Monday, March 30, 2015

The Rain Comes Again

Hello everyone!
I honestly don't know what to write this week. The rainy season is coming back. I never thought I'd miss thunder and lightning, but the little bit that there was yesterday made me really happy. I remembered all the crazy lightning storms in Texas like strobe lights all night long. 

I gave a talk yesterday in church. I used Chapter 18 of 3rd Nephi on sharing our light with those who are in darkness as well as rescuing those who have strayed from the light. In other words on how we as members can help share our light, as well as find and reactivate the less active and inactive members. It's very easy to judge and scorn those who have strayed and not want them to come back, but Christ makes it very clear that we must love them and invite them until they repent of their sins and return again to His fold. He also makes it a commandment. Jacob makes clear how we must fulfill this commandment and our responsibility as home and visiting teachers in Jacob 1:19. 
Jacob 1:19 "And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day. "
We must work with all diligence to bring them back, otherwise their blood will stain our garments when we come before the throne of God and we will be held accountable for all their sins. We will not be able to hide from Him or deny our failure to keep this commandment. Every time we fail to fulfill our duty, the blood of those under our stewardship fall upon us. Let's not shirk our duties as members of the Lord's church, but work diligently to bring back the lost sheep that have strayed. This church is the church of Jesus Christ, established and restored by Christ himself. It contains the fulness of the Gospel: every step that we must take to receive salvation. We need to share it with those who don't have it. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

With love until next week!

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Monday, March 23, 2015

English Perks

Hello All!
So we got the daughter of the sister that we eat with to go to church with us because she wanted English lessons. I told her that I would teach her if she tried going to church again. After a little work she finally agreed. She stayed for the first 2 hours and we went with her to the single adults class. She said she liked it, so we'll see how it goes from here. So knowing English has its perks.

Also fun fact: I don't speak Español. Nobody here does. They speak Castellano. Español is what they speak in Spain. Cool right?

This week was full of blessings. We had a conference with Elder Neil L. Anderson which was amazing. He talked about a lot of things, but especially about our missionary purpose here in Central America. In many parts of the world, the missionaries help people to learn about Christ and believe in God. Here almost everyone already believes in Him, but our purpose is to help them learn the exact doctrines of His Gospel in its fulness as stated in 1 Nephi 15:14. 
 
We put a baptismal date with an eternal investigator in our ward and we are pretty sure that he will be baptized this time. The members are starting to recognize their role in the missionary work and have really stepped up to help us more. When we put our all into the work of the Lord, without doubting, and without complaining, that is when the blessings begin to rain from Heaven. Maybe it isn't a monsoon, but even a drizzle or a mist is good enough for me. It's the little things that really matter.

Love you all!

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Friday, March 20, 2015

Parties and Breakups


Hello everyone!

I know what you might be thinking, but it's not that I promise. 

Infamous Birthday Cake [I want some]
Party because Wednesday was Elder Narvaez' birthday. He's one of our Zone Leaders. So we celebrated with a great dinner and a cake at a sister's house. It's a birthday tradition to slam the person's face in the cake after the song. I love birthday parties here. [so did Ben get cake in the face a few weeks ago?? will have to ask]

Breakups because our investigator Fernando's girlfriend walked out on him with most of his money and his phone on Saturday. We didn't have an appointment with him, but we felt that we needed to pass by. He was sitting on his couch just watching TV, with his hair all down (he normally has a bun and 2 dreads). He told us what happened and said that even though he was really down he had no desire to drink or even smoke, like he normally does. I felt inclined to promise him that if he went to church with us the next morning that he would be able to obtain the money he needed to get to and from work for the next 2 weeks until he got paid. I lent him my watch with an alarm and the next morning we went by and he was all ready to go. And he didn't light up a cigarette like he normally does when he walked outside. He had a really good day at church and was in a good mood, even though he's normally very pessimistic. Also he grew up in Washington DC so he speaks perfect English.

Birthday Cake in the face!
Often times the Lord causes bad things to happen to us or other people around us, and it is easy to wonder why He would be so unloving as to do that. But it's not that he is so unloving, rather it's because we are obstinate and don't recognize how much we need Him. Because He is loving, He sends us trials so that we can learn to depend on His goodness instead of ourselves or other things like money. We must find the right perspective; an eternal perspective. When we can achieve that point of view and submit our will to the will of the Father, we can become even as Jesus Christ. We cannot achieve perfection as He did in this life, but we will be perfected as we follow His commandments. Jesus is the Christ. Of that I have no doubt. This is His Church, and we are all His children. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

¡Adios hasta la proxima!

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rejuvenation

Hello Everyone!
Erick Elias - Elder Jackson - Elder Cuello (visiting Sisters and Elders)
I have a new comp! Elder Cuello (neck in Spanish) from Argentina! He has 5 months in the mission so I am now senior comp! He is an awesome missionary and has a lot of drive. Very different from my last comp. We are working hard to rebuild the area and he has helped me a ton to feel animated. Killing a comp is difficult, especially at the beginning of the misson, but it was a good learning experience.

Elder Ben - Erick Elias' Baptism
Erick Elias was baptized yesterday and I baptized him! The first time for me doing the ordinance. I was a bit nervous, but more cold then anything. They don't have heaters here for the fonts! The whole district got to know him, so they came too. He is awesome! He leaves with us to do visits almost every other day. He even gave some 'chicote' to a recent convert who wasn't going to church! Chicote literally is a bullwhip, so with that you should understand the meaning.  ;)

Love you guys! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Jackson

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nineteen and Counting


Hello Everyone!
Well now I'm nineteen... I'm so old. Actually I'm still really young. Most of the missionaries are older than me. I've noticed that the Latinos especially leave on their missions a lot older. A lot leave when they are 20 or 21. I think it's because many of them, like Elder Vasquez, get baptized when they are 18 or 19 and then have to wait a year before going. Honestly the single adults are usually the best converts. All three of the people I've helped be baptized have been young single adults. They are more open-minded, more understanding, and have better friends in the church. 

It really is this rising generation that will make all the difference in these last days. The youth are the force of the church. The adults can and should share the gospel with their friends, but the youth are the most powerful instrument in the hands of the Lord in doing His work. God is preparing especially the youth more than ever to share and accept this gospel. I don't know how many of my friends from the youth read this, but remember this: you are being prepared, but even more so, your friends are being prepared. Share what you know to be true. If you feel unsure about how or what to share, ask the missionaries, they can help you. They would be more than happy to provide you with pamphlets to study, copies of the Book of Mormon to give away, or bring you along with them so you can learn better how to share by the power of the spirit. I see the powerful influence of the youth of the church on a weekly basis here in Guatemala, I know you all can make a difference there in the States. Be strong and of a good courage, and be not afraid; for the Lord thy God is with thee.

Love you all,

Elder Benjamin Jackson