I decided I´m going to start copying the letter I send to President so you have more to read. I have changes this week, so I´m pretty excited for that.
I will attach the letter below.
Dear President Cordon,
“I would like to begin sending my weekly emails to my family, so I can spend more time updating you on the week. Because they do not understand spanish, I will write in english. If this is a problem, please notify me, and I will go back to what I was originally doing.
In my eyes, this was a miraculous week. We had a baptism of a man named Juan Cardona. Elder Gibson and I were fasting for success in the area, as well as a possible baptism in the month of September. The following day, Sunday, a man from Congo showed up with 2 attendances saying that he wanted to be baptized the following week here in Molino. His brother or friend was a member of a gang, and some of the gang members associated himself as part of the opposing gang. As a result, he finds it dangerous to go to the chapel in Congo for reasons of gang limits and boundaries. I made sure he never participated in any gangs, and his conviction to keep attending. He is an excellent convert that has great desires to serve God and stay on the straight and narrow path. I gave Elder Moran the opportunity to baptize him because they taught him the lessons. Even though as missionaries we didn´t do much, I´m grateful that the Lord could bless this ward this month by sending a new convert. We brought another investigator to church this week named Brenda, and we put a baptismal date with her for the 13th of October. She is almost 19 years old, and she has very strong conviction. She can´t read, so that will be a potential problem in the future. We´ll read with her from the Book of Mormon and see to it that she gains a testimony. We have an investigating family, that hasn´t went for reasons of work. This week they are committed to go to conference. He has fixed his work schedule, and he will be going this week. He has been reading the Book of Mormon for a year now. Before he received lessons from Elder Bunn and Guerrero. He likes the Book of Mormon because “it is clear” and it helps him understand the Bible. His name is Jose Romero.
I would like to apologize for the state of the zone these past few weeks. The lack of success in the area as well as the zone has brought me to alot of self-inspection. There are some things, or bad habits I have that will cease to continue as I go into the next zone. I will list them below.
Relationship and interaction with members: Right now, I feel a lot of love from the members of the ward and they are very willing to help. I am a very direct person, and I´ll say things as they are. If I see something wrong I will state my opinion. When I came to the area, I tried correcting the ward counsel and inviting us to do what the prophet had taught us. I stated it as clear as I could. Some chose to be offended because it went against the tradition of things. To all who were offended, I later apologized and corrected the situation. All the holes were filled and apologies made. This helped me realize the way to interact. If I want to change the situation, I must do so by example with faith and enthusiasm as the prophets taught. I must do so by love. Be tolerant, unshaking, but try to advise with love. I will change this in the coming transfer, and I will not make the same mistakes again. I will also put more emphasis in teaching in the house of member. To be honest, I´ve never put much focus on that, but seeing that is the inspired counsel, I will change and will influence the zone to change as well.
Realize my position and influence: I didn´t believe much, that one man could change the numbers of the zone. I saw as my numbers went down, so did theirs. As I put emphasis on something, so did they. Just as a cowboy can lead a herd of 500 cows, so can a ZL over some missionaries. When I see that the numbers step out of line, or the success of the zone starting to drift, I will correct it instantly. If you let one cow step out, the whole herd follows and they all get lost. I will put more pressure on the missionaries and observe them more closely. I feel like I was too tolerant, or too relaxed with the way I handled the zone. I now know, and I won´t make the same mistake.
Overcome the natural man: I´m known to make a lot of jokes, but sometimes I let that get too out of balance. Sometimes with my sense of humor, I can let some responsibilities slide, saying that “it´s ok,” or laugh about it. A sense of humor is a good thing, but when used in the appropriate and balanced manner. I feel the spirit leave when I do use it in the wrong time. This can, as well, affect the respect that the missionaries have for me in the zone. In the upcoming change, I will see that I establish this balance. I will respect full responsibility for what the zone does, and use humor to boost the spirits of the zone in the appropriate timing.
I like improving. I believe it is foolish to not be aware of our weaknesses because that slows down progression. This change I will improve many things, and will see to it that I become a honorable leader that can guide the missionaries where they need to go. Forgive me for my errors. I believe this time of the mission was necessary to wake me up.If you see something in me that must be improved to bring forth the work of the Lord, tell me. The mission is a great time to learn while we are so spiritually sensitive and malleable.
I´m sorry for the state of the zone, I´ve never been the one to worsen the situation, but sometimes bad things happen so we can learn and improve. I will change to bring about the Lord´s work without delay. Please have trust in me, I will never be the victim of circumstances again.”
It was a great week. This is a great time of my mission, parents. Not so much for the fruits, but for what I´m learning in this time.
Thank you for the support.
We wrangled up a baptism! How about that? One day before the month ends, and a miracle falls out of heaven. That made me feel grateful for the love that God has for us. Even in the harder times, he gives us a little sampler. I am grateful for the tender mercies of God. It is also a strong testimony of what fasting can do.
Well, love you family. I´ll send some pictures your way.
Just another week has floated on by. As far as the missionary work…….
Nothing very positive happened this week in the field. We`ll still beating on this brick wall over here in the area. I know that there are people waiting to hear us, but we are struggling to find them right now. It is a very poor area. Everybody says yes… but everybody means no. This is a concept that just drives my patience to its end. I find myself becoming more like dad every day. My sharpness and patience with un-commiting people eventually reaches a dead end. It has been a great experience learning personally in these past few weeks. I will keep refining the things I do wrong, in order to bring about the Lord`s work over here. Like it says in the Book of Mormon, we must first cleanse the inward vessel for the rest to shine.
I have been reading the “Miracle of Forgiveness.” I appreciate all of the comments about how that book sends missionaries back home. Yes, that could be true, if you were an unrepentant missionary. I am loving the book. I`ve about read the whole thing over the past 3 days. It`s helping understand better the “why” as well as the “how” of repentance. It`s a great book for analyzing the things that we do wrong in life, even the small things. One thing I am trying to improve is never again say a negative thing about somebody else. The consequences of doing that can never be measured, and a negative comment can be extremely damaging to the growth of another person.
Christ Himself, was only a builder. Jesus never tore another person down, nor criticize. When He reprimanded, He did so in a clear and concise way, speaking only the truth. Our job, as disciples is the same. We should never tolerate the wrong, but we should always build up. Think of how loved you would be as a person if you could perfect that. That is something I am working on right now in the mission.
As far as the mission work goes, we are having a rough time finding people to go to church. The members don`t offer too much support over here. This leaves us knocking doors and working on our own. We fasted Saturday and the next day a man came to church that was preparing for baptism. His name is Juan, and he lives a little far away, but sounds like we have a little fasting miracle, huh?
I`ll send you some pictures in a few hours. We`re going to go play soccer with the President today as a reward for baptizing 20 last month. It`s going to be in a private soccer club. I`ll send some pictures afterwards.
Love Elder Jacobsen
Goodness… there`s no way that little girl has cancer. That`s a disaster. I`ll make sure to keep her in my prayers.
This week went super badly. I`m not even going to beat around the bush. It was the national day of independence here in El Salvador. Hey. That`s cool for El Salvador, but for the work of the Lord that was terrible. Nobody went to church. Church attendance dropped by 50 people. We do have a good pool of investigators. They are reading the Book of Mormon and growing in their testimony. The only thing they are lacking….. They haven`t gone to church yet. As soon as they do, we`ll starting working with them for baptism.
The pictures I sent are good ones. The photo of the bottle is rattlesnake cream. This crazy older man over here saw my face, that it was breaking out, and he said “hey buddy…. take this rattlesnake cream. It will heal any wound!”
Needless to say… I have not used the rattlesnake cream. I was thinking of saving it until I get home so I can mass produce it to help all with acne. Some funny things that go over here in chicken land.
I had a family night with one of the RC`s that I have. He explained to us the story of King Benjamin like he has been a member for years. It was a great blessing to see one of our converts progressing and really understanding the importance of all of this. That man has made all of my efforts in the mission and frustrations worth it. There are some converts that will be our friends forever, because we forever change their life.
Well family… not much has changed in the last week. We`re trying to work hard, but it feels like we`re just punching at a brick wall right now. With some fasting and prayer we`ll see what we can do.
Do you like how we`re shining like angels in the photo? Oh yeah.
Just another week over here in El Salvador! Things are moving along. We´re working hard in this new area, but we´re not seeing too many fruits of our labors. We brought 1 fellow to church yesterday, and we hope to put a baptismal date with him this week, so we´ll see how it goes. Not much is going on in the area right now. We´re still getting to know it, but we hope to be able to baptize someone this month. We´ll just keep praying and working until we do. This month we´re going to schedule things better with the members and try to contact their friends. Hopefully that will work out.
The big news of the week is that Elder Duncan of the 70 came to visit the mission. We had a multi-zone with him as well as a ZL leaders meeting. It was a great opportunity to learn from a man so close to God. Before the multi-zone, he lined all the missionaries up and got to converse with them for a few seconds. The eye is the window to the soul. Those guys searched us and bored our souls out with their glare. Hopefully nobody got sent home.
He talked to us about Luke 13: a tree in the vineyard of the Lord that wasn´t giving any fruit. In this parable, the Lord basically states, “why does this tree keep covering the land?” He talked about how the church pays 9K for every missionary in one year. When we don´t do our job, the Lord asks “why does this tree… keep covering my land?” That was a good machete for all of us, and it helped me ponder alot about my mission, if I am bearing enough fruit to be considered a good tree. He also talked alot about the nature of God, as well as planning. Planning…. ugh. That is my biggest vice. I must repent for that, and I am currently in that process. He read a scripture in Luke 17 about planning.
I do like to plan, but I have been struggling with it in El Salvador. Nobody likes to commit to a time, and they always say “I don´t know if I´ll be alive that day.” It kind of a frustrating culture thing for me, and has really worsened my planning, but we´re going to tight er´up.
I was thinking about the dangers of getting in the “grind of things.” When we feel like we have adjusted to something or when we “think” we have become good at something, that is when we stop progressing. This can be applied in every situation, whether it be your job, in the mission, or in any hobby. I started noticing this “in the grind” habit entering into my mission, and that was really when the mission starting fading towards a job more than a sacred experience. I am repenting and will make sure I don´t enter the mode so many missionaries make the mistake of entering. This is a training ground for life, and we must take advantage of every second!
I´ve been reading Jesus the Christ again, and I love reading from the new testament. The gospel has it´s compexities and mysteries, but it can be simplified down to the teachings of Jesus. I love reading those and applying them.
Sorry I don´t have any pictures this week. I think the mission sent one of E. Duncan to you guys.
I love you family, take care