Current Address

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

Monday, December 29, 2014


It was such a great Christmas. Christmas as a missionary is so hard. But then it’s not really hard at the same time. It’s easy. It’s hard to be far away from all the family, friends and fun. But I realized that celebrating Christmas as a missionary is the BEST because it’s so easy to remember Christ. It’s so easy to be happy as long as you focus on your purpose as a missionary. This Christmas was probably one of the best Christmases of my life.


December 23 – we spent the evening cutting chicken and wrapping presents! Getting ready to make tacos and give out pictures of the Manila temple on Christmas!

December 24 – ok, today wasn't THAT interesting. We did service for one of our investigators in the morning. We helped her make kakanin (sticky rice with a cheese-milk topping…mmmm delicious! Don’t worry family, I’ll make it for you when I get home). She had a huge order to make. It took some muscle to halo-halo (mix, but we had to pull up as we went) that big pot of sticky rice for a half an hour over a fire. I’m so grateful she let us serve her. It was so nice of her to teach us how to make it.  #sosweaty #memories

Making kakanin

Finished kakanin

Christmas eve – my housemates and companion decided to call home and talk to their families. It was kind of spur-of-the-moment. Sister Korosauu called her family, and as we all overheard her talking with them in Fijian she sounded so happy! So Sister Alpes decided to call her family. Just for 5 minutes. Then my companion Sister Apin called her family for 5 minutes and after she got off the phone everyone was quiet. Good thing I had a bunch of surprises planned for Christmas Eve:

  • Gingerbread houses (out of crackers and candy)! This is the first time my companion had ever made one!
  • Keeping traditions alive, I got us all matching leopard print jammies #gmagpajackson
  • More of keeping traditions alive, lip sync! (to an EFY song, but it was still super fun)

Presents for my housemates: matching Christmas PJs

modeling our matching PJs

Movie night! We dragged a mattress out into the kitchen, piled up all the pillows in our house and watched Legacy. My companion even made popcorn!

(Writing this out makes me realize how simple it was, but hey, everyone was busy so no one had time to be homesick!)

December 25 – Christmas morning – we woke up and went on a run to Jollieebee! Pancake breakfast! After we got home I opened the package from home. Thanks Great Grandma Penn, Sherwins, Merrills, and Judi Tenney for thinking of me! I appreciate the much needed personal items, clothes and snacks. 

I had two Christmas wishes this year. (1) For someone to play with my hair. (2) Letters. Oh my goodness – I got a whole book full of letters from family and friends. Thank you so much for taking the time to write me, and for sending your smiling faces. It is something I will keep forever.

Our gifts (pictures) all wrapped and ready to go!

We went out to work! Our first stop was the Lucben home. When they set the picture of the temple out on the table and started talking about how they want to go there someday and how they heard from other members the feeling you have when you go inside is just “light,” the feeling in their house changed.

Our next stop was to see Elma! We shared the Christmas story from the Book of Mormon with her. She loved it.

We had Christmas lunch and a gift exchange at our branch president’s house. I drew Bro. Oliver’s name and he drew mine. Who knew? 

Christmas lunch

Christmas gift exchange

After the festive lunch we visited the Gaerland family’s house. They were just as happy as can be. Mama G was excited to receive a Book of Mormon from us because her brother has one.

The Fangonilo family loved the picture of the temple too. I’m totally squatting in this picture!

When Raquel opened the picture of the temple she said, “I can’t wait to go back there.”

Tatay Memerto kissed his Book of Mormon when he opened it. He used to have all the scriptures, but they got lost and damaged moving and in floods. He said, “it’s been so long!” THEN he told us the BEST NEWS EVER! Everytime we visit he tells us that the time will come that he will come back to church, that he just isn’t ready yet. Well, on Christmas he told us, “My sisters, this January I am returning to church!” YESSS!! We asked him how the Word of Wisdom was going. He said he only had a few shots earlier that day. Haha. Our little message to their family was super funny because of the random uncle who was hanging out there, TOTALLY drunk, giving us random “Praise Jesus!” and “Hallelujah!” throughout.

Nanay Liza got teary when she opened her gift. She just kept saying, “Wow! Wow!” and couldn’t stop smiling.

I got a stolen shot! Nanay Luz smiling! She is one tough cookie, but we melted her heart this Christmas. Bro. Domingo loved his gift. Ties! Now he doesn’t have to borrow any when he passes the sacrament! His expressions were priceless.

That night at our house we had a little gift exchange. I wrapped everything separately for my companion so she would have lots of gifts to open. I even put one shoe in one package and the other shoe in another!


December 26 – Skype with my family! It sort of feels like a dream. They said I have an accent. Toby and Spencer are both a lot taller now. Spencer’s voice changed. I talked with Whit about dating. I talked with Em about going to college. Just kind of crazy how much has changed, but also how everything that is important is still the same.


December 22, 2014

The story of Martha and Mary has always sort of troubled me. Martha is busy trying to get everything ready in the house because they were hosting Jesus. She was probably cooking and cleaning and a frazzled mess. As you would say it mom, she needed “all hands on deck” to get everything ready on time. She just needed a little help!

But here is what happened:

Luke 10: 38-42

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

I thought of this story again this week as we were teaching. I came across a lot of “Marthas” and quite a few “Marys” as well. E, a less active we have been visiting for quite some time now promised us earlier this week that she will come to church after Christmas…she said business is just too good. She won’t close either of her two stores to come to church. 

But then there is D, who told us this week that she can’t fall asleep without reading the Book of Mormon. She told us that before she had a Book of Mormon she would just watch TV in the evenings and she would have bad dreams every night. But, ever since we gave her the Book of Mormon she said she doesn’t really watch TV because she just wants to read.

We met Elma’s husband this week. He was a little bit drunk. But he was honest. :) And he is a nice drunk, so that’s good. He told us how much he loves his family, how he works for them all day so that he can put food on the table and provide for their needs. He also said that he moved to their current house because that’s where Elma’s parents live and she is the only one “in his heart” *tender*

He went back to drinking with his buddies and Elma fed us dinner. She cooked sopas, pancit and even had peanut butter and bread because it was CJs birthday – he turned 2! They made us the guests of honor at his party. So nice! After the meal we taught Elma about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. From her comments it was easy to tell that she is willing to give up her sins in order to enter God’s kingdom.

I am so grateful to be a missionary and to teach wonderful people that help me understand the teachings of Christ. I hope that whatever the season, Christmas or 4th of July, that we can choose the good part, like Mary did, which is Christ. It’s as simple as that – am I filling my time with things that will draw me closer to Christ, or are the things I’m doing moving me away from Him?

Talk to you soon family! I can’t wait! 

The Ordinario family - the ones who "adopted" us as their 14th and 15th children. picture!

We helped Nanay Antonia Ordinario harvest rice for a bit. :)

We decorated Bro. Domingo's house for Christmas!! He loved it! So did Luz, his wife (she just wouldn't admit it) :) There were more streamers all over the house - thanks for sending them, mom!


At the branch Christmas party


December 15, 2014

You know Jonah? From the Old Testament? Here’s a brief summary as a refresher:

God called Jonah to Nineveh. Nineveh was an enemy of Jonah's country, Israel, so Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Jonah tried to hid from God and avoid the calling. He tried to travel elsewhere by ship. But there was a terrible storm. Jonah knew that God had caused the storm, so he asked the sailors to throw him into the sea. Jonah didn’t drown because God sent a whale to swallow him. Jonah prayed to God and thanked Him. God caused the fish to return Jonah to the dry land. Jonah went to Nineveh. He warned the people that they must repent of their evil deeds otherwise, God would destroy their nation. The people repented and God forgave them.

We all shake our heads and think, “Jonah, you idiot! You can’t hide from God! What are you thinking?” But then, we all do it. “Oh, I’m not going to gossip, I’ll just tell you this ONE story; don’t tell anyone else…” or “I’ll pay my tithing…next week.” Why do we think we can hide from God?

As missionaries, sometimes people hide from us. It makes me sad because we just want to help them come closer to Christ. But we will keep trying with them…and it makes the successes that much sweeter!

Elma is one of my favorite investigators. Is that bad? I love them all, of course. I just love how inquisitive Elma is. It shows that she is listening and that she cares. This week we taught her the Word of Wisdom. As my companion explained the “pagkain na bawal” (forbidden foods) Elma listened intently. Then she asked, “Why is coffee bawal?” My companion continued explaining but then Elma answered her own question…”I probably won’t understand why it’s bawal until I try abstaining from it. I’ll just stop drinking coffee, then I’ll know.” #faith #actionbeforeanswers

She also had a great question about The Plan of Salvation when we taught her about life before earth. She said, “My sister and I were talking about that when we were pregnant. When does the soul enter the body of the baby? From the mom? Or when it’s born?”

Another great insight from Elma: after we read about Adam and Eve in 2 Nephi 2:22-25 she said, “Huh. So if Adam and Eve didn't eat the fruit, we wouldn't be here on earth.”

Bro. Domingo passed the sacrament on Sunday! One of the Elders loaned him a tie and our branch mission leader traded shoes with him so that he could have black shoes. He looked so good! And so happy! He told us later that day, “It felt like I had wings!”

MOM! Thanks for the Christmas packages. We LOVE the decorations. My companion said in her prayer that night, “Thank you for Sister Jackson’s family, that they sent us beautiful Christmas decorations so we can feel the Christmas spirit.” *tender* The first Christmas away from home is so hard!

We are going to use the extras to decorate Bro. Domingo’s house. 

Thanks for the new shoes!! This will be the last time in my life that I will open a box and exclaim, "CROCS!" I got blisters pretty bad the first day though. Not because they were too small, but because my feet were too big. My feet are all swollen from mosquito and ant bites. At the end of the day I just took off my shoes. I don't know if Sister Apin felt bad, or if she just wanted to join in the fun, but she took her shoes off too. :)

P.S. I might get a lil homesick next week - Christmas and all. But I really actually don't want to come home. Not because I don't love home, and not because I love the mission. I just really love serving the Savior. And it's SO EASY to serve the Savior ALL THE TIME when I am a missionary. :)