Monday, September 28, 2015

28 September 2015

I'm jealous of the great weather you're having! It's supposed to be 100 again this week! But thank goodness for AC. That makes me glad to hear the the kids were involved in the Primary Program! They really are so great and I didn't realize how much I missed them (obviously they don't have them in YSA wards) until I saw one again!

"Sister Jackson. My name is Wayne M.
Your son is serving in our ward. We had him
over for dinner tonight and we thought
u might enjoy this picture. He is a great
young man and u should be proud.

This week I learned from my companion the importance of patience. He is such a great example of patience and is always so slow to irritation when I am so easily angered. I need to be a lot more like him.

A spiritual experience this week was in my scripture study and really learning how and where I can improve. It very much coincided with my favorite scripture, which was James 4:6-7, 10. I really learned in the temple that I need to work on my pride. I am a lot more prideful than I thought I ever was. My question was, how do I become more humble? Preach My Gospel, the scriptures, and True To the Faith all answered that, and by far my favorite was the one in James. It helped me realize that I need to continually turn to the Lord and ask for His help in doing things that I, as a weak mortal, cannot do on my own. I need to constantly work on my humility and charity if I want the divine help of grace. But, it's a process, and I've only started, and the best way to learn Christlike attributes is to be like Him, and that comes from "feeding His sheep," so that is what I am going to recommit my efforts to doing this week!

Going to the Temple this week was so great! The Redlands Temple is not too far from us and the session we went to was PACKED! I've never seen one so full. They actually had to bring in about 5 extra chairs because there wasn't enough for all of the companionships! There were 12 elders from our zone and then about 30 elders from the Rancho Cucomunga mission, which is where Kelton is serving, and I actually met one of his previous companions! They also had only three rows of sisters, and the rest was packed with elders and men! So crazy! But it was a great experience to be there with so many missionaries.

I am so excited for General Conference! It is going to be so awesome!! And I'm so jealous of you watching in Southern Utah! But the opportunity to hear from living prophets is a treat unlike any other! And I'm excited to hear who the new apostles are.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

21 September 2015

We had a crazy experience at a less-active member's house this week. So first thing that we saw walking up was a giant 4' cubed metal cage! So sketch. Then when we walk in, we're greeted by a giant white dog the size of horse! Then, we see two big dogs in cages in the middle of the room. Come to find out, they are full-blooded arctic wolves!! One of them ate 3lbs of frozen chicken, bones and all, in like 15-20 seconds. So scary! Not to mention illegal! And then, the guy keeps talking about how much he wants to go to BurningMan and see all the dirty naked hippies! Like I said, #OnlyInCalifornia

So at zone conference this week, we got a thing called Tiwi. It uses GPS and plugs directly into the car's computer. It monitors everything from how hard you brake or turn, too rapid of acceleration, speeding, jumping the car, going over bumps too aggressively, and even going out of our boundaries and being out too late. It's crazy what they do! But we had a guy come and tell us about how effective they are, and they reduced speeding in mission cars by over 90 percent! So crazy! It's definitely helped Elder _____'s crazy driving, that's for sure! We also are learning about keeping the Sabbath more holy and how we need to always remember Him so that we are always trying to be more like Him. I prayed to have a more meaningful Sabbath yesterday, and it definitely worked! I felt so spiritual and grew so much! I'd challenge you to do that this week and tell me what you experience! 

I am definitely getting used to this missionary life and really starting to love it! The weeks seem, to fly by and it is so great to be able to meet new people every day and have gospel discussions with them. I never realized how much you can learn about someone by simply asking them what role faith has played in their lives. It's an easy, no-pressure way to lead into gospel discussions and make it possible to teach truths and testify. Elder Holland said that, "something in what they say will ALWAYS highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear solemn testimony" and I know that that is true! The hardest step is just opening your mouth!

Here are a few pictures from this week! Me with my old MTC district
 that all came to CRM and a funny bible we found.

My favorite scripture this week is Mormon 9:3-4 because it talks about what heaven will be like and how we'd feel if we are unrepentant and why the Atonement is so vital to salvation

Thursday, September 17, 2015

14 September 2015

So some funny stories this week:
1) Just like AZ, there are a ton of old retired folks here who love this heat yet still wear cardigans while everyone else is dripping in sweat. So we had dinner with one such cute old couple this week and they took us out to a delicious diner. After dinner, to get out of the parking lot, they had to turn left. Keep in mind, the driver is very very old. Anyway, he turns out in front of an on-coming car, cutting him off, into the turn lane, cutting another off, and then into the far right lane, cutting another person or 4 total off, all while being honked at profusely and acting as if it was a regular day. The land of fruits and nuts.

2) We were street contacting and came upon a gate tucked away in a quite street. It looked like it belonged to Robert Redford or maybe even Donald Trump. It was very ornate and had all these fancy lamps and ironwork and such on it. So naturally we wanted to see the house, because judging by the gate, it had to be amazing, right? Nope. Double-wide trailer. 

3) So I have only been a missionary a month and I've already been to a college party. We were going around visiting some of the  people who said they were interested in talking to us and we had visited with a guy named Stephan a few times and were going to see how he was doing. When we walked up, he was pulling out his garbage can which was filled with beer bottles and there was music and girls everywhere. I've never seen a party stop so quickly. So if the police really want to crack down on underage drinking, just send in two Mormon missionaries to crash their parties. Works like a charm.

The past couple of days have been pretty relaxing for me. My companion has had a cold and so we didn't leave the house and so I just studied a bunch and tried to pick up some more Spanish. I'm surprised at how much I remember! I'm going the "slowly but surely" route on trying to learn this Spanish. I am currently the only missionary in my whole district who cannot speak Spanish, so that adds even more motivation!

Seeing as we've been inside for the past 3 days and been taking it slow for a few days before that (he's been feeling bad for  the better part of a week now), we really didn't have a crazy good week, but there was definitely some success. We picked up three new investigators. Nancy was a street contact who has always wondered why there are so many churches with conflicting doctrine, so obviously we were happy to oblige in teaching her the restoration. She is going to read and pray and we're meeting with her Wednesday. Amy and Fernando were a referral from a random 775 number so that was interesting! We stopped by and did a quick introductory lesson and Amy, the wife, seemed very excited (even though she is pretty shy) to be able to learn more. She really wants to have more to do with religion and work on her relationship with God. Fernando was raised Catholic but really has no concept of what religion and God really do. He didn't seem super interested, but is willing to learn and is very kind. We are very hopeful for all of them and have been praying for them!

Speaking of inevitable, my white Oakleys died on Wednesday :'( We were playing basketball at the church for morning exercise and...well...lets just say that even though we're "holy men" right now and representatives of Jesus Christ, we still have bones in our arms that can deal substantial damage to molded plastics. I'm going to try and super glue them (is that using my frugal side I got from Dad, or my "always prepared" side from Boy Scouts??) and see if that does the trick. If not, I might need to get you to send me another pair of my glasses or figure something out because the current glasses/time ratio isn't looking too good right now. But on the upside, I made the basket. So there's good in everything!

Also you could let everyone know they are more than welcome to write me!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

8 September 2015

"We dropped a Clorox bomb on our apartment yesterday (due to my pleading with my companion saying that "Cleanliness is next to godliness" and "Organize a house of order [and disinfectant]"), it looks great now and it is so much easier to focus on studying and planning when we are home."

"Things have been great! We are in the finding phase right now, meaning we are trying to find people who want some Jesus in their life! This involves lots of street contacting and "talking to everyone" (President Mullen). It is cool to see the variety of people there are in such a small area! We have been teaching a lot of recent converts as well and they are so awesome! This one couple the _______, are amazing. He was baptized in April and she was less active. They both quit smoking and have cleaned up their lives and are currently preparing to go to the temple in like 8 months! They have such strong testimonies and desires to do God's will and keep learning. It is so amazing! The Spirit is so strong in their home."

We get fed here every night! It is so crazy. I'm trying my hardest not to get fat, and am eating healthy when I can, but that can be hard in tis lifestyle and with our budget. I try to eat as much raw food as I can (fruits and veggies) to try and offset all the junk we get. I've had some bomb food, though! It is so  good! We ate with a Samoan family twice this week and it was life-changing, but also I felt slightly like an adolescent blue whale. It was worth it, though!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

     31 August
     QUOTES from Elder Jackson’s email this week:
  • v  “but Clorox fixes everything, right?” (when describing the way the previous missionaries left the apartment AJ moved into)
  • v  “The missionary here before me was here for 6 months and everyone loved him so I have some big shoes to fill!”
  • v  "The ward I’m in is super great! We get fed every night and they are all so nice!”
  • v  “I never really realized how selfish of a person I was until coming out here!”
  • v  “I don’t think it really hit me that this will be my life for the next two years until I went to sleep my second night here.”
  • v  “Street contacting is really weird and awkward.”
  • v  “Love you all and I’d love to hear from you!

In case you would like to write:
Elder Alexander Jackson
5900 Grand Ave
Riverside, CA  92503

ELDER JACKSON arriving at the Ontario airport.
He is halfway through his second week as a missionary.

Elder Jackson with President and Sister Mullen

Elder Jackson and Elder Cameron Loveridge
 (formerly of Winnemucca) met up in the MTC