Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week #103

Hi Mom!

Wow so sad that Missy died! Sorry to hear that. I wasn't too attached to her so I was surprised that I was sad when I heard that. Bummer that Tanner is going to miss Cameron. I like both of those guys a lot. I'm glad I have some time to spend with Bennett before he goes.

This week was great. Collin got interviewed for his baptism yesterday. He's all good to go for Saturday. It's going to be a great service! 

Cassidy is pretty much all ready to go as well. We have a couple of lessons we're going to teach her this weekend and then she'll be set for next weekend. She's so ready. Her family is such a great support for her. She's awesome! 

I'm really excited to see you all and meet my Nephew for the first time haha! Love you so much Mom. You're the greatest! 



A picture sent to me by Max Demke of his former companion and Jackson.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week #102

Hi Mom!

This week was the best week of my entire mission! That is not a joke and it is not an exaggeration! It really was the greatest week I've ever had!

Thursday night we got a call from Elder Christiansen, our district leader. He told us some crazy exciting news that almost made my heart stop beating. He told us that we aren't having zone conference this transfer, which means I don't get to give a departing testimony. Bummer right. WRONG! The reason we don't have zone conference is because we're having a surprise mission conference tomorrow! The best part is, President Uchtdorf is going to be there! He's coming here on vacation and decided to come and meet with the Ohio Cleveland Mission. How legit is that! 

Then on Saturday we went to Kirtland with Cassidy. I don't remember if I told you but a few weeks ago, Elder Kitchens and I were sitting in ward coordination meeting and we both had the same prompting to take Cassidy to Kirtland. It was definitely inspired! While we were there, we got to teach the Word of Wisdom to her in the School of the Prophets, where it was originally revealed! SO POWERFUL! Not very many missionaries get the chance to do that! Later on in the tour of the historic sites, we talked about coming to know if the Book of Mormon was true. She immediately started to cry. The spirit was so strong! After that, we went and toured the Kirtland temple. That tour was good, it was more historical than it was spiritual which was a little bit of a bummer. On the drive home, we were planning on setting a baptismal date with Cassidy. Before we got the chance to ask her about it, she turned to us and asked if we would set a date with her! It's not very often that your investigator tells you to set a baptismal date with them! We were planning on inviting her to be baptized on the 12th of August but she is going to be back to college by then. The 5th of August she'll be on vacation so that's out too. We decided to go for the 29th of July, the Saturday after I go home :( I was wishing that I could be there, but I was just excited for her to have a baptismal date! 

Within seconds of setting a baptismal date with Cassidy, we got a text from Head Quarters. It was a referral for a guy named Collin. The text said he met with missionaries in Pennsylvania and that he wants to be baptized "Like ASAP!" Well, sounds good to me! Once we got home from Kirtland, we set up an appointment with Collin for that night. We got to know him a little bit and went over the baptismal interview questions and he nailed every single one! He's so prepared! 

That night, after our lesson with Collin, Elder Kitchens says to me, "Dude do you want to go get a soda? The only thing that is going to make this day any better is a soda." Right after he said that, we get a text from John, Cassidy's brother. He just asked us if we were busy on the 22nd of July. I told him that we didn't have anything planned for that day yet. His response was awesome! I have to quote it because it's so cool! He said, "Okay cool. I think Cass knows she wants to get baptized. She told me she is going to pray about what date she should get baptized on and she was thinking the 22nd or sooner" You can imagine my reaction to this text! I started screaming, I was so excited!!!!!!! I'm going to be here for her baptism! We also set a date for her to go to the temple to do baptisms on the 29th of July

Yesterday we met with Collin and set a baptismal date for the 15th of July! No that is not a typo... He's ready so there's no point in waiting! Collin is going through a little bit of a rough time so in our lesson we asked him what goals he has for the next couple years. His goals are as follows:

1. Be baptized
2. Receive the priesthood
3. Serve a mission
4. Go to college

The only 21 year old kids that I know who have those goals are members of the Church! Collin is so dang prepared! Sometimes you have to work hard to find new investigators and sometimes Heavenly Father hooks it up! Oh I forgot to mention! Collin came to church on Sunday! The Bishop got up and turned the time over to the congregation to bear their testimonies. Collin leaned over to Elder Kitchens and asked "Is it cool if I get up there and bear my testimony?" Elder Kitchens said, "I don't see a problem with that." He proceeded to walk up there and give one of the most heartfelt testimonies I have ever heard. He talked about the joy that comes from living the gospel and how he knows that this restored gospel is true! What a boss! I also bore my final testimony in the state of Ohio! Weird...

So All of that good stuff is why it is safe to say this is the best week I've ever had on my mission! Loved it! 

Elder Kitchens and I have been having so much fun! We're just working hard and being chill with people. We've totally figured out how to be real with people so we have a lot of people that tell we can come back. We're killing it! 

Love you so much Mom! Just know your son is pushing hard to the end! Having 2 baptisms in the next 3 weeks! Now that's the American dream. 



Jackson wore out his shoes with only a few weeks left, so these are the "Grandpa shoes" he got to replace them.

Goofie Selfie!

Jackson and Elder Kitchens with Cassidy at the Kirtland, Newell K. Whitney Store.

Jackson and Elder Kitchens in front of the Kirtland Temple

The Kirtland Temple

Jackson and Elder Ktchens

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Week #101

Hi Mom!

This week was totally wicked! Still having a ton of fun and loving the unity that Elder Kitchens and I have. We're killing it here in Sandusky! That's fun that Bennett had a friend get baptized this last week. I definitely wish that I had been a better missionary when I was in High School. 

Super cool experience this week with Cassidy! She has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it every day! She's doing so good! This last week, we asked if she had a chance to pray about the Book of Mormon. Tears immediately came to her eyes. She then told us that earlier that week, she was having a terrible day. Everything was going wrong and she just felt bad. She went down to the lake, only a few yards from her home, and began to read from 3nephi 19. As she did so, she felt a great deal of peace. There is no doubt that she received an answer to her prayers. We then taught a powerful lesson about the Doctrine of Christ. The spirit was so strong there! At the end of the lesson, we asked if Cassidy and her family wanted to go to Kirtland. They all lit up when we asked! You could tell it was a special place for them. Then, on Sunday, when we asked when they wanted to go, Cassidy said that she feels like she needs to go and she needs to go soon! We're going this Saturday! I can't wait! The spirit will be so strong there! Cassidy also said that she would be comfortable with setting a baptismal date this week. It'll be a big week for Cassidy. So stoked!

None of our other investigators are really moving forward at all. We did find a new investigator named Robert that has some awesome real intent. He said that he's willing to be baptized if he comes to know that the Book of Mormon is true. We found him through contacting. He's dope! He also gives us rootbeer when we go over there, so that's a plus haha. He's way cool though. 

I can't remember anything else that happened this week. All I know is time is going by way fast and I'm having tons of fun! Can't wait to see you guys in a month. Love you mom! You're the best.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Week 100!!!

Hi Mom!

Holy crap Bennett is growing up! I can't believe he has already graduated and has been through the temple! He's such a stud! I definitely remember those days. I look back on it and it seems like it was all a dream. I feel like my life before my mission is all just a fantasy haha. 5 more weeks and my mission will be a fantasy! 

This was such an amazing week for me as well! Elder Kitchens and I get along SO well! I don't know if I have ever laughed harder than I did this week with him. We work so hard and it's a ton of fun. Elder Ellsworth and I worked hard too, but it's different when you're with a missionary who is experienced. I don't have to lead everything out anymore. We're doing really great! Elder Kitchens and I bike pretty much all the time. We both love biking. It makes the day go by faster and you have way more people to talk to than if you're just in the car. We both wheelie a ton haha! Elder Kitchens crashed twice this week on his bike and has to get new handle bars today. I crashed once and broke the reflector off my bike. We get people that honk at us all the time because we pull fat wheelies haha! It's awesome!

This week we taught some bomb lessons! Cassidy is doing good. She's reading and praying everyday. She still doesn't feel that she has received an answer yet though. We asked her how she felt about the 22nd of July and she said that she still doesn't know if she'll be ready by then. Cassidy told us she doesn't want to set a baptismal date yet. She is unsure about when she'll be ready. We'll try again to set one with her. 

Jordan is still not reading. We're most likely going to have to drop him which stinks. He's so cool and would be the coolest Mormon ever! It would be a huge blessing to his family but he just isn't acting on the invitations we give him. When we read the Book of Mormon with him he retains it so well! He seems like he really wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I hope that he'll start reading.

We picked up a new investigator named Laquanna. She's super nice! We tracted into her. She said that she has never really been involved in religion. Her knowledge of the bible and of Jesus Christ is very limited. She has a great desire to learn. She accepted a copy of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We committed her to read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon and we'll be going back this weekend to follow up.

Elder Kitchens and I are definitely being blessed!  We received a real referral this week! One that didn't pull a gun on us! Her name is Sandi. She has a friend that is a member and she wants to meet with us. She has 3 or 4 kids and is a single mom. We haven't taught her yet but we'll be going over on Saturday to teach her. I'm stoked!

Backstory to another miracle, there are a ton of foreign people that come work here in Sandusky for the summer. So on Sunday, we went to church and there was this random chinese guy that spoke very little english. He walked all the way to church! Probably between 2 or 3 miles. His name is Michael. We went over this week to drop his bible off that he left in a member's car and he let us right in. We talked to him about how he found our church and he said that he just typed the name "Jesus" into his maps and found two different churches. He said he prayed to know which one to go to and felt good about going to ours! MIRACLE! We have a member that speaks chinese so we'll try and get her out teaching to him. 

I don't know if you remember Abbagail from a few months back. She's a former investigator. She texted us this last week and asked if we could come over to answer some of her questions! We went over and answered questions that she had for 45 minutes! She rattled off questions left and right. It was really cool! She is moving in about a week. Hopefully we'll be able to send missionaries to her where ever she moves to. 

This week was a total blur! I feel like it went by in 17 seconds. Like I said, Elder Kitchens and I have a lot of fun together. An example of me laughing super this week actually happened this morning. So Elder Kitchens took his handle bars off of his bike so that he can put new ones on today. We decided to try riding it without the bars on. As soon as Elder Kitchens starts going, he heads strait for a tree, and it just so happens that it's rather difficult to turn when you have no handle bars. He connected pretty well with the trunk of the tree! Hahaha it made me fall to the ground laughing! 

Well I love you all so much! Hope you have a killer week! 



Jackson and his previous companion, Elder Ellsworth.

Jackson and his new companion, Elder Kitchens, on their bikes all the time.

Jackson says, "How I feel every night, cuz we work so hard!"

Selfie stick pics!

Jackson after riding home in the rain.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Week #99

Hi Mom!

HOLD UP FOR JUST A MINUTE! Please don't get rid of the jeep before I come home! I need that thing to still be around! I have been deprived of driving it for the last 2 years. I've got a connection with that thing! It's been too long since I've been on 2 wheels in a car haha... That's a story for another time. 

This week was beyond busy. We were having trouble seeing all the people that we needed to, mostly because of zone conference. Zone conference was amazing. The spirit was so strong there. There were many times during zone conference that I was fighting back tears. I only have one zone conference left and there is no doubt that I will be crying at that one. President Brown taught about the different kinds of temptations that we have to endure in this life time. He definitely gave some helpful insights. 

Before I forget, we had one of the craziest experiences ever this last week, right after Zone Conference. So we got a media referral. Someone requested a missionary visit and judging by what it said online, they were very interested! We drove to the address which we were given to find a pretty home out in the country. We parked in their driveway knocked on their door. A large man answered and slammed the door right in our faces. Then immediately opened it again and said "that means to leave!" Utterly confused, we slowly turned to begin walking to the car. He came up right behind me and started yelling in my ear to hurry up and get off of his property. He continued to do this all the way down the driveway until we got in our car and started backing out. As we were backing out, he turned around and lifted up his shirt, revealing some kind of a pistol tucked in his pants. We have absolutely no idea why he was so mad or what happened... It was crazy.

On a better note, Cassidy accepted the invitation to be baptized! We invited her to be baptized on the 22nd of July but she said she didn't know if she wanted to go for then. We told her to pray about it. We'll follow up with her this weekend on what she is thinking about the 22nd. She is so prepared! I love teaching her because her family participates so much. I almost feel like we don't do any of the teaching! Her family does such a great job at testifying which invites the spirit so strongly! It's the best!

Jordan is doing really great as well. We have been emphasizing the importance of reading the Book of Mormon so hopefully he'll keep that commitment this week. 

I almost forgot to mention that I'm getting a new companion tomorrow! I didn't think anything was going to happen with our companionship! Elder Ellsworth will be going to Medina and my new companion is Elder Kitchens. He's a transfer behind me so he'll be fun to work with! I have only talked to him once before but I've heard that he is a really fun guy! Should be a fun last transfer. Also, I'm no longer district leader! Our district is getting absorbed into the Lorain district. My district leader will now be Elder Christiansen! So excited to have my former comp as my DL! 

I'm so happy for this last transfer! I'm now realizing how little time I have left. It's crazy! I'm going to work my hardest! Love you so much Mom! You're the bomb! See you soon!



Jackson and Elder Ellsworth with Sister Bierce, who takes them to the yacht club!
Jackson having a bonfire with Justin.

Jackson fishing on P-day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week #98

Hi Mom!

This week was pretty great! Elder Ellsworth and I have been working really great together and are continuing to find amazing people to teach. We picked up 3 new investigators last week and have already found 2 this week with hopes of picking up another one tonight! We are insanely busy this week. We have a lot of appointments set and also have zone conference for the majority of Friday. I'm excited to learn from my leaders. 

We finally got back in contact with KJ! We have planned to see him this evening. He's an awesome guy, the only problem is, he just goes with the flow. So even if we have an appointment set with him, he tends to be out with his buddies or at the store or something. He has tons of potential though! 

Not only did we reconnect with KJ, we met back up with Dustin!!!! We drove past each other, heading opposite directions and when we saw that it was Dustin, we flipped a quick U and chased him down. We set an appointment for that night and helped him organize his shed. We ended the night by helping him burn a couch in his fire pit in the back yard. It's been a long time since I've been to a bonfire! That family is great! They're going to be out of town for the next couple weeks so we'll catch up with them when they get back in town. I love that family! I think we'll at least get them to church before I go home! 

Jordan is having a little bit of a hard time right now. He is still struggling with the word of wisdom which is putting a great deal of stress on his marriage. We're going to have a have a little heart to heart chat with him this week. We asked him if his wife would be interested in joining us for our lessons but he said that she's not for the whole religion thing. I think we'll be able to start teaching her though. She definitely doesn't understand the blessing that faith is in life. 

Boo is one of our new investigators. No, that is not a typo... When we asked for his name he said, "they call me Boo." So that's what we call him. He's definitely on the hood side but he's a really deep thinker! After we taught him the Restoration, he told us that the Book of Mormon might be the missing piece to the puzzle! He's way prepared! I love teaching him. We're having a church tour this weekend, where we will hopefully have a few non-member families come and tour the church. It's not a big event but hopefully we can get a few of our investigators there and help them have a desire to come on Sunday. 

Funny story, while we were teaching Boo, one of his daughter's hamsters got out and ran outside! Elder Ellsworth and I spent the next 10 minutes chasing the dang thing! We got it to go back inside but man that thing was fast! I finally cornered it and got it back in the cage. Boo couldn't help us because he's blind. We're going to try and figure out how to get him the Book of Mormon on disc so that he can listen to it. 

Cassidy is doing great! She felt the spirit so strong in our lesson! She cried as we talked about the importance of prayer and the holy ghost. We invited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon this week so we'll follow up with that and see how she is feeling in our next lesson. She came to church on Sunday which was great for her! She's been coming for the past month. We're going to try and set a baptismal date with her this week. She's awesome!!!!

I love it here in Sandusky! I'll be so sad if I have to leave for my last transfer. I think you're guess is right Mom. I would be very surprised if I didn't end here with Elder Ellsworth as my companion. I love this work and I love this area! I also love my family and can't wait to see you guys soon! You're my favorite Mom! I hope you have a good week! Tell Bennett Happy Birthday for me! I love that little sucker! Hope he's safe at Lake Powell. I love that place. Love you Mom!


Jacky Boy

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week #97

Hey Mom!

I can't believe it's already time for Bennett to go on a mission! I love that kid! I know he'll be an amazing missionary! I think Argentina would be a cool place to live for 2 years. I think even more so it will be an amazing place to teach the gospel. 

It sounds like you guys are crazy busy right now! I remember vividly graduation and how fun that was. Mom I can't believe you've had 3 kids graduate high school now! And all your kids are out of elementary school?! That's nuts. I feel like just yesterday we were living over on E Nance Circle. Back in the good old days, when life was simple. Climbing trees, kick the can, sandboxes. That's all I can remember from that house haha! 

Back to the present, this week was great! We have been working super hard to find new investigators and re-establish contact with some other investigators. We haven't been able to contact KJ. We stopped by a few days ago to try and see him but he wasn't home. His sister said that she hasn't seen him in like a week or so. No one really knows where he went. He basically fell off the planet. Bummer cuz he was awesome!

Jordan is doing good. We haven't set a baptismal date with him yet. He is struggling with reading right now so we need to get that to the top of his priority list. We're going to try and set a baptismal date with him this weekend hopefully. He's great! Love him and his family.

We didn't get to eat with Dave this last week but we're planning on eating with him this weekend. 

We had a couple miracles happen this week that I'm stoked about! 

First, we are going to start teaching Brother Baer's grand daughter! Backstory: Treena, Brother Baer's Daughter, and Hannah, Treena's daughter, got baptized at the beginning of this year. Cassidy, Treena's other daughter, the one we're going to start teaching, was up in Tiffan, Ohio for college. She didn't take the lessons but she has been coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon. Cassidy's family is very excited about the gospel so we didn't want to pressure her on top of what her family is dishing to her. So, we asked John, her  brother that joined the church out in Idaho last December, to invite her to take the lessons from the missionaries. She told him that she would pray about it. Her answer was YES!!! I'm so excited to start teaching her! She will be a great investigator and a wonderful member of the church. She already comes to church every Sunday. Huge miracle! I'll let you know next week how that goes.

Second, Elder Ellsworth and I were out tracting and contacting, handing out free bible cards and talking to people about the Book of Mormon. We gave this couple a card and told them that we would come visit them this week. They seemed pretty excited. About 10 minutes later, we got a referral for someone that wanted a bible and a Book of Mormon. It was the brother of the couple we talked to. He had never read the Book of Mormon and was very excited to start reading it! His name is Earnest. He's the coolest gangster out there! Then later we were tracting this apartment complex and this guy was super drunk. He really wanted a bible so we told him to call the number and continued knocking doors. On our way out of the building we walked past his door and he bolted out of his apartment and gave me the phone. It was a sister missionary that spoke broken english. I was assuming that he couldn't understand her so I ordered him a bible haha! I told the girl that I was a missionary but she didn't understand what I was saying so I pretended I was Eric, the guy we were calling for. Such a weird experience haha. 

This week was great! Love you guys and hope you have a fun week!



Jackson with a mouth full of goldfish crackers (some things never change!)

Jackson sent these pictures of a nest with eggs and a baby bird, to Eliza, because he knows she loves all things animals!