Monday, October 27, 2014

First Change Over

Well we made it through the first change! Both my comp and I are staying, which I figured would happen, but you never know. This week has been great, though we've had some rough days. At least 3 days this week all of our appointments fell through, and we haven't been able to find one of our investigators with a baptismal date. We are pretty sure that she's fallen through. Still, things are looking up, and I know that as we keep working hard the Lord will bless us. This week I was in divisions with another missionary in the district, in my area, and we had a really good day. We went to find some future investigators and ended up entering into three consecutive houses and had lessons with all of them! That sort of thing doesn't happen very often.

Right now in the ward we are preparing for a temple trip in a couple weeks, and we've been working with our recent converts that haven't been to the temple with their family history so they can take some names with them. I really wish I had done more indexing before my mission, it really is awesome. But I guess sometimes you don't know a good thing til it's gone. Well I know for sure that when I come back I will want to do some more family history. Being out here teaching people the gospel and helping them to do the work of salvation for their own families has really opened my eyes a little more to the importance of helping the millions of people on the other side that are waiting to be baptized. 

This is the Lord's work, both here and on the other side of the veil. We are all enlisted, and He needs our help to gather in the wheat amidst the tares. We are His servants, and we can choose now to be a slothful one, or a true and faithful servant of the Lord, worthy to be counted as His friends. I know the Savior lives. I know that through His infinite grace and mercy we have the ability to repent of our sins and be forgiven. I know that one day we will stand before Him to be held accountable of everything we have done in this life. As for me, I am going to make sure I can enter into His presence, free of guilt, and full of love. I hope we all are willing to do what it takes to make it back to our Father in Heaven. I love you all and know the Lord loves you as well.

Have a wonderful week!
Elder Jackson

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gonna Be a Pro!

Hey everybody!
So this week has been great! We have been working hard and we now have 2 investigators with baptismal dates! Our work is definitely picking up and it's only gonna get better from here, as long as we keep working hard and following the spirit. We also have some really promising investigators that we just need to get back with. We taught the restoration to a man named Jorge, and he was relatively interested for most of it, but then at the end I bore my testimony of Joseph Smith and how he (Jorge) could pray and, just like Joseph Smith, receive a personal witness of the truthfulness of the things we taught. His countenance changed a bit, and when we asked if he would pray that night, he was silent for a little bit, and then said that he would really like to know if it was true. We have another appointment with him on Wednesday and we plan to challenge him to baptism. I know the Lord is preparing people everywhere around the world for us to find and bring to the knowledge of the truth. 

This morning I bought some futbol shoes, and I'm gonna go wreck it up with the zone this afternoon. I'm pretty much already better than Messi. No, the Latinos get a good kick out of my gringo skills. That pun was absolutely intended. I'm not as bad as I thought for basically never playing soccer, but I still have a lot of work to do. I have really come to enjoy futbol even though I didn't like it much before. I'm gonna be playing it a lot, and basically I'll be a pro by the end of my mission. 

I love the Lord, and I am eternally grateful to be a part of His work. I love it here, and I love the people, although they tend to be a bit stubborn up here in San Juan. But no matter, I love that so many of them have such a firm faith in Christ. This is the Lord's work. Right now is the harvest, He has called us to the field to work, to thrust in our sickles, and gather Israel under His wings, to fulfill all the words of the prophets. We are fulfilling prophesy. I love you all, and I wish you all a wonderful week!

Elder Jackson
Dear family,
This Wednesday we had our greenie meeting. That was really fun and I got to see all the old gang from the CCM. Also, we shared a lot of great advice with each other, and got to ask advice from President and Sister Caffaro. I got the photo album at meeting, so now I have pictures of my entire family, thanks a bunch :). 

Something potentially awesome that I've been meaning to ask you about since the CCM; does Grandma have a brother named Ron Gee? Because if she does, I am most likely related to Elder Gee from my district in the CCM and he's in my zone now. He asked his family but they didn't respond, so I'd really like to know. That would be super crazy cool. He's an amazing missionary. [I just went digging and if Elder Gee's grandpa is named Ronald Keith Gee then Ben and Elder Gee are 4th cousins! Great-great grandpas were brothers, kinda fun!]

Tell me how many dates Hyrum goes on now that he is 16, I'm curious. 
Wow I'm not so sure I want to work for BYU security when I get back and go to BYU. Brian, you truly are spicy hot now [story of Brian getting pepper sprayed in the face as training for security officers]. 

Love you all so much! You guys are the best family I could have ever asked for. And I would like to bet that there were A LOT of other spirits begging to be children of Marcy and David Jackson. Somehow I got the slot. Maybe God knew you guys could straighten me out ;)

with love,
Elder Ben Jackson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Still Alive! Late P-day this Week

Hello everybody,
Elder Bankhead and the Sisters and ???
Yeah I was going crazy waiting until I could finally write. We had our district P-day yesterday and we didn't have time to write, and this morning we had district counsel and then my comp had a leadership meeting because he's district leader. So now I can finally get on the computer. This week has been pretty good, we're having more success, plus we can finally go to the other parts of our area. What was happening has all cooled down and our restrictions are gone!

I did meet a really cool young man who started speaking to me on the bus. He has a friend who is a member and he's a bit interested, and he asked me what time our church is. He didn't end up coming this week, but we'll definitely follow up with him
Okay, put the suits back look like little boys at the park!
So yesterday we had district P-day. We went to this really awesome park place up in the mountains on the other side of the capital. We brought up our lunch, and spent the whole day hanging out, taking pictures, and swinging on big awesome swings. Also we played a bit of futbol. I'm not as bad as I thought at futbol, but the Latinos still get a good laugh out of me. 
This week is looking up and I know as long as we continue working hard with patience, perseverance, and the right perspective, we will begin to have a mountain of success. The Lord knows all; He knows every one of us perfectly, He knows what we're capable of, and He knows the people we are meant to find. As we diligently seek to know His will, and then commit ourselves to do it, we will receive all the strength necessary to overcome, achieve, and surpass all things that we are given to do. 
I love you all, and wish you well from the beautiful country of Guatemala!

Til next week,
Elder Jackson
Dear family:
So I got you're letter that you sent snail mail. Thanks a bunch for the pictures, I felt a bit left out that I couldn't share any pictures of my family with people [totally forgot to send him a brag book of his family]. 
Ben told us about this awhile back. That is San Antonio Temple!
The oils I brought with me have helped a lot with my feet and keeping away blisters and fungus. Perhaps an extra bottle of lavender would be good. I'll let you know if I have any other things that you can put in a box with the chocolate and cold cereal.

So, Hyrum is gonna be 16 this week huh? Well, advice I would give; Hyrum, I want you to read Preach My Gospel, at least one page or section a day. Or even add it on to family scripture study. Brian told me to read it and I didn't. I regret that decision every second I'm out here. Plus it's a really, really good book! In fact it's one of the most inspired manuals ever written. So read it. Also let me know if you get the job at Firehouse. It's a great place, just make sure you always stand in Holy places, like Lynnae. I always think of her story about working at the Bread Basket. That will stick with me forever I hope. And just let them know you're my brother and they'll treat you significantly better. 

Well, here goes another week! Tomorrow all the greenies meet up again for a checkup meeting and to receive counsel, so it will be fun to see the old gang again! Minus Elder Pilling. I hope he's doing great over in Nicaragua. I love you guys, keep being amazing, and keep living every day to it's fullest!

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cumplemes 2!! (2nd Monthly Anniversary)

Hello to all!

Today I have officially been on a mission for 2 months! It flies but doesn't at the same time. In retrospect it feels like a day, but more often than not it goes a little slow during the day. Everyone says it speeds up a lot though. Our area is still struggling a lot and it's been hard to find new investigators, especially with the traveling and time restrictions.

Man, this general conference was amazing! I had to watch Saturday in Espanol but I watched almost all of Sunday in English because Presidente Flores brought his laptop for us. I was so excited when that speaker started speaking in Korean! At least I guess it was Korean [actually, Cantonese]. And everyone that was there for conference got so happy when the other Seventy spoke in Spanish. I tried my best to understand the Spanish translations, but I feel like I lost a lot. That's okay though because we get the Liahonas in English and Spanish every month.

me, conference focused a lot on missionary work (there's a big surprise) and a lot on my future family. I loved Elder Scott's talk (I always do) about the 4 tools to being able to fortify ourselves and our families in this world. Prayer, Scripture study, regular family home evenings, and regular temple attendance. Also I loved Elder Bednar's talk. It was a perfect topic to wrap up General Conference I thought.

Well, there's not a whole lot else that I can think of that happened this week, but I went to a kid's birthday party and enjoyed the pinata experience first-hand for the first time!

Jesus Christ lives, and he loves every single one of us. He is here with me, helping me become the missionary and the man He wants me to be. It's not easy, but it is worth it. Patience and perseverance are the keys to success and growth in this life. I love you all, and wish you all a wonderful week filled with blessings and joy. Never let a moment pass you by!

With love,
Elder Jackson

Dear Family,
Wow, I really ran out of time today. Mom, I love you so much and you're amazing in everything you do. Dad, I already talked to you. Lynnae beat up all the stupid guys, and I give you permission to get married while I'm gone. Brian, you rock, have fun doing that school stuff (what's school?) Jess, enjoy every moment in the CCM and study like crazy, because it won't be enough, but it'll give you a head start. Hyrum I talked to you.

 Love you all, and I hope you all got great things out of general conference. I was a little disappointed that no new temples were announced, specifically one in Austin, TX. Still got 3 more conferences to go. I'm hoping.

Elder Ben Jackson