Sunday, October 27, 2013

Transfer...Senior Companion, Spiders Galore, and Even a Stop Light!

Hello everyone!
Yep, transfer calls were made last Monday! I was shocked when I heard that both Sister Russon AND I would be transferring! Elders are now taking over our area in Alijis. I am now in the Silay East A area. There are four sisters in our ward and I'm already in LOVE with this area!! The members are so fabulous, the ward is so willing to work with us, our Bishop is awesome, and the investigators and less active members are just so great! There's actually a lot of beautiful, young mothers we've been teaching, so it's been fun serving because in my last area we happened to be teaching a bunch of older men. ;) (but I guess that was in preparation for the Elders coming in!). 

Anyway, Tuesday I met with Sister Solomone (who was actually trained by sister Sefeti in Alijis when I was with Sister Canimo!) so it was fun to reunite with her. We headed to Silay where I am now in a very old apartment (very similar to my first) where there are spiders galore. Big ones. haha (Maybe i'll get the courage to actually take pictures of the apartment for you sometime ;) ). The plus side is that it is so cool temperature wise! This area is more towards the mountains, so the weather is beautiful. There is sugar cane everywhere, palm trees, and the sky is gorgeous. We're still very much in the city (there's even a stop light!). I can tell I'm going to love this area. The culture seems to be a bit different than in the Bacolod South Zone (I'm now in Bacolod North), but I already love it. Like I said, my companion is Sister Solomone. She is from Fiji but her mom is Hawaiian and her dad is Ratuman. She is the smiliest person ever and is laughing all the time. I think she's going to help me out a lot this transfer not to stress so much about the small things and just enjoy life. :) She has one of the most sincere testimonies I've EVER heard about a loving Heavenly Father. She has such a tender heart for the people here in the Philippines and she is so selfless and truly gets in the shoes of the Filipinos. She is so good at recognizing and following the promptings of the Spirit. I know I'm going to learn a lot from her this transfer. She's only one transfer behind me, so even though I'm the senior companion, I don't think of it that way because we're so close in the mission. That and the fact that really the Spirit is the senior companion. He's guided us so much just in this past week. :) 

 we met with a recent convert, Lanie Helado, who is so faithful. She went to church every Sunday for 2 years with her little kids, even though she couldn't be baptized (her less active husband and her aren't married). But because of the strict rules of marriage and no-divorce in the Philippines, President Lopez interviewed her and found her worthy and ready to be baptized. She was so excited. Her faith really is so strong and I gain a lot of strength from her. She's already read through all the standard works except the Bible. She's just yearning to learn and take it in. She's amazing. 

 we visited an investigator named Teresa. The spirit was so strong as we taught the Restoration. She gave the closing prayer and got teary eyed from feeling the Spirit. I never get tired of having experiences like this from teaching the Restoration. It's amazing. 

 we had an awesome experience with Sister Girly Logromio, a recent convert who's gone less active. It's kind of funny because SIster Solomone understands Hiligaynon super well but can't speak it. I can speak it pretty well but have a harder time understanding. I know that doesn't make any sense, but it's an advantage when it comes to our companionship! It was amazing how Sister Solomone could understand what she was saying and then would say things in English, but then I was able to testify from what Sister Solomone said in Ilonggo. We were able to find a pretty deep concern of why she wasn't coming to church, and help her according to that concern. Later that day we had missionary exchanges and I was with Sister Remund. She's the same batch as Sister Russon so she's still very new. It was fun working with her and getting to meet more people and investigators in our ward. 

 we had weekly planning. From what is sounds like, Sister Solomone had a pretty rough transfer with her companion last transfer, so it was good to talk about things during companionship inventory and help her see how the area book and weekly planning works. She is such a sweet missionary and so in-tune with the Spirit and helped me a lot with a few things in our inventory as well. She's learned so much from her two transfers here and is such a wise missionary! I look up to her so much and strive to follow her example. 

 we had a community service project (csp) at Sister Lanie's house. They had a very simple, beaten down house, which was causing them, especially her little boy, to get pretty sick. The Priesthood from the ward went to help rebuild their house while the Relief Society made lunch with them. We decided to help by pulling out all the rusty old nails from the wood so they could reuse the wood to rebuild the house (they weren't able to have enough funds to buy new wood). It was fun because I got to know more of the ward members (they are hilarious! Especially brother Bacton, a counselor in the Bishopric), and it was so sweet to see Lanie so happy and excited to be getting a rebuilt house for her kids. Although she's always happy and smiling and full of the Spirit. She's just amazing and I've only known her for a week! Later that day we met with Sister Melena, an investigator. We talked about Priesthood and the Restoration with her and the look in her eyes when we told her about God's love for us and that through His love we have a Restoration was priceless. The Spirit was just so tangible. The only issue we have now is that she can't see to read (which is SO important for them to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith), so hopefully we can help her get some reading glasses. She's such a sweet spirit though and this is her time to receive the truth. (Because apparently beforehand I guess she's literally run away from the missionaries. haha). All of her family except for her and a sibling are actually members, and her brother's given her a priesthood blessing before. So I know she's felt God's power before. It's pretty neat. :) Later that night we visited two less active girls--Zaren and Sariah Guadalupe. 16 and 11. We didn't really know what to teach them, even though we had planned, so we just went with the Spirit on this one. We sang "I Am a Child of God" with them and then a "Child's Prayer". Then we shared a scripture from Alma 34 and asked them about an experience they've had with prayer. They gave a very tender experience of feeling the power of prayer when their grandmother passed away. The Spirit was so strong and there were a few tears shed during the lesson, but I know we all felt the power of the Spirit testify to us of the power of prayer. Zaren was especially touched. She is so sweet and she has the biggest desire to come back to church and even attend seminary. Hopefully we can help the parents and find out what their concern is, but we haven't been able to visit with them yet because they're always working.

Sunday was great! I got to meet the new ward and even gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting. I testify the gift of tongues is real. I had planned my talk in English, but got up and opened my mouth to speak, and it all came out in Ilonggo. Such a crazy neat experience! I'm amazed at how the gift of tongues works. We had a few of our investigators attend church and even a girl named Menchie attend that we've never met before! We'll be teaching her this week. Our meetings were wonderful and the ward was so great in helping fellowship the investigators. I just love this ward! We met with the bishopric and ward mission leader after church and they are so willing to help us out. Especially Bishop Enarle and Brother Bactan. After church and studies we were able to visit Lanie and I met her husband John for the first time. He was actually in the process of drawing the Cebu Temple on their wall which was amazing. When we started the lesson, we led the discussion to preparing them for eternal marriage by starting with family prayer and scripture study each day. I was prompted to share 3 Nephi 18:21 with them. As I was saying 3 Nephi 18, Lanie was like, verse 21? I was like, "Yeah! Wow, how'd you know?" They then went on to explain how this was their family scripture and John had actually written it all fancy on another piece of wood that they're going to put on their ceiling to see every night before they go to bed. It's about praying as a family and blessings from prayer. It was amazing. The Spirit was definitely there in directing our lesson to that scripture and then discovering it was their family scripture. They are so incredibly poor and it's difficult for John to get enough plete (money) for all of them to go to church, so that's why Lanie's usually the only one who goes. They still need to get married before they can go to the temple, but Lanie testified of her trust and faith in the Lord because He's already allowed so many blessings to happen in her life (like being able to get baptized) and she knows things will happen in the Lord's timing. I sure hope they are able to go to the temple soon.
There were so many tender mercies this week, it was amazing! I wish I could keep track of all of them, but they're really are so many that it would take all day just to write them down. I'm sure there are even blessings and tender mercies that happen that I don't even realize. We really do have a loving Heavenly Father who knows each of us perfectly and personally. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it and is ALWAYS there to guide and direct and help us. He truly loves us more than we can ever comprehend.
Thanks so much for all your love and support back home. I hope you all feel and know the love Heavenly Father has for each and every one of you because I know He does. He lives. His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior. I know this to be true.
Have a wonderful week and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Grandma Dixon today!!! (28th) I love you SO much! I hope you have the best day. :) Same to Jaxsen on the 30th! Love you!!
Sister Dixon
PS Elections and fireworks are crazy here. Just sayin.

Last night in Alijis

Service Project!

Lanie and her sweet children

Sister Solomone and Sister Dixon

Dinner with some members

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