Thursday, February 19, 2015

Letter # 3 - February 19, 2015

To everyone I love-

It has been another great week in the MTC. The Lord has played such a role in everything here, I am so grateful I get to see His miraculous power every day. 

This week the most exciting thing was Skyping an actual member who lives in Albania! She was so nice and she loved to talk. It was really scary and I didn't really understand anything she said. The Albanians are funny because if you say something wrong they will just correct you. I was trying to say 1820 because we were talking about the Restoration and she just stops me and says, "No," and then says it for me. It is actually nice because then you know you are making mistakes. It was really neat to talk to an actual person there though! I am starting to love the people there, even though I haven't met them!

This week, our district has been struggling with health. I was actually pretty sick on Monday morning and Motra Ariza, my favorite sister from Chile is having a mini little surgery today. But the miracles I have seen out the the past week have been amazing! The Lord has blessed me so much and he has also blessed Motra Ariza. When she went to the hospital she actually sat next to a missionary who served in Albania! No coincidence there. And he told her some amazing things that she needed to hear. I know that the Lord is with us every step of the way! I have seen it every day this week! 

On a more non-spiritual note, everyone in our district makes fun of my companion and I because we have problems remembering our fake investigators names. They are these really complex Albanian names and we struggle remembering them. So pretty much every time we talk to them we have to ask them their names again. I also have really learned I need the gift of tongues for this language. I have never been able to roll my Rs and I guess it is a requirement in this language. I am praying that someday it will come to me!

This week, we sang Called to Serve for the first time since I got here and I kind of had an epiphany that I was a missionary! I know that sounds a little silly, but I realized, I really am called to serve and I have a new love of that song now! 

This week was definitely full of ups and downs and I have realized, missionary work makes me so happy but it isn't always a happy, joyful road. And that is why we have our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and He is there to comfort us. His burden is easy and His yoke is light. Missionary work is all about Jesus Christ. Nothing I ever do or say with matter because it is about Christ and His work. I love that I get to be a part of it! 
Thank you for all your love and support, I love you all! 

Love, Motra Jackson
A picture of me and my companion at the Temple.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Letter # 2 February 12, 2015

To all the ones I love-

Another week down at the MTC. Time is flying by here, which is suprising because we have 16 hour days. Everyday consists of class, food, gym, and study time! People have been asking what I do all the time, and that is really it. We study the language and the gospel all day. The only real breaks we have are for devotionals and on P-Day. It is a lot of work but I also feel like 9 weeks is not enough time to learn the language! 

My companion and I get along great. She is from Idaho and worked all summer pulling wagons with horses. She is very low-key and easy going. I think we balance each other out because sometimes I need to slow down more and she helps me with that!

Our zone is awesome. It is composed of the Hungarians, Estonians, and the Finnish. We all understand the complexities of learning a hard language. We have all started to pick up other words from each other though. We always say "Oh nem!" which means "Oh no!" in Hungarian. Also, Dmitri Howard, from Alta is here in my zone!

Our district is doing good also. I think after 14 days of being with each other, we are all really close and it is true. I think that is why you make life-long friends on your mission because you are with them through the ups and the downs. 

We are teaching our fake investigator right now. He is one of our teachers and he is pretending to be Catholic. The good news is I can understand most of what he says. The bad news is I usually have no idea what to say back besides yes. But we taught him the Restoration yesterday. I've been trying to memorize the first vision in Albanian all week. It is amazing- the more I say it to myself the more it confirms to me that it is true and it strengthens my testimony.

Well I will admit this week, I have thought multiple times, why didn't I just mark "I am not interested in learning another language" on my mission papers. Albanian is really hard. You conjugate not only the verbs but also the nouns depending on their place in the sentence. It takes me 10 minutes to conjugate one sentence. But I have also realized Heavenly Father trusts me enough to learn this for the people of Albania. He knows I will get it eventually. 

I got to watch Character of Christ this week by Elder Bednar. Although I have seen it before, it was more amazing as a missionary. He reminded the missionaries that Christ always turned outward when we would be tempted to turn inward. And he said, missionary work is really about the people and not about the missionary. 

I really do feel quite lucky to get to be a missionary! They changed the age only 5 years ago and I always think that I was one of the lucky ones who got to go at 19. I am so excited to go share the message of the gospel with the people in Albania!!

Love, Motra Jackson

Also, for anyone who was confused about my address this is it:

Sister Emilie Catherine Jackson
2007 N 900 E Unit 45
Provo, Utah 84602

Also, I don't have Lyndesie Smith's email but will someone  please tell her thank you so much for the doughnuts! And I love her! 

Us being silly at the Temple.

With all my books studying hard.

With Sister Pierce and Sister Ariza

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Letter #1 February 5, 2015

Family and Friends!

I cannot believe I am writing this first letter from the MTC. After saying our goodbyes on Wednesday, they whisked me away right to my first Albanian class. I have already taught 4 lessons all in Albanian! I will say the language is tough but it is getting easier every day. 

My companion is Motra (sister) Henderson. We get along really well together, I could not have asked for a better companion. She is really into sports and she reminds me of Brittany because she is really competitive.

I have to tell you something funny the Albanians do. After a lesson they kiss you on both cheeks. Our investigator did that right after our first lesson and anyone who knows me, knows that I felt pretty uncomfortable. It is something I will have to get used to.  

We have 6 sisters (including me) and 3 elders in our district. I really have already come to love them all and we get along well. 

Sitting down to finally write, my mind is really blanking but I will say we had a Sunday Devotional with a member of the 70 and his wife talked all about the fact that we have one shot. One shot at a mission. One shot to make the MTC count. One shot at each day to come closer to the Savior. And that has really stuck with me the last couple of days. Everytime I feel like it is too hard, or I don't want to keep learning Albanian, I think about that. Although I miss you all so much, I heard this phrase that describes my feelings. "When you are on your mission, all you will think about is home. But  when you go home all  you will think about is your mission." I have really come to realize that this is an opportunity to serve the Lord.

 I keep thinking of my missionary commission that Brother Andersen gave me. "How Great is my Calling!" It really is. I love being a missionary. That sounds so cheesy and clique but I love knowing more about the gospel each day! 

There is a special spirit here that I don't think resides anywhere else, not even the field. The MTC is just a great place! I am doing really well and I thank you for all your love and prayers. I can feel them here and I love you all!

Love, Motra Jackson

Also for writing, Dear Elders or handwritten are the best. I will only see emails on Thursday and reading them doesn't count as our time so I will have enough time to write. Dear Elders and handwritten ones are easier however because I can read those whenever I get them! I will write Thursday as well. 

I forgot to bring my camera! Sorry!! I will send pictures next week.

I feel like I didn't write that much so I will tell you what we do here. We go to class everyday for about 11 hours. We study, study, STUDY. We study the scriptures, preach my gospel, and the language. I feel like there is SO MUCH TO LEARN.

We get to go to the temple today because it is P-Day!

I am so busy here, I hardly have any time to think about anything besides missionary work, but my favorite part of the day is the 15 minutes before we go to bed. Our branch president, who I love, challenged us to have those 15 minutes with the Savior. It has really come to me a lot to me because I spend most of the time praying that I will understand this language. 

The coolest thing is that our last lesson, I could pick out some of the words she said and she said that reading the BOM makes her feel peace in her heart. So the language is slowly coming!

We have three teachers. They all served in Albania so we ask them questions but apparently, the mafia is really nice to the missionaries there and they really respect them because we are American and we dress nicely hahah. 

I really can't remember what else has happened this week. We study and learn and teach and that is about it! We also have fun though and our district is becoming really close because we are forced to spend so much time together.

It is hard to adjust to having a companion because I like doing things on my own but I can see why we have them and why they bless us. She is teaching me how to be more patient and she is helping me with my language so it works out! 

I will try to remember more to say next week! Writing is harder than I thought. 

Love you all.