Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"What's Paterson like?" "Do You Like Ghetto?" "Yes." "Perfect."

(This is a long one...brace up :)
Hola familia Jackson (or as I'm called here, Hack-son)!

Woohoo, I am in the field! After a long day of flying, fearbusters hitting the streets right after the airport, and a night at the mission president's house, I am finally in my area and loving it! I am in Paterson (not really sure where that is on a map but...yeah.) It is ghetto as heck here and I love it. That subject line was basically the first words my trainer and I said to each other. We are in the weakest part of the mission as far as numbers of members is concerned. But the members that we do have are AMAZING! We don't ever actually have dinner appointments set up with them but they always end up feeding us something whether it's just a sandwich or a bowl of jello. Seriously, some of these people have nothing and yet they are so willing to give. We just have a Spanish branch full of Dominicans, Columbians, Peruvians, Puerto Ricans, and everything else imagineable. LOTS of inactives! And yes, I got asked right away if I play the piano so that is now just one of the many roles we are taking on as missionaries here.

So, about my trainer...Her name is Hermana Bushman, from San Jose, and I absolutely LOVE her. Seriously, we get along great, and that is a good thing because we are the only sisters in our zone and the 2 zones next to ours so we never get contact with the other sisters. She graduated from BYU a couple years ago and was working in Washington DC when she felt like she should go on a mission, so here she is. She has been out 1 year this week. Oh, and guess what? Her trainer was Hermana Newton, Sister Power's neice whom I talked to before my mission. Yep, it's just a nice little chain going down. :)

We have been facing all sorts of things here from major success to not so good. The very first night we were out (last Wednesday), we had just left a member's house and were on our way to my first teaching appointment when she hit a massive pothole and we got a flat tire. Yeah, awesome. So there were some major gangster guys sitting on their porch who came over and helped us fix it up. Haha, love it. And we ended up making our appointment...though we were about half an hour late.

Probably the coolest thing I've witnessed so far is with a couple of key investigators we're working with right now. First is Maria and Alberto. The first time I met Maria (Hna Bushman and her previous comp had already taught them both the week before), we taught only her. Her husband wasn't in the best of sorts, smokes a lot, didn't come home one night because he was so drunk. Anyway, she committed to baptism for the 26th of September! But we didn't want to give up on Alberto just yet. So he was at the next appointment with Maria on Saturday and he totally felt it. He committed to baptism to and the faith that he has to quit smoking and drinking and everything is incredible. He wants to do it so bad. He told us on Sunday night that he fasted all day for the strength to quit smoking. He and Maria came to church on Sunday, invited all their extended family, and loved it. Anyway, so yeah we've got 2 people getting baptized the 26 of September! Another lady we're working with is Victoria. She is fairly old and pretty sick with cancer. She has to go in for chemotherapy twice a week and it's just really hard on her. But she is so close to committing to baptism! She keeps just saying she doesn't want to get pushed...but don't worry, we're making progress with her.

Oh, now for the news about my Spanish!...haha...well...it's actually not as bad as I thought it would be. I have to make all the phone calls in the car while Hna Bushman is driving so...let's just say that is exciting. :) The members here are so patient with me, it's hilarious. They've started to realize when it's me calling versus when it's Sister Bushman because now with me on the phone they just give me the basic information I'm calling to ask to know and we leave it at that. Because I don't know if you know this or not, but Latins love getting off on tangents and quite honestly, that's not my strongest point of understanding. :) Haha but it is so funny. We had a dinner for the Sociedad de Soccoro (Relief Society) and Hna Bushman and I decided we should sit at different tables to be able to talk to more people and oh man, I wish you could have seen the looks on the ladies faces as I was talking to them! They were cracking up...but I think AT me. :) Haha, we had a whole conversation about superheroes (which is not in my vocabulary) because one lady's son had just had a spiderman theme birthday party and then I told them about Tino and we just got going. But anyway, I couldn't explain anything so I'm trying to act things out for them and they were probably thinking "Who the heck is this new hermana?" But it was great and I got a couple of the ladies to come out to appointments with us this week because of it. So you know, life is good.

Anyway, I should probably wrap this up...I think I've gone on long enough. Just know that I love you all and think about you often. You are constantly in my prayers and I can't wait to hear from you next to see how you're all doing. In summary, I'm doing great. I love my companion, I love my area, I love the members, and I love this work. Thanks for all of your support. I miss you tons but I love you more!

Hermana Jackson

P.S. I can only email family but I can receive emails from whoever and I can reply through my mom (so mom, I may send you emails with the subject line like "Forward to _________" and then if you could just do that, that would be great!) I have an hour and a half for email, so that's nice. And for letters, I think you should just keep sending them to the mission home. I don't know that I trust the area I live in so...yeah. But it's weird because I get to write home on Mondays but I receive all my mail on Tuesdays, so it might be a little longer to get actual responses. :) But yeah, that should work out well.

P.P.S. The Pictures: 595 is of me and my district at the MTC coming out of our building...yes, air resistance. 611 is my MTC district. 654 is me and Hna Bushman (we took a hike yesterday morning for p-day to a point that looks out over Paterson with one of the members of the branch, Hna Soccoro). 657 is me eating my first pizza pie in Jersey! :) and 625 is me in my camisa fea (ugly shirt...yes, it took me 7 weeks in the MTC to build up the confidence to order that thing but I love it!)

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1 comment:

  1. Your mom won't appreciate my saying this, but when I was there, sisters couldn't serve in the inner city areas where you are now! I've heard it is ghetto (close to NYC), but better than Jersey City!

    Love ya - thanks for helping me relive the old mission days in NJ!