Monday, January 23, 2017
You are right about the water! It has rained like I have never seen before in my life. It hasn't rained hard, but it has pretty much been constantly raining this whole week. Yesterday we weren't allowed to leave our apartment because of the flood warnings. All we went to was church and dinner. We apparently go 6 inches just yesterday alone. The hills here are like glowing green and there has been a ton of roads that have been washed out or are closed because they are flooded. It's been a lot of fun. I way like this kind of weather compared to sunny and hot. Although, my shoes are not waterproof at all so I wanted to let you know I am going to buy some shoes today that won't get soaked every time I walk in a puddle. My electric razor also is almost 100% dead so I am going to buy a new one. If you see some charges on my account, that is why! I will say, I am sure that the snow is a ton of fun! I can't believe how much has come. Stay safe!!!!
Tell Brother Hale I said hi. He is a great guy. I like him a lot and am grateful he was my leader. You are right about the leadership meetings being so spiritual you feel you'll burst. I've turned into a baby and tear up at a lot of them now. You just can't take me anywhere!
This week was yet another amazing one! We have seen so many miracles- it's unreal. I love being a missionary. I am grateful that we have two years to serve because it's two years worth of opportunities to see ways that we can learn and improve. I have really seen these past few weeks how I really am nothing. I, of my own effort, will never baptize anyone unto repentance or have any success in the work. This is the Lord's work and for too long I have been letting Elder Jackson get in the way of it. The trainings we received on the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, or grace, have really shaped the way I am doing this work. I am still working hard, just like I was before, but I am asking to be enabled and to be led. That has made all of the difference. The Lord really does fulfill all of His promises. As we've trusted in His promises and asked to be enabled the floodgates of the Lord have poured out upon us. I am speechless. I am so beyond grateful for all that He has done for me and for us as a companionship. Even though I still stumble and fall each day, He is, for some reason I can only attribute to love, still blessing us for simply trying and trusting. It has touched my heart immensely. I feel that the only way I can even come close to paying Him back is by doing as John directs in John 14:15 & 21: loving Him and showing that love by keeping His commandments. I've always been an obedient missionary, but obedience has no longer become a "have-to" but and "I want to" to that I can continue to receive these amazing blessings and feel the Spirit I have felt recently. I've been out close to 18 months now and I feel like I'm just now learning what I need to do to be a successful missionary.
So an example of these blessings that we are talking about would be a Madison. We received a call randomly indicating that there was a girl who was friends with a member family that had moved up to Utah a few years previous. She had gone up to visit for one of that family member's wedding as a bridesmaid. She was so impressed with the strength and longevity of LDS marriages; and the love and joy that she felt among friends and families who lived the gospel that she wanted to learn more. We called her the next morning and she asked if we could meet that night. We said of course! We called a member of our stake presidency, President Harris, and asked if his family's home would be available for us to teach there and they graciously said yes. When we got there, I just felt the Spirit confirm that she was prepared. She had previously attended Harvest (the mega church) and it didn't sit well with her. We started teaching the Restoration and the Spirit flooded the room. I'll admit, the lesson went longer than it should have, but man, it was so powerful! She happily agreed to all the commitments, especially being baptized on the 26th of February because she said that she's spent the last few years of her life living "her way" (after being victim to some horrendous stuff) and she saw that that wasn't working and she knew that the only way to find actual happiness was doing things the Lord's way. That touched me. It's true. When we asked her how much of the Book of Mormon she thought she could read, she said she thought she could read up to the Book of Jacob by Monday (today). The lesson was on Saturday evening. When she showed up to church 12 hours later on Sunday morning, she was a little scared and nervous, but felt good- that was probably from the fact that she had already read the entire book of 1 Nephi! I don't know any member that has ever read all of 1 Nephi in a night. She said it was so interesting. I was blown away. The ward was so kind to her and really helped her feel at home.
Now I did nothing to deserve this. We did not find her by our hard work or obedience. But the Lord, in His mercy, allowed us, as imperfect and unprofitable servants, to be able to teach one of His wonderful and very elect daughters. I am so thankful for the trust He has placed in our hands to do so and I hope to live worthy of continued blessings. I am so thankful that my heart has been softened and I have seen this change. I truly am nothing, but my God is everything and He is blessing us beyond measure because we are simply trying our best to be obedient to His commandments, working diligently and with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and hope in the promises He's made us. That makes my heart joyful beyond all measure. I love the Lord and I love His work.
I have been forever changed by my experiences here and I am grateful that President Mullen been an instrument in allowing that to happen. I know he loves the Lord and you love us missionaries.
We also had a dope 11 year old in a part member family who is progressing, a Mason who is looking to convert and is dating an RM, and a dry Mormon who wants to convert from Catholicism, all come to church. It was a blessing! The work is going sooooo well here! It makes me beyond happy!
I love you and dad so much! How are the Jeronimos? Tell them I say Hi and I love them! Have the best week ever! Love ya!!!!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
We were so beyond blessed this week! Elder Drebot and I have been working our tails off this past transfer. We were able to find a fairly good amount of new investigators and put them on date, but we really struggled with having people be solid. We knew that our goal was to baptize 4 people in the month of February and we knew that we were completely able to achieve a goal that we had set before the MLC. We have committed ourselves to hitting that goal. As we worked through this transfer, something felt like it was missing. After we received our wonderful trainings on grace and then turned around and gave those same trainings, our whole mindset shifted. We realized how little we had been including the Lord. We decided to ask for His help doing His work and to apply better the counsel we had received. Instantly I became so much more gracious for the Lord and what He has done for me and how He has helped. I felt the Spirit much more and was able to receive more personal revelation. I felt myself being enabled. And then we started seeing all of the miracles!
Even though we had a lot of people to work with, they all seemed hollow. We had people start dropping us and we felt the necessity to drop others as well so that they could further be prepared. But in so doing, the Lord allowed the floodgates to be opened. He blessed us with tons of referrals, 3 of which asked if they could be baptized! We also were able to have much more powerful lessons. This past Sunday we had 6 nonmembers come to church and 4 of them are progressing towards baptism! We are so excited to have these people be baptized and follow Christ. We cannot take credit for any of it. It wasn't that we worked any harder or did anything different other than follow the counsel and ask for (and notice) the enabling power of Christ's Atonement. God is the One Who did all the work, we just were fortunate to be the conduits through which He could! This is how I came to know the Savior more.
|Look how green it is!|
So yes, the Lord really blessed us this week! The work is going stupendously! One of the people who is progressing is an 11 year old boy named whose mom is a convert who went less active but now is returning and wants him to be a part of the church! He loves church and is such a great kid!
All in all, this week was just the best! Even though I've been sick this week, I've never been happier as a missionary. My great friend Allan Raymundo is also leaving to his mission this Wednesday. He is a cool convert I got to know in Corona. We also had transfers this week. Elder Drebot and I are staying together! Woo! It is crazy to think though that the Sister who came in with us who is Spanish speaking goes home tomorrow! This has flown by! Oh my gosh!
Our Mission President has a goal to have us each do 10 hours of service per week. Right now we are at about 3 hours on average. Service is so much fun!
|First Presidency Posers|
I'm glad that dad liked the birthday gifts! I thought he would. I love those pictures! haha he looks great. Man, I love you guys. I hope he had a great birthday!
Those pictures you took were beautiful! Nevada and Utah are really quite pretty! I'm glad that you were able to be safe in your travels back home. I'm sure dad is happy to have you back home too! It'll be nice to be back home after 105 weeks away from you all :)
It's funny that you talk about traveling because I was reading my blessing this week too and it talks about how I'll travel to see the world and to support my family as well. I wonder if I'll be just like you when I'm grown and be traveling as much. Time will tell!
I love you mucho! Have the best week ever!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Ni hau! This week I went on an exchange with the Chinese Elders. We...well actually they...taught a lot and had a lot of success and I understood absolutely none of it! haha But they cover 3 missions so it was a lot of fun to go outside of the mission for a lesson! The street sign says Ontario which is outside of the mission (it's all legal though! haha). We also had a yummy meal with a Chinese member named Brother Zhiang. It was hot pot and it was divine!
Jackson jong lau (I probably mispelled all of that)
We had a great week this week! It was a little slower and less fruitful than the previous one, but it felt much better. I for one felt the Spirit much more and feel like I came closer to the Lord this week than I have in a while. I definitely learned a lot about grace this week and I feel like I understand what it is, how one gets it, and why it is so important much clearer now. I had a hard time at first, but as I prayed for help in recognizing times when the Lord helped me do things I couldn't do on my own I had an interesting thing pop in my head: Mario. I have never been big into video games but Mario was one that I loved as a kid. There is a special thing in Mario called Star Power. When a star pops up, you have to run and jump to catch it, but when you do you are able to run faster, jump higher and have defense against those trying to hurt you. You still have to do all the work, but the strength of this power that is beyond your own makes you many times more effective. It eventually wears off and you have to find more. I thought this was an incredible connection that the Lord helped me see. When we are under the influence of grace we still have to go and work, but the effects of that effort are drastically larger than before when we are on our own. After I understood this more, coupled with what we learned at MLC, I was able to ask for grace and feel the strength of the Lord come into my life. I felt myself becoming enabled. I felt my gratitude for my Savior growing. I hope to continue receiving grace throughout the rest of my life and I hope I can continue to have the Spirit teach me things like this that help me understand the gospel more.
We had another amazing experience this week with the Lord showing forth His power. A few weeks back we had a family mention to us that they wanted us to stop by their parents' who had become inactive. Wrongly, we forgot to go by, but yesterday we saw the family who had referred us at church and quickly remembered that we hadn't stopped by. We both felt very strongly impressed to stop by. The impression grew stronger and stronger. When we eventually stopped by that evening, the wife, answered the door. The Spirit immediately touched our hearts that this was exactly where we needed to be. As we sat down and got to know them, the Spirit got stronger. As we started talking about the First Vision I felt the Spirit probably one of the strongest times I ever have on my mission (top 5 for sure). We felt the Spirit guide us to which scriptures to use and what to say. We felt prompted to open it up to a testimony meeting and all of us (Elder Drebot, Brother and Sister Garcia, their adult daughter, and I) bore testimony of the Savior and what we knew to be true concerning this restored gospel. There was not a dry eye in the room and like I said, I can only remember a handful of times where I could feel the Spirit stronger than I did then. They said that they had literally just been praying for something and we knocked on their door. They said having us show up on their doorstep brought back the exact same feelings they had had when the Elders had originally knocked on their door in Bogota, Colombia back in the 70s. It was amazing to be such a literal answer to a family's prayer and an obvious instrument in the Lord's hands. We did nothing, but through us the Lord was able to show forth His power to some of His beloved children. That was an experience I will always treasure.
Wow, Little Bryson is adorable! I can't wait to meet him. Where are Trent and Taylor living? Maine? I can't wait to see him. He's so cute! I hope Trent is dong well!
I bet Jesse is having a blast! I will have to take him snowboarding next winter! I miss snowboarding so much, but that would be a ton of fun to go with him. I'm sure he'd pick it up very quickly!
I heard that there has been some crazy weather. It's been raining a lot here, but nothing too heavy. I heard LA flooded too! Sounds like there is a lot going on weather wise! Stay safe! I'm glad that you didn't drive home yet. Wait until it clears up!
I love you tons! I hope you have a great week! I still love you and miss you a lot too!
Your Elder Jackson :)
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
That is so true! I come home this year! That is crazy to think about! I put my old calendar from last year away today and it was weird to think that I spent all 365 days of that year on a mission!
That is cool to hear about the missionaries giving talks there. They seem to do that occasionally here, but I've only had to once. It sounds like they were pretty bomb talks though! I'm sure I'll be in the same boat when I am there on my last Sunday as a missionary.
Thank you for dropping my portfolio off. What all is in there; I can't remember. Do you have a digital copy you could send me?
How was KY besides the cold KY rain and overcast skies? Did you see anyone besides Grandma? How is she doing? How are you feeling after visiting? I'm sure that is so hard. We have a couple of houses like the place grandma lives that we've been asked to teach people at and it is so sad to go there. I don't want to end up there. I don't want you or dad to end up at one either. I hope that you and dad live where ever I do. I'll always either buy a house next to yours or have a little casita that y'all can live in or something to that effect. I've lived away from you for long enough, I want you all close by!
This week has been amazing here in the Jurupa Ward! We are having an absolute blast with the work. The Lord is pouring out blessings on us like we can't imagine! We have been blessed as we've worked diligently and with faith. We were able to find a lot of people this week who were interested in hearing about the Restoration of the Gospel and who were willing to accept a baptismal date when we extended one (we have 12 people on date for baptism now!). We have also been blessed to be able to receive a lot of referrals recently which has greatly contributed to our success in finding the elect. I'd tell you about all the wonderful people we've found but it'd take too long! The most notable is a woman who is 60 years old. She has a myriad of health problems. She remembered seeing missionaries in Riverside a while back and wanting to talk to them. When she saw an add on Facebook, she decided to jump on it. She was excited to learn about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration and quickly accepted a baptismal date. A member took her to church and she told the member that she really liked it! How great is that! I really hope I can stay in this area another transfer. I love it here so much!
This week I came to know the Savior more as I studied the Book of Mormon, in particular 3 Nephi 17. It was when the Lord groans because of our wickedness and then weeps for our faith. He prays for the Nephites and it is so powerful that no words can describe it. Then the heavens are opened and angels and fire encircle the little ones. This showed me how much my actions affect the Savior. He very much cares about what I am doing more than I do. He wants me to have faith and righteous actions more than anything. If I do, He will weep for joy. If I become as a little child, I will have angels to minister around me and will have the fire of the Holy Ghost round about me to purify and protect me. I was flabbergasted at how much He cares and what will happen if I simply follow His invitation to follow Him. It's so simple, yet incredibly difficult.
Abigail is doing well. She's still struggling a lot but I think she has a good foundation. She wants to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and she showed up to church this week. We set her up with a couple who are family history wizards. I think as long as she keeps on putting God first, things will work out eventually!
The work here is incredible. We picked up 10 new investigators, contacted 10 referrals, and have 12 on date. This area is so big! We have way more work to do than we can handle! I love it!
I love you and miss you so much! Have the best week ever! Travel safe!!
Your Elder Jackson :)