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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

11 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your email, I really appreciate hearing about what is going on back at home. Woah, American Idol is still a thing? I didn't know that. That's cool that there's a lady from Kosovo on it. No, I haven't heard her story before. The weather here is pretty nice. It was "pretty cold" around New Year's, well it actually wasn't that cold. I think the coldest it's been here so far is -4C which really isn't that cold. I'm glad I'm serving up here in Prishtina to kinda' get me adjusted to colder weather before coming home. Missionaries in Tirana are still just wearing long-sleeve shirts so that kinda' tells about the weather down south. But up here in the north, it's actually warmed up again. It's in the single digits above zero and pleasant. It's actually been raining quite a bit, so all of the snow that we had a couple weeks ago is gone... :'( I'm really bummed. We had a Zone training this last week and everyone was complaining about all of the snow. (I don't know why because the vast majority of them are from Utah or Idaho so they're used to it.) I was bummed to hear all the negativity toward the snow. I think maybe the Lord melted the snow because we didn't value it's beauty, but that's just my opinion. I'm excited to come home to a bunch of snow and actually cold weather! 

So this week was a really awesome week here in Prishtina. Let's be honest, every week is an awesome week in Prishtina. We've been out street contacting a ton! We've been trying to put an extra emphasis on finding new places to contact, because Prishtina is a pretty big city. We've been having a bunch of success. One day this last week, Elder Mero and I got about 15 phone numbers in one afternoon! It was an amazing success! It's so awesome to see promises from Priesthood leaders being fulfilled. The push to find new contacting places was a mission-wide push from President Weidmann. We were promised that if we would look for new contacting places, that we'd have even more success. That's right, it totally happened! It was a huge testimony builder for me! Also this last week we had a zone training with the Kosovo and Macedonia missionaries. While there we learned of a new mission challenge. We were asked to read the entire Book of Mormon in a month, from 7 January to 7 February. I was super excited about that! Right now I'm at 2 Nephi 25. I'm not reading it as fast as other missionaries, but I feel that I'm reading at a perfect pace for me. I'll be able to accomplish the goal but also be able to find renewed personal meaning from the words I'm reading. It's been a crazy couple of days of reading, but I found that I'm getting a TON out of it! Reading the Book of Mormon with that much intensity and drive has totally increased my desire to share this with other individuals! The Book of Mormon is such a wonderful gift from our Loving Heavenly Father!

It still feels a little weird because of my responsibilities that I've had as Branch President in Gjakova. Yesterday, I was released and the branch was reorganized. It was such a wonderful meeting. President and Sister Weidmann came up as well as Elder Hydrick. The talks that were given in Sacrament Meeting were wonderful! The Spirit was so strong! I have been blessed so much with the opportunity that I've had to serve as Branch President in Gjakova. I've learned and grown so much. I've been able to come to know my Savior better! I've seen the power of the Atonement work through me and through others. I have been blessed abundantly!! As we've started making the transition between Branch Presidencies, I've gotten to know Elder Hydrick quite well. We've had many long car trips to Gjakova from Prishtina. It's about an hour and a half one way, and I've come to learn of some of the things that he's done in his life and it's amazing! He is a remarkable man that has quite the story. I'm certain that he'll do well in Gjakova. So I guess the other piece of news from this week is that I've been called as the First Counselor in the Prishtina Branch. It was pretty much the first day that I was back here that the Branch President pulled me aside and asked me to serve as his counselor. I'm excited to help President Teli as he's a really awesome man that has a strong testimony. We're really good friends, and I hope that I'll be able to help him with whatever he needs. So I guess I'll be pretty busy right down to the wire. I'm glad about that! Not being super busy as a missionary is super boring. So I'm glad that the Lord has given me this opportunity to serve as much as possible!

Thank you for all of the love and support that you send to me! Ju dua shumë! Javë të mbarë. Kalofshi bukur. Ju përshëndes.

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson

Elder Watson with Patrick from the Gjakova Branch.
Elder Watson with Shkumbin from the Gjakova Branch.
Here's a picture of me in my "birthday suit."
(Viewer Discretion is Advised.)
4 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your email. It's always good to hear about what's happening back at home. I haven't been released, yet, as Branch President, so I still need to deal with stuff in Prishtina and Gjakova. We had to go to Gjakova on Sunday and I'll have to go back there this upcoming Sunday as well. This upcoming Sunday the branch should be reorganized so then I'll be just in Prishtina. It's been kinda' weird this last week because I've been in Gjakova so much, it feels like I haven't left, I'm just kinda' hanging out in Prishtina. It's been kinda' hard on me because I have one foot in each city. I love both cities very much and it's hard to be thinking about both of them at the same time. I would much rather just focus all of my attention and energy on one. However, that should all change this next week with the reorganization. Yeah, I don't really know what to write. Not much has changed since New Year's Day. Things are going well. I love it here in Prishtina. Oh! One thing that was awesome was that I was able to meet with Hazir, my first baptism here in the mission. Unfortunately, he became less-active shortly after his baptism and hadn't met with the missionaries in a while. However, we were able to meet with him this week. It was super awesome! We were able to talk about his baptism and the joy that he felt on that day. After the lesson, he bumped into the missionaries in the road and greeted them and hugged them. So now all of the Prishtina missionaries know him, and before only one knew who he was. One of my goals is to help Hazir to become active before I leave! I really love this man so much and he has a great potential!

Mom, Dad, and Rachel, that's awesome that you saw Star Wars. I'm super excited to go see it. Elder Mero is dying to see it, but he has just started his mission so he has a while to wait. I told him that when I go to see it I'll send him some pictures of me by the poster to rub it in. Haha. Oh! Speaking of Star Wars and white elephant, the Macedonian Missionaries had a white elephant gift exchange, and one of them bought a single ticket for Star Wars 3D. I died laughing when I heard about that!

Because we've been gone in Gjakova so much I don't know a whole ton about our district yet, but here's what I konw. So my companion is Elder Mero. He's been in country for three months and he's from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He graduated high school in 2015 (which really freaked me out)! Then there is Elder Eddings, I served around him in Durrës before. He's been here for about a year and a half. He's from Utah and he's training Elder Ingram, who just got here about 5 days ago. Elder Ingram is from Oklahoma and he's super awesome with the language! The sisters in our district are Sister Cheshire, she's from Utah and she's been here about a year, and her companion is Sister Lakaj from Tirana, Albania. She's been called to a mission in Salt Lake City and she's just waiting for a visa. She's actually lived in Michigan until she was 13 and then she moved back here, so she speaks English and Albanian perfectly. Yeah, that's our district.

Oh, today I also got my suit that I ordered for my birthday. So I'll be sure to send you pictures of myself in my birthday suit next week! ;)

Thank you for all of your love and prayers! Thank you so much for the support that you give me! Ju dua shumë! Kalofshi bukur! Javë të mbarë! Gëzuar Vitin e Ri!

Me dashuri,

Elder Watson

Bill Clinton statue in Prishtina with poop graffitied on it.
It also says "Happy 2016" which someone spray painted
all over Prishtina.

We had a pretty decent snow storm here in Prishtina
1 January 2016

Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you so much for your letters! It's always great to hear how things are going back at home. That's wonderful that you got so much snow in MN! Those pictures from home made me really happy! Yeah, it was really great that I got to Skype with my family on Christmas! Mom and Dad, I'm glad that you had a great Christmas! Wow, sounds like you had quite the adventure with all of the grand kids at the house this past week. Tell Jameson {Jacob's nephew} that he's on. I'll totally destroy him in a Nerf War. I'm glad that your talk went well on Sunday Rachel. Dad, I'm sorry that I forgot to wish you a Happy Birthday when we Skyped on Christmas, but I hope that you had a great Birthday! I've heard that the new Star Wars movie is really good. Hopefully you'll be able to go see it soon, if you haven't by now.
So there was a surprising turn of events this past week. On Saturday we had transfers... Elder Harline got transferred to Fier in Albania. He's excited to go down there. However, I also got transferred. So right now I'm writing to you from Prishtina! My new companion is Elder Mero. He's been out here for three months, just like Elder Harline. Elder Mero is from Canada. He's Albanian but born and raised there in Canada. Yeah, I got to come back here for my last six weeks! I'm super excited. I've been wishing to come back to Prishtina since I left in October 2014. Now I have the wonderful opportunity to give it my all here for the last six weeks. When I got the call, I thought that President Weidmann was joking with me. However, I have really mixed feelings. I'm super happy to be back here in Prishtina, but I'm also sad to leave Gjakova. Because I've spent the past seven and a half months in Gjakova, I've really come to love the people and the members. It's a little interesting because I haven't been released as Branch President yet, so I still have to take care of things there until the Branch gets reorganized in a couple weeks. The new Branch President will be Elder Hydrick, a senior missionary here in Prishtina. He and his wife will be transferred to Gjakova. So we've been pretty busy trying to get all of that stuff taken care of. It's been a ton of work, but at least I'll be here nearby in Prishtina so it'll be easy for me to help out if there are any problems. I'm grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve in Prishtina again. It's been a little crazy because of New Year's. New Year's is a huge celebration here in Kosovo, so it's been hard to meet with people, and we had to be inside by sundown on New Year's Eve. We were able to see the fireworks from our apartment, so that was pretty crazy and fun. People go all out with that stuff here. So yeah, that's the biggest piece of news from over here. Things are going well and I'm loving it here!
Thank you so much for all of the love and support that you give to me! Ju dua shumë. Kalofshi bukur! Javë të mbarë. Gëzuar Vitin e Ri!
Me dashuri,
Elder Watson
21 December 2015

So today we actually don't have p-day due to Christmas. Our p-day will be on Thursday (Christmas) kinda' like how it was last year. We're just sending a quick email to let you we will be skyping on Thursday.

Love, Elder Watson