hello my loved ones!!!!!!!!

i really cannot believe that I am halfway done with my stay here at the MTC. in just a couple short weeks i will be receiving my reassignment for somewhere in the US for who know how long, unless the visa comes by then, who knows you might ask, the Lord knows ūüôā
So this week was interesting. Our teacher was out of town this week having a vacay on lake powell and we have a bunch of subs this week. we didn’t get to have a progressing investigator experience (where we taught one person consistently) but had a bunch of first lessons. this was a little bit disspaointing because we started teaching a girl (sister pettita- one of our subs) and we were so excited because we really love talking to her and we knew how we could help her, but then we were told that we weren’t going to be teaching her anymore. serious bummer dude. but we learn a tremendous deal about the plan of salvation from brother godoy (one of our subs who is from brazil). it was incredible. he made this huge timeline on the whiteboard and we learned about and discussed premortal life all the ways to the 3 kingdoms of glory. we probably spent 2-3 hours doing this. since he is a native of brazil, we also had a lesson with him about pronunciations. that was really helpful!!!! i have noticed that i start saying my personal prayers in portuguese and when we talk to investigators, the portuguese is flowing out a lot easier. my verb conjugations are still pretty and need work.
We watched a really neat clip this week from a talk by Elder Bednar. It was about a 20 mark note in germany when he was a missionary and it was about recognizing the Spirit. You will have to look it up. But anyway, the main message was that most times when you are teaching or speaking to someone, you will not know in that moment that you have been guided or prompted to do something that could drastically help someone. I feel like I stress a lot about feeling the spirit, worrying that it’s not present in our lessons or that we won’t know how to divinely point someone in the right direction. But Elder Bednar taught, “just be a good boy, be a good girl, keep your covenants and keep the commandments” and you will be able to bring the Spirit into your life and the lives of others. That was really comforting to me.
Every day and every week is amazing. I’m learning so much and have felt more promptings and comfort from the Lord and from the Holy Ghost than ever before in my life. But there are always days when I succumb to my human-ness and feelings and just really struggle. I have really struggled lately with focusing my thoughts, leaving behind the world and the natural man and being able to dedicate my mind and heart 24/7 to the Lord and to my preparation. Yesterday I just felt so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t change some things that were in my heart and my mind, that I didn’t know how to control my thoughts and feelings. This sounds silly as I write this down. But this is what has been in my heart and mind and so I wanted to share it with you all because it’s real to me. So I felt really frustrated with myself over not being able to change certain parts of myself to become more aligned with God’s will for this time in my life. And then on top of it, Sister Russell and I went to teach a lesson with our teacher (pretending to be an investigator). He was falling asleep and checking his phone and everything in his life seemed to be hunky dory. We didn’t know, I didn;t know how to help him, how to know his soul’s needs, how to communicate that what we were talking about was not just some random church. I just felt crummy by the end of it because I didn’t know what to do to light this guy’s spiritual fire. I’m actually getting some ideas as I’m writing about this (cool beans). But anyway, by the end of this all, I felt like a silly noob who didnt know¬†how to¬†teach the gospel. bleh. but then our teacher, brother buttars,¬†gave us a couple minutes notice to be ready to¬†do a street contact¬†with him, where he was just standing around talking to some people and then we had to walk up to him and share a short message about the gospel, using the verb dever (should) and sharing a power question, you know something thought provoking. that went really well, i felt really confident and capable. um poco milagre (little miracle). then afterwards, sister¬†russell and i decided that we wanted to share¬†our testimonies with someone in portuguese so we found some sisters that were studying. they had just gotten here¬†on wednesday¬†and were beginning to learn japanese (oh deargoodness¬†i only have to¬†learn portuguese, hallelujah). it was such a great experience. i felt the spirit so strongly as i was bearing mytestimony (sorry this keyboard is lame, somewords stick together). i shared that i¬†know that God lives, that¬†He loves us, that we are His children and that he has a divine plan to help us be happy and know how to return to him. i felt tears in my eyes when i said that¬†(in portuguese) eu sei que podemos vencer nossos fraquezas¬†e desafios com o expiacao de jesus cristo.¬†eu sei que por meido do amor deles podemos ter ajuda cada dia e voltar a Deus depois de este vida para ser em o gloria e amor de nosso Pai Celestial. I love learning Portuguese. And¬†no i didnt have that typed out before.¬†later on in our class our teacher was talking to us about our biggest fears coming into the MTC and something he¬†said really touched my heart. he said that if¬†we are obedient to God’s commandments and at the end of the day can say to our Heavenly Father that we did our best, that He will qualify us for the work, that He will help to overcome and become more than we could ever be on our own. I really needed that.
we were ableto start something this week called TRC (i actually dont know what it stands for). we meet with a portuguese speaking member of the church and share a message and just get to know themand try to bring the Spirit. wewere told to compare it to the missionaries coming over to a member’s house for dinner and sharing a spiritual thought. i loved it!!!!! we talkedto one man named blake who served a mission in brazil. he’s been married for a year and is going to school here at byu. we shared a message about the plan of salvation and about the atonement and asked him to applythe power ofthe atonement in his own life. then we met with a woman named michelle who is from brazil. she is married and lives here in provo and was studying business. she and her husband are moving to georgia soon. we went in with a prepared message about the plan of salvation and the atonement and it turned into a message about member missionary work. as we were talking about her move to georgia, we talked about how there would be significantly less members there and how she would have the opportunity to introduce the gospel to so many people. it was amazing to feel the guidance of the spirit, guiding our words and our message in a way that we had not planned at all. i loved it and cant wait to do it again.
i’ve been trying to really be diligent about my goal making and keeping. some recent goals of mine are to read the Book of mormon in portuguese from the beginning. i was already in mosiah in my own personal reading but i wanted to start over. i started yesterday and got through the introduction and guess what, I UNDERSTOOD IT!!!! the gift of tongues has been incredible, allowing my mind to absorb so much. i’m also reading the preach my gospel book in portuguese with sister russell during our additional study time. i’m also really working on my basic vocab: numbers,months, colors, foods– stuff that i really should know, so i’ve been a flashcard addict and can usually go through¬†a pack¬†of flashcards in 2 days. i love learning new words!!!!!!
so my calling has already given me a run for my money ūüôā this week one of our newer sisters was really struggling and late one night was crying and really wanted to talk to the wife of one our brach presiden’ts counselors. she was considering going home and didnt feel like her will was aligned with God’s. we prayed to know what to do, how to best help her. so at¬†10:45atnight (i know this isnt late in the real world but us mishies are supposed to be asleep at¬†10:30¬†soooo) we went to the front desk and called a counselor from our branch presidency. he asked us to help her out thatnight by talking to her, praying with her and sharing a scripture with her. so we went back and thank goodness the STL before was still there (and leaving at¬†2 AM¬†the next morning for her reassignment). she actually knew this sister who was struggling from before the mish and so it was such a blessing to have her there, guiding this somewhat intervention. she really brought the spirit, and was so encouraging and comforting. we couldnt’ve have done this without her. we all were able to pray together and went to bed around¬†12:15. the next morning we called our branch president who had just gotten back into town from being on vacation. this sister still needed help and president nielson was ableto cometo campus and talk her. he pulled us out of class later and told us that all had been resolved, that this sister was going to be ok. hallelujah. we prayed really hard for her for those couple of days, praying that she would feel GOd’s love and comfort and assuarance that she was supposed to be here.
sister russell and i did our first orientation this past week as stl’s and it went well!!!!! we had the help of the zone leaders (elders mountain and evans). but they are leaving this week and so we will be doing orientation with the new zone leaders this week (elders erickson and finch). they are from our district and they are amazing!!!!!
i love you all with all of my heart and i will heopfully respond to all of your emails and dear elders this week.¬† lissy, yes i watched the video of new walking…OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS THE SWEETEST THING EVER, i watched it 5 times in a row this morning. daddy i got your email from this morning and im so sorry i havent written you back but im going to write you a letter today. jenny, i can’t believe adelaide is talking so much!!!! please keep the updates and pics coming, and yes, i love all the details!!!!!
hugs and kisses from p-town.
love, sister mariah jackson
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