Monday, October 5, 2015

Just Another Week in Funkytown‏

 Our tinfoil lampshade

A painting by Rose Dall in the Machado's house! I said, "I recognize that painting!" Turns out Sister Dall used Bro. Machado's daughter as a model for Mary in all her paintings! Small world.....

Boa tarde meus amados, dropping a note here to say hello and hope you're all doing stellar! 

My first order of business is to say woooooooooooooooooooooooooot for Darren and Carey! Baby Grace looks great. She looks like she wants to learn the saxophone and how to rollerblade. Don't worry, I can help with that.  (#sendmepics)

My first full week back proselyting was soooooooooooooo good. The highlights:

Had a chance to do interviews with President on Wednesday! Me and Elder Araujo did a pretty good job we thought on our trainings. He asked me to the Senior prom to demonstrate solid commitments, including jumping on the table to spin me around (he's about 5'4 so the effect was nice) and stabbing a lamp covered in tinfoil to demonstrate connecting true doctrine with the Light of Christ. I'm on the lookout for the next spiritual gifts that I can pursue, and what I can sacrifice to achieve them. 

We went with the English sisters to give a priesthood blessing to their investigator who's being baptized this coming saturday. In the blessing I felt to tell her that her study of the gospel would help her overcome anxiety and find peace when she would otherwise be distraught. Then on Sunday at church she came to us and said "What you promised in the blessing happened; I had times this week where things happened that would normally set off my anxiety, but I couldn't get anxious, even if I tried"; felt honored to have been a part of that experience for her.

The highlight of my week came when we were walking through one of the sketchier streets in town. We passed a recent converts house and talked to her neighbor, Ade, who Elder Araujo already knew. We shot the breeze and she was super friendly. Then E. Araujo paused.. looked at me and I looked back, and we said... lets teach something. It was a small prompting. We sat down with her as the sun set and it started to rain. Sitting on the ground on her porch we taught about repentance and baptism. Like a dam breaking she told all of the struggles she was facing, the trials and disappointment in her family, her worries for her daughters, her desire for change. Essentially she said "somethings gotta give". We offered her the restored gospel, testifying from Isaiahs words about the Savior. The street is usually noisy and packed but it was powerfully quiet, and she asked if she could be baptized with her daughters. We said... of course... and set a date for October 18th. She came with her two daughters to watch general conference on Sunday and said she "learned a lot", and the three of them are set for the 18th. 

God knows the needs of everyone around us, and he is constantly, constantly sending us messages to try and get us to help him. We are his hands on the earth, not because he couldn't accomplish his refining work on His own, but because he knows we need the experience of giving and sacrificing and ministering of ourselves. We reach out to lift; we are also lifted. And simultaneously he is prompting, prompting everyone to reach out to us to; to fill our needs. If Araujo and I hadn't looked at each and made that choice to stay, rather than walk away, what would change? How big of an impact can 15 minutes have on the Ade's posterity? Or any stranger?

Conference taught me to simplify, but not to go easy. I learned that we need to be centered on Christ to hear God's whispers in our lives, and we need to diligently follow His promptings in order to be truly happy. He loves us so much. He loved our friend Ade enough to send us there and tell us to stay a little longer. May we all listen a little closer, be a little bolder, and turn outward a little more :)

Elder Jackson

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