July 5, 1998

Ahah! I have my journal once again. So that means that I can write again. Poop! Well, I have a lot of stuff to say about my companion, but I am not going to say it right now. All I have to say is that he better be careful, cause if he is not, Elder Naylor is going to explode and give it to him just like it is... So watch out Elder Hammond, watch out! Love Jake.

July 8, 1998

I know that it has veen a while since I wrote last, but that is okay - siempre hay perdon! Even so, however, I am writing to share a neat experience with you... You know one of those neat missionary experiences? Anyhow, shall we begin? Now let's see, where to start? Humm? Okay, I am ready.

Brother Martinez went on splits with us last night and we taught the Peralta family a third discussion and it was really neat. I couldn't speak spanish for some strange reason, so I stopped trying until my tongue was loosed - and I regained my spanish speaking ability - but - even though I couldn't seem to speak it was neat because Bishop Martinez shared his conversion story. He told us how one of his daughters had gotten sick and was on the verge of dying and in desperation one night he prayed and told Heavenly Father that if he would spare his daughter's life then he would seek out the true church of Jesus Christ... and low and behold, his daughter got better. So the very next Sunday he announced to the family that they were going to church - everyone was surprised to hear that from their father, who hadn't been to church since he was 9. But there was a problem - his wife, a devout Catholic had also been on the verge of giving up but in desperation she had prayed and promised the virgin Mary that she would re-activat herself in the Catholic church if her daughter was healed. And so they compromised - the family went to the Catholic Mass and then a different Christian church every week - now after doing this for several weeks the husband (Brother Martinez) got tired of trying because the different churches and their doctrines did not match up with what the bible said, and so he quite looking. However, four years later two missionaries knocked on his door and he listened to their message and then went to their church one Sunday and guess what? He felt so good at their church that he was baptized shortly thereafter. Isn't that neat? Now, I don't really do the story justice, but picture it being told in an old falling apart farmhouse with all of the windows and doors open to let in the evening breeze... It was so neat! And now, for the experience of the day, we were biking home from 7 mile line when this guy (whom we found to be named Alonzo) pulled up in front of us and jumped out of his car and gave us a referral... It was sooo cool, he wasn't even a member. Jake

July 9, 1998

Golly! I have been going through my days now, actually paying attention to what goes on in them and you know what? They are pretty interesting. Take yesterday for example... The day started out pretty regular and then crazy stuff took over. You already know about the man in the car that gave us a referral, well, we went home for lunch after that and towards the end of lunch Jorge Tallabas, a media referral we spoke with and taught about two weeks ago called us up and I answered the phone and commence having a very wierd conversation with him. The conversation ended with him asking if we could come over right then and talk to him... well, we could so off we went. The funny thing is that I had a bad feeling about the situation the entire time that I was talking to him and when we got there I found out why... he was DRUNK! And when I say drunk I am being nice, he was plastered. Now after we got there the conversation that ensued was interesting and we ended up making another appointment with him so that we could go back on a day that he was not drunk. After that we went to Jerry Calzada's for a dinner appointment which was interesting to say the least... you see his two kids were screaming the entire time. After the Calzada's we had an appointment with a member referral about four miles away - so we huffed it on our bikes and finally made it to Servando's about 30 minutes late... but he was forgiving and we taught him a first and a second and Elder Hammond layed into him on the repentance thing more strongly than I have ever heard him do, which is strange because Servando is one of the nicest and calmest guys that I have met on my mission. Go figure? But anyway that was yesterday, aye de mi, what a day! Jake

Okay, I return once again with fun news for today - we went out to Jorge's house again and taught him a second discussion with an appointment to teach him a third on Saturday and then after that he started showing us his competition math awards and then he began to tutor us. He is amazing, which is probably why he is a teacher in math. But he solves problems quicker than you can snap your fingers. And then he saw the pen that I was using and he gave me a new one... because he wanted me to use the kind of pen that he likes which is a really nice pen. I love it. Anyway, after Jorge's house we were heading home for lunch when a man called us over and so we went and come to find out, he wanted us to teach his whole family. He said that he watches us ride our bikes down the road by his house every day and we never stop, so today he decided to ask us to stop! It was a neat experience and we have an appointment with them on Saturday... and all of this by 3:00 pm. I may be back later with more stories, who knows? Talk to you later, Jake

Goodness gracious, I think that I am going on a journal writing record for the longest journal entry in one day in the history of my mission... but who knows... I am writing in again to tell you about the nights activities. Brother Zavala came and picked us up at 7:15 and we went out to visit the Garcia's who had forgotten that we were coming and had not prepared anything, so they took us out to Peter Piper Pizza and we had dinner. While we were there this monkey spoof show came on the TV where monkeys were playing the parts of the actors from scenes of famous movies like Terminator 2, Alien, and best of all, Men in Black - It was hilarious but alas, Elder Hammond is ready for bed and lights out, so I must go. Adieu, Jake.

July 10, 1998

I really should wait until later, but I just had to write in this morning and tell you that I got less than 5 hours of sleep last night. And you'll never guess why... Well perhaps you may, but I am going to tell you right now that it was because I started thinking about a storyline and yep you guessed it, I loved it so much I couldn't sleep. Anyhow, I may write a book about it one day - but, let us return once again to the fun news for the day - who knows? Well, I am back and all that I can say about today is Pooh! Although we did have some neat experiences. We went and had dinner at the Reyna's which is always nice, and then later in the evening, like around 10:20 or so a girl called us and asked us what we want because she had seen our number on her caller ID and wanted to know what it is that we wanted.... Neat huh? She is a media referral that I have been trying to get a hold of forever. Yeah baby, Jake

July 11, 1998

I am tired! I had a good day today with Elder Hammond. We went to Jorge's in the morning and then Servando's to teach them both a third discussion. And then the tiring part of the night comes into play. Elder Hammond has gone houseplan crazy and he is driving me crazy with all of his questions. Do you know how long it has been since I last drew a set of floorplans? Well, I don't remember back that far - so I have been having to use my brain, too much! And he does it in need of my approval at every step, which is flattering - but alas, it is also very tiring. Well time for my head to rest on my pillow for awhile. Night! Jake

July 14, 1998

Here I am, at the church once again waiting for interviews with President Dyer. Guess what? yesterday was a good day for mail because guess what? Another joke from Travis. (I don't think that I told you about the comic that he sent me, so I will have to do so later) And then I also received a tape letter from Marian and also a picture of her in the rain. It was cool. I got to hear about a lot more of her missionary stories. Huh! For some reason I just had a flashback of sorts to my University of Utah days when a missionary from one of those strange asian religions - you know, one of those reincarnation as bugs and such believers. And how I felt something as the young man taught me the equivalent of a first discussion in his religous work and that was something STRANGE! I am so thankful that we work with the spirit of love and not strangeness. Well, I am still waiting for interviews - so let's see, what next? - I think that I am hungry because I keep reflecting on the big fancy meals that I have had in the past - yummy! Well, I am outta room, so I shall return with more at another time. Chow, Jake.

July 15, 1998

Hello, I have returned - well - for today's news, Elder Hammond and I went to District Meeting then went to the Calzada's and had lunch and then taught Jerry a fourth discussion, afterwhich we stopped by Brandon's and found out that he was smoking again - Arrgh - he is such a good man, just needs to drop that one thing. Only two more days and he would have done it... only two more days. I think that he has given up know, I hope not, but only time will tell. Well, we have an appointment with Servando a little later today, and that should be good... I will writ back later - bye.

July 16, 1998

Well, here I am again. Elder Hammond and I had another little fight today - he got in front of me and wouldn't let me pass and eventually he ran me off of the road - so I stopped and let him go on his merry way - I don't care to be pushed off of the road by my companion - shame on him. Yet know I think that he is mad at me for being mad at him... Oh well, I can't handle thinking about that today, I will have to worry about that tomorrow. Alas, unitl then, I am tired adn thus I am signing off - Adieu - Jake.

July 19, 1998

Today I had quite the experience. First off, i learned that Missionaries are hypocrites and then I had a bummer referral experience. But first onto the hypocrite exprience. I took my suit into the cleaners on Tuesday and completely forgot about it until today while I was having a shower. ARRGH! I was so nervous about what the ward would say about me not wearing a suit that I almost didn't go. But my worrying about them was in vain, because they didn't say a word to me... but the ones who wouldn't leave me alone were the other missionaries - goodness gracious. But that is all that I have to say about that experience. Now on to the bummer referral experience. I went to priesthood today in the english ward and Brother Montoya had a friend with him and his friend had really enjoyed sacrament meeting and sunday school so in priesthood he gave me his name and address and asked that I send missionaries to his home in Dallas. Well, after priesthood he changed his mind and told me not to send the missionaries because he wasn't ready. BUMMER! Something must have happened in priesthood to change his mind. Oh well - maybe he will be ready later in his life. Time to go. Jake.

July 23, 1998

You wouldn't believe what happened yesterday if I told you so I wont, well, at least not all of it. But I will tell you that Elder Hammond and I went on splits with Elder Thomas and boy was that an interesting experience. All that I can say is aye de mi! In other news, Elder Peterson is on his way home today after going to Mexico yesterday. And Elder Thomas' new companion isn't going to be around until around 7 pm - so here we sit in a trio for now. I will write back later and tell you all about it.

July 26, 1998

Right now I am in a dark cultural hall of the McAllen Stake Center with Elder Hammond and a young boy named John who is out of class right now because his class is only singing today and he doesn't like to sing. He is a pretty cool kid. Moving on - I wanted to tell you about an experience that we had just yesterday. We went out tracting and it was my turn to pick a place to go so I said okay then let's go here. So we did and the man that came to the door was really neat. At first he wasn't, but after we talked to him for a while, he was cool. We have a return appointment with him on Tuesday! Cool! Jake

July 30, 1998

I am terrible with this journal thing. Just terrible. I do good for a little whil and then off I go and I forget what I have done and thus I forget the need to write about my experiences of the day - take today for example. We went out and taught some good discussions with Elder Thomas and then on the way home a lady in an odl little bus pulled up beside us and asked us if she could give us a ride... she was a funny old lady dressed as a nun, but not one. Apparently the other elders had taught her and she told them that she might like to be baptised one day. She is hysterical - works for the local food bank and told us that if we were ever hungry, we could stop by and she would give us food. But the thing that really hit me is what she said as she dropped us off, you see she said, "God bless you'se all and I hope that you are as sweet as you look" You have no idea how that hit me. This old mexican woman dressed as a nun, driving a bus - in a very thoughtful and reserved manner looking at us and wishing and hoping that we were as good and clean as we appeared.... Well needless to say, what she said hit me, and made me ask myself, "Am I as clean and pure as I should be? Does my countenance shine like an angel's?" Well, time to be off. I want you to know that I had a great day and got to teach Oscar and the Hinojosa's a second today as well as ate at the Garcia's - always a highlight of the day - always, but, time to go, so God speed - I love you - and I shall return soon. Jake

July 31, 1998

Hi there - I just wanted to tell you that we did a no teach but lots of eat day today - first we went to Isaac's and he made a real neat comment about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ - he said that he thinks that God must have gone to the farthest corner of all of his creation to try to hide his face when Jesus was being crucified so as to not have to watch - and how it must have hurt him. It was very touching. After Isaac's we had a long lunch at Jorge's and then a dinner at the Reyna's! What a day! What A day! Love ya! Jake