Sunday, April 27, 2014

TEMPLO e Boston Marathon

April 21, 2014

Literally no time to email today-- we went to the Boston temple really early this morning and spent the day, PATRIOT'S DAY, in Boston watching the finishers of the marathon and having people from all across the world yell HEY ELDERS and some give us $$ for food. Twas a good day.

The work is progressing, and every day I know more that God lives. He really does. He's present in our lives and loves us. And since Easter just passed, and as we elders sang in sacrament meeting yesterday, Jesus Christ is risen! HE LIVES! Man it's the coolest thing ever. 

Love you all immensely. Also--Mass General is the most ginormous and amazing hospital in the world. Full of brilliant brilliant people. 

-Elder Jackson

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Believe in your Dreamsssss

April 14, 2014
Hello everyone, this email will be quick today! A longer one next week for sure.
-We had 6 investigators at church yesterday; one came to us in an unexpected way, when we were waiting for the elevator in our building. A mom came up to us and said, in portuguese, "will you guys come teach my son? He doesn't get out of the house much and you have lots of activities right?" and we said... MOST DEFINITELY.  his name is william and he is a little shy/awkward but totally legit.
-yesterday we went to find a guy who helped us move a member of the ward across the street, and when we got there he wasn't there, but his family was... his dad is Francisco, who is the patriarch of a ginormous cape verdean family with 10 adult children. and 3 of his daughters were there, and we taught the message of the restoration to them. they all wanted Livro de Mormons and one wanted the address of the church. ask and ye shall receive.
-had a super spiritual lesson with an investigator, Taj, who was unsure about his baptism happening soon. like everyone ever he wanted to delay 3 or 4 months; we opened up the scriptures and talked about how much it really matters. and nothing was planned but we followed the Spirit and miracles occurred in that little classroom. and he decided to be baptized April 26th. $$$
-I have a medical appointment at Mass General on tuesday!!!!! YES! hopefully there will be answers. and candy. but mostly answers :)
Love you all! Believe in your dreams!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jejum and Miracles‏

April 7, 2014
Aloooooha everybody. this week was pretty spectacular. First off I'll just quote my dear Sister Jenna Jackson because she spoke the truth--"I wouldn't be a missionary or Mormon if I didn't say BEST WEEKEND OF THE YEAR". General Conference was beautiful and actually, except for approx. 10 minutes on Sunday, I watched the whole thing in English! I probably should've watched it in Portuguese for language study and all that, but I was selfish and wanted to hear it in the tongue of the homeland. So me and Elder Vargas, who wants to learn more English (but is going home to brazil in 4 weeks so won't exactly get much practice) watched with an assortment of the branch's children in English. there was a far larger group that watched it with live Portuguese translation in the gym; Cabo Verdeans get out to conference. I loved it.
The biggest takeaway for me was a theme, something that I've been pondering a lot lately when thinking about the future of this restored church and gospel. That is, there is a cost to discipleship and we have to let our faith show. I have a bad habit of expecting too much from the people around me, but this I believe is true; that if members of this church are going to survive in a world where its ever harder to be a Mormon, we have to embrace the cost of discipleship. Defend the faith, but not make ourselves martyrs.... in perpetual gratitude, like President Uchtdorf counseled, we can EMBRACE the load that gives us spiritual traction and stand firmly rooted in the rock of our salvation. aka Jesus Christ. Boom. Roasted.
And I am seriously so glad for a prophet that teaches about courage and love... that they are inextricably tied, in a world would tell us that meekness is weakness. Charity is power, and the courage to be faithful.
Now for the jejum and miracles.... We have a bunch of investigators but there are two families we're working with the most. the De Pina's ALL came to conference and loved it (they're all quiet and reserved so sometimes its hard to tell. except for cassia the 3 year old, who likes us only for our chocolate). We called their other son, who always works and we've never met, expecting disinterest--- turns out he was almost baptized in Cape Verde, has seen the difference in his family since they started coming to church, and committed to be at our lesson on Tuesday and come to church next week. UNH.
The real miracle was with Raymond, who's wife is a member but the rest of the family is not. We challenged him to fast all of Saturday for an answer to his questions about the church, and to watch conference. and he DID. He's still not sure if he wants to join, but his experience on Saturday was special enough that I don't want to broadcast it here; serious revelation through the Book of Mormon. He has been so prepared, all the way back to when he followed the Spirit that told him not to falsify his records in order to play for the Cape Verdean national soccer team, which led him to go back to get a masters in Portugal, which led to a masters in the US, which led him to his wife and kids, the gospel, and this church in Brockton. He knows so much and I can see his family sealed in the temple... There is nothing I want more.
Therefore my beloved friends and family; (D&C 123) let us waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light the truth, cheerfully doing all things that lie in our power. then let's stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. lets trust Him and be patient. Lets have courage and love and follow the prophet. lets never forget the standard to which we are committed. Because this world needs more of that, neh? 
love you all and thank you for all the miracles you do every day. STAY SWEET!
-Elder Jackson 

BELEZA Brockton

March 31, 2014

Tudo bemmmm familia e amigos. I write this time from the chapel in West Bridgewater, MA as the rain/snow/sleet/stuff continues to fall outside. And seeing as P-day ends very soon I don't have much time to write. HOWEVER.

Welcome to Brockton.

The Brockton Portuguese branch is CRAZY. Crazy awesome. And a mercurial shift from Bloomfield. Lets just say... at sacrament on sunday, I was more than a little envious of the kids who got to wear the translation headphones. It would be bad form for a portuguese-speaking missionary to use the translation, but then again, who says I really fit into that category anyway?!  I think maybe part of why I didn't understand the talk was because it was in Portuguese creole, which leads me to the most interesting discovery that---
something like 70% of Brockton is from Cape Verde. So the (small amount of) portuguese doesn't sound like the portuguese of the ward and most of the people we teach. So I must learn creole! Or perhaps just portuguese first... Adventures of missionary life neh?

My companion is Elder Lopes, who was born in Recife, Brazil and moved to the US when he was 8. He's lived in the states since then but visits Brazil often and his dad and some siblings live down there now. There are 6 missionaries in the branch, 4 elders and 2 sisters. the other 2 elders live with us, and they are both from brazil also. Sao Paulo I think. Its me and three brazilians and its FANTASTIC.

The work is on fire here. We have 4 baptismal dates and on sunday we had 7 investigators at church. But it is not without work. I'm busy trying to learn as fast as I can and open my mouth when I don't know what's gonna come out. That's hardest for me, because I'm used to expressing myself easily, and now its like BACK TO KINDERGARTEN ELDER JACKSON and I'm struggling to accept it. 

BUT. One of our investigators, Socorro, is a mom who's husband is in Cape Verde (like many many families here) and has 4 kids, 3 of whom came to church on Sunday. And Socorro's brother served a mission in Portugal but is less active and she wants us to go find him. And she accepted a baptismal date on Saturday. And unlike most of the branch, we didn't have to wake her up to go to church-- we showed up and they were all getting ready. AHHGHH. beleza. 

The lyme disease is sticking around and being a stupid butt BUT I got good news kids.... I'M GOING TO YALE! They accepted me as a patient and will see me sometime in the near future. So maybe they'll discover something and I will know I was called here for a reason. The Lord works in mysterious ways, neh?
I know the gospel is true, people. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know Cape Verdeans are awesome. And I know that talks on the Law of Chastity in Portuguese Creole are THE BEST.

Elder Jackson