Monday, May 18, 2015

5-4-15 One Mission

Hello Family and Friends. I am glad to say that it is Monday and that I can write you all a letter. This Monday just so happens to be the very last Monday of my mission! Although I am ending the mission I am so very grateful for the 2 year experience that I have had to be here in Paraguay and help others come unto Christ. I would like to share with you all a story that I read named "One Mission",which may be well known among fellow missionaries that was written by an Elder Nielsen.

"It´s impossible to describe a mission, but rather it´s the moments. It´s sending in your papers. It´s opening the call that is signed by the prophet. It´s the time before the MTC that seems like it will never end. It´s hugging your parents and siblings-they go one way, and you go off on the greatest adventure of a lifetime. The MTC(in Argentina?), the rules, the packages, the classroom and the firesides. It´s flight plans, too much food, testimonies, and cabin fever. It´s the airport, a phone call or two, and off you go- out of the swimming hole and into an ocean of uncertainty.

It´s the mission president(Presidente Agazzani), trainers(Elder Wesley Morgan, realizing that you didn't learn hardly anything in the MTC (so true) and loving it all the same. It´s the new food, new people, new culture, new language, new currency, new form of transportation (falling of buses), new routine, new everything under the sun(including the sun, which is really hot). It´s also a lot of firsts that change: first district meeting(Zona 14 Distrito 1), first contact, first lesson, first letter from home, first email home, first Latin companion(ELder Arteaga), first wooden bed that's broken, first shower you fry(literally with a burst of flame), first Sunday at church, first time a kid speaks to you and you ask your comp if it is Spanish and he just laughs, first first vision, first baptism(Martha), unforgettable no matter how disorganized it is. First changes and then it is all a blur after that. It´s being anxious for you companion to leave and then when he is gone you kinda miss him. It´s 99 contacts with nothing but slammed doors, shaking fingers, lying children(my moms not home), and barking dogs. But it is that hope that contact 100 will be the one. The one that wants to change(Diego Figueredo). The one that has been crying for help(Eva Rodriguez) to God that he or she wants to follow, but doesn't know where to find him. The one who seems perfect: perfect questions(Christian), perfect work schedule to come to church on Sunday (Arnaldo Montiel), perfect kids that don´t scream during a lesson, and most importantly a desire to make it work even if everything isn´t perfect. It is the hope of finding the one that gets you up every morning, gets you out  of a members house in 100 degree plus weather and everybody is sleeping.

It is finding the one, future priesthood holder or future family. It´s making plans, working with members, and lots and lots of prayers to help that family. Many are found, but few choose to be chosen. It´s thousands of disappointments as the families commitment falls to doubts(The Salcedo Family), gossip, weather, or anything else clever that Satan comes up`with on Saturday night. It is getting the family to church for the first time and helping them fell at home. It is showing them the church leaders, presenting them to the bishop, as well as the cute outgoing teenage girl so that the young man of the family can have a great experience as well. 

It is when the family gets baptized and the reality of what you are giving them hits you.It is the hope of having an eternal family. It is the hope of a better life without pain or suffering. It is giving that hope with brings you the greatest satisfaction that you have ever experienced.

It´s like going back in time and appreciating what you had back at home. It is the firm declaration that you will never complain about vacuuming again when you actually have a carpet. It is showering with flip flops and putting chlorine in the water. It is stepping into the baptism font in freezing cold water, flipping a bug out and smiling so that the person getting baptized doesn't get cold feet.

It is being soaking wet about 80 percent of the time from rain or sweat. It is sitting in front of a fan wondering if you can survive another day in the oven that you are living in. It is Elders 14, cockroaches 1 in a matter of 2 weeks. It´s tapes and packages home, but more coming your way. It is the realization that life does go on without you.It is going through 5 pairs of shoes(literally I am on my 6th pair), ripped pants(every single one), missing buttons, and socks a lot closer to heaven(holy) than me. It´s ants, cockroaches, frogs, snakes, and the little bugs that get inside you and give you diarrhea.

It is a rainstorm that soaks you and your companion. It is walking through water up to your knees and laughing while people look at you thinking that  you are crazy. It is going out in the rain because an Elder convinced that if you work in the rain, your wife gets a lot better looking. 

Its change day, mothers day, Christmas, birthday, P-Day, and Game Day. Its good days, bad days, journal entry days,. Those are the good days. The days that cant be enjoyed unless they come with a price.

It is discovering that God does hear and answer prayers. Sometimes he takes away everyone else so that we can really get to know him. It is coming to learn in a tiny degree, the power of the Atonement applies not only to vile sinners, but also to each individual including you.  

It is knowing that you have a testimony that nobody can take from you. It is building it one piece at a time. Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is true. The priesthood keys have been restored. Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. It is sharing that testimony dozens of times a day that  roots it deep into your soul.

It is watching missionary after missionary giving their final testimony while you are certain that that day will never come to you and then..... it comes. It is learning to live the moment and not for the moment because all to soon it is gone. It is the sunsets, the music, the dusty streets, the dirty kids, the tiny houses, and the love of the people. It is soaking it all in, catching every detail because you will never get it back. 

It is looking up at the night sky at the end of you mission and wondering about the effect of one mission. Does one mission really have eternal consequences? Does planting one seed, teaching one lesson, finding one person really matter at all? Did the mission of THE ONE make a difference? Did his mission his seed planting, his life, have an effect on the eternities? Did his atonement pay the price of justice and give mercy her claim?

As you fly back to a former life that you are convinced is a dream, it is realizing that as you have been in the service of your fellow beings you have also been in the service of you God. It is the feeling in you heart overfilled with gratitude for the one chance you had to show your worth, give your all, and return with honor. It is becoming like the ONE, The ONLY Begotten, the SON of Man, the Prince of Peace, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, even Jesus Christ. It is for those 2 years of which you will eternally praise the Lord, as the life that was converted more than any other was only one-you."

Thank you all for your love and support! 

Elder Jessop

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

4/27/15 On The Lords Errand ...........

Hello Family and Friends. The time has come again to write an email to all those who desire to read it. This week, like all the weeks, went by and is gone and I am happy to say that Elder Zamora and I are taking advantage of them. Elder Zamora is almost done with his training and he can´t wait to finish the 12 week program. He is learning English too. HE is awesome. I just wanted to share a spiritual experience with you all in this letter that really touched my heart this week.

Liz Paola: We are teaching a young women named Paola and she is really trying to come unto Christ and is looking for him. My companion and I felt that we needed to watch the Restoration with her so that she could feel the spirit and know that these things are true. Luckily her neighbor is the relief society president and she invited us over to her house to watch the Restoration with her, Paola, and her family. This day was Friday and I also had to do 3 baptism interviews. The first one was at 4 and they next 2 at 5 and the Family Home Evening was going to start at 7. Then the craziness happened. I did the interview for Doroteo, which took an hour because he had some issues and then we had to travel to another area in bus to do the next 2 interviews. The house of the people who were going to get baptized lived about 30 minutes from the Elders house. The interviews took FOREVER haha. Jose Torres had some hardcore doubts that I tried to resolve. Then when we finished we family got back to wait for a bus at 7. The Family Home Evening was supposed to start at 7... We waited for a bus for 1 hour(God always test the patience, but luckily I am getting better). We finally made it to the Family home evening at 8:30. Paola, Daniella, and Ever just laughed at us. We did have time to watch the short version of the Restoration. When we asked Liz Paola if it was true she responded with certainty that it was. The room was filled with the spirit as the members, Daniella and Ever, testified of the Restoration and the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. Liz Paola came to church on Sunday and we are planning her baptism for this Saturday, which happens to be the last Saturday of my mission. 

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. It has changed me and has helped me find my eternal perspective. It has carried me through these 2 years of trials and hardships, triumphs and joy, happiness and sorrow for the sins of the world. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I have stood by his side as I have testified of his gospel, his church, and of him. Despite the rejections, denials, and pain, I have felt the love of my Savior as he has helped me rise up and teach with power and authority and declare this gospel unto these people. I am a 20 year old, I guess you could say man, but I know that this service has prepared me for a lifetime of service in his gospel. I am eternally grateful.

Elder Jessop