Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The coolest thing ever happened this week! We got to paint a freakin' airplane! At the Air Force Museum, we are doing restoration of planes and we were able to work on an R50-5 airplane. We were on the wings and everything, painting every inch of it. I'll say, that has got to be the coolest service I've ever done. And we get to keep doing it twice a week!!

   I think us as Christians throw around the term "God's will" quite often. We are always talking about doing His will, seeking to know His will,  or something not being His will, but how often do we really seek to do His will? I've been blown away by what I've learned and experienced this week as I learned what the Lord's will was for me and that it was really my choice whether or not I wanted to follow it, regardless of its difficulty. 

Even though I still have a ways to go on my mission, questions about what I should do when I get back from my mission started popping into my head, and I realized I have some pretty major decisions to make pretty quickly, so I decided to turn to the Lord. I have had big decisions to make before and major questions that needed answering before (like where to go to college, whether or not to serve a mission), but almost always the answer was what I was expecting and often what I wanted in the first place. This was the first time I felt as if I was choosing between two good things and I truly needed guidance, not just confirmation. As I prayed, I was shocked to get an answer that was not only contrary to what I wanted, but what I thought was logical. But as I prayed more and studied the scriptures, time and time again I was shown that it indeed was what I needed to do. As I was reading in Mosiah 24, verses 12-16 seemed to have been written just for me: "[They] did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me...And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs... and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage." It talks about how even though they were righteous, sometimes the Lord wants to try our faith and patience, and I know this is one of those instances, but that I need to be like the people of Alma and gladly trust in the Lord and submit to His will, because therein lies true happiness. I'm sure you've already learned this lesson before, but it was an amazing one for me to learn, and I feel closer to the Lord because of it. I seek to do His will and overcome my weaknesses that keep me from doing so.

Thank you for sending the shoes and the ties! I really like them! They are pretty sweet! I think they should last me the rest of my mission (hopefully). 

  Wow! That sounds like quite the fun adventure! So it sounds like you are quite set on Southern Utah then eh? Well, if you do that, I may not be too far away in AZ (seeing as I will probably be there for the 5 years, at least--if I do a masters there). But that would be fun to have you close! I would enjoy being able to see you and dad frequently! That Sand Hollow Reservoir looks so pretty though! Wow.

Love you lots! Have the best week.


Your Elder Jackson

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Unique Cali Experiences! Service at March Airforce Base to Boot!

 This week has been awesome! We were able to have such a beautiful baptism for Rayli. She is so great! She was so excited to be baptized-- she literally was dancing before, during, and after the service. I know that she will do so well in this gospel. She's made so many friends in the ward and has so much support from them and her family from Running Springs (Get this, she was referred to us by her family up in Running Springs, which is by Crestline. Rayli is 17 and has a cousin with whom she is really close who is the same age up there. They are best friends and she had a huge influence on Rayli getting baptized. The family-- the Purkiss family-- knows the Smithsons and the cousin who is Rayli's age is friends with Katie Smithson! Isn't that crazy! They know Tyler and Cyndi too. Such a small world!). Her family was really touched and her mom was so grateful that we helped her along this path, even though she's not a member. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to teach (even though she really taught me) someone so prepared and willing to follow the Lord and to have seen her grow so much. I felt the Spirit so strongly at her baptism. It was re-confirmed to me that this is indeed a true ordinance and the first covenant in which we must enter into in order to return to our Father in Heaven. It is such a great experience to witness!

We had a slower week in other aspects of our work. We were able to find a few new investigators, but we want to find more. We are so glad to have been able to teach those whom the Lord has prepared and we are bound and determined to find more who are as prepared as Rayli and Hila. We have been working with the leaders of the ward as well in order to work smarter. We are finding success in asking members to come out with us personally at church. We are also going to focus a lot more on finding through other means than just our own finding efforts (in particular street contacting). We have not been as diligent in that, so we will repent and be smarter about it. I can't wait to see the fruits that come from finding more in the way the Lord has asked us to. We are so excited to find whom the Lord has prepared!

We did have some fun and unique Cali experiences though!

First off we hear sirens all the time, but we heard a lot on Friday night. Turns out there was a football game at a high school and someone (I don't know if it was gang-related or not) got in a fight and shot another kid in our area! That's the first homicide that I know of that has happened in my area. Pretty nuts! We were talking to a cop who is in our ward about it afterward. He's got some crazy stories from working here in MoVal. He said he can taze us next time we come to his house:)

We met a  guy and were contacting him. He was pretty short with us and so we tried to keep it cordial. We asked if we could share a message with him and he said, "No, I'm intoxicated now." It was one of those situations where the way he said it just made Elder Gulbranson and I die laughing. Right down the street we met some people having a party. This one drunk guy (hoodrats) warned us and said, "It's gettin' late. Y'all boys better get on home! It's kinda late for people like you to be out here. It could get dangerous." We replied that we were on our way home and thanked him. He then said, "Eh, but y'all good? Need some drinks or anything? Want some wata?" I just thought it was great that even though he was plastered, he was still a kind and loving guy who recognized us as representatives of Christ and wanted to help us. It felt good :)  Don't worry though, I've never felt unsafe here. 

Volunteering at March Airforce Base Museum. It's tough work, but someone has to help with restoration!


It's been a great week! Looking forward to another one!

Oh and this week we did a ton of awesome service! Elders Gossett, Matau, Gulbranson and I went to an Evangelistic Center and helped pass out food to the needy and we built a shed (without any directions!) for them. It was a lot of fun. Then we got to do the best service EVER! We were asked to start helping at the museum for March Airforce Base! So we will be doing restoration of their old airplanes (including the SR-71 Blackbird!), cataloging artifacts, doing research, working in the lobby and giftshop, doing tours and other odd jobs. Does it get any better than that?? We are going to have sooo much fun there. I can't wait for it. It will definitely be one of the coolest service projects of my mission! We went with Elders Gossett (my favorites) and Matau, Gulbranson and I, and Hermanas Rowe and Visick. It was the coolest project ever (as you can tell by the pics :)

That is so great for you to be hanging out with Bryce and Amy. I love them. They are great. Speaking of rain, it sprinkled here today and it is the first time in 4 or 5 months I've seen any rain! I'm so ready for winter! But it's still like 98 degrees here.

Building a shed at the Evangelistic Center

That is great that you made it to Lake's homecoming. He was one of my favorite companions, but it is hard to say because I've been so blessed with great comps (let's hope it continues!). I definitely laughed more with him than any other comp. He is awesome and his testimony and knowledge of the gospel has skyrocketed. I'm so glad he served a mission, he blessed my life by doing so. 

Too bad you weren't able to make it to Alana's. She's another of my favorite missionaries. She's so fun and just a stellar missionary. She helped me a lot as a missionary and has blessed my life too. I hope I can stay in touch with both of them!
Love you!! Have a great week!

Your Elder Jackson​

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The End of the Drought

We were able to break the "drought" here in Lasselle and had a baptism for Brother Uhila! It was so great. He was so excited to be baptized and he had about 50 people show up, both family and friends. He's a convert. He has so much support from his future in-laws and the members of the ward. His non-member family showed up and the Spirit touched both his mom and grandmother. Hopefully they will recognize it and that they can feel more of that 
by receiving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

               Rayli was also able to come and she was incredibly touched. She asked, "Can I just go get baptized right now?". Her fellowship, Jessica Garcia, went up and bore a powerful testimony of baptism and the truthfulness of the gospel. She was already excited to become a member of Christ's church, but she is bursting at the seams now! She came out from her interview dancing. Her mother and father are very supportive and she too has support from the ward and family in Redlands (who will be performing the ordinances of baptism and confirmation for her). In fact, she is planning on going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead just a few days after being confirmed. 
She truly is prepared.

Both of these wonderful people have greatly increased my faith. There really are elect people in every corner of every area and land. I'm so grateful for the Lord's blessings on them and us. I want to do my best to find more of them. Like was said in MLC, "there isn't just one convert waiting for me, there are hundreds." I must thrust in my sickle with all my might and find the ones who will hear the voice of the Lord and come.

Here are some pictures of the great baptism with Hila and transfers (my best buddy Elder Hagler is leaving to be a Zone Leader in the YSA ward and Elder Hale goes home!!! :(  

If Joseph Smith could stay positive and faithful in the wake of what he went through, there is no way that I can't. I want to do my best to always be as rock-solid in the gospel like you and dad. Thank you for never faltering in your faith and always stressing the importance of coming to church and remaining worthy. It has truly blessed my life. 

We are struggling with finding though since we have put all of our effort into teaching Rayli, Hila and Crystel. That is not alright, but we will repent and improve. It is such a blessing to be a missionary and be able to repent. We will find those who are prepared.

That missionary at Winnemucca does look identical to Jesse!! Holy cow! What is their address or email so I can write them?

Thank you so much for sending the shoes. I appreciate it. I got a letter from Pam (and Jacob) Wadsworth and it was really kind. Tell her I am working on a reply and that I greatly appreciate her sending it. It meant a lot. 


Your Elder Jackson

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Loving Moreno Valley!

 This week has been a lot of fun. We had a guy we were street contacting the other day who looked like a more-hippy version of Doc from Back to the Future tell us all about his "miracle oil" he made that heals everything. He gave us some and then told us the secret ingredient was marijuana. No wonder he feels so great from it! So I can now say I've gotten weed on my mission. Moreno Valley is not at all like anywhere I've ever lived, but I sure do love it.

I heard a quote this week, and I loved it: "If you want to know how far the love will go-- just how deep; just how wide; if you want to know how much you mean to me look at my hands, look at my side. If you count the times I say, 'You are forgiven, it's more than the drops in the ocean'". It really touched me how personal the Atonement was and how infinite it truly is.

This week was great. We weren't able to pick up as many new investigators as I or Elder Gulbranson would've liked, and in general our "pipeline" of always finding new investigators while teaching concurrently the elect has not been established in a manner we feel is adequate.  The studying we've been doing in PMG chp. 9 on finding has really helped us get more excitement to find in a more faith-filled and effective manner. We are going to implement it more and make sure that we don't just teach repentance and baptize converts, but that we also are finding constantly. I have really come to enjoy finding. It is amazing to be able to share your testimony and portions of the restored gospel with strangers whom the Lord has put in our path and to see how many really are prepared for the gospel. I'm grateful to have the atonement to make it possible to change everyday and receive strength to overcome. 

We will have a baptism this week for Uhila and Rayli next week. They are both progressing remarkably well. Hila is being baptized Saturday at 10 by his future father-in-law and I couldn't be more excited. I love him so much. He is such a great guy and can't wait to see where he goes in life! Rayli is just as great. She is loving everything and is soooo spiritually in-tune. She is really teaching us. She too is going to go so far. We've been so blessed. Crystel is doing well, but has had some doubts and we are helping her resolve those with reading and prayer. 

You should look up these albums I am sending you a picture of. It is so good, and I think you'd like her voice. It's very rich sounding. The other one is just a ton of great voices. I loved the albums you sent me! Thank you!​
Sister Da Silva, who is good buds with my buds from ASU, is going home next week.
Hey mom! I enjoy the email via pictures. I think my favorite will forever be the "Dad Pose". Somethings never change :) Sorry to hear about the mice in the van though. That sounds like a pain. Expensive?

I am thinking about sending a package home of stuff that I don't need or have space for, and also of sending a copy of all my pictures thus far on my mission home as well. What do you think of that?
So I think I may have grown an inch or two out here. My pants are kind of short and I've had to buy new shoes because they are small. I have some brown dress shoes that I think I left at Inglehart that are Johnston & Murphy. I was wondering if you could possibly send those to me because I think they may still fit. 

Love you so so much! You are the best and I am so grateful for you and the wonderful mom you are!


Your Elder Jackson :)