Current Address

Sister Jorden Elizabeth Jackson
Philippines Baguio Mission
PO Box 115
National Highway
Brgy. Lingsat
San Fernando, La Union

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why did the chicken climb the tree?

For reals though, I was sitting in a lesson and who would have thought I’d be thinking, “I hope all those chickens in that tree don’t poop on me!” Just another day in the Philippines!

On Tuesday, we had a wonderful quad zone Christmas party. President and Sister Balledos are great! They gave us some training, then a delicious catered lunch, followed with a gift exchange! Afterwards each zone performed a little 10 minute Christmas production. Then we watched a Babylonian movie! “We are Marshall”! The whole day was so great – filled with friends, laughter and good times. In his opening comments for the day, President said, “We are doing our best to show you your Heavenly Father’s love for you.” I am so privileged to serve in the Baguio mission at the same time as President and Sister Balledos! It makes being away from home during the Christmas season a little more doable.

Before showing the new Bible nativity video, President challenged each of us to think, “What does Christ want me to do?” during the video. I challenge each of you to think that and watch the movie. I received some pretty cool inspiration!

Wednesday morning, I prayed and promised the Lord that I would work even harder than I had before. Do you know what happened? The Lord blessed me with a cloudy, drizzly, WINDY day! It was so amazing! I was able to work more efficiently and listen better because the sun wasn’t zapping all of my energy – but really because the Lord helped me keep my promise to Him. “The Lord doesn’t make up the difference – He makes all the difference!” (Courtesy of Sister Golightly)

Top 3 new investigators this week:

·         Alvin and Imelda – we taught them twice this week. It was so great! They live in Saudi Arabia, but are here for Christmas. They leave in 20 days. The lessons with their family are so great! Yesterday, Alvin said the closing prayer to the “Plan of Salvation” lesson and asked the Lord to let us share our message with every person in San Fernando. I love their family! They make my mission worth it. 

·         Medemail – when we talked to her randomly on the street, we gave her a pamphlet about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Gehards turned to me (expecting me to explain it) and all I could think to talk about was families being together forever. After I finished talking, Sister Gerhards didn’t explain the pamphlet any further. When we walked away, she told me the only thing she could think of to say was about families! When we returned to teach her, we found out that her son has severe mental damage from a hit and run. She told us that our message brought her so much peace and comfort. She said she knew we were messengers from God.

·         Alexandra – we gave her a Book of Mormon this week and asked her to read the title page. She said she knew it would be a good book so she would finish the whole thing! I am so impressed by the faith of these people. Throughout the whole lesson she kept thanking God that we came to her. 

Perks of trying to speak Tagalog:

·         Courage – when an investigator told us, “A missionary tried to give me a Book of Mormon but I gave it back to him and slammed the door on his face” and I had no idea what he just said, but I recognized "Book of Mormon," so I just pulled one out, handed it to him and said “This is for you. It is the Word of God”!

·         Temperance – when another person was going on and on trying to Bible bash with me and all I understood was “You’re going to Hell!” all I could do is share a simple testimony of Jesus Christ. No engaging in contention for me!

·         Humility – Have never been so humbled in my life. I literally cannot do anything that I need to do without the Lord. I need Him all the time. I am so grateful for His constant help. Learning Tagalog has definitely compelled me to be humble. 

·         More spiritually in tune – Since I cannot understand what anyone is saying, I have to rely on the spirit to know what I should testify about in a lesson. Although sometimes I am totally off base, I am learning every day to listen to the spirit. 

Thank you for all the prayers! I can really feel them. I love and miss ya’ll so much! Have a maligayang pasko! I love this gospel so much! I love our Savior. He is truly the greatest gift God has given us. Try to give something to or do something for Him this Christmas.
And every day!

Here’s the link to the new Bible nativity video:

 dito sa area ko

My kasama and I outside the Sister Training Leader's apartment where we are staying

 Mission Christmas Party!

The San Fernando Zone

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nakakanos Ako! (I will survive!)

This week was super hard! I feel like there are not words to describe why being a missionary is hard – you just have to experience it yourself. For those of you considering serving a mission, I offer a little advice: know why you are serving. Decide now that you will NEVER quit. Because you will probably want to. And you will need to draw strength from knowing why you chose to serve a mission. And you will need to go in knowing you will not quit.

Saturday, after tracting for 3 hours with no luck, someone let us in! We taught the whole first lesson to Susie (27), her nephew Luke (11) and her mom. It was so great! I didn’t really know what my companion was teaching (still), but the spirit was there and Susie could feel it. We invited her to come to church with us and she said yes! Everyone says yes when we invite them, because they don’t want to offend us, but then they don’t come. BUT GUESS WHO CAME TO CHURCH THE NEXT MORNING?! SUSIE!! It was so cool to see the fruits of our labors. It made the long, long Saturday worth it. J

We had a ward party on Friday night! Who would have guessed I would ever look forward to a ward party so much? It was super fun. The ward asked us (8 missionaries) to do an intermission act thing half way through the party. We did a “Carol of the Bells” number. It was so fun! Everyone in the ward is kind of tone deaf, so they were just so impressed with our beautiful singing and crazy gestures. Did I mention… it was SO fun!! I have a sweet video of all of us waving imaginary bells and singing random parts.

And now for the good stuff…
·         I ate meat that was covered with a blood chocolate sauce. It tastes as good as it sounds. J
·         A ward member was asking me if I was full, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying (shocker, right?) Then he said, “How do you spell it? F-O-L-L. I said, “Oh, hindi (no) F-U.” They understood what I said. So embarrassing.
·         About 300 mosquitoes flew out of my towel when I pulled it off the clothes line. I think I will hang it up to dry inside now.

That’s all for this week. 
I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.
I love you and pray for you!

Pictures of my beautiful area

I got to reunite with these fav. sistas at a "New Missionary Training" meeting on Friday. It had only been 1 week, but it felt like forever since I had seen them.

My trainer, her trainer, and me. (3 generation photo)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Call Me Sister Dora

I have left the MTC and I am now exploring a new area! 
My new companion's name is Sister Gerhards. She is wonderful! I love her. She is from Manila and has been out for almost 8 months now! During our “Amazing Race" activity on Thursday (the day before transfers) I met her at the learn-how-to-wash-your-clothes-in-a-bucket station, and seriously thought, "I hope she will be my companion!" She had such a happy aura and kind smile. She is delightful! After we were assigned as companions, in our first companion study, she told me that she has been praying for a really happy companion that will lift her spirits. She said she is always happy, but lately she has been less and less happy. But when she met me on Thursday she could tell that I was a happy person and wanted to be my companion. She said I give off contagious energy — Awe…so nice. 
I miss Sister Golightly so much! But, guess what?!? Since we are both opening brand new areas they don't have apartments for us yet so we are BOTH staying at the Sister Training Leader’s apartment for now! I am so happy! It’s great to see her in the morning and at night and talk about our days. It’s like a little piece of the MTC... I miss that place :) Not being her kasama is like a terrible breakup- and we literally are never ever ever getting back together. But I know that I am with Sister Gerhards for a reason (probably because if Sister Golightly and I were together, we wouldn't be able to talk to anyone) and I am so blessed to be her companion. 
The language. It’s definitely not what they taught me in the MTC. To give you a feel for what my days are like, imagine being at a party and someone tells an inside joke that everyone gets, and laughs at, except you. All the time. The only words I have recognized so far have been "dead" "little" and "house." It’s rough. I don't really feel like I am fulfilling my purpose as a missionary because I can't talk to anyone! I trust in the Lord. I know this is where He wants me to be. I know that I will be able to talk to people in the Lord’s time. I know that He wants me to talk to people, because He called me to the Philippines and He also called me to speak Tagalog. 
I am not actually in Baguio; my area is in Sevilla, which is really close to San Fernando. Everyone is so welcoming! They pull over chairs and give us what little they have--- drinks, sometimes meals. The members have such strong testimonies and such kind hearts. It is super-hot here.  My favorite thing: the fans. (I am sweaty all the time.) But I love it!
Since we are in a new area, we don’t have an area book. We also don't have a map of our area. Or a list of ward members names (they are bringing a ward that was previously split back together because so many people went inactive). So our first night (Friday), we pretty much just walked a bunch and tried to figure out where our area is. We found a part-member family and shared a message with them. I memorized the baptismal invitation in Tagalog in the MTC, so when my companion looked at me, I shared it. Woohoo! One of the daughters, Nicole, said yes! It was really cool. We wandered around some more, met some more people we could teach and headed home. 
Saturday was more of the same thing. So was Sunday. We don't have any real investigators because of our situation with the area. Our bishop invited all the missionaries in the ward (4 sets of sisters!) over for lunch on Sunday. After lunch, he showed us around so we could finally know where our area is. He introduced us to some members, who then walked around with us and introduced us to more members. So many names and faces and places! I am so thankful for the help from the members! So thankful! If they didn't help us out we would still just be wandering around. But now we at least know where we can tract! It’s really hard for me to remember all the names because they are Filipino, so I have a hard time pronouncing them and remembering them. Our area is really poor, so there aren't street names or addresses for people either. We have to just remember what streets to turn on based off of recognizing them. But it’s ok! I’m sure with practice I will remember more. 
One of my favorite people that we met was named Sister Fisher. Everyone we talked to, once they found out we were Mormon, asked if we knew Sister Fisher. So I knew before I met her that she was a strong member. She was so welcoming! She is on kidney dialysis and has a hard time walking around and doing a lot of things. And her house is pretty much just like camping. But she bore such a strong testimony to us and expressed so much gratitude for all she has been given. It was so beautiful. 
Another sister that we met last night looks like Grandmother Willow from Pocahontas. She told us (in English! It was great!) that her husband died when her children were little. People told her to just collect money from the government, but she wanted to be self-reliant. She had a little booth in the market where she sold things all day in order to send her kids to school and feed them. She said sometimes it would be five o’clock and she didn't have enough money for food for the day. She would bow her head and ask Heavenly Father to provide a way for her to feed her family. She testified that he always did. They never went hungry. When she joined the church and decided to keep the Sabbath day holy, she would pray on Saturday to earn enough for two days. Sometimes it wouldn't be a lot, but they always had a little food on Sunday. Sometimes she would earn double on Saturday. It was so inspiring to hear about her humble, powerful story. She also told us that she has prayed, ever since her husband died, to be able to stay alive and take care of her children until they can take care of themselves. Wow. 
Strange things:
-Walking around in the dark my first night, we saw (by the light of our flashlight) a life size statue that was super creepy looking! Kept me on my toes for the rest of the night. Who puts that in their front yard anyways?! 
-When we went into Nicole’s house, a dog stole my left shoe and Sister Gerhards’ right shoe. All the kids ran around looking for them for us, and we were a little worried! It was only 5, so we had to stay out for 4 more hours! With only one shoe? But the kids found her croc and my slobbery gnawed on Tom. Oh well! Adds character to them :)

Thank you all for your support, love and prayers,
Sister J

Bus ride to the mish office. Gwapa! Gwapa!

Jeepney ride!
The last time we will all be together for who knows how long. It was such a privilege to rub shoulders with these ladies at the Missionary Training Center

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I made it to the most beautiful place in the world!


We made it! After our flight got delayed in Japan, we had just enough time to go to the hotel, take a quick shower, get ready for the day and hop on the bus! This place is so magical. I love it already! The colorful houses, friendly people, and picturesque landscape stole my heart! I will spend until Friday afternoon here at the mission home learning all about the Philippines Baguio mission and fun little things like how to wash your clothes in a bucket and much more!
My mission president and first lady are lovely people! They are so kind, easy going and wonderful! 
I feel so blessed to have such delightful leaders. 

Mahal kayo ko!
Sister J

P.S. I am famous for eating termites (I guess in my letter to my mission president I said I ate termites). Right when all thirty missionaries sat down, they asked, "Who's the one who likes to eat termites?" An elder in my district, knowing me so well, shouted out, "Sister Jackson!" hahaha