Monday, June 14, 2010

Teaching>Baptism>the TEMPLE!

Life is SO GOOD!! Can I just tell you how many amazing experiences we have had this last week? Some funny, some stressful yet rewarding, and lots of the spirit.
First off, we got to go to the Manhattan Temple on Wednesday night! I was probably there at the same time that mom was at the temple in Provo, which is kind of neat. We went as a group of sister missionaries...about 14 of us starting out. I say starting out because by the end there were only 9 of us by the time we got to the temple (5 got on the wrong train and the doors closed before we could tell them to get off...oops!). And then we got off at the wrong subway exit...about 10 blocks too early, so we were running through NYC in pouring rain trying to catch the session in time. We were soaked! But once we got in the temple, the peace of it all just completely flooded over me. I love the temple. I spent a long time in there thinking about various things going on in my life and in the lives of my investigators and I know that everything is in the Lord's hands. He knows what He's doing, we just need to trust Him enough to let Him do it.
I was excited to hear my family had a party for the Copa Mundial. We could definitely tell when it started because people are wearing jerseys of their country all over the place and every house we walk into has a game going on. It is quite the temptation but don't worry, I don't watch them, but hey, it provides for a good way to relate to people as we go tracting!
Some of the best news I have gotten recently was yesterday, Hna Erickson called me from Morristown and told me that Miguel is getting baptized this Sunday! She said they haven't been visiting him really at all since I left but he has still just been coming to church and going to the activities and such. I guess he just told them yesterday at church that he finally felt ready. He asked them if I could come but I can't. But the important thing is that he is making the decision he is. I am so excited for him. When we first met him, I never would have guessed that he would become so converted. And it is all through the power of the Book of Mormon! He is one of those people that I look back on and think to myself, "How in the world did it happen? How did he accept it?" He was so strong in his other church but the Book of Mormon changed him and I am so grateful for it.
Yesterday was just a great day altogether. Everyone says that Sacrament meeting is supposed to be the culminating part of a missionary's week, and yesterday it definitely was. We had 3 investigators come to church, all for the first time! Maria couldn't come at the last minute but Lucina, Ana, and Minerva were all just loving it! Lucina and Minerva have family members in our branch and so it is great to be able to teach them and help to make their families complete. Ana came with her daughters without knowing anybody and she loved it! When all the Peruvian women found out she was from Peru, they just took her right under their wing and helped her around. It is so neat the way being from the same country immediately bonds people. When we meet a new investigator, we rack our brains of all the members from that country and who would fit best for them, and it works every time!
Last thing, I promise...most of the areas in the mission have a car, and we use it a lot because our area is pretty big and dangerous at night. But last month, they started something in the mission called "car fast days" where one day a week we have to leave the car parked (we can get rides with members or take the bus or something, we just can't use our cars because the mission is over its limit on mileage limitations). So anway, last Friday was one of those days. We were walking all around in areas that we've never really walked before just heading to our next appointment and before we knew it, 2 different people had stopped us and told us they had been baptized in their home countries and just moved here and were looking for the church! How cool is that? And another guy who used to be taught and wants to be taught again. I love it! Sure I'm usually at the brink of passing out during our car fasts, but we're finding like crazy! Give and take, right? :)
Ok, that's all for today. I want you to know that I know this church is true. I've never known more in my life! "The light of the body is the eye. If therefore thine eye be full of light, thy whole body shall be full of light also." (3 Nefi 13:22) Focus our eyes toward the Savior and His teachings and we will radiate the light of Christ and draw others unto it. I miss you tons but I love you more!
Hermana Jackson
P.S. Mom, thanks for the package! I love the CD's!
P.P.S. Some pictures: the sisters at the temple and a typical street in Paterson.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

There is absolutely zero theme to this email! :)

Hey Everyone!
I hope you (my family, at least) were able to read my legit letter I wrote last week. Memorial Day made it kind of difficult to use a public library since they were all closed and then we were doing exchanges the next day so I got to sit down and write a letter snail mail style. I kind of liked it though. I think I might do it more often in the rest of my mission. Sorry I didn't have pictures to send with it, but I'll include some in this email.
So, Maria DV is still continuing to progress beautifully. She has come to church 2 Sundays in a row now and loved it both times! On Saturday night, we had a noche de hogar with her whole extended family (her husband's side). Basically the only active one in the family is her husband's mother, Mercedes, and she is awesome! It was kind of crazy but it was good. The theme was about the Family Proclamation to the World were it says, "Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." We had all of the kids go around with one concept each (on a puzzle piece) and explain what it was then put it in the puzzle. When we flipped it over, it was a family! :) How creative, huh? Haha, it was fun though. The kids loved it and the parents learned a lot too. I love teaching people about the family proclamation and helping them see just how inspired it is.
Last week we got to do exchanges with the other Spanish sisters and it was my first time ever getting to be the one to go to someone else's area, so that was fun. I got to go down to North Branch and work with Hermana Evens, "my baby!" I might have made her make me pancakes for breakfast since she forgot to call me on Mother's Day...haha, just kidding, she wanted to. :) It was fun working with her again though. While we were together, we discovered that NJ has this really fun thing it likes to do with the weather where it will be really muggy/humid/overcast all day and then at about 5pm the heavens open and just dump down all the rain it's got for about 10 minutes, then it drizzles for another 5 then stops and clears up. Weird, I know. So if we ever happen to get caught outside when it decides to dump, we get soaked. That happened to me and Hna Evens as we went darting a couple of blocks from our appointment to where the car was parked. I felt like I had just gotten off the rapids ride at hurricane harbor or something. Good times.
We get to go to the temple again this Saturday! Our branch is going too and I am so excited!!! I miss going to the temple so much. There is a special spirit that the temple has that you cannot find anywhere else. That is where I want every one of these people I am working with to be able to go because it truly is the house of the Lord. I will need to soak it in all I can again because the next time won't be until November or so. Manhattan will probably be a little more crazy at this time of year than it was when we went in December but it will be neat to see.
Sorry this email is so random and in short-scatterred chunks but I guess that is the way my mind is working today. The work is really picking up here, which is a huge blessing. I know the potential this area has, we are just working to get it at that again so we can see even more miracles. Little miracles of the Lord are coming each and every day. If you ever think that Heavenly Father doesn't answer prayers, just get up off your knees and try to be the answer to someone else's prayers. As you do that, you will know then that He does and is ever so aware of you. I love this work. I never thought I could love people so much as I do right now. I know it sounds cliche as a missionary, but it is so true. My heart aches for them to come unto Christ! Keep them in your prayers.
Hopefully I'll hear from you all soon. I miss you tons but I love you more!
Hermana Jackson
Pics: 573 - Noche de hogar with the whole family! Maria is down in the front with the kids in the yellow shirt (her son)
559 - me and Hna Cornish in front of our new favorite tag in Paterson. Oh Dominicans. :)
549 - A typical teaching appointment. Meet Wilson. He's Puerto Rican, covered in tattoos, has a really raspy voice and a difficult accent to understand, and I'm pretty sure he's killed someone. But hey, he needs the gospel too, right?

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