Hello my loved ones, this is Sister Jackson reporting from the MTC for the last time. This week has been crazy with lots of goodbyes and packing. So this past week we said goodbye to Irmao Buttars earlier than we thought we would because he had to go out of town. After having been with him for about 5 weeks, he told us that he was diagnosed with a form of cancer a little under a year ago and that he has been receiving a new cutting edge kind of treatment and that he is now cancer free but that he goes every so often for check ups with his family specialist in Idaho. So he had to leave us early because he was headed to Idaho for one of these check ups. This really shocked us, we had no idea! He was always so energetic and enthusiastic about teaching us and sharing his testimony and sharing the gospel and he made such a difference in our district. In my exit interview with him, he was so encouraging and gave me a vote of confidence that I really needed. I am so grateful that he was one of my teachers for my MTC experience. So for our last class, he brought in his laptop and showed us most of his pictures from his mission. He shared story after story, some super hilarious and others so moving. His experiences with the people of Texas (where he was reassigned) and Brazil really showed me that no matter how far down a bad road people have gone, people want to change. People want happiness and goodness in their lives, they just know not where to find it. The stories of these people showed how the gospel of Jesus Christ can bless anyone’s life and how we as missionaries have the opportunity and responsibility to bring it to them. He showed us pictures of the real life people that he based our investigators on. It was so amazing. The person we had been teaching, Edgar, was a real life person- the person whose wife and son were killed in an accidental gun shoooting. He changed the gender but the life was the same. We addressed the same struggles that he addressed as he and his companion were teaching her. He told us that she was baptized and that she remarried in the temple to a wonderful priesthood holder.
this week we also participated in in-field orientation which is a 9 hour orientation in which we practice street contacts (it was really weird doing it in english…i love portuguese, i walked up to a sister and forgot how to introduce myself… “uh, hello…im…a missionary”) ūüôā it was really neat-o because we learned the importance of really using the ward in our missionary efforts. however, for the extended parts where we were just sitting and listening, i’ll just say there was a lot of head bobbing going on. i brought dad’s cookies to keep me awake. i did my best ūüôā
so right after in field orientation we went back to our classrooms and were getting ready for class to start when the elders walked in and told us that our reassignments had arrived. i didnt believe them at first. we like to joke around and thought they were just trying to get us excited for nothing. i thought the reassignments were¬†coming friday¬†but they came a day early!!!!!!! our district leader (elder peay) passed everyone’s reassignments out face down and we all waited anxiously till the last one was passed out. then elder peay handed me some stuff that was in my mail, one thing being a slip of paper telling me about some things to pack for my first night in the mission home. This was signed from the Cincinnati Ohio Mission Secretary. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! so i knew where i was going right before i was supposed to read my call out loud to everyone. i still acted really excited!!! CINCINNATI, OHIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¬†the coolest part was that sister gold is from cincinnati and she was so excited and she wants me to find and teach all of her friends!!! i was honestly surprised. i have never been to ohio and i know nothing about it. i was a tiny bit bummed at first because everybody else got calls to real cool places i was familiar with (including my beloved NC) and nothing really came to mind when i thought of ohio. but then i remembered something lissy told me, that this isn’t a vacation, it’s where i’ve been called to serve. i know that Heavenly Father wants me to go to ohio. i know that this will be an opportunity for me to open my heart to a new place and a new people. i know that Heavenly Father will strengthen me and qualify me for this work, and know that this will be another opportunity for me to rely on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that I wont be alone if I have them at my side. the only freaky part of this all is that in about a day or two i will be doing real live proselyting to real live people. i have to remember to open my mouth, remember that i am a representative of Jesus Christ and that I have a simple message of the truth and God’s love, plan and restored gospel. Oh boy. I have a bunch of pass along cards and a baby BOM that I would like to share¬†tomorrow¬†as I am travelling. Wish me luck.
Sunday¬†was our last day of church with our zone and as tradition stands, the departing districts sing a hymn for the branch. My district has been preparing the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee” but we sung it in Portuguese, “Mais Perto Quero Estar”. Oh man, it was a tear jerker if I do say so myself. One of our elders, ¬†Elder Boyack, played the cello, and another elder, Elder ¬†Finch, played the piano. It was really beautiful. It’s funny because we were practicing one day and none of us had our portuguese hymnals and so we sung it in english. ugh, it was gross, it did not sound as pretty as portuguese ūüôā and since it was a fast and testimony meeting, i had the chance to bear my testimony in portuguese. i loved it.
Sister Russell and Sister Daniels left bright and early¬†Monday¬†morning and Sister Gold (did i tell you that she is going to the Sao Paulo MTC to stay until the next transfer date- we are so excited that she finally got to leave after 10 weeks and is actually going to brazil) and Sister Nielsen left this morning. So i’ve been going solo today which was really weird. I have come to love having companions and I especially love the ones that I have spent the past 6 weeks with. I’m rushing to get ready for my¬†2:30 am¬†departure shuttle¬†tomorrow¬†morning but I just wanted to write you all and tell you i love you. i dont know when i will be able to e-mail next but i will as soon as i can. i have a couple requests. i dont have a camera card reader (sister russell and i were sharing one) and so i wont be able to send pics for a while. i was going to buy one here today but they were all sold out. could someone send me one in my next package. so i dont know what my next mailing address will be but i will let you know when i can. also, dear elders are not free after i leave the mtc so you dont have to send me any daily letters anymore if you dont want to. i have LOVED receiving dear elders. your updates and stories have made me feel so loved and they have always brought a smile to my face and made me so happy at the end of the day. thank you!!!!! i love you all. peace out girl scouts ūüôā
Sister (Irma) Mariah Jackson
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