Tuesday, January 10, 2012


January 2, 2012

Friends and Family
On the 13th of this month Jake will have been on his Mexico Villahermosa Mission for 15 months. His first area was Coatzacoalcos in the state of Veracruz on the gulf coast where he served from December 2010 to May 2011. In May he was transferred to Acayucan, also in Veracruz, west and south of Coatzacoalcos about 60 miles. In September 2011 he was transferred to Palenque in the state of Chiapas which is southeast of Villahermosa approximately 90 miles. Palenque is the site of the most well known Mayan ruins in southern Mexico which dates back to 700 B.C. and it is very tropical with jungle type vegetation and an abundance of lakes and rivers in the area. He had hoped that he would have the opportunity to be in this part of the mission and is enjoying it very much. Jake was able to use Skype this year for his Christmas phone call which was excellent in every respect. The family saw and talked to Jake on Christmas day along with some soon to be missionary’s and some close friends. He is doing very well and is just as fun and enthusiastic as ever. He tells us he has not had a real shower since he arrived in Mexico and still must bathe in cold water poured out of a bucket. He only has one meal a day at noon and is now very accustom to rice, beans and tortillas along with chicken feet and cow stomach. “P” days now consist of playing soccer instead of basketball and he says he is much better than when he first arrived when all the natives laughed at him when he played. He has gotten to attend a real fiesta where he took his swings at an unbreakable piƱata; learned what rain really is and how to repair a Mexican air conditioner. He has seen monkeys possessed by the devil; alligators; fruit he did not know existed; lots of dogs and poverty like he had never imagined. He has baptized new members every week and has done pretty much every job in the church in the branches and wards where he has been and was also Santa at the branch Christmas celebration. He has used a high degree of creativity in finding new ways to contact investigators and improve church attendance has been very successful and blessed for all of his efforts. He has shared both happy and tragic stories related to those he has gotten to know and has strengthened his testimony like he never thought possible. Jake says that his mission president, President Castaneda, is a remarkable man whose presence inspires all those in his attendance and one who teaches and speaks powerfully and with true inspiration. Letters and packages sent to Jake take an average of 5 weeks as they must all be sent to the Mission headquarters and then dispensed from there to the various areas. Jake misses the seasons as the temperature does not vary much where he is. He is working very hard every day and is determined to proclaim the Gospel to everyone he comes into contact with. He loves the work and thrives on the many challenges he faces on a daily basis. He would enjoy any letters that any may have time to send and asks for pictures in every email. To write to Jake refer to the address here on the blog. He wishes everyone a happy new year and sends his best regards to all.