Monday, August 25, 2014

Yahd sale in Dowchestah‏

Bom dia my friends.

Shoutout to three people in this email list who I saw two days ago...
(Sister-no-longer) Jenna and Darren and Carey (whom I got permission to meet with on Jenna's way home) came honking and hollering through the parking lot of the chapel in Boston where we were having a party for the portuguese group. It was the strangest and happiest reunion I've ever had. 
(see pictures)

Now we are in Dorchester! Were starting everything from scratch. The biggest benefit is having sisters with experience here, because they already know the members and the city and the T. We had a little bit of whiplash in the transition here, mostly because E. Rodrigues (my new companion and second son) and I together have a miniscule background in public transportation. Everything here is bus and train, walk and walk some more. I'm feeling for my brothers and sisters serving in brazil, except its even hotter there and they have hills. 

BUT. After 5 days of confusion and transition, we're back on our feet (literally and metaphorically) and finding prepared people in Dorchester. It may have taken walking past a sign that literally said "YAHD SALE -->" for me to realize that this really is Boston. I never dreamed of living in a city, but now that we're here I'm realizing its actually aiight. Especially once you know which bus to take.

One struggle-- right now we live about an hour away from our proselyting area in Dorchester. We're in a swanky senior couples apartment, and I'm grateful for that, but the time spent in transit is killer. Probably in a month or two another senior couple will join the mission and we'll get moved closer to the orange line. Our work level will increase dramatically! But for now we will conseguir. 

Some miraculous stories from this week:
On the buses we usually sit in different places so we can talk to different people, and this past week God directed someone directly into my mass-transit path. I sat down next to an Indian-looking man, but on a whim started speaking Portuguese to him, and turns out he's cape verdean! His name is Manuel, and he loves, I mean loves the church. He says its the only church in cape verde that practices true religion and actually helps people change their lives. His son was baptized in Fogo, and he wants to start coming with him to church here. I told him the group was just starting, still small, but he didn't care. He has a gargantuan smoking problem, and he says he will only get baptized once he's completely free of it. Let the addiction recovery begin!

Also--- the sisters were teaching a 14 year old boy, Djeison, who really wasn't progressing forward. Then we showed up, and they transferred him to us. Turns out he's just really shy with girls.... because he understands the restoration of the church, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he wants to get baptized. We tried to set it for a month, but he said that was too long. So we marked a goal for the 14th! 

Last, I've been reading the allegory of the olive tree in Jaco 5. And I'm struck with the investment of the Lord of the vineyard. He weeps with grief at the idea of losing the trees of the vineyard, which are the workmanship of his hands. That is the God we worship-- a God who weeps. 

Love yall com todo meu coracao <3

-Elder Jackson

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jerusalem, if I forget youuuuuuu

Zoram and the Narrador 
Luisa's baptism

That is the sad song I sing, except Jerusalem is Brockton and I am not singing Hebrew reggae... But after several days of calls between President Packard and I, we've decided my brain in decent enough shape to handle a transfer to Dorchester, opening an area and training without a car. All I can do is trust and dive in. But the Lord qualifies whom He calls, neh?

This week was full of many great experiences, lots of the Spirit, struggles for answers and moments of great and sweeping views. I wrote a few weeks ago about my frustration with the people's struggle to keep commitments, to progress forward. And this week saw the realization of a love for the people I could not instill in myself, but had to come from God. Where before there was resentment, now there is understanding. And I deeply appreciate the chance to be here in my "promised land".

Two stories:

We went to go see two women we've been teaching, Nichinha and Bia, several times this week, and it all culminated in a lesson on Wednesday. We brought the Restoration video and a recent convert who gained his testimony through that video and set up the Miller's computer and speakers in the living room to watch. When the movie arrived at Joseph Smith's walk into the forest to pray, Julio (the RC) moved from one side of the room to be closer to the screen, saying "this is the best part-- this is what I really want to see." And the Spirit was there. And they watched, and we talked and prayed, and they decided to be baptized. It was miraculous.

On Saturday we had a casa aberta (open house) at the chapel, where the mission's portable visitor's center was on display. It took days to prepare everything, but in the end it was fantastic. Especially sweet was a play that me, E. Lopes and E. Vecchi wrote for 1 Nephi 2-4 (Nephi + bros go get the brass plates from Laban). We had two rehearsals, both of which only had like half the people there, and I thought it was going to fall apart. But it didn't. It was funny, it was dramatic, and I learned that Cabo Verdeans are really good improv actors. And most importantly the people there loved it. I'll get a video and send it to you.
My role? The portuguese :) #gringo

Will I go to Brazil? The question that has been on my back for 21 weeks now.... And I think I will stay here. Many prayers, a lot of counsel with parents and President Packard. It seems right. It hurts a little bit to close the door, but I think maybe this was where I was meant to be all along.

Elder Jackson

Monday, August 11, 2014

Just a quick shoutout to all the greatest people in the world

I am very limited on time today (I'm so sorry because I know yall desperately want to know about my missionary life ;) )

The neuropsych test came back and I am absolutely normal--
So the doctor says there's nothing left to test for and I can go to brazil if I want---
but I'm still not so sure. so the decision is up to my parents, me and the Lord! 

I don't know what will happen-- but I have this to say. 
It doesn't matter where you go in the service of the Lord because he is doing his work among all these people. And while we can't always explain the why, we're guided just the same. 

Keep going! Keep doing good! Don't die with your music still in you!

Elder Jackson

Monday, August 4, 2014

Land of Light

First off, I want to share this video with anybody that can watch it.

Its the church's spotlight on cape verde and the growth of the church there. Its a fantastic video and one that we're going to share with the members and people we're teaching. 

This week was humbling. My weaknesses have been demonstrated to me, emotional,physical and spiritual, and I feel a strong desire to repent and do better. Most of all, I need to love the people here more. The struggle this week was a lack of accountability-- people not doing the things they said they would do. It culminated in 11 people who committed to come to church on Sunday (members and non-members) cancelling and not showing up , including one who got baptized last week skipping her confirmation. We never have all the details, and we never know fully the pressures people face, but I admit I was frustrated. And I started to blame it on the culture. And it took the presence of the Holy Ghost right out of me. 

So E. Lopes and Vecchi showed me the land of light video, which I had never seen. And I was reminded that no matter the culture, no matter the strength or deficiency, God is doing his work for His children. He reaches out to the isles of the sea, the lost children on every continent, and invites them to come unto him. To change and take steps towards exaltation. And every, single one of us qualifies for the Savior's grace, because we're not like Him yet. Doesn't matter if its the harvard grad or the brocktonian who can't read or write. Everyone needs Christ and his Atonement. Even missionaries. 

I have two weeks left here in Brockton, and I'm going to give them all to the Lord and to the people. Then its a new challenge and a new step forward. Grace by grace we learn, just like Christ did. 

Love you all! Sorry this one was so dang serious but sometimes thats just the way it is. 

Elder BDJ

ps. shoutout to Daniel and Ashley for successfully finishing their stay in Thailand and receiving another assignment in CAPE TOWN. WORD.
p.p.s sorry no pics. our presidente do ramo took my camera card so I won't have it for a few days hehe