Sunday, October 19, 2014

Praises Were Sung!

My family! 

Elder Clawson and Elder Prince modeling their Macedonian attire.
How is it going?! It sounds like you are all loving life and loving the season. 

Well this was a really busy week for Elder Jorgensen and myself. Last Tuesday we had a fantastic district meeting directed by Elder Stewart who is a totally great missionary. Even if he is from Canada:), and then right after that we had to head to Macedonia for our exchange with the elders over there! We drove on over and got lost again, but we finally found our way to their house. It was kinda late but Elder Jorgensen and I were starving so we ordered some Dominos Pizza! (The only Dominoes in 3 countries is in Macedonia.  As well as a Burger King!)

A little taste of home in Skopje, Macedonia.  
The next day we just worked in their area and that was really fun. We don't speak Macedonian so it's cool to say hi to people and then let the other missionaries take over from there. We don't know how to say anything except "hello" and "how are you". For lunch that day we went to Burger King and it was wonderful. The sisters in Prishtina came with us again like they had last time, and it was the first time that Sister Favero had ever eaten at Burger King. Kinda crazy that her first Burger King experience came in Macedonia.

Elder Clawson had splits in Skopje, Macedonia this week.  Beautiful city!
After lunch I was able to do a baptismal interview with one of the Macedonian missionaries investigators. He is a good guy and he actually spoke English so I was able to do the interview without any translation. He'll definitely get baptized at some point. Once that was finished we had to go home. We came home and had to go right to the Institute Activity. The lesson was really good and it was given by the other elders in Prishtina. 

Jed visited the birthplace of Mother Teresa.  She is ethnic Albanian, but born in Skopje, Macedonia which was actually part of the Ottoman Empire when she was born.  
The following day was a little rough. We only had one lesson in our area at this time and it was Thursday. So we went finding to see if we could get some new investigators and we didn't find any but we did get a few numbers and I met a really cool guy named Osman. After lunch and stuff that day we had to go and do some service at the Branch President's home. We cleaned his yard up and mowed it which was AWESOME! I never in my life thought that I would want to mow a lawn but I was loving it. After that we went home and got changed and then we had a lesson with the Jashari family which was fantastic. I took the lead in it and taught the Restoration with the Cups lesson. They loved it and John was just smiling away thinking it was the greatest thing. The family said that they really understood the Restoration of the Church a bit more and it made more sense. 

He changed his first tire!!  Dad's always been around before:)
Friday comes. It's MLC meeting in Tirana. We wake up at 3:30am and get all ready and head out to the car. I start it up and we drive about 10 meters and we feel something is wrong. We look out and our front right tire is flat as a pancake. So we pull up on the side, get the jack out, and crank it up. We pull out the spare and the wrench and then we try to get the screws off. And THEY WON'T MOVE!! So we are freaking out for like 10 minutes to get these stupid screws off and they are just hyperlocked with the most insane glue in the universe onto these tires. So finally, being missionaries and having a knowledge that God loves His children and he does not want them to be sad, we prayed! After the prayer, I got down and held onto the wrench with all my might and then I basically lifted the car and this massive screech that rings throughout the sleeping city of Prishtina. But it had come loose! Praises were sung in my heart at that moment. We were able to get all of the screws off and we got on our way to Tirana. God definitely showed His love for us that morning. MLC was good and I'm blown away with all of the missionaries in leadership right now. I've definitely got some improvement to do. 

Skopje, Macedonia
We came home and then we had a lesson with Betim and talked about Alma 47 about Lehonti and Amalickiah. He really liked it and it was a super spiritual lesson. Then we went home, planned, and then I fell asleep cuz I was really lacking on that. Saturday was the first full day where we had enough time to give all of our attention to our area. We filled the days with lessons and we had a great day. We met with two new investigators including Osman. We couldn't watch conference but that was okay. We'll watch it sometime soon. 

Nezir is still struggling with smoking. Whoever thinks smoking is cool, is dumb. Don't smoke kids. So please pray for him. He's so great and he loved coming to conference yesterday. 

Jed said this is a favorite treat.  A cup of corn.  He called it Happy Corn:)
So yeah yesterday we watched the first session for Sunday and then ate lunch afterwards. I made banana bread again but I destroyed it in the oven. I guess it needed less than 45 minutes. But it was still kinda good. 

At least he's cleaning!
After that we had to weekly plan and that was really good because we couldn't do it on Friday. Then we had a meeting with Betim for missionary work in the branch. It was really good. 

Jed is so kind!  He send these pictures because he know's I love seeing this!  Fruit Treg, or market for p-day today.
All in all, I had a good week. I love you guys so much! Have fun and tell Dad that his new skis are so sweet. 



Dearest Mother, 
How is life going for you? Tell Jane way to go with her biking skills. It's totally the Strider that helped her with that. Those pumpkin pancakes looked like heaven on earth. I miss your cooking. 
Well Mom, I miss ya and love ya! Have a good week!

Love, Jedediah

Monday, October 6, 2014

There Is Nowhere I Would Rather Be

Hello Family of Clawson, 

I have had a super fun week! It was super busy and full of all kinds of chaos but I survived and enjoyed the ride. 

Jed with his trainer Elder Foster.   Good byes are tough!
On Monday I drove down with the AP's from Prishtina to Tirana and just had a good 4 hour drive with them. We saw a gypsy guy out taking a poop in the middle of the city and I just thought to myself "There is nowhere I would rather be." I was with good people, chilling in a big van, wearing a name tag, seeing something that you don't see very often. One of those 'I love my mission' moments. 

Elder Clawson and Motra Curtis.  She returned home this week too.
When we got to Tirana I was able to meet some members in the 1st branch that I knew and then we went to President Weidmann's home for FHE and it was super fun. We play Book of Mormon charades and had a good laugh. We stayed at the AP's house and had a good time with them. The next morning Elder Roberts looked at me and said "Wanna go get some breakfast at the Stephen Center?" And I just said "Uh, yes." So we left and got some Chocolate Chip Pancakes at the Stephen Center. (The Stephen Center is a little restaurant and hotel that has American breakfasts!)

Elder Clawson saying his goodbyes to Elder Roberts.  
Elder Clawson and Motra Kokol.  "She's like an Elder in a good way!"  
Then I went to the mission home and took my last pictures with the dying group of missionaries. (Dying missionaries are going home.  They've served their 2 years or 18 months and are heading home to family.) It was super rough. I said goodbye to Curtis, Kokol, (that one was super rough), Foster, (that one sucked too) Roberts, (Sad), and the rest and I just wanted to cry! They were all super awesome and I will totally miss them. Elder Palmer actually sent me a photo of him picking Elder Foster up from the airport and that was cool. 

Some of Elder Clawson's MTC group.  They're always happy to see each other.
After that I said goodbye to my old district and took Jorgy (Elder Jorgensen) up to Prishtina! We have worked super hard this week but it was Bajram 

(3) Kurban Bajram: the "Feast of Sacrifice"): In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Bulgaria, this festival is referred as Kurban Bajram. Kurban Bajram comes two months and ten days after Ramadan Bajram and marks the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail for God. As Ibrahim prepared to sacrifice his son, God stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead (this story is also a part of the Old Testament and Jewish Tanakh). 

Muslims around the world thus sacrifice sheep for this holiday, giving the meat out to their family, friends and to the poor. This meat is called kurban in Bosnia, thus the holiday is called Kurban Bajram. 

Muslims also celebrate Kurban Bajram as it marks the end of the Hajj for the millions of Muslims who make the pilgrimage to Mecca each year. )

and everyone was out celebrating and every single store in Kosovo was closed! So yeah that kinda messed up our week but we were still able to meet with a few people. Nezir is still doing well and we were able to teach him about the Priesthood and Temples this week which was good. He is loving it and he is just fantastic in general. We also met with that guy named Agim and we invited him to be baptized! He said he wasn't sure because baptism seemed kinda weird to him. So we'll be working on him a bit slower. Still a great guy. 

Elder Clawson with some great members in Kosovo.
Well the new sisters here are Sister Favero and Sister Zollinger. They are both really good and I'm super impressed with their work so far. The Elders are Elder McGrath and Stewart and they are awesome as well! They have been finding all week and have met some great people! All in all my district is really good. 

Elder Clawson and Elder Jorgensen in their "Helping Hands" vests.  They found a cute tea set while they were cleaning up garbage, and decided to break for a bit.  Looks like Jed will have some good practice for when he gets home to play with his sister Jane:)
Elder Clawson and Elder Jorgensen really like being together.  This is a picture from Theth, Albania.
On Saturday we drove out to a little village and we met with this guy named Bashkim. He is super awesome and we actually got him as a referral from! He said that he wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ from our point of view and that he wanted to meet with missionaries! So we drove out and met with him and gave him a Book of Mormon and talked a LOT about Jesus. He has met with missionaries from tons of other churches and he says that they just don't have all of the truth. So it's good that we got to him! He loved it when we presented the Book of Mormon. He asked us to sign it and all that jazz. He is definitely going down in history as one of my favorites. He was super awesome. Just super happy and hungry for the righteous truth of GOD!!

Street in Prishtina, Kosovo.

Jed in front of  Skenderbeu statue in Prishtina.  Skenerbeu is an Albanian hero dating back to the 1400's.  Here's the link from Wikipedia.
Yesterday was a little rough because none of our investigators could make it to church and so I just wanted to cry. But to make it all better is the fact that President Bodell invited us over to his home for tacos! So we went over there after church and had a great time just chatting about life and loving taco meat. Later in the evening we had our Branch Misson Meeting and that was great. Then I tried teaching Jorgy how to drive a stick. One Christ like Attribute that I have definitely gotten better at is Patience. I was super patient and considerate with him even though he was killing it all over the place and on several occasions he almost decimated my Bathsheeba vehicle. But he is getting better.

This is the famed Banana Bread, or I should say cake, from last week.
Lots of finding going on still so pray for us! I know you already are but just saying. I love being here! I love the cold air, I hate the rain, but I love Kosovo! I love serving with Elder Jorgensen and I love being a missionary! I know this church is true and that God loves His children! (us) I get to watch Conference next week so I'll be able to relate to y'all's stories next monday. Well I love you guys and I hope you have a good week!

Love, Jeddy

Dearest Mother, 
I'm glad this new dog is surviving. Jane needs to have a dog for longer than 2 weeks. Is it starting to get cold and snow at all? I'm hoping that snow comes soon here because I'm loathing this wretched rain right now. I had a good Pday too. Played frisbee and what not and had a happy day. Little cold but I like it. Well Mom, I think you are the absolute greatest lady ever. Thanks for writing me and keeping the blog up to date! I LOVE YOUR GUTS!!

Love, Jedediah

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Have A Testimony Of Banana Bread

Dearest Family in America, 

Elder Clawson and his district.  Elder Roberts is the second from the left, and Motra Curtis is the dark headed sister 4th from the left.  They both returned home this last week.  They will be missed!
I probably had the best week of my life... Probably. This week was so good for us and we have loved working here. I'm getting on super early today because in approximately 2 hours I will be escorting my dear friend and colleague, Elder Carson Reece Roberts, to Tirana. He has honorably fulfilled his time as a missionary and is going home. (Elder Roberts as well as a lot of other missionaries Jed loves returned home last week.)  

We met with Nezir this week and he is still doing great. He might need his date pushed back just a little bit because he is still smoking a bit but he is definitely making progress. It'll probably just be like two weeks later or something. Nothing extreme. 
We've also been meeting with a new investigator named Agim Bega. He is awesome. He is super receptive to the gospel. He isn't in our area all the time so we have to catch him when he is working here and when he has a break or something. We invited him to be baptized and he was a little hesitant but he'll come around soon. He's a really good guy and he wants to do what's right. 

The is the NEWBORN monument in Kosovo.  It was revealed on Feb. 17, 2008 on the day that Kosovo declared their independence from Serbia.
I don't know if I mentioned this last week but we are meeting with another guy named Ilir Gashi. He works with wheelchairs for the disabled and he saw how the church really does a huge focus on humanitarian aid and stuff like that. He got in contact with us and he loves meeting with us. We asked him if he would be baptized as well and he said that he's a little worried because his entire village is Muslim and he doesn't know how they would take it. He also mentioned that he doesn't want to lie to people and say that he is Muslim if he is baptized in our church. He's a  great guy and we hope to see more of him. 

Here's the link on the NEWBORN monument from Wiki.  
I guess the biggest success this week happened on Saturday morning. Elder Price and I decided to make some banana bread and head out to Srdan's house for a surprise visit. We've been trying to get in contact with him but he has been telling us that he has lots of work and that he has no time to have us come over. We wanted to do some service for him earlier in the week but we had some other stuff come up and we weren't able to go out to his home. So we decided to do this surprise visit to kinda see if he really was busy or if he was just trying to drop us. We got one of the members to come with us, his name is Ardi, and we drove out there. Right when we pulled in to his house he was leaving. He saw us and invited us in and was blown away that we had made him food! He loved it. So we all went into his house and just ate banana bread with his wife, brother in law, and kids. His wife wants me to come over and show her how to make banana bread and I think I might be doing that later on in the week. But we just had a quick chat and talked about how life was going and we just had a good time talking. 

I'm sure glad Jed know's how to play soccer. (He played on year when he was 6!)  The sign Jed is making with his hands is the double headed eagle of the Albanian flag.  
The following day he came to church! And he also brought his brother in law named Jugoslav. He's a good guy. He is super short. Like a whole head shorter than me. It's nuts! Some of the members translated into Serbian for the both of them and I had to translate into English for a new Embassy worker that came. We also did a special musical number in sacrament. I played 'Come Thou Fount' on the guitar and the other missionaries all sang and I personally thought it was really good. We had actually done it the night before for a branch talent show that we had but we had been dressed up in funny outfits and Elder Price was playing the çiftalin which is like a 2 string guitar. 

Elder Clawson and Elder Price getting ready for the branch talent show.  They played  Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing.
After church we had a lesson with Srdan and Jugoslav and we invited them to be baptized. They said that they would try and we are very excited to help them along! It would be so awesome to have some Serbian people in our branch! 

Last night we also got transfer calls. I told you all last week that I wasn't expecting anything to change with my companionship but Elder Price has been called to serve in Lushnjë as the the Zone Leader down there. I will be companions with Elder Jorgensen (Which I am super stoked for) and Watson will be leaving to go train a new missionary in Durrës, and Sister White is training in Second Ward in Tirana where I was a while ago. I'm sad that I'm the only one staying in Prishtina but it's alright. I enjoyed being with Elder Price and I had tons of fun with him and with the whole district that I had. I'll be back in Kosovo tomorrow with Jorgensen and work will begin again! 

I love you guys so much! Have a great week and remember to be safe! Loves!

Love, Jedediah

Dear Mom, 
Sorry I got on before you could email me. I hope everything is going well at home. I used Ruth's Banana Bread Recipe (here's the link to the best banana bread on the planet! It's a hit in Albania and Kosovo.) for Srdan and it worked out super well. Thanks for teaching me things like that. I love you! 

Love, Jedediah Jimmy