Tuesday, May 22, 2012

(From A.J.)- First week of the MTC

(Excerpt of email from A.J.) 
Hey guys, how are you doing, this email is for everyone, so mom if you can share this with the family and and send it to hank and jonna as well, that would be great, i forgot their emails so it would be awesome if you send it to them.
....So first of all my pday is on tuesday, so just letting you guys know. I am so glad that today is p day, just so i can get a break from everything. Ok so i am absolutely LOVING the MTC. When aunt karen was taking me to the mtc, i started getting really nervous and really scared, i had butterflys like crazy. hank and jonna, you probably know what i mean, it was not a good feeling. but as we were driving by and we saw all of the missionaries standing on the curb, i saw one of my good friends standing there waiting to greet a missionary. it was Kaden Dixon. I felt so much better. so when i got out the missionary that greeted me and was going to take me on the tour, traded with kaden so that we could talk and hang out and what not. I was so happy to talk to him. he made me less nervous and made me fell so comfortable. so after the tour and stuff i went to my class. the teacher there started just speaking in Creole. so as we went on 3 other missionaries showed up and we basically tryed speaking creole for about 2 or 3 hours. finally after a long time, the 2 instructors started speaking english. it was such a relief.
.....so we have a district 4 missionaries, well we did, i will explain that later. and my companion is elder gassant he is half haitian, and half tongen.  He is like 6 foot tall, weighs 240 lbs, and it is like all muscle. he is from miami florida, and then moved to salt lake for about a year and a halft, then got called to serve in the same mission as me. he is awesome.
....Well mom, you are probably crying right now, so cheer up, and i want to let you know that im doing great. i am enjoying the mtc so much. we went to the temple today and we did initiatories. it was awesome. i already know how to bear my testimony, pray, and have a casual conversation going on in creole. it is super easy, it is either that the gift of tounges is helping me out, or that the language is just super easy. probably both. so it is super similar to french, it is almost the exact thing just easier. so i will leave you my testimony in creole.
Me konnen ke jezikri redampte nou ak sove ak pitit gason, bondye. me konnen ke joseph smith yon pwofet la vre. me konnen ke liv mormon an vre ak genyen pwol bondye. me konnen ke jezikri ak bondye remen nou. mwen remesye pou ou jezikri ekspyesyon. nan nou jezikri amen.
Love, A.j.
p.s. if you really want to know what i said, translate it. haha.

(This is Lisa...ok, so if you know me, you know that I will try and find a translation for this!  So I went to an online translator, and this is what came came up):
"Me know that Jesus Christ redampte we and Saviour and son of God. me know that joseph smith a prophet Israelites; me know that book mormon to see is equivalent to winning we have children to take care of God. me know that Jesus Christ with God like to us. thanking you for you Jesus Christ ekspyesyon. of you Jesus Christ so be it."
I also have a friend who is from Haiti, and speaks Haitian Creole.  I will email her, and ask her what this says, and when I get her translation, I'll post it here.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

(From Jonna) Her first transfer- leaving Baytown

Hello All!
Dad-Thanks for the email and the advice. Send that letter when you get my new address. Also, Clay made it that far?? Seriously?? I'll need to catch up on that one for sure. Haha. Also, last Monday night, I told Sister C "I betcha my family is at Logans Roadhouse right now." Guess I was right :)
Mom- Tell Kendall and Brittany congrats for me! I LOVE Brittany! She is one of my favorite people. I went to her baptism. She is so cool. Also, will you tell Jeni Rudd thanks for all the letters she's sent me? And, the package? I will send her a letter soon, but it has meant so much to me to hear from my ward. Will you tell her that? Can't wait to see Carla's talent! Sounds great! AND, I really need AJ's address...I need it, I need it :) Please, please send it to me. I need his email and his mailing addresses. please, please...
Hank-It was awesome talking to you too. I laughed at your Office comment. Cereal without milk...haha! Yes, I will write you again.
Ciara-THANK YOU for the package! It was awesome! I am getting transferred and since I didn't have time to make and eat my cake, I made two cakes so fast (chocolate AND vanilla) and gave them to the hermanas and Elders in our district. They both had birthdays recently, so it became my birthday/goodbye gift. I loved it! Also, your letter was perfect!
Elise-You are right...I do not have much time...BUT I am taking your advice and I am printing your email. So, I will be reading it this week :) You are awesome!
Well, Transfers...and, yes, I am getting the boot from Baytown :( But, its ok. I am trying to stay positive about the future. So, if yall are going to send me anything, don't send it until I get the new address to you. I'll try to email it this week, or next. Saturday night is thr transfer calls night. I've been feeling like I'm the one getting transferred for the last few weeks. So, I wasn't too surprised when it happened. So today, Monday, will be spent packing. Yay... So, tomorrow (Tuesday) I will go to the transfer meeting, get my new companion & area, and be off! So, I won't know anything til tomorrow. I'll let you know as soon as I can. So, again, don't send anything to Baytown anymore and wait to send anything else until you get my new address.
My week in review...
Tuesday, we got tickets from the mission to go to a BYU Dance Ensemble at the U of H. We could go since P came with us. It...was...so...cool!!! I never enjoyed a dance performance more in my life! They were featuring many dances from around the world. My favorites: Bollywood, Ukraine, and the country dancing! It was so nice to hear som good, classic bulegrass sound. (Thats what I was doing while AJ was being set apart.)
Then, Wednesday, we went to visit a less-active family. We walked in at 7pm and what do I hear? American Idol!! I asked, "Is this the top 3?" They said yes. I was never so trunky/homesick in my life. It had just started and I could hear the first singer. He sounded black and he was really good. I could then hear the judges and Ryan Seacrest. It took all my strength to not listen and focus on Monic. Then, I could hear the 2nd singer-wasn't my favorite, but I couldnt hear that well. Finally, Monic's husband, M (nonmember) came in and talked to us too. We then put in a church DVD and it soothed my homesick heart. Oh my gosh. It was rough, let me tell you...I really miss those Idol days. Yet, as I was thinking about it, what I'm doing is way more important than Idol. I can always catch up on Idol. I think what was hard was that I was thinking about the goold ol days of watching it together as a family. THATS what I was missing really. But, I am focused now. Still, it was a rough night.
We've been teaching Mel. She is awesome. She just "wants to be good." She is sharing what she's learning with all her family (mom, sister, aunt, etc). Also, we've been teaching Chris. She is pretty sweet. She was really interested in learning about our modern-day apostles and prophets. Sad though that I have to leave them now :(
Last night was our last Mission Choir fireside. It was in Spanish. Let me tell you...the Lord knew what He was doing when He called me English speaking-for sure! I was asked to sing in a small group a song in English. It was really cool. I wasn't even nervous! Haha. Since I left, I've used so many musical skills I didn't know I had. I've been conducting music, singing musical numbers, and arranging musical numbers. I can't play the piano well, so that one isn't being utilized :) There are much better piano players out here.
So great to hear about AJ and him leaving. I can't wait to see photos of him. I am sure he is doing great! Please send me his email and addresses. Please, please! :) :)
Lastly, this week, I have been studying Knowledge in Preach My Gospel. I invite yall to read it and apply it. Knowledge of the Gospel and applying that knowledge is how we gain testimonies.
I've gotta go now. Next time you hear from me, I'll be in a new area with a new companion. Until then,
Love yall!

(From Hank) May 21, 2012- spotted an alligator

hey dad thanks for the letter. it was good getting a personal letter again from you haha. well i have been thinking about aj this week. i really hope aj has a good time and that he'll be ok. its interesting,after i left on my mission i didn't realize how much i got along with him. i really wish i spent more time with aj, and included him with my friends and stuff. my week here has been alright, i told mom in her letter about it.
Saturday we went to Jackson for stake service. it was really good. we were in this park that was really swampy and even an alligator was sighted. it was cool. we were shoveling dirt and wheelbarrowing trying to level things out. then brother wrich in our branch took us out to five guys burgers. a really really good hamburger joint. i think they're might be one in Tempe. you guys should definitely go check it out someday. Diego cooked us dinner the past few nights and he's doing great. i really enjoy Diego, he's been helping me this past few weeks. i think he may be helping me more than I'm helping him. well dad I'm going to have to go, thanks again for your letter, it really helped me out a lot. thanks for all that you do, ill

talk to you next week, love ya bye!

love hank

hey mom how you doing? well i got your letter this week, i really
enjoyed it. thanks for the pictures you sent of aj and stuff. it made
me think about when i left. you know 2 years ago i had my call. i
remember the day i left very vividly. and theres alot to say. i think
its going to be one of those things thats better for me to say in
person. aj looks alot happier thouh than i did when i left. my bike
here is holding up good. it so far is in great condition, and its a
good bike (knock on wood). im probobly going to send it home when the
time comes. on saterday we went to jackson to do
service for the stake. it was fun we did alot of shoveling and
wheelbarrowing. it was jsut what i needed, it was good to take a
break. after that we went to five guys burgers. that is a really good
burger joint and i dont know if youve ever had it before. it is very
good, almost a good as in-n-out! by the way i really miss in-n-out.
they have none of those here out here. well mom thats about it for
now, thanks for your letter you sent i really liked it and it helped
alot. let me know about the cameras, and il talk to yo next week.  Love
ya bye!
love hank

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A.J. is off!

It doesn't get easier.  But I will tell you, A.J. was ready to go, and all smiles as we got up this morning, and even more big smiles as we said our good-byes at the airport.  I've never seen someone so ready and so excited as he was this morning.  I am sure just knowing he's out there with Jonna and Hank, has got to make it that much more exciting for him.  We managed to get through this morning, and are now looking forward to the emails and letters.  They have been treasures from Hank and Jonna, and will be treasures from him.

Taken last night (May 15) just before Pres. Palmer came over to set him apart. 

5:45 AM- Time to go...

A.J. saying goodbye to Buster.  I think we have one like this with Hank and  Juliet!  Wasn't done on purpose, but it's total deja vu!

Saying goodbye to his little sisters....Carla...


Just before the tears...

Good-bye A.J....

And then a little Starbucks chocolate shakes make all the tears go away for a few minutes!

Tradition: On the parking garage roof, waiting to watch his plane take off.

A.J.'s plane
...and off he goes!
His Aunt Karron waited for him at the airport.  I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago, he had lunch, went to take some pictures at the Provo Temple, and was getting ready to head to the MTC. Once she posts the pictures, I'll post them here.  Sure appreciate Karron for doing this for us.  What a great tradition, and Karron loves it, and so do our kids. Thanks Karron!

Ok...here are the pictures from Aunt Karron!  Thanks again for posting these so fast on your FB.  Karron has a great tradition of picking up her nieces and nephews from SLC, taking them to lunch, and taking them to the Provo Temple to get pictures.  Jim (John's brother) met up with them for lunch to Carl's Jr.  (This was A.J's preference... he LOVES Carl's Jr.) 
Uncle Jim & A.J....at Carl's Jr.  His favorite!
Provo Temple Grounds. 

Talking to Mom and Dad one more time...

Aunt Karron and A.J.  She has helped us tremendously, by picking up Hank, Jonna, and now A.J. , and taking them to the MTC for us. It's become quite a nice tradition.
Unloading his luggage...
His new best friend.  :-)

Bye son.  We'll sure miss you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Catching up on Blog: A.J. leaves tomorrow!

(This is Lisa) It has been since April 8th that I have posted anything.  I am trying to do a catch up today...as tomorrow morning we will be taking A.J. to the airport for his mission.  Three missionaries out at the same time.  I never thought in a million years we would be so blessed.  Having just one out is amazing, and then to have two...wow.  And now three....triple wow.  But with that "wow", comes a heaviness in my heart that also can't be described.  The good-byes are definitely the hardest, and 24 hours from now, A.J. will have just lifted off towards SLC, and I imagine I will be a mess.  Right now, it's 8:00 in the morning, and he's still asleep in his room, just a few feet away.  I will miss that boy.  No, I will miss that young man.  Jeri and I were talking in the car this morning as I was dropping her off to school, and she said "Mom, which would you rather feel?  The heaviness from him leaving, or not serving?"  She's right, and I know she's right.  I know that some of you dear friends and family who are reading this, who have had a child who decided not serve  for whatever reason, knows the heaviness that comes from that decision as well. This post is not meant to be boastful.  I know that we have our free-agency.  It's all part of the plan, and for whatever reason, we are here today, and I want to always remember that the Lord knows all, and has a huge hand in where we are right now. And that heaviness I feel in my chest today..it's a heaviness, a pit in the stomach that I know I will recover from, because we've seen the growth in Hank, and also in Jonna...and I wouldn't want A.J. to miss that for the world.  And I'm so grateful he wants this for himself.  He really wants to serve the Lord.  Yes, the next 24 hours will probably be the hardest for me,  I know that.  Get me through today and tomorrow.  Besides, it's not about me...it's about A.J.  And he can't get out of here fast enough!  He is so stinkin' ready to go! 

From Jonna: Dated May 13, 2012

Hello All!
It was great getting to talk to you yesterday. Sad it was a short time, but we had some busy plans the rest of the night anyway. We were off taking cookies & cards to some women in the ward. It was a nice evening.
Well, my birthday was great. Thanks everyone for the notes/emails! That day was a Pday and we went to the beach in La Porte with our zone. A much nicer beach than the one in Baytown. It was great. They all got me a singing Disney card (yay!) and we played games and built sand castles. Only my feet touched the water, and as I stood there letting my feet get buried in the sand like I always do in CA, I was singing "Beyond the Sea" to myself. I always find that this song comes to my mind when I visit the ocean. It is a happy song and it brought a smile to my face as I thought of our dorky family and our Disney-senitmentality. (Again, thanks dad for the lyrics to the Bug's Life song :)
Thanks for the package mom and family! I loved the notes. Sis. Cochran and I laughed so hard at the note on the Nutella "Think of Juliet before you take a bite." Haha-awesome. I made the Reeses bars and I put the whole 24 candle pack on it. Wow. Next year, I've exceeded the candle pack limit. On Friday night, we got a knock at our door at 9:15pm that night. A little freaked out, we found it was Elders Packard, Tupou, Backman, and Shepherd. They had been doing exchanges and went to Walmart and got me a present. They got me a Barbie bell for my bike and a Texas T-shirt. It was so cool! I felt special! Haha-so, I gave them some Reeses bars for the road. They loved it.
Saturday, we went to the Mors to help them with their house remodeling. We went with our 2 Elders (Packard & Tupou) to help pick up sheet rock, shingles, wood boards, etc. It was good hard work, but really fun. Then, that night was the ward's Chili & Cobbler Cook-off. My first Sunday here, in Ward Council, Brother Halladay said, "Hey! Why don't we have a Chili cook-off?" And, they laughed about the idea, but then, they decided it was a great one and it happened Saturday. They asked us missionaries to be the judges. Haha-me?? The pickiest person, a judge? Well, it happened, and it wasn't too bad. I was super full by the end of the night after eating all the chili and cobbler, but it was a great night. We were in the kitchen judging and I could here the music they were playing in the cultural hall-it was good ol' country music...Coat of Many Colors, He Stopped Loving Her Today, Make the World Go Away, etc. Good thing I was in the kitchen, or else I would've been singing along! So far, my favorite thing about Texas-good taste in music (generally).
Well, transfers are coming up next week. If one of us is getting transferred, we will get a call on Saturday and we'll find out where to on Tuesday. So, next week, look for my email with transfer news.
This last week, I've been studying a lot about Virtue. How wonderful virtue is! 2 Peter 1:3-10 is fantastic. Read it, ponder it, apply it. Also, try D&C 45:3-5. It talks about Christ's role as our advocate. It is one of my new favorites. It is beautiful how Christ speaks up for those who speak up for Him here.
Mom, I need AJ's MTC address, Mission Home, and email. I want to write him as soon as I can. And, when Karron sends you photos of him in Utah, will you email those to me too? I want to see them! Also, can you forward Hank's emails to me? The ones that have the most info about what is happening to him out there? I don't get good updates about him. Thanks :)
Have fun in California family! I am a bit jealous, but I am excited for yall. Have a good time! Send me a postcard! Haha-jk!
Love yall,
Sister Jackson

(From Hank: Dated May 8, 2012)

hey dad how you doing?M well my last phone call is about a week away, its very exciting, because then ill h
ave 4 months left to talk to you
guys again. anyway this week was good, cinco de mayo was awesome, Diego and his
friend Ashley took me a Osick out to, we ate so much
crab and stuff. I'm really going to miss them when i leave. well dad theres a lot going on and i can't wait to talk to
you next week on Sunday, talk to you then, love ya bye!
love hank
PS sorry i didn't write back yesterday, it was a little busy

(From Jonna: Dated May 10, 2012)

It's my Bird-day today!
Boy, the last week has been pretty good! So much has happened and I hope I remember everything. If not, good thing I have another P-day on Monday!
First, we had a wonderful visit with Elder Clarke of the Seventy. Wow. He really motivated me to be better and to put my whole heart even more into my mission. We visited with him from 8:30am to 4pm and then, there was a small FHE/fireside with recent converts and investigators at the mission home that night. So, we took Pren and spent another 2 hours with Elder Clarke. He was so great! I learned a lot about reactivation. At first, I was confused about why missionaries needed to visit less-active members. Over the last few weeks, I've seen some importance of it, but after Monday, wow...it is SO vital! His main points were "establishing the church" not just making it larger. Sister Cochran and I are very motivated right now to seek out the less-actives in our ward. We have maybe 100-150 people we need to find. It is tough work, but already, in the last 2 days, we've seen great things!
Also, at the very end of the meeting with Elder Clarke Monday he had all the Sister Missionaries stand up. He told us to raise our right hands and promise two things:
1. We are to marry a returned missionary in the temple.
2. When we start dating/get engaged to an R.M. we are to call his mission president. We are to ask what kind of missionary he (the guy we date) was. If the answer is "good" then we are to drop him. He said, "Only settle for exemplary." (Hank & AJ-better watch out! A girl might be calling your mission president someday! :)
So, he also said that Preach My Gospel is going to be coming out in a "mini" edition this summer. June/July-ish, look out for it. If you find it, and it is cheap, could y'all send it to me? If it isn't, send it to me for Christmas :)
Last Thursday, Sister Cochran and I got to have Sister Crawford (mission pres. wife) come out with us. It was way cool! We went tracting that night and she was so cute as she asked us how to approach a door. I really admire her. At one door, as she was speaking, the woman told us to come in and talk with her. She was a widow with a 30 year old son with Down Syndrome. It was a precious visit and very powerful. I loved spending time with Sister Crawford, she is so full of wisdom and so fun!
On Saturday, we were driving and saw a sign for a Free Car Wash. We needed to clean ours by Monday for the meeting and so we decided to check it out. The catch was a donation to Lee College Sports Program. But, we couldn't donate, and they said we'd still get  a free car wash. I had to talk Sister Cochran into it and it was so cool. We said that since we couldn't donate, we would help them wash the car. So, in our skirts, we helped 4 college kids wash our car in the hot sun. We used the opportunity to share who we are and things. It was so funny, but way fun! Made me miss washing my own car. I loved spending a Saturday morning in the sun cleaning my car. How is it by the way? Still running?? Still alive?? I will admit, when I see a Focus out here, I miss my car. I miss it more when I drive too. Haha-lame.
Well, we are soon entering Hurricane season. We have been told to review our evacuation plans. Crazy. I've never had to think of how/what to do if a storm like that came through. I love when it storms in AZ, here, it floods. It is crazy.
This week, I finished the Book of Mormon. I started it over when I got to Texas, and I marked every time it mentioned Christ. I have a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. I got an answer that it was true many years ago, but this week, I asked again. I got a sweet confirmation that I knew it was true. I intive yall to read the Book of Mormon again. And, look for things you never noticed before. It is great!
Well, I am 24 years old!!! AH! An old crickity missionary! (Mom & Dad-THANK YOU for the camelpak! That was a huge surprise. I got it yesterday. It is going to be so helpful! I hope it didn't cost too much, thanks so so much. I was so not expecting that!)  It hasn't felt like my birthday, but when I think about it, I am overwhelmed with where I am, how young/old I am, and basically life in general...its overwhelming. But, we are going to a beach in La Porte today with the Zone. We are going to party! (I sent yall a package with videos/photos. Look for it.
Well, I've gotta get going. Lots of birthday emails to get to. Love y'all so much! Talk to you in a few days!
Sister Jackson

(From Hank- dated April 23, 2012)

hey mom how you doing? well today's letter is going to be a bit short.
we have exchanges today and the greenwood missionaries are comi9ng
here. I'm going to write again sometime this week maybe Wednesday or
Thursday. so this week Diego went to to Miami to pick up his mom from
Venezuela. she is staying for about 5 months. she goes home about a
week after i get back. my interviews were this week in Clinton with
president tucker, it was my last interview with him. i now have 1 more
interview left and its going to be with the new guy. next transfer is
president tuckers last zone conference. the end is getting near but it
doesn't feel like it yet, it still feels like i have a long way to go.
I'm looking forward to coming home but i am a little bummed with aj
and jonna not being there when i do. I'm coping with it buts its all
good, I'm working through it. anyway i have to go right now, I'm going
to write again this week, and then ill write dads letter too. talk to
you later, bye!
love hank

hey dad whats up. sorry i didn't write back on Monday, i really didn't
have enough time. we had exchanges on Monday with the greenwood
missionaries. i stayed here with elder bisel for the day. then we
switched back on Wednesday. Wednesday was cool because Diego got back
home from Miami and took us put to a restaurant called Cheddars, i last
ate there in west Monroe. they are really good, they have the Monte
cristo sandwich. that's what i ordered too. Diego is a cool guy, he
takes us out to eat alot and hes also doing better with his foot.
tonight were going to Decatur for an appointment with merti, our top
 investigator right now. I'm really looking forward to mothers day on
 the 13th. its weird to think that aj will leave like 3 days later.
O'sick is going home in about 20 days, hes really looking forward to
going home and being a cop. i don't know what is going to happen next
transfer. i have 3 left now. i hope this is my last area on my mission,
that way i would have to adjust again for a new area. well dad that's
about it for now, thanks again for everything, ill talk to you later,
love hank

(From Jonna: Dated April 23, 2012)

Hey Yall!
(I sent AJ an email, but let him know-long story way short-I met a kid who is reporting the MTC the same day as AJ. Tim Marriot. He is going to Checkoslovokia-totally spelled wrong, I know, I know!-but he will be in the MTC for 3 months too. I told him to look out for AJ. He was way excited.)
I got Kathy's package!! Oh so sweet!!!! I shed a little tear :) It was full of notes from the kiddos in 601. Their writing is SO good! I was just impressed. Some were just so funny! Miss them all so much. I was reading them to my companion and was saying how cute they were! I miss kindergarten writing. THAT was awesome. THANKS! xoxo ;)
I also got Jeannie's letter. I'll be writing her back soon. Tell her thanks! That was so nice of her to write to me!
Well, this week has been pretty good. I forgot to mention last week, that we went tracting on the beach! Our area in Baytown goes all the way over to Cove and down to Beach City (Google it). So, the last two Saturdays, Sister Cochran and I have gotten to see the Gulf of Mexico. All the home that are one the coast (most of them) are on beams 18-25 feet high. They said that the beams weren't tall enough when Ike came through so all of them were destroyed. Now, they are built higher-which I don't understand. I don't think I'd live there after that disater happened. But, it was really fun tracting there! We met an oder woman, Bree, who wasn't interested in our message, but was really impressed at what we were doing. She invited us in, gave us a drink, offered us a sandwich, and chatted. We sang her "I Am A Child of God" and she was touched. It is a powerful song, and as I grew up with it, I didn't realize it's power until that moment. For someone who has never heard it before, it is powerful.
We got a referral from the Spanish Elders last week for a couple they met at the library. We only had the wife's name and their address. We went to the home, and her husband, Antwon, answered and gave us her number. After a few calls, visits to the home, and no success in contacting her, Awon finally said, "Don't yall wanna teach me?" Oh man! We were not being very attentative missionaries! We felt awful! We said, "Yes! We do!" Talked to him for a minute and gave him our number. Well, the very next morning, he called us and said, "I want yall to teach me today, how does 1pm sound?" We were thrilled and surprised! So, we gave Awon a Chuch Tour and let me tell you...what a prepared-tender heart! He was so full of faith and wanted more of God in his life. We got to the baptismial font on the church tour and before we could even ask him, he asked us, "When can I get baptized? I need this as soon as possible." Wow! We told him a few weeks and we could continue to teach him. He was great. He showed up at church and loved it. In fact, Sister Cochran and I sat with Pren (who is getting baptized on Thursday) and Awon. Two little white girls sitting with two black men-who are the most humble of men I've seen! It was so cool how Pren (an investigator) was fellowshipping Awon. Taking him to Priesthood and showing him the ropes at church. It was really cool! Now, there is some drama with Awon's circumstances that may cause him to move. We hope he doesn't get too far away and that wherever he goes he will be able to have the missionaries.
Scary moment this week...we almost killed a dog. Ugh-still freaks me out. So, I don't like pitbulls. Not a fan. We went to a member's home last Monday night and she had the neighbor's pitbull who keeps jumping over their front yard fence (a chain-link). The neighbors weren't home and we finally found a collar and a leash in the yard. The leash was about 18 inches long. Not long enough. So, we hooked him up to the fence. We walked away and we saw him trying to jump over the fence still! The leash was getting caught on the fence and as we were watching him, it got caught and didn't let go! We ran over to it and the pitbull's legs were barely touching the ground, his eyes were rolled back into his head-he was almost hung to death. It was so scary-we tried getting him a chair to stand on, we tried lifting him (he was about 100 lbs), we tried unlatching the leash/collar. Finally, the member (Laura) put all her strength into lifting him off the fence. It worked. Whew! SO SCARY! Another neighbor came out and said, "Hey! That dog is choking." We were like, "Yes, sir, we have identified the problem..." Haha...he was just trying to help. Finally, tied the dog up in her backyard and waited until the family got home. So, I really don't like pitbulls, but still, I was freaked out! Almost sick to my stomach.
So, on May 7th, Elder Clarke of the 70 will be visiting the mission. (He actually spoke at the MTC while I was there). The 7th is a Monday. So, we will not be having Pday that day. It will be moved to the following Thursday...my birthday! So, yall will hear from me next Monday, but you won't hear again until my birthday. I get to email on my birthday! Cool, yes? Then, I get to talk to you on Sunday and then email agian on Monday. Whoohoo! Let's just hope that I don't get too homesick...
Hey, did yall see the youth Mormon message that was from the Maricopa stake??? Jenni Merrrill (who was my EFY girl) was in it! There were probably 3 or 4 youth mormon messages that came from the Maricopa Stake. SO COOL!
This week, I have been learning a lot about faith. I encourage yall to learn more about faith. I learned a lot about faith and confidence. I studied out of Christlike attributes in PMG ch. 6. However or wherever you study faith, do it and apply it. I am trying and it is working!
Hope I didn't forget anything!
Love yall!

(From Hank- dated April 16, 2012)

well another week has gone by, things are going good here in
Philadelphia. we spent the week just going around and seeing people,
we saw Diego a few times also. hes a cool guy and i enjoy going to see
him. he took us down to Jackson this week to celebrate O'sicks
birthday. it was a great day
the branch here is cool, i really like it. there's this one family that i
really like, the fars. we go over to their house quite a bit and
they enjoy having us over. on Tuesdays and Thursdays we volunteer at
the Adult Day Care center to help out a less active who works there.
its a different experience but i enjoy it. on Wednesdays we go to the
braxs for dinner and on Fridays we go to the oks for dinner.
Mondays our pdays, and Saturday is basically try to find something to
do day. Sunday is church. that's basically the routine of every week
here, with a few differeces every once in a while. we went up to
Louisville this week to contact a referral and it went good, but well
see how it goes this week. oh and before i forget, Interviews with
President tucker are this week on Wednesday. its President tuckers lat
interview on his mission. after this interview ill have 2 zone
conferences left, and 1 interview left. I'm starting to get towards the
end. and it still doesn't feel like that, but its coming. well that's
about it for now, thanks for your letter and ill talk to you nest
week, love ya bye!
love hank

(From Jonna- dated April 16, 2012)

Hello again!
Mom- Sad that I missed that RS fireside. I wish I'd had that when I was graduating. 54th Ward was a great place for me to understand RS and esp visiting teaching. Jeni Rudd is awesome. Miss her tons. Glad to hear that the Luau was good. Would've been better had I arrived :) jk Next time, you better not tell me about the Johnny Wright cooking... :( miss that food!
Dad-Thanks so much for the email and the package this week. I shed a little tear as I looked at the Easter Pageant program. I miss that. I also really liked the talk too. It was perfect for me that day. And, the Mickey. Loved it. (Did you know that MoTab sings THREE Disney songs on their Cds? Totally tender mercies from the Lord when I listen to them.)
Hank- Where are your emails to me?? I haven't heard from you in a while! haha-jk, I know you are super busy too. Time is limited and I get that now. Sorry my emails are long, and I can only print if I pay for it. Not gonna :) So, I'm not worried if you can't read all my emails. You'll have more time in 5 months. Crazy! The reason they are so long is first, I type fast, and second, during the week, I will write down things in my planner that I want to mention in my emails. I don't get to all of them, but then I have some ideas of what to write about.
Addie- Sheesh, I guess you don't miss me?? Haha jk-I get it. It is different. And, thanks for telling me that Celeb. Apprt. was INTENSE! That doesn't make me miss TV haha :)
Ciara- Tell Rebecca CONGRATS for me! She is cute!
Jeri- I'm sending you a separate email with my CD request. Also, I found your Mormon.org profile. Very nice. Very perfect. You've got some good insight.
Carla-You have an email?? Crazy! haha. Thanks for the song. I loved it. Hope you keep emailing me! 
Today, it has been super stormy. As yall were telling me about the storms in AZ, I thought that was funny that last night, I was up all night because of thunder and rain. I didn't mind so much. I love listening to the rain. This week was eventful-especially with transfers. I am officially in my 2nd transfer! Wahoo! On Tuesday, Elder Roos went home and Elder Matthews was called as Zone Leader in Kingwood. They didn't have time to clean their place, so Sister Cochran and I went over during our lunch hour and cleaned it up. Wow...boys are filthy. Haha. It was fun to do and it set a great tone for our day. Tuesday was probably the best day ever. Even Sister Cochran said she had never had a day like it on her mission before. I don't know how to describe it, but it was great. We were happy, positive, motivated, and filled with the Spirit. We met our new Elders. Elder Packard is our new Distrcit leader. He is training Elder Topou (too-poe), who just got here from the MTC. They are great! Elder Packard has a heavy load this transfer. He is whitewashing (coming into a new area that had just been flushed), he is training, and he is a District Leader. He told us that he has never served with Sisters before-now only 6 months left of his mission-and he has a district FULL of us! Out of 4/6 missionaries are sisters here. Haha-so hopefully we don't drive him insane. Really though, he is a great missionary. Elder Topou is Tongan. Actually, we asked him about Elder Archuleta. He got to meet him! He said that everyone is buzzing there about Elder Archuleta being in the MTC. He was placed in a forgien district on purpose because no one really knows him. There is a rule at the MTC right now that no one can take pictures with him. Elder Topou said that he saw Elder Archuletta in the temple the day before he came to TX. He asked him if he could have a photo on his last day there. Elder Archuleta said "ok." So, they all went to the back of the temple grounds and got a quick photo. Haha. I guess Elder Archuleta's district have become like his body guards-making sure no one takes pictures with him. It was pretty funny.
We taught a family this week. I don't know if I told yall about them. The R family-they have young kids. We taught them the Restoration using Jenga blocks a few weeks ago. The other night, we taught them the Plan of Salvation and they SOAKED it up! They totally remembered the Restorarion and why Joseph Smith prayed and what he saw. We used the visual Ciara made for me of the Plan of Salv. (THANKS!) We told them it was like a map of our lives and then we mixed it up so they could try to put it together by themselves. Totally got it! It was awesome. No wonder the Savior told us to be as little children. They are humble, willing to learn, and when they recognize truth-they believe it.  We also went to visit A-R. She is an elderly woman who is so firm in her faith! She was in the hospital and requested 3 B of Ms. She was just giving them away all over the place. I really admired her courage.
Thanks so much for the package! When I finally got it, we were driving around in the car and I was opening it up. I saw the photos of the dogs. yay! I had told the story of Juliet weeks ago and was always saying "When I get those photos-you'll know what I'm talking about." Well, when I pulled out the photos I only saw the photo of Juliet when she was skinny. (Sitting by Addie's feet) Sadly, I gave the photos to the Elders and said, "Ok, this is when she was skinny. Sorry I didn't get a better photo than that." They were like "Its ok-pretty dog-OOOHHHHH!!!!" They had turned to the next photo (The infamous Fat Dog photo of her on the grass-I hadn't seen that you'd sent that one yet). We have NEVER seen the Elders laugh to hard and so loud before. We were all crying and laughing so hard. Everyone loves the story of Juliet. Sis. Cochran said I should carry those before and after photos with me always because somehow, Juliet seems to come up in conversation. We might even post her photo on the fridge as motivation to not eat so much. It is hilarious. But, really, I miss Buster! Thanks for the photos. He is stinkin' cute. Can't believe we got a dog door. It only makes sense that we got one now and now when Juliet was around. She can only fit through a human door. She would've gotten stuck in a dog door...
Funny thing-We were walking through our apartments on Thursday night looking for a member's home. Someone's window was WIDE open and the TV was there. American Idol was on TV and it was the very end. I was Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson on the stage with who I thought was Jasmine Trias. I was like "AHH!! Idol!" Ran back and wanted to watch it. I paused and saw that it wasn't Jasmine, but whoever was eliminated. It was killing me that I didn't know who is on this season and for a second, my heart sank a little more knowing that I will have to catch up on TWO seasons. Sigh...it was a weak moment for me. But, I had to be strong and walk away. The work of the Lord is more important than a television show. (Glad to hear it is better than X Factor-I figured it would be.)
Well, this week, I invite yall to create your Mormon.org profiles! We get 1 hour each week to be on Mormon.org. So, during that time, I watch videos, read profiles, etc. I have looked and looked for everyone's profile, but only found Jeri! Really?? Family, follow that example and get going on them! I updated mine a bit. So, I'll be checking...better get those profile done :)
I need to get going now. Love yall so much!
Sister Jackson