Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear family,

Yet another awesome week!
Teresa and Kevin got married!!! Woooooo!!!! It was just a small, simple wedding in the church building, but still so beautiful. Right after the "kiss the bride," Kevin's daughter gave Teresa a hug and said, "Now you can be my mom forever!" Oh my gosh. And how right she is. Families can be together forever through this Gospel, and how sweet it was to see this family taking the first steps to eternity. We don't know at this point if Teresa and Sadie will be baptized in two weeks' time or if they'll wait a few months so Kevin can baptize them, but either way, this family is doing all they can to be together forever. It's just.... aah!!
Liz is doing so well!! She's starting to cut back her cigarette count and came to sacrament meeting yesterday!!! It was the first time she had gone in a little over a year, I think. She also came with her less-active husband and her one year-old son! So great to see them there!! The speakers were a newlywed couple, and they had both served missions, so the talks were pretty great as it was, but the husband talked about overcoming trials--addiction being one of them--through the Atonement of Christ. It could not have been more perfect with Liz there! She's keeping all her commitments and this past week when we asked if she would read one chapter of the Book of Mormon a day (as opposed to reading everything we leave in one day), she looked kind of bummed. She said, "But sometimes it's just so fun and I want to keep reading..." Man. Oh man. So we gave her some more to read. It is so cool to see how much she loves the Book of Mormon! Seeing how much spark she's gotten and how much she's grown in just these three weeks I've been here is absolutely incredible. Keep praying for her! I know it's helping!
Teva's going through some hard trials right now.  We talked to him a bit about faith and enduring through trials , and it seemed to help him feel a little better, though!

 I've come to learn that there comes a point in everyone's life where we're backed up to the wall of faith, and we have to choose to believe and act on that belief, or we choose to keep going with what we see right in front of us, leading us nowhere. We all go through it. So are you going to choose to continue in faith, or are you going to turn your back on the One who really knows what's going on?

We came across some new investigators this week! I know it's a result of our hard work and obedience. There's this super fun couple, Doug and Sharon. They've taken discussions from the missionaries before, and Doug has read the Book of Mormon through a bunch of times, but they're in their church and they like it. From what they've said, the last missionaries that visited them would just come over and hang out and drink chocolate milk (they gave us some too.... it was dang good chocolate milk!). They said the first elders that came would always pray with them and have a spiritual thought, but these last ones didn't. That just makes me mad. You DON'T just hang out as a missionary, especially at an investigator's home. We are here to WORK. ...Anyways, we shared a good message, had a return appointment, but they cancelled because Sharon just had foot surgery, and her foot was really bothering her. They felt really bad about cancelling, and said they do want us to stop by again. So sometime this week, Sister Kuhns and I are going to drop by and do any cleaning they need (she's been off her feet for a month now and Doug needs a little help... haha) and any other chores.
We've been really trying to focus on serving while we've been here. Visiting elderly women, volunteering at a community service opportunity, doing little chores here and there. There's lots of trust that needs to be built in the missionaries here, and we feel this will be a good way to do it. And a word of Sister Jacobsonly wisdom: let people serve you! Please! Even Sisters. It's hard to serve others when no one lets you do it! "Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, a blessing of duty and love." (Rant over.)

I've also had an idea of something to get the members here more involved in member missionary work. We both have realized that we want/need to teach more in members' homes, especially those who aren't super involved with Church things--with or without an investigator. As we teach in members' homes, 1. they are edified themselves, 2. we get more practice, and 3. they will begin to catch the contagious missionary bug. As people see what we do and how we do it, they'll see that it's 1. not hard, and 2. pretty dang awesome. And then they want more. And more! Until the whole stake is ablaze in missionary fervor. Hopefully. So I thought that maybe we could make a signup sheet akin to the meal signup sheet for people to have us over for a "practice lesson." We'll just teach them any ol' lesson we'd teach an investigator. I don't know if it's going to be implemented or if it'll work, but I dunno. Maybe it'll start something!

I am SOOO excited to hear about all the mission calls!!! Congratulations to those who have received them or are in the papers process! I just.... you're just so great!!

I love this Gospel. I love the change it brings for the better. Always for the better. I'm not the same person I was a month and a half ago. And I'm ok with that. I love you all! I love my mission! The Gospel is true! I'm going to commit anyone who reads this to read Alma 7 and report back. Will you do that? Great!   

Sister Jacobson                                        1st  Zone Conference

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hello, family!!

Things are moving here. Sister Kuhns (with an "s" at the end) and I cover a stake with five wards. Right now, activity is around 30% stakewide, from what I've heard. However, in this past week and a half, miracles have happened left and right and all around us! I know it's because we've been trying our best to be exactly obedient to mission rules, but, to be honest, I didn't think I'd see the resulting blessings so immediately and so obviously! We're going to try to work a lot more with the members, active and less-active, in our area than has been previously done. Our stake is mobilizing. Changes for good are happening. I have a feeling this stake is going to be completely different at the end of our next transfer together, and that's all thanks to the Lord. His Spirit has wrought upon so many of His children in this area, member and nonmember alike, and I'm so grateful for the work happening here!

Jasmine, 10 years old, got baptized this past saturday! She's so amazing! She was so excited to get baptized, but pretty scared, too. Before the service started, we showed her to the baptismal font and she expressed how scared she was. I just pulled her in for a hug and held her there for a bit. Sister Kuhns told her we and her mom would be right there in the wings so she could see us, and that she was making one of the greatest decisions of her life. The service was beautiful. It was so sweet to see the results of missionary efforts before us and with us. Their family is just so great.
A little more on her family: her mom, Teresa, is not a member, and is divorced. She and Kevin, her fiance and a less-active member, have been living together for years. She has four children (ages 13 to 6), Jasmine being one of them, and Kevin has a little girl, Kylee. They've been taking missionary discussions since December 2011, and they've been going to church every week as a family for a while now. They haven't been baptized yet, however, because Teresa and Kevin need to be married. The missionaries before me have told them the importance of that time and time again and have tried to get them to get married, but it hasn't happened yet. But they love the missionaries and are suuuch a fun family!

At the baptism, Teresa told us that she really feels like she wants to get married! Out of the blue! She said she's been feeling lots of external pressure to not get married, but realized that's the adversary trying to lead her astray. She told us she and Kevin talked to the bishop about it and said they might even try to do it this week! Aah!
BUT it gets better. Before church on sunday, Teresa and Kevin told us they wanted to feed us on friday. She mentioned she's getting her marriage license this wednesday, so they said they were hoping to do it soon. After church we saw them in the hall and started talking again. Just in passing, Teresa said, "Yeah, I think we're going to the ceremony while you're over for dinner." Wait.... WHAT?!? Sister Kuhns and I kind of stopped... stared... then kind of screamed a bit. (Just a bit.) We're going to watch them get married on friday!! And Teresa and Sadie, the oldest child, want to get baptized as soon as they can (2 weeks) after that!!! Aaaahhh!!! They're so close to an eternal marriage and an eternal family... Absolutely amazing. This is what missionary work is all about.
One of our investigators, Liz, is married to an inactive returned missionary and has a little 2 year-old boy named Jack who likes to yell at their cat to scare it. Pretty dang funny. Anyways, Liz has been taking missionary discussions for years and believes everything, but has a smoking problem she just hasn't been able to kick. She just doesn't have faith in herself to kick the habit. Up until this past week and a half, she didn't really read scriptures the missionaries asked her to or pray or do any of the things she knows she needs to do. But lately, she's been keeping every commitment and has been improving on her smoking habit. She's even trying to get her work schedule changed around so she can come to church! Apparently, it's been awhile since there's been a fire in her to actually do the things she needs to do, but she's progressing so well now! It's amazing to see! During this past lesson, we were inspired to suggest something that would help her quit smoking, and she seemed pretty enthusiastic about it! Her baptismal date is for April 22.... I know she can make it! If you can pray for her, that would be great, too!
Teva, the one from Sri Lanka, did not get baptized like we thought this past saturday. He's had a lot of things come up and wanted to be able to really focus on the baptism.  However, we're trying again  soon!    He has so much faith. I'm so excited for him! I've been filled with so much love for the people we talk to.

"Now behold, a marvelous work is about to go forth among the children of men. Therefore, o ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve Him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God in the last day."
  I know His work is going forth, here and throughout the world. I am honored and humbled to be a part of it. I have seen God's hand in my life, especially in this past month (I've been out for a month--crazy, right?). I love Him. I love you. God bless all of you.

 Love, Sister Jacobson

Monday, February 11, 2013

Finally in Idaho!

Ok, I'm sure there's one big question on your mind: how many times have I eaten potatoes since I've gotten here? Just twice. In fact, the first dinner I had at a member's house was Filipino food! Interesting, no? But yes, we get fed every night except Mondays (Family Home Evening).
My first area.... get this.... the Idaho Falls Central Stake area.... in the Idaho Falls temple Visitors' Center!!! Shoutout to my Palmyra Sisters!!
We spend about half our time here in the Visitors Center. Sooo cool! We chat online (the "ask a mormon" function on're part of that!), talk to people over the phone (we give lessons as if they were here in person), take people through kiosks and our Arnold Friburg painting exhibit, and other things. There's a Christus statue here with the same exact recording as in the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center! Throwback. Some of the videos we show are also in the Hill CumorahVisitors Center. It's really interesting coming FROM a Visitors Center mission and ending up in one, even though I wasn't called to it! There is amazing work going on here! There was this group of four women--two moms, two daughters--that came in a few days ago. One of the mother/daughters were from Idaho, and the other girl was a Swedish foreign exchange student, and her mom had come to visit. The moms had been skyping and getting to know each other, and the Idahoan (a member of the church) told her all about the Church and the Book of Mormon. We showed her a video and took her to the Christus (which we played in Swedish) and gave her a Swedish Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong. I knew she felt it too. So we asked her if we could get her information for when she goes back to Stockholm, Sweden so we can give her a call and tell her more. She said she would! We're going to call her some time this week! One of the Sisters here said something I really liked: "Our area is now the world. There is no one we can't reach." The Visitors Center is a way to reach anyone who wants to know more about the Gospel! What an amazing resource!
My companion. AMAZING. Her name is Sister Kuhns and she is an answer to my prayers (to have the best trainer for me). She's originally from Wisconsin and now lives in Seattle. She loves outdoorsy things, running, playing piano, and she's way funny, chill, kind, hard-working, knowledgeable about the Gospel.... she's just so great! She's really easy to get along with, AND she wants to run in the mornings! I'm so grateful! We're not gaining weight these next two transfers! Nah. 

We've met so many interesting people here! We're currently teaching a man from Sri Lanka (Hindu), and man of the Asatru faith (believes in the Norse gods... super interesting, cool guy!), a mom, a part-member family, and several others. They all come from several different backgrounds and are all so different, yet I love them all SO much! Even though I've only been here a few days! It's amazing how when you align your will with God's how much he fills you with love for others. And He has blessed us so incredibly much! I'm seeing miracles daily! Receiving revelation before, during, and after lessons, people coming up randomly to us with names of people that might be interested in our message, charitable ward members giving us rides, food, shining our shoes, cutting our hair (well, not mine).... so many blessings just pouring out on us!
I've come to realize even more that as you strive to increase your faith and remain exactly obedient, the Lord will bless you. So much. I've been seeing it in my life more and more. The Lord is just waiting, WANTING to bless us; we only need to do our part and boom. Blessings. I can testify of that. He loves us; he is our Father, and as such, He wants us to be happy. We can be happy through faith in Him, repentance, accepting the true, restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and remaining faithful to the end of our lives. It's so simple! It's so easy! God's way is the happy way. I know that because as I've remained faithful to His commandments, I've become so much happier and more joyful than I ever have been before!
Sorry for those that haven't gotten letters back! I'll try my best to get back to you as soon as I can! I'll talk more about the people we're teaching next week.
Oh, I almost forgot the greatest news of all: two of our investigators are being baptized on saturday!!
In the words of one of our Stake High Councilmen: The sky is blue, the Gospel is true, and I love you.
I love you all. Thanks so much for your love and support. God loves you even more than I do. And that's a lot.
Love always,
Sister Jacobson