Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trials and Triumphs

Hello wonderful Family and Friends! 

I hope you had a great week and that school goes well for all those who are starting school this week!
 Grabe ba! Satan has been working on Sister Canimo and  me so hard this week.
We are trying so hard to do our best and work hard, and he is sure
working on us. However, despite all our trials this week, good has
triumphed over evil because the Lord is always on our side. Here’s a
few experiences of our trials and triumphs.

Monday: Trial: We had FHE at the Boliboli family household. We tried
to watch a DVD of Christ and we couldn't get the system to work. It
took 45 minutes to get it figured out. Triumph: The idea of showing
the DVD was a huge success because we got even the older, “cool” boys
to be glued to the message of having Faith in Christ.
Trial: Because it took so long to get the DVD to work, we were late to
our next FHE appointment. On the way it down-poured so we arrived
soaked. Triumph: Sister Belardo’s husband was present and participated
in the family home evening. He is less active and she wants so much
for him to be reactivated. Turned out to be a really fun FHE!

Tuesday: Trial: Satan working hard to bring me down personally.
Triumph: Awesome personal study. Hymn #114 brought a lot of comfort
and I realized that through the Lord, He will help me with anything.
Struggles are good for us. He’s not going to make things easier, but
He provides a way for us to endure and be strengthened and be lifted
higher. Through scripture study, prayer, faith, diligence, working
hard, (and for me having my very spirit-filled and inspired companion,
Sister Canimo), the Lord shows His tender mercies and strengthens us
in all things.

Wednesday: Trial: Horrible, no good, very bad morning. It seemed like
everything was breaking down and Satan was just being a little
stinker. Triumph: Through sincere, faith filled prayer, Christ
provided His healing and comfort through The Comforter. Also, later
that day we visited Dexter and Angie Lubaton and taught the
Restoration since Dexter hadn't heard it yet. We also showed them a
picture of the temple and the look on Angie’s face was priceless. I
will never ever forget it. It was a look of awe and sincere desire to
go to the temple someday. The temple is already a grand and beautiful
building in Utah, but just imagine what it looks like to a
Filipino...where the buildings here are very much third world...truly
a beautiful building, inside and out. In structure and in meaning. I
can’t wait for the day when they’ll be sealed in the temple.

Friday night: Trial: Sister Rasmussen (two doors down from us and one
of the senior sisters) got really sick and couldn’t breathe. Elder
Rasmussen called us over to stay with her while he got the Tangub
Elders. Triumph: I was able to witness a powerful priesthood blessing
from the Elders and Sister Rasmussen could breathe again and was soon
back to her normal, chatty self.

Saturday:  Goodness. This was the biggest trial day. Trial: We were
told the night before that our district leader and his comp couldn’t
make it to baptize Sister Fera Jane Pedroso. Triumph: The elders from
Tangub willingly stepped in to help us. Trial: We went to get the key
from the Bishop and it was lost. Triumph: There was a backup at the
counselor’s house. Trial: We weren’t getting any reply from our Ward
Mission Leader in call or text and he’s the one who’s supposed to
conduct and arrange the program. Triumph: Sister Canimo conducted and
even though we planned for speakers just in case the ward mission
leader didn’t plan for any, our backup speakers didn’t show up until
45 minutes later so Sister Canimo and I were the speakers. Trial: We
went to fill the font and no water would come out of the faucet.
Triumph: 20 minutes before the baptism started a miracle occurred and
the water flowed through. I testify that exact obedience brings
miracles. Trial: We couldn’t find the drain stop. Triumph: We found a
plate to put on the drain and a big water jug to put on top of that to
keep it from coming up. Trial: Someone tried to drown Fera Jane when
she was younger so she is terribly afraid of water. We didn’t know
this until after she was baptized and she told us. As a result, it
took seven attempts until she was completely immersed. And she had to
sort of dunk herself. Triumph: She was completely immersed and Fera
Jane Pedroso is now the newest member of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in the Alijis ward. :)

Even though this week was full of trials, the Lord was on our side and
we defeated Satan triumphantly. As hard as the trials can be at times,
I’m grateful for the things I learn from each and every one of them.
They have strengthened me and brought me closer to the Lord than ever
before. This mission is the best decision I’ve ever made and even
though I’m still fairly new in the field, I can see how much it has
strengthened me and helped me grow in my testimony and in my
relationship with my Father in Heaven. He is there. He hears and
answers every. child’s. prayer. I know this is true.

I hope school goes well this week for all those who are starting up
again. And happy birthday to Drew today! (WA time,tomorrow), and Gabe
on the 27th! Sure love ya! Thank you for all your prayers and support
and love. I love all of you so much!

Palangga ko kamo!

Sister Jessica Dixon

PS The Brrrr months are approaching (September-December). This means
the weather has been slightly cooloer (Hallelujah!) and people will
start their celebrations in preparation for Christmas. I love the
Philippines. :)

People tell Sister Canimo and me all the time that we have the same
“chura,” or that we look similar. Funny because I don’t think we look
a thing alike. Then I came to the realization that it must be the
light of Christ that people see. It’s an amazing thing being a
representative of Jesus Christ. :)

Sister Dixon and Sister Canimo with Karissa :)
Karissa and her family. I am so impressed that Sister Dixon is barefoot!!
Pre-mission, that didn't happen :)

YAY!! Fera Jane's baptism
The Lubaton family
Look at those beautiful eyes

Is that happiness or what?! :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This Work is Amazing!...and the girl's hand just flops around :)

Hello Friends and Family!
Another busy week has gone by---I feel like so much happens during our
week! Here's a summary...

Monday we had FHE at the Villiasor family household. They're the
family that has a girl names Karissa. :) We did an object lesson with
obedience and agency and had lots of fun with the kids (IJ, Mimi,
Karissa). They fed us dinner and we had a good time. Filipinos are
just so kind and so fun to be around. :)

Tuesday we taught Angie Lubaton the first part of the Doctrine of
Christ (faith and repentance). She cried during her prayer as she
asked God to forgive her sins. She has such a sweet spirit and such
strong faith! She had come to church Sunday in pants because she
didn't have any dresses or skirts, so Sister Canimo and I took some of
the skirts/dresses we don't wear often or don't fit us and gave them
to her. She was so grateful and she came to church Sunday looking
beautiful in one of the dresses. :)

Wednesday we had a Mission President's Training and continued to
discuss ways we can do "finding." The biggest thing is getting the
members involved. I didn't realize before my mission just how critical
members are in this work--in helping us with lessons, fellow shipping,
getting to know the area, etc. I know that when I get home, I want to
help the missionaries in our area as best as I can because I know as a
missionary, I'm SO grateful when we receive as much help as we can
from the members. Later that day we met a boy named Melro Artus. He is
13 years old and there are 10 kids in the family. They just have the
Mom to take care of them, so he wakes up at 5 every morning to help
her with yard work and laundry, etc. Then he goes to school and comes
back to help her work so they can save enough money for them to
survive. Because there are so many kids, however, and not enough
money, a lot of the kids needed to be adopted. Such a sad story! He
was way too mature to be 13, which made me sad that his childhood made him
 grow up so quickly. He wants to be baptized, but because he helps
his mom so much, he can't go to church Sunday.  Hopefully we can
figure out a way to help him get to church and still be able to help
his Mom.

Friday we had weekly planning and then taught Fera Jane Pedroso. She
is 21 years old and set to be baptized August 24. She had her
interview with Elder Swain (the district leader) on Sunday  She is
good to go! She is so sweet and her prayers are so sincere. She learns
a bit slower than some of our other investigators, but her heart truly
desires to follow Jesus Christ. She's a sweetheart. :)

Saturday  we met with Angie Lubaton and her husband Dexter. We met with
him last Saturday as well (the only day he has off). But he told us
that he talked to his boss and he gave him Sunday off as well! He
works overtime in order to do this, but he knows how important going
to church is, so he's trying to make it work. :) Hopefully his boss
will allow him to take more Sundays off. Anyway, we watched, "Finding
Faith in Christ," and had a good discussion on Faith. He asked if he
had been baptized in the Baptist church if he could be baptized again.
We explained about the Priesthood and answered a few other questions.
Then he said he wanted to be baptized! Ah! He is so golden! This
family is so golden! So we set a date for September 14 :)  He has such strong faith 
and has such incredible goals for his family and their future. I think Satan is
working hard on this family because he knows their incredible
potential and how strong they are going to be in the Church. Angie
told us that one night, at 1:30  in the morning, she had the most evil
feeling Spirit enter her body. It was like a megaphone was by her ear
with a wicked laugh. (Reminded me of the experience Joseph Smith had
before he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ). She said she just
started crying and crying and so Dexter told her to pray. Satan knows
how good this family is, but they are so strong. Sunday we had
exchanges with the Relief Society, so I wasn't with Sister Canimo when
they went to teach them again, but it was raining so hard (making it
hard to hear) and there was a brown out and Sister Canimo forgot her
flashlight. Again, I think Satan was trying to prevent this family
from hearing the Gospel. But they continued on in the dark (luckily
Sister Jing Delavega, the RS sister with Sister Canimo had her phone),
and Sister Canimo said the Spirit was so strong. Dexter told them that
Angie had talked to him and wanted to get a book to read while he was
at work and while Pawi was napping. Then we came along with The Book
of Mormon. He said it was far more than what they asked for. Sister
Canimo said Dexter gave the longest prayer and started for the first
time with "Heavenly Father." He gave so much thanks to God for sending
us and that it was far more than they asked for.

It's amazing to me to see how God prepares His children so perfectly
to hear the Gospel at the right time and in the right place. I can't
describe the feelings of teaching a family so prepared by Heavenly
Father to hear His Gospel. It's amazing! I know He loves each of His
children so much. This work is amazing!

I hope everyone has a great week! Happy birthday to Megan today! (or I
guess tomorrow Utah time ;) ).

 Love you all so much! Thanks for your prayers and support!
 I have the best family and friends in the world.:)

Sister Dixon

 Filipino boys love to carry around a box and collect spiders. ANY kind.
Hand holding here is so different....the boy grabs the girls arm while
the girl's hand just flops around.... :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Church is True, The Book is Blue, and Moroni's on the ball!

Hello everyone!
Another week has flown by! Here's what happened this week...

Monday, after P-day we taught the Malihan family. Ronina Joy is in her
20s and has a cute baby boy, and Ruby and Christian are her younger
siblings. Her mom also sat in on the lesson. We taught the beginning
of lesson one on how the Gospel blesses families. The Spirit was so
strong (one of the most spirit filled lessons up to that time) as
Ronina's mom talked about all their trials. They are going to be
kicked out of their home in October, their son is very sick with
depression, and several other issues. I couldn't understand very much
of what she said (I had to ask Sister Canimo later) because I'm still
working on everyday vocabulary, but the Spirit was strong and I knew I
needed to bear testimony of how the Lord is always there to help us
through our trials if we pray to Him and ask for his help. My heart
just ached for this family, but I know the Gospel can help them. They
said they wanted to come to church on Sunday, but unfortunately they
weren't able to come because the father, who's always drunk, wouldn't
allow them. He said he doesn't want us to teach in their house, so we
might have to start teaching in the house next door. Hopefully his
heart will be softened to let them come to church.

Tuesday, we taught Angie Lubaton. Oh my goodness, she is GOLDEN!!
Seriously, she is awesome. We taught the Restoration and the first
vision, and she couldn't stop crying. She told us she felt very sad
and guilty that she hadn't included God in her life as much as she
should and that us coming to her was a huge blessing. Her prayer was
so sweet as she expressed great gratitude in having us teach her. The
Spirit was so strong as we cried with her and told her that God has a
plan for her. She was more than willing to let us come back and
continue teaching her. She has the cutest little boy named Pawi. He's
a little hyper during our lessons, but Angie listens so intently
despite the chaos and soaks everything in so well. We gave her a
baptismal date for September 7th. Later that night we visited Glenn
Datiles, who is taking care of a family friend's mother, Sister
Delavega, who has had 3 strokes in the past 12 years and can't
communicate with us. He is one of the most selfless, Christ-like
people I have ever met. He has such a big heart. He is a recent
convert (that's why we visited), but I think I gained more strength
from him than we gave to him. Charity Delavega is one of the
daughters, and she is a less active that lives there as well. They are
watching their other sibling's son, Mandrake, who is four, and so
cute. He just wants to play and play and he's the chubbiest little
Filipino I've seen. ;) haha so cute! I have pictures, but the computer
is very slow today so I won't be able to send them this week. :(

Wednesday,  we had a zone leader's training meeting and then I had
exchanges with Sister Arnold, one of the Sister Training Leaders. I
went to her area in Paglaum, and I learned so much from her. This is
her last transfer and she is a very good missionary. I want to
implement a lot I learned from her in my work. We had a lot of fun
river crossing and going up and down lots of hills. It was a fun area!

Thursday after returning to Alijis, we visited Angie again. This time
we shared the Book of Mormon with her that through the Book of Mormon
and prayer, she can know Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Church
is true. She told us she already prayed to know about Joseph Smith and
she received an answer that he's a true prophet!! :) She told us her
story of how when she was younger she was very down all the time, and
felt like there was something lost in her life. She would walk and
walk and would end up in the Catholic church. She said she just cried
because she felt warm and at peace there. She said she felt the exact
same feeling when we met her and started teaching her. :) We explained
that that was the Spirit. :) She also said she felt so guilty for not
having God in her life as much as she should. She knows he answers
prayers because one day she went to the grocery store and only had
1000 pesos. She needed more to get what they needed but the ATM kept
saying there wasn't any money left. She prayed really hard that there
would be enough money, and when she checked the ATM again, there was
enough money for her to get what she needed. She was so grateful after
that, and that's when she knew she needed to include God in her life
more. So when we met with her the first time (which was not by
coincidence--we met with a member who is their boarder and she was
outside. We talked with her and she said we could come back), and
taught the Restoration, that's when she could feel that this was God's
way of telling her that this was the way for her to include Him in her
life more. She just cried and cried as she shared her story, and the
Spirit was so strong. It's so amazing to me that way the Lord prepares
His children to hear the Gospel. :) Her countenance from when we first
talked to her has drastically changed. When we first talked to her,
she seemed so heavy and burdened, but know it's a total change. She
has a light now, and she is more upbeat and happy. She has such a
sweet spirit and such love for her family and for God. :)

Friday we had weekly planning and then taught Rhodora Mission. We had
to walk a ways to get to her home because she lives more in a farm
area with pigs and chickens, and a real nipa hut (it was so neat!).
She has three gwapo little boys who just got baptized, but she isn't
baptized yet. We taught about the importance of going to church and
being an example to her family. She said she's always very busy so we
just promised blessings. Hopefully she will come to church soon!

Saturday  we taught Angie again. :) This time her husband Dexter was
home. He only gets Saturday off from work, but said he wants to try
and get Sunday off because he knows it's important to go to church and
have family bonding time. Just in the way he talked about his family
and in the way he presented himself, I can see him being a great
leader in the Church someday. Hopefully he can get Sundays off! We
taught him and Angie the Plan of Salvation because Angie had questions
about it last time. This was probably one of the most Spirit filled
lessons I've had so far and Sister Canimo said it was one of the best
lessons for her too. The unity and flow Sister Canimo and I had was
awesome as the Spirit guided us in what to say and teach. They
understood everything we taught and the Spirit was just so tangible!
We didn't want to leave! We expressed our love to them and Heavenly
Father's love for them. They said they could feel it. Ah, I just love
this family! Angie is so ready and I think her husband can be too.
Hopefully we'll be able to teach him more and he can get Sundays off
so he can come to church. :) Afterwards, we visited the Cepeda family.
Bryan (16), Kyle (13), Krisha (10), and Kevin (4). Both their parents
died, as well as their grandparents, and they currently live with
their aunt. Their house fills so depressed and sad, and they have such
heavy countenances. They are all members, they're just less active. We
read from the Book of Mormon with them, and then shared testimony of
how through Jesus Christ and God's greatest gift of love and eternal
life, we can be with our families again. We cried with them as we
expressed our testimonies. My heart just aches for them! They just
need the light and happiness that the Gospel can bring. I know they
know it, especially Kyle, but they just need that extra push to really
realize and feel God's love and hope that they can have a happy life.
Hopefully Sister Canimo and I can do that with the help of the Spirit.

Our next lesson was with the Puyong family. It was so funny because
over time, all these little kids gathered to the door, because there
was a "cana" (American) in the house. By the time I left, there were
20-25 little Filipino children staring at me. haha I asked them if
they wanted a picture with me (because I heard that the kids liked
that), but they all ran away screaming! I just laughed and we left,
but then they all started following me. haha Maybe next time. ;)
Afterwards, we visited the Villiasor family. They are active, but we
stopped by to try and get a referral (we're in desperate need of
referrals since we still don't know the area that well). The lola (or
grandmother) is 86 and very weak, but her mind is sharp as a tac. We
visited with her for a bit, and talked with Monette (who Sister Canimo
knows from Singapore! Small world!) and the kids for a while. Oh! And
the four year old girl is named Karissa! (prounounced Kareesa here).
Same spelling and everything! How awesome is that?! I took a picture
so Rissy can see, so hopefully the computer is faster next week so I
can send it. :) Anyway, we sang I Am a Child of God, and the Spirit
touched my heart in a special way that I can't describe. It was just
amazing to see all these different ages of Heavenly Father's children
in one sitting. We are all His children, no matter our age, race,
gender, or situation. He loves each of us so much. And I am so
grateful for His love.

Sunday was awesome because Angie came to church! We are going to teach
her tomorrow  and see how she liked it, but I sure hope she felt the
Spirit! After church we had a meeting with Ron, the ward mission
leader. President Lopez has asked a lot of us as a zone. Since we're
the model zone for the others in our mission, we are trying lots of
different things, and at times it feels a bit overwhelming. I
sometimes feel like we're never going to have time to do everything we
need to and keep our numbers up because we are soo busy--constantly
moving. But that's the life of a missionary I suppose. I know that the
Lord will help us in all the we need to do as long as we're exactly
obedient and take one step at a time. :)

I hope everyone has a good week! Happy birthday to Crystal on the
16th! :) Thank you for all the prayers. As President Lopez says, "the
Church is true, the Book is blue, and Moroni's on the ball." ;) It's
true! I love you all!

Sister Dixon

PS I don't know if I've said this, but when we go to a house, we say,
"tugbalay" because there's obviously no doorbells, and we don't knock.
When there's a brownout at night, make sure you have a flashlight.
Otherwise it's pretty much pitch black. ;)
Letzon is roasted pig. Like the whole thing. And it's delicious! ;)
Sister Canimo calls me Princess. haha Probably because I'm so much
younger than her, and she can't call me 'daughter' since I'm Sister
McIver's "daughter." :)
I met Sister Monson this week! She is one of the newest missionaries
and President Monson's grandniece (?). Pretty awesome!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Transfer Call!

Hello everyone! 
Wow, this week was awesome and SO much happened! 

Monday we had family home evening with the Carrias family, and then got a call from the APs saying I'd be transferring the next day. It came as a total surprise because I'm still in my training, but it turned out to be a blessing. I met my new companion, Sister Canimo, on Tuesday. Oh my goodness, she is so amazing! She is from Manila and the first Filipino I've met who doesn't eat rice. haha She grew up learning English and lives just like an American. She joined the church three years ago while working in Singapore. She is such a hard worker, and I can tell I'm going to learn SO much from her this transfer. She is very talented and is truly a Preach my Gospel missionary. I'm so excited for all that I will learn from her. :) Our new area is Alijis, and we're actually whitewashing, which means neither missionary has been to the area, so neither of us know the way things work here. But thanks to our area book, the ward mission leader, and my very smart and hard working companion, I think we're going to have a lot of success here. It's funny though because Alijis is the area right next to Mansilingan, so I'm very close to my last area. 

Wednesday I'm pretty sure we had a typhoon because it rained a LOT and I was cold for the first time since being here (never thought I'd say that!). But don't worry, Mom, we were safe. :) We spent most of our day discovering our new area and talking with members and the ward mission leader to get to know our area and what to do. Our area is HUGE (the third largest in our mission), so luckily this transfer it was split and we have two other sisters in our ward. Sister Safetti and Sister Solomone (fresh from the MTC!). 

Thursday, Ping-Ping, an 18 year old preparing for her mission, worked with us to show us the area. We met with some members to get to know them so that we can get to know the area better, and they are all so awesome! We met this amazing 80 year old woman named Aurilia and she was just the sweetest thing. We shared a scripture with her and sang a hymn, and the spirit was just so strong. :) We also taught Jero and Jerold Castol lesson 1. They are brothers and were very open to hear our message. 

Friday we had weekly planning then taught two of our investigators, Fera Jane and Elma Javier. We also taught the Potato family. They are less actives, but their son Jojo just got baptized. Their daughter, Jennilynn, is "special" as they call her here, and is so so sweet. She wants to be baptized so badly, so we're excited to keep teaching her. Their son, JR is also very smart. He is 6 years old and knew all the answers to our questions about the restoration and gave the sweetest prayer. I love teaching with Sister Canimo because she brings such a strong spirit into our lessons, and I am learning so much from her. 

Saturday Ping Ping came with us again for the entire day, which was awesome! We met some more members, the Musni family, and they are awesome. They have 12 kids, all with very similar names. I sent a picture so you could see just how crazy. haha I don't know how I'll remember them all! Anyway, Charles is one of the daughters. She is 17 and so sweet and reminds me a lot of Savanna. :) I wish they could meet each other! I think they'd be good friends. :) We also taught the Castol brothers again about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. I think there a few issues we still need to resolve, but hopefully they'll come to church next week. We also taught the Cepeda family. Their mother and grandparents died and their aunt is taking care of them. They have such a sad countenance and I know the Gospel is just the thing that can lift their spirits!! They are actually less active, and Kyle, the oldest brother, I can just see knows there's something more and that he can find more happiness in his life. I'm not sure of his age yet, but he'd make such a wonderful missionary! I can just see it in his eyes. Anyway, we taught about families and invited them to church. And they came! We were so so excited. :) The Relief Society was shocked to see them come, so the Spirit must have touched them in some way while we taught them. :) I know the Gospel can bless them so much. 

Sunday Jojo Potato brought his investigator friend to church with him, so that made us very happy. :) Fera Jane also came to church! The ward mission leader asked Sister Canimo and I to teach the gospel essentials class. I haven't done that yet, so I was pretty nervous, but Sister Canimo is so awesome and helped me a lot. As well as the Spirit of course. :) After church we met with the Potato and Javier family again as well as Spencer Elisa for the first time. He's 13 and so funny and we set a date for him to be baptized on the 31st of August! He will make a great leader some day...I can just sense it, and he gave the most sincere prayer. Later we taught Sherrylyn and Mary Jane Velaquio. Sherrylynn is middle aged and Mary Jane is her mother and is blind. We taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ and having faith. It was a bit harder for me to understand her accent, but I could feel the powerful spirit that Mary Jane has. She was so sweet and I can just tell that she has a lot of faith. She is Baptist and goes to church quite a bit during the week, but hopefully we can help build the knowledge she already has and help her feel God's love for her. 

This week was so busy and fun and the first time I've felt like the language is actually clicking in my brain! It's amazing how the gift of tongues works! Sister Canimo is so loving and hard working, and I'm so excited to learn from her. We get along so well and I'm afraid this transfer is going to fly by too quickly. 

I have seen the hand of the Lord working in my life so much this week and I KNOW he knows the desires of our hearts. I know He answers all of our prayers and has a perfect plan for us. It might take a bit of time before we see why we experience what we do, but once we look back, it's amazing to see how the Lord has shaped us and helped us grow, and for the blessings He wants to give us. He loves us so much and wants the very best for His children. I'm so grateful to be serving Him full time right now. There's no place I'd rather be. Yes, it's hard, but I'm learning so much that I know is strengthening me to be a better person, that will help me for the rest of my life. I know this Gospel is true and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us. They are ALWAYS there for us, every step of the way. 

Thanks for all your love and support back home. I have the best family and friends in the entire world and I love you all so much! Keep being amazing and I'll talk to you next week!!

Sister Dixon 

 Sister Dixon with her new companion, Sister Canimo!

The Musni Family--WOW!!