Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Meaning Behind the Missionary Badge

Hello Everyone! 

Another week as flown by, full of tender mercies, miracles, and feelings of the best joy in the world!

We started off our week on Monday by deep cleaning our apartment. It felt so good to get the house so clean. The Spirit is so much more present and our house feels so peaceful. Later that night we visited the Padilla sisters and Janna and Glance.

Tuesday we had a great district meeting about Hope. We're starting this year off by going through each of the Christ-like attributes, and I love it! I learn something new and wonderful each time I study each attribute and my prayers become more and more sincere each time I pray for help with a specific attribute. There's really no point to missionary work if you don't have the attributes of the One you're representing. I know I'll never be perfect like our Savior, but I strive each day to become more and more like Him, knowing His grace will be sufficient in my weaknesses. Later that day we taught Cecile Erasmo. I can't remember if I already told you, but we met her just by singing and doing an OYM (open your mouth) with her. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and we asked her how strong her desire was to read the Book of Mormon and know if it's true. She said straight off the bat, "100%." We were pretty excited about that. The next day we talked about the Doctrine of Christ and the importance of being baptized by Priesthood authority. We invited her to baptism, and she said she's not quite ready, but she still wants to listen. We also taught Mark Cabellion. He's 26 and a referral from Brother Rebotallia, a strong member in our ward (who is always smiling---I love it!). He's been wondering about his purpose in life for a while now, and he was really interested to know about the Book of Mormon and wanted to know if it had the answers to his questions about what happened when Christ was resurrected. We were more than happy to help him out with all those questions. It was a neat lesson and I felt so unified with Sister Fanene as we taught. As she was teaching and testifying, everything she was saying was exactly what I was thinking, and after the lesson she said it was the same for her when I was teaching and testifying. It's so amazing what happens when you have strong unity in a companionship and just let the Spirit lead the way. I love Sister Fanene and her constant desire to be in tune with the Spirit so we can not only help our investigators, but truly lead them to conversion and coming closer to our Savior in a way that meets their needs perfectly. Later that night we taught Joshua Deramos. He had a pretty "big attitude" when we first met him, but his behavior has changed so much since then. It's a testament to me that the study of true doctrine (his study and reading of the Book of Mormon with his older sister) changes behavior quicker and more effectively than the actual study of changing behavior. He's great!

Michelle, one of the ward missionaries, worked with us today (and a few other days of the week too). She is sooo kabuot (extremely kind). As in,she always pays for our plete, even when we tell her not to, and has an awesome, powerful, short, sweet, and to the point testimony. She's always happy and we just love working with her! When we were with her, we taught Alex, one of our investigators, which then led us into finding this boy named John Mark. He's 14 and both Sister Fanene and I felt impressed to talk to him about Joseph Smith and how he was 14 as well when he was looking for the truth. He was happy to hear our message and the next time we went to teach him, he brought 5 more of his friends and even came to church on Sunday! We're excited to see how he progresses. :)

Thursday we met with Cecile again. We had left her 2 Nephi 31 for her reading assignment, and were expecting that she'd still be hesitant about baptism. But when we got there and asked her how her reading was she said, "I feel so guilty! I haven't followed Jesus Christ and haven't been fully immersed for baptism!" We were a little speechless after that answer! We asked her how her desire was for baptism now and she said, "I want to be baptized." YAY!!! We gave her February 22 for her baptismal date. :) I forgot to mention that her friend Victoria is always there in the lessons. She doesn't want anything to do with going to church or being baptized right now, but we can tell she's an awesome mom and that someday (hopefully soon) she'll accept the Gospel in her life and she'll be one powerful mother in the Church. :)

Friday was awesome. We had a lesson with Mark about the Plan of Salvation and extended a baptismal date for March 15th. His mom, Nancy, is pretty set on her ways for the Independent Church of the Philippines, but it's been interesting because we can sense that she has an understanding that the restored Gospel makes sense, she just doesn't want to act on that knowledge. We'll keep working with her though. It was neat because after we finished talking about our purpose in life, we asked if they wanted to know where we're going after this life. She answered before Mark, that of course she does! We then told her we'd tell her next time. haha Sometimes we're a little mean with our cliff hanger lessons. ;) The next day went back and we used an awesome visual that Sister Fanene made of the Plan of Salvation. They loved learning about the rest of the Plan and I just know that someday Nancy will accept the truth and be baptized with her son. :) Later that day we had the adult session of stake conference. Elder Ian S. Ardern, a member of the Seventy and in the Philippines Area Presidency, was there. He's from New Zealand and has such a powerful spirit! He talked about hastening the work of Salvation and how to do so here in the Philippines. Basically, we take away all the dividers of our auxiliaries and we all work together as one with the missionaries to quicken our Father's work. He was a very interactive speaker, and had lots of volunteers to help him in his teaching. At one point he called me up and basically did a planner check. Boy was I glad that I do daily planning and use my planner daily! Having a general authority check my planner made me think about if the Savior checked my planner. What would He see? Would He approve of our plans for the day? Our lessons? It was a good thing for me to reflect on. And in reality, He does see our planner every day---reflected in the way we work and serve Him.

Sunday we had the general session of stake conference and it was absolutely wonderful! President and Sister Lopez were there to speak as well and Elder Ardern. The spirit was so strong and I learned a lot about faith and what I can do better to work with the members and hasten the work of Salvation here in Bago. Sister Fanene, Sister Foote, Sister 'Emelio and I also had a neat opportunity to sing the closing Hymn. We sang "I Need Thee Every Hour." We felt to blessed to be instructed by a servant of the Lord. He said they're instructed not to prepare talks--just go with what the Spirit guides them to say to meet the needs of the stake. It was pretty amazing. After conference we had our studies and visited a few of our investigators, recent converts, and members. We came home absolutely exhausted but so filled with joy. We have been praying hard that all the miracles we witnessed last transfer would reflect in our numbers this transfer and they did!! We were able to meet our zone goals successfully, where at the beginning of last transfer, we didn't think it would be possible. But I testify that through exact obedience, faith, diligence, trusting in the Lord, and following the guidance of the Spirit, miracles happen.

January 24, 2013--Opening the call that will change her life forever!

I was feeling really grateful and kind of emotional this week since it was a year on the 24th that I received that sacred piece of paper of where I'd be serving for the next 18 months. I have learned so much and have grown so close to my Savior and I'm eternally grateful for the experiences I've had and the things I've learned as a missionary. I got all teary thinking about the day when I'm going to have to take off my missionary badge. Eighteen months is just a blip in time to serve my Heavenly Father full-time; with ALL my heart, might, mind, and strength, and I want to truly give it my all to do the will of my Father in serving Him and doing the things that He would have me do. To please Him so that when the day comes He can say, "well done, thou good and faithful servant." My words cannot express the love I have for my Savior and the love I feel from Him and my Father each day. I know they live and love us so much and that their greatest desire is for us to be happy. We can show our love for Them by serving Them and bringing others to feel that same happiness that leads to eternal life. How blessed I am to be able to do this as a full-time missionary in the Philippines. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love and pray for all of you! Thanks for all the support and prayers. 

Much love,
Sister Dixon

Our family was in Disneyland last week. We missed Jessica, but she sent this picture saying, "I found my own Disneyland (the Mickey Mouse shirt on the cute little boy) in my own Adventureland." Yay! For tender mercies!

Stake Conference with Elder Ardern of the Seventy
"Putting rice in the water to soften the outer shell. Then later they lay it out to dry and then the shell falls off, revealing the rice that you can eat." 

"The guy helping us had a caribou so he let us take a picture with it. We wanted to ride it but weren't sure if that was against mission rules or not, and then we were a tad scared to as well."

"Janna playing with tiki lizzards---totally reminded me of Rissy. 
Kids are pretty much the same, all over the world. :)"

Charity Never Faileth--January 19, 2014

***This email came last week. We were out of town, so I didn't have computer access.***

Hello my wonderful family and friends!
Looks like I'll be staying in Bago with Sister Fanene for another 6 weeks! We were pretty happy about that. We've had some pretty awesome plans we want to implement into our work, so I'm grateful we have another transfer together to do so. We had a great week that just flew by. Monday we had FHE at the Guevarra family household. We had an awesome lesson/object lesson on the Atonement and how it can strengthen their family to prepare to go to the temple. Stefan, the dad, is less active, but he bore testimony at the end, which was awesome! I'm know that some day this family will make it to the temple. :) 

Tuesday we had a wonderful District meeting on the Christ-like attribute Faith in Jesus Christ. Elder Doane and Elder Wilstead, the APs, came. I love when they come to our district meetings because they have such amazing insights! It's amazing how Faith in Jesus Christ pretty much links to everything. If we have Faith in our Savior, there's no need to fear! We can do anything He asks us to do, knowing He will lead and guide us. Sometimes we have hard trials and experiences, which I'm sure is hard for Him to watch us struggle. But instead of telling us the answer, or what to do, He lets us exercise our faith and trust and Him so that we can learn and grow more fully and have a greater appreciation for His love, blessings, and our Savior Jesus Christ. Later that day we taught Jaymon at the Herrera's household. The door somehow got locked, and no one was inside, so Jaymon was able to put into action some service by helping unlock the door with a long stick while Erika and EJ looked through the bamboo slips of the house to tell him where to direct the stick since Jaymon couldn't see inside. I'm sure there are some pretty great gospel principles we can learn from this story. :) 

Something neat I was able to witness this week was the blessing of prospering in the land when keeping the commandments. Jaymon used to be a worker in the rice fields, and the pay was very small and not reliable. After we started teaching him and he accepted the Gospel in his life, he was blessed. Sister Delos Santos, the Bishop's wife, runs a food canteen at the local college where her husband is a teacher. She hired Jaymon to work for her. The pay is much more, his work is more reliable, he gets to see his old friends, and he's learning more English! (something he told us he wanted to go back to school to learn). Just a little testimony of the blessings one can receive when keeping the commandments. It's amazing to see the countenance change in Jaymon as well. He is smiling ALL the time now, and he just gets so excited to learn more about the Gospel! The fact that he knows his purpose now has brought such a huge change to his character. It's the best! Later that night we visited the Dejino family. The dad is less active, and somehow there was miscommunication and Sister Fanene didn't know that. However, while we were doing an object lesson on faith, the Spirit completely guided her to ask him how church attendance has blessed his life. At first he was a little squirmish, and the wife and boys were anxiously awaiting his response, but once he opened up and expressed his thoughts, I think it really touched his heart to remembrance of how important it is for him to keep the commandments, including attending church. We committed the family to have family scripture study and prayer daily and to attend church as a FAMILY. Jude, their oldest boy, is preparing to go on a mission, so we asked him if he wanted to work with us. We had him meet with us the next day at the Herrera's to teach Jaymon. He dressed up in a white shirt and tie and everything! It was the first time he's ever worked with the missionaries, and he did a great job. 

Thursday we visited some sisters we OYMed, Cecile Erasmo and Veronica Casiendo. Cecile had one child, but she died when she was a few weeks old. We shared a message about the Plan of Salvation and then she got really interested in why we're called "Mormons." The next day we discussed the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. She had some really great questions, which I LOVE because if they ask questions, that means they have a greater interest in finding the truth. She's still a bit hesitant about baptism, but I know that as she continues to feel the truth of the message of the Restoration, she'll have a softened heart. Her friend, Veronica, isn't quite as open, but she's willing to listen. They love when we sing to the baby because we harmonize--something they don't really do here. I'm praying that Sister Cecile and Veronica open their hearts more fully to accept this glorious message of light and truth. 

Saturday was our awesome "finding" day. We put into action some of our plans to find new investigators. We had a basketball clinic, and it turned out a LOT more successful than we imagined. We combined with Sister Emelio and Sister Foote, the Bago 1st ward sisters. We had a lot of new investigators, all of whom were in the Bago 1st area. It's okay though. Eventually we'll have investigators for our area and it's all the same work anyway so we were thrilled that the Bago 1st sisters got so many new investigators. :) Afterward we had a church tour which led nicely into perfect timing with Jaymon's baptism (and Oliver--from Bago 1st area). We had all the new investigators stay and watch the baptism. When we asked Jaymon later how he felt as he was baptized he said, "my whole body was warm--probably from the Holy Ghost." :) He actually got sick and wasn't able to make it to church the next day, so he has yet to receive the actual Gift of the Holy Ghost, but I'm glad he was able to feel and recognize the Holy Ghost as he was baptized. Mark, from Bago 1st ward, is the one who referred him to us, and when we told him he was getting baptized, he couldn't help but cry and was more than thrilled to speak at his baptism. During the ordinance, Mark got all emotional. It's so awesome to see the members get involved in missionary work. When they do, they truly get to feel that joy of bringing souls unto Christ, which is literally the best joy that can be felt. I'm so grateful Mark was able to play a part in helping Jaymon take that step into the gate that leads to eternal life. Later that night we had a wonderful Area Presidency devotional where we learned got to hear the new Philippines Area Goals for 2014. The Lord definitely has a lot expected of us here in the Philippines for hastening His work. It's going to be hard, but we know that He won't leave us helpless. Miracles are already abounding everywhere and it's only going to grow for this coming year. I'm excited I get to be a part of it for most of the year 2014! Oh, and because we met as a stake, I got to see Sister Solomone! She transferred from Silay to Pulupandan so she's in my stake! I was thrilled to see her and I learned that 6 of the investigators we were teaching together got baptized last transfer!! Boy, was I excited. :) 

We truly had a great week, full of tender mercies. I've really tried to focus this week in my studies on aligning my will with my Father's. Jesus Christ expressed the most supreme expression of love to our Father in Heaven and to us by submitting His will to the Father and Atoning for us. For me to align my will with the Father, I've learned that I need to lovingly and diligently serve others to build His kingdom and willingly keep His commandments. Things I've heard and known all my life, but now I appreciate it at a different level since becoming a missionary. It has a lot to do with who I am, not just what I do. And everything comes down to love. For if I fail at everything else--the language, my teaching skills, etc. (which I know He won't let happen), at least charity never faileth. The two greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. All other laws fall under these commandments. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to truly show the love I have for my Savior and my Father and Heaven by loving and serving their children, my brothers and sisters, in the Philippines. My love for each of them grows each and every day and as I pray to have the gift of charity always in my heart, I know the Lord will help me align my will with His to truly serve diligently in the very best way I can to build His kingdom and bring forth His light and truth and glory to this little portion of His kingdom in the Philippines. I love the Filipino people. I love this work. I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior.
I love you all so very much as well. :) Thanks for all the constant love and support from everyone back home. I feel your prayers and love each day.
All my love, 
Sister Dixon
PS...just for fun...the Filipinos that can understand English but hear it for too long eventually can't understand, which they call a 'nosebleed.' Same for us, when the Filipinos speak in Hiligaynon too fast to understand, we call it a nosebleed. :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"This Church is on Fire"

Hello family and friends! 

The title to this email is inspired after the Christian rock song that is currently playing and stuck in my head in the computer shop I'm in right now. Every Monday the computer shop ladies put on their christian music for the missionaries. They're so funny. :)

Anyway, how are all of you! This week was a good one, and Sister Fanene and I did our best to end this transfer with a bang! Tuesday we visited Jaymon and taught him about tithing. I told Dad's tithing story of when he caught fish for food over Christmas break when he was at USU. It was pretty neat to testify of the miracles of paying a full tithe and I love watching our investigators faces as the reality of the miracles sinks into their hearts. He accepted this commandment whole-heartedly and he can't wait to pay tithing once he's baptized! 

Wednesday we had our zone training meeting and had some great training on aligning our will with the Father's and being fully accountable for what we do as we serve. I love the challenge Elder May gave. He said that when we finish our missions, and go back to the temple for the first time, to reflect on our missions and give an accounting to the Lord. I loved that. I'm definitely going to strive my best to do all I can so that when I account to the Lord in the temple, I can tell Him I gave it my all and aligned my will with His in doing His work in bringing souls to Christ. It's truly the best way I can show my love and gratitude for the Savior and His Atonement. After our training we had exchanges. I went with Sister Enman to Pulupandan and Sister Fanene stayed in Bago with Sister Acio. Sister Enman is two batches ahead of me and in the same batch as Sister Shakespeare and Sister Bitter. She's an awesome sister training leader. I learned a lot from her about using the Book of Mormon more fully in our lessons. She's super sagad (good/talented) at the language as well, so I was able to pick up a few new words and phrases from her. Her love for the people is so evident and I can tell she just loves serving! We taught a family with about 12 investigators...most of them being girls. (there's a picture attached) It was so fun and a lot of the girls expressed wanting to serve missions! We visited a few other recent converts and investigators before heading home.

The next day we headed back to Bago. Sister Fanene was inspired the other day to talk to this older man named Billy Plomeda so we decided to visit him. When we went we ended up teaching, him, his wife Solidad, and two of his daughters, Daisy and Desere. We were kind of surprised at how well they accepted our message, especially since they were an OYM (open your mouth), but we went back the next day and taught the Restoration. After we recited the first vision and asked what they were thinking/feeling, Solidad was like, "it's true!!" It just totally made sense to her that Joseph Smith had seen Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Spirit was strong, but was testifying in a very peaceful way. Sometimes when I teach the Restoration, the Spirit burns in a way that makes me super excited and I just want to burst inside because of the experience Joseph Smith had. Other times it's very peaceful and quiet and piercing to the heart and soul. It was like that this time. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet. He did see Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We also sang Silent Night for Desere's little 2 month old baby, Alexis Denise. The Spirit just lingered with peace and solitude. Definitely an experience I won't forget. Later we visited Jaymon and went over the baptismal interview questions with him because he had his interview the next day. This time the Spirit was getting all excited in me and I just wanted to jump for joy! :) He is so ready! I'm so excited for him to be baptized this coming Saturday. D&C18:15 is so true.."and if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" My joy truly is so great!!

Saturday we had a pretty neat experience. Small, but really nothing is small in God's plan. :) Once again, Sister Fanene is awesome at following the promptings of the Spirit. We were passing Bread Box, a bakery where one of our recent converts, Dayna, works. She suggested we just stop by to see  if she was there and say hi. While doing so, there was a worker wiping some tables. Sister Fanene asked her if she could help, and as usual when the Filipinos are asked if we can help, she said, 'no, no, no! okay lang! Just me." haha Sister Fanene just started helping her anyway and the woman said, "you're Mormons?" Sister Fanene replied yes and the woman said, "you're all so nice. I want to join your church." uh...what? We were kind of dumbfounded. Sister Fanene clarified and said, 'Uh, YOU want to join OUR church??" It's not often that people just come up to you asking if they can join our Church....haha Of course we were happy to help her out. She actually lives in Pulupandan so hopefully the sisters over there will be able to teach her and prepare her for baptism! Just another miracle and testament of Heavenly Father's hand in all things and how He places people in our paths who are ready for the Gospel. I love this work!! 

Sunday I gained a lot more respect for missionaries in England. It was rainy and actually cold. I can't imagine how missionaries in European countries do it, but I'm grateful for their faith! I'm just grateful I'm here in the Philippines where even if it rains it stays warm (most of the time). It was kind of funny to see all the Filipinos throughout the day though wearing their beanies and jackets. I think they thought they were going to die. The temperature was probably similar to early fall back home, just so you have a comparison. Anyway, we had some good church meetings and after Sacrament had an awesome meeting with our ward to establish a ward mission plan. I love our ward and the support we have from Bishop Delos Santos. After church we worked with Rebecca Amar (recent returned missionary) and Raymon Filomeno (our ward mission leader). Random fun fact of how small this world is, I found out that Brother Raymon served in the Angeles Philippines mission, and he knows Joe Leishman! He was his AP!(Editor's note:Jessica went to high school with Joe Leishman's sister, Annie) I don't know if Annie reads this or not, but if so, tell Joe that Raymon Filomeno says hi! haha It was a cool connection because Raymon lives in the Bacolod mission boundaries, which is where President Leishman(Annie's Grandpa) was the first mission president in this mission. Small world, eh? Anyway, we had some great lessons with the Ganatie girls, Jaymon, Daisy, Erika and EJ, and the Anilado family. The Anilado family is less active and so funny--always joking and having a good time. Hopefully we can help them come back to church so they can work towards going to the temple! 

All in all it was a great week! The Lord's work is surely hastening and I feel so blessed every day to be full-time inviting others to repent and partake of the eternal joy of the Gospel. We're basically inviting others to have joy! It's the best thing ever. I hope you all have a fabulous week and I'll talk to you next week! 
Sister Dixon 

Glance--their recent convert. Jessica told Karissa that every time she taught her she thought of Karissa. They are the same age and similar in personality...
Yup!!!! :)

"Ramines family...on exchanges with Sister Enman. So many gwapa (beautiful) girls in that family!"

Exchanges with Sister Enman and Sister Acio

"Rinagen Balines and her family."

"Planning by candle because of a brownout"
"Doing Laundry"

"Filipinos are the best at fixing things. Whenever and however. Like this power line for instance. No need for a ladder when you can just climb the pole!"

"Jaymon Guarra after church (he's really cold because the weathers been a bit 'chilly' lately)."
(This is the young man who is scheduled for baptism this Saturday--so wonderful).

"Sister Fanene and I after zone training meeting. I got a haircut....that's why my hair is uneven. haha"

"Would you like to know more...?"

Perhaps one of our favorite photos of Jessica.
(Sure would like to give that girl a hug!)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy 2014!

Maayong aga sa tanan!

How are you all? I hope you've all had a great start to this new and fabulous 2014! Sister Fanene and I sure had an awesome new year's week full of miracles and tender mercies.

Tuesday, because it was New Year's Eve, we proselyted first thing in the morning because we needed to return home early because of the fireworks. We taught a few investigators and recent converts and then the Delos Santos family fed us a New Year's lunch, since we couldn't be out at dinner time :) Sister Pailano was also super sweet and wanted to give us a little snack before we went home to eat later. We had our studies that night and then went to bed. I thought this would be the first New Year's where I'd be sleeping at midnight, but boy was I wrong. The fireworks were so loud and so many once midnight struck. I felt like I was in a war zone! Luckily prayer is the way to go and I just prayed I could fall asleep so I could function the next day. It worked! I don't know how, but Sister Fanene slept through the whole thing. haha 

Anyway, Wednesday was a great way to start the new year. Sister Pailano worked with us almost the entire day, bless her heart. She works at a canteen at the school, but since school is on break, she said she'd be bored all day so she wanted to work with us. She's the best. :) We had some pretty great lessons with our investigators, including Jaymon (his understanding of the Book of Mormon is getting better and better each day!) and did a few member visits. And because it was new years, we got fed pamahaw at almost every single house we went to. I've never had so much boco salad and mango float in my whole life. But it was a real tender mercy because we didn't have time to go home for lunch, and we were running low on support money, so we accepted this wonderful tender mercy with full hearts of gratitude! 

Thursday we went to Bacolod for a follow-up training since Sister Fanene arrived in October. It was excellent, as are all the trainings from President Lopez. We talked a lot about teaching with the Spirit and how we are literally lights to our investigators. We watched the three videos by Elder Bednar on Light. It's neat to think about how light is considered as brilliance, and as missionaries, our brilliance can cast out all darkness in an investigator"s home. That brilliance is what creates the investigators to want to know more and seek after that same light and brilliance. It just makes me want to be more worthy of the Light of Christ and radiate the countenance of Christ in all I do to help others see the brilliance of His gospel. Ironically, later that night we came home to our power being out. Good thing we provide our own light! ;) The Lord was mindful of us, however, and there was a cool breeze that night so we didn't die of heat with the fan not working. 

Friday Sister Fanene and I had an awesome companion study. We wanted to master our OYMing (opening your mouth) of the Restoration. We then tried a new tactic that Sister Foote, Sister 'Emelio's new companion (they're our boarding house neighbors) told us about. The best way to OYM, because there are SO many people outside all the time, is to ask if you can sing a hymn to them. While you sing, those that stay to listen are the ones that are possibly interested and could be the elect. Then you ask if you can pray for them. Then you just go straight into a five minute lesson and close with a prayer! It's genius! Don't know why I didn't think of it before. We tried doing that throughout the day and we had the best success! Hopefully we can go back and help those we shared with progress to baptism! 

Saturday we had a great lesson about the Law of Chastity with Jaymon. He wears an earring, and so we figured the best way to address that was to discuss our bodies being temples while discussing the Law of Chastity. When we came to the point to discussing modesty and his earring, we lovingly but boldy told him that men shouldn't wear earrings and why. His faith was so huge as he took it out then and there! He hasn't worn it since. :) Every day I see such a huge change in him. His countenance has gone from shy and closed off and sad, to him just smiling all the time! He's a lot more confidence in what he wants in life because now he knows he has a purpose. He told us he wants to serve a mission, too! Man, we were SO excited about that!! 

Sunday was fast Sunday and I just have to say that studying and working while fasting is the BEST! In the words of Elder Holland, "we were tired, but not weary"--our spirits were so full and the Spirit worked so awesome with us! Sister De los Santos (Bishop's wife) worked with us. She said she misses missionary work and that I actually remind her of one of her companions (she actually named her daughter after her), so she was really excited to work with us and we had a great time working with her. We first visited Laling Ganatie. We had actually met her a few weeks on a tricycle ride back to Bago. I just started talking to her (this was a testament to me of the importance of talking to everyone) and pretty soon she opened up about how elders used to visit her and her family but they stopped a long time ago. We set up an appointment, but every time we went back she was at work. We were finally able to meet with her, and wow. She is golden! She told us that she had been praying so hard for Heavenly Father to guide her to the right church. She's tried several religions, but none of them have felt "right." Shortly after her prayer, she met us on the tricycle! And when I think back, I remember that being a rather slow day with things not going as we planned, but now I see that Heavenly Father was guiding us, even down to the very hour, so that the timing of us getting on the same tricycle as her was perfect. Heavenly Father had literally led her to us. I'm so grateful for the Elders that planted the seeds with her at first. I want to find out who they are and write and thank them. Their effort was definitely not wasted, even though she wasn't baptized then, because now she reads the Book of Mormon every day at work during her lunch break. She didn't know how to find the missionaries again, and that's why she started praying again to find the truth. I was just in awe the entire lesson. The Lord's miracles never ever cease to amaze me. She gave the best prayer as we closed. I'm so excited to see her and her family progress! She has five kids, so hopefully next time we can involve the entire family. :) 

I'm so grateful for all the miracles, big and small that Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I know a lot of it has to do with my companion, Sister Fanene. I love her so much and I've never felt so unified with a companion. We both are trying our best to improve and do our best and follow the Spirit. I know that missionary work starts with the companionship. If we're not unified, the Spirit can't join us in the companionship, and He's the most important companion, that's for sure. I told Sister Fanene that the language we should be the most fluent in is the Spirit, and she's definitely got that language mastered. I'm so grateful for her example and the things I've learned from her. This has been one of the most joyful transfers of my mission and I love Sister Fanene like a real sister. She's just the best and I can tell comes from a wonderful family. :) I'm crossing my fingers we don't get transferred but we'll see what Heavenly Father thinks about that. :)
Well, I hope you all have a fabulous week! Love you all so much! Halong kamo! 

Sister Dixon

"View from the bus ride home"

Lots of yummy fruit

Jessica's District

Tricycle Ride--collecting pesos in a coconut shell!

New Years Eve Lunch

Bishop De los Santos and his wife

"Cutest kids ever"

"Sister Fanene's shoe--typical missionary shoe (don't worry mom, mine are still fine)"

Sister McGiver--she was Jessica's trainer--she goes home in about 6 weeks.

Rice fields

With Nikki--a recent convert

"The Anilado family---they're so funny! Especially the dad"

"Sister De los Santos after working with us Sunday:)"