Dear family and friends,
Well, the week blew by last week so fast, I completely dismissed writing in my blog! So, I will just comment on two weeks! I read something in our mission newsletter. “The day President Hinckley decided to lose himself in the work and serve his mission with real intent, his life changed forever. He wrote, ‘The whole world changed. The fog lifted. The sun began to shine in my life. I had a new interest. I saw the beauty of this land. I saw the greatness of the people. I began to feel at home in this wonderful land!” That about sums up our experience here. It has been a glorious autumn. The leaves are beginning to burst into fall colors. The air is crisp and the days are getting shorter! The time is going too fast, and there is much we still want to accomplish!
Everyday we start off with gospel study! I love it! It sets the focus for the day. Then as we go on our Cambridge walk and breathe in the magnificent English air, our day continues to get better and better. It’s fun to walk now, as we see a lot of people we have gotten to know. We were able to meet up with one of our BYU students who is on a semester abroad in London. We went for tea at Grandchester Orchards, which is a special place for her. We had one of our struggling YSA’s over for dinner. Then we spent time studying Alma 36 with him at the Bishop’s request. It is the chapter when Alma tells his son, Helaman about his incredible conversion story. Kalil was so engrossed in the story. He said, wow, I get this. This is so much like me. As I watched this young man’s facial expressions and how he became so hungry to read more, my heart burned within me with gratitude for this second witness of Jesus Christ! I love the Book of Mormon! It is a great testifier of truth! It is a source of strength! It is a life changer! It is a miracle!
We have spent time one on one with young single adults to get to know them and to let them feel that they have a place of safety and love here away from home. We were able to visit several people, dear friends who are struggling with one thing or another. We were invited to dinner with our next door neighbors, the Steens. We got to get a bed time story from our little Steen girls, and then enjoyed dinner and conversation with their parents. We are praying for the right opportunity to share the gospel with them. They are so dear to us!
Our dear friend Lucy came over and we gave her a repeat of the Word of Wisdom lesson as well as a lesson on patriarchal blessings. It went really well. She has a limited knowledge of the Bible as she was never taught from it as a child. Everything we teach, we need to teach very simply. But I have found that as we teach simply, it enables our own understanding to increase. We were able to take her to Chelmsford, a village about an hour away to meet with the Stake Patriarch, Brother West. We love this dear man and have gotten to know him quite well, as we have taken people to receive their patriarchal blessings from him.
Brad was asked to baptize Harry Shailes this past Saturday. He is a dear man who is so humble and thrilled to become a member of the church. At his baptism, he shared his testimony and love for the sisters who taught him, calling them his angels. As I looked at Harry and saw the light in his countenance, I was overcome with the power the gospel can become in our lives. It was as though I was seeing him the way I envisioned the Savior would look on him, a pure and humble follower of Christ.
We pray every day for opportunities to share the light of the gospel as Elder Anderson counseled us to do in General Conference. This past week, our dear neighbor, Toni, a crusty and delightful friend had an ambulance in the front of his house. Brad was over immediately. When Brad went in, Toni said, “I knew you would come!” With paramedics and his wife working on him, Brad wasn’t able to offer him a blessing, but did say we will be praying for him. He got home later having been cleared of a heart attack, but we went over to check on him and felt a softening of him. The same day, another of our friends went into the hospital for an angiogram and was told that he has a heart deformity from birth which has caused his heart issues. He is facing possible open heart surgery. This experience has had a real softening affect on Clinton as well. I feel that these are some of our opportunities that we have been praying for.
A dear friend, Sheila Newman, a valiant saint in our ward, passed away this week. She has had such good health but discovered less than 2 months ago she had a tumor as well as cancer of the liver. It was so advanced, that they sent her home to die. Her family of course is grief stricken, but we have found it an opportunity to visit and share our testimony that the family will see her again.
Our sweet friend, Alison Walker, the Methodist minister, lost her father unexpectedly a few weeks ago. We were able to go to her home and confirm that she will see her dad again. Now that I am recording these opportunities, I am thinking I had better not pray for opportunities. They are coming fast and furious. But it is amazing how such experiences humble people and soften hearts.
We got an email from a Church of England pastor the other day asking if our group could help them clean up around a little church just down the street! Our gardening skills are becoming famous!!!! When our kids were here, we walked into town and bought some treats from their church bake sale. Heather bought a handmade knit doll from a sweet lady as well. The ladies were so impressed and grateful. In her email about cleaning up the church, Ank commented on how touched she was that we supported their bake sale. It is really humbling for me to see how simple little things we say or do can make such a positive impression on others. I feel that the service with these other churches has made a real positive impact on the church here. Our Bishop wants to include the ward on our homeless project, and the Methodist and Anglican churches are so appreciative.
I want our parents to know that we have introduced the game of Skipbo to our dear friends in Cambridge! We had some couples over for dinner the other night. I told them we wanted to introduce them to a Mormon game! They LOVED it!!! They asked if it was really a Mormon game.
The time is flying by. We are becoming more immersed in what we are doing! We fall into bed at night, but awake refreshed and energized! We absolutely love the people here! I love the badge we wear everyday and feel strengthened by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We are truly experiencing a miracle!
We love you all so much! Happy birthday to our dear sweet Grayden today! (24 October) He is 1 year old today. We love this little soul and are very much looking forward to snuggling, loving and kissing him. Also, Happy Anniversary to our dear Kent and Heather! What a match made in heaven! You two are perfect for each other and we are so glad you finally got together! We love you both so much!
Have a fabulous week. Please know we love you and pray for you all every day!
With all our love,
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Elder and Sister Jackman