Sunday, November 27, 2016
A Spring-Loaded Blessing Dispenser
Are you excited for Thanksgiving? I know I am! We have sooooo much to be grateful for!!
This week has been great! We have had a lot of great experiences. I was so excited to see both the sister we are teaching and her little son Jacob come to church, even though she was sore from getting in a car wreck and stressed from a hectic divorce. Her faith is amazing. She is progressing well and even though she seems to have the devil working overtime to get her down, she is not letting that happen. She even invited one of her own non-member friends to our lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and made us some delicious posole. She is incredible! Miracles have just been flowing to us! We have been praying sooo much for her and miraculously we found her a great place to live and may have found her a job too. Prayers work and miracles happen!! I can't wait for her baptism.
As I have been studying the Book of Mormon, I have really come to learn just how much the Lord wants to bless us. It's almost as if He's got a spring-loaded blessing dispenser and He is anxiously waiting for us to simply come forward and push the release through our humility, and willingness to repent and obey. He does not condemn and He does not view us as inferior- He views us as gold. He is all-powerful, but He is also is our Brother and He is close. As I've prayed, I have also come closer to the Father. I have grown up singing "I am a child of God", but I have really felt that. He is my Father. I love that. If that doesn't make you feel empowered, I don't know what will!
I was able to live out my dream this week! I went on exchanges with the Chinese Elders in our zone. There are a lot of Chinese (about 10-15%) in Eastvale and quite a few at UCR (University of California Riverside) so they are allowed to go pretty much anywhere they want to teach. They also have a super snazzy 2017 Chevy Malibu, and since both Elder Zeng and Elder Yang are from China, I was the lucky driver! We got to go to UCR twice that day to teach and to find. I have always wanted to serve in a YSA or on a campus ever since I was in YSAs back in AZ, and so it was a blast! We didn't have any lessons, but we were able to talk to some awesome college kids and to help them see how God can fit into their lives. I felt like I was right back home at ASU while I was there. One part got me uncomfortable though: we went there for English Class (they teach a free English class every week) and no one came, so we decided to contacting on campus. Well, it turns out it was Homecoming at UCR and we unknowingly walked into a crowd that was about to watch the fireworks go off. There was loud music and thousands of people all enjoying it and amazing fireworks. Pre-mission AJ would've loved it! I would've been all about it, but Missionary AJ was so scared! It was not an environment that missionaries should've been in, so we took some pictures of the fireworks and then ran out of there into the safety of the Malibu and Mormon Tabernacle Choir music. There was nothing inherently wrong with the place where we were at, but I definitely realized that when you are a set apart missionary, there are just some places you cannot go- the Spirit will not allow you. I'm glad we left when we did. There is a time and a place for that, and as a missionary, it is neither. It was overall a quite amusing experience, and we scored some sweet pics!
Today we also died at crossfit, but I got to see a lot of my old mission friends! I love it!
I had a really cool experience yesterday giving a blessing to a sister missionary in our ward who is going home in two weeks. I normally feel the Spirit directing me what to say, but this was so much more. This time I felt the words almost pouring out of me. It was as if I had an open view into her mind from Heaven and knew exactly all that the Lord wanted her to hear. What was the weirdest part though, was that before I realized it, I was both fulfilling things in my patriarchal blessing, as well as directing her to do the same things I was told to in my blessing (the Spirit told me to!). It was one of the most powerful blessings I have ever given and it confirmed to me that God is in charge of this. What was also super strange was that Elder Wood said that I had actually quoted his patriarchal blessing (which I've never read, obviously) and he felt that maybe I had quoted hers as well. He also said that he felt that everything that needed to be said I immediately said afterwards. It was so weird to see how closely the Lord works through us and to be that tool in the Lord's hands to do so. It definitely wasn't me, but it was cool!
There is a super amazing Christmas initiative video coming out this week at Mormon.org called #LightTheWorld. You have to check it out! There's a preliminary video up currently on LDS.org and it will blow your mind! It's all about how we cannot do the miracles Christ did, but we can light the world through random acts of service. There will be an advent calendar that comes out with it this Friday. This is going to change the world, so please check it out as soon as possible and help us all Light the World!!
Your Elder Jackson :)