Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Spirit Filled Prison?

Dear Family and everyone,
Still busy as ever, but I'm used to it now. I feel kinda bad to say this, but the CCM is a little reminiscent of a prison. Mostly for security reasons, but there are cameras everywhere, big tall fences on all sides, Security guards with guns on the perimeters, and an hour each day "in the yard" (aka Basketball courts and gym). We honestly feel pretty secluded here. The spirit here is so strong though, and I love every minute. Okay almost every minute of it, it can get tedious. My teachers are amazing! Hermano Menendez is hilarious, and he teaches us all sorts of fun games to help get the stress of the language off our minds, but really helps us learn in a great way. Hermana Chavez is a little more serious, and she doesn't put up with punks much, but I love her. She teaches the doctrine with such great spirit and I can tell this Gospel means a lot to her. I would say she is probably one of the best teachers I've ever had. Ever. 

Since there are only about 100 missionaries here, the community is much tighter than you would find at the Provo MTC. Last night, the Six-weekers and the Latino Elders left to go to the field, so we packed (I think we counted about 102) people into one tiny bedroom, and sang Called to Serve, Ye Elders of Israel, and God Be With You Til We Meet Again as loud as we possibly could. I have never sweat so much in my entire life. I was even standing on the window sill where the fresh evening breeze was coming in, but I still nearly died. It was awesome, don't get me wrong, but it was SO HOT!  We get the new batch of Elders today and tomorrow, and I can't wait!

Elder Pilling and I have been doing our best at learning the language and learning how to teach in Espanol, the biggest roadblock for me is trying to say what I want to say, but not being able to. I just want to bear my testimony of what I know to be true and put feeling into it, but I still don't know how to say a lot of stuff. When I get frustrated though, I just take a step back and remember that it's all in the Lord's hands. He has a lot in store for me to learn yet, and I've already learned the hard way the need for unity in teaching with a companion, even if he doesn't know the language as well. I don't miss home yet, at least not in a bad way. I think about home a lot, but it doesn't get me down, it boosts me up. I love all of you guys, and I'm so thankful to have you supporting me back home. 

Til next week!
Elder Jackson

Dear Mom and Dad,
Sorry this part has to be short, I ran out of time. I actually wasn't very suprised to hear you got called to be a seminary teacher Mom. I love you all so much, and I definitely love Val too. I know it's because of the teachings and lessons I learned at home that have gotten me this far. I couldn't have chosen a better set of amazing people to be my parents for this mortal journey. Lynnae, Brian, Jess, and Hyrum, especially Hyrum since you're still at home, don't ever take for granted what they can teach you. They are my secondary backbone while I'm out here. (My main backbone is Christ, sorry Mom and Dad) I love you all so much.  
[No need for him to apologize! That is the best compliment we could ever receive!]

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