Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bacolod Airport--I'm leaving on a jet plane...

For the past 18 months, I have visited President Lopez's Facebook page and have viewed thousands of photos of missionaries for whom he has stewardship. The photos are wonderful depictions of young men and young women who love one another and love whom they are serving.  These faithful missionaries are truly disciples of Jesus Christ, and their photos have been heart-warming and inspirational. I have to admit, that some of my favorite photos, are the ones of the departing missionaries. It is very tender that this time, the departing photos include our own sweet daughter.

These few photos were taken at the Bacolod Airport--the first of  4 airports Jessica will utilize as she makes her 7,500 mile journey home. Home. That is a sentimental word with many meanings. She is leaving her Philippine home and coming to her American home. We will be waiting with open arms.

Her arrival is better than winning the lottery, well, I have never won the lottery, but I am pretty sure this is better!!!!  

Her last photos from the Philippines...

Departing missionaries with President and Sister Lopez.

Departing missionaries with the Senior Elders and Sisters

Unloading luggage

I think she only has one did she manage that? :)

Getting organized!

Seeing this smile in person just might be more than I can handle!

Last night the departing missionaries were able to do a session in the Manila Temple. Jessica's dear trainer and friend, was able to attend with her, and she sent this photo to me this morning.
Thanks, Sister Canimo. We love you to the moon and back! :)

You know, it all boils down to this:

"As I have loved you, love one another.
This new commandment, love one another.
By this shall men know, ye are my disciples.
If ye have love, one to another".

See you soon, Sister Dixon.
Welcome Home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"God Be With You Til We Meet Again"

The departure meeting with President and Sister Lopez was last night. Sister Dixon told us they would eat, have a devotional, and have final interviews with the mission president. Looking at the photos, I can tell there was lots of fun, laughter, testimony,and a few tears. We will be forever grateful to Sister Lopez for capturing these moments and memories for Sister Dixon.

Sister Lopez, Sister Dixon, President Lopez
Sister Nielson arrived in the Philippines with Sister Dixon and will come home with her.

Sister Smoot also arrived with Sister Dixon.

I guess they kill the fatted pig in the Philippines!

I can't wait to ask her if it was good!

Looks like someone put an orange in the pig's mouth! :)

Each of the missionaries receives an exit binder as they leave the Philippines Bacolod Mission. I am not certain what it contains, but I would guess it is copies of  the letters they wrote to the mission president each week of their mission.
 What a treasure. 

Looking through their exit binders.

Sister Dixon bearing her testimony.
Singing, "God Be with you Til we Meet again".

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

The last email.... there are so many emotions I'm feeling right now that I don't really think I can think or feel straight right now. What a....blessing this mission has been. I don't think words will ever be able to express the gratitude and love I have for the Savior, the Filipino people, and the work of Heavenly Father here on earth. I truly love all of Them with all my heart. 

I suppose in a missionary's last email, it would be something very profound and deep, but I honestly haven't put much thought into what I would say.....I just want to testify that I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in the spring of 1820 and answered the prayer of a faith-filled boy that changed the world. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the only true Gospel upon the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know it. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is called of God to lead and guide us in these latter-days. I know that my Savior lives. I know that He loves us. I know that through the enabling power of the Atonement, we can be changed. I have seen it and I have felt it. I know the Atonement is real. 

I know Heavenly Father loves all of His children. I have felt his deep and abiding love for the Filipino people and they are my family now. I know families can be forever, including my family here in the Philippines. I don't know if I'll ever see them again in this life, but I know that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and because of His Gospel, I will see them again. I'm excited to see all those I have helped and invited come unto Christ, even in the most insignificant of ways, grow in their faith and progress in happiness and joy of the Gospel. My heart breaks at the thought of leaving these people. I feel like I'm one of them now. But my hope and peace is renewed as I remember that my service among them is not coming to an end. Even though I won't be a full time missionary, I can continue to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, with His name painted next to mine on my heart. "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his words among his people, that they might have everlasting life." I know that this call is eternal. I know that one of the central purposes of life is change. Consistent growing, progressing, learning, repenting....all until the the day when we are perfected and become like Him. 

I know that we have a perfect, loving Heavenly Father. Oh how great the wisdom and the love of our eternal Father in Heaven. I have felt the love and perfectness of His plan more than ever in my life as I have been able to help others know of this glorious plan. I have also felt the arms of love of our Savior as He has stretched them out to our investigators, to members, to my companions, and to me. I know His love is always there, despite the shortcomings and weaknesses we may have. He is always waiting and welcome to lift and to guide and to change us for the better. 

I am eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven for guiding me to choose to serve a full-time mission. It's been the best 18 months of my life. Not because I baptized everyone or enjoyed every second of it, but because I gave it everything I had. I pray that I may continue to give a willing mind and all my heart in all that I do for the rest of my life as I continue to labor with love among the children of our Heavenly Father. "I'll go where He wants me to go..." 

Thank you so much for all the support, prayers, love, emails, more prayers, and even more love for the past 18-months. They have sustained me and helped me endure the hard times throughout my mission...the happy times too. I truly have felt the love of all of you, wherever you are in the world. Love is a powerful thing I tell you. :) Thanks for everything and I'll see you soon! 

Palangga ko gid kamo! 

All my love, 
Sister Jessica Dixon 

PS Thank you for all the birthday wishes! Sorry I didn't have time to reply them, but I truly am grateful! xo

Happy Birthday, Sister Dixon!

Usually one of our happiest days is our birthday, at least when we are children. Looking through Jessica's photos to find "just the right one" to put on her blog for her birthday, I realized that her biggest, most beautiful and sincere smiles are ones with the children. She is a child of God who has been with these precious children of God, and their light and love radiates through these photos.

 I didn't find "just the right ONE", I found several photos that represent Jessica and the pure happiness and everlasting joy that serving a mission has brought to her life.  

"I am a child of God, and He has sent me here has given me an earthly home, 
with parents kind and dear.

I am a child of God, and so my needs are great, help me to understand 
His words before it grows too late.

I am a child of God, rich blessings are in store, 
If I but learn to do His will, I'll live with Him once more.

Lead me, Guide me, Walk beside me, Help me find the way, 
Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday."

Happy Birthday, Sister Dixon. We Love You!

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!