Monday, December 23, 2013

!Feliz Navidad!

"hello, hi, how are yuh, como esta(n)?"- a message from a gringa secretary of someone we tried to get a hold of. WOW, it's Christmas? not real. Our apartment definitely feels Christmassy haha, thats not even a problem. But it's so balmy here and just an odd thought. ANYWAY. First off I'd life to give Scoz a nice FELIZ CUMPLEANOS!!! Gettin old there papi.
So what a week i've had! We went into our lesson with Carlos and family worried, because a few days prior when we asked his "wife" how the divorce papers were going she said they were having problems. But, as always, we were amazed. First, Carlos should have the papers done pretty soon- they found some kind of loop-hole! Second, Sarah ("wife") quite her job and is looking for a new one so she can come to church every week! Third, CARLOS STOPPED SMOKING for the first time in 35 years!! We're stoked for him and can't believe how much faith they have. Also, we had to change the baptismal date to February 9 so they can actually reach it. It will be Carlos' birthday, so that should be really special. Now the heartbreaking news of the week.. We had been working with a senora named Nati with her two little kids (9 and 6) and she was so solid, coming to church every week, good friends with Hermana Lopez in our ward, came to the Christmas party.. Seriously, solid. This last Sunday she wasn't at church. In our lesson we asked her about it and apparently her husband found a new full-time job, she said it's probably because they had been praying and he goes, "yeah, let's go to church this week.. to our church". She loved the idea because she really wanted the whole family to go to church all together. So they went to their catholic church and loved it. I honestly felt as if I was being broken up with while she was telling us through her tears how much she loved it and that it reminded her of being in Peru with her mom. So we were dumped. It hurt super bad, but maybe it's just not the right time for her. Next item of business, the Christmas devotional with all the missionaries in the mission and the presidency! We've got some big things happening to the mission! First, we're going viral. We've been taking a survey for online proselyting since a little after I got here and next month we are all hittin Facebook. I'll be on my same facebook account, but I need to go through and "clean it up" and such. I can tell you more of the details WEDNESDAY! Second, it used to be a rule that we could only go to the temple on the last day of our mission. But President Berry thinks it would really help the work if we could attend twice a year so we're going next month!!!! I can't even tell you how excited I am! Wow, that'll be the best. Anyway, life is wonderful here and I'm enjoying every minute. I love that I get to experience so many different cultures! We meet everyone from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Uruguay, to Peru. It's a lil hard to catch on to all the lingo sometimes (Puerto Rico basically has their own vocabulary) and the accents throw me off every once in a while haha, but it's a grand ol' time. Not sure what else I wanted to tell you about this lovely place, but I guess I'll write it down for Wednesday haha. So excited to see you all and praying really hard that it works! I should be calling around 12:30 or 1 so keep your ears open. I love you all and I really hope you keep in mind our savior this Christmas! FELIZ NAVIDAD :)

Love, Sista Jackson


Ma girlfrens from Mexico! 
Nothin says Christmas like a taqueria 

 The luckiest sistas ever! Look at that tree! (first time i've ever threaded popcorn haha)
As we've seen the fruits of planning and know of its' importance... We planned our fiesta precisely

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recognizing Simple Things ...

Hey there fam! First I would like to shout out to Mama and Papa for the solid "missionary purpose" in espanol!! haha I LOVED IT. I'm proud of you mama, you're doing great :) Also, mamacita came through for the biggest win yet again with a package of twelve days of christmas scriptures! They look lovely under our 3 ft. tree! Wow, so I need to get goin on the week here.. First off, I received some more background on good ol Eladio. Not only was he a supreme court judge, but he fled the country with his family in the middle of the night in the trunk of a car! what?! haha he keeps getting cooler and cooler. He was confirmed yesterday in sacrament meeting and then interviewed after church to hold the aaronic priesthood. He will do great things, we're so so excited for him. Wednesday I had exchanges with a lil twist.. Sister Ward from Payson came to MY area and I was somehow the hefe for the day. Most stressful thing ever haha. I was also the only one of us who knew spanish (and by know, i mean not really at all hahaha), but somehow we both survived and the area is still in tact. I learned a lot that day- 1. that my incredible trainer does way more than I even thought she did! So now I'm trying really hard to even things out there. 2. I can speak spanish and I'm doing just fine. Obviously I'm not the best at spanish, and lessons go 100 times better with 2- there's a reason we teach in twos- but I can do it and the Lord is helping me! Much to my surprise, I gained more confidence that day. As for the rest of the week, we had lots of lessons fall through, but we did our best and that's what matters! Friday night was a bit of a drag and maybe some frustration building up. We went to an apartment complex to do come quick contacting before the ward party and the only door we knocked on, second floor, went something like this: The cutest person, Evalyn- probably about 25- opened the door with the biggest smile and said, "oh are you the mormons?" Come to find out her step brother is LDS and served a mission as well. She told us she understands how hard that would be and asked us if we wanted a treat or anything. We couldn't, but she told us to come back any time we needed to "rest and cry about things" haha. That right there told me that God is looking out for me as well and it was just what WE needed in the right time. Saturday night came around and it was starting to test me a lil bit. I found myself thinking, "make it to tomorrow" and instantly I smiled and thought, "NO, I have the choice to make the best out of this". I then thought of Mama and her quote, "it's not about you." I realized how important it is for me to create the type of atmosphere for the Lord to be able to work through me and reach the people of this area. Again, we were blessed with really sweet people to brighten our day. So although we didn't see the kind of success we've seen in the past few weeks in numbers or whatever else, we opened up to see the less-noticeable miracles and they were just as amazing! I'm truly loving my time here and couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity. I love that I get to be here for Christmas and think of the true meaning of it all. To learn of my savior all day every day and to bring other people to learn of him as well. I love you all, can't wait to talk to you :) speaking of, I'm thinkin 1 here. 11 Utah time and 7 Spain time (If my calculations are correct- finger to the bridge of the nose). Lemme know how that works for yall! preferably at the top of an email in bold capital letters.. 

XOXO, Hermana Jackson


 Filling the font ...

dont mention our beauty.. it was a rough day haha 

 SURPRISE, pres. Berry called this week and said I could start driving.. WEEEIRD.
 We had to get one of us decorating  with egg nog.
Our treeeee! thanks to Mama Allred!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Life Couldn't Be Better!

wow wow wow! where do I even start?! We've had quite the week here in Windy mcWindy Ridge East! First of all lets start by last Monday night when we had our baptismal interview for Eladio.. haha We get to the church (after frantically finding a ride for him) and his ride takes off telling us they can come back if we really need them to. Then, our district leader asks for the baptismal record and we had no idea we were supposed to bring it. Then he asks for the key to the chapel.. what? Sooo we called the olympia sisters and they were kind to bring a record and elder romero just interviewed him outside. Our ride ended up coming back after a few minutes of waiting and all was well. Are we both new or something? I swear we read the pmg section and the paper in the binder, but there wasn't anything on bringing the key or record. Turns out that it's actually kinda funny and I learned for next time. Speaking of the next baptism!!!.. Our dear friends Carlos, Norma and Luciano. Norma is a less active member and has work on sundays. Carlos has never been a member but missionaries have been working with them for a while i guess. They've been so so sweet to us and feed us and just have the sweetest spirit about their home (apartment). This last week they had the divorce papers for Carlos to divorce his old wife so he and Norma can get married here soon. They have lots to fill out and everything but we challenged them to have them all finished by the time we meet with them this weekend. They're so ready to do it and we couldn't be more excited for them!! Carlos is still smoking a lil bit, but trying really hard. We are sending scriptures to them lots to help and his son is helping him quit as well. I really can't even describe my love for that family!!! I'm so excited for them to get married. Oh. AND we set a date for his baptism for Jan. 12! K now I want to tell you about the coolest experience on Saturday. So recently our district leader taught us how he weekly plans and nightly plans. WE. ARE. HOOKED. We're so converted to how much planning matters and changes everything. So we had been planning to go to a certain place on Saturday, but the day before received a media referral in a different place who wanted a spanish Book of Mormon. So we decided to head down there. We took the book to them (actually had a lesson with them this morning as well, but they speak english so we're passing them off) and then when we got back to the car to decide where to contact, Sister Allred mentioned the less-active families one apartment complex over. Wait, before we took the spanish book of mormon to the referral, I thought i'd put an english book of mormon in my bag (so odd cause we never give away english ones and weren't even able to contact in there or there was a possibility we could be arrested). So we knocked on the three less-active doors and on the last one they mentioned how they had lived there for 3 years and didn't know who the family we were looking for was. We proceeded to tell them who we were and immediately the lady calls "Michael, come here". He comes to the door and as we tell him who we are, he steps out, shuts the door behind him and starts telling us a story. He had been in an awful car crash the saturday before at 4 in the morning on a deserted street and when he woke up, he couldn't find a way out of the car. He found a broken window and some man showed up to help him out. He sat down and cried and the next thing he knew a state trooper was there and had happened to be driving by. He was on the verge of tears and told us he should have died and that he's never been a religious person until this experience and now he wonders if there is a God. We then testified to him that we were sent there for him and that our message was from God and could change his life. We told him that if he finds that this gospel is true and everything, he could change his life and asked if he would be baptized. He said yes three times and explained that he didn't even know what that meant but he would do it. I then pulled out the english book of mormon and told him about it. Then I happened to have an english restoration pamphlet in my bag as well! We handed him to the enlglish elders in the area, but I truly know that God sent us there at that specific time for Michael. It was the most powerful experience that I can't even explain. 
Ok, and now for yesterday.. Eladio came to sacrament with his brother-in-law, but his brother in law felt sick after so they left (bummer!). BUT he was there early for his baptism and so ready to go! However, sister allred and I got to the church an hour early to find that the font wasn't filled or being filled! The elders who were transfered from our ward this week were supposed to do it. So, with the elders and sisters at the chapel from another ward helped us run water buckets back and forth and we got it done in about 45 minutes hahaha. It was the funniest, but most stressful thing ever. The baptism was beautiful, and Eladio shared his testimony. It was the most sincere and sweet testimony of how he knows this is for him and everything. sister allred and i got to bear our testimonies toward the end and both lost it (not too bad, we held it together pretty well) but then our ward mission leader announces a special number by us which we had kinda planned on, but the elder that was supposed to sing was transferred and such.. soooo I had a solo while sister Allred played "Creo en Cristo". Oh my heavens, I could have died I was so nervous. I hardly even sing in groups, but it was just me in front of a large group of our ward haha. After it was over, one of the girls in the ward goes, "yeah, he was a supreme court judge in Venezuela, my brother in law recognized him from tv..." (in english) hahaha whaaat? Weird how the last few months of teaching him we never caught "supreme court judge" cause we only really know religious spanish words haha. We knew he was super smart and wrote a huge book though. Anyway, It was such a beautiful night, topped off with the Christmas devotional :) 
Also, I lied, it's not chilly here.. That was only a lil cold spell cause it's toasty here still! K gotta run, I love you all so much!! Thanks for all that you do for me and the examples that you are to me!! 
Con Carino, Hermana Jackson

Monday, December 2, 2013

Adventure is Out There ...

HOLA! Thanks so much for all the wonderful emails fam! ALSO, Mamacita with the win with dearelder!!! I received a package with some yummy pumpkin bread and a lil email/letter in the mail!! I loved it, thanks mama! I'd love some pictures from everyone- in emails even. Ok here goes my week... Name of the week: Fenide (fe-need). 
Carlos and Norma: he's doing really well with quitting smoking. We only get to see him once a week and he didn't make it to church this week unfortunately. But he said last week that he invited a friend at work to come to church and he might be joining in on the lessons! Carlos is seriously the coolest person!! He has the sweetest heart and really wants to get baptized and married. We challenged him to get his divorce papers taken care of before we meet with him this week so lets hope he gets that done! 
Wednesday Hermana Allred and I just about died.. cause: comida. I miss being able to not eat when I don't want to and such. We had lunch at 2 with Hermana Cabrera from the ward and she fed us the largest bowl of soup with potatoes, meat, rice, etc. She then tells us she made "arroz con leche" for us... We gulped it down and headed to the Apontes for a short lesson. Mery sits us down and says, "I've got something for you from Venezuela, it's a cake they love at Thanksgiving"... I've never had a more dense piece of cake in my life. Then we head to the Hernandez home (less actives) and they feed us dinner- sopa con papas, arroz, y meatballs. I coulda blown up. We ate as much as we could to make it look like we came hungry and finally had to tell them we would like to take it home. Just when we think we're in the clear, she brings out a piece of meat for us to each try a piece. It was liver. I prolly coulda handled it a lil better if I hadn't already felt sick, but it was rough. Sister Allred had to go to the bathroom and throw up. I wanted to, haha, but couldn't. 
Thanksgiving was a wonderful day and a solid night at the Ordinola home (he's the second counselor)! They gave us a smorgasbord, but luckily they understood if we didn't eat every lil thing. She also made tamales especially for Hermana Allred y yo! We got to have dinner with the other two companionships in the ward as well- it was way fun! I love their family tons and it was so cool to be included in their holiday. 
Elaudio continues to amaze us as he prepares for his baptism this Sunday!! He's so ready. His wife still gives us a hard time about Jesus Christ and how he's just a normal person like we are.. it breaks my heart actually. My testimony of the Savior was strengthened tons this week when she went on a rant with our member present (Brother Lopez, the ward mission leader). She's still the sweetest lady to us and supports her husband. Elaudio has already read the Book of Mormon, but started again last week so that if our district leader asks him a hard question in the interview, he will know how to answer hahaha. We went over the questions with him already too. The way he gained a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is because he wrote a huge book a while ago and when he read the Book of Mormon, he said, "there's no way he wrote this without God". He's THE BEST! 
K I don't have much more to report but I'll quickly answer some questions and SEND PICTURES! yes, that's right. I got a card reader and I'm alive. Dad- my companion is down to work out every morning. We go to the gym and run and do sit ups and stuff. Despite her willingness to eat unhealthy treats all the time.. haha I've taken over the grocery list a lil bit so that we're only getting healthy things- fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc. There's really only so much we can control on what we eat though.. unfortunately. Also, believe it or not, it's getting slightly chilly here! nooo. But it's fine. I'll get a sweater or two at target. We ride bikes for about 2 days a week and whenever we are staying around here. We're having a grand old time together and already decorating and making plans for the Christmas season. Her family is THE BOMB and sent way cool Christmasy decorations and such for us haha. We just about had a heart attack on Saturday when the Zone Leaders called about transfers and tried to make us think we would be transferred. All is well though, we're together. K I love you all, I hope Thanksgiving was wonderful! I'm so so grateful for your thoughts and prayers! Have a great one!

Love, Hermana Jackson

Also, last night at a member's house they had a golden doodle. I laughed so hard and thought I could have been dreaming cause she did all the same things as Millhouse! Hope you're taking care of her at the house!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Just pictures...

My punkin

Chick Fil A

Obsessed with the sky here!

Dealing with Ronnie (the roach)

Miss Sally from the dancing days

The cages on the back of homes that intrigue me.

Sister Heiner

Our board of things to do for Elaudio… We obviously don't know what we're doing haha. It looks like a shrine.

No words needed - Dave will understand

Our District! (Elder Waller from BYU behind me)

Leaves sent from utah to help us feel like it was autumn. Woulda been better with a palm tree in back.

Hannah - the sweetest lil thing! We're obsessed with her.