Archive for November 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We were invited to attend Thanksgiving with the Fischer’s. Sandy Fischer and Sandy Brown had prepared all the food. The dynamic Sandy duo prepared an amazing Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. They had also invited several neighbors and friends. We were 18 in total. We spent several pleasant hours eating, visiting and getting to know all the people who came. It was a beautiful drive back home on a bright and sunshiny afternoon.

We spent the weekend working on branch lists, trying to get the internet to work, serving some branch members, and preparing for Sunday.

Sitting together in Church is highly over-rated . . . But getting to see each other is awesome . . . New calling for Elder Jackson.

Ralph was called to be the 1st Councilor in the Branch Presidency Sunday at church. So much for sitting together during Sacrament Meeting. He will do a wonderful job and be a super asset for the Branch.

Update on Melissa: They are still looking at options and treatments. Please remember her in your prayers. Here are pictures of her and her family.

Our First Sunday in Pennsylvania, Mission Leadership Training, Our first District Meeting

We met the branch we will be working with. We attended Branch Council Meeting and both spoke briefly in Sacrament meeting. This is becoming a habit.

Mansfield Chapel


We left at 6:30am and drove to Harrisburg, picking 3 sets of Elders on the way for a Mission Leadership Training Meeting. Isi, we love you. Plenty of leg room for these tall Elders. After a great day of training we returned home about 8:30pm.

Missionaries and the President at the Harrisburg training

Only 6 of these Elders were in our car, plus us of course.


We picked up Elder Barker and Elder Auga and drove to Lock Haven for the District meeting. We were well trained by our district leaders. It is amazing the leadership and teaching skills that these young Elders have. We stopped for lunch at Wendy’s with the two elders from Towanda. Wow do they like to eat!

Elder Auga and Elder Barker

Stake Conference, Ralph’s Birthday, and the journey continues

Always be prepared . . . at a moment’s notice.

We got up early and had a delicious breakfast with Iretta and Jeff. Jeff had asked me the night before about our name tags. I told him we had them in case we forgot our names, we could just look down and there they would be. The next morning Jeff had a name tag on his shirt made out of duct tape with his name on it. I thought I took a photo of it but I guess I forgot . . . it is a good thing I still have my name tag!

We went to church at the Denver Stake Center to find out that it was Stake Conference. This was the building that Ralph had served as Bishop and Stake President. It was exciting for him to see so many friends. We also met President Millet, the current stake president, and Elder Jack D. Ward, a visiting Area Seventy from Rockford, Illinois. President Millet had us stand and be recognized at the beginning of the meeting.

After the intermediate hymn we were both surprised when President Millet announced that Elder and Sister Jackson would be the next speakers. Ralph spoke first and talked about following the promptings of the Spirit and doing missionary work followed by his testimony. Claudia then spoke and told the “Listen Louder” story and applied it to missionary work and then bore her testimony.

After the meeting we continued to meet members who know Ralph. It was wonderful and brought back lots of special memories.

Ralph and Claudia with Elder Ward and President Millet and his wife



Back at Iretta and Jeff’s we had birthday cake along with ice cream, strawberry-rhubarb pie and pumpkin pie. This happens when you turn 70!

We took pictures of the six Jackson siblings who were present. We spent the afternoon and evening visiting and looking at family pictures.

The Journey continues…
The next morning, Monday, we continued on our journey, stopping for the night in Independence, Missouri. The next day, Tuesday, we stopped in St. Louis and went to lunch with Claudia’s sister, Patti. We then continued on to Indianapolis, Indiana for the night.

Wednesday morning we were on the way to Pittsburgh, PA, the mission office and the mission home. Do we look like we have been driving for days and days?

Arriving in Pittsburgh at the mission home


This is what it is like here. You’ve got to love it!

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania in the Fall


And of course . . . you have got to have TRAINS!








After a delightful evening with President and Sister Topham we went to bed, ready to go on to our apartment in Wellsboro the next day.

President and Sister Topham


Six and one-half hours later we arrived in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania and began our unpacking and setting up our apartment. We were amazed at how much was loaded in the car as we looked at boxes and suitcases everywhere. These are after pictures.

Best Laid Plans ???

We got up early and were ready to leave by 5:30am with the car LOADED and ready to go. We did leave air in the front seats but the back was packed . . . every inch!

There we sat . . . the long awaited moment had finally arrived . . . but Isi [pronounced Is-ee](the Toyota Sienna) would not start. The battery was dead (probably from sitting for a week loaded while we were at the MTC and all the opening and closing of doors during the loading process).  Oh . . . k . . . who do you call at 5:30am on a Saturday morning to come and jump start your car?  Well we didn’t call Ghostbusters but we did call our friend Steve Dalby, who came and gave us a jump start and we were off! (Sorry, no photo, I was too excited to leave!)

We drove to Denver, Colorado to stay with Iretta and Jeff Bell, Ralph’s sister and brother-in-law. We hit some rain and snow in the mountains. Since Isi was dirty from being splashed with snow and rain by the big trucks we stopped at a gas station and pulled into the car wash. Claudia noticed that the car doors weren’t locked but in hitting the button to lock them hit the down window instead just as we headed in the wash. Both Claudia and Ralph got a wash before her Quick??? reflexes got the window back up. Did anyone say you can’t have fun on your mission?


Nov 7-11, 2011

Elder Jackson and Elder Jackson

We drove to Provo and entered MTC. What a joyful surprise when we met Elder Taylor Jackson in the cafeteria.We quickly took a photo. What excited missionaries!  We later found out that we are not to take pictures in the cafeteria, only in the halls. We have only been here a few hours and already we are busy repenting!

Three Jacksons at the MTC


What a week. The spirit was so strong. They taught us well and threw us in the deep end teaching the lessons to investigators in less than 24 hours. Do we know what we got ourselves into? Elder Jackson is wonderful at this. I am learning. We have an awesome district with incredible people.

Our district with one of our instructors

How exciting for people all over the world to get to work with the awesome couples we met this week leaving for the far corners of the earth to serve.

Ralph, Claudia and Roger and Vicki Thompson

Ralph met his good friend Roger Thompson that used to live across the street when they were growing up. We sat across the table from them at dinner but with them both having the first name of Elder didn’t realize until into the conversation that they had gone through school together. Do you really think they have changed that much in 50 years?

After an incredible 5 days at the MTC they said we passed and were ready to go into the mission field. Whew! As we stood in the front entrance of the MTC ready to leave, we got a call from our daughter Melissa. She had just been diagnosed with cancer. We know that she will be taken care of during our mission and she felt that us being missionaries would help her and give her extra blessings.

We went to say goodbye to Claudia’s father who lives just a few blocks away from the MTC. Then headed home to do laundry, say goodbye’s to more family, load the bags from the MTC in the car, sleep, and be ready to go early to Pennsylvania . . . and stay ahead of the storm due into SLC at noon.