Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week of Tender Mercies!

Hello Family and Friends!
This week was wonderful to get back out and proselyte after needing to stay indoors all last week from the Typhoon. Things are very back to normal here in Bacolod, but we continually pray for those in Tacloban. This week we had SO many tender mercies. I don't think I can even keep track of them all! I'll just have time to list a few highlights from this week:

We are teaching an investigator named Menchie. She is GOLDEN. Heavenly Father has prepared her SO well to receive this Gospel. She soaks everything in and despite some family troubles, she is smiling ALL the time and constantly tells us how happy and at peace she is. She's 19 years old and she understood things so quickly, that we finished all the lessons in a week. She had her baptismal interview on Sunday with Elder Templeton and he said she's the most prepared candidate he's ever met. I know Heavenly Father is truly hastening His work and preparing more and more people to accept His Gospel. The sisters in the West ward had a baptism on Saturday, so we attended since we taught her at the church and the baptism was right after our lesson. After the ordinance, she turned to us and exlaimed, "I'm so excited!!" Her testimony is so strong and she really wants to serve a mission. When I asked why she said, "because I want to bring the same knowledge and truth you two have brought me to other people so they can know and come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ." Pretty perfect answer if you ask me! She's so awesome! Her baptism is set for this Saturday and we couldn't be more excited for her!! 

Wednesday was a fun day because my umbrella broke and it just so happened to be the same day that I wore my white shirt and that it rained like it was Yolanda's little sister. haha but it's okay because we had an awesome lesson with Ma.Fe Longakit about the Book of Mormon and she's so excited to read it! 

Friday we were having a lesson about the Restoration with Christian, one of our recent converts, and before we started we sang "I Am a Child of God." There was a little girl passing by with her sister. Her sister was practically dragging her because she was trying to stop and listen. Eventually her sister let go and the little girl came running over to listen. It was just a sweet little moment to realize just how powerful music is and that even the little ones know they're children of God. In fact, I know their sweet little spirits are closer to Heavenly Father, so her little Spirit just connected. So tender and sweet. :) 

Friday we also had a tender mercy and got 6 member present lessons! That might not sound like a lot, but it was for us and we were so excited! Heavenly Father definitely answered our prayers for that day to help us reach our key indicators. :)

Saturday we had a very spirit filled lesson with Girly Logronio. She went straight from recent covert to less active but she constantly reads the Book of Mormon. She had left off in 3 Nephi where Christ administers the Sacrament. We had a very spiritual lesson about the importance of the sacrament and renewing our covenants and the importance of attending church so we can renew those baptismal covenants and keep the commandments. She gave a very sweet prayer at the end to help her make it to church on Sunday. That lesson made me so grateful for the blessings I've received from the Sacrament. I've come to appreciate it ten fold since I've come on my mission and I look forward to every Sunday when I can renew my sacred covenants with my Father in Heaven, receive a remission of my sins, and feel His Spirit more abundantly in my life. 

Saturday we also taught Jomark Marabayles. He's a recent convert and has epilepsy. He can't vocally talk but when he prays it's one of the most spiritual things ever. The only thing he can vocalize is "amen," but his prayers are so full of the spirit! You can just feel it. Anyway, we talked about missionary work and how he and his mom, Jenny, can be missionaries to her husband (Jomark's dad) and help him come to Christ and the Gospel. Jomark just lit up with the biggest smile when he realized HE could still be a missionary, despite his condition. It just made my heart all warm and fuzzy. :)

Sunday was quite an adventure as we started our day by locking ourselves outside our apartment with the key inside. Which then meant we were locked inside our gate. haha we had to climb over our gate because we didn't want to be late for church. It was a tender mercy that Bishop provided lunch after church because we still had no way to get in and didn't know where our landlord lived! Eventually we found his house and were able to get back in our apartment, but goodness, that adventures we have as missionaries! haha We'll never leave our key again! Church was good and I got to play Christmas songs for Sacrament meeting on the piano! We had a great ward council meeting. I love our ward. Bishop Enarle is very serious and gets things done, but he is so hilarious as well! All the ward missionaries are a blast and willing to work with us, and they make me laugh. We have a very hardworking, but fun ward. It's great! Sunday we also had two new investigators come that we'd never met! Iza and Celia. They are related to a member in our ward, Sister Gargallano. We visited them later that night and they are SO excited to hear about the Gospel! I just love it! 

There were so many other tender mercies throughout this week. I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father loves His children and He is preparing more and more hearts to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The typhoon might have helped a little bit with that, seeing as our church attendance shot up. Miracles are happening here in the Philippines as a result and I'm so grateful to be here at this time to share the wonderful light of the Gospel. My testimony has grown so much this week on faith and the importance of the Sacrament, as well as the Restoration and Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know Heavenly Father created a perfect Plan of Happiness for us and I feel so blessed to be sharing this glorious message with my brothers and sisters in the Philippines. Some days I feel like my love for these people could just explode! I love them so much. The joy I feel in serving among them is indescribable. Some days I feel exhausted, like Alma, with the amount of joy I have. 
Have a great week and know that I pray for you all back home and love you even more! Thanks for all the love and support, as always!
Sister Dixon
"Sister Portugal and Sister Bendoy. We went to Pamilya Grill one night because the next day Sister Bendoy went home. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. Her parents and a sibling died in the typhoon because they lived in Tacloban. She was two weeks from the end of her mission, so she just went home. She was very strong and I didn't see her cry once, but Sister Portugal said she's suffering quite a bit. Can you imagine being that close to going home and having your family die? I would be a complete mess."
(Sister Bendoy is the sister on the right. Please continue to pray for her and many others. The effects of this typhoon are far-reaching). 

"Apartment on the outside. That's the gate I had to climb over four times in my skirt because we left our key inside the house. So we were literally locked out of our house but inside our gate. haha We got the key from the landlord, though, so it's all good. the adventures of being a missionary. :)"

"The sugarcane fields and the mountains. Not as glorious looking as it actually is.
It's very breathtaking."

"Sister Martinez will go home after this transfer"

"On the way to the mission president's training. We all fit in one taxi to save money. All 8 of us! haha"
(Notice the leg in the back----gotta love these sisters!!) 

Ritchel and Josephine Marabayles

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