Monday, December 14, 2015

Here We Go.....

So it seems i may have sprinted a little too hard this week.... I ended up with a full-body Flu that has pretty much sidelined me for the past two days. Fever, aches, vomiting, diarrhea, the whole shebang. 

Besides that, this has been about the best last week a missionary could ask for. On Thursday night, Zito (who was baptized two weeks ago and received the Priesthood last Sunday) baptized his daughters, Liziana and Zaniah. He spoke with authority and afterwards said it was one of the best moments of his life. 

I worked a lot to get the musical fireside put together and we had our first performance in Warwick, RI last night. Aside from the fact that I was sweating off a fever and semi-conscious, everything went well. The chapel was full back to the gym and everyone enjoyed the music and the Spirit that was there. Tonight we have a performance in Revere with the Cambridge stake, focused on the Spanish and Portuguese membership. Then tomorrow I pack, Wednesday is my final transfer meeting, and thursday night Mae and Pai pick me up!

As I look back on these two years, all I really can express is gratitude. I can't call my mission a sacrifice, because the blessings I've received and the things the Lord has shown me outweigh any effort I made on my own to bring to pass the work of salvation here. Boston is my Waters of Mormon. 

When my group was getting ready to leave the MTC, my teacher pulled me aside and told me I had two options for what I would do with the next two years. He said I could either serve a mission, or I could become a missionary. I've thought a lot about what that means during my service here, and one day I found a verse in the Book of mormon that taught me what it means to become a missionary.
Mosiah 28:3 --

3. Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

This desire for the wellbeing and salvation of every human soul is the definition of what it means to be a missionary. And the thing that makes me happiest about this right now? It doesn't have to end. This feeling can continue after I return home, and I can continue to minister in my new sphere. 

Thank you for supporting me in these best two years of my life so far. Thank you for keeping tabs to make sure I was alive and for rejoicing with me in the successes the Lord has wrought. This is it! 

I'll see you soon, face to face!

Elder Brenton Jackson

Monday, December 7, 2015

Corner 7

I remember when I was in shape and ran track that the 800m race was my least favorite and the one I invariably always ran. In the 800m race there are 8 corners. The first is easy, but corner 3 it starts to burn, corner 6 is really spent dreading corner 7, which is followed by corner 8 and a 100m sprint to the finish. 

Right now I'm in Corner 7, and really trying to run hard. It seems like the workload has increased dramatically and every day is filling up from now until translation-day. Our area is very busy, we're preparing for two more baptisms either on thursday or saturday, the zone has lots of people to take care of and everyones just running around. Then we've got the mission's musical fireside which I was basically put in charge of this week, which is proving to be difficult to put together when all the musicians live scattered across New England 2 or 3 hours away from each other. The Lord will provide. But its gonna take every last ounce of brainpower and time I have to do my part... 

Now that may sound like almost complaining, but don't worry. I'm trying not to do that anymore. I'm actually relishing the chance to see the lord deliver some beautiful music out of the chaos that it currently is. And lets face it... for my last weeks, I love being busy. Keeps me from descending into deep nostalgia and trunkyness!

By next monday I'll be on corner 8 and sprinting to the finish. The last 100m were always easy; you bite your fatigue and just kick in the last leg of adrenaline and grit you have to make it there. So I'm putting on my almost-destroyed dress shoes and sprinting a different kind of spiritual 100 meters.

Lots of great things happened this week, but the highlight was the chance to spend a day with Elder Packer, from the First quorum of the 70. He taught us many things but the focus came back to learning not just the language but the culture of the Spirit. He explained that recognizing the voice of the Spirit comes with practice, but we also need to learn the culture of the Spirit, or the environments, practices, choices, words, and habits that offend or invite his presence. He told us all to begin to make our own "handbook" of sorts, to record our observations by trial and error of what things we've seen and done resulted in the Spirit being with us. Then we learn to listen to his language and follow his lead. 

I love the Lord, I love Christmas, I love being a missionary, I love bearing witness of the things I now know. At the end of the mission, the greatest emotion I have is gratitude. I think its my favorite way to feel.

Elder Jackson