Elder Justin Jacobson ~ CALLED TO SERVE ~ Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission September/2010 - 2012

First Area: La Grandeza,
Companion: Elder Heywood 11/9/2010 -3/15/2011
Companion: Elder Tadeo 3/15/2011-4/5/2011
Second Area: Central,
Companion: Elder Platero 4/5/2011-4/26/2011
Companion: Elder Lira 4/26/2011-6/7/2011
Third Area: San Pablo (in Malacatan),
Companion: Elder Altamirano 6/7/2011-7/19/2011
Companion: Elder Matute 7/19/2011-10/11/2011

Fourth Area: San Sebastian
Companion: Elder Platero 10/11/2011-02/15/2012
Fifth Area: Pueblo Nuevo
Companion: Elder Jack 02/15/2012-
Companion: Elder Velasquez -08/30/2012
Companion: Elder Ortega 08/30/2012-09/13/2012

Monday, February 28, 2011

buenas dias mi familia amada

well there goes another week and another month. its crazy how fast the days go by here. today is the first day of week five of my third change here.

but its been cool to see how our area has progressed. when we got here there we had almost no investigators, and alot of members werent coming to church. i wrote in my journal that it kind of felt like pushing a truck from a stand still. we put in a ton of effort, and it seemed like we were having little success. but i think we are starting to pick up some momentum. we are finding new people almost daily, even though most of them will probably not ever fully accept the gospel, we are starting to have more and more people that will listen to our message. 2 in particular that appear more positive are hermana delji, and a newly married couple, named veronica and yurlandi. they have 2 children but we havent found out their names yet.

hermana delji is married to a less active member, and is about a month away from having her baby. last time we taught her we challenged her to be baptized but she said she felt like she didnt know enough, we promised we could teach her everything she needs to know, and she said she would read from the book of mormon. we went back saturday and had a really good lesson with them, there was a great change in the attitude of both her and her husband. they said they had been reading, and i think that was the big change in how they acted.

hermana veronica is the one i think i told you about last time that we kept running into in the street. on saturday we had another chance to teach her and her husband. they were really nice and accepting. we taught them about Joseph Smith, and how they could know if he was a true prophet by reading the book of mormon. we asked the husband if he would read it and pray to know it was true, and he said, if this is the test to know the truth i will have to do it. then we asked if he would be baptized if he knew it was true. he said well ive already been baptized, but if this is true, it might change things. we also asked his wife if she would read it and she said "ive already been reading the one you gave me before. its really different, but i can see that it talks about the same savior".

The ward is also progressing very well. we have been having success working with a pretty good number of less active members, and i can see that they are starting to gain testimonies of their own. when we got here the only men showing up to church was pretty much us and the bishopric. but now we usually have 10-15 priesthood holders in our meetings. The obra del Señor is going very nicely here in La Grandeza.

things are good with me as well. its mango season so they are basicly giving away huge plump mangos. and we still get our helping of avacados gratis, so i can never complain with how my life is going. the only bad news is that i finished off the smores cereal you sent. i held a little funerel service when i threw the box away. haha o well guess its back to corn flakes.

well sounds like things are going good for you all there. moving to your own office eh. that is a big move for the family. im excited to see how business is booming when i get home. tell johnny good luck with his meet, ill be praying for him. and i think dance and soccer season is starting up as well right. sounds like there is plenty going on to keep everyone busy. keep doing work everyone, and let me know about all the success. and if there is any failures, i dont really want to hear about it, haha.

well thats it for this month. i love you all have a good week. -Elder Jacobson

Monday, February 14, 2011

feliz dia del cariño

well it was definitely a life changing week for me.

this week we had two area attacks. i dont remember if i explained it but it is when all the missionaries in a zone all work for a whole day in the same area. it helped alot when we did it in our area, but this time was kind of tough for us because we didnt really make any progress in our own area.

Tuesday elder heywood went to reu for another meeting, so i worked with the two elders we live with. once again it was a really good opportunity to learn how others work and teach , and to see how i can improve my own teaching.

On wednesday we all went to chamac to work. It was kind of a tough day, its hard to work in a different area where you dont know where anything is. but we did find one positive investigator, that said he would be willing to be baptized, now it will be up to the missionaries there to finish him off.

on thursday i did divisions again because elder heywood had to go to san pedro to do a baptismal interview. i worked with elder paz (paz means peace in spanish) and we found a family that is really positive. they just moved to this area and right now they are looking for a church to go to. we challenged them to be baptized, and the dad said he wanted to because he hasnt been baptized yet, and the mom said, that its been a long time since she was baptized so she probably has a lot of sins. ha right now they arent really doing it for the right reason, but they are willing to listen and do what we asked them, and that is the important thing.

thursday night we did the baptismal interview of hno Armando. he is a stud, and the zone leader said he passed with flying colors.

friday was another area attack in san pedro. nothing super exciting happened, but we did find some good people for the elders to teach. hopefully we made a difference there.

Saturday was super great day. in the morning hno armandos wife called to tell us that hno Armando decided that i would be doing the baptism. (originally he had asked elder heywood, but i think she convinced him to let me do it because it was my first.) When the baptismal service started i felt pretty calm. but as time went on i got more and more butterflies in my stomach. then it finally came time. we went into the water (which was freezing because the heater wasnt fixed yet) and did the baptism. it wasnt until after while we were changing that i fully felt it, i realized that i dont fully understand why we baptize like that, but i felt really peaceful knowing what just happened, it was a great experience for me.

Sunday Hno armando was confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. he came to church in a white shirt and with his hair cut. he is such a stud. also in church was hna ingred and her two kids. we have been working with her family for a long time, and now they are starting to make the steps to accept the gospel. it was great to see them there.

to top off the week we had a lesson with another family that we are working with. we had taught them about the restoration, but we didnt think they really understood it. so we taught it again. this time when we taught it the spirit was there, and when we asked the dad who could have the authority of God after the apostles were dead, he looked off into space for a long time and finally said, with a defeated look, i dont know. at that point in time i utilized my army training and went for the throat, by telling him that no one did, and that is why it is so important that God gave this authority to Josè Smith. at the end of the lessons he promised to read the book of mormon to find out the truth. i really believe that he will do it.

So like i said it was a really good week, and on top of everything else, i received your valentines package. in a house with four elders i had to fight for my share of cheetos, and bugles, but rest assured that no one is touching the smores or the sweet tarts.

I love you all, i hope everyone is happy this valentines day. tell the j dog that he better not be mackin on the girls. keep working hard and having fun. have a good week. ill talk to you later.

P.s. congrats to jordan for the hair cut. now you will just have to fix the lawn mower

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Month Down

ha first of all ill just have to excuse myself for the joke i played in the last e-mail, i just couldnt resist. but im glad you figured it out, i was worried the picture wouldnt go through or something.

so this was another really amazing week in la obra del Señor. once again i dont know where the week went, and i can barely remember all the things that happened. the truth is most of my time and attention has been focused on Hno Armando, the man who is getting baptized. we´ve been able to teach almost everyday this week, and he is learning everything better than we could have hoped. its funny because sometimes i finish teaching a principle and think, "there is no way he could have understood what i was trying to explain." but every time i ask, he is able to explain it back to us better than i explained it. ha the more im here the more i realize that we dont really do anything. it kind of makes me think of when dad used to let us push his truck out of the driveway. in reality he was in control the whole time, and we werent doing anything, but he waited until we started pushing to let us feel like we were helping. but any way hno Armando fasted yesterday, and we went by later in the day and planned his baptism, he picked the hymns and the speakers, and we set a time for the interview and the baptism. its truly a miracle.

Other than him, there isnt a lot of people that are progressing quite that fast, but we do have some positive investigators. Part of what i love about the culture here is something that i really hate, and that is that it is so laid back and relaxed here. its a great place to live because everyone has time for each other, anyone will stop to talk, but its sometimes hard for missionary work because there is no hurry to do anything. like sometimes we will explain that everything you need to have a happier life and a stronger family is in the book of mormon, and we commit the people to read it, but when we go back and ask if they read it they say "oh i forgot, maybe ill get around to it next week." ha sometimes its frustrating, but im loving it and learning a lot about how much the spirit is needed if we really want them to change anything.

well what else can i say. im really loving it here more and more. i dont stress so much about spanish, or about the other things like if ill have money for food and that kind of stuff that i worried about when i was just starting. the mission is pretty amazing in how it teaches you so fast, im really learning a ton. oh and i should probably mention that along with the unlimited supply of free avocados, you can buy fresh off the tree orange mangos for about a quarter, and pineapples for cheap. ha what else could i ask for.

well i hate to say it but im low on time again. sorry i dont write alot, but its hard to get all my thoughts out of my head and in a way that follows a logical thought pattern. but i love you all so much. as i see more of some of the hard things of the world, it always makes me more and more grateful for the examples ive had that have helped me avoid the things that make you miserable. so thanks for everything. hang in there for another week. just think, summer is just around the corner, even if it was lonica's first day of school. love you guys.

Elder Jacobson

by the way something that we started doing is pick a christlike attribute from preach my gospel to focus on for the week. its really helped my improve myself. you guys should start it up and see what you think.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't open the picture until after you read this!

well hello there family. another week goes by here in the grandeza. it was a very interesting and very amazing week for me.

on tuesday we had something called area attack in our area, which is when all the elders and sisters from our zone come to our area to work, to help find people and get more things moving. it was a tough day for us because we had to plan the day for 12 different elders, and we all know how good of a planner i am, i guess that's one of the things i am here to learn. but the area attack went very well. at the end of the day we added up our the numbers of everyone, and we were only of few lessons short of completing all of our goals for the week. i was happy because we didnt have to work for the rest of the week, haha just kidding, if anything it made us both want to work harder.

on tuesday we went to the area of another companionship. it was a good day of mostly contacting, we found a lot of people, and had the opportunity to help a family do some work in their field. i dont know if i really helped them any, but it was fun, and they want the other elders to come talk to them.

on friday i witnessed a true miracle. from the very first week we had been working with a man named brother armando. He is a great man, but he has really been having troubles with drinking. my companion and i had done everything we could think of to help him, but at times it seemed he didnt really want to change. we talked to him sometime last week and asked him to be baptized, but he said that he really had no desire, and didnt want to right now, and the next day his wife told us he was out drinking again. it was hard for me to hear that, after everything we had done. then on friday we were at his house for noche de hermanamiento, which is when all the ward meets in someones house, kind of like family home evening for the ward. he showed up when it was almost over, and when we finished up, he asked if he could talk to us in the other room. when we got in there, he told us that he had been thinking a lot, and had decided that he wants to be a better example for his wife and kids and wants a better life, and that he wants to be baptized. it was truly a humbling experience for me. my comp made a comment that for 2 months we had done everything we could with little results, but when the spirit touched his heart, he was instantly ready to change.

since then we have taught him twice and he is really excepting the plan of salvation, as well as reading the book of mormon every night. like i said, truly a miracle.

well we found out early about cambios (changes), and good news, im here with elder heywood for another 6 weeks, im happy because i really think we are doing some good work here, and i dont want to leave before we start seeing more results.

all right, im low on time again. but once again i just want to tell you all that i love you and miss you, not in a homesick way, but more in a grateful way. but thanks for the e mails and the prayers, adios for now, ill be writing again in no time. love

Elder Jacobson.

P.S. oh by the way the pouch came this week, and the package wasnt in there. i talked to the secretary of the pouch, and he said if it hasnt gotten here yet it probably isnt going to make it. but no worries, im happy and always have all i need. my one hope is that maybe someone else is enjoying it. its the thought that counts anyway right?

P.S.S. i dont know if you heard about the storm that hit guatamala, but look at the picture, your not going to believe this.

(scroll down for picture Ü)

This is my little stinker wearing the p.j.'s and holding up some of the candy that were in his birthday package. Not sure if I should wring his neck or send hugs of joy.

Now he matches the rest of the fam!