Missionary Jake – Part 6 of 10

This is part six of a ten part series chronicling Jake’s Mission. It is told mostly in his own words using excerpts from his letters and photographs sent home.

August 2007

Oakland Temple statue of Jesus Christ
This week we didn’t have any baptisms, but we found a lot of families to teach. My companion is learning all of the words that they use differently here. He is a native Spanish speaker—I have to correct some of his Spanish :). Transfers today. I am going to the Zone Valle Dorado. It is the best zone in the mission. There are 12 zones in the mission and Valle Dorado baptizes about 1/4 of the total baptisms. I still haven’t met my companion and I don’t know in what part I’ll be so I will let you know next week.

Yes, we are baptizing stakes. This month we are going to baptize even more. I am just going to tell you this for right now, but this past week I was assigned District Leader. It is exciting to be in charge of other missionaries and have to teach them how to work! The mission is great. [Dad], I appreciate your small letters that don’t distract me too much but also don’t leave me out in the cold. Feel free to write more if you would like.

[Dad] please include God in every important decision that you have to make about your health. That is what Joseph Smith did. If you do that every time you have a doubt, if are sufficiently humble, God will give you the answer “abundantemente y sin reproche” (James 1:5). He will never tell you to do or take something that will do you harm instead of good. If I can ask one thing of you it is to always do this. Ask Him if you can trust Him, ask Him if you should consult Him in this. He will give you the truth, ETERNAL truth, that will “greatly enlarge the soul without guile”.

Everyday I teach the principle of “Ask and ye shall receive”, but I myself always forget to apply it. I try and demand answers from people, sometimes getting frustrated with them. But they cannot make my decisions and give me answers that I have to look for myself. Ask God for every little answer that you want. He will give it “without reproach”. He never will say “But you did not do x or y”. If you ask for bread He gives you bread.

[Dad] please let me know what you think of this principle, and if you were able to apply it successfully in this week. Please excuse the Spanish. It is difficult to keep it from sneaking in :).

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My Faith continued

Yesterday I posted the first part of My Faith. Here is the conclusion:

“Which Church Is Right?“ quoted Bible verses and was methodical and logical in its presentation. It was the first time that I’d thought of a church that way, though I didn’t have any real feeling about it. The prophet’s testimony was different. A paragraph that stood out was:

It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. (Joseph Smith—History 23)

I thought it strange too, and identified with Joseph.

Another paragraph:

During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament. (Joseph Smith—History 28)

I was impressed that Joseph would admit to “foolish errors”. To me, someone telling a lie would not say this so openly.

I now know that being impressed by these two paragraphs was the Spirit acting upon me. After over thirty years the deep convincing that I felt is still with me.
Elder Vance Burton (left) and Elder David R. Wilson (right) at my baptism

I wrote to the Bishop of the Macclesfield Ward and asked him about the Church and that I wanted to know more. He replied to my letter, inviting me to travel to Macclesfield and meet with the missionaries. I did so, and recall one memory from our first meeting. I was being taught the first discussion and my mind wandered. When I was a child my mother used to say in a kindly way that “I was off wool gathering” when I didn’t pay attention. The missionaries asked me a question about what was being taught and from then on I was attentive. After the first discussion the missionaries told me that there were missionaries in Crewe and that I would be taught by them.

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