Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Pioneer Day!

Maayong Aga! (Good morning!)
I hope everyone is doing just dandy! This week was a pretty great one. Here's what happened...
Monday after p-day ended we had FHE with the Aniban family (active members) and invited the YSA to attend. Because of the difficulty of having money to travel, there wasn't a huge turnout, but we still had fun with the people that were in attendance, and the Aniban family is super funny.
Tuesday we had a Mission President's training. Beforehand we had interviews, and I just have to say that I absolutely love my mission president. He is truly inspired and he knew exactly what to say to me. His words of council helped me a lot. Our training was awesome. Because we're the model zone for our mission, we really have to step it up. We've been asked to do a lot but I'm grateful because it keeps us busy, working hard, and it's helping me know what to do for the rest of my mission in other areas where the potential can be greater. I'm hoping to take what I'm learning in this area to help other areas I go to, grow. 
After our training we visited the Padios family. Their daughters birthday is this Tuesday and they want to have an FHE with us on her birthday, so we'll be going there tomorrow. :) Larry Padios, the dad, has a word of wisdom issue, but as he's started to wear his garment again, it's helped remind him to say no when ordering coffee or other word of wisdom issues. Pretty neat! They didn't come to church yesterday, however, :( but we'll keep working with them. They are such a fun, awesome family. :) We also taught Lourdes and Florence Arribas. Lourdes is the mom and Florence is the daughter. They also have a son, Darryl, who is a recent convert and preparing for his mission. We taught his mom and sister lesson one and about the Book of Mormon. Darryl was there, so we had him participate in the lesson. He was a little shy about it, but I could tell he was excited that his family was listening to us. I could just see in his face how much he wants for them to accept the gospel. Later we taught the Lobitana family. They have 3 sweet little girls. They are all active except for Samuel. He is less active and has a word of wisdom issue (pretty common here if you haven't guessed). His wife wants to go to the temple so badly, but he just won't come to church. Lately every time we visit, Samuel hides so we haven't been able to teach him. So we just taught his family about prayer and scripture study and to pray for Samuel to have the desire to go to church. I said the closing prayer, and it's been the most sincere public prayer I've given in Ilonggo. I want so badly for this family to go to the temple, and I just prayed with all my heart that Samuel would have the desire to attend church so they can make their way to the temple. That night we taught Marjolet! Oh how I just love her and her sweet little family. The missionaries usually end up needing to teach the recent converts here instead of the members, but that's okay because I love teaching her and Doug. :) Her two boys joined us for a little while to until they got too restless. haha We went back to lesson 1 about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. You can just see in their faces and hear in their voices when they bear testimony that they know this Gospel is true. I love seeing the change the Gospel brings in people and the happiness that it brings them, despite their very humble living conditions.
Wednesday we did something that was so weird. We started online proselyting on Facebook. We discussed this in our Mission President's Training and it was talked about in the Worldwide Leadership Broadcast. The Bacolod South Zone is the first zone to be trying this in the Bacolod mission, so hopefully we can figure out a way to make it work best to carry it on to other areas. It was beyond weird logging onto Facebook. But we've been creating a missionary page for our ward for members, investigators, and less actives to go to to learn more about the Church and read testimonies from members, talks, Mormon messages, etc. Pretty neat! Next we just need those tablets they talked about in the broadcast. ;) Wednesday was also my one month mark in the field! Crazy. Sister McIver was so sweet and wrote me a card and made little hearts with scripture quotes and put it on the wall above my desk. We also met with Ryan Dinio, our ward mission leader, to talk about what we discussed at our Mission President's Training. I'm so grateful for our ward mission leader. He works so well with us to do what we've been asked. :) Afterwards we went to our apartment because some senior couples were moving two new beds into our apartment for 2 new sisters to move in! We are getting 20 new sisters next transfer and our area is being split! The work is hastening!! :) It's pretty exciting. Later that night we taught Missy Gulayan. She is the sister of a member of our stake presidency. They always have us over for dinner on Wednesday nights (they're the ones that gave us the Durian) and then we teach Missy. I can see how much President Gulayan wants her to accept this Gospel. We are taking it a bit slower with her, just because she was hesitant at first, but she's really starting to open up to us and our message. I just really hope that when the area splits we get to continue teaching her!
Thursday was a true testament to me that the harder you work, the better your day goes. We taught a lot of less active members and I tried extra hard to speak up in the lessons, despite my language barrier. I know that the Spirit is the one who leads and when I just relax and let the Spirit guide, the words just flow from my mouth, and our message is understood. It's pretty amazing how the Spirit works through us and how it touches those we teach. We also visited the Tan family (the mom is sisters with Samuel Lobitana). We went to see if she needed help with anything since she just barely had a baby. Five days old at the time we visited. :) Filipino babies are so sweet and little! We also talked to a woman sitting in the shade outside her house who had a baby less than a year old. We talked about eternal families and hopefully we'll be able to visit her sometime this week. Babies just have a special way of bringing the Gospel and feelings of love from Heavenly Father into our lives, don't they? It's awesome. :)
Friday we had weekly planning then visited a few families the rest of the day. Saturday we we supposed to have a ward missionary workshop, but everyone came 1-2 hours late, so we just did a quick thing about "resolving people's concerns" and we'll have to do the rest another day. It's hard here because time isn't that strictly enforced here, so it takes a lot of patience sometimes. haha Afterwards, brother Willar (councilor in our bishopric over missionary work) and Paige Rosales came with us to visit and teach the rest of the day, which was awesome. The member's testimonies add a lot to our lessons, and it shows people how the gospel really blesses everyone. they don't just have to take our word as missionaries for it. Sometimes i think people think missionaries are all knowing and perfect to a degree, just because they're missionaries, when really we are faaaaar from it, so it's nice to have the members come along. :)
Sunday I gave my first talk in Sacrament meeting about strengthening the youth through missionary work. I tried my best to give it in Ilonggo and the members were so kind and told me afterwards that my Ilonggo is very good. The Filipinos are so nice. Even though I have a long way to go, it helped me feel better about learning this language. :) After church we met with Mya Lamigo. We taught her lesson 1 about Joseph Smith. Every time we teach about the Restoration, the Spirit is so powerful, I love it! We committed her to pray to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet. We also committed her to baptism, but she wants to pray about it first. We were so excited because we could tell she was sincere about it and wants to take it seriously. We'll meet with her again next Sunday. :) We had a few other lessons that I wish I had time to tell about, but what I can say is that the work here is progressing. Slowly at times, but surely! It's amazing to see the Lord's hand in our day is we go about doing His work.
Happy birthday to Aunt Cami last week! I got letters from Grandma Warburton, President Olson, a postcard from Melissa Regis, and letters from Elder Bell and Hill. Thank you so much! You're love and support is overwhelming and I'm so grateful for all of you in my life. Have a wonderful week! Love you all!

Sister Dixon

PS Just for fun/random:
It's 15-20 pesos (40-50 cents) to take a tricycle ride (which we do a lot here) :)
Filipinos use their umbrellas when it's not raining so they don't get tan from the sun. I use mine to be shaded from the heat. haha 
The other day there was a speeder of a tricycle driver. He was probably in his 60s and had a DVD playing on his tricycle. So awesome. Not something you see everyday! ;) 
This is a sad fact, but there's no age restriction for buying cigarettes. I've seen kids 12 years old smoking. :( So sad. 

 Dinner at President Plaza's (stake president) house.  I'm with Kate and her teddy bear. :) The berry is called lomboy. It has a grape taste with a cherry texture. They have the best fruit ever here, and the avocados are the best I've ever had.
 One month in the field! Hearts from sister McIver. :)
The effects of humidity on my Altoids. There are holes in them as if they've been soaked in water, and they are no longer hard altoids, but chewable altoids! haha there's no other way to explain the humidity unless you've been here I guess. I'm getting used to it though! :)

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