It’s been a very busy week (hallelujah) and I would love to tell you all about some of the people we are working with!
So there is a woman Angie who has been meeting with the missionaries off and on since April and she has finally decided to be baptised! I’ve only taught one lesson with her and met up with her a couple of other times but she is so amazing! She is a single mother of 2 who supports herself, her sister, and her sister’s baby. She has had a pretty terrible upbringing (abuse kind of terrible) and she has come to a point in her life where she is ready for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be cleansed from her sins, to start over for the sake of her family and get out of an awful rut of darkness and constant struggle. When we went over to her house the other day, she was spilling her guts to us and she was just so on fire and ready to let the gospel bring light into her life. She told us that she needs to be baptised. The next day she kept sending us a bunch of amazing scriptures about Jesus Christ (even cross referncing between the BOM and Bible). We called her right then and invited her to pray about being baptised on October 12th. We are meeting with her and her family on Wednesday to teach because she wants her 9 year old daughter to be baptised on the same day as her. We are so excited!!!!!
Angie has a really good friend Susan that she kept telling us about. We went over to Angie’s house the other day planning on teaching her daughter before her daughter’s birthday party but how it ended up, Susan was there and she and I just started talking and we ended up talking for the next hour about the gospel and what she is looking for in life and in a church. She told me that she wanted to know her purpose here on this earth and that she wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. She said that the premortal life and afterlife that we talked about really made sense to her. Susan was prepared. I know it. She too, like Angie, had all the right questions and just didn’t know where to find the truth. We basically went through the first 2 lessons while we were just standing there talking while everybody was getting ready for the birthday party. We gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to ask God herself if this was His true church. We invited her to church but she said she wanted to read and pray first. Oh man, that was the coolest lesson/conversation I’ve experienced here. Sometimes I just feel like I don’t know what to say or I don’t feel inspired to say anything in particular, but when I was talking with Susan, things were just coming out. The Spirit was there. The Spirit was pulling ideas out of me so quickly and smoothly. Susan told me that so much of the things we talked about really answered some of her life questions and just really clicked with her. It was amazing!!!! Sadly she is not in our area and so we will have to turn her over to the Elders but I know that she has been prepared and is ready to receive the gospel now. Love it!!!!!!!!!
Did I write in my last e-mail about the 4 brothers who all really wanted to come to church? I think so, well, we have lovingly named them the Lost Boys because we can’t remember their names. We are trying really hard to get them all (their step mom included) rides to church. One of our goals this week is to go over there and teach a lesson to their step mom especially because we need to see if they are actually interested in the gospel or if they think we are just some other nice church where they can have their kids hang out every week. But I’m really hoping that Christina (their step mom) is receptive. We already taught her a mini restoration lesson when we first met her, so, fingers crossed.
Our 9 year old girl Maddie was just baptised this past Saturday!!!!!! First baptism!!!!! It was so wonderful. I got kind of teary during it because it reminded me of my baptism day and I just imagined daddy and I in our white suits. That night I went home and looked at the picture that I have of daddy and I on my baptism day that I brought with me. That was such a wonderful day that I will never forget. Sister Parker, Maddie’s sister Amanda and Sister Nealon (our bishop’s wife) all sung A child’s prayer. Their family hasn’t been sealed yet and we are so excited for the future of their family.
Maddie’s sister Amanda left this morning for a mini mission, it’s a 3 month trial mission to see if she could handle it. I love her so much and she was a ray of sunshine from the minute I met her. I really got along well with her and just love her to death. She is so excited to be a missionary and I know that she will be such an amazing representative of Jesus Christ.
There is a less active woman that we visit (she’s only less active because she can’t go to church on Sunday because she takes care of her bed-stricken mother. Anyways, we go to visit her every week and this past week we had an awesome gospel discussion which focused on the gospel parallels between Superman, Harry POtter and HUnger Games. It was awesome. She reads a lot and loves movies since she has to stay home all the time and so she really got into it. It was pretty neat 🙂
Sister Parker and I have been helping Edith every week to organize and write names of family members on the backs of all her photos. She has a bajillion family photos and we even were able to borrow this cool little wand scanner thing so we can scan her pictures onto a jump drive. We love visiting with Edith and hearing all her stories about her family.
THis past week we served in the Bishop’s SHarehouse for our Relief Society acitivty. I had only heard of a Bishop’s Storehouse and so it was really neat to see the Bishop’s sharehouse which has tons of donated clothes and books and homeware for anyone that needs it. It was actually really fun organizing all the men’s and womens clothes. We were told that if there was anything that we wanted we could take it. I grabbed a really cute scarf, a sweet christmas scarf that says “i believe in santa clause” on it and a portuguese copy of “jesus the christ”. score.
we were asked to serve our bishops this week for a mission wide thing and so we helped sister nealon to strip the wallpaper in her kitchen. she wantss to invite the porters (mission president) over and so she wanted to redo the walls. totally understandable 🙂 it was a lot of fun but my chunk of the wall just looked like a rabid cat scratched at it 🙂 dang, i should have taken a picture, i will next time i go over 🙂
the weather has gotten a lot cooler lately and i love it!!!! the leaves are even changing color and it is so beautiful here!!!!!!
i just received permission from president porter to call sister dunn (a really cool sister missionary i became friends with while we were travelling together from the mtc to here and she is also a brazil visa waiter). so i can now call sister dunn during my language study every to practice my portuguese. yay!!!!
we were eating dinner the other night at a members home and the husband was telling me that he heard something on the news that brazil wasn’t accepting or giving out any passports or visas starting october 1. i felt like someone had just punched me in the gut. but then i remembered that i need to have faith. i was called to serve in brazil gosh dangit. Heavenly Father’s timing and planning for me has always worked out and I know that this situation isn’t any different. the Lord is in charge and He will send me where He needs me to be when I need to be there. Oh boy. I have to keep telling myself, fear not, only believe.
I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for the relief society broadcast this upcoming weekend and for general conference coming up so soon!!!! my excitement is basically equivalent to getting front row tickets to a JoBros concert. I’m so excited to hear the MOTAB sing and to hera from our prophet. I’m so excited to receive revelation and help and strength from Heavenly Father and Jseus Christ through the leaders of this church.
oh, also i’m supposed to remind you that there is a page on Facebook for our mission. Whenever we have dinner with people, we take a picture all together and it gets posted on that page so you could see pictures of me all through the week. Im sure there are cool updates and other fun things to keep us connected. Just look up the Ohio Cincinnati Mission on FB, mom and dad and liss, i know you don’t have FB so i guess you could ask jen or morgy or matt to use their loging if you wanted.
ps lissy, i received your card, thank you soooo much!!! and mommy, i received your letters and you AMAZING package and i wanted to let you know how much I appreciated it!!!!! i’m going to write you a letter today so it will be there in time for when you get home. i’m going to try my best to write you all letters today. we only have so much time on p-day to have free time to write letters or nap or somehting. i hope that tells you how much i love you, i would give up nap time to write letters 🙂 just joking 🙂 i love you muito.
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR THE EMAILS AND PICS AND LETTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i’m trying to respond to everyone as quick as i can. please know that i read them all and i love every single detail. you are the world to me. there are still hard moments where i think about you all and my heart hurtts because i miss you so much but i am so grateful that you are mine. it makes me so happy to know that i have an eternity to be with and love you all. as we keep ourselves busy its getting easier and easier to be happy and put myself into the work here. i’m loving the people and i know that this will all serve a great purpose.
i love you all with all my heart. peace out from the boonies.
with all the amor in my coracao,
sister mariah jackson