Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jonna arrived in Texas!

We got a surprise phone call from Jonna yesterday morning about 7:45 am.  She had told us she wasn't going to call home from the airport...why was I surprised when she decided to surprise us?? I should have known she wanted to surprise us...again!  It was fantastic talking to her, even if it was for a few short minutes.  A.J., Addie and I were the only ones home, so we each talked with her briefly. She had a few minutes to express a sweet testimony of her experience at the MTC, and was anxious to write home about it.  We said our "I love you's", and then she called John at work and talked with him for a few minutes.  I'm so glad she called...it was great hearing her voice again.
Then today we got an email from her mission president with the following pictures and letter:
Jonna flew over with these 8 Elders from the MTC.
Feb. 27, 2012

Jonna with Pres. & Sis. Crawford
Texas Houston East Mission President
Excerpt of email we got from Pres. & Sister Crawford today:
"Dear Families,
Your Missionary has arrived safely to T.H.E. Mission! They were treated to a great Texas BBQ, had personal interviews, and shared testimonies. The following morning was focused on training after which they met their new companion and were transported to their area of service. They are now out diligently searching for our Heavenly Father's children and doing the work of the Lord..."

We still don't know where Jonna is, but anticipate an email in the next few days.  We'll keep you posted. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

(Hank) Loves Philadelphia!

hey mom how you doing?! i loved reading your letter this week! it was such a busy week for you guys back home! Philadelphia is a cool place, I'm starting to get to know my way around, and getting to know the people. oh and yesterday was sunday and it was a branch. we had about 25 people come yesterday. its definitely my smallest ward/branch I've been in. me and kington have to bless the sacrament every week. its cool though, I'm able to know all the people better. oh and on every Wednesday one of the members in the ward and her son feed us. we were talking and i found out that she just moved from ventura about 3-4 years ago. i forgot her name, but we see them every Wednesday, so ill get back to you on that. i told her i was born in ojai and she thought it was cool, and that i knew what ojai was. anyway i thought you might like that. my new companion is elder Kin, hes from kaysville, UT. i like him we are both getting along great, but this might be his last transfer in Philadelphia. i called picayune and they said they got the package you sent, they are going to forward it here sometime this week. brittany sent a package to me for my birthday but it got sent to the pass apartments.  I've called the waveland missionaries and they said they would get it for me, but they haven't yet. so its a work in progress. well mom that's about it, a quick update about whats going on. thanks for everything, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

(Hank) Transferred to Philadelphia...Mississippi!

I didn't realize there was a Philadelphia Mississippi!  Funny, his cousin Noah is in Philadelphia Pennsylvania right now.  We got a letter from him last week, I won't post it this time, but will paraphrase a bit.  He has a new companion, really likes him, and likes his new area.  He was sad to say goodbye to Elder Wager, and also to a man he was teaching in Picayune.  This man will probably get baptized in the next few weeks, and Hank was a bit bummed he wasn't going to be there.  But he sounds great.  We'll probably get another email from him today.  Will post it when I can. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

(Hank) Getting transferred again tomorrow...more details Wednesday.

(Jonna) Pictures from the MTC

Jonna hates being cold.  She is surprised that she loves the snow.
Jonna and her cousin Taylor.  He's from Alabama, going to Las Vegas, Nevada, she's from Arizona, going to Houston,Texas.  They're swapping sides of the country.
"We are missionaries!" she put on this picture.

Jonna and her companions.  Sis. C (going to Hawaii) and Sis S (going to Vancouver)

Her district.
It's snowing...and she LOVES it!

(From Jonna) Last week at the MTC

(Excerpt of email from Jonna today)
Hello all!
....Well, this week has been great. Much faster than last week. I haven't seen the Treadway kid. I don't expect to, but I will keep an eye out. I've seen Taylor and Joey a few times. I saw Taylor yesterday and he said he was leaving today. I leave next Monday for Houston. My flight leaves about 9 is, I think?? I need to check my plans again. I don't know if I'll call or not. It is easier for me to just go, so don't be offended if I don't call! :)
On Friday, our district was outside studying, and an international something came to film a documentary at the MTC. They filmed our district for a few minutes and then interviewed 4 missionaries (not in our district). It should be coming out in about April or May they said. So, look for some international documentary with the MTC and look for me! Haha
Yesterday, Sunday, was great! It snowed again, but we were still able to go walk around the temple and take pictures. I'm glad you got the photos I sent. At the fireside lat night, we sang "Called to Serve" and it was COOL! (Other RMs, did you do this?) There are bout 2000 missionaries in the room, so they had us sing as if we were Helaman's army coming over a hill. So, we sang louder and louder til we stood and sang the chorus one last time. It was amazing. I felt so happy to be a part of a booming missionary group. Loved it.
There is so much that happens here at the MTC, but I cannot possibly write it all. We are in class all the time, we teach "investigators" everyday, we eat, go to the gym, try to sleep. Teaching is ok. I am not so good at it. The elders here are so much more humble than I am. They are doing a fantastic job at getting the Spirit and I am struggling to be humble. So, sometimes, we have good visits, but other times (Thursday! Ah!) not so good. But, we woke up Friday, and it was great! I really admire the humility and love that the elders in our district have. By the way, we talked to our Branch Presidency, and they said that our district has no problems with companions. Everyone is happy, everyone gets along, and everyone is happy to be here. They said that a whole district that is unified like ours is rare. We feel so blessed.
By the way, Mom, or somebody, could you DearElder me by Friday to let me know what the weather is going to be like in Houston on Monday? I want to make sure I wear boots if I need to. it is freezing here! I am cold all the time! I'm the only one in my district who is from warmer climate so I get a few jokes every now and then. Haha. I saw an icicle and took a photo, I alaways say "Look at that mountain!" and they make some funny comment about how I'm from AZ. It's funny. But, the sun came out yesterday and I never felt to happy about it! I think what I miss most right now is the hot summer sun. Sigh...
Well, I've got 6 minutes left on my timer. I've gotta get going. Thanks for writing. Not sure when I'll write again. I'll be in Houston on Monday so it just depends on when the Pday is.
Love you all!
Sister Jackson

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day in the MTC!

Jonna got a Valentines package today from Uncle Jim & Aunt Karron, who live in Spanish Fork.  A man in thier ward works at the MTC, so is able to deliver packages for them.  He then takes a picture.  Love it!!  (When Hank was in the MTC he did the same thing.)  So nice to get a peek at her.  She looks GREAT...so happy!

(From Hank) Heard about A.J.'s call!

hey mom! whats up?! well I'm sorry i didn't write home yesterday, some things came up and i wasn't able to write home. i got A.J.'s email! he's going to Florida?! that's so cool! i didn't think that all three of us would go to to the southern united states. this week was very interesting, some stuff happened this week that has never happened before. ill probably send home a letter talking about it, but other than that everything else was good. on Friday we went to a training meeting in hattiesburg. it was good. oh and in the picture if your wondering why i wasn't smiling, its not what you guys think. well i was standing next to bol (remember him?) and we both decided to do "serious faces" in the picture for fun, haha! so that's it nothing bad was  happening, i was in a good mood, i was just doing a "serious face". this week and next week is going to be crazy! mardi gras is going on, and people are getting work and school off for it! I've never seen people celebrate mardi gras before! its pretty cool, last year in Vicksburg when mardi gras was going on it wasn't as cool, but down here people get all ready for it and stuff. so that's whats going on right now. thanks for the letter, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Monday, February 13, 2012

(From Jonna) Jonna's first email from MTC!

(This is an excerpt of Jonna's email home.  She sounds great. So nice to hear from her, and know that she is happy.  Her younger brother A.J. got his mission call the day after Jonna went into the MTC, so this is in response to her learning about his call.)
Hey Everyone!
I got your Dear Elders on Thursday night. HOW COOL AJ?????? My whole district kept asking me on Wed & Thurs about you and where you are going. They thought Haitian Creole was cool. And, Orlando?? Jealousy...now we have to make it to Disney World someday! 
.....That is so cool about our dog! I hope we get to keep him! With my luck though, the healthy dog will get hit by a car, but Juliet lived for a LONG time!
Anyway, I have loved every moment in the MTC...ok...almost every moment. I didn't call, but texted instead because I felt ready to go. I have great companions. Sister Saal (like Saul) and Sister Christiansen. Sis. S is going to Vancouver and Sis. C is going to Hawaii! I sent a letter home on Friday, but I'm sure you won't get it until today. It is super short. It snowed yesterday! Wow! I was grouchy about it in the morning, but as I watched it build on the grass and trees throughout the day, I loved it!
I wish I could tell you all the awesomeness of the MTC, but I've only got 14 minutes left on my timer. I found Elder Mattison a few times and we've talked about how we're adjusting. We also both got AJ's letters, so we are super excited. I also found Elder Miller. He was so happy to see me. I was like "Hey cousin!!" It was funny. So, tell Kayla and her family that he looks like he is doing great. I walked by him while he and his district were taking map pics. So, yes, I got one of us too.
The teaching is hard, I've had to learn to get out of my comfort zone and be confident! Actually, "bold and loving" according to PMG. I love feeling the Spirit. I haven't felt homesick yet. When thoughts of home or missing something come about, I quickly "delete" it from my mind and focus on Christ. It works wonders.
I've only got 10 minutes left so I need to wrap up.
Love you all, but I've gotta go!
Sister Jackson

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hattiesburg District Leadership Conference  -Feb 2012
(Hank is on the back row, 3rd from right)

Friday, February 10, 2012

A.J. got his call!! We get to keep the name of the blog "Siblings in the South"!

Well, as predicted, A.J. got his mission call the day after Jonna entered the MTC.  He opened his call last night about 8:45 PM after everyone got home from all the different places we had to be.  It was the funniest experience watching him open his call! 

(If you want to see the link, click here.  It's about 5 minutes long.)

He read the first couple of lines, until it got to the place he is going to serve:

He stopped there, and put the letter down.  He said "I'll read the rest later."  I think he just wanted to read the rest privately.  Little did he realize there was a little bit more to his letter.  After congratulating him of his call, we finally got around to asking him if he was going English.  A.J. realized he didn't check that, so he picked up the letter to find out.  It took him a good 2 minutes to finally find it in the letter, and the look on his face when he spotted it was priceless!

So A.J. is going to the Florida Orlando Mission, and will be speaking Haitian Creole.  It is the native language of Haiti, and sounds like it has some French in it.  He is SO happy to go.  I came home from work today, and he gave me a list he'd written, of phrases translated from English to Creole.  He is ready to do this.  How blessed he is to have 2 other siblings out with him for a little while.  I am so happy for all 3 of them, and can honestly say that "my cup runneth over".  It's all good stuff. 
A.J. reports May 16, which is 3 days after Mother's Day, and 6 days after Jonna's birthday.  I'm so glad he gets to talk to Jonna and Hank one more time before he leaves.  It'll be good for all three of them to connect one more time like that before A.J. joins them out in the mission field.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

She's off!

Wow.  Seeing another missionary off doesn't get easier.
 Just 17 months ago we were here
saying goodbye to Hank. 
 Now it's Jonna's turn. 
She's off on a new adventure, and we couldn't be happier for her!
But it's still tough to go through this again. We said some quick goodbyes at the airport...

I yelled out "Jonna...look back!"  And she did. 

On the roof, waiting to watch her plane take off.

Jonna took this picture from her plane window as she was waiting to take off.  We were on the roof, waving, hoping she saw us.  Yeah!  She did! 
She put on the caption on the back of this picture:  "Saw you from my window seat when I boarded....you wierdos....:-)" 


....and just like that, she's with Aunt Karron!  Thank you Karron for picking her up at the airport, and taking her to lunch, to the Provo Temple for pictures and taking her to the MTC.

She is READY!
She looks SO happy.  She's been so overwhelmed the past few days getting ready...even at the airport, she was just ready to "rip the band-aid off and say goodbye".  She looks so much more relaxed here, and ready to go. 
And there she goes...
Bye Jonna!
love you...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

(From Lisa) Lots of activity around here...

Well, Jonna leaves tomorrow for her mission.  In fact, 24 hours from now she'll be taxi-ing down the runway, ready for take off.  We'll probably be on the roof of the airport, waiting to watch her plane take off and disappear in the sky.  We're such an obsessive family when it comes to that stuff!  We did the same thing almost 18 months ago when we watched Hank leave, and neither John nor I could move until we couldn't see the plane anymore.  Jonna asked if we were going to be that crazy this time, and I said "probably".  I think secretly she's glad we're waiting to watch her take off, but she would never admit it!  haha.  I'll post pictures of her departure.  Right now, I'm emotionally very stable.  Amazing.  Tomorrow...probably a different story. 

Hank is in a new area now,  Picayune, and trying to adjust to a new place.  After being in the same area for 9 1/2 months, I think it's been an adjustment.  Fortunately, he and his companion transferred together, so the change is gradual, at least for the next couple of weeks, until transfers. 

A.J.- we're waiting for his call.  Jonna is hoping it comes today before she leaves...we're all hoping.  But if not, we'll have to let her know in the MTC where her brother is going.  He's ready to go, and I know having 2 siblings out makes it that much easier and exciting for A.J.  Hank blazed the trail for our family, and now we can't keep them home!!  I do love it, I'm very happy.  Just can't stop the tears once in awhile. 

(Hank) Adjusting to new area.

hey mom, how you doing? my first week in picayune is over, and my second one begins. its been hard but things are getting better. we only got 1 person we are talking to. his name is rob, and he's from south Africa. hes a cool guy, and well see how it goes. he's literally the only investigator we have. we've spent most of the week doing tracting and stuff but it wasn't going so well. picayune is cool though.on Saturday there was a big storm and there was even a tornado watch! pretty cool. but nothing happened except for rain. haha, I'm in a new district now, I'm part of the picayune district, but I'm still in the slidell zone. today I'm going on exchange with the zone elders again. then on Friday I'm going to hattiesburg for a meeting for the dl's and the zl's. the district I'm in now is me and wag, and the sister missionaries. they're really cool. sister van is not in my district actually, she is in the waveland district now. they reworked the district boundaries. well jonna leaves Wednesday and i hope it all goes well for her. the dog story is awesome though, haha! i feel bad for the owner but that would be cool if we kept it too. so that's it for now, ill write back next week, love ya bye!
love hank
hey dad how you doing? well jonna is going on her mission this week, it really came up really fast. my first week in picayune was good. although very slow. we have only 1 person weer teaching. his name is rob and hes a cool guy. he's from south africa and his brother is a memeber. we've made friends with a few people in the ward. brother sp is really cool. we do our laundry and stuff at his house.other than that not much has happened. were just trying to get to know the place and get used to everything. transfers in in 2 weeks and i really hope that we both get to stay again. this week is going to be a busy week. first we have exchanges with the zone leaders until wednesday then on friday im going to hattiesburg for a meeting with district and zone leaders. jonna leaves on wednesday and its hard to imagine her not being home when i get back, and maybe even aj. im coming up on 17 months and i'm nearing the end of my mission, its cool and everything but its weird to think im going to be the oldest one home. well that's it for now, sorry for such a short letter, I'll tlak to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Changed my mind on going private!

I posted a few days ago, mentioning that I was going to make the blog private.

I've heard from several of you the past few days who mentioned that you would like to be invited to view this blog when it goes private.  Thank you! 

BUT....after thinking it over more, and talking it over with several other people, including Jonna, I've decided not to make it private after all.  Making it private makes it very difficult for friends and family to view, and the whole point of this blog, is to let loved ones take a quick look on how they are doing. 

So instead, I'm changing a few things, just to keep things more private and secure. I am no longer posting their addresses on this blog.  If you would like their current addresses, you can either leave me a comment and I'll email it to you, or you can go onto their facebook page, and it'll be posted there. If you aren't "friends", let me know, and I'll add you once you request.