Monday, December 9, 2013

Better week, Christmas devotional -

 THIS WEEK WAS MUCH BETTER THAN LAST WEEK, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!  There were many reasons for that, your prayers, my companion, thinking and praying for Jess knowing she would be starting varsity and Nate knowing he had transfers. I felt a little bit like you guys feel when we have transfers when I felt that way for Nate. I feel optimistic and positive now. I'm glad Nate is staying with Elder Gooch, it sounds like they're tearing it up! 

We found several new investigators this week, put several on baptismal dates and had a good time. My companion gave me some good advice, some of the which I am not sure is true, but we had a fun week overall. I exercised 5 days out of 6, the only day I didn't was because I had some dishes to wash and had to wash them. I did my pushups, but did less, and was ok with that. I did 432 today and less the other 2 days that I did them.

We visited a lot of people this week, few of  which came to church, but it was alright. A less active family came to church, the Santos Sojo family, and one investigator, Ruben.  His wife is a pretty much active member, she just makes sure to not come too much so they don´t give her a calling, but pretty much always comes. We were able to watch the Christmas devotional in one of the offices in the church with the branch president and his wife.   Agustin and Karla came to church as well, they are recent converts who hadn´t come for the last 2 weeks. Karla told me while they were passing the sacrament that Agustin didn´t come to church 2 weeks ago because he drank, and wasn't sure if he should partake of the sacrament or not, I didn't know what to do and because he hadn't talked to the branch president yet I told him to take it, maybe not the best decision but oh well. They are really awesome, I like them a lot. They are like many people here, who have hardly any food to eat and give us everything they have.

Thank you so much for the letters, I really needed them this past week. You just reminded me, I did separations, or like, little mini interviews with the elders in our district on Tuesday after District Class, and was able to talk with and mostly listen to, and to some point help a missionary who was struggling and thinking about going home.   He said many things to me that, like you and your clients, I can't tell you, but I can tell you that he doesn't have a dad and has had a really hard life. It felt good to listen to him and try to understand him. That was the second time in my mission that I have had the chance to do that, and I cherish every chance that I have to do it, just listen to the problems of others. Thanks for reading and studying and praying specifically for me, the time spent was not spent in vain. ……..

This week we had a funny lesson. We went to visit a less active member, and several of her daughters and daughters in law, and one of her friends were there, and after listening to them talk for a fairly long time about how good looking I was (no joke) we had a really good lesson with them. We started teaching them about the restoration and were able to answer a lot of their questions. The friend, the one that really liked me,(50 years old) had questions about Sin and Justice and Mercy, and I had just been reading about those things in Alma 42 and was able to really clearly answer her questions, with some of my best Spanish. It was one of those fun lessons when you don't have to think about what to say, but just speak, words just flow out of your mouth, and they are understanding and everyone feels the spirit, and it was just awesome!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Zone Conference in Santiago

Monday December 2nd-
The San Blas Elders (Ben's companion, Elder Martinez, is the little one next to him)

So, this week went well. We had Zone Conference is Santiago and we took a test on Preach My Gospel and I got the highest score in the zone, but not to brag or anything, and Elder Martinez got the second highest score. I am just a little bit taller and wider than him, but just a little. 

We were able to visit many less active members and investigators this week and invite them to church. Many less active members came and a couple of investigators as well. I went on divisions with Elder Webb this week, he is my zone leader, we have the same time in the mission and it was fun to talk about how we will both be going home soon. It was fun, and a little tough at times because Elder Webb speaks REALLY good Spanish, like he knows how to tell jokes and talk slang and has a really good accent, so it was good and just a little bit hard because of that. I fasted for all of my converts so they will stay active in the church. I felt a little bit bad because I had a really easy time fasting this week, I was not hungry or thirsty and it was kinda weird. We ate  A TON this week, first the huge sandwiches in zone conference. Then, we ate Thanksgiving with Sister Chellenberg and her family, and we ate several times Saturday, we ate a lot!

One of the sisters in the zone, and the zone conference sandwich

The three that finished their whole sandwich!

We had some good discussions this week, 73 came to church in total, not so great of a week. The sandwich was really good at zone conference. We ate all of the normal american food for thanksgiving. We ate pie and potatoes and gravy, stuffing, chicken, all of the normal good stuff. We have a ton of investigators, but only 1 of them is really progressing, her name is Nina. She came to church on Sunday. It was fun because she was not going to go, but we passed by to invite her Sunday morning and she came.

One of the nice things of this week was being able to visit Karla and Agustin. They are a young couple who were baptized just a couple of months ago, they have not been to church in 2 weeks and we visited them 2 times this week. They are really humble, awesome people. When I am with Agustin I just feel like he is pure and awesome, he is the kinda guy I would've hung out with back at home. I am sure that they will be back to church next week. Also, Alicia, a less active member who had not been to church in my time here came to church on Sunday. And we also were able to gain the confidence of her sister, Mari, who is also a member and can´t come to church because she works on Sundays. Edgar and Andrea also came to church on Sunday, it was fun because we saw Andrea walking into church by herself and thought, "well, cool that Andrea came, but that stinks that Edgar didn't", but he had come in the other entrance on his motorcycle. We are hoping that they can be sealed in the temple soon. They both have more than a year as members of the church and I am pretty sure that they keep the commandments and are worthy to enter into the temple. Have they started construction on the Cedar City temple? Hopefully they have. 

I have got to go now. Thanks for the awesome letters you write to me each and every week.  I pray for you guys often and thank God everyday for sending me to the family he sent me to, have a great week!

Love, Elder Ben Jarvis

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A baptism in the river, and a trip to Mexcaltitan

Monday November 25th

So, some of the highlights of this week were watching the parade, playing with a crab, having Gabriela´s baptism in a river, going to the island, and a cruel joke that a member pulled on me and my companion. What happened, is that Brother Manrubio, one of the faithful members of the branch who always goes with us to teach, called me and said that he had committed a serious sin and that he needed to talk to us, and so I got all freaked out and got into it a little with my companion and it turns out it was all just a joke and he invited us to eat Tortas and Sodas, but he called us at the 11 in the morning and he knew that if he just invited us to eat we would have said that we had lessons to teach. He is a really cool guy and he said that he only invited us to eat because, "le caemos bien."

The parade was in celebration of the Mexican Independence Day, which was the 20th of November. The Island is called Mexcaltitan, Tell Grandpa Happy Birthday for me! I do have photos from Gabriela´s baptism, I'll send them later. I bench pressed 255 if Jess is there, you will have to tell her sorry but big bro is still the strongest one in the house, but that she is a close second!

98 people came to church on Sunday, the most that have come in my time in San Blas, so that was pretty awesome. The bad thing is that none of our investigators came. I confirmed Gabriela and it was the first time that I confirmed a person in my mission, it was pretty awesome, I didn't feel like I did a great job, but it was fun! I have had the chance in San Blas to bless the sacrament, teach the youth, and teach the Gospel Principles class. Our area is the one that is farther away from the beach. We eat with the same members every week, and one of the poorer families feeds us 2 times a week, the 4 of us, can you imagine that! Speaking of that, that sounds fun that the missionaries ate with you guys last week, I´m sure that was fun for both you and them!

Sounds like you are keeping yourselves busy and that´s great. I wrote to Nate today and he wrote me a nice letter as well. We are going to have Thanksgiving with Sister Magdlena, the one who lived in the U.S. for a long time, she made us lunch this week, we had roast and it was pretty awesome, it was a little different for Elder Martinez, I am not sure how much he liked it. I did my normal exercise this week and did divisions with Elder Krambule. He is from Idaho and we talked in English the whole time, it was pretty awesome. We had a lot of success that day and I felt very relaxed for a change.

Thanks for the letters you guys wrote to me, they help me a lot and I always need them, and am grateful for them. In every one of my prayers I thank God for sending me to this earth to the family he sent me to. I remember one time, an elder said to me, "elder, you don´t know how lucky you are to have such a nice family," and I remember thinking, no, I have a great family, but a pretty normal one, but then I realized that wasn't true. I will give you a few examples from my companions of why I say that, and these things are between me and you guys. …...........Just a few examples, and the more I think about it I am more and more grateful for the family I have. I love you guys and am thankful for everything that you do for me. Thanks for all of the money that you have sent to me, and I will do the best that I can to spend it more wisely. I love you guys and miss you and think about you often!

Love, Elder Jarvis

p.s. I also saw some people playing baseball today and it made me a little homesick, and this week I contacted a guy who had a baseball helmet on, a lot of people here use those as motorcycle helmets as he was doing, and anyways, the point is that he actually knew something about baseball! His son is a pro baseball player here in Mexico! Can you believe that!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Toenail trouble and 91 came to church, a new record!

President Artigas with the ingrown toenail.

This is a picture of my bloody toenail after President Artigas took out my ingrown toenail.

He did it really well, he numbed me up a little bit, which hurt, but then when he took out the nail I did not feel anything. We took the rest of the day Monday off.  But we worked hard the rest of the week and had a good week. We had our zone class in Santiago and it went well.  Something funny about last week, after having my toenail taken out, Elder Martinez took out his hammock and put it up between 2 trees for me to rest in, but it wasn't too comfortable because I pretty much sunk to the ground.

It did hurt just a little bit when he injected me, but after that it hardly hurt at all.  

Me pulling the rope that lifted the pinata up.

We had a fun week this week, we had an activity for the little kids and about 40 of them came, some of them members and some of them investigators.

so in the activity, we were the 4 elders and the 40 little kids, and no adults, the Relief Society had an activity at the same time, so it was a little bit really hard to control all of them, but it ended up being really fun, 

Gabriela is going to be baptized on Friday and came to church again on Sunday. She is doing really well, the only thing that she needs to do before being baptized is begin to read the Book of Mormon. She has to take these pills that make her tired and then it is harder to read.

91 came to church, the most that have come in my time in San Blas!

Another cool thing about this week is that Elder Martinez and I almost reached the Standard of Excellence, which is like goals for a week for the mission.  The funny thing is that we almost reached it, but afterwards,  President Wagner lowered the standards for the 1st time.   I think that only one companionship reached the first standard of excellence and they only reached it one time.

On Saturday, the branch president´s daughter, our relief society president, Cynthia bought us tacos, and I accidentally stuck my finger in someone else´s tacos, but the lady put the tacos right in front of me, so I thought they were mine, haha.

This is a picture with Sister Magdalena. She was one of the first people to join the church here in San Blas. She if from Mexico, but lived in the United States for a very long time. Her husband passed away 14 years ago. He was from Switzerland and spoke 5 different languages! She obviously speaks fluent Spanish, but also has an accent from Europe that is really cool. She likes to eat at Golden Corral and says that her english isn't that great because her husband told her that she had to speak 100% spanish with their children so that they would learn spanish.

We had our zone class in Santiago and it went well. I did divisions with Elder Montano who is here in San Blas as well. We all thought this painting outside of a store in Santiago was pretty funny.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Transfers come and go, and 89 at church in San Blas!

November 11, 2013

We had a really nice Sunday yesterday. 89 people came to church which is really good for San Blas, and 10 less active members from our area came. We had a fun experience this week. I went to Villa Hidalgo, a small town about 45 minutes from San Blas, the other 2 elders in our district are there. The week before, I had gone there to do a baptismal interview, and the man did not pass because he had smoked on Saturday and we had the interview on Wednesday. His wife is already a member, and he was really disappointed.  We went again this Wednesday to do the interview again and this time he passed, he had not smoked for about a week and a half. G... works for Banco Azteca and works on Sundays, but just leaves for an hour to come to church. On Friday, we ran into a less active member in the street who also works for the same company but here in San Blas and we told him what Gerardo was doing to make it to church and he ended up coming to church as well, the one that lives here, and his wife as well. His name is Edgar, and his wife is Andrea. They are a really cool family, the elder who baptized them was Elder Bitter, who was an AP in the this mission and we also saw him when I arrived in Mexico and he was heading home to Texas.  They have a little daughter that is about a year old and I often shake her hand and hold onto it for a second and she doesn´t really want to let go of my hand either and her parents always say things like, "nope he´s got to finish his mission first" and then they realize that I am a lot older than her and they say, "nope, you'll have to wait for his son" sort of things and they are really nice.

Many members accompanied us this week and I think that was why so many less active members came to church on Sunday. I think that a visit of 15 minutes from one member to another is worth more than one of our hour long lessons, when they can see that the other members really care about them, that seems to help them more than anything else.   The tough news of the week is that Silvestre, Bere´s husband does not want us to come over there anymore and they are not going to get married anytime soon. Neither of them came to church this week. Gabriela came to church, she has now been 5 times and wants to be baptized, and could be baptized this Saturday, but she has to go to Vallarta on Sunday and would have to wait more than a week between her baptism and her confirmation and that is not a good idea, so she will likely be baptized the next Saturday.

Gordon Reid wrote a nice letter to me this week.  We continued to run at the soccer field, there are a ton of dogs there, that usually just fight within themselves, I have gotten used to the dogs here and have realized that they don't tend to attack me, but this week, I started to feel very fearful of them once again and one of the dogs started barking at me, so I had to pick up a rock, but luckily did not have to throw it at him. I have still been doing my push ups as well, and am still just a big person, I still have my arms and have packed on a few in the stomach area. A member yesterday said that I look like a Mexican boxer, his name is "Canela" or "Canelo," so that was a nice compliment.

The branch President here is going to take out my ingrown toenail here in a little bit and I will make sure to take plenty of pictures of that. It is one of the same toenails that I had taken out before. Yesterday we had transfers and nobody in our district was transferred.   A family of 10 that the other elders are teaching also came to church yesterday. Our investigators who came were Juan, Gabriela, and Ruben. Juan is the husband of a less active member, Alma, who also came to church yesterday, and Gabriela is the sister of Isabel who is member here. Ruben is the husband of Ofelia, a pretty much active member. The less active members who came were, Andrea and Edgar who I have already talked about, The Santos Sojo family, a family of 7, the parents and 5 kids, 4 girls and one boy. They have been members for a long time, are ostioneros and normally do not come because one of their daughters is handicapped and that makes things a little bit difficult. Also, Alma came, and Moises, a middle aged man who fishes for a living just like just about everyone else here in San Blas, Ofelia also came and a few others. Some of the new investigators who we found this week were Eva, who is a police officer, she works here and lives in a little town close to San Blas. She is like a guard and we went and taught her with Brother Manrubio while she was on duty and luckily nothing happened while we were teaching her. She works 24 hours and then rests 24 hours. Also, Nina, who is a substitute teacher and sells ice cream. We taught her a couple of times this week.   We have to contact 10 people a day in the street, and only about 5,000 to 10,000 people live in San Blas, so I am thinking that pretty soon we are going to know everyone in town.

Yes,...the branch president  is a doctor, he is pretty confident in his abilities as well, he says that he can do pretty much anything, he seems like he knows what he is doing. We always joke about the doctors here, saying things, "Well, you scraped up your knee, so I guess well just have to cut your foot off," like, what does that have to do with anything? They are an awesome family, we wash our clothes in the washing machine that they have at their business and they feed us a ton. This morning I wanted to buy cookies and Sister Artigas was not going to let that happen, she said "No, we have pan," and she also made us chorizo, juevos and pie.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A little hurricane, and the package made it!

Yes it is raining here and there is a hurricane warning close by,  but not for San Blas.  

We had interviews with the Wagner´s this week and the package arrived!  Thank you so much for sending it, it feels so nice to wear nice clean,white clothes! And I enjoyed and quickly ate all of the candy as well. Thanks for the last consoling letter you wrote to me last week.

It was pretty fun when I started my interview with President Wagner, he started off by saying to me, "Well tell me about your life" and I proceeded to tell him about the same time as the last time we talked, about struggling with feeling guilty, and he told me, "Don't worry about it, you´re worthy" and I asked him, “how do you know that?”  and he said, "I can see it in your eyes, maybe you don´t recognize it, but you have a light about you" and that was really nice and helped me out a lot.  

I had a good week this week, I feel kind of crazy because I have not been sleeping well, but I keep exercising, which is kind of the equalizer.  It was funny this morning, we woke up and it was raining and I still wanted to go running of course, but my companion said that if there were charcos, or puddles, we weren't going to run.  Of course there were puddles, so I just exercised in the house, but it was fine.

Yesterday Bere came to church, her husband did not because he had to work. She told us she smokes, so that stinks, but she does have the desire to quit smoking.   Many less active members did not come to church yesterday and we are going to visit them this week. I wrote Lindsey a nice letter last week and she wrote me a nice one back this week. We found several new investigators this week.  One of which was Viviana, my companion found her wallet and we returned it to her and came back to teach her on Saturday. We had a good lesson, taught the Restoration, it was good, it just stunk because she was pretty immodest  and is attractive, and I just think sometimes, why do people do that?  But I guess that is just the usual these days, I don't think it just a Mexico thing.   I talked to Nate for the first time in a little while, he told me the food there is not great, no surprise there, but he seems to be doing really well!

Oh and Sister Wagner gave me a nice compliment this week, when we have interviews, we talk with both of them, and he always asks us if we are exercising, and she asked me if I was exercising, already knowing that I do, and then said, "Not like you can tell".  I think she meant it looked obvious that I am still exercising.   That was nice.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eating marlin and street contacting

We had a good week. 4 investigators came and 6 less active members came, I think. Bere and her future husband Silvestre both came, and it was the first time that he came. They are going to get married on Friday and me and Elder Martinez are going to be the witnesses. Gabriela, whose sister is a member, and Ruben, whose wife is a member both came to church and they were the other investigators who came to church. Some of the less active members who came were Andrea, Moises and his father Seferino. I taught the Gospel Principles class and it went alright. I made the mistake of telling a story that I often tell and really should stop telling, I told the story about me and Nate and the bloody pants before church story.

The weather is the same, hot and humid, but it´s good, and we had a good week. I am sweating a lot, and it makes it tough to keep my shirts clean, but that´s alright.  It was kinda fun this morning, after running I bought some food and a drink at a little store and crossed paths with a member and talked to her for a little bit obviously in Spanish, and I turned around and this lady was looking at me smiling like, "wow, this white guy speaks Spanish" it was kinda funny and cool.

There are a lot of little kids here and that made it a little bit harder to feel the spirit at church. Yesterday we taught Juan, and he is awesome and accepted a baptismal date for the 6th of December. Bere, who has now come to church 3 weeks in a row has already read to Mosiah in the Book of Mormon and absolutely loves us. They invited us over to eat again. The week before we ate Marlin with them.

We have been contacting in the street more because it is a rule now to contact at least 10 people every day, and it has been fun, it seems like we now know about half of the town. Could you send me Nate´s letter, because it appears that I didn't get it, I don´t know if you already sent it or not. Thanks!

I heard from Lindsey last week, but not this week, but I´ll write something to her.  Bere is about 50 or 55 I would think, and she always calls us her angels. I followed your example this week and wrote notes to Bere and her husband and the branch president and his wife who was sick over the weekend and could not make it to church. All who received letters cried while reading them, it made me feel good.

Funny story, the members went to the temple this weekend, and ended up having to travel to Santiago, about an hour or two away, really late at night, in one truck, 11 OF THEM IN THE BACK OF THE TRUCK!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Really good week in San Blas

I had several really good experiences this week. On Friday we worked in the list of members, looking for inactive members and we found one, his name is Jose, and he was very excited to see us, we taught him just a little bit and it was awesome. Then we taught the mother of an inactive member, her name is Josefina. We had a really fun time listening to her. She is 70 years old and I felt a little bit like mom when she goes in to talk to the people at the care center. She told us about her alcoholic brother who died in a tragic accident. He was walking along the freeway and was hit by a car. I think she really appreciated that we really listened to her, and I felt so good and very interested in the story she told us. We briefly explained to her what happens after this life and it was totally awesome. 

Yesterday we visited Eulohia another inactive member. And we arrived just at the right moment, it was totally awesome. We taught her the Restoration, always the best lesson and she said that she wanted to say the prayer at the end of the lesson and thanked God that we had come to visit her and that our visit had done her much good and expressed much love for us, it was one of those awesome moments when you feel like you are making a difference. Then, in our last lesson, the husband of a member here, who had never listened to the missionaries before listened to us, and we didn't even ask him too, he just stopped by and started to listen while we were teaching his daughter in law. His son, who is a recent convert, walked by the window, and when he saw his Dad listening to us, he looked at me like, what is going on, and he came and listened as well. 

This morning, we had a lesson planned with an inactive member who was not there, and so we were walking home and decided to teach a man outside of his house. We taught him about all of the Restoration and then his friend Samuel got there, who is super escogido and his friend, the one who we began teaching, Luis is cool as well. I felt the spirit so strongly throughout all of those lessons. And this morning, I was doing push ups, and because of time, I was doing other things in between sets such as shaving and things like that, but I still wanted to get my 500 push ups in. And, as a tender mercy, I ended up doing exactly 500, not knowing how many I had done until I counted them up at the end. 

The other elders in our district are Elder Martinez, Veracruz, Elder McGhee, Las Vegas, Elder Montano, Pachuca, Mexico, Elder Perez, Mexico, and Elder Krambule, Preston, Idaho. As District Leader I have to call all of the elders in our district every night to see how their day went and do 1 day divisions with each one of them once every transfer, I can go to their area or they can come to mine. I have to report how their day went to the Zone Leaders and at the end of the week I send their week numbers to the zone leaders. I also have to teach the District Class every Tuesday and that is about all that I have to do, so it is not too much. 

Yesterday, one of Pres. Wagner´s counselors came to our branch and taught Elder´s Quorum and he taught an awesome class about the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, he was so good at knowing when to pause, which is something that we are taught to do and something that I love to do. He taught with power and you could feel his worthiness. And that is another thing that I learned this week, is that God does not expect me to be perfect in order to have the companionship of the holy ghost. He expects me to do the best that I can. And something that I have to remind myself of, and, I am not saying it to brag, but just so that I remind myself that I am worthy to be here is that, God requires a pure heart, and I have a pure heart, I know that and He knows that, and that is all that matters. I read Nate´s letter and that was alarming. I am glad that he is still safe, he has become such a stud!

Oh, and Mom, you look SMASHING in that picture with Paul outside of the SUU Building, I had to hide the picture from the men here with that Blond hair and blue eyes, haha, but you look really good, you look thin, and I like your pants. 

Letter back to Guzman

The sisters in Guzman asked Ben to write to a family he taught when he was there.  He sent us a copy, Jodi says it's good stuff :)

Bueno, pues espero que usted y su familia esten bien. Disculpenme por no haberles escrito antes. Siento que no los he visto por mucho tiempo, aparte de Juan Pablo. Las hermanas misioneras me contaron que estaban pasando por tiempos dificiles. Espero que ya esten mejor. Ustedes son una familia muy especial, nunca me olvidare de ustedes y tampoco me olvidare de todos los tiempos muy buenos que pasamos juntos. Todavia recuerdo el primer dia cuando que nos conocimos. Hermana Escobar nos llevo a su casa porque sabia que su mama era miembro de la iglesia y no estaba asistiendo. Recuerdo el dia cuando vimos los videos de los templos en la casa de la hna. escobar y Valeria decidio que queria bautizarse. Recuerdo cuando Daniela compartio su testimonio despues de su confirmacion. Recuerdo cuando Juan Pablo y Emmanuel repartian la Santa Cena juntos. Recuerdo cuando comimos con ustedes un lunes, cuando yo y Elder De La Mora nos invitamos. Recuerdo cuando Juan Pablo discurso sobre el Arrepentimiento y cuando Daniela discurso sobre La Palabra de Sabiduria. Recuerdo cuando nos ayudaron a vaciar la pila bautismal despues del bautismo de Mariel. Recuerdo cuando vimos el video de los testamentos en la capilla. Recuerdo cuando yo golpee a Elder De La Mora durante la leccion que tuvimos con ustedes. Ustedes son los futuros lideres de la iglesia en Ciudad Guzman y son mis mejores amigos, los quiero mucho aunque no siempre pueda expresarme muy bien en espanol. Fue un privilegio haberles conocido.

Espero que entiendan esta carta porque se que todavia me falta aprender mucho de espanol, pero quiero que sepan que la escribi con amor y que les amo mucho. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Good bye Tuxpan picture, Good Week San Blas

This  photo is me when I left Tuxpan. In this picture I am with the Castolo Family. They are some of my favorite people. They are the strongest members of the church in Tuxpan, they are the strongest. I felt like with them, The Lord knew that the church were going to go through some major trials in Tuxpan, and for that reason put a family there who He knew would be strong in the church and they are that family

This is a picture of Aristeo and his wife Francia and their baby Dario. Last Monday we went with them and a few other members up to a cool place where you can see all of San Blas and the beach and everything and it was pretty cool. They have both been members for about all of their lives, but when they got married they both went inactive and have just recently begun to come to church again, just a little while ago. He fishes oysters for his job, the majority of the people here fish for a living. I tried a plain oyster one day at their house and did not like it too much, but of course ate it.


This is a picture of me and Elder Martinez with the sun setting in San Blas behind us. In the picture I am wearing a long sleeve Steelers shirt, I do not know where Elder Martinez got it, but it was the only shirt that he had that fit me, and my shirts were dirty at the time. We are sitting on a cannon. The members who we went with were, Aristeo and Francia, Angeles and her brother Ulises, Angeles´s daughter and the girlfriend of UIises.   The view is really cool from up there, it was a way fun trip.

Zone conference was cool this week.  Elder Webb is one of our zone leaders now, he has the same time as me in the mission and is a really cool guy, really charismatic, and black, reminds me of Zack in some ways. My companion is doing well, he knows a lot about the scriptures especially the Bible. One of the families we are working with is Bere and her husband Silvestre. They are great. We were able to gain their confidence in the first lesson, and they are not married, that is the only thing that is holding her back from being baptized.  Once we were talking well with them and I called her his future wife, instead of wife, and he took it well and thought it was funny and everything.

Supposedly, 93 people came to church yesterday, (that is what the branch president counted) although in reality I think we were about 80. We had a good week though.   I did 1615 push ups  in total, it is harder to do them here with the heat and humidity but it is alright. I had a fun experience in one of our lessons this week, with a less active member that I will tell you about later.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Conference Week, and Bugs!

I have felt a little bit sick this week, I got a sore throat, but overall it has been a good week. It is hot and humid. I still managed to exercise every day even though it was difficult. I went running 3 times with my companion and 3 days did pushups. My companion knows how to run, like, he could possibly beat me in a long distance race, maybe.

It is a nice fun area though, the people seem to be less catholic and the members are awesome, they are very humble people, there are a lot of bugs. I have big shoes to fill, Elder Webb, whose shoes I am filling speaks great spanish and has a lot of charisma. 
Elder Webb (the big shoes to fill), and Ben's companion Elder Martinez from Veracruz

I was richly blessed with the gift of tongues this week, as in, by far the best spanish of my life. I even am beginning to be able to say the double r´s.

I  am district leader now, we are 6 elders in our district. 4 of us are here in San Blas and 2 are in Villa Hidalgo. I enjoyed the parts of conference that I understood. I understood more than 90 percent of the saturday morning session, and not quite so much in the other sessions. There are many awesome less active members and recent converts here.
It gets dark early here, like at 7 at night and that is when the bugs really start to come out, so we try to be in lessons during that time. We had some good lessons this week, one in particular when we were teaching  several investigators, we spent the first part of the lesson with them just talking and gaining their confidence, upon doing so we then began to teach very directly, I have found that that is one of the best tactics. If you get to that point, you can tell the people exactly what they have to do and they take it the right way.

The branch president and his family are awesome and she did make the cake for us Tuesday, for all of us and not just for me sadly. I ate bread and jam this week and the members gave us a lot of food. This is my first area where the members feed us every day, even on Mondays.

We are going to go an climb up a hill with a couple of members today.

I ran 3 times with my companion this week. The first time, he really wanted to run on the sand at the beach, and I do not think that we can do that, and I did not know where we were going, but I felt like we were running towards the beach. We ended up running parallel to the beach, but far away from it and not on the sand, when, all of the sudden we were running on the sand. We eventually got back, and I was just a little bit irritated. But, overall, we had a good week, and the heat and humidity was not as bad as I thought it would be, and the members are great.

We eat a lot of seafood here, the majority of which tastes good, and some of which, such as oysters does not taste so good. Actually, I have loved everything that we have eaten other than plain oysters, which we normally eat with chile or lime. I ate a lot of chile this week just because I can and the members like it and think that it is cool. We go and run around a soccer field right next to a school in the morning.

Oh,  and we are on the same time schedule as you guys here, just so that you know. And I think my favorite conference talk was Elder Uchtdorf´s Saturday morning one, because it was the one that I understood best.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tuxpan to San Blas!

I have very little time to write right now and so i am going to try to get all of the important details in.

I was transferred, I am now in San Blas, Nayarit.

It is hot and humid here, you can imagine how much i sweat doing my pushups in the morning.    I set my record doing 607 pushups in half an hour last week on Saturday.

My companion is Elder Martinez, he is from Veracruz, Mexico and only has 1 transfer in the mission.   My companion is younger and has less time in the mission than Nate. I am kinda training him, his trainer, Elder Webb has the same time in the mission as I do and he is now one of our zone leaders, and so I am going to finish training Elder Martinez. He is an awesome guy, he seems confident for a missionary who only has 1 transfer, but at the same time, not cocky.

We had district conference with the Wagner´s and it was awesome. Montze came to the saturday and Sunday sessions. President Wagner told us that all of us were in the pre earth life for at least 6,000 years, to more than 600,000 years.  
District Conference in Guzman, Ben is in the very basck

The branch president and his family are awesome. His wife is going to make me a cake because she asked me how old I thought she was and I said 35, she is 53. We ate with them yesterday, are writing in their ciber right now, and we wash our clothes here as well.

Several people yesterday told me that I speak spanish very well and they were also impressed with how much chile I ate.  We have to go and eat now and hitch a ride to get there.

I am safe and sound, and Mom, so that you know, nothing has happened to me like what happened to Nate, you know I would have told you about it, I am not a small person, and rarely feel like I am in danger, knock on wood. I felt a little bit scared one time with E. Robertson and that was it.

I was able to say good bye to all of my buddies in Tuxpan, and me and Garcia really got along well, we just had 2 incidents, but i think in 6 weeks that is pretty good. I am safe and sound and looking forward to working here. Something funny that happened this morning was that, I guess one elder who left San Blas this transfer was saying good bye to an older sister in the branch and he told her, “pero no se preocupe, va a llegar un guero con ojos azules, y despues, ella le dijo, o entonces no le voy a extranar por mucho tiempo, haha.”  Pretty funny, Mom can explain, sorry but I have got to go, Love you guys!

Love, Elder Jarvis

Friday, September 20, 2013

Plenty of rain in Tuxpan!

TODAY   |  September 20, 2013

Mexico battered by storms, at least 97 dead

Authorities in Mexico say this morning that the storms battering both of their coasts have caused the heaviest rains on record and have affected more than 1 million people, with at least 97 people dead.

Inundaciones en México

Monday, September 23

I am good, except for the rain. The rain was fun at first, it was a nice change of pace, but now I am just sick of it. I do not like feeling wet all of the time. 

Yesterday me and my companion worked just like we normally do, he had to buy some medicine after church and then went to a "doctor" to be injected. I have little trust in the medical services here, but it seems like they did it well. The alternative, would have been to go with a member who knows how to inject or to do it himself. He says that he know how to inject himself, because he used to inject his Dad, but I did not think that was a good idea, and luckily he had someone else do it for him.

This morning I woke up and I usually have to wake up my companion, but this morning, knowing that he was sick, I just let him keep sleeping and I got up and exercised and studied and did everything that I normally do. Then I cleaned much of the house, but felt hopeless doing it, knowing that water is going to come in again, and thus, the house will soon be dirty again. Bet you know how I feel! haha. Today is Mexican Independence day, but because of the rain, they have not done anything.

I did not have to do all of the cleaning, but it was nice to be able to serve a little bit. I do not know what type of injection he had to have. He is not diabetic. He eats a lot of salsa, really spice salsa, and also drinks a lot of soda. He has gastritis, I am not sure what that is in English. But, even though he can eat a lot of hot stuff, I can keep up with him, at times. One time at lunch, he ate a really hot chile and everyone was amazed, and then I ate one too. It is kinda fun, he has realized that I can do math in my head really fast, and is often asking me to add things up in my head. Our clothes are in the washing machine a the munoz house right now. oh, and my Elder Garcia fixed my camera! Gordon Reid wrote to me again, that was awesome, I am excited and nervous for Nate!

42 people came to church yesterday including hna. Munoz and Magda and her sister Lupita. We had a conference this week with Elder Johnson, an area seventy. It was really good, but every time we have a conference, I am reminded that President Wagner is not just an ordinary mission president. I feel the spirit as strongly when he talks as when anyone else talks, even not more strongly. Sometimes, he looks like he is almost glowing, it is pretty crazy.

Hna. Munoz knows that you are thinking about and praying for her and she asks about you as well, the rain gets in the house through various places, the house needs a lot of repairs, I think that it gets in mostly through the bottom of the windows,

Highlights of the week.......
  • Trip to colima for the conference with the Seventy, stayed in the big house in Guzman and me and my comp. bought a big huge pizza.
  • Doing a ton of pushups, 576 one day and 575 another.
  • Having a good meeting with president zamora, who....... did not come to church again yesterday.
  • Reading all of your emails, some of which I could not read last week
  • The rain,,,,,,,,,,,, not!
  • 3 of the 4 people who talked yesterday have been reactivated in my time here in Tuxpan.
  • The family of a less active member here came from Guadalajara, he is a counselor in a stake presidency there and has 2 little kids who passed the sacrament, how awesome it was to see 2 brothers passing the sacrament together.
  • Having a good lesson with Oscar, a less active member, about the restoration.
All of the rest was a pretty normal week, we had a tough time finding members to accompany us for our lessons, and I don´t feel very in touch with the spirit now, but oh well, what do ya do.