Monday, July 22, 2013

Holy Cow!! Has it really been 7 months since my last post???

I have let this blog get away from me.  7 months!  Good project for me this week.

News flash:  Jonna gets home in 4 1/2 weeks!!  She flies in on August 21st!

Time for me to catch up.  Tomorrow!  It's 1 am.  Gotta go to bed.

Monday, December 31, 2012

LOVE this picture of Jonna and her companion.  November 2012.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

(A.J.)- dated Nov 13, 2012

Hey guys how is it going. Sounds like it was just a normal week. Well my week was pretty normal too. Nothing much to talk about. Elder Carlson is awesome. We still get along great. oh, so something kinda crazy happened actually. So we have these English Elders that we work with all the time. We don't live in the same apartment, but we live in the same complex area. basically we see them every day and spend a lot of time with them. So anyways, we were doing an exchange the other day, so elder carlson was with Elder Potter, and I was with our district leader Elder Reneer. And so Elder Potter and Carlson were on their bikes just going to some place, when Elder Potter clipped a motorcycle and flipped over his handle bars and hurt his shoulder pretty good. So what happened was the motorcycle pulled out in front of them while they were about to bike across a place where cars pull out, like if we were going to pull out of mountain view on to alma school. So they were biking across something like that, when a motorcycle zoomed up to pull out really fast, and he clipped the back tail of the motorcycle and hurt his shoulder. And then the motorcycle guy looked at him, and then took off. He was fine, at first, but after a while his shoulder started to hurt really bad so they went to urgent care and they still don't know if it is just bruised really bad, or if he actually did pull his shoulder muscle, he has another appointment today and they will fine out. So ya that was kinda crazy. Well, other than that things have been the same old same old. Nothing much to report on. I sure can't wait till Christmas though. Oh two things I need. I need Jonna's mission office address so that I don't have to don't have to continually worry about what her new address is. And the second thing, well I don't really need it, but its just to let you guys know, when you guys are gonna send me a package for Christmas, you have to make sure it is sent in the mail by Dec. 12th. So a few days before that would be better. Well, That's about it, I will see you guys later. Take care.
Love, A.J.

JONNA- Veteran's Day week - Dated Nov 13, 2012

Hey Everyone!
Yup, Veteran's Day on Sunday postponed us emailing until today. And, we almost had only 30 minutes to email but our appointment cancelled so now I've got a little more time than expected. Whew!
Well, update on Ann. She got hounded with all those hurtful calls last Sunday and Monday. Then, Tuesday morning, nothing. She is used to the phone ringing all the time because EVERYONE wants to talk to her. They call her nonstop on the way to work to say hi, grandkids calling, or whatever. When we are teaching her, the phone goes like 4-5 times. So, she is used to always being on the phone with relatives. Now, no one is calling. She is very lonely and it breaks my heart. She is still firm in her decision to be baptized, she doesn't regret it at all. She heard from a sermon on tape she had a while ago that "When following Christ, your biggest battle will be with your family." That has been in her mind and now she is experiencing it. She is ok, but hopes they soften up. They won't come for Thanksgiving so she is spending it with us and the Kethans and the Durrs. So, she is happy about that. But, she is nervous about Christmas. She is worried they won't come for Christmas. Yet, on Sunday she was so cheery. She said, "This mornin' Harvey and I got up to get ready for the same church." It was awesome. I love her. Also, update on Carrie. She is doing good. She is still on track for baptism and is excited. She is scheduled for Dec. 2nd. We are hoping that she stays committed and her family doesn't resist.
On Thursday, we had the Hour of Power. We tracted into a Baptist Preacher. Which isn't uncommon. He wasn't rude, but he was interesting. We tried to explain to him the importance of the Book of Mormon, but he wouldn't have it. Essentially, it was him preaching at us for 20 minutes about everything we believe too. Yet, he didn't understand when we said, "Yes, we believe that. And, there is more." Turns out, he is Harv and Ann's nephew. Haha. She thought that was funny when we told her about meeting Bobby. Haha
Well, we cleaned out the fridge on Saturday morning. A less-active has a bunch of pigs and we took our old food to feed them. Boy, it was funny! We had a nasty combo of cupcakes, chocolate cake, egg nog cake, lemondae cheesecake (yup...halloween leftovers), noodles, stale marshmallows, old conference crunch (sorry mom! I forgot I had it! I ate a TON of it and then forgot it was in the back of the pantry! So, the pigs got the rest. I was super sad...), old salad, and a few other things. It was so gross. We took it in a pot to the pigs and boy...those pigs were FIGHTING over it. I've fed those pigs before, but it was just melon rinds. This time, they were squealin' and chasin' each other off. Sister Erickson and I were going to take video of it. Pretty much, we those pigs told us we were awesome cooks! Haha. I'll send yall a photo of the slop before we mixed it. We took a photo of all the sweets we had to get rid of. Later we added the rest. So, sweets are good, but EVERYONE is pawning off the cakes and junk to the missionaries. We are gaining weight by the tons. OK, maybe not tons, but...anyway. We had to put a stop to us eating all that sugar. 
Well, yes, we found out that Obama won the election. We were driving to Colmesneil with Jackie Skinner for a lunch appointment and she told us. Everyone here is super upset. They keep saying that the times are here and the Lord is on His way. Which, I believe, but the election didn't tell me that. I knew beforehand. And, the missionary age change is what REALLY told me that. I am so sad that I couldn't hear Pres. Eyring and Elder Holland speak at Stake Conference. Sounds like it was good though. The work really is hastening. We are getting more missionaries then sending them home. And, it is turning into a super young mission. Pres. Crawford said when they got here, the average mission age was 12 months. Last year, it was 11, now it is 9. 9 months out of 2 years! That is young! I love hearing about all the mission calls people are getting! Keep me updated! I never heard where Hyrum Layton was going? And, Natalie Lewis is so nice to say something like that. Boy, was it hard to leave that job. Tell Kathy that sometimes I get Kinder songs stuck in my head ("...and I can't sit still!..") and I'll also say phrases like, "I was sitting criss-cross applesauce..." or "In kindergarten last year, we made homemade butter." People look at me and say, "You are still in kindergarten?" haha, it is ingrained into me I guess. Boy, I love that job.
Dad, keep me posted on that job! I can't wait to hear. I hope you get it. And, thanks for the article. I need to read over it again, but I don't have much time. So, I'll have to take a photo of it and read it later. And, could yall mail me my own General Conference issue? Just anytime. Thanksgiving or Christmas. Whenever. I feel bad, yall are spending a lot of $$ of shipping. So, whenever you get a chance, could you also print and send me that Elder Holland talk? I got the email and so far it is so good! But, printing in Woodville costs 25 cents a page. ugh. Thanks yall.
Addie, got your email. It is cold here in the humid! I got me a simple little ear warmer headband thing. Ya, like I know how to wear such a thing. Sister Erickson talked me into it. She's from Utah, so she is going to help me learn how to dress for the winter. I have one scarf I inherited from past sister missionaries. So, she's gonna show me how to wear those things too. Lame. I didn't have style before my mission and now, as a missionary, whatever style I DID have, it totally gone. So, you and Jeri need to give me some pointers. Be ready to help me dress when I get home. I'm not gonna have the slightest clue on what to wear.
AJ, I sent you a letter today. I put my mission office address on it. So, hopefully you get it. Hank, Jeri, Carla...what's up? Nada??? Haha, just pickin. Hank, no photos this week? you've been so good at sending photos! I love em! As gross as they are... :)
Also, tell the Chapmans/Colemans hello for me. They've been in my prayers this week. How I loved Brother Chapman. Dad, good call on doing a ward photo a few years back. What a wonderful way to treasure the history of the 20th Ward. Have yall been still doing that?
Well, I've gotta get going now. We've got a busy few days ahead. Oh how I love being in Woodville. I am so glad I stayed too! If I had it my way, I'd stay here for a few months longer. Yet, I don't think I'll get that chance. I think I will get the boot next time-which is a week before Christmas. Anyway, time for me to get going. Hope yall are doing good. I love yall so much!
Sister Jackson

JONNA- pictures

Generation Photo from Sister's Training. (left to right) Higley, Haynie, Cochran, Jackson, Wenzel. Higley trained Haynie & Cochran. Cochran trained me and Wenzel.

Erickson and I tracting.  (See the building in the background? That was once the Woodville Chapel. TINY!

voting!! (I look terrible. It was an EARLY morning.)

Anne's baptism. Sister Erickson, Me, Anne, Harv, and President John Livingston (Branch president)

(JONNA)- Nov 5, 2012

Hey Yall!
Well, the internet went down at the library in the middle of us checking email. So, I hope I have time still to write everything I want to. First off, I am not getting transferred! YAY! Sister Erickson and I are staying together for at least 6 more weeks! Wahoo! The next transfer is a week before Christmas. It was a GREAT weekend because ANNETTE GOT BAPTIZED!!! YAYAY!!
It was incredible. She arrived to church looking great and Har her husband actually wore a suit! Haha-never happens. She was excited. We also had Car there, who is also working toward baptism. And, a less-active who is returning was also there! So, Sister Erickson and I had so much to do! We had to sit in different areas in Relief Society and Sacrament meeting (don't worry! Still in sight and sound!) so we could be with Ann, Car, and Cas. It was a jugglin act. Thanks to the branch members everything was great. During sacrament meeting, the Spirit was powerful. Wow. Everyone spoke on conversion and missionary work. It reminded me of the 20th Ward again. I was sitting with Ann and Har in the very back. At one point, she put her arm around me and said "I just love you so much. Thanks for all you have done for me." I almost cried! Then, I noticed Har wringing his hands and bouncing his knees. Oh boy, he was gonna get up. I was praying he would! And, I wish you knew Har. Early stages of Alzheimers, loud, funny. He stood up and as he was walking down the aisle to the stand he shouted, "Man, I am tryin' not to cry!" He got to the podium and was short and sweet. He expressed his love for Ann, said he was glad this day finally came, and then ended with "I'm gonna end with a James Brown song, 'I feel good!! And, I knew that I would!' " Then, he didn't even close, just walked away. hahaha. Oh is was the best. Such an awesome moment. At the end of sacrament, we sang "The Lord is My Shepherd." I couldn't get through the song. I had been STRESSING that I was going to get transferred from this little bity branch that I LOVE! I am not ready to leave this place (and probably never will be ready). But, as I sang, I was sitting next to Annette-a woman of remarkable faith who is getting baptized. I was given at least 6 more weeks to serve in this branch. And, life was just good :) Needless to say, I was a cry baby.
Then, it came time for Ann's baptism. She got dressed, was excited! She was cryin' the whole time. Sister Erickson and I sang our own little version of "I Know My Father Lives." I was watching Ann the whole time and she was in tears. As she was in the font and getting baptized, I was just overjoyed. Understand that this is almost 10 years in the making! Har investigated for a few years and was finally baptized in 2006. She wasn't even open to baptism until 6 months ago. I feel so honored to be one of the missionaries here at the time she was ready to be baptized. I was here when it finally "clicked." Heavenly Father has been working on her for many years and during the time she is ready, He allowed me to witness her conversion. Wow. She was baptized and then confirmed right after (with special permission from Pres. Crawford :) She even told Car (our other investigator) that "This was the best thing I ever could have done." And Car later told us, "This makes me excited for my own baptism." Could life be any better than this? Witnessing the conversion process of these people? I think not. It makes me sick that I almost missed this.
Well, sad thing, this morning, we found out that Ann has been getting hateful phone calls from her family and friends. (Mostly over her joining a "white church" rather than the actual religion, but still...) They called her up until midnight last night and early this morning. She still said though, "I did this for myself. No one else. I don't regret it." It just breaks my heart that she is experiencing all this though. Thankfully, tonight, she was invited to a member's house for dinner, with another less-active, and us! I'm telling you, this branch is SO good at welcoming people into their homes and reaching out. I love this place. So, keep Ann in your prayers!
Well, it was Halloween! That morning, we did some service and helped pick pecans up (they are everywhere!) at a part member family's home. Then, we helped a member with preparations for the Fall Fest. We went to the Fall Fest (the Branch's Halloween party). It was in Odomville in a big field. Had a bonfire, a chili cook-off, a spook house, and hay ride. We drove over with Ann and Har (which was hilarious). Sister Erickson and I judged the Chili-cook-off. Then, we placed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winners. The winners were ones who have never won before (including Annette!). We got picked on because we were from the West and didn't have Southern taste buds. Haha. It was funny. We rode the hay ride with one of our less-actives who showed up. That was fun. Riding on a dirt road, in a hay trailer, attatched to a tractor, under the night sky (FULL of stars and a full moon!). It was the best. We got home, and turned in for the night. And, guess what? I forgot to listen to "When October Goes." Can you believe that??? Haha-just kidding. I've been looking forward to that for weeks! Sister Erickson wrote in her journal and I sat on the couch and listened to it. It was a nice few moments. It was about 10:25pm my time when Iistened to it. I was thinking about a year ago of getting my call, going to the temple, being in Texas, Hank, AJ, the girls, and basically life in general :) It was a good moment. It is dorky I guess, but I like that tradition. We pretty much have the best family in the world.
Well, that is that I guess. OH! Yes, I got yall's packages. THANKS for the thermals! It was freeeeeeeezing cold last week. It has warmed up now, but it will get cold again. Also, I got the ballot and sent it in on Friday. Hope it gets there in time! Thanks for the emails. Give my love to the Chapmans and Colemans. How I love Brother Chapman. And, scary about Lauren! Yikes!! Makes me sick. And, let me know about the mission calls! So excited for them all! Also, where did Hyrum Layton go on his mission?
Time for me to go!
Love yall!
Sister Jackson

(A.J) Nov 5, 2012

Hey guys hows it going. So sounds like a good week you guys had. Well This week was pretty normal, just same old same old. Me and Carlson get a long really well, So ya last week I said that he reminds me of Hank, he totally does, I don't know how to explain it, but just some of the things he says, and the way he acts its just like, "man, that sounds just like Hank." ya I don't know how to explain it but its cool. Well so for halloween me and Carlson went to Mcdonallds and had some ice cream. It was cool. We couldn't do anything that night though because it was just a bad night to be out doing things, our mission president said to stay indoors that night so that is what we did. we didn't do too much. but that night i did listen to "when october goes" It was cool. Well I finally got your packages. I got it on Friday, so I don't think my ballot made it in time. I sent it in saturday morning. so I don't think my vote will count, but i still sent it in anyways. 
Well the language is coming along, I still need to improve a ton with it, but it is coming slowly but surely. Things are the same old here. Hopefully on the 18th we will have a baptism. I'm a little excited for that. It will be cool and it will be like my first real baptism I had, because the other two were like leftovers that Elder Kurtz had with his old companion. So hopefully this one will work out good. This morning I checked my email again and I saw I had 17 emails!!! I know, crazy, most of them are just short 5 sentance emails though from other missionaries. Well I gotta go, see ya and take care.
Love, A.J.