Missionary Jake – Part 4 of 10

This is part four 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.

March 2007

My new companion has the same last name: Elder Hernandez. He looks like a bishop because he has glasses and is a little fat. He is a great teacher and missionary and I am learning a lot from him.

I am still in Tultepec. The municipal of Tultepec is known for fireworks. All of this week there are going to be a ton of fireworks. They make huge bulls (kinda like the huge mammoth that we made for the Kaysville parade) and they fill them with fireworks. On Thursday they are going to parade them around and then set them off. It is a bit dangerous so we might have to go to our house a bit early.

To answer questions. Yes, they do have piñatas. They even have a song that you have to sing while the person is swinging. We had one once and broke it up for a party. The weather still changes a lot, but it is never too hot. Sleeping at night is easy. No need to worry about that. My mattress is better than the one I had at home. I’ve spoken in church. They usually ask us to speak on missionary work. I sum up the important parts of the restoration and bear my testimony on them. I wish I had taken that same speech class that Daniel has.
How is the math going for everyone? I tried helping out someone here, but I had forgotten how to explain how to get the answer—I always had done it in my head. All of the people have a really hard time singing. Mom, Dad sings pretty well. You only have to sit through one meeting here to know it. Not sure if you have sent the package, but I am in need of more shoes. If Paul can head out to that same store and pick up some more Doc Martins that would be great.

Photo of the  scriptures with a cherry pie.
The work is growing fast here, we hope to baptize enough people in the next couple of weeks in order to divide the ward. We have a couple of families that have strong priesthood. There are four elders in this ward, so there are a lot of people in the Gospel Essentials class each week. The elders here like to hear stories of Utah where almost everyone is a member and the streets are paved with gold. Health is great, clothes are working just fine, and I could use a haircut. There is a sister in the ward that gives haircuts to the missionaries if they wash the dishes. I think I’ll take her up on the offer next week.

Things are going great here in the mission. I recently read a talk by Elder Bednar about studying the scriptures. It makes my head hurt trying to use all three methods and find all of the connections, patterns, and themes in the scriptures. It is something different so it takes some practice to make it effective, but he says each method “can help satisfy our spiritual thirst.”

I’ll be watching conference in Spanish. The experience of a member in a different language is really fascinating. It is amazing how effectively the church manages so many members in all parts of the world!

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Missionary Jake – Part 3 of 10

This is part three 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.

January 2007

Things are good down here in Mexico. The weather is really nice—not too hot and not too cold. It rains sometimes, but never is cold enough to snow. The climate is similar to Utah but more mild. I imagine that the summers will be really hot. Usually the second thing people ask me when I say I’m from Utah is: “it snows in Utah, right?” I’m glad it doesn’t snow here though—I think there would be a wreck every 5 seconds if it snowed. The driving here is crazy. Stop signs are non-existent, or if there is a stop sign nobody pays any attention. The government puts in speed bumps every intersection to force people to slow down.
Photo of Elder Hernandez and Elder Willoughby ready to baptize
You don’t have to worry about speeding either. You can just give the police 10 or 20 dollars and they will let you off the hook. At least that is what my companion says. I’m glad I took his [Brother Peterson’s] class of Christian History because I understand a lot better who I am teaching. It helps to know exactly what is the apostasy and why we needed a restoration. In the mission all we have to do is make sure our investigators understand those two words—apostasy and restoration. Although all the churches may have some little part of the truth, none of them have the fullness of the gospel.

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Missionary Jake – Part 2 of 10

This is part two 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.

October 2006

Mexico is a blast. There is a ton of people to teach and they are a very faithful people. The mission president has told us to always invite people to be baptized in the first lesson, and most of them accept! If they don’t during the first lesson then usually the second. Two elders pointing to mission destinations on MTC mapWe don’t have to hold back on any commitments because the people are clear-cut—they either accept all of our message or none of it. My first baptism here was going to be a woman who has a terrible fear of water (when she was baptized before she got infections in her ears), and the bishop managed to do it, but her whole body might not have been under water. We’ll figure it out. Not much else is going on. My companion is a Native Mexican from another part of the country and is an excellent missionary.

November 2006

Things are great in Mexico. The weather is perfect. Everyone thinks I am absolutely crazy walking around in short sleeves. When it is 70 degrees they bring out their heavy coats and grumble about the cold. We had a baptism that my companion said se cayò de los cielos or fell from the sky. After teaching someone two lessons, he said that he didn’t want to be baptized. A week later he came to church and said I want to be baptized right now. We were happy to oblige and had the service right after church.Photo of Mission President and his wife with Jake

December 2006

The Sunday school lessons are about the same here. The only difference is I can’t understand what they are always saying. The stories are the same and the application is the same. It just takes a bit of getting used to. I still have to get a manual, so I can follow along for the new year, but our study time is limited so we try and make it the most effective that we can (because of this it makes sense that we can only study the mission library and the Ensign). The chapels here are quite a bit different in construction, but they are all similar in and of themselves. It seems like they have a set for the United States, a set for Mexico, and possibly more. Being a missionary is really neat. Whenever I get the chance to tell your conversion story. I always think of the blessing that it is to be able to serve a mission. I guess you could really say that having four sons that have served/will serve counts as your mission.

Missionary Jake – Part 1 of 10

This is part one 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.


Preach My Gospel
Jake is an Eagle Scout and an active member of his church since birth. He stands up for what he believes in and is also compassionate to those that are in need. He is a peacemaker and is someone you want to be around because he never looks for a fight and is helpful. He played in the school band and dabbled a little at the piano. He won three state championship events in track for Davis High School. He had a stress fracture on the day of the races and took off his support boot to run. In his 300 meter hurdles he seems to get a slow start and catches the third hurdle badly.

One of Jake’s qualifying heats is a great video, as he makes up ground in this 4 x 400 meter relay. Davis are in dark brown vests and yellow shorts, the first three runners are all Jakes, my Jake running the third leg. Davis had to place first, second, or third to qualify, and Carl makes it happen even though he is not a Jake.

View Jake’s 110 meter hurdles and an exciting 4 x 400 meter race. Jake runs the first leg but watch for a runner to fall and also the close finish. The cute commentary, “O man they are all on your tail”, is Jake’s mother, who also filmed Jake’s races.


Jake is serving in the Mexico Mexico City North Mission. He has a presidential scholarship at the University of Utah and completed a year in Computer Engineering before leaving for the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in August 2006. He worked to save the entire $9,600 needed for his mission, and also purchased with his own money the necessary attire. Here are a few excerpts from correspondence to our family, in his own words.

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