Current Address

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

All You Need is Love

I LOVED the package you sent this week! Seriously, it made my week! Goldfish? Genius! I would be walking along the dirt road all day and remember I had a pack of Goldfish, or Trail Mix in my bag, and my heart would SING! It was seriously PERFECTLY random. I saved the yoga pants to try on later today. Gotta spread the LOVE! I wish I could express how thankful I am. I have the BEST family EVER!

This week I got to develop my farmer's tan and my calf muscles! We walked a lot, had a lot of all-tracting-no-teaching days, but really, it was still a happy week. 

My MTC teacher had a quote on his wall - "There are two kinds of people in this world. Those you love and those you don't yet understand." As I understand a little bit more of what people say to me, I really can feel my love for them grow. I am grateful that most of our investigators punted us this week because it gave me a chance to practice "understanding" new people!

I love Sister Violetta! She is the best! Honestly, the first time we taught her she was SO SHY we didn't think she could understand Tagalog. Our last lesson with her was on the Word of Wisdom. After we explained the 5 "bawal" pagkain, she asked "Bakit wala leape?" Sis. Gerhards explained again that the Word of Wisdom is revelation from God through Joseph Smith, so it is a commandment. I asked her if she would commit to living the Word of Wisdom "starting right now." Without hesitation she said yes! In her closing prayer she said "Thank you for sending Sister Jackson and Sister Gerhards." We didn't even know she knew our names! On Sunday she beat us to church! When we saw her later today she WAVED at us! And said "Take care!" from across the field! She is seriously amazing! She makes my days worth it!

Aunt Mary, because of your request to "keep it real" here are some HILARIOUS texts from this week and last from one of our investigators. He is 29. He was investigating the church 3 years ago but it fizzled out when he moved to Manila. So we started teaching him again, and he has developed a little crush on me. He doesn't say any of this cheesy stuff to me in person, so that's good! In person he just takes pictures with me (and I invite my companion, other kids, ANYONE else to be in the pictures!) and offers me food. Anyway, here are some of the texts translated (roughly) into English from Tagalog:

  • Goodbye Sister Jackson! Text me if someone makes fun of you on your way home tonight and I will come rescue you! I am your angel of the second Jerusalem
  • Goodnight sweetheart Jackson. I miss you sweetheart Jackson. Sweet dreams!
  • Even if I am the chosen angel of the second Jerusalem, no one else in the Philippines. I will enter your church tomorrow. Wait for me sweetheart Jackson!
  • I will give you everything. I love you. I love you so much! Good night! Sweet dreams
  • I love you so much, I love you so much! If God will give me a reward for being the angel of the second Jerusalem, I will ask for you!
  • If you were a police woman Sister Jackson, I would surrender. Then put me in jail, just make sure, 100%, it's inside your heart.
  • I am the angel of the second Jerusalem sweetheart Jackson! I'll try my best to pull your spirit into an ocean of fire.
  • I am angel of all girls all over the world sweetheart Jackson so I do everything. No devil can touch you sweetheart Jackson!
  • I'm not ready sweetheart, I'll come next Sunday. I'm not ready. Because I am an angel, chosen by the Holy Spirit, blessed virgin Mary, and all apostles.

First of all, I have no idea where "angel of second Jerusalem" came from! Super odd. Also, mom and dad, don't worry we stopped going to see him. And when we did go he lived at a church member's house so the whole family was there (mom, dad and 3 adorable little boys). Even though we never reply, he keeps sending these. We do want to go back because the Rempillios family is AWESOME! The texts have been slowing down, so hopefully they will stop all together!

Another great week living the missionary life! Thank you all for your prayers and support!

This sweet lady turns 99 next month!

We had the most delicious banana qs at a ward member's house. Deep fried bananas coated in sugar! MASARAP!

We just found a new restaurant that serves hummus! 
It was masarap as well!!

Our beautiful area!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I had to make that the title, cause it’s such great news! Thank you for all of your prayers! I think I am finally starting to get the hang of things here… 6 weeks later! My conversational Tagalog understanding is probably less than 5% but my understanding of Gospel vocabulary, topics and conversations has made a huge improvement. My favorite moment of this week was when Sister Gerhards and I were helping out the new missionaries and one of them asked me, “When do you go home? You go home soon, right?” Made my week!

Helping the new missionaries on Thursday was super fun! We went to their companion study and helped them practice “Preach by the Way” by first being someone super nice and receptive; then being someone super mean. I was way mean! It was too fun! It reminded me of the first Thursday Sister Golightly and I spent in the Philippines and did the same activity. Sister Taliavo was our PBTW candidate and she just straight up walked away. She was such a good actress, we couldn’t tell if she was faking it or not! Sister Taliava is now Sis. Go’s house mate. :) We also helped a group of 8 new missionaries get on a jeepney to the plaza, and then go around the plaza doing Preach by the Way. They were so adorable! After the activity, Sis. Gerhards and I said goodbye and one of the elders said “Wait! How are we going to get back without you?” Ha ha so cute!

We had some really great lessons this week! Oh my goodness. One night we were walking back from a lesson that we taught with a ward member. Sister Gerhards was talking to her and I was walking behind them a bit because the streets are too narrow for 3 in a row. I saw a woman walk up to her gate and I said, “Magandang gabi po!” because at a workshop earlier that day with our zone, I decided to stop and talk to anyone who made eye contact with me that day when I greeted them. She was the first one – and it was 7pm! So I went over and introduced myself (my companion followed) and right away she said, “Pasok!” or “Enter!” which never happens. We sat down and all her teenage/young adult children came in and sat down to listen. That also never happens! Usually Sister Gerhards and I have to persuade the other family members to join in a discussion. Right after the song and prayer their dad came home from work! He changed his clothes and joined us! Never happens! The spirit of the Lord was so strong the whole lesson and the whole family was sitting on the edge of their seats – especially when the ward member taught about Joseph Smith. After she recited the First Vision she asked, “What happened when Joseph Smith prayed?” The dad answered, “He saw God and Jesus.” I love how she helped them gain a testimony even as she was teaching. At the end of the lesson – after accepting commitments to pray, read the scriptures and go to church – Sis. Gerhards looked at me to extend the baptismal invitation. Usually I have no problem with this, but after the perfect lesson I did not want to mess up! I said, “Ayaw ko!” which means “I don’t want to!” but she wouldn’t do it! She is so stubborn sometimes. :) Well, the spirit wouldn’t let me leave without extending it. Even though I did mess it up (I said it too fast and had to repeat it), they ALL verbally said yes!It was seriously a divine lesson. 

Last week a lot of our investigators dropped us and no one was keeping their commitments. Sister Gerhards and I have really been praying for the Lord to prepare people for us to teach. It just works out so much better when the Lord is in control.

Another pretty awesome lesson was with a woman who owns a sari-sari store. She is in her 60s, has bright orange hair and is super adorable! We were trying to find someone else, but she invited us in and asked us, “You’re monsters, right? Wait no! I mean Mormons!” We got a kick out of that. :) At the end of the lesson, I gave a heartfelt baptismal invitation, the spirit was there, and we paused…waiting for her answer…”Meryenda tayo!” which means, “Let’s snack!” We were not expecting that! Take that as a no then! So funny – I wish I could imitate the way she said, “Meryenda tayo!” It was hilarious!

Remember Violetta? Super shy, sweet lady who came to church once back in December? We have tried going to her house multiple times but she has always been gone. And she hasn’t come back to church. But, on Tuesday we caught her at home! We taught a beautiful “Plan of Salvation” lesson. She has been reading the Book of Mormon! And I’m pretty sure when I asked her if she prayed, she nodded a little! At the end of the lesson we asked her to be baptized and she said yes! We then felt like asking her to pray and see if Feb. 22 was a good date for her to get baptized. She said the closing prayer (that’s huge!) and in her prayer instead of asking if Feb. 22 was the right date she said, “Can I please be one of the people baptized on Feb. 22?” She cried. It was beautiful. She came to church yesterday!

Shout out to the Dinkles – a senior missionary couple that had all the Sevillia sisters over for dinner on Sunday. Oh. My. Gosh! Sister Dinkle made casserole with stuffing stuff and chicken. It was so good! And she had a green salad and ROLLS and FRESH HOMEMADE JAM! And for dessert…BROWNIES AND ICE CREAM! I cannot believe I am writing about American food, but seriously. I teared up a bit when I tasted it. We call their house, “Little America.” :) The Dinkles are the best! Ah! I almost forgot! Sister Dinkle sent us each home with a cinnamon roll! I can’t decide if I am going to eat it or just keep smelling it!

I have been reading conference talks as part of my personal study for the past few weeks. I love this quote from Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk, “Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ”
“The Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion. Whereas the Lord warns that unrepented rebellion will bring punishment, when the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it is always with mercy.”

As I look back on the first 6 weeks in the field, I notice some things I could have done better. But, I also think I am a little too hard on myself. Since the Lord looks on our weaknesses with mercy, we too should always look on our weaknesses with mercy. There is a difference between rebellion and weakness, and as long as we constantly turn to Him, I know the Lord will “make weak things become strong.”

Mahal Kita!

P-day waffles!

Trike transportation
Trikes are motorcycles with a sidecar. One person rides side saddle on the back of the motor cycle (which I tried this week, way fun!) and the other three are crammed into the car (as pictured). 

My trainer and her trainer. Her trainer is now heading home!

The Sevellia Ward Sisters

Monday, January 13, 2014

Super sick in week six

Honestly, the best thing about this week is that I survived it! And that my new apartment has an awesome blender. I make [almost] Jamba Juice quality smoothies for the house :)

We have mice. I die. I literally jumped in the kitchen sink when one ran across the room and brushed against my BARE FOOT!!! And then some ate my 72 hr kit that is stored UNDER MY BED!!! Ahhh I almost had a panic attack. BUT thanks to some Christmas money from my grandma and grandpa, I bought 12 traps. I caught 4 lizards, 2 mice, and one HUGE spider so far. I also learned that my mosquito killing skills are at a whole new level. Also, I got really sick on Friday, but I am feeling better now.

We extended some baptismal invitations this week and people said YES! But, they would text us the next day, or when we would go back to their houses, they asked us not to return to their houses again. BUMMER!!! But, we had extra time to find some more families that haven't been attending church so that was good! 


Our adorable (albeit critter infested) new apartment

Making great use of these mouse traps!

This is what dreams are made of!

January 5, 2014

This week I celebrated my 1 month anniversary in the Philippines! That same day we had a mission wide training. It was the third day of a three day training and the Sister Training Leaders, Zone Leaders, District Leaders and Trainers were invited. The trainees (me!) were temporarily reassigned companions for the day. Guess who my companion was?? SISTER GOLIGHTLY! We had an amazing day! We went to my area and taught 5 lessons, found 11 new investigators and had a grand time while doing everything. I am super impressed with her Tagalog and especially her teaching.

OK, so before I tell you about our day, I really need to emphasize how rare this is. Sometimes we go on exchanges (trade companions for a day), but it is usually just once a transfer with our Sister Training Leader. You NEVER get to be back with your MTC companion after only 4 weeks! Super rare. Really.

So! I got us to my area! The second jeepne that we took told us it was 11 pesos each when I know it is only 8! But, I have no idea how to ask for change back, so he just kept my 20. Oh well. It’s 4 pesos. When we made it to the area, and got off the jeepne, someone said, “You’re Mormons, right? Come to my house!” So we did! We started teaching her and 3 other neighbors came over out of curiosity. One of them remembers being taught by the missionaries in 1989 (that’s the last time missionaries were in this area). She wanted us to teach her again so badly. She said she would meet us back at this house whenever we could come back! Sister Gerhards and I will teach all of them again on Tuesday. I’m so excited!

Then we taught Erika the Plan of Salvation. That lesson has some hard vocabulary! She asked a question part way through and we had no idea what she said, but we really wanted to answer it. We asked her to repeat her question like 4 times! The fourth time I caught the word “resurrection” so I just explained the resurrection in greater detail. She said it answered her question – I hope she didn’t just say that to get us to stop asking her “Paki ulit?”

We were going to a sari-sari store to buy Sister Golightly some more water. We went to a store that is owned by one of our investigators. She was out of water and heading into town, but invited us to her porch and her cousin Danny got us some of their personal mineral water. So nice! We taught him about prophets, the apostasy, Joseph Smith and the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we asked him at the end if he had any question, he said, “I never knew of this Prophet called Joseph Smith. But now I know!” I think his testimony is a perfect example of what Christ means when he tells us to become as little children. Sister Golightly and I were so impressed by him. We didn’t teach him about the Book of Mormon because we ran out of copies! We were both thinking, “I hope she doesn’t go into the Book of Mormon! It will be heart breaking not to give him one!” Kasama telepathy is still alive!

Then we went to teach Violetta, the woman who came to church last Sunday! We went by earlier in the week but she wasn’t home. Today, however, her mom and 2 sons were home. Her mom is awesome! The first time I saw her, she hobbled over with her bamboo cane and hunched back and whacked some dogs that were barking at Sister Gerhards and me! She doesn’t speak any English or Tagalog. But, whenever we are there she is grinning an adorable toothless grin. I love her!  

So, we taught the two sons and the nanay! We taught them about God and that He is our Heavenly Father and wants to talk to them! We tried so hard to get them to pray, but they are way shy! Next time, we will get them to pray.

Then on our way to Alvin and Imeldas, we stopped to teach a really big family: a mom, a bunch of teenage daughters, and two little boys. And an aunt was there too. They kept playing with our hair; even during the lesson a couple girls kept touching our hair! Two of the girls were really interested. The other two told us they were lesbians. Makes sense now. But hey, our message is for everyone!

It was such a blessing for me to be able to spend the day with Sister Golightly the day before we both got our new houses. I learned so much. I learned from her example and teaching style. I learned I know a lot more Tagalog than I thought I did. I learned how much I rely on Sister Gerhards! I also learned – again – that the Lord doesn’t make up the difference. He makes all the difference. I need to let Him make all the difference in my lessons with Sister Gerhards too!

Sistas Just Wanna Have Fun!

On New Year's Eve a senior missionary couple had all of the missionaries in our area over for scones and chicken noodle soup. They are so nice! They reminded me of Grandma Jackson and her scones and chicken soup. :)

Old men, little kids, people on the street, investigators, ward members... will come up and tell me who I look like. Look alikes for me, in order of most frequent to least frequent:

1.       Barbie

2.       Victoria from Twilight

3.       Taylor Swift

4.       Britney Spears

5.       Jennifer Lawrence
Who knew I looked like so many celebs?

As always, thanks for EVERYTHING! I’d love to hear from all of you.
Write me!

Mahal Ko Kayo!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pasko in the Philippines

Nialigayang Pasko! This week has been a roller coaster. But I love rollercoasters! On Monday after an insane preparation day we went caroling to ward members with the 6 other missionaries in our ward. Caroling in the Philippines is super different. Kids go around house to house singing until someone comes out and pays them. So, we decided that we would show them how Americans carol – spread Christmas cheer and leave a little plate of goodies (and maybe get some dinner appointments for Christmas - it totally worked)!

Christmas Eve morning, I read the Christmas story in Jesus the Christ. It was so wonderful. Then I read about what was happening at the time of the birth of Christ in the Book of Mormon. Afterwards, I wrote out my testimony of my Savior. I prayed before I started my studies that I would be able to feel closer to may Savior than I ever had before. This was probably the most memorable Christmas Eve morning I have ever had. I could feel my Savior’s love so strongly. I know Christmas is over, but I highly recommend studying Christ’s life and birth more in depth. Who wouldn’t want to feel the spirit of Christmas every day!?

Christmas day we had zone studies in the morning – which was so good. Christmas morning was rough. But with all the missionaries in the San Fernando zone studying together it made it way easier. We had a 3 hour workshop, gift exchange, and then set out for work! That night we exchanged gifts as a house which was super fun. I was feeling a little sad about missing my family’s Christmas traditions and just missing them in general. Sister Golightly – not even knowing about our new matching PJs tradition – got us matching leggings (see picture…they are crazy cool). Such a little thing for her, but a HUGE thing for me.

My top three lessons this week were all on Saturday and Sunday:

·         Albenez family – they are less active but still read and study all the time. They love the gospel; they just don’t have enough money for the fare to church. On Saturday we talked about faith and how after a trial of your faith, the Lord will bless you even more. Guess who came to church the next day?! I am so thankful that the spirit was able to convey to them the importance of church attendance.

·         Violetta – one of the shyest, sweetest ladies I’ve ever met! She speaks Ilocano, so we weren’t sure if she has even understood any of our lessons. But, this last lesson when I asked her questions she answered them and when we challenged her to come to church she said yes! She came! All by herself! That action alone speaks louder than any words – I know it was way hard for her. I am so impressed by her testimony.

·         Alexandra – this one is my favorite for purely selfish reasons! I could understand way more than usual! I understood her questions and was able to ANSWER them well enough that Sister Gerhards didn’t have to do any “Damage Control.” Happy Day!

Two random new skills I have learned:

·         How to fix a sink with a plunger.

·         How to kill mosquitoes in the shower WAY more effectively. (When your hand is covered in suds and you swat them, they die in the soap! Don’t worry; I flicked it off before I kept washing my face.)

MAHAL KITA! Thanks for all the support. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Creepiest Santa EVER! (Zoom in on the face)

Matching Christmas leggings :) 

Roommate gift exchange

Merry Christmas with Sis. Gerhards