Monday, May 2, 2016

More Happy Than I've Ever Been in My Life!

Thank you for the Birthday package! It is very nice of you! I will open it tomorrow! I never would have thought that on the eve before I turn 21, when most people go to a bar at midnight, I'd be sleeping on a broken mattress in a dirty apartment in Corona, California, and yet more happy than I've ever have been in my life. As much as I appreciate the birthday gifts, nothing means more than Jesus Christ, and so I will serve Him with all that I have to show my gratitude toward Him. I think the second best birthday gift, besides the Gospel and being able to serve a mission, is that I get to talk to my favorite people: you and Dad on Sunday! Woo! That is so great and I am so excited. We are still working out the details on when I will be able to call, but it will probably be in the evening where you are. I think I will at least call Dad and say hi for a little while! I miss you both way too much to not talk to both!

That is great to hear about Trent. I wish the best for him. That whole family is so awesome. I love the Loveridges. I am sure that Cameron is doing very well, even though he is frustrated. That's an unfortunate reality of this work. Those are some pretty inspiring stories that you've heard. I wonder how many people are waiting to be invited to church but we as members aren't making the first step. The Lord prepares people in all times and in all places, and so we always have to be in-tune with the Spirit to know when and where we should act. I actually had an experience where we were walking to our car from our apartment and there was an employee of the complex there and I felt a very strong prompting to talk to him and it turns out he had been wanting to talk to us for a long while and had a bunch of great questions. He thinks that Heaven is actually the 4th and 5th dimensions and that when we dream we go there in spirit, attached to our bodies with an umbilical cord made of light, so that is kinda weird but at least he is seeking truth and wants to learn more! Always heed promptings!

Funny story from this week:  We had a potential investigator we were going to visit. No one was home, but as we were leaving we noticed an older man outside working on something in his garden. As we approached, we noticed his hand kind of twitching. We started to contact him and he looked around, but never directly at us, as if he had heard something. We asked him if we could show him the Hallelujah video and he just randomly yelled, "adlfkhwerwowwepofusdpglw...what?" (it sounded like Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars). We then asked again and he gave us a curt, "no" and so we finished the contact with him not uttering another word and very focused on his flowerbed. It had to have been the strangest and yet most hilarious thing on my mission thus far! 

This week has been the kind of heart-wrenching week you often read about in mission stories. Elder Fischer and I have been working very hard and picked up a lot of investigators this transfer-- a lot of them have been miracles and a lot of them have been so prepared by the Lord, it's obvious even to them that it was God's hand that put us in their path, and not just a coincidence. Many of them already have a broken heart and are in complete darkness; in agony searching for relief, yet when we bring light into their lives and offer more, they at first jump with excitement but then slowly decide the effort is too great or the cost too high. It really is so sad to hear someone say "I know God sent you to me to help me" and then not do what we know will help them. We don't do this for us, we do it for them. Going to church isn't to make our church's attendance stats look good for the quarter-- it's a commandment of the Lord and it's how we come to know that He is our Savior on a personal level. The same goes for reading the Book of Mormon, praying and repenting unto baptism. This isn't a business, this is life eternal. We are here to prepare for eternity and it is so incredibly sad when we offer the knowledge of how one can attain salvation and eternal life with God and it is treated with quasi-interest. 

We had three or four investigators this week whom we thought the Lord had touched deeply and would for certain come to church to feel of our Savior's love, yet none of those particular ones did. Another one of our investigators, a 10 year old child, told us that if the Lord was standing in front of him at that moment, he wouldn't do what He had asked. As sad as I was, the Spirit told me i comfort, "it's alright, you did all you could do". The words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, in his talk about how the reason missionary work is hard is because "salvation was never a cheap experience" and how even Christ, a person a lot better, asked if there wasn't another and easier way (Mark 14:36), echoed through my head as I wondered why someone could be so hard-hearted against the very Being who created them and gave them everything. I will never know fully how Christ felt as He suffered for all of our sins and was mocked and spit upon by the very people whom He was atoning for out of pure love, but I know a little bit now. I know how much it must have hurt Him. I know how much He wants us to accept Him so that He "can heal [us]", yet so often we push Him away. 

I am not complaining, in fact, it was a great experience. It really brought me closer to my Savior and helped me see a little more through His eyes. It made me love someone I had never even met prior to that night. It made me want to do all I could to teach as Nephi did, "plainly that [they] cannot err". I want to make sure I always do the best I can to help God's children make steps toward Him again. There is nothing better or more worthwhile. I love my Savior and I know He lives.

If you would like to send some of those pants and shirts that would be great! They fit very well. 

I am so thankful for you and all that you do and am beyond excited to talk to you! I feel like that meme is perfect!

Love you mucho and can't wait to talk to you Sunday! Have a great time in KY and say Hi to everyone for me!


Your Elder Jackson

PS: We had a giant nerf war today and we took a roadtrip all the way out to Hemet this week for an appointment! It was awesome! 

I am glad you made it safely to KY and are enjoying it. That is also great you got a good picture of Grandma! It's good to see her smile. I hope you are enjoying seeing her and being in your native land. You look great in your selfie too! 

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