Monday, October 7, 2013

Exhausting but awesome week!

Hiya everyone!
This week was pretty tiring because I don't think I ever realise how much work moving is until actually doing it.  We had to move out of our old flat and into our new flat all in one morning and we were so tired afterwards! Then right after that we went and helped our investigator, Scott's mum clean her flat because she's moving.  Haha it was a long day but we were also really grateful for all of the help we got from our bishop and his wife, the Elders, and a few other members in the ward.  Our new flat is really nice and the location is especially neat.  It's in the original part of East Kilbride so it's really in an old Scottish village with cobblestone streets, and lots of wee stores and pubs.  We live right above a bridal store which I thought was kind of funny for a few reasons haha.  We have a big kitchen and even have a washer/dryer (a washing machine that dries as well) so we feel really blessed. 
A few miracles regarding our investigators: We're going to have a birthday dinner/party for Sister Ricks this Thursday at the Bishop's house (they're making Mexican food!) and our investigator is coming to that which we are really excited about! We were also really disappointed last Friday because our other investigator told us last minute that he wasn't going to come to General Conference, that he had already made up his mind.  But then we heard yesterday from a mutual friend that he had changed his mind and wanted to learn again.  So we don't want to get our hopes up but that was definitely a miracle and we're praying for the best! 
General Conference was amazing yesterday even though it was also a miracle that we were able to see it! We got a bus at11:15 am and it started at 1 so we should have had plenty of time but we didn't know that there was a marathon in Glasgow going on that day so the traffic was insane! We were basically at a stand still for most of the trip.  We were really worried because we couldn't tell where we were since the bus was taking an altered route but luckily, the bus eventually took us by the stake center where we needed to go! We ended up missing the first half hour of the session but it could have been a lot worse.  Between the sessions from 3 to 5 we went street contacting in Glasgow and that was a lot of fun! We even met a man named Fraser that accepted a Book of Mormon and when we invited him to go to General Conference with us he said he would go if he wasn't on his way to another thing.  But he gave us his number and we were able to set up an appointment with him and he said he would come to church next week!
New address:
15d Main Street
The Village
East Kilbride
G74 4JH
*If you're going to send a letter though it's best to send it to the mission home address:
51 Spylaw Road
EH10 5BP
United Kingdom
Thanks for all the support! Love you all!
Sister Jackson

Sunday, October 6, 2013

 At the Glasgow Art Gallery


Sorry that this email will be super short but due to a holiday yesterday where the library was closed and a missed train today from Glasgow after District meeting I only have about 20 minutes for email. Oops!
Here's a quick update on what happened this week.  On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Sister Training leaders again and surprisingly I went back to Irvine with Sister Passey.  So I went home with my mission mom haha.  It was cool to see familiar faces again. 
We're moving flats tomorrow morning.  We're moving to Main Street in the Village which is the original area of East Kilbride.  So it's supposed to be a nicer flat but the bad thing is it will be super noisy on the weekends because it's right next to a lot of shops and pubs.  Oh well, we're excited though! To distinguish us from the Elders we were asked to pick a new name that would be approved by the zone leaders.  So the Elders are now the East Kilbride elders and we will be known as The Village sisters.  Haha I thought it sounded pretty cool!
Yesterday was really sad though.  It was probably one of the hardest days on my mission.  Our investigator with a baptismal date in December dropped us.  We were so sad because he's been investigating for over 2 years and he was doing so, so good the past couple of weeks and he said that he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that the church is true but he feels like God has called him to another path.  We were devastated and nothing we said could make him change his mind.  But finally at the end we felt like we should just bear our testimonies and then I felt like we should extend one last commitment to him so I asked him to not make his decision until after General Conference.  I told him to have his question about whether or not he should keep investigating in his mind and pray about it and that he would find an answer in General Conference.  It was a miracle but he said that he would! We are going to be praying SO hard this next week going in to General Conference. 
Anyway, have to go but just know I love you all and miss you and thank you so much for your emails!!
Sister Jackson

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Great week! Last Monday we went in to Glasgow again and saw the Glasgow Art Gallery and Glasgow University.  They were both amazing! They even had some works by Picasso and Monet in the art gallery and they had a whole exhibit on the history of Scotland which was really cool to see. Learned a lot about where tartan came from. Unfortunately we got lost in Glasgow for a while trying to find the train station but a nice lady on the bus directed us where to go.
We met the Elders who will now be serving with us in the East Kilbride ward and they're really great.  There's Elder Cziesla and Elder Shubin. Elder Cziesla is our new district leader. He's from Switzerland and had to learn English over here so sometimes he's kind of hard to understand but he's really funny.  Elder Shubin is from Colorado but actually moved to Alpine, UT two months before coming out.  He is a new missionary so it's his first week here.
I learned how to make mince, tatties, and dough balls which I was super excited about--I now know how to make a really authentic Scottish meal! Also, I've found out that I really like cabbage and you eat it a lot here!
Our investigator came to church yesterday which we were super happy about! She tells us she wants to be baptised but it's just finding out when would be a good time that's the hard part.  Her husband isn't a member or interested in learning so that's what's tricky.  But she's going to London for the week and she texted us last night when she was at the airport and said that she had forgotten her Book of Mormon but then she realised she could get it on her iPad so she was happy about that and told us how she could read it on the plane and at night! That made our day:)
We also had a really good lesson with this less active family.  I brought my viola and Sister Ricks played the piano and we played some hymns for them.  They really appreciated it because the mom has had a lot of health problems (cancer, broken bones, etc.) so she hasn't been able to come out to church for a long time.  But she's doing a lot better. Her son takes care of her and he said that he wants to come back to church so hopefully we see them there soon!
The weather was milder today so we really appreciated that.  It's been really humid and grey skies every day but not much rain yet!
We're going to play football (soccer) for Pday with our district so I'm excited for that.
Love you and miss you all!
Sister Jackson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Great Week!

We had a really great zone conference last Tuesday where they talked about making goals for our individual areas and where we want the work to be for the next transfer.  Then we talked about what sacrifices we need to do in order to achieve those goals.

One thing me and Sister Ricks have been trying to do as one of our "sacrifices" to reach our goals is we're doing at least one bus contact every day. So we're trying to chat more with people on the bus and bring up the gospel somehow.  Not been the easiest thing (I don't know why but talking to people on the bus has always been a wee bit awkward for me because if they're not interested or they get offended then you still have to sit next to them the rest of the bus ride...) but we've already seen blessings come from doing this!

Our investigator set a baptism date this past week!! December 20th. When he said he wanted to be baptised then both me and Sister Ricks were kind of stunned and tried to act all cool about it but inside we were both going crazy! Haha. If everyone could remember to pray for him and this date we would really appreciate it. We both hope really bad that we'll be here to see it but if not, it was still a miracle that he set a date since he's been investigating for so long.

We also got in contact with our other investigator yesterday! We've been trying to get a hold of her for weeks but she's been really busy with her job and family and wasn't returning our calls/texts.  But then yesterday Sister Ricks just felt like we should go by her house and she was there and let us in! She said her and her husband had been just talking about us.  We were able to set up an appointment with her for this Wednesday and we're going to commit her to a baptism date then! We're so excited and know that it was definitely a miracle that we were able to see her. 

So we're encouraged to do 2 or 3 hours of community service a week and me and Sister Ricks just started volunteering at a local charity shop.  We're going to be sorting clothes, ironing them, painting furniture, and anything else that's needed.  It's been really fun and the owner kept telling us how grateful she was for our help and how she believes it's a blessing from God.  I definitely believe that when you serve others, you're really helping yourself more.

We had a really great Stake Conference yesterday for the Glasgow stake.  We went on the bus with a less active we're working with named and we played LDS Hangman the whole time (an hour and a half) so that was really fun haha.  President Brown spoke at the conference at talked about the importance of doing member missionary work.  So many good ideas that made me already think about how I want to be a better member missionary when I get home! Then the Stake President spoke about not being casual with church attendance and being late to it.  I liked the comparison he used.  He said, "Christ wasn't casual when He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, so why would we be casual when we go to partake of the sacrament each week?"

It's getting in to winter here so the weather's been getting colder and rainer but the leaves are starting to turn colors and falling off the trees so that's been neat to see.  Both me and Sister Ricks love to step on the dead leaves to hear them crunch but the sad thing is here everything's so wet and damp that the leaves are still pretty soft.  So it's a real treat when we find a crunchy leaf.  Haha kind of ridiculous but it did make me realise all the blessings I took for granted back home (even a super small blessing like a crunchy leaf!)

Anyway, great week that had its challenges but definitely had its blessings and miracles as well! Love you all and miss you!
Sister Jackson

P.S. Learned a few more Glaswegian sayings the other day.  We were talking to this older less active lady, Mary, and her son, Jack who come from Glasgow.  Apparently they say "quain" (queen) for "lady/girl" and "loon" for "man".  Then they say "fit like?" which means "what are you like" or "how are you doing?" So they would say something like, "Fit like m' quain?" which would mean, "How are you my lady/How are you my lass?"

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Me and Sis. Ricks
  Eating first chippy!

Chapping at Rowallan castle.  No one was home unfortunately.
Mexican food after district meeting!

Met a kilt-wearing storm trooper and Captain Jack Sparrow in the Glasgow train station this last Wednesday. They asked what we were doing in Scotland and we had a nice wee chat about the church! When I said we were Mormons they said, "oh like the Osmonds?"
Me and Sister Ricks in Glasgow last P day

Week of Firsts!

Hiya everyone!
This week was great in that we had a lot of wee miracles happen.  Me and Sister Ricks had prayed specifically that one of our investigators would make significant progress this week and it happened! We asked someone (who's been investigating the church for a couple years now) about baptism (again) and he said that he felt good about baptism in December.  Even though this wasn't as soon as we would have liked it's a huge step for him since he has been going back and forth between wanting to be baptised.  He also has been doing really good at trying to quit smoking and he hasn't smoked since last Tuesday!  This was a testimony builder to me that the Lord answers our prayers when we pray in faith and believe that He will answer. 

Another miracle happened last week after email time actually.  As we were leaving this man came up who had been investigating the church before and talked about wanting to come to the FHE we do on Monday nights and also get taught again.  This was really exciting for us!

This week was a lot of firsts for me, specifically in regards to food.  I had mince and dough balls for the first time which is a really common Scottish dish.  I really liked the dough balls even though Sister Ricks wasn't too keen on them.  I also had Mexican food for the first time on my mission--and it was SO good! We found a Mexican restaurant (the only one I've seen) in Glasgow after district meeting.  A member also took us out to eat for Chinese and I almost laughed out loud when they brought my food out with chips on the side.  First time eating chinese food with chips (french fries)! Have to admit it looked weird and tasted weird haha.  Also tried haggis for the first time! It wasn't proper haggis unfortunately (or fortunately) because it wasn't encased in the lining of a sheep's stomach and I have to admit, I was alright with that.  It wasn't too bad actually.  Tasted very similar to black pudding--kind of a spicy sausage taste.  Oh and I made lentil soup for the first time (which is super popular here) so I was quite chuffed with myself over that:)

Also, I chapped a castle door for the first time! We went and saw the Rowallan castle last week for Pday which was amazing!

Funny story: This man came up to us on the street and started talking to us like he knew us even though we'd never seen him before.  He talked about how he was reading the Bible again and started going off about this "Book of Georgia" he'd read that was all about Mary and Joseph apparently.  It was pretty funny:)

Another funny story: There was this big YSA talent show they held in Glasgow and me and Sister Ricks were planning on doing something.  I was going to play my viola and she was going to play the piano.  So I brought my viola with me everywhere to all our appointments since we wouldn't have had time to go back and get it and when we got to the talent show they already had all the acts planned and there ended up not being enough time for us to play.  I was fine with this but then when we left to travel back to East Kilbride, our train was cancelled and we got the wrong bus so we didn't get in to East Kilbride until later than curfew.  So we were both nervous and accidentally got off on the wrong stop so we ended up having to run back to our flat to try and get in as soon as possible.  The viola was definitely not that fun to have around at that point.  We were exhausted when we finally got back!

Great week! Love you and miss you all!

Monday, August 19, 2013

first chippy, exchanges, and a new investigator!

This week was so good! We were able to find a new investigator to teach which was awesome. He's 9 years old and his mum used to be in the church but has asked for her name to be removed. But she wants her son to learn and to get baptised. We've had two really good lessons with him already and the spirit was so strong in the one we had yesterday.  His mum was talking about her memories of going to the temple and of having family home evening with her kids and it was amazing to see the difference in her face as she talked about the gospel.  You could physically see a light in her eyes when she talked about how beautiful the temple was and how she used to teach Primary and take the kids on a walk to the temple.  We're going to have a family home evening with her and her family next week which I'm really excited for!

We also had exchanges this week which was a lot of fun.  I actually went back to Irvine and was with Sister Ryan, one of the sister training leaders over the Paisley and Glasgow zones.  Then her companion, Sister Passey, went to East Kilbride with Sister Ricks.  It was fun going back to Irvine and bumping in to people on the streets than I know. Sister Ryan has been out about 13 months so she's experienced and I learned a lot from her.  We talked to a lot of people on the street and even got some potential investigators! She also took me to get my first chippy (fish n chips) from a take out restaurant.  So good.

Went to my first district meeting last Tuesday which was really good.  Every Tuesday we take a train in to Glasgow and then our whole zone meets at a church where we then break up in to our separate districts.  Our district leader is Elder Parsons and his companion is Elder Lewis (who was in my MTC district).  They are in the Airdrie ward. Then there is Elder Thompson and Elder Phippen and Sister Hulet and Sister Watt who serve in the Motherwell ward.  Glasgow is so cool except really easy to get lost in as we found out last Tuesday when we tried to find the train station after District Meeting.  We were walking around for a long time but on the bright side, being lost was a good excuse to talk to people!

The weather has been crazy this past week! Sunny one minute, pouring rain the next.  I've heard that's common Scottish weather.  We were walking home from church yesterday and it was nice and sunny.  Then the clouds came in and it started to rain.  I have never seen so much rain coming down at once! All my clothes were completely soaked and dripping withing seconds.  Then before we got home, the sun came out and it was warm again.  Ach aye I don't know if I'll ever get used to the weather changes here haha. Funny story: we went out of our flat one morning and saw that it was pouring rain so we went back in to grab our umbrellas.  When we got back outside again it had started raining.  Well at least the weather isn't ever boring here! I've learned the importance of waterproofing everything.

Church yesterday was good but also kind of nerve wracking because I had to give a talk (on fasting) and then do a musical number in Relief Society.  The musical number was fine but the talk was pretty scary because I hadn't had much time to prepare for it.  And one of the speakers had called in sick at the last minute so they asked me to speak for longer if I could.   So I kind of felt like I was rambling the whole time.  Oh well, at least it's good practice for the rest of my mission, being put on the spot! Also, our investigator came to sacrament meeting which was awesome! And plus, one of the less-actives we've been teaching was reactivated yesterday.  He was baptised 3 years ago from yesterday.  He told us how he found the church and it was really cool.  The sister missionaries just went up to him on the bus and invited him to church and then he kept coming! It made me motivated to talk to more people on the bus even though those can be sometimes awkward situtations.

All in all, a great week! Miss you and love you all!
Sister Jackson

P.S. They have these really weird bugs here that our flat has been "infested" with lately.  Not really, but we've seen a lot of them.  They're called Jenny long-legs and they're like daddy long-legs except they have wings and fly. 

My new address is:
19 Falkland Place
West Mains
East Kilbride
G74 1JQ
United Kingdom 

Monday, July 15, 2013

 Knickerbocker Glory

At the beach

July 15

It's been crazy nice weather this past week! It hasn't rained once and it's been warm (well, warm for Scotland).  It's funny when we'll ask someone how they're doing and they'll say, "Oh, it's roasting!" and it will only be like 19 degrees and cloudy.  People are definitely used to the cold around here. 
 Last week was a lot of fun! For P-day we went and played football on the beach.  We even had a former investigator join us.  It felt so good to be active and running around.  We all got super sunburnt though because for some reason no one thinks to wear sunscreen in Scotland (probably because you usually don't need to).  The beach was pretty packed because all the schools just got out for summer holiday but it was still really fun!
 Oh, and me and Sister Birch had our first knickerbocker glory this week, which is also a tradition here.  Think Harry Potter book 2 (?) when Harry goes with the Dursley's to the zoo and they get ice cream.  Dudley gets a knickerbocker glory and then gets scared by the snake so Harry gets to finish it.  Anyway, that's what I first thought of when I heard the name.  But I thought it would be this big thing of ice cream, but actually there's very little ice cream in it.  At least the one we had.  It was ice cream, jelly (jell-o in the states), digestive biscuits bits (kind of like cookies, but REALLY good), sprinkles, whipped cream, and a bunch of different colored sauces.  It was really colorful and almost didn't look real.  But it was so good.
 Me and Sister Passey were able to play a musical number in church this Sunday which was a lot of fun.  The mission president was able to borrow a violin from someone in Edinburgh and bring it down so Sister Passey played the violin and I played my viola.  We played "I Need Thee Every Hour" with some improv in it.  It turned out really well I thought and it was funny because after we were done you could hear an audible gasp from the congregation.  And someone started to clap which was funny.  But I was so grateful for that opportunity to play.  Actually I was wondering if I would even be able to because right after I got here the pegs on my viola expanded so they were completely stuck and I couldn't tune at all.  I think it happened because of the change in climate/humidity and elevation. I was really worried but we were able to take it to a music shop here in town and they fixed it for free.  I was so grateful for that! 
 We are teaching this sweet old lady who is so hilarious and fun to teach.  She is in her 80's.  She has a lot of health problems and she lives alone but she is so kind and is my favorite person to teach.  When we taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ yesterday we laid out pieces of paper with all the steps on it.  We had one that said "You" and one that said "Heaven" and laid them on the floor and talked about what steps we need to take in order to get from one to the other.  We asked her what she thought about how we can get from here to heaven.  She said "well you could try to swim but I don't know if that would work too well." She says things like this all the time out of nowhere and it's so funny but I love teaching her because she is so sweet and it's easy to have the spirit in the lessons. 
 That's it for this week, love you and miss you all!
Sister Jackson

July 8

This week has been great! In large part because of the weather. We're in a heat wave right now as they call it. It should get up to 28 degrees this week (which is really hot for Scotland) and be sunny for the next 10 days! So that's awesome.
It amazes me every day how much Scottish people can talk haha. We stopped a man the other day on the street and he was super nice but he was blethering to us for over an hour! I love talking to people here but sometimes I wonder how they breathe with talking that much nonstop:)
For the Fourth of July we had a barbecue (indoor) and we ate American food which was awesome! We had beef burgers, potato salad, and apple pie. And we've been singing the patriotic hymns this week in our companionship study.
We got a new district this week since 3 of the elders in it went home. We now have 5 sisters and 2 elders in our district. But it's a lot of fun and everyone gets along great!
One miracle this past week. We were talking to people on the street and as we were walking towards this man on the street I felt like I should talk to him. I almost didn't but I'm really glad I did because we found out his brother has been meeting with the elders in our district. When we talked to him about the Book of Mormon he actually said, "oh my brother has one of those. He won't let me see it because he's always reading it but I'd like to have one." It was awesome! He gave us his address for us to come by sometime this week.
Another miracle: An investigator accepted a date to be baptised! She's been meeting with missionaries for years but she finally agreed to a baptismal date on August 4th. This was a testimony builder to me that we can't give up on people and we have to be persistent because you never know what can happen! We had done a zone fast this Sunday that every companionship would have an investigator with a baptismal date going in to August and it was a miracle to see this happen for us so quickly.
We took the train to Ayr yesterday for the mission president broadcast and it made me laugh when I looked out the window and saw a bunch of steeples. It reminded me of seeing all the steeples back home of all the church buildings in Utah. Except the ones we saw were castles. But it still made my day:)
Everything is going great and the work is really progressing here!
Sister Jackson

Monday, July 8, 2013

 A castle in Irvine that was built in 1297
 A building that used to be the school house that Edgar Allen Poe went to as a lad
 They have these little statues all over in Irvine.  It's the symbol of Irvine--a lion holding two sceptors in its hand
 Funny statue I found

July 1

This past Wednesday we were able to go on a historical tour of Irvine and that was really neat! We saw the school that Edgar Allan Poe went to and we saw some old castles and buildings that were built in the 1500s or earlier.  It was crazy! Also that day we tried an authentic Scottish food that is common for the locals to eat.  They're called bridies and they're kind of like mince pies except it's ground beef instead of lamb.  It's onions and ground beef and a sauce of some sort in a pastry.  It was SO good.
We had an interesting experience a few days ago.  We were leaving an investigator's house and this lady walking her dog saw us and stopped us.  We didn't even say anything before she proceeded to tell us her life story and her experiences with religion.  She told us that she had a really good friend who was a member of our church.  After talking for about 15 minutes we managed to talk with her a little and Sister Birch asked her why she had stopped us.  She thought for a moment and said, "I thought you could answer my questions." We quickly asked her if we could talk with her and help answer her questions but then she told us quickly that she wasn't interested and walked off soon after that.  It was kind of sad and all I wanted to do was to be able to talk with her and help her but she wouldn't let us.  Learning to accept that other people have agency has been a lesson that I've learned a lot this week.  For instance, we had 8 specific people tell us that they were planning on coming to church yesterday.  None of them showed up.  At first I was really disappointed but then it made me think more about agency and about how Heavenly Father feels when all of us make promises or commitments to Him and then don't keep them.  It was pretty humbling for me to think about.  I am so grateful that we have the ability to choose and especially choose to follow Jesus Christ.  Because that's how we really learn how to trust in Him and that's when our faith grows the most. 
Yesterday, all the missionaries in the ward and the ward mission leader gave the lesson the last hour.  It was a combined relief society and priesthood class.  We talked about how the ward and the missionaries need to work together in order for the work to really progress.  It was really neat as we discussed all the many ways that everyone can do missionary work.  It made me think about how missionary work was so hard for me to do (or so I thought) before my mission but that it doesn't have to be! Even doing something like inviting someone who is less-active over to your house for games and a spiritual movie can bring that person back to church, but beyond that, help them gain greater friendships with people in the church and just help them feel better. You never know the impact you can have on people by reaching out to someone and being an example of Christ.
Hope ye's are doing well!
Sister Caryn Jackson

Monday, June 24, 2013

  Last meeting with our whole zone.
 Last meeting with my district since 3 of them are going home this week.  From left to right: Elder Neu, Elder Smithers, Elder Jenkins, Elder Robinson, Sister Passey, Sister Birch, and me.
On exchanges in Beith with Sister Francis and Sister Birch.

Another smashing week in Irvine!

This week we did exchanges with the Beith sisters.  Me and Sister Birch went with Sister Francis in Beith and Sister Ashdown went with Sister Passey in Irvine.  I loved Beith! To me, it's the epitome of a wee traditional Scottish village.  Narrow cobblestone streets and old wee shops.  Very hilly.  The Beith sisters opened that area 12 weeks ago so basically all they do is finding.  It's crazy--they only have 20 people come to church on a good day! I realized how lucky we are to have a ward of 120ish in Irvine.  We did a lot of chapping and street contacting while we were there.  A couple funny stories from that.  One door we chapped this really tall lady with big red hair opened the door and as soon as she saw our name tags flung her arms out wide and shouted, "Hail fellow worshippers of Jesus, halelujah!" It was pretty funny and I almost started laughing. After we started to talk to her we learned that she'd been taught by the missionaries before but that she's not interested because she has her own religion--Born Again Christian.  She was very polite though.  Another time we chapped this door and met a lady who was a Jehovah's Witness.  She wasn't interested in our message at all and she believed in some very strange things but she was probably one of the nicest persons I've met!  And we did find some common things between our religions.  Oh, also we leave a card in people's chapping boxes with our number on it when they don't answer.  Usually nothing happens from this but we actually got a text from someone who says they are atheist but is curious about our beliefs.  Hopefully something happens from this!
Another funny thing is when the Beith sisters opened the area the ward was so excited to have missionaries that they put this big announcement about it in the newspaper.  It said "The Sisters are Here!" or something like that. Anyway, ever since then they've kind of been treated like celebrities and they'll have random people as they drive by honk at them and wave.  We had a few people do that to us while we were there. I felt pretty cool.:)
We had transfer calls yesterday and me, Sister Birch, and Sister Passey are staying together for another 6 weeks! I was excited about that.  Our new district leader is Elder Crosby, who is actually friends with a girl I worked with at Jamba Juice.  Our new zone leaders are Elder Thompson and Elder James.  We're having 25 new missionaries coming in with only 19 leaving.  So there's now about 180ish missionaries in Scotland and Ireland!
Something really cool happened this week.  We talked to a man on the street and he said that many years ago he met with the missionaries.  One of them gave his wife a Book of Mormon that a family (who were members) from his home town had written their name and address in.  They asked that whoever got the Book of Mormon would write them a letter just so they would know where it had ended up.  So his wife wrote the family and they ended up being pen pals for over 30 years! They never joined the church but I think that's such a cool story.  And now they have these good friends that are members!
Yesterday President Brown and his wife spoke at our Sacrament meeting.  That was really neat although they didn't mention missionary work at all which surprised me.  They both talked about the importance of families and it was really good to hear--especially because of how much the family is being attacked and degraded in society today. 
So this Wednesday we're having our P-day (besides emailing) since none of us are moving and I'm really excited because a member  is taking us around to see some historical sites in Irvine and we're also probably going to see the beach and the castles there! Should be fun!
Sister Jackson

Monday, June 17, 2013

 Black pudding!
 It was crazy, a couple days ago we had some true Scottish summer weather haha.  It was pouring rain, freezing cold, and so windy! I thought it was hilarious that the days before had been so nice and then that day we were wearing our coats, scarves, gloves, boots, and hats.  So this is us all bundled up for summer! :)

Blood pudding, s'mores, and a freezing day in June!

So I'm actually kind of confused about what "pudding" actually means here.  So far I've had black pudding, red pudding, Yorkshire pudding, and just normal pudding.  And they're all different things! I've asked people but no one really seems to know...  Anway, we ate black pudding this week and did not die.  Barely. It looked nasty--kind of like a charred hamburger patty or a pile of charcoal with little bits of something in it.  (One reason it might have looked like that because we wanted to make sure it was cooked all the way before we ate it.  Yeah. It was.  Oh well, better to be safe than sorry! Especially with black/blood pudding.) But it didn't taste that bad actually! I think it was the thought of what it was that made it so hard to eat haha.  But we survived!
Yesterday we had dinner with Margaret Howard, Rita Green, and Margaret's 15 year-old grand-daughter, Caitlin.  Caitlin wants to be a proffesional chef and she made dinner for us which was amazing.  We said we'd bring dessert so we brought stuff to make s'mores because we wanted to show them a true American dessert.  Well tried to anyways.  They don't have graham crackers here so we brought the closest thing we could find, shortbread cookies.  We roasted the marshmallows over Margaret's stove.  It turned out really good though! Everyone loved them and thought it was so cool that they were eating real American s'mores. 
After dinner we taught Caitlin about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and planned to invite her to be baptized.  Once again, it's crazy to see the opposition that comes right before you do this! As we were teaching, Margaret fell asleep on the couch but right before we asked Caitlin what she thought of baptism, she sat straight up and said something like, "Is that you Raymond?" (Raymond is her 40 year old son who lives with her and who was on holiday). That happened a couple more times.  Margaret or Rita would interrupt with something random every time we tried to keep Caitlin focused on the lesson and on baptism.  Then Caitlin would get distracted and start talking about other things.  Well, we finally asked Caitlin to be baptized and she said she would have to think about it. 
Something really cool happened this week.  There's a less-active man in the ward named Alec Hutcheson who we were able to see this week and who has been starting to come back to church.  When we told that to the elders in the ward they said they've been trying to get in to see him for months and months but haven't been able to.  This was a miracle that showed to me that just because someone doesn't join the Church because of you, doesn't mean that someone else won't be able to touch their heart in some way so that they will feel the Spirit.  I know this definitely didn't happen because of us though.  The Lord knows when and how someone will accept the Gospel and prepares them for that time. 
So my nickname here is officially "the wee one." Everyone calls me that for some reason.  I guess it's because I'm the shortest one in our companionship but it's funny because I'm still taller than most of the people we teach.  It was kind of embarassing actually but also funny because we were in a teaching appointment and I couldn't figure out how to sit on the couch because if I sat all the way back my feet wouldn't be able to touch the ground and if I sat on the edge it was harder to sit like that for a long period of time.  The man we were teaching, Craig Mury, noticed my predicament and laughed and called me "the wee one." And it's stuck. 
Couple interesting things I've found in Scotland:
--One funny thing a lot of people do here is pre-bless their food.  So we'll be at a dinner appointment and they'll say, "The food's already been blessed so don't worry about that." It's just interesting because I've never seen that before. 
--In the summer it stays light for most of the day.  And I mean most of the day.  The sun comes out at 4 a.m. and doesn't set until about midnight.  It's been really nice for teaching in the evening but also makes it hard to get to sleep:)  But this will change in the winter and then it will be dark at 4 p.m.  That will be strange. 
--New phrase I learned! "It be a braw bricht moonlicht nact ta-nacht." Can anyone guess what that means? It's harder when you hear someone say it because they talk so fast and slur all the words together. 
--People use the word "thingmy" for anything! They use it as a noun, verb, adjective, basically everything they can't think of the name for.  When we talk to people we just have to kind of guess what they're referring to.
That's it for this week! Hope everyone is doing well! Cheers!
Sister Caryn Jackson

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

 Driving through Edinburgh
 Met Danita Knickerbocker's brother at the All-Scotland conference! Danita was in my single's ward last year at BYU. Me and Elder Knickerbocker.
In front of one of the many "banana" trees they have here in Irvine.

 Really gross hamburger

4 days in a row without a rain jacket! Brilliant!

The weather has been awesome this past week.  Sunny and warm.  I've even gotten a little tan which is crazy haha.  I think it's the "week of summer" they have here before the year of rain. 
Yesterday, Sunday, was amazing! We had 8 people we've been teaching come! After much persuasion we finally convinced the lady in her 80's that refused to come to church because she didn't think she had anything suitable to wear.  But she came yesterday and she loved it! She says she wants to keep coming.  This was definitely a miracle, no question.  Also, a man who's in his 30's and was inactive for many years finally came back to church with his mum a little while ago, was able to pass the Sacrament for the first time yesterday! That was really cool to see.  The woman I invited to be baptized my first day also came.  I don't think I've told that story yet, but if so, I'll just tell it again:)  She has been a heroine addict for most of her life but her father is a less-active member and she's been investigating the church.  On my first day we taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the need for baptism.  Sister Passey set it up perfectly and right when I said, "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be--" her father cut in and said, "What's the Church's views on gay marriage?" It was completely random! We hadn't talked about gay marriage at all in the lesson! This was proof to me that Satan is very much aware of what we do on our missions and is trying to stop us in whatever way we can.  Anyway, we finally were able to bring the conversation back to baptism and I was able to ask her to be baptized. She said yes (which I wasn't expecting so I kind of just sat there in shock for a little bit) but then we found out she has to be off the methadone program she's on to be completely free of any drugs in her system before she's baptized.  That was kind of sad because it will probably be a few more years before she can be baptized but it's still a miracle how much she's progressed and that she was able to come to church yesterday.  I know that Satan is real, especially in those kinds of situations, but I also know that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us and that we just have to keep trying to do what's right and He won't let us be tempted or tried above what we can handle. 
We had a funny lesson yesterday at church.  Elder Smithers, our district leader, was teaching the Gospel Principles class, which is mostly for investigators, less-actives, and those that have disabilities so they learn a little bit slower than others.  He was teaching about the temple and showing pictures of some.  He showed a picture of the baptismal font in the Salt Lake Temple and one of the ladies we've been teaching asked, "They have real cows in the temple?" Everyone was laughing and we explained that they were just statues, but as I thought about it later I realized how strange a lot of the things are in the temple to someone who hasn't grown up in the church.  I think I take that for granted sometimes. 
We had the nastiest food yesterday.  We got held up in a lesson and we didn't have time to go back to the flat to eat dinner so we decided to go to a corner fish 'n chips shop and get something to eat there.  Sister Birch and Sister Passey ordered a cheeseburger and were expecting a normal cheeseburger.  No.  They deep fry everything there! It was gross.  The hamburger was breaded and red inside and dripping with grease.  We all felt so sick that night and resolved to never go there again.  Speaking of food, a member gave us black pudding yesterday (otherwise known as blood pudding, blood sausage, or black sausage) in a package to take home and cook.  We're kind of scared to but I want to try some just to say that I have.  It really does look pretty dodgy haha.  Everyone thinks it's strange that kebabs are banned in the U.S. (because of the dodgy meat) but I'm not surprised.  They definitely have different health standards over here. But also, have really good food.  For the most part haha.
That's it for this week! I miss you all!
Sister Caryn Jackson

Monday, June 3, 2013

Feel free to write Sister Jackson at this address:

Sister Caryn Jackson
29 Ranken Crescent
Irvine, Scotland KA12 OPW
United Kingdom

 "Martin, the Devil Cat"

Week 3

This week was great! Most of our teaching has been with less active members and recent converts but we did get two new investigators this week! One is a man in his 80s and the funny thing is he's almost deaf so our first lesson with him was interesting haha.  I tried to ask him a question and I had to repeat it 4 times because he couldn't hear me.  And even though I was almost shouting in the end he still couldn't hear me so I just gave up and let my companion Sister Passey do the "talking":) We also have a few potential investigators.  One is a woman who is 94 and looks like she's 70.  She has so much energy! She immediately hugged us when we came to the door and proceeded to spend 30 minutes telling us all about her kids, grand children and great grandchildren.  She says she's very set in her ways but has invited us to come back and teach her.  Another is a man who was very stoned when we talked to him but he said he would read more from the pamphlets we gave him and we've set up a time to meet with him again this week. 
So we have a few drunks that we see regularly that have become our friends.  One of them is always telling us that we're good girls and to watch out and be careful of strange men.  They'll also tell us parts of town that are pretty dodgy that we shouldn't go to.  I think it's pretty funny and kind of ironic that a drunk man is telling us to watch out for other drunks!
It was Fast Sunday yesterday and we had an amazing sacrament meeting! I would say at least 90% of the ward are converts and have the strongest testimonies!  We also got to see a man we've been teaching who was just baptized a couple weeks ago, pass the Sacrament for the first time! It was really neat to see that.
We visited with a couple yesterday which was really interesting.  The man is from Pakistan and is Muslim and he was telling us all about his religin, Islam.  Although there definitely some differences between the two, it was cool to see all the similarities that it has with the LDS church. We're also meeting with a family from Czechoslovakia and it's been interesting to hear about their culture as well. 
We had dinner with a member a couple days ago.  I think I mentioned a little about her in my first email but she is the sweetest lady! She insists that all the missionaries call her "granny" because she says we're all her grandchildren.  She loves all the missionaries but she especially loves the elders.  She has them all take a picture with her and then she hangs them all up on her walls.  Also, on her wall are a ton of pictures of her two great loves in life--Elvis Presley and cats.  She has a shrine for Elvis on her wall I swear.  But she also loves Christ more than anyone I know and has many pictures of Him on her walls as well.  She says the phrase "silly cookie" all the time and tells us constantly, "Now you take care or I'll scalp your backside!" Haha she's hilarious.  She also has an amazing conversion story.  Her and her husband joined the Church soon after they got married but then her husband got offended by something and had his name removed from the records and forced her to do the same.  She wanted to be in the church so badly but had to wait 53 years until after he died about 10 years ago. She is probably the strongest member I've ever seen!
So I need to explain the picture I'm sending.  Almost every day we walk on this street called Martin Avenue.  And every day we see the same cat in front of the same house, on the same piece of sidewalk.  Every time! But it's kind of creepy because he's always watching us with this evil death glare on his face.  So we've named him Martin, the Devil Cat. 
We're going to Edinburgh tomorrow to have an All Scotland conference which will be really cool.  I'm excited to see all the missionaries in Scotland!
Thanks for everyone's love and support! I miss you all!
Sister Caryn Jackson

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

 We got to go go-karting last week for our P-day! So fun! And, I beat my companions.  No big deal.

The can of haggis that has been in our cupboards for who knows how long and we're all too afraid to open.  I have yet to try haggis.  Not sure if I will or want to...
This past week has been great! And really exciting! We're teaching a lot of less actives in the ward as well as recent converts.  But we've also gotten a few new investigators which is really exciting! A couple of cool stories about that. We're teaching this woman who was baptised last September and then never went to church after that.  But we found her again and are teaching her and she came to church this week! We had dinner with her and a member yesterday and we had lamb and totties.  So good! I wish we ate lamb in the states because it really is delicious! Then a few days ago while we were chapping we met a man and I thought he wouldn't be interested in the gospel at all.  He kept saying that the idea of God is impossible and that he only believes in science.  But we shared the Plan of Salvation pamphlet with him and he actually looked interested.  He said he would be willing to meet with us again so we're going to go see him tomorrow.  I've been amazed at how many times already on my mission I've seen the Spirit touch people in ways that we never could.  So many times I've thought, oh they wouldn't be interested in learning about the Plan of Salvation or Joseph Smith but we teach them anyways and they want to meet with us again!  It doesn't happen every time but a lot more than I'd have thought!  It just goes to show that this is the Lord's work, not ours. 
Another really cool story.  We've been teaching a less active lady in the ward who's about 88 and has Alzheimers and cancer.  She hasn't come to church in years because she says she won't go until she has a nice dress to wear.  We've explained to her that that doesn't matter--we have quite a few women who come to church in slacks--but she refuses.  But she's hilarious and seriously the nicest person I've ever met.  And I've never met anyone who loves Jesus more than her.  But she forgets most of what we teach her (she still believes in reincarnation and that we'll be born again after we die no matter how many times we teach her the Plan of Salvation:) and she's a wee blother to the max so it's hard to teach her most of the time. Anyway, her son came over yesterday while we were teaching her and we found out that Mark was almost baptised when he was 10 but then backed out at the last minute because he "didn't feel settled about it."  He's been researching every religion out there since then and he's in his 40s now.  He was telling us that he liked the Mormon church and the people in it but there were some points of doctrine that he disagreed with.  Like how we believe we can continue to progress and eventually become like God.  And he doesn't believe that Christ died for our sins.  He just believes that Christ was a nice man who was trying to share with the world a nice message but that he was murdered and that's it.  He also was confused about how Joseph Smith found the gold plates.  While he was talking on and on (he takes after his mum) about this I admit I had some doubts and I was thinking to myself that he would never accept the gospel.  I felt sad because I really wanted to share with him what we believe but he wouldn't let us talk very much.  Finally, Sister Passey cut in and taught him briefly about Joseph Smith and how he got the plates.  She showed him a copy of the Book of Mormon and we had an hour long discussion about the pictures in the front of it and about Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ.  We explained to him that there were a lot of false rumors about the LDS church and he was willing to hear us out.  Anyway, it was an amazing lesson and I was shocked to see how receptive he was to it!  He said that he would be interested in coming to church and meeting with us again.  We also invited him to a baptism we will be having next week so that he can see that.  Mark kept saying that he felt something while he looked at the pictures and that he was impressed at how calm and solid the Mormons are.  That they have a purpose in life.  It was such a neat experience and strengthened my testimony even more that we have to talk to everyone about the gospel.  Because everyone needs to hear it! 
Weatherwise, we've actually been really lucky this past week.  It's been sunny and warm and today was the first day it's really rained a lot.  Everyone keeps telling me that what we've had isn't typical Scottish weather and I believe them.  But still, it's been nice!
I haven't played my viola yet but I've actually been able to play the piano a lot more than I thought I would! Hardly anyone is musical in this area and as soon as they found out I play the piano somewhat they immediately asked me to play for Relief Society and different ward and stake meetings we've gone to.  Because they usually just sing the hymns a capella.  Hopefully I'll be able to play my viola for a musical number or at a cottage evening sometime.  I'm planning on playing it during some free time today during our P-day just for fun.
So here's a little bit more about the food here.  They almost always eat mince (like ground beef) or lamb or another type of meat and totties (potatoes).  They'll also have cooked carrots, califlower, peas (their peas are so good!), or cabbage.  And they drink soda a lot over here.  They call it juice.  And they'll almost always have biscuits or sweeties or puddin' for dessert.  Those are all words for cakes or candy bars or basically candy.  Haha I'm kind of glad we walk so much so I can get more excercise!  They also have cream and custard a lot over here which I'm actually not that fond of.  I've been told I need to have a Scottish breakfast sometime while I'm here.  A Scottish breakfast is usually blood pudding, haggis, and sausage.  Doesn't sound too appetizing honestly.  They have a lot of Indian restaurants here but unfortunately no Mexican food!  Peanut butter is pretty pitiful here too.  Which is a shame since it's basically my favorite food. :)  But still, I love the food here and it's all been great!
Some interesting words/phrases:
They pronounce the word police as "pole-iss" with the emphasis at the beginning.  And they prounce garage "gare (like stare)-ij."  I hear the words "wee" and "aye" all the time as well.  I don't think I've ever heard anyone say the words "little" or "yes":)  They'll also say "I donna ken" a lot which means "I don't know." And "I canna do it" which is "I can't do it."  They'll also say "cheers" or "ta" for saying thank you. And everyone says "definitely" like "defi-net-ly", emphasizing the "net." 
I rode a double decker bus for the first time yesterday!  I probably was a little more excited than I should have been...haha.
Anyways, that's it for this week!  I miss all of you a lot but I'm so grateful to be out here in Scotland serving a mission for the Lord!
Sister Caryn Jackson

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Sister Passey, me, and Sister Birch on our first day!"
 "Ok, I don't even know how they can even make cars as small as they are here in Scotland! They all look like American cars but just squished down into miniature size."
"I also went chapping for the first time this week! Chapping is how you knock on doors over here.  You flick the mail slot so it makes a knocking sound."