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