I know, I know... the last 6 days have been killing you all. I understand and I sympathize. But I just wanted to let you all know...
I AM STILL ALIVE!
Everybody here says the real key is surviving from Wednesday until Sunday, and once you make it past Sunday and to your first P-day which in my case is Tuesday, you'll be fine. And so it seems! But seriously.... This is a strange place. Strange and wonderful. Wonderful and inexplicable in many ways... but I shall try.
First off, sorry for the lack of pictures. I got into kind of a time bind today with laundry and such things, and the computer lab we picked doesn't have a card reader and the usb cord doesn't work on this computer. Needless to say I have been taking photos, but you'll just have to wait :)
I got here and was confused for about 17 minutes until I got into my classroom. Only had one missionary lady in the assembly line that was entering the MTC tell me I look like Superman. Only one. So that was an accomplishment I think...
I met my companheiros! Yes, there is an s on the end of that word. I am part of the infamous TRIPANIONSHIP, as we like to call it. Elder Jackson, Elder Brown, and Elder Keene make up the most dynamic non-duo Zone 70E has ever SEEN. It's pretty great.
Elder Keene-- from Davison, MI, outside of Flint, MI, which is supposedly the crime capital of something but I don't know what exactly. He grew up partly in Chicago and partly in Michigan. Has a crazy story. Wasn't active until about two years ago when he moved to UVU to go to school since his aunt lives out here. His home teachers basically brought him to church, which at first was social but then became something more. He received both Aaronic and Melchisidec (sp?) priesthoods from his home teachers and changed his life. And now he's a missionary. 20 years old, turning 21 on Christmas. Knows everything about everything about world history. Read 1000 page books about stuff like... the history of the arab world. Most hilarious when he's trying not to be.
Elder Brown is from Lake in the Hills, Illinois, suburb of Chicago, quiet, humble, did a year at community college before coming on a mission, pretty much the only LDS kid in his school who actually kept the standards and the WoW, struggles with the language a bit but compensates by being incredibly hard working, patient, and kind hearted. Also a stud.
For me, the whole thing has been a big wake up. It's hard to remember how I was even 6 days ago. But I remember how nervous I was coming into the MTC, and that wasn't foolish because it was normal, but everything will be and is fine. I'm feeling great and I have honestly learned an incredible amount from my teachers and investigator.
The language? It actually hasn't been that hard... the Dom de Linguas is real here and that is not a joke or a platitude. I have taught lesson and prayed and spoke paragraphs in Portuguese and I haven't yet been studying a week. But I know I have SO MUCH to learn. It looks like this never-ending road to fluency, stretching out eternally before me.... but I will continue to walk forward every day. I get a chance to help my companions with learning the language in our study sessions, which gives me some awesome teaching experience. Because we all know, when you teach something, you learn it for yourself. I've honestly been wondering about a future in teaching. But that also could be just the wanderings of a brain that studies portuguese and o evangelho todo o tempo. BUT HEY! our classroom has a great view of the Provo temple and Y mountain. I get to watch the sunrise over Y mountain every morning. Thats because I wake up before the sun rises.
Most spiritual moment? Having the Spirit in an investigator lesson where you honestly have no idea what to say or do, and then you know what to say, and you say it. He had many questions, many which I have had in my life.... and I got really emotional but I testified in portuguese that all his questions would be answered with time. And then I was prompted to read 3 Nephi 27:14-16 which is now pretty much my favorite set of verses ever-- and I couldn't stop crying, which is unusual for me, and Tiago said "this doesn't answer any of my questions... but the feeling is different. The feeling I can't explain." so awesome.
I appreciate everyone's prayers SO MUCH. You guys helped me through a time where I had no idea what to do... and I'm here to help others with a much bigger version of that situation. Not knowing what life is for. What pain is for. What joy is for. The answer the biggest questions and help others to COME UNTO CHRIST. And that's what it's all about.
I love you all!!!!!!!!! I will send pictures next week! Eu sei que o evangelho e verdadeiro!
-Elder Jyackson (as Tiago says)
p.s. irish whistle saves my life every day.
p.p.s saw one of Alissa's roommates, Celia Rivera from BYU MB, Ray Smith (my sax professor at BYU), and my cousin Sister Jackson several times!
p.p.p.s I got all your emails and dearElders, PLEASE keep sending them because they are the greatest. but time is short and I cannot respond to all DESCULPE