Current Address

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Crazy, the Kind, and Keeping Things Interesting.

August 25, 2014

CRAZY! Divine Grace: We met her at on investigator’s house. She was crazy-crying. Her only son’s name is Christian. She is really devoted to her church—which is great! She was just a lil bit mean to us… and between her rude comments she would say, “I respect you!  We have respect for you,” then go on to say COMPLETELY disrespectful things. She also claims, “I am open to everyone.” When everything else she said just bashed us. Oh man! We have had lots of Bible bashers before, but this lady did it with a smile that reminded me of Professor Umbridge. She also informed us that we are prophets because we “step on snakes and beat evil” and lots of other gems which I sadly can’t remember…next time malang!

KIND! Lola: We knocked on her door and she let us in right away. She said, “Call me Lola, my children.” So cute. She was talking to us, telling us she appreciates our walking every day in the heavy rain so that people can hear our message. She said she could tell we were servants of God. Then part way through she paused, turned to me and said, “Why are you here?  You are WHITE!” Ha ha, yes I’m American. :) Then she went on to say how white people are so kind and charitable and how she admires us (which made me feel all uncomfortable…). She also told us a bit about her childhood. She grew up in the “mountains” where people “didn’t know about Jesus or the Bible.” She said out of all 8 siblings she was the only one who went to school cause her parents didn’t want them to go. (I still quite don’t understand why). So her parents would only give them breakfast unless they stayed home. So she would eat and then when they weren’t paying attention, sneak out and go to school. I guess this no-breakfast-if-you-go-to-school tactic was popular among parents in their little village because the police came through and confiscated everyone’s cooking pots and took them to the school so people could only eat if they went to school! Her only son is blind.  He does blind massages for a living. Wow!  Anyway, she was super nice and as we left my companion said, “I feel uplifted!”  It’s true.  I love Lola.

KEEPING THINGS INTERESTING: Thanks to the Dworczyks for the awesome glasses and noses! One night this week we got home earlier than our housemates so I hid in their room and jumped out and scared them before they could even turn on the light! Sister Campos and I took a couple of pictures while we were waiting for them to get home.--I think she looks scarier than me!

So a little bit more about the work. Sorry I haven’t been writing much about it…it’s just a little bit sad. Discouraging lately.

Some good news though. Angie. Remember her? A member came with us to teach her and made such a difference. We found out that her concerns really could be resolved with The Plan of Salvation so we are going to focus there. She also shared that one day she was looking through books at a bookstore. She started reading one because she thought it was about God. Turned out to be an atheist book though. It planted a lot of doubts and questions in her, and she said she just didn’t feel good. “But later that afternoon is when Sister Jackson came over and talked to me.”

I feel so blessed and humbled to be trusted by the Lord. I am humbled by what she shared with me. Even though the work has been a little discouraging lately, the real purpose – inviting others to come unto Christ – is happening. And it’s so great to have a front row seat to the little miracles that happen as people come unto Christ.



August 18, 2014

So, I’m still in the same area. That means I will be here for at least 6 months… 1/3 of my mission! Don’t get me wrong – I love Baguio. And my area. But I’ve been feeling kind of frustrated lately with the lack of progress. And I really felt like I was going to get transferred (looking back…probably just wishful thinking!) Instead of feeling down about the lack of progress, Sister Campos and I went finding. Super intensely! We climbed so many stairs, met TONS of people, and have a few stories to show for it:

·         I asked one man how many kids he has. He replied, “Uh…maybe three?” Huh?! “children” is kinda something that we should all have an exact number of…

·         Catalina! She is like 48 or something and has a 4 year old and a 6 year old!!! She told us, “I don’t have menopause! I am doing family planning now.” Oh man! That’s brutal! What’s worse though is that she said, “I just had them here at home. I didn’t want to go to the hospital cause at the hospital once they see the head they just start cutting you! I don’t want that! No way! So I just have them here.” I said, “Oh, yeah, with a midwife?” “No, only me.” “WHAT!? But your husband was here?!” “No, he was at work…” “WHAT!?” Sister Campos was also shocked. She asked, “But who cut the umbilical cord??” Catalina replied, “Me!” “WHAT!?” (I’m such a spaz!) Sister Campos, being the pharmacist she is, asked about vaccines and tests. Catalina said, “Yeah, I took them to the hospital and said, “Here is my baby! I just had her. Is she ok?” Oh my goodness! The hospital people said, “Don’t do that again – you are too old for that! What would you do if you had complications?! You could have died!” Catalina explained, “Naw, I wouldn’t have died. I would have just yelled for one of my neighbors and they would have gotten a taxi for me and I would have been fine.

·         Best moment: When I started talking to someone at a sari-sari store window and they stopped me and said, “Hey. I’m gonna take a break from the store. Come with me to my house and I will give you food.” Before the mission this situation would be STRANGER-DANGER! But it made my day today! Missionaries love to go to stranger’s houses and eat stranger’s food (don’t worry, it came out of a wrapper so I won’t get amebiasis again!)

·         We went to a lady’s house who we had taught at a sari-sari store once. We were on our way to an appointment and stopped to say hi and she invited us in. Then she told us that “Miss Jackson” had taught her before. At her employer’s house. Sister Campos was not with me. (I have no recollection of that.) There were no lights on, so I just probably didn’t notice her, she explained. What the?! First off, I’ve been with Sister Campos every day for the last 3 months! Secondly, I don’t remember teaching anyone in the dark! Weird. I still can’t figure out what she was talking about.

·         At the end of our longest finding day (I wish I had a pedometer to tell you how far we walked – up and down 3 mountains talking to people!) we had one set appointment that night at 7:30. So we went in, sat down, chatted for a bit, then I announced that I would say the opening prayer. I closed my eyes, folded my arms and said, “My name is…” Waaay to much finding! I couldn’t even remember how to pray. I totally lost it – Sister Campos had to pray cause I was laughing so hard.


·         I make KILLER no-bake cookies. I’ll have to put that one on my resume. Seriously though, these cookies are to die for!

·         I am still TERRIFIED of mice. Yep. Last night at a member’s house a mouse rand across the floor toward me. I was standing on a chair lightning fast, and sat with my feet tucked up on the chair the whole evening. I have GOT to get over my fear – I’m such a spaz!

·         Even though I am an “old” missionary, I still LOVE getting letters. Thanks Sherwins, Dworczyks, Andersons, Momma, Em, Whit, Toby and Erika. You da best! I’m working on letters for all of ya!

Love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!

It finally stopped raining enough that we could go to the fun center on preparation day!
We went back to the Korean restaurant with our new housemate
These twins and their cousin remind me of me, McKenna and Paige. So cute! :)


KAKAIBA – Some of the strangest things people say, leave on the stairs, and Monong Bien…

August 11, 2014

This week I realized that some of the “normal” things about life here in the Pines would be very different at home. Hopefully y’all get a kick out of it!

After someone first opens their door to us, the most common “reaction” is, “BAKIT?!” or “WHY?” How  do you logically even respond to that? The real answer, “Because we love you even though we don’t know you yet.” Sounds creepy. Usually I just say, “Because we are missionaries!” Then go on trying to make small talk…AWKWARD!

Also, I see some of the weirdest things on the stairs sometimes. Here are this week’s highlights (with pictures, of course).

Don’t know what kind of bones these are…jaw bone, but what animal??

This worm is longer than my foot. And my foot isn’t small or anything.

Barbie head. Super creepy.

Crab. Whaaa??? Yep. A crab.
There used to be a creepy stuffed banana doll thing that was always on the stairs on our walk to and from home. It doesn’t sound scary, but it was like a horror movie (or the closest thing to a horror movie as missionaries) because every time we walked by it would be in a different place. In the morning, on a stair. Later tied to the fence. Then, on a tree stump. It was super creepy. I haven’t seen it in a while, but next time I do, I’ll take a picture of it.

Oh. My. Gosh. My companion has had some of the funniest/weirdest interactions with Monong Bien. So great. She cracks me up.

·         She got him to fix our toilet

·         She gives him our bill and cash and asks him to pay it. I don’t even know how to pay bills here (There isn’t really a house to house postal system. People will come by and tape what looks like a receipt but is actually our bill on our gate. Then Sister Campos just gives it to Monong Bien with our cash and 20 extra pesos.)

·         When I was sick and asleep all day, she texted him and asked him to come to the window so she could talk. Then she gave him 40 pesos and asked him to buy rice for her because she was super hungry and it’s “not good to leave Jackson Five here alone.” (Monong Bien calls me Jackson Five. Clever, right?)

·         She dropped her eye shadow out the window onto the roof. It’s the roof above our laundry room – just one story up. She asked Monong Bien to get it for her, so he climbed a fence, jumped to the roof, and got it for her. (I missed the whole thing!)
·         When we ran out of water at our house, Sister Campos gave Monong Bien our empty buckets and he filled them up for us so we could take showers.

·         Somehow, Sister Campos and I locked and closed our bedroom door. We don’t have a key for it. So, when we came back at night, we were locked out of our room. Sister Campos got Monong Bien to fix it for us. He got a ladder and a really long pole to turn the light on through the window. Then he and another neighbor dude put a giant rubber band thing at the end of the stick and kept swinging it inside trying to get the door handle and turn it. It worked! Success!

Monong Bien is the best! So is Sister Campos – she’s a hoot. Life is so amusing right now. Lots of reasons to smile!

So, teaching! Haha. We didn’t teach Roxanne this week. She has been busy with school – it’s exam week. We did teach the Baysics and I was so touched when Rin shared her experience of when she prayed about Joseph Smith with us. She said, “I felt like how I felt when I read the Book of Mormon. Before when you taught us about Joseph Smith I kinda just thought, ‘Who’s that?’ but when I prayed, I didn’t hear a voice or anything, I just felt that he is a prophet.” I am seriously so so happy for her. AH!

We were able to teach the Montorio family TWICE this week, and the kids were really excited to come to church. But when we dropped by to pick them up Sunday morning, only the dad was home…What the?! The dad told us he didn’t know where they all went, maybe to the market. Bummer. Super frustrating. But then we got the full story through text from Joseph later Sunday afternoon. He told us his dad said they weren’t allowed to go to church, but instead they had to go to the market. :( Hopefully their dad will soften up soon.

ANNIE! Oh my goodness. We watched the restoration video with her. She is so awesome! She really just wants to understand, which is SUPER rare. (Most people are passive listeners.) When the movie ended she said she wished it was longer. And that she was excited to learn more. And she really like that Joseph Smith was a real person, just looking for answers.

I love my KAKAIBA life here in the Pines! Hope y’all are doing GREAT in America! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My experience at the orphanage

On Saturday, Sister Campos and I got permission from President Balledos to crash the youth activity that morning because we had a youth investigator who wanted to go, but didn’t really know anyone. So, we went to her house Saturday morning (let me tell you, climbing hills is WAY easier in jeans!) all three of us went to the meeting point then the ward rented a jeepney and we all pilled on. It was a super tight squeeze with all the people and boxes of donations. The pictures don’t really do it justice.
When we got to the orphanage most of the kids were in their playroom playing with a group that had scheduled the time…oops…guess we missed that memo. The other group was very gracious and let us sing a couple of primary songs and mingle for a few mins. before we went on a tour of the orphanage and the other group continued their activities. For the children’s safety, we could only take pictures if their faces weren’t in them.

Mom, I know what job you would have if you lived here in the Pines. Dad, you’d probably want this job too. Haha. We saw the nursery – a room lined with cribs with bare walls and colored foam on the floor. The nurse/worker on duty went from crib to crib holding each baby for a few mins. My heart just broke. I wanted to go in there and hold all of those babies. But, that’s definitely not allowed. First of all because I didn’t bring a background check. Secondly, because I am a missionary – can’t hold babies. Not even orphaned babies.
I had to walk a little ways away and have a little cry. (The stats poster on the wall suddenly became very interesting.) Don’t get me wrong, these kids were happy. Their facilities were clean. All of them had complete, clean outfits on. All of them had socks and shoes on. All of them had their hair done. They are probably better off temporarily than a lot of the kids I see in my area. But they don’t have a family. Especially now after being away from my family for so long, I realize how much we all NEED families. They are the people that know you but love you anyway – no matter what. They are the people you can always count on. They are the people who celebrate your birthday, who help you out when you have too much on your plate. You grow up together and – at least for me – with the years and distance, become closer.

I am so grateful for the blessings in my life. And the trials in my life. They are all so doable. I have really just been so blessed.


Alright! Quick update on the work.
The investigator who came with us is really progressing. She came with us to the activity, and then one of the Young Women invited her to lunch afterwards – SO NICE OF HER – and the two of them really became quick friends. They both came to the baptism in our ward later that day. So great! The next morning when we picked her up for church she told me, “I had such a great day yesterday!” I asked her what her favorite part was. She said, “The orphanage. And the baptism.” I can tell – she felt the spirit at the baptism. Her family is slowly progressing too.

The investigator who is the girlfriend of the returned missionary is doing super well! She has been to church 8 times now! She said, “My week is just different when I come here. And I find myself looking forward to Sunday, wishing it was Sunday every day, so that I can come back and feel the spirit again.” WOW! I wish we all had such a good attitude. And strong testimonies. The only thing holding her back from baptism – we have to finish all the lessons.    

Love and miss you family! My Jackson family, my Penn-Anderson family, my Parker family, my Fisher’s Landing Ward family – how did I get so blessed with so much family? Thanks for sending me letters or shooting me an email. You don’t know how much it means to me!

Us being silly in the area....

We said we would walk up half the giant hill then take some pics, then walk up the other half :)
Nice motivation!

Our [previous] Bishop and his family
In my area

In my area at a Korean restaurant. They had costumes that we could dress up in. It was super fun. I have to squat awkwardly in all my pics with Sis. Campos because I am so much taller than her. haha

The Korean food place was way fun! I am glad I have such a cute companion that will go with me!