Contact Elder Watson

Jacob will be unable to read this blog during his mission. If you wish to contact him, please use the information below.
He may not be able to respond directly to each letter or e-mail, so check back weekly to learn of his progress!

Adriatic South Mission
P.O. Box 2984
Bulevardi "Gjergj Fishta"
Qendra "ALPAS", Shkalla NR. 5,
Apartamenti NR. 14
Tirana 10000, Albania

Monday, February 8, 2016

8 February 2016

And it came to pass that in the second year of the reign of President Weidmann, I, Elder Watson, being stricken with many transfers, saw that I must soon go down to Nënë Tereza Airport. Therefore I make an end of speaking. Amen.


Elder Watson joys in the growth of the Gospel--There is One fold and One Shepherd--God is no respecter of persons.

ELDER Watson, servant of the Lord Jesus, to all the saints of God which are in Minnesota.
2 Grace be unto you, and may the peace of the Lord be upon you.
3 I thank the Lord for mine association with thee.
4 For behold, my soul rejoiceth in the testimony of mine brethren. I glory in the Lord that thou art still in the path of righteousness.
5 Mine heart swelleth near to bursting with joy for the growth of the Gospel among you
6 I, also, glory in my God for the success He has granted unto the Albanians. For, behold, marvelous are the works of the Lord, yea, magnificent are His actions.
7 For through His Holy Spirit, many have been brought to a knowledge of the truth, and many of His lost sheep hath returned to His fold.
8 For thus saith the Lord: there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
9 Verily, verily I say unto thee that this is true, and I know of this for myself, for I have seen that the blessings of the Lord are unto all His children that obey His word, whether he be Albanian, Kosovar, Jew, or Gentile.
10 And thus we see that God is no respecter of persons, and His mighty hand is extended to all that will reach for it.


Elder Watson recounts lessons he has learned on his mission--We must serve the Lord all of our days--Pride leads to the downfall of people--Emulate the Savior’s example--Jesus Christ is the only road to salvation.

THEREFORE I would tell thee somewhat concerning my sojourn in a foreign land, yea, I would show unto thee that the tender mercies of the Lord are upon all those who obey His commandments. 2 And now my beloved brethren and sisters, I salute thee with an holy salutation for my joy is full due to thy righteousness and diligence in the service of Him who is mighty to save.
3 My soul rejoiceth in obedience. Yea, for as we are faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord verily He doth pour out blessings upon our heads.
4 Yea, I would that ye should remember the words of King Benjamin that even if we were to serve Him all the days of our lives we would still be unprofitable servants.
5 Verily, verily I say unto thee that I know these words to be true, we are never not indebted to that Supreme Being who has given us life and continues to bless us for our righteous acts.
6 Now behold, my beloved brethren, I would that we should never become complacent with well-doing.
7 If that great, merciful God blesses us for our righteous acts, and we being unprofitable servants, should we not show mercy unto our fellow brethren?
8 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, yea.
9 And now my beloved brethren and sisters, I would that ye should remember that pride availeth nothing.
10 Remember our brethren the Nephites, once a great, prosperous people of the Lord, now destroyed because of their pride and that they would not listen to the Lord their God.
11 And now, brethren and sisters, remember and perish not.
12 For hath now the prophet Alma taught us that if we are not stripped of our pride we are not able to endure the presence of God?
13 Verily, verily I say unto thee, yea, he hath.
14 Therefore, brethren and sisters, let us be more like our Savior in long-suffering, patience, and humility, so that we may endure the presence of God and live.
15 Now I would not that ye would think that I speak of myself as to boasting, for I am thine fellow servant in Christ. I esteem myself no more than any man, for I have many weaknesses that so easily beset me.
16 But, behold, I know in whom I have trusted. I have trusted in my Savior, who is Christ. For in Christ I know that all things are possible.
17 My beloved brethren and sisters, may we trust in our Savior, for without Him we could not return to our heavenly home.
18 And now, let us come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.


Scriptures are essential for our guidance--President Weidmann challenges the mission to read the entire Book of Mormon in one month--The way to gain personal revelation is set forth--Elder Watson exhorts all to read the Book of Mormon.

AND now, behold, I have somewhat still to speak unto thee of the mercies of our Eternal Father.
2 For were it not for the records which He has caused to be brought forth, and preserved by our fathers, we must need have wandered in darkness without the knowledge of our Father.
3 But, behold, in His loving mercy He has given us the records of the tribe of Judah and of the tribe of Joseph.
4 Now I would speak somewhat concerning this record of the tribe of Joseph.
5 For behold, thus came the commitment from President Weidmann unto me: Wilst thou read the records of the tribe of Joseph in its entirety within one month time?
6 And verily, verily, I answered unto him: yea.
7 As I read the record of the tribe of Joseph, behold, my soul was filled with great joy and peace. Yea, my spirit was swollen with happiness.
8 For behold, I know that the record of the tribe of Joseph is true.
9 I perceive that there are some among you that marvel at my speaking. But behold, man hath not revealed it unto me, but our Loving Father who rules in courts on High.
10 And it came to pass that as I received this knowledge, it was made known unto me again that all may know for themselves the truthfulness of this record.
11 Behold, all that the Father asks is that we read the record and ponder it in our hearts, and afterwards to ask Him in solemn prayer if it is true.
12 And behold if we ask with sincerity of heart, and having faith in Christ, and if we really intend to act according to the answer which we are to receive, behold He will make it manifest unto us.
13 For thus saith the scripture: And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
14 Behold my beloved brethren and sisters, I would exhort thee to read of that wonderful record, or rather the wonderful promises of the Lord which are contained on that record.
15 For if thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive.
16 And the Holy Ghost will enlarge thine understanding and will enlighten your minds.
17 And your soul will swell within thine breast, and thou shalt know, of a surety, of the reality of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Living God.
18 For behold, thus hath the Holy Ghost done for me.


Elder Watson testifies of the Atonement--President Weidmann challenges the mission to read the Book of Mormon again--Elder Watson bids farewell.

VERILY, verily, I say unto you that Christ is the only name given under heaven through which salvation cometh.
2 For behold, I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that only through His atoning sacrifice we may return to the presence of the Father.
3 And it came to pass that the commitment of President Weidmann came unto me again, saying:
4 Wilst thou read, again, the record of the tribe of Joseph in its entirety in one month time, however, this time I would that ye should mark all references to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
5 And it came to pass that I said unto him, yea.
6 And now, my beloved brethren and sisters, I would that ye should know my joy for this challenge. For I know that through this, my testimony in the Savior will grow exceedingly.
7 And now, I would not that ye should be tired with my much speaking.
8 For behold the Lord hath not made me mighty in writing, or picture sending, like unto other missionaries, so I shall make and end to mine epistle.
9 Nevertheless, I trust to come unto thee shortly to commune with you face to face.
10 And now my beloved brethren and sisters, seeing that I must shortly go down to my missionary grave, I wish to speak unto you only a few words more.
11 And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my name tag and white shirt shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the luggage claim of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Amen.

¶ The epistle to the Minnesotans was written from Prishtina, a city of Kosovo, near the border of Serbia.

Friday, February 5, 2016

1 February 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for writing this last week! I really enjoy hearing about what is going on back at home. So far, nothing has really been making me trunky. All of the "dead" jokes I'm getting from the other missionaries don't really bother me. I normally have a few come-backs to those that get them more than me, but there have been a LOT of marriage jokes and stuff like that that just freak me out. I'm getting a TON of them from the senior couple. I think they think it's funny to watch me squirm. On Sunday, I had to translate, from the pulpit, for a senior missionary who talked about how missionaries need to work hard on getting married once they returned home. Once he said that, he patted me on the shoulder. Everyone in the Sacrament hall laughed a ton. But other than that I think that I'm still going pretty strong, it hasn't quite hit me yet that my mission is coming to an end. I don't think it'll really hit until I've been home for about a week. Then it'll hit me like a train. Things are going really well with the Book of Mormon. This morning I finished in Mormon 6, so there's just a little bit left. I've really enjoyed this challenge. In 2 Nephi 32:3 it teaches us that we need to "Feast on the words of Christ." Elder Mero has explained that this challenge is like "scarfing down the words of Christ." Even though I've been speed reading through the Book of Mormon in the past month, I've found so many new ideas and thoughts as I've read it's pages. I've really enjoyed this challenge! It has given me a renewed love for the Book of Mormon! It brings so much peace and joy! Hopefully you'll get some snow! All of the snow here has melted and it has warmed up a ton. It's almost too warm to just be wearing a suit. I really hope it'll cool back down during this week so it can actually feel like January.

This last week was awesome! We were able to have a Mission Conference last Tuesday with President Kearon. It was such an amazing experience! Just imagine feeling the Spirit super powerfully for four hours on end. That's what it was like. At the beginning of the Conference, President Weidmann invited us to write down a question, or something that we wanted to know more about, and he promised us that we would receive an answer for that question. It was amazing how many promptings from the Spirit that I received about that question that I wrote down. It was just revelation after revelation, line upon line. It was really amazing how it happened. Sometimes the words of President Kearon were a direct answer for that question, and sometimes the ideas that he presented triggered ideas, thoughts, or memories in my head that answered that question. It's amazing how the Lord works like that.

That's one thing that I've learned a ton about during my mission, personal revelation. It's so amazing that each of us has the opportunity to talk with our Heavenly Father through prayer and He communicates to us through His Spirit. I really like the counsel that God gives to us in Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3 where He tells us that He will tell us in our minds and in our hearts that which we need to do. Before my mission, and in the beginning of my mission, I thought that revelation had to be something huge and miraculous, but I've learned that that's not true. It can just be a small idea or a simple thought that pops into our head. If it invites us to do good, it is of God. It's a simple as that! I really enjoy, and I'm very grateful, that we ALL have the opportunity to communicate with the Greatest Being in existence! God truly does love us!

Thank you for all of your love and support! Ju dua shumë. Kalofshi bukur! Shihemi së shpejti.

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson

Living Members of the Foster Family Line

25 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for writing to me this week, it's always a pleasure to hear about what's going on back at home. That's too bad that one of the sisters {from the Princeton Ward} was sick. Yeah, being sick as a missionary is horrible. It's so boring! For the person that's sick and for their companion. Yeah, as missionaries we just want to get out and work no matter what. Wow, that's kinda' impressive that the Brickmobile did so well. Nice job Rachel and Alyssa. {Their car took 4th in the Pinewood Derby open class.}

So, I don't have a ton of time to write right now, because we will be leaving for Tirana shortly. We have Mission Conference tomorrow and Elder Kearon of the Seventy will be there. Just this last weekend I realized who Elder Kearon was. He gave an amazing talk in General Conference in 2010 that I remember really well. I remember talking about it in seminary the next day too. I would highly suggest you look it up, it's here: <> It's super good! You can also watch the Mormon Message: The Sting of the Scorpion <> which is based on the same talk. I'm super excited to learn more from him tomorrow!

This last week we also had a special Worldwide Missionary Broadcast that we watched as a Zone on Saturday. It's called "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts." In it, General Authorities gave instruction and training on how we can improve as missionaries. It was focused on the fundamentals of Preach My Gospel. I learned so much from it! It was an amazing experience. At the same meeting on Saturday I was asked to give my final testimony before the other missionaries. It was a weird experience. It doesn't seem quite real to me yet that my mission is nearly over. I don't think that it'll hit until probably my first week home. That's when it hit me that I was on a mission too, so that'll be an interesting transition. On Sunday, President Weidmann was here in Prishtina and I was sustained as the First Counselor here in the Prishtina Branch. It's really awesome working with President Teli. He's a great man, and I love him a ton! Even though I'll only be serving with him for a couple weeks, it'll be good to share with him my experiences in Gjakova as Branch President so that I can help him feel more comfortable in his calling. We've been able to work together quite a bit already and I'm excited to get to work with him even more. It's interesting to serve here in Prishtina because there are a lot of military service men that attend church here in Prishtina, so there is a lot of translating that needs to be done on a weekly basis. I had the opportunity to share my testimony on Sunday and also to translate for another brother who works as a helicopter repairman on the American military base. I also was able to translate for Sunday School. Translating so frequently in the past has given me the desire to look into becoming a translator when I finish my mission. I definitely do not want to lose the language that the Lord has helped me learned!

Sorry, time is short and we need to start getting ready to go, so I'll be sure to tell you more about mission conference next week. Thank you for all of your love and prayers! Ju dua shumë. Kaloni bukur. Javë të mabrë!

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson
18 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your email. I'm always glad to hear about what's going on at home. Things are going well here in Prishtina. Reading the Book of Mormon is going really well. I'm at about Alma 12. It's really awesome reading from the Book of Mormon with so much intensity. It is really awesome how it all is molding together. It's really awesome how many new insights I'm getting out of it. It's really interesting to see how many blessings the Lord promises us if we are obedient. Reading from the Book of Mormon has really helped me have a greater desire to share this message with others. It's such an awesome experience! That's too bad that Hap {Jacob's great-uncle} passed away this last week. That's also really sad that Abel {Lood, long-time member of the Princeton Ward} passed away. How old were they? I know that Able was getting pretty up there in age. That's too bad that the weather has been really cold. The weather here hasn't been too cold, but it's been really snowy. We've probably gotten about six inches of snow this weekend. It makes it a little difficult walking around the city. The roads aren't plowed as nice as they are in Minnesota, so roads are super slushy. Rachel, I hope that you have a good time at the Pinewood Derby. {She made a car to race in the open class.} I know that I always enjoyed the Pinewood Derby.

So this week was a good week. This week I had to go to Gjakova one last time on Saturday. I had to go to do the year-end audit, it was pretty fun. I got to talk quite a bit with Elder Hydrick and Elder DaBell (senior missionaries who conducted the audit). However, it was really nice to be in Prishtina for church. It was really nice to be able to see a lot of the same people that I knew from before. There were some armed forces personnel from local military bases that joined us for church. It was really awesome to be able to talk with them. We were able to find a new person this week named Kosmos. He was able to come to church as well. He is a university student studying computers and he's really intelligent. We've only been able to meet with him once, but he has a lot of potential and interest to learn more. When we talked with him on Sunday he had already read through the introduction and the testimonies in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. He's a really great guy, and I have a lot of hope for him. This upcoming week should be pretty exciting because we will be having a special missionary broadcast on Saturday and exchanges with the new Macedonian Zone Leaders. I'm pretty excited about that!

Thank you for all of your love and support! Ju dua shumë kalofshi bukur. Javë të mbarë!

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

11 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your email, I really appreciate hearing about what is going on back at home. Woah, American Idol is still a thing? I didn't know that. That's cool that there's a lady from Kosovo on it. No, I haven't heard her story before. The weather here is pretty nice. It was "pretty cold" around New Year's, well it actually wasn't that cold. I think the coldest it's been here so far is -4C which really isn't that cold. I'm glad I'm serving up here in Prishtina to kinda' get me adjusted to colder weather before coming home. Missionaries in Tirana are still just wearing long-sleeve shirts so that kinda' tells about the weather down south. But up here in the north, it's actually warmed up again. It's in the single digits above zero and pleasant. It's actually been raining quite a bit, so all of the snow that we had a couple weeks ago is gone... :'( I'm really bummed. We had a Zone training this last week and everyone was complaining about all of the snow. (I don't know why because the vast majority of them are from Utah or Idaho so they're used to it.) I was bummed to hear all the negativity toward the snow. I think maybe the Lord melted the snow because we didn't value it's beauty, but that's just my opinion. I'm excited to come home to a bunch of snow and actually cold weather! 

So this week was a really awesome week here in Prishtina. Let's be honest, every week is an awesome week in Prishtina. We've been out street contacting a ton! We've been trying to put an extra emphasis on finding new places to contact, because Prishtina is a pretty big city. We've been having a bunch of success. One day this last week, Elder Mero and I got about 15 phone numbers in one afternoon! It was an amazing success! It's so awesome to see promises from Priesthood leaders being fulfilled. The push to find new contacting places was a mission-wide push from President Weidmann. We were promised that if we would look for new contacting places, that we'd have even more success. That's right, it totally happened! It was a huge testimony builder for me! Also this last week we had a zone training with the Kosovo and Macedonia missionaries. While there we learned of a new mission challenge. We were asked to read the entire Book of Mormon in a month, from 7 January to 7 February. I was super excited about that! Right now I'm at 2 Nephi 25. I'm not reading it as fast as other missionaries, but I feel that I'm reading at a perfect pace for me. I'll be able to accomplish the goal but also be able to find renewed personal meaning from the words I'm reading. It's been a crazy couple of days of reading, but I found that I'm getting a TON out of it! Reading the Book of Mormon with that much intensity and drive has totally increased my desire to share this with other individuals! The Book of Mormon is such a wonderful gift from our Loving Heavenly Father!

It still feels a little weird because of my responsibilities that I've had as Branch President in Gjakova. Yesterday, I was released and the branch was reorganized. It was such a wonderful meeting. President and Sister Weidmann came up as well as Elder Hydrick. The talks that were given in Sacrament Meeting were wonderful! The Spirit was so strong! I have been blessed so much with the opportunity that I've had to serve as Branch President in Gjakova. I've learned and grown so much. I've been able to come to know my Savior better! I've seen the power of the Atonement work through me and through others. I have been blessed abundantly!! As we've started making the transition between Branch Presidencies, I've gotten to know Elder Hydrick quite well. We've had many long car trips to Gjakova from Prishtina. It's about an hour and a half one way, and I've come to learn of some of the things that he's done in his life and it's amazing! He is a remarkable man that has quite the story. I'm certain that he'll do well in Gjakova. So I guess the other piece of news from this week is that I've been called as the First Counselor in the Prishtina Branch. It was pretty much the first day that I was back here that the Branch President pulled me aside and asked me to serve as his counselor. I'm excited to help President Teli as he's a really awesome man that has a strong testimony. We're really good friends, and I hope that I'll be able to help him with whatever he needs. So I guess I'll be pretty busy right down to the wire. I'm glad about that! Not being super busy as a missionary is super boring. So I'm glad that the Lord has given me this opportunity to serve as much as possible!

Thank you for all of the love and support that you send to me! Ju dua shumë! Javë të mbarë. Kalofshi bukur. Ju përshëndes.

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson

Elder Watson with Patrick from the Gjakova Branch.
Elder Watson with Shkumbin from the Gjakova Branch.
Here's a picture of me in my "birthday suit."
(Viewer Discretion is Advised.)
4 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your email. It's always good to hear about what's happening back at home. I haven't been released, yet, as Branch President, so I still need to deal with stuff in Prishtina and Gjakova. We had to go to Gjakova on Sunday and I'll have to go back there this upcoming Sunday as well. This upcoming Sunday the branch should be reorganized so then I'll be just in Prishtina. It's been kinda' weird this last week because I've been in Gjakova so much, it feels like I haven't left, I'm just kinda' hanging out in Prishtina. It's been kinda' hard on me because I have one foot in each city. I love both cities very much and it's hard to be thinking about both of them at the same time. I would much rather just focus all of my attention and energy on one. However, that should all change this next week with the reorganization. Yeah, I don't really know what to write. Not much has changed since New Year's Day. Things are going well. I love it here in Prishtina. Oh! One thing that was awesome was that I was able to meet with Hazir, my first baptism here in the mission. Unfortunately, he became less-active shortly after his baptism and hadn't met with the missionaries in a while. However, we were able to meet with him this week. It was super awesome! We were able to talk about his baptism and the joy that he felt on that day. After the lesson, he bumped into the missionaries in the road and greeted them and hugged them. So now all of the Prishtina missionaries know him, and before only one knew who he was. One of my goals is to help Hazir to become active before I leave! I really love this man so much and he has a great potential!

Mom, Dad, and Rachel, that's awesome that you saw Star Wars. I'm super excited to go see it. Elder Mero is dying to see it, but he has just started his mission so he has a while to wait. I told him that when I go to see it I'll send him some pictures of me by the poster to rub it in. Haha. Oh! Speaking of Star Wars and white elephant, the Macedonian Missionaries had a white elephant gift exchange, and one of them bought a single ticket for Star Wars 3D. I died laughing when I heard about that!

Because we've been gone in Gjakova so much I don't know a whole ton about our district yet, but here's what I konw. So my companion is Elder Mero. He's been in country for three months and he's from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He graduated high school in 2015 (which really freaked me out)! Then there is Elder Eddings, I served around him in Durrës before. He's been here for about a year and a half. He's from Utah and he's training Elder Ingram, who just got here about 5 days ago. Elder Ingram is from Oklahoma and he's super awesome with the language! The sisters in our district are Sister Cheshire, she's from Utah and she's been here about a year, and her companion is Sister Lakaj from Tirana, Albania. She's been called to a mission in Salt Lake City and she's just waiting for a visa. She's actually lived in Michigan until she was 13 and then she moved back here, so she speaks English and Albanian perfectly. Yeah, that's our district.

Oh, today I also got my suit that I ordered for my birthday. So I'll be sure to send you pictures of myself in my birthday suit next week! ;)

Thank you for all of your love and prayers! Thank you so much for the support that you give me! Ju dua shumë! Kalofshi bukur! Javë të mbarë! Gëzuar Vitin e Ri!

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson

Bill Clinton statue in Prishtina with poop graffitied on it.
It also says "Happy 2016" which someone spray painted
all over Prishtina.

We had a pretty decent snow storm here in Prishtina
1 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you so much for your letters! It's always great to hear how things are going back at home. That's wonderful that you got so much snow in MN! Those pictures from home made me really happy! Yeah, it was really great that I got to Skype with my family on Christmas! Mom and Dad, I'm glad that you had a great Christmas! Wow, sounds like you had quite the adventure with all of the grand kids at the house this past week. Tell Jameson {Jacob's nephew} that he's on. I'll totally destroy him in a Nerf War. I'm glad that your talk went well on Sunday Rachel. Dad, I'm sorry that I forgot to wish you a Happy Birthday when we Skyped on Christmas, but I hope that you had a great Birthday! I've heard that the new Star Wars movie is really good. Hopefully you'll be able to go see it soon, if you haven't by now.
So there was a surprising turn of events this past week. On Saturday we had transfers... Elder Harline got transferred to Fier in Albania. He's excited to go down there. However, I also got transferred. So right now I'm writing to you from Prishtina! My new companion is Elder Mero. He's been out here for three months, just like Elder Harline. Elder Mero is from Canada. He's Albanian but born and raised there in Canada. Yeah, I got to come back here for my last six weeks! I'm super excited. I've been wishing to come back to Prishtina since I left in October 2014. Now I have the wonderful opportunity to give it my all here for the last six weeks. When I got the call, I thought that President Weidmann was joking with me. However, I have really mixed feelings. I'm super happy to be back here in Prishtina, but I'm also sad to leave Gjakova. Because I've spent the past seven and a half months in Gjakova, I've really come to love the people and the members. It's a little interesting because I haven't been released as Branch President yet, so I still have to take care of things there until the Branch gets reorganized in a couple weeks. The new Branch President will be Elder Hydrick, a senior missionary here in Prishtina. He and his wife will be transferred to Gjakova. So we've been pretty busy trying to get all of that stuff taken care of. It's been a ton of work, but at least I'll be here nearby in Prishtina so it'll be easy for me to help out if there are any problems. I'm grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve in Prishtina again. It's been a little crazy because of New Year's. New Year's is a huge celebration here in Kosovo, so it's been hard to meet with people, and we had to be inside by sundown on New Year's Eve. We were able to see the fireworks from our apartment, so that was pretty crazy and fun. People go all out with that stuff here. So yeah, that's the biggest piece of news from over here. Things are going well and I'm loving it here!
Thank you so much for all of the love and support that you give to me! Ju dua shumë. Kalofshi bukur! Javë të mbarë. Gëzuar Vitin e Ri!
Me dashuri,
Elder Watson