Monday, September 29, 2014

Gettin' the Ball Rolling

[I finally mapped where he is and San Juan Sacatepequez is 25 km, or 30 minutes, northwest of Guatemala City. Population in 2002 census was 82,000]

Hello all,
Well my second week is officially over, and things are speeding up slowly but surely. We've got a few new investigators and we were so stinking close to being able to put a baptismal fecha! (date) Next week for sure, but Hermana Ofelia just feels like she needs to know a bit more.
CCM Companion - Elder Pilling

It's been pretty hard to work with the less actives and recent converts recently because we haven't been able to leave our main part of the area because of minor safety reasons. There's been some protesting happening in our area and Presidente Caffaro wants us to stay where we have a direct route to the capital just in case. The thing is most of our converts and less actives live out in the satellite towns. It's been tough, but we're really working on getting the members more involved to keep them active. 
CCM District at Wendy's!!

I've had 2 divisions (splits) this week and both have been really helpful. Our district is struggling right now so we're going to be doing a lot of divisions to get things up and going again. My second one was on Friday with one of the zone leaders. His name is Elder Rocha from Mexico. He fed me some real salsa and I was really happy. Here in Guatemala they don't flavor their food much and it's a little bit depressing. He helped me a lot with my Español as well. I'm coming out of my shell little by little and my contacting is improving a lot. I know I just need to be patient and work hard and the Lord will bless me with the courage to do everything he has prepared me to do. 
Guatemala's equivalent to the USA White House

This church is true and the message we carry is the message of salvation. All the world needs what we have, and now is the time to share it. There's 6 billion people walking in darkness, and we have only 80,000 working full time to bring them the light. But we have 15 million that could be helping. Everyone who isn't serving a mission, you are the real missionaries; you are the friends, the coworkers, the family members, the teammates; the ones who can have a lasting impact on those around you. Don't be afraid to preach the Gospel, the Lord will fill your mouth if you open it. Share the light, share the love, share the Gospel. They will listen.

I love you all so much and I thank you for your prayers,
Elder Jackson

Dear family,
Elder Jackson's Apartment
Elder Bankhead is from Missouri and he has 14 months in the mission. He wants to be an orthodontist so we talk about that and dentistry a bit. I think a better analogy for me would be a little turtle launched by a catapult miles away from his pond. But I'm emerging inch by inch. [this in in reference to my letter about our family being a flotilla of strong sea faring vessels ready to weather any storm. Alas, we have a turtle in the flotilla....]
The TRAINER - Elder Bankhead

This second week has been one big learning experience for me with divisions, and lots of other things happening. I still love it here, and I plan to always. Elder Bankhead and I are the only ones in our apartment, but the Hermanas who we work with live just down the road. They're super pilas (hardworking/awesome) from Honduras and Mexico. 

I can't wait til General Conference either! It's going to be amazing, even if I have to listen to it in Español. I love you all so much and I hope you all just keep being awesome! Though I'm still waiting on emails or letters from others.

Til next week,
Elder Ben Jackson

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Week in the Field!

Dear Everyone,
Man it's been too long since I wrote last! I assume you got the email photo from Presidente Caffaro that I wasn't dead. Well, I'm in the field, and my first area is called San Juan Sacatepequez (we'll see if dad can pronounce that). It's outside the capital, so I get a bit of a different atmosphere here. I like it.

My trainer is Elder Bankhead, or in Español Banco-cabeza. He's really cool and we get along really well. Presidente and Hermana Caffaro are amazing! They just got here in July and my group was only their second wave of new missionaries! Poor Hermana Caffaro knows less Español than we do, but she's awesome. They've been making a lot of changes in the mission too apparently, and I'm pretty sure they're for the better.

My first week has been pretty good so far. I came in at a low point for our area, so we don't really have any investigators and we have to start from the bottom, so we haven't been having a lot of success, but Elder Bankhead and I are getting the ball rolling again.

The culture didn't hit me as hard as I was expecting, but the whole language thing has been a bit rough. Elder Bankhead says I already speak way better than him when he first got out, so I guess I'm doing pretty good, and I'm not too worried, but I do get a bit stressed when I am trying to say things that I want to, but I don't know the words. I am really loving it here, and I am super pumped to be out of the CCM at last! I am working on building my courage to talk to people more, I'm pretty timid at street contacting, but I am doing what I can, and I know the Lord will support me and help me improve. It is only the first week after all. I love you all so much and I thank you all for your prayers and support.

Til next week!
Elder Jackson
Dear Mom and Dad and Hyrum,
We have a brother in our ward named Hermano Celestino. He is the only one who speaks much English in the ward and he's really awesome. I feel the Savior's love and your love every day and I know I am being supported. I'm still getting over a bit of a cold I got the day before I left the CCM, but I'm doing great. My feet are getting used to the walking, and I've been really enjoying the food. I even ate sliced cucumber! [that deserves way more exclamation points than one] 
I promise I will write more next week.
Love you all sosososo much,
Elder Ben Jackson

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Arrival in Mission Verified!

Elder Jackson with President and Sister Caffaro
[Here is the picture we just got today. Still no letter from Elder Jackson but we can wait for that. We know he is in good hands!

Gotta love his proud Texas tie! thank you mission prep teacher, Sis Covington!]

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One Week to Go!!

Hello everyone,
This is my last week in the CCM and then I head out into the great big world! I've been learning so much and I am so excited to get out there! I won't lie, I've been a little nervous, but I trust completely in the Lord to support me. I will most likely not be able to understand a word anyone says , but I'm just planning on smiling and enjoying every minute. We must first pass through the hard things before we can begin to feel the blessings, so why not just be happy during the hard things so you can be happy all the time? Besides, if we can overcome our trials with happiness and faith, our blessings that come afterwards will only increase. 

So our big trip to the market last Tuesday. We got our cameras back for the trip, but we had to give them back again so no pics until after I leave. We stopped at Wendy's for lunch (that was so good!) where we were all in heaven for a half an hour. Then we bused over to a big relief map of Guatemala that was made like 100 years ago! It's still one of the most accurate maps of Guatemala! The guy who made it rode around on a horse for 14 years straight. We got some pictures there and then we went to the central market. There was a lot of really cool stuff there, but I only ended up buying a couple pens. That's a place I would go back to after my mission to buy awesome decorations for my house. We were all so happy to finally actually get a good look at the city, since we really can't see anything from inside the CCM. Even though there are a lot of poor people here, and the streets are small and relatively crowded, it is a surprisingly clean city. Those who don't have jobs simply work for the city to clean up all the trash and do small repair work anywhere they can, so it's a fairly nice place.

Other than that, not much has been happening besides the daily routine of class, food, class, teach, food,  more class, and bed. Elder Pilling and I have really come together this past week and we've started being able to teach with a lot of spirit and power. He is such an amazing person. He had a rough couple of years, but he's come out of it to be a truly wonderful missionary. I am so blessed to have had him as my first companion. I know the Lord loves me, and I know he loves every one of you. I love you too and I thank you for your prayers and thoughts. 
Til next week,
Elder Jackson

Dear family,
I am so glad to hear everything is going well. Mom, just keep letting the spirit teach through you. He is the teacher, we are the mouthpiece. He knows exactly what those youth need to hear and if you let Him, you will be able to speak those words to them. I love you so much Mom. Be sure to thank Uncle Duane a thousand times over for me! The little thoughts are what make me happy. I'm so happy to know that Brother Lawrence is doing well. I actually got a feeling in the temple the other week that I would be able to see him again after my mission. Give Jess all the best of wishes, I sent a quick note to her today and I've been thinking about her a lot. Hyrum, tell me what's up in your life. Dad, you're the best and I love you more than any other dad in the world. I know, you're the only dad I have, but that's not the point. I could've chosen anybody, but I picked you. 

PS The Dear Elder letter took 3 weeks to get here and regular mail takes about a week. Send me one of both as soon as I'm in my first area and we'll see how it works out in the field.

Love you all sooo much
Elder Ben Jackson

Tuesday, September 2, 2014