Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stayin Put! Yeah!

Dear friends and family,

Erick Elias - baptized in March
So I was almost sure that I was going to have changes, but it turns out Elder Cuello and I are gonna be working together for a third change. I was pretty psyched out, not gonna lie. I even took some pictures with some of the members, and had made plans for today in the afternoon to visit some of my favorite families in the ward. But nope. No one in our district has changes, and only one area in the zone is being closed and one elder has changes. After these changes we'll only have 10 elders in the zone. Kinda weird, but there's still something that Elder Cuello and I have to do here.

This week our success came in interesting ways, and it sure didn't come in the form of lessons or other weekly dats [stats?]. In that respect we ended quite depressing. But we were inspired to pay a visit with Erick, my super awesome convert in March. He is without a doubt an elect son of God, because he has more trials than anyone I've ever met. He told us about some of the things he has been passing through recently, but it was definitely what we needed to do on Saturday. And it was made obvious because we couldn't accomplish anything in the day until we went with him. 

All the ward missionaries - yes, they are all young single adults
Sometimes we can get lost in trying to do things just so we can get "the dats" but often times when we do that we miss the opportunities more important to be able to minister and serve others. We should always strive to fulfill the requirements, but often times, the Lord requires us to do something aside from the requirements. We must have our eyes and hearts open to always do the will of the Lord.

Until next week,

Elder Jackson

So yep. I'm staying with my comp for another change. We're both happy because we get along, and we both have high goals for this area, and the ward really likes us. To answer some of your other questions, no one in my mission has bikes, and only the assistants and secretaries have cars. We walk when it's close, take buses if it's far, and if we're late, we take Tugtugs (pronounced toogtoog). I'll send a picture so I don't have to explain what they are.

So this is a Tugtug

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hangin' in There

Dear friends and family,

Well, with our second change together drawing to a close, Elder Cuello and I are working hard to end it on a high note. I will probably have changes, but I won't know until next Sunday night. This week there's not much to tell, because it was hard to get lessons in, but the lessons we did have were really good. Sometimes the rain can be a blessing because then people let you into their house with less problem. It also lets us see who the real Christians are. We have already gotten soaked a good deal of times in the last couple of days, but we neither of us mind very much. It cools off the weather a little bit. The rainy season is what they call winter, but it sure ain't cold! 

It's pretty cool when people receive their mission calls here, because there isn't a mail system. Instead a member of the stake presidency comes to the ward, gives a little talk, and then reveals the big manila envelope to give to the future missionary. The girl was crying so much I hardly understood her when she was bearing her testimony, but it was an awesome experience. We couldn't go by the stake center at the time she opened it, but that's also a big deal when everybody goes to see where she's called. We still don't know, but we'll find out soon enough. We have pretty constant contact with the Paredez family. 

I love this work with all my heart. It's hard, but every moment is worth it. From the moment you first knock on someone's door, to the spiritual moments that you share in powerful lessons, to watching your investigators be baptized by their best friend, to having the privilege of confirming them a member and conferring upon them the Gift of the Holy Ghost, even in the moments of sadness for the great spiritual blindness of the people or moments of frustration and contempt when they slam the door in your face; That is the Savior's yoke, and He has called us to bear it. But not alone. He is right next to us, hauling with the same force with which we haul. He is not only our coach, he is our teammate, our most trusted friend. Let us all press on in the work of the Lord. 

Love you all!

Elder Benjamin Jackson

Dear family,
Elder Cuello and I get along really well, though we do have some differences.  But everyone has differences so that doesn't matter. Brian might know what máte is, an herbal drink from Argentina. My comp's family sent him a kilo of it. It's pretty good. Things are going well despite the difficulties in the work, but that's nothing new. And I can't complain because Jess should have it a lot harder over there in Germany.

Love you guys!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Miracle Baptism

Buenos días a todos! (good morning to everyone)

Francisco's Baptism by Jonathon (Elders Cuello & Jackson)
Well, another miracle baptism, Francisco! And he happens to be another youth/young single adult. All my converts have been that age and all single. But this month we are going to find 2 families to baptize, so that will change. 

Also on Saturday I had the chance to go to an evangelical in-house meeting. It was basically like a fireside sort of thing, but they invited us, and it was a free chance to get like 20 contacts, so we went with Nefi, a youth from our ward. It was good, though when they gave us like 20 minutes to pray (which for them consisted of yelling and bawling, and falling on the floor, and singing) we got a little uncomfortable. But it was a good opportunity to get an inside look at and better understand another religion, so I enjoyed it.

La Zona Nimajuyu
The Lord is blessing us with finding these families that we need to find. We've been contacting and teaching more families than normal, and having spiritual experiences. This message blesses families. It gives us the hope of an eternal family. I had the chance recently to talk with someone who didn't believe in eternal families, and as a result, doesn't care about her family after this life. I feel extremely sad for her, and all the people who think the same way. They can live alone for all eternity if they want, but I know that I will be with my family forever if I stay faithful and hold strong to the iron rod. Families can be eternal. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that that is true, because He said so.

I love you and I pray for you all!

Elder Jackson
Old Liahona magazine. Seeing the Prophet and Apostles when they were young!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mother's Day and Nine Months!

Hello Everyone!
Well, this week I'm halfway done with my Sister missionary mission! The elders here like to say that you're not an elder until after you hit 18 months. Before that you're a sister missionary. So I'm still just a sister missionary...  [?? mom is a little worried...]

This week was average, but still a great week. Not much happened, though a sister that was serving from the ward here in Houston, TX returned home for health reasons. She is planning on returning to the field as soon as she can, but for the mean time is here in the ward. She has really good English, but she also studied a lot before her mission. It was cool talking with somebody who just came from Texas. Apparently it's blazing hot in Houston right now. 

Since the month of May is centered a lot on family, with Mother's Day and all, President Caffaro challenged us to pray for and look for 2 complete families (husband wife and child) that can be baptized this month or the next so they can be sealed in the temple this time next year. We have already had more success with finding families, and we have seen many blessings this week.

Families are extremely important to our Heavenly Father, that's why we have so many revelations in these last days to bring us together in ways we could have never before imagined. That's why it was promised that Elijah would come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord with the sealing powers of the high priesthood so we could link together the generations of families for eternity. I am eternally grateful for the Restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which allows us to unlock the blessings of an eternal family. I am so thankful that my family has been sealed for time and all eternity, and I desire those blessings for all the people of the earth. That's why I'm here. I know this church is true, and that Jesus Christ himself is at its head, directing it through His chosen prophet and apostles, exactly as He did before. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love you all!

Elder Jackson