Current Address

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


In my defense, I didn’t realize it was Easter until someone said, “Happy Easter” to their friend last Saturday on a jeepney.

I wanted to spend this week celebrating Easter through my personal study. I decided to read “Jesus the Christ” and cross reference all the New Testament references (am I the only one who thought that the Bible was quoted a LOT in General Conference?!) and it has been really great! I highly recommend it! I cannot summarize my findings to do them justice, but I have learned so much from studying those few verses about the last week of Christ’s life. This week was really hard for me, but I am grateful for the struggle because I really got to experience having Jesus Christ as a companion with me.

On Saturday we had a service project cleaning up an elementary school with the ward. I mostly swept up damp concrete powder and dumped it into a pile. It was super fun to be able to get to know the ward members better. I have a new best friend – Melanie. She is six years old and makes awesome crazy faces with me. And I totally rocked the yellow “helping hands” vest! :)

We have been climbing stairs, hills and mountains. One time this week someone asked, “Where are you coming from?” (A common greeting in the Philippines). We told them, and they exclaimed, pointing, “That’s all the way on the other side of that mountain!!” Ha ha. No wonder why my jeans barely make it over my calves! It is so great though. I really love the area and the people here. I find myself thinking about them, and the people in my last area, while I climb the hills. I hope I am living right, saying right, and doing right so I can help my people here progress spiritually and ultimately prepare to meet God.

Sister Morrill (my American housemate) and I made some great memories this week! We woke up extra early every day and went to a Tae Bo class in Burgham Park! I love it because, first of all, it’s a GREAT work out. Secondly, it’s really the only time I can people watch. Almost all the time people stare at me because I’m American. But, here I can people watch because there are over 100 people in the class and they are all watching the instructor. Well, most of them. Four out of Six days, random people ended up filming Sister Morrill and me while we were exercising. Yep. We were all nasty sweaty, but I guess it’s still interesting enough to film...

Another plus – Tae Bo has improved my reflexes. At an investigator’s house, a rat ran out from under the couch and would have darted across my BARE FEET but I jumped on top of my chair lightning fast and didn’t even scream! My companion said all of the color drained out of my face though.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Give Me Mountains to Climb!

The hills of Baguio are beautiful! And I am so lucky to be able to climb these hills all day. The view from up top is priceless! We are teaching so many people who are really prepared! When I got here, there were really only 2 progressing investigators, but Sister Pelayo and I have been doing a lot of finding this week. It’s so great to see how God has really prepared this area and these people. I love the view from up top!

Kiji, a 17 year old girl we taught, just lost her dad. She was having a really hard time with it. Kinda crazy – when we were getting to know her, I felt inspired to ask if her mom and dad live with her. I thought, “Well that’s a weird question. Oh well.” I asked it anyways. Sometimes the gift of discernment works in mysterious ways because after I asked that she told us her dad recently passed away, and then she really opened up to us. We taught her the plan of salvation. It was lovely. The spirit was so strong! I asked her what her feeling was (that makes sense in Tagalog…not so much in English) and she said happy inside. I explained, “That’s the spirit! It's telling you that what we are telling you is true!”  

We found a family! Usually we have to do a lot of persuading to get the whole family to join in, but all the Baculis stayed without any arm-twisting, pleading, or trickery. The dad is out of work right now, so they don’t have any electricity. The mom takes on people’s laundry, hand washing clothes all day. (After just 2 hours of hand washing my clothes, I feel like my arms are going to fall off.) She is so impressive. Heavenly Father has really prepared them through their humble circumstances. It’s a good reminder for me to use my trials as a way to come closer to Christ.

We met two sisters that live together and are the leaders of their church, but agreed to listen to us. They met with us, and after the second lesson (which was about families being together because of the Priesthood here on the earth today), Lovely said that they aren’t sure about some of the things we taught, but have a good feeling inside and really want to learn more.

Everyone has told me Baguio is a hard area. They all warned me that there would be relatively low lessons. I’m sure some of the areas here are super hard. Yet my week was great. It just goes to show that God really does have a plan for all of His children, and He is preparing ways for all of them to receive His plan for them. I am so thankful for the wonderful week I had and for the opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands for good.

Random facts about life here in Baguio or just missionary life in general:

·         I talk in my sleep in Tagalog. I’ve been doing that for a while, but I guess I was talking a ton a couple of nights ago because I woke poor Sister Pelayo up!

·      A referral we went to contact this week was not home. While standing in the doorway talking to her middle aged son, I saw 4 mice climbing around her counters. But, I went back the next day. Ya know what? With great sacrifice come great blessings. Even though I was sitting there rigidly the whole lesson, panicking inside (I kinda have a phobia) just praying none of them would jump in my hair, we had such a powerful lesson with her. Which is worth it. I might have an ulcer now, but I’ll survive. Also, side bar: this lady makes jam – the kind that is bottled, labeled and sold in stores and on the street. Looks sanitary on the outside…DEFS ISN’T! Dang man, the street food I eat must be REALLY UNSANITARY!

·         I had Dr. Pepper. It’s been 6 months. Holy amazing.

·         The most refreshing snack I’ve had so far was an applesauce squeeze pouch. Thank you so much g-ma and g-pa J for the package. These snacks and crystal light are perfect rewards to motivate me up the next mountain!

·         Teaching the Plan of Salvation to kids is a lot better with sidewalk chalk! Thank you so much for the package Tita Heidi! I love it all.

·         I am covered in HUGE bug bites. Sherilyn, the itch cream is literally a life saver! The nuts and kind bars are the best on the go snack! Also, now my wallet is full of Tylenol extra strength packets for when my knee starts bugging me. Seriously, so kind and thoughtful. Thank you so much for the package!

·         Stairs + rain + dirt = nahulog ako! [I fell] Yep. Some things never change.

Monday, April 14, 2014

From Palms to Pines

I transferred! I am in Baguio. I LOVE IT! It’s actually really cold here – I wore a cardigan yesterday to General Conference! Also, pine trees! I’m such a Northwest girl; I actually got a little teary eyed when I saw my first pine tree here.

My last week in Pagdalagan was great! Sister Violetta’s husband stayed for a whole lesson – he has never EVER stayed for even part of one before! Also, Jordan Rimpilio said a prayer all by himself for the first time! It was such a great last lesson. I am so excited for his baptism.

It was really hard for me to leave Sister Dizon and the great members in the Sevilla Ward. But I am ready for work here in Baguio and I know that the Pagdalagan area is in good hands.

Baguio is SO different from San Fernando. I’m not sweaty! No electric fans blowing hot air at me in the house. I don’t use an umbrella while proselyting for shade. I don’t take 3 cold showers a day anymore! The weather here is beautiful. I love it.

Because we had a little emergency down in San Fernando, I didn’t come up to Baguio until Saturday morning, just in time for General Conference. So, I haven’t seen much of my area at all yet or met many ward members. But if I had to describe my area in one word it would be STAIRS! It’s really confusing – just alleys of stairs between houses, mazes of stairs. But there is beautiful green vegetation!

This week, and this General Conference, I have been thinking a lot about death. My prayers for my family have really changed from praying for their safety and happiness and strength in trials to strength to stay on the straight and narrow and for us to be able to live together forever. It is super cheesy and sounds sort of childish, but the things that have happened this week have really made me realize how short life is, and how so many of the things we do don’t really matter. Life is short. The mission is even shorter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Many Uses of Alcohol

Not alcohol for drinking, medical alcohol. Sister Dizon is a hoot! She is like the guy from my big fat Greek wedding. Instead of Windex, she has a mini spray bottle filled with alcohol that she has used to get stains out of my clothes, to stop my bug bites from itching, to make her rash go away, to teach object lessons, to spray at barking dogs to get them to quit barking at us and, most recently, to kill a GIANT spider that was literally bigger than my hand when I spread out all of my fingers! She is so brave! I kept getting scared, screaming and running away! Sister Dizon yelled at me, “Stop screaming! We have neighbors! They have children! It is late!” I honestly had no idea I was that scared of spiders. I guess they are a lot scarier when you get really close to them to take a picture and they bend over backwards off the wall, fangs flailing right at your face! Oh my gosh!
Although Sister Dizon has introduced many different uses of alcohol to me, I still just use it to clean my hands.

This week in church I was so impressed and amazed by the cleansing power of the sacrament. When we take the sacrament EVERY WEEK we can literally become cleansed from our sins again. And have a fresh start. Every single week. How amazing is that?! I love fresh starts!
This week church was wonderful! It was Christmas morning – Santa came through! We had 4 people who haven’t been to church in a long time show up, and 5 people who are investigating the church came too!

General Conference Women's Meeting! I missed my sisters, but I am glad I got to attend the meeting with these lovely friends!

Birthday party time!


Thanks again Aunt Heidi - LOVED these brownies!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Heartbreak and Happiness

Some people this week just broke my heart! Sure, we always will have a couple of people that when we come back a second time to teach tell us to get lost. But what’s really heart breaking is when people we have been teaching for months, been losing sleep over and praying for, people we know have a testimony and we see how the gospel has changed their lives for the better – when those people start hiding from us. When they stop progressing in the gospel. When their choices show that they are denying the gospel truths that they know. That’s heart breaking.

Sheila and Oscar are hiding from us. So is Sister Natividad, even though during the last lesson we taught her she literally interrupted us to say, “Thank you for coming to me and teaching me here. Thank you for the light that has entered my heart through your words.”

 My heart is so broken for them.

On the other hand, we have so much good that is happening here too! I am so amazed. Because Sister Natividad hid from us, we went tracting and found a less active member who lives nearby. I know it was God’s timing. Brother Calika is a return missionary. He is probably in his 50s now and hasn’t been to church in many years. He lives with his 77 year old mom who has had such a hard life, but is active and has such a strong testimony. (We don’t really know her from church though. It’s super confusing because the people who live in our area still go to the Bawang Branch. We still don’t have approval to bring the members back to the Sevilla Ward. The members who live in our area go to a different ward!)

Sister Calika, the 77 year old mom, is an inspiration to me. She had 7 children and her husband died when they were all still pretty young. She worked in the palanki from 4am-7pm to keep her kids in school and put food (eggplant and rice) on the table. She always put her tithing aside right away. She paid her tithing every week. One week her tithing was 150 pesos. She needed 150 pesos on Monday in order to send her kids to school. She said, “Maybe I could just borrow my tithing from God this week and pay it next week.” Another Relief Society sister said, “Do you want God to borrow your blessings from you this week?” She paid her tithing. Later that night she was stressed about how her kids would get to school. She decided to start reading the Bible. Then a random person walked up to her house, pre-ordered 200 pesos worth of beans, and paid 150 pesos right then in advance.

Sister Calika told us “If my son comes back to church, I can die. I will be ready to die and I will die happily if my son returns to church.” At this point Brother Calika was still outside cooking. Sister Dizon and I went outside to try to persuade him to come in and listen. We had some small talk, and I just had a prayer in my heart – “Heavenly Father, please help me to say the right thing. Help me to help him come back.” I felt impressed to ask him what his favorite part of his mission was. He said buko salad (which is a delicious coconut popsicle thing here in the Philippines). Not exactly what I was looking for. Then he shot the question back at me. I always know when the spirit is really speaking through me because I don’t have to think about how to say it in Tagalog. It just comes. This was one of those times. I told him my favorite part of being a missionary is seeing people change when they accept the gospel and live the teachings of Jesus Christ. I said more but I don’t remember what exactly. That’s the gist of it though! Right after I finished I asked him, “Will you come inside so we can share a message with you?” He said, “ok!” dropped what he was doing and came in. The spirit taught the lesson. It was beautiful. AND, Brother Calika went to church on Sunday!

We met a woman named Sister Cecil when we were out tracting one day.  We stopped at her Sari-Sari store because we were hungry and had a little bit of time with nothing really to do. Our bodies ached. We had been walking all day. We bought some snacks from her and she started talking to us. She asked us who we are, what we do and why we are here.  We just chatted with her – answered her questions and talked about life. We gave her a pamphlet and asked if we could share a message. She said to come back next week because she wanted her young adult daughter to hear what we have to say too. Wow! We went back on Tuesday and she wasn’t home. (She had had an emergency.) We ran into her later in the week and she rescheduled.

She kept our appointment! She invited us in and said, “I am looking for the truth. I am researching all sorts of churches because I want to know which one is true. I believe that God will give me an answer through the Holy Spirit. I don’t like how other people pray with recitations. I want to TALK to God. Halfway through the lesson on the restoration of the gospel she stopped us and explained that she is listening to us “because I see you walking. All day. Every day. I know you probably have so many negative things said to you. You probably have a lot of hardships. But, you keep going. Every day. Because you want to teach people. So what you have to say must be really important. You sacrifice so much and are so dedicated. I want to listen to what you have to say.”

Even though my heart is still broken for the people that are rejecting the gospel, I am filled with so much joy for the people that have turned or returned to Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for God’s plan for all of His children.