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. :)"

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