Saturday, January 30, 2016

S*l*o*w Week

Monday 25 January 2016

  I keep thinking of friends at home who would so benefit from the peace that this gospel brings and hope that they are able to feel the Spirit in some way (maybe a miracle) through my hastily written emails about my experiences here in Riverside. Stranger things have happened!

I hope Joyce is alright. That is really sad to hear. That must be incredibly hard. I also hope Stevie is doing alright. I really hope he knows how much he is loved. He's got a lot of potential and a lot of people who want the best for him. I hope Corey recovers quickly too. How is he fairing in the land of Zaboomafoo? Every time I think my life is hard here, I just think about Corey and Wesley in Madagascar, or pretty much any other mission, and how much harder it has got to be than mine, and the feeling goes away haha.

This week has been pretty slow. We have really been working on the less-actives and part-member families in the ward. We had a lot of bad luck this past week, with all of our set appointments but one cancelling on us (but the one with _______, a LA/PMF in our ward was so so spiritual and they are really excited for our next appointment. The thought we shared with him and his non-member wife was extremely powerful and obviously what they needed to hear. It was without a doubt led by the Spirit.). I am grateful for the counsel we received recently to be more charitable, because that is definitely something I need to work on. When I learn to love others, especially those that I would logically have no reason to love--as the Savior loved others-- then I will be a successful missionary and more importantly, a successful priesthood holder. I am curious on how I should learn to love those who don't reciprocate such a love, but I am almost positive the answer to that is the same as the ideas that we tell to our investigators, which is to feast from the scriptures prayerfully and ask our Father in Heaven for His guidance. That is my challenge for myself for this upcoming week. I am so excited because we have set appointments for almost every night this upcoming week and we have received a bunch of referrals that are hopefully those golden ones we are always so excited to receive.

Also, we went to the driving range today. We all have blisters and sore backs. I think we are old now. I also am terrible at soccer, but did keep the other team from scoring once or twice.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

GRRREAT WEEK.....Moving Forward

Elder Jackson attends Seminary once again, now the teacher?
Sorry I am emailing on such a weird day. We can't use the Library to email on national holidays (like MLK day), and yesterday we had a multizone conference. Today we also had a worldwide missionary broadcast, and last week we had a Seventy visit, so it has been a crazy couple of weeks! 

It was really weird, I was at the mall on P-day after eating at Cheesecake Factory (Elder Cornia's parents sent gift cards!) and guess who I saw?! An old buddy from High School Swim Team! Dakota Flanagan! He's in the Marines and stationed at Camp Pendleton and is recently married! It was super cool to see him! I should have given him my email so I can keep in contact with him, but it was so sick!

I can't believe it is already week 4 of this transfer! It's flying by! Elder Cornia and I are having so much fun! I am really enjoying being with him and we work well together. We did something I've yet to do thus far on my mission: we achieved the Standard of Excellence this week! It was so great. We taught more lessons than I ever have and it was so much fun. I think the coolest were both yesterday:

1. For Multizone conference, we have car inspections. Elder Cornia and I won for cleanest car and got a $20 Taco Bell gift card. Being the health nut I am, I didn't want to eat there but felt that it would be ok. We got there and had some gourmet, artisan-crafted delicacies of the taco. As we were about to leave, a lady was like, "Oh, it's Mormons...". She had always thought we were a cult and worshiped Joseph Smith and didn't think we believed in being saved by grace...typical stuff. Anyway, we got to talking and the Spirit was really strong and by the end she was like, "I was totally wrong about you guys!" and she took a copy of the Book of Mormon. She didn't agree to meet and I don't know what will come of it, but I thought it was so amazing how the Lord really does have His hand in this work. It is amazing to be a tool in His hand, to be guided to where He wants us to go, even when we don't realize it. All we have to do is just be moving forward. The way we receive revelation is by acting; moving forward. 

2. We have been meeting with the _____ family for a while (a less-active husband and non-member wife) with no success. But last night, we shared a video called Mountains to Climb and the Spirit was so strong and they both were very touched. We should have invited them to do more (our mistake) but we did commit them to read and we are meeting with them again soon, which they are very excited about. I was just amazed that in the Lord doesn't work on our time but on His. I've been here 5 months and haven't seen anything, yet all it took was the right message at the right time to allow the Holy Ghost to really touch them. It was so cool!

3. Even though I said two, SURPRISE! There's 3. Today at the Worldwide Conference, we talked about the purpose of our work. It isn't to just get baptisms, it's to baptize converts and teach repentance. We are called as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ to preach His Gospel to the whole world, so that the world can prepare for the Second Coming of Him. It's to allow families the opportunity to stand before God spotless and remain with Him for eternity to live. It is the most important work on the earth. We bring the Holy Ghost to them, but the Holy Ghost is the thing that does 100% of the teaching. It was also very spiritual and so uplifting. I feel reinvigorated and so ready to get back to preaching the gospel!

I also heard about this awesome website thing called Missionary Mailbag that downloads all of your mission emails and you can save them. I think I want to try it! 

I would love just simple prints (4x6) of whatever pictures! I just love pictures. The more the merrier! 

I love you so so much! Miss you tons.

With love,

Elder Jackson

Zone Conference January 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

All the Pieces Just Fit Together Perfectly!

11 January 2016

This week was such an amazing experience! First off, Elder Cornia and I are having a fantastic time together! We are very similar in a lot of ways and we probably have too much fun to be legal! haha We are doing well, but there is always room for improvement. I am used to Elder Andrus always pushing pushing pushing to work super hard, and Elder Cornia is very laid back like me so we have had to adjust and make ourselves motivated to work hard every day. We saw a lot of good this week though. I have found a lot of comfort in the D&C verse about not "running faster than I have strength". I have to push myself, but I also need to enjoy my service. I have learn to have a spirit of urgency, but not become overwhelmed with not being perfect or being stressed about my humanity. I have been a lot more comfortable since accepting that, and we had one of the best weeks on my mission last week so it works!  

We had an awesome visit by Elder Hamula of the Seventy on Friday. It was such a spiritual meeting and I learned so much about such a simple doctrine. As missionaries, we are constantly told that "our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ". That seems simple enough, but until this meeting, I guess I never really understood why that was our purpose. Elder Hamula explained that the reason we do this great work comes down to one simple piece of doctrine: No unclean thing can dwell with God. We read in the scriptures that we will all--every man, woman, and child that ever lived-- will stand before God in their resurrected, immortal body (made possible by the power of Jesus Christ's Atonement) and be judged by Him for our actions and the desires of our hearts--if we utilized Christ's Atonement and repented of those things that we all do, big and small. None of us are perfect, yet if we want to live forever with God, we have to be. We will all stand in God's presence, but only the repentant will be allowed to remain. That's where our purpose comes in. We are like the Apostles of old who preached repentance unto all that they may know how to return to that loving God who created them. That's why we do this. I can't stand to think of what life would be like without my family and loved ones, in this life or the next. We all need saving, and once we've been helped, we need to pay it forward. I hope you can look for opportunities to share the gospel with those our brothers and sisters who are wandering and thirsting for truth, but don't know where it is to be found. Be that light!

An extended ward council eh? I would hate that. Before I went on my mission, I had heard of WC but had no idea what it was. I am blown away by how much I have learned about just the structure of the Church and how complicated it really is! Weekly ward council for two years will be enough for me though! Especially now that it is at 7:30! It is amazing to see how inspired Bishops really are no matter where you are and how the Spirit really does direct the bishop in the ways that he should lead the ward with the input from the auxiliaries and quorums. The more I learn, the more I know that this is the true Church. It has to be! All the pieces just fit together perfectly!.............Elder Jackson

It rained a lot! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

First Earthquake, New Companion!

 4 January, 2016

Hola everybody! I just wanted to say a quick hello and Happy New Year from Riverside! I hope you all had a great holiday season. That is my favorite time of year, where we can be with family and reflect on the year. I know everyone has things they want to improve about themselves (resolutions), and that is what is so great about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It allows us to ditch those feelings of regret and sadness and leaves only happiness. I love serving as a missionary and serving my Lord. I can promise that there is nothing more rewarding than having a personal relationship with Him. Best wishes. Love, Elder Jackson 

We felt our first earthquake! It was a 4.8! or 4.4 not sure. It was nuts! My comp is also from Randolf, Ut! We had a double dinner with some Polynesians last night. I thought I might die! It had to have been like 9,000 calories!

I am glad that you got those framed! I think Dad will really like those! Maybe I should just draw pictures for you all instead of sending gifts for Christmas. I had a lot of fun making those!

I am so excited that you are doing the BOM everyday! I am currently doing 2 pages of the BOM, 2 pages from the NT and like 15 minutes out of Our Heritage, as well as 5 pages out of Preach My Gospel with doing all of the scripture activities everyday (the advantages of having 2 hours of study per day :) ). I started the BOM on the 1st and am really loving it so far!

I am currently reading through Acts for the first time and I think it is one of my favorite books in the New Testament that I've read so far. I was blown away by Acts 5. The boldness of Peter and John is flooring! People had so much faith in what he could do that even his passing shadow had an effect on them. He stood in front of a council and testified with so much power. I think it is written beautifully too. And as Gamaliel said, that if this was the work of men, it would have been thwarted or fizzled, but since it is God's, it can't and oughtn't be stopped, or even attempted to be stopped. Since we are the extended arms of the apostles, we can and should bear as powerful of testimony as Peter. This is God's work and He is with us.  He wants us, like the apostles, to never cease preaching of Jesus. We have the privilege and responsibility to do so, and we are so blessed to be "counted worthy to bear shame for his name". 

I must say that I am more and more grateful for Elder Andrus every day. I guess it really is like with parents, you appreciate them more when you are not around them constantly. Elder Andrus and I got along great and I loved being with him (in fact, I would be ecstatic to be able to serve with him again if I could), but since he has been gone I have really been able to realize how good of a missionary and how hardworking and pure he was. That being said, I am very excited to be working with Elder Cornia and I think we can accomplish a lot of good together. I am excited to have the stretch that comes from having a second companion. It has really kept me on my knees and relying on my Heavenly Father's help. I think we will have a great transfer and will get a lot of good work done as we focus on the fundamentals of missionary work,  continue stressing obedience, and continue working our hardest and loving the Lord.