Hello my wonderful family!!!!!!! Um, I cannot believe it’s my last week here and I receive my reassignment on Friday!!!!! I am nothing but excited, seriously, I know I will LOVE wherever I am called. I’m so excited to become part of a ward and start teaching real people. So on Friday (or it could even be Thursday) I will be receiving my reassignment and my travel plans. I will be able to e-mail all of you right after I receive all of this so i can let you know what’s going on. Holy cow, by this time -ish next week I will really be out in o campo (the field). Oh boy, I can’t wait. So here is this week’s happenings:

So Sister Gold (our companion with the broken toe issues) has had a lot of doctor’s appointments and errands to run in the short time that she has been our companion. Last Friday we went to the podiatrist and she actually got cleared to leave and go to Brazil!!!!!! We were all so excited for her but I think she was the most ecstatic of all. All she has been waiting for to leave is for her mission president in Brazil to let the Mish people in Salt Lake know when they can pick her up. So we have been waiting and waiting and waiting to find out when she is leaving. Finally today our District President told her that her mission president asked if she could come at the next transfer but that isn’t until September 17th. She would have spent 12 weeks here. Oh boy. So our district president is trying to work out a much sooner date with her mission president. So today hasn’t been an awesome day for Sister Gold and we are trying to be really understanding and supportive of her. I’m so glad that I get to leave soon. My MTC stay has been here but I’m coming down with a case of cabin fever.
We did get to go on another field trip adventure the other day though. Since Sister Gold got officially cleared to not where her boot anymore, she needed special shoes that wouldn’t move in the front when she walked so her toe wouldn’t bend. SO WE WENT SHOE SHOPPING! we received permission to go to a special shoe store in Provo (Modern Shoe) to get her what she needed. We felt pretty wild 🙂 Oh by the way, there were some super awesome bags that they sold at that store, i can’t remember what brand they were (i should’ve written it down) but they were across the chest bags with wide straps. it was so comfortable. i love the bag that i have right now but when it gets heavy with my books it kind of digs into my shoulder and i can’t put it across my chest because the strap is not long enough. i know mama, i should have found a good bag before i left. but would you (and maybe liss because of your online shopping skillz) mind looking for an across the chest bag with a wide strap. i dont really have any brand name suggestions and i apologize for thinking of this so late but i really think i need a comfy bag.
so we have this one empty room in our hall that no one has lived in for a week. it’s kind of strange because when we welcomed our 4 newest sisters last week, their room assignments were for one floor up and we had a completely empty room in our hall. anyways, you remember that one letter i sent where i talked about saying an out loud soul-pouring prayer in an empty room? well i realized last night that Heavenly Father had me in mind when our new sister’s room assignments were being made. He knew that I needed that room to do some serious soul pouring and often. having that empty room at night to go pray in has been a much needed tender mercy.
when i am on the computer doing TALL (my language study), i listen to music on lds.org. there is one song that i adore and listen to on repeat. its called: He knows me better – by Janessa Buttars. Seriously, look it up, it’s so pretty.
irmao buttars challenged us this week to fast from english this entire week…all day every day…i will do my best.
also our district is going to be hosting tomorrow. we will be welcoming the new people at the curb and help them get settled. i’m so excited!!!!!!!!!
oh, mom, guess what. i saw hunter colvin last week on his first day here. he was walking by and my district and i were eating dinner outside and i saw him and ran after him like a crazy person yelling ‘elder colvin!’ it was cool to say hi to him. the other day i also ran into someone from a palm bay ward, elder moore. seiously, i’ve seen so many people here from our stake. sister grover, elder denninghoff (who just left yesterday for colorado), elder rusk, sister carter, sister moore, elder moore, elder colvin, elder ralph etc.
so for some updates on my ‘investogators’, we actually had a breakthrough with Kenzo this week. sister gold has been such an amazing addition to our companionship and we have had such amazing lessons since she joined us. while in a lesson with kenzo this week (remember he’s the one always falls asleep if you say more than 5 words) he shared that there were things about himself that he wanted to change, that he wanted God’s help to have a happy life. WHAT THE WHAT?! I know that doesn’t sound like much, but seriously, we had maybe gotten one deep thing out of him during the whole week we had been teaching him. now, we actually had something to work with. then with edgar, oh my gosh, we are so excited!!! in our last lesson he wanted to understand what the kingdom of God is and we ended up talking about temples and what we do there and that through the ordinances of the temple, he could be with his wife and son again. he was hooked. he really wanted to know what he needed to do to get to the temple, so we are pretty sure that in our next lesson we will be inviting him to be baptized. it’s such an amazing experience, seeing a light turn on in someone’s life, when they realize that they can have hope and happiness and be with their families for eternity. speaking of amazing experiences….
Sister Russell had to get a filling redone yesterday and so we went to make an appointment with the office on campus. they made an appointment for us to leave in 15 minutes so we went back to our room, ate some of dad’s cookies (just finished the box last night) and i grabbed my baby Book of Mormon because I wanted something to do while I waited. So we took the shuttle over to the dentist’s office and went upstairs. Sister Russell went into a little room to get her filling done and so Sister Gold and I sat in the waiting room just reading our scriptures. There were two other women in the waiting room, one of them was holding a precious little baby boy. They were speaking spanish to each other and I didn’t pay them much attention. When one of the women went back and the other was just sitting there, I thought of a story that one of the counselor’s in our Branch Presidency shared. He had been at a gas station in some other state and pulled up next to two elders gassing their car up. Brother McKay (our counselor) tried to engage in conversation with them but after they would talk for a minute, the Elders would just go back to doing their thing and didn’t pursue the conversation. Brother McKay expressed how important it was to open our mouths, even if we didn’t change lives with a single conversation, we as missionaries should always be talking to people and open to engaging in conversation. He expressed to us, ‘what if I had been someone who needed the gospel in my life?’ he encouraged us not to be too scared or too preoccupied to talk to others. so, back to the dentist office. i thought of that story and thought i should open my mouth. the woman that was still in the waiting area was holding the baby boy. she was sitting in a chair right behind me so i turned around and in my baby voice said ‘oh hi, what’s your name?’ to the baby. the woman said his name is brian and that he was 7 months old. i told her how much i loved babies and that after my mission i wanted to become a midwife to help women deliver babies. we started chatting about ourselves. she is from mexico and moved here about 10 years ago because there are good jobs and schools here. i told her that i would love to go to mexico someday, that i had a spanish teacher in high school who lived in mexico for a while and taught us about their arts, holidays and history. then she saw my nametag and asked if i was a missionary. i said yes and told her that i was in the missionary training center here, that i was headed to brazil but that i was getting a reassignment this week because of visa issues. she told me that met with missionaries about 3 years ago. i asked her how her experience with them was and she said that they helped her a lot. then she got really quiet and started speaking spanish. she told me that her 11 year old son died 7 months ago. he was playing soccer and he just died; she didn’t understand why. she had tears in her eyes. i then noticed the tattoo she had on her wrist, of a name and a little soccer ball and wings on either side. she said that she was having a really hard time dealing with this. i told her about a boy that died the exact same way in high school and that i wish i could have talked to his parents to try to bring them comfort. we continued to talk and she told me that she also has a 9 year old daughter. she eventually changed seats so she could feed the baby boy she was holding (her nephew). i quickly opened up my baby BOM to the topical guide and looked up ‘eternal life’ as fast as i could. i knew this wasn’t just a random meeting. i knew that this woman was hurting. i knew that the gospel of Jesus Christ could help her and that i could do something about it right then. So for 10 minutes i searched and searched, trying to find the perfect scripture that would bring her some comfort. i ended up picking Mormoni 7:40-41 (i think). it talks about hope and everlasting life. i didn’t know what she had talked about the the missionaries 3 years ago but i knew what she needed to hear now. i used sister’s gold’s pencil to mark the scriptures (i drew 2 stars and a smiley face), i put a business card from the deintist office to mark the page and then when we were about to go, i sat down next to her and asked her if she would accept this Book of Mormon and read the scriptures that I had marked for her. I told her that this scripture would bring her comfort about her son and that this entire book was full of scriptures that could bring her comfort. she accepted it; she said she already had one at home but she really liked this one because it was so small. i asked her what her name was and she replied, Lorena. We hugged and with tears in her eyes she kissed my cheek. Then we walked out the door. This was the coolest thing I have ever done in my life. I know missionaries give people Books of Mormon and talk to people with struggles everyday, but this was the first time i had ever done it as an actual missionary. i was no planning on it, especially since i’m not even out of the mtc yet. i wish i couldve gotten her phone number and set her up with some local missionaries or given her my e-mial address but i just really felt like my priority was to give her that scripture and that Book of Mormon. I’m praying really hard now that some missionaries will find her or that she will seek them out. I could tell how much she was looking for some peace. I know that the gospel to change her life and give her hope. I know that through the suffering of Jesus Christ during the Atonement and through his Resurrection, that she could find consolation in this life and that she could be with her precious son again after this life. I hope with all my heart that missionaries will find her. Anyways that was pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever done and I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father prepared me to be the vessel that could help her. I even had the thought that I be excited to be reassigned to the Provo, UT mission, just so I could find Lorena and her family again.
anyways, i think that’s all i have for this week. i’m going to try to get as many letters out as i can before i leave next week. i love you all with all my heart. i really do pray for you all individually every day and i appreciate all of the care packages and letters and emails and pictures more than you know. thank you for being so loving and thoughtful. i am so grateful that you are my people. check your emails thursday/friday-ish for some reassignment news. love you all.
Sister Mariah JacksonSAM_0576 SAM_0577 SAM_0578 SAM_0582 SAM_0584 SAM_0585 SAM_0586 SAM_0588

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