Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Contacting and More Contacting

Dearest Family,
This week was kinda long but full of good stuff! We finally found some new investigators and saw some good improvement on the progress of others.
So Monday we just went contacting for the rest of the night after we had gotten done with climbing and emailing. We had been out there for a while and then this guy was looking at us so we naturally stopped him and asked him if he wanted to learn. So we took him to the church and gave him a lesson on the Restoration and then he told us that he had actually taken lessons from the elders before and that he had heard all of this and that he really just wanted us to give him financial help. So that was when we ended the lesson gave him our number for future referrence and then we left.
Tuesday, we woke up at 6 o'clock in the morning and took off 30 minutes of our lunch time because we needed some blessings and so we had to sacrifice the only thing we could, which was time. So we got an hour of street contacting in the morning before District Meeting and then we had lunch and visited a family later in the day. We taught them a review of the Gospel and got them all hyped up and they were loving life. After that we had our English Course and we had a good time. Two girls showed some desire to learn after the lesson and we introduced them to the sisters and it was great. After that we had a lesson planned with FlorencĂ« and he didn't show up so we will probably drop him real soon because that brother is not acting on his knowledge. 
The Israeli, the Avonite, and the Kiwi.  Great Elders!
Wednesday, we woke up at the same time and got out street contacting and all that lovely jazz. After that we had a lesson set up with a new guy named Rifan but he didn't show up but ah well. We got more time to street contact. On our way to the church for a bathroom break we said hi to a guy on the road and then a conversation started and we were able to invite him into the church to come and learn a bit more. He accepted a baptismal date and loved the Book of Mormon. His name is F and he lives close to Elbasan so we handed him off to the elders over there but it was still great! We are trying to talk with everyone and so far it is really good. After that we had Ward Council meeting so Elder Penrod and Elder Braden went and got all of that figured out while Elder Sadiku and I met with some of his investigators. 

Thursday we went to go meet with V and his mom because we hadn't paid them a visit in a while and so we did that. His mom, L, fed us some really good food and we had a great time talking about the scriptures with them. After that we went CONTACTING!! Wonderful it was. And then we had a lesson with a guy named B. He thinks that he is a god so we had an interesting lesson with him explaining that we are God's children and that he is our Heavenly Father. He seemed a little skeptical but he said he would read. After that we had English Course again. We are really trying to get them all to come to church. After that we just went street contacting. Love it!

He's always got cute girls!
Friday morning we went contacting at the Pyramid with the other Elders and that was great. Got lots of numbers. After that we did some weekly planning and then the Assistants took Elder Braden to the hospital to get an x-ray for his foot because it's been hurting him for a while. Turns out he just has a bone spur. But I got to go on splits with ELDER PRINCE from Macedonia! It was the best ever! I love that guy to death. While with him we taught a guy named Mjeku who was awesome! He accepted a baptismal date too and we are stoked for him. Then we met with Behar again and had a Plan of Salvation lesson with him and had a nice talk about that. He is slowly going to get better and believe a bit more. He just thinks that God was made up by men so they wouldn't feel so lonely in the world. Even though he is very against the whole concept of God, Elder Braden, Brother A, and myself bore some solid testimony on the realness of Heavenly Father and there was no way that Behar didn't feel the Spirit. After that lesson we went and taught the J family about living prophets and had a good time with them. We invited them to get all ready for General Conference and such and they are preparing some questions that can be answered in conference. 

Saturday, it was the Day of Summer. Probably one of the biggest holidays in Albania. And Elder Braden and I set up 5 lessons with investigators and guess how many of them actually happened. NONE! Yeah so we just contacted for all day until 6 o'clock and then we went to a baptism which is always a joy. The man's name is P and he got baptized into our ward. He met the missionaries in 97 and then the missionaries got evacuated becasue of the civil war that went on so yeah. But he met us again and got baptized!
Sunday was interesting. We had two investigators in church and the sacrament meeting was going great and everything and then Ersi walks in, and two of his friends. Ersi looks fine but then the two friends are wearing these huge flat brim hats and talking up a storm in the back of the meeting room and then their phones go off and so they get up in the middle of a talk and just make a racket as they leave the room. After the talk, the bishop got up and just ripped them a new one saying that this was a church and not a club and that we came here to worship God. It was really good but kinda frightening for our investigators. After church we went to the other Elders house and ate lunch and took a quick nap and then we had a lesson with Brother A. About 10 minutes into the lesson we get a phone call telling us that a members father had just died and that we needed to come take the casket down the stairs. So we hussle over to this house, carry down this super heavy casket down some flights of stairs in an apartment building and place it in the hearse and then the family puts us on a bus and we drive to a cemetery and we have the funeral! The man died and 4 hours later was in the ground! It was super fast. It was also very sad, we had all given this man several blessings of healing in the past because he had been suffering with cancer. It was sad for the loss but we knew that it was an answer to our blessings. After that the bishop told us that we needed to go with the family to a restaurant to kinda sooth the pain. Then we went home and I fell asleep while Elder Braden called for zone numbers. 

Today we went to TEG to go see what they had and they had gotten some awesome new stores but they were all ridiculously expensive so nothing happened. After that we went to the climbing gym and did some slacklining and bouldering. I'm getting lots better by the way.
Well that was about it. I'm super sorry that my emails are just lame lately. I'm hitting that point where emailing isn't that much of a highlight anymore. My week was an awesome spiritual week though. I know that if we sacrifice the little things in life that are holding us back from giving our all, we will be blessed and we will be more able to see God's hand in our life. I love the church, I love Albania and I love my mission! Have a good week everyone! Love you!
Love, Jed
Dearest Mother, 
Well I love you and I wish you a happy anniversary! I definitely agree with you on making cookies for the occasion. I hope you made me look good in your talk. And by the way, my singing is tons better than it was in America. So yeah that old lady loved it. I love you MOM!!
Love, Jedi

What Is A Prophet

March 9, 2015 email

Elder Clawson with a family he and his companion are teaching.
Hello Family!

Well not too much happened this week because we had TONS of meetings to get to and such. 

Monday night we were able to meet with a new investigator named X and he was very interesting. He said he was Atheist but he talked a bit in our lesson about how he has seen the hand of the Lord in his life basically and how much God has blessed which was pretty awesome to hear. The lesson went pretty well and he listened very intently to the message of the Restoration. Unfortunately he was super busy this week and he didn't have a whole lot of time this week to meet so that was a bummer. 

On Tuesday we went out finding in the morning at the Pyramid because it was a beautiful morning full of people ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We took out a huge board that said "What is a prophet?" and we used that to kinda reel people into hearing from us. We got a few numbers and hopefully they will be willing to meet with us this week. After that we had some lessons with some members and then Elder Braden and I had to go in early to prepare our goals for the following day. 

This was the dinner called "Wine and a Spiritual Thought".  Jed loved the interaction with people from all over the world.

Walking to P-day activities.
Wednesday we had our big MLC meeting which was awesome! For this meeting, President Weidmann invited all of the district leaders to come down and he gave them a training on how they could better interact with their missionaries and set District Goals that were in hand with the Zone Goals that we set. He always gives the best trainings! After that part, we presented our numbers and then received a training from him about "How to Begin Teaching". This is a chapter in Preach my Gospel and it is super good. It helps us be more bold while sharing our message and just gives us lots of good stuff to work on. We decided that some of the main things that we needed our investigators to know from HTBT was; The importance of our message and the authority of our calling as missionaries. If our investigators understand this then they will want to be baptized and they will want to progress in the Gospel. MLC took a while and then we went finding after all of that. At 6 o'clock we had saved up a bit of our lunch to go to a concert for a member. She was playing the violin and she did a super good job. She is 13 years old and has been playing for 8 years. Very talented girl. After that, we had to go home and prepare our zone training. 

The following day we had our zone training and gave a training on finding and then also on the HTBT section that President had trained us on. About halfway through our finding section, President Weidmann walked in with his wife. Yes that was stressful. The trainings went well and the Spirit was felt and hearts were touched. A few interesting things were also put into place as well. We are required to find for an hour and a half everyday if not more, we always speak Albanian outside of the house, and we roleplay a lot more often. Hopefully all of these new committments will get us on track to celestial glory. After that we had our English Course and we had a bunch of new people. about 7 girls around the age of 21. WHY!?! So yeah they just sat and watched us and then we ended the class with a spiritual thought on the Law of Chastity. It was good. That night we also met with the L Family and taught them the Plan of Salvtion and tried to help them get answers to some of their questions. They had quite a few about the Resurrection which was interesting. 

The next day we woke up and went finding again. We had originally set up a lesson with a guy that we had met on the road the morning before but he couldn't make it so we just went finding again. Once again a nice sunny day. I love the sun and hate the rain. My spirits just die in the rain. So we did that and then had to weekly plan for a good chunk of the day so we did that. That night I went with one of the T4 Elders to do a hand off lesson with a family that we had found that were interested. It was our first lesson with them and it was really good. We taught the Restoration and ate dinner with them. The father's name is S and his wife is R and they have 4 ADORABLE little girls all under the age of 13. Oh they were the cutest things that I had ever seen. Besides Jane. So that went well and I was sad that I had to hand them off but at least they are receiving the Gospel. 

Saturday I had to go to Durres for a leadership meeting with the Stake. We had Stake Conference this weekend and it was very good. I didnt' see a lot of people from Durres but I did see some familiar faces which was nice. The meeting talked a lot about Ward Councils and how they need to work with the missionaries better. So from now on we are holding Ward Council every week with missionaries. President Weidmann spoke and glorified the missionaries. He loves all of us a lot. We got back a little late from Durres and had another meeting. It was the adult session of Stake Conference and it was also very good, they gave lots of talks on fast offerings and tithings. A bit later after that we had a lesson with Elton. His grandmother had passed away the day before and so we just gave him a big comfort lesson. 

Sunday we had our big meeting in Elbasan with all of the Tirana wards. I got to see all of my lovely converts and the missionaries and I also met tons of new people. I don't know  a lot of the members from Elbasan so it was good for me. I have now officially been to every city in the mission that is open for missionary work. Elder Linderman and I had to translate the talks for President Weidmann and the senior couples. We had a little microphone with a transmitter in it and they all had earpieces and it was super difficult. You have to pay lots of attention to the speaker and more to what you are saying. A lot of times I would just say something in Albanian into the microphone. The talks were awesome. Pres. Mema talked about missionaries that were preparing to leave and he just let it rip. He really wants only the prime and elect to be serving. Ity was really good. Afterwards we came home and got back at like 2. We were asked to give a blessing last night but the lady wasn't home so we weren't able to do it. Then we had a lesson with Florence. It was a drop lesson. I explained to him why we were here and why we spend our time diong this. Florence then expressed a desire to act and show effort so we set a baptismal date that we could work towards. Hopefully he works out. Also my camera bit the dust last night when it fell out of my pocket. I have no camera now. After all of that jazz we went contacting. Love. 

Today, I basically just put in zone numbers, talked with the AP's, ate breakfast with the District and went climbing. I love climbing. Well that was about it for the week. I honestly love being here spreading the good word. God is at work in Albania and it is awesome to be a part of it. I love being a missionary!!

I love you all! Have a good week!

Love, Jed

Dear Mother, 
Well I am still healthy and alive. And also, I think I"ll just come home on the 1st of July. There's only Elder Jorgensen flying to Utah and I need to go home with him. Transfers are at the end of this month and so that's when I'll find out where I'm going to finish. Well I hope you all have fun in Palm Springs, I bet it's nice and warm. Love you!

Love, Jeddy Jim

Miracles DO Happen Today!

March 2, 2015 email

P-day fun!
Dear American Family,
Well it was a good week. Lots of stuff going on and miracles abounding in every moment.
So Monday night we actually had to run over to a members house and give a blessing. The father of the home has been really sick the past few years and hasn't been making any progress. He needs blood transfusions every other day so it's really rough on him and his family and they called us over to give him a blessing. It was super good to give that. So in the last 1 and 1/2 weeks we have given 9 blessings to missionaries, members, and non-members. Since that has been happening so often I decided to study up a lot on the Priesthood and see what I could learn more about it. Can I just say the priesthood is awesome?! God has literally given us is power to use as long as we are worthy to exercise it. On my mission I have seen amazing things come to pass from the Priesthood but also from raw faith that people have. I was listening to a talk that I had on my hard drive and it was talking a bit about spiritual gifts and healings, and someone had asked why aren't there miracles today like there are in the Bible? The truth is there are miracles that occur even MORE often in these days! People receive blessings for all kinds of things and we kinda just skip past the miracles that are exposed afterwards such as a headache that ceases, a quickened recovery after an accident, a new job opportunity, and all kinds of other things are manifested in abundance in these last days.
Tuesday we had District Meeting and such and then we had to do some work for the Bishop in connection with helping some members at a hospital. Hospitals are the worst. The smell makes me see red. Good thing I don't go into them very often. Then we handed out a bunch of english course fliers and then had our class for the intermediate speakers. We've got a pretty good class but they are a little rambunctious. But I love teaching English so it goes pretty well. After that we had a lesson with a V and it was awesome. We are trying to help him introduce his wife and family to the church but he is a little timid and worried about it. Pray for that man!
I don't think it's dangerous?!

The next day was a bit more busy, we handed out English course fliers and then we met with the L family with V so he could get his hometeaching done. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and how we can feel peaceful due to the fact that if we keep the commandments of the Lord, we will be totally fine and nothing is going to effect us eternally besides the commandments. After that we had to help another member do his hometeaching but his family is the Spaldings. So we went over to the American Embassy housing and had a good lesson with them. They have the cutest son! I just want two twin boys as a father, that's all I want. One to be a professional biker and one to be a professional skiier. Anyways, now that I've shared all that, afterwards we went to the D family and talked about the Sabbath Day and invited V to come to church with his wife and to not go to work since he owns his own place. He is coming to church next week for Stake Conference he said so hopefully that sparks a little something in his heart.
Thursday we did service all morning. We decided to pick up garbage from off the side of the road and someone had stuck a massive jagged piece of rusty metal in my bag and I moved it past my leg and it sliced my leg open! I got blood all over my sock and shorts. I went to the church to get something to clean it and the bishop just happened to be there and he flipped out and got me the Body Fluid Spill kit complete with mini shovel to scoop up any guts that may have been spilled during the accident. One other interesting thing that happened while picking garbage, I found a CD called "STING: The Ultimate Collection" I'll bring that home for you all seeing as we enjoy Sting. It seems to be in pretty good condition for having been on the road forever so hopefully it'll work. After that we had a lesson with a brother on the High Council. After the lesson he asked if we could help him buy something off Amazon. My Amazon skills, which were inherited from Mother, came in handy. After that we had our English Course and taught about Faith. Usually when we have a lesson on Faith it's because we couldn't think of anything else specific for the person but we felt prompted to teach Faith. It was awesome! We got everyone participating and everyone learned something I think. Then we met with our investigator Florence and watched the Restoration movie. He said he had seen it before but he was really moved by it.
Friday was a little rough, we had no lessons planned and just a lot of finding. So that's what we did and then Motra X from Durres called us and told us that we needed to come to her office and meet some referrals that she had for us. So we went over to her office in the Center of Tirana and went into her conference room which was super nice. Next thing we know she walks in with 5 women all interested in learning about the Gospel and some for English Course. So Elder Braden and I sat there with 6 women ranging from 20 to 40 years of age and then finally a member  named Andi who had recently returned from his mission came in and sat with us. So we didn't break any rules. But we just explained a bit about the church and such and then Motra X started saying how Mormon men make the best husbands and that we are so filled with the Spirit and all these women started eyeing us like freshly baked bread at Great Harvest. Kinda weird so we just got all of their numbers and then left and later passed the numbers onto the sisters. That night I also went on an exchange with the AP's. I went with Elder Bangerter and had a blast.
Saturday we just went throughout our day on exchange. We played futboll in the morning and then had some killer good pizza for lunch. We had some lessons not show up so we decided to go tracting. I loathe tracting. But it's necessary at times. So we found a massive building to tract and went through the whole thing. We got several return appointments set up and lots of numbers. One man did get super mad at us and grabbed our arms and escorted us to the elevator but we just took it down one more floor and then walked back up to finish the doors on his floor. After that I went back with Elder Braden and we helped some people get there house all cleaned up because of the rain that had come down that day. Tirana got FLOODED! This family's house was like 7 in. under water so we helped them get it out and then sqweegied it down.
Sunday was awesome. A man and his daughter showed up and said they had met missionaries before but they wanted to learn more and come to church. Luckily it was Sunday during Church time. His name is Sokolli and he stayed for all 3 hours of church and loved it! But that's not all, our investigator Elton that cried last month in church, he came again yesterday and he is still awesome! We had a lesson with him after church with Ona and we watched the Restoration movie. At the end Ona started going off on random stuff and it was super hard for us to get in there and throw in our parts and we were super nervous that Elton was gonna be scared away. But we finally got to speak and that was awesome. We both bore testimony of Joseph Smith and the Spirit did the rest. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted and it was fantastic. Elton and I are just crying our eyes out and Elder Braden is just thinking we are sissy la las. After that we ate lunch and took some naps and then had some contacting time. We taught the J family, there the ones in that pic, and we talked about temples and the mom asked lots of questions that I couldn't necessarily answer comfortably. But at least they all want to go!
Today we all went out to breakfast and had companion study as a district at the restaurant. They have a basement level where no one ever eats so we were able to eat Eggs Benedict and read the scriptures and talk about Churchy stuff. I'm going climbing in a bit because I haven't been for a bit and I need to talk with Dan. Pray for him because he is awesome.
Well my family, I love you all like a fat kid loves cake. Enjoy your week and be safe!
Love, Jedediah Jim
Dearest Mother, 
Well I finished the last of the Christmas package this week. I made the gingerbread cookies yesterday and they were lovely. I had the chocolate pudding for breakfast like two days ago which was also great. Thank you for that stuff! Well I was able to take 20 dollars out of my card last week in increments of 10 so that is progress. It just says that my limit is too low to take anything else out. Thanks for telling me all of the weekly happenings and it was so awesome to hear about Alton Brown! I hope you high fived him for me. I love you mother!!! Have a good week!
Love, Jedi