Monday, January 25, 2010

A Child Bit My Shoe

Hola familia!
It is way stormy outside but hey, it's warm enogh to rain! I am definitely starting to feel the humidity coming back... :)
Wow, what a week. The Lord has really just been blessing us this week as we have been learning to rely even more on Him and His guidance through the Spirit. We found several of inactives that we didn't even have on any lists, so that was neat. And all of them gave us referrals for more people to go by for. One day, we had every one of our appointments fall through, but everyone of our back-ups was there so that was definitely a blessing. It's just had to describe all the blessings that we receive every day, big and small. I haven't quite figured out if the Lord always blesses people and they just don't recognize it or if the more we recognize it, the more he blesses us. I think it's a little bit of both.
So we went to teach Lady the other night. Still haven't received permission from her husband to get baptized but she is going strong in the church. She'll probably have to wait until October when he is out of prison. Anyway, her children are crazy. Valeria is 2 and Stephen is 3 and they just think it is hilarious to smack people and scream at the top of their lungs during our lesson and steal our it's always a bit of an adventure. Anyway, we were over there on Friday night and Lady started saying the closing prayer. She has just learned to completely tune out her kids, especially when she's praying, but we always have to keep an eye on the scene. So Valeria comes up to me and discovered that if the pulled my jacket open, all the snaps would come apart. She started doing that and so I clasped my hands over my jacket. She then starts hitting my hands and then took a lunge and bit them! (Hna Evens was just laughing through all this and Lady was praying her heart out). I kind of shoved her away as best a missionary can and then she bit my knee! Haha, so I extended my legs out so she couldn't get to my knee and then she started kicking my legs and took another lunge and bit my shoe! Oh man, it was funny...and odd. A couple phrases later, Lady finished the prayer and gave us our besitos goodbye, and so did Valeria, and we walked out the door and Lady never knew the difference. Oh the life. :)
One night we were up in Parsippany and we had a little bit of extra time so we decided to go visit Maria (the lady who is completely obsessed with the virgen Maria and sings us her songs about it). I figured it would be a good experience for Hna Evens. She re-told us all her stories about commanding the tornadoes like Moses and seeing the virgen Guadalupe save her family in Mexico and sure enough, got up to get her guitar and sing us her songs again. Her son, Jerry (about 49 yrs old, being taught by the English sisters, and has a baptismal date) comes in the room and was like, "Mom, they don't believe in the virgen maria!" We have told her this before but she forgets things a lot. She just paused in her tracks and looked at us and said, "What do you mean you don't believe in the virgen maria? She was the mother of Jesus. You have a mother, I have a mother, we all have mothers. She was a saint! I'll sing you my song." And she went to fetch her guitar. I was trying so hard not to laugh at the look of utter confusion on Hna Evens face. It reminded me of in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when he tells the family he's vegetarian and she says, "What do you mean you don't eat meat?...That's ok, I'll make lamb." So maybe kind of worldly but now you can imagine Maria a little better. :)
That's about it for my random experiences for this week. Life is going well and we are teaching a ton, so I'm really grateful for that. Before my mission, teaching was probably the thing I was the most scared about because I had never taught a lesson before but now, teaching is my favorite thing! If I could just spend all day in teaching appointments with people, I would. :)
Anyway, thanks so much for all the love and support from back home. I hope everyone is doing well and recognizing the blessings of the Lord, big and small, in your lives every day. I miss you tons but I love you more!
Hermana Jackson

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Livin' on a Prayer!

Hey Family,

Well, this week has been...interesting to say the least. I met my new companion on Tuesday morning, Hna Evens from Washington state. All the sisters at transfer conference were so excited for me when they found out I was training and I was just scared out of my mind! So anyway, yeah, I'm training...I don't really knwo what else to say. I have already asked myself countless times how Hna Bushman even handled it and I have an amazing new respect for her.

Speaking of Hna Bushman, she is now on her last transfer and is opening a new area to sisters out in North Branch with...Hna Andrews! Crazy huh? The only two other comps I've had and now they're together. AND, they are in our zone still, along with 2 English sisters opening in North Branch. So now we have 8 sisters in our zone and 6 elders. And it was really funny at zone meeting last week when they asked us to share experiences we've had with something or other and I couldn't without referring to one of them. Haha. They have both been really helpful this week in helping me to know that I am ready and can do this. The first thing they said to me when they hadn't seen me for 24 hours between transfer conference and zone meeting was, "Sister Jackson, you look like you have aged overnight." And I have.

I had heard people say it before but I think I just learned it this teaches you how to pray faster than any other experience on the mission. My favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon, Alma 37:36-37, is finally going into practice as I have found myself truly having to "Cry unto thy god for all thy support." Day after day has just been a huge learning experience. But I know that God really does hear and answer our prayers. Sometimes it's not in the way we want or as quickly as we think we need it, but He does. Prayer is the key to everything in life and the more we pray with faith, the more guided our life becomes.

So that's it for today. Sorry it wasn't one of the most exciting of emails. Hope things are going well for you all in this new year with new adventures ahead of you. I miss you tons but I love you more.

Hermana Jackson

Monday, January 4, 2010


So, my third transfer has quickly come to a close. Last week in her letter to the president, Hna Andrews told President Bahr, "Hna Jackson is an amazing missionary and is ready to be thrown into the furnace of affliction." Thanks Hermana. So last night came...and President Bahr threw a curveball at us. The phone rang and it was the assistants and they said, "So Hna Jackson, how is Morristown treating you?" "Oh you know, it is amazing and it rocks my world." "Good! Are you ready to have your world rocked even more? We would like you to train this transfer..." I basically fell onto my bed in my stance that has been labeled as Alma the Younger as my heart started racing. Haha, the other sisters thought I was going to pass out and let's just say, I thought so too. :) There are SO many Spanish sisters ahead of me in the mission...I don't know what is going on! It was just weird because all last week, we had a feeling Hna Andrews was going to get transferred but then Sunday it felt different for some reason and we thought, "Well hey, maybe we're staying together for another 6 weeks!" But it was just too good to be true. This has been the transfer of my life, really, I have loved every second of it and I learned so much. I am not ready to let Hna Andrews go so quick! And in one transfer, I am having to lead the area, take over as senior companion, and train. No, I didn't get any sleep last night. But I'm really humbled at the trust that the Lord has in me to do this, I just pray that He will help me live up to the task. With how much I like helping people that are new at things, I'm pretty excited for this, but I recognize what a big responsibility it is. So right now, some sister missionary is flying out straight from the Mtc to spend her first night at the mission home...and tomorrow, she will meet me. :O

Anyway, so since training is the biggest news for right now, I guess it can go unmentioned that the baptisms we thought we were going to have yesterday didn't happen. Lady had her baptismal interview and now we are just waiting on a letter still from her husband in prison giving her permission. She is still so ready and I just love her! It's really hard for Hna Andrews to have to leave with her and Judith so close. Oh yeah, and Judith called us about half an hour before her baptismal interview and told us that she wasn't going to get baptized. We went over to her house and she told us that she'd been reading and praying and just felt like she shouldn't get baptized right now. We tried to explain to her about opposition and distinguishing between fruits of the spirit and whisperings of Satan but none of it worked. She still came to church yesterday but she said she wants to wait more until she feels more ready. Oh agency! always seems to get in the way.

I would have to say that is one of the hardest things about missionary work. We were praying and fasting and studying so much this week to help them progress to baptism and to see them get so close just tears you up. But we will keep doing all that stuff and pray that it will come all in the Lord's timing.

So while all that was really hard, the Lord blessed us in so many little ways. We have continued to teach entire houses of people as we just find them one at a time. On Thursday, we went by for a whole bunch of people, all of which juked on us, yet we were able to teach whoever was there instead and picked up a ton of new investigators. It is amazing.

New Years was fun. We went to bed at the same time as always. Haha, woohoo! It's never been one of my favorite holidays. That night, a Chinese lady in the English ward invited us over for hot pot (a Chinese dish) and I was in heaven. We got to speak a little Chinese to each other too! But then on New Years Day, we had weekly planning for several hours, made chocolate chip pancakes, scrubbed down the apartment for end of transfer cleaning while belting it out to Josh Groban Christmas album (thanks Mom :) and had a bottle of Martinelli's and the rest of our Christmas crackers we didn't open on Christmas. Good day, that's for sure. :)

Dang it was a good transfer! I'm sad to see it go but excited to see what the next one brings. I told myself a couple of transfers ago that every transfer, every area, every companion is going to be my favorite one while I'm there because if it's not, then I could be letting some oppotune moments pass me by. So next week's email will bring the full details! :)

I miss you tons but love you more. Take care this week and remember who you are! :P

Hermana Jackson