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, April 14, 2014

14 March 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

It's so weird to think that I've been away from home for about three months now. Wow, time flies! April is half over already. Where does the time go??!

The food here is amazing! I'm afraid that I'll gain a lot of weight here! Food is super cheap and eating out isn't much more expensive than making the food yourself. I had qofte for the first time this week. One of the missionaries described qofte as the animal parts that aren't worthy enough to be made into hot dogs. That sounds super sketchy, but it is so good! There is a grill that sells qofte right by the church, so for lunch we'll usually get some qofte. Enough qofte to feed 4 elders, including drinks, is only about $8. Food is very cheap, but very good! We haven't found an apartment yet, but we've been looking. There aren't many places in Lushnjë that are renting a furnished apartment in our price range. We have found a couple possibilities, but we don't have anything definite yet. There was one place that we found that we really want to get. It used to be the church in Lushnjë when it was very small. It has two floors and is really beautiful. It would be the most awesome place to live, but the people that are selling it are asking a really expensive price. Elder Clawson and I, as well as the zone leaders, have all been looking for an apartment. We even went to the old part of town and we couldn't find anything in the old, run down, communist housing areas. So we're still staying with the zone leaders at their apartment. Their apartment is in Lushnjë on the edge of town. They probably have the nicest apartment out of all the elders in the mission! It is referred to as "The Palace" by all the missionaries. It's really awesome and I love living there, but it's too small for four elders to live there. I would like to get a place so I can finally unpack and sleep in an actual bed, but we're making it work right now. We live with Elder Palmer and Elder Bilideau. Elder Palmer is from Richmond, Virginia, and he is almost done with his mission. In three months he'll be finished and on his way back home. Elder Bilideau is from Martha's Vineyard and he has about five months left on his mission. They are great missionaries and they have a makinë ("car" is a bad word in Albanian, so we always say makinë) so we get spoiled a lot because we get to hitch rides with them. We get to go to some awesome places on Pday! Last week, we went to Apollonia and this week we went to the beach of the Adriatic Sea! We wouldn't get to do all of these things if we didn't have a makinë!  

Lushnjë has a branch of about 35 that attend regularly. This last Sunday was a fast Sunday, so I got the chance to bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting. After the meeting, several people came up to me and said they were impressed with my language. The other missionaries said that I spoke very grammatically correct. Imagine that, I have better grammar in Albanian than in English. Over the past couple of weeks I've been thinking about memories that I have, talking to people and public speaking, things like that, and it's really weird to think that I did that in English. Looking back it seems so weird that I was ever afraid of speaking in public... in English! That's so easy now!

I've gotten really comfortable with talking with strangers. Most of the time we are street contacting because we don't have much work. So I've gotten really good at saying, "Mirëdita. Si jeni? Mirë, a mund të falsim pak? Oh, nuk keni kohë tani? S'ka problem. Mirupafshim." I'm trying to make an effort to talk to everyone, even if it is only saying hello. Yeah, I've had a lot of people ask me questions about my name. "Watson" is very difficult for them to say, but I ordered a name tag that will spell my name "Uacën" That will be a LOT easier for them to say. I'm just waiting for the tag to be made and sent out here. I'm hoping that it will come pretty soon.

We've had quite a few... unique... experiences street contacting. Elder Clawson told me that one of his favorite things about Albania is, "they don't have mental institutions here, so the people who should be locked up are out roaming the streets." I thought he was joking, but a couple experiences we've had has confirmed his statement. This one lady came up to us one day and she spoke English very well. So we were talking in English and all she could talk about is Ronnie Reagan (Ronald Reagan, US President). She was talking about how she saw him in Syria and how he is actually Albanian. She was teaching us about the operations that he had so he could be taller, whiter, have red hair, and speak like an American. She stayed and talked to us for about 20 minutes, and I'm not exaggerating! She has showed up many times to church and the only thing she wants to do is talk more and more about Ronnie Reagan. We've tried talking to her about the Gospel, but it has gone nowhere. This is just one of the many interesting street contacting experiences we've had. Now, don't think that every person in Albania is like this. Elder Bilideau and Elder Palmer met a man street contacting on my first day in Lushnjë, and he is getting baptized next week! He was definitely prepared to hear the Gospel! It's amazing seeing the progress he's made in just two weeks! It is really awesome to see something like that happen!

I love it here in Albania. I love it here in Lushnjë. I can't imagine being called to serve anywhere else in the world. It's really weird, I feel like I fit in perfectly here! I'm really excited to experience more and more of the aspects of missionary work. I am super excited that I can be a missionary here and talk with people about something I love so much. I love this Gospel and I know that it's true! I have found so much comfort in the Book of Mormon and I know that it is truly the word of God! I love learning about the life of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He is the Son of God, and that He is our Savior. I know that God will help me to learn little by little, and soon I'll be able to understand everything and I'll be able to know how to help others more efficiently. In Albania, they have a saying which translates to, "A stone upon a stone makes a wall, a wall upon a wall makes a castle." Right now I just need to keep putting those little stones on each other, and soon I'll have a castle!

Thank you so much for your love and support!


Elder Watson
A view from "The Palace"
A view from "The Palace"
A view from "The Palace"
A view from "The Palace"
A view from "The Palace"
Inside "The Palace"
A view from "The Palace"
A view from "The Palace"
A view from "The Palace"
Unfortunately, the beach along the Adriatic is filled with trash.
A tiny crab found on the beach.
Elder Clawson playing with the tiny crab
Elder Bilideau enjoying the sea
Blue crab found on the beach
Blue crab
Blue crab
Fishing net in the bay

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