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."
Hiya everyone!! (They look at you weird if you say "hi" over here)
Hope youses is doing well!
My first area I've been assigned to is Irvine, Scotland.  I'm in the Paisley zone of the mission.  I'm in a companionship of three with Sister Birch and Sister Passey.  Sister Birch is 23 and is from St. Anthony, Idaho.  She is super smart and really fun.  She's already graduated from BYU-I with a degree in philosophy.  I love it because she quotes Disney movies all the time too and understands my movie references haha.  She also loves milk just like me! Our trainer is Sister Passey who is 19 and  from Bear Lake, Idaho.  She is an amazing missionary already, even though she's only been out for 3 months! She is really tall and loves sports--especially volleyball and basketball.  She is super funny as well and very hard working.  One funny story about her was that she worked before her mission cleaning out septic tanks and sewers.  She's told us a lot of crazy stories from that haha. Overall, we all get along great!
We live in a house actually, but we still call it a flat.  We have a bedroom, bathroom, a small kitchen, and a living room.  So it's actually pretty nice for a missionary flat! We have a washing machine but no dryer so we hang dry all of our clothes.  It was really interesting though to find out that everyone here does that! Everyone has a clothes line in their garden (they call yards gardens over here) which was funny to me, becuase it rains so much that I wouldn't think they would have a lot of opportunities to dry their clothes.  Also, because it rains so much no one cuts their grass until it's really long.  I also learned that almost no one here has a computer because they're so expensive.  Technology is pretty scarce over here and we've had all of our lessons so far in the dark because people won't turn on their lights very much since electricity is really expensive.  Irvine is a pretty poor neighborhood and people live a lot more simply.  Houses are a lot smaller here compared to the U.S as well. 
All the houses and buildings here look so old! Driving from the mission home to Irvine, I saw so many castles and old houses that looked like they could fall apart any second.  But they're all beautiful I think.  And SHEEP!  Oh my goodness, I've never seen so many sheep.  All we saw driving on the bus to Scotland were green fields of sheep (well fields of grass with sheep on them, but you know what I mean).  I'm still waiting to be able to teach the gospel to a sheep here because unfortunately I haven't seen any in Irvine yet.
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. The roads are super narrow as well.  I'm going to send a picture of the biggest truck we could find (well, the only one we could find...but still...) and it's still smaller than a lot of normal cars in the U.S.! Also, funny story--for some reason cars here will speed up instead of slow down when they see someone crossing the street, so we've had to be really careful haha.  Busses and trains are super common here but we are still mostly walking everywhere. 
Everything really is bright green here! I was kind of heistant to believe the pictures I saw before coming here, but they're true! The sky is always gray but the grass and trees are beautiful!  Also, there are a lot of flowers here because they grow so easily.  It's been gray and rainy the past few days but it was actually sunny our first two days here! We all got sunburnt crazy enough. 
I love the people here! The accents are so cool! (even though some I still can't understand very well).  Most people are pretty small here too.  Haha benefits of being short! I fit in pretty nicely:) People here are very blunt and will talk non-stop for hours--trust me, I've had experiences with this.  There have been many lessons where the person we're teaching will talk for the whole time and we'll squeeze in a 5 minute lesson at the end.  But it's been so much fun.  In one woman's closing prayer for our lesson, she said, "God, please bless these wee lassies and keep them safe.  Please don't let them talk to any strange men.  They can talk to strange women, but not strange men.  Because they're all queers."  It was so hard not to laugh! But honestly, I have never met so many kind people than I've met here.  One of my favorite members of the ward is called Sister Cuddles becuase she cuddles (or hugs) everyone she meets! 
The work is going well!  We've had problems with a lot of our appointments falling through and I've been pretty knackered (tired) but all is well! We're planning on inviting four people this week to be baptized which is awesome! 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.  No one has post boxes here.  Chapping isn't very effective most of the time, but yesterday we got a potential investigator this way! He says he doesn't believe in God, he believes in science.  But we were able to talk to him a little bit more and I didn't think he would be interested but he accepted a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, said he would read it, and allowed us to come back another time to talk with him!  Such a cool experience!  It's interesting talking to people over here becuase most people don't believe in God because of all the wickedness that goes on in the world.  And I've learned that we hardly ever teach that families can be together forever when we go chapping or street teaching because many people don't want to live with their families for eternity.  I was really sad learning that, but it just made me even more grateful for my family and friends back home.
We went to ward council a few days ago and that was a very intersting experience and different from what I'm used to:)  The bishop and most of the men had tattoos all up their arms and they were drinking (soda, fortunately:) and arguing with each other.  But I've learned that's how a lot of Scottish people are.  Very stubborn and like to argue with each other.  But there are a lot of strong members over here!
People dyeing their hair bright colors is common over here, especially among the younger people.  I've seen pink, purple, orange, blue, and green so far.  Also, drinking, smoking, and drugs are huge problems over here.  It's sad to see how many people get involved with these things and how much it can damage their lives. 
Me and Sister Birch were "kebaptized" this week!  It's a tradition for new missionaries to eat a kebab their first week in the mission.  Kebabs very popular over here even though they are an asian dish.  Kebabs are huge piles of donner meat (sheep) on naan bread with onions and salad and salsa.  SO good! But I couldn't eat half of mine and it was the small size! 
Well there's so much I wish I could say but I have to leave soon.  Just want to say I love and miss you all so much! Can't wait to hear back!
Sister Caryn Jackson

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013

This week was super busy but super fun as well! Basically every day we're either studying the gospel, learning about the gospel, teaching the gospel, or sleeping (with some time for exercise and eating:).  For exercise we've gone outside and run or played futbol.  If you call it soccer over here some people get offended.  No joke. The weather has actually been quite nice.  It was sunny 2 days in a row which was awesome!
Sorry if my email is kind of random but there's so many things I want to say and only so much time!
My companion is Sister Huntsman and she's super cute. She's from Salt Lake City.  There are 4 sisters and 6 elders in my district.  There's Elder Wu, Elder Sage, Elder McCray, Elder Lewis, Elder Bolingbroke, Elder Frost, Sister Hunstman, Sister Roscher, Sister Gilbert, and me.  Elder Lewis is from England and he's hilarious! He's completely bald and a trick he's shown us is he can stick cards on his head, especially his name badge haha.  I think his record is 6. Elder Frost is from Denmark and he's super funny.  He reminds me so much of the monkey king--King Julius--from Madagascar.  They have the same accent basically.  We all get along well and we're already really good friends.  One of our teachers, Brother Day, is from England and he reminds me so much of Mr. Bean! They look the same, act the same, and talk the same! But he's great and I've already learned so much from him.
There are mostly Americans here at the MTC but we have a couple elders from Denmark, England, and Russia.  We also have some sisters from Sweden, England, and Ireland. The MTC is tiny--only 50ish missionaries I think so everyone pretty much knows each other.
Learning how to teach the discussions was kind of hard at first.  It looks so easy to see others do it but then actually trying to do it yourself was kind of difficult/awkward for me.  But I know I'll get even better and more comfortable with it as time goes on! 
Really quick about the food--we have meat, vegetables, potatoes, bread and gravy a lot.  They pour gravy over everything!  Their breads are SO good but they cook the vegetables a lot so they're pretty mushy and tasteless.  Also, they can't do spicy food here.  We had mexican and indian food one day and it looked like it would be spicy but it didn't have much of a taste at all:)  They served us croissants one day filled with Nutella and it was AMAZING!
I just went with a group of missionaries to ASDA which is like an English Walmart.  I exchanged my money for pounds for the first time today and was able to buy a blow dryer and stuff.  It was pretty exciting actually haha!
I LOVE the accents here! I think Scottish has been my favorite so far.  I've practiced my English accent and I'm getting better at it! I've actually started to think in an English accent. 
Some words/phrases I've learned here:
ice cream bars=ice lollies
band aid=plaster
soda=fizzy water
Some things that have made me happy this week:
hearing an English sister sneeze in an English accent:)
the fire alarms sound like the noise that pac-man makes when he's eating the dots except a lot louder
the cooks wear pajama pants for their uniforms and sing really loud and operatic-like to music while they cook
the ambulances are bright yellow and green and honestly look like ice cream trucks to me.
I get to play my viola for a devotional tonight where 2 members of the 70 are coming!
the grass is bright green here!
Sorry for the super long email! I love you all so much!! Thanks for your emails!
Sister Jackson

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My First Day

 Here is Sister Jackson's first email--her safe arrival!
Hi everybody! I just wanted to let you know that I got to the MTC safely here in Preston! Our flights went well (although really long).  We had a 4 hour flight from SLC to Atlanta and then a 4 hour layover.  I met up with about 7 other elders and 4 other sisters there.  Tell Devin that we did eat at Panda Express in the Atlanta airport, just like him:) Most of them are serving in the Birmingham, England mission but everyone is really nice.  Then we flew from Atlanta to Manchester which was an 8 hour flight.  But that one was better because they fed us real food:). I also sat next to a nice man named Richard from England.  Everyone has the coolest accents! The bad thing was I couldn't sleep that much so I'm doing fine now but it might hit me later. 
We just drove from the airport to the MTC. It might sound funny, but all the words and names here just sound happy.  In the airport they call the carts "trolleys" and the conveyor belts where you get your luggage was called "carousels".  The town names on signs we saw driving to the MTC were ones like Wigan, Chorley, Manchester--I had to say them all out loud becuase they were just so fun to say!  Also, the cars here are really cute-small, bright colors.  All the houses are bright colors or else red brick as well.  There are a lot of old cemetaries, churches, and buildings.  Everything is so beautiful! It's sunny (so far) and very green here.
Right now we're meeting with the MTC president and getting settled in.  I'm going to go eat lunch now, then I'm going to go play volleyball with some other sisters.  I'll get my first companion at 6:00 tonight.
I love you all! Can't wait to hear from you!
Sister Jackson