So that is the only word that could describe this week. Seriously, for all the rough times we have all the time, there were so many good things that happened this week and they were all such amazing blessings.

Okay, so first of all for a story. Well we had a lesson with John Ray, our 15 year old investigator who is super smart and excited for his baptism. He's started working as a sikad driver and so he wasn't living at home anymore. We didn't know this. When we saw him and flagged him down for a lesson, he looked haggard, sick, and had just lost all of his luster. We sat him down and asked him what was going on. He just started crying. In that moment my heart totally broke. I didn't know what to do. All I wanted to do was grab this kid and hug him until he felt better. That's obviously not allowed, so I just sat there helpless until he calmed down. He told us some of what was going on in his life. It's hard. I won't tell all the details, but it was a lot of what we hear about here in the Philippines, poverty, etc. So we talked things out with him as best as we could, but we still felt pretty helpless over him. We taught him that day about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was supposed to teach about Repentance. Well actually just review, because we had already taught him. But I felt prompted to focus more on the atonement and how it applies for all of our pains and sufferings and hard times as well. The spirit was strong, he cried some more, but I think he could feel the love of Heavenly Father. We left in low spirits because we weren't sure how to help him. I cried the whole ride home because I didn't know what to do. I really love this kid, like more than most of our investigators. There's just something about him, he's like a little brother for me. We contacted his uncle, one of our recent converts to find out what was going on. Eventually some things got worked out and he told us that he was going home. We were very relieved because we knew he needed that support and that without it, we couldn't baptize him. So then we had a couple of rough days with little work. We got punted a ton and we couldn't find him to teach him. Well then we got a text from his uncle, Maimai again who told us that they couldn't find John Ray. He and the bishop had gone out looking for him, but they couldn't find him. Of course I started to panic. We went right to that area and started to look for him. I was so worried. Finally we saw another young ward member who said he had seen him earlier on a particular street. We went to find him. He was there. When he came up to us I let him have it. I'm not kidding. I told that kid how much he had made us all worry, how I felt sick about it, how bishop and his family were worrying. I don't think he realized what he was doing. He clearly felt guilty. We texted Maimai who told us to have him come meet him at the bishop's house later and he would take him home. So I think they had a good chat about coming home when he's supposed to. He was at church on Sunday with both of his uncles and after church he had his baptismal interview. He passed. I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. Seriously, I had so much anxiety for that kid this last week. But I just kept praying and asking for the Lord's help and he did. He helped us find him, He helped us know what to say, He kept John Ray safe. HUGE answers to prayers this week.

So the rest of the week had its ups and downs. We are struggling to find people, but we do have some quality people that we are focusing on. In fact, I had this amazing experience just last night. We have an investigator who we met in an inspired street contact. I just felt that we really needed to teach this guy. This was when I was with Sis. Elwood. Well we only taught him once, but then we helped him with his house after the flood. We kept trying to teach him, but he was always way busy. Well I felt the spirit telling me to be persistent, so we have been. Well this week we finally got in to teach him twice and yesterday was the biggie. So we had taught him about Joseph Smith before but he was doubtful. He said he couldn't be convinced if there were no witnesses to the vision. Well Sis. Tambolero started teaching him about the Book of Mormon and why we have it, and how we got it. I was supposed to teach about the Holy Ghost. I wasn't sure what I was going to say. I wanted to find a way to address his concern of having a witness without getting into an argument and still teach him the doctrine of the power of the Holy Ghost. So I started out by sharing Moroni's promise (that's usually a pretty powerful conversion tool--knowing the truth of all things is pretty attractive to most people). He seemed interested, but I could still see skepticism behind his eyes. I was worried. He is an incredibly smart man and so I was terrified of saying the wrong thing. I didn't want to get him going. So then it came to me, as it always does, in a way I hadn't thought before. It wasn't me at all, it was totally the spirit. I started telling him how the Holy Ghost is a witness, that is one of His roles. He believes in the Holy Ghost (he's Catholic) so this wasn't a stretch for him. He could believe that, I could see it. Well then I told him that the Holy Ghost was present when Joseph Smith had the vision, that He saw and witnessed everything. He was the sure witness of the first vision. Then I told him that if he would pray and read the Book of Mormon that he would receive that witness as well. I told him how there are now millions of people that have had that witness and can now also bear that witness. I told him that was I was there, thousands of miles from my home, a young person, so that I could bear that testimony. He tried to rebuttal with more skepticism "I'm still not convinced!" So then, with all the energy of my soul (as they say) I committed the heck out of him. I bore testimony of the power of prayer, the Book of Mormon, and the Holy Ghost and then asked him if he would follow the invitation of Moroni and read and pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He looked at me and quietly said, "okay Sister". He didn't have anything else to say. I could the feel the spirit exploding out my ears and was just so overwhelmed. Then we told him next time we would show him a video about Joseph Smith. He's excited because he said it would be easier for him to understand the story if he could see it. Eureaka!!!! It was awesome.

So we are having really good experiences with most of our investigators and then difficult experiences trying to find other new ones, but that's just how this work goes. And you just have to realize that, deal with, and just keep going forward. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how hard it gets, or frustrating, or exhausting, the Lord ALWAYS provides some experience, no matter how small it may seem, to make all the difficult stuff worth it. It happens EVERY SINGLE TIME! It's such a huge blessing. Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing any good here, that I'm not really a good missionary, but then I have these experiences and I realize that the hand of the Lord is in EVERYTHING and it doesn't matter how good I am. If I put in an honest effort, if I stay obedient and keep the Lord first then he takes care of everything. Even if the progress seems slow or almost impossible to see, it's still there. Missionary work really is the greatest work in the world.

So this is our last full week of the transfer. Next Monday we have transfer announcements. I really hope I am not transferring. I am NOT ready to leave Victorias. I love this place. But of course I will go where the Lord wants me to go. There's so much for me to learn that I am really starting to appreciate change no matter how hard it is or how much I hate it sometimes, it pushes me in new directions and I need all the help I can get. Well I love you all and hope you are all doing well. If you have any time, I would love some mail! :)

Sister Jackson


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