hello my beautiful family and friends!!! it warmed my heart so much last week to read all of your emails and see all of your pics of the jackson family adventure in FL. i was so overwhelmed with love and gratitude that we are an eternal family, that we are good, and happy, and love and strengthen one another and are covenant keepers. i am so grateful. i love you.
SOOOOOOOOOO, for this week, transfers rolled around again and sister morais was transferred this morning and i received sister wilson as my new companion. uma americana!!!!!!!!!! she was actually in the same district with sister beeson in the mtc. loco!!! weve been out the same amount of time and she served one transfer in macon, georgia before coming to brasil. she is great and im so excited!!!!
its been a week of great miracles and i have been truly humbled and blessed by heavenly father. cristiane is progressing beautifully and came to chruch for the first time yesterday. she works at our local grocery store and normally hasnt been able to come to church on sunday because she has to work. but this week she told us that she just told her boss `no“, that she was taking sunday off because she needed to go to church. oh i love her. she brought her 9 year old son peterson with her and he will most likely be baptised with her. cristiane knows that god sent us to her life and that this is the path for her, the path of jesus christ. we also began teaching her friend adriana who is living with her. we had a lesson with adriana and cristiane this past week and it was so incredibly powerful. we were teaching about the gospel of jesus christ and in particular, repentance and baptism. adriana began to cry and said she so desperately wanted to learn how to forgive her abusive husband who she left 4 months ago. cristiane then began to cry and said she wanted to leave behind her past too. i didnt understand a lot of what she said because she was crying at the same time but i knew she earnestly wanted to begin again and so strongly desired the presence and healing power of the atonement in her life. i knew in that lesson like i could feel in our previous lesson with cristiane, that she wsa different, that she was prepared. a couple days later, we came back to check up on adriana. oh my goodness. she said that she read the “evangelho de jesus cristo“ pamphlet over and over and prayed about it a lot and said that when she went to bed that night, for the first time in a really long time she slept peacefully and woke up invigorated and with the unusual desire to bake bread (something she said she hasnt done in a really long time). she said that she knew god answered her prayers, that she had found the path of jesus christ and that she has a very strong desire to be baptised. here comes even more SPIRIT– before i left kentucky , brother pew, a member of the bishopric gave me a marvelous priesthood blessing and in part of it he said that there was someone waiting for me in brasil. someone waiting to hear my voice, even in my broken portuguese. the lord led me to her. adriana said that in our first lesson, she felt something so strong when i was talking and knew that god sent me to her to help her find her way. i knew she was right. i was so grateful to heavenly father that despite my inadequacy, he was still using me to bring souls to christ. during our entire lesson, all three of us could not keep from grinning so big. we knew god knew us and brought us together. updates to come. :))))))))
ive had some very humbling experiences in the past couple days. on saturday during the day we did a service project and weeded someones garden. i was attacked by these crazy little black bugs that suck your blood on the spot and leave your legs streaming with blood and right now, swollen and oober itchy. i had been feeling a wee bit discouraged and small and lost lately and my encounter with the bugs was kind of my breaking point. we ate lunch with a member (hot dogs- cachorro quente- super popular aqui) and a little bit later i was starting not to feel so good. my stomach felt upset and i was starting to feel dizzy so we went home so i could lay down for a little bit before we went to a baptism. we went to the baptism and i was not feeling good…but i knew we needed to be at that baptism. erlder erickson and elder pacheco baptised a mother and her 3 young children. it was so beautiful. and sister morais and i sang “i like to look for rainbows` in portuguese. as each one entered the waters of bapstism, they were so happy, and were lifted up so pure and good. i was smelly and dirty and my legs were covered with huge red splotches and i felt like my stomach was about to explode, but i felt so at peace. i knew i was supposed to be there to help remind me of my purpose, to help families make this covenant with Father. we sang- nearer my god to thee and it brought tears to my eyes. i was humbled thinking about the grand sacrifice of christ, so much more than my few bug bites. he gave everything. he is so pure and so giving. i want to be just like him. after the baptism, elder erickson thanked us for singing what we sang, he said that a wave of the spirit hit him when we sang and that the husband of the woman that was baptised who apparently never said anything to the elders, said at the end, `thank you for helping my family`. i was so grateful to have been able to use a gift heavenly father gave me to help that family and bring the spirit. i have been feeling lately that i havent felt like myself because i talk substantially less here than i did in the USA. i felt like i didnt really know my talents, what i can contribute, how i can have confidence in myself and in christ. that night was an answer to my prayers.
so the jackson plague finally caught up to me in brasil and ive been vomiting and diarrhea-ing for the past 3 days. but in the last 3 days i have learned a lot about being compassionate, being empathetic and really relying on heavenly father and prayer. heavenly father has answered my prayers through the general conference issue of the ensign. i read most of the ensign from november 2012 while in the bathroom. i know its weird but while i fely physically and emotionally weak, i was strengthened by the words of prophets, seers and revelators. i am so grateful and feel a breath of fresh air in my life. i can start again. today.
and yes i was able to watch the women´s conference, (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2014/04?lang=eng&vid=3408781210001) in portuguese. i understood most of it more or less but more importantly i felt love and strength from all of my sisters all around the world. the hymn, lord i would follow thee, brought tears. i am so grateful for the gospel and grateful for trials. i am grateful for my eternal family, and prayer and personal revelation. i love you all and i pray for you daily. stay true to the faith my dear ones.
with all the love ive got,
sister mariah jackson