Current Address

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

Monday, February 24, 2014

A few of my favorite things

This herd of kids followed us down the road was the cutest thing  ever! Every time I said, "Hello!" to them, they would all die laughing!

Sweet Violetta's baptism day. I am so happy for her!

Some ward members 

Assistant Ward Mission Leader - he runs the show!

The night of both of our first baptisms!! So fun!!

I learned how to make comote-Q! It is basically sweet potatoes deep fried in sugar. Oh man. This is trouble. They are SO good!

My lovely companion - I couldn't survive without her! 

Sister Gerhards and I had a wonderful last full week together! I can’t believe transfers are in 3 days! I’m so excited to write about a few of my favorite things from this week.

  • I have a new nick name! “Sister” in Tagalog is “ate” (pronounced “at-ay”). Some kids in our area started calling me “Ate Jackie.” Oh my goodness it’s so adorable! I love it!

  • In a lesson with the Rempilios kids, Sister Gerhards asked Michael and Jordan, “Who is in heaven?” Michael replied, “Jesus…and Joseph Smith!”

  • We met Jun Jun’s mom! Jun Jun is still reading the Book of Mormon! We taught them a beautiful lesson about the Book of Mormon. And, Jun Jun is such a smart kid! He figured out how to read from the hymn book. You know how the lines are kind of confusing? Well most adults can’t figure it out even after we explain how. But he did! And he was helping his mom follow along! We are going to try to pick them up for church next week, so hopefully we can help them progress!

  • We are teaching a new family! We met the mom last week when she sat in on a lesson we were teaching at her neighbor’s house. Jen, the mom, has 3 little girls. The youngest 2 are twins. They are probably just under 2 years old. The older one is probably only 4. There were so many distractions: babies crying, babies peeing on the floor, babies escaping out the door multiple times, babies getting into stuff they shouldn’t, babies needing snacks. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so chaotic! But Jen was super focused! When we got to the part in the lesson about Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry I talked about His baptism. Sister Gerhards later told me that she had thought that we should talk about Christ’s baptism too. I asked Jen if she would say the closing prayer and she did! We were able to quiet the babies for the prayer, but then one cried. :) I hope she prays tonight. We are going back Sunday to hopefully meet her asawa din [husband].

  • Violetta’s baptism day was BEAUTIUL! We went to Violetta’s house at 5 to pick her up and share a short message. Our message was about the happiness that comes with baptism, the baptismal covenant and enduring to the end. We read the account from the Book of Mormon of the people getting baptized in Mosiah 18 and I basically shared my mom’s insight. Then Sister Gerhards asked her why she was getting baptized. She responded, “To be cleansed from sin and return to God.” Then Sister Gerhards said, “But this is not the end.” And Sister Violetta said, “I will endure to the end of my life.” When she said the closing prayer, I felt the spirit so strong - probably one of the strongest times in my life. I felt the love God has for Sister Violetta and His joy at her decision to be baptized. Words cannot describe my joy and how honored I felt to be an instrument and a witness to one of the most miraculous things on earth. It’s such an honor to be able to help in little ways, but mostly just witness this beautiful change in her through the Lord, and all of the wonderful blessings that will come of it. 

This picture isn't really one of my favorite things... it's supposed to show how beat up my legs are, but the shadow kind of ruined it. I'm covered in mosquito bites, scrapes, bruises... and my knee is giving me trouble. 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Through Small and Simple Things

My companion and I totally planned on buying paper and other cute stuff to make Valentines for the family members that haven’t been coming to church on our preparation day…But we forgot! So, I made these ghetto looking Valentines out of what I had. Post-it notes (2 per Valentine, sticky sides together), lined paper, scripture marking pencil, and THANK GOODNESS I had ribbons from your Valentines package mom! Thank you for that! 
They turned our Post-it notes into Valentines. :)

So these little ghetto cards got us in the door of 3 family’s houses who have been hiding from us! Two of them have been hiding from us since week 1! Funny, I guess it’s harder to shut the door on someone after they give you a card that says “Mahal Namin Kayo!” [We Love You] and tell you “God loves you so much. We want to share a message with you about God’s love! Can we come in?” Irresistible! It’s really true though, God does love you! No matter what. And even though I challenged the people we taught this week to spread the love of God this “Valentine’s Season” kind of as a joke – it’s true! We should always try to spread God’s love! His arms are open to everyone, and some people don’t even know! As Clayton Christensen says in the book The Power of Everyday Missionaries “Every time you take someone figuratively by the hand and introduce him or her to Jesus Christ, you will feel how deeply our Savior loves you and loves the person whose hand is in yours.” So even though Valentine’s Day is over, I hope you will find simple ways to show people that God loves them. Spread the love! It’s the little things that count.

ALSO, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPENCER! I can’t believe you are 13! That’s so old! You’re a teenager. Wow! Growing up so fast! I can’t even handle it! I didn’t have a cake to celebrate your birthday, so instead I bought some BBQ dugo! You’ll have to google translate that one. It’s just as masarap as it sounds! :) 

[dugo = blood  masarap = delicious]

I learned this week you can get road rash from dirt roads. Well, dirt and rocks. I was walking along, and BAM! My right leg slipped and knocked over my left leg. I got pretty cut up actually! Good thing it happened by the cemetery in our area. I sat on a tomb to wash my leg off while my companion said, “Brother Alfonso, please don’t come haunt us later tonight. Thank you for letting Sister Jackson sit on your coffin!” Haha! She took this lovely picture of me, although my cut-up legs are not pictured. :) Why am I so clumsy?!

This week we figured out that the house we’ve been stopping by to see Jun Jun isn’t actually Jun Jun’s house. So, Sister Gerhards and I walked around the neighborhood asking, “Do you know a kid named Jun Jun? No, we don’t know his last name. Do you know where he lives? He’s about this tall and he is 11 years old.” Super sketchy! That would NEVER fly in the U.S.! We’d get the cops called on us! Turns out two random old dudes knew who we were talking about. They said, “The kid you gave your book to? He lives over there!” Huh. People definitely notice what we do and how we act all of the time; even when they just see us give a Book of Mormon to the neighbor boy.

We found Jun Jun’s house! Every time we go there his parents are not home. We are going to try to go back tomorrow night to visit them. Cross your fingers for me!

Violetta had her baptismal interview! She is getting baptized on Saturday! I am so excited for her. She is adorable! She has come so far! After her interview she asked Sister Gerhards if she should share her testimony after her baptism. Sister Gerhards said “Pwede!” Violetta asked, “Can I say it in Ilacano?” Oh my goodness! She is so cute! I am so happy for her, for the decisions she is making in her life and the person she is becoming.

Thank you for all your prayers and emails! Sorry I don’t have enough time to reply to all of them, but I do read all of them! They make my day! I have the best family & friends! Thanks for everything! 

Till next preparation day,

Monday, February 10, 2014

Another week in Pagdalagan

This week we had a great service project! I noticed a big field behind one of our less active ward member’s house had a ton of litter and trash in it. This family lives in a compound owned by another church’s charity foundation. The landlord said to my companion and me, “We welcome all religions, but you aren’t allowed back here.” Hmmm…contradict yourself much? :)  Also, about the field, the owner of the field and all of his buddies call out, “Hey Barbie! Hey Sexy! Hey Baby!” when we walk by. So, by cleaning up the field we had two goals in mind. 1. Get back into the compound so that we could visit this family again. 2. Get those guys to stop calling us sexy and other names! Mission accomplished! The mom in the family saw us and came over and talked to us twice, and when we walk by the field now, the guys call, “Hey Sister! Hey Ma’am!” Much better. :) All of the Sevilla missionaries (Full time and ward missionaries) came and helped clean up so fast that we started a second field. Honestly, the best part of the whole thing was that we got to wear basketball shorts! Ha ha, just kidding. Bonding with ward members, talking to less active members and serving our fellow men…then basketball shorts. A very close 4th.  :)

I got to experience a Filipino hospital this week for the first time! Really, it was nothing major, but the doctor’s offices here are super sketch, so if someone needs medical attention they go straight to the hospital. I had a really sore throat for 9 days, and it got so swollen that I started having trouble breathing. Sister Gerhards is a nurse and she said she knows where to stab me in the throat if I stopped breathing all together. (She told me that she didn’t think she could make herself stab me.) Good thing I got some very potent antibiotics at the hospital. The doctor I saw asked if I was a missionary. He didn’t charge me for the visit – just the medicine. So nice of him!

In addition to the local church pastor telling his congregation not to listen to us anymore, moms are training their kids to tell us they aren’t home. We actually heard Jovey yell to her kid who answered the door, “Tell them I’m not here!” Whoops! Caught ya! We yelled back, “Hi Jovey! We can hear you!” She’s a funny lady. Another mom has trained her 3 year old girl to tell us, “Mom’s not home!” every time we walk by the house. We stopped asking for her mom about a month ago, but she still yells, without fail, “Mom’s not home!” every time. So funny! What an obedient and diligent daughter.

My favorite lesson this week was across one of those sketchy bridges from last week. When I asked him if he would read 1 Nephi Chapter 1 before our next visit he said, “Yes. I won’t try, I will do it.” Wow! What great commitment!

Thank you for all of the letters and support! I really appreciate it. I wish I could describe my nervous anticipation at zone studies as they pass out the mail and then PURE JOY when I have a letter! Thank you for remembering me – and writing! Most of all, thank you for your prayers. I can really feel them every day. I have the best family, ward family and friends. I pray for y’all every day. 

Ingat! Till next Monday!

Monday, February 3, 2014

That’s What It’s All About!

My week was good! We had a couple of WAY awesome lessons, crossed some ghetto bamboo bridges and found out why everyone has been punting us for the last two weeks! (It’s because their local pastor told his congregation to stop listening to us!)

Toby, I hope you had a fantastic birthday! I was thinking about you on your special day! Have a wonderful year as an 11 year old! Tell me all about it!
Not only did I celebrate your birthday with this caribou, I also had a super awesome day on your birthday Toby! Seriously, one story might be “Friend” magazine worthy. Get excited!

We have been teaching an older lady and her 12 year old grandson for a while. We’ve caught them home maybe three times. Last time a couple of neighbor boys were sitting outside listening and when we left they asked us for copies of the Book of Mormon. We only had one left, so we gave it to Jim Jim and promised Jun Jun we would bring him one next time. Since then, we have walked passed the house twice and both times Jun Jun came running after us asking for a Book of Mormon. Both times we had already run out! Jun Jun wanted the Book of Mormon so badly, he bought Jim Jim’s for 2 pesos! This week when we saw him, we asked him how far he had gotten. He ran and grabbed his Book of Mormon to show us! He is on page 15! He said he reads every morning! He took us to his house so that we could teach his family another day (they don't have electricity and it was already dark when we got there).

Seriously though, how cute is that? Jun Jun, a 12 year old boy, has such a strong desire to read The Book of Mormon just from listening to the lesson from outside that he bought the book from his friend! (Also, this explains why whenever we see Jim Jim he doesn’t make eye contact or talk to us anymore! He is ashamed he sold his Book of Mormon for 2 pesos!)

While tracting one day, we heard someone laughing super loud which is rare, because it is a time of day when it is so hot out that everyone takes a nap! So, I said we should try that house, and we taught a lesson there! It was funny, we were actually surprised she let us in! When she said, “Pasok!” (enter) I thought, “Talaga??” (really??) Ha ha. Hopefully since we know why people have been dropping us, we can address their concerns better now. 

Here in the Philippines, there were a lot of names of members of the church without any contact information that just got sent to Manila. As missionaries, we are trying to find these lost members, or AUNs (Address Unknown). We have a list of seven names that might be in our area that we go around asking people, “Do you know this person?” It’s a real life scavenger hunt! I love that we then explain, "We are looking for this person because we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” It’s such a great get-passed-the-gate opportunity!

When we ask where some AUNs lived, most replies were “There!” and we would reply, “Where there?” They would answer, “Straight, there!” Ugh. The best directions we got were “Right at the bridge,” so we walked across two super sketchy bamboo bridges looking for our AUNs. When I was crossing, a chunk of bamboo fell off! So sketchy!

We did not find any AUNs but we did find one really promising potential investigator and one new investigator! It was totally worth crossing the sketchy bridges. Sister Rose lives in a little Garden of Eden! She has little rock pathways and tons of beautiful potted plants. It was gorgeous! When we were walking up to the house, through the garden pathways, I said to Sister Gerhards, “We gotta teach her a really good lesson so we can come back here!” I’m terrible; I should be thinking that about every house! All throughout the lesson I kept thinking, “How do I know her?” At the end of the lesson, Sister Gerhards asked, “Do you know Violetta?” YUP! THEY ARE SISTERS! Before we found this out and closed the lesson, Sister Gerhards and I both kept pushing for her to come to church. We really, really wanted Rose to commit to attending church, but she wouldn’t. Later she told us Violetta has been inviting her every week! Oh my goodness!

Violetta is such a good fellowshipper – and she isn’t even a member of the church yet! (Violetta is getting baptized on Feb. 22!) She agreed to come with us to pick up her sister Rose for church. They live on opposite sides of our area, so we met on the highway and started walking to Rose’s house. Along the way TONS of people knew Violetta! TONS! Sister Gerhards told me later they were making fun of her for being with us. 

After Sister Gerhards told me they were making fun of Violetta, I was so mad! Well, not really mad. I am guessing it’s what you call the “momma bear” feeling. How dare they!? But Sister Gerhards told me that Violetta wasn’t bothered by it. She said, “It’s fine!”

Seriously, this is like Lehi’s dream, The Iron Rod, in real life! We are on our way to pick up someone for church, people are mocking on either side, but Violetta has tasted the fruit. She is holding on to the rod. She is such a great example to me!

Thank you for all the prayers, love and letters! Keep ‘em coming! I used to have the wrong address posted so my mail was being sent to the wrong mission and took a really long time to get to the right mission. Here is the correct address for mailing letters:

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

Seriously, y’all are the best family, friends, ward family! 
Mahal ko kayo!
God bless

Sister Violetta! I love this great lady! She is amazing!

Trike ride! The mirror distorts the image and makes it look big. 
It's not!

 Sketchy bamboo bridge!

 Super sketchy bamboo bridge - "No Hands!" because the side railing was falling off/gone!

Our ward Relief Society President

Preparation-day walk on the beach! Today was the first day we had an activity that allowed us to wear non-proselyting clothes!!

Sister Latimer and I made this for our zone activity contest this morning. We were given a bunch of random ingredients and we had to make a main course and dessert using all of the ingredients. We used the watermelon as the bowl for our fruit salad (that qualifies as a dessert here!). Elder Alihandro took all the leftover food, put it in a blender he found, and made a nasty watermelon-banana-cream-sweetened and condensed milk-smoothie. So gross!

Sister Gerhard's mission is half way over! We celebrated with this lovely cake. I look a bit crazy... it was the end of the day! 
Happens to the best of us :)