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:)"

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