Current Address

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

Monday, September 22, 2014


Wow. It happened. I’m 20 now. It feels so old. But I don’t feel old! I still feel like a teenager inside…maybe it will hit me next week.

I had a great birthday though! Thanks to the love from housemates, love from home, love from members and missionaries here and GREAT lessons with investigators.

We woke up early on Friday because my birthday wish was to go running in Burnham Park. My housemates and companion came with me. It was EXHILERATING! So much fun. My housemates also decorated down the stairs with little signs and downstairs with a cute birthday banner. It seriously made my day! They are so thoughtful.

Thank you SO MUCH for the packages! Maybe that’s why I don’t feel 20…cause I had way too much fun opining them! Thank you for the new clothes. They feel so nice! And for all the food; granola bars, mac n cheese, jello…y’all are the best!

My companion made me pancakes for breakfast! So nice. Then we went out to work, determined to give away 20 pamphlets that day. We did it! The last one we gave to the taxi man who drove us home. It was great because we were working in an area that we thought we had finished tracting, but we still managed to find lots of people to talk to.

We went out to lunch at Yellow Cab (which is the best pizza place ever!). My companion surprised me by inviting TONS of people! Missionaries, members – it was super fun!

After lunch I had to change out of my red dress. Which is a bummer because here in the Philippines you wear red on your birthday (how did you know Gma J?) Well, I sat in human poop. Yup. On my birthday. I thought the chair I sat on was just really dirty. Nope. There was poo on it. I think it was from the investigator’s baby.


4. Agata – She doesn’t understand why she needs to be baptized again. I don’t think she understood what we were saying. But, she understood our invitation to pray and ask God if she should be baptized.

3. Mama D. – we found her concern! She is afraid of change. Even though she knows Joseph Smith is a true prophet, she is afraid of what her family will think and afraid of changing. We invited her to build her foundation on Christ – not her family or anyone else. Because He is the only sure foundation.

2. Lola! We taught her a simple lesson and while Sister Campos was using the bathroom she told me, “I love it when I have visitors. Thank you so much for coming to my house today. Thank you for not forgetting about me. It means so much to me!” Made my day.

1. Prima – Her oldest daughter, Angel, still hadn’t made it home from school; she was getting really anxious because Angel was an hour late and Typhoon Mario was starting. Rains were really heavy and it was pretty windy. I said the opening prayer, and remembering President’s advice to really pray for the investigators, I prayed that Angel would be safe, that she would make it home, and that Prima wouldn’t worry about her. We said “Amen” opened our eyes and not 2 seconds later Angel appeared from around the corner! Safe and sound. HUGE testimony builder for me – I need to pray for the simple things that God wants to happen. I also always need to pray with faith – meaning I expect God can grant me the blessings I seek. I think it was also a testimony builder for Prima because she mentioned it in her closing prayer. It also shows that sometimes God lets “bad” things happen so that He can show His hand in our lives. If we were safe and happy all the time I don’t think we would remember Him.

All afternoon we had really heavy rains, but then it started to get SUPER rainy and windy. I don’t know if you can really tell from the picture – it was like I took a shower with my clothes on. We ended up having to go home a little bit early (the typhoon got too strong to stay out and work), so that meant we had enough time for me to cook birthday dinner. My housemates love the package food. Thanks SO MUCH everyone for making it such a memorable day. I felt so loved. 

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Birthday morning in Burnham Park

I feel so loved!

Birthday Breakfast Pancakes

20 pamphlets to give away on my 20th birthday!

Birthday lunch with all my friends! Such a fun surprise!

Best pizza ever!

Friends from the ward who came to celebrate with me!

Soaked sisters from Typhoon Mario!

I really do love my new clothes. Thank you SO much!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Can I just start off by saying…WE FINALLY HAD AN INVESTIGATOR AT SACRAMENT MEETING!! It was actually not anyone from the “breakthrough” 2 weeks ago. It was Agata. Have I written about her? I think so. I’ll just tell the whole story again.

Agata doesn’t know how old she is. She is either 61 or 62 because her oldest child is 42. She doesn’t know her birthday. She doesn’t know how to read. She speaks very little Tagalog – mostly just Ilocano. She is one of the kindest people I have ever met. She has the biggest heart. She is so humble and generous. She has 6 kids and really recognized the importance of education although she was never able to go to school. She worked in Burnham Park everyday super early in the morning in order to sell all her fruit for the day. All six of her kids graduated from college. All six are now working professionally. She has their graduation pictures and degrees proudly displayed in her home.

We met Agata because Sister Campos and I were punted. She went and bought fish from a sari-sari store and tried talking to the owner, and I went to a store across the path. I sat down on a step and started talking to the owner. She said, “Hey, I’m gonna take a snack break. Wanna come home with me and eat?” Agata welcomed us into her house, fed us cinnamon bread, and was happy to hear our message.

We teach Agata either inside her store or at her home. I have always felt sorta guilty going to teach her…she is just so nice it feels like we are taking a break. And, when we met her I faithlessly thought, “She’s not going to understand our Tagalog-Ilocano mix. We should probably teach someone else…”
*cue my repentance*

 Agata, full of faith, always said, “I don’t understand everything. But the Lord understands. And He tells me what you are trying to say, right here” [gesturing to her heart].

Agata looks through the pamphlet at all the pictures if she doesn’t have customers. She proudly explained to Sister Campos and me the whole Restoration – what she had interpreted from the pictures. My favorite explanation was from the picture she showed us of Joseph Smith and the first vision. She said, “Because of this, we know that there is a God. And there is Jesus.”

Before we could even start the lesson she was super excited to tell us about what happened when she prayed to know. She said, “I did it. I prayed like you asked. I asked God if He was real. I felt it here. I know that He is there. I felt it. It was so beautiful. Just like you said.” Her simple testimony – so sincere – so happy – really touched me. Sister Campos then asked, “Agata, is there one true church?” and Agata replied "YES!" Then we waited expectantly…”YOU!”

Agata came to church this Sunday. We practically ran up the mountain so that we would be on time picking her up. She wore her hat and her Sunday best. Ward members were so kind to translate everything into Ilocano. I am so happy she had a good experience.

*Side bar* This is my last letter as a teenager. Whaa?? But, as Sister Smith pointed out (cause I saw her on Friday for the first time since we got to the Philippines) our teenage years ended when we entered the MTC. I still can’t believe I’m almost 20 though. Wow! Also on Friday at the tri-zone conference I received all sorts of packages! Thanks so much family! (Mom and Dad, Gma and Gpa J, Gma and Gpa A) I’m waiting until Friday to open them, but it’s KILLING ME! I feel so loved though. Y’all are the BEST!

Farewell childhood. I am entering my early 20s this week.
It’s been real. J


So fun to see Sister Smith again!

"Perfect Sunday" 
Because of the typhoon, we all had to come home early Sunday night. I cooked up the pasta you sent me AGES ago mom (I was saving it for a rainy day). We all played games and painted our nails! It was super fun!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Understanding is Key

As Sister Campos and I are trying to focus on improving our teaching skills this week, I really noticed how important it is for people to understand the message. If they don’t understand, what’s the point? It’s so important that we as missionaries teach in a way that people will understand.

Nanay A – a cute less active lady in our area – was really impacted by our lesson this week about pre-mortal life. Poor lady, so many of her kids have died tragically. One died of cancer, one was hit by a car, one committed suicide. Another one died too – I forget how. A member told us that’s why she stopped coming to church – she blames God for all the tragic deaths of her children. She is such a kind grandma though – I love teaching her. She used to not even let us in so we have made LOTS of progress. Anyway, when we were teaching Nanay A about pre-earth life she was amazed! She kept saying, “Wow! I didn't know we lived with God before we came to earth!” and “He gave us a plan? Wow!” “We are His spirit children?” It was so refreshing to teach someone who actually really understood what we were talking about.

Sister Campos and I did a lot of tracting this week. One house we were let in right away. We were super surprised! Then the owners saw our name tags and said, “Wait. What religion are you?” They thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses, that’s why they let us in! :) Well, we still shared a short message about prophets and told them God continues to call prophets today. We thought they understood our message…turns out they didn't really because in her closing prayer the gal said, “Thanks for sending these 3 prophets to our home.” (We were working with Mimi.) “Please guide these three prophets…Strengthen these prophets.” I opened my eyes in surprise when she first mentioned prophets. So did Mimi. We made eye contact. Then I totally lost it and had that awful inappropriate laugh the rest of the prayer. I’m such a bad missionary!

Understanding is also important for missionaries. Sister Campos and I had a pretty awful week. It felt like all those breakthroughs I wrote about last week just plummeted. I totally jinxed everything. Anyway, one night we went out to MacDo for dinner because we both felt like only ice cream and cheeseburgers could cheer us up. We both sat down and waited in silence for a few seconds, then said at the same time, “I just wanna cry!”

I need to remember I don’t understand everything right now. But everything that is happening is for a reason – even if the reason is so I can learn to adapt healthy stress-coping habits. I shouldn't be eating at MacDo everyday! It’s ok, things will be better in the end. Since it’s not better now it must not be the end yet. :)

Fun outing with Mimi. She was here In Baguio City for school, and is now home preparing for her mission. She wants to come back to visit before I get transferred. She will be a great missionary!

P-day parade! Super fun time last week!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dad – this week was the breakthrough week

September 1, 2014

For the last couple months in your emails, dad, you’ve been saying you feel like I should have a breakthrough in this area anytime…Well IT FINALLY HAPPENED!! Sadly, STILL, not a single person we teach came to church. Story of my life…BUT I will just write this as if it is Saturday night. Because that’s a happier ending!

Family B – my favorite! We got to teach Mama B on Friday morning and we were able to resolve a lot of concerns. She isn’t super devoted to Iglesia (the church the second oldest daughter recently joined). She said it kinda freaks her out when they pray – all the “Amen!” and “Opo!” and crying. She told us that she tells her daughter she should just go with their oldest to the Mormon Church. Yay! We got Mama B on our side.

Her concern is really prayer. Mama B feels like when she prays it means nothing. Like she is just talking to the wall. She has tried a few different ways of praying but we invited her to really pray from the heart and see what happens. J

We also FINALLY met Papa B! Mama B and all the kiddos really wanted him to join in the lesson, but he just passed by on his way out. He did shake our hands though. Baby steps.

The parents from Family B have a little trip on Sunday, but all of the kids said they will still come to church! We planned a FHE with them on Monday night so that should be fun!

Family H – Mama H (pregnant with their first) is a less active member of our church. Papa H is an investigator. We haven’t taught them in FOREVER because whenever we have stopped by no one was home. And no one would return our texts. Well, turns out they got new phones. Also, our last lesson with them was about Joseph Smith. They prayed together to know if what we taught was true. They really felt the spirit when they prayed and believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. They wanted to go to church these last few weeks, but weren’t sure where it was. They stood outside the gate thinking that it was right…maybe? But, since they weren’t sure, they just went to the cathedral. We only talked to Mama H (Papa H wasn’t home) but they will both for sure come this Sunday!

Family K – Mama K is less active; Papa K belongs to Iglesia. They have 2 kids – one 13 year old boy, one 21 year old girl who is married and has a baby. We went with the Bishop to visit them. Turns out I think Daughter K is a little CRAY-CRAY! Just a little though. That’s always awk… *Before the visit* “Bishop, if you have time Thursday evening, we would love it if you could come with us to visit one of our investigators that really has potential!” *After visit* “Sorry about that Bishop. We didn’t know she was crazy.” Anyway, we taught a good lesson, she just kept interrupting with long comments that made no sense. But, they are all super excited to come to church on Sunday! Except Papa K. He can’t. The pastor of his church is also his boss and he will lose his job if he attends another church. (I had such an American reaction when we found this out… Urgh it still urks me!) Papa K hasn’t even sat in on any lessons.
Family D – part member/less-active as well. Mama D is the investigator. They have been taught by the missionaries for a year and a half. We watched the restoration video with them a few visits ago (borrowed it from my housemate). Mama D prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet…YES! And she agreed to be baptized on October 4th. Sadly, she will be attending a funeral this Sunday so will not be able to come to church. But Papa D will be there.

So many breakthroughs, right dad? The area is progressing. My companion is the best! We are working hard and improving a lot. What else could I ask for? (People to come to church. That would be nice.)

I got mail this week! Thanks fam and Andersons! Also mom, your Thank You card to my companion made her so happy. She taped it into her Book of Remembrance. Thanks for making Sister Campos’ day!

Love you Whit! Can't believe you are so old!! Don't break too many hearts! Love you TO PLUTO AND BACK!

Our District! One Elder is going home today. WOW!

I love running into this girl. It's oddly like "home" whenever I do!