Hello everyone!

Okay, so this may not be the longest email ever. Time seems to get more and more precious as the days go on. But I will do my best to fill you in about what has been going on lately.

First of all I have to tell you about the coolest experience we had last week. On Wednesday we had specialized training with the APs. It was about the new simplified curriculum that we have now and it was to help encourage us to follow the spirit more and also to offer the baptismal commitment on the first lesson. Yeah, it's pretty intense. So anyway, we had the training and then we had to practice it with the other missionaries and then we had to go out to the streets and find someone real to try this on. We had no idea where to go, but we started off in a direction. We thought we would try to contact a referral from the elders that we can never get a hold of. He wasn't home... typical. So we started walking. Sister Stadler said we should just try to see where the spirit wanted us to go. We had a branch missionary with us from the other branch and her and Sis. Stadler were just chatting as we walked. Finally I stopped and said "Okay, where are we going... seriously." We didn't really know what to do. So I suggested that we try to find the house of the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency. His wife is not a member but we haven't been able to find their house, or anyone that really knows. Well as we start off in the direction we know it is, we come across some members who actually attend the other branch but live in our boundaries (yeah there are a lot of problems with that here... It's the Philippines). Our branch missionary, Roxy, new them and asked them if they knew were the Tumunong's lived. And lo and behold they just happened to live exactly across the street from them. Yeah, it was definitely not a coincidence. We felt like this was directed. So we went over there to teach. Bro. Tumunong was there, but he said that his wife was napping (a common occurrence here, it's like a daily habit). We were a little dismayed to say the least, it seemed like we were meant to be there. Then Roxy asked Bro. Tumunong "who was that skinny girl that was just here". There had been another girl there when we first got there, but she had gone into another room. He called her out and then we met Rona. We asked if we could teach her a message and let me just tell you that what ensued was one of the most spiritual experience of my mission so far. We started teaching about the restoration and she was just so engaged. When we asked her part way how she felt, she just started crying. She actually had to excuse herself for a moment and then she returned. She was emotional (not out of control) for the whole rest of the lesson. The spirit was SOOO strong. And then we committed her to baptism! It was incredible. She accepted everything we told her, she was a bit shy, but you could just tell that she was ready, she was "elect" as president would say. Oh man, it was seriously so awesome. We left feeling totally overwhelmed by our experience. We went back to the training meeting and just cried telling the elders about our experience. It was awesome. Can we just talk about for a second how the Lord knows EXACTLY what people need?! Every day I see this more and more and it is remarkable. There aren't even words to describe it.

Okay, one more update. One of our other investigators, Irwin has been causing us some grief. On two occasions we thought we saw him smoking (yes he had a baptismal date and everything) and we were also really worried that he just did not have the desire and dedication to the gospel enough to really get baptized. After we saw him the second time we immediately went home to pray about it. We both felt a sense of peace that we were not supposed to call him out on it and that we should just have faith in our investigator. Well it turned out that on Saturday night he went to visit some friends in another town and got totally drunk, but because of it, his family found out. We really felt like that as horrible as it was, that the Lord wanted it to happen that way, so that his family would know and he would have to be accountable, because he wasn't being honest with us. It was the craziest experience, and even after we found out, as heartbroken as we were, we knew that the Lord knows best. So that night we went to teach him, back to square one, about the restoration and we focused on gaining a desire and about the Savior. It was an incredible lesson. The spirit was so strong. Right before I was about to start teaching about Joseph Smith I felt prompted to share the part about the first vision where Joseph is overcome by Satan. In general, they teach us to not really bring this up because it might confuse or trouble people, but with Irwin's personal experiences, I felt that it was a good idea. I was able to relate it to how we all will experience a need to know if something is true and that Satan will do everything in his power to keep us from that truth. It fit together in ways I couldn't imagine. Every world I said was totally directed by the spirit. I felt so blessed and so grateful for that gift. He now has a new baptismal date and we are hopeful for change.

Okay, enough about people you don't know. Can we talk about how INCREDIBLY awesome General Conference was? We get it a week later here because of the crazy time change, so we just watched it this weekend. First of all, I hope you are all as excited as I am about the announcement of ANOTHER TEMPLE IN THE PHILIPPINES!!!! They just barely dedicated the Cebu temple and now they are going to build another one? It is crazy and so awesome. Huge things are happening here! Okay, I also just loved every single talk. There was this incredible theme of following the prophet, did you notice that? It was pretty hard to miss, it was almost every talk. Other common themes I noticed were faith, the Holy Ghost, and agency. I think there was definitely a call to action for the saints. We need to be more faithful and more dedicated to this work. As a missionary, I can tell you that it is vitally important. We need to strengthen every ward and every stake. We need good leadership and strong and faithful members. I definitely felt a sense of urgency in the words of our prophet and apostles and a bit of chastisement mixed with love. They are all so amazing. I especially liked Pres. Monson's talk about gratitude. That is something we could all work on. So with that I just want to express my gratitude to all of you. You are all always in my thoughts and prayers. I wouldn't be here without all of you. I recognize daily how much I have and how much I have learned from all of my family and friends and I am eternally grateful for your love for me. It just amazes me how the Lord prepares things, people, everything. I love it. I love Him. I feel so many blessings and so many trials and I am learning so much all the time. I am constantly overwhelmed.

Well, this wasn't as short as I thought it would be... :) But I hope you enjoy a little update from me. Life is so good here, I honestly cherish every moment of it. I have an AMAZING mission president who has an incredible vision of this work and what needs to be done. I am in good hands and so is this mission.

Okay, I love you all so much and miss you tons and tons!


Sister Jackson


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