Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Life Rocks!

Elder Clawson with a cute member who helps teach lessons in Vlore.
April 13, 2015 email

Well Family in the West,
As I sit here in this Interenet Lokalë, I can't help but wonder how awesome my life is right now. I am serving a mission for the Lord in Vlorë, Albania, I speak Albanian with the Natives, I live on the beach, I get to finally wear short sleeve white shirts, I eat the best food ever, my companion worked at Nordstrom and helps me choose what tie goes with what pants every morning, it's sunny outside, I played beach volleyball for 2 and half hours this morning, I got to read my scriptures for a straight hour, and I get to talk with people all day everyday about how they can be happy for the rest of their lives!!! MY LIFE ROCKS!!!!!! The biggest stress I have to deal with is that an investigator didn't show up for a lesson and I have to find out why. And what kind of cereal I want to eat for breakfast. Everything is just taken care of by the Lord.
Anyways, this was a good week. We were able to meet with Filip a couple of times. He's making slow but steady progress with smoking. He is really starting to like me. After every lesson lately he grabs my head and pulls it right below his neck and he tells me how much he appreciates the help that we are giving him. He was going to come to church yesterday to come and watch conference with us but the Albanians celebrated Easter yesterday because of the Orthodox church and I guess that's what they do, therefore Filip had to do some stuff with his family so he couldn't make it. 
These 4 all came out together almost 2 years ago, and all 3 have been Jed's companions at one time or another.
We met with a new investigator this last week named Leonardo. He was good but he had read some stuff on the internet about Joseph Smith and that had kinda given him an "idea" of what our church was about. We had a member named Ariola in on that lesson to kinda help us out and she was a lifesaver. She explained lots of good things to Leo so that he could understand a bit more plainly of what our church was all about. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read before we met him again and he said he would read it without being prejudge-mental of Joseph Smith and such. Hopefully his heart and mind will be open so that he can get a grasp on the truths shared.
Elder Clawson on his deck doing his morning studies.  Nice view!

Evening view of the bay.
After that lesson we met with our investigator E.  We asked Elder Larson to come and help us out with the lesson since E really likes him. But the catch with this lesson was that E brought a friend that is very argumentative and VERY Protestant. We sat down into the lesson and then began the onslaught of questions. Trinity, polygamy, temples, magic underwear, and all kinds of other stuff. Elder Larson was blown away with the guys questions and fortunately we were able to answer all of them with reverence and patience but the Spirit was definitely not there until the very end when the three of us testified to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the church. I don't necessarily like those lessons a whole lot and it definitely wears on your spirituality for a bit. And afterwards I was talking with Elder Befus and we were just saying how sad it is to see people reject such a happy message just because they might not be willing to give up a little vice may it be a drug, alcohol, the Law of Chastity, or even pride. Just a sad thing I say.

A beautiful Monastery in Vlore.
 We have also been meeting with a young boy named Valerio. He is one of the boys that has terrorized the church before. Elder Befus and I decided that we needed to just love them into submission. Turns out, Valerio was baptized in Tirana like 4 years ago! Who knew?! So we have been meeting with him and his sister, Laura, and been reading the Book of Mormon with them. Valerio doesn't know how to read because his family can't afford school. Whereas Laura reads very well for an 11 year old because she taught herself basically. So they are showing progress and we hope to put Laura on a baptismal date hopefully soon and see where that goes. 

We got to watch conference this weekend which was great. I don't get all of it in Albanian but I get the message most of the time. Elder Holland's talk was super freaky with those brothers out climbing. I was imagining Jake, Seth, and I and I almost lost it! I miss my brothers!! But all in all I thought it was a good conference.
Well some stuff about Vlore. It has a huge Greek influence and lots of people hear speak Italian and/or Greek. Every morning I watch the Italy Ferry come in to Port and pick stuff up and then take off again. The beaches are either super pretty or super dirty. I try to see the pretty ones. The food is good here. The people aren't very Muslim as I'm used to which is a breath of fresh air at times. The main religion is Greek Orthodox and a lot of people actually practice. There is also a large population of Jehovah's Witnesses. All in all, I love Vlorë.
Elder Clawson and Elder Befus

My companion is one Elder Taggart Reed Befus from Draper. He is a little less than a year younger than me and likes fine things. He is into fast cars, nice watches, nice suits, and definitely not into the granola man life. Which is good. We get along super well though and we are always laughing. Probably will go down as one of my favorites. He has driven Ferrari's and Lamborghinis I believe so that's cool. Personally I'm more of the Isuzu Trooper kinda guy or possibly a Subaru Outback but to every man his own.
Everyone, let it be known throughout the world that I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives! I love Him and I know that I will one day see Him. I am His representative and I preach His Gospel. The church is true.
I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!

Love, Jedediah
Dearest Mother, 
Well it sounds like you were all moving around quite a bit this last week. I hope you were able to get in the water a little bit. On conference it looked like Utah is all bright and springy. Are you getting the garden ready for anything? I love you Mom, thank you for writing me every week. I know it gets tiring. Loves!
Love, Jed
PS the blog needs updating. I have received many a complaint. 

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