Okay, so another week has passed! Can you believe it? I can't, that's for sure. I feel like this is really all just a dream and that one day I will wake up and my mission will be over. It's crazy. This place hardly seems real sometimes, but it is real and it is awesome and I love it.

So this last week was kind of crazy. My companion had a training meeting for 2 whole days and so I was exchanged into another couple of companionships in a nearby area called Handumanan. It was really different from where I am now, but it was a good experience. I got to get to know some other sisters and also got to see another kind of life and how they teach as well. It was a pretty cool experience. At one point we took a tricycle ride out to what seemed like the middle of nowhere and then trekked through a field, passed a few cows and various other animals and then got to this house that was really out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sugarcane fields. That's what the big export is here, sugar, so it is EVERYWHERE. It was way cool though. We were teaching a young couple and a ward member also came along. He bore really powerful testimony. It's crazy because I really don't understand much of what is being said, but I can just feel it. That truly is the power of the spirit. When there are concerns, when people are feeling the spirit, when people are upset or stubborn, I can just feel it. It's awesome, because I don't understand much of anything else. The spirit truly is the key to this work. I will testify of that until the day I die. It is incredibly remarkable what the spirit can do.

So we had a couple of disappointments this week. We lost our most promising investigator. She was SO solid and followed through on EVERY commitment, but she had a child and was not yet married to her boyfriend and so she couldn't be baptized. He had gone to Manila to find work and so he wasn't even there so we could just seal the deal and then get her baptized. He did find work and so she moved there to meet up with him. We are just hoping and praying that she goes to Manila and seeks out the missionaries, gets married and is baptized. She is SO prepared. We were pretty bummed. We also had this experience with an older man who's wife is a member but he is not. He has been taught MANY times, but he does not want to be baptized for 2 more years until he is "ready" to give up his vices. Yeah, it's a pretty lame excuse and we know that is not really the problem, but he is SO stubborn about it. We went to visit him and had a really spiritual experience with him (after a very non-spirit start to the lesson). But the next time we came to visit he told his wife that he would not come out to meet with us. We figure that he did feel something last time and just didn't want to own up to the responsibility. It's so sad because he really needs it and his wife is desperate to have an eternal family. We are determined to soften his heart thought and find out what is really going on so that we can help resolve his issues and get him baptized. I'd appreciate the prayers if you get the chance.

We also have some promising things going on as well. The Relief Society President's husband is not a member. She is an RM and all the kids are members, but he is not. So we have been working with him. His issue is getting to church. He had another baptismal date, but could not do it because he wasn't coming to church. So we gave him a new one and prayed he would be at church. And after a lot of anxiety, he came! We were so happy and I know his wife was WAY happy to see him there too. It was great. We have also started teaching a young boy who is the only non-member in his family. He is 12 and way cute and way shy. It's crazy here, you will often see half of a family get baptized and then it will be forever before the other half gets baptized, or maybe never. And sometimes it's just some random kid who decided he didn't want to when the family did. I don't really understand it, but maybe they understand the responsibility more than I think and they just don't feel ready for it. I don't really know, but it's kind of crazy. But we are happy to be teaching him. We gave him a baptismal date and he accepted. Now we just need to keep him going to church and following commitments.

We are also working on reactivating some of the less-active families. We got a whole family to church on Sunday! It really was a golden Sunday. I can't describe that feeling when you see people follow through on their commitments. It's so awesome. You feel like they are a member of your family. I love it!

So there hasn't been a whole lot of exciting stuff going on other than the work. That is the most exciting part for me. We do have a crazy cat with one eye that has taken up residence by our front door with it's crazy rabies-filled kitten. We don't actually know if it has rabies but it sure hisses like crazy at us every time we come outside and it's the ugliest kitten I have ever seen. We always watch our ankles when we hang up laundry... just in case.

And speaking of laundry... I did it for the first time! And let me tell you what, it was an adventure. You do your laundry all by hand here. So I got to sit on a tiny bench over a big tub and scrub all my laundry and then rinse it and ring it out and then hang it out to dry. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but let me tell you... it is. Your back hurts, you get way sweaty, your hands cramp up and basically feel like they are going to crack open. But in all honesty, it was kind of fun. I have an awesome companion who just laughed with me the whole time I did it and that helped me not get overwhelmed by what I was doing. And I really do love anything that is "Filipino". And let me tell you, laundry is definitely a "Filipino" experience. I don't know if I will ever use a washing machine again! (okay, that's probably a lie, but your clothes do get WAY cleaner by hand).

Okay, well that's really the only updates for this week. I know some of you have been asking about where to send mail and packages, so I will tell you right now. Send them to the mission office. The mail is really pretty reliable here as long as it comes through the mission office and then it will get to me via District meeting every Monday. The address is:

Sister Hayley Lillian Jackson
Philippines Bacolod Mission
Galo and Lacson St. PO Box 660
Negros Occidental 6100

I know it seems a little weird, but just do it that way exactly and it will get to me. And of course, I would always appreciate any letter or package. :) Also, if you want to keep using dear elder you can definitely do that as well. It's like 0.70 to send a letter, so it's not too bad. Okay, I look forward to hearing from you all! Love you much!

Sister Jackson


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