Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Power of Goals!

Hello all once again,
This week has been great, as usual. I can't believe I've been out 3 weeks! This week I've come to recognize the power of goal setting. It's amazing what can come just from writing a few words! On one of my days this week I wrote, "make at least 3 shots in basketball today" I made 4! For some reason I was significantly better that day. The next day not so much because I hadn't written a goal down. Don't ever be afraid of writing down goals, even for simple things like making some shots in basketball.

Presidente Cox is back! He's been in the states because of health issues since before I got here, but now he's back, and he's amazing! He interacts with everybody all the time, he's hilarious, and he teaches with amazing power. It was also his birthday the day after he got back so the cooks made some delicious cake for all of us, and brought in a Mariachi band to play some songs. All the missionaries enjoyed that. This Sunday he talked to us about High Expectations. How we can do anything as long as we are obedient, prepared, and if we believe in ourselves. He had a companionship when he was president of one of the Mexico missions that was baptizing 50 and 60 people per month, and they were retaining them! Those elders knew why they were there, they knew about and had a testimony of what they were teaching, and believed in themselves. They also set goals, and stuck to them.

I've been setting goals with Elder Pilling as well to strengthen our companionship. Since he is struggling with the language a lot more than I am, it is really easy for me to take over when we teach lessons and do it all myself basically. I've already done that a couple of times. So, we have talked about it and we are working on ways to be more unified, and to balance out our teaching time. Another goal we've made has been to do at least one act of service for each other and at least one act of service for someone else each day. That has made a huge difference already. When we make goals that are righteous and are in line with the Lord's plan, He will work miracles in our lives. They don't have to be big, they can be simple everyday things, but as long as they make us better people, Jesus Christ will use His divine power to help us accomplish them. What can we not accomplish with divine power?

The same power that created the earth, and everything on it, and the sun, and the stars, and the planets in their working order is readily available to us when we ask in faith. The same power by which the Brother of Jared removed a mountain, the same power by which Elijah called down fire from heaven to destroy the priests of Ba'al, the same power that divided the Red Sea by Moses' word, is given to us. Surely with that power we are able to make 3 shots in a basketball game, or baptize 50 investigators in a month. All we need is a mustard seed. The Lord has already blessed me so much in these short 3 weeks, I can hardly fathom what will come from the next 101. I only hope that I can help some few people of Guatemala receive those same blessings. For those blessings continue on for generations, and generations, blessing hundreds, and thousands of people in the future.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and the Redeemer of the world. That through His power I can do all things. I love Him with all my heart, and I love you all. The thought of home always brings peace and courage to my mind, and I thank you all for your support.

With love,
Elder Jackson

Dear family,
I figured school would be starting soon. I'm so glad seminary is going great! The teaching of pure simple doctrine is unmatched in power and effectiveness. At least a part of the Gospel - Faith, repentance, baptismal covenants, the gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end, - and how it all ties in to the Atonement should be incorporated into every lesson you teach. 

Thoughts of home really have been a huge strength for me. For some reason it doesn't make me homesick, just happy and at peace. I get "other stuff"-sick. Like I was missing Blue Bell ice cream the other day, and I was really pining for some good old vocal harmony until I sang for fun with one of the new elders that came in this week who's really good. There's a disappointing shortage of vocally talented Elders here. That elder and I are probably going to sing in sacrament meeting soon.

And yes, we do have American sisters here! The three who reported with us are all in my district, and I honestly really enjoy the mixture. The guys complain about not being able to be gross in class, but I'm betting that the Hermanas think the same thing. Hermana Tapusoa is from Hawaii and she's really cool, and the other 2 are from Utah. Basically half of the missionaries here are from Utah. A ton of them know each other too! Some of them are best friends who opened their calls on the same day even! Being with the sisters doesn't bother me either, thanks to the advice mom gave me about when she was on her mission, and watching the elders. Some of the elders here are getting really bad missionary goggles. I just laugh at them and give some of the same advice. I am still a guy so I acknowledge that some of the sisters are attractive, but it changes nothing, and I don't dwell on it.

I realized also this week that I miss the stained glass of the San Antonio temple. The celestial room in the Guatemala temple is beautiful, but it's on the interior so it has no windows. Also you should bug my friends to read my blog if they aren't and tell them to write me.

I love you so much. Hyrum, you need to read the Doctrine and Covenants this year while you study it in seminary. Dad, don't stop being an awesome priesthood holder. Mom, don't ever change. Brian, keep up on that Espanol for when I get back. Lynnae, beat up all the lame guys in your ward. Jess, read Preach My Gospel and prepare for a stinkin awesome experience! You are all in my thoughts and prayers always, you are the best family in the world. Also thank Val for her advice to me about keeping the music close to me. I've really been trying to take that to heart.

Lotsolotsolots of love,
Elder Benjamin Joseph Jackson

Ps I really love my name now, and my nickname is now Stonewall. All the Latinos bring up Michael Jackson when I tell them my name....

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