Sunday, January 26, 2014

Celebrating a birthday -- missionary style

Jan. 20, '14

From the family history center of Bloomfield, CT, it's your FAVORITE EMAIL UPDATE FROM ELDER JACKSON.

Mostly I couldn't think of a creative title for this week. But for one thing, I'm TWENTY so I'm too old and mature for witty quips now. And also... I'm just not as funny as Sister Jenna Jackson *tear*

For real-- the loudest of shout-outs to all of you for your birthday letters/packages/emails/love. To be honest, it was a pretty standard day, where we worked with members and visited less-actives and just generally helped other people come unto Christ :) and the day was finished out with a tender mercy/birthday miracle-- the bishop showed up from the Hartford ward and send his kid to our front porch, where he handed us a 5lb container of tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough. and took 2.5lbs of that dough and made SUPER COOKIE. 

Then, in an effort MacGyver would be proud of, and as tribute to the jerryrigging talents of missionaries everywhere, we constructed "candles" out of seven torn off apple stems wrapped in scrap paper and lit them on fire. they didn't burn so much as they smoldered... but I blew them out anyways and ate half-cooked supercookie to seal one of the best birthdays I've ever had.

I prayed for a birthday present from Pai Celestial that I would feel the love of the Savior on the 14th, and let me tell ya. He answered. Most spiritually-rich day I've had since I left November 20th. Not for any particular reason, except an awareness of His love and mercy was just there in me all day. Sometimes you just know, outside of proof or mental reasoning, that the gospel is true. Tuesday was a day of enlightened understanding, a day of growth in that seed of Alma 32:28.

So thank you for supplementing that gift with ENDLESS BAKED GOODS, brand new scriptures, delicious socks and lots of letters and emails. I'm growing up out here but the taste of home is still good :)

Story of the week:
My favorite thing about being a missionary is finding the sheep that everyone else has forgotten about. Elder Benedict and I found Brother B. this week, a 77 year old man who lives alone in a home built in the 1940s. No one in the ward knows who he is, but we had his name and went to find him. We found a rough situation-- his sink had a leak in two places and his kitchen floor had a centimeter of water spreading to the hardwood in the bedroom and dripping onto the basement floor. His furnace has been broken for 5 years and he lives without heat (remember when it was -10 two weeks ago?) or space heaters. His toilet was broken and he was using a camping toilet. 
We cleaned and dried his floor, got a brother from the ward to fix his sink and toilet, and generally try to assess his condition. After two days of work his living conditions have improved tenfold, but what if Elder Benedict hadn't followed the prompting to visit?

Here's the thing-- we want to follow the Spirit, but sometimes we don't know how. My testimony is that we must learn to trust the thoughts and feelings that come to us. So many times here I've been led to say or do something that didn't feel like revelation, but in retrospect totally was. You gotta trust God, and trust yourself, and stop worrying about what's past, and look to the future with HOPE. God will use you in His great work. He already has. The mark of a true follower of Christ is exercising faith even when you don't know how the Lord is shaping you.

Now go read "But If Not..." by Dennis E. Simmons :)

I love you all! Don't worry about me, because I'm feeling happier than I've ever been. More at peace, more in harmony with the truth. Partake, and live!

-Elder Jackson

pics: birthday five guys and supercookie


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