Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Baptism!

Hello everyone!

Sindy and Francisco
Sindy got baptized! it was amazing and her testimony that she shared afterwards made a lot of people cry. Everything was perfect. They are a perfect little family. We enjoyed Christmas this year too. Spent time with the Bol family, the Escobar family, and the Rac family. We ate lots of tamales and ponche, and got really full. Looking forward to this week, and the new year. 2016 will be a year of changes for me, and I look forward to the new experiences. Remember what "Christmas" really means. I don't want to forget the things I've learned this season, and neither should any of us. 

Elder Ben - Sisters Aguinada and Gonzalez making tamales
Also, could you keep Sister Aguiñada in your prayers? She and Sister Gonzalez are here in the district and yesterday she got super sick and was throwing up a ton. It turns out that she has a major problem in her abdomen and needs to be operated on. We're hoping that it can be done today, but the process is slow to get the approval.

Love,


Elder Jackson

The Tamale Man!
Christmas Eve Dinner with familia Escobar
Look who came back from Coban..... Elder Caal!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

What a Great Gift!

Hello Everybody!

Elder Bentley and Alvarado (x-comps)
So basically I've been getting some great gifts this Christmas. One was my son Elder Mercado, and another is Cindy's baptism on Saturday! Also we had a super awesome Zone Conference on Thursday, where we felt the spirit really strong, nearly everyone was crying. I almost cried. If you guys haven't seen the new video on why we need a savior, you should see it. It is called "A Savior is Born" on Christmas.mormon.org and it's really powerful. We also watched Iron Will to get us pumped up, and it was so funny how everyone got so into it. It was like nobody had ever seen a movie before. In all the "intense" parts like when he was running to escape the train on the bridge everyone was freaking out as if he were going to die. We get a little movie deprived out here...

My District (plus a red tie photobomber)
So Cindy is really excited for her baptism! She's a little nervous, but she understands and loves all the doctrine when we teach it to her, and she has felt that it is true. We planned out the baptism agenda, and she asked me to baptize her. We said the time before that it would be the best if Francisco baptized her, but she said they talked and they decided that they wanted me to baptize her. I guess part of the reason could be that I've never been absent for a single lesson with them. A lot of times we do divisions, but I have always happened to stay in my area the days we visit them. They are an amazing family and their new baby girl is ridiculously cute. Cindy has been one of the things that have helped me keep going and not lose the faith. Many times God gives us trials, but He always lets us know that He's not far away. I love this work and I love Christmas too! 

Have a wonderful Christmas this year!

Love,

-Elder Jackson

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Unto [Me] a son is Given!

Hello everyone!

Elder Mercado (son) and Elder Jackson (dad)
Well, I now have my first child [fyi, when missionaries train a brand new missionary they refer to them as children and the trainers as parents....], and his name is Elder Mercado (market in English). He's from Nicaragua, which means I've now had companions from all five Central American countries! Legally Panama isn't part of Central America. But anyway he is really awesome, and we get along really well. He has a powerful testimony and he invites the spirit every time he speaks in the lessons. I'm proud to have a son like Elder Mercado.

So we visited Cindy and Francisco twice this week. The first time she told us that she has felt that the church is where she needs to be, the place where their new daughter will be able to learn and grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and where she can develop even more her relationship with God. So she is committed to be baptized the 26th of December! We left the pamphlets of the Word of Wisdom and The Law of Chastity and she read them both completely. We asked her what she learned and she explained it all perfectly, mentioning parts of the lecture that I forgot were in there! She is one of the most amazing investigators I've ever taught in my whole mission. They came to church in our ward for the first time and enjoyed it. Thank you for all the prayers on their behalf; keep it up, because your prayers are working!
What a great dad! Smile! You're on camera!

Love you all!

-Elder Jackson



District??

Monday, December 7, 2015

My First Christmas Gift!

Hello!

Elder Ben and Elder Caal
Well, tomorrow I receive my first Christmas gift! I'm gonna have a kid! I still don't know who it is, but I got the email from President saying that I'll be training this change! It's gonna be a long change of 8 weeks instead of the usual 6, because this change that we just finished was only 4 weeks. 

But honestly it does not feel like Christmas is in 3 weeks... Even though the decorations have been up since Halloween, it just doesn't feel like Christmas. 

I'm actually pretty sad that Elder Caal is leaving. I feel like our time shouldn't be over still, and he feels the same. He gave his last testimony in church yesterday and it was really awesome. The mission has definitely changed him, and he has inspired me in many ways. He admits that he wasn't always the best missionary, but I have felt the humility that he has developed and the desire he has to do good. I hope to keep in touch with him and I'm anxious to see him reach his potential. 

District (no names of sisters....)
So I can say that while I'm gaining a son, I'm losing a friend. But that's what Facebook is for right? ;) I'll have more to talk about next week when I've got my new comp!

Love you guys!

-Elder Jackson



Dear Mom,
"Family" Reunion! Old comps
It has been great with Elder Caal. I'm still with him today, but tomorrow I'll have my new son! It has been difficult sometimes because the area is a little hard, but we've been doing our best to keep working. My comp was a little baggy some days, but he hasn't been too affected. Honestly he's been one of my favorite comps. This change I'll feel a bit more motivated in some ways. The baptism we have planned is for Cindy de Gonzalez, the wife if the less-active member that I mentioned a couple times. It would be awesome if you guys could pray for her because it has been difficult to visit them for obstacles of time.

Love you mom!


-Ben

More "family" pictures

Monday, November 30, 2015

Family Reunion

Hello everybody!

District Lunch
Today I'm gonna have a family reunion! Elder Caal and I will be going to one of his old areas to say goodbye (for a little while cuz he only lives 4 hours away) to the people he met and baptized there. It also happens that my old companions Elder Alvarado and Elder Loría are companions right now, and Elder Loría was also in that same ward with my comp, they are both finishing their missions so they are going with us to visit Ciudad Quetzal together. And all 3 of them are my companions, therefore, I am having a family reunion! (Did you guys follow all of that?)

That is a GIGANTIC pizza!
So, we're starting the last week of my comp's mission, and he's pretty nervous. He's in that limbo state of feeling a little baggy [trunky, wanting to go home] but still wanting to work, so I'm trying my best to help him out. He's a great guy and a great missionary. He's honestly been one of my favorite companions and it's a little sad to see him go, but I'll see him soon because he wants to come by again around Christmas time to visit, and for the baptism we have planned!

For almost 3 weeks we haven't been able to visit Cindy, our investigator whose husband is a member and who just had a baby, because of complications in his work and other obstacles put in the way by Satan, and we were beginning to think that they didn't want us to come by anymore. But then on Friday he called us and told us that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and that she wanted us to come over, but at a different time because the time we normally passed by wasn't working. So we went by yesterday after lunch with a member, but my comp has a cold so for the new baby he couldn't come in. He had to stay in the garage while the member and I taught the lesson... poor guy. But the lesson we had was super spiritual, she has an extremely sincere desire to know if the church is true, and she has been
I know who is up to eating all of it!
greatly impacted by her husband's example. Even though he has passed a long time inactive, his desires and principles that he's always kept have been the key to her desire to learn and come to church. She accepted the challenge to be baptized December 26th!

That was this week's miracle  :D

Love you guys!

-Elder Ben Jackson

Dear Mom,
Well, I was on divisions for Thanksgiving, and Elder Noack and I bought some ramen noodles for dinner... but the members that made us lunch made some amazing spiral spaghetti and alfredo chicken that reminded me of your cooking :). It was so good I had to get a whole other plateful of seconds. I miss your food sometimes mom. I love the food here, but there's just nothing that beats the way you cook :)

Love you tons!

-Ben

Monday, November 23, 2015

Grateful

Hello Everyone!

[This one is to me but a great view of his apartment!]
Seeing as Thanksgiving (a holiday that they really don't celebrate here) is this week, I'll just mention some of things I'm grateful for. First off I'm super grateful for this opportunity to preach the gospel in Guatemala. It's an experience that I will never forget. Also, I am thankful for all the prophets that have ever lived, because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have the Bible or the Book of Mormon, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ in general. I am thankful for the Holy Ghost, who has been my constant companion ever since I received the Gift of the Holy Ghost when I was 8. If it wasn't for him, I don't know where I'd be now. I am thankful for my companion Elder Caal, who has been a great friend and support to me in the short time that I've been in this area. I am thankful for all of the wonderful people that have come into my life since I came here to Guatemala, so many people who have changed me for the better, and so many people who I have seen change through the amazing and infinite atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. I am infinitely grateful and forever in debt to Him for the greatest gift that anyone has ever given in all of eternity: that same atoning sacrifice. 

I love the words to the hymn "I Stand All Amazed", and the Spanish translation of the chorus gives it a slightly different feel: 
"Cuan asombroso es que por amarme así muriera él por mi. cuan asombroso es, lo que dio por mi"
 “How wonderful it is that He should love me so enough to die for me. How wonderful it is, that which He gave for me."
He didn't just care for me, He loved me enough to give me everything He had. He lived for me, He died for me, and He lives now for me. That is truly wonderful to me.

So those are just some of the many things I'm grateful for :)

Love you guys!

-Elder Jackson



Dear Mom,
First off... HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!! (imagine with great opera voice)

Here, instead of district meeting, we call it district counsel. I like to make it a participation thing and an actual counsel, where everyone pitches in. Sometimes I assign one or 2 of the companionships to give a little workshop, or we just discuss the ideas that we have found successful, and what hasn't worked too well for us in our areas. I also like to prepare or assign a game or activity to keep it fun.

I write Jess little notes every once in a while about some of the things she mentions in her emails. I'm going to enjoy spending time with her after the mission.

Sorry if my emails are sometimes kinda dry. I try to think of interesting things to talk about, but I honestly lose track of a lot of things during the week. I'm caught up so much in my area and my responsibilities as district leader that it all just jumbles together in a big hunk of junk labeled "missionary work". It's not junk, but you get the figurative speech  ;)

I hope this was better and more informative!

-Ben :D


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Getting Wet and Watching Others get Wet!

Hi everyone!

Elder Ben, Carols, Josefa, Victor, Elder Caal
Well, by this time the rain should have stopped, but the news is that the rainy season started late, so it's gonna rain until January... What a blessing! On Saturday we got to watch 2 more wonderful people get wet in covenants, and it was an amazing experience! Carlos is in his 80s and Josefa is in her 70s, but wanted so badly to be baptized, and their wish came true despite the obstacles. It was raining all day, and because of her age and other infirmities, she easily gets sick under the rain. They called us to cancel. We managed to get the help of a member that has a car to drop them off at the church before she had to run and do another errand. For the same age and health reasons, she was worried about having to be baptized in cold water. We bought a water heater that didn't work, but it was too late. In the end, they were baptized, and everything went great. And to top it off, President Caffaro and his wife showed up! I had time to chat with them afterwards, and they were so happy and content, it made me feel warm inside even though it was cold and rainy outside. Carlos and Josefa said they felt so much peace, and even though they've suffered a long time with infirmities and other difficulties, in that moment, none of it mattered. They were clean.

New convert, Marvin, baptized them with help from Bishop
I love seeing the changes in other people's lives. It's one of the greatest blessings of serving a mission. It's amazing that even in people with so many years filled with so many worries and cares heaped upon their shoulders, one can see the immediate change as Christ takes those cares all away through His infinite atonement. 

I hope you all have a week of miracles too!

Love,

-Elder Jackson



Our last convert Marvin already received the Aaronic priesthood and was ordained a priest and he baptized them with the help of the Bishop!

On the right is Victor, their best friend and also recent convert as of August

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Work Continues

Hello Everyone!

Selfies after Church!
Well, this week my comp and I just ummm... worked! Really there hasn't been much going on other than the regular contacting, inviting, occasionally teaching if they let us, and visiting the members. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the everyday work, but I feel like it doesn't leave anything for me to talk about with you guys. 

I guess the best part was on Sunday when the Stake President came to the ward and did a Sabbath Day beat down for 3 hours. I enjoyed it, but I think a lot of the members got their pride hurt. He did it lovingly, but he didn't mince words. Basically he made the point that if you don't keep the Sabbath Day holy every single week, you don't believe in Jesus Christ and you're not a Christian. And if you work on Sundays you're lacking faith, and you will never prosper. It was really straightforward, and it's all based from the scriptures, so yeah. I'm gonna keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Elder Jackson's District
We will have 2 baptisms this Saturday! Carlos and Josefa are an elderly couple that are close friends of Victor who I talked about last week, and basically their biggest desire is to be baptized, so they're awesome.

Love you all!

-Elder Jackson




Guatemala getting ready for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Don Victor: A True Inspiration

Hello Everyone!

This week I just thought I'd talk a little bit about Don Victor. Victor is a recent convert from the elders that were here before, and he is 76 years old. Despite having a lifetime of learning in other churches, especially the Catholic church, he knew from the first moment he met the missionaries that they were sent from God. For the short time that he's been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ he has an unbreakable testimony of the Restoration, of Joseph Smith, of the Book of Mormon, and the Church. He loves to talk (usually we spend a whole hour or 2 just listening to him talk) but he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He has been so affected by his conversion, that even though he can't proselyte with us for his age, he has self-titled himself a "missionary without boundaries". He talks with his friends and acquaintances from all over Guatemala City, teaches them the basics of the gospel, and then sends them to the church that corresponds to where they live, with a reference note with his name and number so the other missionaries know that he sent them. He even goes to the hospitals during visiting hours and visits the people who are alone and prays for them and shares a little message with them. He is a man so completely converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that he lives it to his fullest capacity. He pays for the taxis that take his references to the chapels. He doesn't cringe about giving of his money for Christ's cause. He understands the Law of Consecration without even having been taught it directly. 

My thought this week is that I want to be like Don Victor.

Sincerely,

-Elder Jackson

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Already Week 5??!!

Hello!

District with Pres & Sis Caffaro visiting
I can't believe we're already starting the fifth week of the change! I feel like I just started... I'm really enjoying it here with Elder Caal. He's a great companion. Even though he's finishing his mission, he still has a desire to work, and I'm gonna make sure he keeps it up. 

Sunsets
We found a really awesome family this week! Francisco is a member from another stake, but he went inactive for a while and moved to our area. He got married, and he decided to start reactivating himself. His wife is extremely interested. He was going to his old ward with his mom, but the missionaries talked with them and passed the references to us about 2 weeks ago. This week we finally went to look for them. Just in time I might add. Today their first little girl is being born, and with that, they want to provide her with the best example in their home. Hence, Cindy really wants to learn more about the gospel and the church to find out if it's where she needs to be. Up to this point in her life, she has never found the religion that she feels good enough to be baptized in. This Sunday they are going to come to church with us as long as she is able to come for the baby, and for the recuperation from the C-section. But they are super awesome so we have faith that they will come.

Sunset
So, we're pluggin along with faith to find more of the chosen people like the Gonzalez family that God has prepared in the area. I love this work with all my heart!

I also love all of you :D

-Elder Jackson



[Half of the quilt I made Ben. Striped fabric is from Guatemala]
Dear Mom,
That hurricane hit us too! Just the spin-off though. 

[After seeing pictures of his quilt I made with the Guatemala fabric he sent home.] 
IT'S SO AWESOME!!! Thank you Mommy!! Seriously though, I love the quilt! But I don't give you permission to use it . . .  ;)

[David and I used Brians the whole time he was gone. So this winter we plan to use Ben's!]

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up!

Hello everyone!

Marvin and Heidy's Baptism
Well, the rain came back with a vengeance right as the rainy season should have been ending! We've had almost 3 days straight of nonstop rain, and my poor broken shoes can't handle any more water logging. I guess I should buy new ones but I've discovered that I'm quite "codo" (elbow in Spanish, but it also means stingy).

But aside from us getting wet, there were also 2 other people that wanted to get wet. Our 16 year old buddy Marvin, and Heidy, an investigator of the sisters were both baptized on Saturday! They also both wanted me to baptize them so I got to get wet too! This week has been a really great week. There are still many difficulties in the area and in the district, but I am truly thankful for everything that has happened.

Elder Caal, Marvin, Elder Ben
I am learning a lot in this area personally. I have discovered that I can do a lot of things better than I thought. Basically the first year of my mission was discovering my weaknesses, which are many, but now I feel the strength of the Savior much stronger, and through His atonement, He has shown me that I can overcome them. Some things have been an immediate change since I came to this area, and others I know will still take some more time, but I know now more than ever that I am a child of God. If I wasn't, I wouldn't still be here. I would have given up a long time ago. But I have a loving Father who is by my side, guiding me and supporting me through all t
hat life has to throw at me. If I could put what I've learned into one short phrase it would be this: I am loved.

And I love you too! Have a great week!

-Elder Jackson
Heidy and Sister Misionaries



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Trials


¡Hola!

Well this week has been a bit of a trial week. I feel a lot like some of the ancient prophets when they were saddened by the hardness of the hearts of the people. It just so happens that it has been our lot to contact some of the most sour people I've met in my whole mission recently. But I don't even get angry anymore; all I can feel for them is sorrow. I just want to help them have a good day with a message from Jesus Christ but they throw it in my face. 

It's been a humbling experience. It's helped me think a lot more about Christ's atonement. He was beaten, betrayed, spit upon, scourged, forsaken, nailed to a tree, and hung on a cross. Elder Oaks asked a question in general conference: "Why did Christ suffer all?" My response is this. So that we can do all. I can continue contacting rude harsh people every day because I know He has felt the same humiliation when they smote Him in the cheek and spat upon Him. I can walk nonstop every day because He has felt the same pain in His feet when they drove nails into them.

All I can feel is gratitude for what Jesus Christ suffered. Again as Elder oaks said, "His suffering results in our succoring" His atonement is everything to me and thanks to Him I can do hard things. Someone else in the conference said, "Hard can be good". I like that quote.

Love you guys! Have a great week!

-Elder Jackson



Dear Mom and Dad,
My time as DL [district leader] has been good. A little stressful at times, but I'm enjoying it. I only have one pair of elders to do divisions with, because the other 4 missionaries in my district are sisters. I should take more time to think about what I learn in divisions. A lot of elders just do them cuz we have to, but they don't look for a purpose. My 2 best zone leaders taught me the importance of having a purpose for divisions, and I would like to put it into practice. 

I love you muchísisisimo :)
-Ben

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Area!

Good morning!

Well, I'm in a new area that neither my comp nor I know, so it's been fun! We walked a lot, sometimes in the neighboring mission, we talked with a lot of interesting people, and we almost got lost! But everything is going great! My companion Elder Caal is from Coban, Guatemala and finishes his mission in December. 

[I just looked on the map and his new area has the mission boundaries run right through it with a few zigzags! He can literally walk back and forth between missions depending on what block they are on!]

So I've been learning a lot about clarity recently. For a while I got into the habit of making long complex explanations of doctrinal principles, but I lost the beautiful clarity of the simple gospel truths. Then I started going back to the basics, and I have felt so much power in our lessons. All we have to do is tell the people exactly what they need. A doctor doesn't beat around the bush when he gives a prescription. He tells you what medicine you need to take, how often, and for how long. So as I've put that into practice my own understanding has increased. People need to repent because if they don't, they can't be saved in the kingdom of God. People need to read the Book of Mormon because it was written for them and tells them how to live the gospel correctly. People need to be baptized by priesthood authority because if they don't, it doesn't count. We know this is true, so why be afraid to share it? 

I know it's true, so I won't be afraid to share it. The other day I contacted a man who wanted to prove that the Book of Mormon couldn't be the word of God. He tried to win me over with Biblical references. The spirit whispered to me multiple biblical references to counter him, and then I simply testified of the simple truths of the Book of Mormon. Before we said goodbye he asked if we could bring him a Book of Mormon so he could read it. I told him it would be my pleasure. 

In the words of President Uchtdorf on Saturday, Simplify!

I love you all!
-Elder Jackson


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Old Dog Dies!

Hello everyone,

On the apartment root top! [just don't back up!]
Well, I'm finally leaving Zona Nimajuyu! After 8 months and 6 changes. I'm going to a new area called Monte Verde and my companion is Elder Caal from Guatemala. Elder Alvarado and I finished the change well, and I have learned a ton from him. These last 2 changes have been some of my favorites in my whole mission. This week I don't have much to say due to all the thoughts and distractions going through my head, so I apologize for how short this letter is. I will definitely have more to write next week.

I love you all!

-Elder Jackson

Rainy day in one of the large gorges
Maybe where he is transferring? My best guess....

Monday, September 21, 2015

Are you Coming to the Banquet?

Hello everyone!

Shenny Sanchez Baptism
My comp and I worked super hard this week, and He blessed us greatly! Shenny Sanchez was baptized yesterday and it was perfect! A lot of members showed up, plus some of her work friends, and her sisters! She is going to be a great Mormon! She still has a lot to learn but that's the process of life. I've still got a ridiculous amount of things I need to learn, same as everyone.

One thing that makes me sad is when the people are content to stay in their own little world of ignorance instead of going out and diligently seeking to understand the mysteries of God. It's like the story that President Uchtdorf tells about the man who went on a cruise and didn't want to spend anything extra but at the end he found out that all the food and parties were included in the price of the ticket. The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gigantic banquet of spiritual richness and knowledge. We are all children of God, therefore we all have received free passes on His cruise boat. The banquet is free. The Gospel is free. "Come and buy milk and honey without price". How much knowledge do you want? Do you want to be in ignorance, or in the light? 

Shenny and her sisters
One thing that makes me happy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Free unlimited knowledge. As for me, I'm going to get all I can out of it, and share it with others.

Love you all!
-Elder Ben Jackson



Dear Family,
I love you too mom! Jamison Zamora said he remembers when Christian Frogley entered the mission, and he met his comp from the MTC. Other than that he didn't tell me anything else. Hey, now that you guys don't have a bunch of little kids to distract you, you and dad (and Hyrum) should get involved more with the missionaries. Those kinds of members are priceless to the missionaries, and they will love you forever. ;) I regret being so ignorant of the missionary work in the ward back home. 

Barcelona came to play with us on P-day!
Also, the Area President Elder Duncan was in the Stake Conference yesterday and said that there's a spiritual and temporal tsunami coming our way (aka the second coming). The saints who keep their covenants will be saved, but the saints who don't keep their covenants won't be saved. However, there's also a twist. If we keep our covenants, but don't do everything in our power to rescue those who have strayed and no longer keep their covenants, we aren't keeping our covenants, and they have a chance of being saved, while we lose our inheritance :O. Go find those lost sheep! It doesn't matter if they are never home, or never accept a visit, or don't come to church. They need our attempts, but even more, we need our attempts. Sometimes it takes years, but if we never give up, God will help them return in His own due time and we will be blessed.

Love you! 

-Ben

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Atonement

Hello everybody!

Well, I can't think of much to tell of the week's happenings, other than the Zone Conference that we had on Friday. First off, I sang a solo of Abide with Me Tis Eventide but in Spanish, and the overall theme was the Atonement. The Atonement has 2 powers; the redeeming power and the enabling power. The redeeming power that "swallows up the sting of death and Hell", or Christ's power over physical and spiritual death. The enabling power that gives us the strength to support the trials of life and continue on the path that leads to eternal life. 

We studied a lot in Alma 7, and what I was able to feel as we read Alma's prophesy about the Messiah was the difference in wording that we get to use as we apply it to ourselves. Instead of saying that He will come and that He will take upon Him death, we have the privilege of saying that He already came and that He already took upon Him death. In that moment I could feel so strongly that it was true. I felt His arms around me as if He were saying, "Yes, I already did it, and I did it for you. Now what will you do for me?" I am committed to feel the power of the Atonement every day by doing His will and following His commandments. Apply the Atonement every day by living the Gospel and you will feel strength, and you will feel forgiveness.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” Alma 7:12
Love you guys!
-Elder Jackson




Dear Mom,
My week was a good week, though the Castellanos Family is struggling a lot so they need even more prayers. Shenny is awesome and is going to be baptized on Sunday! A girl from the ward got her mission call to Temple Square and reports in January. I told her she was going to the states but she said she was scared of going there. Looks like she has to face her fears.

Love you Mom!! xoxoxoxo
-Ben

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Chill Week

Hello!

Guatemalan Sunrise!
So this week was pretty normal. I can't complain. Other than the craziness happening in the government. Yesterday was the presidential elections, but in the last two weeks the current vice president and then the current president were tried and put in jail for extortion and corruption. Cool right? But it was historic because the presidents always just jump the country before they get caught, so everybody was really happy that they managed to catch them for the first time. [I guess this kind of politics the missionaries can't avoid!]

Hermana Castellanos came to church again with her kids, but her husband couldn't because he had to be on duty during the elections. He's an ambulance/firetruck driver. They came on their own account just like last time. They are so awesome. Shenny is getting ready for her baptism, and is pilas as ever, but your prayers for her would be greatly appreciated :). I'm learning a lot of personal lessons too, but they're still in process, so I'll get back to you guys about that later. That's all for now!

Love you guys!

-Elder Jackson


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Baptism!



Hello friends and family!

Doris' Baptism
We had a baptism on Saturday! Doris Garcia de Meza is the one who got married a month ago to her husband who is a less active brother but who is becoming active again. They are both amazing people and I am so happy to see their family completed. Now it's just a year away to hear about their sealing in the temple!

Also on Wednesday we had a small family activity in the chapel with some of the members and five of our really pilas investigators came! We played some games and enjoyed time together as family. It was a great success! 

She was baptized by the bishop
One of the best parts of the week was Friday morning when we got to see a broadcast from El Salvador and listened to Elder Russell M. Nelson and other general authorities. Elder Nelson is super funny, and he they taught us so many things. As part of his talk he mentioned what he considers some of the most important doctrinal topics of the gospel. His top five that he wanted to emphasize were The Abrahamic Covenant, Covenants, Tithing, The Atonement, and Endowments. So I've been studying these topics recently and it's been really awesome. I would encourage you all to study into them as well. Your knowledge and testimony of the gospel will definitely increase.

Love you guys,

-Elder Jackson


Celebrating with Snickers!
Dear Family,
Brother Castellanos is the one, aside from his son, that has the biggest desire to go to church. His difficulty is his work. We have been thinking of a way to suggest that he look for another job where he can go every week. Thank you for your prayers, we have seen the miracles as a result of them :)

My chikungunya is gone. I only had it like three or four days. My comp and I shared the symptoms, because I got the allergy in my skin and the fever, and my comp got the aches in his bones

I love you guys so much :)

Being Genuine

Hello everyone!

Well mom, don't freak out [I didn’t and don’t but I have now decided I should some time to satisfy my children!], but I got bit by a mosquito and now I have chikungunya (something like that, no one is really sure how to spell it or say it) so I have been a bit sick, but it appears that my body has high defenses so it's hardly affected me. A bit of a fever a few days ago, Allergic reaction in my whole body (the lavander oil has helped a ton) and a tiny bit of aching in my bones, but as you will probably look it up as soon as you read this, the symptoms can be a lot worse. Thanks for all the vegetables and healthy stuff you fed me when I was a kid even though I didn't enjoy it at all ;)

But yeah, this week I learned about being genuine, without false impressions or appearances to please others or get something out of it. On Sunday the Elder's quorum lesson was on this topic from the Liahona, and the thing that I liked most from the brother that taught was one comment he made. He is a successful businessman here in Guatemala so he has money, but he talked about how many people will buy nice cars and stuff to look good to the public, but their kids are starving at home, so at the same time they try to pull the "I'm poor" thing to get help for their family, when they should just be genuine and sell their car. The brother told us that he likes to buy nice cars, nice speakers, TVs and such, but when it comes down to his family in need, he sells his possessions to help his family. After all, what's more important, your family, or your possessions? Your family, or your public eye? Forget yourself and be genuine. Like the Family Castellanos. They made it clear that they didn't want to go to church with us just to make us happy, rather, they would go because they wanted to. And through patient teaching and love, trusting in the Lord, they came to church of their own accord yesterday. They are possibly one of the best examples of being genuine I've seen, especially the 10 year old David. He has a spirit so strong and pure that he would have been one of the children that Jesus would have used in His example of the Kingdom of God.

Let's not try to put on a show to be better than others or to make others happy. Let's be genuine disciples of Christ, letting go of everything that has no true worth.

Love,

-Elder Jackson


Monday, August 17, 2015

The Legend Continues!

Elder Ben and Elder Alvarado
Hi guys!

So my comp and I didn't have changes again, so I will be starting my 6th change in this zone! Now I'm the really old dog, but I've still got plenty of energy left to rip it up in the area. We're actually pretty excited because we have a lot of baptisms lined up for the month of September, Many of which are investigators that we found and have been teaching this whole change and with which we have seen many miracles. 

Yesterday we had a Stake-wide meeting on missionary work to prepare all the wards to gear up for the Day in White that we're gonna have, where all the missionaries and all the wards are each going to prepare someone to be baptized all on the same day. Elder Lindquist and I sang "Ye Elders of Israel" as a duet and it went really well. 

Love the apartment view and b-ball hoop!
This week I have seen how God really prepares His children. Always in His own due time, but He definitely prepares them. Like the Castellanos family; we found them the first week of the change, and every visit we can feel them receiving an answer little by little. They basically know now that it's what they need to do, Paola said she received her answer, but she's waiting for Oscar to receive his and act on it. She told us that she will continue in the Catholic Church until he decides to go with us. They want to make a decision as a family. Since the second visit we knew they would come to it all on their own so we have been patient, teaching them each doctrinal point, responding to their questions and doubts. They are a chosen family, loved deeply by their Father in Heaven. It is a privilege beyond words to be an instrument in His hands to help them prepare themselves to make sacred covenants. This is the joy of this work. That is why I'm here.

Ah yes....letting his 'Ben' out
I Love you all, and even more your Heavenly Father loves you :)

-Elder Jackson

Los Guapos de Guajitos ;)
#missionswag

Monday, August 10, 2015

Year Two!

Hola!

This week is the official start of Elder Jackson Mission Year Two! I've been analyzing my first year and looking forward to this coming year with a much greater determination to see and work miracles. I've put a goal to have 24 more baptisms before I go home. It will not be easy, but God has been constantly proving to me that I can do hard things, if I have faith like Nephi. "If God had commanded me to do all things, I could do them" (1 Nephi 17:49).

I feel a great desire like I have never felt until this point in my mission to truly prove my faith to the Lord, and I know He will support me and give me the strength to complete my mission as a successful missionary. God has all power. Almighty is His name. We are his sons and daughters, and heirs to His kingdom, therefore we have the privileges of being Almighty, if we put our trust in Him and give Him all the glory. Of that I can testify with all surety. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love you all!

-Elder Ben Jackson



Dear Family,
I have really come to love and appreciate the Old Testament. It's honestly the backbone of everything we believe in. Covenants, temples, Priesthood, prophets, the promise of a Messiah, and of His Second Coming are all based from the Old Testament. If you haven't ever studied a lot into the great importance of The House of Israel and the Covenant People of the Lord, now would be a great time to do it. I love studying it and I can't get enough. 2nd Nephi and Mormon blew my mind away reading them this time around. 

Love you Family! :)


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wedding!

Doris & Hared and their missionary assisted wedding!
Hello everyone!

The awesomest part of this week was the wedding we helped make happen. We have an investigator named Doris who is the wife of an inactive member, but she wants to be baptized. So we had to get them married first. They got it all planned out, and we helped where we could, and it went down on Saturday. Everything was perfect! 

This week my testimony of eternal families has grown a lot. With the wedding of Doris and Hared, an awesome family home evening with the Castellanos family in the house of the Lopez family with the theme of families, and preparing to go to the temple with our recent convert that already has the name of her dad and multiple other family names, I can testify that families can be forever. Through the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith, we now have knowledge and access to the other ordinances and covenants that are necessary to become part of the family of Abraham and heir to the promised blessings of exaltation and eternal families. There is no other way to receive it. The temple is the way to eternal life, therefore it should be our main goal. It's my main goal, at least after my mission.
The Cake!


Love you all!

-Elder Ben Jackson

ps. I officially have 1 year in the mission this Thursday!!! But I already have less than a year remaining as of 2 weeks ago :O



Wedding Preparations!

Monday, July 27, 2015

In the Service of our Fellow Beings

Hello friends and Family!

I dunno about you guys, but I love giving service! Sadly many people here don't let us help them, but almost every time I knock a door I offer my service to them. And it eventually has its fruits. My comp knocked a door and the man was shoveling dirt out to continue building his house. We offered to help, and he accepted. It turns out that missionaries almost 10 years ago helped him fix his car, so he knew we really could help. It also turns out he was a pastor, but that didn't matter at all, because we were simply helping a fellow man without interest of any kind other than the satisfaction of knowing we made his day a lot easier.

We also had the opportunity to give spiritual service yesterday. We were prompted to pass by an active family in the ward that hasn't gone to church for a few weeks as they deal with the terminal health problems of their mom. We stopped by, and we found out that the young men hadn't given them the special sacrament to them this week, so we called the bishop and got permission to do it for them. After that we shared a little thought and sang "Para Siempre Dios Esté con Vos" (God be With You til we Meet Again). The spirit was so strong that almost all of them were crying. I almost did.

I testify of the words of King Benjamin. As we serve our fellow men, we are serving God also. Every time I get the chance to help someone, I feel His presence with me. If you want to feel closer to the Savior, serve your fellow men.

I love you guys!

-Elder Jackson


Here Comes the Rain Again

Making Paches?? not sure....
Hello Everybody!

The rain is back with a vengeance now with hail and everything. Luckily we've escaped the hail, but we've gotten well drenched a few times this week. Once again I can't remember very well what happened this week, but it was a good one. 

We gave the best service ever this week. Peeling a huge bag of potatoes and mashing them up to make paches! Paches are like tamales but made with potato instead of corn meal. Personally paches are way better.

That's All Folks!

Two volcanoes visible!
I love you guys, have a wonderful week :)
 -Elder Jackson

ps I promise next week I'll write more

 
Here is Ben "letting his stupid out!"

Not sure Captain America would shave HIS legs.... just sayin'