Monday, May 30, 2016

The Legend will Return

Hello everyone!

So due to a terrible keyboard with almost all of the letters on it worn off and my depressing lack of keyboarding skills, this has been a really stressful email time, so forgive me if this is short...

I have changes! I'll be returning once again to Nimajuyu and the area Guajitos, but in the other half of the ward than before! I will be with another Elder Williams and we will be finishing our mission together. It will be an interesting 6 weeks!

I don't know what the Lord has in store for me at this point in my mission, but I know he has something great waiting for me in my new area with Elder Williams. I don't know in what form He will give it to me, whether it be a life lesson or someone there who needs me to share the gospel with them, I have no idea. All I know is that I will need the guidance of the spirit and a whole lot of faith. I'm am so grateful the Lord has called me despite my weaknesses to be a messenger of truth in Guatemala. I hope to be able to serve Him in some way this change. I have to lose myself in order to win what He has for me. This is His work, and I must do it His way.

I love you all!

-Elder Jackson


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses Families

Hello Everyone!

This week I decided to be like my older brother Brian and I thought it would be a great idea to break my foot right towards the end of my mission! Actually it wasn't intentional and it's not really broken, just fissured. We were playing soccer and I went to kick the ball and kicked another elder's foot at full force, bending my toenail completely backwards, and causing a minor fracture in my big toe. It wasn't too bad though because I can already walk normal even though the hospital gave me a boot. So don't freak out too much Mom ;) [wink right back at him, I don’t freak out, just slowly shake my head…]

On another note, our investigator Junior is progressing a ton and is really excited to be baptized this Sunday! He has had a lot of problems with some of the commandments, but is really committed to abandoning all his sins to follow Jesus Christ. His repentance is sincere and there has been a change in him. Also our investigators Jesus and Wendy are progressing like crazy too! They have a lot of family problems, but this week was Family Week so there were activities in the chapel every night, and they went to 3 of them including the marriage night! They have been changing as well and will be baptized as soon as the can work out their marital status. He is married to someone else but is separated. Please pray that everything can be worked out in an effective manner so they can live the Gospel in its fullness. Gregorio, our convert is also preparing to take his son's name to the temple this weekend to do the baptism for him!

In all this week I've thought a lot about how the gospel blesses families. It's one of the basics that we teach every day in the mission, but literally it's the central purpose of God's plan. To be like God means having an eternal family, therefore it is the most essential part of our mortal life. If we had never come here to Earth we would have never had the chance to have a family. Without Christ it wouldn't be possible either. Without the priesthood authority families could never hope to stay together forever. Without church organization and home life families would never successfully overcome the trials and temptations that come from mortal life. Without the temple we would never return to God's presence. I have seen how the gospel is blessing the lives of Gregorio, Jesus, Wendy, and Junior. I have seen how the gospel has blessed me and my family. I am eternally grateful for my parents, for teaching me the plan of Salvation and teaching me to follow Jesus Christ. He is the only way to eternal life and perfection, and the only way to an eternal family.

I love you all and wish you the best!

-Elder Jackson


Monday, May 16, 2016

Families - Gotta Catch 'em All!

Hello Friends and Family!

So yesterday Gregorio was confirmed as well as an investigator of the sisters who was baptized on Saturday. He has both of his legs amputated a little bit below the knee, so we sat him in a chair to perform the ordinance! He is another man like Gregorio with a lot of faith and determination to do what God asks of him. 

So our challenge for this month and next is to find 2 families to baptize so they can be sealed next year in the temple. I've really felt that I will have the privilege to see that happen since I haven't really had the opportunity to baptize a whole family before, but I know that if I give my all this last stretch. We already have one family that we are working with; the Reyes Lopez family. Jesus and Wendy are the parents and Abner and Beyonce are their 2 children older than 8. They also have one little one. Wendy is ready and willing to do what it takes to live the gospel, but Jesus is still hesitant due to his drinking habits, and a bit of pride, but he has gone to church the past 2 weeks and reads what we leave him. He has had an unfortunate life which has convinced him that he is a bad person, but I actually used that quote from Harry Potter in our last lesson with them that says "you're not a bad person, you're a very good person who's had a lot of bad things happen to you" :P Honestly he is a really great guy, and in the short time we have knowing them, he has changed in a lot of ways. Please pray for Jesus and Wendy so they can work through their trials and arrange their lives so they can get married and baptized soon.

Families can be forever, and I've learned that that's truly the whole central purpose of being here on earth. Everything has to do with it, and that truth has to do with everything Jesus Christ taught. I love the gospel and I love this time God has given me to give my brothers and sisters the same hope I have.


Have a wonderful week and know that I love you all! :D

Elder Jackson


Dear Mom,
That's crazy that everything is gonna be so different when I get back! I was hoping to at least have President Hollingsworth still since Bishop Anderson was released, but I guess not huh. [tri Stake Conference for Austin area on June 5th. Adding a fourth Stake and possibly new wards.... hastening time!]

This week was interviews with President Caffaro, and Sister Caffaro said something that almost made me cry. I know it's a miracle right? She mentioned that it was my last set of normal interviews before the big one, and she told me how proud she was of the growth and changes I've made over the course of my mission. She said she's seen me grow from a boy to a man, and that even though I've passed through some hard times, I have proved that I can do hard things and come out victorious. She told me that she is sure that I have done my best and haven't given up, and that's what God will remember. She is definitely my second mom now.

I love you so much mom and I pray for you and the family always,

-Ben


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"May" I just say I love Baptisms!!?

Hello Everyone!

Gregorio Baptism
The week of a baptism is always amazing! Gregorio was going to be baptized Saturday, but for stake conference none of the members could be there, so we rescheduled it for Sunday afternoon. He went all the way to Jalapa (an hour and a half bus ride) with us to stake conference, and when we got back he was waiting outside the chapel like an hour before his baptism would start. I have loved seeing how the Lord has worked in his life these last few weeks, and most of all I have loved seeing how he has allowed the Lord to make those changes! 

Ex-Companions at Mission Council
If there's one thing I've learned it's that agency is everything. So many people now days try to shove all the responsibility and guilt on God. "I'll go to church when God tells me to." "I'll repent when God makes me feel the need to do it." "God willing I'll pray and ask Him." The choice is ours, not His. Gregorio made those choices, and has received a remission of his sins, opening the door to the heavens. Jesus Christ puts the key in, we decide to turn the knob.

I'm so grateful I made the decision to serve a mission. God has used me, despite my weaknesses, to change the life of others, and that has changed me. I am humbled to be His servant. I have been humbled to the point of being a true servant. Jesus Christ is my master, and although I may not always be the most profitable servant, I hope to have the joy of kneeling myself at His feet to thank Him for this opportunity to be at least a small difference in the world.

Standard of Liberty for Zone training
I love you all and pray for you often!


-Elder Jackson

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Volcan de Ipala Round 2

Hello everyone!

Hiking Volcan de Ipala
Well, today we went and hiked the volcano again, but we did it a bit earlier so I actually have time to write today! It was wonderful, but it was really hot coming back down! On top there's wind and shade, but on the trail there's little of the two. But it was so worth it!

Gregorio is still 100% ready and willing to be baptized, and he is determined to conquer the coffee this week. He already dropped it by 80% and he has told his wife not to put any in front of him anymore so the temptation goes away. He is an amazingly faithful and humble man, with all the desire and determination one would need to make the changes necessary to become a disciple of Christ!

The District!
This week I also have learned how to be more loving. I did divisions with Elder Neal who is a super loving guy, who always has something special to say to each person so they can feel the spirit in that moment. Sometimes as a missionary I strive more to teach the doctrine concisely and directly, but I don't seek the guide of the spirit to adapt it to the people's needs. Elder Neal is a great example of a loving missionary guided by the spirit.

What can we do to be more loving and follow the spirit to touch the lives of others?

I love you all and hope you have a great week!


-Elder Jackson


New Companion Elder Martinez
Dear Mom,
That's awesome what Brian is doing for study abroad in Europe, and Hyrum's going to prom.

I'm still doing great and working hard. Trying not to remember that I only have 2 and a half months left... It's not that I don't want to finish my mission, because I'll also be happy to move to the next chapter of my life, but I still can't believe that this chapter is already coming to a close! I'll be sure not to finish it with any cliffhangers. It'll be a nice, epic, wrapped-up ending full of contentment and satisfaction :).

Love you so much!

-Ben

Old Companion - Elder Williams
Ben's Comps Alvarado - Williams - Martinez

Beach in a volcano?