Monday, September 28, 2015

From Rhode Island with Love

Gonna miss seeing these guys every day... But adventures await
Hey all! 

Holy cow! 

I'm speaking portuguese again!

It feels really really really good!

Safe to say I'm happy down here in Rhode Island. Central Falls is great. Pretty ghetto, full of people that need help, and they all speak portuguese and kriolu. Its my final promised land of my mission. 

My companion is Elder Araujo, a brazilian from Sao Paulo (my 7th companion from Brasil #bencaos). I trained Elder Lopes, and Elder Lopes trained Elder Araujo, which in mission lingo makes him my grandson, or "neto" as i so fondly call him! Were the zone leaders over the Providence North zone, more commonly called LOB City, which covers from Warwick, RI north to the RI border, and west to Ashford, CT, including the whole city of Providence. In our zone, 9 out of the 12 companionships are training. Safe to say, we have a lot of fire

The area is sweet. It is a lot like Boston, except the city is smaller and the portuguese group has a more stable foundation of members and leadership. The group leader is Brother Machado, who used to teach me in CTR 7 or something! I knew he looked familiar... But him and his family are solid. Church yesterday was an awesome experience as we did the old Sunday morning round up and came to church to find50 people ready for sacrament meeting in Portuguese. Brother Machado asked me to bear my testimony (in Kriolu). I had a serious flashback to all the many testimonies and talks I gave in Boston. Basically put in a plug for general conference by telling about my experience with Elder Holland. It was fun. 

Its strange to be here after six months in Weston, especially because I felt my vision of the whole mission sort of slip away. Its like I could visualize every missionary and area in the mission before, and now I'm really just able to laser focus on the zone and its needs. I guess thats just a weird way to say my stewardship has changed, and I felt it pretty strongly. 

The Lord, through me, Elder Araujo, Sister Couto and Sister Capece, will make this group into a branch by the end of this transfer. Thats what I feel I'm called to do here and were ready to sprint. I consider the chance to serve here one giant tender mercy. Heavenly Father truly does know what we need... 

Last thought--- GET PUMPED TO HEAR THE LORD'S WILL. General Conference has arrived.

38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

 My mental image is this-- imagine Christ himself standing at the podium in the Conference center. How close would you pay attention? Would you do what he asked? Would you dare miss any moment?

D&C 1:38 is saying that there is really no difference between his voice and the voice of his servants. His chosen representatives will speak, and through the Spirit we may receive the will of the Lord for our lives. Are we ready?

Elder Jackson

Monday, September 21, 2015

Transfer Surprises-- I'm Outtie

 We went apple picking! 
 The best donut i ever ate 
Elder Perkes taking a wicked spill on some apples.
Tractor dreams.

Good day to all yall out there! Popping in to let you know I'm still alive in Boston. This week was pretty solid, but not in a way that yields too many jaw dropping stories of missionary heroism. Mostly we organized and executed transfer decisions, but that in and of itself is a fairly great feat.

Since I don't have much to talk about, I'll explain transfers real quick for those who don't know. So we have 240 missionaries in our mission, and about 100 areas/units for them to serve in covering all from bridgeport, CT to Keene, NH to Lynnfield, MA to Cape Cod. Every 6 weeks we have transfers. And its crazy. We have 5 languages in the mission (english, spanish, portuguese, mandarin chinese and haitian creole) so we have to very carefully plan within those 5 language programs where in new england the missionaries can and are supposed to go. There are spanish units or groups in every stake, portuguese units/groups in about half the stakes, haitian in two stakes and chinese in one stake. In the end its a giant puzzle of combining companionships across this area, all based on revelation from the Lord. 

How does the revelation come? Its a total mix of information and inspiration, meaning we come to the process with ideas and put together as much as we can, listening to the Spirit and paying attention to where the Lord leads us as we discuss His missionaries and where they need to go. In the end, the right to revelation rests on President Miller as he has stewardship over them. But we do all we can to prepare and facilitate that revelation.

So we did all that this week, and got done, and President said he had one last change to make. He went over to the board and grabbed my card and two other portuguese elders, did a big switcharoo, and now I'm shipping down to Central Falls, RI to the Portuguese group! I'm so pumped. But its also hard to leave the Millers and Elder Perkes. We've gotten really close these past few months. But my good friend Elder Vecchi is taking my spot and I know he's going to kill it here! 

Wednesday night after transfer meeting I'll hop in the car and drive down to Central Falls. Its a small, densely populated city full of Cape Verdeans, hispanics and some Brazilians too, not too far from Providence. Right now its the promised land for our work. The group is growing fast-- and I've got two transfers to help it really get going. 

The Lord is at the head of this work, and its the greatest and noblest work of all. Everyones invited!

Elder Jackson

ps. new address should be 75 South Union Street #408 Pawtucket RI 02860

Monday, September 14, 2015

Line Upon Line

Tacos Don Nachos-- Central Falls, R
Greetings all! What a week it has been. From Monday to Saturday we had meetings and trainings across the mission. I'm lovin it.
Monday was the recent convert day at the temple;
Tuesday was training on the webex, helping an English lady named Bo move, and doing a baptismal interview in Kriolu with President in Central Falls, RI;
Wednesday was our return meeting with trainers and new missionaries;
Thursday was zone conference in Cambridge with Cambridge and Nashua zones;
Friday was zone conference in Franklin with both Providence zones and Hingham;
Saturday we spent half the day in Worcester Spanish which was dope;
and yesterday we went Lowell, MA --> Cambridge --> Belmont --> Natick. A solid day.

Began work on a project for President that involves me writing and recording a bunch of music to accompany a message to the mission later in the year. So if we have a free minute
I hope on the piano and start to bang out ideas. Reminds me of old times.

I may have mentioned that were making contact with people around the world through the digital mission, and my website is Google+; this week I got to talk to a bunch of people in Brazil (#brazilianportuguese #nothingbetter #nooffenseJenna) and several are really interested in the gospel. I made friends with a woman named Elaine who lives in Campinas, and she has had tons of friends and family in the church and serving missions. She is so cool. We just talked about true discipleship, John 14, Mosiah 2, and she wants the local missionaries to drop off a Book of Mormon for her to study at her work. The internet can be a powerful tool for good. (parenthetical: "The internet is a goldmine for the curious and  quicksand for the gullible")

In Worcester we were going to see a lady and knocked  on the wrong door. A woman named Asha opened the door and we struck up conversation with her. She told us her life story and eventually wept as she described her suffering in Tanzania and her loss of children. We offered her the message and she accepted; a testimony of being where God needs you at the right moment.

One last thought: often I've been asked how I know what I teach is true-- how I gained a testimony. I used to say this experience or that experience or try to make it sound more sudden than it was. But over the past few weeks my response has changed. Now I just quote Doctrine and Covenants 98:11-13:

"11 And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.
 12 For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.
 13 And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal."
As I've chosen to believe and been faithful to the light given, God has given me line upon line, precept upon precept. Some experience more rapid conversion than I did. But the tree is starting to spring forth in fruit that is so good. And its obvious to me how true it is. 

Elder Jackson

Monday, September 7, 2015

Just a quick note

 I owed the Boston sisters a grilled cheese meal from 6 months ago when I bet them. 
So I finally delivered, and we made it nice.
A dope hawk with its kill on a shed. 

We spent the whole day in the temple for our recent convert temple day and didn't have time to email, so President said I could send a quick note tonight. It was an incredible morning as we helped run the baptistry full of people who just joined the church. The words that kept returning to my mind... "the prisoners shall go free" (D&C 128:22). I watched it happen today. see--

Life is crazy busy. We've started work on preparing transfers for the missionaries, and doing webexs and trainer/trainee meetings and two zone conferences this week. 

One great thing this past week was our monthly mission leadership council with all the leaders. Elder Perkes and I trained on fear vs perfect love, breaking down how the principles of Moroni 8:16 affect all those that participate in the work of salvation. I learned a lot of things. Mostly that I want to feel the feelings of Mosiah 28:3... (sorry to throw out so many scriptures)

I don't yet know if I'll be staying here or going elsewhere in a few weeks, but at this point in my mission, I don't care where I go. I've tried real hard to give it all up to the Lord so his desires are my desires, so when it comes to transfers, I can happily say "I'll go where you want me to go". Surprises may be in store! But thats life.

Shoutout to Darren and Carey on their ANNIVERSARY! And to Daniel on his BIRTHDAY tomorrow!

I love you all, and wish you the best, 

-Elder Jackson