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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

23 February 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for writing me every week! It's always awesome when I get to read your emails! Wow! I can't believe that it's been so cold in Minnesota. This week has been warmer with a lot of good, sunny weather. I'll try and send some of it to you, but I'm having a hard time getting it to attach to an email. It still is a little weird to me that you only have one companionship of missionaries in your ward {Princeton, MN, Jacob's home ward}. Here in Albania, there are several to each ward and branch. It would be interesting to be the only missionaries over an entire city, or multiple cities like the missionaries in Minnesota. I'm actually really excited to talk with the missionaries once I get back to see how the Minnesota Mission is organized. That'll be really interesting! Say, "ç'kemi" to the Van de Veers and the Andersons! Give them my regards. That's so awesome that Spencer {Baker from the Sauk Rapids, MN, Ward} got his mission call! I'm excited for him!

This week was pretty great for Elder Roemer and I. We've been working really hard to get some of our investigators ready for baptism this week. We have two investigators that will get baptized on Saturday. They are the little sisters of Esmeralda, who got baptized last October. It is really awesome how it turned out. Both of them went to Esmeralda's baptism and they felt the Spirit really strong! They started coming to church as well with Esmeralda. Now they're both ready for baptism. It was kinda' stressful this week because we needed to make sure that they had received all of the lessons before their interviews. With the oldest girl, Enkeleda, it was pretty easy. She came to the center after school everyday and she easily received all of the lessons. However, it was a little more difficult to meet with Alketa (the youngest). She's in school in the afternoon, so we weren't able to meet with her as often as we would like, however, we felt like she should get baptized on the 28th of February with her sister. So we talked to Esmeralda on the phone and got her to teach her little sister the remaining lessons she needed. We ended up meeting later in the week and we were able to ask her questions and we saw that she had understood everything and had a testimony. Both of them passed their interviews easily. They're ready for baptism and they are excited, Esmeralda is excited, we're excited, and the ward is excited too! It should be a really awesome day! I'm really looking forward to Saturday. In one of their lessons, we told them that they could invite their friends to their baptism. They said that they had already invited their friends to their baptism. I jokingly asked, "how many of them are going to get baptized?" And they said, "Actually, about five of them really want to learn about the Gospel." The Lord is blessing us in so many ways! He's blessing us with investigators who are progressing and wanting to get baptized, as well with investigators that really want to do missionary work. I've been blessed by the love so much in my mission. As a missionary, I think I've been more aware to all of the blessings He is pouring out upon me. I know that the Lord loves us so much. He loves us so much that He wants to bless us. All He asks is that we follow His commandments. He's told us over and over in the scriptures that when we obey His commandments, we get blessed. I'm very grateful for a Loving Heavenly Father that blesses us. I'm grateful that He's shown us the way we need to walk through the Holy Scriptures. I know that when we read from the scriptures, we gain that strength we need for that day. Just like we need to eat food every day, we need to eat spiritual food every day. In fact we should, "Feast on the words of Christ." (2 Nephi 32:3). I know that God loves us. I know that the Book of Mormon is His word. I know that through Joseph Smith Jr. God restored His Church back onto the earth. I'm grateful for the chance I have to be part of this "great and marvelous work".

Thank you for all the love and support you send me! Ju dua shumë. Zoti ju bekoftë. Kalofshi bukur. U ngrohfshit shpejt!

Me dashuri të shkëlqyeshme,

Elder Watson

P-day mud football!
Elders Matson, Roemer, Watson, Smoot, and Richards

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

16 February 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for emailing me every week. I really appreciate being able to read your emails every week. It sounds like you had a pretty good week. It's weird to hear that it's super cold back there in Minnesota. This week has been really nice and warm. It's been probably in the mid 50s. We had a couple "cold" days last week. I wondered why it was so cold... and then I remembered it was February... and that it should have been even colder. Valentine's Day was a little weird. I totally forgot that it was Valentine's Day until near the end of the day. I was wondering why there were so many activities going on that day. It totally didn't register until later on in the day. On Valentine's Day, Elder Roemer and I set up and moved a lot of chairs and tables. There was a stake activity for the YSA group here. And there was another activity for the Relief Society. From talking with people, it sounds like both were fun and exciting. A member from Lushnjë, Juxhin, came to the activity and he stayed with some family that lives here in Durrës so he could come to church and say hi. It was really awesome to see Juxhin! We talked a little bit and kenaqed about Lushnjë and my time there. Even though I was only there for a couple weeks, we became really great friends! It was awesome to see him and talk with him a bit! I hope that you all had a great Valentine's Day. Thanks for the card, I really appreciate it. It sounds like you had a pretty good Valentine's Day! Wow! Rachel, that's awesome that you finished Harry Potter 4! You know, I've actually never read book 1 or 4. I read the other ones, but not those (because the movie came out before I finished it). I hope you're liking them! It's kinda' nice not having a movie theater in Durrës at all because I don't see any posters or movie trailers that would make me trunky!

This week was pretty good. It had its ups and downs like usual, but for the most part it was good! This week we had an exchange with the district leader in Shkodër. So we spent a LOT of time in the makinë this week. The trip to Shkodër is about 2 hours one way. Elder Roemer stayed in Shkodër during the exchange, because he had served there before. So I drove up to Shkodër, then back to Durrës with the other missionary, then back up to Shkodër the next morning. On the way back from Shkodër we needed to get our makinë inspected to renew license stuff, and then go to Tirana after that. So there was a LOT of driving this week. That's why you have so many pictures of the road between Shkodër and Durrës. However, we were still able to meet with a lot of people this week. We have some really awesome investigators who are progressing toward baptism. We've been really blessed in the past couple weeks with amazing investigators. Esmeralda (who got baptized in October) has two younger sisters that should be getting baptized soon. The youngest, Alketa, is 10 years old and we asked her what she had read from the Book of Mormon. She told us that she read until chapter 5 in 1 Nephi. This confused me because in a lesson before, she told us that she was in Alma. I asked her to clarify and she told us that she had finished reading the Book of Mormon and had started again and was at 1 Nephi 5. I was blown away! She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "I read a lot." It's really awesome to work with people like this. It's amazing to see the change and the blessings that the Gospel brings into their lives. It's an awesome opportunity to be a missionary! I love missionary work so much. There are so many blessings that come from missionary work. Whenever we do missionary work we are blessed abundantly. I know that through missionary work we are all blessed. The people that learn are blessed with the Restored Gospel in their lives. The missionaries are blessed because they get to teach lessons to people. And the members that are involved in the teaching progress are blessed with increased testimony and knowledge of the Restored Gospel. There are so many blessings awaiting us for doing missionary work. So come and get some blessings! Invite the missionaries over. Invite someone to learn about the Gospel. Share a Gospel principle with them. Take part in missionary work and I know that you will be blessed abundantly!!

Thank you for the love and support you give to me! Ju dua shumë! Kalofshit bukur. Javë të mbarë. Zoti ju shpërblejftë!

Give my fala to everyone!

Me dashuri të madhe,

Elder Watson

Aldi's--Albanian style.
Many apartments in the mission have random pictures.
In cities, you see tall apartment buildings mixed in with
small private homes and ruined old buildings.
I loved being able to see snow in Northern Albania!
It was interesting to see the Christian fish symbol on the back
of this makinë.  You can also tell where this makinë is from
because of the license plate.  This one is from Shkodër ("SH").
The Shqiponja roundabout as you enter Tirana from Durrës.
The cultural center in the middle of Tirana.
9 February 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for the weekly emails that you send me! I really appreciate them and I look forward to them every 
P-day! Wow! It's always awesome (and sometimes a little weird) to hear about everything that's going on back home. It's weird that life is still going on and things are changing back home. Çmenduria!! Yeah, Elder Myers and Motra Vermunt were the ones that ended up going home due to health issues. I'm not sure what issues they had, but health issues like that aren't too common. So don't worry. It's super awesome that Elder Waters is back in Albania. He's being trained in Tirana with Elder Simons. It's interesting because Elder Simons was Elder Waters's companion in the MTC. President Weidmann didn't know that when he made that assignment so that's super cool! Yeah, Valentine's Day gets celebrated here too. I don't know how popular it is though. I haven't seen any advertisement for it. However, the Church is having an activity for that for YSA ages. It sounds like they'll be having a dance at the Durrës chapel. It's a Stake activity, so people will be coming from all over the country to it. It sounds like it'll be a great activity. Yeah, there has been quite a bit of flooding here in Albania. However, in Durrës, we haven't had any issues from that. From what I've heard, it's worst in Southern Albania in places like Fier, Vlorë, and Gjirokastër. As zone leaders, we've been talking to all the missionaries in our zone nightly to know if they're still safe and things are going alright. So we've been talking to people in Durrës, Shkodër, and Elbasan. None of them have seen any issues or have been effected by it. So that's good. We were actually in Elbasan this week for a baptismal interview, and we didn't experience any issues driving or while we were in the city. We saw that the river was kinda' high, but nothing too dangerous.

This week was an awesome week for Elder Roemer and I! We were very blessed this week in our work! We were blessed with finding some really awesome new investigators. We found these two kids last Monday night. We tracted into their house. We've been able to meet with them several times this last week. It's amazing to see how prepared they are! They are understanding very quickly. Both of them love learning about the gospel. Both of them, Sajmir and Xhim, come to our English Course as well. Sajmir has actually said a prayer in front of the English Course twice! No one else in the course is willing to pray except him. They're super awesome, both of them are reading from the Book of Mormon and they love it! It's super awesome to see how the Lord has blessed us with people who are prepared to receive the Gospel. We've been blessed in finding many others as well, mainly from recent converts and the family members of other investigators. This week the Lord has blessed us with being able to meet with people often as well! We've had an awesome week all around! I know that these blessings came, not because we did anything different, but because we are being obedient. In a lot of our meetings we've been talking a lot about consecration in the Lord's Work. I'm not saying that we were being disobedient before, but we've gotten a lot better with the tiny little things. I believe that because Elder Roemer and I are trying to be obedient in all of the tiny, little things the Lord is blessing us abundantly. I know that the Lord loves us all. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I know that when we obey His Word, we are blessed abundantly!!

Thank you for all of the love and support that you give me! Ju dua shumë! Javë të mbarë. Kalofshit bukur!

Me dashuri të madhe,

Elder Watson

On exchange with Elder Matson.  We had a ton of fun!  For lunch we found a place
down near the beach called "Wild West."  The place looked super cool!  It seemed
like a legit wild west themed restaurant; however, the food wasn't up to par.
But, it was worth a shot.
The road coming into Durrës from the dash cam.
(Just kidding, we don't have a dash cam.  But it would be cool, right?)
A random stuff we saw during tracting--half of an old picture of
New York City.  Looking at that picture was super weird.  The
buildings look so foreign and almost fake.

Monday, February 2, 2015

2 February 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for sending emails every week! I really appreciate it and I look forward to them every week. That's crazy that Rachel will be starting the Young Women's Program later this year! Time is moving by so fast! 

Something interesting happened a couple weeks ago here in Durrës. One man ended up giving a talk at a baptism Saturday night, then another talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday, and then he taught the Priesthood class as well. It was surprising, because he had been less-active for quite a while. He started coming back to church last transfer and then all of a sudden BOOM he's doing everything! Crazy! Things are going well with our baptismal goal. Elder Roemer and I believe that three of our investigators will get baptized in the month of February. It's such a great blessing! Yeah, Elder Roemer and I are still kinda' figuring out how to be zone leaders, but things are going well. As a zone leader, it's a really awesome opportunity when we can hear about how the other areas in the zone are doing. There is one city in our zone, Shkodër, and in the past it's had a reputation of being a very hard area. The church is VERY small there even though it's been open for quite a while. I believe there are about three active members in Shkodër. It's had this reputation for a long time. However, we've seen so many miracles happening in Shkodër this transfer! First off, the missionaries are super motivated and excited about our mission and zone goals. And that motivation has been setting Shkodër on fire! They passed out about 5,000 English course flyers and they had a turn-out of over 100 people! And from that they've been able to teach more and more lessons, as well as finding new individuals to teach. It's such a blessing to see how the Lord is blessing His missionaries everywhere!

This week has had it's ups and downs. This week has been really stormy, so not a whole lot of people have accepted meetings. A lot of people have cancelled on us, so that kinda' bummed us out. Even thought it's been stormy we're still missionaries, so we go out and work.This Friday night we were tracting during a storm with super strong winds. While we were tracting, the power went out. I had my flashlight on me because most of the time Albanian apartment buildings don't really have very great lighting. So we were using that and we continued tracting. A lot of people told us that the lights weren't on, so they couldn't open the door. We told them that we had a light, but they said that they couldn't open the door still. We thought the logic behind that was kinda' funny, but we kept going on. It was kinda' freaky because in Albanian apartment buildings, EVERYTHING echos. You'll hear people, but you won't know what floor they are on. Like I said, the storm had really strong winds, so inside of the apartment building you could hear the wind and it made some eerie sounds. We were knocking on one door and we heard some sounds inside the apartment. It was like a tapping noise. Then the door behind us whipped open. It was a door we had already tried and there was no answer, so it nearly scared me to death when it opened. There was an old man standing there and he asked us, "Are the lights back on yet?" We said, "No." And then he said, "Oh, Ok. Goodnight" and closed the door. It freaked me out a ton! But oh well. This week was also awesome because we had a zone conference. It was a little different because it was combined with the Durrës, Tirana, and Vlorë zones. It was super awesome because I got to see a ton of my friends on that day. It was super awesome because it was on my group's one year anniversary of entering the MTC. So it was super cool to see them! It was kinda' sad because I found out that two from my group were going home because of health problems. It was really sad to hear that. However, it was really awesome because Elder Waters, from my MTC group, is finally here in Albania!! He was the one that had some health issues, so he was sent home before he got to the country. It was so awesome to see him again! I was super happy to see him! The zone conference was a very spiritual meeting! It was very uplifting and wonderful. We also got the opportunity to see "Meet the Mormons." That's such an amazing movie!! Everyone loved it! We found out that we'll be getting that movie translated into Albanian in May so we'll be able to show that to individuals here. The plan is for us to use it kinda' like how we used He is the Gift (Ai Është Dhurata)! I'm really excited about that! I'm interested to see how it gets translated, and how Albanians react to it. It was weird seeing America just in that video. It looks so different than Albania!

This week I've been studying a talk that is called, "Be the Fourth Missionary". In this talk, a mission president is teaching his missionaries about four different types of missionaries. He's teaching about their characteristics and the outcomes of their missions. The missionaries range from disobedient to obedient, and the mindset of how they approach missionary work. Obviously the goal is for missionaries to become the fourth one described, as implied by the title. Reading that talk made me reflect on which missionary I am. It was really interesting to read it, because I found areas in which I could improve. The talk gives a message of hope. It says not to think that being the fourth missionary means that you need to be perfect. It says that being the fourth missionary is really all our choice. If we don't become the fourth missionary it's because we didn't choose to do it. Being the fourth missionary is something totally possible, and it's a goal that I have. It requires complete and willful surrender of your will to the Will of the Lord. When we give the Lord all that we have, He can work with us and He will work with us. Reading that talk has given me that renewed strength to recommit myself to the Lord's work and to become exactly what the Lord wants me to become. I know that the Lord lives and He loves us. I have felt His love for me in my life and I know that we all can feel of His love in our lives as well. I know that as we learn more of the Savior, we want to become more like Him. I'm very grateful for all that He has given me. I truly am blessed abundantly in my life!!

Thank you all for all of the comfort and support that you give to me! Ju dua shumë! Javë të mbarë! Kalofshi bukur. U nglifshi shnosh!

Me dashuri të madhe,

Elder Watson

Elder Watson and Elder Myers at zone conference.
One missionary to read them all, One missionary to find them,
One missionary to bring them all, and in his suitcase hide them.