Friday, 27 November 2015

Week 21 in the Utah Ogden Mission

Week 21 in the Utah Ogden Mission 
The Atonement of Jesus Christ 
When I as a young missionary serving in my first area in Ashtabula Ohio, my companion and I taught many people the gospel of Jesus Christ. Most of those that we taught experienced great hardship and trials in their lives. Many were physically and sexually abused. Many struggled with drug, alcohol and pornography addictions. Many were financially destitute and devoid of hope. I observed and felt a small portion of their pain. 

Nine years later, living in Henderson Nevada with my wife and two daughters (Mackenzie 4, Emma 2) we rushed to the hospital as our third child Stewart wanted to come to this earth...too soon. We prayed and prayed for a miracle...I pled with God to spare my wife and son, finding out that her body was in a state of significant infection. I felt acute and exquisite mental and spiritual pain thinking about the potential loss of life or debilitating effects of infection. That evening as I cried and prayed for hours, I told the Lord I would accept His will, whatever that was. I was immediately overcome...rescued...revived by a warmth and peace that engulfed my body. I knew things would be ok. I returned to the hospital where my wife delivered a bruised and beautiful baby boy. He took a few breaths and went "home to that God who gave him life." 

The atonement of Jesus Christ helped me then and continues to help me during life's struggles. It helped my family understand that this life is brief but important. What we do here makes a difference in where we will go when this life is over. Without Jesus Christ atonement and resurrection there would be no opportunity for my son to "come forth in the morning of the first Resurrection...that both spirit and body shall be reunited in a perfect frame." 

The great convert Amulek before Jesus came said this about the Atonement of Christ in about 74 BC 
Alma 34
8 And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

The gospel writers in the New Testament each gave a bit of a different summary of the atonement of Jesus Christ. 
Matthew said this in Matthew 26
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Luke the physician described it in Luke 22
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

And Mark described most tenderly the suffering of Jesus. His suffering was so intense he called out to his "daddy" (Abba) Mark 14 
36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

I've thought about "bitter cup." Isaiah called it the Cup of Fury. Everything that is not joyful, sublime, peaceful and perfect was in the cup...and that's what Jesus symbolically drank. He did it for all of us...every person who has lived, does now live and will ever live...he did it for us. If we accept him he can take away the pain my family and I feel for my 
Special needs sister, Mental illness in our family, an alcoholic uncle, the pain my gay cousin has felt since our youth, the loss of my son 14 years ago, loss of Amy's father 5 years ago, all my sins 

Pmg plan of salvation
As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

D&C 19
how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink--
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

Last week Elder Ringwood of the first quorum of the seventy toured our mission. He instructed our leadership, conducted interviews, took our family to dinner and gave an amazing sermon on faith. I learned that desire, belief and hope are "particles of faith." I learned that the best definition of faith is simply "action." If we can have particles of faith, we can have an "eye of faith" which leads us to "act in faith." I love these concepts taught by a servant of the Lord. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Week 20 in The Utah Ogden Mission

Week 20 in The Utah Ogden Mission
We can do hard things. I was reminded of that while reading about the passing of a mission presidents wife in Africa last week. She went to a hospital for a minor procedure and passed away while there. She taught her missionaries the magnificent principle that they could do hard things. I naturally contrasted the experience we and our young missionaries are having serving in Utah with the experience of those that serve in Africa. Certainly not having running water, sleeping in huts, traveling everywhere by foot, not seeing other missionaries for weeks is hard work in Africa. Our missionaries certainly don't have those challenges.

 The challenges of our missionaries are very different. Serving in the heart of Zion is a privilege. But with that privilege comes the responsibility of living the standards of the gospel in word and deed on a different level. Each week a general authority visits a different stake conference in our mission. Frequently the young missionaries are asked to spontaneously share their testimonies or a first discussion in front of 1500 people. How is that for pressure? 

The missionaries have a saying..."every member a mission president." Everywhere they go, they are being watched. At least 3 times a week I receive an email or a phone call about various and sundry mistakes the missionaries make. Examples of some of these... "they were riding their bikes too close to the traffic and they didn't have any lights." "I saw them at the bowling alley on Tuesday. What are they doing there on Tuesday?" (It's their pday) "The missionaries hung out at the family history center all afternoon." (I ask them to do family history for their investigators and less actives every week). 387 Bishops and ward councils expect a deep spiritual thought and advice to hasten the work in ward councils weekly. The missionaries are expected to teach 21 lessons a week, baptize every month and take recent converts or recently activated members to the temple every month. They are expected to smile and be happy everywhere they go. (Even in the snow and rain) They enter smoke-filled rooms and work with disaffected members daily. The local members have the best intentions in mind, but consider the scrutiny the missionaries face. I love these missionaries. I love their commitment. I love them in all of their 18 and 19 year old weakness.  I love that they can do hard things. 

As Gods children we can all do hard things. Why? Because our greatest exemplar and Savior did hard things and set the example of how to endure difficulties. 

He endured and "drunk out of the bitter cup which the father hath given..." What was in the bitter cup? Isaiah called it the "cup of fury." What was in the cup? All that is painful, all that is harmful,  all that isn't perfect. He made all that wasn't right, right. 

 Consider the following scriptures in D&C 19:15-19
15 " sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink--

19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

If Jesus can give glory to His Father after doing the hardest of ALL things, so can we give thanks in doing our own hard things. 

We thank you for your love, support and prayers. We need it and feel it! 

Love, Jeremy, Amy and Family 

Week 19 in The Utah Ogden Mission

Week 19 in the Utah Ogden Mission 
Our children are in Newbury Park, California visiting their friends this weekend. Watching the four of them get on that plane without us was sobering. In just 9 years, Amy and I will be "empty-nesters." I asked myself the question on the way out of the airport, "Am I doing all I can to be the best husband and father I can in the time that I have with my family?"  My recent experience counseling missionaries who have lost loved ones to death led me to the following scripture in D&C 29:43 "And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation--that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;" 

What are we doing with our days here upon this earth? I marvel at the young men and women and senior couples who take 2 years or 18 months out of their lives to serve full time missions for the LDS Church. They labor during their tender years of life and learn how to love. They learn that no matter who they come across, (and they come across a wild variety of people) that they are all children of Heavenly Parents and as such have a capacity for the infinite and eternal. The missionaries teach about the capacity of their brothers and sisters. They teach that they have a Savior, that God has a plan for them and that they can recognize Gods hand in their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Many receive that message with gladness. Many do not. 

Those that receive the gospel express deep gratitude towards God and the missionaries who taught them. Their gratitude has also caused me to pause and reflect on the spirit of gratitude.  I have determined to study the virtue of gratitude in depth. Cicero said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others." 

Some scriptures that cause me to pause and think on the commandment to be grateful include...

“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things." 
“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.” 
“live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you.” 

President Thomas S. Monson said, "Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings." 

Universities have studied gratitude and have found that those who either 1) write a note of thanks to someone daily or 2) write 5 things they are grateful for in a journal daily are more productive citizens, have more fruitful relationships, earn more money, experience more peace and happiness over time etc. 

My prayer is that we will be grateful and express it frequently to our maker and to each other. That we will love our children, parents and siblings more deeply and fully. Love = time. I hope we will forgive and experience forgiveness. 

We love the Lord. We love serving him full time. We thank all for their support and prayers while we serve. 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Weeks 11-18 in the Utah Ogden Mission

Weeks 11-18 Utah Ogden Mission - Death is overcome by Jesus Christ:
This morning a mother from California called to let us know her husband had passed away. One of her sons is serving in our mission, the other son is serving in the Pocatello Idaho Mission. Our missionary still has 11 months left on his mission. His brother was due home just after Christmas. Both are staying to finish their missions. As our missionary stated after I let him know his father had died, "I know that the plan of salvation is real, and where my father is, I need to stay out here and teach more people  about it." He further stated that this past week he has been the best missionary of his mission, buoyed up by the spirit and his personal knowledge that Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World made it possible for all of us to overcome sin and death. This Elder is an amazing human being. He is resilient in Christ. He is elect! 

My mind went immediately to the acts of the apostles of old who withstood persecution, physical ailments, doctrinal challenges, death of loved ones etc...yet they endured. Paul wrote to the Romans about this experience.
Romans 8
 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The state of Utah sends thousands of missionaries out to the rest of the world every year. Some of the prospective missionaries may have a slight mental or physical disability which may limit them serving outside the states. When a stake president has a concern over their ability to serve, these missionaries are called to serve in one of Utah's 11 missions as "two-transfer" missionaries. They come to our missions to serve for 12 weeks. Some go home after 12 weeks having completed their missions with honor, some get called to serve for 21 months after their 12 weeks here in Utah. 

This week was special. One of our "two transfer"  missionaries received her endowments. She served for 12 weeks and touched many lives. She came to Ogden to receive her endowments with her family and her companions and those she got to know here. 

Two other missionaries received full time mission calls Thursday night. Their families came to the mission office and we opened their calls together. Tears were shed, gratitude offered. One was called to serve in our home mission...Ventura California. He was excited and so were we. The other was called to serve in our mission. We were all surprised. I believe he was a bit disappointed but we are glad to have him. 

We are also associated with many young service missionaries who aren't able to serve full time missions. They labor in the canneries, Deseret industries, family history centers etc. we had a combined missionary meal and devotional with them which was such a sweet meeting. The spirit was profound as we joined with the disabled to share testimony, sing praises to God and worship our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Days are becoming weeks, weeks are becoming months. The past couple of weeks our family felt the pangs of homesickness. We love our mission, but we miss our neighbors, friends and ward family in Newbury Park.  More than a few tears have been shed by the Jaggi family as we contemplate the blessing so many people are in our lives. 

We love the 142 young missionaries and 100 senior missionaries in the Utah Ogden Mission. The senior missionaries especially have been angels in the field. Many are serving their 2nd or 3rd missions. They work from home and serve in so many ways. We are amazed at their faith, perseverance and dedication to preaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We've welcomed many new missionaries, said goodbye to a few. The work is hard and fun. We love Ogden! 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Weeks 9-11 Utah Ogden Mission

When I was serving as a full time missionary in Kirtland Ohio, my companion and I had the opportunity to be riding in a car down the freeway to a conference with our mission president and an apostle. We thought nothing could be cooler.  We were flying high. During the course of our conversation our Mission President paused and asked the apostle, "what one piece of counsel do you have for these good missionaries?" The apostle responded without hesitation. "Follow the Bretheren and don't stop, do it throughout your life." 

Interestingly, Amy's Mission President in Germany used to say the same phrase over and over again when she was serving there. We have been blessed in our lives as we have followed the counsel of living prophets, apostles, seventies and their wives. 

We have had the opportunity to interact with leaders of our church on a weekly basis.  They are men and women of God. They love us and the people they serve. They want nothing more than to help others have greater peace and prosperity in their lives They indeed are striving to have charity, the pure love of Christ. I have learned more fully that they are also grandmas and grandpas who love their families and have problems and weaknesses like any other family. They have learned however how to deal with problems and weaknesses by applying the atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives. They understand the covenants they make with God weekly in sacrament meeting and when they attend the temples. They are consecrated in every way.

 This last weekend as I was speaking with a general authority, he said he was called as a general authority when he was 49 years old. He left his vocation as a lawyer, his home of many years in Seattle and moved with his four children to South America. He has been serving 9 years full time for the church and will serve full time till he is 70 years old, 13 years from now. What tremendous sacrifice and service! The Jaggi family is serving for 3 years.  We are blessed to be here. We love  our service. How small our service is though compared to our wonderful leaders. 

We have had beautiful conversation and interactions with these great men and their wives. I document their names for my posterity's benefit. That they may know that I know they are men and women called of God. That they serve him faithfully for the majority of their "older adult" lives.  Elder Arnold, Elder Clarke (emeritus), Elder Clayton, Elder Ringwood, Elder Stanfill, Elder Rasband, Elder Christofferson, Elder Sitati, Elder Falabella, Elder Grow, Elder Ballard, Elder Nash and this upcoming weekend Elder Cook. 
So how can we "follow the brethren?"
Elder Aldin Porter gave this sage advice years ago about how we can more fully support and follow the great leaders of our church. 
 First, read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. Speaking of the scriptures, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “He who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand wherever he can see it” (History of the Church, 2:14).

Second, let us do as the prophets request. Note the words of the Savior:

“And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:15–17).

Third, pray for them. Call down the blessings of heaven upon the heads of the prophets, seers, and revelators. Know that the Lord responds to the sustaining prayers of the Saints. In addition, as our hearts go out to the brethren in sincere prayer, our hearts will be filled with love for them.

The Jaggi's are adjusting remarkably well to Utah. Today we had abundant rain and I've never seen the kids so giddy to see rain and snow already on the top of the mountains. Eliza and Josh started gymnastics as well as cello and piano lessons last week. They have far less homework here than they did in California which is slightly disconcerting to mom and dad but we are filling their time with other productive activities. ;) 

Mackenzie and Emma are fully engaged in school. Mackenzie took her final ACT last Saturday. We are impressed with her study habits and discipline. She is enjoying choir and nutrition and English. She is headed to an actual school dance. Homecoming at Bonneville High School is Saturday. There are good young men and women here. Emma is running cross country and of course getting great grades. She is starting to play hymns on the Piano. 

We spent an evening at a cabin on the South Fork of the Ogden river. We fished and didn't catch anything. We tubed down the river, had a bonfire and some great food with great people. It was a nice getaway. 

The second group of missionaries left Monday morning. We love them and will miss them. We welcomed 21 new missionaries yesterday. We are receiving more missionaries than are departing. It's fun to see the growth in the church in so many different ways. 

We love the Lord and we love this work! 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Utah Ogden Mission: Weeks 7-8

When I was a young missionary (19 years old) serving in the Hinterlands of the Ohio Cleveland Mission in Ashtabula Ohio in the Kirtland Stake, I remember after 3 weeks of knocking on hundreds of doors and visiting many, many people that I felt like I wasn't having an impact on anyone in my mission. I was homesick, I felt lonely and I didn't understand why we weren't committing anyone to baptism or bringing anyone to church. 

I felt a bit like Joseph Smith, though my experience of loneliness cannot compare to his loneliness in a dungeon in The Liberty Missouri jail for a year. He said in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 121:1 "God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" I think many people feel this. Many young missionaries feel that way as they enter the mission field. For many, it's their first time away from home. It's a literal wake up to what real work is. A rigorous schedule that begins at 6:30am and concludes at 10:30pm. 

I remember thinking  2 years was going to last forever. I had thoughts of my life back home. College, family, a girl, the mountains etc. seemed to pervade my thoughts. I came back to the apartment after another long day and knelt before God and cried out. "Heavenly Father, where art thou? This is harder than I expected and I feel alone! What shall I do? I'm sad, I'm fearful. Help me!" I was literally crying out to God. As I cried, a sensation started at my head and coursed through my body to my toes. Amy calls it "warm carbonation." An envelopment of love much like a warm blanket filled me. That sensation happened 3 times in a row. I cried more, but this time in the spirit of gratitude. God had answered my prayer in only a way he could. 

From that day forward I was committed to working for Jesus. I laid aside the thoughts of home and I went to work. The days seemed to get shorter and we started finding people who wanted to come closer to Jesus Christ. I started feeling peace and then eventually joy filled my heart. I still had my ups and downs on my mission like all missionaries, but the work became much sweeter from that day forward. 

These days in the Utah Ogden Mission with our family are beginning to blend into weeks. I'm sure the weeks will start blending into months. Time is moving along ever so fast. 

We welcomed 16 new missionaries 3 weeks ago. In 3 weeks we'll welcome another 23. My prayer is that they discover quickly for themselves that we have a Father in Heaven who is God. He loves us and cares for us. He sent his Son to earth to die for us. They called a prophet Joseph Smith in these the last days in preparation for the 2nd coming of the Lord. To help people understand his plan for us, the Lord has given us a Bible. He has also given us another testament of Jesus Christ called the Book of Mormon. In it, His works are revealed. Jesus has called a prophet today, much like he called prophets of old. They lead us, guide us and help us. 

We welcomed Elder Ballard of the quorum of the twelve apostles last weekend. He spoke to the entire mission and conveyed his love and testimony of Jesus Christ. He testified that the Savior is real, and that he lives. We are fortunate to have living apostles on the earth again. 

Over the last 2 weekends I have spoken in 5 stake conferences. (Multiple congregations numbering around 1400 people each). I have enjoyed getting to know the people of the greater Ogden area. They are good. They are generous. They serve in their communities and they love the Lord. 

Mackenzie and Emma started Bonneville High School today. They were visibly nervous last night. Much like the patriarchs of old, I asked my children if they would receive a fathers blessing. They agreed readily. I laid my hands upon each of their heads and through the priesthood of God, blessed each one of them. I'm grateful for the spirit that attended us during Monday family time and the renewed confidence each child had after their blessings. They had a good first day. Josh and Eliza start tomorrow. They are excited. Their school is a science magnet school which makes dad and mom excited. ;) 

We are loving our mission. Though we miss each of you as we serve, a greater appreciation for who you all are and what you have done for us is in attendance. Thank you for your support. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Transfers: Utah Ogden Mission Weeks 5-6

Last Monday morning we ran the departing missionaries to the Salt Lake City airport early in the morning. As we drove, they expressed their thoughts and feelings about the mission. Many memories were shared. Their feelings ranged from enthusiasm to concern, remorse and fulfillment, sadness and joy. It was a learning experience. Those who had consecrated themselves fully as missionaries left with their heads held high. Those that could've done more questioned the worth of their mission. I hope they all feel that their missions were acceptable to the Lord. 

Monday night we went back to the airport to pick up Elder Jordan who flew in from the Mexico MTC. We waited and waited and after 1/2 hour someone from a different terminal found us and asked, "are you looking for a lost missionary?" We said yes and he said he was in a different terminal. We ran over there and found a distraught missionary who had just disembarked a plane with 17 "returning" missionaries from Mexico. He was just starting and they were just ending and he couldn't find his mission president. What a way to start a mission! ;( We gave him a big hug, took him to dinner and I think he's recovering. 

Tuesday morning we picked up the other 15 missionaries from Union train station in Ogden. The missionaries take the front runner train from Provo. They all came off the train happy and smiling and had placed a few Book of Mormons. Their enthusiasm was infectious. Their commitment strong. I sat one on one with each of them and they shared their desire to be great servants of the Lord. They bring a wonderful spirit from the MTC. I know they will be outstanding. We did a bit of training, fed them, had a testimony meeting and the 3 sisters spent the night in our home while the Elders spent the night with some senior couples. 

Wednesday morning was transfer meeting. Every missionary being transferred came to the chapel at 8:45am. They stood up for the new missionaries as they arrived. Sister Jaggi and several of the Zone leaders shared wonderful testimonies. We paired the trainees with their trainers and you could feel their energy ready to explode. After the meeting we went into the cultural hall where the seasoned missionaries welcomed the trainees with cheers and smiles and even lifted up one of our Thai Missionaries over their heads and he smiled from ear to ear. I love the spirit the new missionaries bring. 
The rest of the missionaries went to their new areas and begun the work. Only 13 companionships were not affected by this transfer. It was big. 

Sister Jaggi and I attended our first stake conference yesterday. One of 59 we will attend in the coming months. It was held in the beautiful Ogden Tabernacle, immediately adjacent to the Ogden Temple. It is a new, beautiful facility. The new stake presidency spoke on the importance of the Sabbath day, the law of the fast and forgiveness. It was a beautiful Sunday morning session. 
This last Friday we had the opportunity to visit with Lisa Jacobs after a meeting in Salt lake. We love her and miss our friends in Newbury Park, but we know we are in the right place. 

After we met with Lisa we had a chance to grab lunch with Scott and Jana DeReuyter. They shared with us their experience being sealed in the Provo temple last Thursday. Their daughter Shanti was in the MTC and leaves as a missionary to Mongolia next week. It was so sweet to meet with them and feel their spirit and their love of their family and the temple. 

We are looking forward to welcoming Elder Ballard of the quorum of the 12 apostles this Saturday. The missionaries are ecstatic about the opportunity to meet an apostle. 

This is an amazing work. Never a dull moment. I'm grateful the Lord sustains our bodies and minds as we continue helping our brothers and sisters find greater peace and joy in this life. 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

1st Group of Departing Missionaries

My heart is full. Four weeks have passed since our arrival in Ogden. Each day new miracles have occurred. One of the miracles I'm reflecting on this evening is how the capacity to love can build exponentially when the spirit is present. It certainly "teaches all things and brings all things to our remembrance." John 14:26

I love our departing missionaries. I don't know how I can really love them after interacting with them just a handful of times, but I do. Elder And Sister Merx from Roy, Utah who served in the office. Elder Gallagher from Texas. Elder Gilland from Virginia, Sister Forte from Florida, Sister Boman from Texas, Sister Magsayo from the Phillipines, Elder Vetuski from Texas, Elder McGrath from Arizona, Elder Jones from Georgia, Elder Sheppard from the UK, Sister Goormastic from Connecticut, Sister Pitt from Hawaii, Sister Katich from Alabama, Elder Gordon from Washington, The common thread in each of their departing testimonies is the love and testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. They love Him, they know Him, they teach of Him and they testify of Him, and there is tremendous power in their testimonies as a result. I am privileged to serve alongside them. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Weeks 3 and 4 in Ogden

Zone conferences with the missionaries are a sweet experiences.  Each zone composing 24-30 young missionaries and 18-24 senior missionaries make up a zone. 3-4 districts of 6-8 young and 4-6 senior missionaries make up the districts that build the zones. 2 young zone leaders who are generally more seasoned lead the zones. And they teach their zone how to find new people, teach them the gospel,  baptize them, retain them and get them to the temple and reactivate those that have lost their way.  

I have been delighted to experience that the Utah Ogden Mission is full of powerful teachers who are committed to bringing people closer to Christ through the ordinance of baptism. I go out with the Elders twice a week and Amy has gone out with the Sisters weekly. Teaching with them is a pleasure. They know the doctrine and the teach with the spirit of God as their companion. There are so many people who are struggling to find peace and joy in life. They find hope, faith and smile again when they learn and employ the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I already love the people here. I love the missionaries and their desire to do what is right. They can improve their obedience and their teaching to get to the temple after baptism. We are working on these things. Sister Jaggi has connected with the Sisters. They went on a hike and had a sleepover. She loves them and they love her. She taught the importance of stress management and reaffirmed that "adjusting to missionary life" is an ongoing endeavor. The church has put out a great resource to help missionaries in their transition to 16 hour work days. They rise at 6:30am and are planning, exercising, studying and practicing and working till 10:30pm. It is not easy. They learn skills and discipline that prepares them for life. I'm grateful for their commitment. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Utah Ogden Mission Week 2 Report

So I took 1/2 hour a few days ago and wrote a post, inserted some pictures and alas, a phone call came in late that evening and the blogging app didn't save my post. Whoa, that was disappointing. I'll keep this one a bit more brief and post fewer pictures. It's been a rocking and rolling 9 days since our last post. We had a great fireside commemorating pioneer days here in Ogden. To Utahns, Pioneer Day is a pretty big deal complete with festivities including rodeos, campouts, parades and fireworks. The non-Mormons love to celebrate "pie and beer" day instead of Pi on eer Day, and it's fun too. Many people are out and about in their neighborhoods on beautiful summer evenings enjoying the festivities and neighborhood celebrations. 

Elder Todd D. Christofferson of the quorum of the 12 apostles kicked off the community activities last Sunday and celebrated the spirit of pioneering and community. He had learned that Ogden seemed to understand better than many Utah communities how to bridge cultural and religious divides to accomplish wonderful things. My sense is Ogden has been a healthy, diverse community for a long time. Before we came here, we had heard from naysayers that Ogden was a beat-up,  run-down, crime-ridden community. Not so. The people are friendly, the scenery majestic, the spirit of service is strong. 
We were grateful to meet a servant of the Lord and feel the spirit of love he had for so many. 

We have been busily engaged in zone conferences. Zone conferences provide an opportunity for Sister Jaggi and I, the AP's, zone leaders and office staff to train.  We have 5 zones right now with 130 young missionaries that will go to 7 or 8 zones and 180
Missionaries in the coming months. It is a spirit-filled meeting which we all enjoy. The local church's provide lunch during the mid-day. It is always delicious. We posted pictures of complete zones as well as companionships on our Facebook page (Jeremy Jaggi) and on Instagram (presidentandsisterjaggi). 

We have been impressed with the number of senior couples serving in the office and as full time missionaries from the 59 stakes in our mission. Most, but not all are retired and they serve many hours a week without "purse or script." They are humble and obedient servants of the Lord. We are grateful for them.  

Many young people have asked us recently how they can best prepare for a mission. My new advice...get a job and work. Parents should teach work to their children at a young age, through example. (Doing yardwork, helping s neighbor, cleaning the church). When older teens should get a job. Jobs help young people understand discipline, having a boss, being responsible and committed. Missioanaries who never worked have a more difficult transition to the 6:30am - 10:30pm schedule. 

The missionary schedule is packed, there are few downtimes but the work is beautiful. We attended a baptism last week and the week before. When people feel Gods spirit and recognize it, they change heir lives dramatically. Miracles are happening regularly. Sometimes, we just need to look! 

P.S. The local newspaper the Standard examiner did a brief article on the Utah Ogden Mission. The link is below. (


Friday, 10 July 2015

Mission Interviews

It's Friday and we are exhausted. What a wonderful week getting to know individual missionaries during our interviews of all 130! I love them and appreciate them. They come from 23 different countries, 28 different states, are as different and unique as all of Gods children. They have their ups and downs but are working hard to be obedient. They love the Lord and his gospel. 

We are looking forward to hosting Elder Christofferson of the quorum of the 12 apostles at a Pioneer Day fireside this Sunday at Weber State University. The upcoming July 24th Pioneer Day is quite a celebration in Utah, including another parade in which every missionary in the mission will march. Big rodeos, cultural celebrations and fireworks will also be a part of the upcoming festivities. We are learning what it's like to be in Utah again after so many years away. 

We experienced 3 days of intermittent torrential rainstorms which made me smile and pray for California to receive the same soon. We miss our dear friends and neighbors but think about you often. Attached are some of the Zone interview photos.