Monday, July 28, 2014

New Chapters and New Experiences Await!

Hey, family & friends!

This week was INCREDIBLE.  We have found so much solid potential in this
area in just this past week alone!  There's Gian, Jason, Nato, Selena, and
Westley, not to mention our amazing lesson with Luka and we picked Caleb
back up!  It's been such a tender mercy to see this area explode one last
time before I'm gone.

And now, to address the question that's probably been on a lot of your minds: how do I feel about coming home?  Well, I'll tell you.

As much as I've joked about extending for 3 more years (adding on the fact
that I've asked President Brinkerhoff for an extension twice) and how much
I've talked about never wanting to leave, etc., if an extension was offered
to me, I don't know if I would take it.  My mission has taught me so much
about life, the Gospel, my Father in Heaven and my Savior, who I am, and
who I want to be, and to not take those things out into the real world
would be a disservice to the past 18 and a half months I've spent devoting
my life to helping others, and myself, constantly and consistently
progress.  It's my time.  I've learned what I've needed to, I've helped the
people I was meant to, and to keep furthering my progression, I know I need
to move on.  Yes, it does break my heart to leave the people and places
that have become such an integral part of me, but it also gives my heart
cause to rejoice for the opportunities I have in front of me!  And, of
course, to see the other people and places that are an integral part of me
who I haven't seen for 18 months!  One of my friends from this mission said
it's like leaving one family to go to another, and I'd say that's true.

Our stake president yesterday asked me what I had left behind in this
mission.  Lots of blood, sweat, and tears.  What I'm taking with me?  A lot
more than I can explain (at least effectively all at once).  Overall, I've
learned more about my Savior, His Atonement, and how I can access that,
which is through the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Please, if you have
any questions about the things I've been talking about for a year and a
half, ask me or your local missionaries!  I bear my witness, for possibly
the last time as an authorized representative of Jesus Christ Himself, that
these things are true.  They will bless you.  There is nothing better and
nothing more direly important for you to accept in your life than this
Gospel, and there's nothing I've learned to love more than sharing that joy
with those that I love.  And I love you all.

Until I see you all again, I bear my sure witness to you that Jesus is the
Christ, that our Father in Heaven loves us, and that His Gospel and one way
to live with Him in His Kingdom forever is back on the earth!  How exciting
is that??  I will stand on every rooftop I can physically climb on top of
and shout it to everyone within earshot, where legal (locations may vary).
And I will because, though I'll be taking my tag off my shirt shortly, I
will always wear one on my heart.  This is just another transfer :)  New
chapters and new experiences await, but I will always have the Gospel and
sharing it as my constants.

I love you all so much.  I'll see you soon.

For the last time as a full-time servant for God in Idaho, and with all my
Sister Jacobson.

1. With President and Sister Brinkerhoff at the departing temple trip.
2. The district.
3. Sister Fredrick in front of the Institute :)  (at top of page)

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Send Off Sisters!

Hey, family!
So, we're calling ourselves the "send off sisters" now, haha.  We've had the amazing opportunity of teaching people (no fewer than 8 now) that are in our area but are either moving or don't live there, setting dates with many of them, and then sending them on to other missionaries!  Some missionaries might look at that as a bad thing, but we've seen it as a privilege. We've gotten to be the "spark" (as one of them who got baptized put it) to help people stay hooked in learning about the Gospel. In the end, the work is all the same, no matter who finds, teaches, and baptizes. We're not in this for the numbers or the glory of teaching the most investigators, we're just in this to serve God and help His children.
One of them is Luka, from Egypt!  He made us liver this week!  We were kind of nervous going in, but it was suuuper good.  He's moving in a week, but we're teaching him a lesson before he leaves!  Balvina, Fadil, Jacque (the girl who got baptized), Jacque's sister Stephanie.... they're all in the aforementioned category.  But like I said above, it really is cool to us!  We're getting to help them and help other missionaries!  What could be better?

We also got to volunteer at a color run!  We didn't run ourselves, but we filled up the bottles of color powder (and then emptied a bunch of them before the race started on each other....) and stopped traffic for the runners!  Super fun!  There's so much power in a stop sign and an orange vest.

We've found some more potential investigators, too!  We're seriously being so blessed here!  It may not show in the amount of progressing investigators we have (that amount is 0), but we know we're "laying the foundation of a great work" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33)!  We've come to the conclusion that these past few months have really been a lot for the members here.  We've kind of been rewiring their brains to trust the missionaries again, to focus on missionary work, to increase their faith and vision, and to help them hit the ground running with their missionary work plans once the fall semester starts!  We know if we hadn't have been working like we have, it might take a while for things to get started work wise, even with all the students coming back soon.  But we feel like things will just EXPLODE once the students get here.  They think they're just coming for secular learning.  Little do they know.... :)


It really is amazing though how nothing else matters anymore.  Nothing matters accept serving God and doing what He would have us do.  I know I'll be doing that in a different way fairly soon, but I will always owe my life to my mission for helping me see that more.  There is nothing that even compares to living the Gospel.  There is nothing that brings more peace, strength, and joy in life than living the Gospel.  There is NOTHING else that compares!  We love serving for the sake of serving, not for the numbers or the outward success.  Sister Fredrick and I have been talking about how even though we're not really teaching anyone steadily anymore for the past while now, we've just been so happy!  We don't care about earthly rewards anymore.  The mission has purged that out of me.  All that matters is serving God and helping His children.  I love Him, and I can never repay what He's done for me, but I can sure as heck give Him the rest of my life gladly.

Love you all!  Give something up that's taking you away from or holding you back from coming closer to Christ this week.  Your "sacrifice" won't be a sacrifice at all, in the grand scheme of how stinkin' happy you can be all day, 'err day.  And yes,I'll write next week, don't worry haha.
Love,  Sister Jacobson
                                             The Color Run!


                                             Katie titled this one "Tennis Thugs"!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Something HUGE is coming!

Hey, family & friends!

Well, this could have been a discouraging week, if we didn't love the work so much!  We found out that 3 of our investigators aren't necessarily who they say they are, our recent convert doesn't want to stay longer than sacrament meeting anymore, the Balvina's brother isn't nearly as supportive as we'd like him to be, and we still aren't really teaching anybody else regularly.

BUT, Sister Fredrick and I (as well as the whole zone, turns out) know that though we may be going through a rough patch, it's merely a trial of our faith.  There are times it would be easy to let ourselves get down and stay down, and there were times this week we were tempted to, but we can both feel that something HUGE is coming! 

This morning, I read Alma 8 (especially verses 13-18), and it applies so much to our situation!  Though Alma was about to turn his back on the city of Ammonihah forever and felt "weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people," when the angel came to Alma, he told him that he has "great cause to rejoice" for being faithful in keeping the commandments.  Even though we may not be seeing the blessings of people to teach, we have reason to rejoice just for the sake of knowing about this Gospel, living it, and sharing it.  I don't care about the outward blessings anymore.  As much as I love having success in our area and helping others, I don't live the Gospel or serve faithfully for those rewards.  I've discovered it's because I love Him!  It's because I'm so grateful for His Atonement that I HAVE to work as hard as I can!  Just serving Him itself is a blessing, no matter what happens.  I love my Savior, and I fear not what men can do to me.
In other news, Balvina's back!  We've all decided it would be best to just keep meeting here, but let the baptism happen when she goes home. 

I've also seen firsthand the power of the Book of Mormon even more this week!  Yesterday, in one of those times where I was cave in to feelings of despair, we went to visit Balvina.  Before that, I just couldn't shake feelings of negativity, which is not normal for me.  But then we sat down and read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with her, and I IMMEDIATELY felt TONS better.  I realized that because of all the meetings we had had that morning, we never got the chance to study or read the scriptures.  That's so unusual for missionary work that it didn't even occur to me that maybe I need to read!  There is a tangible power and Spirit that comes from reading the Book of Mormon.  Next time you're in a bad mood, try it.  Dare you!
Love you all!  Find that sunshine in your soul today!
-Sister Jacobson

picture: Sister Trainer Leaders
Close up of Katie and her companion

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July fun in Pocatello!

Hey, family & friends!

So the 4th of July was probably one of the most fun days of my mission!  Neighborhood pancake breakfast at one of our Bishop's, climbed a cherry tree and picked a ton in a member's yard, picnic and sports all day with 3 zones of missionaries, got to watch "Frozen," (now I see what all the fuss is about!) with said missionaries, and then we all went to fireworks.  So sore the next day, but so fun!  Then the next day we fasted from our car to save on miles in the mid-90's with no set appointments and not many home.

Needless to say, I'm thoroughly kissed by the sun.  (But don't worry, I told him that wasn't appropriate.) 

Other than that, lately, our area has kind of taken a nose dive as far as how many people we're working with.  Sister Fredrick and I had a good conversation about this though, and I was able to think about similar experiences I've already had on my mission.  These are the refining times where we take constant inventory of ourselves and the way we work.  I developed much more humility, patience, and diligence during these kinds of times than with others, and it's just a way of Heavenly Father stretching and strengthening our faith.  Though we might be putting a, b, and c into the formula, we might not get our expected x, y, and z immediately, or even at all.  But that's not to say we won't get a w, p, or f in there, though we might miss them if we're not looking for them.  There are so many subtle, yet significant blessings that can come from trials, but they so often get overlooked while we're so focused on getting the results we think we need.  I'm grateful for these times to remind me of all the amazing, yet more subtle, blessings I do have.

I hope all of you stay nice and chilly.  We've got mid-90's all week again!  I'll tell the sun to keep off me.  But I do look fabulous.  (Totally kidding.)
Love you all,                                                         
Sister Jacobson

This is going to be in two installments
1.  Cherry picking!
2.  Still cherry picking!
3.  Group cherry picking!
4.  Merka.
5.  Zone picture!
6. Fireworks
7. Watching Frozen
8. More Cherry tree!
9. #Called to Share
For those of you who haven't heard of the #Called to Share program on facebook, go there today and join!