Monday, December 28, 2015

"Reign" of Elders Jackson And Andrus Comes to a Close!

28 December 2015

Hello! Just wanted to drop a quick hello to you!

We had a great week this week. It is sad but the "reign" of Elders Jackson and Andrus is over. I will now be with Elder Cornia who will be coming here and Elder Andrus will be heading down to Hemet/San Jacinto to be a Zone Leader with Elder Gigere. He is a fantastic missionary and I am so grateful that I was able to have him as my companion. He has taught me so much about patience and charity. I am super excited for him to be going to San Jacinto to be a Zone Leader. I know he will do a great job. I am thankful for the kind spirit he has and the simply pure heart that is in him. There is not a mean bone in his body and he really does just want to 
please his Father in Heaven.

Can you spot it?
It was so great to be able to celebrate Christmas as a missionary. It is so much more meaningful when you don't have to focus on presents or shopping, but instead solely the Savior. It is so much more poignant to always be reminded of why we celebrate this time of year and what His mortal journey and sacrifice means to all of us. This year, especially in reading the New Testament, I have come to learn a lot more about Christ and the Man He was. I feel like I know Him so much more and can feel His love for me so much stronger. He really does care about each one of us and our individual triumphs and setbacks. He is such a kind and forgiving and loving God. The fact that He weeps and rejoices over me and you and all of us is such a powerful thing to know; it is so meaningful to me.

My host family, the Stevens, stuck with me till next transfer!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Feeling the Spirit

14 December 2015

I am truly sorry to hear about Linda Loveridge. That is so sad, especially for Dale. He is such a nice man and I hope he doesn't feel too lonely. It's good that he has a lot of family close by though that he can be around in this hard time. 

Tell Marielena hi for me! As well as Bishop Wadsworth. I love them both. They are such great people.  

I hope you start having better luck with your computer! That is so rotten. I guess Macs really are just better eh? 
ha ha That's what the mission presidency uses. Yes, Elder Puskas is our Vehicle Coordinator so whenever we have a problem with our car we give him a call. He is one of my favorite people out here on my mission that I have had the pleasure of meeting. He is just a super happy guy and hilarious. I'll be sad when he and his wife go back home in March. 

Elder Andrus and Elder Jackson playing with Legos!
I got your host of packages this week! Thank you so much! Elder Andrus really liked it as well! Our little apartment looks so festive and we are loving all of the Legos. I swear if people saw us at home they would think that we were just children. He really appreciates the stocking and gift, as do I. Did you mean to send us the present for Kelton too? Because one says Elder Robbins on it. But yes, you really outdid yourself this time. I hope you're not disappointed with what I got you! I don't really have money so I had to be creative! 

Will you be with Bryce and Stacy for Christmas? I think that face-timing will work best. Should I call in the morning or afternoon? I will either be at the Munyers' or Anderson's house depending on the time. I get 40 minutes. Should I call Bryce and Stacy as well?

This week was so fantastic! Elder Andrus and I had our first baptism! It was so cool. That was my first one so far on my mission and it was such a different feeling than those that I had attended before my mission. The Spirit was so strong there and I don't think I could possibly feel the Spirit that strongly outside of a Sacrament meeting or the temple, but I did. It was awesome to feel the love of the Lord as He smiled down upon that dear Sister who was making a sacred covenant with Him to follow Him more fully for the rest of her life. She really was one of the most prepared people for baptism I have ever met in my entire life. She is one of those stories that you read about in the Ensign! It was just amazing how she really was kept from the truth only because she "[knew] not where to find it." Everything from being referred to her to her baptism was a miracle and I am so grateful that the Lord allowed us to be the ones to witness His life-changing power in someone's life first-hand. It was so motivating! I love serving a mission and I love seeing miracles unfold as we do the Lord's work His way because He will labor in the vineyard right beside us (Jacob 5).
Ready for a Dunking!
So there is a member of my ward, who is actually the one in the picture who is from Winnemucca! He lived there for a while and has a daughter that lives there and is in the 2nd ward. He is going to be in Winnemucca for Christmas (Dec. 19-28) and I asked him if he could stop by and give you my gifts instead of me mailing them and he said yes. I gave him your address and phone number so he will probably be in contact. He is a very nice man. He is in the high priest group leadership. I think you'll really like him. He and I get along great so I hope you do as well! So I thought I'd just give you a heads up to that so don't be surprised if you see a call from a 951 number! And I hope you like my gifts! 

Oh PS: If you see that little pocket Spanish book or that 500 things to draw book in my stuff, I wouldn't mind having you send that to me, but no rush on that! 


Your Elder Jackson

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Safe and Sound, Boot Gone For Good!

7 December 2015

Zone Meeting

How are you doing this week? I hope you are happy and at peace. This is the most beautiful time of the year and I love being alive and serving a mission during it.

10 weeks and $250 later, I finally got my camera back! I got a more substantive case so hopefully this won't happen again! Just in time to be able to start taking Christmas pics again! And I will keep photobombing as well! I have started making a lot of stir-fry concoctions to try and stay thin, but if you have any quick and healthy 5-min. recipes I could always try those.

Thank you so much for the package!! It is so awesome! Our loft is all Christmasy now and we are loving the Lego calendar! I am so glad you allowed me to continue that tradition. We are taking turns opening one every other day. It just confirms my suspicions that I am still 4 years old. I really do appreciate the thought though. It means a lot and I love it. 

I had a follow-up appointment and I am officially cleared of the boot! WOOOOO! They said to keep doing PT and I should be able to run the majestic Mormon missionary I am. I am truly so lucky to have been able to stay on my mission with how long it took (11+ weeks). My journaling is going well. I try to write a little every night. I am also starting a gratitude journal.

I am all safe and ok. It was scary to hear that it was so close! (It was in Jers' mission though!). I am saddened at the shear number of shootings taking place these days. No one was hurt in our mission, but it was interesting to find out that the shooter went to high school at La Sierra High School, which is right across the street from where we go to church every Sunday. The family we live with also have a friend that was his neighbor and there are tons of people who knew him in high school. It is crazy!  I just pray that it doesn't happen again and I am so grateful for the peace that comes from the Gospel.

We have had a great week over here! We have had one of the better weeks we have ever had and it felt great! We had more member-present lessons than we ever had before and we are seeing a lot of progress made by our investigators. ____, the one we call our "Miracle Investigator", is progressing at an amazing rate and has a great testimony. She wants to follow Christ in all aspects of her life and is willing to make whatever sacrifices needed to do so (she immediately gave up coffee as soon as we taught the Word of Wisdom). She is all interviewed and set to be baptized this upcoming Sunday (the 13th)! It is amazing that the Lord has entrusted a servant as flawed and imperfect as me enough to teach one of His elect daughters. It is amazing how it really is the Holy Ghost that teaches people, and not us missionaries. We make mistakes and get nervous, but the power of the Holy Ghost really does touch people's hearts and allows them to see of the truthfulness of this Gospel and that it really is THE Church of Jesus Christ.

I had a really powerful experience this week reading John 6 and 7. It just reaffirmed to me that this Gospel is the Lord's and that it is 100% true. The Gospel just makes sense and it is without fault. It has the ability to feed all that come hungering and thirsting after truth and love. It binds and heals every pain and infirmity. There is nothing more true than this Gospel because it encompasses all truth, and I find that mind-blowing. It is so humbling to be part of this great work that very obviously has the Lord's hand in it. I am truly blessed, and I could do well to remember my blessings more and always strive to have a heart brimming with thanksgiving.

 Stay safe and remember who you're not ;)

PS: I got a call from my mission president today reminding me that all mail that is sent to me is sorted in the mission office by missionaries, so to all: please don't write anything on letters that could be embarrasing to yourself, me, the mission, or the Church. Thank you! We just are always representing the Lord and cannot afford to be too casual in our communication. If you could just let people know that, that would be great! Thanks!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

P- Day, Soccer Day Minus the Boot!

Do you like lemon in your water? This is a lemon someone gave us when we were walking around!
 It's bigger than a grapefruit!

P-Day Soccer

So it sounds like you have had a crazy week filled with frustrating computer stuff! I am sorry to hear that! That sounds awful! But I am glad you are figuring everything out and didn't lose any files. Thank you for backing up my stuff, and yes, I will most definitely be deleting a lot of my music when I get back. I have come to realize that so much of that filth does so much harm to our spirits without us even noticing. I really appreciate you backing up my files and preparing my music as well. That takes a big stress off my mind.

I think gift cards are great! We only have about $30 a week to live on so every little bit helps out a ton! I personally have loved that Subway gift card and just finished it last week, but I know a lot of missionaries love Taco Bell (they call me the Hippy Missionary since I eat really healthily haha)

Ooooh a box eh? That is awesome! I am super excited for that! I am putting together some stuff to send you as well!

I will be staying at  both the_____ and ______ house for Christmas day so I am sure I can either Skype or Facetime you from either place. I will let you know more when I do! We do not have ipads but may get them in January if the Quorum of the Twelve decides to send them to our mission (they decide every few months specifically which missions they are going to roll them out to, and the next decision is in January some time). But yes, we email at the local library and all the missionaries I know are super obedient and I've never seen them do anything that would be cause for reproach!

So big big big news! My mission go extended! I will be serving an extra week! The MTC has decided to make all English missionaries be there for 3 weeks instead of 2 so our schedule has been shifted back a week and will cause us to all serve an extra week! So I will be coming home August 15, 2017 instead of the 8th.

We had another great week this week. It was a little slow what with Thanksgiving being this week, but it was very good nonetheless. We  were able to past our heart's content and had some of the best food I have ever had in my life (still not as good as Mom's though). Thank goodness for exercise because without it I don't know if my pants would be fitting this week! (I heard that the average Thanksgiving dinner is 9,000-14,000 calories! And we had three!)

I have been trying to constantly improve my appreciation for the Sabbath and the Sacrament, and this week was a highlight! I loved reading John 5 about the nature of Christ's mission and how He follows the will of the Father. I thought it was really cool to read the emphasis Jesus put on being a separate Being from His Father (especially in v. 32). This tied in well to an amazingly spiritual Sacrament service where President Jergensen blessed his newly-sealed baby with all of his family there and a great talk by a Sister in the ward on the importance of being converted. We need to make sure our conversion rests on our faith of the Savior and His Atonement rather than just the Church or its programs. If we truly prepare, like in the parable of the 10 virgins, we can rest easy knowing that our lamps will have enough oil to last through the long night and we can be prepared when the Bridegroom comes! I thought it was just so great how as I focused my study on the Savior this past week, it came together with my desire to enjoy the Sabbath more and I was able to grow my relationship with Him so much. I could feel His presence so much more abundantly in my life and it was an indescribably wondrous feeling!

I hope all is well with you! I hope you know I love you greatly and am so grateful to have parents as good as you two! I think about you every day and love you so much!

Stay the bestest!

Your Elder Jackson