Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Beginnings

Hello Everyone!
Where he was and where he went....
New area, new comp! I am in an area called Venezuela and am more inside the capital, on the south side instead of the northwest. My comp is Elder Vasquez from El Salvador and he's dying this change! [which means he will go home at the end of this next 6 weeks!] I'll be helping him out to keep working hard. He's a good worker, but the last change is hard, so I've heard. The area is good, and the members have a desire to help out in the work, so we've had a good first week. I was pretty sick for the first few days though. I don't know what I ate, but in the first visit with one of the members, I threw up in their bathroom... 

[ah, Brian can relate...every time he moved in Mexico he got sick]

Today we had a conference with 5 general authorities! Elder Christiansen of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Anderson of the Seventy, and The Area Presidency, Elder Duncan, Elder Alonso, and Elder Ochoa. It was really cool! All their wives were there too of course. After they gave short talks, they opened it up to questions, where anyone of them, including President Caffaro and President Cox of the CCM gave answers as they felt inspired. It was a spiritually bombarding experience. Those men really are called of God and they really are witnesses of Jesus Christ. I know they don't need to have seen Him to be powerful. They know it because they recognize how the spirit works in their lives. 

Each one of us can be powerful witnesses of Him too if we learn to recognize how the Holy Ghost speaks to us. I am still learning to hear and act on his promptings, but with patience and prayer I know that I and every one of us can become unbreakable in the testimony that Jesus is the Christ, that He lives, and that as we apply the Atonement in our lives we can put off the natural man and become even as God. I dunno about you, but I want to be with God spme day. So what are we willing to do to obtain that promise?

Have a wonderful week!
Elder Benjamin Jackson

Dear family,
Hello! This week really has been good, though a lot different form my first area. It's A LOT smaller, and the people here are generally more wealthy, which has its pros and cons. 

Yeah I email Jamison off and on. I'll definitely tell him to watch out for an Elder Frogley. Shouldn't be too difficult. I also knew Summer a little and that's awesome that she is in Frankfurt! Jess, you should find her.
Love you guys!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last Minute Blessings . . . Again!

Hello everyone!
So once again my change ends with a bang! Alejandra got baptized this Saturday! She had her interview on Tuesday, but needed to have another one with the mission president and it was gonna be this week; after changes. But the ZLs called and asked if we could bring her to the stake center Saturday morning to have her interview. Obviously we said yes. She had her interview and President said she was ready to go, so she called her cousin from Quetzaltenango and he was able to get here by 6:30 to baptize her. It was a wonderful service! The spirit was really strong and her mom who isn't a member was crying. Truly the Lord blessed us for our work this week.

So yep, I have changes! Got the call last night and Tuesday morning we find out our new comps and areas. It's bittersweet leaving San Juan. It's such an amazing area and the branch is awesome. I'll be saying goodbye to some of the members today in the afternoon. I would have liked to have stayed one more change here because I could've spent my 6 month mark and my birthday with the members here. But, the Lord has something planned for me in my next area so I'll get to it with all I've got.

Sometimes we ask ourselves why the Lord asks so much of us. Often it can be nearly too much to bear. We ask why life isn't easier. As Elder Holland said, "the Atonement, was never easy". We are here to be tested. We signed up for it. If we hadn't, we wouldn't be here. If we only think about what the Savior did for us, we would never complain about how hard life is. He was hated, scorned, falsely accused, abandoned by his friends, betrayed, beaten, whipped, bled from every pore of his body, suffered every single pain, sickness, agony, and despair possible in this life, and just before he died, his own Father, who had been with him his whole life, left him alone. In perhaps the most weak and desperate moment of his life, as he hung inches from death, the Holy Spirit left him alone. Why did he do it? He did it for us. He suffered everything so we wouldn't have to. Because He did what He did, we are no longer subject to a never ending torment, which is to live without the the presence of God for eternity. He defeated Death. He conquered Satan. He covered the infinite gap separating us from our Heavenly Father. He is the Mediator, the Redeemer, the Great Jehovah, The Son of the Living God. He is Jesus the Christ. Never forget what He did for you.

I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Monday, January 12, 2015

How Great He Is

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year - New Tactics - New Blessings

Hello Everyone!
Happy New Year! This new year has had an up and down start. We ended this week feeling a bit stressed because it has been difficult and we've had lots of low stats, even though we've been working hard. On Saturday we started a mission wide fast, and we took extra time to plan for this week and figure out what we can do differently, because what we have been doing hasn't been working. Then we went to bed hoping that our few investigators would be able to come to church with us.

We did what we could to help them come to church, but that's the hardest thing for us because of distances and little money. So we showed up to church without a single investigator of ours. After sacrament meeting, my comp went to talk with a girl that we didn't recognize. She said that her name was Alejandra, that she had cousins that are members that live in Quetzaltenango, that she's not a member, and that she wants to be baptized. The Gospel Principles teacher couldn't teach the class today, so me and my comp just taught her Lesson 1: The Restoration. She already has a Book of Mormon, believes it's the word of God as far as she's read, believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and she said she'd like to be baptized the 24th of January. She lives very close to the chapel so it is super easy for her to come, and Anelise, the GP teacher is about her same age so we'll be working with her as an Amulek (member friend). 

The Lord always answers our prayers, and especially when coupled with fasting, miracles are often the result. Maybe they don't seem all that significant, but here in the mission I have learned to recognize and cherish the small miracles. They are often the things that make the biggest impacts. Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass. My companion had fasted that the Lord would help us find one of 'His prepared' for us to teach. His prayer was answered directly, only God dropped her into our hands. I fasted that we could have one of our investigators accompany us. More often than not, the Lord answers my prayers obscurely in a way opposite to what I think, and it was no different this time. But I am thankful for that, because it has helped me understand, even if just a pequña porción [small portion], of how God works, and how His ways are higher than our ways, and He knows infinitely more than we do. If we humble ourselves and accept graciously the actions of the Lord in our lives, we will find a greater peace, a greater trust in the Lord, and we will be able to see more clearly just how much He blesses us every single day.

Love you all so much,
Elder Benjamin Jackson