Sunday, February 2, 2014

Jumping for Joy in Service

Hello everyone!
This week was probably one of the fastest weeks! I can’t believe it’s already preparation day! We had a pretty astonishing week this week, and we could tell just by how we felt….exhausted. But of course not weary in the work. :)

Monday we had a fun Family Home Evening with the Garceniego, Fedilos (RCs) and Balinas (Investigators) families. We had a talent show and played some fun Filipino games, and then tied it in to how we can have lots of fun as a family in FHE, and how we can have everlasting joy and happiness through the Gospel. We did the analogy of the rocks and sand in the jar (only we used rice), and it seemed to really help them understand.

Tuesday we had an awesome District meeting about Charity and Love. Elder Cruz is such a great district leader and really follows the Spirit. The Rasmussen couple came and Sister Rasmussen got emotional talking about how they’d be missing possibly 4 of their kid’s weddings while on their mission, but they’re staying here in the Philippines. They are such amazing examples of having true charity and love for the Filipinos and for us as missionaries. Wednesday we visited Mark and Nancy Cabelleon. Mark is still having issues with his mind and is still very anxious, but we can see how gradually, his Book of Mormon study is helping him not feel so anxious and nervous all the time. He is a lot more confident in his decision to be baptized, and even Nancy is starting to read the Book of Mormon! She’s still pretty set on her religion, but we know that the power of the Book of Mormon will convert her eventually if she keeps persisting. She has such great love for her son, Mark, and is very grateful for us as missionaries is helping him, when really we know that we have very little to do with anything. Heavenly Father has really helped this family and has sent lots of members to help them as well, like Sister Tavez. She has come to do therapies with Mark and on Sunday night bore a really sweet testimony  of her love for them. I hope, if anything, the love people have expressed for this family will help Nancy see the goodness of this Gospel and how much it can help her and Mark.

Thursday we did a service project for our investigator, Cecile Erasmo. She just opened up a tiangee( little stores on the side of pretty much everywhere where they sell snacks, shampoo and soap packs...pretty much this and that. it's like a mini store, especially for people further away from the city.) so we went to help her set it up. Well, turns out all the little kids wanted to help out too, so we ended up helping her by distracting the kids so she could set up. We taught them primary songs, acted out Book of Mormon stories, and then they wanted to play jump rope. They were just the cutest and it was one fun service project! Cecile was able to get her tiangee set up, so that was good. She told us this week that she doesn’t want to join the Church because of her family. The tradition here (and I think in most of Catholic culture) is that if you’re born Catholic, you die Catholic. She doesn’t want to have to face family persecution. Sister Fanene and I have been studying, praying, and planning to address and help with this concern, but now the problem is that since she’s started a tiangee, she’s ALWAYS working in there and can’t leave it unattended. Hopefully this week we’ll be able to meet with her at the right time and help her out.

Friday we had an awesome weekly planning session with lots of good ideas flowing of how we want to find new investigators and work with the members. Then we had a pretty astonishing day. We had exchanges with Nathalie and Michelle (our ward missionaries) and had some awesome miracles on both ends. Michelle and I visited Alex Blaurau. We can tell he has a real desire to have a better life. Even in the little time since we’ve started teaching him, he’s shaved his beard and improved a lot in his prayers. He’s one of those investigators that I’ve learned a lot about not judging by appearance. At first glance you’d think he’s kind of scary and not interested at ALL in the Gospel, but once you get to know him, he’s a funny guy with a sincere desire to have a good life. He’s a hard worker too. He’s a fisherman and goes out super early in the morning each day to catch fish. He’s been working on his fishing net for the past week, every time we visit him. He’s so pisan! (I’m not sure how else to say it…but in English it’s something like diligent). He came to church for the first time on Sunday and the ward did an awesome job at fellowshipping him. :) Sister Fanene had some pretty neat miracles on her exchange, too. Jaymon (our recent convert) went with her and Nathalie. They taught the Restoration to one of our new investigators, Arnold, and when Sister Fanene asked him to pray, he was too shy. It was silent for a while, and then Jaymon just spoke up and pretty much testified of how at first he used to be scared to pray, especially in front of the missionaries, but once he started, he knew we weren’t judging him and that he was really talking to God. After that Arnold said the prayer! The testimony of members, especially new converts, in our lessons is so powerful. I love seeing the growth that is happening in Jaymon each day. He’ll make one awesome missionary someday! He was finally able to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday as well, so we’re excited to see how much more he progresses now that he has the Holy Ghost with him all the time.

Saturday we had our weekly meeting with Bishop Delos Santos (he’s such an awesome, supportive Bishop and does SO much for this ward), and then had to go to Bacolod because we had no more suppor money and had to withdraw. Somehow Sister Fanene’s went missing, so we only had mine to rely on for the week. We have a pretty expensive area as far as plete (travel) goes, so we were living on faith for the week. We had quite a few miracles as a result and I know that Heavenly Father is definitely mindful of His missionaries. When we came back, we worked extra hard to make up for our lost time. We were able to visit everyone we would have if we didn’t go to Bacolod, and even taught a new investigator named Jennifer! We found out she’s the daughter-in-law of one of our less active members, and that her son was already baptized (he’s actually one of our recent converts we haven’t been able to find until now!). Needless to say, Heavenly Father is constantly providing us with miracles. Sister Fanene and I have been working really hard on being exactly obedient and working with literally all our heart, might, mind, and strength. As a result, we have seen so many miracles I can’t even count them!

Sunday was wonderful because it was fast Sunday. There’s something about working and fasting that I can’t describe. It’s so faith-building and full of miracles! EJ and Glance (two of our recent converts baptized on Christmas) bore the sweetest testimonies, and Glance told me she was trying really hard to fast. She’s 11 and I know for that age, fasting is hard. I was so proud of her! She reminded me of Rissy because she’s trying hard to fast the full two meals. :) After church we had our studies and then Michelle worked with us again. She is one.. unique daughter of God, but we sure love her! She adds a lot of joyful and interesting experiences to our work and lessons, but it just makes the work that much more enjoyable! I don’t know what we’d do without her! She is so incredibly kind as well and always makes sure we have pamahaw (snacks) before we go home. We visited a lot of our investigators and a few less actives, one of which was the Anilado family. They have three boys, and they went less active a while ago because their dad went less active. Sister Anilado wanted to keep going to church, but it was hard to go without her husband. She bore an emotional testimony in Relief Society of how grateful she is that ALL of them were at church that day and that they’re working their way back to activity to eventually go to the temple. They are such a kind, funny family, and I can’t wait for the day when they’ll be sealed! I’m grateful for Sister Anilado and her strong example to her family.

All in all, it was an astonishing week! That’s pretty much the theme for Sister Fanene and me. I know Heavenly Father loves us and gives us  miracles as we put our trust and faith in Him and His work and timing, and that as we are exactly obedient to His commandments, and strive to serve with all diligence of heart, might, mind, and strength, submitting our will to His, He will pour out blessings so much that we can’t count them. I’m grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His enabling power of the Atonement. Without His grace and mercy, there’s no way I would have the power and authority to do the work we do each day. He is truly leading and guiding this work that I love so much. I pray that I can continue to humble myself to be worthy of His Spirit to teach more effectively and convincingly in order to bring more of His precious children unto Christ and enter the gate that leads to eternal life.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Thanks for all the love and support back home. I truly have the best family and friends in the world. Palangga ko kamo tanan!

All my love,
Sister Dixon 

District Meeting

"Sister Emelio, Fanene, and me"

                          " Alex and John Mark...some of our investigators. Alex is the older one."

 "Helping in Cecile's tiangee. Then playing with the kids to keep them distracted while Cecile could set up. It was our service project for the week." 

We love the expression on Jessica's face.
A picture speaks a thousand words.

"Flower for Rissy"

"A HUGE toad came in our house so Sister Fanene jumped on the desk. 
She HATES amphibians. haha

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