Sunday, November 18, 2012

(JONNA)- Nov 5, 2012

Hey Yall!
Well, the internet went down at the library in the middle of us checking email. So, I hope I have time still to write everything I want to. First off, I am not getting transferred! YAY! Sister Erickson and I are staying together for at least 6 more weeks! Wahoo! The next transfer is a week before Christmas. It was a GREAT weekend because ANNETTE GOT BAPTIZED!!! YAYAY!!
It was incredible. She arrived to church looking great and Har her husband actually wore a suit! Haha-never happens. She was excited. We also had Car there, who is also working toward baptism. And, a less-active who is returning was also there! So, Sister Erickson and I had so much to do! We had to sit in different areas in Relief Society and Sacrament meeting (don't worry! Still in sight and sound!) so we could be with Ann, Car, and Cas. It was a jugglin act. Thanks to the branch members everything was great. During sacrament meeting, the Spirit was powerful. Wow. Everyone spoke on conversion and missionary work. It reminded me of the 20th Ward again. I was sitting with Ann and Har in the very back. At one point, she put her arm around me and said "I just love you so much. Thanks for all you have done for me." I almost cried! Then, I noticed Har wringing his hands and bouncing his knees. Oh boy, he was gonna get up. I was praying he would! And, I wish you knew Har. Early stages of Alzheimers, loud, funny. He stood up and as he was walking down the aisle to the stand he shouted, "Man, I am tryin' not to cry!" He got to the podium and was short and sweet. He expressed his love for Ann, said he was glad this day finally came, and then ended with "I'm gonna end with a James Brown song, 'I feel good!! And, I knew that I would!' " Then, he didn't even close, just walked away. hahaha. Oh is was the best. Such an awesome moment. At the end of sacrament, we sang "The Lord is My Shepherd." I couldn't get through the song. I had been STRESSING that I was going to get transferred from this little bity branch that I LOVE! I am not ready to leave this place (and probably never will be ready). But, as I sang, I was sitting next to Annette-a woman of remarkable faith who is getting baptized. I was given at least 6 more weeks to serve in this branch. And, life was just good :) Needless to say, I was a cry baby.
Then, it came time for Ann's baptism. She got dressed, was excited! She was cryin' the whole time. Sister Erickson and I sang our own little version of "I Know My Father Lives." I was watching Ann the whole time and she was in tears. As she was in the font and getting baptized, I was just overjoyed. Understand that this is almost 10 years in the making! Har investigated for a few years and was finally baptized in 2006. She wasn't even open to baptism until 6 months ago. I feel so honored to be one of the missionaries here at the time she was ready to be baptized. I was here when it finally "clicked." Heavenly Father has been working on her for many years and during the time she is ready, He allowed me to witness her conversion. Wow. She was baptized and then confirmed right after (with special permission from Pres. Crawford :) She even told Car (our other investigator) that "This was the best thing I ever could have done." And Car later told us, "This makes me excited for my own baptism." Could life be any better than this? Witnessing the conversion process of these people? I think not. It makes me sick that I almost missed this.
Well, sad thing, this morning, we found out that Ann has been getting hateful phone calls from her family and friends. (Mostly over her joining a "white church" rather than the actual religion, but still...) They called her up until midnight last night and early this morning. She still said though, "I did this for myself. No one else. I don't regret it." It just breaks my heart that she is experiencing all this though. Thankfully, tonight, she was invited to a member's house for dinner, with another less-active, and us! I'm telling you, this branch is SO good at welcoming people into their homes and reaching out. I love this place. So, keep Ann in your prayers!
Well, it was Halloween! That morning, we did some service and helped pick pecans up (they are everywhere!) at a part member family's home. Then, we helped a member with preparations for the Fall Fest. We went to the Fall Fest (the Branch's Halloween party). It was in Odomville in a big field. Had a bonfire, a chili cook-off, a spook house, and hay ride. We drove over with Ann and Har (which was hilarious). Sister Erickson and I judged the Chili-cook-off. Then, we placed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winners. The winners were ones who have never won before (including Annette!). We got picked on because we were from the West and didn't have Southern taste buds. Haha. It was funny. We rode the hay ride with one of our less-actives who showed up. That was fun. Riding on a dirt road, in a hay trailer, attatched to a tractor, under the night sky (FULL of stars and a full moon!). It was the best. We got home, and turned in for the night. And, guess what? I forgot to listen to "When October Goes." Can you believe that??? Haha-just kidding. I've been looking forward to that for weeks! Sister Erickson wrote in her journal and I sat on the couch and listened to it. It was a nice few moments. It was about 10:25pm my time when Iistened to it. I was thinking about a year ago of getting my call, going to the temple, being in Texas, Hank, AJ, the girls, and basically life in general :) It was a good moment. It is dorky I guess, but I like that tradition. We pretty much have the best family in the world.
Well, that is that I guess. OH! Yes, I got yall's packages. THANKS for the thermals! It was freeeeeeeezing cold last week. It has warmed up now, but it will get cold again. Also, I got the ballot and sent it in on Friday. Hope it gets there in time! Thanks for the emails. Give my love to the Chapmans and Colemans. How I love Brother Chapman. And, scary about Lauren! Yikes!! Makes me sick. And, let me know about the mission calls! So excited for them all! Also, where did Hyrum Layton go on his mission?
Time for me to go!
Love yall!
Sister Jackson

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