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, March 31, 2015

30 March 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for the emails you send every week. I really appreciate being able to hear about what's going on at home. Yes, as of right now, Elder Roemer and I are still companions. Yeah, it's been kinda' difficult to keep up with all of the changes going on around the mission. Yeah, transfers were this weekend, but I'll talk a little more about that later... (suspense) The weather here has been really nice. There have been a couple days this week that we were definitely looking forward to short-sleeve shirts again, and putting these suits away for the summer. This week we went on an exchange with the missionaries in Shkodër in northern Albania. I went up there with a missionary named Elder Wilcox. He is from Orem, Utah and he's an awesome missionary. The entire time I was there it rained, and was windy. I found out the hard way that one pair of my shoes aren't waterproof anymore. They're still a little wet on the inside. But I still have one pair that are still in really good condition. 

That is exciting that Mirtha {one of his sisters-in-law} is pregnant! That would be crazy if the baby was born on Phil's {one of his brothers} birthday! Thanks Dad, for eating some fish for me. {His family went to a local fish fry.} Man, I really miss American fish. Fish here is alright, but it doesn't come close to the big fillets that we eat in America. This week one of the members here was singing the song of the Lonely Mountain from the Hobbit. I asked him if he'd seen the Hobbit, he said that he's seen all of them and that they were awesome. I had to tell him to stop telling me about it, otherwise I would get pretty trunky. That's good that you have all of the Hobbits, but do you have the Extended Editions for them?

Yeah, it's super awesome that Easter falls on General Conference weekend this year! I'm excited to hear the special messages that will be given about Easter. I'm kinda' jealous, because General Conference will be one week later for us, due to translation stuff. However, next p-day I'm going to download the audio for the talks and then we'll listen to them in our house during the day. I'm super excited about General Conference! It's such a special time! We're so blessed that we have living prophets and apostles that teach us about the Savior. I'm super excited for it!!

So... Back to transfer news... Has there been enough suspense yet, or should I wait more? Okay, so President Weidmann is keeping us on our toes! With President Ford you could pretty much predict what was going to happen and you'd be right 95% of the time, however, with President Weidmann you can never predict what is going to happen. He threw us a huge curve ball by giving transfer calls on Saturday night in stead of Sunday. He also only called Elder Richards (because he is the district leader). When Elder Richards told us, I didn't believe him, I thought he was joking. Nothing is happening in Durrës. Elder Roemer and I are still together as Zone Leaders, Elder Holm and Elder Eddings are still together here, and Elder Richards and Elder Gosturani are still together. However, Elder Gosturani will be leaving for England in about a week and a half for his mission there, so Elder Simons (an awesome missionary from my group) will be coming here and will be in a tri-panionship (three missionary group) for a week until Elder Gosturani leaves. I thought for sure that I would've been leaving, but I guess the Lord has something more for me to do here in Durrës. If I stay here for another complete transfer, I'll be competing with another missionary for title of "King of Durrës" There was a missionary here a few years ago that spent a year of his mission here in Durrës. I have a shot to take the title from him, but with President Weidmann you never know. I feel that now I'm more susceptible to getting a random transfer call at some point during the middle of the transfer. Durrës was relatively untouched by the transfer, but the rest of the mission was changed drastically! A ton of areas were white-washed (where both missionaries are new in an area). So yeah, that's transfers for you.

This last week was really good. Like I said, I was in Shkodër for an exchange and it was a fun time. In Shkodër they speak differently than here in Durrës, and they don't quite speak like the Geg I was used to when I was in Kosovo. They speak their own kind of language. It's actually really weird. Their language is really different than the rest of Albania. In southern Albania, people mainly speak Tosk (the main dialect of Albanian), in northern Albania and Kosovo, they speak the Geg dialect, and in Shkodër they speak their own dialect. It was really weird being exposed to that language. Durrës is pretty much split half and half, it's considered as the bridge between Geg and Tosk. I also had an exchange here in Durrës with Elder Gosturani. It was a lot of fun serving with him! He's super awesome, and his English is amazing! He speaks so well. He's a super awesome missionary. This Sunday Esmeralda, Enkeleda, and Alketa all gave talks in sacrament meeting. They did such an awesome job. I was super proud of how well they did, I felt like yelling out, "Yeah, those are my recent converts!!" It's so awesome to see how much they have progressed in the Gospel and how willing they are to serve. After Church we were talking with them. Esmeralda had found out that it was transfer weekend and she asked me if I would be transferring. I told them that I would still be in Durrës for a while, and Alketa (the youngest) yelled out "YES!" English. First off, it made me really happy to hear how excited she was that I would be staying for a little bit longer. And secondly, it blew my mind that her natural reaction was to respond in English. I've never heard her speak English at all, so it was a surprise to hear her say something in English! Then Sunday night, we had an activity at church. It was an activity for missionary work. All of the returned missionaries in the Durrës ward showed pictures and told stories from their missions. It was a really fun activity, and it was also very spiritual. It was really amazing to hear stories from their missions as well. And then afterwards, there was a TON of food. The Relief Society Sisters baked tons of food and first gave the missionaries huge full plates, then when we finished our plates they refilled them. I was so full afterwards. Good thing the church is a 20 minute walk from our house, I needed it to work off some of that food that we had!

The missionaries were also asked to share an experience or something they've learned from their missions with the others during the activity. We each shared something and then we showed the new video by the church. Do you remember "He is the Gift" (Ai Është Dhurata) from Christmas time? Well the church has released a new video like that, but for Easter. It is called "Because He Lives" (Sepse Ai Jeton). It is a very powerful film exactly like Ai Është Dhurata. It has a very special spirit about it. I love that film so much! Every time that I watch it, I am filled with the Spirit. The Spirit testifies to me that Jesus is the Christ and that He did, in fact, rise from the tomb on the third day. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is our Savior. I know that there is no other way under heaven that we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father except is be through Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice. Let us all keep in mind the sacrifice of the Son of God this Easter season. I know that if we will keep His actions in our minds that we will have more reverence and gratitude for our Loving Father in Heaven and His perfect Plan of Happiness. I invite you to go to <> and watch the film, or <> in Albanian, or to watch both. Then I would encourage you to share it on Facebook, or in an email, or watch it with a friend. If you share it on social media use #becausehelives or #sepseaijeton. We each hold a responsibility to share the Gospel with others. We have received the blessings that come from the Gospel in our lives, so why should we hold it back from anyone? When we see a funny video on YouTube or if we hear a great song, we share it with our friends and loved ones, so why not with the Gospel? I know that we will be blessed if we do this! Again, I know that Christ lives, and Because He Lives we all will live again too!

Thank you for all of the love and support that you give to me! I couldn't do it without you! Javë të mbarë! Ju dua shumë. Kalofshi bukur. Zoti ju bekoftë!

Me dashuria më të madhe që është e mundur,

Elder Watson

Statue of a soldier in Shkodër.
We were in an apartment building and saw that someone
actually spread blood on their door for Passover.

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