Friday, February 27, 2015

Alive and Well

Hello everyone! I promise I am alive!

First of all I want to apologize for forgetting to mention last week that this week we were going to the temple as a zone, and as a result our P-day was changed to today. I forgot :P In fact I am in the Family History Center at the temple right now and we just got out of our session. It was wonderful to go through the temple again, and this was my first time to go through in Spanish! 

This last week was a good week, though my comp was struggling quite a bit. He had his last interview last P-day, and after that, well, he went a little limp. But this week he's more animated and wants to end on a good note, so it'll be fun. 

On Monday I taught a sister in the ward how to make pfannkuchen, or the German pancake that I know how to make, and we brought our investigator Eric, who is our neighbor, and will be baptized soon. He is a chef so he learned how to make it too. He is gonna teach us how to make Tres Leches cake for my birthday!  [Here is a huge Happy Birthday to Ben today!]

I have really felt the guidance of the Spirit a lot more this week. He really does help us if we ask. Many times our visits fell through and we had to decide what to do instead. Before, I would often just pick the closest person, be it investigator or member, and just go with that, but recently I have started taking a little bit of time, weigh the options, and afterwards seek the guidance of the spirit. And He answers! I can't count the number of experiences of success we have had this week from following the impressions that come. The Lord loves us so much, and that's why He has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost, to guide us, to protect us, and to let us know that we are loved. He loves me. I know it with all my heart, might and mind. He loves you. Look for the whisperings of the Spirit in your life, and you will know it too.

Much love,

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Hi family!
I really am sorry for not telling you guys, though I feel as though mom would either be having a heart attack right now, or she didn't even think twice about me ;)  [how about no heart attack, did think of him, and only wondered what he was doing to prevent a computer visit...]
This week I'm gonna get fat. Everyone wants to feed us because it's my birthday and because my companion is going home. FIESTAAAAA!!! But don't worry I'm still working hard. I don't feel like I should be turning 19, but at the same time there's no other age that feels like I should be turning. I guess I just need to stay 18 then. I love the temple too, just thought I'd say that :) 
Also the hymns #101 [Guide Me to Thee] and #102 [Jesus, Lover of My Soul] are now some of my all time favorites now. I take some time every once in a while to sightread some hymns that I don't know so I can keep up my music theory and voice. Thanks Ms Gove, I'm officially a choir nerd :P

Well, I love you guys un monton (a lot) :D

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Monday, February 16, 2015

Volcanoes and Temples!

Hello family and friends!
Volcan de Agua and Volcan de Fuego
Volcanoes erupting make for great examples. So here in Guatemala we have the volcán de Fuego and the volcán de Agua. Agua is dormant and does nothing, but recently Fuego has been quite active. Just yesterday we saw it erupt twice. It's far away and the wind was going the other direction, so we weren't affected, but we could definitely see the ash cloud. In Stake Conference yesterday President Roberts of the temple presidency made an example of us as members and the volcanoes. Do we want to be like Agua and just sit there inactive, doing nothing but being forgotten, or do we want to be seen, belching ash and fire, like Fuego, letting the world know that we have the truth, and that the whole world needs what we have? A good question.

Volcan de Fuego doing its thing
He also gave a really awesome analogy of the importance of the temple. The church without the temple is like a new car without a motor. It can have all the best options: the best wheels, the best speakers, chrome dash, leather seats, built in GPS, etc. But without a motor, it serves for nothing. Likewise, a church can have all the best options: beautiful chapels, great organizations for youth, adults and children, tithing that supports and builds the church, international relations, etc. But without the temple and the saving ordinances performed within, it would be like a new car without a motor; pretty, but pointless. The temple is the motor of the church. Through the temple, and only through the temple, we as a church and the Saints of God have the ability to get to our final destination; the Celestial Kingdom. 

The temple is extremely important. It is what sets us apart from all the other churches and gives it purpose. But we can be a part of the church, and still not use the motor. A car is also useless if you don't turn on the motor that you do have. So don't waste your time in getting to the temple, use the motor that the Lord has provided and
get back to His presence.

With Love,

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Dear family,
Seriously though, don't worry about the volcano. It really is far away.
Also yes Valentine's Day is a thing here. It originated from San Valentin, a Catholic saint. They call it Día de Amor or Día de Cariño here usually though. 
How much mail I receive really depends on the day. It's okay for anyone to send me emails.

Love you guys!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pasa Rapido el Tiempo

"The Time Flies!"

Hello everybody!
Elders Vasquez & Jackson - Pizza for 23 months and 6 months
Well, on Friday I hit 6 months in the mission! To celebrate, we learned how to make pupusas, which are tortillas from El Salvador, filled with cheese and stuff and fried. Half our district is from El Salvador, and so is our comedor, so we all got together for lunch and made a bunch. 
Doris Santos was baptized yesterday after church. My third baptism, even though I didn't get to know her all that much, because she was basically ready before I even got here.

Seriously though the time flies like crazy here. I understand why most missionaries don't want to leave; it's not enough time. Time really is one of the most precious gifts we have here in our earthly experience. It's something that we don't get ever again. It's a one time deal. Make every moment count for something good. Maybe we can't get time back, but we can invest it in things that do last for eternity; family, friends, education, knowledge, and most of all, God. If we give our time to Him, He can give us happiness that never ends.

I love you all! Make this week count!

Elder Jackson

Dear Family,

Angel Vasquez?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN!!! yeah of course I remembered 
[FYI...Ben's Birthday is on Feb 27th! He will be 19! send a few extra emails????.....]

Oh by the way my area is bigger than just La Venezuela. It's a colonia in my area, but we have maybe three or four other colonias. Also you wanted to know more about my comp, so here we go. He's a really awesome guy, he was baptized about 4 years ago, but now has a lot of knowledge of the gospel and a really cool testimony. He's having a hard time staying focused and animated because he's going home in 3 weeks, but he's still an amazing missionary. He loves futbol (everyone in Latin America does) and he speaks English really well for not having learned before his mission.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Down with Sickness

Hello everyone!
Don't worry, I'm not very sick, just a bit of a cold and a bit of food poisoning, but I'm fine now. If you ever come to Guatemala, don't ever eat pizza from Al Macarone's. It made me sick the two times I ate it. 
My comp also has a case of baggysela. That's a spoof of the Spanish word for chicken pox that we all use for when people get baggy [or homesick]. He's still working, but he is getting pretty baggy, which is normal for someone in their last change. Plus our comedor just got back from a trip to El Salvador and went right through his city, so they were talking about it all morning. Poor guy. I just gotta keep helping him stay focused and working, but I'm also still learning the area so I can't quite take initiative yet. Patience.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about being positive and seeking the will of the Lord in the little things. Being positive because, well, my comp is going home in a month . Seeking the will of the Lord because I've been feeling a little lost and just going through the motions, but I want to let Him guide me more. All we have to do is ask, and He will give it to us. He wants to guide us, but we have to ask for His help first. The Lord loves every one of us and is always there for us. 

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Benjamin Jackson