it's a short one... sorry

Well folks, there is just not that much to say this week. Hahaha. I'm really sorry. Life is just kind of going on with my mission. We are still trying to help our investigators to get baptized. There are still plenty of trials that seem to come our way. For instance our 2 part member men who didn't have jobs so they couldn't afford to get married now have jobs! It's great. Except now they are working so much that they haven't been coming to church. Not great. But that's just how it goes. We're still trying to help them the best we can, with the gospel.

Well I'm way sorry this is so short. But we have a lot to do today. P-days are becoming more precious to me because I only have so much time to spend with people here. I'm sure you all understand. But I love you all and I can't wait to see you in 3 weeks!!!! Love you!

Sister Jackson
Happy Thanksgiving!

Well this week had it's share of trials... I'll just start off right there. Ha ha. Oh and Happy Thanksgiving. I think it's this week. Not to sure... not really a holiday here. hahaha.

Sis. Cherryl was supposed to be baptized on Saturday. We went to her house every day but she wasn't home. We weren't really worried because she was SO excited to get baptized. But toward the end of the week we got a little worried. Then her sister told us that Cherryl's sister-in-law had a baby. I think there were some complications and so she needed to go straight from the hospital to her sister-in-laws house to help take care of things. Well she lives really far away and so Cherryl was kind of stuck out there. So Saturday, 1pm rolled around and no Cherryl. There was a child of record baptism that day too so we just had to start. She never came. I was pretty devastated. This has never happened to me. We still didn't know all the details. Then on Sunday she didn't come to church. More heartbreak. But then she texted to apologize and explain what happened. I guess it was kind of unforseen emergency kind of a thing and so there really wasn't much she or we could do about it. And she's still not back yet, so we're not sure if we will be able to reschedule her baptism for this week or if it will be a little while yet. Such a bummer. I know she is still excited to get baptized, but the more time that passes and the less contact she has with us, the harder Satan is going to work on her. Not so good. But we are just praying really hard for her. Hopefully she comes back soon.

In happier news, Bro. Tiva is progressing! He finally said an audible prayer on his own in the lesson. That may not seem like such a big deal, but for us and him it was huge.I actually cried a little bit while he was praying. It was great. When we told him about the baptism on Saturday he said "Too bad it's not my baptism". He's so excited to get baptized. He can't wait. We just need time to teach him everything so he is ready and then he'll be on his way. Miracles. I love it.

So we're doing some great things with our branch and trying to strengthen it. We have activities planned for the youth, working on getting the VT really going with the RS. It's great and I'm excited for this branch to really take off and hopefully soon become a ward. It's great too because I love these people so much and I think they see that and so they trust me. That means everything to me. It makes all the difference too when we need to encourage them to change something or do something else. They are more receptive now then ever before. It's awesome. We are seeing progress, just little by little.

Well I know this was kind of short, but there's not too much to say. Life is good. Stressful. But that's how the end goes. I'm just trying to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the transition back to American life. That's not going to be easy. I apologize now. I am going to be a weirdo. Guaranteed. Hahaha. Well I love you all, hope you are all doing great!

Sister Jackson

Hubog, NPA, and Trunky Letters

Well this has been an eventful week here in San Carlos. Craziness is really the best word I can think of to describe it.

So here in the Philippines, because of the massive amounts of Catholics everywhere, when there is a catholic holiday, it's a national holiday. So on Tuesday it was All Saints Day... and then on Wednesday it was All Souls Day. I couldn't tell you the difference between the two or even what either of them mean. What I do know is that EVERYONE goes to the cemetary, lights candles, brings flowers and does who knows what all day. Which meant lots of punting for us, especially on Tuesday because that was actually the national holiday. Wednesday we had a little more luck, but not too much. It doesn't seem to matter if you are Catholic or not, when it's a holiday, it's a holiday and everyone celebrates.

Thursday was our Zone Conference, I will get to that in a minute, and also the first day of the biggest fiesta in San Carlos called Pintaflores which lasted until Saturday. So Thursday we didn't really do much anyway because ZC was all day. On Friday we expected to get kind of punted, but we still got some lessons in. But then on Saturday, that was different. That is the biggest day of the festival. Parade, dance festival, craziness EVERYWHERE and a ton of drunk people. We had a lunch appointment and that was about it. And then there was this other little problem that kind of effected our work. So we have this rebel military group here called the NPA and they don't like anyone and basically just want to kill everyone. Anyway, there was a threat made on the fiesta and because I am white I am especially at risk, so we weren't really allowed to do to much. We had to be in early and weren't allowed to be in big groups of people near any of the military or police because they were targets for bomb threats and shootings. For the most part the Philippines is just a peaceful and happy place and then every once in awhile you get crazies. And then EVERYONE in this town got totally hubog (that's drunk) and so it was much safer for us to just stay in our house. Nothing ever really happened with the NPA that we heard about, but it was better to be safe than sorry. And we got to see a ton of military people in our city. So that was fun... Ha ha. Nobody worry. No big deal.

So back to our Zone Conference. It was great. But it didn't feel like my last zone conference. It was weird. I don't know how to explain it. But it was still really good. I also got a chance to have an interview with Pres. Tobias which was great. He told me that he put me in San Carlos because I have a strong personality and he needs someone mature here. Apparently he is worried about false doctrine here. So he's sent me here to clean things up... hahaha... or so to speak. Anyway, I was just so grateful for the time with him and having him tell me that he trusts me. That makes such a difference to my confidence as a missionary. If you have the trust of the mission president you can trust you have the trust of the Lord. It's a good feeling.

Well today is the transfer announcement but I still don't know what is happening. No news yet. Last night I got my trunky letter, basically it's the keep working hard until the end letter, but then it has all this other stuff in the envelope too which doesn't exactly scream "focus". More like "the end is so close!" I don't like it. Oh well. I did get info for coming home. Looks like I leave the Pines on the 19th of December and get to St. George on the 20th. Time is flying! Love you all!!!

Sister Jackson
Happy Halloween

Oh my goodness. This week has FLOWN by. I just asked my companion what happened this week so I could have some material to write this and she said "Um... we woke up and it was already Monday again?" Yeah, that's how this feels right now. Time is going by at an astronomical rate and I can't handle it. It literally feels like I was just emailing yesterday. I can't believe how fast the time is going. When this transfer started Sis. Vaipulu and didn't feel like we were getting anywhere near the end. Now we're getting x-rays, itineraries and it's all just way too much! I still feel like I just got here. I mean, I can still remember this time of year, last year with perfect clarity. By the way, Happy Halloween! I was still with my trainer a year ago. Crazy!

Okay, so now that I've had enough of a breakdown, I'll try and remember something about this week to share.

It was SOOOOOOO hot! Like the hottest I think I've ever felt on my mission. Ironically it's rainy season here but no rain... only hot. It's funny, in the morning while we are having studies a lot of big clouds will roll in and make this awesome shade, and then as soon as we step outside in the morning to go work all the clouds are sitting on one end of the sky opposite of the sun doing absolutely nothing. So then we just melt our way to our appointments, Sis. Vaipulu drips along as we walk. I just turn red. It's awesome. And still, not matter how much of a radish I become the call of "gwapa!" still follows me wherever I go... Oh the Philippines.Today though, of course P-day (when we are not working) there is a nice breeze and a cloudy sky. Let's hope it continues this week because I am getting black! Seriously, I have the craziest tan lines and it's not pretty. Hahaha. I'm going to be a bit of a freak when I get home, sorry family and friends.

So despite the heat it was still a pretty good week. On Monday we had an FHE with the Tiva family. They are one of my FAVORITE families here, I love them all. Anyway, brother Tiva is the only one who is not a member because he as a smoking problem that he cannot get over. It's been years and a lot of missionaries. We are determined to help him. His family is AWESOME! Anyway, we didn't expect him to come to the FHE (he drives a pedicab and so he is always busy) and neither did his wife, but he came! He was late, but Sister told me later she was so shocked and she was so happy. We also had made a plan with Sister that we would come every day to see if he was home so we could teach him (he hadn't been giving us any real time). So that's what we did until finally he was home. We started from the beginning with Lesson 1 and focused on the word of wisdom again. It was a great lesson. Then we came back again. They weren't there, so we tried the other house. He wasn't there but just before we were about to leave, he showed up! He thought he could run away or hide. We joked about that. He laughed. He is a wonderful man. Shy, but so nice and we just want him to have an eternal family. He wants it so much too, but he just can't seem to kick the smoking. Any ideas? It's like 20+ sticks a day. Anyway, he came to church on Sunday and so we took a family photo of them and we are going to give him a laminated copy so that when he feels the urge to smoke he can look at his family and remember why he needs to quit. Hopefully it works. I love them.

Our other investigators are doing great. We started teaching Cheryl about the Plan of Salvation. I've never seen anyone get so excited about The Fall of Adam and Eve. It was awesome. She was SO interested. She told us she might not be at church because a family member died and she needed to go to the funeral. But she came anyway and stayed thought gospel essentials and it was awesome. We're still trying to get our Law of Chastity men on track to get married. It's hard when they don't have jobs. We're praying hard for that.

Anyway, the work is going forth. We still have plenty of hiccups. We lost some investigators this week. They were formers and we had high hopes for them, but after a few times we realized it was going NO WHERE. Brother just argued with us the whole time about how could our church be true if the Catholic church was older, and "I was born Catholic and I'll die Catholic". I would add that I don't actually think he really even believes his own religion all that much, but he was a stubborn old man. It was sad. But that's how it works. Sister Vaipulu and I have been talking a lot about what it is going to be like to see all these people again who have rejected us. What will they say to us? What will we say to them? Hopefully they will all accept the gospel before they die and it will be a happy reunion. Sad. It wasn't something I really understood until I came on a mission.

Well, we have lots to do this wonderful P-day and time is a tickin! I love you all. I can't believe I will see most of you really soon. Crazy! Don't be surprised if the minute I get off the plane I just try to turn around and go right back. I can't imagine leaving this place. Every day Sis. Vaipulu and I have the "that's something I won't miss" conversation. Usually it's things like the constant smell of pee, creepy men calling after us, seeing horrible poverty, etc. But mostly everything I won't miss is far outweighed by everything I WILL miss. But that's how the mission is. Every one warned me. It's too fast and when it's over you don't want to leave... if you did it right. Well it has been WAY too fast and basically I feel like this place is my home, so I guess that's how I should feel... sigh... Love you all!!!

Sister Jackson