Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter---Reflecting on the Last Week of the Savior's Life

This week I really learned a lot about losing yourself in the Lord's will. As it was Easter week, there were many opportunities that I had to study and reflect on the events that transpired in the last week of the Savior's life. I was so impressed throughout this whole week at His submissiveness and desire to do all that the Father asked of Him, not just part or most of it--all of it. I want to be like that. I want to be the kind of person that strives to always do exactly what the Lord has asked of me. I read in Luke about the good Samaritan and the compassion he had, even though the man he was helping was supposed to be an enemy. Are we not "an enemy to God"? Yet He has compassion on us. All He asks in return is for us to remember what He has done for us and to let that be our motivation to do what He has asked us to. I want to be a devoted disciple, and I want to do His will because I love Him. He lives and I know it. I feel it.

I really enjoyed Easter. It was so great. We had dinner with the Rees family in our ward (she's the Stake Young Women's President) and they had a huge feast with like almost 100 people there. They had so much delicious food and lots of awesome people to meet and talk to, a lot of them aren't members. I also found out they are adopting a young boy who's parents had drug problems! I was like, hey! That sounds familiar! haha. But it was a great Easter. I love being able to commemorate the day new life was assured to us all, and eternal life was secured to those who follow and love the Lord! What an incredible gift!

I am so excited! Transfers are today and I am getting a new comp. I am sad to see Elder Thompson go, but I am getting a super awesome new companion. His name is Elder Fischer. He was the Assistant to the President when I came in, and for the first 4 months of my mission. He is from North Carolina and is crazy good at basketball. He is an awesome missionary and works incredibly hard. He'll probably be a general authority one day. I know it'll be a lot of hard work and I'll be exhausted but I will learn so much and I know that I will be better because of it. This will be awesome!

This week was somewhat slow. We tried really hard to make this last week together really count but it didn't seem that our efforts were reflected. Almost the entirety of our lessons set up with investigators cancelled or didn't answer and it was rather heartbreaking, but it felt nice to know that we were really pushing and working on all cylinders. I am grateful to have been able to serve with Elder Thompson and for the wonderful man he is. He shows a lot of Christlike love for everyone and I was able to learn a lot from being with him. I am really excited to start serving with Elder Fischer as well. I know that he will teach me an immense amount and I hope I can become a better missionary, on all fronts, from serving with him. I know he is an incredibly hard-working and devoted missionary and disciple of our Lord, and it will be fantastic to grow from being with him.


Love you!

Your Elder Jackson

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lots of Teaching Going On!

We had a great week this week here in the our ward. It was slow, but it was good nonetheless. We were able to meet with our investigator Maria. We talked to her about baptism. We were able to discern her needs, and we invited. It was a great feeling to be bold in inviting her to baptism as we are counseled to do. It built my testimony of how when we are asked to do something, the Lord really does provide a way for it to be accomplished.

We were also able to see the Lord's hand revealed even further this week. We had a feeling we should stop by a few people, so we followed the prompting. The first was a Brother in our ward who has been going through a really hard time. When we arrived, he let us know that he had just got done praying for help 15 minutes before we had stopped by, unbeknownst of our plans. It was amazing and extremely humbling to be part of the physical answer to someone's prayer. Another time, both of us had felt prompted to stop by an area (even though I didn't know anyone there), but neither of us really had told the other. When we did, we were let in by a potential investigator and had a great lesson with him! Another time when we were street contacting we met a nice kid in high school named Robert. We had a great contact with him and for the first time on my mission, a potential actually called us! It was breathtaking! He said he wanted to talk more and asked if we were free in a few hours to eat lunch and talk more, to which we replied to the affirmative. We had a great lesson with him and picked him up as a new investigator! I was just amazed how much the Lord showers His blessings on you when you simply try your hardest to do His will and have a little faith. I hope I can always remember that! 

There is a new video, Hallelujah, that the Church released all about Easter. It is so powerful and I highly recommend watching it and trying to find 4 people to invite to watch it with! If they say no, it's alright! You were successful in inviting!

There is a really cool member in our ward who is an immigration lawyer who has offices all over the country. He is probably one of the coolest people I've ever met. He served his mission in Hong Kong. He is the High Priest Group Leader even though he is in his early 40s! He is super involved with helping others and is super involved in missionary work with us. He offered to take us out to lunch and we had a great time and he provided us with a bunch of people to see. He also had us help him teach his mission prep class and said that we are wonderful missionaries. He is one of the coolest and strongest people I have ever met and I really hope I can continue to learn more from him.

P-Day with the Zone!

We had Zone Conference this week. It was good but very long. We also had a meeting on how to help members realize how easy it is to be involved in missionary work and how there are different levels which we can do it at, and the easiest is just by reaching out and getting to know people outside your circle of friends: getting to know cashiers, bank tellers, and other people you meet. Just be friends with them! Help them have a better day. Smile to them! It makes a big difference! I can testify to that!

How does it feel to be knowing that you'll be a great-grandma here in a few months? The more I am on a mission and see these wonderful LDS families, the more I know that that is exactly what I want.  Marriage really is a divine and wonderful institution. I am so grateful for covenant-keeping and faithful families (like yours and dad's) who create a wonderful environment for raising kids and being a leaven in society. I can think of no better goal!

Our temple trip actually got postponed until this Friday, so we'll be going to the noon session then and I'll do the name then! I can't wait!

I hope you have a great week! Oh I saw a guy today when we were playing soccer who was leaving the Riverside mission when we came in (we met in the SLC Airport). He is playing football at Mesa Community College! Small world eh? It was cool to see him again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Surprise Surprise!!!

So I had a huge surprise yesterday at church! We had received a call asking what time church was and where we met at. When we got there I was "greatly astonished" to see my good ol' pal Blake Miller! He just got back from his mission two months ago and was in my YSA ward in Tempe. I also had another buddy named Ben Aguilar who left in fall of 2-13 for his mission here in Riverside and we all three were super good friends. They roadtripped down here and Blake came to church! It was awesome! He also was with some other people from my YSA, one of which is from here in Corona and was baptized here and then went to ASU! It was such a great surprise! Alyssa also Facetimed him so I was able to see/talk to her for a few minutes! It was so crazy! I am still kind of in shock but it was fantastic to be reunited with my two best friends! Love them. Luckily, it really hasn't distracted me really at all! It was right back to work after that! 

The Atonement

I've been learning a lot about the Atonement recently and what it does for us. I am so grateful that we can repent every day--multiple times a day---for mistakes we make. It is such a freeing feeling to turn our hearts over to Christ and become more like Him. When we admit to ourselves and God that we have fallen, He does not turn His head and leave us. Instead He wraps His loving arms around us and lifts us up to be better, whether our mistakes are minuscule or massive. It is a gift I am incredibly grateful for. I am so glad that everyday I can file off the imperfections and become more of the man God would want me to be.

We really saw the hand of the Lord this week! It was amazing to see how He blesses us, even when we don't deserve it. Elder Thompson and I have been struggling from day one to get in with our investigators to teach them any lessons. As a missionary obviously I want to be teaching lessons, but just as obvious is the fact that we can't teach if there is no one to teach to. We need to talk to more people and work with members more and we will then have more people to teach, but this week was pretty incredible in the fact that we were able to get in and see a lot more people than we usually are able to! We put one of our investigators (Karen) on date for baptism, and another said that he would love to be baptized, as well as were able to teach the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to two potentials and get in to visit some less-active members that we had not been able to see for a while. Our investigator Maria also came to church and will very likely be making steps toward baptism very soon, if we can meet with her. The Lord really did bless us, in spite of our shortcomings, with a lot of great success and it feels great!

Your Winnemucca Pics are awesome! I really like the black and white one. We had dinner with a family "out in the boonies" the other night and it made me think of Winnemucca and how well you can see the stars. I am glad that you sent all the other pictures in the small photo album too. I also really appreciate the care package. I am sending my voter paper in today. I don't really know who is the best candidate so I'll probably just go off what you and dad and Bryce suggest. I want someone smart, honest, conservative and religious. We'll see! And the music is awesome! It is so great to have some good stuff to listen to. Thank you so much! I really like the 1st Presidency message this month as well. 

Love you!

Your Elder Jackson

The homie Blake Miller

Sad to see Elder and Sister Puskas heading back to Canada.