Hey everybody! Hope all is well with you. The sun is shining. The tank is clean. And this week a lot of really cool things happened. A lot.
I went on exchanges in West Bridgewater with the Zone Leaders this past week. They happened to have an appointment in the middle of Brockton, so I was riding with them and we pulled up next to one of the classic three-story apartment/house things that define Brockton. Got out of the car, recognized the neighborhood, but couldn't remember from where... then Jane walked right by the car, who I taught in Brockton, asked about the missionaries, said her mom had changed and would let her come to church, that she wanted to meet with the Sisters and come to church with them. They have an appointment with them.
On exchanges in Boston, a young woman contacted us as we were walking into Ruggles station. Her good friend from Ireland was serving in Idaho. She talked to us for a minute, then said goodbye. I grabbed one of E. Turley's passalong cards and literally ran down the walkway in the T station to catch her; I surprised myself; but she accepted it gladly, and then talked to us for another fifteen minutes about missions and the church, culminating in the question: "so tell me in 2 minutes, what makes Mormons different?" Elder Turley explained, then Elder Nixon gave her a Book of Mormon and left Alma 32 to read, and I asked her to text us when she finished the chapter. 20 minutes later (approximate length of T ride) we got SIX texts from Alex:
"So here are my thoughts on my girl (I mean guy) Alma... The first thing that caught my attention is how most of it was about humility and humbling of your heart. This is something that has been very much a work in my life over the past year, so I thought it was very interesting that you picked it out. My favorite part 32:28-- so true that the joy of Christ literally enlarges my soul and my heart and breathes life into my body and my happiness. The more I believe, the more I understand and the more joy that fills me. I have never thought about my faith the way that this says-- how because it is true, it has grown immensely. When I think about false beliefs, untrue happiness, and lies I have bought into, its true... At some point they cease. They stop making me happy or giving me what I think they will; however; my faith is the one thing that stays true, never ceases, literally can never and will never stop growing. Alma is right-- because it is true, it continues to fill me."
(Mom's note: Elder Jackson's companion is Elder McCann who is the grandson of Elder Jeffery R. Holland. Elder & Sister Holland visited Boston last week where one of their sons lives. He also conducted several special conferences with missionaries and members in the region. Elder Jackson had some very tender moments and experiences, which he shared in his weekly email but feels should not be posted to a public blog. Therefore, the rest of this entry is highly edited.)
On saturday, we had a special mission leadership council. We were in charge of setting everything up, making the program, getting the room, making sure everyone was there early, fasting and preparing spiritually for the special guest: Elder Holland. It was a powerful meeting because everyone was spiritually prepared. He spent the whole time taking the mission leaders' questions and responding; the messages were simple; he spoke about E. Perry and his love for him; about selfless love; about staying active and making covenants; about the ups and downs of spiritual growth.
Sunday night was the mission-wide Latino conference where recent converts and Elder Holland spoke. The Spirit was overwhelming. Boston 1 PO rented two buses to drive everyone there :) He asked all the recent converts of the last year to stand up, and I looked across and saw Djeison there. It was a supernal experience. A Haitian woman came in from the street; she was driving from a hospital in boston to home in Worcester but got lost, her GPS stopped working, and she ended up at the church asking for directions. I printed out directions for her and explained what was going on. She said she couldn't stay because of her kids; I told her that we had Haitian missionaries in Boston who could visit her brother in the hospital; she said she would love for them to help.
God's hand is in our lives, sometimes more powerfully than others. We have weeks of loneliness, weeks where we pass through the valley of darkness will only our memory of that light to guide us. And then we ascend, and He overwhelms us with the light of his truth and the warmth of his love. I had that mountain-top experience this week.
Stay true and faithful! I'll talk to you next week.