Hello! I have created this website to keep you all updated on my adventures to come in the next 18 months. My brother Morgen will be doing all the updating, basically just sharing my weekly e-mail and pictures.
So first let me explain what it is I am doing and why I am going. I have chosen to devote the next 18 months of my life to serve a proselyting and service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been assigned to the Brazil Curitiba South Mission.
Young men used to be able to serve missions at age 19 and young women at the age of 21. However last October our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, announced the revelation that young men could now serve at the age of 18 and young women at 19. I was sitting in my dorm room when I watched President Monson make this announcement and I immediately called my mom. We just knew.
In the preceding months I had been earnestly praying for direction, for guidance as to what I needed to do next with my life. This age change was the answer to my prayers. It was an accumulation of experiences, opportunities, and this announcement that prepared and motivated me to make this big leap.
So I worked on my application paperwork for a couple of months and submitted everything in the beginning of March of this year. About 10 days later I received a large white envelope in the mail addressed to Sister Mariah Taylor Jackson. IT CAME. Let me just tell you that when you submit your papers, you do not know where you will be sent till you receive your “call” in the mail, so the whole ordeal creates a lot of anxiety.
I called my parents and siblings on one big conference call and read:
“Dear Sister Jackson: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Brazil Curitiba South Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Brazil Mission Training Center on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Portuguese language.”
I recorded the whole thing on my laptop but good thing no one else was in the room because this happened:
You see, this is a big deal. Leaving everyone and everything you know and are familiar with for a year and a half. It’s a serious commitment. I will only be able to call home on Christmas and Mother’s Day, I won’t have my own cell phone or laptop, and I will be strictly focused on my work while I am there. Honestly at first I was scared…and I’m still scared. The fear of inadequacy was overwhelming and is still present today. There’s the fear of having to share my soul in a new language, not being able to hug and talk to my mom and dad daily, missing my nieces and nephews grow up, and having to talk to complete strangers about my beliefs.
But then I remembered…I have God on my side. And with God I can do all things. If I put myself in His hands, the Lord can mold my weaknesses into strengths. I know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing right now. My knowledge of, relationship with, and faith in Heavenly Father is enough to get me started.
I know that we have a loving Father in Heaven, that His son and our brother Jesus Christ sacrificed His life to give us the chance to live again, be forgiven of our sins and given strength to overcome our weaknesses. I know that God has a plan for each of us and that He has restored His gospel and priesthood to the earth through modern prophets and the Book of Mormon, another testament of Christ. I know that God lives, that He loves us and wants more than anything to help us return to Him to find eternal peace, happiness, and love. This all might sound a wee bit like silly mumbo jumbo but “the thing about truth is that it exists beyond belief. It is true even if nobody believes it” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I am serving a mission to share the message that our Heavenly Father’s true gospel has been restored to the earth, that with His help we can overcome our trials, sins, and weaknesses, and that after death we can be reunited with the people we love. The gospel makes me happy and I want to share that happiness.
I love ships, and I love quotes about courage. Wow, I found a quote about ships and courage. “A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for”. This quote is so very inspiring to me because I want to live. I want to take my ship out of the port and see the world, to embrace my fears, to be adventurous and find myself by losing myself. I want to serve and come closer to my Heavenly Father. I want to serve His children, my brothers and sisters. I want it all. I want to bring the world His truth.
P.S. Sorry this first post was so stinkin’ long, I just thought I should explain everything a wee bit
(pronounced: ad-ay-oosh according to google translate – meaning “goodbye” in Portuguese)