Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Hand of the Lord

Wow! This week has flown by! So much has happened, and I wish I had the time to express everything that happens during the weeks and the miracles we witness, but luckily I'll have the rest of my life after I come home to tell you about those. However, some things that stuck out this week are as follows... :)

Monday we had FHE with the Potato family. They have yet to come to church but I think we're getting one step closer with each visit. During the games, I think it was the first time I've seen Sister Potato truly smile and she actually laughed! :) I think we're breaking the chips of the iceberg bit by just takes time. :) 

Tuesday we had our first lesson with Jinnel Bot-oy and Archie Puentas. The way we found Jinnel is actually a huge testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father is truly inspiring us as missionaries in where we need to go, at the right time, and who we need to speak to. Even if it feels like we're getting nothing accomplished in the dead of the afternoon when everyone is sleeping, that is where we need to show our faith and diligence the most and we are blessed. This was a testament to me as we were trying to find the house of the Villioso family. I had randomly chosen to take the map of this former investigator family and put it in my bag in case we got punted. As we were walking to find the house, I had the paper out and this security guard we passed asked us what we were holding. I told him it was a map and we were trying to find a house and that we were missionaries ( I got nervous for a minute that we were in trouble...he was a security guard after all...haha). Anyway, he said he didn't know where the people lived, but said he sees us pass every once in a while and is interested in what we have to hear. His actual home is in a different area, but he stays overnight at the factory he's security guard over each night except Saturday when he goes home, so we teach him just outside the factory. Anyway, this was the night we met with him and one of the workers from the factory decided to listen in as well. They had lots of good questions about why there's so many religions and what happens after we die...that's lesson one and two right there! :) They were so open to our message and were so excited when we gave them each a copy of the Book of Mormon. The next time we met with them was on Thursday, and this time the man living across from the factory decided to come over and listen. His name is Andy Castidad and he's probably in his 60s. It was funny because we were speaking Ilonggo to him as he was speaking English to us. But anyway, the more we got into the lesson about the Book of Mormon, the more questions he had. He told us he's been searching for the truth his whole life and wants to know what makes our religion so "special." How we came to know it was true. At first he thought we were forced into serving missions, but as we bore strong testimony of how we came to know for ourselves, through the Book of Mormon and sincere prayer, that the Church is true, he became even more open to our message. Since then we've had one more lesson with them and we were able to give Andy a Book of Mormon as well. The majority of his questions could be answered in the Introduction, so we told him that his assignment was to read the Introduction. :) He even admitted himself that he had a ton of questions and that he just needs to read the Book to find out. It was interesting how all of his questions linked to the restoration, the plan of salvation, or the gospel of Jesus Christ...the three main lessons we teach. I was just blown away at how this man has been prepared his whole life to hear our message, and how Heavenly Father has led us to these three gentlemen. First through trying to find a house of a former investigator, and then Jinnel asking us about the then teaching Jinnel and Archie, and having Andy join us. It's so incredible to me to see how the Lord works in order for us to find those who are seeking the truth, and then through the Spirit telling us what to say and do. This week has been a huge testimony builder of that for me. I know that when we are doing what we are supposed to, staying exactly obedient, and doing our best, He will lead us to have experiences and find those who are ready to hear His gospel. I'm grateful He is so patient with my imperfections in the language, teaching, and knowledge of doctrine (Andy really knows his Bible), and that through the Spirit, He guides us to help those we teach feel the truth, despite our imperfections. 

Wednesday we had a zone leader's training about repentance, asking inspired questions, harnessing the work of the members, and becoming Preach My Gospel scholars. President Lopez truly is inspired in the trainings he gives to our zone and sister training leaders. I've been trying to implement the things we learned in my teaching and daily missionary life, and I've been able to see the miracles of following President's inspiration. I still have a looong way to go and a lot more to learn, but I'm grateful for the Atonement and Grace of Jesus Christ, to help me and strengthen me along the way, despite my weaknesses. I know that through Him I can change and grow each day to be a better instrument in His hands. 18 months is such a short time to serve Him, and I'm so very grateful for His patience with me as I'm learning each day how to better serve Him.

Thursday we had a tender mercy because Ron Sipe, our old Ward Mission Leader, happened to be near one of the houses we were going to visit. He decided to join in on our lesson, which was awesome because Analie Noblezada really opened up about a family concern with her sister, and most of the vocabulary she used wasn't words I've studied or learned, but luckily Ron was there to later tell us what she said to us. I was grateful for that tender mercy otherwise we wouldn't have known how to help her. :)

Friday after planning we taught the Sentecieva family (investigators). Sister Atison, one of the ward missionaries, came with us. The Sentecieva family are a rather old couple and it's hard for them to come to church. Brother also doesn't want to get baptized until he absolutely knows this church is true. He has so much faith! Sister Atison gave a powerful testimony of how she came to know the church was true by reading and pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon, and she had read so many other books and different versions of the Bible beforehand. But nothing touched her like the Book of Mormon did.  I think her testimony really hit the Sentecieva family. The spirit was so strong! Afterward Sister Atison said she felt the spirit so strong enter her heart as she testified. :) I love how when the members work with us, they just get to experience how wonderful sharing the Gospel is. :) Plus the members help us so much in fellow-shipping and helping the investigators know we're normal people, just like everyone else! :)

Saturday we got to watch the RS broadcast at the Mansilingan chapel. I started crying the minute it started. Partly because the spirit was so strong and partly because I was witnessing a bit of home. :) I just loved every minute of that conference. The talks were so wonderful and the Spirit so strong. I loved the sister missionary choir, too. ;) It was fun to see some of my friends in the choir! And it brought me to think about how a year ago, my life changed. President Monson revealed the revelation that has blessed my life in more ways than I'll ever be able to understand. A year ago, I had to no idea I would be serving the beautiful people of the Philippines. But oh how I am ever so grateful for this opportunity and blessing to be serving the Lord full time. I know without a doubt that this is where I need to be and what I need to be doing at this point in my life. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven so much, and serving God's children for 18 months is just the least I can do to begin to thank Him for all He has blessed me with, although I know I'll ever be able to thank Him enough. I'm so grateful for a living Prophet to give us the modern day revelation we need that will protect us and guide us and help us come closer to Christ. I have come closer to Christ on my mission than ever before, and I'm eternally grateful for the experiences I've had that have brought me closer to Him. Our Father in Heaven truly sees the whole picture, and He is guiding us every step of the way in order for us to return to Him someday. 

I love you all so much. Have a wonderful week and if you're having a rough day, do a bit of missionary work! It'll brighten your day ten fold. :) I know it will. 

Sister Dixon 

PS Happy Birthday to Grandma Warburton on the 12th!!! I love you so very much! Thanks for all you do! :)

"Musni family--they have 12 kids"

The Alijis sister missionaries

"Boliboli family with Sister Madrid (temporary companion while waiting for our trainees)"

"All the sisters in my batch are trainers"

"Sarah Boliboli, Ma.Lyn Jurada, and Cassey Joy Granton's baptism"

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