud father moment!
This weekend was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life. A family of 3, and a young man named Suad were all baptized and made a covenant with their Heavenly Father. They are one step closer to being with Him. I haven't seen someone get baptized for a really long time and it just makes me feel so happy inside.
They were all confirmed on Sunday morning and that was fantastic. Another awesome thing was that all of the ordinances were done by members of the branch. We have a really young branch and we wanted the priesthood holders to exercise the power that they have. Super awesome.
During lunch yesterday we all put our hands up in the air and we all said "Touch Down Jesus!" It's from a song. 
How about that parking job.  Jed claims he did it, but I'm skeptical.

That's all I got this week but I also had some great investigator lessons with our other investigators that are doing great. I love being with Elder Price and I love being in Kosovë.
I love you all! Have a good week!

Love, Jed
Dearest Mother, 
Once again I did not receive an email from my family members. But that's okay. I hope everything is going well and I want you to know that I love you! (Don't worry!  He got a letter or two or three eventually this morning.)

Love, The White Indian Man

I Don't Know! I Haven't Done This Before!

Aug. 4, 2014 Email

Dearest Family and People,
So yes I am now in Kosovo. Monday was my last day in Shkoder and we had FHE (Family Home Evening) with a bunch of kids and Besara. She was super sad to hear that I was going to Kosovo but she is leaving for Sweden soon anyways. The next day I drove down to Tirana with Elder Temple and we got cinnamon rolls and got to the mission home. It was super sad saying goodbye to my Shkoder district. 4 elder districts are the best because you all just get super tight and it was sad to part.
Saying goodbye to friends in Shkoder, Albania.

While at the mission home I watched the driving video!! I got with Elder Roberts and I drove us up to Prishtina. A 4 hour drive on crazy roads in a stick. Not to mention the fact that I hadn't driven in over a year. We got to Kosovo in one piece and I actually did a great job driving. No surprise. Oh and Mother, I can drive even though I had those several speeding tickets. And I'm probably one of the safest drivers.
Jed saying goodbye to one of the members and her children in Shkoder.
I am with Elder Price from my MTC group and we went to town finding and teaching investigators. HOLY COW! The people here are so much more receptive to us. We found three awesome investigators and we have 7 on baptismal dates. We are always busy and it's super crazy to have so much work. We have 4 people getting baptized this week and Elder Watson has another. I get to be here for my sons first baptism! We are all super excited for this week.
Thursday we had a big meeting with all of the other mission leaders in Tirana so we had to drive at like 4:30 in the morning to get there on time. Elder Charles, one of the Seventy, was there and gave us a really good training that we are going to be touching up on during our zone training tomorrow. After that we had some work to do in Tirana for the other Kosovo missionaries and that was time consuming. We ended up getting home at like 8 that night. But we definitely came back enlightened. And yes Elder Linderman is the new AP! He is doing awesome and we love him to death. 
The car Jed get's to drive.  Her name is Bathsheba. (Aunt Jone does State Farm cover Jed in Kosovo?)
 I love being a zone leader! Elder Price and I have no idea what we are doing though. Kinda freaky because Elder Price has only been here for 5 weeks and every now and then something happens and I look at Elder Price and I ask "What do we do?" and Price says "I don't know! I haven't done this before!" So I'm glad this is a learning experience. I hope we don't look as lost as we feel. Everything seems to work out though. We are definitely trying to be more sensitive to the Spirit.
We gave a District Leader Training the other day for all the DLs and we taught about accountability and we shared Ezekiel 3:1-6  and talked about how we are all the watchmen on the tower. It went really well and we were definitely relying on the Spirit in that training.
Cathedral in Prishtina, Kosovo.

Another cool experience that we had was with one of our investigators named Agim. We were teaching him the Word of Wisdom and he was getting it, but there was something missing and we didn't necessarily know what it was. In the front of the Word of Wisdom pamphlet there is a big pic of Joseph Smith. We both felt prompted to ask Agim if he believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We asked and he said "Who?" So we explained the Restoration again to him in a more detailed way and the Spirit just flooded the room. He looked at us and just said "Whoa, that's so right. This is true. Why wouldn't God work this way?" I felt kinda bad that the first lesson kinda went over his head the first time but I can kinda understand why. It's the very first lesson and it's a lot to take in at one time so maybe he was just a little overwhelmed at first but now he understands it all. He is on a baptismal date and we are stoked for him. The Spirit works miracles. 

Today we played Frisbee and watched Ephraim's Rescue. Great movie. Sister Curtis was a gem and made me some onion dip for my potato chips. HALLA! 
Some P-day frisbee.

P-day pizza! And those cute sister's there cook for the missionaries on Sundays.  They are going straight to HEAVEN for that!
I love being in my district though. There's me and Elder Price, Elder Watson and Elder Roberts who are both super cool and fun, and Sister White and SIster Curtis. The sisters are great and they make good food for Sunday Dinner. LOVE IT!
Jed and his new companion Elder Price.
The branch here is good too. The president is an embassy worker and he rocks. We have tons of YSA age kids that are awesome and solid. There's no youth so we'll try for that. But all the members were super nice to me and love talking to me and the language here.... Whoa. I thought Shkoder had a different language. I love speaking with Kosovars. They are so deep and throaty. Its sweet. 

Another P-Day. 
I'm glad you had a good week! Have a good time at Bear Lake and tell Matt congrats on getting married for me! I love you all! Be safe and have fun!

Love, Jedediah

Dearest Mother, 
Thanks for sending the email.  I am so grateful for you mom. You are fantastic! Sorry you can't send packages to the base. Not allowed no more. I love you so much! Have a good week!

Love, Jed

I'm Headed to Kosovo!!

July 28, 2014 Email

My dearest and most cherished family,

I had a great week with Elder Dahl! This week actually went by super fast. I had an exchange with the zone leaders in Tirana and I got to spend all day Thursday with Elder Ostergaard in 2nd Branch! My old stomping grounds.
Cinnabon heaven!

So this week we found two new investigators. One of them is a young boy named Ledio. He is actually related to Besara and he is super down with learning about the Gospel. he doesn't know a whole lot about church stuff if it's not related to Catholicism but he is super in tune with the Spirit and we really enjoy meeting with him and he even came to church this last week. Good kid.

The other investigator was found by Elder Dahl and Elder Temple while I was in Tirana. They went tracting and got into this lady's apartment with her and her husband. Her name is Anxhelina and unfortunately we set up a second lesson but she had to cancel because she had some stuff going. And then she told us that we are going to have to call her next week because she is going to be in Italy. So we have some high hopes for both of them. Ledio could definitely be the Elder's Quorum President in the future.
I guess I need to tell you the big news. Last night I got myself a phone call from President Weidmann. The Man, The Myth, The Legend. And he told me that the Lord wants me to serve as North Zone Leader in Prishtina, Kosovë. I had to say yes.
I'm heading up tomorrow morning and I'll be serving with Elder Price from my original MTC group up there and I am super excited. A lot of people were actually transferred last night so I think President wants to switch over to 6 week transfers.
Primary in Shkoder!

Anyways, so I had an exchange with Elder Ostergaard on Thursday day and it was awesome. I didn't get to meet with Evi or Sam because they were out of town with work or with family stuff but they are still doing good is what I hear. We did some finding and had a good time with Elder Rawlings and Elder Wright during lunch as well. 

We had a cool experience there as well. We were out in a little side city called Kombinat and we decided to do some tracting. We knocked on a few doors and finally one let us in. The lady was super kind and willing to listen to us. We got into her house and her husband sees us and he flips out! He starts saying how he hates the JW's and how we weren't allowed to enter into his house and all this other stuff that kinda freaked me out personally. But his wife just motioned him away and he left and she was just like, "Don't worry about him. He is just old and weird." After all that we got to know her and introduced ourselves and then the husband came back in. He sat on the couch and we explained that we were Mormon missionaries with the LDS church. He kinda settled down as we got to know him a bit more and talked about ourselves as well. Then we explained that we had a message to share with people. We asked if we could begin this message with a prayer and they said okay. We prayed and then we taught the Restoration. I don't know if it's the fact that I haven't been with another missionary who speaks fluently since the end of December or what but that lesson was super spiritually guided and we were a great team. We were asking inspired questions and they were just eating it up. We ended the lesson and set up a return appointment and left the home feeling like a million dollars. I'm not saying it's rough teaching with new missionaries, because my son's have been amazinge, but it's kind of nice when you can have a seamless lesson about the Restoration when everyone involved that knows the language super well, they know the doctrine, and they want to share it with everyone.
Elder Clawson and Elder Jorgensen with the landlords poopy as Jed put it.

When I left, I ate a Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll. An English guy just opened one up in Tirana and it tastes like heaven. All in all it was a good exchange.

Well I'm really sad to be leaving Shkoder, especially when things are looking bright but it's alright. I'm excited to serve in Kosovo and see more of the mission and work with different people. Today I went to Theth again with Vëllai Vance from the MTC! He was one of my teachers and he has been in Albania for a bit and he came and spent the day with us. It was really fun to relax with him and his wife. They are good folks.
Theth, Albania for Jed's last P-Day in Shkoder.  I think it's one of his favorite places.

Elder Clawson with the Vance's.  Brother Vance was one of Jed's instructors in the MTC last summer.  Jed loved spending the day with them.

This week I learned how important the Spirit is in order to teach effectively. Without the Spirit, being a missionary is worthless. If you don't have the Spirit with you, you wont' touch lives and you won't be effective as a missionary. I'm not saying that if you aren't successful that you don't have the Spirit but you don't have any chance of being successful if you don't have the Spirit. Always be worthy of the Spirit in your life. It leads and guides us in every decision and we need it daily.

I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week! Jackson looked fantastic!

Love, Jed

Dearest Mom, 
I hope you had an unstressful time in Yellowstone. It looked super fun and those kayaks look great too. Good luck in Montana this week. I hope everything goes well and tell me what happens because that is pretty interesting stuff. I love you so much!

Nothing Better Than A Cute Little Mom And Her 4 Kids Coming To Church!

July 21, 2014 Letter

My dear family!

Well I am alive and happy! Shkoder is doing well and I'm still out looking for people to teach. 
Elder Clawson overlooking Shkoder, Albania.

Last week I talked about that couple that Elder Dahl and I had found tracting and how stoked we were to start teaching them. We called them on Monday night last week to see if we could set up a meeting with them and teach them about the Restoration. We called them and they told us that they would be in Tirana all week! So we are going to be calling them later this week. It was kind of a bummer but oh well. 

Nothing super crazy happened this week but we did find a new investigator. I was actually on an exchange with Elder Temple this last Wednesday and Elder Jorgensen went into my area with Elder Dahl and they were street contacting all day and were able to get a bench lesson with this one guy named Olsi. He was a pretty interesting guy I guess. He was really tattooed up and had actually just been released from prison or something to that effect. 
Elder Clawson and Elder Dahl.

They taught him a bit about The Book of Mormon and asked him what his thoughts were on Christ. He told a story about how he realized that he was really good at art and so on the ceiling of his jail cell he drew this incredibly detailed picture of Jesus and the news station came in and did a story on it and stuff. He really has the desire to follow the example of Christ but he just doesn't know where to start. We can definitely help him with that. 

They invited him to church and he said that he would meet us on Sunday morning at 9:30 at a certain place. Unfortunately he didn't show up. 

We still have hope for him though. Another cool thing happened though. We got a call from some random number and it was an older investigator that asked if we were going to have church still on Sundays and we said "OF COURSE!" and then they told us that they were going to be trying their very hardest to see if they could make it and attend sacrament meeting. Sunday morning rolls around and this cute mother, her mother,  (a nënë), and her 4 kids are all waiting for us outside of the church. We talked with them and we all really clicked pretty fast. They stayed for all of sacrament meeting though and then for the Sunday School class! Which I taught. They shared some good insights and had good questions. At the end of church they asked me if I could say a prayer with them for their son who was really sick. I told them that I would love to and so we got in a circle with the mom, the grandma, Elder Dahl, myself, and Besara. I said a prayer for them all and it was a really powerful spiritual experience for me. I didn't know what I was supposed to say that would comfort them and help them. But everything worked out alright and then after we ended the prayer I saw that Besara and the mother were bawling like a bunch of little girls. Then the grandma looked at me and said "Qofshi me jetë" which means "may you be with life" and I was just like "Well thanks." Older ladies always say that to us and it just makes my day. They left with the kids which were all super cute and fun. And they told us that they hoped to be back the coming week. 

The view of Shkoder from the Rosafa Castle.

Rozafa Castle overlooking Shkoder, Albania. Click here to learn some interesting legends of the castle.
Right after that, President Kraja asked me to come and talk with him for a second. I got into his office and he told me that he was super impressed with the way that I had taught the Sunday School lesson earlier and he asked me if I would be the Sunday School Teacher from now on. I said "Alright." And then he continued and paid me one of the best compliments of my mission. He told me that my Albania was exquisite and that he is astounded that I've learned so much in 10 months and that he needs a person that speak good Albania to be his 2nd counselor. So yeah he asked me to be his 2nd counselor as well. Pretty interesting Sabbath. 

All of the Elders gave talks in sacrament meeting and it was really spiritual. They all did a really good job. I talked on Prophets, Elder Dahl spoke on Cleanliness, Elder Jorgensen talked about Faith, and Elder Temple spoke on Prayer. They all went really well.

My exchange was really good too. I met with Arsen and some investigators that the other Elders had. Everything went really well and hearts were touched. 

Besara told us that she is leaving for Sweden on the 1st of August. So that kinda sucks.She is one of the three active members that we have and we need some more. 

Nothing else has really happened. Even though all I do is finding, I am still loving being on a mission. These people are awesome even if they think I don't know anything. I love Shkoder especially because of the undeveloped state of the Church here. It would be great if it was a full branch or stake, but it's so fun to be working with it when it's in it's little stages.
Elder Clawson and Elder Jorgensen

I know that this Church is the true church of God restored on the earth. I know that the work I am doing is the Work and the Glory of Christ. The Gospel can change lives and if you give it a chance, it will.

I hope you all have a wonderful week full of candy and Jackson Lake water skiing pics. I love you guys!!
Love, Jedediah

Mudda Dearest, 
Tell Jake and Seth way to go on their man pins! That's awesome! I hope you had a great time with Grandma Great and the girls in Salt Lake. That sounds like it was super fun. Thank you so much for taking the time to email me every week. I love you so much and I totally appreciate the support that you give me! I LOVE YOU AND YOU ARE THE BEST MOM EVER!
 Love, Jed