December 29, 2015

Week 3: All the Right Reasons

It was so good to talk to Jackson on the phone for Christmas! He sounded wonderful and happy. He bore his testimony in Spanish; although we could only understand a few words, we definitely felt the Spirit. 

Hello! I'm 3 weeks in...halfway! 

I can't wait to get into the field. I heard there's a lot more freedom, not that I'll take advantage of it in a a bad way, but it'll be nice not to have to answer to teachers 14 hours a day. And they make us teach mock investigators, who are other teachers, and it's always super awkward, so I'm excited to be done with that. 

But it's all good, and I'm glad I'm here on my mission. I've really learned a lot. I'm not sure that I came out for all the right reasons, but I know I'm here for the right reasons now. My testimony has grown so much and I'm excited to get out there teaching the gospel. 

I've had the chance to be the responsible one. Imagine that! It's been a little hard for me, I've had to grow up a lot, but I think it's been good for me. I'm not worried about how I'll do in college anymore...

My Spanish is still improving every day. And yes, my facial hair does grow fast enough that I have to shave every day, even though I never tested that out before now. 

We go to the temple every Pday morning at 6 am. It's pretty cool. We don't leave the CCM at all except to walk to the temple. 

On Sundays we have a sacrament meeting in the morning. People are randomly selected to give talks, and it's all in Spanish so it's a little nerve-racking. Then we have the normal Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, and then a District Sunday School. Then we have like 3 devotionals. Everyone likes Sundays a lot, because they're a nice break from the week. 

Our North American District gets to go to President and Hermana Cox's apartment every Monday for a devotional too, so that's pretty cool. We all look forward to that.

Can't really think of much else to say besides I'm excited to read emails every week, so keep them coming! I'm doing well, and Love You!

December 22, 2015

Week 2: A Hulk in Latin America

Hi everyone! To update you on how things are going here, the work is still really hard. It feels like I start to get the hang of things and it gets harder, but I'm glad I'm here and I'm having a good time. I read my patriarchal blessing often for motiviation, and it works really well. I know they say you find something new every time you read it, but I've never realized how true it is until now. It's blown my mind at least 10 times now.

Still improving my Spanish.  The teachers are pretty impressed with my improvement. I can carry simple conversations now, and I spend a lot of time speaking with the Latino Elders. I still feel a little inadequate and behind though, because we do mock investigator lessons with the teacher, and we butcher it every time. But I feel like I'm doing better than what they expect by this time, so that's good.

The Latinos are pretty cool. Most of them are really nice and funny. They are mostly really skinny. They all think I'm a Hulk, because a few of them have sports at the same time as we do, so they see me working out. You could say everybody considers me the authority on health and fitness in the CCM now.

I'm doing everything you told me to do to stay healthy so don't worry. The food here is really good. It's like Mexican food but not spicy. We don't get the biggest portions, but there's a fruit bar too. Anyway, most of the food is REALLY good. Sleep isn't as much of an issue as I thought it would be. I go to sleep pretty easily, but my roommates and I talk for like half an hour before we fall asleep most nights.

We've all gotten to know each other pretty well. And we all like each other a lot. There are 4 sets of bunk beds per room. Originally we only had 2 of those occupied, but when the Latinos came, a couple more North Americans came and are roomed with us now. So my rooomates are: my companion Elder Lofgran from Idaho, Elder Radke from Oregon, and his companion Elder Mailo from Hawaii, and the two new Elders, Elder Christensen from Sandy, and Elder Bingham from Idaho. We all have small wardrobes to keep our things in.

It's really beautiful here. I really want to come back to Guatemala City after my mission. I'm pretty sure I'd want to revisit Quetzaltenango too, all the Latinos tell me its really cool. So lets plan on a family vacation when I get off my mission. :)

Love you! Can't wait to talk to you on Friday!

December 15, 2015

Week 1: Very, Very, Stressed...But Seriously, Don't Worry!

Hi from Guatemala City! Just want to start out by saying I love you! Thanks to everyone who sent emails. I really appreciate it and hope you'll email again. I wish I had time to respond to everyone, but we don't get a lot of time today so I'll try to answer everyone's questions in this one.

The Spanish is going pretty well so far. I speak more fluently after a week than I did in 3 years of high school. This keyboard is in Spanish as well as the don't mind the spelling/punctuation! Haha.

I've built great comradery between every single one of the other Elders that have been here the last week. We talk a lot about fitness, and a couple of them are into cars too. They agree I should've kept the Datsun, haha. My junior companion is Elder Lofgran, from Idaho. He's pretty easygoing, which is great. It's been good for me to have to take the lead on things.

I'm very, very stressed, I don't know if I've ever been so stressed in my life. We wake up at 6:30 and go to bed at 10:30, and it's nothing but go, go, go the whole time. We have a couple of hours of personal study every day but they give us so much to do outside of class that everyone is constantly unprepared. Most of the day it's language study, with some doctrine in it, and doctrine study with full Spanish immersion.

The first week has flown by, but it's been really hard. I'm pretty sure that this is the hardest thing I've done in my life, though I am confident that I can do it, so I'm okay... I don't know if I'll get out of here with my sanity though! But seriously, don't worry, I'll be fine.

On Sunday I felt the Spirit stronger than I ever have before, and have built my testimony a lot in the last week.

I'll end by saying I love everybody, I appreciate your support and I'm really glad I'm doing this. Hope you guys are all ok! Love you all!

December 9, 2015

Week 0: Safe and Sound

Hi, just letting you know that I've arrived at the MTC ok. I came over with 12 other Elders. They're all pretty friendly. There are 3 of us going to Quetzaltenango. We're the only Elders in the MTC right now, but there are supposed to be around 100 more coming next week, most of them Latino. Guatemala City is pretty cool so far. It's just like I pictured it to be: kinda sketchy, big city, really warm and humid. This is a pretty big adjustment so far, but I'm having fun. Tell everybody I love them!

December 8, 2015

Week 0: Aaaand, He's Off!

Elder Jackson Lee was set apart as a full-time missionary on Monday, December 7, 2015 at 8:00 pm by President Durham.

Flight information: 
Departure: 08 Dec 9:56 PM Salt Lake, Salt Lake International
Arrival: 08 Dec 11:00 PM Los Angeles, Los Angeles International
Departure: 08 Dec 11:55 PM Los Angeles, Los Angeles International
Arrival: 09 Dec 6:35 AM Guatemala, City, La Aurora International