Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"A Sharp Object"

This week was really good. Again, we worked our hardest and looked for ways to improve, even though we didn't see a lot of results for our work. I truly think the Lord is testing us to see if we will keep being obedient and hard-working when we aren't seeing success right away. 

We experienced miracles this week! We had an appointment set up with our investigator. We had a team-up planned to come with us but when she showed up she said she needed to reschedule. So we did. The night we had an appointment planned with her we had another team-up planned. We were late going to pick him up but he was late coming too, so it all worked out! Then during the lesson, the concerns she brought up were those that only he could answer (it was about race, and both the investigator and our team-up are black so he was able to say things that we couldn't). She was able to feel the Spirit and we were able to help put the pieces together to help her understand the different things she was feeling (which was great because I was able to use some of what I had learned in feeling confusing spirits to help). It was great! I'm so thankful that the Lord orchestrated all of that so that we were all where we needed to be at the right time to help this child of God!

I was reading in D&C 121:34-46 this week and some wonderful things stood out to me! In verse 38 it says that if we do not live the way God has asked, especially as priesthood holders, we are left to "kick against the pricks". I looked up what a prick was. It described it being a sharp object. Kicking a sharp, pointed object would be very painful. I also remembered that in Acts 2 (also verse 38) it describes the Holy Ghost as "[pricking] in their hearts". So the Spirit taught me that living contrary to the way we are told to in D&C 121 will leave us to painfully kick against the pointed pricks of the Spirit- we will be kicking God out of our life. We always say how much we need the Spirit to function, and it is true. If we don't act as we should, we will kick that Spirit away to our own detriment. We must not do that. We must serve as if we were truly servants.

That is a way cool blessing! Blessings are awesome. I truly enjoy giving them. I'm glad that you were able to receive what God wanted you to hear! 

Haha those pictures (of trucks on the freeway) remind me of when I was like 11 years old and thought semis were the coolest thing ever and I took dozens of pictures of them as we were on a road trip. Do you remember that? But they look good! I think a photography class sounds like a blast. I would be happy to take your Nikon and try to learn how to use it. I don't know much about photography but I sure want to learn! 

I also got to ride in a Humvee this week! It was sick! 

I hope you have the best week ever! Love you so so so much! 

Your Elder Jackson :)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Working as Hard as I Can (Home August 15th!)

Elder Jackson with new mission president, President and Sister Hammon.
We had an awesome week. We worked really hard and even though we didn't have much success in finding a lot of new people to teach we did see the Lord's hand in our work a lot! We had gotten quite a bit of backlog referrals and old potentials piled up on our whiteboard so we set out to find those who were ready to be taught and pause those who weren't. We spent a few days stopping by as many of them as time would allow with absolutely no success. We didn't let up though and at the end of one night right before we were supposed to return to our apartment we stopped by Mario. We sat down with him and had a wonderful lesson. He is very simple in his understanding but is just a nice man. He accepted baptism and a date and came to church! It was a wonderful miracle and made all the hot weather and no-answer doors worth it! It was awesome. 

One day, when we were walking around and it was particularly hot and humid, I had the distinct impression that what I was doing right then and there made God happy. That was a really cool thought. I wasn't doing anything amazing and we weren't even having a ton of success, but the fact that we were out laboring in faith even when there wasn't immediate results  made my Father in Heaven happy. That is a wonderful thought to have. I am grateful for the reassurances of the Holy Ghost and the thoughts He gives us.

I also had a wonderful thought as I was studying. I came across a part in Alma where it talks about the people of Ammon feeling, because of the dire circumstances they were in, that they should dig up their weapons and go and defend their country. Helaman counseled against it, saying they might lose their souls if they did. That hit me hard. The people of Ammon were among the most converted in the Book of Mormon and I think the reason they stayed converted was that they buried their weapons of rebellion and they left them buried. They didn't "return to [their] vomit", no matter how much it seemed like they must. They trusted in their priesthood leader and kept their covenants and the Lord blessed them. We don't know what would've happened if they had retaken arms, but thank goodness they didn't. We must do the same. Once we have buried our rebellion we must not return to it and we must move forward with faith, keeping our covenants and remembering the associated promises.

I also loved Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk this past General Conference called The Voice of Warning. It talked about how watchmen warn. We typically think of prophets as watchmen (Ezekiel 33), but we can be too. D&C 88:81 tells us that those who have been warned must warn their neighbor. We have been warned of the dangers of sin and so it is our obligation to warn our neighbors (all) of the dangers of sin and the joy that comes from keeping the commandments or else their blood is on our heads. Thus, missionary work isn't just a good idea or a nice gesture, but a sacred obligation of all members of the Church. It made me so much more motivated to share the gospel now and when I return home. It also has helped in our dinner visits and working with members! 

I am planning on not "dying" and working as hard as I can. I feel like I really have been making myself fire on all cylinders. I don't want to finish my mission jogging, but rather sprinting. 

Please don't get hurt in the fire! That would be nooooo good! I can't believe that plant is still alive after all these years either! That is crazy!

This is the plant Elder Jackson gave his mom in kindergarten! I have packed a starter plant from this one to take with me in case we have a fire evacuation.

So as far as AZ, maybe I can fly down either the morning of the 22nd or 23rd and return the morning of the 28th, that way I have a while to see all my old pals. 

As far as my flight home, I am totally ok with you posting the arrival time of my flight on Facebook so that people can come. 
(SLC, Delta Terminal, 1pm, August 15th!)

I am sooooo excited for the family get-together that week before school starts! It sounds like a blast to me! We should plan out some fun things!  I am so excited to meet little Bryson too! 

As far as technology, should we plan on getting it right when I get home (before we head to Winnemucca)? Or what do you think? I'm fine with whatever! 

Is my apartment furnished? Am I sharing a room or am I in one of my own? 

Here's some pictures of the week! I got a good one with the Hammons and we saw the F16s doing some cool flight exercises! They are soooo cool! And I love the Hammons! 

I hope you have the best week! Love you tons!


Your Elder Jackson :)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

We got be Marshalls in the Independence Day Parade! It was a blast!

I'm glad that Winnemucca hasn't burned down yet! Hopefully it doesn't! I see the smoke from fires here every few days. It is crazy how it went from looking like Scotland here a few months ago to being 111 degrees and bone-dry with fires all over. Fortunately all of them are pretty small and seem to be under control quite quickly. Stay safe up there!

I have really had a great week this week. We were able to have a lot of success and had 3 people at church as well as finding some awesome new people to teach.  I am amazed at how well Satan can counterfeit the works of the Lord. But it really is just as Moses describes when he asks where his glory is. Satan can't replicate the peace that comes from the Spirit no matter how much he tries.  I was reading this morning in Alma 56:39-40 where the stripling warriors are being pursued in a straight line. The Lamanites were pursuing them and not leaving their course because they were set on destroying and the Nephites were going straight so they would not be destroyed. When we stay on the strait and narrow we will be able to avoid the darts of Satan who is chasing after us with a desire to destroy us. That is what I am doing. I want to do my best to be obedient in all so that I have no deviations in my course that would allow Satan to catch up to me.

We were ushers at a car show for a "car club" which felt like the 4-wheel version of the Hell's Angels!

I love you tons! Have the best week ever!


Your Elder Jackson :)