Monday, September 29, 2014

Ice Cream and Salvation‏

The crucial updates:

President Packard called this morning to say that Elder Hollister in the missionary department approved the trip to the Columbia Lyme clinic. So we're moving forward with that! Seems like the Lord's hand is in it.
Darren: we have another transportation option. The mission doctor for this and other missions in New England is in our ward, and he offered to take me to Boston. I figure that would take a load off of you. How does that sound? We'd also need to figure out if I should stay with you, or a closer hotel near the clinic.

I passed 10 months on my mission, time is flying and I can hardly believe how things have changed for me. Best metaphor I can think of is when Adam was found offering sacrifice and prayer to the Lord, and an angel asked him "what's up? why are you doing that?" and Adam said, "I know not, save the Lord commanded it." He was obedient, but not comprehending. Then the angel explained, that everything was in the similitude of the Only Begotten--- everything a symbol and testament or tribute to the great sacrifice. I'm sure it was a learning process for Adam too; as he went about his daily activities, both spiritual and temporal, learning the significance of all he did as a man and prophet. That's what the mission does for you, or at least for me. You learn the why :)

This week was pretty great. Djeison was confirmed a member, the first of mine in this new group, and he really is feeling the Spirit. Feeling the difference! We went over the baptismal questions with Alex, and he's good on everything except kinda sketchy with Joseph Smith. We're going take advantage of Gen Conference for him. Living prophet = past prophets

This little group is funny. We're doing pretty good at getting investigators to church (we had 10 two sundays ago), and the active members are solid (just were able to call a sister who moved here from Cape Verde as the Gospel Principles teacher (shoutout to Dad!) and she's pumped) but the less actives in dorchester are really hard to bring back. They don't speak english so they have to take the hardest/least paying jobs, and they usually take the weekend shifts nobody else wants, so they work on Sunday. Many of them (three so far) were branch presidents in CV, but they come here and stuff just gets hard. trabalho is duro for them. But if we can find a building to meet together in the city of Dorchester... man. Stuff would blow up here. So thats what we're going for!

Tender mercies from Saturday, which is always our best day:
-no brain fog
-convinced our super shy recent convert to come teach with us
-were looking for a potential, Junior, were about to leave his house (wasn't there), when we saw an ice cream truck. So we got ice cream, then returned to the house to check one more time, and Junior came walking down the driveway! Without the ice cream, we would've left and never found him. But instead we got ice cream, and two more people to teach. #bencaos
-were walking away from Junior's house, when joao, another investigator, walked past us on the street. We set a time to come over and teach his family.
-went to KFC. chicken is good
-went to carvalho house; kids weren't there, but older brother drove in right when we got there. Spilled his heart to us about how he wants to quit drinking and help his family. Committed to come to church with his friend Ildo who is a member.
-ran into Jose, Ildo's younger brother, on the bus on the way to Ildo's house. He let us in their apartment building and we got to talk to Ildo. It was the best.
As Nacho would say, my life is gewd. I've seen more miracles in this tiny group than ever before in my mission. I'll leave with a scripture (Mosiah 7:18): there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made!
Elder Jackson/Brenton/whatever

Monday, September 22, 2014

Reckless Pursuit

Before I say anything else....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO Jenna Jackson!!!! The ancient of days has now arrived at 23 years, and for the next 4 months she'll be three years older than me. 

This week was probably the best week of my mission so far. We had a ton of fun, experienced a ton of miracles and had some serious blessings and answers to prayers. I'll just give you a few tender morsels and you can imagine the rest of the cookie from there!

Djeison was one of the first people we ever taught in Dorchester. The sisters were going to stop teaching him because he wasn't showing interest at all, and then we came over and something changed. Maybe its because we're so funny, or handsome. The world may never know. But he was completely and totally prepared. And this Sunday we watched him enter the waters of baptism! When I asked him afterwards what he felt, he said "when I came out of the water I felt something very powerful, like I was pumped! Ready to go!" Plus the guy who baptized him was baptized himself just a few months ago. See pictures attached.

Another miraculous event: we were running around on Saturday setting up all the details for Djeison's baptism, and my head was getting really bad. I didn't know if I was going to need to go home, or if we could go to the next lesson. We decided to go for it, and prayed for strength to teach a lesson we didn't have time to plan for. We arrived at the Carvalho family's house, went up, and sat down with them to teach about the Plan of Salvation. And it was like a curtain went up. My mind was clear, the ideas flowed, my tongue was loosed and we had one of the most intensely spiritual lessons of my whole mission. At the end they explained to us how what we said made more sense than anything they'd ever heard. They agreed to come to church and read and pray about the Book of Mormon. 
Whats the takeaway?
We have burdens. The Lord doesn't take them away, but he also doesn't let them keep us from doing His work. He never forsakes us, even when we have nothing left to give. It feels so good to just be all in. 

Miraculously the doors have opened to have a two day appt at the Columbia lyme disease clinic in NY. Its all set as long as I can get permission to go. 

Every week I feel like I don't remember half of the million that I intend to write, but just take this words to mean that I love you all and I'm thinking of you! Now were off to the MUSEUM OF SCIENCE. 

Elder Jackson

Zone soccer errr day
Djeison, Ildo, us and Djeison's sister!

Monday, September 15, 2014

You little devil, get outta my house!!‏

The view from the top of the Prudential Building in Boston

Cabo verde, te amo

Me, Djeison and Rodrigues!

I still take flower pictures. Still

You might be thinking those were the words someone said to me, but you would be wrong. In fact, they were the words an old man said to his government ID stuck in his pocket, as he handed me and E. Rodrigues his keys, wallet and gigantic Bible. The adventures of the T!

This week has been pretty exciting! We had transfers on Wednesday, and since Elder Rodrigues never got to experience them his first day he got to spend the night with the rest of the brand-new missionaries and the Packards. And I was reunited with my old companion Elder Lopes!! We spent a day in Dorchester together and it was legit. Then that night we said goodbye to the missionaries headed home and heard them bear their final testimonies in the Massachusetts Boston mission. Each time this happens I know more of the ones going home--- makes me feel old. Which I'm still not. 

We hit the ground running on Thursday and were able to see Djeison, who's going to be baptized this Sunday, and have correlation with the group leader Alberto. That meeting in and of itself was inspiring, because his vision is the same as ours and he sees the possibilities here. He doesn't have the greatest means fiscally in the world, but he and his family are spiritual giants giving everything to the Lord. He's got big plans for the portuguese in Boston, and we're hitting the yoke together.

Friday I assumed a new responsibility as a district leader, and got to fumble my way through the first meeting of the transfer. Some of the strongest missionaries are here in the city, and they make up for my lack of experience. We also found a guy going back to cape verde, Ladimir, that had always wanted to visit the church there but never got the chance. We taught him about the church and the restoration, and since hes returning to CV in a week we're going to coordinate with the missionaries there so he doesn't fall through the cracks in transit. 

Saturday was miraculous. For really the first time in my mission, everything we tried or planned worked. All pieces fell into place and all the people we needed to see showed up, including one Elton who pulled up right as we were walking out of his house. We had a lesson with the family of 6 teenagers and finally the oldest son opened up to us about how he feels. That he wants to know, and that he understands this decision will affect the course of his life, and is ready to ask God if this is the right path. We left him Alma 32 to read. He came to church on the next day, Sunday, having read and prayed; he asked when he could be baptized. 

Being on a mission I've learned so much about companionship. So often when we face discord with our family or friends we point the blame all directions except inward; our pride digs in and we hurt the ones we disagree with. But think of Christ. He was leading a nascent church with apostles that were adolescent in the faith and in their responsibility. They were sometimes prideful, sometimes ignorant, and often just human like we are-- imperfect. Yet the Savior chastened with love. Instead of distancing himself, he drew them closer, taught them more. He spent months removed from Jerusalem with them, unfolding the church and priesthood to them. And you can read the result in the closing books and epistles of the New Testament-- the apostles teaching with power and authority, administering and guiding the church!

So it is with our families and friends. Only increased love and hard work bring the Zion that we need. And nothing else is worth it!

Elder Jackson

Monday, September 8, 2014

In the City‏

From a gigantic and ancient library in Boston, here's your update on the life of ELDER JACKSON.
This week was sweet. Like a ginepa. Or as I call them, eyeball fruit. I ate MANY this week.
I taught a 10-year old how to conduct hymns, so that he can soon have a chamadinho (little calling) in the group... I'm the designated piano player for church, so he's gonna be my conductor. #groupperks
Djeison is on fire. We were teaching about the Holy Ghost in church on Sunday, and I asked him about its role in his conversion so far. He said "When I read the Book of Mormon, I got a feeling that was very powerful. Something I never felt before, that I couldn't make up." Like getting hit with the Spirit train. LEGIT.
3 out of 7 teenagers from our favorite family of Marcelino were at church on Sunday, and they're starting to receive answers that this is the right way to go. eh fixe dimais! 
I'm not going to have 3 days as a cyborg (72-hour EEG), but instead a neurologist found a medicine that just might work. I'm hoping. It feels right.
I'm learning Portuguese faster than ever, probably because its the first time I'm teaching it to my companion and teaching in it to our people. Plus were getting a vision of how this group can crescer (grow), which it will--- one important step, we think, will be finding a place to have church in Dorchester. Gonna be an adventure. But we talked to a pastor who invited us to come read his sermons during the week, and we're gonna go! Maybe he'll lend us some real estate three hours a week!!!! its a stretch... but gotta be optimistic.
Shout outs to Daniel for his birthday and Scott for his birthday and Darren and Carey for their 1 year anniversary!!! BOM DIMAIS!
Elder Jackson 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sta sabe dimais‏

Indeed it is... you awesome brethren and sistren, I have limited time because yesterday was labor day and all the libraries were closed and we spent 7 hours in the Boston temple. It was a good day.


Our 14-year-old friend Djeison will be baptized on the 21st, and he's better at studying scriptures than me. 

As soon as we can figure how to help somebody quit smoking, Manuel will be on the road. Viciado... addictions are hard.

In a few days I get to have my brain hooked up to cyber wires and proselyte with a Red Sox hat for 3 days. beat that.

And last P-day, I played the organ in a Masonic Temple. My songs of choice: If You Could Hie to Kolob, and Praise to the Man ;)

I love you all! More updates next week!

-Elder Jacksao