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!)

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