Sunday, January 26, 2014

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. :)

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