Friday, January 3, 2014

Merry Christmas!

December 30, 2013

It has been 5 days since we last chatted and oh what significant days I have had here at the CTM. After our email sesh last week we went into the Christmas Day Devotional and the speaker turned out to be ELDER BEDNAR, who every missionary loves because of 1) Character of Christ and 2) Becoming a Missionary. And plus he tells it straight. And it was awesome and groundbreaking because in the meeting they handed out 200 phones to the missionaries in Provo and also the other MTC's around the world, and we texted questions to Elder Bednar's iPad while he was at the pulpit and he picked questions and answered them. And it was awesome.
 And later that night we had a jazz Christmas concert performed by RAY SMITH who was my saxophone teacher at BYU.... and after I went up and talked to him for a while. What a gift.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Christmas presents and packages. They made it a special day. Thanks so much for the calendar (Mom) with all the glorious pictures, and to Dad for the awesome family histories book with my tree photo on the cover (looks AWESOME). 
And also the other little things were perfect. So thank you.

Yesterday we had our departing missionary fireside and I got to play cello with Elder Martin and Sister Hoffman from Colorado on a medley of Because I have been given much/Lord, I Would Follow Thee. It was awesome and beautiful. Grateful for the years of (semi-diligent) practice that allow me to reap the blessings now. Also I befriended the MTC President and his wife, Brother and Sister Nally, (mostly Sister Nally because she's a musical prodigy and does the music auditions for devotionals) and she told me I need to tell my mission president in Boston that I play the cello. We're pretty much friends so I trust her judgement :)

To be honest I'm a little nervous for Boston tomorrow but not exceedingly. I definitely feel the inspiration of the call although I don't understand it yet. But my feeling is that I may be on my reassignment for a long time, and Heavenly Father is planning for me to speak Portuguese while I'm in Boston. And preparing somebody to receive me. It's the kind of thing where you prepare so much for it and then at a certain point you just have to take the leap into the real work. Much like the leap of faith I took with leaving for the mission at all 1.5 months ago. 
 But the Christlike attribute I've been pondering the last two weeks here has been hope-- hope is trust that the Lord will keep His promises, and faith to act on that trust. I trust that Heavenly Father reveals His gospel to His prepared children, and I am working on the faith to act on that trust in my teaching. Also having hope in my mission call-- trusting in the reality of being "set apart".

Hey, if you have a chance and a quiet moment, go listen to that Mormon message with James E. Faust and the radio about listening to the Spirit. We watched it last night and it touched my heart. Also, go watch Unto All the World: the Gospel in Asia. I may have cried at the end when it talks about the future temple in India. 

Tomorrow it becomes real. THIS IS WILD. But I love you all, and I miss you but not a distracting amount, and I'm a POWERFUL MISSIONARY HYAHHHHHHHHHH

....not really, but God loves me. I don't understand much, but I know that. He loves us all! And it'll make sense in the end--so keep the faith. Keep your covenants. Seek pure religion. BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS!

Elder Jackson

photos:  posing with Samuel H. Smith

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