Monday, July 23, 2012

(HANK) -District Meeting, Rain, Pioneer Day

hey mom how you doing? well this week was good i guess. we went to kosciusko again for district meeting. and it also rained a lot this week too. its been raining quite a bit lately, i really enjoy it. well i read ajs letter and when he was talking about how ghetto Orlando is, i just had to laugh. its pretty funny, but i have to tell him about greenwood, and Mississippi in general haha. i also see that he is getting shocked by the water and the green everywhere too. i was like that, but it wears off in a few months. aj sounds like hes doing great though, having a good time.
...i hope you don't find my letters boring, I've been reading ajs and jonnas letters and they write long detailed letters, and i think i used to do that, but as I've been out on my mission I've slowly but surely shortened my letters. its not that nothing is happening, its just that at the beginning of my mission i was in shock and i wanted to tell you everything that's happened, but after the shock slowly goes away, so does my enthusiasm for writing long letters, i try but again sorry if you find my letters boring. i can't wait to tell you a bunch of stuff when i get back home though. oh and another thing aj said that made me laugh was how he didn't want to tell you some stuff because he didn't want to freak you out. that was funny, it feels like that all the time. but again at first some stuff freaks you out then as you get used to it, it doesn't freak you out anymore. so maybe I'm in danger of stuff but i don't recognize it anymore. i guess i never realized how safe mesa is compared to Mississippi. i really like greenwood, it really is super ghetto but its ok. most of the people we talk to are nice. well mom thanks for the letter, oh and i got your letter in the mail too! thanks for that one, i enjoyed it. ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank
hey dad how you doing? well greenwood is doing good, we had a pioneer activity on Saturday and it was good, we had good food and there were a lot of people. there was a lot of people for this branch on Sunday. the tiny room was packed. it was cool seeing the tiny branch building being used to its fullest potential. i think i already may have told you this but church starts at 9 with priesthood first, then Sunday school 2nd hour then sacrament last. its kind of cool, and i actually really like it that way. after church we go to the lee family for lunch. they feed us every Sunday after church. its been raining quite a bit, but it has been slowing down. its been getting hot lately and very humid. but its not too bad. August is coming up and also my last transfer is coming up too! its an exciting time. well dad thanks for everything, ill talk to you next week. love ya v=bye!
love hank

(A.J)- Nice Joke, A.J.

So we've been waiting all week to hear how A.J.'s doing in Florida.  Today we got this email from him at 7:58 AM:

"Well, I'm sure you are all dying to hear from me. Well you did. See ya."

That's it.  That's all we got. HOUR later...he wrote the real letter.  Stinker!  The nice thing, is I didn't check email until about 9:30, so thankfully, I got them both at the same time!'s nice to see he hasn't lost his sense of humor.  Here's the real letter:

That first letter was just a joke. I hope you got a kick out of it. Well, anyways, I am still sure you guys are all waiting to hear from me. Well, a lot of things have happened this past week, I don't know if I will be able to tell everything, but I'll do the best I can. Well lets start with the flight last week. So it was a 4 and a half hour flight, it was really nice, no turbulence, just nice and smooth. Then we landed. I was with Gas so I was happy to be with him and not be by myself. Even though he drives me nuts sometimes, I still love him a lot.

Anyways, so we landed and we met President Hall and went to his house. Me and Elder Gas were the only 2 new ones on that day, we actually came a weeks early than all the other new ones. Today we get 13 new Elders I think. So we got a week start ahead of all the other new ones. But so we had dinner at president Hall's house and then he just talked with us. Then he assigned us to our new companions. My companion is Elder K. He is awesome. He actually played soccer for BYU before he came out here. and like I said before, he has only been out here 9 weeks. He was actually in the group right before me in the MTC and I actually saw a picture of him that was in our classroom in the MTC. So ya, he is pretty much a greeny too. He actually hasn't finished his training either, the only reason he has been assigned to train me, is because there are only 4 Haitian Creole speakers, including me and Elder Gassant. So ya, that is why he is my trainer. He speaks the language good though and he understands a lot of what people are saying. Yesterday though, he had to translate for a lady in church during sacrament meeting, and he struggled, he kept looking at me and just shaking his head saying stuff like, man this is hard. It was funny. But he is great. he actually reminds me a lot of Cole Baxter. It is cool. But ya, we get along great so far and we will be with each other for the next 12 weeks. I was actually told, that in 12 weeks, I will probably be a trainer myself too. So I need to do a lot of work to get there. Oh and mom, to answer your question, that picture we took was the backyard of President Hall's house. ya, it is super green here. Everywhere here looks like that. super green and lakes everywhere. There are too many lakes to count. They are just everywhere.

Well, president hall is cool. He is super, super, super strict on being obedient though. He played football for Utah state and coached football at BYU.  He is funny, but I am terrified of him. haha. He is nice and all, but I would not want to get on his bad side. He is the time of guy where once he loses your trust, it is hard for him to gain it back. So ya, I don't want to get on his bad side. In a year though, we are actually getting a new Mission President, so we'll see how that goes. Well, Elder Gas went with a trainer who comes home in 3 months, so he is an expert and me and K are here still trying to figure things out. We share a car with a couple of English speakers. We just switch off every day. We don't have the same apartment as them, but they live close and we share the same area so we spend a lot of time with them. They are both cool. One is Elder Mun who is from Brazil and the other is Elder Ren from Utah. They are really cool. Oh, and K is from Las Vegas. Well, my area covers like, well, i don't know exactly, I'm still trying to learn the area, but we cover a small area just a few miles away from the Temple. This place reminds me of 2 places. Its like Mesa and Ventura decided to have a baby, and the baby decided to go ghetto. That is the best way I can describe it. It is super green but no mountains. It is all flat. which is tough because I've always used mountains to kind of help me know where I am and which directions are which, but here its tough, it is all just flat. But, its fine. Like I said, this place is super super ghetto, I feel nervous going to some neighborhoods. There are some pretty freaky stories that I won't tell you, because I don't want you to get worried, but ya, it is super ghetto. umm, I already experienced my first encounter of me thinking I was going to get beat up or shot at. haha. It was actually a funny story, but it would take me forever to explain it. maybe I'll write it in a hand written letter. I also experienced my first baptism, and wedding this past week. So that is cool.  K baptized him.

Oh, the language is crazy. I thought I would be alright with the language and be ok. but i am not, it is super crazy, in the mtc white people are talking the language so its easy to understand them, but here, they are natives of the language and they speak really fast so I can hardly understand them. I pretty much just nod my head and let K do all the talking. So I will have to work on that. and yesterday was a cool experience. So me and K, Gas and Rich (gas's trainer) went to a Haitian church last night. It was so freaking cool. It was a chapel a little bit bigger than ours back home, and it was full of black people who speak creole. Here come 3 white kids in white shirts and ties with 1 half black guy, but looks white because he's with us and we go walking in there. so many eyes were staring at us. All they did really though was just sing songs, they said the same line like for 30 minutes. it was funny. Then when they finished they asked all the visitors to introduce themselves. One guy came up with a microphone to me and I was terrified. There were about 300 people in there too. So I handed it to K and he said " nou se misyone yo soti legliz jezikri pou sen denye jou yo e nou kontan pou visite legliz nou" which is, we are missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints and we are happy to visit your church. When he started speaking Creole every one's heads and ears purked up and we hear ooh and ahhs and it was cool. Then everyone started clapping and laughing because white people never speak creole. So ya, that was awesome. Then we stayed for like another 20 min. and left. It was definitely the highlight of the week.

Well, its super humid and hot here. I don't even need to work hard and I'm sweating, but its good. well, sounds like you guys are doing good. Can't wait to hear from you guys later. See ya later.
Love, A.J.

(JONNA)- Happy Pioneer Day! and Pictures!

Hello All!
Can't believe AJ is in Florida now! Wahoo!! You know, each time I think about it, I get overwhelmed at how lucky I am to have the family I've got and to serve as a missionary side by side with my two brothers. It gives me added motivation to work hard. Then, hopefully, I can be like Hank & AJ someday.
Well, we have been struggling to find new investigators. Man, in a small town, it is hard. Tracting is driving to a random road, parking, and walking up a hill or through trees to get to a house. The homes are so spread out that we have to manage time and miles carefully. And, so many people are set in their ways that they are not willing to change or even listen. We have the FULL truth of the Gospel and no one seems to care sometimes. Argh. So, Sister Karr and I have a lot of "finding" time set aside this week. I am sick of not finding someone new to teach. I am trying to learn boldness, but not overbearrance. I'm trying to teach boldy but with love. It is hard to balance, but I am finding that I have been a lot more confident here in Woodville that I have in other places. It is SUPER hard most days, and I have a lot to work on, but I am constantly trying to become better. I haven't felt a sense of true missionary spirit like I have in Woodville. Probably because it is so hard to get the work moving here that I feel a sense of urgency or determination to make it work. Pray for us!
Well, on Saturday evening, we drove for 15 minutes on a little dirt road (not unusual) til we got to a less active's house. We pulled up, got out of the car, and heard "ssss...." Great. Our front tire had a hole in it! The curse of flat tires follows me to Texas! The members' house we were is a very old and sickly couple. So, he called his son to come help us. We visited inside with Sis. W for a minute then said, "Wait, where is Bro. W?" We went out side and this 70 year old man with a bad hip in laying on the ground under our car trying to fix our tire!! Oh man, talk about feeling bad! We told him to get up and we could help him and his son was coming, but he refused and kept working. His son got there and wasn't happy to see his dad on the ground. Well, 20 minutes later, the tire was patched. Then Bro. W really struggled to stand up again and almost fell, but leaned on the truck to stand. I was so scared. He was exhausted and tired. We kept praying that Heavenly Father would bless him and his son for helping us out. Helping the missionaries=blessings...and boy, does this family deserve them! So, today we are going to get our tire fixed. I am SO not excited about spending my Pday in a tire shop...but grateful to have a new tire!
A few "odds and ends"...
I love that everyone loves country music, especially the old country! We have BBQs a lot, and let me tell you...I had some ribs the other day that rival the ones at the Rib & Chimmy Bash. I daresay (and not to offend the 20th ward!) they just MIGHT have been better :) BUT I may have to try them again...just to bet sure :) The were HUGE and delicious! Smoked and seasoned to perfection. Dad, Hank, AJ, thought of yall as I was enjoying every bite of these ribs. Mmm...
It is interesting serving in a small town branch....
Well, sounds like all is well in AZ! How cool another dust storm came in. I love those. The other night, it felt & looked like a dust storm here. It was sweet! Hope all else is well. I haven't gotten Jayze's announcement yet, but I'll look for it. I will pray for Shiloh & Danica for sure. Keep me posted on them
Love yall!
Sister Jackson

Jonna's caption: "Welcome to Woodville!...Oh the quirks of the country!"


Driving the truck

Sis. Karr and I at the carwash.

Monday, July 16, 2012

(JONNA)-Been Singin' in the Rain!

Hey Everyone!
Mom-sounds like quite the trip this week! Glad it was still fun for yall. And, I'm glad yall were taken care of. I get overwhelmed with how blessed we are.
Dad-liked your Office experience...when in rome... :) And, thanks for the Wilderness MTC summary. That sounds like it was pretty cool. And, yes, the cultural & recreational things are SO important. In Humble, we went 2 weeks on Pday without going to do recreational activites. Usually, we meet at the church with other missionaries to play basketball after other Pday things are done. And, 2 weeks in a row we took a long time on Pday and didn't get to go. Boy, does it make a difference! Here, in Woodville, we are at least 30-40 minutes away from any other missionaries and so we don't get to do that stuff much. So, I like to clean, bake, craft, etc. Which is nice. (And, I'm glad the car thing worked out. I am glad yall are being looked after!)
Hank-So cool you know that Elder! You enjoying your summer in MS? Hope you are treasuring these last few weeks. And, I hope your new mission president is great! I bet he is. (Did you get my letter/photos? I sent them to AJ too...thought yall out get a kick out of the animal adventures here)
AJ-Welcome to Florida! Sorry the MTC was rough. "This place is not like prison...this place is freeking awesome!" Hope you enjoy your cushy nerf life in Florida now :) haha (hope you got my letter and photos!)
Ciara-hope you're having a good time still! Sounds like a lot of fun. Jealous...but happy yall are doing good!
This week has been super rainy and wet. It rained for 8 days straight. I loved it! I got to wear my boots more than I have so far and it was nice and cool. Today, it has been more sunny and the clouds are beautiful!! I can't believe that AJ is flying out to Florida today! Wow! I figure he is in the air, or close to it, as I am writing. Hope your phone call was nice this morning :) Sounds like a super awesome 4th of July for AJ! Super jealous we didn't even see fireworks :( But, that will come again-no worries. I also heard that Andy Griffith died?? SAD! Didn't he make an appearance in one of Brad Paisley's videos "Waitin' on a Woman"?
Also, I got your package!! Loved it! I got it Monday after we came home from emailing last week. I loved the photos! Some were super hilarious! (And, I love the plaques-did I spell that right? No worries about the mess up, it is fixable, and if not, it makes for a good story.) And, new socks!! I was SO happy about those!!!! Oh my, I cannot even describe it.
This week I drove the truck for the first time! In the rain, over muddy roads. It was fun. I took a photo that I'll have to show yall later. There is mud all over our truck and boy, it is hard to get in and out with a skirt on and not get it muddy. Had a few skirts fall victim to mud this week. Good thing it is laundry day. Also, it is so funny because there are dogs everywhere! When we are up and down these dirt roads, dogs will come barking and chasing us in the truck (one time, I was backing Sis. K as she was driving, and 5 huge labs came running at me, I jumped in the car just a few seconds before they got to me!) But, these dogs will just stand in front of us and bark. No matter how we honk, they stand there barking. Sheesh. Lame. But, its funny.
So, some fun/cool stories from the week...
We went to see E ,an elderly woman in a nursing home. She asked for a Book of Mormon to give away to her nurse last week. So, as we were visiting her, Sandra, the nurse, was there. We talked of the world and how things are getting worse and worse. I read Helaman 5:12 and Sandra liked it. E then gets the BofM and gives it to San. We wrote a little thought in it and gave her our number. She was very grateful and said she would read it. Hope to see her again soon!
Also, yesterday at church we had a funny/cool experience. First, here church is at 9am and Relief Society/Priesthood is first, then Sunday School, then Sacrament. So, in RS we had a nonmember from out of town visit. We were talking with her and she said her son had joined the Church a few weeks ago and they (with her husband) were on vacation. So, he found the nearest branch and brought them. (Bobby & Susan Hanks and their son Brian is who I'm talking about). Well, the branch is so small and the work kinda slow that the branch hasn't had a Gospel Principles class in a long time. And, the Gospel Doctrine class is a lot of meat and not really milk of the Gospel. So, Brian, the son, and Bro. Durr came to us and asked if we could teach a Gospel Principles class for his parents. Which meant in like 5 minutes! They handed us a manual and said it was on the Atonement. We found a classroom, had 2 members join us, and Sis. K and I taught a Gospel Principles class with only 5 minutes warning. Oh my...I hure hope they liked it. But, let me tell you...God answers our prayers! We were praying and praying that we would be able to fill the time and do it meaningfully. Luckily, the Atonement is something that we teach all the time. So...whew!
Earlier this week, we were visiting a less-active but coming back member. She was telling us of when she first joined the church. She joined when Pres. Kimball was the prophet. She wanted to get sealed to her adopted kids or something and was told "Well, if you have a problem with it, then talk to the prophet about it." So she did! She saved up money to go to Salt Lake, made an appointment, and sure enough, she meets with Pres. Kimball. She said, "I didn't know that he was that busy of a guy. I was told to talk to the prophet and just thought that everyone did!" So, she met with him and Pres. Kimball took them out to ice cream! He bought her kids a cone and bought a huge one for her to share with him! She said, "I asked him, we sharin' this cone? And he looked at me and said, 'yes we are, just don't lick on my side!' So, there we were, with the prophet at the ice cream parlor eating and sharing cones with him like we were best buddies." Hahaha! Isn't that funny?? She then, went to the temple to take out her endowments and Pres. Kimball offered to watch her kids while she went. He told them to call him Uncle Spence. So, anytime they saw him on TV after that, they really thought he was their Uncle Spence. She came home and told her friends what a good time she had and they couldn't believe that she just went to Salt Lake to talk to the prophet and had ice cream with him. She thought thats what everyone did, go and chat with him and come home. She didn't think it out of the ordinary until her ward told her otherwise. Funny, right??
Oh, and earlier this week, Sis. K was feeling sick, so we stayed in most of the day. While she was sleeping, I decided to clean out the apartment. I've done this each time I get to a new place. Man, it is so gross how most missionaries (even sisters!) live and think it is ok! Because things are temporary and they come and go, things get left behind, and "deep cleaning" does not happen. Sure, the surface is clean, but the under-ftuff is what counts (thanks mom!). And, when missionaries leave to go home SO MUCH is left behind. I did it in Baytown and Humble. And, I did it again this week. I CLEANED OUT. While Sis. K was asleep, I was cleaning out the apartment. I got rid of a lot of useless things that have piled up over the years. (Tupperware without matching lids/containers, gross towels, expired food, old blankets, stained-worn out clothes, and lots of trash.) So, I was in the middle of the pots/pans and oven area when I heard a knock at the door. Which is RARE. I open it and find Elder and Sister Jamison the apartment inspectors! Hahahaha. (Which dad yall see we got a 10 last transfer?!) So, with a huge smile on my face I brought them in and explained the situation. I had piles of trash to be taken out, piles of Goodwill things, and the dishes piled up for cleaning. Man, it was a project. They laughed and said that was "valiant." But, really, I don't like to live in clutter (ok-besides my room) and it was a rainy day and I had a sick comp. What else was I supposed to do? But, man, let me tell is lookin' GOOD! Almost done, just gotta get to the bedroom.
Well, the time has come again to end. We are off to go to Walmart and other errands. I am trying to be a better "finder" this week. I am trying to be more bold. It is super hard, but I can feel the Lord helping me. Will yall pray for me? I need all the help I can get to have courage and motivation to find people to teach. It is hard, but it is my goal right now.
Love yall so much!
Sister Jackson

(HANK)- Meets the new Mission President

hey mom how you doing? man its been raining all week, i love it! i really hope that it rains alot when i get back home too. we met the new mission president this week on friday, it was like the biggest thing that happened this week. so we talked and had a good talk and stuff and then he left. I'm going to see him again at zone conference and then my exit interview. so only 2 more times. so here in greenwood we are far  from everything, we have to go to kosciuwsko for district meeting which is 60 miles away from us. 120 miles round trip. its cool though, because they talk about philadelphia and its weird because i was there and they talk about it for district meeting. we are actually doing exchanges in a few weeks, and i might go to philly, that would be weird, but cool. so i can see people again. well aj is on his way to flordia now, i hope all goes good with him and that he has a good time. other than the rain and meeting President Mcdonough, nothing really has happened this week. well that's about it ill talk to you next week. love ya bye!\
love hank

hey dad how you doing? what a week for you, it sounds like it was crazy going to California and stuff. I'm glad that the sable got fixed and that you guys didn't sell it or anything. so aj is on his way to florida now? that's cool, i think he'll enjoy flordia its been raining all week here in greenwood, and apparently its been all over the place too. we met the new mission president on friday and he was a nice guy. he decided to tour the mission and stop by all the apartments, and he came by at around 6 at night to ours. i think I'm only going to meet him 3 times in my whole mission, and i have 2 more times seeing him left. 1 for zone conference and 1 more for the exit interview. its been getting hot here, but its not too bad, the rain cools it down then it gets all humid and stuff. but oh well. me and shelley are getting along great and we are going around the area trying to do stuff, its kind of a hard place but nothing too bad, or maybe I'm just used to it haha. if i came here first i would be shocked. were not really working with anybody right now, just seeing less actives and people and stuff. i haven't really made new friends yet, but I'm working on it. well that's about it for now, thanks for the letter, ill talk to  you later, bye!
love hank

A.J.'s has arrived!

A.J. has only been in Florida for 3 hours, and he's already sent pictures.  Love it.  Here is his new Mission President and companion and the short little note that came with them.  So happy he's there.  SO happy!

"hey guys, i'm here at the mission home right now. they gave me a nice dinner and talked to me. I arrived safely and I got my new companion. He has only been out here 9 weeks. he is pretty much completely new too. we're gonna have a fun time speaking creole to our investigators. haha. well that's about it. enjoy the pictures.
Love, A.J."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

(A.J.) Flying out to Florida tomorrow!

hey guys. Man, tomorrow at this time, I will be in Florida. I am super excited....
so I realized in my last email that i totally forgot to mention how the 4th of July was. So i will explain it to you right now. ok, so on july 4th, at like 8:30 at night, we had a devotional, and it was a really cool and laid back devotional. Like we were allowed to clap and to cheer and it was really really neat. Like on the tuesday and Sunday devotionals, we sing hymns before the devo, and so for the 4th of july devo, we sang primary songs and we were goofing off and stuff and we were allowed to. It was super fun and cool. So someone spoke on how the declaration of independance and the constitution were inspired by god so that joseph smith could restore the gospel. It was really good. Then someone sang "you raise me up" then someone spoke. I forgot who it was. Then after that, there were 3 elders who played the violin and viola and the piano and it was so cool and reverent at first and then out of nowhere, a 4th elder pulled out cowboy hats and put them on the other 3 elders and they played like a pioneer upbeat cheerful fast song. It was the highlight of the devotional. Everyone stood up and clapped and whistled after they had finished. It was so cool. I wish I had recorded some of it. So ya, after that, there was a short video we watched about the gospel being spread to every nation. Then something really cool happened. So the devotional is in the gym and there are bleachers. And at the top of the bleachers were missionaries who were holding all the flags of all the countries where the gospel is being shared. then all of the sudden, we heard bagpipes playing and you could hear everyone in the audience go "ohhh" and there was a missionary, in the little scottish skirt playing the bagpipes and he was walking across the gym playing them while all the missionaries holding the flags walked down the bleachers and to the front of the gym. Then a few missionaries had banners of pictures of Joseph smith. Then we all stood up and sang praise to the man. It was super cool. Then after that, we all went out side, got some ice cream, and we watched the fireworks, all 2,500 missionaries. And we were told we couldn't go back to the residence until the fireworks were over. Finally at about 11:30 we got into our residence because they didn't finish until like 11:20. It was a super fun night. It was awesome. I took a bunch of videos and pictures of it so you will get to experience a bit of what I did. But ya, so that was the 4th of july. well, this past week has been about the same.
...tomorrow morning, I will be on a plane to forida. I'm so happy.... You know, today, I was talking with my companions, we were haveing one last companionship inventory before we all left, and we were just talking about all the things we learned at the MTC. And I realized... I would not want to do the mtc again in my life, but i have learned a lot from it. I just can't even imagine what i'll learn in the field. I'm also sad that i'm not going to see like all the friends i've made here. I have made some really good friends and i'll never see them again probably which kinda makes me sad, but i'll be fine. well, that is about it.
 I sent my camera card home, so put them on the computer as fast as you can, and then when i get to florida, send me the camera card back, because the one I have right now is getting filled up really quick. So, just do it as soon as possible. well, sounds like you had a crazy past week. I am just happy I wasn't a part of it. haha. oh ya, and so tomorrow morning, i will probably call both of you. I have a calling card so ya i'm good on that. But i don't know how much time i'll have to be able to talk to you, it may be 10 min. or i may have like 45 min. to be able to talk, i don't know. but we will find out. Ok, well, that is about it. I guess the next time i email you i will be in florida. love you all, stay safe, and have fun. Alright, see you later.

Monday, July 9, 2012

(JONNA)- Driving a 4 door truck!

Hey everyone!
Well, I am in Woodville now! My companion is Sister K. She has only been out 3 months and I've been out about "Team GreenieFire." Two green missionaries leading an area. We keep joking that either we are really trusted or we can't mess anything up in Woodville. Haha. So, I've been out only 1 transfer longer than she has. Her trainer, Sister B, just went home last week. It has been a little rough for her. But, we are adjusting!
We cover almost an entire county! We are in a little branch and usually 70 people come to church each week. (Yesterday was 90!) We are out in the boonies!! Talk about the back roads of Texas. It is a little smaller than Snowflake. Everyone is spread out so far and some areas take 30 minutes to get to. We get to drive a truck! It is so cool! A huge 4 door truck is a blessing. It has been raining and it is muddy and bumpy almost everywhere we go. We are literally finding people in the middle of nowhere-"hunters and fishers of men" for sure. It is also hard because most people have seen or talked to missionaries before because it is a small population and there are only so many streets to tract. The members don't have much hope in the area growing because of this and some have called it a "dead" area. Sad. So, President and Sister Crawford came to the branch yesterday and gave a lesson on missionary work. It was really good and we hope it inspired more members to participate and have faith. If nothing happens here for a while, the area may be closed for a bit. We aren't sure, but it is a rumor. I do love the area though. It is quiet and refreshing! In Humble, we lived close to the airport, so all we heard was low flying planes and cars. We would have to pause as we were talking to people because the plane/car traffic noise was so loud. But here, it is so quiet! I love it! It reminds me of LoMia/Payson/Snowflake...anywhere north of Mesa. It is great! (Actually, met Brother B here who lived in Phoenix for a while and did all the new water systems for LoMia a few years back. Cool!)
Did yall find out about Elder Blon from Hank's mission? Sister K's missionary is serving in Hank's mission. She said she got a letter from him a while back saying "If you serve with a Sister Jackson, tell her that her brother says hi." Cool, ya?? I really enjoy Sister K. We are both still figuring it out and I like her for it. We are a lot more open and talkative with each other. She likes Disney (sweet!!!) which makes for awesome conversation :) haha. I enjoy her a lot.
Well, we have been braving the rain and it looks like we are going to be doing more of it this coming week. There is no where for the rain to go. It floods so fast. This is the most "hilly" place in the mission and the northern-most area too. But, the rain still floods so much. Which is why I am so glad for a truck. I haven't had to drive it yet, but I will this week...wish me luck!!
Well, glad to hear most is going well at home. Glad yall liked Brave. Everyone here loves it and I have to keep saying "Don't tell me what happens!" Lots of kids get excited and want to tell the whole thing. Which, I don't blame them, but still...Did yall love La Luna? The Pixar short? AJ and I saw that at D23. I liked it. Also, glad to know the Hermanas are staying! Sounds like they are working so hard.
I have to get going now. But, I love yall lots and lots. We are fixin to go to Walmart and run some more errands. :) Have a good week!
Sister Jackson
PS-Mom, can you email me AJ's mission home address? Thanks!

(HANK)- Loving new area and comp.

hey mom how you doing?
thanks for the letter, both of them I've read it again actually. aj has sent me a few letters. but anyway ya, i think you know about it already.
So great grandma jackson died. i think i saw her about 4-5 years ago. that was like the last time i saw her. dad told me she was 99 1/2 years old when she died. she almost made it to a century. pretty cool.
so i asked shell if he knew any relatives in Arizona, and he said he does but he doesn't know there names. what shells do you know? ill ask him. i haven't met president mcdonough yet, he's going to visit all the apartments this month and tour the mission, and meet all the missionaries. He's coming to greenwood on Friday. I'll let you know how it goes. So I'm in a car area. Its huge. In jonna's letter when she said that her area almost covers an entire county i laughed. we have like 11 counties in greenwood area, and yet out of the entire boundaries, about 25 active people. but then again, all my areas have been pretty big. they've actually gotten bigger. in order from smallest to largest: pass christian, picayune, west Monroe, Vicksburg, Philadelphia, and greenwood. I'm glad that Addie's medical thing isn't that serious, i hope she is alright. greenwood is pretty cool, we actually get a lot of free food here. the only place in my whole mission where members owned food stores and gave missionaries free food. about time, haha. we get free pizza at little Caesers on Monday (so today, haha), and this restaurant called Veronica's kitchen on Tuesdays and Saturdays. its pretty good. work has been going slow but its alright, its moving at its own pace. were in charge of the games activity for pioneer day at the church on whatever day it is, wonder what were going to do. well not much has really happened other than that, i guess ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

hey dad whats up?! thanks for the letter, this is my last 4th of july on the mission. well dad sorry but this is going to be a short letter, i only have like 2 minutes left until the library closes. sorry about what. well this week was good, I'm really getting along with shell.  it's been gettting hot an humid here lately, it makes you sweat a lot. but its all good, its really not that bad as people make it out to be, i still think that arizona is hotter, but don't tell people here that, they keep insisting that "the dry heat" is nothing compared to "the wet heat" haha.  but oh well, no big deal so were just chillin in greenwood right now, trying to do stuff. anyway times up, ill talk to you next week, sorry again love ya bye!
love hank

i almost forgot! i got your package this week with the warheads and the pictures and stuff! thanks for it! i loved looking at the pictures and the "disney" themed golf holes. although i dont think it was a disney place. it was funny because every place that you marked what it was supposed to be (although i think jeri marked them, i could be wrong just my guess) i guessed it right on, haha. and i ate all the warheads and now my tongue stings when food touches it. love ya bye!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

(A.J.)- Hosting, Apostles, 2 more weeks in MTC

hey how is it going. It sounds like you guys had a really fun week. I wish I could be there, but I'm not. oh well. Well this past week was crazy. So this past week, i think you already knew, but all of the new mission presidents were here in the mtc for a training thing i guess. And the first presidency and 10 of the apostles were here. Well, we weren't allowed to go into the building where they all were at so we couldn't really go hunting around finding them. But it was cool. So every Tuesday night we have a devotional by a general authority. It is usually a member of the seventy and occasionally an apostle. Well on Tuesday night, L. Tom Perry spoke, but 9 other apostles were in attendance. It was cool. The only two apostles that weren't there were Boyd K. Packer and Robert D. Hales. So ya, it was cool to see all of these apostles. Oh so on wed. I hosted and it was awesome. so since it was a weird week with all of the apostles being here and stuff, the hosting process was a little bit different, and basically to sum it all up, 2 Elders could host a sister for like the first 5 min. So guess who my very first person to host was. Brianna. It was cool. I saw her and I was like, "well, this is cool" so ya, I only got to talk to her for a few min. but she seemed really excited and ready to get going. I haven't gotten a picture with her yet, and i don't know if we'll be able to get a picture in front of the map, but I'll try. i also hosted 2 other elders and I got to show them around the place and show them where their building is, and where all this other stuff is. it was fun. One elder was really cool and ready to go and his parents made it seem like it was no big deal that he was leaving. He told me that he is like the 5th one in the family to leave, so his parents are used to it. Then the Second elder I hosted, his mom was a wreck, I was chuckling inside but I also knew that it really is tough for mom's to say bye to their kids. right? haha. but ya, that elder was the first in the family to leave on a mission so it was really tough for his parents. But ya, hosting was fun. I don't think I'll be doing it again this week but maybe my last week here, I think I will do it again. They basically choose by just randomly picking people. I think If you have been here at least 6 weeks, then you are allowed to host. but ya, it was a cool experience and i can't wait to do it again. ....
Well so after wed. On Thursday was just a normal regular day, but I could feel myself getting sick. On Fri. morning, i woke up with the worst sore throat and I was really sick. So i went to the doctor and he gave me medicine and I basically slept in bed from 1 to 5 o'clock. It was nice but also painful. Well the next morning on Sat. I woke up throwing up. It was terrible. So all day on Sat. from 6:30 from when I woke up, to 10:30 when I went back to bed, i was stuck in the residence. It was the most painful thing ever. I had no TV or video games to pass the time away. All I really did was sleep, take showers, and re read some letters. It was the most boring thing ever. Sunday though, I felt a lot better. and right now, I feel great, I still have a bit of a sore throat, but I am getting better. Well, that is basically how my week has been. Sorry if I forgot to say something and I left something out. There are just so many questions and things you guys want to know about, but I always forget to answer all of them.
Jonna, so thank you so much for your letters. I forgot to tell you last week, but I love the office quotes, I never ever ever get to use any office quotes. When I read on your letter, "my name is Kaleb Krawdad, i do declare" I just laughed and i told people about it and they were like, "its not that funny" but it is to me. And then about the dentist. "your dentist name is javity, sounds a lot like Cavity" I just cracked up. It was a nice little moment. so when you write me, keep those office quotes coming, and I'll try to send you office quotes too.
Hank, Wow, you only have 2 months left, and I only have 22 months left. haha. Keep it up, continue to work hard, and hang in there. I'll be writing you a letter this week, so look for it, of course by the time you get this email it will be next week on Monday. But still. I'm glad you have a companion that you can finally get along with. I love to have companions that i get along with. it makes things so much easier. But you're almost done. finish strong.
Jeri, happy 17th birthday. I'm glad you had a good birthday, or at least it sounds like it. I hope you liked my letter. Sorry it was late, but at least you got it. 
Addie, How is your summer going, how do you like having my room. it sounds like you are the only one who is trying to find something to do. Let me know how you are doing. and let me know if you are going to do sports next year. oh and you get to go to westwood next year. wow, that is exciting.
Carla, How was brave, i want to see it so bad. The first thing i asked one of the elders here who i hosted, I asked him "did you see brave" and he said yes and he told me it was great and that his family loved it. So let me know about your opinion of it.
Well that's about all i can think of. I think its time for me to go now. Mom and Dad, I will send you another letter sometime this week. Oh and What is Hank's new address. let me know as soon as possible. Just to let you know, If you write a dear elder before 11:30, I will get it at 5 when I check the mail. So when you get this, write me as soon as possible and let me know what Hank's new mailing address is. ok? thanks. oh, and i just remembered. I can't print out these emails, so if you want, you can print them up yourself and just keep them in a nice safe spot until I get home, then I'll have all the letters. So you can do that if you want. oh and I should be getting my flight plans this week, so I'll let you know exactly when I'm leaving and stuff. And i actually think I'll be leaving on Tuesday the 17th, instead of that Monday. But I don't know for sure yet, I'll let you know though in next weeks email Well, I love you all, stay safe, and continue having a good time. see ya later.
Love, A.J.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pictures: Current Missionary Bulletin Board

This is the most recent bulletin board in our foyer. Thought it looked pretty awesome.  Had to get a picture of it before Gart (the missionary on the top right) came home, which was last week. 

(HANK)- Transferred last week- Greenwood, MS

hey mom how you doing? hey thanks for the letters again. so greenwood is very ghetto, much like a lot of my areas ive been in. im not trying to rag on it, its just the way it is. there are houses and buildings here that are litterly leaning and look totally abandoned that people live in. there are lots of houses that look like shacks built together with wooden doors and tin sheets. its just hard to actually express how run down and poor Mississippi and Louisiana is. greenwood has a small branch. just to show you the size of the building, it took me less than a hundered steps to walk around the entire outside of the building. about 2 greenwood branch buildings could fit in our church gym back home. there were about 25 people there at church and they say thats usually how many each week. a good week is 36. but its better than the Kosciusko branch. they have a total of 6 people going to theirs. 12 on their best week. church starts at 9 in backwards order. preisthood first, sunday school 2nd, and sacrament meeting for the last hour. its pretty cool doing it that way. greenwood also is the largest area in the mission with about 100 mile radius. ill try sending you a area map to show you how big it is. philadelphia is the 2nd largest area in the mission. so ive now served in the 2 largest areas in the mission, haha. but anyway ya, shell is cool. like i said he was from mesa but moved to kansas city, MO when he was about 10 or 11ish. ill ask him about his reletives, though and get back to you on it. im glad your enjoying the camera, im so relived that you liked it, haha. i took a risk on it hoping you would like it. oh and the FAFSA, go ahead and work on that for me. well mom thanks again ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

ps Happy 4th of July!!

(JONNA) being transferred....but don't know where yet!

Hey yall,
It is transfer week, and yes...I am being transferred!! Crazy, right??? This coming transfer will be my 4th transfer and my 3rd area. Wow. We all thought that I'd stay and we weren't sure what would happen with Sis. Salsberry. But, the call came, and our district leader said, "Sister Jackson, you're leaving." I was like, "WHAT??" Haha, but I'm ok. I am feeling better about this transfer move than I did the last one. I am just starting to expect change now. So, I haven't started packing and it is 2:30pm. Sister Salsberry found out last night that she is training. So, tomorrow morning we are going to the transfer meeting and we will find out where I'm off to! My guess is La Porte or Woodville, most likely it is the latter. BUT, things are unpredictable!
So, today, we went to lunch with a member, NW, she is amazing! She takes such good care of us missionaries! We went to Logan's Roadhouse :) I had the Teriyaki Grilled Chicken with a Ceaser salad, and sweet potato fries. Changed it up a little...haha. I know you wanted to know what I had, but I thought yall (the family) would get a kick out of it. I loved it! Haven't been there since Feb 6th ;)
Ok, as for the week...
We went on Exchanges (splits) with the Porter Sisters. I went to Porter on Friday night with Sister Higand Sister Hay came here. It was fun. I loved it! I ate a fig ( a green/yellow one) for the first time. It was weird, but not bad. Sister Hig was Sister Con's trainer! So, it was fun. She trained Sister Con when she was only here for 6 weeks. Crazy, right?
Last night...boy...let me tell you about last night. There was a fireside at the Mission Home. (We are so lucky to have the Mission Home so close to us. We can use the Crawfords for so much. If I go to Woodville, I'll be far away from it) Anyway, this fireside was for investigators, less active, and recent converts. We presented the 1st lesson on the Restoration. I was given the assignment to recite the Joseph Smith History. OH my goodness. I didn't feel too nervous because I have recited it twice now for groups of missionaries and twice for investigators. I know it. But, the hard part is doing more than reciting it. I was trying to make sure I was worthy enough of the Spirit so it could be there to testify as I spoke. I was standing in front of 30 investigators. Well, I started and (for real) I was in the first line and I blanked. I paused, and continued for a bit but stumbled. I tried my best to maintain my composure and not let on that I forgot. I just paused. I continued and just completely forgot. I skipped big parts and had to go back. Yet, the whole time, I was trying to not freak out and, instead, listen to the Spirit...hoping the words would come. (Poor Sister Haynie was trying to mouth the words to me. :) President was sitting in a chair to my left. From the corner of my eye, I saw him put his scriptures down and lean forward, gazing at my face. I tried to hold my ground as best as I could and I literally stumbled over all the words. Until, I finally got to "I saw a pillar of light..." Then, the words came more smoothly. I bore my testimony and went back to my spot at the back of the room. I felt an odd sense of utmost failure and "you did your best." It took all I had to not cry. But, when we sang the closing hymn, I began to sob. Then, EVERYONE came and gave me hugs and pats on the back, "You did good, don't worry." And, they meant well, but it made me cry so much more. So now, I have a red nose and red eyes and tear drops all over my shirt. Hahaha, talk about a sight!
Well, President pulled me aside and said that I did great. He told me that he was so proud. He thought he would jump in and save me-give me a word or two to help. But, he thought "No, I need to let her finish." He took me by the shoulders and said, "Sister Jackson, I was proud of you. And, I want you to be at peace." LOOOONG story short, I feel better and I felt a lot of love from President and Sister Crawford last night. Wish I could finish, but the computer is going to log me off. I ran outta time today :( Sorry I can't respond to more. Love yall!
Sister Jackson