GUESS WHAT???!!!!!!

MY VISA CAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I received an e-mail from my other mission president’s wife telling me that my visa arrived. i was kind of shocked and confused and so I called the mission office to see if that was true and Sister Walker confirmed. she said they called mom and so i guess most of you knew so thank you for keeping on the DL for as long as possible so i could focus here. I can’t believe it! It doesn’t seem real. Im so scared and excited and my portuguese is poopy but what the heck, the Spirit and I will figure it out 🙂 they told me i leave in 3 weeks (feb 17) at the end of the transfer. santa vaca!!!!!
So last p-day sister beeson and i played sports with 20 elders in our stake center for about 5 hours. i’ve never hurt so bad. i consider this a super accomplishment in the life of sister mariah jackson. playing sports. for a long period of time. with guys. EH-OH! i got a pretty skinned knee from sliding for the soccer ball and i could barely walk for a few days but i felt very proud of myself 🙂 sister beeson and i needed to get some fingerprinting done for our fbi visa paperwork and so we set off to the boone county sherriffs office. however, our gps gave us funky direction and we ended up at the boone county jail. we didnt realize we were in the wrong place for 10 minutes as we were walking around and didnt understand why we were getting funny looks. some nice gentleman held the door open for us as he was holding his “i just got out of jail and this is what i brought in with me” bag. awesome. and then we were standing next to the bond release office and a sketchy lady in her pjs as we called the sherriffs office and found out we just needed to keep going down the street. bishop nealon promised me in that blessing that my mission would be exciting 🙂 Anyways, we had an amazing week here in Lakeside Park. There were a lot of deviations to plans because of promptings from the Spirit which turned out to be miraculous. We are learning that when the Spirit tells our minds and hearts to do something, we just GO. we had plans to go to a less active womans house for dinner but she called and said she wasnt sure if we could still do dinner because she hasnt been feeling well all day.then we just had the feeling to call her and tell her we were coming over anyways. when we were there with her she told us that she almost passed out in her kitchen and that she felt like she was experiencing the same symptoms she had when she had a stroke a couple years ago. so we called our elders and they came over and gave her a blessing. then a few minutes later we were just talking and then she just stopped, got this sick look on her face and said we needed to go to the hospital. so the three of us loaded up in the car and headed for the nearest hospital. we called her husband and the bishop and our relief society president. nobody else could come to be with her and we ended up staying with her in the hospital for about 6 hours. we knew that it was so important that we were with her because she considers us her family. throughout her life she has been abused and has felt abandoned and so we were so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed us to be there for her. we had a lesson planned for that night but it fell through and so we know that was for a reason. we read scriptures, sang hymns, talked about life, listened to our phone ring tones etc. and kept her spirits up. she is doing alright now but what she experienced was just a major panic attack. we love this sister so much and we have actually put her on our active member list because she loves coming to church and she now has a visiting teaching assignment. she was so excited to receive that she did a happy dance in her seat in RS. i love her. Two times this week we had the prompting to visit an investigator that we haven’t been able to contact in a while. Neither time was that person home but we were able to visit that less active part member family I told you about that we found whose records aren’t even here in Kentucky. We stopped by just as the less active father was coming home from work. He is a returned missionary and was so nice and welcoming to us. We are working on getting to know them and serve them and fellowshipping them because they are just a perfect family who just needs to be sealed together. We are working on it. We are working with a girl named Autumn. She is in her early twenties with a little boy and another baby on the way. The first time we met with her she said she doesn’t pray and she was just so sad during the whole lesson and Sister Beeson just gave her a big long hug and we talked about prayer and the first vision. Then the next time we met with her this past week she just seemed brighter. She told us she felt so much happier because she had been praying!!!! It was so amazing to see how praying and feeling her Heavenly Father’s love made her so happy! Sister Beeson and I are working with our Relief Society President a lot because there are SOO many less active sisters and visiting and home teaching is just not getting done in this ward. So far we have had 3 sisters come back to church and it makes them so happy! I’m so grateful to be here serving in this ward with Sister Beeson! Te amo!
Love,
Sister Jackson
ps really neat experience. i gave a talk in sacrament meeting this past sunday and it was on grace and how the honest to goodness message of the gospel is that we can change to live in God’s presence and live on a higher plane. i used 2 of my favorite talks- the 4th missionary & his grace is sufficient. i know that our ward needs a lot of “how to be missionary minded” help but i just felt really prompted to speak about this because the spirit told me so and its just so near and dear to my heart. and so i was praying really hard that something said would speak to someone’s heart. later on, a sister in the ward that i really love came up to me and asked me if she could have copies of the talks i used for my talk. i made the copies. she then told me she wanted to give these to her son who is in jail because she felt like they could really help him. prayer answered. i love life
SAM_1411 SAM_1406 SAM_1405 SAM_1401 SAM_1400 SAM_1397 SAM_1395 P1000284 P1000286 SAM_1387 SAM_1389 SAM_1392 SAM_1393 SAM_1394 P1000252 P1000235 P1000230
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