Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Baptism!

Hello everyone!

Sindy and Francisco
Sindy got baptized! it was amazing and her testimony that she shared afterwards made a lot of people cry. Everything was perfect. They are a perfect little family. We enjoyed Christmas this year too. Spent time with the Bol family, the Escobar family, and the Rac family. We ate lots of tamales and ponche, and got really full. Looking forward to this week, and the new year. 2016 will be a year of changes for me, and I look forward to the new experiences. Remember what "Christmas" really means. I don't want to forget the things I've learned this season, and neither should any of us. 

Elder Ben - Sisters Aguinada and Gonzalez making tamales
Also, could you keep Sister Aguiñada in your prayers? She and Sister Gonzalez are here in the district and yesterday she got super sick and was throwing up a ton. It turns out that she has a major problem in her abdomen and needs to be operated on. We're hoping that it can be done today, but the process is slow to get the approval.


Elder Jackson

The Tamale Man!
Christmas Eve Dinner with familia Escobar
Look who came back from Coban..... Elder Caal!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

What a Great Gift!

Hello Everybody!

Elder Bentley and Alvarado (x-comps)
So basically I've been getting some great gifts this Christmas. One was my son Elder Mercado, and another is Cindy's baptism on Saturday! Also we had a super awesome Zone Conference on Thursday, where we felt the spirit really strong, nearly everyone was crying. I almost cried. If you guys haven't seen the new video on why we need a savior, you should see it. It is called "A Savior is Born" on and it's really powerful. We also watched Iron Will to get us pumped up, and it was so funny how everyone got so into it. It was like nobody had ever seen a movie before. In all the "intense" parts like when he was running to escape the train on the bridge everyone was freaking out as if he were going to die. We get a little movie deprived out here...

My District (plus a red tie photobomber)
So Cindy is really excited for her baptism! She's a little nervous, but she understands and loves all the doctrine when we teach it to her, and she has felt that it is true. We planned out the baptism agenda, and she asked me to baptize her. We said the time before that it would be the best if Francisco baptized her, but she said they talked and they decided that they wanted me to baptize her. I guess part of the reason could be that I've never been absent for a single lesson with them. A lot of times we do divisions, but I have always happened to stay in my area the days we visit them. They are an amazing family and their new baby girl is ridiculously cute. Cindy has been one of the things that have helped me keep going and not lose the faith. Many times God gives us trials, but He always lets us know that He's not far away. I love this work and I love Christmas too! 

Have a wonderful Christmas this year!


-Elder Jackson

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Unto [Me] a son is Given!

Hello everyone!

Elder Mercado (son) and Elder Jackson (dad)
Well, I now have my first child [fyi, when missionaries train a brand new missionary they refer to them as children and the trainers as parents....], and his name is Elder Mercado (market in English). He's from Nicaragua, which means I've now had companions from all five Central American countries! Legally Panama isn't part of Central America. But anyway he is really awesome, and we get along really well. He has a powerful testimony and he invites the spirit every time he speaks in the lessons. I'm proud to have a son like Elder Mercado.

So we visited Cindy and Francisco twice this week. The first time she told us that she has felt that the church is where she needs to be, the place where their new daughter will be able to learn and grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and where she can develop even more her relationship with God. So she is committed to be baptized the 26th of December! We left the pamphlets of the Word of Wisdom and The Law of Chastity and she read them both completely. We asked her what she learned and she explained it all perfectly, mentioning parts of the lecture that I forgot were in there! She is one of the most amazing investigators I've ever taught in my whole mission. They came to church in our ward for the first time and enjoyed it. Thank you for all the prayers on their behalf; keep it up, because your prayers are working!
What a great dad! Smile! You're on camera!

Love you all!

-Elder Jackson


Monday, December 7, 2015

My First Christmas Gift!


Elder Ben and Elder Caal
Well, tomorrow I receive my first Christmas gift! I'm gonna have a kid! I still don't know who it is, but I got the email from President saying that I'll be training this change! It's gonna be a long change of 8 weeks instead of the usual 6, because this change that we just finished was only 4 weeks. 

But honestly it does not feel like Christmas is in 3 weeks... Even though the decorations have been up since Halloween, it just doesn't feel like Christmas. 

I'm actually pretty sad that Elder Caal is leaving. I feel like our time shouldn't be over still, and he feels the same. He gave his last testimony in church yesterday and it was really awesome. The mission has definitely changed him, and he has inspired me in many ways. He admits that he wasn't always the best missionary, but I have felt the humility that he has developed and the desire he has to do good. I hope to keep in touch with him and I'm anxious to see him reach his potential. 

District (no names of sisters....)
So I can say that while I'm gaining a son, I'm losing a friend. But that's what Facebook is for right? ;) I'll have more to talk about next week when I've got my new comp!

Love you guys!

-Elder Jackson

Dear Mom,
"Family" Reunion! Old comps
It has been great with Elder Caal. I'm still with him today, but tomorrow I'll have my new son! It has been difficult sometimes because the area is a little hard, but we've been doing our best to keep working. My comp was a little baggy some days, but he hasn't been too affected. Honestly he's been one of my favorite comps. This change I'll feel a bit more motivated in some ways. The baptism we have planned is for Cindy de Gonzalez, the wife if the less-active member that I mentioned a couple times. It would be awesome if you guys could pray for her because it has been difficult to visit them for obstacles of time.

Love you mom!


More "family" pictures