Monday, March 26, 2012

(JONNA)- several baptisms, missionary choir fireside

Thanks for all the emails! I had about 5 ooooober long ones today, so this is shorter :)
Ciara-loving 54th ward???? Awesome! And, I'm glad you and Monica hang out! Every morning I do situps and every morning, I think about how much I miss that Kinect.Working out is so much more fun when you are at Disneyland or slicing fruit.
This last week was pretty good! There was a leadership training on Tuesday that I had to go to. It was for Zone leaders, District leaders, assistants, and trainers. I am none of these, but Sister Cochran is a trainer (obviously) and she needed a companion, so I got to go. Talk about feeling GREEN! I felt so out of place there, but it was still good to learn.
Thursday was Bill's baptism. What an awesome experience! It was all the members. His friend introduced him to the Gospel, the members of the ward welcomed him, and many volunteered to help with the baptism. All we did (as the missionaries) was taught and filled the font. Members are so key to missionary work! The longer I'm here, the more I am grateful to the members. And, especially the members who are involved in missionary work. What an awesome baptism it was. He was baptized by one of the priests in the ward. Yesterday, Bill received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of the church. He then bore a powerful testimony during testimony meeting. (We had fast Sunday yesterday since the next 2 weeks are occupied with Conference & Easter). What a cool experience! On Saturday, Christa was baptized. She was baptized by Elder R. She's the one who has waited 12 years. Her husband and daughter were there and happy for her too. Sister C and I met up with her at the beginning a few weeks ago and then found out she was in the Elder's area, so we passed her off to them. But, we still went for her confirmation too. She was SO happy! Look for Bill and Christa in the April Focal Point.
Last night was the Missionary Choir Fireside. It don't know if I've mentioned this yet. The Houston East Stake has begun a series of firesides featuring a missionary choir and Mormon Messages. They had the first about 2 weeks before I got here. Last night was the 2nd one and my first time participating. Wow. SO powerful! Christa came and had tears in her eyes at the end. She said she felt so different all day and we told her it was the Holy Ghost being present in her life. The fireside was in Eagle Springs, and we hope that the next one will be in Baytown in April.
Dad, thanks for sharing your trek story. I loved it. Totally wish I could have been there. What a cool experience. I loved the pictures too. Yall look awesome as pioneers! And, how cool to see the 54th "angels." I know a few of them. I know it must have been a cool experience for them too.
Hope AJ had a great birthday! Did he get my card? I sent him a card that I thought was pretty funny. I bought it at Walmart about an hour after I emailed last week. Sounds like his birthday was fun! Anyway, hope he got the card and that it didn't get smashed. If so, go to Walmart and find it. It was so fun to look at all the singing cards at Walmart with the other missionaries...especially the Disney ones. Elder Roos goes home in about 2 weeks. I realized that he hadn't seen Tangled yet! The last movie he saw was Alice in Wonderland. So, I've been giving him a list of Disney movies to see when he gets home. The other missionary we hang out with a lot is Elder Matthews. He is our District leader and from Mesa! He has about 7 months left.
Today is Zone Pday! We are going to decorate Easter eggs I think? Then have an Easter egg hunt and/or egg fight. Haha, so excited. Then, tonight, we are teaching Cara. A friend of a family in the ward. She also came to the fireside last night and was deeply touched. On Tuesday, we are doing exchanges. I am SO nervous. It is to give me practice in leading an area and to let the sister coming here visit one last time before she leaves in a few weeks. So, pray for me! I sure hope I can do it!
I'm studying "confidence" this week. Not pride, but confidence in the Lord and sharing His message. it is the Gospel of good news and I am working on being confident in talking with others about it. So, why don't yall study that too? :) Also, read 1 Kings 17 and read the story of the woman who had faith to follow the prophet. We are encouraging all out here to follow the prophet as they watch General Conference. I invite you to do the same! I am SO excited for conference! Kinda cool that we are all watching the same thing, right? (And, dad, its ok if you don't eat shrimp for me. We had to eat a shrimp cocktail the other night and I about puked. I was feeling super sick that night. Cannot stand shrimp. So, eat something yummy in my honor on Sat. night :)
But, I've gotta get going now.
Love yall!
Sister Jackson


hey mom, how you doing? what a crazy week back home. out here its been hectic some days and slow on others. general conference is on Saturday and its exciting, this is my last general conference on the mission. the next one i will be home for. its starting to hit me that i am within the last 6 months of my mission. for about a year and a half i though that i was never going home, haha but now the end is almost in sight. i really do hope that Philadelphia is my last area. i don't want to get moved around again. i like staying in an area for as long as possible. maybe ill stay here for 7 1/2 months well see. well i still haven't gotten the package yet, picayune hasn't forwarded it yet, i don't really know whats taking them so long, but I'm going to ask them again, haha. so anyway this week was good. we saw D again and he is really cool, he takes us out to eat and stuff he's a way nice guy. oh and we did go fishing last week, but D didn't take us, a family in the ward, the cunn's, took us. it was was fun too, but we didn't get any fish. D took us to this nice pizza restaurant here in town and it was way good, some of the best pizza. right now though hes in the hospital in meridian which is about 40 miles ish south from us. he stepped on a nail, he'll be in there for a few weeks. he sneaks out though occasionally to come and see us, and sleep in his own house. so i forgot to tell you but there is a member in our branch who feed us every Friday night. his name is brother oaks, hes really cool and his wife is too, anyway his cousin is dallin h oaks. when he talks about him he calls him Dallin, its pretty cool. anyway that's whats going down here right now. everything;s going good. i hope aj had a happy birthday. that's it for now, talk to you later, bye!
love hank

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hank at Jackson Zone Conference -March 2012

Zone Conference- Jackson Zone  March 2012
(Hank is on the far right back row.)

(HANK) Brown reculse spiders...

hey mom thanks for the letter...
anyway this week was pretty good. I'm starting to know my way around. I'm hitting my 18 month mark on Thursday and so I'm going to burn my pants! you remember the burning things that the missionaries do right? if not ill refresh your memory, 6 months burn a tie, 12 months burn a shirt, 18 months, burn pants, 24 months burn a suit. don't worry for the suit burning, I'm just going to buy a cheap one from goodwill or something. I'm not going to ruin my nice (and expensive) ones, haha! daylight savings time was yesterday, and it was my last one in the mission field. I'm so glad that Arizona doesn't do it, I've done it 4 times now, and i can't really stand it, haha. well were meeting with this guy named "d", hes a very cool guy and a good friend to the missionaries. he's not a member, but we do our laundry at his house, and he takes us out to eat. he's a way nice guy, and I'm definitely going to stay in touch with him when i leave.... the members here are cool... oh and last night something terrifying happened. i was outside and barefoot ( it was like 10:00 pm) and suddenly i see something crawling on the ground. i look up close to it at guess what it was?! it was a brown recluse spider.the first that I've finally encountered. i flipped out and got shoes on and came back outside with a flashlight (my maglite) and then i stepped on it! then king says to me there's another one right there and points, right behind me there was a second brown recluse spider! i flipped out and killed that one too, and i went inside and i searched everywhere for spiders. haha i know this sounds pathetic but i really don't like spiders. Elder Bel served here in Philadelphia, just before i got here and he got bit by a spider and it was bad enough for him to go to the doctors down by Jackson. so i was thinking about that too. anyway it wore off around a few hours later, and i was able to get some sleep. anyway yah that's my story for the week. hopefully those are the only ones that i ever see. well mom thanks for the letter, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

(JONNA)- Being chased by a of tracting. Faith building day.

This is an excerpt of a letter we got from Jonna today.  She is so happy!  Does my heart good. -Lisa
....Dad asked what it was like as a sister missionary. It is interesting. A day in my life thus far? Get up at 6:30-pray-we go walking/running around our apartment complex. I study from 7-8, while my comp gets ready. Then, I get ready from 8-9. Companion study from 9-11. We get an extra hour since she is training me. The Church started a new Training program for new missionaries in August. It is called The First 12 Weeks. So, I get trained for 12 weeks, an extra hour of companion study each day, and then after the 12 weeks are over, new missionaries should be trained well enough by then that we could train that following transfer is necessary. (I don't know how likey it is, but that is the goal-to be full functioning missionaries as soon as possible). So, we have lunch from 11-noonish (depends on the day). And then we are out teaching! Get home about 9. Plan from 9-9:30. Prep for bed and lights out by 10:30. We are usually in bed earlier than that, since we are so exhausted. :)
But, want to know a story? Well, I'm telling it anyway. Saturday was an amazingly spiritually trying day. Sister C (who is awesome!) has been feeling like we need to tract a certain neighborhood and we decided that Sat. was the day to go. We are trying to save miles on our car so we made it a biking day-prayed that it wouldn't rain-and it didn't! We first, went to visit "M". She is a woman in her 70s-less active due to health. Due to a number of complications, she can't do much for herself, and getting someone to care for her has been a big challenge. A man (in his late 40s-early 50s) lives with her and takes-what we thought was good-care of her. We showed up on our bikes Saturday and he was acting strange. It was soon obvious that he was drunk. M left to the restroom and then he started to be very rude and mean. Swearing and telling us (mostly my comp) that we were terrible and not doing a good job. Well, that means it is time to leave. We went to say goodbye to M-threw a load of laundry in-and left. The nurse had just shown up, so we felt ok in leaving her there. The insults were directed mostly to Sis. C and I told her that it was Satan trying to take us down. We said a prayer of thanks and further protection and left to go tracting. Sis. C has bright red rain boots that she gets a lot of jokes about. We are always laughing about them. Ten minutes later, on our way to the neighborhood, a big dog started to chase us and bit Sis. C on the leg. We were trying to bike faster to get away and finally did. We pulled over and looked at her leg. The big red boots had totally protected her leg. There were 2 big holes where the dog punctured the rubber, and teeth marks all over the boot. All she has is a small scratch and a bruise on her leg. If she hadn't had those boots on, she would have a chunk of flesh taken. So, we kept going and had to bike probably 2 miles against a heavy wind to this neighborhood. It was so hard! When we finally got there, we decided that there was SOMEONE here that needed the Gospel and Satan was not wanting us to find them. So, with determination, we started tracting. I've done it a couple times before, but this was my first hardcore tract. We began, and 2 1/2 hours later, we were still being rejected. Some were nice, and some were just plain rude. Surprise, surprise. But, we felt sure there was someone. Finally, it was getting time to go. We had another appointment and it was getting dark. We still had to ride all the way home. We ended, and walked back to our bikes. As we were walking, trying to stay positive, I saw a house and felt we should try one more time. I said, "Let's try this house." Without hesitaion, Sister C said, "OK." And, we went. The woman who answered had a ton of dogs and kids running around. She said she (belonged to another church), but never goes to church. We told her of our message and asked if she'd like to learn more. She paused and I thought-oh great-rejection. But, she said, "My husband is home in the evenings. How is next Thursday?" YAYAYAY!!!!!! I cannot tell you how happy I was!! We both rode home, got muddy, and wet-but it didn't matter. We were totally filled with the Spirit. As I rode home, I looked all around me-at the fields and trees-and thought, "There is no place I'd rather be!" Trials all day long and then a reward. Now, we need to pray that this family will be there and receptive when we return. We had been teaching families all week about faith, and the Lord gave us an opportunity to exercise our own.
So, next week is Stake Conference. And, I am so excited that Elder Wright is coming. Thanks for his letter. It was so touching. I loved the quote from Pres. Hinckley. I really needed it. As I am getting more info on it, I don't know the chances of me getting to see Elder Wright. The stake is so big that our Stake Center is 30 minutes away. So, I will be watching it by broadcast and the missionaries are not going to the adult session on Sat. night. So, I'll get to see Elder Wright by satellite, but maybe not in person. Oh well, I'm trying not to be disappointed. It is just nice to see someone from AZ.
Well, I may get to experience my first baptism! "B" is a friend of the Stake President here, Pres. Banks. Pretty much more Golden than any golden investigator gets. He has already been taught everything by the Stake Pres, but we have to teach him since we are missionaries. He is in Alma, has the Ensigns, and Preach My Gospel on his iPad. Has already given out a B of M, and has been doing his family history work. So, his baptism is scheduled for March 22. Right now, he is a Disney World so I'm a little jealous. If that happens, hopefully, you'll get to see his photo in the Focal Point.
I have to get going now. I know this is long. Sorry! I remember getting long emails, and sometimes I wouldn't read them all. So, I'm not offended! But, I do want to say that I know the Lord is aware of us and loves us. I know Christ is real, I know He lives. I know that I as I trust in Him, I am happy.
Love yall!
Sister Jackson
PS-if anyone doesn't like getting these emails, let me know! Or, if someone feels left out, let me know too.

Monday, March 5, 2012

(HANK)-busy Sunday, tornados, etc.

hey mom whats up?! just got your letter. there have been some thunder storms down here, and that is what usually spawns tornadoes. oh i forgot to tell you but a small tornado hit picayune while i was serving there. me and wag had no idea a tornado even came. we were just chillen in the apartment thinking, "wow its stormy outside". then later we found out a tornado came through. it wasn't a serious one, it only knocked down a few trees. anyway i forgot to tell you that. so this week we went to a members house, the cu's, and we tore out there floor. it was pretty fun, and we were great at it too. yesterday at church i had to do a lot of stuff last minute. so we get there and we go up and sit down at the sacrament table, then the Branch president asks me to lead the music, so i agreed. one of the passers came and filled in my spot at the table, so i filled in his spot to pass the sacrament, after i was done leading music. then after sacrament someone came up to me and asked me to teach Sunday school because the teacher didn't show up. so i did. anyway i had to do like 3 things yesterday. so i haven't gotten the package yet, i called picayune and they said they sent it off a few days ago, so we'll see if it gets here. well mom that's about it for now, thanks again for the letter, talk to you later bye!
Love hank
hey dad whats up. so this week was pretty cool. elder king is a cool guy, and we are getting along good. hopefully well stay together again when transfers come again. after this zone conferance, im only going to have 2 more. im starting to feel the effects of almost being home. its only 6 1/2 months away. its weird that its right around the corner. my "lasts" are coming up soon, my last general conferance, my last phone call home. but i do enjoy it out here though. im in the jackson stake, and the jackson zone. there are 7 zones and 5 stakes in the mission. shreveport stake/zone, monroe stake/zone, jackson stake (clinton,jackson zone), hattiesburg stake/zone,and gulfport stake (slidell,gulfport zone). so the jackson and gulfport stakes are the only ones with 2 zones. so far ive been in the monroe zone,clinton zone, gulfport zone, and now jackson zone. this is my second time however in being jackson stake. i wonder where jonna is at, my guess is houston. i think shell stay in houston.
well dad thats about it, i look forward to next weeks letter, thanks again for yours, and ill be safe in case there's a tornado. well talk to you later, love ya bye!
love hank

(JONNA) First Companion, First Area

Hey Ya'll!
Hank-thanks for the email! Did you get my letter? 
Ciara-got your package! THANKS!! I was so happy to get it and so was m companion! I took a photo :) 
Brianna-I got your letter! Thanks! I will write back! But, I was talking to Sis. Crawford (mission pres. wife) and she said her brother is the Pres. of the Columbus Mission. Cool, ya?? 
Addie-cool scar. Love it! 
On with my letter: 
I am in Texas and it is great! Ok, I will admit that I was a little discouraged on Wednesday morning, but I quickly got over it and I am enjoying where I'm at. As we were flying to Texas, I was seated in the VERY last row of the plane next to an Elder from Phoenix. As we flew, I looked out the window and saw another plane coming toward us that flew right over us! It was COOL! I'd never seen another plane while I was flying in the air. Made me think...if this plane crashed, I'm in the back of the I knew what would happen to me. Probably be thrown into a pit and threatened by Ana Lucia. Haha :) 
Well, we landed, met the President and his wife, ate some good BBQ, and went to the mission home. I couldn't get over how green it was! There was even grass on the runway! Funny how amazing that is to me. I thought of Hank and the grass by the highway in MS. I get it now! And, it is still winter so it isn't as green as it is supposed to be I'm told. Sweet. 
I was the only sister to travel and so I got to stay the night at the mission home. The elders all went to the AP and trainer's apts. I got a room AND a bathroom all to myself for one night! Then, the next morning, I got up at 6:30 and get Sis. Crawford for a bike ride. It was cool!  
Soon, at the transfer meeting, I met my companion, Sister Co. She is from Logan, UT and been here 9 mos.  
Anyway, I am in Baytown. I am serving in the Baytown 2nd Ward. Dad, tell Elder Jim Wright that I am serving in the stake that he is coming to! They've got posters and flyers for it. March 17-18 with Elder Jim L. Wright. How cool???? I was so happy to see that! So, I'll be at the Stake Conference with him! Will you let him know? I would like to say hi to him, but I know he'll be super busy (and I'm sure I will be too). But, will you let him know? Thanks!
 I'm here for at least 12 weeks... 
But, teaching has been good. I'm not a pro, but I am trying my best. We see the Elders (Mat-who went to Mesa High and R-from UT) a lot and ride with them tons. So, I'm slowly making friends. 
We are in a mission choir-our zones-in the Houston East Stake. So, March 25th we are having a Come to Christ fireside in Eagle Springs. That was cool to practice, but I felt out of place since everyone knew everyone and I was new. But, slowly, I'm meeting other missionaries. 
Mom, could you send me a carbon monoxide detector? :) Don't freak out...I forbid anyone to freak out...clearly we had a close call but we did recover. God was willing (Office quote). :) :) But seriously, will you send me one? Sis. Co was following the Spirit and pretty much saved our lives. BUT DON'T WORRY! We are ok and we will always be ok! Just thought a detector would be a good idea :) 
Anyway, I've gotta get going. I'm also getting a cold and probably spreading it to the people next to me at the library. This letter was a bit long, and I'm surprised I had time to get it all in. Mom, also, could you send me Hank's letter? Maybe you already did.
Love Ya'll :)
Sister Jackson