Monday, July 17, 2017

Working as Hard as I Can (Home August 15th!)

Elder Jackson with new mission president, President and Sister Hammon.
We had an awesome week. We worked really hard and even though we didn't have much success in finding a lot of new people to teach we did see the Lord's hand in our work a lot! We had gotten quite a bit of backlog referrals and old potentials piled up on our whiteboard so we set out to find those who were ready to be taught and pause those who weren't. We spent a few days stopping by as many of them as time would allow with absolutely no success. We didn't let up though and at the end of one night right before we were supposed to return to our apartment we stopped by Mario. We sat down with him and had a wonderful lesson. He is very simple in his understanding but is just a nice man. He accepted baptism and a date and came to church! It was a wonderful miracle and made all the hot weather and no-answer doors worth it! It was awesome. 

One day, when we were walking around and it was particularly hot and humid, I had the distinct impression that what I was doing right then and there made God happy. That was a really cool thought. I wasn't doing anything amazing and we weren't even having a ton of success, but the fact that we were out laboring in faith even when there wasn't immediate results  made my Father in Heaven happy. That is a wonderful thought to have. I am grateful for the reassurances of the Holy Ghost and the thoughts He gives us.

I also had a wonderful thought as I was studying. I came across a part in Alma where it talks about the people of Ammon feeling, because of the dire circumstances they were in, that they should dig up their weapons and go and defend their country. Helaman counseled against it, saying they might lose their souls if they did. That hit me hard. The people of Ammon were among the most converted in the Book of Mormon and I think the reason they stayed converted was that they buried their weapons of rebellion and they left them buried. They didn't "return to [their] vomit", no matter how much it seemed like they must. They trusted in their priesthood leader and kept their covenants and the Lord blessed them. We don't know what would've happened if they had retaken arms, but thank goodness they didn't. We must do the same. Once we have buried our rebellion we must not return to it and we must move forward with faith, keeping our covenants and remembering the associated promises.

I also loved Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk this past General Conference called The Voice of Warning. It talked about how watchmen warn. We typically think of prophets as watchmen (Ezekiel 33), but we can be too. D&C 88:81 tells us that those who have been warned must warn their neighbor. We have been warned of the dangers of sin and so it is our obligation to warn our neighbors (all) of the dangers of sin and the joy that comes from keeping the commandments or else their blood is on our heads. Thus, missionary work isn't just a good idea or a nice gesture, but a sacred obligation of all members of the Church. It made me so much more motivated to share the gospel now and when I return home. It also has helped in our dinner visits and working with members! 

I am planning on not "dying" and working as hard as I can. I feel like I really have been making myself fire on all cylinders. I don't want to finish my mission jogging, but rather sprinting. 

Please don't get hurt in the fire! That would be nooooo good! I can't believe that plant is still alive after all these years either! That is crazy!

This is the plant Elder Jackson gave his mom in kindergarten! I have packed a starter plant from this one to take with me in case we have a fire evacuation.

So as far as AZ, maybe I can fly down either the morning of the 22nd or 23rd and return the morning of the 28th, that way I have a while to see all my old pals. 

As far as my flight home, I am totally ok with you posting the arrival time of my flight on Facebook so that people can come. 
(SLC, Delta Terminal, 1pm, August 15th!)

I am sooooo excited for the family get-together that week before school starts! It sounds like a blast to me! We should plan out some fun things!  I am so excited to meet little Bryson too! 

As far as technology, should we plan on getting it right when I get home (before we head to Winnemucca)? Or what do you think? I'm fine with whatever! 

Is my apartment furnished? Am I sharing a room or am I in one of my own? 

Here's some pictures of the week! I got a good one with the Hammons and we saw the F16s doing some cool flight exercises! They are soooo cool! And I love the Hammons! 

I hope you have the best week! Love you tons!


Your Elder Jackson :)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

We got be Marshalls in the Independence Day Parade! It was a blast!

I'm glad that Winnemucca hasn't burned down yet! Hopefully it doesn't! I see the smoke from fires here every few days. It is crazy how it went from looking like Scotland here a few months ago to being 111 degrees and bone-dry with fires all over. Fortunately all of them are pretty small and seem to be under control quite quickly. Stay safe up there!

I have really had a great week this week. We were able to have a lot of success and had 3 people at church as well as finding some awesome new people to teach.  I am amazed at how well Satan can counterfeit the works of the Lord. But it really is just as Moses describes when he asks where his glory is. Satan can't replicate the peace that comes from the Spirit no matter how much he tries.  I was reading this morning in Alma 56:39-40 where the stripling warriors are being pursued in a straight line. The Lamanites were pursuing them and not leaving their course because they were set on destroying and the Nephites were going straight so they would not be destroyed. When we stay on the strait and narrow we will be able to avoid the darts of Satan who is chasing after us with a desire to destroy us. That is what I am doing. I want to do my best to be obedient in all so that I have no deviations in my course that would allow Satan to catch up to me.

We were ushers at a car show for a "car club" which felt like the 4-wheel version of the Hell's Angels!

I love you tons! Have the best week ever!


Your Elder Jackson :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sad Goodbyes

Some of the coolest missionaries I know!
This week I came to know the Savior more as I studied His teachings to the apostles regarding growing faith and overcoming doubts. I was again baffled by the complete lack of of doubt that the Savior had. He was in the same situations that the apostles were in (such as casting out devils or walking on the water) but was able to do so much more than them because he did not have any doubt. He believed completely in Himself and knew He was doing His Father's will. I was really excited to learn more about this and to start applying it. I need to have more faith so that I can be the tool through which miracles can happen. 

Things are going well here in Lasselle and Ironwood. I am excited for all the good things that happening. We are having a lot of member involvement, people at church, etc. It is great! I'm pumped. We are having a baptism this Sunday!

I am really sad that President and Sister Mullen are leaving this Friday. It will be an interesting transition. We'll see how it goes! I sustain my leaders though. I know President Hammon is called of God. 

It has been waaaaayy hot here. Yesterday was 111. But water helps! 

We had a few missionaries come home here in Moval so they are way excited to help us out and give us referrals. You are right, the responsibility to share the gospel is actually not on the missionaries, but it is on the members. The members are to find and the missionaries are to teach. The more members do missionary work, the more the church grows. The counsel given all throughout the D&C in regards to missionary work is for all members, not just missionaries. 

Tell the family hi for me! I am excited to see them all. I hope they can all be at the airport when I arrive. I got my itinerary this week from President Mullen during my exit interview. Ahhh it was so spiritual but it is also so sad. I will be so bummed when my mission comes to an end. It's getting real. This is my last transfer. Ever. It's sad. 

Here's a sample of a Samoan dinner and some shirts I designed for the mission! The Justs are some of the coolest missionaries I know and they are heading home this week :(

Love you so much! 


Your Elder Jackson :) 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Brother Samuelu, "He's the coolest!"

 This week was absolutely fantastic. I was really taught a lot by the Lord. Last week I realized that my effort could use some work so I set out at the start of last week to push as hard as I could this week and to qualify more for the Holy Ghost. Long story short, I am prideful and need to humble myself and I need to grow my faith more by being more diligent and finish my mission sprinting. I just need to make sure I don't forget this important lesson over the next few weeks!

I have been focusing on increasing my faith by asking the Lord in prayer every morning to lead me to those I can baptize and to help me be able to treat this day as if it's my only day to serve Him. I also have been asking what I need to study multiple times during my personal study both for myself and my investigators. I honestly forgot to do it many times but I did notice a big difference in my attitude and the Spirit I felt during the week. I realize how easy it is to plateau and unless we are constantly looking for ways God wants us to improve, we will start digressing in our progression (Alma 37:41).  We saw some miracles in the Samoan ward this week by being led to a really cool set of cousins. We felt strongly to stop by this one family but they were not there and we talked to the younger cousins instead. We taught them the message of the Restoration and they accepted! It was awesome. We also were blessed to find some way cool people in the Lasselle Ward. We had 3 of them show up to church too! It is a huge blessing. 

It is crazy to think that there in only a week and a half left of having President and Sister Mullen as my Mission President and wife. They go home the last day of June. It's sad! I'm going to miss them. We had a really good multi-zone conference this week in which they said goodbye to us and shared their testimonies, advice and the Doctrine of Christ. It was powerful. 

I agree, I think the amount of time I have home will be perfect. Not too long or too short. I hope I can adjust in that amount of time. It is also really nice to know where I will be living and to have that all taken care of.

It is hot here but I think I've adjusted. We went hiking this morning and it got up to almost 100 by the time we finished and I didn't notice. I guess 4 years in this kind of heat makes it not seem so bad! 

I am really determined to give it my all these last few weeks I have left! I love you so so much and I hope you have a fantastic week! Stay safe and enjoy your travels! Love you!!

Your Elder Jackson :)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This week was a very interesting one. First off, I honestly feel like the Lord was letting me know all throughout the week that He was expecting more out of me. I was pushing hard but not giving my whole 100% effort, and He let me know he wanted all 100%. After some pondering and prayer and talking with my companion, Elder Broadhead, I identified the things that I should work on. We started pushing with full-steam and it was really cool how my whole attitude changed. It's funny how sometimes you have to relearn things many times. I felt the Spirit in so much of a greater abundance. The miracles started to come again and I again felt like the Lord trusted us.

I was reading in Alma 37 and 38 this week where Alma is counseling his sons. I really enjoyed how he was telling his son Helaman that he must stay focused and diligent or else, just like Lehi's family, he would wander and not progress in his journey. To his son Shiblon he counseled that he stay faithful and steady so the Lord would continue to bless him (endure to the end). I was led to Alma 25:15-16 which taught me that obedience builds faith in Christ. His obedience also brought Alma (and God) great joy. Our diligence and obedience bring about 3 major things that I see: 1) blessings from God 2) makes God and our leaders and loved ones joyful and 3) builds our faith in Christ, which faith is a requisite component of the doctrine of Christ, which is what we must live to be saved. It blew my mind. My whole outlook on obedience was changed (again). It motivated me to be increasingly more obedient and to not slacken, especially now at the close of my mission. I will admit, it's tougher to stay focused and diligent now with all that will be happening in the coming months, but I see now that I cannot afford to do anything other than sprint to the end. I cannot give God a satisfactory answer if I do not. I have seen miracles in my mission, and there is no reason I can't have more of them. I am excited to continue applying what I learned last week in this upcoming week so I can start on my journey once again and not wander aimlessly in the wilderness.

I hope your week is the best! Here are some pictures and a video from our service at March Field Air Museum and one of the ginormous cargo planes taking off, as well as one with my ZL Elder Whiting.

Love you tons!

Your Elder Jackson :) 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

We had a great Memorial Day. We went to the Riverside National Cemetery (it is huuuuuuuge! It has to be over a few square miles of just thousands and thousands of graves). It was awesome. We went through and picked up flags that had been placed on each grave. It's amazing how many people have served this country to keep it safe. There was also a really cool Medal of Honor memorial there that we checked out. America is the coolest. 

I feel like a real missionary now that I've been bit by a dog. Thankfully I don't have rabies and it doesn't look like it will get infected (Boy Scouts does come in handy!). The bite only went a little in and wasn't too intense. Maybe it will leave a cool scar that I can make my mission seem super intense when I'm dating haha. But it was totally worth it because afterward, the lady who owns the dog let us in and we were able to have a fantastic lesson. She accepted a baptismal date (Elder Broadhead is getting really good at inviting!) and to read the Book of Mormon. She came to church yesterday as well and really enjoyed it! Her name is Crystal R. and she is a NICU nurse at Loma Linda and is a very good friend with our former Bishop's wife, who also works there. She is also good friends with members who live across the street. She has had missionaries talk to her before but apparently they had never invited her to learn more. She quickly accepted it and said she has always had questions she has wanted answered. It's amazing how much the Lord really does bless us when we believe that there are people out there who are ready to receive the gospel. 

March Air Force Base Museum service.

We met a guy who played basketball at BYU but who is not a member. It was kind of cool to hear about his experience there. He is still not of our faith but is very involved in a church. 

Elder Broadhead is doing very well! I am very impressed with him and his skills. He is getting very comfortable with talking to people  on the streets now and in lessons. I couldn't be happier with my companion.

Things are going great! I'm trying really hard to stay focused because honestly it is a little tough with how soon I will be coming home. But I've decided to only think about school stuff on Mondays and to not think about anything non-productive so that I can push hard to the end. I had a missionary tell me about a year ago that once you start to get to the last few months, its incredibly hard to focus with all that is running around in your mind with what is just around the corner and I agree. But I won't let that hold me down! I am going to finish strong! 


Your Elder Jackson :)

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 22, 2017

Hi there! Sorry about the late reply! We had some crazy stuff happen today and so we are just now being able to email. Elder Aland isn't getting transferred after all and he is going to be with my buddy Elder Dall's (who is going home tomorrow) companion, Elder Frazier. Elder Frazier was supposed to train a new missionary too but apparently he tore his ACL in the MTC and cannot come out on his mission. He is bummed but that type of thing happens! We also had to help like 3 different companionships move apartments. It doesn't help that it is like 96 degrees today. But alas, I am able to write you! I also got a really cheap haircut today and it doesn't look too good. Thankfully my hair grows quickly! 

This week was good. We were able to find some people. I am excited for this new transfer and the opportunity to be with a brand new missionary. I think that we will able to have a lot of success. It is weird though because this very well may be my last companion and I may not have any more transferring! That is crazy! I only have 12 weeks left and it will be busy with training, baptizing palagis and Samoans, doing MyPlan and having a brand new mission president come in. It's a weird feeling for sure to know that very quickly this whole life I've lived for the past 2 years will come to an end and I'll have to step back into the real world. It will be good though!

I came to know the Savior in Alma 31:38. I loved how it talked about sufferings that were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. I think that we suffer many things but they truly are swallowed up in the joy of our Savior. I look back on all that I have experienced on my mission with nothing but joy because of all the great things the Lord has done in my life for me and the miracles that have taken place. I feel that the Savior even had His pain and anguish from His life swallowed up in the joy of the redemption that Hi sacrifice made possible. He was the true example of allowing negativity to be completely swallowed up in the joy that comes from doing the Father's will. I want to continue to follow the example of Christ and be continually seeking the will of the Father so that my pains can be swallowed up in Christ.

I am really sad to see my good friend Elder Dall leave though. He's such a great kid. I have had a blast serving around him this past transfer and I am so pumped to be living close to him and hanging out with him next semester.

I really hope the missionary I train is way cool. I want to have a last comp that is really fun but also that I can get a lot of work done with. Thankfully, I've really enjoyed all of my companions and had a blast with all of them. We'll see what happens tomorrow!

Here are some pictures of service this week and pics of my drawings for a new t-shirt design that I am making! As well as a goodbye for Elder Dall! 

I love you tons and hope you have the best week ever! Let me know how everything goes with the meeting tomorrow! Love you and drive safe! Have fun in KY!


Your Elder Jackson :)​