Monday, January 27, 2014

We've been getting bolder and bolder

Hey, family & friends!

Aaaaawesome things are happening!!

So, we've reached a point where we just don't want to waste any more time.  Not that we've wanted to waste time up to this point, but it's becoming so IMPERATIVE to act NOW.  We've been getting bolder and bolder in finding, teaching, and asking people to do hard things because we're realizing more and more that there's no time to waste with beating around the bush.  We feel for Nephi when he says, 

"I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not." (2 Nephi 25:28)

We're doing everything we can to make what we and the people we teach need to do crystal clear.  If we don't, we're not crying repentance to the fullest, nor are we doing it in the Lord's appointed way.  He's given us "Preach My Gospel" and the Missionary Handbook to tell us how to work, and we're working those ways as closely as possible.  It's occurring to me more and more that time passes much more quickly than we realize, give credit for, or hope for.  "Someday" is a dangerous word, because it really means "not when I'm supposed to," or more likely, "no day at all."  Although it's uncomfortable or hard for us sometimes to boldly declare truths before people who might not want to hear them, we know that 1. the Lord is behind us more closely as we work in His appointed way, and 2. that we are inviting people to be HAPPY!  There's no time to lose!  We have to act NOW!  

So as we've been becoming better teachers and finders and better missionaries overall, of course the adversary has tried his hardest to get us down, exhausted, discouraged, whatever.  But first, we roundhouse kicked him in the face.  Then, we found a bunch of new people to teach!  Jodi is a less active member, and some of her family are not members, and we're going to teach them soon.  We found a boy named Kaj (pronounced "Ky") who wants to be baptized, a new investigator named John married to a less active member named Megan (super fun couple.  Consequently, they have a deformed cat named Felix.  We're obsessed with him.), and we ran into a potential meth-head named Myra.  Apparently, she has a demon chilling in her apartment, but it's ok, because Jesus hangs out with her a lot.  

But the fact of the matter still is that when we work our hardest--in the Lord's way--we will receive blessings.  They may appear later down the road (or they may be all around you, unnoticed), and they might even come in the "4th watch," but they come.  (Fourth-watch was culled from the division of the Hebrew nights into four watches, 3 hours each; the significance of the fourth watch is found in the yawning hours before dawn, when God is ever aware of our hardships, our trials)

Also, Sister Gale and I apparently spend 26/7 with each other.  Two crazy Sisters - sleep = not good at math anymore.  Who's a former math major?

Also, red fleece-lined leggings are my new favorite thing in the world.

I love you all.  To those under the sound of my voice (or the sight of my typing), this Gospel is the one true Church here on the earth today.  The only way to know that is to find out for yourself.  Read the Book of Mormon.  Pray to know it's true.  Recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost making you feel peaceful, calm, uplifted, good.  Come to a church service (Canandaigua still starts at 9:30, right?  It's the building with the steeple across from Thompson Hospital).  I promise you as an authorized, set-apart representative of Jesus Christ that you will receive an answer.

Also, read "Bread or Stones: Knowing the God we Pray to," for those of you going through trials.  It really helped this week also!

Also, I've been hearing about this arctic vortex hitting the east coast while we've been sitting on dry pavement.  All the fun happens when I'm gone!
I really do love you all.  Have a great week!  
Sister Jacobson

1. Teaching Peter Pan outside the library!
2. He accepted.

3. Seriously, we REALLY love Felix.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Forget me Not

Hey, family & friends!
So you know those roller coaster weeks where everything's going right, then crashes, then everything's going right again, and then everything crashes and burns again, but you're still as happy as you were at the beginning if not more so?
Long story short, Ariel dropped us.  On Tuesday--5 days before her scheduled baptism.
We had prayed and fasted (twice) during the week, and got to go to the temple (to answer your question, we go whenever we need, so it's different for everyone.  The last time I went was in July, and some go every transfer).  Every time, we got the answer that yes, she could be baptized this Saturday.  We exercised every bit of faith we could this week and moved forward with all our plans in an effort to show Heavenly Father our faith.  If we exercise every bit of faith we have, everything works out the way we want it to, right?
We weren't able to contact her for the rest of the week until Saturday itself, and we didn't get to see her in person until we invited her to someone else's baptism, and she actually came!  We KNEW she could be baptized.  Our district leader was there at the baptism, so he could interview her if necessary, and the font took a long time to drain... it could easily have been stopped and refilled.  We knew it just HAD to happen!  We had faith in the miracle--it would happen the way we wanted it to, right??  So we talked with her after the baptism.... no.
Then we met Mike, an 82 year-old Mexican man who like to "dress like Al Capone."  We met with him every day until Sunday, was really excited to make his "debut" at church, agreed to be baptized in February, but when we went over to show him the way to church yesterday, he told us he actually didn't really want to go, and didn't want to meet with us that much anymore.  And then we also got "no"s from a bunch of our potential investigators as well.  But.... we showed faith!  We worked as hard as we could!  That means Heavenly Father will give us what we want.... right? 
The thing is, even though miracles can and do happen every day, God cannot and will not force anyone to do anything.  Agency is a wonderfully frustrating thing that way.  Faith and fear influence how we and others use their agency, but they cannot force.  It's just not how He works. 
"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should aact for himself. Wherefore, man could not bact for himself save it should be that he was centiced by the one or the other," (2 Nephi 2:16).
 We as missionaries and disciples of Christ make sure we are doing everything we can to entice others to follow Christ, to do good, but we cannot force others to follow Him (as much as we'd stinkin' like to!).  If so, we would be hindering their progress--is our time to prepare to meet God, and we can only prepare as we learn and choose good for ourselves.  Yes, sometimes Heavenly Father gives us what we want when we want it, but we cannot force and He cannot force others to act in the way we want them.  Even when we have faith that they can, it does not mean they will.
That brings us to what we're left with though.  It would be SO easy to look at our or any other situation and think about how everything is careening down the plunger.  It would be so easy to say, "Well, we've been working hard and haven't seen success.  Let's just take it easy for now."  However, as one of my favorite scriptures (Helaman 10:3-4) states,
"And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a avoice came unto him saying: aBlessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with bunwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine cown life, but hast sought my dwill, and to keep my commandments."
Now is the worst time to give up.  When we endure faithfully through trials, when we go to our extremities and then a little further, we show Heavenly Father how much we love Him.  And as long as it takes, He will then bless us with more.  And He's already blessed us with so much!  We've been finding as quickly as people have been dropping us!  We really are so blessed... we just have to look for the forget-me-nots within the bed of maybe wilting roses.
Read "Forget Me Not" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  It's a a really comforting wake-up call.
I love you all, family!  Don't overlook your forget-me-nots during your quest for roses.
Sister Jacobson
1.  We believe in giving all a chance to hear the word.
2. Also, siracha sauce.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Church at a Glance (Mormons)

Have you ever been curious about what Katie is teaching as she serves as a missionary or about the church she belongs to? Here is a quick video describing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a glance.

Monday, January 13, 2014

1 Year on Mission!

Hey family & friends!

This week has been so exciting!  We've had some turnarounds with things going on, but it's all going for the best!
First off, we went on exchanges!  My first one as not a Sister Training Leader!  I was in my area, and Sister McKnight came!!  It was so much fun to work with her again!  Love her.

So the family that had us over for Christmas isn't going to be able to meet with us.  CJ and his wife aren't interested.  Other potentials we had dropped us.  BUT!  We have so much more potential now!

Such as Chandra and Ashley!  Chandra is a less active member and has some children that are not members.  We were visiting with her and setting up a time to come meet with her whole family when her next-door neighbor Ashley came in.  Chandra said that she wouldn't be interested at all when we invited her into the conversation, and Ashley targeted us with questions such as, "Shouldn't there be one Church that's right?" "If there's a God, why would He make us going through so many bad things?" and, "How do you even know the Bible and scriptures are true?"  We promptly answered all her questions with the Book of Mormon and doctrines of the Gospel (talking about the Great Apostasy, 2 Nephi 2:11, Moroni 10:3-5), and she stood dumbfounded by the door.  We're going to meet with her again on Tuesday with Chandra!

There's also Ana!  We talked briefly with her daughter one night and set up a return appointment.  When we came back, her daughter wasn't there, but Ana let us in.  Her husband passed away just a few months ago, and we testified of eternal families through this Gospel.  We committed her to reading the Book of Mormon and finding out for herself if what we told her is true.  We're hopefully seeing her soon, even though she's busy.

Or how about Becky?  We started talking to her outside, gave her a Book of Mormon, and she said we could come back some time this week. 

Or the Gummersalls, two boys living with their less-active grandpa who we're seeing today.  And there are so many more people that we hope to begin teaching soon!

I don't share these experiences to brag or display how hard we've been working.  I share 1. because I'm dang excited to talk to all these people! and 2. To demonstrate something that's been on my mind a lot, lately, which is put to words in 2 Nephi 10:20.  Sometimes, the Lord takes us out of good places to lead us to better places.  Sometimes on our way, He leads us to the edge of the sea.  The path ahead looks impossible.  The work might seem too slow in the area.  The way might seem too risky or tough.  But the Lord will make the sea our path.  He might part it (Exodus 14), He might guide us in constructing and sailing a ship (1 Nephi 18, Ether 6), or sometimes, He might even give us the faith to walk on top.  But He WILL provide a path.  As long as we fix our gazes on the "promised land" ahead and put our hand in His, He has promised that even as "mountain waves shall dash upon you," He will "bring you up again out of the depths of the sea," (Ether 2:24).  He will "prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save [He] prepare you against the waves of the sea," (Ether 2:25).  I know that's true.  There have been too many times in my life where I thought "that's impossible," and He's shown me the contrary.   He makes things possible, and all we have to do is "act and not be acted upon."  I love it!

Anyways, I love you all so much.  I can't help you much, but the Lord can.  Trust in Him.  He will guide you to where you need to be, even if it's just beyond your comfort zone.

Sister Jacobson

Pics: I realized we didn't take any this week, so this is me emailing you and loving the Book of Mormon.  Toodles!

This picture was posted today on the Idaho Pocatello Missionary Mom facebook page. It was taken at a Sister missionary luncheon at the mission home with her mission president and his wife. This is just a small portion of the sister missionaries serving in the Idaho Pocatello Mission! We were thrilled to see a picture of our beautiful daughter!

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Letter of 2014!

Hey, family & friends!
Hope you had a great New Year's Eve/Day/week!  New Year's on the mission is crazy, I tell you what!  Party till 9:00 and sleep at 10:30... not much different than last year. ;)
On New Year's Day we had an all day P-day like Christmas, but with no Christmasy things to do, so we went exploring on Main Street!  It has a bunch of little stores like Main Street back home, but most of them were closed, so we looked into the windows like creepers.  And there was this cute little coffee shop that was open, so we got some steamed milk there--twice!  The owner was the only one in there, and he's not interested in hearing about the Gospel, but he makes some really good steamers!
Ariel's doing fabulously, as always.  She bore her testimony yesterday during testimony meeting in church and caused quite a stir!  Everyone was so excited that she was up there even before her baptism and were saying that if she has such an amazing testimony already and is willing to share it, then they need to shape up!  Amazing things are happening in our wards with the members.  The two wards we cover historically haven't had tons of work, so the ward members are a little less than focused on missionary work there, but there are some changes being made in leadership, change in attitudes about it, and change in the work being done, all right in sync with the new year! 
The other day, we saw and started talking to a guy on the street.  His name is CJ, and he met with missionaries before a few months ago somewhere different, and said that after he disagreed with some of the things the elders there said, they didn't come back.  He said he'd be more than willing to talk, though, and gladly accepted a Book of Mormon! 
On the same sketchy street, we talked to a young couple that's moving soon.  Jared is a less active member and Carry is not a member.  They've had lots of contact with missionaries, but she didn't know exactly what the Book of Mormon was.  We explained that it's a record of prophets in the Americas, similar to how the Bible is a record of prophets around Jerusalem.  We promised that if she were to read it, she would not only strengthen her relationship with God and answer personal questions through its words, but she would also come to know that this is Christ's Church restored to the Earth again.  We're going to help them move out on friday in exchange for a lesson!  They're way fun.
This week has been another testimony to me that we need to talk to EVERYONE we see!  We have something AMAZING!  Mosiah 2:41 talks about the "blessed and happy state" of those that keep the commandments, and we have that!  Who wouldn't want promised added happiness in this life and the life to come??  Many people are looking for this peace and joy and simply don't know where to find it.  So we just HAVE to "let our light so shine before men!"  It's not enough to hope people ask us why we're happy all the time or ask us about the Gospel and Church anymore.  We must actively be engaged in the work of sharing this marvelous gift we've been blessed with.  And I promise, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that this IS the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, it WILL bless ANYONE'S/EVERYONE'S life, and if we open our mouths, they will be filled with the words God wants us to say.  I've experienced it many, many times.
I love you all, and I'm glad to hear you had a fun, rib-filled New Year!
(Katie's family grilled Ribs at home on New Years Eve!)
Sister Jacobson
 So there's this wall.......