Current Address

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Lucky Week!

Sister Dizon and I had a great week! Ward members worked with us which makes every day better. We taught a bunch of lessons, and…happy ending…ONE INVESTIGATOR CAME TO CHURCH! AND ONE PERSON WHO HASN’T COME IN A REALLY LONG TIME CAME TOO!! Yay for a HAPPY ENDING this week!
One thing I thought I’d never say as a missionary…This week Sister Dizon, Kaxan (our friend from the ward) and I helped our recent convert harvest her tobacco. In skirts. Lucky us!
The gospel changes lives! I am so lucky to be able to witness MIRACLES every day. Change might be slow. It might not come when you want it to. But the teachings of Jesus Christ, the life of Jesus Christ and the atonement of Jesus Christ really do change people.
Brother Oscar (Sheila’s husband) is living the Word of Wisdom! He is the one that felt like drinking less and less after he met us. After our first lesson he quit smoking, drinking, and drinking coffee all together! How lucky is that?!
We went back to Grace’s house this week. She is an investigator we met when I had a super strong impression to try their house one night. Sister Grace is reading the Book of Mormon and is already in 2nd Nephi! She believes the Book of Mormon is true. She even highlights her favorite verses!
We are teaching the Gurions. Again! The very first lesson I ever taught in the Philippines was to them. Things kind of fizzled out with them – they were busy with volleyball and never home – but they picked back up again! How lucky is that!? Natalie (16) and Nicole (14) are both so sweet! They came to church 2 weeks ago, but were late, so everyone was inside and they were too shy to come inside because they didn’t know where to find the chapel!
Guess who came to church??!!
Drum roll…
Natalie! She was really nervous and Nicole was asleep so she came BY HERSELF! We were waiting at the gate for her though. (Luckily!) I’m so proud of her! Her faith is stronger than her fear!
I love the Sevilla Ward! This morning we had “missionary morning” with Sister Kaxan and Sister Joevelyn. We went to the beach during our exercise time and tried to make another EFY music video, but the speaker died. Oh well! We took some fun pictures instead.
I am so thankful for the friends that I have here in the Sevilla Ward and all the good times we have when they work with us! Whether it’s hiking through fields of TAE in the dark with Sister Kat, trying to juggle twins and teach a lesson with Sister Joevelyn, or laughing all through the opening song with Sister Kaxan, every day is a great day in the Sevilla Ward!
I am also so thankful for all the support from home. I feel like I sound like a broken record, but thank you for all the letters and prayers. Also – shout out the Fisher’s Landing Ward and all of my former leaders and teachers there. Thank you for preparing me to serve a mission. I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to come from such a great ward and to serve in such a great ward.
Natalie and me at church. Ah! I'm still so happy!
Tobacco! I put the camera on a giant pile!
Ridin' in the back of a jeep!
Housemates and friends at the beach

Sevilla Ward friends: Joevelyn and Kaxan. Love these lovely ladies!


Monday, March 17, 2014

When Your Face is Shinier Than Your Lip Gloss

Summer is here in the Pines! I bought a fan – one of those collapsible hand held ones. I think it’s the best 10 pesos I’ve ever spent! I look like such a weirdo walking down the street constantly fanning myself, but hey, I kinda already look like a weirdo so oh well!

 Sweaty face! We left the house about 20 mins. before this picture was taken. Holy cow it's hot! 

Parkers! Thank you so much for the package and letters Tita [aunt] Heidi – I was literally just wishing for brownies two days before it arrived. I am SUPER excited to eat MAC N CHEESE and SPAGHETTI! Also, the Crystal Light is so masarap [delicious]! Love the Valentines! I think we will have to have a tattoo party bilang kabahay [as housemates] on “Transfers Adam”!  

Even though it was super hot this week, Sister Dizon and I got a LOT of work done! We crashed every night – so tired! I know it’s not about the numbers, but there are people behind the numbers… We taught 31 lessons this week! 31! Our average in this area is usually about 20! We taught lessons to people who haven’t been coming to church and to people who are not members of our church that wanted to learn about our religion. The sad part is no one came to church.

Sunday morning as a missionary is seriously like Christmas morning. We wait at the door of the chapel, shaking hands with members as they enter, wishing and hoping that the people we love, the people we teach and pray for and work for every day will be there. Once church starts we are still wishing and hoping, every time the door opens we turn around and look – just to have our hopes dashed. (Santa didn’t come.)
This week makes me think of 3 Nephi 28:9. Christ told the 3 Nephites who wanted to stay on earth that the only sorrow they would have would be from the sins of the world – not physical pain. All the sweat this week, all the blisters and sunburns and sore feet do not compare to the sorrow and pain on Sunday morning at church when the people we’ve taught aren’t there. It’s the worst feeling! Those poor 3 Nephites! The world has so much sin, and the sorrow of that is felt by them!

3 Nephi 28:9 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.

Anyways, I think I will just share a couple of stories about this week – despite another sad ending (and they didn’t come to church).

When Sheila’s husband Oscar met us last week, he told us coffee and alcohol are bawal [forbidden] in our church. I said, “Yes! Don’t you want to know why?” Well, he did! So, we taught Sheila about the Word of Wisdom this week! During the lesson, Oscar was cooking, but he was totally listening and participating. We explained that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Word of Wisdom is a commandment. We taught the “dos and don’ts” of the Word of Wisdom and then asked them to live it. Sheila said yes – no hesitation. Oscar thought about it for a bit. Then he said he would try to live it for a week and see how it goes. Oh my gosh! This was our first real lesson with him because before he would always sneak out or have something to do. He told us since he first met us he has been drinking and smoking less and less. He committed to cut out the 5 bawal substances completely for a week! We went back to Sheila’s house later this week and she told us that Oscar hasn’t been drinking or smoking at all! Coffee too! So great! I’m excited to go back and see how it is going!

We taught three different families this week with whom our lessons in the past were always kind of mediocre. We hadn’t really been able to teach to their needs. But, Sister Dizon is so great! I love how she really gets to know people and love them before we teach. Those three families this week – sobre maganda ang lessons nila! [envelope beautiful lessons they] 
[Hmm - not sure if google translate got this one right???]

Sunday morning on the jeepney, I was super tired and out of it and took a long time grabbing all of my stuff. The jeepney started driving away with me still inside! You should have seen the horror on Sister Dizon’s face! She started waving her arms and yelling, “WAIT!” (in English!) Then once I stopped the jeepney and got off she asked, “What are you doing?!” Ah ha ha I love her! I wish tone of voice could come through email!

Also, I ate balut*** this week! Yep. It was ok. Not as bad as I thought! But, as we were leaving the Rimpillios house (that’s where we ate it) Sister Dizon said, “It’s been a while since I ate balut.” When I asked why she said cause last time she got sick. DANG MAN! Both of us felt a bit queasy.

We had a five-zone conference this week! I curled my hair! It was monumental. Really. It’s been 3 months since I’ve done my hair. :) Elder Arder of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke to us; so did Sister Arder. It was really great! I love how they talked about how missions are great because you create such a strong dependency on God. There are SO many things that we could not do on our own. I also loved: “Don’t be anxious about yesterday, be thankful for today and look forward to tomorrow.” Great advice! I gotta just do what I can, and then be done. :)

This week really was great! Thank you for all your prayers and support! You’re the best!

Mahal Kita

*** A balut is a developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as street food in the Philippines. Definition courteously of Wikipedia  [added by Jorden’s mom]

Sister Patricia's 99th birthday!!

Seriously - isn't she the cutest thing you've ever seen??

Sister Violetta and Sister Patricia both had birthdays this week. Thanks for the sticky notes, Heidi!

Jun Jun!

Chopping wood at Jun Jun's

Sister Dizon. And me and my curled hair!!

Housemates! Sister Dizon, Sister Price, and Sister Flores

Batch mates! We entered the mission field at the same time! Sister Flores, Sister Golightly, and Sister Lacdoo

Preparation-day excursion to the Chinese Temple last week

(Look closely behind us)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dang Man!

“Dang man!” is Sister Dizon’s catch phrase. I feel like it describes my week pretty well! Don’t get me wrong, there were super great things about this week – I scared the heck out of Sister Dizon, we laughed until we cried multiple times, and we just about died of laughter during one of our lessons. 

A drunk guy joined us and tried to sing “Keep the Commandments” with us. I lost it when Sister Dizon interrupted him (after about the 15th time he asked, “How do I join the Mormons?”) and said, “Brother, JUST LISTEN!” I burst out laughing and then Sister Dizon turned to me and said, “Why are you laughing?! I am serious!” but then she lost it too and we were both crying from laughing so hard!

Emily, thanks for the EFY music! We made a super great music video one night at the house. But guess what is even funnier? Sister Dizon watches it ALL THE TIME and laughs like it’s the funniest thing ever. Every time. Her laugh is so contagious that it makes me laugh from across the house! She is hilarious! Thanks again for the music Em!

Love the Rimpilios family! This week Sister Dizon and I helped Sister Dianne make 4 kilos of pancit for her kids’ entire school! DANG MAN! Also, I learned how to make pancit Sister Diane’s way – hers is so stinkin’ masarap! [delicious] Brother Frank headed out to sea this week – he will be gone for 9 months. Before he left he told us he hoped to see a picture of Michael and Jordan at their baptism on Facebook. Tender! And so sad! And so happy!

Miracle this week! Rebecca’s husband has always been really hard hearted towards us. But GUESS WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK?! HE LISTENED TO THE LESSON! He didn't stay (still a little too prideful for that :) ) but he told us, “I will listen on the other side of the door." MIRACLE! Then, guess who came to church? Sister Rebecca!! She has wanted to for forever, but her husband wouldn't let her. She made it this week! 
So awesome!

One of our investigators, Sheila, has made great progress. One day when we stopped by she had just gotten home from work and was way tired. I asked, “Can we teach your husband?” She said, “OK!” without hesitation. Turns out he left when he heard us coming. DANG MAN! BUT, Sister Sheila told us she knows this is the right path for her because when she started reading the Book of Mormon, she was able to get clients (she is a masseuse). She was practically out of work before, and now she is recognizing the blessings of keeping the Lord’s commandments – of being on His path. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and told us that she knows it’s true! She believes that Joseph Smith was a true prophet! Sheila is so great! She reads everything we ask her to read; she has such a strong testimony. She can’t ever make it to church though. Something has come up the last 2 Sundays she tried. DANG MAN!

You know what one of the worst feeling ever is? When someone knows what you are telling them is true, you know they know it’s true, they know they know it’s true and when you ask, “Do you believe the Book of Mormon is true?” “Do you believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet?” “Do you believe the church is Christ’s true church on the earth today?” and they answer YES to everything, and then kick you out and tell you not to come back. DANG MAN! Half way into Sister Saltiban’s lesson, she interrupted us to tell us she doesn't want us back. We both shared our testimonies and cried. She apologized and told us still don’t come back. Then she shared her experience at baptism. SHE KNOWS IT’S TRUE! Before we left, Sister Dizon chose my favorite hymn to sing (by coincidence). I totally cried! And then I had to say the closing prayer too. It was a struggle. THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD WAS SO STRONG!!

People have booted us before, all the time! But not people who have a testimony. It is so hard to see someone who KNOWS it is true not accept the gospel in their life. It’s so hard to see someone you love turn away from Christ and the blessings that Christ wants to give them if they do the things He asks of them. So stinking sad! When we got on the jeepney after, we were both a lil teary still. We sat of opposite ends of the jeepney. Sister Dizon pulled her Book of Mormon out of her bag and passed it to me opened to Alma 26:27, then Alma 17:10. As we were passing the Book of Mormon back and forth, teary a bit, I thought to myself, “I am a missionary!” It kinda hit me in a weird, different way in this situation. DANG MAN! :)

Alma 26:27
Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

Alma 17:10
And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted.

I love that Sister Dizon and I get to share all these up and down moments. We laugh, we cry, we laugh till we cry. It’s beautiful. Last night, walking after a discouraging day, I said, “I just want to yell! Is that allowed?” She said, “Let’s do it!” So we yelled a bit. It felt so good! We are so weird!

We ran into Oliver the other day while we were out tracting. He proceeded to send us a few texts throughout the week…
  • Thanks Sister that I was able to see you walking again.  I am thankful to God, as the one angel of the 2nd Jerusalem, no other in the Philippines
  • Thank you again Sister Jackson. I love you I love you
  • Sister Jackson, your name is written on my heart
  • I will prove to you Sister Jackson that I am the one angel the time will come on judgment day but I promise I will save your life, one real angel.
  • Sweet Jackson, on May 13, 2011 I saw the Holy Spirit, just like a pigeon, just like happen in Portugal Spain (this one was all in English and I still don’t understand it!)
  • Hey sweetheart Jackson! Again, I’m one angel, sending my greetings to you!

That’s pretty much it…a couple other “I love you” “Goodnight sweetheart” texts, but nothing too different. DANG MAN!

Well, life is good! Next week will be even better! I’m gonna go buy some chicken nuggets at Macdo’s cause they are SUPER MASARAP here!

Thanks for the letters Erika, Hermana Taylor, and Andersons! Y’all are the best! Emily, love the music. LOVE the music! Mom, you make the best packages!

Thanks again for all of the support! I love y’all!

Rimpilio Family! Love them!

Fisher Family (minus Brother Fisher) after church! 

Sad Sisters after Sister Saltiban dropped us

Popsicles after a hot day of work = love

Sneak peek at our EFY music video. Get excited!

Thank you Thurmans! Those Hot Tamalies were so masarap!! And, I love the socks!

Thank you Erika!!

I love my desk decorations! Thanks Jennie and mom!

Monday, March 3, 2014

3 Months in the Pines

Sister Salvetara's (Grandma Jackson - Filipino version) grandson. He has a crush on me. He is so cute!

Pedicures for less than $5! What a treat! #lastpdaysplurge #fivedollarsisexpensivehere

 The day after the pedicure!!

This picture happens when you ask a 5 year old boy to take a picture for you. "We look drunk!"-Sister Gerhards

The picture we were trying to get that kid to take - I found a bucket to put the camera on.

I had all the ward missionaries meet at Macdo our last night because Sister Gerhard's birthday is tomorrow and she told me she has always wanted a birthday party at Macdo.

Justine...she reminds me of GWYNETH! Love her. Miss the Dunaways <3

 My new kasama, Sister Dizon!

 Sister Dizon and I did not plan these busy pattered skirts and striped tops on purpose...We are just crazy like that! :)

The first day with Sister Dizon going out to work in the morning....
I got fried! I'm gonna go buy some sunscreen! It's super hot now!
I just took this picture about a half an hour ago! We went out to eat with our house mates and two other Sisters :) So fun! The Elders happened to be there and photo-bombed.

My new companion, Sister Dizon, is great! AND! Sister Gerhards is a Sister Training Leader in Lingsat now (which is the place we used to live with the STLs while they were looking for an apartment for us). So I still see her all the time! So lucky! And we will go on exchanges probably!

Sister Dizon and I get along really well. She is awesome. We look like quite an odd couple though! We both ended up in stripes and patterns one day; we weren’t matching like that in the beginning of the day, but Sister Dizon changed because it was so hot out. I love her! She kinda reminds me of Alyssa Delos Reyes. :)

This week had some great stories: powerful lessons, new investigators, such a strong spirit and strong commitments. But, they all ended the same way: ”And they didn’t come to church.” Too bad preparation day isn’t on Saturday because then my letter would have been full of excitement and hope! So instead of telling those stories, I hope y’all enjoy these!

EPIC FAIL! Sister Gerhards and I had a great idea to invite Sister Jen to Family Home Evening with 2 ward member families. Remember she has 1½ year old twins and a four year old. Before I go too far with this story, you should know that missionaries aren’t allowed to hold babies or kids, let kids sit on our lap, tickle kids, etc. I understand why, but it’s so hard to live sometimes though! So Jen was trying to participate and listen at FHE, but her twins were all over the place! Crying, wanting to be held, wanting to walk free, wanting food, etc. Things got super crazy when one girl pantsed the other one then BIT her smack on her naked bum! They both started crying hysterically! I wanted to get up and help so badly, but all I could do was stare! So did the other family members! Finally one of the 11 year old boys picked up one of the babies, carried her inside and set her on the floor. But then he just left and shut the door behind him! Oh my goodness! Poor Jen! She has her hands full!  

Sister Salvetara (ward member that reminds me of Grandma Jackson) is so nice! On Tuesday Sister Gerhards and I went over to her house and filmed a video about how we do door approaches. Every companionship in the mission had to make one and turn it in. She was such a great actress! Then afterward she cooked for us. I helped cut veggies. She took one look at my cutting and said “Ugly! You’ll never get a husband if you cut onions like that!” The cool part is she said it in Tagalog, and I understood what she was saying! She’s totally right. My onion cutting was pangit. :) But, thanks to Sister Salvetara now I know how to cut onions so I can get a husband. Sweet. 

I’ve been here 3 months now, but sometimes I’m still way confused. In a different lesson with Jen (not the FHE, but yes, one of the girls still peed on the floor) I asked her what she felt when she prayed. She gave me a 3 sentence-ish answer. I didn’t understand a word of it. She was smiling, so I figured that it must be good! Nope. She said she didn’t feel anything and didn’t get an answer. I proceeded to testify that she felt the Holy Ghost and I know that God answered her prayer. AWKWARD!

These are some of my favorite quotes from Preach My Gospel this week:

“Remember that people have agency to choose whether or not to accept your message.”

“When you have done your best, you still may experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself.”

So, even though I don’t have the “Happily Ever After” ending to my stories this week of “And then they all came to church!” it’s ok! We worked hard this week. We did our best. This week kind of made me think of how hard it must be for our Heavenly Father to give us our agency and let us make mistakes. I just want to tell some of my investigators, “You’ve got to do this! You don’t understand what you are missing!” because I love them so much. Heavenly Father loves each of us more than we can comprehend. He must be so sad when we choose the wrong path and so happy when we come back!

I take comfort in knowing that God knows best! Everything will work out in the end.