Note: Jake comes home August 25 so Missionary Jake is not quite complete. I hope to post weekly updates from him during August to complete the story of his mission.
This is part ten 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.
Attached are pictures of the Brito Perez family. They were baptized and confirmed yesterday.
We are also going to baptize a young couple and another small family in the coming weeks. Sometimes we are so tired from climbing all of the department buildings knocking on doors and talking with everyone that we hardly even sleep from the fatigue. Truly the Lord renovates our bodies so we can keep on working. I remember that every time I have gotten sick in my mission, if I have faith and believe, it only lasts a single day. The next day I am always ready to give it all. Seeing the Brito family and others that we have found ready to be baptized and follow our Savior makes all of the work worth it. The ward keeps growing, when I came here we had an average attendance of 120-130. We set an attendance record of 204 in sacrament meeting a month or two ago. The past two weeks have been 194 (ward conference) and 177.
Mom, now that you recognize many blessings, remember that every blessing is received based on our obedience to the law which governs it. You can backtrack from the blessing to your righteous action that triggered it and learn to repeat it. When the stake president set me apart as a missionary he blessed me so that I could serve a full 24 months without any health problems. I imagine that when I am released I will suddenly have a heart attack because of the all spicy food I am eating.
I don’t really eat cereal for breakfast anymore. Do not worry about my account or transferring money or anything. If you want to send a package I will send a member’s direction where I am at so it will get here faster.
We found the Gutierrez family knocking on doors. She asked “Where is your church? I want to go.” Before teaching her anything she asked “What do I have to do to join your church?” She had read about the church on the Internet (I assume the church’s website) and was really interested, but the missionaries had never knocked on her door. The others are her husband and her mother.
This week we baptized Claudia and Arat. I taught them when I first came to the area, but her husband didn’t let her be baptized at that time. Last week he went to church with her and said that he liked it. He then gave permission for them to be baptized.
Let me know where Daniel is going [on his Mission]. I will ask this week what they searched for and what site they went to.
I asked how they [the Gutierrez family] got there. Didn’t really find out what site they got to.
One searched for “Mormon” out of plain curiosity. She mentioned that she saw a picture of a baptism. Just when she talked about it the Holy Ghost was strong. Ever since she wanted to be a member. She asked in her work and someone told her that they were two young men in white shirts with a black name tag. For two years she would see them walk by but never bumped into them until we knocked on her door.
The other brother searched for “La iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias” while he was working. We were already teaching him and had invited him to be baptized. He read about repentance and baptism by immersion. He decided that week to be baptized.
I’ll give you answers to the questions the best I can from what I have asked.
[An editor from The Ensign asked that the following questions be sent to Jake.]
What did this sister see online that piqued her interest?
A picture or photo of a baptism.
What site was she on? Or were there several sites she visited?
She searched for “Mormon.” I tried the search in Google and the first result is www.lds.org and then www.mormon.org and then a Wikipedia article of the church in the Spanish Wikipedia. I remember her commenting that she read from the first few results. I also remember that she said there was a section for comments and she left a comment.
Did she go online looking for information about the Church, or did she just stumble across it?
I asked her why she searched for “Mormon”, if someone had told her or if she saw it somewhere. She didn’t really have a clear answer. I guess she was just interested in churches and one day the word “Mormon” came to her mind.
In what ways did what she found online prepare her and her family for the missionaries?
She came out when we knocked her door and asked, “Are you Mormons?” We replied, “It is a common nickname.” She then asked, “Where is your church? I would like to go.” We set an appointment the next day below her department building where she puts a stand to sell candy. The first thing she asked when we came to that appointment was “What do I have to do to be part of your church?” We taught her about baptism. Her mom saw us from the window and sent her other daughter down to tell us that she wanted to hear us as well. We set an appointment for later that same day with the majority of the family.
Had she had any previous encounters positive or negative with the Church?
That is what I remember. I will try and get more information in the week. In the Gutiérrez picture the one right in front of me is the one that went on the website (María de Jesus Gutiérrez Pizaña). The others are her mother and husband.
This week was the last week for my mission president, Presidente Castillo. We are going to meet our new mission president next week. He is from Utah. The ward is going to have a difficult time adjusting if there are transfers. My companion has been here for 9 months and I have been here for 6 months. The ward has completely changed with 33 new members in my time here. I just was informed that one of my converts in Valle Dorado was called as a counselor in the bishopric. He just needs to get married in the temple so he can be the next bishop.
Esther Perez Meza is the one that got baptized. She is the sister’s mother that is in the picture. The young girl is the sister’s granddaughter. Last week we baptized Jenifer (the young girl). Next week we are going to baptize more of her family.
Let me know what happens [with the Ensign inquiries]. I imagine you have to ask permission if the story is used, don’t you? We should plan a trip next winter, spring, or summer break to England or the Eastern United States. I want to work on our family history and if we need to go search in graveyards, it would be a great time to do it.
We baptized Graciela this week. We have taught her since February, but she has never felt the need to be baptized until this past week. It was a very spiritual baptism because she has worked hard to be able to do it. Last month the mission finished with 587 baptisms. Our zone set a record of 81 baptisms, beating the old record set almost two years ago of 61. The new president is really promising. It looks like he is going to keep the mission rising to other levels of work, dedication, and spirituality. Yesterday more than a few members shared a testimony about how special we are as missionaries. We can see the evidence that more than 20 years of separation between missionaries and members is being eliminated. I only wish there was more time to impact more lives.
Paul, can you take a look at what books I need for my classes and order the cheap ones from the Internet? If they are cheap it doesn’t even matter if I use them or not.
1. Got package?
Yes. It came in the week.
2. Owe money for package?
I already paid. It was about $10. Brother Dueñas called UPS and told them to be nice because the package was for a missionary. They wrote “sample” on everything that had “Made in China”. The tie they had to rip so that it could go through without the 500% taxes. They just tore it a tiny bit at the very end so it doesn’t even matter. China and Mexico do not have free trade laws. If all of the stuff had been from Taiwan they wouldn’t have charged anything. Mexico and the United States have free trading so I can take anything that was made in Mexico to the United States without paying any taxes.
3. New president?
4. Money for baby stuff?
Tell me what would be good to have. There is a ton of clothes and other baby things. I’ll look for a price list to see if it is really that much cheaper, if it isn’t don’t send any money.
5. Release date?
There are transfers the 25th. I imagine I will arrive that day or the next.
6. Dan’s mission email?
I will probably have Daniel show it to me in August.
7. Which room?
It doesn’t really matter. Steven’s old room would be nice because there is less space to mess up and less space to clean up.
Transfers today! For my last transfer I will be training Elder Jimenez. Today I received him fresh from the CCM (the Mexican MTC). He is going to be a great missionary. Yesterday we baptized Anel Veronica Alvarez Silva. The first time that she went to church she felt an immense tranquility and wanted to be baptized.
I do believe I am going to buy some of the baby stuff. It costs about ten dollars for one of the big baby bags. There is nothing authentically Mexican here, nobody buys it. The only thing that I have is a hand made yo-yo that a family gave me.
Elder Jimenez has adapted quickly and will be a fantastic missionary. We are going to work hard these weeks so he will be ready to stay in my place as a District Leader. This week we found a special family, they are going to be baptized in the upcoming weeks. Sunday the stake formed another ward. In the upcoming months another ward is going to be formed. The stake is growing quickly because of the mission’s success here.
My companion is adjusting to the mission field. I keep having to tell him to relax a bit. He has a great spirit and will be an excellent missionary. These last weeks have been a culmination of all of the work that I have put into the mission. The changes and things I have learned will benefit me eternally. I am excited to work as hard as I can in the time that is left and impact all of the people here in Mexico. The Mexico City temple is going to be rededicated. It is expected that one of the first presidency will be present. It would be nice to see it and also go and see some ancient temples.
Previous episodes of Missionary Jake
Missionary Jake Part 1
Missionary Jake Part 2
Missionary Jake Part 3
Missionary Jake Part 4
Missionary Jake Part 5
Missionary Jake Part 6
Missionary Jake Part 7
Missionary Jake Part 8
Missionary Jake Part 9