Current Address

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

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

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