September 30, 2014

Another week in Secada, Peru!!!

Dear Family,

Another week in Secada! It has been full of ups and downs but we are working hard!! I have so many people that we come in contact with everyday so this week (and probably everyweek) you will just get highlights!!

Daniel and his three daughters came to church yesterday. Hermana Arone and I were ecstatic! He seemed to like it; his girls loved it. He attended our gospel principles lesson on the Law of Chastity (which was rad--we had pictures, quotes and a list of scriptures on the board--just like you mom!) We think that is girls will be the key to getting him to be more and more open to the church. This past week we taught the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was strong. We had a member come with us and he bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. We will continue to visit and pray that he will open his heart and accept the things we are teaching him!

Elard is the sweetest boy. If your under 18 we have to receive a permission form for baptism from the parents. We received his yesterday. He gave it to me with the biggest smile on his face. So excited and pumped for his baptism which will be at the end of October. On Friday night as we passed by his house we saw him leaving for the big youth dance at the church. It was cute to see him so excited to attend in his nice white shirt and slacks. His parents are not interested whatsoever but I know that they can see the change that has occurred with him. 

Zoila is a less active member we are working with. She is darling--very pretty. Her house is so cute with brightly decorated walls. Her husband isn`t a member, but her and her two kids are starting to come to church. She is a returned missionary and so last week she pulled out all of her pictures. It was good to talk about her experiences on the mission. We related it back to the Plan of Salvation. I felt such peace as we talked about life and how we have hope through the resurrection of Christ. God really does have a perfect plan for his imperfect children.

Our family that we`ve mainly been working with is Familia Mozombite- Ekier and Jency, and their three kids Jhorlly (16), Pedro (12), and little Ekier (7). They are the sweetest people but are definitely going through some rough times. When we report some of the challenges each week theres is that they don`t have money to eat. They already have much faith has they`ve payed a fast offering and attend church weekly. One person has to stay home though to protect the house. House are built very poorly here and it`s really easy to break in and steal stuff. But they are great! Their date for marriage is on Oct 18 and their baptism is on 25th.

We have been working really hard to obtain more references. As it is more difficult to see members since we only eat with a pensionista, we have decided to serve our members! The members here are so great. We have found that we have more success (like this week we aquired 17 new investigators 5 of them being families) when we work with the members in teaching and finding. They really are gold! And when we do involve them, they give us more and more references. We taught a lesson with Hermano Jarry and now he has been giving us more references. It is great!

I love you all! I am tacking this one day at a time. There is much work to be done and a lot to learn with regards to Spanish and being a missionary, but I am figuring it out. Love you all!!

Hermana Jackson

September 25, 2014

First week in Secada,Peru!!

Dear Family,

Another week in Secada!! It has been a good one--the days can be long but the weeks are short! Time is weird on the mission. Each day is different and full of different challenges, but it is all for my good!! Still can`t believe I`m in the jungle at times. Like this morning, guess who get`s to wash most all of her clothes? That`s right. No such thing as a washer and dryer here. Also, I`ve become an expert at killing these massive roaches in our home. I think the count is up to 6 right now! It is always a hilarious scene, me with a Book of Mormon to squash the thing and Hermana Arone with the spray that kills bugs. Both of us squealing. It is the best.

Well this week was full of teaching. First the family of Rogner (28), Victoria (25), and their son Larry who is 6. I love this family. Yesterday they attended the last two hours of church which was great. Victoria wasn`t able to listen much to the classes as her son is a bit difficult (they have been told by doctor`s that he is autistic--which is really hard for them to cope with and even understand out here). This week we taught about Eternal Marriage is Gospel Principles. It went ok--it`s slightly frustrating when I have so much to say but can`t say it! I ended up bearing my testimony at the end of being sealed as a family. Of course I started crying--only when I talk about family--the spirit was thick in the room. Anyways, Rogner said that when I bore my testimony, he felt this burning in his heart, that he wanted to shout from the rooftops. I was thrilled!!! My very very simple testimony was actually of some worth. He`s says that he knows the Book of Mormon is true and will continue to come to church and learn more about the gospel!!

This week we visited more with Daniel and Slyvia. Both Hermana Arone and I feel that this family is prepared for the gospel. Both are very smart, educated. Slyvia is set in her ways--she was born a Catholic and will remain a Catholic. But when we were teaching our first lesson, I felt very clearly that this family is ready and that we should not give up, or be deterred by their firmness. On Tuesday we teach the Restoration which we are both nervous for but excited at the same time!

Here in Iquitos there is a very distinct difference between members of the church and other people. There is term here: conformista, where people don`t like to study, don`t like to work. Not very ambitious. Many drop out of school. Members of the church are different. They work hard, and they are blessed with good jobs. Jobs that allow them to provide very well for the family and give them the ability to attend church. They also desire to learn. It is amazing to see the impact of the gospel. Because the gospel is truth!! The truth will set us free. Only truth, and gaining knowledge allows people to rise from poverty. It is fascinating to see. Members are also happier. They have a glow. They are happy in their families. Families truly are treasures!!! Teaching families is the goal.

We also have a sweet boy named Elard that we`re teaching (age 15). He attends seminary at 5:30 in the morning everyday. He is always very attentive and his prayers are so sincere. Each time he prayers, he asks for help with his family problems. We have a baptisimal date for him in late October, early November!!

Oh to be a missionary!! I love being guided by the spirit. One day when the family we were going to teach wasn`t at home, I started talking to the next door neighbor. We eventually sat down at taught the Restoration to Basilio (60s) and his wife right there at the side of their house just as the sun was setting. It was totally your stereotypical missionary moment!! 

Well, I am doing well! Step by step it is coming. The language is challening, but I just pray like crazy! I can get the gist, but sometimes I get none of it. But it is all okay! I am learning, and studying. My companion is so sweet and patient with me. And God is so good--I will admit, there have been a lot of tears. But I feel the strength of the Lord every hour. He is my rock through all of this.

I love you all! And miss you!! 

Hermana Jackson

September 15, 2014

Finally In the Jungle!!

On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 11:43 AM, Kayla Jackson
Oh My Family!!

I am here in the jungle. Literally it is the jungle-- it appears that for the next 18 months, I will be doing something along the lines of camping. But I really like it!! The first three days were difficult. It is a completely different world. I have never seen anything close to this in my life, but after I received a priesthood blessing (in English!) all is well. Priesthood blessings really are amazing, in my life I always thought they were for very difficult times. But now, I see that they really have been the umph I need to get a good place! That and the prayers of all of you.

Well, my first area is Secada. It is in the south part of Iquitos (about 30 minutes from the mission offices) and is more of the outskirts. My companion is Hermana Arone,23, and she`s from Lima. She`s been out on the mission for almost 7 months. I love the people here already. And our little area (actually our area covers a large spot). They are the flock of the Lord that I`ve been chosen to take care of!! I am so excited to get to work (which we already have!)

Yesterday was my first time with the Ward. They are all so dear. The bishop is young, 28 years old, but he`s great. I had the opportunity to introduce myself during sacrament meeting which is always fun. The ward has about 300 people so pretty decent sized. They are the biggest ward in Iquitos I believe. During the second hour we teach Gospel Principles which I`m really excited about. I love teaching--it went well yesterday, but I didn`t know until Sunday so I didn`t have a ton of time to prepare. Next time though, I will be on the ball. For the third hour we had Relief Society. I love the sisters. The bishop`s wife taught the Joseph Fielding Smith (I believe) lesson on Temples. It was beautiful. She shared her experience of her marriage in the temple. It was only her and her husband. None of her family was able to attend. Here in Iquitos, it is very difficult to get people to the temple because of money. People here are so poor. The homes in our ward are unimaginable. I know that I joked about living in huts out here in Iquitos but really, it`s pretty accurate. People live in dilapidated homes made of tin and wood. And some people literally live in huts. At least 6 people live in spaces that are the size of your Master Bedroom. Only well off families have electricity. Anyways, her story was very touching. She bore testimony of the power of the temple and of it`s importance. It was more important to her to make covenants in the house of the Lord, than to have any of her family there when she was married. Other women bore their testimonies of well. They are faithful here. Please don`t take advantage of the temple. It really is such a privilege to live close by to many in Utah. I love the women here in Iquitos!

After we had ward counsel. There are a lot of financial difficulties in the ward. But I love that we have the opportunity to be ward builders and establish a stake of Zion here in Iquitos as missionaries! Well, our day to day schedule is the same:

6. 30  Wake Up, Exercise, and Get Ready for the Day
7: 30 is Breakfast. We have a pensionista who cooks all of our meals so I`m eating well! She is so dear. Hermana Sonar and her husband Cristobal. During every meal we sit and chat. Hermana Sonar`s mother who is 90 (this little frail old woman) talks with us. I love this family. They remind me so much of Grandma and Papa. The food is great. Rice and Chicken are the main things, but we have fruit smoothies for breakfast, toast. We`ve had spagetti--so it doesn`t look like I`ll be eating anything scary since we don`t eal meals with the member. 
From 8-10 is Personal Study, and then Companionship Study
From 10-1 we proselyte, do Service on Wednesdays, or have district or zone meetings. This past week we had a zone meeting has there have been some changes to the mission in terms of planning and teaching. All things that were not new to me as it was taught in the CCM. It was great. I love President and Hermana Gomez. Presidente doesn`t speak much English. Hermana Gomez does but she`s a no nonsense lady! I love them though, and I love their testimonies.
From 1-4 we have Lunch, Language Study (my comp studies English) and then an hour of training specifically for my first 12 weeks out in the field. 
From 4 until 9 we have dinner and then teaching.
We come back from teaching to plan and then prep for bed, so time is very short! 

Our apartment is like a townhome with the Familia Velez`s home (my pensionista). No AC and no Hot showers. But it`s not has bad as I thought. The weather here is hot but it`s really not that bad. But when it rain, it pours. Thank goodness for my boots. Oh! Here we either walk, or travel by motorcar (google it)

Spanish is coming along just fine. I feel like I can understand depending on the situation 60-85 percent. Talking is more difficult, but I`m not worried at all. I`ve only been here for 7 days so I know it will come! As for teaching, we meet with a lot of Recent Converts. I love Familia Quio. Roy, his wife Milagro, and there two sons Junior (12) and I don`t know the other one`s name.We`ve met with them several times--they are so dear and I love hearing their testimonies. I love teaching. It`s hard to communicate and understand. But I feel the help of the Spirit to prompt me what to say. We have 6 baptisimal dates--one family, Familia Mozombite and Junior who is 17. I was there when Junior committed to baptism. It was our first lesson. Apparently he`s been coming to church for the past 2 months, and no one knew he was not a member. He told us he wanted to get baptized and one day serve a mission! It was awesome. We also started teaching another family--Rogner, his wife Victoria, and their 6 year old son Larry. The spirit was so strong as we taught the restoration. There is power in the Book of Mormon. Rogner was very interested and said that he would read it as he saw that it was important! It was great. The people here are so sweet.

Well, I Love you all! I Love this work, and am excited to find teach and baptize. Know that I`m doing great in the jungle of Peru

Love Love

Hermana Jackson

September 4, 2014

Last Week in MTC

Hello Dear Family,
Another week down at the CCM and can you believe it--on Tuesday early in the morning, I will head out to Iquitos!! Out to the mission field we go. It´s weird how things are wrapping down here but really in the same breath just beginning. You won´t hear from me until not this upcoming Monday but the next (I believe that is September 15). However, if there is time at the airport, I may get to call! It will probably be early (like when you´re up Mom in the early morning) but keep your phone close--we´ll see. I think I will be able to. Well this week has had it´s ups and downs. I love hearing about everyone´s going ons. There hasn´t been anything new--it´s the same of just studying and having class.
Today I had such a marvelous experience in the temple. It was my last time going until I get home!! During the session, it was fine--I´ve recently come down with a cold has a lot of elders have been sick in the CCM, and since we´re all in close proximity it was bound to happen. I didn´t get a ton out of the session to be honest, but as I crossed over to the veil, I felt such a peace and love from the Lord. As I sat in the sealing room, it was amazing Mom--I felt our family. I felt Preston, Willis, Grandma Beesley and Grandpa Jackson. It was literally like a warm hug--that it´s not just me out here, but that they are all here with me. I could feel of their strength and their love for me. Kind of like a send off before I leave for the field. The spirit was so strong. I was overwhelmed with gratitude--in D&C it says that it may seem like a bold doctrine--that we seal both on heaven and on earth with the Priesthood of God, but those family ties are real. I felt it. I am so grateful for the house of the Lord. I am grateful for the strength I feel from not just you all back home, but from family on the other side of the veil. This week I received a priesthood blessing in which it said that I was set apart in the pre mortal existence to do a specific work. Being here in Peru is apart of that work. I feel the Lord and really our family right beside me as I study and prepare to head out. What an adventure ahead of me!!
We watched a devotional this past week with Jeffrey R. Holland, and he asked the question: Why isn´t salvation easier? Why is missionary work challenging. His response was that it wasn´t easy for the Savior. So there are going to be challenging days and that´s okay. It is such a privilege to be out here. Today as I was in the temple thinking about this past week and how it had been a little bit harder to focus and be positive, I was reminded what a blessing it was that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I could even be out here. That is the miracle of the atonement. And what a tragedy really it would have been if I couldn´t be out here in Lima Peru and soon to be Iquitos, doing the work of the Lord. His work is my work!!
I´m not sure whether you should post this letter to the blog--you decide you get´s to see it!! You are in my prayers for your lesson. This past week in Relief Society I was able to share the spiritual thought that the sister leaders usually do--I love being with the sisters!! I´ve been reading a lot of the conference talks--they are wonderful!! Especially Elder Nelson´s on showing your faith. Any truth is apart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love that when it come´s to any controversial matters in the world--turn to the Lord first. For his way is the only way to go. There is this awesome quote that we got from devtional. It was from the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast--maybe you can find the full thing but this was what I was able to write down. ¨Too many people are worried about being on the wrong side of history. History is not our God, God is our god. History is not our judge, God is our judge. Public Opinion is not our judge, God is our judge.¨ If you find the full thing, let me know! I want it! I just thought it was a powerful quote as the world continues to seperate farther and farther from God´s law. In 1 Nephi 18--it talks about Nephi as he build the ship. He didn´t do it after the manner of men but of God. Even Laman and Lemuel recognized at the end that the work was exceedingly fine. When we do things the Lord way, we are choosing the better way. These are interesting days!! But we can do it and do it well if we are on the Lord´s side! 
Well, I am alive and well!! I am ready to get out to Iquitos. I love you all--I am sad to here about the many that are going through hard times, they will be in my prayers when I fast on Sunday as well. I have´t gotten the letters, but they said a lot of mail was coming in today so I will check and see. Love you all--next email will be from somewhere out in the jungle!!
Hermana Jackson