3 March 2014
Dear Family and Friends,
I can't believe the weather you are having in MN! That's so crazy how much snow you have! There is zero snow here, except on the peaks of a couple mountains. On Sunday when we went on a walk to the Temple, I was roasting alive in my suit. It is very warm here! It's like Albania, but Albania is much more humid. I hope we don't have to wear suit coats there!
So, about Albanian culture. The biggest change is they shake their heads the opposite way! Left to right is yes and up and down is no. It's hard to explain, but they will click their tongues to say no and suck in air (audibly and quickly) to say yes. Albanians are very blunt, as well, so that will be interesting. If you are close to someone, you shake hands (like Uncle Rob), pulling the other person close to you, and touch temples together. One crazy thing is Albanians always carry things in bags. If you are carrying something in your hands, they will tell you to put it in a bag. Even if it is just one book, they will carry it in a plastic bag. Albanians also litter all the time. One of my teachers said once a branch did a garbage clean up service project, and when they finished they had ice cream treats. All the members dropped their garbage on the ground! Albanians don't really understand littering. I'm very excited to go to Albania, but also a little scared about the language.
The language is definitely a confidence roller coaster! The first TRC was not a good experience. (I can't remember what TRC stands for, but it's where we teach returned missionaries who pretend to be investigators.) But the next one was amazing! I felt very confident after that lesson. One of the missionaries shook my hand and we touched temples, so I felt a lot better after he did that. Chase Adams, one of the returned missionaries, knows the Junckers and said that Sister Juncker is a great cook! I also had an opportunity to meet Tyler Brown in one of the lessons. It was nice to meet him in person. (Editorial note: Jacob e-mailed Tyler a couple of times from home to find out a little information about Albania before he left.)
There isn't enough time in the day to do everything! I am being extremely obedient, so I know that God will bless me for that. I have seen God's help in my life, and I just need to trust.
I love you very much and I want to serve this mission. I know that God lives and He loves me, and He loves you. I know that I need to trust in Him and He will help me. I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and that we can come to know the Savior's love by applying the doctrines it teaches.