Happy 8 months!

today marks 8 months on minha missão. wooooooohooooooo!!!!!! thank you so much for all the fabulous pictures of your week together. i love the jackson fam with all my heart and seeing oranges, palm trees, the beach, islands of adventure, and the sweet babies warmed my heart and made me smile sooo much. so hereis whats happening in bonsucesso—

i spoke in sacrament meeting last week!!!!!!!!!!! when the branch presidents counselor asked me to speak, i told him, oh you dont want me to speak, no onewill understand me. but he assured me everything would be ok and his confidence in my ability helped. i decided to speak on the importance of the holy ghost in missionary work and in true conversion. i shared my experience with our investigator jackie (when i was in kentucky). the firsttime she came to church, she felt the peace of the holy ghost immediately when she walked in and felt the power and reality of the priesthood when she partook of the sacrament.
we are teaching 2 really wonderful women who we have had such special experiences with this week- cristiane and elenice. cristiane loves to read the book of mormon and has felt the reassurance of te holy ghost as she has prayed about our message. when we first met with her, i knew something was different, i could feel that she was ready and that heavenly father was telling us that things were right with her and that she was ready to accept the gospel. she has a baptismal date of april 5– the only hang up is that she works ALOT, including sundays. she asked her boss this past week if she could switch shifts but the answer was no. we are going to fast and pray that she can have a miracle. we met elenice while she was on a walk with her daughter. the spirit touched her so strongly in our first visit. at our second visit, she told us that she prayed about our message and felt so calm and at peace andknew it was an answer from god. she told us that the day we firstcame to her house, she was feeling really discouraged and knew we were an answerto her prayers.
i love brasil. i love the gospel. i love my heavenly father. i love prayer and the book of mormon. i know heavenly father has a plan for me and for every person on this earth. i love the holy ghost. i love jesus christ. i love life.
http://youtu.be/yNQC-_srxH8   –  i love elder holland, when i watched this today, i felt at peace
love,sis J
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hello!!!!!! not much time to write. they moved our pday to tomorrow because of carnival but we are writing today. weird. anywho, so much to tell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so mirian is going to be baptised on saturday and she is as we speak at the branch`s youth conference right now. we went by to visit her mom last night to see how she is doing. her mom is skeptical about the church and told us that she thought mirian was jumping into everything too quickly. the honest concern was that she didnt know anything about the church. totally understandable. so we sat down and shared the message of the restoration with her. she wants to learn more and said she would pray and read. we are going to bring this whole fam into the gospel. so sister paredes and sister r. santos were emergency transferred out this morning and now we have half of their area. we are so grateful the lord has given us more work to do, im serious, we now have tons of formers and potentials and someone else on date i think. yahoo!!!!! elder erickson from my mtc district is being transferred into my area, today, crazy!!! hes coming from where the sisters are going. the food is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we have feijao (beans) just about every day.and today we had lunch with a member named anita, sooo nice, and she makes a fantastic chocolate cake and we pour leite condensada ALL OVER IT. so good. im defeinetly not a brasileira yet but ive definetly made progreess since last week. they are small improvements but im better able to understand conversations and i can add a short comment in here and there when we are eating with members. they talk so fast and their accents are wild!!! but the lord has blessed me so much, ive been able to better participate in the lessons we have with investigators. im learning to really say what the spirit is telling me to say, and even if i mess up i have sister morais to help me. im so  grateful. oh, we had to go to curitiba this week because all the new US missionaries had to sign some visa stuff and get fingerprints done.and i got to see elder peay again, woohoo!!!!  the bus ride was sooooo beautiful. seriously just lush forests and fields for miles. fam, i love the gospel and i know its real. i feel it eveery day as i read my scriptures. i feel it every day as i bare my testimony in broken portuguese. i know the lord is control. this morning i read in 1 nephi 1:3 in the part where laman and lemuel begin murmuring and questioning the power of christ right after an agel appeared to them. i recognized that i dont want to be like this in my life. nephi and his brothers went through the same expereicnes. the big difference between the two of them and especially how their lives turned out, is that one murmured and constantly denied the power of christ- and the other was faithful and positive. nephi perservered and rejoiced in jesus christ and believed in trusted in his power and plan. i want to be like that. i am working on putting my whole trust in the lord jesus christ and each time a wave or gust of trial comes, instead of crying why, i will rely on him and trust him and keep calm and carry on. i love the lord.i have never been closer to my Father and my Brother in my life. i know the book of mormon came from God and that it contains the guide WE NEED to naviage this life for oursleves and our families. i love you and hope you have a wonderful week.

much amor,
sister mariah jackson
ps- happy march!!!!!!
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week 1/ month 7

today i celebrate being 7 months out in the field and the begininng of my second week in brazil. holy moly!!!!!!! so much to report on. ive been making a list all week of what i wanted to write about so im just going to spill it all out.
1) there a BAJILLIONMILLION dogs (cachorros) here. seriously, its like all the pet stores of south america just released all the dogs. dad you would be in heaven 😉
2) the people are so friendly and open. instead of knocking on doors we clap outside peoples houses because everyone has a gate surrounding their house. basically we just clap, the person comes out, we say hey we are missionaries from ____ church, have you heard about it, would you like to hear a message about christ? they respond yes or no and either we go in or we are on our way. contacting people is soooo different here. its very straightforward.
3) we have an 18 year old girl named mirian on date to be baptised on march 8th. she is fantastic and so preapared. she loves to read the scriptrues and at every lesson weve had, she always had questions and truly studied what we left for her. she has been to church twice, gave up coffee in a snap and already has friends.
4) MY BODY HAS NEVER BEEN SO TIRED AND BEGGED SO DESERATELY FOR REST. we walk so much, its awesome but it hurts 🙂
5) any mail needs to be sent to the mission office address, you can look it up online.
6) it rains so much!!!!!!!!!!! so glad i got a strudy rain jacket right before i leftt
7) my area is guarapuava (about 5 hours east of curitiba)
heres the from the heart, hard stuff part. i still feel allegiance to the ohio cincinnati mission and the rules are different. im  praying for heavenly father to help me love president fernandes. i just basically feel like a handicapped baby…that is mute. i can catch random words but my mind doesnt process it enough in time to actually participate in a conversation with more than one person. thank goodness sister morais (my comanion) can speak ok english. everyone has repeat things multuiple times and speak super slow. she is from sao paulo. lunch time is the worst, because all 8 missionaries (yes there are 8 of us in the ward) eat together at members homes for lunch and everybody is all talking at the same time and i just sit there and try to pick up something, anything. i feel like i cant be my friendly with members, chattin it up self and i just feel lost and out of place. i kind of feel like ariel in the little mermaid, when prince eric talks to her and all she can do is point to her throat. yesterday i prayed to heavenly father and begged him to helpe me, i asked him why he send me here, i was doing just fine in my other mission. but he has come to my heart several times and told me to trust him, to be patient, to keep going, that everything is going to be ok. it is beautiful here and there are people ready for the gospel and even though its only a little , i have improved. it will take time. he has given me weaknes so that i may be humbled, so that i must rely on him to be strong. i have to trust god and trust christ that they will help me, and help me find my purpose here. i have been able to better handle this transition here because of my past expereinces in the mish. this is realy hard but heavenly father has sustained me, pouco a pouco, little by little., helping me to make it through. i feel like i have learned so much about enduring to the end and making the most of it.  someone in church spoke on sunday and reference elder dube~s talk about looking forward. they also said, we have a calling….to work. thi is a church of work. its time to pony up and do work for the lord. i know he is here, i know he loves me and that he called me here for a reason at this specific time. i love you and im so grateful for your love. keep calm and carry on. he will guide us little by little until we reach the perfect day.
com amor, sister jackson
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not much time!!!

So for our update on the Gardners, Brother Stephenson, the active member who works on the same floor as Brother Gardner, they emailed and they are going to officially meet next week because they’ve both been really swamped. Yay progress!!! So we (the 6 missionaries in the Lakeside park ward) met yesterday to talk about our plans for SSI (serve, solve, involve- about ward council). We have a pretty great relationship with the YW and RS presidents and so the Elders are going to work on serving and gaining the trust and love of Brother Treanor, the Elders Quorum President who is really overburdened right now. Sister Beeson and I are going to work on the Primary president. We honestly haven’t  been able to do anything with the genslingers because they were sick and then they were out of town and so we are hopefully going to meet with them this week. But we have a member family working on them even though we cant see them. They know each other through school and so they are continuing to talk to them about church and life and an upcoming Activity Days activity through that avenue. Our closest to being on date is Melissa Wright. She is the wife of a less active man. They are the best. She loves to read the Book of Mormon, she is in Alma right now. We’ve met with her only twice before, but she has such a strong testimony and her husband is really supportive and will come back if she joins. We tried putting her on date last night and she said not yet because she wants to attend a service on Sunday. She hasn’t been able to come because of health issues but she will be there this Sunday. She is amazing. We are meeting with them after church next Sunday and so we can put her on date then. All is well!!!
i love you. the gospel is real and amazing. christ is coming. go to the temple. keep calm and carry on and eat brownies. i do 🙂
love,
sis J

ps the pic im about to send might rock your socks.

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hello!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been a great week here in Lakeside Park. We had interviews with President Porter this past week and it was the day after I found out I was leaving and so we had a lot of talk about. He was just so encouraging and supportive and really boosted me up and I needed it. We talked about my goals for the next couple weeks and I said that I really want to attend Ward Council and get the Genslingers on date. Missionaries haven’t gone to ward council in this ward in a long time because of some past blabbermouth experiences with other missionaries who took up the whole time. But we need to be there, ward council is about THE PEOPLE. and who sees the people more than the missionaries. anyways, we’re working on it. and the genslingers. brother genslinger is just a pineapple and we are working on figuring them out. Sister Beeson and I decided that we were going to strive for standards of excellence for this week and then my last week, super strive for leadership standards. We almost reached standards of excellence this week and we were so grateful to be able to see the Lord’s hand carry us through. We haven’t been able to make a ton of progress with the Genslingers because they cancelled our appointment this last Saturday due to illness but we are going to try to have a good amount of member contact this week. We are making good progress with the part member less active family, the Gardners. I’ve written about them before, but just to refresh, the husband is a less active returned missionary and the wife is not a member and they have two adorable little boys. This is the family whose records are not even in Kentucky who we found randomly by the Spirit. We’ve gone by a few times to get to know them and they are really welcoming. We found out his birthday so now we can request that his records be transferred here. There is a member in our ward who works on the same floor as Brother Gardner and when we went over to this member’s home, we roleplayed with him, so that he could practice his conversation with Brother Gardner. He said it was painful but he did it and it was great! Lots of things in the works! Oh so I threw my neck out the other day (all I did was look up at the ceiling and BAM, a lightning bolt in my neck) and basically was just like Wesley in Princess Bride, sort of slumped over on the couch during studies but thank goodness that Brother Brunner, from my Northern Kentucky ward, is the mission chiropractor. We went over to his place twice this week to have him work on my neck and back and MAGIC, it’s basically all better. and while we were in the neighborhood, we had to accomplish one of my ‘im still in kentucky’ items on my bucket list. JOSH HUTCHERSON’S HOUSE.  we called the member who lives a street away from him and got his address. we stopped by and almost peed our pants and then as sister beeson was taking my picture someone pulled in the driveway!!! it wasn’t him. but we almost died. we are guessing it was his older brother or something. we met with sister America (our RS president) and she gave us a huge list of less active sisters to contact. we love less actives!!! really it is our pride and joy, getting to know them and helping them realize and rekindle their testimony. so I love the book of Mormon. it makes me happy. it makes life make sense. it helps Jesus Christ and I to be closer. oh funny quote from our gospel principles class, “hop on the jesus train!” anywho, I was really feeling like I needed to know jesus better (my lifelong quest, becoming best friends with Christ) and so I was reading in 3 nephi 17 and it was so beautiful. the people were begging Christ not to go. Christ was crying and praying with them and for them. im working on my pondering skills and so I just sat there for a little bit and tried to imagine this event in my mind, imagining what the people felt, imagining what Christ felt. I felt closer to him. I then I read chapter 18 about the sacrament and it just really made so much soulsense to me that we NEED the sacrament every single week to have Christ to be in us, a real part of our souls and we need to take the sacrament weekly to get rid of the weekly junk that we accumulate in our souls because of being human. anywho, I love the scriptures. Ive got to go but I love you. Te amo!
Love,
Sister Jackson
Hey Jackson Family! It’s Sister Beeson. I just wanted to say hello and say that I love this work!!! I’m so glad that Sister Jackson is my companion! She is such a blessing. She teaches me something new each day and I’m so grateful and blessed to work with her this past month. Hopefully we will be companions in Curitiba. Friends Forever!!
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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
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ahhh, so little time

oh goodness, i cant believe january is almost over. anywho, i love life and i will try to cram as much as i can into this email.
this has been a great week! Our zone conference was just what I needed. Seriously, the Spirit was able to give me counsel on a number of concerns that I hadn’t even written down as my “revelatory experience questions”. It was a marvelous day and I received a lot of guidance for myself and for our investigators.
We are teaching a couple families (trying to teach whole fams instead of individuals) which makes me so happy! There is one family, the Genslingers, who were formers but really just are so close to accepting the whole gospel. We have seen such progress with the father especially. Brother Genslinger used to seem super skeptical about everything and wouldn’t pray and wouldnt really be involved in our discussions but this past Saturday his wife told us that he’s been praying often and he even offered the closing prayer in our lesson!!! sister beeson and i call these kind of people ‘pineapples’- hard and spiny on the outside, but actually sweet on the inside. he knows its true, he just needs to get back on the saddle.
We are also working with another family, so far, 3 of the 20-something year old siblings are investigators and we just need to meet with the mom. We met with one of the brothers, Robert, and he said he doesn’t like to read but he does love to read scriptures. He read his grandma’s Bible and marked the whole thing up with his thoughts and impressions. He’s excited to do the same with the Book of Mormon. He read the First Vision out of the Restoration pamphlet and said “that happened!” We extended baptism, he told us that he had already been baptized and then we re-extended, emphasizing the priesthood power of God and he said yes. It was amazing. I felt the spirit so strongly, Robert is prepared. Anyways, I’m loving life and loving missionary work. I’m grateful to be one of God’s warriors, because we really are in a war for people’s souls. I love the gospel.
There are so many great changes happening here in Lakeside Park, it’s about time that some things were shaken up. We’re working on it, one day at a time. we are working with our ward mission leader to be allowed to come to ward council. we need to be there, ward coucil is really about the people of the ward, and who sees the people and knows the people of the ward better than the missionaries. one of my personal goals is to make contact with every single person in our sisters area (covers erlanger, elsmere, independence) because we have around 500 members in the directory but maybe around 100 come on sunday. our stake president announced in stake conference that he has a vision for a new temple in cincinnati and for our stake to split in the next 5 years. if we reactivated the 400 that dont come to church and live the gospel, even half of them, our temples would be flooded, and the stake presidents vision will come to pass. there is work to be done, there is love the shared. the time is short.
oh ps we did something really neat this week. one of our members, sister hertenstein took us to dinner at the raddison hotel that overlooks cinci, but this isnt an ordinary hotel, the top floor where the restaurant is rotates and slowly makes a complete 360. dont worry i took pics. it was marvelous, i felt spoiled.
im having such an awesome time with sister beeson, she makes me laugh so hard and we really are kindred spirits. im so grateful to have her as a companion. im just so happy. oh, i am giving a talk on sunday, twill be great!!!!
oh, last night we had dinner/lesson with jeff and melissa. jeff is a less active member and his wife is investigating the church. she is so fantastic and has been so prepared for this. yesterday in my studies i felt really prompted to share that one scripture (cant remember the reference now) that basically says, if you are willing to bear one another’s burdens and follow christ, what have you against being baptized. we had talked about baptism before and she wanted to take things slow but i just felt really prompted to have her read that. she did. and she said, ‘message received’ with a smile on her face. she didnt say yes but as i was looking over at her, she just kept reading that passage over and over throughout the evening. booya.
i love you. the gospel is real. the adversary is real. tell him who is boss. read the book of mormon. pour out your soul to hevenly father. keep going to the temple. partake of the sacrament. im serious, this stuff is gold.
te amo!
love, sister jackson
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Going on 6 months!!!!!!

Hey so guess what? on wednesday, we were told neither of us were being transferred and then on transfer day (thursday) we received a call from the APs that there had been a mistake and sister seamons was being transferred to decatur, indiana. what the what??!!! so she ripped her sheets off the bed and we scrambled for the next hour and a half to get ready. but long story short, my new companion is sister beeson and SHE IS WAITING FOR HER VISA TO BRAZIL TOO!!! we are actually going to the same mission too. she is wonderful and so fun. she is from virginia beach and is just wonderful. president porter talked to each of us specifically about how important it is that we work on our language skills together. YESSIR!!! i dont have much time today to email because ive been spending a lot of my time working on some fbi paperwork but i will share a couple of great things.

1) COOL EXPERIENCE WITH THE SPIRIT!
 sister seamons and i were going to visit 2 potentials and i said ‘oh their names are greg and todd, right?’ she said no, his name is thomas not todd. i was like, oh ok, and we went along our merry way and met with thomas and then we tried knocking on his next door neighbor’s door because they had just moved in. AND HIS NAME WAS TODD. the spirit, right there, told me his name was todd. so crazy weird.
oh and i received a blessing from bishop park last sunday and he said that my language skills were going to going to be restored…AND THEN I GOT SISTER BEESON. PROMISES FULFILLED.
the whole mission is doing this thing called the social media split where members come out with us for the whole day and document a day in the life of a missionary through different social media outlets- vine, facebook, twitter, instagram etc. and so you can follow us!!! i will ask the people who are going to be with us to request to follow you all on instagram. it will be great!!!
i love you all, i love the book of mormon. i love life and i love our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. All is well.
love,
sister j
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HELLO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE ON THE PLANET!!!!

here is this week’s update:
 
We had heard great reviews about the Newport aquarium and decided to go last p-day! we got together with sisters herndon and payne and had a marvelous day!!! it brought me back to the week before i left home when lissy and new and i went to the aquarium in sf. it made me so happy to just marvel at the beautiful fish, sharks etc. i was kind of jealous and wanted to just hop in with them 🙂 afterwards we ate at tom chee (known for their grilled cheese donuts- so good !!!)
 
oh one thing, transfers are this thursday, usually they are on tuesday but for some reason they are on thursday this month. but if you want to send me anything in the coming week, send it to:
 
ohio cincinnati mission office
4610 north bend rd.
p.o. box 11671
cincinnati, oh 45211
 
we had a miracle this week!!!!! one night we were planning for the next day and we were looking at the map and ‘aristocrat street’ just seemed so familiar to me and i was surprised that we didnt have any members, less actives, potentials, formers, NOBODY on that street. i just felt like i had been on that street a million times. and then a couple days later we went to an investigators house for a lesson but they werent home and so we got back in the car and prayed about where we needed to go, what we needed to do next. as we were praying, aristocrat came strongly to my mind (and we had driven past it to get to this persons house). that street name just kept being repeated and repeated in my mind. and so we went there. and seriously, there was no one in our area book that lived on that street. and so we parked and prayed about where to start knocking (we are not supposed to tract because there are smarter and more efficient ways to contact but we knew we needed to knock this street). so we both felt like we needed to start knocking at 2020 aristocrat. and so we tried knocking for about 6 houses, no response. then we were at the last house on the street. we knocked. a woman answered the door and just started laughing. sister seamons and i were a little puzzled for a moment. then she said she was from utah. i asked if i could use the restroom so she would let us in so we could get to talk. so her story: she and her husband are both from utah. her husband is a less active member who served a mission and the whole nine yards. she is not a member but her step mom is and she has lots of mormon friends. she and her husband and 2 little boys have been here for the past 9 years and no one ever knew about it, there church records are not in kentucky. HOLY COW!!!! heavenly father answered our prayers, he led us to some of his lost children, THE SPIRIT IS REAL!!!!!! that was one of the coolest experiences with the spirit in my life. oh, and guess what, this world gets even smaller. she lived in satellite beach for a year and a half and worked in the merritt island target…holy moly.
 
we were given a talk that we were asked to read this past week. it is called ‘the fourth missionary’, by lawrence e. corbridge. . it changed my life, im not joking. a few days prior to reading this talk, i remember the thought coming to my mind that i was all set, that i had pretty much learned all the lessons i needed to while i was on my mission. and then i read this talk, oh boy. to sum it up, this talk goes through the 4 different types of missionaries and essentially 4 types of human beings. as i read the talk, i found myseld realizing that i had not offered up my whole soul, my life, my self, to not only this mission but to God. there was too much in there that i loved so i STRONGLY encourage you to read it. but i realized that my personal wants, wishes, dreams, and desires were holding me back from surrendering everything i have and am to the Lord. that was a really scary and seemingly impossible task to me, to give my self entirely up. the book of enos kept popping into my mind and especially the line ‘how is it done?’ i couldn’t understand how i could physically, mentally, and emotionally give everything up to him. it just seemed to hard. and then i felt unworthy and incapable of doing the lord’s work with all this imperfection and personal baggage and desires and natural man-ness weighing down on me. i spent about 45 minutes just feeling like it would impossible to make that transformation on my own. and then i started writing every single thing down- everything that distracts me, things i daydream about, all my wants, wishes, desires, hopes- all of them- on individual sticky notes. i have a pile of about 30 ish of them. it felt so good to sepaarate myself from all those things and realize that i was now free to become what heavenly father knows i can become. ugh, there is so much more i want to write about this but really, you will know what im talking about when you read it. 
 
we have to run to the post office real quick and then i will be back in a little while to finish my email and send pics. i love you. mama, im mailing the shoes back today. yes, it is below freezing warm. yes, i am staying warm. ok, toodaloo. ill be back soon. smooches y’all.
 
OK IM GOING TO FINISH MY EMAIL NOW-
 
so there is this quote by neal a Maxwell that I love- “real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed.” wowee. I am so grateful to be on my mission because I would’ve gone my whole life thinking I was hunky dory and not ever having given my whole self to heavenly father or understood the savior’s role in using his amazing grace to literally change my natural self to become his self. i am now not just waiting to go to brazil or waiting to go home to be happy, i need to be happy wherever i am, whatever im doing. ether 12:27 has confirmed to me that god loves us so much that he humbles us and brings us low, to show us and remind us of what he wants us to become, what he knows we can become and who that is through. i know without a doubt that it is because of the atoning power of jesus Christ (which i still do not fully understand but trust that somehow someway he makes it happen) that my insides are different, they are better, they are becoming more pure. I’m working on it. he’s working on it. i love you all. read that talk. forizzle.
 
with love from my gushy heart,
sister Jackson
 
ooh- cool cd to check out that weve been rocking to- popcorn bopping
 
p.s. sister seamons said i spoke in Portuguese in my sleep last night
p.s.s. it was below freezing today and no joke, i could feel my boogers and any moisture in my nose freeze- its like ‘the day after tomorrow’ 🙂
 
love y’all!!!!!
 
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5 Months!!!!

HOLY CANNOLI, IVE PASSED 5 MONTHS!!!!

it was so wonderful to hear your voices on christmas day, that was the greatest christmas present ever! sorry i got so weepy, i seriously gave myself a pep talk beforehand, ‘dont cry the whole time, dont cry the whole time’. when i finally hung up, i had snot dripping from my face, i was such a mess, thank goodness i found a roll of toilet paper. oh well 🙂 thank you for singing to me, i felt like i was right there with you.

i had a wonderful rest of my christmas- we visited tons of members and less actives. its funny, we had meals set up with members for every meal but we never actually ate a legit christmas dinner with the ham and the whole nine yards. we had quiche for breakfast with the wardrops and pizza with the loosles and beckers for lunch and dinner. it was an interesting christmas 🙂 it made me so happy to think of you all in your homes being together. i love you all and cant wait to spend next christmas with you!!!

so yesterday, president porter came to our ward to do a training thing for all the relief society and priesthood. it was all about the ‘work of salvation’ and how our efforts as missionaries need to be combined with the efforts of the ward members. he brought up a couple things that i really wanted to share with you all. he talked about bringing others into the gospel by small and simple means. its not about doing big extra out of our way things to share the gospel but rather by just involving others in our lives because when they see and feel the warm and unity of our families, they will want that too and will want to know how they can have that.
-open your home and your heart
-open your mouth and share your life
-we invite because we love
He talked about when we are conversing with friends and coworkers about our weekends, how often do we just skip over our sunday? it can be very natural to talk about church and our sabbath worship service when talking about our weekends. ‘oh, i heard this great talk (or testimony) at my church on sunday, it really helped me feel hopeful’. i dont know, something like that. then he talked about something that i love that we’ve just started to implement with families in our ward. each ward should have a ward mission plan- goals for baptism, people to visit, etc. and so we as missionaries are helping families to develop their own family mission plans. this can be really simple- just goals and plans to include our friends, neighbors, coworkers in our life. this can include inviting nonmembers or less actives over for dinner, fhe, scouts/yw/ym activities etc. all you need to do is put this on a 3X5 index card. president porter gave an example:

PRAY- for missionaries and their investigators by name
TALK- about someone you know serving a mission, BYU etc
INVITE- dinner etc.

i need to go but i just want to share my testimony real quick because my one in portuguese was kind of poopy the other day 🙂

I believe. I do not know a lot of things. But i believe. Here are some things i do know. i know heavenly father loves me. i know this because he gives me so many tender mercies every day that i cant deny him knowing my heart and soul personally. i know he is real every time i look up at the night sky. i know that prayer is how we communicate to God. he hears us and answers us. i beleive in miracles. i know that this gospel is the only way to go home, to return to Father. i know that jesus christ wipes my tears, he calms my heart and helps me learn from every single trial. i know he is real because i am changed. i love you and i love the gospel and i say these things in the name of jesus christ, amen.

love,
your sister jacksonSAM_1206 SAM_1198 SAM_1186 SAM_1187 SAM_1184 SAM_1181 SAM_1179 SAM_1176 SAM_1177 SAM_1175 SAM_1174 SAM_1163 SAM_1171 SAM_1158 SAM_1160 SAM_1162