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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

22 September 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your email this week. This morning I was making eggs and I noticed that one of the eggs was quite a bit bigger than the rest. Naturally I chose to use it. When I cracked it open into the pan, two yokes came out! It blew my mind! No wonder it was so big, they were twins! So the movie we made last week is in response to some other movies that were made here in the past. I'll try and figure out a way so I can send them to you, they're too big to send in an email. So I'll try and figure out a way so you can see it. The countdown for Elder Roberts is in the single digits, I don't know exactly how many but it's under 10. Crazy huh?

Rachel! Gëzuar Ditëlindjen! Happy Birthday. I hope that you had a great birthday this week. It sounds like you had a fun time at your party! I hope you like all the One Direction stuff you got. There's a member here in Prishtina and he LOVES One Direction. He's such an awesome member. How did you like the Sisters coming over on your birthday? I know that I really liked it when the Elders came over on my birthday a couple times. Adam Levine dyed his hair blonde? Gross. I can't imagine him having any hair color other than black.

Mom, gëzuar ditëlindjen! Happy Birthday! I hope that you have a great day on Wednesday! I won't be able to talk to you on Wednesday, but you can know that I'll be thinking about and praying for you. 

Dad, that patch looks awesome! {Preliminary design of the patch for the 2015 LDS Boy Scout Encampment that will be held in MN.} I hope all the planning for that activity is going smoothly. Will you be going to the Little Philmont activity, or are you just planning out the food and then someone else will take over for the actual activity? {Stake Boy Scout leader training; and yes, Dad is attending.}

So this week I had to give a talk in sacrament meeting. It was my first time giving a talk in sacrament meeting as a missionary. I don't know how I was able to avoid it this long! I've had to give a couple testimonies, but never a full talk in church. In such a small branch like Prishtina, everyone gives talks pretty regularly so I'll probably get the chance to speak in church again soon. It kinda' threw me off at the beginning because we had about 30 people in church this last Sunday, which is about average for Prishtina, but it's a lot smaller than I was used to. All in all, I think it went well. I hope that people understood what I was saying and the message I was trying to get across. I spoke about faith and how it's a principle of belief and action.

So we've been having a hard time with Hazir since his baptism. After he was confirmed, he told us that he and his family had planned to go on a vacation out of Kosovo for a month. So he was supposed to get back into Prishtina in the beginning of September. So we called him, but we couldn't get a hold of him. We tried that with him for a couple weeks with the same result. We couldn't get a hold of him. This week, in one of our daily planning sessions Elder Roberts decided to just give him a call. He answered! We were able to set up a meeting with him, and we had a great lesson about the Priesthood. He explained his situation. He told us that after he got back from his vacation, his work had taken him out of Kosovo in Albania and Macedonia, so he couldn't answer his phone internationally. When we met with him, he told us that the next morning he would be leaving for Serbia for a couple days for another job. Some people would say that we caught him at a lucky time, but I believe differently. I believe that it was the Spirit guiding us so that we could meet with Hazir, and that we could learn that he is still solid in his testimony and he is willing to accept a calling in the church. I truly believe that the Spirit prompted us to call Hazir. I know that as we rely on the Spirit, we will be directed in doing his work. I know that if we are humble and willing to listen, God will give us the direction and answers we are seeking through the Power of the Holy Ghost (See Moroni 10:5).

Thank you for the love and support that you give to me. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts! I know that the Lord will bless you as you continue to follow His example! Javë të mbarë. Zoti ju bekoftë. Gëzuar ditëlindjen prap!

Love, Elder Uacën

Photos this week courtesy of Sister White.
Another "Ask us what we do" finding activity.
Sister White, Elder Watson, Sister Curtis
The Sisters with the Jashari family, who were baptized on August 9th.

                             ???  Elders Clawson and Price
???  Nice jacket Elder Clawson!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

15 September 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your email this week! It's always awesome when I get to hear from you and see what's going on back at home. It sounds like you had a great week! No, I didn't do much for my 6 month mark. It's a little different here because you don't know if you're supposed to celebrate your 6 month mark from the MTC or your 6 month mark in the country. But for my 6 month mark in the country we went to Pizza Hutt as a district. Yes, I spelled that right. There was two "T"s. There's a lot of copyright infringement here in Kosovo, and a lot in Albania. Here's a picture of a sign I saw today. It's for a place called Fresh Burger. It totally ripped off the logo of Burger King. It's funny seeing a bunch of stuff like that. And no, the food there isn't anything like real All-American Burger King. Their motto is "You'll get it this way."

As long as I'm on the topic of food, we've been eating a lot at a traditional Albanian place here in Prishtina. It's called Tip-Top. They have tons of Albanian traditional dishes. A favorite dish is fasule and oriz (beans and rice) or musakë (ground meat, potatoes, and eggs). The food there is very good, it's very cheap, and it's very fast. Elder Roberts and I have been able to save a lot of money by eating there. As far as cooking for myself... I've mastered the art of cooking eggs! As long as you want them scrambled. Yeah, my cooking skills are pretty basic, but they're enough. I've been trying to make those rice krispie bars with chocolate on top, but I keep messing up.The bars never seem to hold together, so I think the oil might be too thick. Oh well, Edison learned by trail and error, and I'll do the same.

That's awesome that you were able to go serve with the rest of the stake! {Stake Service Day was Saturday, September 13th.} That's so crazy that Mikey {Gross from the Princeton Ward} will be leaving so soon for his mission! I know that he'll be a great missionary! Tell him not to be nervous, the Lord will help him along the way. That's so awesome that Clara {Kroska from the St. Cloud Ward} is going on a mission! If you get a chance to talk to her before she goes, tell her that people here love Messi! It's crazy that Sierra (Jensen from the St. Cloud Ward, coming home in less than three weeks} will be getting home that soon! Elder Roberts is in the same boat. He keeps telling me that it's crazy how fast the time flies by. Dad, I'm glad that you were able to go out with the missionaries. We love it when members are willing to help us out with lessons! I'm glad you get to experience that. It's amazing when members help us out in our work. I know that every time a member helps out a missionary, both the member and the missionary learns from the experience! I'm glad you were able to help them out. Rachel, I'm super glad that you are having a great time in school! Say "Përshëndetje" to Mrs. Nelles from me. I'm glad to hear that you've done so well on your test so far. That's amazing! Keep up the good work. Just do your best on the application for the student council. No one can ask any more of you. I'm glad that you love band! I know that you will have TONS of opportunities later on in life with music if you keep up with it. I've actually had to play piano here in Prishtina for church more often. I have to play pretty much every Sunday in Priesthood meeting. It's always funny because the Elders Quorum President always picks really interesting songs to sing. A couple weeks ago we sang Silent Night. Before I started I asked him if I had the page number right and he said yes, so we sang Silent Night. Haha. So Rachel, be sure to practice piano. You'll never know when you'll need it!

Mom, wow. That's a lot of peppers! Ju bëft mirë! {We had a frost predicted, so we picked all of our garden vegetables. Yes, it did freeze. This is way more                                                                 than a peck, and they did eventually end up pickled!}

I hope that you'll have a good time teaching Doctrine and Covenants 4 to the seminary class. I really like how it talks about having "an eye single to the glory of God" in verse 5. In Moses 1:39, we learn that "this is my work and my glory- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Immortality and eternal life is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. So another way we could read Doctrine and Covenants 4:5 is that we need to have "an eye single to the Atonement of Jesus Christ." It's a really cool connection that I found a couple weeks ago.

This last week was a little rough for Elder Roberts and I. Our previous week had been an amazing week, so the contrast was huge for us! Our investigator pool seemed to dry up after last week, so this week we spent a lot of time finding. Sometimes standing out on the road talking to people can seem like it's not doing anything. Sometimes it gets frustrating when people don't talk to you. Now there's two ways that you can take it from here. The first way is to get frustrated and to only focus on the lack. After that you get discouraged and it's harder to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and you only make your situation less productive. On the other hand, you can choose to remain hopeful and continue to work. It's more difficult to do the second, but when you do the situation improves and the Lord blesses you immensely!

One blessing that we received because of our continued work was a man named Osman. When Elder Roberts was in Prishtina before (this is his third time serving in Prishtina!) he saw this shop that was called "Turkish Tailored Suits." He was intrigued and he went into the store. At this shop they make custom tailored suits. He put the order in and he had to go in a couple days later to get it fitted for final adjustments. When he came back the second time he met the owner of the shop, Osman. Elder Roberts only had time to get fitted and he needed to leave quickly; however, Osman asked him for five minutes. He said okay and sat down with him. Osman told him that he wanted to become a Christian. He wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ and get baptized. This stunned Elder Roberts, and Osman began meeting with the missionaries. Osman turned out to be very prepared by the Lord. He progressed very quickly. However, Osman is very busy with work, and he has to travel between Kosovo and Turkey very often. So every once in a while he would go to Turkey for several months and then he'd be back in Prishtina. So there's always a question of where he is. One day, Elder Roberts and I decided to stop by his shop to see if he was there. We found him there, but he was very depressed. He told us about all the problems he was having with work and with his family. It was really sad to see him like that. We told him that we loved him and gave him his space for a little bit. We went back last week on P-day, and talked with Osman. He told us that he wasn't doing much better with work or his family. However, last P-day the missionaries from Pejë and Gjakovë came up to Prishtina. We all went to Osman's shop and when he saw the other missionaries he lit up! He was super excited and he was really happy! Osman really loves the missionaries! We told him we love him and we invited him to church. So on Sunday we were sitting in sacrament meeting, and in walks Osman! Osman is loved by the members of the branch. They were so excited to see him again! I was talking with him and he told me "something was just pulling me here today". He is very in-tune with the Spirit! He's a very wonderful man, and we feel like he'll get baptized soon. Hopefully before Elder Roberts returns home. We were so very blessed to have Osman in church with us on Sunday. He's proof that the Lord works with people and he helps prepare them even before they meet missionaries. Osman coming back to church was by far the highlight of this week!

Thank you for your love and support that you give to me! Ju dua shumë (I love you a lot). Javë të mbarë (have a good week). Zoti ju bekoftë me shëndet dhe lumturi (May the Lord bless you with health and happiness)!


Elder Uacën

This is my team from the soccer activity we held this week.
Jacob "phot bombing" Sister White and Valmira,
a member from Prishtina.
                       This week there was also a traditional dance festival from all across the Balkans in Prishtina.

Monday, September 8, 2014

8 September 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your emails! I always look forward to reading them on P-days! I'm glad to hear that you had a chance to get a lot of progress done with the patio! I just have one thing to say about it, "Oooooh. Aaaaaaah." Yeah, it looks really good! It turned out really nice! U gëzofshi!
Mom and Dad just finished
installing this patio.

Rachel, I hope that you had a great first week of school! That's cool to hear that you changed to percussion. I know that percussion is a very important point of the band, maybe not quite as important as the trombones, but I know that you'll be good at it if you stick with it and do your best! You'll be able to do a lot if you keep up with it through high school! Don't feel pressured because you have the same teachers I had. I know that you are really smart and you can do a lot when you focus and put your mind to it. I'm sure that Mrs. Nelles and Mrs. Karesh will be very pleased with how you work! Don't worry about it, just do your best. No one can ask any more of you. Wow! I forgot that this week was Labor Day. Things like that kinda' just gloss over as you're a missionary. It's crazy how fast time flies by! It's already September! Wow! Yeah, it's crazy how fast people are growing up. {His friend's brother started college this year!} I can't believe that Mikey will be going on his mission soon! {About 40 days!} Everyone is growing up so fast!

This is Gjon (equivalent of John) and it only LOOKS like he's doing one-handed push-ups. He was just doing that for the camera. Sorry.

Oh yeah! Bertha Jorkins! {Rachel is reading the Harry Potter series and asked about a character from the books.} I've met her. She's a member in Lushnjë. I didn't have much time to get to know her, because I was only there for a couple weeks. I'm just kidding. I've never me her. As the Harry Potter books say she was never heard of again, so no I haven't heard from her.

Once every transfer cycle, the Mission President will interview each one of the missionaries. This Saturday we had the opportunity to have our interviews with President Weidmann. It was such an awesome experience being able just to sit down and talk with him about the Gospel for a while. He's such a spiritually led man. He has a powerful testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I loved my interview with him. I learned a lot, and I got a lot of direction on how I can improve myself and then encourage the district to improve as well. With President Weidmann, the mission has gone to 6 week transfer cycles now, like every other mission in the world. Also, President Weidmann is encouraging us to meet the mission's goal for baptisms before the end of the calendar year. Our goal is 300 convert baptisms for the year of 2014. Right now we're at about 160. So broken down, it's about 1 baptism per month per companionship. We've been praying a lot that we can find those people who are prepared to accept the Gospel. We've met some really amazing people! This past week we met an amazing man named Ismet.

We met Ismet on the road while we were contacting one day. He was extremely interested in the Book of Mormon when we talked in the road. He gave us his contact information, and we felt like we should give him a Book of Mormon. Normally we don't just give out copies of the Book of Mormon to people, because everyone here would take one just to take one. But we decided to give it to him. When we met with him again after about four days we asked if he had the opportunity to read a little from the Book of Mormon. He said, "Yes, I read it. I read all of it." I was blown away! He is very interested in learning about the Gospel. He loves Jesus Christ (which is something really rare here). We invited him to come to Church that Sunday. He said he'd come, and he did. He came to church and he loved it. He's super friendly and he was able to make some good friendships with a lot of members. He's an amazing person! His only concern is about baptism. He doesn't want to commit to anything yet, which is understandable. He said that once he makes the commitment he'll keep it. In one of our lessons, a member told Ismet, "You'd be a great strength to the church here. You're more prepared now than I was when I was baptized". After he left one of the members told us that they really liked him and they thought that Ismet would totally get baptized one day soon. Ismet is such a great man! He can talk a lot, so that's a little difficult to keep under control during lessons. I'm super excited for him, and I feel like he could get baptized soon as well!

I'm super grateful for the opportunity that I have now to be a missionary here in Prishtina. I know that the Lord is working with people here already. We just need to go out and find them. We need to rely on the Spirit to direct us, and miracles will happen. Every time that I speak with people about the Restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith, I feel the Spirit very strong and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We love watching the Restoration film with investigators. I have it nearly memorized in Albanian, but it always brings the Spirit with it. I know that if any of us have questions about Joseph Smith being a prophet is through the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has a promise recorded in Moroni 10:4-5 that we can receive an answer from God about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I know that this promise is true and it works, because I've done it several times. I've received the answer that the Book of Mormon is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, because it was translated by him. If Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God on the earth today. If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God on the earth, then we have living prophets on the earth today which speak with God and direct His Church on earth today. So if we ever have questions, or doubts, about the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can find the answer through the Book of Mormon in some way. I know that if we will humble ourselves and ask, God will tell us if we are willing to listen. When you finish reading the Book of Mormon as a family, I would encourage you to pray about the truthfulness of its message as a family as well. I know that you will receive an answer!

Thank you for all of your love and support! Thank you for sending emails! I love hearing from home! Javë të mbarë. Ju dua shumë. U shpërblefshit me shëndet dhe lumturi!

Love, Elder Uacën

When we go tracting, normally apartments have horrible conditions in the hallways.
They may not have been cleaned in a number of years or they may not have any lighting.
This is what it is like tracting inside of an apartment building.
The branch had scheduled a talent show activity this week.
Only two members came, so it was rescheduled.
Elder Clawson and Elder Price practice their act.

Monday, September 1, 2014

1 September 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your email! It's always really awesome to hear from you on P-day! It sounds like you've had a great week! It sounds like you had a good party with the whole family. Brats sound so good! They don't quite have anything like that here in Kosovo. I've come across some stuff like brats in Albania, but it's not super common. If you have any left, eat one for me. The patio is looking good! I hope the weather holds out for you so that you can finish it up soon!

Rachel, I hope that you have a great first day and week back at school! It's kinda' crazy to think that kids are going back to school already. The other day, we had a back to school ad for a local store on our doorstep when we got back to the apartment. Just work your hardest and do your best and you'll succeed!

So this week was really awesome for Elder Roberts and I. The past couple weeks we've been in a little bit of a slump, but President Weidmann promised us that as we continue to work hard, that we'll see the work that we've been accomplishing. We saw that promise fulfilled this week! We were able to meet with tons of people and we actually got an investigator to come to Church on Sunday. That was really awesome because we met him for the first time this week and he sacrificed greatly to catch an early bus from his village into Prishtina, and he brought two of his kids. It was really awesome! We could definitely see that the Lord had blessed us greatly this week!

This week we also had an interesting experience street contacting. A man came up to Elder Roberts and I and asked if he could get a book, referring to the Book of Mormon. This is a pretty common experience. A lot of people see us and just assume that we want to give them away willy-nilly. So I started explaining what the Book of Mormon is and how we got it. He asked if he could see it. I let him hold it and I continue explaining. I explain that if he wants to learn more that we can meet one day and we can talk more about it and then we'll give him a copy for free. He started telling me that he just wants to get the book and read it himself. We explain that that's not how we work. Elder Roberts starts talking to him and the man grabs his Book of Mormon as well. So now this guy has both of our books. He starts telling us how Jesus Christ isn't the Son of God and how Muhammed is God's prophet. I keep talking to him and I end up able to get my Book of Mormon back from him. He cuts me off and starts denying Jesus as the Son of God. Elder Roberts grabs his Book of Mormon back from the guy and starts testifying that Jesus is the Son of God. So now both of us have our Book of Mormons back and still the guy stands there and says he wants a book. We explain again that if he wants a book he can meet with us another time and we'll gladly give him a book. As we're standing there talking he starts reaching for our copies like he's going to steal them right out of our hands. We pull back and Elder Roberts grabs his hand and pushes it away. We figured that he'd walk away after that, but he still stood there asking for a book. I told him that if I get his name and phone number we'll set up a time to meet. He says okay. I ask him his name and he tells me. I write it down in my planner. I ask for his phone number and he tells me he doesn't have a phone... while holding it in his hand... since the beginning of our conversation... Elder Roberts just slowly points at it and asks, "What's that?" The guy makes up a really lame excuse. So I just put my planner away figuring that he'd just walk away after lying that blatantly. He stands there and asks for a book again. I told him that he can get a book when we meet again. He gets mad and tells me to write down his phone number. Elder Roberts messed with him and said, "Oh, so you have a phone now". The guy said yeah, and gave me his phone number. He asked if he could get a book now. I explained to him yet again that he'll get a book when we meet again. He got super mad and he finally walked away. He came back up to us and he tells me never to call him and to cross out his name. So I take out my planner again and I overly cross out his name showing him that we'd never talk again and then he walked away for good. I turned to Elder Roberts and said something along the lines of "I just blotted his name out of the Book of Life". We ended up going to the Church right after this experience and just laughing about the whole situation. It was a very unique street contacting experience! Having one like that every once in a while makes street contacting interesting every once in a while!

This week I had the opportunity to give a blessing to one of the Sisters' investigators. She's been having a problem with living the Word of Wisdom, and she really wants to get baptized. So I was able to give her a blessing before Church yesterday. It's always really amazing being involved in blessings. Whatever fears you have soon go away and you can totally feel that the Spirit is directing you and that you are giving exactly what that person needs to hear at that point in their life. It was an amazing experience. Also, this Sunday, I was able to translate for a member who was visiting Kosovo with work from the US. It was difficult to keep up with everything that was going on! But I feel like I got the message across for the most part. It was a pretty great experience! All around this week was great!

I'm loving it here in Prishtina! I love being a missionary! I know that the Gospel brings happiness and peace into the lives of those that accept it! I've seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ bless the lives of those that accept His Gospel! I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I know that it contains the word of God! I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that through Him, we all have the ability to find forgiveness for all of our sins.

Thank you for the love and support that you give me! Ju dua shumë! Javë të mbarë. Rachel, paç fat me këtë vit e shkollës!

Love, Elder Uacën

Masarati from Prizren, Kosovo
University of Prishtina's library in the center with the many-domed roof
The Prishtina Elders
Looking over Prishtina from the top of the Mother Teresa Cathedral

                           Views from inside the Mother Teresa Cathedral

Elder Roberts and Elder Watson
The Prishtina Sisters:  Motra White and Motra Curtis

The Prishtina Missionaries
Elders Watson, Clawson, Price, and Roberts
Sisters White and Curtis