Monday, February 29, 2016

Star Wars Blue and Gold

Colds in California Once Again! Sorry my letter is kind of boring this week. 
Not a lot happened since I was sick.

This week my testimony of "faith leading to action" really increased. We have had a very difficult time getting anyone to let us in to teach them and our finding efforts have not been the most fruitful, but we have continued to have faith that if we do the work that the Lord will provide us with people to teach and invite to come closer to Christ. It was amazing what the Lord put in our path! We did not do anything special, but while we were walking and talking, we met two very nice and potentially interested young ladies, received a referral from one of them,  and then we contacted that referral. On another day met a less-active whom we've not been able to get in with since either of us have been here and ended up hitting it off with, and got invited back for dinner with them next week! The wife said she was also inviting her non-member friend as well! What a blessing that is indeed for us. The Lord really does want us to have success and wants us to be able to see the fruits of our labors. I know it is only a small miracle, but it definitely boosted my faith and my morale. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in His plans for these, His children. 

Looks like Guatemala, but really California!

I got your card this week too. Thank you for that! I couldn't really read what dad wrote besides that he was on a bed. But I appreciate the card and the temple name. We are actually going to the temple on Friday 11 March for the noon session with a convert in our ward who grew up in UT, got baptized and just got sealed to an RM who returned from her mission like a year ago. They are super nice and I am excited for that. 

I have also been able to really feel the Spirit a lot more this week and that has been so great. I studied a lot in Preach My Gospel about developing charity as well as a little bit of the talk "What Lack I Yet" and was strongly impressed to ask the Lord in prayer what I can do to progress, or rather what might be stopping me from progressing, and as He always does, He answered me  with exactly what I need to work on. Now that I have received that new light, just like our investigators, it is up to me to choose whether or not I will live in harmony with this and do the will of the Lord. I think that I will choose the road the Lord has set forth. :)

Having fun at the Cub Scout Blue and Gold night.

I just googled "The Living Christ" and found it. Here's the link if you need it!

I think this is the one you were talking about!

Thanks for your loving encouragement. I needed it. Thanks for all of the love and support you give. I am far from perfect, but I am trying. I love you so very much and miss you a lot too! Have a great week!


Elder Jackson

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Slicin' and Dicin" Dream Fulfilled!

This week I got to live out my dreams of being a lumberjack as well. We had service for a family in our ward named the Solsebees who have a nonmember daughter whom we are teaching. They had a huge tree from their neighbor's yard break and fall into their yard but part of it was hanging still from the main branch. We showed up and they handed us all sorts of stuff to start slicin' and dicin' the tree up! There was these cool electric chain saws, one was powered by a drill battery pack and the other was attached to a 12' pole and corded. But the real show was when I got to climb a ladder and use the real chain saw. I felt like a real lumberjack (especially since I hadn't shaved yet that morning so I had a micro-beard) and all I was missing was some flannel. I had wood chips in my chest hair and everything!

"If it's not a blessing, it's a lesson".......

Favorite quote from one of our investigators named Karen (who we picked up my first week and is so awesome and will probably be baptized) was, "If it's not a blessing, it's a lesson". If we have stumbling blocks in our lives, it's not a punishment from God, it's an opportunity to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, turn to the Savior and learn from what we just went through. Then take that stumbling block and make it a stepping stone in our pursuit of Christ.
Thanks for the nice pic-me-up. I hope I am making a positive difference, because it often feels like I am not. I am definitely enjoying being here but it is hard to feel successful when you see so few fruits. I am loving this ward and being a missionary is great. I have seen a lot of personal growth in the past 6 months though. It definitely doesn't happen all at once, but slowly and over a period of time. I am thankful for the love Heavenly Father shows me though and the growth I have experienced in my testimony. I know that this is the best thing I could have chosen to do at this point in my life.

Crossfit P-day with Elders Thompson, Cornia, and Chapman.
This week was really great. I have been getting to know the ward a little better. We made a goal to see every one on our whiteboard both last week and this week so that we can really judge to see who is ready to progress and who is not. We have a few people whom Elder Thompson and Corillo were working with who stopped progressing but are ready to do so now. Our main focus this week its to get people on date and progressing. It is disheartening to see such low numbers on our end but we are not letting that get to us and are going to try and work more effectively on the transition plan so that we can have more success and have the Spirit with us more. 


Another Meeting (fun meeting)

This meeting has gone to the dogs!

"We don't clean the temple because it is dirty, 

we clean it so that it never gets dirty."

I really enjoyed learning about how temple cleaning works this week in church. Someone told a story about how a lady, who had previously been asked to clean the temple and felt as if her time had been wasted when she saw that by the end of her two hours of labor, her rag was essentially as clean as when she started, was asked to clean it again. A fellow cleaner at the temple said, "We don't clean the temple because it is dirty, we clean it so that it never gets dirty". I thought that was profound. It goes right in line with repenting and taking the Sacrament every week. We don't necessarily do it so often because we are disgustingly filthy, we do it so that we never become filthy since we are continually turning to Him and remembering Him so that we don't have time to become filthy from the world in which we live. As we remember Him who made eternal life possible, we will inevitably take steps toward Him so that we are more like the Gentle Master whom we serve.

Your Elder Jackson

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hello! Happy Valentine's Day and President's Day!

That is awesome to hear that you and dad are heading to the Provo City Center Temple open house. I heard it is absolutely breathtaking and really want to go when I get back. Thank you so much for the package as well! I have been drawing up a storm and am so excited to do more. I have found that a few minutes of art every day really keeps me relaxed and able to work hard without feeling overwhelmed.

I met someone who knows Mike Snow! His name is Brother Taylor. I think he said Mike's brother is married to his daughter in Hemet or something to that effect. If I ever serve in Hemet, I will let look out for them. If you find out his brother's name, I will see if I can find him. Tell Olivia I say congrats! That is so cool! Tell her to send me an announcement! That is so great!

Random Steve Tyler Guy in short shorts on Valentines:)

Corona is awesome! I think it is one area in California I wouldn't mind living in. The people are amazing and super funny. I have had some fun experiences here already with some super cool members. Missionary work here is tough since it is fairly affluent and people here are pretty happy, for the most part, with what they have and don't feel an overwhelming desire to change. I have been lucky enough to only have met the most cordial Corona has to offer (in fact we contacted these three kids in a car who were in the middle of smoking weed and were completely gone, but ended up having a great conversation with them and they felt uplifted. They also offered us some weed, so we'll have to teach the Word of Wisdom, but that is down the road haha ) and am confident we can find someone to baptize this transfer.

Elder Thompson and I had a rough week with regards to missionary work. We were not able to teach nearly as much as we would have liked to and our efforts in finding were not super fruitful. I don't want the previous things I have heard about Corona being a "dead-spot" for missionary work to have an effect on either Elder Thompson or I. There are people here that the Lord has prepared and we can find them if we are faithful and diligent. I have made progress in relying on the Spirit, but still want to improve my efforts there. I found something very uplifting and motivating though while Elder Thompson and I were street contacting the other day and I was in the midst of feeling down about our low numbers and lack of outward success, and that thought was: What would Jesus have me do right now if He were here? I thought it was funny because I seem to always see "What Would Jesus Do?" stickers, but this thought really hit home with me and I have pondered it ever since. We are told that Christ is with us as missionaries when we do His will and His work, so I imagined that Christ Himself were with us in the streets of Corona talking with people with Elder Thompson and I. I know it sounds silly, but it really got me motivated. I was so excited from then on to be talking to people and the Spirit was with me so much stronger. It helped me remember why I came on a  mission and reaffirmed to me that this is the best place I can be and that this is where the Lord sent me to labor in His name. "The Name at the bottom of the name tag is much more important that the name on the top". I will try to keep this simple yet motivating phrase continually in my mind over the next 18 months so that I can continually do that which I have been called to do and that which my loving Father in Heaven would want me to do to help His children here in this area of the vineyard.

Saying goodbye to my host family in my first area.

I have been feeling the Spirit a lot more recently and for that I am so grateful. I hope you can too. This work is so incredibly important and we all play a part in it.

Oh PS: The Young Women in our ward are all trying to go to see the Saturday Morning session of the April General Conference. I don't know if you'd possibly be able to send some tickets down, but they would be very appreciative here if you could.

Also, if you could send those CD's I left, that would be great. The more music, the better. We can listen to any gospel music. Also, if you could print out some pictures that would be much appreciated. I would love to have some pictures of me cheering too.

Love you lots! Take care and talk to you next week!

Your Elder Jackson

Monday, February 8, 2016


8 February 2016  Transfer #1....Goodbye Foothill Friends!

My random California encounter for this week is: We got tagged!! Our car got its rear passenger door spray painted in yellow by some gang kids! They got some other property in the area as well. Nothing was stolen or anything, but it did provide us an awesome opportunity to get some awesome pictures to make us look like ganstas (or at least as thuggin' as two white Mormon Missionaries can look! haha). It came off pretty well, but it took up all of our day mostly and will be one of those mission stories you never forget!

Holy cow! It feels weird to be leaving my first area that I have now been in for 6 months. That being said, I am really excited to be going to a new area with a new companion to learn a lot of new things. I know that this is where I am supposed to be and am so excited for this new chapter in my mission. I have heard nothing but good things about Elder Thompson and am very excited to be working with him. I am also very sad to be leaving Elder Cornia because he and I became very good friends and worked very well together. I have been very blessed to be able to serve around some amazing Elders so far. So I will be in the Corona Stake. The work is very slow from what I have heard. It is only about a 10 minute drive from where I currently am so that will be really cool. I am kind of bummed to leave all of the great people I have come to love here, and I hope to see them again!

This week, one thing that really stuck out to me was how even the simplest of doctrines can be looked over and when they are discovered after "hiding in plain sight", their power really comes to light. We read in Preach My Gospel and many other places how faith is a principle of action; you show your faith by doing something and that that action is motivated by your faith. I guess the mind of Elder Jackson had just sort of skimmed over that for a long time, because it wasn't until this week that it really hit me. As I read in 1 Nephi, I was amazed at the big difference between Nephi and Laman and Lemuel was that Nephi, instead of sitting down and complaining as his brothers did, was instead grateful for his blessings and got up and did something. The Apostle Paul did the same thing. He was always pushing forward and doing something even when he didn't know exactly what or why he needed to do it. That is what I want to be more like. I want to be someone who heeds the promptings of the Lord as soon as they are given to me. I think it is amazing to see the blessings that come from doing as the Lord asks, and from simply getting up and taking a simple step forward.

I haven't done anything with the missionary email things yet. Would you mind looking into them? Thanks for the sketchbooks! That will be really cool to use those. I've just been doodling on notebook paper. I so miss drawing. There are a lot of things I really miss, but I guess that is why a mission is hard. You give up a lot, but I think you gain so much. And really, I have so many blessings that I am the last person on earth that should ever complain about anything.


Your Elder Jackson

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Conversion Happens by the Spirit, Not Me!

Elder Cornia and I had another good week this week. We are really seeing some good things come out of this area. I am starting to realize however that I need to start relying on the Lord more. I have gotten to the point where I feel comfortable as a missionary-- I don't feel like I have no idea what is going on anymore. But that is not always a good thing. Sure, I don't get nervous as much anymore and I can honestly say now that I know that this church is true and that there is no way to prove that it isn't, because it encompasses all truth, but like I said, I still need to rely on the Lord. I feel like if I were to write a book with my limited gospel knowledge, even I could convince anyone that this is Christ's Gospel and that the bible totally supports this as the one and only true church. But this is not what we are supposed to do. People are not converted because the gospel is proved to them, they are converted because they feel the Holy Ghost testify to them that this is the truth, and it is. In fact, I was reading in Acts 9 and it says "But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him" (v. 22-23). I thought that was quite humorous. If we try to prove Christ, it won't work. We are called to invite people to come to Christ, not prove. And I need do more inviting and less proving. That comes back to leaning on the Lord. He knows what these people need, and if I am not prepared spiritually to hear what it is that they need from the Spirit, I won't be successful. So my goal this week is to have the Spirit with me more so that I get back to how it was when I first came in the mission and I was scared helpless of what to say, so I simply said what I felt the Spirit prompt me to say. I know that will make a big difference!

We are working with 3 families. We also picked up some cool new investigators this week. The guy is a skateboarder for a company called Active who hurt his knees jumping off of a like 30 foot ledge on his board and now has a cane and draws and his girlfriend owns a mobile dog grooming trailer in an old pink Winnebago. They are super funny and we hope we can get them to progress towards baptism!

That is about all for this week! I hope I can do a better job this next week. That's why we have the Atonement though, so we can become better and put our shortcomings behind us! 

I love you lots! Have a great week.


Elder Jackson

P-Day this week. I am on the stage next to the Elder with the guitar.

​Picture I drew for an Elder who thought he broke his back and would be going home, but just bruised it and will be fine. We were joking about it.