Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Costco-like" Bulk Blessings!

Elder Hale and I are having too much fun and I am loving it so much. We have the best zone in the mission and there are so many miracles happening left and right! The Lord is definitely blessing us for our work and faith. I love this work and I am already getting sad at the thought that one day I won't have the opportunity to wake up and put this tag on. Even though the day-to-day things can seem blazay and not glamorous, it is such a blessing to be out here and I hope I don't take it for granted. There's only 730 days to improve your missionary efforts and each day is a blessing, and the thought that one day that bank of days will run out is sad. Don't get me wrong, I love you and miss you a lot, and I can't wait to be home, but I also want to make every second count that I am out here.

This week was great! We had so many miracles happen to us this week. The Lord's hand was without a doubt showed to us. Elder Hale and I have been working hard and have been praying for success. We know that this area has a lot of potential and that was shown to us this week as all of the blessings for our righteous actions seemed to come in a bulk, Costco-style fashion. We were able to pick up 3 really solid investigators and had an amazing lesson on the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ where the investigator in the end asked, "Do you have a Book of Mormon? I'm really excited to read it!". She also came to the Pioneer Day activity our stake had and loved it. She and the member we asked to come teach with us are getting along fantastically. She is so prepared; easily my favorite lesson I've ever taught on my mission. We also got a call from a member in San Bernardino a few days later who said that her niece had been going to church, loved it, was open to taking the missionary lessons, getting baptized, and wants to one day be married in the temple! She also said that the girl's mom was completely open and supportive of her being baptized! I thought that only happened in the Ensign, but it sounds like it's Moreno Valley's turn to be in a church magazine!  We also had a lesson with another super solid street contact who is so excited to meet with us, and picked up another super excited man last night. The Lord is blessing us in ways we definitely don't deserve, but it has built my testimony that hard work and obedience brings blessings and that we can, if we do our part, baptize in every area, every month due to the Lord's preparing of souls in every corner of every land. I am so grateful for that! 

 A (blurry) Nerf Gun fight on P-Day!

Wow! That sounds like such a great week up at AG (BYU Aspen Grove Family Camp)! I am so happy for you! I bet it was exhausting. That is so sorry to hear about Stevie getting mauled by a pit bull after getting home. I hope he is alright. I am so happy to hear that they all had a great time, especially Jessie and Julie. Jessie is a great kid and I think he will do great things. Did Stevie go mountain biking all by himself at Sundance? How'd he like that? He is looking pretty thin nowadays!

I am glad you were able to talk to Brian. He is such a great kid. I got an email from him. He is so much fun. I think he was just made for AG. I can't wait to see him after my mission. I think you're right though, we are super similar in the fact that we like to smile and be happy, so I'm sure that's why we get along well!

That is great to hear that Dain is home! Tell him I say "Hola! Como esta used? El espanol de Elder Jackson es horrible :) Te amos

Mom & Dad
You are the best! Love you mucho!

Your Elder Jackson​

Friday, July 15, 2016

Pondering the Sacrament

Here are some pics from District meeting (Elder Westenskow is the closest person to Jesus on earth today. I have so much love and respect for that man. I'm sad to see him leave this transfer and I hope I can one day be like him!) and MLC with some of the ZLs and STLs! (Elders Benson, Ferrin, Dyer and Sisters Burris, Visick and Da Silva) Homies!

One of the Zone Leaders here knows Brian Longhurst. His name is Taylor Benson. I'll attach a picture of him at the end so you can show him. Tell him I say hi! I sure do love Aspen Grove. Can we go when I get back? Even though I'm old and don't have kids? :) It's just as good, if not better than Disneyland, in my opinion. 

It's been 1 year since I went through the temple! I can't believe my Garmitzvah anniversary was on the day that I attended my first MLC (Mission Leadership Council), where all of the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, the APs and President and Sister Mullen come to discuss the mission, the success of each zone, what we need to improve and train our zones on, set goals for things like baptism and people on-date for baptism, as well as receive wonderful spiritual training on the doctrine of Christ. It was so great! I loved it and learned so much.

I'm not going to lie to you, we had a pretty bad week, numbers wise. Elder Hale and I were talking about it and we both agree that it comes from us not planning effectively. I won't sugar coat it, I feel pretty bad about it, and am very committed to making it up this week. We are planning on starting off the week with a lot of seeking with faith, that way we won't be scrambling to at the end of the week, and so right off the bat we will be able to find more new investigators. We also just got a part-member family list from our bishop so we will be working off of that a lot to find those who are searching for truth! I am holding firm to President's promise, and the Lord's promise, that if we find 20 new investigators this month, we will baptize in August. I want that so bad, and I know that it is possible. I feel the Spirit confirm that truth to me as I read it in his emails. I just need to make sure that I work on keeping that in mind at all times so that we remember to not only work hard, but also smart.

I really enjoyed MLC. I think the thing that stood out to me most was talking about the Sacrament. I know that the leaders of the church have really been emphasizing that recently, and to be honest, I've had a hard time knowing what to do to make the Sabbath more meaningful to me even after trying weekly to do so. But this training that we received about the Sacrament really touched me. Remembering the Passover, and the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage, kept the Jews humble. In linking that to how Christ's atonement and life provide us deliverance from sin and death really hit me. When we partake of the emblems of the sacrament, we are internalizing His sacrifice and allowing His power into our lives. I was baffled! I also loved how the Spirit told me of how simple it is to access the atonement. Just like when we partake of the sacrament, the bread comes to us already broken, blessed and easy-to-access, as well as the water likewise being blessed and put into cups for us; all we have to do is reach out a few inches and partake, so too is the ease of the atonement. Christ already suffered for every sin I have ever committed, every sorrow I have ever felt, and the same is true for every child of the human family, all we have to do is reach out and partake. When we repent and remember His torn and bruised body, and His perfect blood which was shed for us, we will change and become better, and we will have His Spirit to be with us. There is nothing better!

I look forward to reaching out and partaking of the atonement and the sacrament over and over-- always, as the scriptures say. I look forward to becoming better and feeling a growth of the Spirit in my life. I know that this is true. I love the Savior and all that He does for me. 

Elder Hale is so great! We have so much fun! We are planning on matching for our Multi-zone conference tomorrow! Stay tuned for pictures! 

I had a dream that I was home from my mission a few nights ago. It was really strange because I had the distinct thought of, "nothing has changed, why did you ever want to leave your mission?". It really hit me. Obviously I love my mission, but I won't lie and tell you I don't miss home. This dream really comforted me though. Everything is alright! I will be back home and back to life as normal in the blink of an eye, so I will make every second count here! It was a sweet comfort to me. I will keep that in mind.

How is everything for you? How is AG? Having fun? I bet you are? Any cool new additions? I hope Stevie and Dad enjoy Timp!

I love you lots and hope you have a super fun week at Aspen Grove! Stay safe and hydrated! Thank you so much for the package! Tell Turrell and Whitney and Jeremiah Maestrejuan congrats for me!! 


Your Elder Jackson

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Looks like Vietnam during the 4th of July!

I got to go back for this sister's baptism. I taught her at the very beginning of my mission and she was so solid, she just wanted to wait so that her recently reactivated husband could baptize her. Look at how many missionaries she went through! It was also great to be able to see my old companions, Elders Andrus and Cornia! :) 
It was an awesome Saturday!

I had never really thought about it, but you are right, we really are those servants who are preaching repentance for the last time before the Lord comes again. That is extremely humbling. He must trust us a lot. It's a sacred privilege. And none of it would be possible without this wonderful free country that we live in, that so many of our ancestors fought and died to create and protect. I am so grateful for that. I will say though, I wish we could have gone to a park to watch a firework show. That being said, Moreno Valley looks like Vietnam during the 4th of July. All fireworks, especially aerial, are explicitly banned in Riverside County, but that doesn't stop the people here. There have been fireworks going off for almost the entirety of my time here, but last night they were going off in every direction like a mortar barrage. It was really cool, but also quite strange to see them so sporadically fired all throughout the valley. We had fun though. We played trash ball and basketball in the evening, went shopping during the day, and had pancakes from the Scouts for breakfast, and tri-tip for dinner! It was a lot of fun!   

Speaking of that, I did have some faux gangbanger who thought he was tough get up in my face this past week, like he wanted to fight (I think he just wanted to look tough in front of his friends). I felt very safe though. It was kind of strange, seeing as I am not a fighter at all. Either that, or I've got a future in MMA when I get home :) 

I really liked a promise our Mission President gave us that if we find 20 new investigators in July, we will baptize in August. I believe that full-heartedly. I want to baptize immensely. I want nothing more than to baptize a convert who can one day make covenants in the temple and be a lifelong member, as well as an eternal friend. I will continue to develop my faith and rely on the Spirit to accomplish this.

I am still loving this ward, my companion, and this zone. I am so grateful for the wonderful missionaries that are here and their efforts. Something that really stood out to me this week was the love that the leaders of the church in the scriptures had for their people, even in wickedness, as well as their complete and total dependence on the scriptures. As I was starting the book of Mosiah this week, I was impressed at how it mentions that even Lehi, one of the great prophets, would have never been able to remember all that the Lord wanted him to without the scriptures, and that he too would have eventually fallen into transgression had it not been for them. We are no different. If we do not constantly nourish ourselves on the word of God, we will fall into sin, and become the same as the Lamanites. Being a missionary or a disciple of Christ does not eliminate us from needing to continue our growth. We must do it daily so that the Holy Ghost can guide us and purify us. We all want to progress, but only through faithfulness and commandment keeping can we do so (Mosiah 1:17). I want to do a better job at relying fully on the Lord and His words, so that I can be a better missionary and priesthood holder.

I think that cooler would be fine! I think it would actually be great for summer here. I am fine with you sending whatever. I think that anything to help keep cool and hydrated would be awesome! I appreciate whatever you send though, I really do. I love getting mail.

I am blown away! I hit my year mark in just a smidgen more than a month! That is crazy! It is going so fast! I still feel like I just got here. 


Your Elder Jackson