A True American Thanksgiving in Guatemala


We had a spectacular Thanksgiving! Even though they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Guatemala, Estelita wanted us to feel like were back home, and prepared a fabulous American-style Thanksgiving feast for us, complete with turkey, funeral potatoes, pumpkin pie, and we even had Nat King Cole  playing in the background.IMG_0978 It was like being at home. Not even Elder and Sister Knapp were able to ruin the night by sharing their whole life story.

[Note: during Thanksgiving dinner, Estelita began taking photos and sending them to Tammy and me through FaceBook messaging. It was the next best thing to having Jake home for the holidays. Estelita tempted Jake by offering to Skype us, or allow Jake to send text messages to us, but Jake was a good boy, and disciplined himself… although I’m not sure I could have disciplined myself had he began to text us. It was great to see that someone was taking care of our boy on Thanksgiving, and that Jake got to experience a little touch of home in the states, and we got to feel closer to him on Thanksgiving… for that, we are truly thankful].

IMG_0979 IMG_0980

Jake continues…

From what I have seen, it seems like the people in the cold land are not as willing to change; no matter what miracles they have seen performed through the Spirit. On average, only 1 in 4 companionships have a baptism every 6 weeks. So far I have only baptized four people. But there are two other people we committed to baptism, who ended up getting baptized after I was transferred. So if you count them, that would make six. For me, it doesn’t matter how many people I baptize during my mission… what matters to me is how many lives I am able to change for the better as a result of the friendship I formed with them, and the gospel influence on their lives.

Here are some updates on our current investigators:

  1. Sister White told us that she has now put the missionaries from Panajachel in contact with Guadalupe’s family, now that Guadalupe is back living with her family. The missionaries there are now working to get all the rest on family to go to church with her. And Guadalupe may be baptized on Sunday, which is awesome! But it does suck that we will probably never see her again. As for Juan… I have yet to receive any updates on his progression.
  2. Thanks to Maribel, Marvin’s wife, her family is becoming more interested in the temple. We are continuing to teach them, and we also got them to go to a movie night with over 40 other investigators. We also started teaching the family of Ruben, Marvin’s brother! The problem is that both their wives don’t want to go to church unless their husband’s go; and their husbands both work every Sunday. It’s always something.
  3. Noemi is progressing nicely. Get this… her two younger children were able to teach their older siblings about the restoration, as if they grew up in the Church their whole lives. We didn’t even have to explain to Noemi why there would only be one true church, and she was very agreeable to setting a baptismal date.
  4. There is no way that the Rojas Chaj family isn’t a “golden family” who had been prepared by the Spirit before we arrived at their door. When we introduced Isaias (the father) to the Book of Mormon, he told us that he already had “that book” in his home, and he already knew that it was true. To show us that he had actually read it, he had his kids pull down a box that was full of more church books than I think you even have in your office. He accepted the invitation to re-read it and pray about the Book of Mormon again, together with his family. He then told us that he is already convinced that the Church is true, and that with his book collection, he feels like he is more of a Latter-day Saint than we are. We also found out that his oldest son and his wife were actually attending the Church for a while, which makes me realize how much God actually has prepared this family to receive us. I just hope I don’t get transferred.
  5. We still have not had luck in scheduling a day to revisit Ruth again.

6. Even though Eduardo still has a strong testimony that God was the       one who led us to his home to bless his family, it is apparent that he is not ready to change his life around yet. That is why we dropped him. We actually ended up finding another ex L.A. gang member to start teaching, who is a lot more ready to change his life around than Eduardo. He has already gone to church with us twice. We couldn’t ever get Eduardo to stop playing video games long enough to attend church even once.

But I will have to tell you more about him next week, since we didn’t have much time to write today. We have to go now. There are three member families who are throwing me a “surprise” birthday party tonight.

Love you guys!    Jake


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