"I found the smell.... it's a dead rat."

We've had a pretty bad leak in our kitchen. Every morning we wake up and there is a small lake in front of the sink. We were using old missionary clothes to soak it up. We thought that was the source of the smell so my companion put the rags in a bucket with some bleach. But the smell was still there, in fact it was getting worse. Well we had a bucket under the sink to catch the water from a DIFFERENT leak. Sister Vaipulu, being the fearless champ that she is, decided to investigate the bucket. We figured maybe just the water was the smell. I mean, it was bad. It smelled like death. Well turns out it was death. A rat had crawled in the bucket... somehow... and drowned. So she ran the bucket outside to be taken care of later. I was upstairs getting ready during this time and so I didn't see the whole thing. Well later when I was examining the bucket I couldn't see a rat in the murky water. I thought maybe she just imagined it (she's fearless, but she HATES rats). So I got something to stir the bucket around... bad idea. Apparently the rat had been in there for awhile and when I stirred the bucket around... pieces of rat floated to the top...

So now that I have officially made you all vomit (honestly folks, this is just a day in the life of a missionary in the Pines) how is everyone doing? I'm doing great. Rats aside, life is good. This week was a good one. There was some unforseen challenges, but still a good week. We found some new investigators using our part-member list, people who are genuinely interested in the church BECAUSE their spouse is a member, and we taught some great lessons and we had some adventures and it was just a good week. I really do love it here in San Carlos. We are nestled between the beautiful mountains and the ocean. The people here are wonderful live everywhere else on this island and I just love it. I am starting to not just learn Cebauno, but I like it! I'm not going to lie, it's pretty cool that I am going to come home speaking 3 1/2 languages (I only kind of know Tagalog these days...). It's a fun time.

We had a great experience last night. We have been teaching this family, the Verranas, and they are really elect. They are smart and hard-working people and they really have a strong desire to know real truth and follow it. They are the kind of people you pray for and don't expect to really find. Last night we brought the Bevans (the couple missionaries and our favorite people ever) with us to watch the Restoration and to bear testimony of Joseph Smith. It was amazing. The spirit was strong, they really were into the movie and they felt it. Afterward they had good questions about authority and baptism. Well all bore powerful testimony. My companion rocked it out by extending baptism if they received an answer that it was true and Sister Verrana actually interrupted Sister Vaipulu to tell her "yes, of course!". They are just amazing people. We are really excited for them. We are praying that the answer will come quickly so that we can give them a baptismal date. Huge tender mercy.

Other than that we are just working hard to upadate the really poorly kept records and help this branch get organized. They have great potential, they are just a little lost at the moment. But next month we have District Conference and an area authority is coming to speak so that should be awesome. And just what this place needs to give them a good jump start. I'm excited to see the progress this place will make before I go home. I love being a missionary and will just inform you all now that I am not really that excited to come home because I'm going to miss this place so much. So prepare yourselves for the fact that I may complain about how we don't eat rice with every meal, none of you speak my favorite language, and I can't just jump in a tricycle to go to the grocery store... hahahaha. Of course I'm just kidding and I AM excited to come home again, but I really can't imagine leaving this place. I can't imagine life without the Filipinos all the time. Sometimes I forget that I am a giant white person... then of course I am reminded by 6 kids on the side of the road that just stare, open-mouthed and then one brave one finally says "Grabe... dako!" That means, "Wow, big". Yeah, that brings me back. But still, I love this place. It's Zion to me!!! Well I love you all and hope you are all great. Christmas starts up here this week. September means Christmas in the Pines, so bring on the christmas music. If any of you have some good christmas tunes to send, just email them away and I will put them on my iPod! Love you all!!! Amping!

Sister Jackson


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