Monday, April 25, 2016

Round 3

Hello Everyone!

So I've just been knocking out all of my companions since I got here to Jutiapa, so we'll see who goes down in round 3! My new companion is Elder Martinez from El Salvador. He is really energetic and we get along great! He likes to have fun and work hard at the same time, so there aren't too many dull moments. Elder Williams didn't end up going very far, he's still here in the zone in an area called Monjas, so I still get to see him frequently, so that's fun!

Our miracle of the week was Gregorio! He is a 65-year-old man who a couple years ago turned away from God when his son was unfortunately poisoned and killed right before he was going to be baptized in the church. He lived in anger and vengeful thoughts for months and years, rejecting any visits from religious people, rebelling against God. Then everything changed when Elder Williams and I passed by one day about 3 weeks ago. "Elders!" he called out as we walked by his house. We were just going to ignore him because there are a lot of people who just say that to bother us, but then my comp felt a strong impression to turn around and talk to him. Since then he hasn't missed a Sunday in church. Despite the fact that he flat out rejected us when we invited him to baptism the first time, he told us this week that he has prayed and received an answer and he is fully committed to be baptized on May 7th! He told us of his hatred he had for the person who poisoned his son, and the great hole it had created in his life, and of how in these 3 short weeks, all that anger has been swept away and he has felt a peace and joy so immense such as he has never felt before. He is a bit stubborn in some ways, hence the initial rejection, but at the same time he is amazingly humble before God, and completely willing to do what He asks of him, hence the amazing self-commitment after having prayed with faith. He is truly an inspiring man!

And so the ball rolls on in Jutiapa, every day we see miracles, because God is good and He blesses His children when they do what He says, or at least tries, as Elder Holland says. I love God and I love the work, and I hope you all find the miracles in your life this week! :D


-Elder Jackson

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Adventures of Jutiapa Continue

Hello Everyone.

Dulce's baptism
Today I will be writing without emotion because the Exclamation point key on my keyboard doesn't work... but anyway I will be staying in Jutiapa this change and Elder Williams is leaving after just a change here. Something cool is that my companion's dad served here in Jutiapa 43 years ago. He was able to meet a couple of the members that were around at that time and a few remember him vaguely despite the years. 

So I will be continuing the work here with whoever is my new companion. We have a lot of miracles happening right now and many great people. I mentioned Junior last time and he is still really excited and loves going to church. Also we are teaching an older man named Gregorio whose son was going to be baptized a few years ago but was poisoned and died. Gregorio told us he had dreamed many times that his son was a missionary. He decided to go to church and already is beginning to convince himself that it's where he needs to be, though is not quite ready to be baptized on a specific date. He is convinced that it will happen, but he wants us to pass by a few more times and keep teaching him the doctrine.

Root beer floats to celebrate
Also Dulce Paredes was baptized on Saturday. She's the daughter of a member family that went inactive for a couple years and consequently missed her baptism last year when she turned 8. This year they came back in full force and haven't missed a Sunday for 2 months straight and they also have the goal to be sealed this year. We helped them out and taught their daughter what she needed to know and we had a great turnout at the baptism.

Also the members are getting excited to help thanks to the I Never Go Alone program and as a result the majority of the 13 investigators that came to church were brought by members.

Have a great week :D

-Elder Jackson

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ummm .... Was that 7 days?

Hello Once Again!

So I feel like I was writing home yesterday, and I can't believe that a whole week has already passed! It seriously flew by ridiculously fast, and it's hard to remember what happened. One great blessing would be a program we are using now with the members called Nunca Voy Solo (I Never Go Alone). It's a simple thing to put into practice to help the ward grow, comprised of 3 P's: Pass by, Present yourself, and Preach. Through these simple steps the members can play an essential role in helping people come to church and feel comfortable once there. This week we really worked to capacity and help the members with it, and as a result the 4 investigators we had in church were all brought by members!

Another blessing was Junior, who came to conference last week as an invite from his cousin who was baptized a year and a half ago. He really enjoyed it, so he wanted to come again this week. We went to teach him yesterday afternoon and he really wants to change his life. He likes the idea of being baptized and accepted the goal of making that covenant April 30th!

If you could keep Abel and Yoselin in your prayers that would be wonderful. He is the young man we met at mutual a few weeks ago, and right now he has a ton of obstacles blocking his path, mainly of time and other negative opinions, so he is in desperate need of a few miracles so he can fulfill his desire to be baptized. Yoselin is his girlfriend and she's in the same boat right now.

Love you all so much!

-Elder Jackson

Monday, April 4, 2016

What a Great Week!

Hello everybody!

Well, this week was great! It also went by ridiculously fast... On Tuesday we taught Abel again, and he came literally running all the way from the other side of Jutiapa just to get to the chapel on time! He's great! Also there's a member family who just recently got super active again and we're going to help them baptize their 9-year-old daughter who missed it last year because they were inactive! Baptisms are wonderful!

Also on Friday we had mission council which is always great, though President was a bit frustrated with himself because we aren't completing our goals. He talked about the purpose of goals and how putting high numbers don't mean anything if you can't complete them. They just make you look bad in the end. You could say you have faith, but faith is based on works, and if you haven't shown the necessary works in the past, unless you make significant changes in your work habits, that faith is in vain. One can instead choose to put realistic, even low goals and have just as much faith to complete them, but the difference is that you'll likely complete them, because you have in the past, or at least gotten close. And as you go on completing your realistic goals, your vision of what you can do will increase, and you will achieve more than you could before. Sobering thoughts for missionaries.

And of course general conference was amazing! In October I'll be there! I really want to hear the MoTab in person, you know how much I love music, maybe someday I'll be in the choir :) A lot of focus on families and providing protection from the storms of our day. We are being prepared to withstand the signs of the last days. Whether it comes in our day or after it doesn't matter because we need to be ready! I took a lot of notes that will come in handy in the future when I've got a family. After all, they say that the mission is the MTC for life ;)

Love you all so much!

-Elder Jackson