Monday, February 22, 2010

President Bahr, my hand might have punched a bush...

Sorry, this is a long one... :)
What a funny week. Neither of us got transferred but transfer day completely threw off our schedule...and it might have all started when I punched a bush... :) So it was snowing, and we were walking back to our car after an appointment in the morning before transfer conference. Sister Greenwood was with us and I thought it would be fun to throw some snow at her. (For any of you who had a snowball fight with me last winter, I think I came to the conclusion that I should never start a snowball fight because I always end up losing...I'm still the same apparently.) So I see this bush with a bunch of snow on it and go swinging my hand through it to throw some on Sister Greenwood. Something stabbed into my hand, I had a minor freakout, and then we looked and a thorn from the bush had stabbed into my thumb, gotten in pretty deep, and broken off. Sister Greenwood and Hna Evens just laughed at me as they tried to do surgery to get it out but it wouldn't come so they told me to call President Bahr (since he's a doctor). He came to transfer conference all prepared with his tools...and it still didn't come now I have a thorn in my thumb. :) When I read my mom's email about Devon burning his hands, I thought of this story...and mine doesn't even compare to his but Devon, I hope you're doing well. :)
In other news, maybe on a more spiritual note, we have these 2 investigators that we have really started seeing progress this week. I mainly want to tell you about Ranferi. He is this Guatemalan man who we found one day when just everything fell through. He had been taught my missionaries before (we actually found his name in the area book) but stopped taking the lessons because he was just too busy with work and stuff. So we taught him about 3 times this week and the spirit was so strong every time! We were talking about Jospeh Smith and saying the only way he can know for himself is to pray about it and read the Book of Mormon. He said, "I want to read this book. I want to know." That's where it all starts: the desire to believe. He has been reading and will be coming to church next Sunday!
Then we also had our second lesson with this guy named Wilson, an Ecuadorian who speaks incredibly fast and never breathes. He just started rattling off question after question about his reading (which was about life after this, because he had that question last time). His questions were never in a bashing sort of way, thank goodness, he just really sincerely wants to know...EVERYTHING! :) He was raised Catholic but he was like, "Yeah, I don't really believe in that. I think we'll get our bodies again and I think we had to have lived with God before and I think that the bad spirits don't have bodies..." and on and on he went. Haha, he is awesome. Hna Evens just stares at him, having no idea the half of what he's saying, so then I just have to jump in whenever I can and if I breathe, I better be done explaining what I wanted to explain. Haha, I love it. And as I've always said about passing out, breathing is SO overrated. :)
And for exciting food of the week...ceviche (Honduranian style)! DON'T try this at home! So it is basically a raw seafood pico de gallo. It's got raw shrimp, squid, crab, muscles, clams, and other things all soaked in lime juice; then dump that into a bowl with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, more lime juice, and about a pound of salt (no joke, when he put the salt in the bowl, he kept pouring until we basically couldn't see the food under it). But apparently the salt/lime combo kind of cooks the seafood. I picked up a piece of shrimp and was amazed when I could actually see it cooking...yep, lots of salt. And then he served each of us (the elders were there too) an entire plate of it! I just had to swallow a lot of things whole because they were not chewing in my mouth! But hey, I ate all the seafood, I just couldn't finish off the swimming pool of raw onions I had on my plate afterward. Mmmm. That is not something I will be cooking for you after the mission, don't fret.
So, one funny/pitiful, a couple spiritual, and one gross experience. Sounds like a mission, right? Things are going great and I love to be out here doing what I'm doing. I hope everyone is doing well back home. Good luck on you tour, Malcolm! You'll be so close to me! I'll be praying for you lots to be safe and have fun. Remember our deal. Chris, Megan, Victoria, and Claire, thank you so much for the Valentine's package! We will be picking up some ice cream today to go with that amazing hot fudge you sent. You are amazing and Tori is quite the little artist ;)
Take care this week. Remember to live what you believe! It is amazing the number of people we find out here who get turned away from one religion or another because they see hypocrites preaching one thing on Sunday and then living something else during the week. (1 Timothy 4:12) "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Thank you for the wonderful examples you all are to me. I miss you tons but I love you more!
Hermana Jackson

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carnal Security...I HATE that!

Hey everybody! How are you doing? How's the weather back there in Utah/wherever you may be? Let me just start out by telling you we got a MASSIVE storm on Wednesday! It started early in the morning while Sister Child and I were running and just kept dumping all day. Probably the closest thing to a white-out I've ever seen. We received a text in the middle of study from the assistants that we were not to leave our apartment all day on Wednesday unless it was absolutely necessary. So that was interesting. We did our weekly planning, detox cleaning of the apartment for the end of the transfer, and lots of extra studying in the scriptures. It is definitely not something we are used to as missionaries to just be sitting inside all day but we made the best use of our time as we could and Sister Child made an amazing lunch for all of us. :) When we went out on Thursday, there was so much snow! We spent half an hour just digging our car out and helping some other people in the parking lot. Then we borrowed some snow shovels from the church and went around to our investigators and members and shoveled for hours upon hours...literally. My back and arms were pretty sore the next day.
So yeah, transfers are again tomorrow and both Hermana Evens and I are staying in Morristown. It will be interesting to see how we go about tackling the issue of teaching houses full of single men but I know that we can work so many miracles here in this next transfer. I'm excited to see what it brings. And we'll be getting a newbie in the apartment again because Sister Child is training! Haha, this will be exciting. I have lived with Sister Child my whole mission so far...I wonder how long that will last? :)
Morristown continues to be an amazing area to work in with miracles every day. I am loving working with Hermana Evens and we are really energized to get things going here this next transfer. We got a baptismal date set with Saqueo, this 19-yr old kid I think I already told you about. He just needs to come to church now. About a week and a half ago, we heard from a member who always takes one of our investigators to church (Isabel) that Isabel didn't want to come to church anymore. Isabel has been investigating the church since July but she has had this doubt about already being baptized in when she was a baby. We have had 3 baptismal dates set for her this transfer and had to keep changing them. We have gone through every lesson/demonstration in the book to try to help her to really gain a testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel so that she will know that she needs to do this. Anyway, when I heard she didn't want to come to church anymore, I basically wanted to cry. But then, another sister missionary was with me, Sister Dennis, and she told me that a similar thing had happened to her. She said, "Just keep praying. You have done everything you can and the Lord knows what He's doing and she has her agency. This work is too important for the Lord...nothing you do can ruin it." So Hermana Evens and I did that. We finally got the chance to see Isabel and talk to her on Thursday night and turns out she does still want to come to church, she just didn't explain herself fully to Hna Cariello. Apparently, life with her family back in Ecuador has been crazy and this whole long story but it all comes down to the fact that she told her sister that she feels closer to God when she goes to church with us than she ever felt growing up, and she wants to keep coming. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. He is watching over and guiding this work. I was so grateful for the ways in which he leads us each and every day here.
That about sums up my week, I meeting, snow, snow shoveling, zone conference, Valentine's treats, and blessings from the Lord through it all. Thank you for your continued love and support. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's day. Thank you for the package, Mom! I miss all of you tons, but I love you more!
Hermana Jackson

Monday, February 1, 2010

Who knew meatloaf had hard-boiled eggs, peas, spam, and green olives in it?

Hola familia!
Thanks for the updates on everything. I am definitely keeping the Anderson family in my prayers and hope that little Bryson is ok. If there is anything I have been learning in my transfer-long study on faith, it is that God does hear and answer prayers every time if we have the faith that He will. I don't know why faith has been so fascinating to me lately, but it has. I think it was just always one of those principles beforehand that I took for granted but it is the base for everything else! I've been working on reading the Book of Mormon all the way through in Spanish and am just finishing up Alma right now. I was ecstatic when I got to my favorite Book of Mormon story about the 2000 stripling warriors, but this time, the story was SO different to me. It is all about faith! Think about of the most famous scriptures from that story is Alma 56:47 "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them." Doubt and faith are like a see-saw; the more you have of one, the less you have of the other. The 2000 stripling warriors did not have an ounce doubt so they must have had a perfect faith (Alma 57:26-27). And then something else that stood out to me in Alma 57:25, notwithstanding their faith, many of the soldiers fainted with loss of blood and every one of them was wounded, but none of them were killed. This is the miraculous thing of it all. We can have all the faith in the world but it doesn't mean that we won't get beat-up sometimes, it just means that we know that Heavenly Father will always win.
Well, that was a long tangent but I just thought I'd share that with you all as something I learned this week. :)
So this week was so cool. I want to tell you about this new investigator we got, Saqueo. Saqueo is a 19-yr old kid from Honduras that we contacted into. He used to go to church when he was little but said he doesn't really believe in anything anymore. In our first lesson, we taught him all about prophets and he was just loving it, finding out that God still does love us and talk to us today. Then we saw him 3 times last week! He is so cool. When we taught him about Joseph Smith, we asked him how he felt and he said, "I feel really calm. I've never really felt this before, but it's all so new to me." So then we asked him if he has even just a desire to know it's true. He said yes and we talked a little about faith and told him to pray and look for those same feelings. He wasn't able to come to church yesterday but he is so coming this Sunday! I love it! I lovve seeing people change because of this gospel!
We had mission-wide sisters exchanges again on Tuesday-Wednesday. I still haven't ever left my area for an exchange but that's ok. I got to be with Hna Binning, my first MTC comp! It was fun as we tackled Morristown together and I learned so much from her! Hmmm...Don't think I took any pictures...oh well. Oh, and last p-day, our zone got together and tie-dyed t-shirts. Random, huh? But it was fun. I think we will all have them at next zone meeting and I will take a picture to send home.
Another miracle: Lady's husband actually might be getting out in February instead of yeah, in a couple of weeks. So we reset her for a baptismal date so that she has one when he gets out. The reason I say "might be" is because I really have no idea what she is saying to me when she talks to me of all the legal terms of what is happening, I just smile and get excited when she does :)
Ok, I think that's about all for now. I hope you all actually like reading these and if you don't, well just don't tell me. :) Haha, that is what one of the members tells us every time she feeds us, but she's a good cook. And advice of the week: If it doesn't look like meat or taste like meat or smell like meat, it's probably NOT meat, even if the Spanish people say it is. :)
I miss you tons but I love you more!
Hermana Jackson