Monday, November 30, 2015

Family Reunion

Hello everybody!

District Lunch
Today I'm gonna have a family reunion! Elder Caal and I will be going to one of his old areas to say goodbye (for a little while cuz he only lives 4 hours away) to the people he met and baptized there. It also happens that my old companions Elder Alvarado and Elder Loría are companions right now, and Elder Loría was also in that same ward with my comp, they are both finishing their missions so they are going with us to visit Ciudad Quetzal together. And all 3 of them are my companions, therefore, I am having a family reunion! (Did you guys follow all of that?)

That is a GIGANTIC pizza!
So, we're starting the last week of my comp's mission, and he's pretty nervous. He's in that limbo state of feeling a little baggy [trunky, wanting to go home] but still wanting to work, so I'm trying my best to help him out. He's a great guy and a great missionary. He's honestly been one of my favorite companions and it's a little sad to see him go, but I'll see him soon because he wants to come by again around Christmas time to visit, and for the baptism we have planned!

For almost 3 weeks we haven't been able to visit Cindy, our investigator whose husband is a member and who just had a baby, because of complications in his work and other obstacles put in the way by Satan, and we were beginning to think that they didn't want us to come by anymore. But then on Friday he called us and told us that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and that she wanted us to come over, but at a different time because the time we normally passed by wasn't working. So we went by yesterday after lunch with a member, but my comp has a cold so for the new baby he couldn't come in. He had to stay in the garage while the member and I taught the lesson... poor guy. But the lesson we had was super spiritual, she has an extremely sincere desire to know if the church is true, and she has been
I know who is up to eating all of it!
greatly impacted by her husband's example. Even though he has passed a long time inactive, his desires and principles that he's always kept have been the key to her desire to learn and come to church. She accepted the challenge to be baptized December 26th!

That was this week's miracle  :D

Love you guys!

-Elder Ben Jackson

Dear Mom,
Well, I was on divisions for Thanksgiving, and Elder Noack and I bought some ramen noodles for dinner... but the members that made us lunch made some amazing spiral spaghetti and alfredo chicken that reminded me of your cooking :). It was so good I had to get a whole other plateful of seconds. I miss your food sometimes mom. I love the food here, but there's just nothing that beats the way you cook :)

Love you tons!

-Ben

Monday, November 23, 2015

Grateful

Hello Everyone!

[This one is to me but a great view of his apartment!]
Seeing as Thanksgiving (a holiday that they really don't celebrate here) is this week, I'll just mention some of things I'm grateful for. First off I'm super grateful for this opportunity to preach the gospel in Guatemala. It's an experience that I will never forget. Also, I am thankful for all the prophets that have ever lived, because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have the Bible or the Book of Mormon, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ in general. I am thankful for the Holy Ghost, who has been my constant companion ever since I received the Gift of the Holy Ghost when I was 8. If it wasn't for him, I don't know where I'd be now. I am thankful for my companion Elder Caal, who has been a great friend and support to me in the short time that I've been in this area. I am thankful for all of the wonderful people that have come into my life since I came here to Guatemala, so many people who have changed me for the better, and so many people who I have seen change through the amazing and infinite atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. I am infinitely grateful and forever in debt to Him for the greatest gift that anyone has ever given in all of eternity: that same atoning sacrifice. 

I love the words to the hymn "I Stand All Amazed", and the Spanish translation of the chorus gives it a slightly different feel: 
"Cuan asombroso es que por amarme así muriera él por mi. cuan asombroso es, lo que dio por mi"
 “How wonderful it is that He should love me so enough to die for me. How wonderful it is, that which He gave for me."
He didn't just care for me, He loved me enough to give me everything He had. He lived for me, He died for me, and He lives now for me. That is truly wonderful to me.

So those are just some of the many things I'm grateful for :)

Love you guys!

-Elder Jackson



Dear Mom,
First off... HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!! (imagine with great opera voice)

Here, instead of district meeting, we call it district counsel. I like to make it a participation thing and an actual counsel, where everyone pitches in. Sometimes I assign one or 2 of the companionships to give a little workshop, or we just discuss the ideas that we have found successful, and what hasn't worked too well for us in our areas. I also like to prepare or assign a game or activity to keep it fun.

I write Jess little notes every once in a while about some of the things she mentions in her emails. I'm going to enjoy spending time with her after the mission.

Sorry if my emails are sometimes kinda dry. I try to think of interesting things to talk about, but I honestly lose track of a lot of things during the week. I'm caught up so much in my area and my responsibilities as district leader that it all just jumbles together in a big hunk of junk labeled "missionary work". It's not junk, but you get the figurative speech  ;)

I hope this was better and more informative!

-Ben :D


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Getting Wet and Watching Others get Wet!

Hi everyone!

Elder Ben, Carols, Josefa, Victor, Elder Caal
Well, by this time the rain should have stopped, but the news is that the rainy season started late, so it's gonna rain until January... What a blessing! On Saturday we got to watch 2 more wonderful people get wet in covenants, and it was an amazing experience! Carlos is in his 80s and Josefa is in her 70s, but wanted so badly to be baptized, and their wish came true despite the obstacles. It was raining all day, and because of her age and other infirmities, she easily gets sick under the rain. They called us to cancel. We managed to get the help of a member that has a car to drop them off at the church before she had to run and do another errand. For the same age and health reasons, she was worried about having to be baptized in cold water. We bought a water heater that didn't work, but it was too late. In the end, they were baptized, and everything went great. And to top it off, President Caffaro and his wife showed up! I had time to chat with them afterwards, and they were so happy and content, it made me feel warm inside even though it was cold and rainy outside. Carlos and Josefa said they felt so much peace, and even though they've suffered a long time with infirmities and other difficulties, in that moment, none of it mattered. They were clean.

New convert, Marvin, baptized them with help from Bishop
I love seeing the changes in other people's lives. It's one of the greatest blessings of serving a mission. It's amazing that even in people with so many years filled with so many worries and cares heaped upon their shoulders, one can see the immediate change as Christ takes those cares all away through His infinite atonement. 

I hope you all have a week of miracles too!

Love,

-Elder Jackson



Our last convert Marvin already received the Aaronic priesthood and was ordained a priest and he baptized them with the help of the Bishop!

On the right is Victor, their best friend and also recent convert as of August

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Work Continues

Hello Everyone!

Selfies after Church!
Well, this week my comp and I just ummm... worked! Really there hasn't been much going on other than the regular contacting, inviting, occasionally teaching if they let us, and visiting the members. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the everyday work, but I feel like it doesn't leave anything for me to talk about with you guys. 

I guess the best part was on Sunday when the Stake President came to the ward and did a Sabbath Day beat down for 3 hours. I enjoyed it, but I think a lot of the members got their pride hurt. He did it lovingly, but he didn't mince words. Basically he made the point that if you don't keep the Sabbath Day holy every single week, you don't believe in Jesus Christ and you're not a Christian. And if you work on Sundays you're lacking faith, and you will never prosper. It was really straightforward, and it's all based from the scriptures, so yeah. I'm gonna keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Elder Jackson's District
We will have 2 baptisms this Saturday! Carlos and Josefa are an elderly couple that are close friends of Victor who I talked about last week, and basically their biggest desire is to be baptized, so they're awesome.

Love you all!

-Elder Jackson




Guatemala getting ready for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Don Victor: A True Inspiration

Hello Everyone!

This week I just thought I'd talk a little bit about Don Victor. Victor is a recent convert from the elders that were here before, and he is 76 years old. Despite having a lifetime of learning in other churches, especially the Catholic church, he knew from the first moment he met the missionaries that they were sent from God. For the short time that he's been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ he has an unbreakable testimony of the Restoration, of Joseph Smith, of the Book of Mormon, and the Church. He loves to talk (usually we spend a whole hour or 2 just listening to him talk) but he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He has been so affected by his conversion, that even though he can't proselyte with us for his age, he has self-titled himself a "missionary without boundaries". He talks with his friends and acquaintances from all over Guatemala City, teaches them the basics of the gospel, and then sends them to the church that corresponds to where they live, with a reference note with his name and number so the other missionaries know that he sent them. He even goes to the hospitals during visiting hours and visits the people who are alone and prays for them and shares a little message with them. He is a man so completely converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that he lives it to his fullest capacity. He pays for the taxis that take his references to the chapels. He doesn't cringe about giving of his money for Christ's cause. He understands the Law of Consecration without even having been taught it directly. 

My thought this week is that I want to be like Don Victor.

Sincerely,

-Elder Jackson