Monday, February 29, 2016

The Volcano Ate Ben's Letter

[No letter this week because Ben and Elder Gee hiked the volcano Ipala with their district. He sent lots of photos the following week. These were of a baptism that he did not identify so I am posting them here on this letterless week!]

Monday, February 22, 2016

Long Bus Rides and Short Days!

Hi everyone!

The time goes by way to fast when all you do is sit on buses... I feel like we didn't do much this week. Tuesday I went to an area an hour away for divisions, then Wednesday we went to the capital, a 2 ½ -hour bus ride, to do divisions with the assistants. Then Thursday morning we had to come back to Jutiapa and begin divisions with another area an hour away... but Elder Gee and I worked hard and we had quite a few investigators in church yesterday. 

In the mission we are doing a lot of prep work for March right now. President has given us a vision of our potential, reaching 200 baptisms in a month. March is the month that we'll make it. This week my companion and I have been focusing a lot on preparing people for the coming of the savior, as if he were coming in March. We ask the people we teach what they would do if they knew Jesus was coming next month, and they always say they would prepare more, so we teach them faith repentance and baptism by authority, helping them realize that unless they live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness and with the proper authority, they won't be prepared. We've had some really spiritual lessons, and I feel the urgency that this work requires. I love inviting people to repent and be baptized, and I love teaching them the true identity of the Godhead. Those doctrines more than any are the doctrines that change lives.

I'm loving the work and the people here in Jutiapa and I love my companion, and I love all of you!

-Elder Jackson

Monday, February 15, 2016

Blown Away

Hello everyone!

So it's a miracle that I'm still here, because there´s been so much wind! It was weird because I got here and it was really hot just like I expected, but after a week a crazy wind picked up, and it's been really cold and windy! I've asked around and they say it's normal for this time of year, but usually it doesn't get quite so windy or cold.

So apart from the literal sense of the phrase I've also been blown away by the really amazing people there are in Jutiapa. We are teaching a girl named Fatima, whose cousin Alba just got baptized right before I got here. She always finishes our sentences when we are teaching as if she already knew what we were talking about even though she's hardly ever gone to church before and has never been baptized in another church. She also has a crazy addiction to coffee because she's in one of those families with generations of coffee drinkers and it basically runs in her blood, but she has been trying so hard and she only drinks around 1 cup a day now, and the other day she hadn't drunk a single one! She will be baptized on Saturday.

Also we found a man named William with his wife Yuli who showed up to the chapel at like 5 in the afternoon last Sunday asking what time we had the meetings. We told him that it was in the morning, and we invited them inside to share with them. They aren't married, and they went through some really hard trials in their relationship, but they decided to start over from zero, so they sought out the Church. It turns out that about 5 months ago another elder had contacted them and had left such a huge seed of faith planted in them that they went to church a few times and even though no one talked to them they believe it's the true church and that it's where they need to be. Yuli went to the capital to work this week but we taught William 2 times in the church and he is completely convinced that it's all true, and has a huge desire to turn his life around and prove to Yuli that he has changed. We're trying to help them get married and then baptized in March.

Those are just 3 of many chosen people that we've been finding here and I'm truly humbled to be the Lord's instrument to help them return to His presence.

Love you all,

Elder Jackson

Monday, February 8, 2016

Hi Mom it's Ben [on Elder Gee's email]

Hey mom! 

I'm writing from my new comp's email because for some reason myldsmail won't let me access my account... and naturally the secretaries have a meeting so they aren't able to help so my time already ran out. So I'll just mention the highlights.

I am now in an area called Jutiapa [Hu-ti-A-pa], which is outside the capital, and very hot! [the map shows Jutiapa about 3 hours southeast, if that is what he means by "outside the capital"...??]  But I'm loving it here, and do you remember that elder from the MTC that we figured out was my 4th cousin? He's now my companion, Elder Gee!! And also we are zone leaders, so I guess I know now why President didn't have me finish Elder Merdaco's training. Out here the work is really busy and we have 2 baptisms planned for this weekend! I'm absolutely loving it here! I think you should be able to respond to my email and I'll have it all worked out before next Monday, hopefully today...

Love you family!

-Elder Jackson

[Ben's Grandma Jackson, David's mom, is a Gee. So ages ago when Ben met Elder Gee we looked up the relationship and somewhere up the line the grandfathers are brothers, making the missionaries 4th cousins.] 

Monday, February 1, 2016

What I Love

[With transfers Ben didn't have much time so he only answered a few of my questions I had asked.]

Dear Family,
From Guatemala I love the open culture. Everyone is more open and most of them know how to be nice. I also love how on every corner there are convenient stores and bakeries with yummy pastries and stuff to eat. I love eggs and beans. I love the language too, and the authentic colored fabrics of the indigenous people. One thing that makes me happy is teaching, I love to teach lessons and share my testimony. Another thing that makes my heart happy is when the people I'm teaching feel the spirit, and also when I feel loved by the members and other missionaries. I love making other people happy, and in this area and ward that I've been in, I've focused a lot on being able to give more of myself for others. Now the ward is really sad that I'm leaving.

Yep I have changes! They're going to close our area and leave Sister Gonzalez and Aguiñada to take over the whole area. I won't be finishing my kid's training :(   We'll see where I go now, but I won't know until tonight, so you guys have to wait until next week!

I'll send photos next week, I'm still working on recovering the photos from my memory that got damaged.

Love you mom and family and anyone else that would like to read this  :D

-Elder Ben Jackson