Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June 1, 2015

I have some depressing news: I'm coming home to have surgery on my knee.

Basically what happened was that my knee was sore for a few days and I thought, eh this happens. Then my companion, always looking out for me, told me I should probably talk to the mission president's wife, the head of medical things in our mission right now, and tell her what's up. Then we decided just to wait until the meeting we had with them on Thursday (it was Wednesday when I decided it was hurting bad enough to let them know -just that it gets sore sometimes).  So the meeting came around, which was great! I loved it and I felt super-duper excited to go out and work, and all of the other missionaries that arrived at the same time as me were really having a great time too.  Then, I was feeling fine so I decided not to say anything about my knee to Hermana Jordan, Presidents wife, as not to bother them with anything not important. But my companion told me I should anyways, so I did. And she told me we should have it checked out at the hospital just to make sure it's not anything that would become a problem later. So we ended up spending all day the next day in the hospital doing tests and MRIs and stuff, and they told me today that I have a torn meniscus and need surgery. If I don’t do this surgery, then I will have major problems in the future and I won’t be able to do anything, let alone even think about pole vaulting ever again, and my career choice of an FBI agent will be over before I even get to start. So President told me today that the question now isn’t if I will be going home, it’s a matter of when all the correct people sign off on the paperwork and a matter of when I'll be coming back.  So yep. On the bright side, I will be going back home to see many of you within the next week and a half. And I will be able to give a more complete detailing of all of my experiences here in Mexico.  I hope you guys are practicing pole vault still though because I plan on helping coach during the parts between the surgery and returning back here to finish my 2 years. Anyways, you’re all really great. I love you family! See you soon I guess!

Also don’t worry about me being sad or anything, and don’t be sad that I'm coming back. The Lord has a plan and the only reason I or any of you should be sad is if I don’t follow in this plan. Had I not found out right now that my knee is broken so severely, I would have serious problems in the future. And I've had a lot of different spiritual experiences that have explained to me that this was the plan from the beginning and that I shouldn’t worry. Because when I come back and have recuperated I will be even better than I was before (right now) as a missionary.  I love you all! Have a great week!

Message from Elder Jacobs Mission President

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 25, 2015

The first thing to happen this week that was interesting was my birthday, we had divisions the day before so my companion was switched with a different one for the day.  I woke up so focused and worried about some of our investigators and less active members and I didn’t even realize that it was my birthday until like noon.  It was super weird once I realized, haha.  In the morning I had a really great experience that changed a lot of things.  So the elder I was with for that day didn’t bring his toiletries that he should have brought, like his hair gel. So he asked me for a ton of different things and I just gave them to him, but then he got to hair gel. And you all know how I love my hair and the American Crew stuff that I use--about to seem a little gay here--and I brought 3 that should have lasted me a really long time, and they don’t sell it here in Mexico.  Long story short, I lost the first 2 that I brought and I’m already on the third one, which has lasted me since the beginning of my stay here in Mexico. But other people don’t use it right, they use a lot, so I really didn’t want to share. So I didn’t. I told him that it was aftershave since he can’t read English. Then, I went to say a prayer to ask God how it is that I should teach a certain family.  Then, I got the overwhelming sensation and realization that I had just lied and brought myself to the presence of our Heavenly Father, the seer of all truth. So I started to think about what I should do, I knew I would not receive any revelation in this "dirty" state of my soul, so I said a prayer and opened my scriptures to know what it is that I should do, and I opened to Doctrine and Covenants 42:33. Pretty “spot on” about what I should do. So I gave it to him to use and I felt better.  Later we had a lesson with this family and after who knows how many years they came to church yesterday, after the revelation of how we should teach them was given. 
Oh and I got pizza for my birthday. So that was great. 
Then, more later on in the week, we had a great lesson with Hna Lupita, the Jehovah Witness that is now a member of the church, and she still has been rejecting the Book of Mormon as the word of God, but on the spot I got this feeling that we should change the lesson that we had planned for her about the Book of Mormon and simply read a chapter from the book of Mormon about Jesus Christ when he came to the Americas, 3 Nephi Ch 17. And after reading it I asked my companion to say a prayer so that we would all feel the love Jesus had and has for us and the people of the multitude in the chapter, as if we were there. And after the prayer she told us she had never felt that way before and I testified that it was the Holy Ghost, which only testifies through sacred scripture of God. She accepted it and we left, we have yet to see more results of that lesson in the next visit this week.

We also had a great lesson with the son of a less active, also a less active, who is an atheist and likes to read philosophy and loves the psychology of man.  His goal is transcendence.  So I guess according to what my companion told me, he never would even join their lessons before because he would just say, “nah I’ve heard it and I don’t want it.”  But this time I said a prayer in my heart to open his heart so that he would hear my words and I might be able to preach with the power Alma and Amulek had when teaching Zeezrom, And he did! Well, he explained his views and I told him how there's only two options, either God does or He does not exist. And none of the evidence of the world, with all the doctors and great minds that are in it, can prove or disprove one or the other.  So that leaves us with only one option, one instrument to be able to know one hundred percent: our hearts.  If all the minds of the world can’t figure it out, we need to figure this out for ourselves, and experiment on the words of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, the words of our God; who will testify of the truthfulness of his words through the power of the Holy Ghost, who works through the instrument of our hearts. So I testified of these things and told him if he spent one hour praying and reading he would know with the surety that I know, God is real, and He sent His son, and through Him all of us are saved by our obedience and perseverance in following in His example. And that this church He established is once again here today, restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, who was called of God.  And he physically started shaking and trembling and said that he needed to go to his room and think.  And that was the end of that, but we see him again on Tuesday, so we'll see what happens then.  Overall it was a pretty fantastic week. 

I love you all! Love you Mom and Dad! Love you family!
I picked a mango from a tree in the street so I'm waiting until it ripens to eat it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015


Yeah, it was nuts! So the day before it rained I thought, "Hmmm I don’t need new shoes yet.  These shoes are pretty trashed, but we can do it next week when we have more time."   WRONG!  When it rained my shoes got completely wrecked.  So we had to go buy some new ones the very next day during our appointments... yeah, that stunk... But it's great now because I have some super comfy and durable shoes that should last me until the end of my mission, (hopefully). 

When it rained the streets turned to rivers, literally!  The sewers exploded the caps off the street sewer holes, and the lagoon in our area overflowed into the street releasing all the crocodiles to the general public. Coolest day ever!  ….hahahaha!  Nah, we didn't get to see any crocodiles, but there were tons in the other areas of Tampico.  None of the missionaries saw any though.  So sad. 

But anyways, this week was just a bunch of the same, nothing really super duper extraordinary in terms of events, but with one of our patients (from now on if we visit them I will just refer to them as a patient, this one happens to be a less active member) she thought I was judging her or something I think, so mid-sentence she stopped and asked me what I thought about her.  And so I told her, from the bottom of my heart, how much I cared for her, and loved her, and wished nothing more for her than exaltation with our Heavenly Father.  But also that I knew the only way for her to do that is to go through the temple, and for that to ever happen she needs to recognize the Book of Mormon as the word of God.  She believes everything about the church now, but she has a really hard time accepting the Book of Mormon as scripture because she feels the Bible is all she will ever need and that it is complete. So that's been a struggle.  

Rocío is doing fantastic.  Funny as usual.  She is the less active member that has schizophrenia. Every time we visit her it's like we start from a completely new point than the last visit, as opposed to everyone else we see, where we pick up where we left off kinda at our previous meeting.  She tells us all the time about how different people tell her that they are Moroni and stuff like that.  Yesterday she told us that one of the recently returned missionaries told her at church that he is Jesus Christ.  And the worst part is that she just automatically believes this stuff!  But it's all good, because we always sort out the confusion, since she believes us too.  I love her, she's so fantastic, definitely one of my favorite people to visit.  The rest of this week was basically normal.  Nothing too exciting.  But I still loved every minute of it!

Thanks mom for the birthday attempts!  Haha, we'll have to see when I get it all. For my birthday we are probably gonna order pizza or something since we can do that here in civilization, unlike Huejutla.   I still loved it there though.  But seriously, I have learned to appreciate all the stuff we have at home, and how you can be barefoot in the house, or actually ever.  I'm having a great time though!  Thanks for your love and thanks for that picture of the clock!  Hahaha, that cracked me up!  Also, no we didn’t get to see the Q&A from Elder Bednar.  I heard about it though.  Nothing more than that however.

I love you guys! You’re all awesome! Have a great week!

Time is going by so fast! After my next transfer, I'll be a fourth of the way done with my mission! It's so crazy! And on top of that, we're already halfway through this transfer, and at the end of this transfer I'll have a new Mission President!  So things are gonna really shake up around here. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015


Ok, so butterflies aren't all that uncommon here… they are actually everywhere, but I found one on our front door when we got home one night so I had some fun with it J. My companion was just shaking his head.  It was great!

This week I found my favorite scripture, and I wrote it on my scripture case! Woo! It took like 30 mins to triple coat it and put it in deep enough not to rub off. But it's 2 Nephi 4:31.  I really took that scripture to heart and I’ve been studying the life and teachings of Jesus to figure out how I can do it. It's made the work so much larger, but at the same time so much easier.  I love it!  It's hard to describe. But I'll try to relate to you the feelings through an experience we had with some Jehovah Witnesses the other day.  We were teaching a street contact and some Jehovah Witnesses just interrupted our conversation and started trying to teach all of us. It was really odd. And then they started trying to bible bash and stuff, which we don’t do, so Elder Stringer kept trying to get out of there, like mid-sentence just saying “bye.”  It was really obvious he was trying to run.  I followed him as he left, but I just kept thinking the whole time about how Jesus looks at these women. They are our sisters, with good hearts, simply confused by the trickery of Satan.  I kept thinking for the rest of the day about what I could have done better. And what Jesus would have done. They kept trying to ask us all these questions about the bible to try and catch us in the doctrines that they interpret to be correct, versus our restored truths. And I thought of Jesus and how when the Pharisees and others did that type of thing to him, he just said, "let he without sin cast the first stone." And I kept trying to think of something I could have said like that, but I'm not that wise yet. YET, haha. But I realized what I should have done is simply bear my testimony of the truth, and let the power of God that is in my faith do the rest.  And since that thought, I have begun to recognize the true power and the sacredness of our calling as missionaries.  Basically, my spiritual plane has been lifted to yet another level. The wisdom of God is just so so so much higher than all of ours.  The best thing we can do is trust in him, and listen to the spirit.  

On another note, I cook like a Mexican now with hot sauce on everything and I use too much oil to cook eggs.

Also I got to call my family yesterday for Mother's Day! Which was awesome! I have been having the best time over here and then I got to talk to my family! And they weren’t even ready because they miscalculated the time difference, but they were still there! What a miracle! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOM!

I can’t think of anything else to write this week. See yah all later! Have a great week!

I love you Mom and Dad!

I love you Dallin, Eliza, Bethany, Harrison!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 4, 2015

My sad bed without a hammock... I cant figure out how to put it up yet...
At the start of this week I had to relearn everything about everyone, relearn a map of a new city, and I have to admit I got a little homesick again (for like 5 min), but I quickly combated that with working on learning all that I could about where I was.  I got straight down to it, even though it was P-day, I spent the day studying and I learned all about the people, the members, the bishop, and what our goals here are and stuff like that.  It really helped! So much so, that I didn't even realize it had been a week yet until last night! The mission is gonna go by so quick if I keep up working hard like this!

We have the craziest investigators/less actives! One is a schizophrenic, one is a Jehovah’s Witness that lied at her baptismal interview to receive the ordinances of the gospel, but really doesn't believe in institutions, just Jehovah.  She thinks churches are only useful for doing these ordinances.  But!  Guess what?!  After a visit from the bishop, and several visits from the elders during the last change, when I got there (I've been really working on learning exactly what each investigator needs and listening to the spirit with what I can personally do to help them), I was able to help her to accept that this is Christ’s restored church on the earth today, and to commit to coming to church to prepare to be worthy to receive and participate in temple ordinances!  It was so awesome!  

My Spanish is getting really great! Well, it's only really great when I’m working with the spirit. Otherwise it's garbage.  But I really have never felt the spirit so strong in my life.  I work everywhere on becoming more Christ like. My goal by the end of my mission is to be exactly like Christ, but we know I'll have faults still.  But one can hope and try! haahha :)  

Other things to happen this week… OH! I've finally figured out how to use my ability of making friends like it's no big deal!  It really is a talent given to me by the Lord.  I have learned to really listen to others and find exactly what they need to hear, in terms of the gospel, for them to have a desire to continue in the lessons.  So we've been getting new investigators like crazy!  Not all thanks to me of course, but I actually have seen my own efforts pay off in our increase of new investigators.  It's been awesome.  Also after Huejutla, this area is way easy to walk through.  Even though my area now is probably about 8 times larger, it’s all super flat. So compared to the mountains in Huejutla its super duper easy. Also Elder Stringer and I are like a power duo here.  I learn a lot from his example, and it's great because it doesn't feel like he's training me.  Just at times I’ll say something that doesn't make total sense in Spanish, so he'll correct me and help me to remember.  It's great!  He told me it doesn't feel like he's training me either because I’m already super duper obedient and I pick up on everything really quick.  Also this area is awesome because I've already had cheesecake, which I have learned to love, and ice cream like 4 times!  Don’t worry though.  I'm not getting fat.  I actually have lost weight from all those parasites, and now I’m just gaining muscle back.  I also ran a mile and a half in about 8 mins.  I didn't even feel tired afterwards! I am in such good shape right now!

But really, the people here are so kind and the ward is amazing.  I've just been slamming it with the work.  Every moment I have I’m trying to figure out a way we can touch the heart of an investigator.  It's been a truly amazing experience.  Also, a phrase that people use to say something is cool or awesome is "Oh! Esta cosa está bien padre!"  I don’t know why really.  It literally means “Oh, this thing is good/well father!”  So I don’t know, hahaa.  I just thought dad might appreciate that!  To say something is cool you totally just say “it’s dad.”  Oh, also I had the biggest hamburger I've ever eaten in my life this week.  It was bigger than two of my faces put together. I tried to take a picture, but I don’t think I did the size justice.  Also I ate the hardest thing to eat on my mission so far this week: an apple with the skin on it.... I hated it!  But I ate it.... I hate the skin of apples.... Yep but overall this week was awesome!

Thanks mom for everything! Thanks Dad! I love you guys!
Thanks Dallin, Eliza, Bethany, Harrison!
I love you!

Also I forgot! I found a post-it in my bible that I think was from Bethany, if that was you Bethany, thanks! I loved it!  I'll take a picture of it and send it next week.


Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015

SO I GOT CHANGED TO TAMPICO AFTER MY FIRST CHANGE! Which is super uncommon, to be moved to a different area before your training is over. I had a great time there though. This week, I got sick again, but overall it was alright.  We finally figured out why I was sick all the time though!!! We took a look at our water supply to our house (we put a white bowl in the tap and shower and looked at them both) and we found a whole bunch of parasites and worms and such swimming around in there!!! We don’t drink the water of course, but when showering sometimes water gets in your mouth by accident.  So we were about to change houses, but the landlords were like, “Nooooo! We'll fix it!”  So we are giving them 2 weeks and then we were gonna change houses, which I thought was going to be the fulfillment to the revelation I received two weeks ago about whether I would move to a new area to help me not be sick during the next transfer period.  I got the answer that I would be changed, but then when we were gonna change houses in this area I thought maybe that was what God meant by yes.  So I discarded the thought of changing to a different area. (Ok, I still thought I would change, but I was less sure of the answer I had received.  But now I found out that yep, I've been changed to a different area! Woo! And I didn’t tell you guys about this 2 weeks ago because when I prayed to know if I could tell anyone, God told I needed to wait until it was fulfilled to tell anyone about it. But it happened and that's super cool right!
Elder Braithwaite mixing masa
OK so the culture shock coming from Huejutla to Tampico is so real. There are so many cars here and there are door handles and there are actual grocery stores. People eat out and it’s not expensive …all these crazy things.  I kept thinking it's gonna be so weird when I come back to the US and all this will be multiplied by like a bajillion is what will be considered normal.  I love it here though. It's really flat as opposed to all the mountains I have been sloshing through in my last area.  It's also the most dangerous part of the mission.  Huejutla, since it’s just a little town, basically the retirement home of Mexico, everything is really tranquil. But here, the military is everywhere, there's no police because they were all corrupt a while back so the military just came in. Isn't that crazy! But don’t worry. We are all really protected and cautious.  It's just such a change!   Elder Braithwaite and I made pancakes last night, but instead of pancake batter we used cake batter and it made the pancakes really good, haha. 

Oh, I forgot to tell you all about how when Elder Braithwaite was sick and I was stuck inside all day, I started to go crazy. You all know how I can’t be inside for too long or else I start to go nuts. AND on top of that, he was sleeping the whole time, which is reasonable, but I had no one to talk to! It was awful! I started to lose it and prayed to Heavenly Father that I would feel the presence of a friend, just to help me make it through the day without going insane, and guess who I felt in the room next to me? Grandma Vicki! I could almost hear her telling me to hang in there and that soon all of this would help me to be who God wants me to be. I think it is one of the kindest things God has blessed me with. I could just feel all the love and care He and all of you and Grandma Vicki have for me.  I wish I could express the amount of comfort that brought me.
2013: Our last Christmas with Grandma Vicki
I love you all. 
I Love you Mom and Dad!
I love you Dallin, Eliza, Bethany, Harrison!

Have a Great week!

A video of a dog and some chicks at an investigators house before a lesson... haha!

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 20, 2015

So yep, this week we almost got struck by lightning! I've never really been this close to lightning before and so I thought it was awesome when one struck about 15 yards from us! But my companion told me we were in danger, which I kind of figured out, so we booked it off the mountain we were on. My area is pure mountains. It’s crazy!

This week was fantastic! I had the best time ever! Ok, so first we almost got struck by lightning, (so cool I had to write about it twice). The next day, we had an awesome district meeting where my companion and I did an awesome activity to teach the apostasy (try comparing the principles of the apostasy to a blender, or a hundred dollar bill… yeah, we did that). It was super fun, hahaha! Then, the next day we went to Tampico! We went for my generation meeting. A generation is all the missionaries that showed up to a specific mission at the same time. It was awesome because since my area is a 5 hour bus ride away, we went the night before and we got pizza and REAL MILK the next morning!! It was the best! Also, another newbie (Elder Rodriguez - from another part of Mexico) went out street contacting together and we got a family to start on the lessons in their home! Really neat, especially since I don’t really even know the language too well yet; OH WAIT, TURNS OUT I´M ROCKIN´ IT WITH SPANISH. I found out at the Generation Meeting that I am the best at Spanish of all the English speakers that were in my generation! Isn't that awesome!? And I participated so much at the Generation Meeting, that the President and the Assistant to the President thanked me for my participation and input! It was great!
On the way home, on the bus drive we got hungry so we got out when the bus driver stopped for a break.  He usually stops for about 15 minutes to use the restroom and other people get out too.  While my companion and I were buying our stuff a random dude came up and told us our bus was leaving without us. I’m still not sure how he knew what bus was ours but what a miracle right? I didn't have time to buy any food, but hey, we got on the bus and made it back to our casa so all is good :)  

The next day we went on divisions and I stayed in our area and the Zone Leader, one of them I mean, was with me in my area.  So I was in charge.  Yeah, it was a lot of pressure for a new missionary, especially because I knew I was being tested.... OH WAIT, NO IT WASN'T!  I looked at it as an opportunity to show him everything we had been practicing… and the results? 8 new investigators, 14 Lessons, and 5 Lessons with a member accompanying us, and 3 more contacts besides the 8 new investigators.  The average is about half that. And usually we aim to get 2 new investigators each day. Not one person that we ended up talking to walked away without an appointment for us to stop by their home and explain a little more about how the Gospel can bless their life. Honestly, I didn't even know that those kinds of numbers were possible. But I prayed basically all the day before that I would be able to use the confidence that the Generation Meeting gave me and I would be able to have the spiritual strength of Captain Moroni. I don’t remember what scriptures it is, but a little earlier in the same chapter that explains that if all men were as Moroni the powers of hell would be shaken forever and Satan would have no power over the children of men (or something like that), it explains how Moroni was a man "Full of thanks to his God, constantly working for the well being of his people, a man firm in the faith of Christ". And so I've been working really hard to have these attributes.  And it’s been majorly paying off! 
I got our Hammocks up in our room, because it has been so dang hot. It’s so humid here guys. It is nuts!  But also our area has been deemed as one where “missionaries go to die”, either they are about to go home the next transfer, or they come here and they lose all ability to be good missionaries and sluff off. It’s annoying for us because that makes what we have to work with basically nothing.  But we are bringing about a new trend here in Huejutla! We have 3 more baptisms planned for the next 2 weeks! Woo! And we should have many more on the way. 
Also we've been learning a Mexican Navaho type language here. I don’t know if I already told you, sorry if I did, but it’s awesome.  So one thing is Toaltecl Mixniki (To-al-Te-cull Mish-Snicky) which means, "Dios nos ama," which means God loves us. Also to knock at someone’s door (since no one has doors here), you just yell at their property, you say “¡Anastoque!”  Pretty neat stuff.  Also I made crepes this week, Along with even better Mac ‘n Cheese! Woo!  I also went running this morning and did like 4 bleachers and pole vault drills so I feel amazing today! In the hurricane where we almost got struck by lightning, my shoes got wrecked so I am wearing the brown ones with everything until I buy black shoes again, haha. But it’s all good. I’m not trying to impress anyone with how I look, just how I act and preach, I’m only trying to impress God.  Yep, that was my FANTASTIC AWESOME WEEK :)

I love you family! I’m sorry ran out of time to really address you all personally, but I love all of you!  Adios! :)