Monday, August 27, 2012

(A.J.)- a few pictures!

I don't know who these people are, I'm guessing members of his ward.  A.J. emailed these today...he looks happy.  

Orlando South Zone - August 2012  (A.J. is smack in the middle, 4th from the right)

(A.J.) Hurricane Isaac coming... Next week a new greeny.

Hey guys how are you doing. loved your emails. sorry this one will be short, I'm almost out of time. but about the hurricane, when we work out in the mornings, we go to a gym, a really nice one actually, its like a mini 24 hour fitness, anyways, there are TVs in there, and so i have actually been watching the weather each day, so ya, when we first saw it was coming we were all excited because they thought it would come right over us, but each day it looks like we are just going to get a tropical storm, and barely anything of the hurricane. so I'm bummed. but right now, it is just lightly raining, tonight though we should be getting some strong winds and some heavy heavy rain and lightning. So I'm excited. it will be great. It rains pretty much every day here though, so rain isn't really anything exciting here. but i still like it. so ya, that is how the hurricane is affecting us. well, its been a good week. I am in a 3some right now. just for one more week. then we get a greeny into our district. so i won't be a newby anymore. haha. Nothing really interesting happened this past week though. Sorry this is short, I had a lot of emails to read. haha. but everything is going fine. I'll try to make next week a more detailed letter. well take care. see ya.
Love, A.J.

(HANK)- Hurricane Isaac coming...3 more weeks!

hey mom how you doing?! hey so hurricane/tropical storm Isaac is coming and its exciting. i told dad about it in detail, i could just copy paste that into this email or you can read his letter, haha. well needless to say I'm looking forward to it. aj is sure to see many more tropical cyclones on his mission. this will be my 2nd one. the first one was TS LEE. this one will be H ISAAC. I'm probably spelling that wrong but oh well. so I'm going to buy a camera card this week and start sending some stuff home too. I'm going to try and send my bike home this week, or maybe next week. just look for it in the mail, haha. it won't be that hard to spot. well i just emailed jonna and aj they both sound like there doing good. aj is having a good time and he's in a temporary 3some. i was in a temporary 3some too, down in waveland/the pass. well right now were working alot down in belzoni (bell-zone-uh) (i thought it was bell-zone-ee but i was wrong, haha) and its going good down there. were working with a lot of less actives down there and things are going good. we go every Saturday. were seeing the boys down there, they're this awesome family that have us over every Saturday with them. I'm definitely going to miss them when i leave. well mom thanks again for everything, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank
hey dad how you doing? well hurricane Isaac is all we are hearing about right not. we saw that it was headed strait for Mississippi but then curved to Louisiana and Mississippi. we are most definitely going to be hit by it, I've been talking to some of my friends who live on the coast and they said that its been changed from hurricane watch to warning and that some looting has already taken place. i really wish i was down there right now. i remember last year when tropical storm lee hit pass christian and that was intense too. trees fell down and you couldn't drive on the road because of too much debris. i can only imagine what a category 2 hurricane would do. the missionaries on the coast will go to the gulfport stake center to wait out the storm. this is what they do for storm season. Tropical storm and Category 1 hurricane, you stay in your apartment to wait it out. category 2 you go to the gulfport stake center to wait it out. category 3 and 4 you go to the hattiesburg stake center to wait it out. category 5 you go to the jackson (clinton) stake center to wait it out. and category 6 would mean the end of the world, haha. but hurricanes spawn alot of tornadoes too, and it will definitely get to greenwood at probably a category 1 or tropical storm and tornadoes is a definite possibility, but ill take pictures if one hits nearby so don't worry, haha. its going to be at greenwood around Wednesday night or Thursday morning give or take. so yah just watch the news to keep yourself updated, haha. dad thanks for the tips you sent me last week about my homecoming talk. out here I'm not nervous at all to give talks, maybe its because I'm doing it for people who I don't know. i find it more nerve racking to do it in front of people. but it helped alot and i think that's what I'm going to do then. oh and also i heard that Neil Armstrong died, that's crazy too, but yah a little off topic. well dad thanks for the money, I'm going to start to send some stuff home and my bike too. well ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

(JONNA)- No more emailing friends, sick companion, Elder Keele's visit, Ann.

Hello All!
First off-this will be the last email I send to everyone. We have been asked to email only immediate family now. Bummer. So, (I'm trying to be obedient...because I need the blessings!) dear friends :) I am sorry, but I won't be able to email yall anymore. Know what this means...??? More handwritten letters! Yay!! Haha.
And, my mom has been keeping a blog that (I think) has my current address in Woodville on it. (*Note from Lisa:  I have her Mission Home address on this blog, over on the right...see it?  :-)  you can send her letters to this address and they will forward them to her, or you can go to her facebook page and her physical address is there under "Info". )
Sorry all. I hope yall aren't offended! My weekly letters will be on that blog too. Keep writing me!
But, my weekly update...yes, a hurricane is fixin to strike somewhere out here in the south. We got an email from our Mission President today about the updates. He doesn't feel like an evacuation is going to be necessary, but we are to be prepared for one just in case, anyway. Hank and AJ will probably see more of it than I will. So many people here talk about the damage of past hurricanes. It is amazing to hear some of these stories.
The most exciting thing this week was Ann! We invited her to be baptized and she said yes! She hasn't told her husband (a member of 6 years and REALLY wants to be sealed to her) and so she said she'd talk to him about a date. Yay! We are so excited. She came to Stake Conference this weekend. The adult session AND the general session. We might be having dinner with her tonight at the Branch President's house. We are so happy for her! Keep her in yalls prayers. She needs all the support she can get. She's been a lifelong member of another church (all her kin and kin's kin are members too) so she is going to have a battle to fight when they all find out. It hasn't been easy for her.
Well, at Stake Conference, we had the visiting authority, Elder Keele with us. It was really good. The Stake President, 6 months ago, challenged the stake to do indexing. Their challenge was to index the whole 1940 Census (about 250,000 names). Well, in 6 months the stake not only completed the Census, but they indexed 712,000 names! Can you believe that?? The whole stake was involved. Including the youth and YSA. I'm telling you, everyone is all about indexing. It is incredible. I admire that so much. I hope to be better about Family History and indexing when I get home.
On Tuesday, we had Zone Conference. It was great. I really enjoyed it. And, I came away with a more determined attitude to be better. It is hard to though, Sis K and I are dealing with some challenges, but I am trying. Also, at Zone Conference, I found out something interesting. Elder H (on of the Assistants) was born with a heart defect. From the sound of the story, he was born with the same problem as Marky and Tirzah, or something close to it. This was 20 years ago, and his parents were told to just take hime home and wait for him to die. Instead, they took a chance with this heart surgery, and he was one of the first children to undergo a heart transplant for this particular problem. He is now at the close of his mission. He only has a couple months left, and he is a fantastic missionary. I thought that was a great story and though I may not have all the details correct, I thought yall would like to know it.
Other than that, things are ok. Sister K has been sick the last few days so we hardly got any work done. She has been in bed almost all weekend. Today, she still isn't much better. I woke up with a little cold this morning (yikes!) and cleaned the apartment, laundry, and things while she slept. I don't feel too bad, but I hope it doesn't get worse. Although, while she was in bed sleeping this weekend, I watched all the Church DVDs we had, finally put the reflectors on my bike (Yes, the ones you sent me forever-ago mom), sewed up some patches on some clothes, read from Jesus the Christ, and cleaned out our holiday closet. Been getting things done! But, I really would rather be busy doing missionary work. It brings more joy than a clean apartment :) Hopefully she feels better today.
Sounds like things at home are going well. I loved the story about Carla's shoes. I was laughing out loud! In Humble, I was talking to Sis. L (the mom) and she had the DVDs to The Middle on her table. I was so happy their family watched them too! Haha. Carla, what a blessing to have mom across the hall. And, Dad, I loved your story about Saturday morning work. That made me laugh. Again, like I always say, you are the hardest working guy I know. How lucky are we for you.
Well, I've gotta get going now. Time is short. Another call for yall to get your profiles up. I keep looking and can't find a lot of you! We are helping members here create their profiles. It has been really cool to dive into as a missionary. There's a lot of cool things there!
I love yall lots and lots. Hope everything continues to go well.
Sister Jackson

Monday, August 20, 2012

(HANK): 4 weeks! (but whose counting?)

Email to Lisa:
hey how you doing? well i just sent dad a letter, this week was good. not alot really happened, but it was still good. its been very stormy this week, its great. do you think it will be stormy when i get back? i really hope so. so i now have less than a month to go and its a good feeling, when your this far its hard not to think about it. but yah. so this week is my last zone conference. its on Thursday and we are driving all the way to Jackson which is like 100 miles from here. so its will be an all day thing. then the zone leaders might do a exchange also this week.but we don't know for sure. so I'm going to start sending some stuff home in the mail, but i need a little more money to do it, if that's alright. next month I'm not getting that much on my mission card. so anything will help me out alot. well this week we were working alot in belzoni which is 40 miles from here, and there's this family we're working with there. they are really nice and they are looking very promising, but it may be a while until anything happens. they have expressed interest to come to our church but the 40 miles away thing has turned them off to the idea a bit though. well that's pretty much this week in a nutshell, thanks for the letter ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank
Email to John:
hey dad how you doing? well this letter is going to be longer than last weeks ha ha. this week was pretty cool, we had church yesterday and it all went well. so this week a huge storm rolled in and it was thunder and lightning all day and night. it was cool, i love the storms like this. oh and also shell this week got an ear infection and so this week he was really out of it. we went to walmart to get some medicine for it and it didn't help so he got this prescription he's taking now. so hopefully it gets better. well today is the 20th which means that i have less than a month until i come home. my heart pounds every time i think about it. its just a cool felling, I'm really going to lose it when my flight plans come in. I'm going to send my bike home, this mission has this thing where you send it through fed-ex for like 30 bucks or something. ill keep you updated on it, and let you know whats happening. well this week is zone conference on Thursday, my last one. and its the only zone conference where I'm going to hear the mission president speak. alot off thoughts are going through my head, and also I'm stressing out about the homecoming talk. you already know that i don't like giving talks and it stresses me out, but I'm glad its on the 30th instead of the 23rd or something. what exactly am i supposed to talk about? oh well i worry about it when it gets closer. well dad thanks for th letter, ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

(JONNA)- teaching, Stake Choir, canning, crocheting, etc.

Hey Everyone!
Well, this week has been good. A bit slow, but good. Sis. K and I got permission to be in the Stake Choir for Stake Conference this upcoming week. Elder Keele of the 70 is coming. We went to the practice last night and this Sunday we will be up there singing! I am so excited. The Stake Center is an hour and a half away though, so we will be drriving a lot this week. We also have a zone conference in Vidor tomorrow and so there is a few more hours of driving again. Which is ok, I don't mind long distance driving, it is just a lot of mile on our truck that we are running out of fast!
Most exciting thing this week...we have been teaching Ann. Her husband joined about 6 years ago and she has been meeting with missionaries all this time. She has been skeptical for a long time, then lots of honest questions, and now she is searching. Many, many missionaries have come and gone and helped her to progress. This last week, we talked about baptism, the Holy Ghost, and authority, and we taught from the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 11 and 12. We asked her if she believe the BoM to be true. She said, sha asked a long time ago, but she already had it in her heart that it was not true. However, this time, she really wants to know and she will do something about it! As we left, she said, "Will yall pray for me? Pray that I will be able to make this transition." We said yes! Then, we asked, "Do you want to make this transition?" And she said, "Yes, I do. I feel good about it. Pray for me this week as I look for answers." Wahoo!! We have been praying and fasting a whole ton for her this week. On Wednesday, we are going to invite her to be baptized and we are going to try and set a date with her. So, that is definitely the best thing that has happened this week so far!
I realized that yall freaked out over the Bible basher story! Yikes. Maybe I won't share those stories anymore :) I can just imagine mom and dad wanting to call and make sure I was ok. Good thing yall don't have my number :) :) haha... But, really, it was ok. I knew when he walked down the hall that it wasn't gonna be good because the Spirit gave me that impression. Sis. Karr felt the same way too. And, we didn't feel in danger. We just felt a spiritually hostile testimony from this man. He-was-right-and-there-was-nothing-we-could-say-to-prove-him-wrong kind of situation. He just wanted us to argue with him. And, we left :)
So, mom and dad, no worries :) It's a good. If yall think that was scary, don't ask about all the wild wolves, bears, and snakes they just let loose in the county. Not to mention the panthers we didn't know were around :) Basically, we live in a mix of Adventureland, Frontierland, with a touch of New Orleans Square. (The closer to the border, the more cajun you get.)
Other than that, we have been doing homemaker things too. We have been learning how to crochet (sp?) and can! One of our older members taught us how to crochet. So, at night, before bed, we will practice for a few minutes. Yall should see the little creation I made! The first attempt was no bueno, but my second...let's just say, I'm so proud!! Also, an elderly couple in the branch needed help canning pear preserves and plum jelly. So, for our service time this week, we went and did that. SO FUN! The pears were super good! And, the jelly is too, but I may heat it up and use it as syrup instead. Mmm...So many here are into food storage. (They have to...hurricanes are a reality and we are in that season!) We don't have to buy jam because we have so many jars of homemade jams and jellies: peach, plum, and mayhaw right now. Yum! 
Well, we got new Elders in Japser. They are the nearest missionaries to us (30 minutes away) and our District leaders. Elder Ax is training Elder All. Elder All just graduated high school in May and is now out here. He is sweet, but boy, do I feel like a granny sometimes! haha! So, we will see how this transfer goes with these Elders. They are great though.  
I guess my emails come delayed. Hope this one makes it to yall. I'm fixin to send this about 11:30am here. So, let me know what time it finally arrives. I love yall so much. Glad to know everyone is safe and feeling better. I don't have photos to send home yet, but look for a package in the coming weeks. Love yall!
Sister Jackson
PS...we hear rumors of a Toy Story 4. WHICH I heard before I left, but we are hearing it more and more. Is it true or not? Someone get on that info and let me know! :)

(A.J.): Temple service, Mesa connections, etc., Krispy Kreme donuts, etc.

hey guys how are you doing. Well, nothing really new has happened this past week. So on Wed. we had a zone conference. It was pretty cool, but really really long. But something that was cool was that all of the missionaries who were leaving got to bear their testimony. And you know how I mentioned that one Elder who is from mesa and played basketball at Red Mountain, well his name is Elder Spillsberry (?) and he will be coming home within the next 3 weeks. And then on Thurs. we had a temple service and that is where you basically just do yard work around the temple for 3 hours. Well he was there too just by chance and we got to talk more with eachother, and he is in the same stake as the Parks. He doesn't know them because he left the summer that they moved down there, but he is in the same stake as them. So ya, let the parks know if you haven't already. He is cool. Well, so to answer your question mom, yes, I have seen the Temple, a lot. I've driven by it a few times and I've gotten to do Temple Service there 2 times. Its pretty big, It is a bit bigger than the Provo Tmple. It is cool. I havn't been able to go inside yet, but my chance will come. We aren't allowed to go inside except on our last day of the mission, just because if we all could go, it would cost a lot in gas and stuff for all the other missionaries. We live about 15 min. away from it, but we have to follow the rules just like everyone else. Oh, but something I can do, is if we have a recent convert and in a year he goes through the temple for the first time, I am allowed to go in with them. So the first week I got here, There was a guy named Tyrone, and he was married and then baptized, and his wife is a member. And this sunday he will recieve the priesthood. He is a solid solid guy, and he just continues to grow. But in a year, when he can go through the temple, I will be able to go in with him. So I am looking forward to that. But ya, so I get to see the temple a lot.

Oh, so a cool story. so this morning, me and my companion decided to go buy krispe kreame doughnuts for breakfast, so we go in and we ask if we could get a dozen of origional glazed. Well, then the person taking our order said, "ok, well the lady at the window would like to pay for you" and we look and we have no idea who it is, but she says, "my son just got off his mission" And so we said, " oh thats great, thanks a lot" and she said " no problem" We were so happy. i mean, it was only 8 bucks that she saved us, but it sure made us happy. I have never been of the recieveing end of that before, so when that happened, I just felt so happy and grateful. It was a cool experience. Me and my companion sure enjoyed those doughnuts. Anyways, that was just a cool little story, so if you guys ever get that oportunity to do something small like that fore some missionaries, do it, because it sure made my day and started out the day great. Just a cool little experience.

Well, things are going on great and are pretty much the same. Well, next week, if I remember, I will send pictures home, I forgot to bring it today, but I will for sure do it next week if I remember. Well, I can't think of anything to say, its pretty much the same old thing. The language is still coming, OH I remembered. So on Tuesday, I went on exchanges with an english speaking elder and we had a lesson that day with a Haitian. So I was really really nervous. I went up to the door and imediately my heart just started pounding and I got terrified. I mean, I can speak the language really well, I can pretty much say whatever I want to say, as long as it is gospel related, but understanding them is a completely different story. well, so we went in and taught the lesson, well I taught the lesson because the other elder cant speak a lick of Creole. So this was the first time when I was talking to a haitian and when i didn't have a more experienced Creole speaking elder to back me up. It was amazing. I taught great, I understood almost everything she said, and it was just one of those moments when I was just so relieved that everything was going along great. It was cool. And another cool thing, I asked her if she would commit to baptizm, and she said she would. So I was pretty happy. It was a cool experience. So after that lesson, I just felt like I was on top of the world. But I'm still learning a lot. I still have a hard time understanding people, but it is getting slowly slowly easier. Luckly we have a lot of solid Haitian member families that we visit a lot and they help us with our Creole a lot.

Oh and i think you asked me this mom, about how many haitians there are and how often we speak the language. Well, when I am with my companion, don't really speak the language. sometimes we do and we can have normal conversations going on, but most of the time, I would say about 80 percent of the time, we speak english with eachother. But there are a ton of Haitians here, it is like in mesa how everywhere you go there are Hispanics, well, here it is like that but with Haitians, There are a ton of them, and most of them, mainly the older ones, don't speak any english. So we use our Creole quite a bit. Its great. And on a little side note, that is cool how Bro. Jardine's bishop is now my Mission President. Bro. Jardine was my favorite seminary teacher and Its cool that we have a small little conection now. haha. Well, thats about it, I can't think of anything else. Things are going good here, I hope things are going good back home too. Well, I'll see you guys later. stay safe.
Love, A.J.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jonna- pictures from Woodville!

Welcome to Woodville!
Sis. K and Jonna soaking on P-day.

True Warrior!

American Idol Tour!

Jonna's district coming home from P-Day- all wet!  (Elders New & Ol)

MTC District at P-Day during storm.  All soaking wet!
(Elders New, Ham, Yuk, Hep, Halt and Jonna)

(JONNA)- Mini Olympics Pday- unforgettable confrontation

Hello Everyone!
Boy, I have a lot to write today!
First, transfers are this week...Sister K and I are staying together in Woodville! Yay! We have resolved to work harder than we did in the last 6 weeks (not that we were lazy, but we can always do better :).
Second, Zone P-day last week was AMAZING! We reached our halfway goals for the 1st ward and had a combined zone pday in Vidor. We had our own mini-Olympics. We started by chasing greased piglets around a field (Sis. Karr caught one), we played softball, waterballoon dodge ball, soccer, waterballon volleyball, a few different relays, and a slip-n-slide watermelon chase. (The slipnslide was oiled down with canola oil and I was wearing our 2009 Beecroft reunion shirt, so now, I have grease spots on it :( :( BUT it was so fun! There were probably 40 missionaries and only 4 awesome. My whole MTC district was there too! We were supposed to wrap up by 4:30 so we could all get to our appointments on time by 6. But, just as we were finishing, a HUGE storm came in. We got drenched. We quick changed into our church clothes so we could leave, but when Sister K and I came out of the church, everyone was still in Pday clothes and under the pavilion in the middle of the field. It was down puring! They all called to us to join them, and we ran (and got soaking wet) to them. President Crawford told us all that we couldn't leave until the storm calmed down. It was so stormy that we couldn't see across the street. Wahoo! I love the rain! (I took a small video of it) We just hung out under the pavilion for about 45 more minutes...thunder, lightening, rain, and missionaries all wet and happy. Sister Crawford had us start singing songs. So, eventually, there we were, 40-50 missionaries in a huge circle under a small pavilion with a storm all around and we were singing "Called to Serve," "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel," "The Spirit of God" and other missionary-like songs. It was the coolest experience. I don't have a video of the singing, but Sister K does. I'll try to get a copy somehow. Well, the rain eventually let up and we were an hour and a half late to our dinner appointment. (Which the members were ok with since their schedules had been crazy that day). It was AWESOME!
Well, my third story...yikes. Still recovering. Sister K and I had an interesting experience on Thursday. We were doing the Hour of Power. We knocked on the first door "Sorry, not interested, but you can come over anytime you need a bottle of water or a granola bar." Ok..second door...pretty much was "what you teach is not in my Bible, so why are you bothering me?" Third door...friendly conversation and then she said, "Well, do yall have something to teach? You can come on in!" We had an appointment in 15 minutes so we thought we would be fast...not the story. We introduced the basic beliefs of the Church and she started asking questions "What do you mean by authority? What do you mean by ordinance? What do you mean the truth was lost? What is the Book of Mormon? etc, etc" LOTS of questions one right after another. We keep saying, "We'd love to answer all your questions, but we have an appointment in a few minutes. Will you read this pamphlet write down your questions? We will come back at (date and time) and explain our message more thoroughly." She was inquisitive, but it was odd. Well, we were almost out of there when...her husband walked down the hallway. The moment I saw him I thought, "oh no, this isn't going to be good..." And, surely, it wasn't. Before we knew it we were getting torn apart left and right about the Doctrine of the Gospel. The questions were worded in such a way that no matter what we said, he had us. You know? We kept saying over and over again, "we have to go, we have to go..." We don't have to answer these questions because they don't pertain to anything we teach-they are just words that Satan has put into the hearts of men to stop the work. We were both trying to stay calm and not get caught up in the dramatics of Bible Bashing. Ugh. We were bearing our testimony on Jesus Christ, how He is our Savior and how the Church is founded on His Gospel. I finally bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon and how I came to know of its truthfulness. I told him about my witness from God that it is indeed true. He was quiet for a minute and then said, "Well, the devil can take many forms." That was it. For real, it was time to go. I cannot tell you how many times we tried to get out of there. He asked us, "Do you need the Book of Mormon to get into heaven?" What?? What kind of question is that?? We were dumbfounded at such a ridiculous question. I said, "Sir, we have to leave now." We had taken this for over 30 minutes. I was spiritually exhausted and ready to leave. I almost stood up and walked out the door. We bore testimony as powerfully as we could muster with the Spirit we felt and he was still hardened to it. Then, he did something that just cut me so deep. He took the Book of Mormon in his hand and shaking it lightly looked in my eyes and said, "You know, that's sad. I would hate to stand before my Savior, Jesus Christ and tell Him 'I knew you, but Lord, I had this thing, this book, and I put this before you. I should have come to you, but I used this book instead.' You know that will be sad." I could not believe what I was hearing. After our testimonies that we believe and follow Christ, that the Book of Mormon testifies of Him, and that we have felt a witness from God that it is true, he was still hardened. At that point, Sis. K said, "Can we have a prayer?" We did, they told us to come back for a "real Bible Study" and we left. ...As I reflected on the experience, I was comforted to know that I did all I could do. Sister K and I tried our best to stay calm, to be like Who we represent, and bear testimony. We were surprised that people could be so mean and how people can reject the things we are teaching. However, over and over in the scriptures are people, prophets, even the Savior, who was rejected. I am so grateful to have been raised in the truth. Although I was criticized by this man for following what I was raised in ("You haven't searched it out. See what else is in the world."), I would not trade it for anything. Raised in the church or not, each of us must still gain a testimony that this is true. I know it is. I cannot deny what I know is true.  How grateful I am to be on a mission :)
I love yall so much! Have fun at school! I was definitely missing my kindergartners and Kathy on Wednesday morning. Say hi to them for me! (And wholly cow! 30 kids?? Kathy...I'm praying for ya!)
Love yall,
Sister Jackson

(HANK) Flooded church building, thunderstorm, etc. 5 weeks left!

Hey Mom, How you doing? well this week was alright. just same ole stuff going on haha. ill send home my SD card in like a 2-3 weeks from now. and could you send one too to replace it? so i can get the last bit of my mission on camera too? well this letter is going to be incredibly short, I'm sorry the we've been doing other stuff today like getting free pizza and drinks during a thunderstorm, that we got to the library a little late. it closes in about 10 minutes. sorry about it. this week was just the usual again. oh we didn't have church on Sunday because the toilet backed up and the church got flooded so Saturday night at like 11 we got a call from the one of the members and told us church was canceled. the next day we went to check it out anyway, and it was flooded. the carpet was all wet and stuff and there were fans trying to dry it out, and it smelled. so that's the big story for the week. next week were having it though. well mom ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

Hey Dad how you doing? well i just finished my letter to mom and now I'm writing you. the library closes in like 7 minutes, so its going to be short today. we got to the library late today because we were doing other stuff. we got some free pizza and its pretty good. we didn't have church yesterday because it flooded, and its incredibly stormy right now. well dad I'm about to get kicked off, I'm glad everything went well and that nothing serious was found. ill talk to you next week, love ya bye!
love hank

(A.J.) Splits, Haitian food, and in Florida for a month already!

Hey you guys, I'm doing great. It sure sounds like it was a crazy week. I don't ever remember life being that crazy but every email I get it just sounds like you guys are busy busy busy. Maybe its because all i had to do was work till 12 and then watch tv all day. haha. What the life. I miss it. Me and my companion were actually talking about it last night and how we both miss just laying on the couch and watching tv. man i miss it, but it will be there in 2 years right. anyways, this past week has been really good. I went on an exchange for a day with another Haitian missionary, his name is Elder Rich, (Elder Gas's companion) but it was great to be with a real veteran. He goes home in October and so he is excited to go home. You know R. Merkley who went to the same mission where I am right now, well Elder Rich was actually Elder Merkley's companion for a few months, so that was cool. Oh, and Elder Merkley is really big here, like all the Haitian members we teach and go visit all know him and he is really famous here in Orlando. Its kinda funny, I always tell people that I know him. And they stay in contact with him, And guess what i found out, if you didn't find out already, he is actually getting married to one of my friends. Jeri you might know her, her name is Anna M P. She is super cool and she would always play Ultimate with us. Anyways, so ya, I heard that this past week and was just like, What!!!!??. but ya, overall, everybody here knows Elder Merkley. So ya I was with Rich for a day and it was cool to go out with him for a day. He was actually with Elder merkley when he got mugged at gunpoint. haha. sorry i don't want to scare you mom. haha. but ya, I just thought that was cool. Well, so about the people I'm teaching. We have like i want to say 7 or 8 Haitian investigators right now, but only 1 of them has a baptismal date. But ya, most of the Haitians here are really nice, and they believe everything we teach them, like they even say to us, they believe what we are saying is true, but they just don't want to be baptized and change their life. It stinks. But there are some who actually do want to change. but ya, its great here. We are actually assigned to do half Haitian and half English right now, but all of our investigators are Haitian. So I don't know why we are assigned to do half. but ya its great. Oh, so let me tell you about the food. i love Haitian food, so far. Its nothing out of the ordinary, some things are out of the ordinary and gross, but i haven't had that stuff yet, but it is overall really really good. I should take pictures. When I eat something really gross though, I'll let you know. Well, everything is going great, Haitians are awesome. Well, the work is going good. I've already been out here 1 month. It went by fast, but still, its tough to think that I still have 21 more months to go. But it will come. Well, take care, love you all, be safe and I'll talk to you later. See ya.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

First day of school 2012.

Today is the first day of school...and we've had a tradition of taking pictures.  I had to share this today, as we can't take pictures of the first day of school without thinking of our three missionaries who are not here.  Can't help but wondering what they are doing today. 
The top picture was taken in 2005- when Jonna was beginning her senior year, Hank a freshman, A.J.- 7th grade, Jeri -5th grade, Addie- 2nd grade, and Carla still hanging out at home with me. 
The bottom picture was taken today.  Jeri is now the senior, Addie the freshman, and Carla the 5th grader!  Wow, how time has flown.  Literally.

Our children!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

(HANK) Last Transfer! Six weeks to go...

hey mom how you doing? well i got transfer info this week, and i am staying in greenwood with Shell for my last 6 weeks! my last transfer is finally here, i can't believe that i actually made it this far. this was a very unusual week, and kind of funny too. so on Wednesday we had exchange with Philadelphia and Ash came here to greenwood. well we had the most unorthodox emergency baptism occur that day. its going to be much better to explain this in person so ill tell you all about it in about 6 weeks (holy crap!). oh and yesterday we our ac went out and it got up to 90 degrees in our apartment. i have 2 little fans blowing on me when i sleep, we went to the branch presidents house and he lent us 2 oscillating fans and right when we plugged them in at our apartment, 1 of them literaly just broke and the propeller blades snapped off! it was crazy, I've never seen that before, haha. so today I'm going up to Grenada with the senior couple to help out there and then there going to feed us after. well that's really about all that's happened this week. well ill talk to you later, love ya bye!
love hank

Monday, August 6, 2012

(JONNA) Woodville: Celestial Kingdom of T.H.E. Mission!

Hey Everyone!
Man, I got some SUPER long emails this week-which I like-but today, our time is being cut short. SO, another short email today. Sorry! We are going to Vidor today for a combined Zone Pday. President and Sister Crawford are going to be there too. We have some big goals to accomplish and this is our celebration for our half way point. We don't get to watch the Olympics (sad!) but we are having our own Olympic games today. The text said "Bring an extra set of is going to be wet and wild!" Haha. We are SO excited! We hear water balloons are involved. Yay!
Man, I cannot believe Addie is in Houston!!!!! AAAAHH!!!! She is only 2 hours away from me! If I were in Humble, I'd be a lot closer. But, being out in Woodville, we are a litte bit farther away. How does she like all the green and the trees?? I still cannot get over it sometimes. Haha. Man, wish I could hang out with her!
This last week we found three new investigators!! Wahoo!! I cannot even begin to describe how resfreshing it is to have someone new to teach! Pray for us, we are teaching them each about the Restoration this week. Yay!
We had exchanges this weekend too. Usually the Woodville Sisters do exchanges with the Lake Charles, LA sisters. (Which I was excited for because I haven't made it to LA yet) But, the Zone Leaders wanted us to switch it up a bit and we did exchanges with the Porter sisters. Which was exciting for Sis. K-she hasn't been out of Woodville for 5 months. The Porter sisters are in a trio now and so Sister Hig and Hermana Hau came up here. They loved it, and it was fun to show them the town. Woodville has been referred to as the "celestial kingdom of T.H.E Mission." It is the coveted place among the Sisters. (Which, I didn't realize, but I see now what they meant.) Although the work is a bit slower, it is fun. There are hills and lots of country roads. In Houston, it is a lot more flat and urban. It is mighty refreshing to be in Woodville. Last week we went to Baytown for Pday. SO FUN! Gosh how I miss Baytown. I definitely took Target and Freebirds Burrittos for granted there.
I got your letter mom, with Carla's, Papago's, and the photos. Thanks!! I loved the letters from those girls at camp. It made me really miss camp :( but I realy appreciated it! Loved the photo of Monica and Desbah! So stinkin' cute! I missed them lots this week too... I haven't seen Carla's video yet. I need to see this! It is killing me. Mom, we've gotta figure out a way to get this video to me. I don't think it will play back on my camera. yall gotta figure out how to make it work. Hmm...
Ok, well, time is out. I need to do a couple more things on the computer before I'm kicked off. Love you all. Hope this week treats yall good.
Next week's letter will be much better. Promise!
Love yall!
Sister Jackson

(A.J.) Lots of rain, learning the language

Hey guys, sounds like a good and busy busy week. Well, let me tell you how my week has been. So it has been pretty busy and fun. It really has been the same old thing really, we go to people's houses and teach them lessons and that is about how my day is every day. It is tough though for me because I am really struggling with the language right now, I mean, I can speak the language pretty good, but when the Haitians are talking with me, I can't understand a word they are saying. So my companion does most of the work, but I'm getting better. But ya, so every day, we usually just go to less actives and we have like 2 or 3 investigators we are working on right now. So I'm pretty busy. The weather here awesome, it rains a lot. I would say like every 2 or 3 days, it rains. It is cool. The other day was a big storm and it was awesome. One of the rules that i love is that if It is raining like that, we can't go outside, so we just sit in the apartment till it is over. I like that rule. haha. Well, nothing new has really happened, its really just been the same old thing. Oh one thing was cool. So on Tuesday we had a Zone Training Meeting and I got to meet the entire zone. well one of the missionaries there, his name is Elder Spil, But he went to Red Mountain and played basketball for them. He graduated a year before Justin played there, but ya, so we talked a bit. I don't know if he knows the parks but ask them to see if they know an Elder Spil. So ya, that was a cool little highlight this past week. Well, that is pretty much it.

Dad, sounds like that yard work thing was tough. And I am glad that the bougenvia (?) is dead because I thought it looked ugly, so I'm glad that you're going to do the same thing we did with the other one, because it looks a lot better that way. And that tree that you trimmed down, I can't wait to see how good it looks, I always thought that it was too close to our neighbors house, so I'm glad that you trimmed it back.

Mom, I'm glad that you let Addie hold her own ticket. haha. sounds like you had a busy week too going up to snowflake and then the funeral and just getting ready for school. sounds busy. oh, so if you could send me some more stamps, that would be good, I don't need them right away, but anytime you get the chance just send me some stamps. thanks. oh and also, I don't know if you did it already, but make sure you send my driving record to the mission office.

Jeri, Sounds like you are just living the life, having friends come over and hang out with you, you have a nice job. you just have a easy kooshy nurf life. haha. office quote. but ya, sounds like life is just going great for you. Enjoy your senior year because it only comes once, make the most out of it.

Addie, how was Texas, and how was the plane ride. I remember my first time going on a plane was to Texas also. The only thing I remember about it was that the plane ride was super super fun. Oh and thanks for that letter you sent me, it was great, keep them coming. haha.

Carla, what grade are you going into now, I forgot, sorry. But ya, let me know what grade you are going into, I think it is 6th, right? And how is Buster doing, keep taking care of him for me, ok.
Well, I miss you guys, stay safe and have fun. talk to you later, bye.
Love, A.J.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

(JONNA) July 30, 2012- "End of July--Already??"

Hey Everyone!
Not too much to report on this week. It was an average week, and a bit slow, but good. We had President Interviews on Tuesday and boy, do I LOVE the Crawfords. I am so grateful for President and Sister Crawford. I am learning so much from them. Today, we get to go to Baytown!!! We are about 2 hours away from Baytown, but Sis. K has an appointment there. So, we get to go on a little road trip for Pday. Wahoo! Right now, Sister Hick and Sister Mok are serving there. We might get to hand out with them abit, maybe...
Well, I got a few letters this week! Yay! Mom, I got yours with the photos. So cool! Loved them! I sent Hank & AJ the photos of me with the alligator sign and dead deer a couple weeks ago. So, they may already have them. I wasn't planning on sending my cards home because I don't want them to get lost or take a long time getting back to me. So, thats why I made CDs to send home. But, this card I have now is 8GB and will take a LOT of CDs so...I may send that one home in a package. Not sure yet..but I will send captions for the other photos if thats what yall want. But, I got letters from mom, Addie, and Grandpa Jackson this week, and the Ruckers. So nice of them. I'll try to write back as soon as I can. I can't wait for Papago's letters!
I was very sad I missed Girl's Camp this last week. It crossed my mind the a few times. Was it still at LoMia? Oh how I love that place. This is the first time in 12 years that I missed Camp. Makes me want to cry! How did Jeri do on her Deep Thought? I heard she was asked to do that.
I had deer meat for the first time the other day! haha. It was ok. Not my favorite, but I'd eat it again. There are SO many animals in Woodville. Or, Tyler County I guess. Everyone has animals. I think of Carla all the time. She'd be jealous of all the animals I get to see. Dogs, cats, birds (cardinals!), lizards, frogs, pigs, horses, mules & donkeys, ponies, goats, sheep, mini horses and ponies, beetles, huge butterflies, snakes, chickens, roosters, deer, bulls, longhorns, cows, squirrels, racoons, and the list goes on and on! The other day, a little 7 year old girl, Emma, go on her families golf cart thing (but for off roading) and drove it around the farm. She has Carla's attitude and love for animals. Haha. I like the country, but I wouldn't live here. I like my conveniences (Panda and Target!) Sheesh, Carla getting to hang with Mom and Dad all pampered and spoiled! Lame. Haha
So, I am fully aware the Olympics are going on...I cannot WAIT for them to be over. It is killing me that I am missing them. Cheer for the USA and China! Even in this little bitty town, the Olympics are everwhere. Sigh... And, Dad, can I just tell you how much I miss my car?? Everytime I see a Focus. Take care of it. That will be a happy reunion in 13 months :) The car and Buster! Miss him too. Preston and Augie are in 29th Ward now? Thats awesome. Yup, I know those guys.
Ok, lame, this is a super short letter this week! And, no photos. I took some the other day to send today, but when I looked back through them...yikes. Someone has gained some weight!! Sister Chub Cheeks needs to shape up a little before I send anymore photos. Eek. Sorry!
Well, Sister K and I are fixin to leave to Baytown and we have 4 hours of driving to do today. So, we've gotta get going. I love yall so much and hope things are still going well. Tell Jayze congrats and hello to the whole Flake family for me!
Love yall,
Sister Jackson
PS Hank and AJ-I tried emailing yall my letter last week, but it came back as a delivery failure from both of yall. Hopefully this week worked! love ya!

(Hank) July 30, 2012 - Approaching last transfer!

hey mom how you doing? well this week was good....
well were doing exchanges this week from Wednesday to Thursday. and transfer info is on Saturday. i really hope that we are both staying, i think i am, but i hope that Shelly stays too. were getting along, and i want to end my mission like this. but we'll see. worst case scenario I'm going to be with a person i don't like for 6 weeks. I'm approaching my last transfer in the mission. its very exciting. so on Wednesdays we go to ddm, i don't think i told you, but greenwood has 2 sets of missionaries. there's me and shelly, and then theres a senior couple serving here too. the oakes. they're from Illinois. so that's whats going on here this week. we keep hearing about the Olympics too, its exciting the Olympics are cool. we heard about this blind Korean archer that set a world record. sounds cool. well were still just going along, we don't really have anyone were teaching regularly right now. greenwood is kind of a rough place. well mom thanks for the letter you sent to me this week. i really liked it and it helped out. I'm glad that you don't find my letters boring, haha. well om ill talk to you next week, thanks again for everything, love ya bye!
love hank

(A.J.) July 30, 2012- Adjusting to Florida

So sounds like you guys had a good and busy week. Sounds like girls camp was fun, oh and I'm glad you guys enjoyed my joke last week. haha. I thought it was funny.
 The Apartment i live in is really nice and its like a sanctuary surrounded by getto-ness, but ya, just look it up on google maps and you will get an idea. The area covers about a 10 mile radius, something like that, so its really small, but that is because there are a ton of people. and the ward I'm serving in is bumby ward. So ya. its cool.
Oh and mom, that guy who knows the DeWitt's out here, I talked to him and he is the Elders Quorum President here in the ward and ya, as soon as i talked to him, he sent a text to the DeWitts. he's really cool.
Well, nothing really interesting happened this past week. My Creole is getting a little better, i can understand people better but not super good yet, and its difficult at times, but I'm getting better. I'm trying to stay positive about everything, its tough, but I'm trying. Well, that's really about it and all i have time for. After I send this i am probably going to remember something that i wanted to share, i need to start writing these things down so that i won't forget. Well, anyways, stay safe, and have fun. See ya later.
Love, A.J.