hello my dear family!!!

so last week i passed my official 2 month mark, yahoo!!!!! the weather is starting to get a tad chilly but i’m loving it. everyone has their fall/halloween decorations out and the cold will hopefully make people feel bad for us and then invite us into their houses 🙂
so here’s what i have to report:
We had FHE with Edith last week which was really nice. She lives all by herself and it’s usually pretty dark and quiet in her apartment and so we were so happy to visit with her. She is moving soon and so since she has all her belongings packed up, we brought a picture of Christ to put up on her wall since it was bare. We brought her cookies and a Ritter Sport (i promise i’m sharing mama) and we shared a talk from the Ensign and I shared my favorite scripture with her (D&C 50:40-46). We love her so much!
We went on exchanges with the Sisters from a surrounding area (Highland Heights) and so we swapped companions for the day. I was with Sister Ashcraft who has been out about a month and a half I think. We had an unusual day of missionary work. One of the women from their ward (Sister Jenson) picked us up at 9 am and we picked up the relief society president from their ward (sister pope) and we basically drove through the countryside for the day to visit less active families. it was awesome! i will admit that i took a nap in the car 🙂 the scenery was so beautiful! their area includes alot more hills and farmland than ours. we visited one sister who was in a nursing home. nursing homes just make me sad, really, i kind of hate them and when i get old and decrepit (which is never going to happen) please just drop me off on a beach in hawaii with a spear and i will fend for myself. that’s how i want to spend my final days 🙂 anyways, there was one lady whose wheelchair was just sitting in the hallway and she kept saying ‘please, please help me’. i went up to talk to her and i dont think she was lucid but she kept asking me to get her out of there, that she just wanted to go home. ugh, i hate nursing homes. later that night, sister ashcraft and i were visiting some members and investigators in one area and one lady in their ward (sister caldwell) actually grew up in titusville and lived there about 30 years ago. we had a lot to talk about 🙂 we then taught a woman named barbie and a couple of her kids. her 12 year old daughter was really interested and we set up a return appointment but since i was returning to my area that night i wouldnt be at the next lesson. bummer dude. we visisted a part member home, the coxes, and they were so sweet to us/ by the time we left, they gave us a bag full of apples, fig newtons, and apple sauce. they just started loading it up! they were so generous.
we put angie on date for baptism!!! We have scheduled her baptism for October 11th but right now we are thinking that we need to push it back because she wants her daughter to be baptised on the same day and she is not ready yet. we are so excited for her and her family!!!!
Our stake president’s name is President Greenhaughls (i dont think i spelled that right) and his family is in our northern kentucky ward. we had dinner over at their house last sunday and they posted a pic of us on FB. well it turns out President Greenhaughl is cousins with my Bishop from my student ward at BYU (Bishop Moore) and Bishop Moore saw that pic on FB and wondered why I was at the Greenhaughl’s home. well all the dots were connected and we concluded that the world is very small when you are mormon 🙂
as a mission we have been challenged to re-read the BOM by thanksgiving and so since we dont have any free time to read during the day, sister parker and i have been waking up a half hour early to get our reading done. this has been hard but i have loved reading. i know people say that everytime you rad the book of mormon you get something new out of it, well its really true. i’ve been reading and i just think to myself, was this here before??? for the first time in my life, i hunger to read more and more. in the scriptures we can find safety and hope.
i gave a training at our district meeting last wednesday on helping our investigators make and keep commitments. mama, you can check out that chapter in preach my gospel if you want 🙂 one of the main ideas i explained is that as we teach our investigators that we must ask specific questions in our prayers to receive specific answers, they can receive specific blessings as promised in the Book of MOrmon by keeping specific commitments and commandments.
so our 12 year tristan couldnt meet with us last week because he had stinky math grades and his mom was punishing him by not letting him come to church or meet with us (oh yes, perfect). so we made her cookies and had a nice heart to heart about tristan and she said that he could start coming again. hallelujah!!!!!! he’s been able to come to church twice now and go to young men’s activities twice, yahooo!!! christina, the step mom of the lost boys (what we named the 4 brothers because we didnt know their last name) and the whole family werwe goin g to come to church yesterday but they couldnt because the boys werent brought home by their birth mom, the one who just dumped them off in the first place to their dad’s (without any clothes or anything). but next week, they will be at church!
we went to go visit a less active family the other day but they werent home so we started to walk back to our car. a young lady who was running stopped and said ‘oh hey sisters’. i didnt know who she was but it turns out she was a daughter of a family in the NK ward (she goes to the singles ward). we started chatting and she returned from her mission to Florida this past christmas. she served mainly in the fort lauderdale area and loved it! she told that she would love to come out and teach or tract with us! i think heavenly father planned this one, you know , that one family wasn’t home and then we bumped into jackie and now we have a great asset for our member-missionary work 🙂
our investigator emily (who has the 5 girls and is being evicted and is super stressed with life) was given a blessing by the elders in our ward. she really needed this. all of her wories were just piling and piling on her. it was a beautiful blessing and she was crying by the end of it. the elders taught her a great lesson with her girls there and she said she would read from the book of mormon this past weekend so we need to go check up on that.
THE RELIEF SOCEITY BROADCAST ROCKED MY SOCKS. i was so excited for it!!!!!!! i loved sister reeves’s talk and how she gave the example of the provo temple. she said that the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our capacity, but he doesnt leave us in the ashes, he is building us up into temples. i liked the scriptre that she used about how we can not behold with our natural eyes why we go through what we do but that after much tribulation comes much blessings. and then after she spoke and when the last speaker was going to be announced, i was praying that they would say , ‘and now we will hear from our beloved prophet’, and they did!!!!! i had a pretty rough morning, with my mind and my fears and satan;s stupid darkness trying to make me crumble and i really prayed for father in heaven to save me and help me. and he did. President Monson’s talk was spot on, it was an answer to my prayer, to my pleading.  he said that there will be a time when you walk through a path of thornes and fear replaces faith. and he said the answer to fix this: prayer. god will speak peace to the soul. he said that we are not placed here to walk alone, that He knows the end from the beginning, that He will be there to provide, we just need to ask. i know that thomas s. monson is a living prophet of God and that my Father in Heaven knows me. he spoke to my heart.
through the people i am teaching and my own experiences, i’m slowly but surely learning that life is hard and seems impossible sometimes. but i am also learning that we are not meant to do this alone, that because of the love of our Father in Heaven and our Savior, it will all be alright in the end and that when we dont think we can get through the next 5 minutes, get on your knees and pray. im learning how to rely on my savior, im learning how to have hope . im learning how to fill my heart and mind with love for others instead of thoughts of myself and what i want. its hard but i know its the way.
i love you all more than i can express. i miss you. really really.
keep calm and carry on.
love, sister mariah jackson
(ps jenny i got your package, i looooooooooove you, thank you!!!!!)
(and mommy i received your card, thank you for always being here for me and telling me about your tender mercies, i love you mama)SAM_0690 SAM_0693 SAM_0698 SAM_0700 SAM_0702 SAM_0703 SAM_0705

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