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

Friday, July 3, 2015

29 June 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for writing me each week. I really enjoy hearing about what's going on back at home. I'm glad to hear that everything is going well. Things are going well here in Gjakova. It is really different being the Branch President. There are a lot more responsibilities! I've been studying out of the Handbooks trying to figure out what to do. So far, things are going pretty well! So the Church has only been in Kosovo for about five years now, and the Church started off in Prishtina, the capital. Gjakova was opened a few years later. I think the Gjakova Branch has been in existence for about two or three years. So it's a very new place for the Church. That's crazy that the Encampment for 2015 has finally come! The last time there was an Encampment I was 14, and that's where I met Joe {Patino}; and now both of us are on missions! Crazy!! I hope that it'll be an awesome adventure and that everything will go off without a hitch. (Whoa, I didn't know that I still knew that phrase!) Mom, about that wood chuck you trapped under the deck, how much wood has he chucked? As far as I know, we don't have any activities set for the Fourth of July. Which is sad. We might just have a special lunch together with the missionaries. I'm sure that celebrations will be a lot bigger in Prishtina. I remember my last Fourth of July in Prishtina, and it was super awesome! The weather here in Gjakova has been a little cooler in the past week. It's been rainy on and off. It's been a nice relief from the super hot and humid weather we've been having in the past weeks. I'd say that it' been in the mid 80s to low 90s for the most part during the time I've been here. It's a little annoying, but oh well, it's summer.

So this last week was really busy for us. On Wednesday, we had a Mission Conference in Elbasan, Albania. It was a long trip. We had to get up at 4:00AM in order to get there on time. And I had to drive There and Back Again... haha. It reminded me a lot of work. Waking up super early in the morning to have a long commute. However, Elbasan is a little bit farther than Minneapolis (by about three times). It was a pretty awesome conference. All of the dying missionaries gave their dying testimonies at this conference. It was really sad because it was my trainer's group. It was so sad seeing all of them give their last testimonies. It was really emotional! I'm going to miss all of them so much! I can't believe that they are really leaving. It still doesn't seem quite real yet. It was also really sad because Elder Smoot, from my group, ended up giving his dying testimony as well. He's been having some health issues so he has to go home early. It was sad to say goodbye to him as well. Elder Baker and his group fly out on Wednesday. On Tuesday they are going down to Tirana to have their final interviews and last supper, then they'll be gone. Whoa. It'll be a sad day. So with the missionaries leaving, transfers will be happening. My new companion will be an elder named Elder Cani. Elder Cani is from Durrës and I worked with him and his family quite a bit. I'm really excited to get to serve with him! He's already an awesome guy! I'm really excited to serve with him. There will be a lot of changes in the Gjakova District. Only Sister Pierce and I are staying, the other four missionaries are leaving. We'll have two Albanian missionaries in the district, so that will be pretty awesome. The other elder is Elder Sadiku from Elbasan. I'm really excited for this new transfer! It's kinda' funny (and scary) because elders in the Adriatic South Mission have seven full transfers in the country (one transfer is spent in the MTC, and our transfers are a three month cycle) so a lot of elders compare where they are in the scheme of things as a week, however, I like thinking about it more as the Seven Seals from the Book of Revelation. So it's crazy because this week is the opening of the Sixth Seal. It's crazy how fast time is passing by! However, I know that the Lord will help me to use the time that I have left to its fullest potential! This week there were a ton of birthdays in the mission! And two of them were in the Gjakova District. Elder Baker had his birthday on Friday and Sister Davis had hers on Saturday. It was quite the week! We had a lot of fun celebrating their birthdays with them!

That's really sad to hear that the US Supreme Court ruled that all states need to allow same sex marriage. One thing that my mission has taught me is about loving everyone and not judging others. A lot of time people think that with topics such as same sex marriage, if you're not for it, it is because you hate them or you want to discriminate against them. That isn't the case at all! My mission has taught me a lot about how to love others unconditionally. Christ was the perfect example for this. Christ frequently spoke out against, and warned about the consequences of, sin. One of the laws that God gave to man was about marriage and the importance of the family. God has taught us that the marriage that God ordains is between one man and one woman. By believing this, I am in no way expressing hatred toward any individual. God has given us the freedom to act how we will, and by believing this I am exercising my God-given right of agency. On my mission I've had the opportunity to teach a few individuals that are homosexual. They are wonderful people and I've had many wonderful conversations with them as friends. However, I know that God's laws are always right. He had given His Law and that's final. I know that we must keep the Lord's commandments to be entitled to His blessings (see D&C 130:20-21). I know what the Lord has commanded us, and I know that it is right. I know that the Lord also asks of us to love one another (see John 15:12). I know that, as we continue to love everyone as Christ loved us and to keep His commandments, we will be blessed abundantly in innumerable ways!

Thank you for all of the love and prayers and support that you give to me! I really appreciate it! Zoti ju bekoftë. Ju dua shumë. Kalofshi bukur. Puç puç.

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson

Goodbye, Dad!  With Elder Clawson . . .
and Elder Price . . .
and Elder Richards at mission conference, all headed home.
I see dead people!
On the way to Junik, a village near Gjakova.
It's very common to have traffic jams because
of people herding animals.
On the road to Peja, there is a sign with a penguin on it.
I have no idea what it means.
We haven't seen any penguins, as far as I remember!

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