I'm sorry.... what?

Okay, so because I am in one of those moods this is going to be one of those "you have to read the whole thing to get all the information" kinds of emails. But trust me, it's worth it. I promise. It's been a crazy week.

Okay, so of course last Monday was 4th of July. We celebrated by eating a ton of food. We were having lunch with some elders and I commented that in America 4th of July is about eating and Fireworks. Well we didn't have fireworks, so we made up for it by eating more... hahaha. We all got burgers, it was great. So after that we went exploring at some local catholic churches, one in particular has this mural that is really unusual but famous here on this island, so we went to go see it. It was crazy, i'll attach a picture. Anyway, after our lago-lago (that's like a word for wandering around looking at stuff) we decided to go back to the apartment. We still didn't have the transfer announcement and we were going crazy. I was sure I was transferring and I just wanted to be sure so I could go say goodbye to people and then pack. Well we waited and waited and waited and there was no announcement. When 9pm rolled around we came to the conclusion that there was no way they could expect us to transfer the next day because we would have NO time to pack, so we figured we would just get the announcement at our district meeting on Tuesday morning.

So district meeting was good, and then we had to sit around and all wait some more to get the transfer announcement. It took forever. We were all freaking out. Well, finally it came. And I was totally shocked. So all of us sisters were being transferred out of Victorias (one of our roommates was going home, so it was 3 of us) and they were going to whitewash the area with elders. If you forgot what a whitewash is, it's what I did in my first area in La Carlota. No sisters had been there and we were the first ones in a long time. So everything is new, foreign and you kind of have to just figure things out on your own. Well of course I wasn't too happy about this. I have been in Victorias for so long. I have such strong relationships with EVERYONE. I mean, I was pretty sure I was transferring, but I was leaving the place in the hands of my companion who I trusted and knew would take care of the are. So to find out that NO ONE was going to be there was pretty difficult. After district meeting we all went out to lunch and I just basically sat there and full on bawled. I was a mess. I just wasn't as ready to leave that place as I thought. It was probably the most difficult time for me. I just didn't want to leave these people with any risk that they could fall through the cracks. So yeah, I just cried and cried. And then I had to suck it up and get it together because I was in charge of the choir for the departure devotional that day and we had to get ourselves off to Bacolod so we would be there for that.

So we went to Bacolod and had our choir practice and then performed a beautiful rendition of "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee" for the departing missionaries. It was a great meeting, I always love being in the presence of and hearing from my mission president. Well after the meeting I needed to talk to him about a couple of things. I talked to him about coming home in December and so now that is the definite plan, just for all of your information. So I will be home in American on like December 23rd or something like that. Anyway, I had been thinking that because they were whitewashing Victorias with elders that meant we would be short on sisters areas so they must be whitewashing sisters in somewhere else. So I went up to President (we're pretty close, just FYI) and I just asked him, because I had a feeling, "President, am I whitewashing this transfer?" I was answered with the Filipino eyebrow raise which is a very definite "yes". I asked again to be sure and he nodded his head and said yes. Enter in overwhelmingness times 10! Then he told me that he area had great records and lots of female ward missionaries so it would be a good place. But he still wouldn't tell me where, he said I would have to wait for tomorrow to know for sure. Then he told me that Sister Sheehan and I would actually be staying together! We would be whitewashing together! I couldn't believe that. That NEVER happens. So I was way happy about that. At least, with all this new crainess, I would have a friend and an awesome companion. I tried to ask President again where I was going, but he told me that he would remember tomorrow. Hahaha. Oh President. I'm just surprised I got that much information out of him.

So on Wednesday, because all of us in the house were transferring, the AP's came to get us and all of our stuff. We went to the mission office for the announcement of assignments and we found out that we were being assigned to Bacolod 2nd Ward, which is in an area called Bakyas. So now I am right in the heart of Bacolod City. I've never been assigned in the city, and it's totally different, but there are a lot of conveniences, which is nice. So on Wednesday we had a lot going on. We had to get fingerprinted and then we had some errands we needed to run because we had to wait for the APs so that we could move into our new house. They were actually in that area and had thought they could handle their own proselyting area which didn't work well, so that was why we were going in. Anyway, they hadn't packed up their stuff yet so we had to wait. We were exhausted. We had been up all night packing and saying goodbye to people and were just way tired. Anyway, we finally were able to get out of the office and the elders took us to our new house. Well we had heard stories from lots of people about this house, that it was pretty awful. The APs themselves told us that it was bad. But we were just thinking, it probably wasn't too clean and maybe a little rugged and probably some unwelcome guests (like rats and stuff) but we weren't too concerned about that. I mean, we didn't want that, but we were prepared to tough it out. And they had told us that we could start looking for a new apartment right away. Well then they took us to the house. They had already unloaded our stuff, so it was just us. They waited in the truck of us to get in and then they left. It was pretty awful, definitely the worst place I've ever seen for missionaries. It was disgusting. And things were really broken and the place was just creepy. Neither of us felt good about being there. Sis. Sheehan suggested that we just sit there and read our scriptures. We went into the bedroom to put our sheets on the bed and just started feeling really sick. I mean, like I really thought I was going to throw up. We couldn't even do anything. I felt paralyzed, so did Sheehan. We just stared at each other. We were trying to make jokes to keep things light, but there was just this awful feeling in the house. It started to get really bad. We both got terrible headaches and we could just tell that the spirit wasn't there at all. Like there was no room for the spirit, even though we had it. I texted the APs. I was kind of joking with them at first "when are you taking us to the real house?" and "you're not really leaving us here are you?" Well then they called. I told them that the place just didn't feel right. They immediately came back to get us. When they arrive they came into the house as well. Elder Hernandez said that he could feel it the minute they walked in. He even said later "We have the priesthood, that shouldn't have been that way". I guess when they had lived there they had felt this pretty much all the time, but they spent so little time there, with all of their responsibilities, they they didn't really think much of it. But when they came back that night, they could both feel it. It was a horrible feeling. I won't describe it much here. Anyway, it wasn't a place we wanted to stay. So the elders took us to the house of the nearby sisters and we stayed there. Then the elders, who are AMAZING, went to work to get things figured out for us. They called President that night and told him that we couldn't stay there anymore, the place had evil spirits, and that we needed to move. They had found an apartment before and so they decided just to get it. They worked things out really quickly and were just so great about it. I was way grateful for that. I mean, we are supposed to be whitewashing an area. We need all the spiritual help we can get. And there was NO spirit in that house. We even went back the next day in the daytime to get some things and even in the day time we felt the same spirit. It was just horrible. So anyway, now we are staying with the other sisters for 2 weeks before we move in to our new house, which is apparently really nice. We're excited.

So all of that stuff combined with some illness on both of our parts made this week kind of rough one. On top of that we don't our area AT ALL and were not able to make contact with our ward missionary to show us around until later. So it's been a rocky start. Fortunately the transfer doesn't actually start until today. We have a lot of work to do in this area. Because the elders weren't really working here there has been a lot of neglect of investigators and recent converts. But we have an incredibly supportive ward. We had a great correlation with the WML and the WMs. It was great and even Ward Council. The ward is awesome and we are already really close. They know I'm a little crazy and ridiculous and like to have fun, but they also recognize that I like to work and I am serious about it. So there is trust there already and good relationships. So now we just need to kick things in gear and get people taught and ready for baptism. We have our hands full, but I know we can do it. For some reason President has a lot of trust in me and decides to give me big assignments. I don't know exactly why, but I'm grateful for the trust. He is an inspired man and I at least know that I have many things to learn from this experience. This transfer begins my 4th to last. I can't believe it. I am truly on the downward slope. In fact... this week... I HIT MY ONE YEAR MARK!!!! This July 14th I will have officially been on my mission for a year. It is crazy. I don't even know what to think about that. It doesn't seem real. Time is just flying by at a breakneck speed and I can't handle it. 6 months left. It's not enough time... :(

Well, this is already ridiculously long and I have other stuff to get to. But I love you all and I miss you. I hope you're all doing great, had a great 4th of July and are having great summers. Wish me luck with this new assignment and I would greatly appreciate your prayers!

Sister Jackson
Don't Drink the Water

Well this was a good week for the most part and then had some rocky points.

We had a really good day on Tuesday visiting our investigators and getting lots of work done. It was a great day. On Wednesday the Bevans (our couple missionaries) came to our area with their truck to go with us to our really far areas so we could find out what was going on with some of those people. We also brought our Young Men's President (Miemie) with us as well. It was a lot of asking around and not a whole lot finding people, but we got some good information and we had some great experiences with the Bevans. They are AWESOME. We love them. And I got to translate, that was kind of weird. It was the first time I've really done that. But I was happy to realize that I am capable of translating at least simple things. Happy day! But we had a way good time with them.

That night we went to visit our investigators and teach a few lessons. At our second to the last lesson of the evening we were teaching this older woman, she's a little bit crazy, not like really, but just weird. Anyway, it was kind of hot in her house, but nothing new to us. Well she decided to make us some juice... Well here in the Philippines you cannot drink the tap water. We call it the liquid death... it's not good for you. Well she definitely made us the juice from the tap water... And normally we just say no thanks, but she was SOOOO insistent and actually forced it into my companions mouth, like held up the glass to her lips. So before she could do the same to me, I just took a drink. Well she made us finish the pitcher before we left... Yeah. Not the smartest choice I've ever made, but we didn't really have a choice. So then for the next few days I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Not the best time of my mission. I'm feeling better now, I think most of the garbage has gotten itself out my intestines, but it was not pleasant. I learned my lesson. I've had unfiltered water here before, but this was from the city and probably the worst and just not good. Sorry stomach!

So I guess that's really all I have to share this week. I know it's not much, but at the moment I am a little preoccupied. We get our transfer announcements today and I still don't know what is going on. So unfortunately you all probably won't know until next week. But since last weeks email was pretty epic, I think I've earned a break. Hahaha. Well I love you all and hope everyone is having an awesome week. Oh and of course: HAPPY 4th OF JULY!!! My companion and I are wearing red, white, and blue in the spirit of things. Not really any celebrating over here in the Philippines. But I'm thinking of my awesome native land! :)

Lots of Love!

Sister Jackson