Sunday, October 20, 2013

"I Experienced My First Earthquake..."

Mom's Note: Hello! Jessica's 21st birthday is November 2. :)  If you would like to send her a short, quick email greeting, so that she can read it next Monday---a few days before her birthday, her email address is: Her other addresses for snail mail and dearelder are on the tab marked Current Addresses. Thanks so much! This Mom isn't used to the Birthday Girl being SOOO far from home:)!!

Now on to her email...

Hello everyone! 

Hope you had a great UEA week! I love and miss you all so much, but there's no place I'd rather be right now than here. :) This week was great! Monday we met with the Barrera family, a less active family that used to be super active. They really opened up to us and we're praying that with time they'll return back to church. 

Tuesday was crazy! I experienced my first earthquake!! No worries, I'm completely fine, and so are all the other missionaries. We just felt the effects of the earthquake that originated in Bohol. Apparently it was a 7.2 earthquake over there and we only had about a 3. I guess a lot of people died over there, so we were blessed to only feel a little of the effects. We were actually studying and when it started I thought, "who's kicking my chair?" then I looked up to see the clothes on our line moving, the scissors on the wall swaying, and the open back door swaying as well. I was like, "Sister! I think we're having an earthquake?!" It was the craziest feeling. Like being on a swaying boat, but knowing you can't get off to get on sturdy land. So weird. It lasted only about 30 seconds. Pretty crazy, eh? I actually thought it was kind of cool but ONLY because it was my first experience, it was a small one and no one got hurt over here. I pray for those that were affected in Bohol though. Such a sad event. :( Anyway, Tuesday, Sister Reid (who was actually my RS President at USU!) and Sister Parada came to work with us and then sleep over for the mission tour the next day. We did exchanges with each other so we could get more work done in our area so I worked with Sister Reid. She's such a sweetheart and it was fun to get to work with her! Some of the families we visited were the Dela Rosa family and Rodalyn Tomayo. We were able to discuss the Plan of Salvation and baptism. The Spirit was so wonderful and I had a lot of fun working with Sister Reid. 

Wednesday was the day we as missionaries had been waiting for for quite some time...mission tour! Elder Brent H. Neilsen, the general authority president over the Philippines, and his wife came to give us a training. It was so wonderful and a lot of it was based off the talk by Elder Bednar called, "In the Strength of the Lord." One of THE best talks I've ever read. Most of the impressions I got however, came from Sister Nielsen in the sister's meeting before we started the general meeting. She talked about finding holiness in everyday things and submitting cheerfully and patiently to the will of the Lord and just heading for steady. To just do my best and do all I CAN do, and the Lord will take care of the rest. There's so much more she and Elder Nielsen talked about that was so wonderful, but I'll just have to go over those notes when I come home. :)

Thursday we met with Brother Edgardo Senteciera. He told us that he KNOWS the Book of Mormon is true. As he read it, the Spirit testified to him that it's true! He said with the sisters before us, he was too hard- hearted to read, but now that he has, he's found the truth! There is so much power in reading the Book of Mormon. He's been searching his whole life for the truth and hasn't been baptized in any churches even though he's been to many because he just hasn't felt that they're right. But he said this was the fasted decision he's made about a religion and he knows it's true. He still needs to attend church a few more times before he can be baptized, but we were so happy for him! He's pretty much already a missionary, too, because when we go to teach him, he always walks past the houses next to him and says, "come join us! Let the glory and word of God shower blessings on you!" He just wants everyone to have the blessings he's received from the Gospel! I've seen a big difference in him, too. He doesn't cough near as much and he seems so much stronger physically and spiritually. That's probably one of my favorite things about teaching someone....seeing their countenance change from before accepting the Gospel to after. It's amazing. Every time we go to visit him now, he says, "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!" He is a very different man from when we first met him--in a good way. haha We're still working with his wife, Elvira. She's very shy and doesn't pray out loud with us yet, but I think with time we'll be able to help her. :) 

Friday we met with the Potato family. The Dad was there and we really tried to establish a relationship of trust with him and just got to know him a bit and asked their story of how they joined the church. They had good memories while discussing it and the spirit was wonderful there, so then we invited them to come to church as a family on Sunday to experience those same feelings again. They committed to do so but unfortunately they didn't come. :( Someday! We'll keep working with them. :)

Saturday and Sunday were great days as well visiting less active members, investigators, and recent converts. We had a good meeting on Sunday with Brother Sipe to work better with the members in our ward so hopefully we can implement that effectively and soon because members are key! :) 

I've learned a lot about humility this week and in trusting in the Lord and submitting to His will. He has a perfect plan for us. I know He does. I've seen it time and time again throughout my life and especially on my mission. He loves each and every one of His children and His plan is perfect for each of us. 

Have a great week everyone and I'll "see" ya'll next week! Love you all sooo much! Mom said there were lots of inquiries about how I was after the earthquake. Thanks for all your concerns for me. You are all so wonderful and I love you all! I pray for all of you back home and hope you are all happy and healthy. :)

Much love,
Sister Dixon
PS Happy birthday to Megan Dixon on the 23rd! Love ya!

"My home here in the Philippines!"

"Pathway to the Senteciera household"

"Sister Parada and Sister Reid at our apartment for Mission Tour with Elder Nielsen"

"Pretty tropical flower"

" heavy!"

"Rhodora Mission's house. It's a literal Nipa hut. So cool! A bit hard to see because behind the trees."

"Skipper the dog. :)"

"Carabou with birds (probably much with how birds clean hippos haha)."

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