Monday, April 11, 2016

Feeling the Spirit

I am so incredibly impressed with the members of our ward. They are all so spiritually strong and are such great examples. They are successful church members, successful financially, and successful parents. I admire them so much and have learned so much about what I want to be when I have my own family. The Lord really is the most important thing. I am also amazed by the youth here. They are so much more spiritual and prepared to face the world than I was. They are so strong and have such great faith. I wish I had been as focused as they are on the Lord at their age. That being said, I still think I am the luckiest person on earth for  having the best parents imaginable as well as such great youth leaders and amazing bishops. 

I am really looking forward to our Ward Conference next week. I've come to love conferences. They have so much we can learn from and there is so much love from the leaders. It has really changed my perspective on things since we get to sit in on ward councils every week. 

It's been another great week here in El Cerrito! I have really been enjoying my time learning how to be a more effective missionary thus far this transfer. Elder Fischer is like a well of knowledge and I have picked up so much from being with him. I think my favorite is just having the faith that we can have baptisms--that the Lord has prepared people in every area to receive this gospel and be baptized and that we can find them if we work hard, are diligent and have the faith to do so. I have really felt my faith grow in that we can find people to baptize--here and now. The previous notions or reputation of Corona doesn't matter. We are really going to focus on getting more progressing investigators and more at church though! The Lord loves all of His children and if we work with faith, we will find them.

I also really had a powerful experience at church this week. I had been praying to feel more of a close relationship with my Savior so that I can be a more powerful teacher. I want to deepen my conversion, but I kind of felt at a loss of what more to do--I had already tried feasting on the scriptures and praying. But the Lord is so aware of all of us. On the list of concerns, me feeling a little more distant from the Savior than I would've liked is microscopic compared to the scores of momentous trials others around the world are going through (such as poverty, starvation, political unrest, failing marriages, death, etc.), yet my small plea for a greater connection with God was heard, in spite of all the other things going on in this world. He heard my prayer and sent someone to answer it. 

The Young Women in our ward planned a really cool trip up to Utah to see BYU, Welfare Square, Temple Square, and the Saturday morning session of General Conference. They had a great time from what was reported and many of the young women and their leaders got up to bear their testimony. One girl in our ward, Kinsey O'reilly, got up and talked about how she was walking through one of the museums by temple square when she saw a picture of Christ sweating blood and clenching His hands in agony during His loving Atonement for mankind. She said the emotion in His face conveyed His pain but also his immense agony. Tears were filling His eyes, and this girl's, and mine. The Spirit hit me so strong that I could not restrain my tears. Who would've thought that the simple yet powerful testimony of a 16 year old girl could have had such an effect on me. I felt as if I were there and Christ were looking at me with tear filled eyes of pain and love. "He is our Brother," she said. And He is. He loves us so much. Needless to say, my prayer was answered. God put that testimony into my path to help me feel closeness to Him. I will never forget that experience. I hope I can convey that same love I felt from our Heavenly Father to those who have been longing for it for much longer than I was. That's why we serve. That's why we sacrifice for other's. That's why He sacrificed for us.

I am glad to hear so much rain hit Winnemucca! It needs it! Rye Patch is almost gone! We had a little bit of rain here too. I am just glad it isn't hot yet. But I know that day will come. I guess facing summer in Southern California is sort of like facing the Second Coming unrepentant, just not quite as intense. I guess the only difference is that you can repent, you can't avoid summer--or taxes, so I hear.

I haven't really taken any pictures this week!! Sorry about that. I'll do better! But I love you so much! I hope you have a great day and week! Miss you bunches!

Love ya!

Your Elder Jackson

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