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, October 13, 2014

13 October 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your emails! I really look forward to reading them every week! This week was a good week for Elder Keck and I. We're getting along very well and we're working hard. I'm grateful I have the opportunity to be his trainer! On Friday it was Elder Keck's 19th birthday, so we had a little party for him for lunch. It seemed like he had a pretty great day. So yeah, I did have a car. Don't worry, I didn't get in an accident or do anything to have it taken away. There are three missionary areas here in Durrës and one area (the area that had the car before) is all of the outskirts of the city. They had the car in their area because one of them was the District Leader. However, I'm serving in a different area and they needed the car in order to go to lessons with their investigators. I talked with the Assistants to the President about the situation and they talked with President Weidmann and we all decided that the best solution was to just keep the car in the other area. I'm totally fine with it. So we don't really have the option to do all sorts of traveling, plus we'd need to get permission to leave our area for traveling on a P-day. When I came to the country I was living with the Zone Leaders, so I always had permission to leave my area when I traveled with them. Essentially I had all the benefits of being a Zone Leader without any of the responsibilities. However, we've been doing some fun stuff as a District here. Like today, we went to the beach and we played soccer on the beach for a while. Afterward we just played around on the beach making sandcastles and stuff like that. Next week we're going to go back and build some intense sandcastles. We're all pretty excited about it!

So Elder Keck and I actually live in almost a private house. Out landlord lives above us. It's kinda' like the house I lived in when I was here before. However, this landlord was one of my former investigators last time I was here. I don't know if I wrote about him in letters before, but his name is Beni. He's been the landlord for missionaries before. He's super nice! However, he doesn't recognize me from before. Not many people recognize me as a missionary that was here before. I think one reason is last time I was here I couldn't really speak very much, so I didn't make much of an impression on the people here before, but now my language skills have improved a lot and now I can do a lot more than I could last time. I guess one blessing is that what people see of me now is the image of Elder Watson that they'll remember. So going back to the house, we don't have a microwave, but we do have a washing machine. Here in Albania, the idea of a laundromat hasn't been thought of. Everyone owns their own washing machine and they do their own laundry.

This weekend was conference weekend here in Albania. It's always a little different because we're in a different time zone and we have to wait for translations too. So the way it worked out for us is they had Women's session and Priesthood session on Saturday night and then we watched another session on Sunday morning and Sunday evening. It's still a little hard to understand what's going on. It takes a lot of energy to focus on Conference in a different language to get stuff out of it. However, one thing I did is I downloaded a bunch of the audio for the talks in English and we've been listening to them at our house during lunch or when we're getting ready for bed. I noticed that there were a few talks about the Sacrament and making it a powerful, personal, spiritual experience. I really enjoyed the talk from Elder Holland. There was also a talk that I really enjoyed that the phrase was "Which way do you face?" I really liked that, and it's a good reminder that we always need to remember that our loyalty always lies first to God.

It's so crazy that Sierra {Jensen from the St. Cloud Ward} is home already! Elder Roberts went home the same day as she did, so it's still kinda' hard to believe that they're home. A day or two after transfers I was looking through my camera, and I saw a picture of Elder Roberts and me. It blew my mind to know that he was home and I had just served with him a couple days before! I can't believe Mikey {Gross from the Princeton Ward} is leaving {for his mission} already! Time is moving past so fast! It's hard to wrap your mind around it at times. Today I looked down at my watch and I couldn't believe that October was almost halfway over already! That's crazy that Sister Kenfield {from the Princeton Ward} might be moving! I hope that the Lord will guide her to make the best decision for her! Yeah, I've been hearing a lot about that Meet the Mormons movie. It sounds pretty cool. You'll have to tell me how it is.

So this week we've had some interesting experiences. First off we met a man named Thimiri. When we talked to him in the road he said that we wanted our help with some papers. It sounded like he wanted our help to translate a letter. We said okay and we got a time to meet. When we met he brought with him about 10 pages. We start off and he lays the papers our on the table. I noticed that some of them were written in very poor English, and they all mentioned something about a rock of great value. I asked this man what help he was looking for and he said that first he wanted to explain these papers. We listened to him tell us of a story where he found a rock. He said that one day he was watering his sheep in the sea, and he felt like the Lord told him, "Go into that bunker over there and see what you find on the ground." So he went to the bunker and he told us about this rock he found. He said that it was in the exact form of a ship with sails. He said that the rock was over 5 million years old. He showed us a picture of it and it looked like a normal rock... I guess if you squinted at it you might be able to see a ship. It resembles the form of a ship in the way that one side of it is rounded slightly. He was trying to tell us that it was sculpted by the hands of God and placed in that bunker for him. He said that it should be placed in a museum and be the 8th wonder of the world. He put everything he had into convincing us that we should be excited about this find. We told him that as missionaries we don't work with stuff like this. However, he continued to try and convince us for over two hours. Yeah, two hours of this old man talking about a rock he found. No matter what I said, he'd always say some other reason why we should help him put this in a museum. It was really weird. We decided that we were going to share a quick spiritual thought with him before we left. So we talked about the Book of Mormon. We talked about Joseph Smith finding the gold plates, and he was like, "Oh! That's like me finding my rock!" We were like "Oh no! Don't start talking about that again." But everything was alright in the end. Another interesting thing that happened was that another older man stopped and talked to us on the road. He said that his family was visiting him a week or so ago and his son-in-law messed with his printer, so he didn't know how to work it. He asked us if we could come and help him fix it. We agreed that we would try and fix his computer if we could share a message about our church. He agreed, so we went over one day and we tried fixing his printer. We weren't able to figure it out, but he said maybe you could fix my Skype instead. So we got Skype working on his computer. He was really happy and was willing to listen to a message. We talked about prophets and how blessed we are to have scriptures and to have modern prophets too. He actually knew quite a bit about our church, and he was really receptive to our message. Hopefully we'll be able to go back over and to teach him some more.

We can always turn any situation into a Gospel situation. As we were fixing Skype on his computer we saw some pictures of his family and we were able to talk about families and blessings they bring. Because we were willing to provide a simple service he was open to hearing a message about the Gospel. Service is a wonderful way to open people's hearts to the Gospel! It's a great opportunity to explain why we serve others. I know that through simple acts of service we can bless the lives of others. So always look out for little ways you can serve those around you. If you pray for those opportunities, the Lord will bless you with them. He will also bless you with the oppotunity to turn it into a way to share the Gospel with someone!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! Thank you for the support you give me. Ju dua shumë. Javë të mbarë. Zoti ju bekoftë!

Love, Elder Watson

So we were tracting in this one apartment building and we noticed that there was a huge
crack in the wall. You could see outside!! I could fit my hand in it, and it ran along the
whole height of the apartment building. Needless to say we left very soon!
We made peanut butter bars for District lunch. When I went to cut them, I asked how I should
cut it. They said, "Cut it in 6." So, I did. And we all had a HUGE sugar crash afterward.
Another apartment building couldn't decide if we were on the
5th or 6th floor.
On the beach for P-day today.

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