Thursday, February 23, 2017

This Week Was Fantastic!

This week was fantastic! We were able to see so much success. The Lord is truly blessing us! Roman  and Andrew were able to enter the waters of baptism and make a covenant with their Father in Heaven. Seeing children of our Father in Heaven choose to follow Christ and be baptized in the manner He was. The Spirit that was present at the baptism was unreal. The ward was so supportive- the Relief Society room was overflowing with people! The talks that were given were very loving (although not completely doctrinal). President and Sister Mullen also came to the baptism! I am so thankful that we were able to have the Lord bless us with these wonderful people to teach. 
It was completely by 
His grace that we found them and
were able to teach people as prepared as them. I am also grateful that we were able to have two more investigators there whom we also would not be able to teach without the grace of God: Madison, who is getting baptized this Saturday at 2:00 pm, and Danielle, who is getting baptized the first Sunday in March! It is nothing short of a miracle! We are so grateful for the Lord's hand that has been in our lives this past few weeks. Also, we were blessed by the Lord to start teaching  all 4 of Danielle's baptismal age kids! We also were able to start teaching a very promising father in a part-member family. Elder Drebot showed forth our faith and diligence in a minuscule manner and look at how the Lord has blessed us! The Lord is unfairly gracious to those who try to serve Him with all they have.

I was reading in Alma 12 this week and was struck by the descriptive wording of the way we fall into Satan's grasp. It used the word "encircling" in describing the chains that will encroach into our lives if we allow ourselves to be tempted by his subtle tactics. We must employ all caution in our lives so that we do not become his captive. Fortunately, we have the Holy Ghost and the light of Christ's atonement to guide us through and break the chains with which we are "encircled about" by. Satan will try to stop our progression on all fronts if he can get us to simply stop living the way God has asked. If he can get us on one thing, he can slowly get us on more and more. The power of Christ is stronger than all of that though; we can one day stand before God as changed people and look up at Him in full confidence that we have become clean through Christ's atonement and that we are free of the influence of the devil. We will be prepared to enter into eternal life with our Father and His Son. This knowledge is beautiful and it is great that we can share it!

We are so so so excited for the next few weeks! We are going to have so many baptisms here in the Jurupa Ward. The ward members are helping out so much and it is such a blessing. This is not the same ward it was when I got here. I think that this ward will continue to have the missionary fire for a long time! I hope and pray I can stay one transfer longer! I love it here so much. 

The rain here was kind of bad, but nothing too crazy! We were just soooo bored sitting in the apartment. That night I had a dream I went home and it was the weirdest thing ever. I felt as if I had had a two year dream and then woken up and life was exactly the same as where I left off. I wonder if that is what it will be like!

Oh, check out Madison's blog post about becoming Mormon! It's so stinking cool!:
She is the best!

 I love you lots! have the best week ever!


Your Elder Jackson :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Coolest Experience of My Life!

It was Temple Monday

Those cakes are crazy! (from Roots Tech pictures mom sent).
Are those pictures from Wells (of the flooding)? That is nuts! We've had light rain but not anything major. I don't know if there's anything big coming up soon. I remember that there was a YSA conference at ASU and Vai Sikahema was there with Chad Petersen, Thurl Bayley, Mitt and Anne Romney, Alex Boye and others. It was super cool! I remember learning a lot from it!

Speaking of FH, we had Madison start doing hers so that withing a week or two of getting baptized she will be able to go do baptisms for the dead. She is THE most solid person I have ever taught in my whole life! She's going to be the next Al Fox.

Wow, I have learned three great things this week: 1) I am glad "marriage/relationship counselor" is not in the job description of a missionary, 2) the law of chastity is such a blessing and 3) the Lord really does work through other people to accomplish the things He needs done when He needs them.

An experience with an investigator living with a boyfriend who is cultivating a desire to get baptized realized she needed to get married, separate, or not get baptized. It definitely built my testimony that living the law of chastity, all of the other commandments and having companionship inventory with your spouse or significant other is vital to a healthy and lasting relationship. I'm thankful for the many wonderful examples of couples who, conversely, do apply these things and have amazing and loving relationships that have lasted for decades and will for eternity!

Another investigator, Madison, felt prompted to go to a fireside in Redlands where an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, would be. She felt the Spirit so strong as he spoke and she was able to receive a witness that this church is the Lord's and this is His gospel. She said she felt as if there was no one else in the chapel and he was speaking directly to her. He answered all of the questions she had, especially the ones she was hesitant to ask. There was no coincidence that he came and the cards fell the way they did. The Lord knew full well that this Sister needed to hear that. He loves us and wants to help us.

I came to know the Savior more this week as I was reading through Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. On page 176 it talks about the woman at the well and how the Savior did all the work. He planted a seed in that city and everywhere He went. He was the Master Sower. He then allowed His disciples to come through and harvest them. That really hit me. It is amazing how the Lord prepares people and does so much to help them and then allows His disciples to enjoy the fruits of His labor as they harvest them and bring them into the fold. He does the hard part and allows others to receive the benefit. That showed me of His true selflessness. He really did all for us and yet He wants none of the applause. He literally did everything He did for others. I'm grateful for the work he's done in preparing people to hear the word of the Lord and has then allowed me to enjoy the fruits of His labors as I get to see them enter into a promise to serve Him and keep His commandments for the rest of their life and as He promises to forgive their sins and send the Holy Ghost to them; that is a selfless act on His end that I am so grateful for. Jesus Christ's character is amazing. His infinite atonement changes everything.

This Sunday (2/19) we will be baptizing Andrew and Roman. Next Saturday (2/25) we are baptizing Madison. The following Sunday (3/5) we will be baptizing Danielle! I am so beyond excited! This has been the coolest experience of my life! 

They were cleaning out the old books from the ward library and I scored! I got Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by  Bruce R. McConkie (all 3 volumes) for free! I'm so excited. I'm going to send them home too because I am not really supposed to read them on my mission but will plow through them when I get home!

Love you mucho! You are the best Mom ever! Happy Valentine's Day! 


Your Elder Jackson :)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Did You Know the World Is Flat?

This week was another fantastic one! Man, it is so great to be a missionary. I love every minute of it. We are so beyond blessed. We have seen so much success! We had 4 wonderful non-members come to church this week!

Madison is progressing so well. She is easily one of the most prepared people I've ever seen in my life. We have been teaching her a tad over a week and meet with her about every other day. She has already almost finished 2 Nephi and loves it. She already considers herself a "Mormon" and stood up to someone who was Pentecostal who was telling her that the Plan of Salvation was false. She is loving all of the members and even says that we are an answer to our prayers (even though she is really an answer to our prayers!). She has already made so many changes in her life and said that she simply has no desire to do anything wrong anymore! Whenever she hears a bad song come on, she changes it; whenever she gets invited to hang out with old friends, she says no; whenever she is tempted to say something mean, she refrains. It is so cool! I'm so lucky and glad to be able to teach her! She is going to be baptized on the 26th of February.

Andrew, the Freemason we are teaching is also doing spectacularly well! He is loving church and was so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. He says it has changed his whole outlook on life. He is almost done with 1 Nephi and says he is really liking it now. He listens to it whenever he drives as well. He told us how much he felt rejuvenated after honoring the whole Sabbath day with his girlfriend's family. He's getting baptized on Feb. 19th.

Roman is doing great too! He's an awesome 11 year old. He loves church and loves us. He is so smart and really absorbs so much of what we are talking about. His mom (a returning member) seems to really like coming to church too! He's getting baptized on Feb. 19th!

Myrna and Denman are doing well too. They are loving how they feel as they are keeping the Sabbath day holy, reading their scriptures, and praying twice daily. They both indicated how much they love having the missionaries come over because of the Spirit that comes as well. That tickles me inside to hear!

I really came to know the Savior through reading D&C 19:15-20. I think I've probably read these verses 100 times, but they really sunk in this time. There really is "no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ (Helaman 5:9)". If we want to live with God again, we must repent; otherwise we must suffer- even as Christ suffered. There is no excuses we can make. Alma 42:22-24, 30 teaches us that without repentance we are fully left to the demands of justice. We cannot receive mercy without repentance and we cannot try to cover our sins. I feel so much more grateful for the mercy that is available to us through Christ's Atonement, who was willing to face and pay for the demands of justice simply out of love for us and the Father. I am grateful that we don't have to pay for our sins and that we can receive complete mercy if we allow the Savior to cleanse us, which is what He is begging us to do. We must simply humble ourselves and submit to His will so that we fully become changed. 

We also had a stoned teenager tell us that God had told him that we should take a hit of his weed. We replied, "He most definitely did not". He asked us why God would put weed on the earth if He didn't want us to smoke it. Elder Drebot replied, "God put arsenic on the earth, did He want us to smoke that too?" Touche. 

We also walked up to a guy who was working on his yard and blowing the leaves out of the grass. He said, "Me first: the world is flat." We at first thought he was joking and was going to just say something anit-Mormon to us and say it was just as preposterous as believing in our church. But no, he proceeded to talk for the next 15 minutes about a YouTube video he'd watched that proved that the earth was actually flat and the center of the Universe. He said the video uses "physics" to prove that gravity is a conspiracy and that everything we think is gravity is actually density (which is only a factor when gravity is in effect...?). He asked if a plane ever dips when flying around the world and he said that if you were flying around the world you'd be flying upside down if the world was a sphere (again...false). He said all the water would run off the ocean floor it the world was not flat (again...gravity accounts for that). All in all, this guy was bonkers but looked completely normal. It was so sad that he full-heartedly believed that the government had spent so much time and money to cover up the fact that the world is really flat. People are crazy! 

I am so beyond excited! It was such a relief to hear that I made it in to the ASU ID program.

I still have my rain gear you sent me last year. I haven't really used it because it takes so long to put on. I just wish the shoes I had didn't soak up water like a sponge (the hole in the bottom probably doesn't help). I just don't want to buy new shoes with only 6 months left to go, ya know?

Wow, your adventure to Antalope Valley sounds crazy! That is so cold! I think I would have something go wrong with me in those temperatures. I haven't been in anything under 40 in close to 3 years, I think. I'm glad you survived. I agree, I think you need to take a warm vacay to get into some heat! Sorry to hear about your car giving you troubles though! That is really the pits. Do you think they did that just to wait until the warranty was up so that you'd have to pay for it? What kind of car are you thinking of getting? Are the Renegades those smaller ones? What about a Grand Cherokee? That is a little bigger. Did you like the Highlander? You should get a 4Runner if you want something bigger. They're nice. The Tacoma is like the best car out there, in my opinion :) haha But whatever car you get, make sure that get something sleek! After all, you are the coolest mom on the block! haha. So if you got a new car, I'd get the Highlander. Does dad just like the Pilot that much? haha. I was just planning on using that when I get home, but I'm fine with whatever. I'm just grateful that I've been able to use a car! Thank you! 

Thank you so much for being the best mom ever! Love you tons! Have a great week!


Your Elder Jackson :)