Monday, October 27, 2014

The dynamic duo becomes the tremendous three‏ . . .

. . . as Elder Rodrigues and I receive our new companion, Elder Carvalho! Some of you may remember that I served with him in Brockton, then he became the assistant to the President of the mission, and now for his last two months he's coming back to the portuguese program to help build the Cape verdean group and receive 1-2 new missionaries to train in 2 weeks. For two weeks though, we will be a walking wall of righteousness in the streets of Dorchester. Or at least the other two will be. I'll be the hole the Dutch boy plugged!

This past week started with me being with Mom, which was wonderful and weird. We went to Columbia Lyme Clinic, who did two days of testing and interviews and records reviews. And finally, finally, we got some possibilities that make sense. I'll copy the tentative diagnoses from my mom's email:

"One of my goals was to get a physiological explanation of why there is continued brain fog.  The doctor said there are two strong theories: 
1) there are still lyme spirochetes (now dead) in the brain which cause the body to activate the immune response, an inflammatory response, in the brain.  This causes swelling and brain fog. 
2) the dead spirochetes may have small proteins that cause the body's immune system to develop antibodies; then these antibodies attack normal brain protein in an auto-immune response causing inflammation and brain fog.  One lab test they did was for the NMDA receptor which is associated with auto-immune disorders."
So it feels great to have some progress. Most of all, to feel a little validated in my symptoms--- that theres a physiological cause for the brain fog, which has been a nagging presence for a year and a half now. Its not a petty step forward to have these ideas coming from a high-level medical facility. And though there isn't a cure, they can treat the symptoms. And they said it could be gone in 1-2 years. Which, compared to the rest of my life, is wonderful news.
The work here is going so well. The group has leveled out to a constant base of 22-30 people each sunday, which is bigger than when we first arrived here. And I'm learning that Jesus Christ really is the center and the head of our life, this church, and my purpose as a missionary. Through Him there's change where before there was a wall. He paid the debt for us, and thus expects us to use his gift to change ourselves, and its so possible. One of our young men is going through a monumental struggle in his family, primarily in his relationship with a troubled father who constantly puts him down and denies him his help. Christ knows that, and all pains. He's been there. And that's what we tell this young man. And for the first time in his life, he sees a ray of light out of the dark pit he was trapped in. 

I love being a missionary. I love my Savior. I love you all! There is no challenge insurmountable!

<3 Elder Jackson
p.s. sorry no pictures, I forgot to bring my cord to the library. SOON!
One photo (from Mama Jackson) of Elder Jackson in Central Park.
Elder Jackson's new address: 19 Ackley Place #2, Jamaica Plain, MA, 01230

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