Thursday, January 22, 2015

Soft American Carpet

Jan. 19, 2015 email
Well my family, 

Sunset over Tirana looking out Jed's balcony.
It has been a good week. Not tons of crazy stuff happening but what can ya do. Just gotta work. 

So last Monday night I got done with email and then we had to go to 2nd ward to have a baptismal interview. Elder Braden wanted to do it so I just said, "Ok." So I got to sit with the other Elders and talked about how everything was going and whatnot and then the interview got done. There were a few things that the investigator needs to freshen up on, but he's got a date for the end of this month so we are excited for that! Afterwards we had to go to an appointment at our bishop's house and Elder Braden thought he knew the way...(Obviously Elder Clawson didn't know the way either:)

Needless to say we showed up incredibly late but they were fabulously forgiving and we just got to know them a bit more and talk about how we can work closer together to make the work progress more effectively. Our bishop's wife made these killer awesome sushi things with mango puree all over the top and NO ONE was eating them. So I ate all of them. There were like 24 or something like that. Good!

Looks a bit warmer in Tirana vs. Kosovo.
Tuesday was good. Just some meetings and what not in the morning and then after all of that we did some finding. Later in the day was when we held our English Course. I love English Course because you get to hear all of these new english speakers with great accents say some funny things!  My favorite thing to do is play "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes". All the kids love and then you get these old ladies and their husbands in there and they are trying super hard to stay on pace with everyone. Good stuff. Well we haven't found a whole lot of investigators for ourselves but we have found like 5 girls for the sisters to teach. They come up after the english lesson and ask to learn about the church and we just say "Yeah, here we'll introduce you to our awesome sisters." After English Class we had a big Ward Council meeting. This place is so developed! I love it. Missionaries don't really have to deal with Branch work ever and we can just let them take the controls for the ward. We get to just focus on missionary work. After that we had a lesson with a less active family called. They were baptized before I was born, so like a really long time ago. They are good folks. They have a son on a mission in America right now that's having a great time. 

Wednesday I basically went finding all day until about 5 o'clock and then we went to the US Embassy housing compound. We have a member there and she invited all the Elders over to her house for dinner. So we walked over there with the other Elders and got scanned and x-rayed and entered the compound. It's been a year and a half since I have laid foot on soft, American carpet. It was quite pleasurable. We goofed around a little bit and talked about Doctor Who a lot and then ate dinner. Enchiladas. Super good! I usually hate enchiladas too. After that we did a lesson on Contention with a battery and steel wool. The kids loved it so mission accomplished I guess. 

Lunch with Elder Griffiths while he and Elder Clawson were on splits.
The next day I was in 1st ward with Elder Griffiths. He came in last transfer and is awesome. We went finding a lot and had a great lesson with a member. He's a solid missionary and was super fun to hang around. I also had an interview with President Weidmann that morning at his home which was great. He gives me the best interviews of my life! He just gets to know ya and then blasts you with spiritual awesomeness. Love it. 

Friday was a lot more finding and weekly planning and ward missionary meeting. So yeah not much on that day. 

That night I had another exchange but it was with Elder Linderman. It was awesome to work with him on Saturday. We found for about 6 hours the following day and then we had a lesson with a less active and then we went hunting for an inactive member that had served in Elder Linderman's home town in California. We didn't find his house but we found his number and gave him a call. Cool guy so hopefully we'll be able to meet with him soon. 

Thanks again to Elder Tanner!  He passed this guitar on to Jed when he returned home last summer.  Jed singing to Tirana.
Sunday we went to church and then ate lunch. I made some killer pasta. After that we stayed at the house for a bit because Elder Braden is pretty sick and he needed to sleep so I just slept for thirty minutes and ate food and watched the Testaments and then the Restoration video like 4 times. It's memorized completely now. 

Later on we went to visit a member.  He's fantastic and it was good to meet with him. After that we had a lesson with a part member family and taught them the meaning of prayer. Lots of people here kinda struggle with that but I'm sure that's a world wide thing. After that we went home and got the numbers for the zone. 

Another suit selection:)
One thing that I saw this week was kinda of on a personal level. I've been noticing that my mission has changed me quite a bit. Not only mentally and physically but obviously spiritually. I'm not saying I'm this awesome spiritual giant that can prophesy about crazy stuff but being on a mission has totally helped me recognize the Spirit so much more. I feel more secure with my decisions and just more guided when I pray and when I seek the Lord's help. It's honestly the best thing ever. My mission has changed my desires too. It's interesting to think back before my mission and look at what I wanted in life at that time and then to look at myself now and see how those desires are just so different now. I honestly love my mission so much! It's the best thing that has ever happened to me!

I love you guys!! Be safe this week at Sun Valley and have fun skiing! I'll try to be on a little bit later today. I love you guys! 

Love, Jed

Lot's of Finding and Lot's of Rejection

Jan. 12, 2015 Email Home
          My dearest family in America, 

Beso means BELIEVE in Albanian.  Not kiss as in Spanish:)
This week was super bust with lots of zone leader stuff to get figured out. But I guess I'll start with the little bit of teaching that we actually got done this week. 

So on Tuesday night we went with the sisters to a less active family's home because they were going to hand them off to us. When we got there the mom and dad weren't home but the two sons and the grandma were there and so was a friendly neighbor boy named Mirko.  We started talking with him and then asked if we could just do a lesson right then and there with him and the two boys. We started teaching the Restoration and that just opened his mind up to a bunch of questions that he has had for a long time. He had come to the church for a Christmas party with this family and one of the members welcomed him and told him that our church was the true church and that kinda got his mind going a little bit so he had lots of questions to ask us. But the lesson went well and we invited him to come to church. Unfortunately he couldn't make it yesterday to church but we still have high hopes for him because he is a great kid. 

A friend at the market.
So yeah this week was super busy with lots of meetings and trainings and busy work. On Tuesday we had District meeting so we could get familiar with each others areas and what not and then we just went street contacting...all day.  The following morning we had our MLC meeting which I always seem to enjoy an it was even better this time becasue I didn't have to wake up and drive at 4 o'clock in the morning.  We presented our numbers and goals for this coming month and we are pushing super hard to get them. We've decided to be more consecrated and such so we have a 100% SYL (speak your language) policy in our zone now. We can only speak Albanian when we are outside of our houses. NO ENGLISH. So Elder Braden decided that we will speak Albanian 100% of the time whether we are in our house or outside. So MLC was good and we learned a lot and then we had a a meeting with the Sister Training Leaders which went great too. 

Jed's very favorite P-day activity! Bouldering at a climbing gym.
The next day we had to give our zone training to all of the missionaries in Tirana. It went pretty well and I think we all learned something from it. The rest of the day we just went finding. On Friday we had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader which was great and then we had to do our weekly planning session which takes a while usually. Saturday morning Elder Braden and I had to hold a District Leader Training because tons of our District Leaders here in Tirana are brand new and don't know what the heck to do. I gave a training from John chapter 21 which I think we all learned a bit from. Then we went finding the rest of the day. 

The Motra's in Jed's ward.

Elder Clawson with his companion Elder Braden eating fried ice cream.
Sunday came around and we got to go to church. It was really good and Megi Celi gave a talk and it was great. (She's the cute girl who was companions with one of our employees at Great Harvest in Logan!)Then we went home and I made the rest of my macaroni and cheese. It was super good by the way. That night we got to meet with a part member family and a less active member so it was a success! 

Today we went to the  big treg (market)with some of the new missionaries and that was fun and then we went to Time Out and got a Special Pita which was to die for. Then Elder Braden and I went climbing again. It was great just doing it by ourselves. 

I get a few pictures of this every week.  Elder Clawson is searching for the perfect suit to wear home.  Suits are extremely nice and inexpensive in Albania!!  I don't expect there to be much left of the suits he took out on his mission:)
But all in all that was my week. Busy but not super loaded with lessons or things like that. Lots of finding in the road, lot of rejection, lot of english course fliers and stuff like that. I'm sorry I don't have a lot of time tonight. I love you all so much and I hope you're having a good time!

Love, Jed

Dearest Mother, 
Thanks for going into such detail on our dog getting spayed. I'm glad I could be part of that experience! Well I had no time to get to those BYU applications so I'll try my hardest to get them done next week. Thanks a ton for getting all of those ready. I love you Mom!! 

Love, Jedediah

Church Is For 3 Hours!

Jan. 5, 2015 Letter

Hello my sweet family, 

Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all arrived to Elder Clawson's doorstep on Christmas Eve!  Thanks to the sweet office couples who drove around the mission to make sure every missionary had their packages.  He looks like a  little kid at Christmas:)
Well I guess it's only been like 4 days since I last wrote you and not a whole ton has changed. 

One thing that I do need to say is that Tirana is a total maze! It's ridiculous! I have no idea where I am ever and hopefully I can finally get a grip on it real soon. 

So basically since I've got here we've been trying to kinda get to know the members. So there are tons of members here and we are working in a ward with a great bishop. We got to meet Bishop Zela the other night and it was great. We introduced ourselves and kinda just shared what we were expecting this coming transfer. 
Snow in Prishtina, Kosovo.

We also met with this one family named the V's. The father has been baptized for like 20 years so that was really cool to see how strong he is in the Gospel. He calls the missionaries Angels all the time. 

We met with Brother Alfred who is a pretty new member. He's been baptized for like 2 years but he is a great guy. Super in tune with the Spirit and he just wants to do good. Later that night we met with a member who is a little less active but we were able to meet with him and share a message and invite him to church which was really cool. 

Ward Mission Meeting was the other day and we got to meet the Ward Mission Leader. He is a great guy. Totally bald head and he looks awesome and he is super nice. On Sunday we got to bear our testimonies and such I got up there and introduced myself to the members and they all judged me:)  I speak with a very heavy Kosovar dialect and accent since I've been there the last 6 months. So I'm gonna be trying to change that a bit. And church here is for 3 hours! I haven't been to church for that long since I was in 2nd branch with Elder Eliason! In Shkoder we were lucky if we got an hour and 15 minutes. 

Saying Goodbye to favorite friends in Kosovo.
Last night Elder Braden and I had to make some new zone goals for the month. I didn't think it was gonna take very long but it took forever! So the situation is that Elder Braden is brand new in leadership. We are both taking over a zone that we haven't worked in for a while and we don't know what is going on with anyone. So we relied a lot on the Spirit last night as we were planning all of that stuff out. 

Today was a good day. We woke up and did our studies and then went to 2nd ward to eat lunch at a Mexican joint. It was pretty good and I got some great nachos. After that guess what we did? WE WENT BOULDERING!!!! President Weidmann approved the only climbing gym in Albania because it's only bouldering and no wall climbs with belays. So when I heard that, I kinda just decided that we would be climbing every single Pday from now on. It was so great to go climbing again. My arms are destroyed and I've got chalk all up in my fingernails and I am a happy camper. I usually don't live for my P-days because I'm usually just happy if I can go out and walk around but today was definitely one of the best P-Days I've had. Then I came here to the internet place. 

Jed talks so highly of this man.  He loves him!  He was baptized just recently and is doing fantastic!

Another favorite friend and Brother In The Lord in Kosovo.  He's got a baptism date soon.  
And there is one funny thing. You mentioned something about Brenna, a new employee at the bakery, and I am actually in the ward that one of her old companions lives in! She served in California with Sister Celi. Pronounced CH-ELLY.  Just ask your employee about Sister Celi because I talked with her at church yesterday and told her where I was from and she said that she'd had a companion from Logan. Small world. 

And a very happy reunion when Jed returned to Albania.  Ersi is AWESOME!  
Well that is about it for today. I will hopefully send ya'll some pics. I love you all so much! Tell Jane way to go with skiing! I hope everyone is loving it there. LOVES!!

Love, Jedediah

Dear Mother, 
Thanks a ton for that email about you and dad living in Cali. It made me kinda take a look at my position a bit differently. You guys basically know what I'm thinking about coming back but I know that God has something important for me to do here. So I was wondering that if you are thinking about sending another fast package, could you send my climbing shoes? My checkered ones? Just an idea. Well I love you Mom. Thanks for being fantastic!!

Love, Jed

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Brother In The Lord (Alma 17: 2-3)

Dearest Family! 

Some of Elder Clawson's favorite people in Kosovo.  
Well I guess I'll start with what has happened for transfers. I am now emailing you from the 3rd Ward of Tirana. Yes I am no longer in Prishtina and I  am back in Tirana. 

Needless to say I had a hard time leaving Kosovo. It definitely is going to be my favorite place that I've ever served in. But God needed me somewhere else. 

So the day after Christmas was a little rough. Not a ton of motivation after talking with our families and it was also snowing and freezing cold outside so street contacting was taken in 30 minute sections. The week continued on like that until Sunday night and we got our transfer calls. I was praying that I was going to stay in Prishtina or at least in Kosovo but I got the call and President told me that I would be serving in 3rd Ward with Elder Braden as the new Tirana Zone Leader. I called Betim that night and told him that I wouldn't be staying and he was sad. 

The Branch Christmas Party
The following day I spent a lot of time packing and then later on in the day I met with Suad, Nezir, and then Ajdin and kinda just gave them one last lesson and said goodbye. Nezir was pretty sad but I read him Alma 17 2-3 and told them I wanted to see him again as my brother in the Lord. So he promised me to keep coming to church and to basically just keep being awesome. Suad was pretty sad that I was leaving. He calls me his little brother and I call him my big brother and it was really sad to say goodbye to him. 

Ajdin promised to be baptized in January so hopefully he fulfills that promise! After his lesson there were a bunch of members and friends that all came to say goodbye to the departing missionaries. 
I said goodbye to Betim, Erjon, Valmira, Egzona, John, and several others that night and it was super sad. Betim and I just hugged and sat there for a second. He is seriously one of the greatest people that I've met on my mission. Suad was probably just as hard to leave. I've seen him progress a ton in the gospel and it has been awesome. 

Some servicemen from the US military base at the Christmas party.
The next morning I loaded up the car with my stuff and then I drove down to Tirana with Elder Eliason and we pulled into the mission home and then went and got some food with the sisters for one last hurrah before we were seperated. After that I joined up with Elder Braden and we headed to my new home in 3rd Ward. This is like my 5th whitewash on my mission and this time I'm a zone leader. Pretty crazy stuff going on. We cleaned the heck out of the new house because it was a huge mess. Then we got settled and we got ourselves acquainted with 3rd Ward. Elder Braden showed me where the church was and as we came up to it there were three people sitting there and one of them turned around and it was ERSI!! He had heard that I was coming back to Albania and he hussled from Durres over to Tirana to see me! It was super awesome to see him again. We just sat and talked with him and then parted ways and then we went to visit a member. That night I slept like a rock. My bed is super nice here. 

The next day was New Year's Eve so we got up and had a lesson with a member. He is getting ready for a mission. If you wanna know what he looks like, just imagine Matt Clawson with a beard. So we had a lesson with him and then ate lunch and we were actually gonna go buy a live turkey because at this time of year they have tons of farmers that bring out their turkeys for New Years. But they were like 50 bucks so we didn't get one. I was super excited to do it for the blog though. 

Christmas morning breakfast with the missionaries.  
We explored a bit more of T3 and then we had to go shopping for some food before we went in for the night because we had to be in by sundown. We got home and my power went out so I just fell asleep and then woke up at like 7:30 and then made some food, watched Legacy, and played the guitar. We talked a lot and then 12 o'clock came. We went onto our roof and watched the massive fireworks going on. It was pretty cool.

This morning we woke up and got ready and left. It was kinda cold today but it wasn't as bad as Kosovo was. We met with some other missionaries and watched "Ephraim's Rescue" and then ate pizza. 

So that's about it for this week. I loved talking with ya'll last week! I hope everyone is happy and alive. I love you and I'm sorry I'm being kinda brief. My hand's are freezing and it's hard for me to type! Have a good week and I"ll talk to ya on Monday!
Love, Jedediah

Dearest Mother, 
Well, I'm having a good time. I love being a missionary here and I loved being able to talk with ya'll last week. I hope Christmas day was good and everyone had fun. Tell the family that I love them. Have a safe week. 

I love you!

He Is The Gift

Dec. 15, 2014 Email

Well this is gonna be short because I'm in Macedonia and we don't have a whole lot of time to write because there aren't whole lot of computers open here. 

Just a short summary of my week. It was awesome!! 

Nice hat Elder Clawson!
The week started off with an exchange with the AP's from Monday night to Tuesday night which was fantastic. There was a lot of time spent out in the road finding using the new "He is the Gift" materials and we all had a good amount of success from that. The Assistants left the following day and we had a day full of new investigators and wonderful lessons. The rest of the week went on and I spent a lot of time with Elder Jorgensen out finding and teaching people about the Gospel and about Christmas. 

Owners of the Thai restaurant these Elders love to frequent.
I'm so so so sorry but I really don't have tons of time. One awesome highlight of this week was that Nezir and Suad both passed the sacrament and they did awesome! Ajdin is still waiting for an answer. Hopefully we will be meeting with him tomorrow night when we get back from Skopje. He is still doing awesome though. He just needs to get baptized. 

Christmastime in Skopje Macedonia.
We have a lot of new people that we are meeting with and I'm super excited to see what goes on with them. I'll tell you more about them when I see ya'll next week. So I"m planning on skyping at 6 so be ready. I'm super excited to see ya'll! 

Love, Jed

Dearest Mother, 
I'm so sorry to hear that you aren't feeling good! I hope it goes away real soon. Dad said you're going to the doctor so hopefully that helps a bit. Thanks for emailing me! I love you so much and I can't wait to see you next week! Loves!

Love, Jedediah<510.gif>