Monday, September 28, 2015

Three Weeks in the ABM :)

Hey y'all!

The people here in Bentonville don't really have southern accents, and if they do, it's quite subtle. I figured I should start working on an accent before I get to the really southern towns in this mission. Sister Kitchen takes me to a few less sophisticated places in this area to prepare me for the rest of the mission. 

I wanted to start out sharing why I decided to serve a mission. This gospel has blessed my life so much. The Atonement has helped me out of some difficult times in my life when I let belittling and negative thoughts creep into my head. It gave me a constant light to focus on during those hard times. I know that because of the Atonement, Christ knows exactly what we are going through so He can help us! Not only does He know how we feel, but He also knows how to overcome it! If we let Christ lift us, we can do anything! I wanted to share this light with everyone! No matter what your circumstance may be, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will help you--even if everything is going great in life! In fact, that's the most important time for us to strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father, so those difficult times won't knock us down. This gospel has brought a happiness to my life that is different from the worldly happiness. I know where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going. My love for the gospel is so great that I couldn't help but to share it with others. 
A beautiful Arkansas sunset :)
I have met so many amazing people and I feel like their stories are important to share.
One of our investigators, John, is getting baptized October 10th (He's had a date since before I got here, but I get to see his baptism)! His wife, Jessica, was baptized a few months ago. They are so cute together! I have observed that faith has grown so much even in the short amount time that I have been here. I am so excited for them. We teach the newly baptized members for a year after their baptism, so we are able to go to their house often. Jessica loves to craft, so we will be decorating covers for our own copies if the Book of Mormon while talking about how amazing this book is! We are all really excited. 

Dave and Julie are the couple who were struggling to stay together, but after a mutual friend had them meet with missionaries, they decided to work things out. They have built their relationship back up on the foundation of Christ and are so amazing! Julie set a date for baptism in December, but Dave isn't so sure yet. We've been talking a lot about baptism recently, but we have decided to let Dave bring it up when he is ready for it. He has started to tell people that he is thinking about joining the Mormon Church, so that's a good sign! Their family has been so blessed with the gospel in their lives. They are such a great example of how the gospel blesses families. We are going to start teaching their daughter this week and we are so excited! She has already been coming to church a lot and even bringing friends!

Naoma is the 94-year-old deaf lady who we teach. She wants to join the church, but doesn't think we want her because she is so old and wouldn't be able to help in the church. But everyone in the ward already loves her and wants her to be there so much!

We tracted into a man named Brian and he listened to our message! We went back a few times and invited him to read the Book of Mormon. He is really interested and believes that he should ask God what He would want us to do which is exactly what we invite people to do! 

One of our members set up an appointment for two of her friends to meet with us two Fridays ago! They are so amazing! The first lesson (The Restoration) went really well and they understood everything. They asked for us to block off our Friday nights so we can meet with them. They are so much fun to teach! The next Friday we taught the first part of the Plan of Salvation. They had a lot of questions and concerns, but the Spirit was able to testify to them and get them the answers they needed. There were points in the lesson where we were all in tears or all laughing our heads off. We always look forward to seeing them :)

We have been trying to get a hold of Aaron, a potential investigator, but he has never been home--or so we thought. We saw him walking around the apartment complex one time and pretended not to see us. We are pretty sure he hid behind a building... It was kind of awkward, but that sometimes happens :/

We have had a few lessons with members to help them through hard times or if we just feel prompted to visit. The other day, we went over to a member's house to share a message with her. Her grandmother had passed away recently and we thought we would give her some support. Sister Kitchen shared a few personal experiences and I shared a scripture. I shared Alma 7:11-13 which talks about the Atonement. It is my favorite scripture of all time! After I finished sharing it and bearing testimony of it, she told me that she had been trying to find a scripture that gave a lot of comfort to share at her grandmother's funeral. She was so thankful that we came over and that we were an answer to her prayers. That scripture was definitely inspired and I am so glad that I was able to be a part of such an amazing experience.
The clouds here are so beautiful....and different from what we normally see in Washington!

We went tracting all day on Saturday. No one wanted to talk to us. They were all nice about it though! Even when we aren't able to teach, we still plant seeds in their hearts and hopefully those seeds can grow one day! 

Womens Conference was so amazing! I encourage ALL of you to watch it! Here's the link: 

Also, here is a great Mormon Message about the Book of Mormon (It's my favorite video of all time):

I'm sorry this was so long! Thank you for all of your support!

Love, Sister Jacobsen

Monday, September 21, 2015

Good Advice...

Hi Everyone!

Everything has already blurred together! Hopefully I don't repeat anything from last week's email. 

My companion is also the Sister Training Leader, so she often has meetings or exchanges with other leaders or sisters in our area. On Tuesday, I was dropped off in Springdale to be "babysat" by the sisters there while Sister Kitchen was in a really long meeting. We did service at a food bank, ate lunch, and then spent a few more hours doing service at a thrift store! It was really fun:) We also had a zone conference on Friday with President and Sister Loveland. I was able to see a few people from my zone at the MTC. We talked a lot about getting members involved in missionary work and how to be a better teacher. 
Sister Jacobsen with Sister Kitchen

The members in my area are so amazing! They tell us about how they share the gospel with friends or neighbors like it's no big deal!  One less-active member casually texted us and said, "I gave two of my friends copies of the Book of Mormon and they are read to have the first discussion on Friday at 7:15pm. I hope you can make it, otherwise, could you find other missionaries to come?" Sister Kitchen and I were so excited! Having members be so involved lets us focus on our purpose--to invite people to come unto Christ by helping them apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives. To the members reading this email: if you want to help the missionaries, share the gospel with your friends, go with them on exchanges, or find ways for them to serve. To the nonmembers reading this email: you should be nice to the missionaries because being a missionary is so hard emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually!

Volunteering at a preparedness fair.

I spotted my first the preparedness fair!
Last night at dinner, I was talking with a member about what we should do when there's a tornado. I told him that my family heard that it was a good idea to tie myself to a toilet, because usually, the toilet is the last thing standing in a tornado.  They thought that was so funny! Apparently that's NOT what you are supposed to do!  It is as simple as going into a room, preferably a bathroom, away from the windows. 
Bathroom: aka tornado shelter :)

Thank you for all of your love and support!

Sister Jacobsen

Monday, September 14, 2015

First Week in Arkansas!

Hello, Friends!

I don't even know where to begin! So much has happened in the past week!  While I was at the MTC, I was able to go the the temple with my zone! It was such a humbling experience to see all of my friends there with me. On Tuesday, I had a really rough day, but God knows how to answer prayers! We had a devotional with Bishop Gerald Causse, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, along with his wife.  
They talked about the exact things that I had concerns about! The Spirit was so strong in that room! I know that God knows all of us personally and knows exactly how to answer our prayers. They may not come in the way we expect or maybe even want, but He will answer them. 

I finally got to Arkansas on Wednesday! We came to the mission home in Bentonville and they fed us an amazing homemade dinner.  First, we went over some basic rules and guidelines and the next morning, we were all sent to our areas! I have been sent to serve in two wards here in Bentonville with Sister Kitchen!  She is so amazing!  She is so patient and kind.  She knows just how far to push me so I can learn and grow as a missionary, but not completely freak out. One of the first people we visited was this 94-year-old lady named Naoma. We ironed a few of her shirts for her and shared a message.  She LOVES mormons and thinks they are so amazing and wants to be a member, but is scared to come to church.  She loves to talk and talk and tell us really long, elaborate stories about her life.  She gave me one of her skirts to have from the 60's and I love it so much!

On my first Saturday in Bentonville, one ward had an Emergency Preparedness Fair at the church! We volunteered from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm. Most of the time we were behind the curtain giving candy and toys out at the kid's 'fishing' game. 

Because we are serving in two wards, we get to go to 6 hours of church.  It was bring-a-friend-to-church day for the first ward we attended!  We had five of our investigators there.  Most of them left right after sacrament meeting, but we were so happy they came!  In the second ward we attended, a brother was giving his farewell talk before he left on his mission. It was a crazy day, but the best Sunday I've had on a mission so 

far ;)

We have so many investigators!  I'm still trying to get to know their names and remember their stories. They have so much faith and I love all of them so much! I hope to be able to help show them the joy that this gospel can bring. I love this church and gospel so much! I know that I am called of God to share my testimony and love for the gospel.  I am so grateful for God's trust in me to do this important work.

Thank you for all of your love and support while I serve the Lord!

Sister Jacobsen

Friday, September 11, 2015

MTC....the happiest place on earth!

Hey Everyone!

It's been another great week at the MTC! About an hour after I sent last week's email, I got a bad cold.  I had a sore throat, headache, runny nose, and felt nauseous.  I'm feeling better now though! I just have to blow my nose ever few hours! God definitely helped me through and I was able to learn and feel the spirit just as much as everyone else here!  My branch president came up to me after church and said, "It looked like you were deep in thought today, what's on your mind?"  I laughed and told him that I was actually planning an escape route to the closest trash can and trying not to have to use it.  Even though I was feeling really sick last week, it was still the best week of my life!
The Sisters in my District

I feel like I've been here for months, but I also can't believe that it's already time to email again. The MTC does weird things to your perspective on time... On Sunday, I was able to watch "The Character of Christ," a devotional given to missionaries by David A Bednar.  It changed my life! Overall, it talked about how Christ turns out when the natural man would turn in.  He would always serve and love others, even when He was going through so much! 

I had a really rough day on Tuesday.  Sister Hannig and I were having a hard time with our investigators and didn't  know what the next step was to increase their faith. We asked our teacher, and he just told us to pray about it.  Honestly, I didn't like that answer because I just wanted him to tell us! Later that night, Dallin H Oaks came to speak with us.  He answered all of our prayers! After that experience, I know that God is always looking out for us and answers all of our prayers.  We taught another one of our investigators last night and her faith was so strong!  She followed through with our commitments and told us that she wanted to be baptized for that peaceful, comforting feeling (the Spirit) all of the time.  During that lesson, I opened my heart fully to God and let the Spirit direct me in what to say for the first time.  Listening to the Spirit makes missionary life so easy!  All you have to do is open your mouth, and God will teach them.

I know that God loves us and wants to hear our prayers.  He doesn't want us to feel unhappy, that is why He gave His only begotten Son to come to earth and not only suffer for our sins, but to experience our pains and afflictions so we don't have to feel alone in this world (Alma 7:11-13).

Sister Jacobsen

Provo Temple with my District

Friday, September 4, 2015

First week at the MTC!

Hello Friends and Family!

These first few days in the MTC have been amazing!  I've only had one full day so far, and it was definitely the longest day of my life--in a good way! We are always either in a classroom being taught, reading our scriptures, eating, or sleeping.  There isn't time for anything else! We are all here in the MTC not only to learn how to teach the gospel, but to come closer to Christ ourselves.  When we come closer to the Savior, we can't help but to have the desire to share the gospel with everyone and do so with the Spirit to guide us.  

I absolutely love my companion!  Her name is Sister Hannig.  We are so similar in so many ways.  We instantly became friends when we first met!  The other sisters and elders in our district are amazing as well!  It is amazing to see how close our district has become in such a short amount of time.  The elders are always excited to see us and talk to us.  I have never felt the spirit so strong for so long before!  I encourage all of the young men and young women who are able and worthy to go on missions to do so! 

Spiritual thought: Do we earn salvation?  We had an amazing lesson/discussion one day about this question.  An elder answered the question and he believed that we work for our salvation.  We go on a mission, accept a calling, and find opportunities to be involved in our church so that we can have salvation.  Then our teacher gave us this scripture: Mosiah 2:21 which reads, "I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants."  We think we can earn salvation by work, but God gave us that ability to do that work, so we are only giving what is his back to him.  The only thing we can truly give back to our Father in Heaven is our agency, desires, and thoughts.  That is the only thing that is truly ours! To the members of the church, we have covenanted to give everything to God because everything is his in the first place. Even after doing our best here on earth, we are still "unprofitable servants."  Through the Atonement and God's grace, we are saved  That is the most amazing thing!  His grace is sufficient.

This church is true. I know that as we accept Christ and become more like Him, we can be happy. I know that we can't even comprehend how much God loves each and every one of you!  I love all of you, too!  Thank you for the support and love you have given me throughout my life! 

Love, Sister Jacobsen