Monday, November 30, 2009

So one time, I thought I had transfers figured out...and then I didn't.

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Mine was amazing but not anything like I thought it was going to be. So here's the deal...last Monday night, we were at a teaching appointment with Silvia, who is getting baptized this week. Our phone started ringing and usually we don't answer it but it was the AP's so we did this time. They asked for Hna Bushman and asked her if she would be a trainer again for this transfer. She said yes and then said, "Wait, in Paterson?" To which the AP's replied yes...and she just stared at me wide-eyed and we both started crying. Haha, yep, that's how it all went down that I found out I was getting TRANSFERRED! So I packed my things in what little time we had on Tuesday amidst going to all our investigators and converts and members and seeing them one last time. I started crying as I sat in Raymundo and Lupita's little basement bedroom, their girls all sitting on the bed. Dang, it was hard saying bye to them. The little one, Danniela, gave me a card and her teddy bear before I left. I love that family and miss them a lot. One of the YW in the branch gave me her teddy bear as well and Hna Socorro let me keep her guitar to remember her. We couldn't stop by and see Rafael but we called him and he was basically crying over the phone. I think it was just that none of us were mentally prepared for the change that happened, and it threw us all off. But hey, that's the mission.

So now, I am serving in Morristown, the Spanish branch, with Hermana Andrews. She is from Auburn, CA (my 3 comp from CA :) and she is AWESOME! We seriously hit it off right off the bat and have just been going strong ever since. She is only 2 transfers older than me on the mission, so we're basically in the same boat as far as a lot of things go, and I like that because we are really a team. She served here last transfer with an English sister (Spanglish companionship) so she had to do all the Spanish lessons and everything and they had to try to juggle both the Spanish branch and the English ward but now we are able to just focus on the Spanish branch. My Spanish has been skyrocketing as we have just been taking on a "fake-it-till-you-make-it" attitude. No more playing the "I'm brand new" card. Haha. We have also been making it a goal to speak Spanish any time we're outside of the apartment. It has been really good. We didn't do that in Paterson at all.

I absolutely LOVE my life here in Morristown. After seeing a sister last transfer hate her whole transfer because she kept wanting to be in her old area, I decided that every area I serve in would be my favorite while I am there. So life is good. The members here are great. The branch is about a third of the size of the one in Paterson, so it's interesting. We have three baptismal dates for this month, which is way exciting! :) One of them, Judith, has been being taught for years and years by missionaries and we are the end of a long line trying to get her baptized. We did a Word of Wisdom lesson with her on Saturday and she had a question about which teas she could and couldn't drink. Hna Andrews offered to look at her tea for her and tell her which ones were herbal. So we looked at them and none of them were. She gathered all her tea back up and we thought she was going to put it back in the cupboard when she headed straight for the trashcan and dumped all her tea right out!!!! It was amazing!

Another cool investigator we have is named Lady. She is this young Columbian mother with 2 really rowdy kids and a husband in jail for drugs or something. She has made a lot of mistakes in her life but it is amazing to see the changes she is making. She started reading the Book of Mormon and is already in Mosiah (reminds me of Rafael, a lot)! She told us about how she prayed about Joseph Smith and she was like "Oh, I know it's true. Everything you guys are saying is true. I want to get baptized and show God that I am changing my life." Yeah, amazing. And then all we had to do was get her to church and the branch fellowshipped the heck out of her! Haha, it was so cool.

We had a really neat mission-wide fireside last night where all the missionaries sang a bunch of Christmas songs and there were talks. It was held here in Morristown and another one will be held in 2 weeks in Union City. I accompanied for "This is the Christ." I just love playing the piano. And also, all of the YW from Paterson got together and drove down to Morristown for it so I got to see them all last night, which was nice.

It's weird to think I am already in my second area and have possibly already said bye to people I may never see again in my life. But when I started crying as I left Paterson, I took that as a good sign because it meant the Lord had answered my prayers and blessed me with the ability to really love those people.

I love this work and I love seeing how this gospel and the Savior's atonement can cover every possible thing. The people we teach are so varied in background and needs but the amazing thing is that every one of them can be whole through the Atonement of Christ. I'm so grateful for that.

I hope everyone has a great week. I miss you tons but I love you more.

Hermana Jackson

Pictures: 883 - me and Hna Andrews
849 - me and Hna Bushman in front of a really famous tag out here in NJ...and we drove past it every time we went to the chapel in Paterson
851 - my old Paterson zone in front of the Silk City tag

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Yee Kee's in the parking lot!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!! El dia de accion de gracias is swiftly approaching and so is the end of my 2nd transfer. Our branch had a massive thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night, which consisted of turkey, potato salad, platanos, and all different kinds of rice! Haha, gotta love the Hispanic style thanksgiving. :) Oh, and of course the Spanish music playing throughout the night. By the way, did you know that there is a song called "Spanish Hotel California"? You have got to look that one up on i-tunes. It just might be my favorite new thing. :)

So probably my coolest news of the week is that from Friday-Saturday, we did mission-wide exchanges for the sisters! It was tons of fun. I hung around Paterson and Hna Minetto came out from Jersey City to be my comp. I learned a ton from her and we had a lot of fun together. We had one of the YW (Andrea) out with us all afternoon and evening and by the end of the night we were just starving so Andrea kept telling us to go to this place called Yee Kee's. It's one of many Hispanic-Chinese food restaurants...there are like 5 on every street corner. So we picked up all this Chinese food to-go and drove to our next appointment, which was at a library, got out of our car, sat down in the parking lot, and had a feast. It was pretty dang awesome. Oh Paterson.

Oh, I inherited a guitar temporarily last night from one of the branch members. She wants me to play and accompany them to go Christmas caroling over the next couple of weeks. I got so excited when we got home last night and we just started jamming out to some stuff. It made me think of this time last year when I wrote that Mistletoe song...haha, good times.

So what are everybody's plans for Thanksgiving? Is everyone going over to Mom and Dad's or to the in-laws or what? Malcolm, tell me about your tour! I heard you're sick? Get better soon! So, I'm not really sure what our plans are as of yet. I'm pretty sure we have several dinner appointments...mmm...details surely to come :) Transfers are on Wednesday, the day right before, and this time we are pretty sure Hna Bushman is leaving but...who knows? The whole branch is assuming it too.

So we taught a LOT of lessons this week, but none that particularly stick out to me. Oh wait, there is! Haha. So, on Tuesday, it was just a rough day. We weren't teaching very much and we just weren't feeling like we were in the right place all day. After about the 5th appointment that bailed on us, we were nearing the end of the night and Hna Bushman was like, "We are just going to knock this one more house. Every time we drive past it, I feel like we should knock." So we did...we knocked about 3 times and nobody answered. I was just praying, staring up to the top floors of this building thinking somebody please answer! Right as we were about to turn around, we heard the door handle turning and this guy named John answered. He invited us right in and we taught him all about the Book of Mormon. He was asking so many questions and was so interested. We have been back to see him twice already since then and things are going really well so...we'll keep praying for him! :)

Well, that is about it for this week. I think I got your package mom, so thank you! What happens is the ZL's pick it up Monday and they give it to us Tuesday (unless we see them on Monday) and they told me that I have a package so I will probably open it tomorrow. Thank you thank you! I love this work I am doing. It is amazing being able to be out here and serve the Lord. I love seeing the changes in people's lives as they come to accept and know this gospel. Thank you for all of your love and support. Take care and have a great Thanksgiving. I miss you tons but I love you more!

Hermana Jackson

Monday, November 16, 2009


Hola, que tal? What's new in everyone's life? How's the tour going for Malcolm? Dad, did you get your book all reviewed and stuff? Mom, tell Nana I said hi and I love her!

Life here in Paterson is AMAZING, as always. Probably one of the things that makes it most amazing is that Jesenia (14), Vanessa (13), AND Danniela (8) got baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday! They are the coolest girls ever. After Jesenia got confirmed, she cam up to us and she's like, "I am coming on a mission with you guys tonight because I'm a member now!" Haha, so she came out on visits with us and she loved it. We have been teaching their whole family, which was a referral from a member of our branch and they are just a wonderful family. Raymundo and Lupita are still investigating but mainly because they need to get married and Raymundo needs to find a new job so he can come to church on Sundays. But they really want to get baptized. I think what is coolest about them and about Rafael is that they were converted entirely on the Bok of Mormon. I think I told you a couple of weeks ago that we decided to do a Bible fast for a week...well, we kept that up that whole transfer. We have just been using the Book of Mormon in all of our lessons and that is what is converting them, I know it. There is such a power in that book. I just finished reading it on Thursday and prayed like Moroni instructs. The feeling I received was so subtle but I know it was there. It was peace, comfort, and knowledge that Heavenly Father knows me and is aware of me and my needs.

Rafael had us over for dinner this week and it was so nice! He has this pet turtle named Suzy that just wanders around the floor of his house and he would call to it like a dog and it would come! It was wild. Oh turtles. :)

This morning we drove to Morristown to practice for a mission music fireside and on the way there, we came up with our own words to the NJ state song (we don't know how it goes or anything, but the title is "I'm from NJ" we got something good). We found out that we get to do exchanges this week amongst all the sisters so Hermana Minetto in Jersey City has been assigned to come out here to Paterson and be my comp for a day while Hna Bushman heads out to JC with Hermana Cornish. That will be kind of fun.

Ok, so I'm going to attach some pictures from the baptism and of Rafael with his turtle.

I love you all so much. Thank you for your letters and emails to me. I really appreciate them a lot. I will try to write back as soon as I can. I miss you tons but I love you more!

Hermana Jackson

Monday, November 9, 2009

It all started when Hermana Bushman kicked a rock...

STORYTIME! So, this one beautiful day during the summer, Hermana Jackson was in the MTC praying for her future companion in New Jersey. Meanwhile, Hermana Bushman was wandering around with her companion in the streets of West New York kicking rocks and talking to people. One rock was really big and busted her shoe. She was sad about this but decided that since her shoes were just so comfy anyway, she would wear them out till the end of her mission and then just junk them. Fast forward to a still beautiful day in November in Paterson where Hermana Bushman and Jackson are companions, visiting some members of the branch. But instead of the missionaries doing the teaching, it was the members. You see, you can ask people if they need anything from you or any help and they will always say no. But the familia Campos observed a specific need and got to work. "What size shoe do you wear?" Yes, they were pointing to the ridiculous nature of Hna Bushman's shoes and offered to buy her new ones...more like, insisted. We tried to resist with everything we could (yes, I just switched from 3rd person to 1st person) but they would not let us leave their house until we told them. So they found out her shoe size and mine and saw us on Saturday with a brand new pair of shoes each...Clarks...yeah. We felt horrible about it but they would not let us decline the offer. So we got new shoes. Then on Sunday, another member of the branch was supposed to be giving Hna Bushman back her bashed shoes because she was going to get them fixed but she comes walking in with...a brand new pair of shoes each. So we got another new pair of shoes. So from the shoes to the Ecuadorian stretchy pants to crocheted scarfs and beanies for us, we are getting taken care of. Wow, yeah, the members here are the most giving people I have ever met. And Hna Bushman has vowed to never kick rocks again...though she did this morning. :)

So, how is everyone doing? Megan, how's the new job? And you and Chris, how is everything with the girls and such? Michael and Cari, how was your trip to California? Did the boys just love Nana? And Malcolm, you're on tour?!? Crazy! I heard about the craziness beforehand but I'm glad you got to go. I hope everything goes well with that! I'm praying for you and am excited to hear all about it when you get back! And mom and dad, thank you so much for the constant emails and letters and everything. They really help to keep me going. I now know why missionaries love getting letters so much. Wow, yep.

I'm glad to hear the Guy Fawkes party was fun. I was definitely thinking of you all and wishing I could have been there. I've only been at one out the last 4...weird.

As far as the missionary work goes, Rafael got confirmed yesterday and it was wonderful, Maria had her cute little baby, 2 of the daughters of Raymundo and Lupita (Jesenia and Vanessa) are getting baptized this coming weekend, and we have 1 (hopefully 2) more baptisms the next weekend! I love it. Heavenly Father is blessing us so much here.

I am so grateful to have it reaffirmed to me over and over again that this is where I'm supposed to be right now. The youth in our branch have really been struggling a lot and we as missionaries have kind of taken them in under our wing. Well, for anyone who know me, they know how much I love working with the youth so it has been a great blessing to be here right now. We are beginning to see some great changes in them, really strengthening themselves and each other a lot.

I have officially figured out that Mexican cheese makes me sick. You know the white crumbly cheese that usually garnishes their food dishes? Yeah, I can't eat it. Every time afterward I am just sick the rest of the day. Hmm...what to do? I don't know. :) Oh yeah, and I remember whenever we had the missionaries over to dinner growing up, Mom would always say, "I just trust that one day you all will be fed and looked out for the same way on your missions." Yep mom, don't fret, definitely happening. :)

Anyway, that's about it for this week. Thank you all for your love and support to me. It really means a lot to know that people are praying for me. Know that I'm praying for you too. I miss you tons but I love you more!

Hermana Jackson