Well hello there friends and family.

First of all, it seems that some of you have been worried about the weather craziness here. I AM NOT DEAD. Clearly, if I am writing you, you can be assured. There was a typhoon that hit here not too long ago but because we live in this nice little banana belt, we just get a lot of rain and some wind. We are really lucky actually. So everything is fine here in Bacolod. I think the most of the damage probably hit the north, which is the opposite end of us. We are lucky to be surrounded by islands, so all is well. This week was actually just sunny all week, no rain. If anything crazy were to happen, they would notify you. Or so I'm told.

Okay, so today was the transfer announcement. Sister Stadler and I did NOT want to be transferred, but because there are 4 Americans coming in this week, she thought she might have to train again. But.... WE ARE STAYING TOGETHER!!! We were pretty worried that we would at least change companionships, but no, President Tobias loves us... :) So we will both stay in La Carlota. Which I'm way happy about because I love the people here and I did not want to leave. We also have our first baptism on Saturday and I love the kid that is getting baptized. He is hilarious. So I'm excited we are staying and staying together.

Okay, so from the subject line, you may be wondering what Isaw is. Well let me tell you, my companion had been threatening me with it this whole transfer but I wasn't too excited to try it. It's chicken intestine. Yeah, that's right folks, I have eaten chicken intestine. You just buy it from a street vendor. They barbecue it up and you eat it off a stick. It actually wasn't too bad. The texture wasn't great, but it tasted pretty good. Then it got to some bitter stuff, we won't talk about what I think that might have been... But I ate it. It's just what you have to do here. There are still things I am more hesitant to try, but my companion assures me that I will... awesome.

So this week was great because we had Zone Conference. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE my mission president. He is seriously the most incredible, spiritual, inspired man I have ever met. And so I love every opportunity to see him. He also has this hilarious sense of humor and we love him. Zone conference was awesome. They made some big changes though. We are no longer supposed to find people that are not within a 7 peso ride from the church building. They call it the "center of strength". So that cuts out some of our area. But President has an incredible vision and he knows what it will take to strengthen the church here. So we will do what we are told to do. It means that we will have to stop visiting some of our less active families that live further away, but we know that it will make the branch stronger and hopefully get it back to being a ward.

We also talked a lot about Christlike attributes. That is something that I am trying to work on. I've found that it makes all the difference in the world to the work, to your companionship, to yourself. I've already noticed a change and so has my companion. I truly feel a sense of refining as I've been here. It's amazing. I can't exactly describe what it is like to be here, I don't think I will ever be able to, but I can tell you that I am not the same person that went into the MTC 3 months ago. But that's the point, right? I love it here.

Just an update on the Pacheo family. We fasted for them this week and visited them as much as we could, and I just want to tell you that we saw a physical, noticeable difference in their lives. Right after that first meeting, Sister Stadler and I were trying to figure out if there was a way we could help them physically with food. We both know that we're not technically supposed to, but we had a plan to make it anonymous. Then I suggested that we let the branch president know first and if he didn't make an effort than maybe we would figure something out. Well, within only an hour he got our text, and went right over there with some food. It wasn't much, I'm sure, but he responded right away and I think it made ALL the difference in the world to that family. It was awesome. And we got to stay obedient. :) We also had the best thing. There is a man in our branch who used to be the bishop for forever. He got offended and worn out and become inactive. It was awful. His whole family is active. His daughter is our favorite branch missionary and wants to serve her own mission. He served a mission for pete's sake and was sealed in the temple. We didn't know quite how to help him, but we visited him often and reminded him of his temple covenants and his responsibility to the branch and to his family. Well after a few weeks... HE CAME!!! We were not expecting it at all. He had promised us before a few times and hadn't done it. But there he was, Brother Gatucao, with his whole family. Sister Stadler gave me a double high-five. It was a great Sunday.

Okay, so that's about all for now. I am attaching some pictures. One of them has a sign politely telling people "don't pee here", some fun shots after getting drenched in the rain, the one of me eating the isaw and the place where we bough it (yeah, the meat just sits out there til you order it and then they cook it...) some pictures from zone conference so you can see some missionaries I love and our cute mission pres and his wife, a picture comparing the types of housing here in the philippines: a huge house and a bamboo hut, a can of black beans we tried to eat and then realized had 2000mg of sodium, our resident cat wouldn't even eat them, some fun shots of us and a picture of a beautiful sunset. I hope you all are well and life is good. I love you all!!!

Sister Jackson


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