Monday, July 27, 2015

New Haitianaries, PVC Tours and Long-Awaited Miracles‏

 Suzy, Joylton and Joylson with Veiga who were all baptized in Boston PO.

 Some amazing landscaping at the temple.
 The outside of the chapel.
 Elder Perkes and our faithful Hartford City Elder Maughan.

...and by PVC, I don't mean pipe.
Greetings!!!!! Writing you all from Marlborough, MA today. We just finished a round of interviews, which has pretty much been the story of the week and will continue next week. But I have some cool, and some miraculous, stories to tell.

First off, I'm pretty sure today is my trainers birthday, Elder Benedict. Now technically Brother Benedict. Who also happens to be married. #livingthedream

Second, does anyone in Ashburn remember a Machado family that lived in the ward from 2000-2002? They are brazilian and he worked for the highway administration there off Route 9. His family runs the Portuguese group here in Central Falls, RI, and I was there over the weekend with them. He looks awfully familiar, and taught the 8 year old Primary class in 2001 when I would have been 7 or 8.... so he may have been my primary teacher??

This week?

We picked up the new Haitian elders from the airport and got them to their new areas. We helped run Return and Report with the missionaries who came in 3 weeks ago. We helped plan how to interview 220 missionaries in 2 weeks! We spent Thursday morning back in Amherst, MA, then Thursday evening in Hartford at the portable visitors center chapel tour. More on that later. Saturday was in Pawtucket, RI's Portuguese group, where I saw my first chapel marriage ever (in portuguese, for a couple from Guinea-Bissau). On Sunday we took the Millers to church in Boston so they could have the experience-- its the united nations of the mission. While there, a mother and her twin sons who I found and taught in Boston were baptized, and that was awesome for me to witness. Suzy, Joylson and Joylton. A little bit on them in "Some Greasy Saxophone, Passalong Cards and Suzy's Foot", March 30, 2015. haha


The coolest event of the week was at the Portable Visitors Center (PVC) tour in inner-city Hartford. I sent a longer version of the story to the Boston Stake President, but it was... long so I'll give the skinny here.
The PVC consists of physical canvas displays with mounted TVs and ipads that can be set up in almost any location that has power. Its an extremely powerful tool the mission invented. So they came to Hartford's city chapel and the whole zone (plus me and Perkes) went out on the streets to invite everyone to come see. We didn't have much success for the first three hours; we gave out many cards and books, but nobody would come with us to see the videos and walk the tour. We returned to get water and rest and watched the other missionaries walking many people through the building, some listening intently, others crying as they watched the videos, and felt pricked in our hearts. Surely there was a reason we came down to help that day... So Elder Perkes decided we should pray, which we do all the time, but this one was special. We went to an empty classroom, knelt, and I told the Lord we knew there was someone ready for us, and that we needed to be guided to them. A little bolder than my prayers usually go.

We walked out and took the streets to the west, the only place we hadn't already gone. One couple took our card but couldn't come. Farther down the street two children called after us, so we turned around. Their mom said her sister had come to the last tour and she had a Book of Mormon. They couldn't come, but this 2-minute delay was crucial and deliberate on the Lord's part. Three blocks down we drew near to the end of the road when we saw Jose Pabon get out of his truck and cross the street right behind us. A moment passed, then we turned and asked "Do you have a few minutes to see a display about Jesus Christ?" He turned, paused, then said "Sure- let me put my stuff inside, then we can talk." We waited for him, then walked the 3 blocks to the chapel.

During that walk we learned that Jose Pabon had attended an LDS church in Albany, New York when he lived there more than 30 years prior. He told us that a member had met him on the street, invited him, and driven him to church three Sundays before Jose's work kept him from returning. He lost contact and never saw the church again, until we passed by his house that day. At the front doors of the chapel we watched a few videos from the Savior display; as we watched, a powerful Spirit emerged on that mildly ghetto Hartford street.

Inside, Jose watched silently the videos about Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and nodded as we explained how God loves all his children equally, and enough to bring back His church. In the Plan of Salvation room we taught about suffering, commandments and baptism. When another woman questioned why she needed to be baptized again, Jose surprised us by saying "What they're trying to tell you is that the truth was distorted. Now its back."
We finished at the Book of Mormon round table, where we handed Jose a copy in English and showed him the pictures in the front. Elder Perkes read Moroni's promise with him, and we testified that God had led us to him. He agreed. We explained church on Sunday; he said he would be there. We had only known him for 10 minutes, but felt inspired to invite him to baptism the next month-- and he accepted.

Jose texted his number to the Hartford City elders and then they walked him back home. He was a living answer to a faith-filled prayer. The elders called us on Sunday to say he had showed up to church in shirt and tie, Book of Mormon under his arm, and that he already read to Mosiah 16. and now I have a much stronger testimony of prayer backed up by action. Two part formula for miracles.

Elder Jackson

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