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, August 29, 2011

aqui estoy

well well well, what can i say that i havent said yet. Another week has gone by and once again i find myself here at the computer writing to the fam. This week was alot better. we havent had that much more success still, but ive been forcing myself to stay positive, and it really does help alot. today we had to tell our zone leaders all of the possibilities that could get baptized in our area this month, and i was surprised to see that we have a pretty good list. yes folks things are looking bright for the humble missionaries here is san pablo.
well yesterday we had a sacrament meeting that im sure ill never forget. it started out normal, but about half way through things went nuts. about three weeks ago a women stopped us in the street to ask us for money. we told her that we werent allowed to give money, but we invited her to church and she said she would come. and sure enough , last week she came. she found us again this week and asked for money again, but once again we just invited her to church. well, she came about a half hour late, but she came with all of her kids. she walked in and went straight to the podium to shake the hand of our branch president, who was giving a talk at the time. ha after shaking all of the branch presidents hands, she knelt down in front of the podium, in the middle of sacrament meeting, and started praying. well i dont have time to write about it all, but sufficeth to say that the whole meeting was out of control. But they always say that the Lord works in mysterious ways. my comp and i realized that she had come to church twice on her own, even if she was only looking for money, but she came. so after church we told her to come back later in the day so we could teach her. she showed up with all of her six kids, and we taught them all. they all have no education, and couldnt even tell us who Jesus Christ was, but we taught them simply about how Jesus loves us and wants us to be happy. and we taught about the gospel and how it was important to be baptized. in the end, her and 3 of her kids accepted a baptismal date for later in this month.
it kind of made me think, alot of times we teach people that are super smart, and we try to explain things really well with all of the logic we can, and they almost never accept. but now we have found a family, who honestly has nothing more than the cloths on their backs, and they accepted just because they feel good. I think the secret to success as a missionary is to not use any logic, but to just help them feel the spirit, and they will accept more.
so they was a pretty cool experience. another cool thing that happened last week was that on monday we did an activity as a zone, so we didnt have time to buy anything. on tuesday morning we went to the house of a member to get keys to the church, and my comp told her we hadnt eaten breakfast. she asked why we didnt eat, and we explained that we didnt have any food in the house, and it seemed to end at that. but then later in the day when we went to give the keys back, the same hermana told us that she had talked to some of the members of the relief society, and had decided to help us out with our food problem. so they all pitched in a little money, and have been giving us breakfast and dinner every day this week. at first i felt a little bad, because the truth is that they have so little, and the missionaries generally have everything they need. but i talked to other missionaries and they said to not feel bad, but to just feel grateful, and know that they are going to receive blessings for their willingness to help.
so like i said, things are good here. im happy and healthy. tomorrow they will tell us about changes and we will see if i am going to be here in san pablo for another 6 weeks or no.
but its time to go. i love you all. have a good week. enjoy everything and keep up the ANIMO. talk to you later
Elder Jacobson

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Well like you said im coming up on a year. now when people ask how long i have been out for i just say "about a year". I think i always say it, but time is so weird. a whole nother year seems like a really long time, but if it goes by as fast as this one (and they say it goes by faster), i think it will be over too soon.
this week was pretty good. on tuesday we had interviews with president. he always has us fill out a paper that has us rate ourselves from 1 to 5 in a bunch of categories. in the category "Animo" i put a 3 out of five. im not sure what the word is for animo is in english, but it basically means how excited, or motivated you are to work. President asked me why my animo was low, and i told him because no one in our area is progressing, and we havent had hardly any success here. He taught me a good lesson. he said that our animo is like the fuel in a car. if a car doesnt have fuel, its not going to do anything. he said if a missionary feels discouraged and sad, he isnt going to do anything either. he told me that regardless of our success, we can never lose hope or faith. i liked it alot, and i made the goal that from this point forward i would not allow myself to get discouraged.
this week we mainly focused on finding people. ive have been praying hard that we could find someone who was ready for the Gospel. and the Lord has really blessed us. this week we found 3 families that seem pretty positive. one of them is a family of 11. they say that 12 years ago, 4 of them got baptized, but the others were too young, and that they went inactive over the years. we asked if they would like to come back to the true church and they said they will talk about it among the family. we are going to work hard, and pray that they make the decision to come back. the other families seem pretty positive as well. yes, things look bright for the future. i think that the quality of our lives depends little on the actual quality, and more on how we look at things.
Great news. Hna angela got baptized on wednesday, and was confirmed yesterday. she told us that when she got home from the baptism she cried because she was so happy. It was a great blessing to see her accept the true gospel. i know that her life is going to be very blessed.
well i think i will close up now. i would just like to encourage you all to continue reading the book of mormon. it will really be a great blessing. keep working hard. enjoy your first week of school. im sure today you will all receive about 50 disclosures that all say the same thing. ha i never got the point of all those , but i guess they know something i never did. Have a wonderful week everyone. Remember to never lose your ANIMO. a person without animo is like a car without gas, it doesnt go anywhere. I love you all, and am so grateful everyday to be part of your family. ADIOS
Elder Jacobson

Monday, August 15, 2011

Buses and Crazy Dogs

the title, doesnt say much. just a little part of my crazy life. Right now im talking to mom and dad via instant message, but i figured i would write something for the family to read.
It was a good week, but a little bit tough again. i remember in high school when we played the game with the stock market. all the graphs always had ups, and downs, Whenever it would drop alot, it would have to bottom out somewhere and start rising again. I think thats kind of the point im in right now. Not to say that my life sucks, its just that about 3 weeks ago we had a ton of people that we were teaching, but little by little we have had to leave them, because they dont want to pray, or read the book of mormon, or come to church. its hard, but we have to look for those who really have a desire to change their lives. so now we are down to about 2 investigators. but the good news is that im faithful that Heavenly Father is going to lead us to people who are ready.
Yesterday in the night i was praying, wondering if there was anyone in this area that really is looking for the truth. Suddenly in my mind flashed the vision of a family that is falling apart that needs something else in their lives. then the words came into my head "there out there, you just need to find them." It was pretty powerful for me. it gives me alot of hope and encouragement to keep looking. I know they are out there, we just have to find them.
ha yesterday i had a lame experience. we were on our way home at the end of the day. i saw a mange dog pass me but it looked calm so i didnt pay attention to it. then suddenly it started barking angrily. I dont know why, but my body, without consent from my brain, started running. ha i only took like 3 steps, but i felt stupid. of course a ton of people saw me because everyone is out in the street at night. they all laughed and yelled "the poor gringo got scared." ha how lame. but it didnt really bug me. just one of the many challenges of having cat like reflexes. I think i understand why spiderman says its a curse.
Well i ran out of time again. but i love you all. enjoy your last week of summer. and work hard this year. Remember that good grades are the key to getting the ladies. good bye for now.
Elder Jacobson

Monday, August 8, 2011

hot weather cold blooded

dear family,
you may be wondering what the subject means. the truth is i dont really know. right now its like 1000 degrees in our internet place so i decided to write hot weather, then i realized that that was a lame title, so i added the last part on to spice things up a bit. heres another riddle for you: whats something that is white, fat, and completes 11 months on the mission today. if you guessed the legendary asian albino elephant, your close but wrong. the answer is me.
hard to believe its been almost a year, its gone way fast on this side, i imagine it is going fast there as well. its gotten hotter here. it doesnt rain as much, and i seem to be sweating all the time. people tell me this is one of the cooler areas, but i have a hard time believing that.
well imma make this one fast because i have to do some other stuff on the computer, but ill tell you one story. we started an activity with all the members of the branch that we are going to start doing every week. the very first one was a success and a bunch of members came, as well as two investigators. at the end of the activity we played a game where we did like a simon says thing, and the people that messed up had to go in front of everyone. once we had 5 people in front (i wasnt one of them) they had to pick someone, and that person had to pick some sort of punishment, or something they had to do. our cook hna Irma picked me, and i couldnt decide what to say, so i said she had to dance. dancing is part of the culture here so no one really thought anything of it. when everyone had their punishment picked out, the person directing the game threw a curve ball, and said that all the people that picked a punishment had to do thier own punishment. ha my stomach dropped as i realized they were going to expect me to dance in front of half the members of the ward. well i went up in front of everyone and they all started yelling dance, dance. ha i didnt know what to do, i didnt even dance in high school prom. I thought about starting a mosh pit, but there was too many children and i didnt want to cause unnecessary casualties to save my own pride. luckily someone put some music on their phone, i decided it would be easiest just to get it over with , so i bounced my head and kind of moved my body in a sorry attempt to dance. ha everyone laughed and cheered with childish delight. i ran off and sat down, and they all said my face turned red. Later that night i talked with my comp and we decided to cancel the activities.. ha just kidding, but seriously.
well the only other news is that hna angela told all her family that she was going to get baptized today. she was super excited. it was sad that we had to explain to her that she has to come to church first, but she understood, and is still just as excited. we well be baptizing her next week. ill send pics.
well thats all for now. as always i love you all. im glad to hear that all is well and that the garden is doing well. I would ask you to send a pic of a big ripe juicy tomato, but my comp might think its weird if he sees me licking the monitor. have a good week. Adios
Elder Jacobson

Monday, August 1, 2011

11 meses

well the truth is that i wont complete 11 months untill next week, but its the beginning of august so i figure im close enough. this week was a little bit tougher, but the things that dont make us stronger kill us.
it started out well. we started out with 2 baptismal dates planned. 1 was with hemanita sury, and the other was with an older ladie named angela. we went to visit them every day to make sure they were ready and excited, and everything was going well. the only thing that worried me was that the family of hna angela was very against her baptism. they told her she was playing with God and that it is a great sin to be baptized twice. but she told us she knew it was true and that she planned on going through with it. on thursday we couldnt find her in her house, and all friday we were looking for her. we went to her house on friday night and found a pastor from her other church. we think that she was there, but they wouldnt let us talk to her. so we went back saturday morning, and finally found her in her house. she told us that the knew she needed to be baptized, but was afraid of her family, so we decided to wait a week. I was pretty bumbed because her husband died about a month ago, and she really needs the gospel in her life. We could tell that satan was really working hard against her. but we are going to work with her this week and make sure it goes through.
Hna sury was baptized and everything went through beautifully. we had a little bit of difficulty getting her to church for her confirmation, because her dad tried to break up a fight and got his leg smashed, and her mom was really sick. she said she didnt feel well and didnt want to go to church. but we got alot of support from one of the member families, and in the end everything worked out perfect. Just goes to show that satan is always working against us. but in the end, he really has no power, the right will always prevail.
other than that the week went well. we are finding alot of investigators. the only problem is that usually they want to listen to us when we just teach, but when we try to help them make commitments to improve their lives, they decide that its too hard and stop listening to us. my comp and i are working on figuring out how to get the members to start working with investigators to help them keep commitments and progress. i think it will be alot more work, but yield much greater results.
on thursday we went to visit a member family. we talked to them a little and the dad told us that he had been without work for more than a month. i was impressed to talk about tithing, so we taught a pretty powerful lesson about how paying a full tithe will bless their lives. I think it helped alot, and on sunday i saw the mom take out a tithing slip. its cool to me how my testimony is always growing here. in my farewell talk i said that i didnt really have a testimony of tithing because i have never had to sacrifice to pay it. but from teaching about it and promising that everything will be better when they pay, i have really felt my testimony grow.
ive been studying, and thinking alot about character lately. Pres. Maravilla talks alot about how our character is who we are. It made me think alot about me personally, if i am someone strong, faithfull, and full of love, or someone selfish, prideful and always worying. i think that we can always improve our character by focusing on becoming more like Christ. When we can say that we are truly doing our best to be like him, we wont have to wonder what type of person we are.
well its time to go. like i said it was a tough week, but im hopeful for the future. things are looking bright, and we are going to work hard. Happy anniversary to mom and dad. You two have been married a long time. its weird, but every year that goes by i have a harder time remembering your wedding. SHOUT OUT to the siblings: Jordub Jalub johnub and lonicub. enjoy your last weeks of summer. have a good week. enjoy some fresh garden produce for me, and i will continue scarfing down rambotanes at every opportunity. I love you all talk to you soon.
Elder Jacobson

oh and by the way the razor is gillet, its the one with like five razors. and who ever gives the report of me in priesthood, you can tell them that im usually soaking wet all the time, because im either sweating, or its raining, its hard to find common ground. another interesting thing is that im getting fat again, i dont know what the deal is but im always gaining or losing weight, maybe it depends on who my cook is. ha i love you, good bye until next week.