Monday, December 15, 2014

So Great To Serve Here

Dec. 8, 2014 email

So yes I had a fantastic week full of busy-ness and stuff like that. Monady we were able to meet with this guy named Arber that we had found in the street a while back. He saw us and asked us if we pray everyday and we said "Yeah..." And then he asked us if we would pray for him and we said "Of course we can!" So we got his number and he left. It took a while for us to meet with him but we finally did and we taught him the Restoration. His first lesson he had before, he learned about the Plan of Salvation. He was pretty interested about Joseph Smith and he had some good questions. And he also prayed in Serbian, so yeah that was interesting too. 

Christmas Tree harvesting.
That night Elder Jorgensen and I did the zone goals. That's always fun because we totally have to rely on the Lord 100% because we don't know what the heck we are doing. The next day we woke up at 3ish and drove to Tirana again! We had the Leader Meeting with the Assistants and the other Zone Leaders. We got there at about 8ish and the meeting started at 10 so we decided to take a little nap in the car. Elder Jorgensen fell asleep instantly and when he falls asleep he breathes like a washing machine. It's not snoring it's just super loud breathing that is louder than..... I don't know, something super loud. So needless to say, I did not sleep. I sat in the car and listened to some hymns and thought about Prishtina. The meeting went well and it was kinda interesting. We had a great training from President Weidmann and then we presented our goals. We have some pretty high goals this month. Super stoked to achieve them! 

P-day playing H-O-R-S-E.  Looks like Elder Clawson got out pretty quick:) With Motra F.
After that we drove home and stopped in this little village by the border and cut some trees down for Christmas. They were way better than the ones we had found last Monday. We got home and met with Nezir and Ajdin and showed them "He is the Gift" and they loved it. We asked Nezir to ask his family if we could come over and show them the video and he said he would ask. Turns out they don't want to. Sad day. 

The next day was awesome! The sisters found a guy named Pashku and introduced him to us. He talks a ton but he is from a Catholic background and likes Jesus. So we listened to him a lot during our first lesson and we didn't have the opportunity to say much because he just went off on the Bible and stuff. Afterwards we invited him to Institute where we should "HitG" again and invited the members to invite their friends the next week. We also met with Arthur and Adhurim again and we had good lesson on Earth Life with them. They are both praying in lessons now and it's a super cool thing to watch. Hopefully we can get them on baptismal dates soon. 
Motra Z. putting up with Elder Clawson and Jorgenson.  Bless her!

That same day we also met with one of our older investigators named Nexhat. He has some family problems but he really enjoys learning. He said if he didn't live with his mom and dad then he would have no problems with coming and learning. But we taught him the Plan of Salvation and he had some good questions and just loved the whole thing. Hopefully we can see him again soon. 

Thursday we picked up garbage in the road and then had a few lessons set up. We met with Pashku again and to restrain him from talking we watched the Restoration film, (My idea. Genius.) and he was quiet long enough for us to testify and invite him to learn more. So it was good. Then we met with Ajdin and Suad that night. 

Saturday we had zone training! It was good. We talked a lot about the new Christmas initiative and the goals. And we got some new Macedonian missionaries!! 2 Elders and a Sister! Good kids! After that Elder Jorgensen and I gave a training on obedience and diligence. It was good for everyone including us. Then we met with Ajdin again that night. 

Ajdin is still doing great. He is so ready for baptism. We don't know what's up but we are just praying that he receives and answer to his prayer soon. He needs the church in his life! We read with him in his lessons now so that he can become more familiar with the Book of Mormon. 

Yes, those just happen to be homemade Oreos!!!  Jed's favorite!!  Those sister missionaries are way to nice to the Elders.  He loves them! 
Suad's cousin passed away this week so he wasn't able to come to church this week. It was a sad thing for everyone. Nezir came to church and helped me prepare the sacrament which was sweet because he got to exercise his priesthood! Church was good and we fasted for the zone so that we can accomplish our goals and for Ajdin so he will get baptized. It'll happen. I'm sure of it. 

Mission Conference in Durres a few weeks ago.  It's a fuzzy picture, but I can pick Jed out.  He's on the left side, front row, red tie.  7 or 8 over.
So that's about it for this week. I am so grateful for this time of year! And for the opportunity that I have to serve here! I never thought in a million years that I would be around so many Muslim people that are so great! I love teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is helping me understand the Atonement so much more! I love being here!!

I love you all!

Love, Jed

Dearest Mamacita, 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope you have a great time! I'm sorry I won't be there but I'll definitely be taking a picture for you that day. I love you so much and thank you for being the best mom in the whole world!! Thank you for yelling at me when I had bad grades and when I did stupid stuff because it's helped me be a bit better. At least I think so. I hope you have a good week and have fun!! Go ski! 

Love, The Eldest Son

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Refiner's Fire

Dec. 1 2014 email

Hello Family of Avon and everywhere else, 

Elder Clawson with a cute little girl in his ward.  She looks to be about Sweetheart's age:)
It sounds like you guys had a killer awesome Thanksgiving up in Eagle!! I was exceedingly sorrowful to hear that the Velodrome was a little too muddy for the biking enthusiasts but it sounds like you guys had plenty of other schmutz to do. 

Well this week was a very nice one for Elder Jorgensen and myself. Monday night we had some stuff planned but only one lesson worked out and that was with Suad. Betim was at the church at that time as well, so we had him join us for the lesson. We showed them the Mormon Message about the Refiner's Fire (The video below is the video Jed is talking about.) and talked about how in this life we all have struggles and challenges but we gotta get over them and continue in life even though it sucks at times. After that we had a discussion about our lives and some challenges that we've all had to deal with and it was good for them to kinda reflect on those experiences and see how it helped them in the end. 

So we were contacted Monday night by our leaders and asked to do an exchange in Gjakovë the following day. So we woke up Tuesday morning and took off for Gjakova. We got there and we both worked with a set of Elders over there. It was good. We did a ton of finding and got some numbers and then we had some lessons also. It was a great day in Gjakova.

It's Elder Watson!  Mission Conference on Thanksgiving Day.
We were able to meet with Nezir, Ajdin, and Artur and Adhurim the next day. It was really good to meet them. Nezir is doing so good! He's been off smoking for quite a while now and he is just progressing as a member and we love to see it! Ajdin has been good too. He might need to have his baptism pushed back a bit more because he wants to read a bit more. We think that he is ready but he really just wants to have more experience reading the Book of Mormon. It's a good desire for him to have and we're not gonna force him to get baptized if he doesn't think he's ready. We showed Artur and Adhurim the new He is the Gift (#sharethegift campaign and video are below. Click on it.  It's AWESOME!)video for Christmas and they really liked it. The men we are teaching celebrate Christmas pretty often, even though they're Muslim, so we were glad to hear that. That night I went to bed early because we had to wake up at 3 in the morning the next day. 

Thanksgiving Day!!! We woke up bright and early and picked up the sisters. They had made banana bread for us the day before and had gotten us chocolate milk so we were totally ready for the ride. (I tell you these sisters are amazing!) We drove to Tirana Albania with them just talking about all kinds of funny stuff. The sisters make me laugh because they are both super fun. Elder Jorgensen spilled Banana Bread all over his brand new suit pants while we were driving. That was a shame. Just wanna say, right now in this internet locale that I'm writing this email in, Viva la Vida is playing, and I am singing to it. Music is dearly missed in my heart. Anyways, we got to Tirana right on time and we had a special training on the new Christmas Initiative for this month. It is such a great idea! It got us all super stoked for Christmas and we are excited to share it this month. After that training we all went downstairs and ate the fantastic food that the senior couples had made for us. They are so great. Then we had our dessert contest and Mother....... I won. My prize was a can of sweetened condensed milk. I made the Chocolate Orange Butter cookies. Ya know the ones that are like the Mexican Wedding Cookies? So yeah they all liked those. Next we had a talent show and guess who's talent won? OURS!! Our whole district did it and we did a P90X workout video but we called it Book of Mormon X and we did a bunch of funny exercises. President and Sister Weidmann were laughing up a storm. It was fantastic. So our prize for that was another can of sweetened condensed milk! One for every companionship in Prishtina. After all that we had a quick testimony meeting where I got to hear the sisters who started their mission the same time as me bear their dying testimonies. It murdered me. I almost lost it like a wee lad that gets coal for Christmas!! MY SISTERS ARE LEAVING!! That hurts me. I love my sisters, they are so great. I'm lucky I've been able to serve around both of them. After that it was about 5:30 and we took off with the sisters again for Prishtina. Crazy thing happened too. I was driving and it was pitch black outside and I can't see anything except for the lights on the passing cars and so I wasn't paying the best attention but right at that moment I felt the car move in a weird way so I sat up more and focused on what it was and then all of a sudden this car comes whizzing around the corner, on a bridge, passing 3 semi-trucks, coming right for us! I pull as close to the side as I can and the car misses us by like 1 foot. We all about peed our pants and the sisters and I screamed. But we lived. Because God caused something to make the car move in such a way that it would get my attention so that I would be able to pull over super fast. It was awesome. We got home at about 9:30 that night and went straight to bed because I hadn't had a lick of sleep since 3 in the morning. 

Blue flag is for Kosovo, and the red double headed eagle flag is for Albania.

Albanian Flag Day or Independence Day.  Nov. 28, 1912  Ward party for the occasion.
The next day we just had a bunch of planning to do for the coming week and then we had to help set up for the Nov. 28th party! Here they have Dita e Flamurit which is Flag day and it is pretty big. (On Nov. 28, 1912 the country of Albania declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire.  Kind of like our 4th of July!)We had the party at about 6 o'clock and we had tons of people there. We had byreke and kos and it was super good. We played games and all kinds of things. Nezir sat next to us and we played Pit and he was getting super into it.  He could only stay for an hour so we just sat and talked with investigators and members. Then we all got up and did some traditional Albanian dancing.  Then they played Cotton Eyed Joe, the Macarena, and the Cha Cha slide and no one knew how to dance to those songs so all the Elders showed them how it was done. Fun stuff. Then we went home and slept. 

Saturday we cleaned up the church and then went finding. We found for most of the day and got some numbers. We met with Betim that night and showed him the new Christmas video and he fell in love with it. Instantly started Facebooking and hashtagging it up. Then we met with Ajdin and talked about Enduring to the End. He totally gets the Gospel and we love him. Just gotta get him feeling ready. 

Yesterday was a good Sabbath. I actually gave a talk. I talked about Faith and the Brother of Jared which is one of my favorite stories. 

Ajdin came to church and afterwards we read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with him and then we just had a discussion on it. He is a good guy and he will definitely be baptized. After that we went to dinner with the Bodell family! He's the branch president and they made us orange french toast which really ringed my chimes. I brought over the leftover cookies from Thanksgiving and I said they were like Mexican Wedding Cookies. Pres. Bodell is sitting at dinner and says "Hey can you pass those Mexi-Balls over here?" I chuckled to myself quietly because I didn't want anyone to judge me inappropriately. After that we shared a spiritual message and they gave us some Christmas presents! It was all American food! I was so happy! Love me some Jello pudding, BBQ sauce, and Kraft Mac and Cheese!!!!!!

So glad Elder Jorgensen's family loves him, because it doesn't look like Jed has anything yet!

P-day with Elder Jorgensen.
That was all that happened yesterday and today we woke up and had to take care of some insurance stuff in connection with our car. It's almost done. Then we actually had a lesson with a new investigator named Arber.  We shared the Restoration with him and he liked it and understood it. He's a good guy and he prayed in Serbian for us. Kinda cool. After the lesson we went and looked for a Christmas tree but turns out there's no wild small pine trees. Curse the soil of this land. Then I came home and changed and got lunch. 

Well that's it my loves. I hope you guys have a good week! I love you guys!!!!!

Love, Elder Jedediah Jim

Dearest Mom, 
Sounds like you guys are having the best times of your lives! Tell everyone that I love them still. How's everything going in primary? I'm glad Jane gets to come. She seems like she is going to be a very social butterfly. Well I love you mom! Have fun and be safe!

Love, Jed

The Priesthood Rocks!

Nov. 24th Email

Dearest Family!!!!

So this last week was a good one. Not too much stuff happened but nonetheless it was happy and not too stressful.
Monday was good and that night we had a lesson with Ajdin about the Priesthood. 

He came to the church and we asked him how he was feeling and he said that he was feeling perfect!!! BOOOM!! Priesthood rocks and God is real. So that was a good thing for him to see. We explained to him how right after he's baptized he can get the Aaronic Priesthood and do the sacrament. He was pretty excited about that so we are super stoked for that moment. 

The next day the Macedonian Elders all came up and had an exchange with us. We've decided to switch off every month so we can save some gas personally. So Elder Prince and Barber stayed with us and Elder Gierisch and Krajnc stayed with the other Elders in Prishtina and we all spent the day working together. There was a lot of street contacting and stuff like that. So Elder Jorgensen and I then taught our English Course and met with Suad. He is doing good and we are trying to help him feel a little bit more comfortable doing sacrament and such. 

English course.
Later at night the Macedonian Elders came back and slept at our house. That morning we woke up and studied and then had some more finding time which was good. We got some good numbers and we were happy. Then we went to this awesome restaurant that we found called "Sabaja". It's a brewery but it's owned by an american and they have some killer good food and it's not expensive!! Hallelujah! That made us happy and then the other Elders had to leave back to Macedonia. It was also Elder Prince's birthday that day so we said "happy birthday" a lot. 

That night we just spent a lot of time finding and then we had  our private English Course with Artur and Adhurim. They are good kids and we love teaching them. We taught them some english and then about the Plan of Salvation. They answered our questions really well and they are definitely learning something from that. I hope we can get in contact with their parents really soon. Afterwards we had our Institute Activity. That was really good and it was good to learn from them. And then right after that we got to meet with Nezir! It was our first recent convert lesson with him and we reviewed the Priesthood with him so that he would be ready to receive it on Sunday. He had been out of town for a while so we weren't able to meet with him very often and it was kinda sad because I would usually talk with him all the time for a lesson or for setting something up. He's doing good though and still is off smoking. I really hope he keeps up with that and I definitely know that he will be blessed by it. 

Happy Birthday Elder Prince! (on the right)
Thursday was the day that we played soccer. We went with some members and a bunch of investigators. I made 3 goals!! And they were sweet goals if I might say. One of them was off a corner kick and I pulled this crazy kung fu move and drilled the ball into the goal like Jackie Chan. Or like Po. After that we went home and got back to finding and working. We had a lesson with Betim and then our English Course. It was our last one for two weeks so everyone was all sad because they love us so much. Just kidding.

Friday we did service in the road. It was good and the road looks much nicer now. But anyways after that we went to Sabaja again and I got a chili dog. TO DIE FOR!!  Later that day we had some more finding to do. We've been trying really hard to get some new investigators. Later that night we met with Suad again and then with Ajdin and we just kinda explained more about Prophets and then about Baptism and Confirmation. It was good stuff. 

Sister missionaries are the BEST!  They feed the other 4 missionaries almost every Sunday.  Jed says they are awesome!
So the next day I actually had an exchange with Elder Stewart. That was awesome. In the morning we had a lesson with a new investigator named Ismail. He wasn't very interested and we had to end the lesson early becasue he said that he needed to go to work so hopefully we get to see him again.  After that we went to the church and cleaned up for the activity that was happening last night. After that we went finding and such and then we met with Agim. He's the guy that keeps asking us how to get visas to England. But he shows potential every now and then so we have kept him for a while. We taught him about prayer and prophets because he basically thinks that a prophet is someone that just has a good idea and then when he prays, he prays to me and Elder Jorgensen which is very flattering but incorrect. 

Elder Stewart and Elder Clawson

After his lesson we had a big activity for the young single adults. The Stake President came up with a bunch of Institute teachers from Albania and he gave a great lesson on putting on the armor of God. When he got to the part that explains 'loins' he kinda started ripping on the young men.  It was good for them to hear it. They needed a little guidance I think. Another sweet thing that happened that night was I got to meet Elder Euglid Hoxha! He served in Leeds with Kelbie which was super awesome. He is a way nice guy and he actually lives in Lushnjë but he wasn't home when I was down there. Good stuff. 

The next day was church. We had all the soldiers there from Bondsteel and all the Institute teachers as well. Nezir was also able to get the Priesthood in the second hour and I got to give it to him!! It was awesome and I loved every second of it. That was basically all that happened yesterday. 

Well I'm sorry I'm getting worse at emailing. I'll try to improve on that. I hope you guys have a good week! Love ya'll!

Love, Jedediah

Dearest Mother,  

Well how much snow do you guys have? We haven't had any since that one time but it's getting a bit colder so I'm sure it'll come down soon. Have fun at Sam and Hollie's this week! Tell them all that I said Hi! I love you!

Love, Jed