Hello to everyone!!!!

Okay, lets start this email off with the best news of this week: I had my first baptism!!!! You will see attached the pictures of the cutest kid EVER! That is Ramzel, our favorite investigator. That kid is so solid. He will make the most amazing missionary some day. Let me tell you about his baptism. The day was a rough one, we had a lot to do and it seemed that people were making it harder, his family wasn't coming (except for his mom), people weren't going to be there who were supposed to give talks. Basically, Satan was working on us. But we prevailed. We have a great Branch President who helps us a lot and so we got everything taken care of. Because it's the Philippines we started about 45 minutes late, but it's okay. Ramzel showed up, we had enough witnesses and the jumpsuit fit. That's really all that matters. And then... right before the actual baptism, we get a brownout. I should probably explain that. See, here in the Philippines, they just randomly turn the power off in the cities. We don't know why, sometimes it's a political thing, sometimes it's just because (Grandma and Grandpa, I know you can relate). So yeah, we ended proceeding with the baptism. You can't really stop just because you have no lights. So we baptized him by flashlight. It was awesome. It was the first baptism of the elder who baptized him. You'll see a picture of Elder Clark below as well. He said it was the best experience. All in all, with all the crazy things that went on, it was the best experience for me as well. And then on Sunday he was confirmed and then right after church he received the Aaronic priesthood. It was a good weekend.

This last week was absolutely CRAZY. We had to go to Bacolod to sing at the Departure Devotional for the outgoing missionaries. It was President's favorite batch, so it was a big deal. It went pretty late and then President invited us all over to his house for a party afterward. It was crazy. So we had to go spend the night at some other sister's house because it was too late to go back to La Carlota. It was fun though. It took us awhile to get back to our area though, so we lost a lot of time. Then we had to go back to Bacolod again on Friday for the transfer meeting. We weren't transferring but we had to go get the new sisters we now have in our house and help them get back. So that was pretty much the whole day too. It was a crazy week with lots of traveling, but we also got to do a few teachings and we had a baptism, so I felt pretty good about it.

I'll give you a quick update on our investigators. The Angelico family has gotten a bit difficult. We know that the daughter, Mara, knows it's true and she wants to be baptized, but her parents are hesitant to let her before they have their answer. We know they know it is true, but for the mom at least, there is a social concern. Everyone they know is Catholic. It's a pretty common problem here. So we are trying to be patient. With Irwin we have seen some significant changes. He has been at church every week, without any prodding. He was even early on Sunday. We were amazed! He also has been reading regularly and he is able to teach us perfectly what he has read. But, we have seen him smoking a few times (he doesn't know that) and as much as we try, we haven't been able to get him to be honest with us about it. So we have been trying to teach around it hoping that he will come out with it. We also have a plan to catch him in the act and confront him about it. It sounds ridiculous, and it really is, but it's going to be the only way we get him to be honest. But we are determined with him. We know that he is ready, he just needs to have a firm desire to change. It didn't help this week that everyone we are teaching went out of town. We did too, so I guess that's just how it works.

As far as everything else goes, life is really good. I have managed to stay away from illness, although my MTC companion got Dengue her first transfer here. Yeah, I kind of laughed because she swore to me EVERY day in the MTC that she NEVER gets sick. And then like 3 weeks after we get here, she gets the worst possible thing. She's totally fine now, spent 2 days in the hospital and then went right back to work. She's a tough Tongan, that's for sure. But now she jokes about it. I saw her at transfer day and she looked way skinny (in a good way, from the Dengue of course) but she was all smiles and laughed about it. She has a great attitude. Pray I don't get Dengue... :)

It's still been raining here a lot. Apparently the rainy season goes til about January and then it will get blazing hot. I'm not too excited for that time. Right now, it's not too bad here. I mean, I definitely sweat my guts out everyday and constantly feel like I'm cooking, but you get used to it. At night it's pretty cool and we have fans. All is well here. I am very grateful for a lot of blessings that keep us safe and comfortable. Seriously, after visiting some of these people, I literally feel like I live in a palace. This place will change your perspective about EVERYTHING. But I love it. I honestly can say that I would not want to be anywhere else on my mission. I have met amazing people, I have an amazing trainer and mission president, this place is beautiful and the people are so humble and honest and loving. I am truly blessed to be here.

Okay, that's all for this week. Enjoy the photos. I got a lot of emails this week, I appreciate it so much! You are all so wonderful! Thanks for the support!

Love, love, love,
Sister Jackson

The first and second photos are from an FHE with Irwin's family. Irwin is the one in the middle in the back, who looks like the dad.

The 3rd one is of me with a horse. A horse! Seriously, they don't exist here, but as we were walking one morning, we turned a corner and there it was! Crazy!

4th is my comp and I at a restaurant where we got pizza and it was WAY good. Also hard to find here.

The last few photos are from Ramzel's baptism. He is obviously the cute kid in the jumpsuit. There is one with Elder Clark, his family, and with us.



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