Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sea Urchin for Dinner

This week was another great one. Life as a missionary is always the best. It admittedly was a little slower than we would've liked, but we will do better this week and we were still able to see the Lord's hand a lot while we were laboring. 

Elder Jackson with President and Sister Mullen
I've really come to enjoy calling people to repentance. I've become a lot more comfortable with doing it and being bold, but making sure that people know that I am doing it for their own good, not just to rebuke them or make them feel low. I enjoy it because I feel so much more like I am fulfilling my calling that I have been given and am doing the same thing that the prophets, or even the Savior would've done. I am inviting others to leave the things behind that are holding them back, and that feels good. One such instance was an inebriated man at a gas station who asked us if we could give him a ride back home. I apologized and said that we weren't allowed to since it wasn't our car. I then told him that there was no happiness in the can of alcohol he was holding and that he were better off drinking water. I invited him to stop drinking and change. He said thank you and gave me a hug (that's the closest to alcohol I've been on my mission!). I don't know what happened to him after that, but at least he was given the invitation to come a little closer to Christ.

I also learned that no prompting is too small. I was on exchanges with Elder Dew and we were out seeking with faith. We saw a car filled with teenagers parked. The smell of a certain unnamed plant emanated from the van like a fog. We waved to the occupants of the van and they waved back. I felt that we should go talk to them, but brushed it off because of the activity that they were involved in and because all of the windows were rolled up and hazy. We kept walking. A few moments later a girl hopped out and asked if we were "God-people". We answered to the affirmative. She said that she was really struggling and that a friend of hers, a 17-year-old girl, had just been shot and killed in a gang-type confrontation just down that street a few nights prior. She really wanted to come closer to God. We testified of the healing powers that Christ had for her and she agreed to meet with the missionaries and to come to church. It was incredible. As we walked away, I remarked that I was ashamed that I had ignored the prompting and Elder Dew mentioned that he had had the same prompting and likewise ignored it. I think it is incredible that we both experienced the same thing. It goes to show that the Lord really does guide this work and that we must do all we can to follow His will for us so we can help His children. I must do better at following the promptings I am given. I will do so.

As far as the eating of the raw fish, it went alright! I also ate raw sea urchin. I don't think I'll do that one again if I can at all avoid it. It wasn't awful though. But I did eat something this past week that caused me gastrointestinal distress, as dad calls it. I was kind of out if it for most of that day and just stayed in and slept it off. I'm all good to go now though!

The work is going alright! We need to pick some things up but once we do there will be many more baptisms! I have total confidence. 

It was really cool to be able to go and see Norma Alvarado get baptized yesterday! I was able to see all of my old favorite members from the Jurupa ward and see some of the cool missionaries! That ward feels like home. It was so great to be back! That place is heaven!

I was thinking, what if we do some of my class registration when I skype home for Mother's Day? Or would you prefer not to? I understand either way!

I love you to the moon and back! You are the best!! Have the best week ever :)


Your Elder Jackson

Thursday, April 13, 2017

So Long, Jurupa!

We have had so much awesome success in this ward, and I will get to come back for the baptism of Norma A. (the Elders Quorum President's wife's sister) in two weeks. She is super solid and just loves learning! It's unreal being able to work with so many golden people.

I have so thoroughly enjoyed being in the Jurupa ward these past 6 months. It has hands down been the best 6 months of my mission. I will miss the wonderful members, converts and investigators that I worked with while I was here. I am very excited to be working in the Ironwood Samoan ward. That will be a lot of fun and I am excited to eat well and be surrounded by the legendary faith of the Polynesian people. I know it will grow mine!

So I am being transferred back to the Laselle Ward in Moreno Valley (the ward that I was in before coming here to Jurupa, for 4 1/2 months). I will also be covering the Ironwood Samoan ward!

I don't know my address there yet, but I will be at the mission office this Friday for a district leader meeting! You really don't have to send me anything, mom. I already have way too much stuff out here on the mission. But if you do end up sending anything I can pick it up then. Speaking of that too, I really don't need anything for my birthday. I will only have like 3 months left at that point and I already have too many books and things to worry about getting home. Plus, I get to facetime with you and dad just a few days after so that will be a great birthday present! I am excited to see you all again!

Also, Sister Turner's daughter Mallori Mickelson will be going up to Utah in June and she is going to be taking some of my stuff up there as well. I said I didn't know if you'd be there but if not she could probably just drop it off with Stacy for a little while. Just a heads up. You still have Sister Turner's number so don't lose it for that reason!

I get to eat Cafe Rio today! Blessed Sister Williams drove to get it for us today as a going away gift for me! How nice!

I really hope FASFA didn't lose a bunch of our info. That would be the pits!

I really enjoyed learning about the Savior this week in Luke 6:12-13. There it talks about how He went and prayed all night before choosing His apostles. If the Savior needed to spend that much time, sacrificing precious sleep, pleading for His Father in Heaven's guidance, even though He was completely without sin and undoubtedly had incredible amounts of revelation coming to Him, how much greater a need I have to spend time pleading to know the Lord's will in my life. The Savior was so incredibly humble, I need to do the same. I too can do nothing without my Father in Heaven, so why try? I should seek mountains (the temple) and to pray earnestly to God so I can make the best decisions for my life!

We had MLC this week and it was great! I also really really enjoyed getting to go back to Corona for the baptism of Maria S., with whom I worked a year ago! It was such a spiritual experience and I am so happy for her to have taken this step. It was also really cool that her husband was able to do it. I love Corona. I hope I can go back! 

I am so glad that you enjoyed our little music video that we sent you! I thought it was a pretty funny idea but I'm glad it came out as well as it did! Will you save that video so I can see it again when I get home? haha We laughed so hard before and after the filming. I'm glad you had a good birthday and also got my card! I don't really know how to draw Birds of Paradise, but I tried! 

I love you mucho! Have the best week ever! I love you and miss you more than you know!


Your Elder Jackson :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Big Baptism Event!

Conference was so great! We were able to watch all the sessions of conference. I really enjoyed it a lot. I realized how much more I have to work on. I really need to focus on loving others  and striving to serve them more selflessly, not for any other reason than to glorify God. I also loved the doctrinal clarifications by President Nelson and Elder Bednar. They were fantastic. I loved the analogies given by Elder Sabin and Elder Costa's talk on becoming a member. When they announced a new Chinese Seventy, all 20 missionaries in the stake center looked at Elder Yang (from China) as if to see if they were related. It was pretty funny! 

This week was a great one. We had a lot of very spiritual experiences between having General Conference, Multi-Zone Conference, the baptisms of the 4 Davy children, and the opportunity to go with Sister Milligan to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for her first time (at which Elder Drebot and I were also able to baptize one another for the dead as well). It has been such a spiritual week! I almost felt like a straw being attached to a fire hydrant: there was so much to take in spiritually. This was the first time that I've felt ancestors accepting the work that is being done and their gratitude. It was special to be able to do baptisms for the dead again after so long. I also loved how spiritual the baptism was when I looked over to see Danielle sobbing with joy to see her 4 kids be baptized by her husband. That touched me a lot, especially their son, who is severely autistic but received special permission from Salt Lake to be baptized with his family. I loved each one and I learned a lot from them. I took a lot of notes in my journal about the things I learned from the Spirit so that I can remember them. I am truly amazed at how much the Lord blesses us when we simply try our best to do His will, be obedient, and act on the promptings we receive.

I think what I learned most this week  was the need for me to continue becoming more like my Savior, particularly in the way that He loved others. I read this week in Matthew 8:16-17 where it reads that He took upon Himself our infirmities. I have heard that a lot before but in the context of Him healing people of diverse diseases and ailments I was confused. I prayed for understanding and the Spirit taught me that He was quite literally taking these things from the people He healed, knowing full well that He would then have to experience everything that they were feeling, but to an infinitely more intense level. I was blown away by how much love that would take. How often do we do one or two nice things for someone but we bail out before we have someone "take advantage" of our kindness? The Savior did not do that. He simply offered to help others and allow them to find happiness and peace, even at the price of His own comfort. That is true love, and I want to exemplify that.

It was overall a great week! I loved it and I love being a missionary. We have transfers coming up here in the next week and I have a feeling that I will be leaving, which will be really sad. But I am grateful to continue serving somewhere else and find more people to teach and baptize. It is crazy how fast time is going! It's ticking quickly! 

Here are pictures from the past week, including President and Sister Mullen kissing! (yuk haha), Danielle's baptisms for the dead, the Davy kids' baptism and when our former AP David Sy came and visited! It was a great week!

Love you to the moon and back! I hope your birthday is super awesome! I love you tons! 

Your Elder Jackson :)