Friday, December 30, 2016
It was so awesome to talk to you all too! I feel so blessed to be able to have such an amazing family and to have the technology available to be able to talk to you as if I were present! I am happy! I am thoroughly enjoying serving a mission. I don't want to come right now, but I don't think August 15th will come a minute too early! haha I am so tired. I am also just so excited and ready to see you all again and get back into life. That being said, I think that there is a lot of awesome stuff that I have yet to accomplish here and am excited to do so. This two years is a wonderful opportunity and I am so glad I still have time to make the best out of it and baptize people!
I love all of the stuff you got me! I have already hung up the canvas by my desk with the binder clips. I was blown away by it all. You spoil me too much mom! haha The canvas, the book, the magnets, ornaments, ties, music, gift cards, collar bars, the Simon game.. and all the other stuff-- it was great! Thank you so much. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to get you all anything. I don't really know what to get you all and without a ton of time, it was tough. But I will do better when I get home. I can't wait to be with you all next year for Christmas! Gosh, it's my absolute favorite holiday of the year. I love getting together with the family. Thank you so much for making Christmas great, yet again! It was so nice to spend Christmas with the Turners and Mickelsons (Mickelsons are the Turner's daughter and her husband and their kids). They are just great examples of what a converted family is. They are so giving to us. They made Christmas feel just like we were at home.
I will probably send home a box in the near future just because I don't want to have too much stuff out here. I will make a copy of all my pictures and send them then. I forgot my camera today so unfortunately I don't have any pictures to send today but I will send them next week!
I hope you have a great trip to KY. Give Grandma my best. That is really sad to hear about her wrist. I feel terrible that that happened to her. You're right, the plan is very comforting in times like these. Travel safe. I'm glad Dad made it home safe!
That story about angels is incredible! We were actually talking about angels the other day and both Elder Drebot and I feel strongly that there are always angels watching guard over us day and night. You can almost feel their presence.
This week was a good one. I always love the Christmas Spirit that can be so obviously felt by almost everyone. It truly is "the most wonderful time of the year." I am so thankful for the strong focus of service that we have had this Christmas season. We had a really powerful pair of experiences on Christmas Eve that I hope I will always remember.
The first happened about 10 minutes before I was supposed to Skype home. We got a call from a lady in the ward whose roommate had had an anxiety attack and was not doing too hot and needed a blessing. My natural man wanted to say, "find someone else; I'm going to talk to my family! That's the Elders Quorum's responsibility anyways." But those thoughts only lasted a second. Immediately after I thought of the Savior. He, God Himself, probably had a million other things to do than to come and heal, bless and lift us lowly humans, but He rather decided to live by this motto: "But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:26-28 KJV)". So I immediately decided that I could not put my priesthood responsibilities to the side, even though this is one of the most important times of the year for missionaries. Now I'm not great at all, but I did feel great knowing that I put one of our Father in Heaven's children's needs above that of my own and I was able, in a small way, to serve her. It made me feel really good that I kept my covenants.
The second came at the end of the day. We were driving back from our fun zone activity of watching Scrooge ("I like life; life likes me!") and I saw a man at a gas station who was homeless. The Spirit told me so strongly that I needed to go help him. I hesitated. I don't really have money and I don't know if approaching a homeless man at 9 o'clock at night is a wise thing, but I did it anyway after talking to Elder Drebot (and I thank him for encouraging me to follow a prompting from the Spirit). We flipped around and parked. We politely got his attention. I had no idea what to offer so I asked if he was hungry. He said no. I asked if he needed anything and he said his bike tire was flat. I gave him a couple bucks for a repair and we just asked him what his story was. He's had an incredibly hard life and recently lost his mom, whom he was very close to. Apparently she was a very strong and active member of the Church too. We told him about the Gospel and how much it could help him. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas in serving others. It was nothing big, but again it made me feel great that I heeded a prompting and was able to help someone's day be a little better. The Lord is definitely aware of each one of His children and He loves them all.
It was the best thing ever to talk to you. I love you mucho! Have a great week and have a very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
This week was really another great one! I love being a missionary. It has been awesome being with Elder Drebot; I've really learned a lot of good things from him. It's definitely inspired. I'm grateful that I can learn something from each companion I'm with. We were able to continue working hard and we had the amazing opportunity to have Sister George, our new-ish investigator come to church! It was great and she loved it! We both feel very confident that she will enter the waters of baptism in January.
I had an amazing experience coming to know the Savior more this week through the Sacrament. I've always respected and loved the sacrament, but this week I looked at it as a necessary ordinance, just as baptism is. As I thought about the importance of baptism and tied it to the sacrament a light clicked on in my head that hadn't been there before! I feel like I've wasted all the sacraments that I've taken since I turned 8! I spent all that time doing the ordinance but not understanding that so doing would totally remit my sins as baptism does for converts. I felt dumb to say the least. But it was a powerful experience as I felt the Spirit wash over me like a wave as I partook of the sacrament and felt my sins be forgiven since I had focused on it and prepared for it all week. I'm so thankful for the sacrament and I can't wait to continue having that strong of a spiritual experience weekly now on. Like I said, I do feel dumb that I wasted all that time not appreciating and getting a lot out of the sacrament, but I am also glad that I now have that experience to help me always remember the importance of coming to church so that I can use that for myself if ever times get tough after the mission, but also very importantly, to help my investigators become converted to the gospel.
I am so excited to talk to you all on Saturday! That'll be so great! Yes, 2 pm my time and 3pm yours. I will be facetiming on an ipad, so I will just call your ipad? What's your ipad's email address linked to? If that doesn't work I can call your phone! Which would you prefer?
Thanks for the packages! We will be at the mission office on Thursday for a Christmas devotional so we'll get them then. Thanks for doing that! I'm just excited to talk to you all!
I think I am getting a little pudgy. Or at least my face is. My clothes still fit about the same and my weight is about the same. I guess I just need to work harder! I think it's because I am just soooo tired all the time now. I am just worn out and it's hard to stay motivated to eat well and work out when you are pooped. But I'll do better. I gotta look good for when I get home! haha I can't look like a big lard coming off the plane!
The way you're doing Christmas sounds like fun! I hope everyone likes it. I will not be sending anyone anything simply because I have no time nor money. I'm taking the Peter approach: "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee" (Acts 3:6) and what I have is my love! haha I'm sending it all! But if I did have time to get presents, I would!
I love you oh so much! I can't wait to see you again! I love you mucho! Have a great week!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Not sure what organization these service photos are from, Scouts? Nature Park? One thing is for sure, Elder Jackson loves a Christmas party and the colorful decorations that go with it!
Sunday, December 18, 2016
I have realized that stress is evil. I try my best to avoid it. I started to get stressed this week and then I though, I don't think the Savior ever stressed out. I think stress comes from fear, so I shouldn't fear/stress. I think that it is important to be urgent, but never stressed.
This week was awesome! I really am enjoying having this new "mega-area" and a "mega-zone". Having a large area like this has been so much fun. We've been able to go all around it and teach all sorts of different people. Both Elder Drebot and I feel so confident that there are loads of people for us to baptize and we are both ready to harvest! The Spirit that we've felt has been amazing. I have really learned that I still have so much that I can improve on as a missionary, and I'm so thankful that I have this opportunity to change and become more of the missionary I need to be. Elder Drebot is a great missionary and I am grateful to be working with him.He's got a great work ethic and I enjoy working alongside him. I look forward to baptizing with him. We will. This gospel is so true. Turning our will over to the Lord is often hard, but the blessings really do come as we do it. My testimony continues to grow of that principle.
I came to know the Savior more this week through revelation by reading about the Savior's voice talking to the people in the destroyed cities of the ancient Americas, recorded in 3 Nephi. I was so impressed by His mercy. He really does not care what we've done or where we've been; He only cares that we return to Him so that He "can heal [us]". He doesn't want to tell us how we are wrong or make fun of our weaknesses, rather He wants to build us up and help us see our potential. He wants to allow us to be the most happy and successful version of ourselves possible, but we have to be humble enough to change whatever it is in our lives that is holding us back and accept His will. If we have "real intent", we can become "new creatures" and overcome any negative obstacle in our lives so that we are cleansed through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. I have really focused on His mercy this week and how I can better access His grace. I am no longer trying to do things all in my own strength, rather I am going out and doing things that I know I am too weak to do on my own, but fully trusting that the Lord will not let me fail. I testify that He will not let us fail if we are acting in faith. The tricky part is we really have to act. I'm thankful for the strength the Lord has granted me this week to do things that I didn't think I could. I'm excited to see what more this upcoming week brings!
This past Sunday was so awesome! We had two less-active members come that we've been trying to get back! We also were able to have Sister Guzman get confirmed! It was so cool! I got to do the confirmation as well and President Jergensen happened to be there for that sacrament meeting so he stood in the circle as well! It was so spiritual. I was sad that she missed her confirmation last week, but I think it may have been so that she could have him there this week. She also got assigned home and visiting teachers so things are looking up for her! I'm so happy for her!
I can't believe that it's almost Christmas time again! I feel like it was just Christmas! The mission is going so fast. There's still tons of people left I need baptize, but it is starting to feel weird that my mission will one day end. It's a weird feeling. I don't know how to describe it. haha
I love you and miss you a lot!
Your Elder Jackson
Here is a picture of our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Vargas, Abigail, President Jergensen, me and Elder Drebot. He sent this picture to Elder Zwick of the Seventy because he talked to her at stake conference and she felt something really powerful there. Also, Sister Meza right before she went to the mission office. Elder Jones and I were the only missionaries who were in this stake last Christmas, so we thought we'd take a pic at the annual Jergensen Missionary Christmas Dinner & Caroling! It was fun! This was the chalk board I drew for the zone conference we had this past week!
Sunday, December 11, 2016
We had a kind of interesting experience this week. We had a meeting at the mission office this past Thursday and when we showed up there was a ton of cars and trucks and people parked in the back of the church parking lot. Well, it turns out it was the Corona SWAT Team and they were using the parking lot as a staging area for a raid they were about to do in the area! And during the meeting we heard a handful of gunshots go off. I never heard any thing of the outcome, but it sure was not what I was expecting to hear or see on my way to the meeting! haha
This was another great week here in the Jurupa ward. It is sad to see so many wonderful missionaries be leaving and going home but the service they rendered here was fantastic and I am grateful that I was able to serve around many of them. One of the things that I learned about the Savior this week was in MLC about how much the Savior loved mortality. He absolutely loved being alive (Hebrews 5:7). He was more than willing to perform the Atonement, but giving up His time with us on this earth was something He did not want to do. The one thing He didn't want to give up He placed into the Father's hands. And that eventually led to Him dying of a broken heart on Calvary's cross. Giving our all can be tough, but we must be willing to work hard and give our all and be tried as was Abraham of old. But giving our will to God does not have to be a sad experience- even though it is uncomfortable at times- because we can find so much lasting peace and joy in doing the will of the Father. As we willingly submit to the Lord, we will become more like our Savior and we will come to love life and all that accompanies it. We will find joy in all that we do, and the wonder of being alive will fill our souls. Learning this really made me excited to be more diligent in seeking the Lord's will and then doing it. It also made me appreciate this time that I have to serve the Lord so much more meaningful! I have come to love and appreciate my mission more this week because of that, and that means a lot to me.
I am so glad to hear that you and dad are in the true spirit of Christmas this year! It is so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced rush of Christmas of giving and spending, but it is so wonderful to simply think about spending time with those whom we love; serving and loving others; and celebrating the truly amazing gift it is to have our Savior come down and be born so that He could fulfill His divine mission of performing an infinite Atonement so "that all mankind can be saved by obedience to the gospel and the ordinances thereof". Salvation through the Lamb is truly a gift that we don't deserve, but we should accept it and receive it with gladness and thanksgiving. We have so much reason to rejoice this time of year! Let us all turn outward and lift others' burdens and spread the Light we feel to the world!
We had dinner with Sister Watterson's son and his family last night and they are such a great family! They are so missionary-minded and all they want to do is help spread the gospel! I'm so grateful that they moved into the ward and the happy coincidence it was to have the Lord have our paths cross. Maybe I'll see the clan again before I leave this area!
I also got to see Lake Hale again this weekend! He had a recent convert of his go through the temple this weekend so he came down for it. We had a ton of fun seeing him. I love that guy!
Like I said in my other email, there are some gnarly changes in the zone this transfer, but it is going to be a good one!
We also had a member give us a real Christmas tree! I will snag some pictures of how I decorated it, but it makes the apartment seem so homey!
Also, Satan is working over time on discouraging our newly baptized sister. If you could keep her in your prayers or put her name on the temple roll it would be great! She is so great, but Satan just will not give her a break and she can use all the help she can get. She's going through a really tough divorce and facing a lot of challenges emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically and financially! Thank you so much!
Love you so so much! Have the best week ever!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Wow, this week was amazing! It was so incredible to see Sister Abigail Guzman enter the waters of baptism and make her first covenant with God. The Spirit was so strong there at the service and it was an amazing feeling to see her shear joy as she came out of the water and say that she felt like she had left her old life behind. She was beaming and was so grateful for the love and support she has received from members as she has taken these steps toward the Savior.
My testimony of goals really grew this week. It is so true, when we set goals by the Spirit, and we do all we can to accomplish them, the Lord will step in and give us the grace we need to succeed. I really came to know the Savior as I saw, on more than one occasion, us or others, make a commitment, and even though the odds seem against us, we persevered in faith and somehow we were able to reach our goal, just as He did. He didn't doubt that He could accomplish what His Father had asked of Him, and neither did we. We didn't think that it would be possible to get everything taught and help Sister Guzman be ready and worthy to be baptized this past Sunday, but we had prayerfully set the date when we first started teaching her and we made a commitment in MLC to do so as well, and even though we concerned, we decided to move forward with the commitment we had made. As the day of the scheduled baptism grew closer, we were praying earnestly that we could have miracles placed in our path so that things could fall into place and our goals could be accomplished. I can testify that the Lord will always step in. He did for us, and everything worked out. We were able to meet our goals, and it was all possible because of the Lord. It reminded me of what I read in 3 Nephi this week about the Nephite Governor Lachoneus (just like the name of the best missionary ever!). He receives an epistle from the leader of an opposing group of people who are bent on destroying them. The leader tries to illustrate that the only two options are to either surrender to this opposing group or to be destroyed at him. Lachoneus' reaction struck me. He was not intimidated by the demands of a "robber". We may feel like it is impossible to choose the right, but we always can choose God, and if we do, we will be delivered. Even though the world was telling me I would either have to accept not reaching my goals or altering them, I didn't give in and was able to receive divine help for choosing the right. I am forever grateful for the power that the Atonement brings into our lives.
Thank you so much for the wonderful care package via the Lords. It is so great to have that picture. It really warmed my heart. And as always, I love having a Lego advent calendar. Thank you so much!
It was so cool to see the Wattersons and the Lords. They are wonderful people. I am grateful for the Spirit they carry. It was a little strange to have a piece of home here, but it was a good kind of strange. Sometimes I forget how close I really am to home. But it was awesome to see them! I'm glad they are doing well!
I'm glad that you are feeling the Spirit so strongly to motivate you to continue to do family history and temple work. I feel that temple work is really just flying forward.
Our Thanksgiving was awesome! We ate with the Senior Couple in our Ward, the Holyoaks (from Cedar City) and the Rodriguez family. The Rodriguezes fixed amazing food. I loved it. It was a lovely time and I felt very at home. We also played a tooooon of Turkey bowl (I'm still sore) with some awesome families (including one of my personal favorites: the Harris family) and had a fun evening of games with all the missionaries. The month of November has flooooown by. I can't believe it! It's unreal. I'll be calling home in no time! Wow. This week has really been strange. I've felt like I will always be a missionary, but now it is getting real that I won't be forever! I want to make the most of it!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Are you excited for Thanksgiving? I know I am! We have sooooo much to be grateful for!!
This week has been great! We have had a lot of great experiences. I was so excited to see both the sister we are teaching and her little son Jacob come to church, even though she was sore from getting in a car wreck and stressed from a hectic divorce. Her faith is amazing. She is progressing well and even though she seems to have the devil working overtime to get her down, she is not letting that happen. She even invited one of her own non-member friends to our lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and made us some delicious posole. She is incredible! Miracles have just been flowing to us! We have been praying sooo much for her and miraculously we found her a great place to live and may have found her a job too. Prayers work and miracles happen!! I can't wait for her baptism.
As I have been studying the Book of Mormon, I have really come to learn just how much the Lord wants to bless us. It's almost as if He's got a spring-loaded blessing dispenser and He is anxiously waiting for us to simply come forward and push the release through our humility, and willingness to repent and obey. He does not condemn and He does not view us as inferior- He views us as gold. He is all-powerful, but He is also is our Brother and He is close. As I've prayed, I have also come closer to the Father. I have grown up singing "I am a child of God", but I have really felt that. He is my Father. I love that. If that doesn't make you feel empowered, I don't know what will!
I was able to live out my dream this week! I went on exchanges with the Chinese Elders in our zone. There are a lot of Chinese (about 10-15%) in Eastvale and quite a few at UCR (University of California Riverside) so they are allowed to go pretty much anywhere they want to teach. They also have a super snazzy 2017 Chevy Malibu, and since both Elder Zeng and Elder Yang are from China, I was the lucky driver! We got to go to UCR twice that day to teach and to find. I have always wanted to serve in a YSA or on a campus ever since I was in YSAs back in AZ, and so it was a blast! We didn't have any lessons, but we were able to talk to some awesome college kids and to help them see how God can fit into their lives. I felt like I was right back home at ASU while I was there. One part got me uncomfortable though: we went there for English Class (they teach a free English class every week) and no one came, so we decided to contacting on campus. Well, it turns out it was Homecoming at UCR and we unknowingly walked into a crowd that was about to watch the fireworks go off. There was loud music and thousands of people all enjoying it and amazing fireworks. Pre-mission AJ would've loved it! I would've been all about it, but Missionary AJ was so scared! It was not an environment that missionaries should've been in, so we took some pictures of the fireworks and then ran out of there into the safety of the Malibu and Mormon Tabernacle Choir music. There was nothing inherently wrong with the place where we were at, but I definitely realized that when you are a set apart missionary, there are just some places you cannot go- the Spirit will not allow you. I'm glad we left when we did. There is a time and a place for that, and as a missionary, it is neither. It was overall a quite amusing experience, and we scored some sweet pics!
Today we also died at crossfit, but I got to see a lot of my old mission friends! I love it!
I had a really cool experience yesterday giving a blessing to a sister missionary in our ward who is going home in two weeks. I normally feel the Spirit directing me what to say, but this was so much more. This time I felt the words almost pouring out of me. It was as if I had an open view into her mind from Heaven and knew exactly all that the Lord wanted her to hear. What was the weirdest part though, was that before I realized it, I was both fulfilling things in my patriarchal blessing, as well as directing her to do the same things I was told to in my blessing (the Spirit told me to!). It was one of the most powerful blessings I have ever given and it confirmed to me that God is in charge of this. What was also super strange was that Elder Wood said that I had actually quoted his patriarchal blessing (which I've never read, obviously) and he felt that maybe I had quoted hers as well. He also said that he felt that everything that needed to be said I immediately said afterwards. It was so weird to see how closely the Lord works through us and to be that tool in the Lord's hands to do so. It definitely wasn't me, but it was cool!
There is a super amazing Christmas initiative video coming out this week at Mormon.org called #LightTheWorld. You have to check it out! There's a preliminary video up currently on LDS.org and it will blow your mind! It's all about how we cannot do the miracles Christ did, but we can light the world through random acts of service. There will be an advent calendar that comes out with it this Friday. This is going to change the world, so please check it out as soon as possible and help us all Light the World!!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Monday, November 14, 2016
This week was another great week! We are continuing to build the ward up and get it rolling. We have been having very spiritual experiences with members as we have our dinner lessons and also in talking about how we can build a team and work together. Our Ward Council is super supportive of us and we are definitely seeing their excitement grow as they see us working hard and being obedient.
This week I really continued to focus on coming to know the Savior. I am so grateful for this new focus we have. As I was reading the account of the beheading of John the Baptist and the feeding of the 5,000, I came to learn something new of the character of Christ. Even though He knew where John was and that he would live again, He still felt the very real human pain of loss. He loved John and losing him tore at Jesus. I'm guessing He departed so He could mourn in solitude, but after seeing the 5,000 waiting to hear from Him, he had compassion on them and put His mourning aside to serve others. He was glad to help and lift others. As I read this, I could see so much more clearly the human side of Christ. He really does know how we feel and what we go through. It made Him feel a lot closer than I had previously thought or felt.
I've been feeling the Spirit a lot more this transfer. It's been amazing to feel the power of this calling as a missionary come to life as you strive to magnify it. We really do nothing, but the Lord allows amazing things to happen through and around us if we desire it and have faith. As I've simply prayed for miracles, I've been floored by how they happen left and right. It's made this work so much fun to see God's hands working all throughout the mission, and in particular, our area.
Don't worry about sending the watches. It's no hurry to get them. They did have a huge watch sale going on at the mall today and it took all I had not to buy one. I also bought some new shoes and a jacket today because my stuff is finally starting to get worn out. I bought the comfiest shoes I could find, but they had to be ordered because they didn't have my size. Missionary work will be oh-so comfy now!
Grandma looks great! That is good to hear that things are going as well as can be expected with her. Tell all the family I say Hi, even if they don't remember me! haha
So yeah, that was the craziest thing! When we were in Priesthood opening exercises, they asked if there was any visitors and a man whom I thought looked familiar said his name was Bryan Watterson and that he and his wife had just moved in from Ontario! My jaw dropped and I ran over and asked if he was a Watterson from Winnemucca and he said yes. I told him I grew up in the same quorums as Josh. I don't know him really, but I'm sure I've seen him around. We got to talking (probably should've been in class. Ooops) and he said the whole family is coming down for his oldest's baptism. I thought that was so crazy! The Parent Trap is correct: this world gets smaller and smaller.
I also found out that I know a ton of people from this ward already. I met a guy who just returned from his mission and served with and knew Olivia Snow on her mission! AND one of my favorite member families in the ward have a son on a mission who was in the same MTC District and mission as Jameson Shirley from Lovelock, whom I became good friends with at Camp Helaman. The list goes on and on.
Speaking of the Turners, Brother Turner just started getting into the real estate business and my suspicions are confirmed, I think I want to do that on the side, or as a backup if Industrial Design doesn't pan out. I loved hearing about all the fun things you can do-- and still make money-- with houses! I think I wouldn't even feel like I'm working!
We are slowly but steadily building up our area and will continue to see more success!
This week we also head some super cool and unique experiences! We were taken by the coolest family ever (the Turners) to Applebees on Veteran's Day, and we got to meet Robert Byer (I think), who served in Vietnam and was awarded two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
We also got to go to the Louis Rubidoux (I'm with Dad, French is wack) Nature Center and do some service. It has a creek that runs down from the mountains and it gets SUPER full of garbage. So I got to put on some waders (I know you can't see me, but that's just the camo) and dig out dozens of cubic feet of filth from this creek that is a little bigger than Water Canyon. Just in our little section of creek about the size of a small bedroom, we pulled out every thing from thousands of Polar Pop cups (darn Circle K), Ugg boots, used hypodermic needles and even full sized pillows--and it equaled about 20 large trash bags' worth of junk. It was gnarly! It was a ton of fun to do though!
I'm loving the mission! I can't wait to see more baptisms. I am already getting nervous about the idea of being back in the real world! Have a great trip in KY. Travel safe and have the best week ever!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
The ward is really warming up to us! We've had multiple members tell us how much they can feel the Spirit when they are around us and they can tell we are being obedient. We had a whole family tell us they are amazed at how strongly we brought the Spirit into their home and how much they trust us. The First Counselor in the Stake Presidency is in our ward and was so impressed that he pulled our mission president aside and said, "Elders Wood and Jackson are really on fire!" and President Mullen replied, "I know, aren't they great?". I'm not saying this to brag, but I will say, that is probably the best compliment I've ever gotten. It really meant a lot.
|We are already decorating for Christmas!|
Wow, this week has been one of the most amazing weeks ever! I guess to start off, at the beginning of this transfer Elder Wood and I decided we wanted to stay focused. We decided to focus on working hard, being uncompromisingly obedient and having powerful faith. We both knew that this area could be turned around, and boy, has the Lord blessed us!
We seem to be getting referrals almost daily now. We continually have had people come up to us and ask about learning more. We've had people just show up to church without even knowing anyone. We've had very spiritually driven finding opportunities and have had some inspiring dinner lessons. Obviously this is not us that is doing this, but is the Spirit. We are just feeling so blessed to have had the Spirit and so many miracles poured out upon us for simply exercising faith and being obedient!
First is an investigator that is going through a divorce. She has a friend who is actually a member from my first area. Her friend told her that this church would bless her life, and she believed. She showed up at church last week. We were able to meet with her and share the message of the Restoration with her. The Spirit felt was incredible. We arranged to have a member give her a ride to stake conference but she came on her own to both the Saturday and Sunday sessions. She took notes, felt the Spirit, shed tears of gratitude for feeling that Spirit as well as the love of the members she met (one of whom took care of her fussy 3 year old boy in the foyer so that she could listen) and was able to meet the whole stake presidency, Elder W. Craig Zwick (a General Authority Seventy who is the uncle of our Stake President, President Jeremy Jergensen, who's parents are the San Diego Temple President and wife and gave me my instruction before receiving my endowment, and who's wife's baby was due on the day of stake conference and still got up and gave a talk! I was amazed! What a trooper!), President, and many other great members. She was like a rock star! She was the VIP of the whole thing! We then had a follow-up lesson and the Spirit was poured out once again. She asked what she needs to do to prepare to be baptized and said that she wants to be anywhere where she can be close to good people, like those in the church, and feel the Spirit. She committed to be baptized on November 27th, read 6 pages a day from the Book of Mormon, and pray to know if the individual things we have shared are true. The member who came with us was left speechless after the lesson. She is easily one of the most prepared people I've ever met. It is such a faith-building experience to teach the elect!
I loved Stake conference. It was quite possibly one of the most powerful ones that I've ever been at. I don't think I've ever felt the Spirit that intensely for such a sustained amount of time. I really came to know the Savior more by seeing the transforming effect He has on the Saints. I was amazed to see and feel the purity, power and love that came from not only those that spoke, but also the congregation. So many wonderful people who are doing their best to follow the Savior and be transformed by His Atonement is an amazingly tender thing to experience. I realized that, even though it is not my current priority, I want nothing more than to have a strong and active faithful family who makes and keeps covenants with the Lord, as I saw so wonderfully displayed by countless members and leaders at this conference. Nothing seems more important, save following the Savior, of course.
I am so incredibly grateful for my wonderful companion and all the countless blessings that the Lord has smothered us in, especially this week. I must say, I don't think I have ever been as joyful as I was this weekend. I felt like Alma when he was overcome with joy! I just couldn't handle how much pure joy and happiness I was experiencing! It was incredible! That is what a mission is all about. I'm so glad I served.
We also saw Brother Bemis at Conference! I love that man!
We did bobbing for apples on Halloween! I'd send the video, but it's not uploading. Today we played Ultimate Frisbee!
That letter from Dad is so cool! I'm so glad you found that! I want to see all of his old mission stuff when I get back. We had dinner with a family last night where the husband and wife met in Brazil on their missions while he too was serving as an Assistant! I told them all that I knew about dad's mission! He must have been an amazing missionary!
I'm still trying to decide on the whole coming home early thing. I'm so indecisive. I've never felt so stumped! Nothing seems like the right answer :/
I love you so so much! I'm so blessed to have you! Have the best week!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
That is so great that Jessie is really tearing it up on the football field! I'm glad there is someone (his coach, it sounds like) who is really taking the time to see his potential and trying to help him achieve it. I hope he keeps it up. Same with Julie! As far as the missionaries go, they are correct. We really aren't supposed to go to those (football games). I think the only exception is if they are non-members. It's probably more up to the mission president. Ours is pretty strict, so I don't think he'd allow it at all, unless we took time out of our Pday to do it. How is your and dad's missionary efforts going? I loved Elders Anderson's and Oak's talks on missionary work (in this past G.C.) and how easy it is for each of us to do some where ever we are in the world. "The Lord is hastening His work. The question is, are we coming with it?" -President Mullen. We need to help put the other puzzle pieces into place that the Lord has in our path, otherwise we will be making more work for others. Sharing the gospel is a privilege and a blessing! I know you and dad can bring someone into the Gospel. Is there anything you'd like help with in sharing the gospel?
(Elder Jackson didn't send any pictures this week so I am going to post some pictures ward members have texted to me when they had him over for dinner at various times)
|Hi Mom. I'm growing in more ways than one :)|
Love you mucho!
That is great! Keep feasting on the scriptures! That brings the Spirit into our lives so we can receive tailor-fit revelation, just for us, along with needed strength to overcome obstacles and trials. I know it's a lot easier to do that on a mission, but it really is so important to do always. We have to have that personal relationship with God if we want to receive His image in our countenances and be like Him when we stand before Him. That's the purpose of life! I'm proud of you for making that effort! I know you'll see the blessings from it as you do!
So I have been thinking and praying a lot about whether I should come home a transfer early or stay out. It has been really weird. I seem to get a spiritual impression one way on one day, and an opposing one the next. I talked to Elder Wood about it and he says maybe the Lord doesn't really care which I do; they are both good. I'm still torn: everything logically tells me that going home 6 weeks early would be the right thing to do (I could spend a little time with the family, get school in order, etc.), but I also don't want miss out on some amazing experiences that may come during that last month and a half of my mission. Elder Wood also pointed out that maybe in that 6 months of coming home early, I might just happen to meet someone who will end up being my wife one day! Who knows. So if it is that the Lord doesn't really mind either way, I think I will end up coming home a transfer early so I can spend time with you and dad and get everything ready for school! I promise that I will stay in close contact with you both though when I get home.
I love you two too much not to :)
|Sept 2016, We enjoyed having your son for dinner, he's doing|
a great job!
This week we saw a ton of miracles. It was amazing. Here in the Jurupa Ward, the fire for missionary work and the confidence from the members in us as missionaries has not been the highest. Starting this transfer, Elder Wood and I both felt confident that we could easily have a baptism this transfer through our faith and diligence, and building up the ward's trust in the missionaries. We decided to focus solely on the work. We decided strict and exact obedience, hard work and powerful faith were what was needed. We also decided to stop by members of the ward council here in our ward to see what they'd like to see improve and what their vision is for this ward. Doing so showed us how much the leaders of the ward (and even the stake) want to see success. We expressed our desire to work hard and be obedient and that really seemed, in and of itself, to build their confidence in us. We are now setting things up- alongside the bishop, a member of the stake presidency in our ward, and the auxiliary leaders- to help get the fire back in our ward. Seeing the success Elder Wood had with it in Hemet makes me so excited to see what happens here!
|May 2016 You have a good son, thanks for sharing him with us.|
But building the ward's trust in us was not the miracle; it was seeing the progress that has come in the work here! As mentioned earlier, we are both committed to powerful faith and uncompromising obedience, and that allowed the Lord to bless us with these miracles. The first was at Trunk-or-Treat we had the husband of an inactive member come up to us and express his desire for us to come by and teach him. He said he's "been waiting for [us] to come by" and he came church! He's still just as excited. We also had another lady show up to church all on her own with her young son. She said she loved it! We also saw a lot of success in our street contacting. We were able to find a few fairly solid investigators as we were finding as we did so with powerful faith. The Lord's hand is definitely here in Jurupa! Now we just need to continue doing this and building the area, but I know we can!
|Hi Mom, I love you. Jan 2016|
As far as Christmas list stuff, I can't really think of anything too major. There's a lot of good Christian Country music I love and my new favorite Christian bands are Hillsong United and Love & the Outcome. They have some awesome music. I always love pictures and artwork (Walter Rane is my favorite painter). I am really ok with anything. The real question is, what should I get you and dad and everyone else?? Any thoughts? I'm so dreadfully awful at gifts. I need your expertise! haha
I will try and see if we can end up calling early on Christmas! I love you so so much and miss you bunches! I have your engagement photo with dad pinned up on my corkboard! I love that picture!
L O V E Y O U !
Your Elder Jackson :)
|Look who came to dinner! We love Elder Jackson.|
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
One thing that I really learned this week was to be grateful. The Lord has truly blessed us with so much, and how often do we remember to thank Him? A talk was given last week in Sacrament meeting about gratitude and one point that was emphasized is how we often pray for safety as we travel or a blessing on the food, but how often are we like the 1 leper who returned and thanked the Lord for that, verses the 9 who did not. It was a cool experience to take time each night and say a prayer to my Father in Heaven, thanking Him for all of the blessings in my life- big and small. He really does shower us all with blessings, and taking time to notice them makes us happier and more fulfilled people.
I got transferred! I'm no longer in Moreno Valley, but back in the Jurupa Stake (the stake where I started my mission) in the Jurupa Ward! I'm now at the top of the stake, whereas before I was at the bottom. I'm with Elder Wood from Oklahoma. He came out the same time I did. I'm super excited to be here! Our zone is much smaller than MoVal's (5 companionships verses 10) so that'll be so nice! I love this stake, so I couldn't be happier! I was here last year for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I'll almost certainly do that again here this year.
I'm very excited to be in Jurupa with Elder Wood. I think that we will be able to get a lot of great work done here and get this area back up on it's feet. We will exercise faith and be very diligent in our work so that the Lord can trust us to teach and baptize His prepared sons and daughters.
Thank you so much for the box! I really appreciate it. I also appreciate all the pics, ties, aveda stuff and FH stuff. I love getting packages and mail and especially stuff that I can use like that. Thank you! Is there anything from Cali that you'd like me to send you? I'm super bad at gift ideas.. haha
We got to buff a B-29 at the air museum this week! That's the same plane that dropped the atomic bombs in WWII. It was such a cool experience! We got to climb up into the bomb bays too!
This past week has been pretty good, in Lasselle. We really pushed to add as much faith in to everything that we did as possible, and it really seemed to make a difference. Even though I am leaving the area, I am confident that it will do well and I think that we left on a high note so that Elders Gulbranson and Williams will be able to have a lot of good success.
I talked with President Mullen this week about the whole school situation. He said that the only two options are for me to go home August 15th and have that super tight schedule, or be released a transfer (6 weeks) early and go home sometime in the beginning of July. He said it's up to me and he's fine with getting the permission from SL, but he needs to know pretty far in advance so he can get the application process done in time, if I do choose to go home early. I'm really torn because I don't want to go home early, but on all logistical fronts it seems like it'd be better. I've prayed about it and really don't feel a lot of listing feelings one way or another. I wanted to get your and dad's opinions on it. What do you think would be best?
Your Elder Jackson :)