Archive for the Tender Mercies Category

Update on our daughter Melissa

This is a letter we received from our daughter Melissa. Thank you for your prayers in her behalf.

Sorry this is somewhat delayed. I’ve struggled with low energy, but I think it’s getting better. I finished the the last of 15 radiation treatments on August 20. The next step is to do another MRI and see how everything responded. The radiation oncologist hasn’t scheduled the MRI yet, but he said it would be in 2-3 months, so I’m guessing sometime in October. I meet with him this coming Thursday, Sept 12, but I as far as I know it’s just a standard follow-up, though we may discuss the timeline.

Overall I’m doing well and feel so blessed. The lack of energy is a challenge sometimes, but time should help that, and I’m trying to nourish myself well, etc. Our ward and stake have been amazingly supportive and helpful, which is such a blessing.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I wish I knew how to tell you how much I feel your love, and how much it means to me. May God bless you.

Starting the month of September with a Baptism

September is here! Wow! Time is flying by. Only 10 days until we start our drive home.

We are leaving things in good hands with the members in the Mansfield Branch. Look at the significant upgrade to the monthly Happenings poster that we started.

Definitely raising the bar.

Definitely raising the bar.


Here is the darling Sister who took over the board. Great job!

September is going to be a wonderful month for the Branch. We started it off with the baptism of a wonderful sister.

Here is our newest member with Elder Jackson, Brother McCardell and the Sisters

Here is our newest member with Elder Jackson, Brother McCardell, our Branch Mission Leader, and the Sisters.


All of us together. We love this sister.


This sweet sister is so happy to be baptized.


We are so happy for her.


Here she is with the Sisters.


Teaching Missionary Discussions

We got to teach the discussions to these cute and very smart young girls who were visiting their family here.

We will miss teachhing these cute girls.

We will miss teaching these cute girls.


All of us together.



Another Update on Melissa – July 29, 2013

We told you we would keep you posted. Here is the latest news and update from Melissa. This letter is from Sunday, July 28. 2013

Hello everyone,
Thank you so much for your prayers. I have felt them this week. I began the radiation treatments on Monday. I will have 15 treatments total, one each day, excluding weekends and holidays. I had three treatments last week. (Mon, Tue, and Fri. …Wed was a holiday. Thu the machine was not working.) Once I finish the treatments (currently scheduled to finish Aug 13), the doctor says they’ll do another MRI in two months to see how things are looking. As I understand it, the radiation doesn’t kill the cancer cells, it just damages them. However, unlike a healthy cell, a cancer cell cannot repair itself, so it eventually dies. But that takes time to occur.

The treatment itself is simple, for my part. (The technology behind it, on the other hand, is quite amazing.) I lay on a moving table with my head clamped down tight with a mask (so my head doesn’t move at all), and I move in and out of the machine. The treatment only takes 5-10 minutes maybe. Before each treatment they do a CT scan to confirm the location of everything, and then they gel that image with the computer so it can adjust as needed to be able to hit the target points for the day. Everything takes about 20 minutes. The staff does all they can to make me comfortable and relaxed. One of the technicians even decorated my mask so it looks like Cat Woman. (Unfortunately, the slinky outfit is not included. :-] )

I know your prayers have helped me. I was quite nervous leading up to Monday. I wanted to feel confident that it was the right next step, and I was concerned about the possible side effects. But then I decided, all I really need to know is…is this the right thing to do? If it is, then what follows doesn’t matter. So I prayed to feel peaceful about everything, and I did feel that assurance. I know your prayers were a part of that. I also prayed to feel grateful for the treatments, because I believe that frame of mind helps a body heal, and I also wanted to acknowledge the blessing of having options, and living near facilities and doctors who can help me. That understanding and acknowledgement came as well.

Another blessing…before I saw the medical oncologist on July 5, after the PET scan, I had had an instance when my eyes were acting funny. My vision was kind of blurry and off. It didn’t last long, and only happened once, so I didn’t think much of it, but when I had my doctor appointment (on the 5th), I felt very strongly that I needed to mention it to him. So I did. It was after that that he said that we should probably get another MRI, which turned out to be fortuitous. To my knowledge he was not planning to have me get one prior to my comment. I don’t consider it a coincidence that he suddenly decided to. Heavenly Father certainly watches over us.

Thank you again for your love, prayers, words of encouragement, and concern. You lift and strengthen me so much. I love you.

We appreciate your love and support and prayers in her behalf. Thanks, the Jacksons

Update on our daughter Melissa

I wanted to give you an update on our daughter Melissa. Here is an excerpt from a letter from her with the current status.


“I wanted to report on the recent PET scan that I received on June 27, and an MRI they ended up doing on July 11.

“The scan looked the same as the last, which means the new spots didn’t go away, but they didn’t grow either. So, the doctor says he’s okay with that for the moment, and doesn’t plan to change the protocol.

“Since it had been a while, the doctor ordered a brain MRI. (The last one was a year or over a year ago. I had had one spot in the brain, which one radiation treatment seemed to take care of.) The results from the MRI showed several spots in the brain: two larger (one 2 cm in diameter, one 1 cm in diameter) and a number of smaller ones (1/2 cm or less) spread throughout. The spot from before had not returned, so that’s one good thing, but the others certainly weren’t what we were expecting.

“This week I met with a radiation oncologist. Because the spots are throughout the brain they want to do full brain radiation, which is a series of treatments, so they can make sure and get everything, even some that may be there but not seen yet. I’m a little nervous to be that extensive with the radiation, but doing my best to be prayerful to know what is the best course. The current plan is to start the treatments this Monday (2:20 p.m.). Feel free to pray that the doctors will be guided, that the machinery will act with precision, and that I can be brave and grateful for the technology and understanding.”

We invite you to join us in praying for her. We will keep you posted. The Jacksons

Member gets to return home . . .

After a year and a half one of our members was able to return home to his family in Washington State.

Sorting . . .

Sorting . . .


and sorting . . .


and more sorting.


Does it ever end?


It is all out of the trailer


Sorted and piled in boxes.


Sorting the last few items.


Ready to leave for the airport.


Mission Update and Special Sacrament Meeting

Today in Sacrament meeting the Temple President of the Washington D.C. Temple and his wife came and spoke in our Branch. The Stake President of the Williamsport Stake was also present. We had 73 in attendance which was the highest so far for 2013.

Prior to the Sacrament meeting we met briefly with President Hoffman, the Stake President, about activity in our Branch. As a result of that conversation and previous conversations with the Mission President, we accepted the invitation to extend our mission into September of 2013. There was surprise and excitement in the congregation when President Brown, the Branch President, announced that we would be staying until into September. We look forward to continuing to serve in this area.

The Temple President shared the “Parable of the Keys” in his talk. We found a version of the parable on “youtube” to share with you. We hope you enjoy it.


Another Missionary for our Family

Our Granddaughter Alyssa got her mission call to Auckland, New Zealand. We are so happy and excited for her. We will miss seeing her as she enters the Missionary Training Center before we get home.

Alyssa will make a wonderful missionary.

Alyssa will make a wonderful missionary.

She will be serving close to the New Zealand Temple.

She will be serving close to the New Zealand Temple.


The country there is beautiful.


New Zealand is a wonderful and beautiful place. We are so happy for her.

A Time for Thanksgiving

As we realize that we have been here for over a year now we are grateful for all our many blessings. We appreciate the wonderful people here in Pennsylvania that we love. We are grateful for the Gospel that allows us to work with the incredible missionaries in this mission. We are honored to serve under the leadership of our Mission president and his wife, President and Sister Topham. We love the Savior and are thankful that we have the opportunity to serve this mission. We are thankful for you, family and friends, who love and support us.

In these times of uncertainty, we want to share with you a Great Opportunity. We have a proposal for you, or more likely, for someone you know.

So here is the thing.  We know God is in control and will orchestrate what He will, but we also know he uses His children to make his purposes come about, so we have decided to ask you to help us to replace ourselves.  Here is what we would like you to do.  Pray about who you might invite to consider if they would like to serve a mission in about 6 months or so in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission.  Pass this on to anyone you can think of as a result of that prayer, and ask them to pass it on.

We live in an incredible missionary set up, with beautiful hills covered with trees, flowing rivers, a wonderful spacious apartment. Even our landlady is great!

We serve in a little branch where the members truly strive to take care of each other.  We have made dozens of friends and been allowed to witness life-altering miracles. We serve in a zone of missionaries with whom we work and teach, and they lift us.  We serve under a mission President and his wife who we love and who inspire us.

As you can tell from our blog our work includes humanitarian aide through community service, sharing the gospel with people we meet, teaching new and returning members in their homes, and training leaders and supporting members in various ways. Each day is an adventure and a joy. We invite you to join us and have a similar experience.

Enjoy some pictures for this month’s activities . . . and the month is not even over yet!

Our Branch Thankfulness Wreath


November Happenings Board, always something wonderful going on.

Good visits at our Linger Longers.

Always LOTS of yummy food.

Getting our Branch prepared for an emergency . . . Reviewing 72 hour kits.


Reminding us of important supplies not to forget!


One of our members feeding one of his calves.

Although, with some of the street names you may wonder what country you are in!


Growth in the Branch – a set of twins

One of the families in our Branch had a set of twins. They are both doing well and growing fast. The little boys are hard to tell apart as they are identical. We had a shower for the family.

Mom and grandma with the babies.

Plenty of willing hands to hold the babies. We played fun games. This one was how fast can you match the socks!

Both asleep AT THE SAME TIME!