Sunday, December 1, 2013

No matter how hard I try, I am going to make mistakes everyday...That is why He sent His Son...

Hi everyone! 

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving week! I'm sure grateful for all of you in my life and for the ways each of you have blessed my life. I'm sure one blessed missionary! We had lots of blessings this week, which made Thanksgiving even sweeter this year, even if we didn't formally celebrate it. 

Monday after p-day we went to the Sagum family. Gerica and Gerald are recent converts and we're still working with the Dad and the rest of the family to soften their hearts and listen to our message. We did an object lesson on Faith. Sister Jemora came with us and one thing I love about the Filipinos is that they teach how they live: simply. I'm going to try harder to teach more simply in my lessons because they understand so much better and the Spirit is so strong. 

Tuesday we had an awesome district meeting about teaching for understanding (I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to learn about teaching simply and clearly this week. haha). Sister Solomone is awesome at teaching simply so her example has been helping me out a lot. I'm such a detailed person, that it's been really good for me to learn how to think and teach simply. It makes the lessons so much smoother and full of the Spirit! So this week Sister Solomone and I really tried to focus on teaching people, not lessons, which is something we should always be doing, but we really tired focusing on that this week. As a result, we had some pretty amazing lessons that were so powerful. One that sticks out the most from Tuesday is when we taught Gerica Sagum and Lovely (her real name is Jamaica! :) ) Samson. They are both recent converts. Gerica is 13 and Lovely is 16. They are both so sweet, just shy to come to church. We had a really spirit filled lesson about the Plan of Salvation and our purpose here on earth and returning Home to live with our Father in Heaven and what we need to do here to get there. We really tried to aim the lesson to what they needed to hear and learn. As a result, the Spirit really touched their hearts and they have such a strong desire to do good and do whatever they can to return to our Father in Heaven. I learned so much from them as they gave such wonderful insights during the lesson. They're such sweet girls and I want so much for them to be happy. :) 

Wednesday we taught Brother Carlito Carling. I can't remember if I've talked about him before, but he's the father of one of our members. He's pretty old but pretty sharp. He had TONS of questions about the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration, which was great! At one point he responded to one of our answers with shock and his reaction made Sister Solomone laugh (she's always one to have a good laugh or smile). This caused Brother Carling to start laughing, and boy, his laugh is hilarious!! Pretty soon we were all laughing so hard I got tears in my eyes because I was trying so hard to stay in my "dignified missionary conduct." haha He's a funny one! We also taught Menchie, our awesome recent convert! She sang the national anthem for us which was cool, and then we had a great lesson about missionary work. She's already being such a good missionary to her cousin (and investigator for the other Silay east sisters). She said she just wants to thank Heavenly Father for the knowledge and truth He's given her by sharing it with others! Then she asked if she could work with us, even though she's so new in the church...uh, yes! Of course! It's even better when we have recent converts work with us because it strengthens their testimony even more! Goodness, she's just amazing. We also taught Ma.Fe Longakit. She's progressing really well. Because there was a brownout and it was dark outside, we had a fun lesson about the Doctrine of Christ using fire (from the candle that was used to light the room) and water to represent baptism and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Ma.Fe always amazes me. She's had so many trials with her husband's death and needing to pay 10,000 pesos for his funeral (when they don't have an income), to having problems with her legs, sometimes not having food, and other things. She's still positive through it all and has recognized how God has blessed her in every one of her trials. Her faith has definitely built and strengthened mine. When we left her house, because there was still a brownout, we were able to see the stars really well. It was breathtaking. Heavenly Father's creations never cease to amaze me and I feel such great love every time I think of how the creation of the earth is for US! I also saw mga ipot-ipot (fireflies) here for the first time! Ma.Fe's daughter, Jennifer, said she likes them because it makes all the trees outside look like Christmas trees when they're flying around the branches. I loved that! 

Thursday we woke up and went straight to the terminal for Tyap after we got ready. We have an investigator and his family there who have been coming to church, so we really needed to teach them. The thing is is that you have to wait an hour or two for the jeepney to fill up and leave, and then it takes about an hour and a half to get there. Then you have to make sure you leave by 12 or there won't be any jeepneys to take you down. This stressed Sister Solomone out because the last two times she went with her other companion, they had to walk home for about 4 hours because they missed the jeepney. Anyway, we made it up there safe and sound and had a great lesson with Sister Decenan about faith. Her husband was at work, but we helped them think of a plan to save enough money for all of them to make it to church on Sunday. Heavenly Father answered our prayers and we were able to catch the last jeepney down in time. :) 

Friday we ran into a sister we used to teach but told us she was moving to Cebu so not to visit anymore. When we ran into her and she obviously wasn't in Cebu, we were shocked when she was super excited to see us and insisted she buy us halo-halo (shaved ice, milk and fruits). Then she wanted us to come to her house and stay the night...? She was beyond excited to see us. We were SO confused, not knowing if she wanted to hear our message or what her intention was, but both Sister Solomone and I felt unsettled about the whole thing, so when we were on the tricycle to Aedsisa with her, we told her we had another appointment to go to. I'm sure Heavenly Father put her in our path again for a reason, but I'm still figuring out why, especially with our uneasy feelings. I'm just grateful for the Spirit in helping us discern what we should and shouldn't do. Later that night we had a lesson with Bebe Flores. We talked about the Restoration and when we recited the first vision, I could see in her eyes the awe and amazement and I could see that everything about the Priesthood needing to be restored and everything about Prophets just "clicked" in her mind. That's one of my favorite parts about teaching...when I can see in their eyes when it 'clicks.' That's one blessing of being a can discern when they really feel and know it and when they don't. She could really understand it. We were with Sister Salazar, a less active, as well and it was the first time she had heard this experience that Joseph Smith had, even though the missionaries taught her before. She was just in as much awe and wonder. The Spirit was so strong as we testified to them how much Heavenly Father loves them and has truly restored His gospel because of that love. 

Saturday we sang a lot of Christmas songs with our investigators and did a lot of Book of Mormon reading. The Filipino people are so willing to listen, and they love the message we have, they just have such a hard time acting on their faith and reading, praying, and going to church. So we tried singing Christmas songs to bring an added Spirit as we tried helping them get in the habit of reading the Book of Mormon. It's a bit frustrating sometimes when they say they'll read and don't and sometimes even say they've read, when we can tell they haven't. As much as they love the Lord and this Gospel, they're not truly going to be converted and gain a testimony until they ACT. We're just doing our best to bring the Spirit to their hearts so that they do have the desire to act.

Saturday we also had the adult session of stake conference that President spoke at. We were asked to attend because it was about missionary work. It was great! Sunday we had the general session, and President and Sister Lopez spoke again. Sister Lopez gave a great talk on repentance that went along perfectly with my studies that I've been having the past few days. I've really learned this past week the love Jesus Christ has for us. My whole mission I've beaten myself up for imperfection and not doing everything 'just right.' This last week I realized that no matter how hard I try, I'm going to make mistakes everyday. Not everything will be perfect. And that's normal because we're all mortal. Heavenly Father knew that would happen and that's why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. Christ loves us so much, it's overwhelming to me. He gave us the gift of the Atonement to use every day. It's just like if we gave a gift to someone and they never used it--we'd feel sad. That's how Christ feels. He gave us the gift of the Atonement and He WANTS us to use it and wear it out each and every day because that's how we show our gratitude and love for what He has done for us. And no matter how imperfect, or how many mistakes we make, He's always there to pick us up and help us become better each day. His Atonement is enabling and redeeming, and I'm forever grateful for His love and patience for me in my mistakes and my learning. He truly loves us and because of that love, I KNOW He died for each and every one of us. 

Thank you all for your wonderful examples and love for me. I'm so grateful to have each of you in my life. Have a wonderful first week of December! 

Sister Dixon

PS Happy birthday to Kayson Brinkerhoff today, and Brooklynn Dixon on the 8th! Love ya both!! 
We received a hand-written letter from Sister Dixon this week. She typically shares the spiritual experiences she has in her emails, but in this letter, she shared some things that made us smile.:) We wanted to share them with all of you!
From Sister Dixon:
'You know you are a missionary in the Philippines when...
*It feels like Christmas when the mission gets copies of the Ilonggo Book of Mormon in stock.
*You are dead tired and ready to go to bed by 9:30
*You're asked to speak in Sacrament, play the organ, teach Gospel Principles and help with the Relief Society lesson, all in one day.
*Your companion goes to list the months of the year but instead starts with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John...haha!
*People you don't even know wave across the road and yell, "Hey, Sis!"
*You're willing to travel 30 minutes on a cramped tricycle with 10-12 other people, and hike another 30 minutes through sugar cane, just to teach an AWESOME investigator.
*You consider ants in your rice to be "protein".
*You actually look forward to a COLD  shower.
*You shoot spiders like a pro with permetherin spray!"

Sister Decenan

Josephine(an investigator) and Jamark

Sister Jeruma's Grandkids

Sister Solomone and Sister Dixon--these next 3 photos were taken by
Elder Chin, a senior missionary! Thanks, Elder Chin :)

Sweet sisters in action...
Stake Conference on Missionary Work!

Waiting for a bus ride home after stake conference

No comments:

Post a Comment