Sunday, November 24, 2013

Miracle story and bad hair cut! Nov. 18, 2013

Alright so this week was good but i forgot to write about a little miracle story that happened LAST week, so i will start from there :)
We were doing some service at the island with the Elders. We finished, and Elder M and i had some members on the island so we decided to stay and the elders drove home, and we were left with our bikes to skidaddle around on the island. So they left and then i noticed that my bike tire was completely flat. M has a lil bike pump so i used that to fill it up. After about 100 yards of biking, it was flat again.. So we stopped and talked things over. We were originally planning on going north, which was further away from home, but because of my bike we decided to bike south. So, i pumped up the tire and started to ride until it got flat, and repeated the process for a couple hours. I kept praying that it would last a little longer each time. We came upon a less actives home on the way back, but it didnt look like anyone was there. I told M we should try the neighbors house and see if the person we were looking for lived next door, so we did that. A lady answered the door and was like "you're mormons. Im a mormon. i havent seen missionaries around for like 3 years." Turns out that she was the Lady's daughter, and her mom (the one we were looking for) lived next door. So we found her, actually scheduled a dinner appointment the next day with her and her mother. Then, as we left, i noticed my bike tire was full of air! And when i got on it and started riding, it stayed full! The whole rest of the night (and still until this week) the tire hasnt gone flat. isnt that crazy!?!? some miracle tires right there. 
anyways, this week! So thursday i started feeling bad and so we went to walmart. while there, i noticed a little hair-cutting kit for only $15 and was like "ohh nice i want that" so i bought it, went home, and tried it out. it started cutting for like 50 seconds, then it died.. so i tried charging it, but it wouldnt turn on while charging. so i had to wait.. problem was, we had a hand-off lesson with the other elders in 30 minutes. so i cut like 1/2 my hair and left to the lesson, and was so upset because i looked so ridiculous >:( the elders just laughed, and i kinda did too.. Then Elder and I went to the Ward Mission Leaders home, and he cut my hair for me. pretty embarrassing. but afterwards, we came home and the road warriors (traveling AP's) were outside our apartment waiting for us, so we could do an exchange. They came in and started taking pictures of our apartment, and it was kinda messy, especially with my hair still in the sink! I felt so dumb that night..
Also this week we had a talent show for the english ward. it was really fun. We were going to do something for it, but... didnt. 
Getting sick as well. the medicine i bought didnt really help. Mission doctor said i might have some type of respiratory virus? Whatever though, i will be fine. 
That is all for this week!! Love you guys!!
You cant really see how bad the haircut was.. this is right before my WML cut my hair, in his bathroom... adventures. 
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I'm still alive! Nov. 12, 2013

hey time a bit short right now. 

but thats okay because i dont have much to write about other than to tell you that im alive and had no severe accidents since last week. No really cool stories, but we had a very good week as far as work goes. Working with both english and spanish is so weird. We did some service this week which was fun. Also made some cupcakes for the sister missionaries. Uh.. Also got some sweet pictures of the beach because the person we did service for lives right off the beach. 

thats about it. This next week is gonna be so goooood!! I love you all! :)
-Elder Jacob James
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Halloween! Nov. 4, 2013

my new address is
4085 43rd ave w apt 2
bradenton, FL 34205

This next week will be off da chainnnn! Oct. 28, 2013

Hey so a lot happened this week and i forgot my planner so i cant remember all of it but we got transfer calls on Saturday!!!
So this next transfer is going to be crazy and i cant really explain everything.. So elder M and i will be staying together, but we will be moving apartments a little further south. We are going to replace a set of Spanish sisters, and a set of English sisters. We will be taking over both of their area's. We have been made into a "Zebra," which means Elder M and I can now teach in ENGLISH AND SPANISH!! We will also be a part of the Spanish branch, AND the English ward. So Sundays we will be at church for like 8 hours or so with all the meetings for both the branch and the ward. Its going to be kinda crazy trying to work with both of them, and getting to know all the members. We are a little overwhelmed.. we will be moving into the English sisters apartment, and one set of the Spanish sisters will be moving into ours and trying to put a trio here.. There is no way 3 sister missionaries will fit in our apartment! its a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom, and there isn't room for jack squat hahah but hey, they gotta make it work somehow. The entire zone got switched up; Elder M and i are the only ones staying together, but we are still moving. i don't really know if this all makes sense to you guys, but... that's okay i guess i can just explain it when i get home in a while hahah. I'm just really excited to teach in English and be around the culture I'm accustomed to. it'll be weird! anyways i gotta get going. this next will is going to be off da chainnnn.  We are up for the challenge!
love you so much!  The church is TRUE.
-Elder Jacob James
Here is some pics of my favorite people: the S

 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I got bit by a dog!! It was a full-grown alpha male.. Chihuahua Oct 21, 2013

Hey everyone!
Pretty solid week but I'm a little short on time. We meet with an investigator, who at this point i believe is the only "progressing" one we have, but we've taught her almost everything. we told her that she could be baptized soon and she was super excited! We told her she would've been baptized last month and she asked what happened.. We told her she has to come to church twice before she can be baptized. And that's the big issue is getting her to church. But she's still really positive about it all! 
Um lets see.. so we went to an investigators house Sunday night. the mom told us that on Saturday early in the morning she had to go outside the house for something. When she opened the front door, there was a man in a mask pointing a gun at her, and she quickly tried to shut the door but the man stopped it, and forced it open. She was screaming and at that point, her husband came in, as well as the 2 daughters. They warned the robber that they had called the police and he fled. She went on to tell us how her neighbor behind her had been robbed like 2 weeks before. And how not too long ago, just down the street, a guy got beaten and then shot and killed for no reason. About a month ago, some members got robbed too, and had about $3000 worth of stuff taken. And this is where we do our work... We get warned all the time, and occasionally even asked if we want to buy drugs.. But we are still alive. Oh and did I mention that this area (manatee county) is 3rd in the nation for human trafficking? Something like that. 
Oh and i got bit by a dog!! It was a full-grown alpha male.. Chihuahua. 
Gotta bounce; have a great week!!
-Elder James

here is a picture of me with some ears. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Busy week! Oct. 14, 2013

Hi.
Dont have a lot of time right now.  We did a lot of street contacting. Lots of interesting people! I wish you guys could see the people we contact hahaha its super funny!  Its great!  Anyways, im still alive and doing well. No injuries but i almost got hit 3 times or so on bikes? Thats always exciting. And a drunk guy demanded me to give him my bike. Uh no. He tried to explain how Christ taught that principle, so I asked him to give me his truck. That shut him up! Got to love it!  Haha but i love you guys!! 
Here is a lil pic of me and the guitar.. We're starting to play guitar. I think my wife will appreciate it one day. 
-Elder James

CONFERENCE was GREAT! Oct. 7, 2013

Hi.
SO here are some highlights of this past week. 
Monday: we went to a museum for p-day last Monday. it was really dumb. bunch of nude paintings >:[ i was so upset and i got my companion and i to just hurry through the entire museum. As we sat and waiting, some lady worker came up to us and started talking to us about the museum. then she started asking us questions about who we were and why we were there. then we spoke a little about our church and missionaries. two other elders then came, and spoke with us. then we left, because we wanted to go spend our p-day somewhere else, so we left the rest of the zone there. 
Then Wednesday came around; district meeting. during the meeting, the English sisters brought something up. they said that on Monday, there was a lady that was giving a tour of the museum and was saying things that they overheard. she was saying to the people she was giving the tour to, "see those guys dressed up in white shirts and ties, and those girls in the skirts? those are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. they leave there families and friends for 2 years to go preach the gospel to people. They are some of the happiest people i've ever seen!.." when the sisters shared this with us i asked them "wait.. was it an older lady with a black shirt on?" and they replied yes. That was the same lady that my comp and i and the other 2 elders spoke with!! Turns out she went and told the people in the museum about us. pretty awesome! :) always be a good example because you dont know who's watching.  
Wednesday: so nothing major here.. but the night before during nightly planning, i felt that we should visit a recent convert (who is also less active...) at 6:00pm. i fought the feeling because she had told us already that she wouldnt be able to see us because she was busy and stuff. but i finally wrote it down in my planner that we would go by her house at 6, even though she said she would be busy all day. So Wednesday we went through all of our plans. They all fell through... which is normal. but i was speeding in the car to get to the recent converts house, and got a lot of speeding violations from the cars monitor. it was 6:05 and we showed up to the apartment. there was no cars :( i was so disappointed... so i started turning the car around. Then, she actually walked out of the door and saw us! I was like "Hey!... Hey come here!" hahaha and she was like "uh i thought i told you i was going to be busy." and i just told her "yeaaah well.. we were just in the area so we thought we would try," which wasnt really true... hahah. She said she was just going to her neighbors house to get some eggs or something random. she told us about ALL the things that were keeping her busy and we listened to what she had to say. Finally we were able to get to the topic of general conference and gave her all the information about it. We told her how much she is missed and just how we are her friends and stuff. I know you are probably like "uh so what elder J..." but let me tell you that the Lord puts us in the right places at the right times for reasons that we sometimes dont understand. Im not sure anything ever came from this incident, but im happy because i know we did what the Lord wanted. 
OHHH!!! Yeah!! sooo Wednesday afternoon elder M and i had nothing to do so i told him we were going on an adventure... we went west on this street until it came to an end. it led us to a bunch of docks and water and stuff like that.. you know, the ocean or whatever? The sight was really cool. it was in a residential area so it wasnt like a beach or anything. but i told him i wanted a picture so we got outta the car. i noticed two signs that said "no trespassing," but i justified ,"Oh i just want a picture, thats all!" and walked my way onto the dock. The dock was SUPER old and creaked every step. it didnt have any rails or anything, it was just old wood that was somehow held together. I walked out and elder M followed and was taking careful steps. i told him "elder come on, its fine. nothings going to happen." we got some cool pictures, and a sweet video of some small sharks and some manatees. i was happy :) so i started walking back to the car, but midway through the dock i noticed a blue crab which caught my eye. i was awestruck... such a cool little animal. hahah! so i leaned over the dock a bit, and then over to the opposite side where i thought it went. just then, the dock just collapsed under my feet and the words "ohhh crapp" slowly came outta my mouth as i descended into the water!!! i actually landed on my feet and quickly ran out of the water. i turned around to see my companion.. He was still on standing on the dock on the ONE plank of wood that didnt break!!! i was like ARE YOU SERIOUS?!!! i managed to get a picture of him and hopefully i can send it. I was laughing and at the same time so upset with myself. It made me think of how we have these signs that tell us not to go somewhere or do something, but we selfishly go anyways and bad things happen. Kinda like commandments.. like keeping the sabbath day holy. Yet we justify ourselves and say "i just want to buy this," or something. Since when has sin been justified?
Friday: another similar story. we were on exchanges and Elder B was in my area with me. i told him we were going to eat at a fast food place outside. so we did and as i was sitting waiting for him to join me, i saw a car with a flat tire go through the intersection. i picked up my food and walked up to B and said "take your food, lets go." he was like "why?" and i told him someone needed our help. So we ran across the street and surely enough, the car i saw was behind a little market with a destroyed tire. the driver wasnt in the vehicle so we just waited awkwardly.. she came and i spoke with her. she said she had help on the way already and didnt need anything.. soo we just left her with a pass along card with our name and number. I was slightly disappointed but.. you never know, she could've went on our website and watched conference or something?! 
Saturday and Sunday: CONFERENCE!! it was great :) i hope you all enjoyed it as much as i did. Last week a member told me of a situation she had. she was struggling with some feelings that she had for someone, and she didnt want to feel that way.. i didnt know what to say, but i told her that giving service to that person will always help. I knew she might not have been satisfied with that answer so i told her to fast and pray, and that during conference someone will say something that will specifically answer her prayer. Last night she sent me a text and said "thank you." and when i asked what she meant, she didnt respond (or we didnt get the text...). but i knew that she had actually gotten her answer and was expressing her thanks. Im so glad for conference. i wish more people would've watched it.. I was so sad... we invited so many people but no one came :( its okay though. 
I hope you are all doing well. sorry this is really long. i just wanna share my storries with you guys. i love you all. 
-Elder Jacob James

Family blessings! Sept. 30, 2013

hey. check out this week.
-Wednesday: got a call in the morning from a member who lives in the sisters area. he's been less active for 3 years, didnt ever want missionaries over. someone in his family needed a blessing so he called us. told us to come over at 7pm even though he wouldnt be there, so we did. his wife answered and they actually had 3 kids. we spoke with his wife, she told us it was her mom that needed the blessing. she wasnt feeling too well.. so we gave a blessing, which was awesome. after, we just talked for about 10 minutes or so to the wife and she told us the reason for being less active but they want to start coming back. she said the missionaries could come by whenever, and they would like that. turns out the oldest child is turning 8 years old in October and needs to be baptized. the sisters are going to start going to their home and inviting them back to church and stuff so im excited for that! 
      Afterwards, we didnt know what to do.. i felt like we should see an investigator that lives across town for some reason, so we biked over there. they lived in the ghetto, and we've been warned about being shot in that area but whatever. when we got there, E was outside on the porch like usual but she didnt seem happy at all. i asked whats wrong but she just said she was fine. i told her "you cant lie to us, i know something is wrong. what happened?" and she started crying and told us the problem. in short: her mom got really upset, started yelling at her, fell down and started having a seizure. the son, M, picked her up and E called 911 but the mom told her not to and kept yelling at her. she left, but mom chased after her and told her to come back so she did.. then mom just got in the car and left, and E had been outside ever since. she had been gone for hours. once she got done explaining everything, we had no idea what to say. this family has been seriously struggling, and is super dysfunctional. what could we say?.. i prayed in my heart for the Lords help, and it came. The first thing i did was make a phone call to her mom. she didnt answer, but i just left a voicemail. i cant really remember what i said, but i hope that it made some sort of difference. then we shared a message to E and M about family, responsibilities, love, and the Savior. I told them how the Lord guided us to their home and that it was no accident that we came when we did. this was maybe the 2nd time we had both of their attention fully. They listened, and it touched them. The spirit was so key to that whole circumstance!
       That night, i called the sisters to inform them about the less active we gave the blessing to. i asked them about some things and then they told me something SO COOL! so they have an investigator thats really progressing and stuff. they had a good lesson with her and she said "you know im so much happier now that im starting to go to church and read and pray. sometimes i dont understand what i read but i just pray about it and it makes more sense. but it all really started when those 2 guys came over and gave me a blessing. I felt the spirit so strongly then.. and i knew everything would be alright" That was the blessing that elder W and i went to go do!!!! Elder W didnt know what was going on (English missionary) but he felt the spirit there as well. It was so awesome to see the Lord used us to help out like that! 
-Thursday: we had zone conference and elder T from the 70 came and talked with us. it was super cool, and he's a great speaker! Learned a lot :) right after conference we went on exchanges with the zone leaders and i stayed in the area. All the plans fell through but we just street contacted and talked with everyone we could find. we got 1 super positive lady, who we had to like chase down. we were biking away from an intersection and Elder W was like "hey i saw a lady jogging down the road, should we turn around and go talk to her?" i said sure and we did, but she was past the intersection already so we chased after her and stopped and talked to her.  it was reaaalllyy awkward at first hahah but as we shared a brief lesson about the restoration she was very interested. I remember talking about the book of mormon and Joseph Smith, and the spirit was sooo strong! it was ridiculous!! when i stopped speaking we all 3 just kinda stood there in silence on the sidewalk and Elder W said "did you feel that spirit as he testified of the book of Mormon?" and she nodded her head, smiled and said "it feels great, very peaceful and... i dont really know how to describe it." it was so awesome, and she said she would read the book of Mormon! So excited to teach her :)
Saturday- around 7:30pm we were back over in E neighborhood. their family wasnt home, so we biked around for a while. i got tired and stopped, turned to my companion and said "Elder you got that greenie fire, so im following you now" and he was like "okay well... there is one street we havent tried yet so i guess we can go over there?" i was skeptical but agreed so we went. there was 1 family outside, a man with his wife and a baby. Elder M stopped and said "hola!" and that was it.. silence. hahah so i started talking with him and he was pretty cool. we taught him about the book of Mormon and our message and he seemed to like it. he said hes catholic but not very "catholic" if that makes sense. he told us we could come by whenever we want and he would listen! so we are excited to go back and teach him more. 
      Then we left, and it was late so we were headed home on the bikes. we saw 2 kids so we spoke with them. they were teens but were interested. we taught a brief lesson 1, gave them both a book of mormon, and got their info. they were way positive and wanted to know if we had a prophet today! We gave one of them over to the English elders but the other was Hispanic and such so he's ours haha. 
      THEN, about 50 yards after, we ran into another man who was in a hurry. i stopped and said "hey you have a moment?" he said "no i gotta go over here, then back to the hospital." i asked him what was wrong and he said his "girl" was in the hospital. so i asked if she would want a blessing and he said "uh i guess. yeah." so he gave us her room number and we went to go see her haha. by this time it was like 9:20pm or so. We got there and spoke with the lady, her name was brandy. OH MY.. she had quite the story fellas!! got into drugs, husband left her, had no money, went into jail 2 days after surgery, found out she has cancer and hepatitis.. it was so sad.. but we gave her a blessing and she spirit was super strong. we assured her the Lord loves her and is perfectly aware of all of her problems. She just wanted someone to come visit her because she literally has no one. We gave her to the English elders but hopefully they can help her! 
Soooooo... i guess you could say we had a pretty good week?! our numbers were horrible, almost all 0's hahahah but it was such an awesome week! I love doing this so much.. I know that Christ lives, and that the worth of every soul is great in His eyes. I love you all. Have a wonderful week! :)
-Elder Jacob James


Time is going by so quickly! Sept. 23, 2013

Its Monday already! Man time goes by so quickly!
We had a pretty good week. Lots of interesting things happened. We've been focusing a lot on teaching the recent converts, less actives, and part-member families. We went over to a recent converts house and decided to watch a sweet video. He actually fell asleep during the video.. after it ended, i was like "so what did you think about that?" and he didnt respond so i leaned over and saw that he was asleep and i just started laughing, though extremely disappointed because i was excited to share that video with him. We also have been working with another recent convert, who is very less active but has been coming to church the past 3 weeks! her brother, R, isnt a member but we've started teaching him as well. she's 17, and R is maybe 14. anyways, we were teaching about the Restoration of the gospel.. i turned towards my companion and noticed he was sweating quite a bit. he asked "uhh can i use your bathroom?" and they said yeah. The bathroom was literally right next to the couch they were sitting on, and the walls arent very thick. i continued with the lesson, and it was pretty spiritual until my companion lets one rip while he's taking care of business. the teens just started laughing and i just smiled and said "well.. it happens" hahaha it was so awkward :) yay for awkward moments. 
Anyways, i had to give a talk in sacrament meeting.  it was fun, but i didnt really know i had to give a talk until we got to church. Guess we should always be prepared, right? Spanish is coming along slowly.. i actually forgot how to say the word "room" which was sorta embarrassing. 
Another thing is that last week i was assigned to be district leader. Its been pretty good so far, there are 10 missionaries in my district including my comp and i. Im pretty excited to help out the district! As soon as i thought training a new missionary was a big responsibility, the Lord gives me this.. haha I hope i can learn what he wants me to learn!
Overall, everything is going great! But im getting tired of my comp getting mail like every day and i never get any >:( hahahah but its funny so i can manage. I love you guys so much. I hope you can see the Lord's hand in your life's, and how He's helping you. He's real, and He lives, and I know it. 
-Elder Jacob James

Pic: so this is way late but.. happy birthday to myself and C, a member. I will try to take cool pictures this week to send you :) 

Jamrocks..cool vehile! Sept. 16, 2013


Hey everyone!
Good week here. We werent able to visit with any investigators but.. still was good! We've been working with members, or at least trying to. We tried visiting some less actives. It was a funny/sad experience. We knocked on the door and a teenager let us in. We talked with him a little and his older brother was in the house, as well as his dad. It was kinda awkward since none of us had ever met before, you know? so we got talking. then the kid was like "oh by the way, im atheist" then his brother walked by and said "im muslim." uhhhh what?? hahahah and the "dad" wasnt actually the dad, just some guy living there and he was like "im christain, life sucks and im not interested." it was soo awkward after that. we thought they were members!! apparently the only person in the household who is a member was the actual dad, who hasnt been heard from in a long while and basically isnt a member anymore. Lovely. that was a nice surprise. 
We have a new rule as well. We can only eat at members houses once, and when we do, we have to show them the video "hastening the work of salvation." We cant come back until they have a referral for us. However, the exceptions are part member families, less active families, and families that have a referral at the dinner for us. So.... looks like we wont have any investigators until the members give them to us. I told that to our mission leader Sunday.. he didnt really like that statement too much. :/ but hey, its true! 
Oh we got chewed out again Saturday. it was interesting. Apparently, our assistant ward mission leaders wife's sister's daughter's boyfriend was at church and we didnt really know, so she got mad at us and was like "wow. shame on you elders. shame on you." I didnt really know what to say. i felt bad and all, but the girlfriend, or her sister, or the wife, (or just anybody for goodness sake), could have easily told us about the nonmember boyfriend. Missionaries dont just "know" those types of things. We also got told we werent doing our job by some other youth members because we dont greet everyone that walks into the chapel on Sunday's. uh maybe thats because the branch president gave us the responsibility to organize the sacrament and assign people to bless and pass it. I literally asked 4 different deacons who just said "uhh im not worthy to pass." I was so upset and just said "look, if you arent worthy to bless or pass the sacrament, you arent worthy to take it." Then a lot of the members that were there had to leave because they had work. are you kidding me?... Its really frustrating.  Then in the next class, it was awkward again, because the teacher (the same one who chastised us haha) went around the class and asked all the kids "so which commandment is the hardest one for you and why?" Me and my comp just looked at each other and didnt know what to think.. I mean, its great that she's trying her best, but thats simply not a question you ask. One of the kids totally threw his brother under the bus and was like "he cheats all the time and is very dishonest!" right in front of everyone. it just never is a good class.. i feel bad, especially now since i've heard about 5 or 6 false doctrines in the class. i dont want to stand up and be like "hold on, let me clarify what was just said" because i dont want to hurt anyones feelings. Church was still good though. Us missionaries had to sing a special number which wasnt too bad.. the sisters picked one that i really dislike singing if investigators are there. and its literally one of the highest pitched hymns sooo yeah it wasnt too good sounding. haha oh well. it was awesome seeing a less active member that we've been working with there in sacrament, but they left afterwards.. progress though!
Another thing! We had transfers. Im staying with my trainee here in Bradenton. Another 6 weeks! Almost at my year mark, which is kind of weird. thats about all though. love you guys!!
-Elder James

pics:
We see some really cool vehicles here. 


Yikes..our awesome members need our help! Sept. 3, 2013

Hey everyone! P-day was moved to today due to the holiday.
I don't even know what to say about this week. It was pretty good! We taught a lot of solid lessons but.. investigators aren't progressing still. sad. but we've been really focusing on the members a lot. this past Sunday was very interesting. First, it being fast Sunday and all, sacrament was pretty good. Mostly everyone wasn't even fasting though, and never has in their lives, so they don't understand why we even fast.. The next class, with the youth, was not good. Basically a girl punched a boy in the face and walked out swearing all because he accidentally threw a small piece of paper and hit her with it. Yikes.. And in that class, the teacher taught 3 false doctrines :( Ahhh i don't even know what to say.. Next day we taught a member, and they didn't know the plan of salvation, or what the atonement is. and they've been a member all their life!! I was so shocked. And just... disappointed :(  its so hard to get them excited about the gospel. We talked with a teenager about the 2nd coming of Christ, and how excited we are about it, and they just didn't seem to care at all about it. I felt so empty that they weren't excited about it at all.  Without being able to knock on doors anymore, and only relying on the members for referrals, its really helped me see that we have to help these members out a bunch. They don't seem to realize what they have and how blessed they really are. 
We did get a chance to teach morning seminary though. We got special permission to go, and had to wake up at 5:30 and bike to the church, 30 minutes away. So humid in the mornings!! haha but it was pretty fun, but a lot of the students were really distracted and kinda rude.. It was great though! We taught them about missionary work and how they can be missionaries already. After we left, some homeless(?) lady on the street stopped us and basically shared her 2 cents on what she thinks about our religion, specifically Adam and Eve, and yeaaah.. it was really rude, and she was verbally attacking us hahaha but whatever, it was a good experience. 
Um what else.... I cant really think right now. I always forget what i wanted to write you guys! Oh, I'm almost at my year mark!!! isn't that WEIRD!? It doesn't seem like I've been out that long. 
I guess that's all for this week. Sorry it isn't too great, i just cant remember everything. Hope you are doing great, i love you!!!
-Elder Jacob James

Pic: Elder M and I just chillin. I'm trying not to laugh.. I will send some good ones next week!! :) 



 

Monday, August 26, 2013

First week with my Trainee! August 26, 2013


Whats up everybody?! Interesting week over here in Florida. First week with my trainee, Elder M. He's cool, and he's 18. Finally gettin those young ones our here!! I think we will do great together. Right now we don't have much going on though. Our investigators aren't really progressing.. we really need to find some more. But we got a new rule: no more knocking doors. In this area in the past, thats how all the investigators/recent converts were found. Now we really have to rely on the members for referrals. I mean, its a great idea and all.. but we haven't gotten a referral for quite some time. I guess we don't have their trust quite yet?? Past few days we tried going to the members house's that live in our side of the area, using the ward directory. Most of the addresses are completely wrong. Some members aren't even in the list. One guy apparently lives at McDonald's... No wonder some of the people go less active here hahah and the home teaching is a little disappointing. The highest i saw was 53%. But that's what we've been trying to do is see our members, teach them, and ask for referrals.  We basically tell them that no one is going to get baptized unless they give them to us. Sounds a bit harsh (maybe?) but its true! They are missionaries too, not just those of us with a black badge. The ZL's told us to try and see the members we have at least once a month.. For them that might be hard because they have a solid amount of members but we can do that in literally 2-3 days haha so i hope the members don't get too annoyed when we're coming over multiple times a week asking for a referral! We really just need the branch more involved in missionary work and we will be solid.
Anyways, not too much to write about this week.  This week will be better though! The church is trueeee!!!! :)

_Elder Jacob James

Pic: I had no pictures to send that were cool so i quickly took this mid-way through writing this email haha i put a band-aid because sometimes i scratch it and it bleeds. 




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Sunday, August 25, 2013

cuttin them stitches! August 19, 2013

Hey Everyone!
It was a pretty good week. Didn't part the red sea or anything, but we had miracles nevertheless. Since all the investigators we have are youth, they were all busy doing their summer homework that they procrastinated. We still had some solid lessons though!
My arm and my toe are healing fine.. I was told that after 7-10 days I could get the stitches removed. So 7 days passed, Thursday, and I went to the hospital and told the lady I was there to get them removed. She said they didn't do that there... I was like, well, the lady who sewed my arm and toe said that I could come back here and they would remove them. she just kept shaking her head and said nope, you need to go to your physician or whatever. Then I told her my physician guy is in Arizona and she wagged that head back and forth again. Everything I told her, she denied, even if it was plainly obvious... it was quite comical. Some other lady told me some directions to find a place where I could get them removed. So we left. Couldn't find the place (she told us to go left on a one-way street that only went right, based off her directions hahah) so we were like whatever lets go home. And then it hit me: If I can cut my own hair, I can cut my own stitches! Its the type of logic my father taught me :) So we went to the English elders home and got some sterile scissors (we sprayed them with some.. stuff), bandages, gloves, and I just cut away. It didn't feel too good. It wasn't until I was half-way done with my arm that I realized that wasn't a very good idea because the wound started to open a little bit.. it wasn't done healing hahaha but I just took the rest off anyways. The next day we got a call from the mission doctor. the conversation went a bit like this:
"Hey Elder James its Brother Y, just calling so we can figure out where you are going to go to get those stitches removed."
"Oh, Hi! Actually I already had them taken out..."
"...Oh where did you go to get that done?"
"Well you see its actually a long story.. I ended up taking them out myself."
"Elderrrr James....... Not a good idea."
Hahaha I felt sooo dumb!!! I hope that man never gets to see my face haha. 

Anyways, some other exciting news! We got transfer calls Saturday!!! it was another stressful time. We received our call and basically he told Elder D he was training and that he was leaving the area. This transfer, he didn't tell anyone where they were going. (We are still super confused about that, because some people have to drive 4-5 hours and we don't know how we will get to our areas if we don't even know where we are going). Then, after he was done talking to Elder D, the call ended. I was soooo bummed out because apparently some people were "disqualified" to train or to be leaders, so those who weren't training or leaders were in that category... :( BUT!!! 10 minutes later he called again!! and told me i would be training!!!! hahaha I'm so nervous but so excited. I hope i do a good job. Its going to be an interesting next 2 transfers. Oh, by the way, this next transfer is only 4 weeks. 
Also, thanks everyone for the birthday wishes!! I feel.. the same haha but today we should be having a little party thingy for p-day and I'm going to try and play sports with my arm and toe. I think if I wrap it tight, it'll be good to go. thanks for everything, I loved the letters :) and I love you so much!! hope you have an awesome week. The church is true!!!!

-Elder Jacob James

Pic: cuttin them stitches!! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Countin Da Blessings August 12, 2013

OHH BOY!! crazy week!!!!!!!! countin da blessings
so much has happened but i will just keep it a brief as possible. we had mission conference last Tuesday and it was great. found out a bunch of stuff about the mission and what's going on. learned that our mission was leading the US in hospital visits or something. i thought that was so dumb.. ohh, the irony that would follow shortly after!! anyways, next day we went on exchanges. had one of the best days ever. right now we have 5 people that want to be baptized, we just have to keep teaching them and set a baptism date with them :) soo. Thursday morning, we were still on exchanges. our apartment only has 1 bathroom. in the shower, there is a hand rail opposite of the shower head where towels are supposed to go. instead, the past elders put a big mirror so they could shave in the shower. the mirror is quite heavy and needs to be moved with some force! anyways, I'm showering and i finish. i open the curtains, and the next thing i know, there is glass all over the floor, with my left foot bleeding. then i looked at my arm and saw it wasn't looking to well. "oh no..." i said hahaha and realized i needed help, seeing how the door was locked and if i passed out right there, i would fall into the glass pile. however, being naked, i somehow pulled my shorts on and opened the door. the English elder saw my arm and said he would call an ambulance. some other things happened, though i wont say.. nothing weird, its just things we don't really talk about in the church. i rested on the couch and put a towel over the arm. i asked "hey elder.... wanna take a picture?" hahaha i know, I'm weird but i knew that someone would want pics. then i asked him for a blessing. he gave me one and i immediately felt at ease. moments later, we hear the ambulance outside the door so i went over and opened it, and proceeded to lay on the stretcher. it seemed insanely bright outside!! they carried me into the ambulance and started taking my vitals and asking "so what drugs are you currently on?" and "how much were you drinking?" geeze.. none. i don't drink or do drugs. "are you sure? this is weird." and said yes, and asked what the problem was. they said usually peoples heart beat rate increases in a traumatic situation like that, but mine was way down in the 40's. Not quite sure if that was a natural thing that happened, or a direct result from the blessing, but i felt perfectly fine as a laid in the ambulance. we actually had a nice conversation. so, i got to the hospital. my companion couldn't come because he didn't have a drivers license.. so i was alone. eventually, my actual companion and them arrived after making 30 calls to members. (members, for the love of everything, help the missionaries.) they got to watch the entire surgery. i must've gotten about 40-50 shots to numb the arm. it just wouldn't numb in a few places, so i told her to forget about it and just stitch me up. she cleaned it all up. it was SWEET, when she opened up the flap of skin, you could see the muscles and stuff. yum yum. turns our she was only an intern and the other guy was only a student.. her hands were so shaky!! and when she cut the loose skin a was super nervous haha. so, 15 stitches to the arm, and 3 to the toe. got out of the hospital and went to lunch, then tried to teach people. haha so I'm doing pretty good now.. sort of. 
anyways. that's a good story for you guys this week. I mean, there is something each week and this seemed pretty legit. now i can say I've survived getting our car totaled, and Satan trying to kill me with a big mirror. yay mission stories!! this is all just a fat blessing, so its whatever; i will always serve Him!  i love you all, have a great week! :)
-Elder James

pic: my arm. don't look if you are easily.. whatever that word is?

Goose Egg Week! May 6, 2013

Hello everyone,
another week has gone by and guess what!?..... we had another goose egg week. no one in our district found a new investigator, with the exception of the sisters. We knocked doors for 3.5 hours on Friday, had zero success. didn't even get a return appointment :( however, we did have a great time while doing work. one story was quite hilarious, and has earned a spot in my "quote book" for my mission. Elder E and I, after knocking 3 neighborhoods, found an apartment complex and started knocking. Due to knocking during dead hours (2-6pm) no one answered, except for one lady. She was black, and roughly 50 years old or so. Said she was a 7th Day Adventist. We offered her service as our door approach, but after declining our offer she explained how she hasn't been doing very well physically, and has been in the hospital for a few things. We told her we held the priesthood authority of God, and we could give her a blessing if she desired. She thankfully accepted, and let us in. We explained the blessing and everything, and proceeded. E anointed, and then I started the blessing. about half way through the blessing, she lifts up her hands and starts saying things like "oh yes. Yes Jesus yes. Thank you Lord, oh thank you!" I was a bit thrown off, and tried my best to continue through the blessing, but she kept praising. Soo, I ended the blessing when I felt prompted to end it, and took my hands of her head. She still had her eyes closed, with her hands up, saying things. Then she stood up, (facing away from us) with her hands STILL up, and still rambling on... "Oh Lord I thank you. Help me Jesus, help me. And as she raises her hands higher, raising her voice she boldly states: --Ohhhh I've been bleedin' out'a my rectum for two days, Jesus! Then the blood just STOPPED!"-- At this point I turned to elder E and couldn't help but laugh a bit hahah and I felt soo bad for laughing but it was so funny! It seems that things like this happen so frequently here. This, and the man "speaking in tongues" could be the two funniest things so far. Anyways, story goes on, we left her with our number, and referred her to the English elders. Yay.
Another highlight. Elder E and I were driving around while it was pouring rain. We drove everywhere, and never felt a need to stop. I kept driving and driving, until I felt that we should pull over. Elder E questioned me, stating that there was no Hispanic people down the whole entire street. I assured him there was at least 1 Hispanic, and we were there to find him or her. So, we started knocking.. No success (apparently people don't want the Saviors Peace and Blessing...) and the people said that there were no Hispanics on the street. I was pretty discouraged. I thought for sure there was 1 Hispanic! So we started walking back to the car, and E said "told you." I didn't think much of it, but I pointed to the house we parked in front of. "We are knocking that door. your turn." So we marched up to the door, and the closer we got, the more I realized this house wasn't where a Hispanic would be living.. Very discouraged :/ a tall white man in his 50's answered the door. We offered to leave the Savior's peace and blessing upon his home. He denied it, and told us he used to be Mormon, left the church 3 years ago and asked for his records to be removed. We asked why he left, and he said it wasn't because of the church, it was just that he was the only Mormon in the home, and the rest were Catholics, and he felt alone whenever he would go to the church. I was not satisfied by this answer he gave us, and tried to listen for the words I should say. He kept talking about him and the church. I asked if he had a testimony of the book of Mormon. He never said yes; he said "well I've read the book of Mormon about 3 times or so for seminary." This was a big hint as to what he was lacking. Without that foundation of a testimony of the book of Mormon, people will surely fall away with time. After his explaining of a few other things, there was a silence for about 5 seconds or so, and I felt to ask about his personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. "Did you ever talk to your father in heaven about this?" He stood, with no more excuses. There was an awkward silence, so I began to testify about the power and reality of prayer, and the book of Mormon. I left him with two things to do: read the book of Mormon again, and to pray. Two simple and fundamental things. I promised him blessings in the name of our Savior, and told him that I knew he had felt the holy ghost before in his life, and that we weren't sent to his door by accident; but that we were representative of Jesus Christ who were sent to invite him back into the fold of God. Again there was a silence, as he had nothing to say. Elder E and I looked at one another, and knew it was time to go. We shook this mans hand, and walked back out into the rain, back to the car. It turns out that there wasn't a single Hispanic on the entire street, but we weren't there for that; we were there for a lost sheep. It doesn't matter what culture or race, we are all sons and daughters of god, and all need to hear the same gospel. This was a humbling experience for both Elder E and I, and surely the highlight of our rather non-successful week. But we had success in other ways.
Hopefully this week will be better. Being exactly obedient can bring the miracles we're looking for, its just a matter of doing all those small things that are so difficult.
Anyways! Happy late Cinco De Mayo! We did missionary work to celebrate. I'm looking forward to mothers day :) Hope you all have a great week.
Sincerely,'
Elder Jacob James :)
 
Picture: It was Elder E birthday on Wednesday. This is my district plus 2 others :)
Left to Right: (Top) Me, W, not in district, not in district, E, R, J, G, (Bottom) Hermana P, F, N.

July 1: We Bought the Pizza :O

Best week ever!! Well, sort of. We have been super blessed, found a couple new people to teach and had some spiritual lessons. Pretty awesome! But anyways, lets start with Monday. It was just a regular Monday.. nothing really happened. I took my bike back to Wal-Mart though, so that was good. While there, we ran into a member who was going to feed us Wednesday. She said she didn't want to cook and told us to bring food. We laughed and just left... So Tuesday comes around. Found a new investigator, though the rest of the day was normal. Then Wednesday comes. Not the best day. taught a couple peeps. They liked it. Then, we went to the dinner that was planned, with the member that works at Wal-Mart. We got there, and her husband opened the door and let us in. turns out, she didn't cook anything, and was like "so are you going to buy pizza or what?" WOW.... So i had to buy pizza for us and for them, AND we had to go pick it up, after the member made us drive 10 miles the wrong way after i told him i knew where the pizza place was located.. This goes to all members of the church: missionaries are broke. they budget their miles on their cars very strictly.  Anyways, Thursday. Awesome day!! 2 member present lessons, 2 other lessons, and 3 new investigators. Friday was slow. But it was good. In the afternoon we had a lunch scheduled with a member that we've never been to because we didn't have a car and she lives kinda far.. We tried calling her numerous times, through calls, voicemails, and texts to try and get her address figured out. We got a little "lost" and somehow ended up next to LEGOLAND!! but we didn't go in or anything. Shortly afterwards, we found her place. We knocked on her door and she opened up and was super surprised to see us. she said she didn't cook anything and said "you should've confirmed the appointment.".... But she was the one who signed up to feed us that day and time, and we tried contacting her so many times. Our ward roster information is all messed up, almost all the address's are messed up, and we only have about 6 of the members numbers. And they never answer their phones. Later that Friday we watched a movie at the church for movie night. Maybe 12 people showed up, 7 being from one family. We watched Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration. It was in English though hahaha soo... yeaah, it didn't have subtitles either. Our bad on that. But hey, it was spiritual regardless of the language. I loved it! Saturday the only highlight was contacting a referral. He gladly accepted the Book of Mormon and was like "yeah i will start reading it right away!" and was super positive! First time I've ever seen someone so happy to receive a B.o.M. We will be meeting him this week. And yesterday, Sunday, was pretty funny. After church, a member called after us while we were leaving. He said there was food in the fridge if we wanted to eat it. Of course we accepted but were a little hesitant because we didn't know who's food it was. They said it was okay though, and that he asked the Bishop of the English ward and he said it was okay. So Elder R. and I, with the Hermana's, just ate the food and took some of the leftovers to our apartments. Later that day, Elder R. and I got a call while we were with an investigator from the English elders. They said "Hey can you guys give us a ride to the church? the relief society left us a bunch of food in the fridge and we want to go pick it up!" hahaha i felt kinda bad but whatever!! it was awkward pretending that we didn't know what happened to the food.. they immediately blamed the Spanish branch, "dumb Spanish branch, always screwing things up." Shut up English elders. haha!
This next Wednesday we get to have a "meet the president" with the new mission president. President C., from Utah i think. This is our last week this transfer, so Its going to be interesting to see what will happen. I really don't want to leave this place! I hope i stay, but its not up to me of course. But yeah that was my week here in Haines City! And a ton of rain and thunderstorms every day. Hope you are doing great, I love you!! :)

Elder Jacob James

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Woohoo New Car! June 24,2013


hello everyone!
we've been doing pretty good lately. yesterday we got to watch the missionary broadcast! and my mission was included during the part where Neil L Anderson spoke. It was super cool seeing missionaries that i knew in the video. When he was here, he told us this was his favorite mission because its where he met his wife or something, and where some of his family is. legit. But the broadcast was awesome and hope all of you get the chance to watch it! 
we also had a specialized training that was good. it is the last time we would see our mission president, because we're getting a new mission president this next transfer. and this next transfer will only be 4 weeks long.. its going to we interesting. during the training president S said a lot of stuff, but one thing really stuck out to me and w as a direct answer to my prayers. i wrote it down and everything, but someone threw my notes away during the lunch break :( i was kinda upset about it. 
Church was good too! we had PAC for the first time this transfer, and the transfer is almost over... it went pretty well. We told them that we are planning on having an activity every day of the week so we can have a little more unity in the branch and offer something for investigators. Monday basketball, Tuesday soccer/volley, Wednesday English class, Thursday bible study, Friday movie, and Saturday is empty... our ward mission leader basically said it was a dumb idea. He also left church on fathers day because he says its a pagan holiday. and he teaches false doctrine during class to investigators. about kolob and stuff... ughh. good thing he is getting released next week. but anyways, church was still good. 
We also finally got a CAR!!! wohoo. no more being on foot. I've been on foot for about 6 weeks now. and with the car, we drove to a bike shop and got it fixed. 2 weeks ago a bought a lovely red bike from Wal-Mart. ended up riding it once, because i decided i was going to take it back.
that's about it though. you guys are awesome, love you all!!

-Elder Jacob James

 Check her out. its Ariel.

And Yet I Love It.. December 4, 2012

 
Mother:
 
Hola!
 
I hope you received my brief letter that i wrote. i received your emails, thanks for the addresses.
 
So far the MTC is awesome. It was nothing like i expected. On day 1, all we heard in class was Spanish, no English at all. We have learned so much Spanish. It is difficult not to write in Spanish because a lot of thoughts are in Spanish now.  We have been teaching our investigator for a couple days now. Her name is K. Trying to communicate with her in a different language is very difficult but we know The Lord is helping us, we can feel it. It is wonderful to see her progress and see her faith in Christ increase; I love the feeling i get after I know i helped the Lord share his message.
My companion, district, and zone are great. My companion is Elder Y. We get along very well, despite our differences. I will send pictures when i can, but our schedule is very strict that we have very little time for ourselves (ie write letters, journals, talk with friends, etc...)
I am happy to hear everything is going well. Don't let me being gone bring you down. The Lord will comfort you, all you need to do is ask.
 
Dad:
 
I know you miss me, and want to hear from me, so don't act like you don't :)
 
I have our picture up in my room, the one of our family when i opened my call. Things are great here, and I've never felt the spirit so frequently and strongly. This is truly a blessing in my life. Thanks you for all the support you have given me in my life, and for being an example. I am proud of you, you are an amazing father to me. Keep our family together, and don't forget your sacred responsibilities as a father and priesthood holder.
 
 
Josh:
 
I miss you. I hope you are progressing with your papers and such. Do not miss me; I am not far away. If you need comfort, I suggest reading one of my favorite scriptures: D&C 50: 44-48. (I cant remember the exact verses but its like the last 6 verses in the chapter). I am proud of you. I want to see you come here because i know you will be happy if you do. Say hi to Daniel for me!
 
 
Brock:
 
Thanks again for the stuff. I have found it to be very useful already. I hope school is coming along well, and that you and my dad are getting along!
 
 
Jill:
 
If you get to read this (mom, forward this to her por favor), i want to say thanks for dropping me off at the MTC. I know it was hard.
Keep your head up. I will be writing you soon, I have a few things to say that i feel will help you.
 
Daniel:
 
I miss my best friend. Stay with Josh, help each other to be able to go on missions. This is so exciting and i love it, i know you will too. Say hi to your family for me.
 
 
 
Showers are terrible. Classes are freakishly long. Some missionaries are weird. Spanish is very hard. Days are long. Family and friends are missed. And yet, I Love it.
 
 
I miss you guys very much. I am happy to be where i am, i know the Lord is happy too.
:)
 
Sincerely,
Elder Jacob James

Sunday, June 9, 2013

NEW COMPANION JUNE 3, 2013

Hey everyone. Not much happened this past week. gotta new companion, Elder R. we get along good, he's been serving for a while and already knows Spanish anyways. the past 2 weeks we've gotten zero's, but we've had some success in other ways. we are really focusing on getting the members working together. there isn't much unity in our branch; we really don't want it to get dissolved. its frustrating when we report our numbers and they are pretty weak, and the zone leaders ask what's up.. gotta stay positive though. success isn't really based off of numbers anyways. other than that, I cant say much.. sorry this isn't the best email :\ have a wonderful week! love you all :)
 
Sincerely,
Elder Jacob James

COUCH THIEVES April 29th, 2013

hey everyone
soo things aren't quite looking our way here but here are some things anyways: the English speaking elders live down the street a little ways. they stole our couch that we got from the sister missionaries.. we liked that couch because our apartment has basically no furniture. So.. in the morning we broke into their house while they were gone. We found our couch upstairs and started to take it back, but then I asked, "why are we taking this? there is a huge couch downstairs..." haha so we dropped our small couch and went for the big one. we left, and headed our way back home, carrying the couch in the street. we got a lot of funny looks, but one car stopped and asked if we were missionaries. the lady driving was about 50 years old or so, and the passenger was actually a member, a returned missionary. he got here the day before, and was looking for members to help him figure our what church he should be going to and stuff. she said she loves hearing the word of God, but isn't LDS. we haven't been able to come in contact with them yet, but sometimes stealing a couch is what you're supposed to be doing! maybe.
also, we contacted a dropped investigator. Elder E. and his prior companion dropped him because he didn't want to change or progress.. well we visited him. he said he had a question for us. he said that the day before, he had a feeling to open the book of Mormon, for the first time. he opened to Moroni 8 (of all the places in the book of Mormon..) and started reading. He read how children don't need to be baptized. So he asked why we believed that. We explained the best we could but he was pretty stubborn.. ironically, he was going to baptize his children a few days after (this past Sunday). He was pretty upset with that chapter.. we haven't contacted him again to see how he's doing but it was cool to see how that all worked out.
Other small side notes: we met an ex-marine from ghost recon, and he was in a sniper squad of 6. he was drunk so we didn't want to teach him but he told us all about himself so it was kinda cool.
And our water smells really bad. Apparently this whole city gets its water from a nasty lake or something. Either way, showering and brushing my teeth have become more of a pain than a relief.
Also, little Hispanic kids were messing around and knocked our bikes over.. both of our rear brakes on our bikes no longer work haha
 
Well this isn't much of a letter/email and I'm sorry for that. We had very little success this past week and its quite miserable to be honest.  But this is where I have to push forward with faith and keep trying.  Pride just ruins this whole thing, and I'm tired of being selfish and want to lose myself in this work. But desires are only half the battle. All will be well here though :) I know I can do this with His help!
 
I hope all is well for everyone though. I'm super glad to hear from all of you, and keep you in my prayers.
 
Sincerely,
Elder Jacob James


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ANOTHER RAINY DAY IN HAINES CITY APRIL 22,2013


Hey everyone, lots going on lately. so I'm in Loma Verde now, or Haines city. I'm with Elder E. now and he's really awesome. We have a lot in common. We both love all the same things pretty much, except music, but that's no problem haha. So far I've had companions that i love and really get along with, so I've been blessed a lot already.  This place has been dead from what I've heard, and what little I've experienced. Here's the rundown: no baptisms in like a year, the whole area has been knocked by missionaries at least twice, our branch is super small and the members don't give referrals, we only have 2 people that can come with us for member-present lessons and they are almost always busy. we had to change our schedule from 6:30am-10:30pm to 7:30am-11:30pm because all the Hispanics don't get home until late. So the work here is pretty slow.. oh, and its called Loma Verde for a reason: this whole area is hills pretty much, and we cant use the car, so biking is terrible haha. also, our apartment is pretty much empty and has very little in it haha its pretty funny. But we have beds and study desks. the small things that we take for granted.. its been super fun though. I haven't gotten any good pictures of this area or anything, so next week I can probably send some.
We have had some success though, within these past few days of being here. We found 4 new investigators, 1 of which is actually pretty solid. hahah we were super happy afterwards! even the smallest things make our days worth it.
---Story of the week--- Last night we were biking around late at night. it was another rainy night, and it got raining pretty hard so we looked for some place to go. we found a church called "the church of god" and went inside and sat in the back. the pastor (or whatever you want to call him) was up in the front and preaching while a lady played the piano. then he would start singing and they would all join him. there was about 20 or so people there. then the pastor ended and was like "i want all you guys to pray for me" and stuff. then.. some lady said "um can we pray for my friend right now because they need help" so then the pastor asked people to come up to where he was and start praying with him. the prayer was nice and all, but then he started "speaking in tongues" and saying weird things like "ohhh bab ohba tonbabaaohh" and kinda convulsing. i really cant explain what he was saying but it sounded like a child making noises but a bit more intelligently. I couldn't help but laugh a little, as was a lady in the congregation who was a member of their church. then they would just walk away when they were done.. and sing and stuff. after they ended a lot of them came up to us as they were leaving and welcomed us and invited us back. they were really nice. even the pastor caught us while we were leaving and invited us to stay and chat a little bit and wait for the rain to stop. so we did. and we discussed a few things, namely our religions. He found the way we do missionary work to be very intriguing and odd. he said a few things incorrect about our church and we corrected the statements; though in a loving way. it was a nice discussion, to openly talk about beliefs and why they believe in that way. anyways, we exchanged phone numbers and information and went on our way. Very interesting though.
Picture 1) Elder N., me, and J with her mom and dad. She got baptized last Saturday but we couldn't go because we got transferred.. We were all pretty bummed about it, but she will be an awesome member!
Picture 2) the sister live 3 doors down. So Elder E. and I took all the junk from our house and organized it as such in their front yard.

Best time of my life! Apr 15, 2013

hey everyone! :)
this week was solid, we have been really blessed again. we had 2 baptized, and next week we have another baptism! however, we just got transfer calls and both elder n. and i are leaving :( im going to Loma Verde and he's going somewhere to be a zone leader! I will be with Elder E.!  we are bummed that we wont get to see our investigator get baptized. Elder N. served in Loma for about 7 months. from what i hear, its pretty difficult.. not a very successful area as far as baptisms go. So off i go, into the furnace, right? im excited and nervous but itll be okay. We were really sad because the Lord has done all this great work and we were able to be apart of it, but now we have to go.. We are being whitewashed by sister missionaries. I think they will do good, they just need to find a house to stay in haha since they cant live in our apartment because its not very safe. I guess everyone says our apartment is the worst. pretty legit. It was pretty rough saying goodbye to all the friends we've made. A (progressing investigator) started crying when we told him we were leaving. He's young and his mom wont let him get baptized but he wants to. We tried hard to get him baptized but the time wasnt right i guess. one day!! We made our goal of 8 baptized for the month of April, and we got 3.. 8 is a super high goal here, but we felt that we could do it. but now the s
isters gotta take over, and hopefully they can finish our goal! it was just a stressful week trying to do the transfers and baptism. We also found 5 new investigators! Which just makes it hard to say we have to leave them now haha.
I've been pretty well though. Lots of ups and downs... i've learned so much gospel stuff though. its nice to study the gospel each day and learn more. the language is really whats killing me right now. the MTC was super quick to catch on because of the spirit, but on the field its just different. I want to get it down soon, but the best thing is to speak the language. I've never liked failing at things, and with spanish its like everytime i open my mouth it doesnt come out the way i wanted it to. its frustrating and discouraging. time, practice, and prayers is all i've got; but it'll be good. Strange how a mission is the place where i will fail the most, but will be the best time of my life.
I love you all and keep you in my prayers. Let me know if i can help in any way!
Elder Jacob James
 
1) This is A (on the right, 13 years old) and his moms boyfriend R
2)Trying not to laugh because we are just huge hahah

Apr 9th

Apr 2nd

Mar 26th

Mar 19th

Mar 12th

Mar 5th

Feb 26th

Feb 19th

Feb 12th

Feb 5th

Jan 29th

Jan 22nd

Jan 15th

Jan 8th

Jan 1st 2013


hey!
im doing great i think! busy as usual but pushing forward. this last week was rough on me, and i felt really discouraged but its all good now :) im glad to hear josh's progress. you and the family need to really stick on him about reading; its very important. you guys should be reading it daily as well :) its an amazing book! and i know its true. the words written inside will change lives. is he doing okay though? mentally, physically, spiritually?     Yep, p-day is today! doing laundry right now :) everything is holding up. all is well. idk about the bike though.
Thats awesome that pam is doing good! cant wait to see :) and thats great to hear about the temple! its such a blessing that we have temples so close jaja! enjoy it!
Dont worry about what i had to go through. It was hard, but necessary. Those experiences are what have made me strong, and that have helped me know that Jesus is the Christ. My patriarchal blessing says why i had to go through those things; you can read it if you would like :) i wish i could share my testimony in person. i probably will when i call you when im at the airport at the end of this month. a testimony is a beautiful thing, and the power behind it is undeniable. Sadly, i think my testimony is not enough for some reason.. like its not strong enough. I dont know why i feel this way. But i am nervous for whatever is ahead of me on my mission; i believe it will truly bring me to my knees. I am perhaps a little scared, and a little excited. But i pray that the Savior will help me during that time, because i know my own strength and faith isnt enough. I need Him... So thats why im continually building my faith while im here. I wish i couldve started a long time ago instead of last year. Thats why i desperately want josh to be as prepared as possible.
I will write a handwritten letter tonight or tomorrow. the mail schedule is messed up because of christmas and new years jaja! Love you :)
Con amor,
Elder Santiago

Dec 25th



so much has happened recently! I  dont think i sent that letter i wrote.. i must've lost it! oh well. i will write another one today and send it! i really wanted to answer your question that you had about how to help josh prepare for a mission. i think i can help him somehow. so i will write that.
i hope you're christmas with la familia has been great. i miss you guys so much. its hard not to think about all the past christmas we've had spent together. yo estoy triste.. but the Lord wants me here. he will bless you while im gone :)
we have learned so much.. work work work! i could probably write you a letter in spanish but my grammer is aweful. its so much easier to speak a language than to write it jaja!
anyways, today has been great so far, and im really happy that i get to email my family. i never have much to say and im sorry for that. its just that nothing "interesting happens porque everyday is almost the same jaja! wake up, work, eat, wooorrkkk, etc.. sleep. repeat. i just dont think you guys would wanna hear about my classes jaja but teaching investigators are usually the highlight of my days. they either make my day really good, or really bad, depending on how it went. investigators are simpre in our prayers!! and yes, our families tambien! but teaching is so fun, even though its hard. we can understand almost everything in class that our teachers say, but we cant really reply perfectly because we still have a lot to learn. exciting :)
well, i hope today has been good to you, and the family. Dont let them forget what the true meaning of christmas is!
 
Love,
Elder Santiago

Dec 18th


This must be quick!!
I wrote a letter for you guys but havent had time to send it, btw. i should send it today. i received your package :) We love the oranges, and i love the razor jaja. We dont usually like receiving food because we have so much junk food already and stuff, but im always happy to receive something from my family! :) por favor, keep writing "dear elders." Most of my zone gets a letter every other day, and so sometimes i get really discouraged when i never get emails or letters written back to me... But its okay :)
im glad to hear all the good news! tell jill im proud of her and that shes awesome! its also great to hear about josh's progress! tell everyone i said hello :)
The spanish is coming great. We havent really learned how to communicate very well jaja (haha in spanish...) but we know how to say our testimonies, pray, give some lessons, etc. But its progress. We really are learning at such a fast rate, its crazy! if i write in spanish, please dont reply in spanish using google translator, because its rarely correct jaja :)
gracias por the prayers, it means so much to me. the mural is coming along great :)
sincerely, elder santiago

Dec 11th


Its okay, mine are short also. Not much time!
Our investigator, Karla, isnt our investigator anymore. (our investigators are our teachers but they pretend to be someone they actually taught from their mission so its a spiritual experience.) Pero we got 2 new ones! Its so awesome to see them progress and come unto Christ!
Im excited for the package! i dont know if we can print pictures here so i need copies of the pictures :( my companions and i really want pictures of our family, friends, and.. all the girls ive dated hahah. That would be an awesome gift!! also, need another pair or two of gym clothes :(
Its really hard not to type in spanish! some of my journal is in spanish because we simply cant help it.
I will pray for my family, especially those who are sick (pam). I hope all is well this Holiday. Remember what Christmas is all about :)

Love,
Elder Santiago

On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 6:29 AM, joan james <joanjames2@mac.com> wrote:
How are you doing?   This is going to be a little short!  How is your investigator doing?  I'm trying to send some pictures and not sure if it will work!  We will probably be in Utah Thursday and we will have a package for you.  Thursday or Friday :)  Sorry this is all running together!  I'm headed to the hospital Pam had surgery and she had a little set back and I'm going down to let her Doctor have it!!  I will let you know how she is doing :)   Your u=in our prayers always!!  We love you so much, Mom
Its okay, mine are short also. Not much time!
Our investigator, Karla, isnt our investigator anymore. (our investigators are our teachers but they pretend to be someone they actually taught from their mission so its a spiritual experience.) Pero we got 2 new ones! Its so awesome to see them progress and come unto Christ!
Im excited for the package! i dont know if we can print pictures here so i need copies of the pictures :( my companions and i really want pictures of our family, friends, and.. all the girls ive dated hahah. That would be an awesome gift!! also, need another pair or two of gym clothes :(
Its really hard not to type in spanish! some of my journal is in spanish because we simply cant help it.
I will pray for my family, especially those who are sick (pam). I hope all is well this Holiday. Remember what Christmas is all about :)

Love,
Elder Santiago

On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 6:29 AM, joan james <joanjames2@mac.com> wrote:
How are you doing?   This is going to be a little short!  How is your investigator doing?  I'm trying to send some pictures and not sure if it will work!  We will probably be in Utah Thursday and we will have a package for you.  Thursday or Friday :)  Sorry this is all running together!  I'm headed to the hospital Pam had surgery and she had a little set back and I'm going down to let her Doctor have it!!  I will let you know how she is doing :)   Your u=in our prayers always!!  We love you so much, Mom

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dec. 4th

Mother:
 
Hola!
 
I hope you received my brief letter that i wrote. i recieved your emails, thanks for the addresses.
 
So far the MTC is awesome. It was nothing like i expected. On day 1, all we heard in class was spanish, no english at all. We have learned so much spanish. It is difficult not to write in spanish because a lot of thoughts are in spanish now.  We have been teaching our investigator for a couple days now. Her name is Karla. Trying to communicate with her in a different language is very difficult but we know The Lord is helping us, we can feel it. It is wonderful to see her progress and see her faith in Christ increase; I love the feeling i get after I know i helped the Lord share his message.
My companion, district, and zone are great. My companion is Elder Young. We get along very well, dipite our differences. I will send pictures when i can, but our schedule is very strict that we have very little time for ourselves (ie write letters, journals, talk with friends, etc...)
I am happy to hear everything is going well. Dont let me being gone bring you down. The Lord will comfort you, all you need to do is ask.
 
Dad:
 
I know you miss me, and want to hear from me, so dont act like you dont :)
 
I have our picture up in my room, the one of our family when i opened my call. Things are great here, and Ive never felt the spirit so frequently and strongly. This is truly a blessing in my life. Thanks you for all the support you have given me in my life, and for being an example. I am proud of you, you are an amazing father to me. Keep our family together, and dont forget your sacred responibilities as a father and priesthood holder.
 
 
Josh:
 
I miss you. I hope you are progressing with your papers and such. Do not miss me; I am not far away. If you need comfort, I suggest reading one of my favorite scriptures: D&C 50: 44-48. (I cant remember the exact verses but its like the last 6 verses in the chapter). I am proud of you. I want to see you come here becuase i know you will be happy if you do. Say hi to daniel for me!
 
 
Brock:
 
Thanks again for the stuff. I have found it to be very useful already. I hope school is coming along well, and that you and my dad are getting along!
 
 
Jill:
 
If you get to read this (mom, forward this to her por favor), i want to say thanks for dropping me off at the MTC. I know it was hard.
Keep your head up. I will be writing you soon, I have a few things to say that i feel will help you.
 
Daniel:
 
I miss my best friend. Stay with Josh, help each other to be able to go on missions. This is so exciting and i love it, i know you will too. Say hi to your family for me.
 
 
 
I need a few items: decent camera, electric razor, hannah and reebs emails and address, toblers email and address. I cant think of anything else really right now. I am probably going to write more hand written letters. I find it easier and have more time to do it (email is only 30 minutes allowed...) Oh, and there is no gum allowed for missionaries, just fyi.
 
Showers are terrible. Classes are freakishly long. Some missionaries are weird. Spanish is very hard. Days are long. Family and friends are missed. And yet, I Love it.
 
 
I miss you guys very much. I am happy to be where i am, i know the Lord is happy too.
:)
 
Sincerely,
Elder Jacob James