July 14, 2014 Letter
|Elder Clawson in Theth Albania! A beautiful little village in the Albania Alps, right on the border or Albania and Montenegro. Amazin!|
My dearest family and friends!!
What a great week we had! We taught a few lessons and met some good people and had a good time!
So on Tuesday we had a huge meeting with just the missionaries and we were talking about what the branch here in Shkoder needed. There are 3 active members and 2 of them have callings. One is the branch president, Besnikë, and Arsen who is a Sunday school teacher. We are currently fulfilling the other positions and we are overloaded with a bunch of branch work. We are the Relief Society, Elder's Quorum, Primary Teachers, (Every now and then some kid investigators come) and anything else. I have blessed the sacrament every week that I've been here and I've been the ward pianist a bit. Yes Mama Lisa, my piano skills have come in handy. Even though I can only read from the simplified book. (I knew there was a reason we plugged through piano lessons!! Thanks Charlotte!!)
|More pictures from Jed's p-day in Theth. Looks amazing!|
Elder Jorgensen made a statement the other day about talking in church. Since he is Relief Society President he wants to give a talk on how we can all be strengthened as Sisters in Zion.
We talked about what work needed to get done here and then we all made a goal to pray specifically for opportunities to find people that would fit these positions. We have been doing that all week.
Wednesday Elder Dahl and I met with one of the sisters investigators this last week named Klodi. She had been kinda skeptical of us before because she didn't know who we were and we were two new young men in the sisters area. But on Tuesday night we were talking with people in the road and these two girls walk by and we say hello and they ignore us and then walk away but then after a bit they turn around and stare at us forever! It was super awkward. After that happened I got a text from Klodi that said "Hey are you those two guys that we passed in the road?" I called her and said yes we were those guys that they were looking at. She agreed to meet us the next day at the church so we were kinda skeptical as to why they wanted to meet with us.
Anyways, the next day came and we met them and had a lesson with them and the other elders. Klodi was super nice and very in tune with the Spirit. She hadn't been reading as much as she would like she said but she tries to read every day. Her friend on the other hand.... She was not into learning about our church. She wanted to learn about us. Klodi gave a great prayer at the end of the lesson and then told us that she was actually going home for the summer. That was really sad. She told us that she'll be coming back in September though and I'll probably still be here so that's good.
We said goodbye to them and I shook Klodi's hand and her friend shook Elder Dahl's and then I went to shake the other ladies hand and she wrapped her arms around me and gave me two huge kisses right on my cheeks. It happened in the blink of an eye and I was just like "What the heck just happened?!" She told me I was beautiful and 'mire' which just translates to "good" so I don't know how to read that and then they were off in the blink of an eye. Crazy experience.
Then the next day we got a call from another investigator named Liza. We met with her a while back and she was pretty cool. Unfortunately like I said before, all of my investigators are girls. We are trying very hard to change that. Anyways, we met her on the road and SHE TRIED TO KISS ME TOO!! Fortunately I knew the signs of an approaching kiss so I just did this temple knock thing that men do. You just bump sides of your head together like two big boy rams fighting over a lady sheep. She didn't have enough time to meet with us but she just wanted to say hi which was really nice of her and I hope we can meet with her a bit more this coming week because she is a really good lady.
|Blood Feud tower. These towers were and still are occasionally used as safe havens for men who are involved in a blood feud. Click the link to read what Wikipedia has to say about it. Very interesting.|
We also had a lesson with Besara's husband, Edi! We've been trying to meet with him for a while and we finally got into his house when he was there. We watched the Restoration video and talked about the Book of Mormon and how we can know it is true. And NOT written by Joseph Smith.
He had tons of good questions that we wouldn't have been able to answer fully if we didn't have the Spirit with us. He asked how could we know the church is true if we hadn't had an experience like Joseph Smith did where God actually talked with us. We told him that we can know that this is God's true church because he lets the Holy Ghost answer us by praying. We told him that we had prayed with sincere hearts at certain times in our life and that we asked if the church, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine of the Church was true. We explained how the Holy Ghost works through our thoughts in our minds, feelings in our hearts, and through our general atmosphere such as feelings of quietness and peace.
|More of Theth,Albania. It must have been a spectacular p-day!|
|Elders having a great time.|
He seemed to understand it pretty well but we'll double check this coming week. But it was a really good lesson and I just wish I could have ones like that more often. More reason for me to work my bum off.
Sunday was pretty cool as well. President Weidmann, his wife, and the AP's all came up to Shkoder! They got to know the branch president and they also gave some talks, and so did Besara. We all helped her the night before to write her talk because she was super nervous because it was the first talk that she had ever given. She did great! But it was a pleasure to have the Weidmanns come. They are great! None of our investigators came but that just leaves room to improve. Next week baby.
After church we had a branch council and talked about the needs of the branch. It was really cool because the first thing that President asked was "What positions are filled and which ones need to be filled?" We told him which ones were open and not taken by members and then he said "We need to pray to find specific people to fill these positions." HOLY COW! The Spirit was definitely prompting all of us into the same direction. We explained how we had talked about that in District Meeting. The meeting went well and the Spirit was felt.
After that meeting, President came to see my house. I cleaned very well so don't worry. They sat us down on the couches and got to know us and then President asked us what our vision was for our area. We told him that we simply wanted to strengthen the branch and if we ended up leaving at the end, we wanted to have a good amount of work ready to hand down to the new missionaries.
He looked me right in the eyes (kinda scary) and asked me if I could think of anyone in the scriptures who didn't have a lot of work at the beginning. The first thing that came to mind was Alma before he met Amulek. We read that part together and it said that Alma was rejected by the people of Amonihah and he left. He had no work. As he was leaving, an angel visited him and told him to not be sad. He was beating himself up for nothing. The angel told him that he had done his part and that God was pleased with him. But he needed to go back. And this time, God gave him a companion. Alma, along with his new companion Amulek, went back to Amonihah and they preached together and were able to touch the hearts of many people.
As we analyzed this story, there were certain verses and sayings that struck Elder Dahl and myself to our core. We know what we need to do and who cares if we seem like we aren't having success. I know that as long as we are trying, working, and being obedient, we will be blessed and God will be pleased with us. Therefore, we are going to work. Harder.
About 4 hours after that, we prayed that we could find some people to fill the positions of Elder's Quorum President and Relief Society President. We left and went tracting. We tracted one building and got nothing. We went to another and the first door that we knocked on opened up. An older lady, maybe 50, answered and listened to what I said and then invited us in with her husband.... And they want to learn more. We are hopefully going over tomorrow but we left them with a Book of Mormon and they let us say a prayer before we left. We floated away on Cloud Nine.
GOD LISTENS TO OUR PRAYERS!! I also had another little experience with it. One morning I was taking a shower and unfortunately our shower only has one temp. Boiling. So I was so sick and tired of dying in the shower, I said "Heavenly Father, please make this water colder. This is the only time where I get to just be by myself and relax for a bit." And sure enough, the water turned to a wonderfully perfect temp.
Today I went to Theth. It was awesome and we will all go one day. I'm not living in Berat any more. I'm living in Theth.
I love you all! I'll try to send pics soon! Have a good week!
Sorry I got on so late. We had some difficulties getting back from Theth. How's the garden doing? Is anything growing lately? I love you so much! Have a good week.
Love, The Eldest