Monday, January 23, 2017

Another Amazing Week!

You are right about the water! It has rained like I have never seen before in my life. It hasn't rained hard, but it has pretty much been constantly raining this whole week. Yesterday we weren't allowed to leave our apartment because of the flood warnings. All we went to was church and dinner. We apparently go 6 inches just yesterday alone. The hills here are like glowing green and there has been a ton of roads that have been washed out or are closed because they are flooded. It's been a lot of fun. I way like this kind of weather compared to sunny and hot. Although, my shoes are not waterproof at all so I wanted to let you know I am going to buy some shoes today that won't get soaked every time I walk in a puddle. My electric razor also is almost 100% dead so I am going to buy a new one. If you see some charges on my account, that is why! I will say, I am sure that the snow is a ton of fun! I can't believe how much has come. Stay safe!!!!

Tell Brother Hale I said hi. He is a great guy. I like him a lot and am grateful he was my leader. You are right about the leadership meetings being so spiritual you feel you'll burst. I've turned into a baby and tear up at a lot of them now. You just can't take me anywhere!

This week was yet another amazing one! We have seen so many miracles- it's unreal. I love being a missionary. I am grateful that we have two years to serve because it's two years worth of opportunities to see ways that we can learn and improve. I have really seen these past few weeks how I really am nothing. I, of my own effort, will never baptize anyone unto repentance or have any success in the work. This is the Lord's work and for too long I have been letting Elder Jackson get in the way of it. The trainings we received on the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, or grace, have really shaped the way I am doing this work. I am still working hard, just like I was before, but I am asking to be enabled and to be led. That has made all of the difference. The Lord really does fulfill all of His promises. As we've trusted in His promises and asked to be enabled the floodgates of the Lord have poured out upon us. I am speechless. I am so beyond grateful for all that He has done for me and for us as a companionship. Even though I still stumble and fall each day, He is, for some reason I can only attribute to love, still blessing us for simply trying and trusting. It has touched my heart immensely. I feel that the only way I can even come close to paying Him back is by doing as John directs in John 14:15 & 21: loving Him and showing that love by keeping His commandments. I've always been an obedient missionary, but obedience has no longer become a "have-to" but and "I want to" to that I can continue to receive these amazing blessings and feel the Spirit I have felt recently. I've been out close to 18 months now and I feel like I'm just now learning what I need to do to be a successful missionary.

So an example of these blessings that we are talking about would be a Madison. We received a call randomly indicating that there was a girl who was friends with a member family that had moved up to Utah a few years previous. She had gone up to visit for one of that family member's wedding as a bridesmaid. She was so impressed with the strength and longevity of LDS marriages; and the love and joy that she felt among friends and families who lived the gospel that she wanted to learn more. We called her the next morning and she asked if we could meet that night. We said of course! We called a member of our stake presidency, President Harris, and asked if his family's home would be available for us to teach there and they graciously said yes. When we got there, I just felt the Spirit confirm that she was prepared. She had previously attended Harvest (the mega church) and it didn't sit well with her. We started teaching the Restoration and the Spirit flooded the room.  I'll admit, the lesson went longer than it should have, but man, it was so powerful! She happily agreed to all the commitments, especially being baptized on the 26th of February because she said that she's spent the last few years of her life living "her way" (after being victim to some horrendous stuff) and she saw that that wasn't working and she knew that the only way to find actual happiness was doing things the Lord's way. That touched me. It's true. When we asked her how much of the Book of Mormon she thought she could read, she said she thought she could read up to the Book of Jacob by Monday (today). The lesson was on Saturday evening. When she showed up to church 12 hours later on Sunday morning, she was a little scared and nervous, but felt good- that was probably from the fact that she had already read the entire book of 1 Nephi! I don't know any member that has ever read all of 1 Nephi in a night. She said it was so interesting. I was blown away. The ward was so kind to her and really helped her feel at home. 

Now I did nothing to deserve this. We did not find her by our hard work or obedience. But the Lord, in His mercy, allowed us, as imperfect and unprofitable servants, to be able to teach one of His wonderful and very elect daughters. I am so thankful for the trust He has placed in our hands to do so and I hope to live worthy of continued blessings. I am so thankful that my heart has been softened and I have seen this change. I truly am nothing, but my God is everything and He is blessing us beyond measure because we are simply trying our best to be obedient to His commandments, working diligently and with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and hope in the promises He's made us. That makes my heart joyful beyond all measure. I love the Lord and I love His work.

I have been forever changed by my experiences here and I am grateful that President Mullen been an instrument in allowing that to happen. I know he loves the Lord and you love us missionaries. 

We also had a dope 11 year old in a part member family who is progressing, a Mason who is looking to convert and is dating an RM, and a dry Mormon who wants to convert from Catholicism, all come to church. It was a blessing! The work is going sooooo well here! It makes me beyond happy!

I love you and dad so much! How are the Jeronimos? Tell them I say Hi and I love them! Have the best week ever! Love ya!!!!

Your Elder Jackson :)

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