August 28, 2014

Week 4 at Lima, MTC

Week 4 at the CCM
Hello Hello!!
It has been another full week at the CCM--the time is flying by. We are now considered Avanzados or the Advanced group. In less than two weeks I´ll be headed to Iquitos--it´s starting to get more and more real. Our cute roommates left on Tuesday to head to there missions. Our new roommates are Latina! Whoa is it an adventure--trying to comunicate it fun and it always takes a long time. Esta bien! It will all work it--they are just darling. Hermana Wheelock and I have been asked to be Sister Leaders for the duration of our stay--it was fun welcoming to next set of missionaries in. We have 5 new North Americans and just a slew of Latinas--I think around 14. I have a soft spot for all the sisters--they are so sweet.
Well, last Saturday we went out proselyting again and boy was it an adventure. The Friday night before I was in the moods--I basically told the Lord in my prayer just to get me through the experience as I wasn´t super excited. And I was just tired. The Lord thought otherwise! It was a full day, one of growth and love!! I was assigned to be the Senior Companion as I was paired with a Beginner Sister who is so cute and enthusiastic but her Spanish is just absolutely terrible. When I found out that it was going to be basically up to me I was not thrilled--more like scared out of my wits. But, as I got on my knees I prayed that I would be able to understand the people we would come in contact with, that I would be a good examples to Sister Borque my comp and that it would be a great experience. It was such a wonderful experience. When we got to our assigned area--Las Violetas-we were assigned to a sister in the ward who would show us around Hermana Chessna. She was so sweet. She took us around to the homes we were supposed to visit, less actives, but no one was home. Thankfully since she was a ward member she knew of two sisters who were not on the list. Wow--our first visit was with Melina just out on her porch. She was so kind to us, immediately giving besos and asking how we were doing. When Hermana Chesna asked if we had a message a scripture immediately popped into my mind (Alma 26 37 I think, something about God being mindful of all of his children). The Spirit is amazing that way. We shared the scripture and had her read it. I bore my testimony on how God was aware of us and asked if she would come to church. She wouldn´t commit so we just bore our testimony of God´s love! As we left, Hermana Chesna asked how we knew to share that scriptures--it was exactly what she needed!!
Our next visit was with Solange and her Dad. We were able to go in and sit with them for about 20 minutes. We shared the same message and I bore testimony again along with Hermana Chesna. Hermana Borque was cute, but no one understood exactly what she was saying--it was funny. The dad said he felt peace as we talked--we asked and commited them to come to church. The dad works on Sunday so he said he would try but Solange said she would! It was great.
After we spent the duration of our time street contacting. Hermana Chesna had to leave for a baptism so we were on our own (no worries--there were a lot of other missionaries around our area). We knocked on doors and shared a brief testimony. I wish I could have shared more but with my Spanish we were a little limited--a testimony and smile would have to do! Two good experiences though. There was a group of boys (around 7-8)  around Alvin´s age that were playing futbol and walking around. We each gave them a pass along card of the Savior. It was cute to see them carry their cards around even when playing soccer during the time we were there. At the end, we talked a little bit with them--they tried to be funny and ask us questions in English. They asked if I had a family and I was able to show them a picture of you all! It was cute as they crowded their little heads around to see.
As we walked around, their was a security guard who was monitering the neighborhood. I could tell he was watching us as we walked door to door and talked to others. He ended up stopping us--I couldn´t understand everything he was saying but I caught most of it. He said he was very impressed with us and how we acted around others. The way we were nice to the little boys and how it seemed that we had a purpose. He was a golden individual! He asked where the church was and when it started. We got his contact information to give to the missionaries and then we gave him a folleto (pamphelet) about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was so kind! It was so neat and I wish I could have said more but I felt that the Lord was pleased with our efforts. We came that night tired but our hearts were full. I felt that this experience was a push from the Lord. We each have come here to progress and grow and sometimes we get to feel those growing pains. I know I did. But we just grit our teeth and get through it--and it always turns out to be worth it!
Life is good at the CCM. I was able to go to the temple again today which was great. Our teachers continue to whip us into shape as I am learning more and more Spanish and more about the gospel in general. Just yesterday I was studying about Christlike Attributes in Preach my Gospel. I focused on the area of Hope. I love how in Preach my Gospel is says something along the lines of, "as we work through our problems we will receive hope and the strength to continue." I loved the emphasis on work! We need to work if we want the Lords help. The Spirit and grace of the Lord does not work unless we do! There are some days where it´s hard to get up--somedays I have "the moods" and I don´t feel like being around people. However, I know that God is there for me. He is watching over me and when I pray specifically to see His hand in my life and that specific day--I always do. There is hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love alma 58 when the people are about to go to battle--they poured out their souls to God and he spoke peace unto there hearts. He gave the assurance and granted them the hope and strength to press forward. If we ask we will always receive. 2 Nephi 31 20 is also a great verse on pressing forward.
I love and miss you all!! You can do it--I´ll talk to you next week, my last email from the CCM. Oh! And tomorrow I will have been out for a month! One down, 17 more months to go.
Hermana Jackson

Week 3 at Lima.Peru MTC

Hi Family!!
On Week 3 at the CCM. Can´t believe I hit the half way point. Life here at the CCM is great. I just laugh all day as there are so many quirks. On Tuesday before the devotional Hermana Gonzalez (the MTC Prez wife) came up to the pulpit and ask who had the diarehha. Then the zone leaders had to go around and ask specifically. It is too funny. Love all the elders and sisters here.  I feel as if I´m pretty much adjusted to the missionary schedule and such. I love my teachers--they are whipping us in to shape, and I love all of my study time! Sundays are always nice--full of meetings (in english!). On Sunday I gave a talk in church! The way it works here is that after the sacrament is passed, the branch president will randomly call up 4 missionaries to speak for 5 minutes in Spanish!--and I was one of them.  I felt like I was going to--thank goodness I prepared well. My talk was on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our Father in Heaven did not put us on this earth to fail but to succeed gloriously. And we can through the Atonement of Jesus Christ! What a marvelous doctrine. I love my studying time here. Several nights ago I had my first dream in Spanish--which apparently means the language is beginning to click. I didn´t understand a lot of the dream, but I´m super pumped that I had one! Anyways, studying time are my favorites. Personal Revelation just flows as I read the scriptures and study Preach My Gospel. Those 3-4 hours I have are precious.  I just finished the Book of Mormon. It is an amazing book. It is the evidence of God´s love for us as it contains the fulness of the gospel. Can´t wait to start reading it again.
Today I got to attend the temple--it was absolutely beautiful. I had headphones so it was nice to get it in English--going through the veil in Spanish was interesting, but good! The temple is the house of the Lord. I am just trying to cherish these times I´m there. Only two more til I´m out in the field!! My comp and I are doing great--I just love her now. The grace of God is real. Yesterday as we were talking, she starting sharing some of her struggles with the language. Immediately the words of Ether came to mind as I had just read earlier that day of Moroni´s words to the Lord. Of how he was concerned fools would mock him for his weakness in writing. The Lord responded in Chapter 12 of 26 that he will make sure we have success. Our words will be received. I just felt such a love for my companion. Her success is my success. Day by day we are doing it! We are growing through the gospel of the Lord!
 As I was reading in Helaman several days ago, I was touched by the words of Nephi about placing our treasures in heaven. This mission for me is a treasure in heaven. Lay up treasures in heaven!! Things that last for eternity!! Also Prayer, God is so good to me. I find such strength and comfort through prayer. One day as I woke up I was just not feeling it. As I got on my knees and began to pray, I immediately felt such love from our Father in Heaven. He is listening.
Know that I am doing really well.  I love you with all of my heart. You are in my prayers. I love this gospel so much. The fulness of the gospel is restored on the earth today. Don´t be asleep during the Restoration and the hastening of the work. Wake up and get to work!! (Read Elder Uchtdorf´s talk in Priesthood. Love it!!) Amazing things are happening on the earth today!!
Besos! Much Love,
Hermana Jackson

August 19, 2014

Week 2 in Lima,Peru MTC

Hola familia!!
It´s been another good week at the CCM. I´ve gotten a lot more comfortable being here and it´s been a lot better since last week. Thank you for your prayers and your love because I feel it--I am strengthened by you all and I love hearing what´s going on each week. Well, after I finished emailing last week, we headed out to Lima for a couple hours to shop. Everytime we head out it´s always surreal to think I´m actually in another country. The day was so fun. We all got on the bus to get around--buses here are these old vans where they fit in as many people as possible. It is definitely an adventure. There aren´t actually bus stops. They´ll stop stop with the door opening yelling to see if they can take you somewhere. All of us had to yell "templo, templo!!" to get on the bus that would get us the stores we needed to. Walking around Lima is great--we are really in a nice part of town. The stores are nice and the people are so friendly.
We stick to the same schedule at the CCM. Eat, Study, Class and One hour of physical activity so there´s not a ton of adventures going on. But, here are some highlights from this past week:
-Last Saturday we went out and proselyted for a couple of hours!! It was quite the adventure. Here at the CCM we do this every other week so I´ll get to do it 2 more times before I leave. I was paired up with Hermana Ramierez from Mexico. Although I didn´t talk much, I felt so much love for these people. We stopped and talked to quite a people at the park, and met with a less active member. I got the general gist of the conversations which was good. And I got to testify and talk about the Restoration with a few people. It was great!! When we stopped at Catty´s home, I was so humbled. She´s about 16 or 17 and had a couple other siblings running around. They were all so cute. Their living conditions were very humble. I was taken aback to be honest. But I felt the spirit as we talked about attending church and feeling the spirit. It was a good experience to have, and it reminded me why I´m out here.
-My highlight of the day at the CCM is teaching our "investigators." Our Spanish gets better each time we teach. As we were waiting to teach one night, we started talking to the Latinos. They are all so nice and it´s fun to practice our Spanish with them. One Elder gave me a nice compliment saying that my accent was great--he wondered why all the other elders and hermanas still speak with a "gringo" accent. Hermana Wheelock and I also got a compliment after we taught a lesson with Matias and committed him to come to church. He said that he felt the spirit as we taught and that we were the best missionaries at the CCM. While I don´t think the latter compliment is quite true, I felt the spirit as we taught as well. Even though our Spanish is broken, and we require a lot of time to plan and prepare our lessons, I feel the spirit helping and guiding us. The Lord is making all the difference and for that I am grateful.
-One thing I keep realizing each week is that we all have stories. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences and each of them are valid. We can´t discount other people and their differences just because we haven´t experienced the same thing--and our initial judgements are never right. Just this week I´ve had so many experiences on my knees praying asking forgiveness for the judgements that I´ve made. Like this past week I found out that one of the elder´s in my district--his brother came home from his mission early because he got some sort of genetic disease and isn´t expected to live much longer. He left for his mission earlier than planned hoping to get back and spend as much time as he can. This is just one example of many. Sometimes it can get frustrating being with the same 12 people for 10 plus hours a day--they really are just a bunch of 18 year boys, fresh out of high school. But there are so many moments when you know that we´ve all been called of God. That we all--each with different backgrounds and experiences-have come to Peru to serve the Lord. I love that sense of unity knowing that we are all in this together.
- I love studying each day. One of the challenges at the CCM is to read the whole Book of Mormon from start to finish. I love this book! I just finished reading about the Anti Nephi Lehis. What beautiful examples they are to me of a people who are whole heartedly committed to God.
Well, I love you all. Can´t wait to read all of your letters. I am so proud of each of you and what you are doing! I want each of you to know how seriously I take to wearing my missionary tag because I get to represent my favorite people in the world--Our Savior Jesus Christ, and My Family. It is such a privilege to be a missionary for the Lord. Each time we sing Called to Serve I just can´t get through it because how many times will you actually get to sing that song in your lifetime being an actually missionary!! I love it. Love and miss you all, Besos Besos (that means kisses;)
Hermana Jackson

August 12, 2014

Lima, Peru

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More MTC Lima, Peru pics

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Pictures at the MTC in Lima, Peru

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First Week

Hello all!
It´s so good to finally be able to write--feels like it´s been forever since I left last Tuesday for Lima! My first week at the CCM (or the Ce Ce Eme as we pronounce it in Spanish) has been jampacked. There are about 130 missionaries, 25% Latino, the rest Norte Americanos. There are only 5 companionships of sisters, and it´s just me and Hna. Wheelock in District 112. There are 13 missionaries in my District (one companionship is a trio). Each day we get up at 6am have breakfast and then head to class. Most all of our day is for class, personal study, and companionship study. We have 2 teachers--one in the morning and one in the evening. Class goes til 9, we plan til 930 and then it´s off to our rooms to write and go to bed!
Spanish is going well! I am so grateful for the class I took last semester, otherwise I would be drowning in the language. The spirit is strong at the CCM. I love how one of the Elders in my District likened it to a temple of learning. It really is! Starting on Monday we started teaching investigators (they are just the teachers). The first time did not go well at all. Hna Wheelock and I left slightly discouraged. I remembered that after all the years of planning and preparing lessons for FHE the one thing we forgot to do as a companionship was plan in detail!!  So as the senior companion, we sat down, got to work, and planned in detail our next lesson on prayer for our investiagtor Matias. It went so well! We were able to answer his questions and flow almost seamlessly into the topic we planned. I loved getting a taste of what I´ll be doing for the next 18 months.
Lima is so cool. I´ve been out 2 times since the airport--both times for immigration. I love it. It´s winter time right now so it´s pretty hazy and drizzles almost every morning. When the sun comes out--which it finally has this past week, it is heaven. Driving is crazy. All of the buildings are smooshed together. The CCM is in the Molina district which is a really nice area. There are beautiful flowers everywhere. The people here are so kind. Yesterday while we waited several hours at interpol, we were talking to everyone. Although we can´t communicate that well-the people are so dear and slow down so that we can pick out a few words.
Some highlights for the week--
We had a devotional this week from Elder Juadell (I think that´s how you spell it) from the 70. It was powerful. Our purpose as missionaries is not to baptize but to fully convert others to the gospel. The temple is our goal. He said that the disadvantage and the advantage of missionary work here in Peru it´s easy to get baptisms. Our challenge will be to make sure people continue to come to church and progress in making and keeping additional covenants with the Lord. I´ve spent a lot of time studying Lesson 1 in Preach My Gospel (I love that book). One theme that I´ve picked out is that the Lord continues to reach out to his children in love through things like the scriptures, prophets, revelation etc. One that I love is that the Lord reaches out to his children through covenants. Cherish the covenants you make!! Our covenants empowers us to do hard things, to stretch beyond our capacities and be tools in the Lord´s hands.
I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers. Love hearing all the updates. Know that this Hermana is doing great-- my scripture for this week has been d&C 31 verse 3.
Love you more than words can express,
Hermana Jackson

I made It!!!

Dearest Family,

I made it to the CCM late last night at around 2 am. Today has been full of orientation and getting the swing of things. My companion, Sister Wheelock is super cute-- she is going to Lima Central. I am the only sister headed to Iquitos but there are a ton of Elders going so it has been great.When I got to Atlanta I met up with about 17 elders, we made it Lima just fine and got through immigration and customs with no problem. So fun driving through Lima even at nigh! I love you all, I am really excited to be here. I am officially an Hermana with the naetag and all! Expect to hear from me not this Thursday but next Thursday as Thusrdays are my P-Days at the CCM.


Hermana Jackson