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, August 25, 2014

25 August 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your email and your support! It's always great getting emails from you!

Yeah, it sounds like you've had a really busy week! That's awesome that Jameson and Kayla are staying over. {Jacob's nephew and niece who are staying with the family for a week.} I hope that you'll have a great time while they're there. I'm glad that Grandma is doing better! I hope that you've been having a good time playing piano in church. {Mom has had to fill in for Sacrament Meeting.} I've had to play piano every once in a while since I've been here. It's been rough a couple times, but I've made it through.

This past week was a little interesting. It's interesting because Elder Roberts and I are working super hard, but it seems like the work is stalling here. We've been having low numbers of lesson and investigators in the past couple weeks. I wrote to President Weidmann about it and he told me that he doesn't believe that the work is stalling. He said that we just can't see the great work that we're doing right now. He promised us that we will begin to see improved numbers of investigators and lessons, so I'm really excited to see that happen! We've been doing a lot of finding this week. We had a really funny experience with finding just yesterday.

We were standing in the city center talking to people in the road. One guy stopped and talked to the sister missionaries. They were talking for a bit and then they motioned for us to come over to them. They introduced us and they told the guy that we could teach him some more. We suggested that we go to our Church which isn't very far from the city center. He was VERY hesitant, but at length he said, "Ok, shkojmë." So we started walking towards the Church. He seemed kinda' startled that the sisters weren't walking with us. We could tell that he wasn't interested in religion at all, but we decided to give him a chance. This man did not want to go inside a church. Here, some people believe that it's against Islam to go to inside a church, which isn't true. He was suggesting that we go to a cafe and sit and talk. We told him that the Church is more peaceful and has less distractions. He kept trying to persuade us to go to a cafe, but we continued walking toward the Church. He kept walking with us and we were asking him questions to get to know him. He was so focused on getting out of the situation that we wasn't answering our questions. It was pretty awkward. We get to a point where we have to cross a large road to get to the church. Elder Roberts and I start crossing, and when we get to the median, we notice that he didn't cross with us. We just stood and waited there, kinda' laughing about the situation. The guy pulls out his phone and tells us that someone is calling him. He says he needs to take the call, but just around the corner. So we decide that enough's enough and we'd let him just walk away. So he starts walking away, and we cross back over the road to go back to the center. We decide not to go the way we came because the guy was walking back that way. As we walk past the road that he walked down, we look and we see him SPRINTING away. It was hilarious! The whole situation was really awkward and in the end Elder Roberts and I got a huge laugh out of it.

Everything is going great here in Prishtina. I'm very grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary. It's honestly the best choice of my life. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life at this time. I know that some people look at it and they only see it as an inconvenience. But really, everything else in life can wait. Money will still exist when I get back. The way you get it will still be the same, so work will still be there. Universities and degrees will still be there. Material possessions will be there, so really it's not that large of a sacrifice. The Lord has given me everything that I have, so I can give all that I have for two years. It's really not that large of a sacrifice. Plus, you have a blast doing it! I've developed so many strong friendships with people, and I've even gotten some more clarification about what I want to do for the rest of my life. A mission is just a great idea, I can't even express it fully! I just wish that so many more people chose to serve missions. It may seem like a huge sacrifice in the beginning, but after a couple months, it's not a burden at all! It's such a growing experience! It's such a wonderful time! It's such a blessing! Choosing to serve a mission is one of the best decisions of my life! I hope that everyone can have an experience like this!

Thank you so much for the love and support that you give me to be a missionary. Thank you so much for everything that you do!

U bekofshit dhe shëndet paçi! Zoti ju qoftë!

Love, Elder Uacën

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

18 August 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your email! It's always super nice to hear from you and to hear how things are going back home. It sounds like you had quite the week!

That's awesome that you had the missionaries over this week! I actually met some of the missionaries going to Minnesota when I was in the MTC. I can't remember their names, but if they were in the MTC in about February I might have met them. I met three of them at that time, so I don't know how many total were in their group. That's awesome that the picture made it into the paper! {Mom and Rachel got their picture in the local paper.} It's always awesome when stuff like that happens! Do you know what's crazy? There's a sister in my district that is from Minnesota and she has actually met Loren before at EFY. {Loren Olinger, Jacob's friend from MO who is currently preparing for his own mission.} Small world huh? Wait, so Matt's {Matt Walker from the Buffalo, MN, Ward.} on his mission too?? Where did he go? There's tons of people from our stake that will be heading out soon. It's crazy to think of all the youth in my age group that will be going out! That's amazing! Do you have any contact info for him? That would be awesome to get in contact with him.

 In our mission we have between 60 and 70 missionaries. In Kosovo, we have about 14 missionaries and 2 senior missionaries. In Prishtina we have 6 missionaries. Prishtina is a district by itself, so I'm responsible just for the missionaries in Prishtina. The missionaries here are really awesome and we all get along really well. They all work really hard and I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have to be their district leader. 

This week I actually conducted an exchange with Elder Clawson. It was really awesome to be companions with him again for a day. We had an awesome time working together again. We had a lot of lessons scheduled for that day, but a ton of people chose to cancel their appointments with us, which wasn't very fun. It was kinda weird because I was the one leading on the exchange, so it's almost like our roles last transfer were switched. I'm super glad that I got trained by Elder Clawson and that I have the chance to be in the same district as him. It's really awesome getting to serve with him again!

This week we tried some new finding ideas. Normally we will street contact or tract, but we came up with some new ideas to find people to teach. Back in Durrës, Elder Clawson and I were thinking of ways to get more people to talk with us. We came up with the idea to just sit down in some chairs in the city square and have a sign that says, "Ask us what we do." We said it kinda jokingly, but this week we actually tried it out. We sat down in a row of chairs in the city center and we had a sign that said, "Ask us what we do." A TON of people came up to us and asked us what we do. It surprised us a ton how well it worked! We actually had a lot more success with that than with the other methods we use in contacting. We have some other awesome finding ideas that we are going to use, but we haven't used them yet. I'll let you know how they go when we try some more out. This week we'll actually be starting our English course, so we've spent a TON of time handing out English course flyers. I hope that it turns out really well. It was really interesting, because we'd be giving out flyers, but when people saw that it said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" they freaked out and threw them away, ripped them up, or burned them. But people here usually freak out when you use say "Jesus" and even when you say "Church" people freak out. It's a very different world here. But the work is still progressing here. I'm really glad for the opportunity that I have to serve here in Prishtina! I really enjoy it here! I know that God is working with the people here and He's preparing them to hear our message. I'm very grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary and to talk with people about the Gospel everyday! It's a really awesome experience! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!!

Send my regards to Grandma and Grandpa, the Princeton Ward, and the St. Cloud Stake. I know that covers a lot of people, but you have permission to say "hi" to them from me anytime. Thank you so much for your love and support!!

Javë të mbarë! Ju dua shumë!

Love, Elder Watson

Our "ask us what we do" activity.

Monday, August 11, 2014

11 August 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your email this week! It's always awesome to hear how things are going back home. I'm glad to hear that you had a good week at home!

It sounds like you had a pretty great Sacrament meeting! I'm glad to hear that. It's always awesome to slip movie quotes into lessons or talks in church. The best time for a Lord of the Rings quote is always. And Lord of the Rings is full of great quotes! Lord of the Rings is a very symbolic book and there's quite a lot of religious symbolism in it. I'm really happy that Daniel {Crook} was able to use those quotes. Has Daniel started his missionary paperwork yet?

Mitchell {friend from high school} and I have been emailing a bit back and forth. It's really nice that I can still stay in contact with friends and family from so far away!

That's a really awesome lego set! {Dad's Lego set--since he used to drive a Mini--that Rachel, after much pestering, put together.} This week I was walking down the street and I actually saw an original Mini-Cooper, and not too far away, I saw a new 4-door Mini. I didn't get a picture of them. In retrospect I should have gotten a picture of them, but oh well. There is this one hotel here in Prishtina that we walk by often and the parking lot is always FULL of super nice cars! This last week I saw a Bentley for the first time in my life! It was awesome!

Yeah, I'm feeling a little bit better now. It's nothing too bad. I've just had a cough for the past week or so. It's getting better, though. This week, Elder Roberts and I had the opportunity to go to the military base nearby. We went and taught an institute lesson about 3 Nephi 8-11, focusing mainly on repentance. I'm really grateful for the opportunity that we have to repent and become better people through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It was wonderful to talk with the soldiers about that. It was really nice to talk with Americans again, and to be on US soil for a little bit. While we were there we also got to visit the PX and buy some American things. Everything that they had there was pretty expensive because it was imported, but we were happy to buy some things that we don't have here in Prishtina. We got some Oreos, Pop-Tarts, spray cheese, pop, and some other things. After our lesson we went with the soldiers to the mess hall. The food there was amazing! They just had tons of stuff that you can't normally get in Prishtina. And it was all you can eat for $4! Yeah, it was dollars, not Euro. So we had to get some money exchanged before we went there. The military base is actually quite far from Prishtina, so Elder Roberts and I took a bus from Prishtina to Ferizaj, and then we got picked up by a senior missionary couple and we drove to the base. On our return trip from the base to Ferizaj, we arrived at the bus station as the last bus of the night was leaving. The buses there left earlier than the schedule said. So Elder Clawson and Elder Price came to get us. It actually turned out to be a blessing! Elder Roberts and I walked around the city just exploring, and we actually found a really nice watch place. We became really good friends with the owner and we bought a couple watches from him. When we were leaving he gave us a gift of some Arabian cologne. It smells really nice!! Ferizaj isn't open to the missionaries yet, so we were the first missionaries he has ever seen from our Church. It was an opportunity to explain why we were here and what we were doing. Needless to say, when that man sees Mormon missionaries in that city when it opens up, he'll already have some good thoughts about it. Missing the bus turned out to be a really great thing!

We also had a really awesome weekend as well! We had 5 baptisms on Saturday morning! It was a wonderful experience for everyone there. One of the people getting baptized was super excited and happy. He kept telling me how awesome it was! Everyone there had a great experience! One investigator that I had been teaching, named Hazir, asked me to baptize him. It was a humbling experience to baptize him. I was a little nervous because I'd be baptizing in Albanian, but everything went well. The Spirit was very strong there and all the nerves and worries that I had quickly left. Hazir also asked me to confirm him and give him the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was my first time confirming a person and giving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Much like the baptism, I was nervous about messing up on the Albanian aspect of it, but the Spirit totally helped me through. It's really humbling to feel the Spirit guiding you what to say even when you have no idea what to say. It was a definite testimony builder for me about the power of the priesthood. I know that God has restored His priesthood to earth again. I know that through the power of the priesthood, people are blessed and their lives change forever. I got to see 5 people have their lives changed forever through baptism and confirmation this week. It is such a miraculous thing! I know that God has love for all of His children, regardless of where they live. I've seen God's love for these people here in Prishtina, and I know that God feels the same for all of His children throughout the world! It was such a wonderful, and humbling experience to witness so many people change forever through the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I'm so grateful for this Gospel and all of the many blessings that it brings! I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings eternal happiness and peace to people! I know because I've seen it and experienced it, and I have no doubt!

Thank you so much for all of the love and support that you give to me each week through your prayers and letters! Thanks a ton! Ju dua shumë!

Javë të mbarë. Zoti ju bekoftë. Paçi lumturi dhe paqe!

Love, Elder Uacën

At the military base:  Brother Jensen, Elder Gray, Elder Harvey,
Elder Watson, Elder Roberts, Brother Bunjes, Sister Tooley
Hazir's baptism day!  Elder Watson, Hazir, Elder Roberts
Baptism day for five!  Elder Watson,
Hazir, Gjon, Mexhide, Lendita, Besim,
Saud, Betim

Monday, August 4, 2014

4 August 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your email! And thank you so much for your package! It was nice to finally get it! Thank you so much for everything that was inside! I celebrated it's opening by making peanut butter bars. They don't have graham crackers here, but we substituted with what we had available. They didn't turn out exactly like them, but they were pretty close in taste. It was like a piece of home. Thank you so much for sending that package again. It's also very nice to see an American flag as well. So thank you for sending that package, again!

That's great that Mirtha and Genesis are moved into their new home. I bet it was really nice to have them stay at the house for a while and get to know them, but I know that they will be better off together as a family. If they live in Crystal, will they be going to Church at the Minneapolis Stake Center? The one at the top of the hill? How's Phil doing? I haven't heard a whole lot about him recently. How's work going for him? What job specifically is he doing at the plant?

I can't remember if I had weekend homework in middle school. I know that I didn't have nearly as much homework as Rachel did when I was in school. Wow, I can believe that Rachel had someone like that at the orthodontist! {Rachel had a rude assistant who made fun of her when her mouth hurt.} That's horrible! I hope it doesn't happen again! That's a sweet lego set! {Mom found Dad a Mini Cooper Lego set as he used to drive a Cooper.} The other day, I saw an original Mini Cooper here in Prishtina this last week! It sounds awesome that everything is getting closer with "The Project". {A small cabin/shed that we started working on about 8 years ago! It was supposed to be a learning experience for Jacob, but he lost interest in it. Now, Rachel will have to take over.} It'll be interesting to see how the place has changed over time.

So today for P-day we stuck around Prishtina. I have had a cough for a couple days, and a couple other missionaries started getting sick about the same time as me. We're not completely recovered yet, so today we had a movie day. We went to the Church and we got to watch Ephraim's Rescue. We ordered a pizza and just kinda' chilled out today. It was a nice relaxed day.

Yeah, I know Elder Gunther. {He is a friend of Elder Crook's who is serving in the Princeton, MN, Ward right now.} He was actually trained here in Prishtina! I haven't talked to him a whole lot, so I don't know him very well. Elder Clawson knows him a lot better. Yeah, Elder Clawson is back in my district! It's super nice to see him again! It's really nice to catch up on his experiences. Elder Roberts is an amazing missionary! Elder Roberts has been in Prishtina for most of his mission. He was born here and now this is his third time serving here. He only has two months left, so when he leaves, he will have been in Prishtina for nine months of his mission! Right before coming to Prishtina, he was serving in Tirana as one of the Assistants to the President. So Elder Roberts is a very obedient and hard working missionary. He also knows how to have a ton of fun with the work. He has a great understanding of how a mission works. He is super motivated to set Prishtina on fire in his last transfer. I have a lot that I can learn from him, and I'm super excited for that opportunity! We've already seen the work start to pick up here already!

For example, in Prishtina this next Saturday we have a baptismal service set up. Nope, it's not for one new convert or even two. It's for five! We have five people getting baptized on Saturday, August 9! Everyone here is super excited! There is a family of three (Xhevat, Mexhide, and Lindite) and another young man (Suad) being taught by Elder Clawson and Elder Price, and Elder Roberts and I have one investigator (Hazir) will be baptized as well. Hazir actually asked me to baptize him! So on Saturday, I'll actually be baptizing my first person on my mission. It will be awesome to baptize someone in Albanian as well! As the district leader in Prishtina, I also had the opportunity to perform the baptismal interviews for those being baptized. It was a very humbling experience to hear their testimonies and see that they had a change of heart. They have really been changed by the Gospel and they really have a strong desire to be baptized. It was such a spiritual experience for me to be in those interviews. I felt the Spirit so strong! And it was a testimony to me of the truthfulness of this work. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and the message that it contains is for us in our day. I know that we can learn so many important things from the Book of Mormon daily, and if we apply those things, we can improve and become better people. We will truly be happier in our lives if we follow the teachings of the Book of Mormon. When we come to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, we want to follow Jesus Christ and follow his example of baptism. It's so wonderful that Prishtina will be having so many baptisms next week. I know that the Gospel has truly helped them, and it will truly help anyone else that has a sincere desire to learn.

Thank you so very much for your email and the love that you send to me every week! Thank you again for everything!

Zoti ju qoftë. Zoti ju bekoftë. Javë të mbarë!


Elder Uacën

An Albanian soccer scarf.  Super popular!


Views from the Boulevard in Prishtina.
Pizza Hutt (?) in Prishtina, Kosovo.
Cinnabon from Tirana, Albania.
Peanut Butter Bars from items in the package received from home!
P-day pizza.  Massive!