Current Address

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Good News…and the Bad News…then Some Good Again :)

We’ll start with the good news first. I have the best companion. Oh my goodness. Sister Campos is taking such good care of me. Also, she is a pharmacist, so she is really good at giving me the right medicine.

I am so happy – at least I got sick this transfer. :)

I got amoebiasis on Tuesday afternoon. One of our sweet, super kind investigators fed us energen (hot chocolate/oatmeal stuff). I saw the water she used – it came from these black pipes that are “free water” that tons of people in our area use. I have no idea where it comes from. Well…the energen was super good, but then I was sick from Tuesday night until Sunday. I’ll spare you the gory details. Sister Campos and I went to the hospital though and I got some tests and now I have some pills to take, so hopefully I’ll be back in action soon.

I was still trying to go out and work before I got really, really sick. Sister Campos is super magaling and it was great to see her basically just teach all the lessons. :) Kinda crazy – on Thursday, even though we got out at 3:30pm and came home early, around 7:30pm, we still taught seven AMAZING lessons. Concerns were addressed. Testimonies were built. Hopefully this week we will see some lives change.

There is a lesson to be learned in all of this: free water is like sin. It’s mixed with “energen.” It’s nice and warm. It’s cold out. You’re all wet from the rain. You think, “It was boiled for 2 minutes…eh, I’ll be fine!” Or “One time won’t hurt.” Or probably the most probable (at least for me) is “Oh shoot! I really shouldn’t drink this, but if I don’t this sweet kind investigator’s heart will be broken. She bought the energen just for me because she knows I like it. I don’t want to offend her.”

Whatever the reason, whatever the excuse, sin is always sin. Just like dirty water is always dirty water. Even mixed with energen. And the consequences of drinking just one cup lasted all week. I had that realization when I was lying on my mattress next to the bathroom – it really wasn’t worth it. “Wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10)

But, that lesson with this investigator actually was really good (probably worth not offending her!). She is starting to progress now! We started teaching her back in April. No progress really, and we couldn’t really get return appointments. Well, we went on Sunday – they were home! We had a couple of young single adults with us from the ward which was great. Then we got a return appointment for Tuesday. Tuesday we taught about Prophets and Dispensations – we had taught her this before in April, but this time was entirely different. Last time, after we shared that there is a living prophet on the earth today, she said, “Oh…like my church. We’re all the same. One Lord.” But this time she said, “Oh! That makes sense! Because God loved us before and He loves us now! So of course we would have a living prophet today!” Wow! It’s totally her time now! Also, on Tues. she told us she was impressed with the “kids” we brought and wants her kids to be friends with them. Awesome!

Funny – we told her I would be speaking in church (which actually didn’t happen after all…next week na lang…) so she started excitedly telling her kids, “Sister Jackson has a speech! We all gotta go so she has a big fan club!” Ah ha what a hoot!

I started feeling better so quickly Sunday evening here. It was so crazy! Sis. Campos said, “I bet someone is praying for you.” Thank you, whoever that was. :)

I am indebted to you. Thanks for all the love and support – I will try to have a healthier week so I have more stuff to report on next week. :)  
Last week's preparation day adventure: we visited this beautiful place here in Baguio. Mine's View.

58 And Still Counting

June 16, 2014

There is a lady, named Mel, with a fishball stand. The first day I got to Baguio I tried talking with her at her little stand, chattin’ it up, being as nice as could be…she was cold! Super Cold! Anyway, I couldn’t get her to even crack a smile. So, I made it my goal to get her to be friends with me. We walk by her fishball stand every day, and every day I say, “Magandang umaga po Sister Mel!” No response.

This week we got punted pretty badly, so I had the idea of going and buying fishballs from Sis. Mel’s stand. We were talking to her as she cooked. I find that people think it’s pretty funny when I try to speak Ilocano to them, so I was trying Ilocano. Got nothing. The next best ice breaker is to ask what age they are, be SHOCKED and say they look 10 years younger than they are. Did that, then said, “Guess how old I am?” What did she say? “Fifty-eight.” I was super surprised and sort of horrified cause she was dead serious. After seeing my reaction she asked, “What? Higher or lower?” Uhh…LOWER! What the?! Her follow up guess? “Thirty-eight.” Wow. The mission has really aged me. People used to guess twenty-seven (which is still pretty far off – I’m only nineteen!)

Dad, I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week, it being Father’s Day and all. I miss you! Did you get my Father’s Day package? I wish I could talk to you, but Christmas is just around the corner. Love you so much Dad! Thank you for being such a good example for me and always being there for me. I am so blessed to be a part of our family.

I am also so blessed to have my whole family be a part of this gospel. Saturday at the baptism (!!) all three of the Kadatar Kiddos bore their testimonies. Their mom is a member of our church, but their dad is not. It was such a bitter-sweet moment. All three were so happy to be baptized, but also really sad that their dad was not there to support them. He said it was their choice, but he was not going to come to the baptism. So hard. We are praying continually for a miracle with him – first of all for him to be home so we can teach him (he has a crazy work schedule) but also for their family to become stronger as a result of this baptism, not further apart.

Love you dad! Hope ya had a great Father’s Day and everyone at home spoiled you. You are the best! :)


Friday, June 13, 2014

Kawawa naman kami (We are so pitiful)

June 9, 2014

We had a TON of rain this week! A TON! I found out my umbrella has approximately 24 leaks in it (I will be buying a new one). I was going to take a picture of how wet I was, but I realized that almost none of my clothes were dry, so you wouldn’t even be able to tell. Just take a cold shower in church clothes if you are wondering what life is like here in Baguio.

I love the rain though. It starts every day at about 2 o’clock and I just walk around grinning and laughing. Pacific Northwest Girl! Also, I’m definitely my mom’s daughter. I saw a full grown man with a plastic bag on his head skipping/running down the hill in a huge rainstorm. He tripped and almost fell! I saw, my companion saw, some girls walking up the hill saw…their reactions were gasps and, “Are you ok?!” Mine…I burst out laughing! Super loud! I couldn’t help it. (Exactly what my mom would do!) We had been walking in the rain for 8 hours by this time. I was super slap-happy. Also, mom, I kept sneezing this week. I realized my sneeze sounds just like yours because the first time I sneezed I started looking around wildly, “What?! Where’s my mom?!”

Not only is rain great for comic relief, but it’s also good for members of our church who are less active. We look so kawawa (pitiful) that they let us in. It’s really great! Kind of funny, mostly just kawawa, one older lady cried, explaining that she doesn’t feel clean – that she makes mistakes every day and isn’t ready to meet God. We had a GREAT lesson about the sacrament, but after I asked, “Will you come and partake the sacrament tomorrow to become clean?’ she replied, “Oh! They have that at the church around the corner! I’m not going back to your church!” Well…missed that one kawawa kami.

When teaching some new investigators, we explained that God restored His church again on the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith and there is a living prophet on the earth today. We asked, “Ano nasa isipin ninyo?” or “What are you thinking?” They said, “Oh! We’re the same. All churches are the same. One God, we use the Bible. We’re just the same.” UH…kawawa naman po kami!

Don’t get me wrong, we had some GREAT moments, I just don’t want to jinx them! I feel like whenever I write about them…Nora, Jocelyn…then they quit letting us in! BUT! Saturday we have a baptism. I’m so excited! I will send pics next week. Also, ANGIE CAME TO CHURCH AGAIN! YAY!!

Mom and Dad – I got the shoes and the tummy/knee package this week. Thank you so much! The shoes came just in time - I have tread again cause it’s super slippery! Hopefully now I can dodge the karma from laughing at that guy because of my new shoes. :) Dad – my tummy is doing so much better. And my knee. I feel like a new person!

Side note – I slammed my hand in a taxi yesterday. Maybe that’s my karma for laughing at the dude.

Thank you all so much for the love and support. Looking forward to another week in Baguio!
I am so lucky! I get to call this beautiful city "home"!

This little boy is so cute! He is the son of a member of our church who hasn't been attending church. We have been visiting his mom to fellowship her. This lil guy only speaks Ilokano, so I don't understand anything he says but he still loves me. And I love him too! He took the pamphlet we gave his mom and put it in his school backpack because he loves pictures of Jesus. How cute is that?!

Check out this dog's tongue!
Shoes! Before and After

Thanks dad!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Real Life

June 2, 2014

This week was crazy. Experiences, lessons and people that should just be found in Ensign articles. But it was real. I feel so blessed to be a part of it.

Our new investigator, Evelyn, has cancer. She is living short term here in Baguio to try to manage her stress. She is one of the most accepting, most genuine believers I have ever met. I love teaching her. When we leave her house I just feel so full. The spirit is always so strong when we teach her and I think her heart is open and she is so humble. Sister Campos and I are praying that she will have enough strength to go to church.
Rachelle and her friend Hanna both work at call centers from 11pm-7am.  When we stopped by Hanna’s house at 7pm, Rachel had a fever still from the last 3 days, but she couldn’t miss work because she had to meet her quota. Thanks so much Sherilyn for the Extra-Strength Tylenol! I had some in my wallet and was able to give it to her. This month the work schedules change. We are praying they both get the 3pm-11pm shift.
(Also, Sherilyn, thank you for sending me earplugs. Our back door neighbor decided to get a rooster and keep it right behind our bedroom. I use earplugs every night!)

Lovely – love her – gave us a really hard question this week. When Sister Campos was asking her if she believed if our message is true she told us that when she prayed, she got an answer from the Lord that it doesn’t matter what church you join as long as you have faith and serve God. Hmm…AWKWARD! What am I supposed to say to that? It’s been interesting to have seen so much of Lovely’s journey so far because I talked to her on my third day here in Baguio City. Sister Pelayo always said, “If she will just read the Book of Mormon then she will know!” Well, she started reading it, but nothing has really changed. Sister Campos is thinking that if she will just come to church she will get an answer. (She is a leader in her own church though.) I think the overarching principle is faith: once we can help Lovely obtain enough faith to act on whatever God says, then I think she will know. All in the Lord’s time.

Sad story – one of our investigator’s cousins committed suicide. The cousin texted asking her and her mom to come over and help her, but they said they couldn’t come because their store was really busy. Oh my goodness. So sad. And so hard. They are both living with so much grief and sorrow, but also guilt. Our investigator asked us if suicide is a sin, and how God will judge her cousin. We taught her about repentance and the atonement and the Spirit World. We are so lucky that we have such a merciful God and He gives ALL OF US the opportunity to come unto Him and be clean again.
Also, a member that has not been coming to church shared that she was super SUPER hurt in the past. She told us her story this week. But before that she kinda ripped us apart. She said we were just show offs, that we were fake. That we didn’t actually care about people and that we don’t know anything… we just stood there. I was thinking, “I hope Sister Campos says something, cuz all the things I am thinking right now aren’t very missionary-appropriate. But then this lady continued. She explained, “When I was baptized, life was great. Life was so good. I loved going to church here in the Philippines. I loved everything about church. But then I went abroad, and I was at the church. I had my eyes closed and I was praying with all my heart. And do you know what they did? They picked me up under the arms and threw me out of the church. They told me I didn’t belong there. Every time I see people like you, I hurt. You don’t know anything. You don’t understand anything.” Then I REALLY had no idea what to say! How awful. What a sad experience. Just then her daughter walked up, who we were waiting for, so we didn’t have a chance to say anything. I hope the next time we see her we can help her heal. What a terrible feeling to carry all these years.

So, I said to two investigators (11 and 12 year old girls) “You two are goats, right?” They looked at me like I was a crazy person. There was a little bit of fear mixed with the confusion in their eyes. Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I still mix up “kambing” and “kambal”! I meant to say, “You two are twins, right?” Language mistakes still happen. It’s a work in progress.
Thank you all for your prayers and letters of support and encouragement. I seriously have the best friends and family around! Mahal ko kayo!

Don't I look like a GIANT compared to my tiny companion and our investigator?
Wow! They are so small!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mountains, Mice and Miracles

May 26, 2014

I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Campos, she is so adorable and sweet and I love her. Our area is called “camp” so she is literally PERFECT for the area (hence, “perfect” in today’s title). We get along super well and she is really easy going. And a hard worker. Love it!

So. Mice. Monday night I was downstairs walking to the toaster oven to heat up some leftover eggs when I stepped on something small that made a “Crunch…squeak…squeak…skuttle…skuttle” AHH! It was a MOUSE! And it was surprisingly fast even after I stepped on it. (Aunt Heidi, all of the traps you sent me are set up around my house…who knew it was more probable for me to step on a mouse than for it to get caught in one of 10+ traps!?) Naturally I ran screaming to the closest chair and stood on it FREAKING OUT until my housemates calmed me down enough to explain what had happened. Sister Mortell told me later it was actually her first reaction upstairs to run in her room and slam the door closed when she heard me screaming. But, she quickly realized what she was doing and hurried downstairs to help me.

So, I thought it ran under the fridge…we moved the fridge…no mouse. People in my house kind of forgot about it…I was still a lil’ traumatized (at night, every move of my companion makes the bunk bed squeak – I kept waking up all night!)until Sunday when we opened the closet down under the stairs and it smelled AWFUL! We pulled out all of the suitcases and plastic grocery bags and while Sister Mortell and I were screaming and freaking out our companions found the mouse, picked it up, threw it away and bleached the floor like BEASTS! I’m so lucky.

Sister Campos is a miracle worker. Her first night, even though we were only teaching from 5-8:30 (she didn’t arrive until 5) AMAZING THINGS HAPPENED! We have on part member family we have been teaching for a while. The kids all want to get baptized and are ready, but their dad isn’t super excited about the idea. We have never been able to teach the whole family because the dad is always gone. BUT! HE WAS HOME!! We taught them. It was so beautiful. Their dad committed to family prayer AND to come to CHURCH with them! (There was some sort of emergency, so he couldn’t come, but baby steps!)

Also, Sister Marcilina. I love her. She was actually  my very first lesson here in Baguio. When I first taught her she was sorta grumpy…but now she is all smiles! She always has the best questions for us. She tell us, “I just want to know the truth.” Also, “Don’t rush me. I’ll take it one step at a time.” When Sister Campos invited her to church, she said she would come next week!

Good news: Sister Dizon moved up! She is in Baguio! Bad news: she said my Tagalog got way worse – grammar, accent – everything. DANG MAN! Hopefully Sister Campos can rescue my Tagalog.

Thank you so much for the packages! Dunnaways – the clothes are so great! Seriously so perfect! And I love the pictures and letters! I will hang them up on my wall at home! Great-Grandma Edna and Judi Tenney – best snacks and food ever! My housemates and I are so thankful! We will be feasting this transfer! Chicken burritos, pasta salad, apple sauce, Cheezits, Ritz, Propel…You’re the best!

Thank you all for all of the prayers, letters and love! I’m so happy to be a missionary now. Life is great!


My lovely new companion, Sister Campos
Mommy Bennitt! She is the best. She feeds us delicious food every Sunday and I love talking with her and hearing her testimony. We leave spiritually and physically fed every Sunday!
So glad this crazy lady lives close to me again!