Monday, October 28, 2013

Knee deep water: a mission theme ?

Dear family and friends,

Each week I just fall deeper and deeper in love with what I get to do.  My mission here is to help others, yes, but looking back, my mission has been changing me the most.  Taking stock of where I am now and where I was pre-mish, I've seen a completely different level of conversion to the Gospel in my life.  Would I have made it to where I am eventually?  Sure.  Eventually.  Reeeeally eventually.  Did I have a testimony before my mission?  Absolutely!  Was the Gospel the most important aspect of my life, infused into every molecule and gene that makes me who I am, what drives me to follow Christ's example as closely as possible and set all else aside?  No.  And I will never return to that.  The Gospel is my LIFE now, and always will be.
Anyway!  Awesome week!  Sister McKnight and I decided to set a goal for 20 lessons taught to investigators with a member present this week, which is a BIG number, and we got 21.  And more and more, we've been talking about how we really do nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  None of our success comes back to us.  We just work as hard as we can and remain obedient to the mission rules, and Heavenly Father blesses us with oppotunities and aid that we could never come by on our own.  He's so good to us!  It's like He loves us, or something!

Theresa's baptism was beautiful!!  The water was knee-deep (hmmm... mission theme?), and it took three tries to get her completely immersed (and the first time he dropped her on the way up.... oops), but it was absolutely beautiful.  And funny enough, because Kamryn had gone through the same thing, I was able to let them know a way they could make it work--lay her on the ground.  What's that?  Everything happens for a reason?  Oh, ok!  But yes, she's wonderful and so excited to be a part of this Church, but more importantly, to follow in Christ's example by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God.

Ok, so this week, we were knocking on one of our investigator's doors, but he wasn't there. So we started hiding against the walls next to their apartments so they couldn't see our tags and not answer. The second time we did, I kind of just threw myself into the wall. A few seconds later, the door next to us opened up and a girl straight out of India appears, wondering who knocked on her door. So then we proceed to get to know her and invite her to church as well as we could with the Hindi-English language barrier standing stalwartly between us. When Sister McKnight finally pulled out a pamphlet with a picture of a church service at the end of our discussion, she said she wouldn't come to church. But she was super nice!

Chriss is just awesome.  It's been amazing to see the Spirit working on so obviously!  When we first met her, she told us she was born a Catholic, she'll die a Catholic, and she had taken lessons from missionaries years ago and it didn't do anything.  We asked her and her daughter if they would try again, and when her daughter said no, we expected the same from Chriss.  "...Well, I guess we could try again."  We left her with a Book of Mormon that she said she probably wouldn't read.  When we went over the next time, she had read the first few pages.  We talked about the Restoration, and when Sister McKnight related the account of the First Vision, we paused for a while.  "...Pretty powerful."  Whoa!  And THEN we invited her to be baptized on a specific day, which at first she outright declined, but then after another pause, she said she would work on it.  Daaang!  We've been going over every few days to read the Book of Mormon with her due to her eyesight, and the workings of the Holy Ghost are deliciously apparent.

Read Alma 26 this week.  It's pretty much how I feel every day: indescribable.
I love you all.  I love the Lord.  I love His Gospel.  It means everything to me.
Sister Jacobson

1. Theresa!
2. Awesome group of people.  We later did our best Adele impressions and ate brownies.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm not the one teaching

Dear family & friends,

So remember that one time I got to spend all day every day with an amazing companion spreading this amazing Gospel with amazing people?  Yeah, I remember that one time.

I don't even know where to start with the events of the week, so I'll give an outline first.  We taught 19 lessons to investigators alone this week, and 9 to members, less active or otherwise.  We're stricter on what we count as a lesson here than I have been with other companions, so that's a big deal!  We haven't been focusing on how many lessons we've taught this week, but we looked back and saw the results of focusing on really inviting people to come unto Christ through baptism.  When we focus on what we can do as missionaries that no one else can and work our hardest to achieve it, amazing things happen.
So, investigators:

Wilbur is from Uganda.  Waaaay cool!  We were talking about the Holy Ghost in our last lesson and said, "The more we get to know God, the more He will show Himself to us," through the Holy Ghost. He then went on to say that through the Holy Ghost, God sends us spiritual gifts as tools to help us get back to Him.  I had never thought of it that way before!  I swear, I'm not the one teaching.  The Spirit teaches our investigators, and they teach us.

Theresa is getting baptized this weekend.  She fed us dinner on saturday!  She has an adorable 5 year-old daughter who drew us pictures of her and flowers.  Love it.  She's so excited for her baptism, and she's amazing.

Kenzie (young single adult) was taught by Sister McKnight when she first got here.  Her parents don't like the Church, so she didn't want to go through with baptism and stopped taking lessons.  BUT.  Then we got back in contact and said she had been doing a lot of thinking and wants to be baptized anyway!  Woo!  She's so cute, too!

We're teaching a few 11-13 year olds.  They're all great!  Kaylie, Taryn, and Lily.  Go team.

We had some investigators with baptismal dates that aren't able to get baptized on their dates because they didn't come to church this week.  They're wonderful, but they're not quite committed to this Gospel yet.  We'll keep working with them if they want to keep progressing, but we can't help anyone want to progress--we can only help those who already want to.

There's a man, Jim, that we're going to begin teaching soon!  He's been married to an active member for 47 years, and took missionary discussions 30 years ago, but apparently his parents were kind of against the Church.  He's the sweetest man EVER, and we did a family home evening with them last monday.  We asked him if he'd want to take the discussions again, and he said yes!  Woo!

There are SO many things going on, but that should be enough to catch you up to speed, more or less.

This work is AMAZING.  I'm living a dream come true, and the harder I dig, the harder I push, the more I love it.  There's nothing I'd rather be doing than inviting people to experience that happiness, hope, joy, and peace that I feel.

Alma 26:12 

I love you all so much!
~Sister Jacobson

(This is how I do weekly planning.)




Monday, October 14, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen: it happened!

Hey, all!

 This is going to be the greatest transfer of my life.  Let me tell you a story!

 So once upon a time, Sister McKnight and I worked together at the Visitors' Center in Idaho Falls.  Since then, we talked about how much we would LOVE to be companions, but we probably wouldn't be able to because she's Spanish-speaking and I'm English-speaking.  Then she got put in an English area, and I got to see her at Mission Leadership Councils.  We talked about how much we would still LOVE to be companions, but it probably wouldn't happen. 
Ladies and gentlemen: it happened!

 She's the sweetest, funniest, most energetic, obedient, diligent, crazy, awesome, crazy awesome, healthy (running every morning?  Yes please!) missionary EVER!  We could probably power all of Pocatello with our energy and good times for a month.  Let's be honest.

So, amazing companion aside, I LOVE Highland also!  I've been in love with the area and the people here from day 1.  One of our wards is in the mountains, so we have incredible views, too!  And there are waaaay more non-Mormons here than in Rexburg!  We've gotten yelled at and Bible bashed up one side and down the other, and, to be honest, it's been super fun.  It's those ridiculous moments that you can either choose to let it discourage you, or choose to laugh it off, move on, and keep them in your good story basket.  We cover three wards in the Highland stake and a young single adult ward.  Way fun!

 We've found a bunch of new investigators and taught a bunch of other awesome people this week!  One is Sierra, an 18 year-old girl, who has been through a lot, but wants to be baptized.  There's also John, a man in his 70s with an awesome New York accent who always says we're "whacked" and has a huge crush on Sister McKnight.  I'll tell you more about our investigators as I get to know them more, but suffice it to say there are a bunch, and they're all wonderful. 

 This work is so amazing.  Every day, I realize more and more how blessed I am to be a part of sharing this glorious Gospel.  It truly is the only way to experience true happiness, and I feel that happiness every single second of every day, no matter my circumstances.

 I love you all so much!
-Sister Jacobson

1.  Yes, I got to see Elder Cook.  His trainer was my last district leader!(Elder Spencer Cook is from our stake and he and Katie have known each other thru most of their school years! He just reported to the Idaho Pocatello Mission from the Mexico City MTC.. His parents are currently serving as the Mission President of he Chile Santiago South Mission)
2.  Sometimes we have to crawl through fences.  No big.
3.  Mountains of Highland.
4.  So much love with companions!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Brace yourself Poki!

Hey, family & friends!  

Doesn't it feel like I JUST talked about last transfers?  I don't know about you, but these past six weeks whizzed by.  Transfer calls came in and..... I'm gone!  I'm going to Pocatello!  Few fun facts:

-I'm going to Highland II, which is the other part of the stake Sister Barnett came from serving in.  She's told me a lot about the area and people and my apartment and things.  

-My new companion is Sister McKnight, who was in the Idaho Falls Temple Visitors Center my second transfer and we instantly became great friends there!  She became a Sister Training Leader in Pocatello a few transfers ago, so we've been able to see each other at Mission Leadership Councils the past few months.  There we confessed to each other our dream of serving together, even though she's a Spanish-speaker.  (I also confessed my undying love for her, but you know.... whatever.)  So we're really excited for the chance we have to serve together!  As one of the Elders said, "They put the two smiliest Sisters in the mission together.  There is going to be SO much energy in that companionship!"  Brace yourself, Poki; you're gonna get smiled into oblivion.  Or into conversion.  Hopefully the latter.

-Sister Barnett is going to be serving here with Sister Woods, from England!  She was also in the Visitors Center my second transfer there, and she's AWESOME.  Probably the hardest working Sister in the mission, which is hard to fathom being with Sister Barnett these past four months.  They're going to get WORK done!  

We recently figured out, we think, that I am the oldest mission-age Sister in the mission that hasn't trained.  Sister Barnett already has four granddaughters!  I guess I'm just infertile.  (Note: when you train, that missionary is your daughter, their daughters are your granddaughters, etc.)

-Sister Barnett and I have been coping with the loss of each other by screaming at each other as often as we can that we can't wait to be separated.  It's not working too well; it usually ends in arguments at the tops of our lungs over how hard of a worker the other is, how pretty the other is, and how much we love each other.  It's almost working!

-A less active lady we visit said that she was really going to miss me and said she could imagine me as the kind of person to put on a superhero cape and save the world after I get home.  Apparently, my secret identity of *Justice Girl has been compromised.  Gosh dang it...

-Mission President lives in my stake!  Not in my area, but in my stake.  We're going to be beeeest friends by the time I'm through there!  Or maybe he's moving me down there to keep a closer eye on me.  If all goes well, he won't discover my secret Sister army I plan to build up in the southern part of the mission to re-absorb the Twin Falls Mission back into ours.  We want our missionaries back!

I think that's all the fun news of transfers!  This week, we found a new investigator!  His name is Kobie, and he's 15.  His dad is less active, but Sister Barnett and Sister Woods will straighten that out.  He's agreed to be baptized in about a month, and he's super cool.  Kelton is being baptized this weekend, which I sadly will miss, but he's excited and solid.  We found another new investigator on campus, too!  His bishop called us, told us a cool story about how he found out Shane wasn't a member, and how Shane wanted to learn more and possibly be baptized!  We stopped by the new family we found and met the wife, but she said they wouldn't be in town for when we planned, so we're hopefully going to get in contact this week.  Logan is awesome and is praying about baptism.  

Being perfectly honest, I'm really sad to be leaving.  I love Rexburg, I love the people, I love Sister Barnett, I love the missionaries I get to serve around, I love everything.  However, my excitement is balancing it out fairly well.  This life is about progression, and change is an integral part of that!  I'm excited for the new friendships I'll be able to develop and the work I'll be able to do in my new area!  Life is too short to stay sad for too long, and missions are WAY to short to dwell on negative feelings.  Bloom where you're planted.  Lift where you stand.  Life is not about circumstances making you happy, but learning to be happy in your circumstances.  My circumstances are going to be pretty dang awesome in Pocatello, but even if I was sent to a black hole of an area, there would still be something to be grateful for!

Oh, and General Conference was amazing!  Exclamation point!  (Just watch that "exclamation point" talk.  I was ready to karate kick the church pew in front of us in half, I was so pumped up!  Also, watch Elder Ballard's talk again, too.  Soooo dang awesome!)  
Oh, and thank you SO MUCH for the package!!  Upstate New York honeycrisp apples.  I nearly cried with joy! Pic: Bonding with the apples!  Our zone of missionaries demolished them at General Conference!  Thanks again!

I love you all so much.  I know this is the Lord's work on the earth.  The Book of Mormon is true and it will change your life!  Seriously.  Just ask.  (Moroni 10:4-5)

Peacin' out from Rexburg,

Sister Jacobson
(aka Justice Girl)