Monday, September 22, 2014

I Love My Mission!

My dearest family!! 

"Ask us what we do!" One of their newest finding techniques.  And Elder Clawson said it works pretty dang good!
Well I had a fun week. It was super busy and loaded with all kinds of goodness. I'll start with last Monday, which basically just consisted of FHE and us out on the Boulevard finding people who are ready to be baptized!! We've actually come up with a new way of street contacting which is we basically just invite the people to be baptized and become members of our church if they understand and come to a knowledge that these things are true. Little blunt but it weeds out the people that would waste our time later on. 

Jed and Elder Price street contacting in Pristina Kosovo.
Tuesday we had  great district meeting given by Elder Watson. 
He did awesome! So for that day we met with Nezir who is still an awesome guy! We taught him the Law of Chastity and it was probably one of the best lessons that I've had with him because we asked him why he thought it was important that we lived by these standards and he said "Well if you go out and do bad things like this, your family is hurt and you also hurt yourself even if you think you aren't." And then he just proceeded to tell us how he's grateful for his own personal decisions in keeping standards like this throughout his entire life. But yeah, no worries with Nezir on that. He is still working on quitting smoking and his definitely making some good progress. He really does want to stop though. He knows the church is true and that the commandments come from God. He's just fantastic and I love his guts. 

Nothing better than Thai food in Kosovo.
We also met with Ramis! I don't know if you remember but he's the guy who we had the lesson with last week when I had the poop all over the bottom of my shoe. Therefore I assume he didn't smell it during our last lesson or else he would NEVER have let me back into that place. So we taught the Plan of Salvation with him and it went super well. At the end we asked him to be baptized and he said "I will get baptized for myself after I know how to help other people first." So we kinda need to wrap service and baptism into the same lesson with him and let him know what's up. But he's still really good. 

Elder Clawson's district at correlation mtg.
On Friday we were able to meet with an investigator that we had lost contact with about a month ago because he was living in a different town. He moved to Prishtina and we were able to meet with him again! His name is Agim and he's the guy that had the huge epiphany of Joseph Smith. We decided to watch the Restoration video and we had a great time. He was giving comments throughout the whole movie and then when the First Vision part came.... he was silent. We were all feeling the Spirit so much and I was so glad to have it there with us to help in the teaching process. 

The meeting house in Pristina, Kosovo.  And Elder Roberts:)
We met with some really good people this week besides them. We're teaching a guy named Ilir who works with the church in it's humanitarian projects with wheelchairs and such and he is super great. He came to church with us yesterday actually which was awesome! Yesterday for lunch the other Elders made Egg drop Soup. That's all I will say concerning that. It was good. 

They love the members!
I do need to say that I am loving my mission! It is the best thing ever to be here with these people. They are so great and so fun! I enjoy my district even though 2 of them are leaving next week which is super sad. I love speaking a different language and eating different food! I know that this church is true and that Jesus Christ is our Savior! 

Sporting new hair cuts, and I'm not real sure about the red jacket.  We think he looks like an usher at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in Logan:)  
I hope you all have a great week and I hope you are all safe. I love you!!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
Those pies looked absolutely fantastic! Way to go! I hope they were good. Thanks for updating the blog again. It's nice to see what I've been doing lately. Has it started to get colder over there? It's starting to rain a ton here and I hate it. The rain is so dumb. Thanks for writing me every week Mom! I love you!

Love, Jedediah Jim

Monday, September 15, 2014

Silent Prayers That My Shoes Wouldn't Stink

Cute little boy! (Both of them!)
My dearest family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This last week was fantastic! I love working here in Kosovo!!
So nothing too crazy went on so there's not a ton to write about but nonetheless it was still amazing. Monday was good. Right after P day ended we drove out to a new investigators house. His name is Shemsi and he lives out in a little village.  We went out there and kinda just introduced ourselves to him and got to know him a little bit more. His daughter came out and gave us some juice and then with two cups of this other stuff that I thought was hot chocolate but then we got a whiff of it and we realized that it was coffee. We had to decline and I felt super bad because they looked a little offended by it. But ah well. That's the first time that someone has brought coffee out to my face.  It's usually super strong alcohol that gets offered to me. The lesson went well and he started talking about his past career and how he used to fly planes and how it was super fun and then he started crying. We didn't really know what to do so we just told him that we'd be coming by a little bit later during the week. He stopped his gentle weeping and walked us out. Cool guy but we can't get a read on him yet.
Elder Clawson eating his favorite thing!  Byrek and notice his sweatshirt.  It's called the Shqiponja. (Sh-cheep-own-ua) Its the name for the double headed eagle on the Albanian flag. 
We've been meeting with that awesome guy named Nezir still and he is doing fantastic! We love his guts and he is starting to love ours. We had the Word of Wisdom lesson with him this last week because we smelled a bit of cigarette smoke on him when he came into the church one day. He does have a problem with smoking but he is super willing to start giving it up. He likes coming to church and he likes meeting with us. He still doesn't say a whole lot and he just seems like a really shy guy that needs a friend. He reads and loves telling us about what he read. He had been having a little trouble praying as well. He would kinda just put his head down and pray in his head and then he would say "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." and we would just assume that it was good. But with this lesson he prayed out loud! It was amazing and we didn't even have to ask him or anything! He's just great.
P-day activity bus to go play some futbol with the youth in the branch.
Unfortunately we weren't able to meet with Srdan this week because he was in Sremska for a wedding. But we are planning on meeting with him on Tuesday so that'll be good. We are still trying to learn enough Serbian to communicate with him but it'll come. 

On Wednesday I went to Gjakova for an exchange with Elder Schramm and it was really good. I got to meet some good people and it was nice to be around the other missionaries for the day. Elder Gray and Elder Harvey are the other set of elders there and I love both of them to death. And for some reason, whenever I go on an exchange, I always connect with a ton of members or investigators and they always just say "Why don't you just stay here?" and I'm like "Dah!" I really love these Kosovar people and the Albanians as well. They all are so wonderful and fun to be around! The exchange in Gjakova was good. I taught their English Course and met a new member and her family. Good people. The English course kids loved me because I taught them 'Head Shoulders Knees and Toes'. 
Elder Clawson with one of the members in Prishtina, Kosovo.
The next day was pretty busy. We had to drive back from Gjakova and that's pretty long and then we had a few lessons to do. We had a meeting with a new investigator named Ramis and he works for the government. He's Christian though!! Hallelujiah! On our way to the lesson we passed a bunch of dumpsters and sometimes they light the trash on fire so they don't have to empty it and today they were on fire and smoking all over the place. So I decided to go behind it and try to dodge the smoke and as I was walking I slipped in something and fortunately I didn't fall but I looked back and saw that it was a bunch of poo! And to make it better, the wind started to blow and it blew the smoke right into my face and all over my clothes. I came out towards Elder Price, (who had decided to just walk the normal way through the smoke) and he was just laughing his head off. SO there I was with poop on my shoes and smoke all over my body. We found Ramis's office and walked in and I said the opening prayer and Elder Price said a silent prayer in his heart that my shoes wouldn't stink and that we would have a good spiritual lesson with no interuptions. And that's what happened. Everything went great and no smell came until after the lesson. 
Sunday dinner courtesy of Elder Clawson.  His Chicken Pot Pie speciality!
The other night we went and visited the First Counselor's family and had a good time. They have a boy named Rroj (Roy) and he's 14 months old and we totally hit it off.  I got him laughing like none other. Cute kid. 

Yesterday was good and we just went finding basically. Life is treating us great. The zone is doing well and everyone is happy. Elder Foster is going home super soon and I'm super sad because I won't have the chance to talk to him before he leaves. Hopefully I can call him before he goes home.
Well I love you guys so much! Keep having fun! Get ready for skiing!!
Love, Jed
Dearest Mother, 
I suggest that you don't buy a dog until I come back. Why don't you get one like Fred's? His bird dogs are so well trained it blows my mind. I hope you are having a good time with Jane at home. Let everyone know that I love them. Are you gonna start Jane on skis this year? Have fun! I love you Mom!!
Love, Jed

We Are Learning A Little Serbian Too

Sept. 8, 2014 Letter Home

Elder Clawson enjoying a delicious Cinnabon (or two it looks like)!  The new Cinnabon store is all the rage with the missionaries in Tirana.
Dearest Family!!

I had a fantastic week! Elder Price and I were busy all day every day and we loved every second of it!
Monday we finished up Pday and went to Family Home Evening. It was pretty good and we had a couple people show up if I remember correctly. The next day we had District Meeting which was awesome, given by Elder Watson, and then we went to a lesson with Adem! We taught him the Plan of Salvation and once again he ate it right up. He did have some questions that were a little interesting but the Spirit was still there and we were able to just have a good lesson. We invited him to be baptized on a specific date and he kinda got a little upset. He's still a super good guy but he just doesn't know what he's looking for quite yet. We'll give him a little more time.
Elder Clawson and one of the best members in Prishtina, Kosovo.  
Wednesday we had to go to Tirana for the Missionary Leadership Coordination. We got there into Tirana and had about an hour to kill before we had to be at the mission home so we stopped at Cinnabon and got some cinnamon rolls and just sat and talked at a table outside. It was really good. The meeting that we had was fantastic and so spiritually led. President Weidmann is so great and he is definitely guiding us in the right direction. He's picking right up where President Ford left off and we are amazed at how well he's taken his role as our President. We set some goals in the meeting and then we finished. I had an exchange with the AP's in Tirana because they do exchanges with the zone leaders and I went with Elder Davis in Tirana and Elder Linderman came up to Prishtina with Elder Price. I had a great time with Elder Davis and we had some really great lessons while we were in Tirana. We met with some members and some of their new investigators and we just had a great time. Also, I got a package from Kirsten too! It had some sweet ties in it, she also had some butter snap pretzels!! DAH!! Those definitely made my day.
Elder Clawson's district with his mission president and his wife, President and Sister Weidmann.
The next day we had to wake up early and head to Prishtina. We got back and the AP's had to do some work in Macedonia so they left. We met with our investigator who's awesome, Nezir, and we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We kinda explained to him about the sacrament because he was kinda wondering about that during church the Sunday before. So yeah we had a great lesson with him and he understood everything and he is still progressing beautifully towards his baptismal date.

Later that night the AP's came back to stay the night in Prishtina because it was way too late to drive to Tirana. Elder Price and Linderman went and did a lesson with one of our investigators that we have been trying to put on a date for a really long time. They left and I did some manual labor with Elder Davis. We moved a piano out of the elder's home and into their car and we had a bunch of problems with the elevator so we ended up just taking all of the stairs. Pretty long. After that they slept over at our place and left early the next morning. 

Friday, that was a crazy day. So we were doing our weekly planning after the AP's left and then we get a call from Elder Linderman telling us that we need to go to Gjakova and give the senior couple a part for their broken car. We had gotten the part a few days earlier but were planning on giving it to them on Saturday. But we got up and left and drove the 2 hours to Gjakova and right when we got there, Elder Harvey looked at the part and said "That's not it." So we had to go all the way back to Prishtina, pay 100 euro for a new part, and right after that we had to drive out to a fshat to meet a new investigator. The new investigator is named Srdan and he was actually a referral from President Weidmann. He lives about 30 minutes out of Prishtina and he only speaks Serbian. So we had to bring a member with us that could speak Serbian so we could translate and we had a great lesson. He reads all the time and he is so ready for the gospel. And so is his whole family!  We couldn't understand what they were saying but we felt the Spirit so it was good. All in all it was great. 

Elder Clawson and Elder Davis on splits in Tirana, Albania.
Saturday we had interviews with President Weidmann and they went great. After that we all went out to the Thai restaurant and had some good food. That was basically it for that. 

Sunday was great because we had Srdan, Nezir, and a new investigator named Ilaz in church! They are all great and we had such a good time talking with them. We are excited to see what goes on with them. The sisters made us BLTs for lunch and it was super good. 

Today we just walked around and chilled. We went to a suit store cuz Elder Roberts is getting a new suit before he leaves. That was cool. 

Well Lotoja looked like it was super fun! I'm sorry I couldn't do the Montpelier to Afton stage. I really like that one even though it is super hard and sucks most of the time. And everyone passes me on the downhill. Well I love you all and have a good week!
Love, Jed

Dear Mom, 
I am loving Kosovo! It is the best place ever! Everything is going good. I'm over that nasty cough that I had and I feel fine. It's starting to rain a lot which kinda sucks but oh well. I'm glad you guys had a great time in Jackson! It looks awesome. Well I love you all so much!

Love, Jedediah

The Members Love Helping The Missionaries!

Sept. 1, 2014 Letter Home

Elder Clawson and his district in Prishtina Kosovo.  Handsome men!
My family in America! 

I had a great week! Monday night was spent waiting for people to come to family home evening but no one came. That was a bummer but it gave us time to go street contacting! HALLA! As we talk with people in the road, one guy stops with his wife and we start talking to him. Usually when we street contact we have to stop the people but he stopped and asked us what we were doing. His name was Adem and I had the best street contacting experience of my life with him. He wasn't part of any religion but he really liked the message that we had to share. We talked with him for about 20 minutes just on the street and we were just having the best spiritual moment. As the Prishtina District would say, we were vibing spiritually. He agreed to meet with us at some other time and then he gave us his number and we said "Sure thing boss." 

The following morning we had a lesson with him at about 9 o'clock. We sat at the church, said an opening prayer, and gorged our ravished souls with a spiritual harvest. We had such a great lesson. He was super open to everything we were saying and then he was telling us how he wanted to bring others as well. At the end of the lesson we invited him to be baptized and he looked at us and said "I join with every good idea there is." So we took that as a yes. As we were all leaving he looked at us and in English said, "We're friends." and we knew that this guy was an answer to our prayers. He's been working all week but we will be meeting with him very soon. He is awesome. 

Ward activity of UNO.
Later on that day we met with this kid named Liridon. And he was so ready for the gospel. We had a great lesson with him and talked a lot about prophets as we were chatting about the Restoration. He was really liking the whole idea that we are guided today. He also accepted to be baptized when he came to a knowledge that these things are true. He was really good and I can't wait to meet with him again this week. 

We have one investigator named Nezir that we found a couple weeks ago and he has turned into a wonderful golden investigator. He is preparing to be baptized,and he is doing great. We have taught him 3 times and we are always astonished by how spiritually in tune he is. He doesn't say a whole lot but he asks questions if he's not understanding everything and he seems to get most of it. We know he's thinking a ton even though he ain't saying a whole lot. He came to church yesterday too and he got pretty close to one of the members named Nazim. They're about the same age, like 55, and it's good to see some members helping us out. Lots of hope for Nezir. 

P-day activity as sightseers.  Catholic Cathedral
One thing that I'm loving about the branch up here is the whole fact that the members love helping the missionaries because they were helped by members when they were investigating and they know exactly how it feels to not have anyone be there to support you besides two little boys. We get tons of help from the members but now we are just working on the referrals and getting them to not feel ashamed for letting the world know what religion they're a part of. 

The sisters gave us a referral that they found the other day named Mensur. We met with him one morning and he brought his friend Vallan with him. (Just so ya know, Albanian names are nothing like Kosovar names.) And we had a really good lesson with them. Mensur is a baker and has to work quite often so we haven't had the chance to talk to him again but hopefully we can get with him this coming week. 

More P-day activities with Elder Price and Elder Clawson.

Elder Clawson overlooking Prishtina, Kosovo.
Other than that we've just been doing a ton of finding. The people that we baptized a few weeks ago are doing great. Suad, the young man, just came back from the YSA conference in Korça and loved it. All of the Mormon Girls in Albania probably fell in love with him. The Jashari family is doing great as well. John, the dad, helped prepare the sacrament yesterday and he did a great job. He's super old and can't hear, read, or see very well. But man he is so fun. He has that huge mustache and he has the greatest sense of humor. 

Last night we were walking home from the church and this guy wanted to show us the the extent of his English so he said "F you." Elder Price and I were both taken by surprise so the only thing that I could say back was "Um... thank you." and then we both died laughing at how stupid both of those statements were and I think the guy thought that we were just laughing at him. 

Well that's my week. EMMA!! You look smoking in your pics! You have grown up since I've left. (shocker!) I hope you all have a good time in Bear Lake. I love you all so much and I miss ya tons! Thanks for all that you are doing to help me out!! 

Love, Jed

Dearest Mother, 
I don't know if the dropbox thing is working for you. If not just tell me. I hope everything is going well. I heard it's getting colder there though. I really wish it would get cold here so the girls will actually put some clothes on. The immodesty here is ridiculous. Tons of nasty. Well anyways, I love you and I want you to know that I know this church is true! I'm not wasting my time. I'm trying my hardest and trying to improve. Have a great week!

Love, Jed

Beautiful Question!

Aug. 25, 2014 Letter Home

Hello my family. 

Elder Clawson overlooking Prizren, Kosovo.  Pretty city!
I had a good week this past week. Lots of finding and lots of work. Tuesday started out with a good District Meeting given by Elder Watson. He gives some super good trainings. 

That day we were out doing some normal street contacting and we stopped a couple people that were pretty great. The first guy was named Salami. Yeah like the meat tube that we put on crackers. We set up an appointment with him and told him that we would meet him at a certain hotel and then show him where the church was. The following day we went to the hotel and we had kinda forgotten what he looked like because it had been a couple days and we see so many people. So we just sat around for a bit and then we saw that there was a super cool Ferrari parked in the front of the hotel so we went up and looked at that. We were up by the front looking at it and then this guy comes up to us and I just thought to myself "Oh crap he's gonna get ticked at us for looking at his Ferrari." Because people get mad if you look at something of theirs. But he was Salami. We showed him where the church was and we had a great first lesson with him. He had heard of Mormons before and was a bit skeptical at the beginning because he had heard about the whole polygamy thing. He asked a good question too. "So I feel like people need to do a bit more than just pray to get eternal life. What else should we do?" BEAUTIFUL QUESTION! We explained to him about commandments and what not and he was agreeing with everything. He asked if we could come to his house and teach him and his family sometime and we were just like, Uh yes. We had another lesson with him but we haven't had the chance to meet at his home yet. But we have hope for Salami. 

The other guy was named Nazir. We found him contacting and met with him the next day. Nothing super crazy happened but Elder Price and I talked about the lesson afterwards and how Nazir was reacting to everything and we know that we were definitely prompted by the Spirit and guided as well. It was just a really solid lesson and there was no stuff like "Oh I'm a Muslim." or anything like that. It was just real down to earth good stuff. We have hope for him too. 

Last night we had a great experience too. We were contacting and we stopped this guy named Adem and his wife. He is a physics professor and was super great to talk to. He was asking good questions about what makes our church different, why we left for two years and all of these other great questions that just told us that he was genuinely searching for something more.  The whole contact experience lasted for about 20 minutes and the whole time it was just calm and nice and totally led by the Spirit. It was heavenly. 

Elder Clawson on splits with Elder Bilodeau. 

Elder Clawson and Elder Watson at church.  These two were companions last transfer, and Jed loves being in the same area as Elder Watson this transfer as well.  It's fun to see how much Elder Watson has grown and what a good missionary he is!
Also last night we were stopped by the police because an angry Muslim called them and told them to arrest us. Nothing happened. The cops just said "You're fine doing this and we are a democracy. You just might wanna go home right now because there's a lot of Muslims that aren't happy with you right now." So we went home and drank tea. Good tea. Mint. 

I went to Pejë this week with Elder Bilodeau as well. As a zone leader I get to go on exchanges throughout the whole country and Macedonia.

Sunday dinner courtesy of these cute Sisters!  Jed's district.  Elder Roberts, Watson, Price and Motra Curtis and White.  Cute aprons!
Well that's kinda all I got. I went to Prizren today and looked at the castle and that was about it. Not too much. 

I LOVE YOU ALL! Have a good week of school and be safe. 

Love, Jed

Prizren Kosovo
Dear Mother, 
I just realized that Emma has a ton more freedom than I do. Home alone for a week?! I would never have been granted that! Anyways I'm sorry to hear about the stupid coons. That sounds like crap. I hope they don't do anything else. Well I love you tons. Have a good week. 


PS did you get my hot pocket video?

Ask Us What We Do

Aug. 18, 2014 Letter

Elder Clawson and Elder Roberts during their "Ask Us What We Do" finding activity!
Once Upon a Week there was a man named Elder Clawson,
This week was a good week. Unfortunately I have been taken by an illness that has kept me up coughing every night this last week so I'm incredibly tired.
One super duper interesting thing that we did this week was we tried a street contact approach that I've been wanting to try for a while. Elder Watson and I actually thought about it when we were together in Durres. We wanted to bring out two chairs and just sit in them and have a sign that says "Ask us what we do?" and then we just sit there and wait for people to come up and talk to us. So we decided to try that as a district and so we did. And we had one of the best contacting experiences of my mission. Tons of people were coming up to us and asking us what we were doing. We all got several different numbers from good solid people and most of us have had lessons with someone from that experience. Good day.
Another cool thing that happened this week was that we found this guy named Taki. He's had interactions with the church but he's never met with the missionaries. We asked if he wanted to meet with us because he just randomly showed up at the baptism that we recently had and we didn't know who the heck he was. The first lesson that we had with him was really good. He has two kids, a daughter and a son and they all really like being around us and the church. They are on a baptismal date and they seem excited to prepare for that day. Taki has a lot of really good questions but one thing that really gets his interest is the Spirit. He has tons of really good questions asking what it is, how we can feel it, why is it there, and he is really enjoying the whole learning process which is pleasing to me.
Elder Price and Elder Watson

The sign says, "As Us What We Do!"  The actually got a great response that day:)
We met with a boy that I actually met with when we were doing the "Ask us what we do?" contact. His name is Bardhi and he is super cool. He says he's Muslim but that he likes Christianity so he was super open and ready for the Gospel. He's a teenager and about as big as me. We taught him the Restoration and just tried to make him think a lot so we asked lots of questions. Then he started asking us how our lives are better just becasue we have religion. We explained that by having a personal relationship with God we can know more about ourselves, our purpose for being here, and what's expected of us so that we can continuing improving. We told him how we have found a happiness that isn't extinguished by a bad day or an insult from a person on the street because the happiness that we are trying to share with people is an eternal happiness that only can be given by God to His children. US! He listened super intently this entire conversation and then he said "Yeah I like the idea of being happy forever." He is solid and we are going to baptize him and then he's gonna be the next prophet.
I also went on an exchange with my son. Elder Watson. We had a good time and we thoroughly enjoyed each other's presence. We had a good lesson with one of their investigators and we just really enjoyed teaching together again. He;s still a great missionary and a good kid.
Military base spoils.  Talk about a happy kid!  Who doesn't love Funyuns?!
On Thursday we got to go to the American Militry Base just outside of Prishtina to teach their Institute Class. We got to shop at the American Food Store there and we got to eat at the cafeteria which was awesome as well. It was all incredibly heavenly. We went with the Tooley's who are the Kosovo Senior Couple and we drove the sisters with us. The sister's gave a lesson on 3 nephi chapters 12-14 and it was all super good. The Beatitudes are definitely things that we need to keep in mind. There were only a few soldiers there with us but they were incredibly happy to have us there and they treated us like a million dollars so we were all very grateful for that.
I bought lots of Funyuns, PopTarts, Gatorade, Soda, Hot Pockets, Arizon Watermelon Juice, and some other stuff and we are living off of that now.
P-day lunch.
Yesterday was Sunday and church was good. We had a lesson in Priesthood on Eternal Marriage and it was awesome. All of the guys in there are young single adults so they have no idea what marriage is  but forutnately the branch president was there to kinda fill us in on the whole thing. After church we actually went and ate at the Branch President's home. His wife made us some super good BBQ'd chicken and all kinds of good stuff. Then we just talked and left.
That's about it for this week. I love you guys and I hope you are all safe in Lake Powell. Have fun with EXEC Emma!
Love, Jed
Dear Mother,
I'm glad you are starting to feel a little more relaxed now that summer is over. It's crazy to think that it's over because it kinda just barely started. I saw the deer in the garden pic. Hopefully the new dog can take care of that. Just make sure he lives for a bit. Have fun in the lake! Go skiing for me. I love you so much and thanks a ton for updating the blog!