Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Last P-day in the MTC!

Wow, I cannot believe the time has already come for me to hit the field! I am excited beyond words. I don't remember what I told you last week in my email but yeah, I feel like the only way I'm going to learn more at this point is to just be absolutely thrown into it...I'm a hands-on learner anyway. :)

So, I received my flight plans at the end of last week. I leave the MTC at 6am on Sept 1 up to the SL airport. My flight leaves directly for Newark at 9:45am and we land there at about 4:20'ish. There are 13 missionaries heading out there (7 Spanish).

So last week and this, I got to be a host for the new missionaries coming in! Remember when I first got dropped off and I thought that day would never come? :) Well, now I get to help the new sisters around and show them where to go and give them a little tour and stuff. It's pretty neat. I love it!

We haad quite an interesting lesson in Relief Society on Sunday...President Smith (the MTC pres) spoke to us and basically "clarified" a bunch of the rules (It kind of felt like the guys say they feel after Priesthood session...haha). He told us to follow the "exact letter of the law"...which is risky saying because some missionaries could find lots of ways to get away with things like that. Anyway, he told us that at meals, we're not supposed to sit by the same elders all the time and to glare at the elders if they keep trying to sit by us. Well, that's kind of hard in our district, considering we only have 2 elders and 4 hermanas. :) So we devised this way awesome "seating chart" for our meals so don't even worry, we're obeying (I hope you catch the humor in's kind of hard to write). Our plan is called Operation Transmorphers. I will send you a photocopy of the plan when I get the's like a really intricate football play that Elder Lamoreaux and I had fun divising. It rocks my world!

This Friday, our teachers have planned what's called a "Dia en el campo" (day in the field), where they have appointements set up for us with other teachers all over the MTC, back to back, just like in the field. We're teaching 12 lessons that day, and we have teaching records for all of them. Some are progressing investigators, some are new, some are recent converts. It will be a highlight, I'm sure. I'm looking forward to it a lot.

Last night I had another cool experience at the RC. Sorry that's what I bring up a lot, but it is what makes this work real right now! I called this guy, Juan, who sounded really depressed (it was in English). I asked him if he had received his Bible yet and he said no but he really wanted it. I asked him what was up and he told me that his wife just left him and he has no kids or other family. He then thanked me profusely for calling him because he had been contemplating ending his own life for the last several weeks. He talked to his pastor on Sunday who told him he basically has no hope and is evil for thinking about taking his life, but the pastor told him he would pray for him anyway. Juan told me over and over again that my call to him was an answer to his prayers. He has been searching for God in his life and wants hope. I bore testimony to him of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and told him I would pray for him. He wants the missionaries over as soon as possible. I don't even know all that I said to him but I know the Holy Ghost was working through me to bear the truthfulness of what I was saying. He was putting words into my mouth I didn't know were there. I am so grateful for that opportunity I had to share the love of Jesus Christ with him.

To close with a quote by a talk from Elder Bednar from a devotional here a couple of months ago. He answered the question, How do I know if it's the spirit or just me? He said, "Quit worrying about it. Quit fussing, quit stewing, quit analyzing, quit worrying about it. Press forward with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be a good boy; be a good girl. Honor your covenants, keep the commandments, and I promise you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that your steps will be guided. As you open your mouth, it will be filled. You will be in the right place at the right time, and in most instances, you'll have no idea how or why you got there. So quit worrying about it."

Thank you for your support and love. I guess I will email you all next from NJ! If you send me anything here at the MTC, make sure you send it by Friday so I'm sure to get it. I miss you tons but I love you more!

Hermana Jackson

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My first baptism!

Hey family! How's everybody doing? I'm glad to hear that mom found the camera so I can get some pictures of the new little one soon! I hope Michael and Cari are having fun with the boys in California! That sounds way nice. What is going on in everyone else's life? Oh, so my MTC teacher was apparently at the same RSL match that mom and dad went to a couple weeks ago. Too bad I didn't know beforehand! Haha.

So, I got my first baptism. Well, it was a team effort from my whole district. Remember how I told you that our teachers have been acting as progressive investigators? Well, "Angie" was "baptized" on Monday night. It was quite exciting, I must say. We invited some other districts to act as members of the ward to fellowship her in, then me and Elder Lamoreaux did a harmonica/piano duet of "We'll Bring the World His Truth" for the musical number. Haha, yeah, that was definitely a first. :)

My first week with my new comp was good. She was in a wheelchair for the first several days but then we went to the doctor on Friday and he fit her with a new boot thing that doesn't put pressure on that part of her foot so now she is just walking around! It's great news. And while we were at the doctor, she was in the room and I sat in the waiting room and striked up a conversation with a lady who didn't speak a word of English. It was awesome. She told me all about how she slipped in the bathroom and messed up her ankle and about her daughters who are getting ready to go back to school next week and everything like that. It was fun.

Also, we went to the RC again last night and learned how to do calls in Spanish...and I freaked out but life is good. One guy called in and he was the nicest guy I have ever talked to in the RC. His name is Manuel and he's from LA. He said he had seen the DVD "Finding Happiness" and thought that everyone should be able to have that kind of happiness in their life. After we talked for a bit, I asked him if he would like the missionaries over. He said he was never home but wanted their address so he could visit them. Of course I couldn't do that so I got his address and looked up the nearest meetinghouse to him on and invited him to go to church this Sunday and meet with the missionaries there. He said he would! He then asked me how I ended up answering the phone and I told him I am a missionary for the church as well. Then he asked me to send him a letter with my testimony of Jesus Christ in it! I wrote it this morning and he said he will write back when he gets it. I just love this work.

Other than that, this week has been basically the same as the others. I had a bit of a rough time on Friday thinking of Anthony and everything but that happens to me every year. It was a big comfort to me to recognize that I am doing the same work here on earth that Anthony is doing in the Spirit World. I know this work is true and we're in it together.

Thanks for all your support to me. I can't believe I leave in 2 weeks from today! I get my travel plans on Thursday so I'll let you know next week the approximate time I'll be calling you from the airport. What number do you want me to call so that you answer? One more p-day in the MTC! I am SO excited to get out there! So yeah, next week's email will contain all the logistics and such.

Ok, question time: Is Bobby home yet? If yes, tell him he better write me soon! If no, then give that message to him when he gets home. :)
Also, could you call Sister Power and ask her to ask her neice (Ali Newton) what classroom she teaches in? Just send the response in a dearelder so I can get it ASAP. I want to meet her because she went to the same mission as me. Thanks!

I think that's about it. I love you so much. I hope to hear from more of you soon. ;) Haha. The church is true and this is the Lord's work. I know it. It says so in Jacob 5:61 that it is His work and He is doing it right alongside of me, and for that I am so grateful. I miss you tons but I love you more.

Hermana Jackson

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hey Everyone!

This week has been interesting but good. I got a new companion today. I think I mentioned last week about Hna Barfoot having to get surgery. Well, her district left for the field this morning so I have been assigned as her new companion. My fourth one already! Haha, it's cool. She is in a wheelchair right now so it makes for quite a bit of extra pull on my end of the companionship but things are working out just fine. I'm greatful for the opportunity I have to serve her. And also, I had the same opportunity with my last comp, Hna Andersen, because on Friday at gym, someone landed on her during the volleyball game or something and she dislocated her kneecap. So she and our other comp spent all Friday morning at the hospital and I spent all Friday afternoon with her in the room while she was drugged up and napping. She is so grateful that nothing tore in her knee, which is a miracle to say the least, so she still gets to get out of here in time.

So yeah, it's been fun. :) I am doing passing out or close calls even so we're good. And I even went running some laps with another hermana last week and did fine! This makes me happy. We had a devotional on Sunday that was so good! He talked about the importance of charity in missionary work, but he put a new twist on things. He first led us to 2 Nephi 32:2-3, where it says that angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Then we went to D&C 42:6, where it says we are supposed to declare the word like angels. The last place we went was to 1 Cor 13, where it says that though I speak as an angel and have not charity, I am nothing. I've thought about that a lot this week and how I can apply that in my mission. It is not enough as a missionary to say what Jesus Christ would say, but I need to feel as He would feel for these people. It reminds me of a quote I kept up on my wall in China that I have written in my journal here by Pres. Eyring that says, "The Lord will let you feel the love He feels for those you serve; the call is an invitation to become like Him." I love that. I love that I have that opportunity to become like my Savior Jesus Christ here on my mission and throughout my life. It will take a lot of praying and help from the Lord, but I know that I can come closer to Him everyday.

Spanish is good...I feel like I'm getting more fluent in what I know and getting more comfortable with the lessons and stuff. It's kind of neat to think of how far I've come so far and I know I didn't do it alone. We are now the oldest hermanas in our zone (my district is second oldest) so we're the vets now that the new missionaries in our zone look to for help and critique in teaching the lessons, in speaking Spanish, in getting around the MTC...It's fun. The new hermanas are way cool and I like getting to know them all.

So, we are holding a baptismal service this Saturday! Ha ha, I think I might have told you that our teachers have been acting as investigators that they had on their missions that we've had the chance to teach progressively. So now we have taught them all the lessons and prepared them for baptism so we're having a little service this Saturday for us to practice planning one. Don't worry, we aren't doing the actual baptizing part. But it's pretty fun. Last week, I taught "Eddy" how to fill out a tithing slip (all in Spanish, by the way, because English died) and we taught "Angie" the process for the actual baptismal service. The elders get to practice doing the interview this week. Haha, it makes it all seem so real...even though they're not... :) It's just been neat to have a chance to have to figure out what to teach in each lesson and help them overcome certain things to get to this point. I've loved it.

That's about all for today. I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support to me. Give all the little ones a big hug and kiss for me, especially the two birthday boys. And tell Tino that I am proud to be the aunt of Spiderman. :) I've sent a letter to Nana today. Could I have Grandma in England's address too? Thanks.

I miss you tons but I love you more!

Hermana Jackson

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ingles died and Life is Good!

Muchas gracias for the pictures of Claire! She is gorgeous! I can't wait to get some hard copies so I can show them off to everyone! I'm glad to hear you all are doing well. Thanks for your letters this week. Malcolm, congrats on the tour in California! That is way exciting that it was sold out!

So right now, I am sitting in the laundry room...a basement type place, for anyone who hasn't been here, with about 100 or so machines all going at it is nice and hot. :) Oh, and I just finished putting some pictures in an envelope to send to Mom and know me, I love pictures :)

This week has been great. Full of spiritual experiences and fun times as well. Probably the most exciting thing from this last week was our "Ingles funeral". Yes, we can no longer speak English in the we held a funeral to pay our final respects. My comp gave the eulogy, the elders gave talks, we sang "each life that touches ours for good" and "God be with you till we meet again" as the hymns, and I did the special musical English tribute I wrote on the piano in about 5 minutes containing all of our favorite spanglish phrases. Then we took a walk out to the edge of the mtc campus where we buried English (a piece of paper with our favorite phrases on it :) It was pretty dang awesome, and I will record the song and send it home...though you have to understand spanglish so maybe Jessica can translate it for you :)

I think I have finally figured out how to infuse my personality into missionary work. It has been tough trying to know how to bring my outgoing-ness into the whole thing but this week has been good. We had a devotional on Sunday night where the international MTC director and his wife spoke. His wife was one of those ladies that tells stories basically exactly like I do...and it made me happy. I could tell that President Smith and his wife were just freaking out in their seats that she was a little wild (because they're really strict) but she had the spirit in her talk and I realized that the Lord needs all types of personalities in this work. He doesn't want people who are just serious or just wild but people who can take the spirit with them no matter what so that everyone can be reached in their own unique way. I loved it.

I learned something really cool during personal study this week. I bought a cheap copy of the BoM in Spanish this week to start reading and mark up all the words I don't know. The branch president promised us that if we would do that for 15 minutes a day, we would be fluent in the language by the time we finish the book. So I am doing it! But yeah, I started reading from the beginning and got through the first 3 chapters. I made an interesting realization about Laman and Lemuel. They had tons of spiritual witnesses of Christ, but every time they went back to their old ways afterward. Nephi, however, let the spiritual witnesses take place in his heart and change him. I thought about how often we are like Laman and Lemuel. How often have I been upset or discouraged, and the Lord demonstrates his hand in my life. I usually feel better for a bit but I eventually go back to my old ways and forget the witness. But I have had signs enough. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and that Jesus Christ knows everything I am going through. I want to be like Nephi and allow that witness to work in me so I never forget again.

Ok, that was my spiritual tangent. Now for some other stuff. Did you know that 2 ladies in Provo have a calling to come to the MTC once a week and teach sisters how to do make-up? Well, they do! And they give us each $200 of NuSkin make-up in the process! Haha, it was awesome. And Naomi Andersen (from HOBY) was at the same make-up class as me so it was wild and fun. I felt like back in Jr. High when we always had the Mary Kay parties and I was the guinea pig for the make-up. Haha, good times.

Well, that's about it for this week. Thank you for you continued support and love. Can I have Matt Hunt's address in SLC? I'd like to write him. Thanks! I know this is what the Lord wants me to be doing right now. As I've learned each week to rely more and more on the Lord, I have been feeling better and better about things. I miss you tons but I love you more!

Hermana Jackson