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, March 9, 2015

9 March 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your email! I always look forward to hearing about what's going on back home! Mom, that's awesome that you ran into some people from the Eau Claire Ward {the ward where she grew up} at the Temple. It is a small world! There are tons of connections like that that have happened on my mission. I might have told you, but Elder Price and I actually lived in the same dorm building at BYU our freshman year there. It's also been crazy meeting the missionaries from Minnesota, it's crazy to think that we had been going to the same activities and trips together, but we've never met each other. There was also a sister missionary in the MTC in our zone that I had talked to quite a bit at BYU. Also, Kennedy Dohm (from the Sauk Rapids, MN, Ward} got called to the Hungary, Budapest mission and she was in the same zone as the Albanian missionary group right after me, so there are quite a few missionaries here that know her. There have been a ton of other crazy connections that have happened with other missionaries too. To answer your question, Dad, Albanian toilet paper is kinda' different than American toilet paper. It's all scented and different colors. It's hard to find just normal, white, unscented toilet paper. But it's still pretty soft, it's not like sandpaper or anything like that. You'll have to eat some extra fish at the fish fry for me. Sometimes I miss Lent. I hope that more people will sign up for the encampment! I really loved the encampment when I went! I made some of my best friends from the stake on that camping trip. I hope more people choose to go. They'll be blessed in tons of ways if they do go! You can even quote me on it! 

This week was really awesome, but in different ways from last week. Last week we were blessed with being super busy teaching lessons and helping our investigators make covenants with our Heavenly Father. This week we were also really busy, but with meetings. We had a meeting or a lengthy planning session nearly every day. We had Missionary Leadership Council, Zone Training, an Exchange, and three sessions of Stake Conference. The zone leaders and district leaders were invited to the leadership meeting Saturday morning because there were a lot of talks of how missionaries and wards can work better together. It was really awesome! The Spirit was super strong there and there were some really awesome talks given. It's awesome to see how well the mission president and the stake president work together! It's really awesome seeing a stake that's in the starting stages still. It's a lot of hard work, but it's awesome to see the blessings that are being poured out. For the Sunday general session of Stake Conference, the meeting was held in Durrës. One of our investigators actually moved back to Lushnjë and he's meeting with the missionaries there. He came with the branch to the meeting and it was super awesome to see him. He has changed a ton! He's a lot happier now in his life than when we were meeting with him. Moving back to his home town of Lushnjë really helped him out a ton! It was really awesome to see the change that the Gospel has had in his life!

This week I also had the opportunity to have an exchange with Elder Anderson in Elbasan. Elder Anderson is from my MTC group, but he was in the other district so I never got the chance to know him very well. So it was really nice to serve with him for a day and get to know him. This month in Missionary Leadership Meeting (MLC), President Weidmann talked to us about something called "How to begin teaching." It's a principle taught in Preach My Gospel. It serves a very important role in the first lesson with investigators. So we had a training on that, and in our zone training, we taught the rest of the missionaries in the zone about that. So back to Elbasan. Elder Anderson and I had the opportunity to put that into practice. We tracted into a really awesome family. When we used the principles taught in "how to begin teaching" we were able to see and feel a change in our lesson. The Spirit was a lot stronger in the lesson, and at the end we talked about the Book of Mormon with them. When we talked and testified about the importance and the value of the Book of Mormon, the mom of the family said, "I'm going to read from this book every day" before we even invited them to read from it. It was awesome to see how when the Spirit was that strong in the lesson, the invitation we extended at the end of the lesson became something natural and something that the investigator truly wanted to do. I know that the Holy Ghost is the true teacher. He teaches and testifies of truth to the hearts of individuals. I've seen and experienced the power of the Spirit in my mission, in my own personal conversion, and in the conversion of others. I know that we have a Loving Heavenly Father who wants to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us so we can know "the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:5).

Thank you for all of the love and support that you send to me! I couldn't do it without you! Ju dua shumë. Kaloni mirë. Zoti ju bekoftë!

Me dashuri të madhe,

Elder Watson

View from the Institute Center in Elbasan.
Inside the Institute Center.
Another view of the Institute Center.
We had Stake Conference this week, which was SWEET!  I also got to see some
friends from the mission, as well as Juxhin from Lushnjë!  Juxhin is also cousins
with Esmeralda, Enkeleda, and Alketa.  We became super good friends when I
first came to Albania.  He's awesome!
We explored a ruined amphitheater in Durrës.  Fun fact, it was actually discovered by the
father of one of the first members of the church in Durrës, Vëllai Toçi (Brother Tochi).

Tunnels that run through the ruins.
There was a really cool mosaic that was found in the ruins.
It's unfortunate that about half of it wasn't able to be preserved.
"Beam me up, Scotty!"
I thought about what it would be like to be a gladiator
walking out into the arena.

This "amphitheater" sounds like it was actually a lot more like a coliseum
where gladiator and slave fights happened, so that makes it a bit cooler.
Enjoying the action from the best seat in the house.

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