Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mighty Miracles and a Transfer Call!

This week was one of the best weeks of my whole mission! It was a testament to me of the tender mercies and miracles of the Lord when we stay faithful through struggles and trials. Last week my letter might have sounded a bit rough, but we tried stay positive, faithful, and obedient. As a result, the Lord has truly poured out His blessings upon us. The trials actually kept going a bit into the first part of this past week, but by the time Wednesday hit, the miracles were not ceasing! 

Tuesday we had an inspiring lesson on Virtue and Knowledge from Elder Cruz. There was a festival going on in Bago this day and on Wednesday, so everyone was pretty busy or not home. There's no school when there's festival days, so all the kids were home. We tried teaching Alex and Jennifer, but there were just SO many kids, that we had to think of something creative and still teach Jennifer and Alex the doctrine needed. We ended up teaching the 10 commandments with the hand signs and they loved it! They're such cute kids and love learning about the Gospel.

Wednesday we visited our usual investigators--Jennifer and Alex, as well as Cecile, but the kids were still out of school. This time we taught the wise man and the foolish man and talked about Jesus Christ as our rock. Alex was more than happy to join in and learn the song. He is so child-like! :) Later that night we visited Mark and Nancy and this is where the miracle of all miracles happened. As of last Sunday, Nancy was still hesitant to be baptized and Mark was still stuck in his depression and confusion and doubt. When we came in the house, there was a change, but we couldn't figure it out yet. When Mark came out of his room, he had the biggest smile on his face. We were shocked. Sister Fanene said, "Mark! You're happy! Are you happy?" He said with a laugh, "No, it's so boring here!" haha But as the night went on, he just kept cracking jokes and smiling like crazy! Because it was the main night of the festival, they fed us dinner, and while we were eating we invited them to the baptism on Saturday of Jhannah and Joshua. Nancy said, "our baptism?" We said no and clarified and then she said, "oh, well we'd be happy to be baptized Saturday!" We were kind of speechless for a second, not sure if we really heard what she said. We asked her and sure enough, she's ready to be baptized!! The Spirit has completely testified to her that this is the right thing for her right now. We were overjoyed! She's set to be baptized the same day as Mark--March 15. Sister Fanene and I left the house just stunned at what had happened. The miracles of the Lord are endless. After so long of trying to help Mark and teach in a way for the Spirit to testify to Nancy, the Lord was merciful and poured a literal miracle into our laps.

Thursday we had a little activity with Jhannah. We had her make an invitation for her baptism to give to her mom since she's less active. It was so cute. We delivered a few of the invitations to some of the ward members and had her bear her testimony and then we sang the latter-day prophets song we taught her and Glance. She was pretty nervous to testify at her baptism so by doing this little activity we were hoping she'd be more confident in bearing testimony to a bigger group of people. She did great! Then we visited Hermini Gildo Lipat. He's the less active that just walked randomly into the Garceniego's house last week. His granddaughter was with him and the way they interacted was adorable. We talked about God's love since brother expressed how he feels like he's sinned so much that God doesn't love him anymore. Hopefully we can help him understand that God always has loved him, and always will. We also visited Alex, Jennifer, Mark and Nancy as well and they are progressing so wonderfully!   

Friday we had weekly planning then visited Jennifer and she said she'd come to church on Sunday! We visited Jhannah and Glance later that night, as well as Joshua to make they were both set and ready for their big day! They were both excited. :)

Saturday was the big baptism day! We started off by visiting Alex and Jennifer first and had some pretty spirit-filled lessons as we read and applied scriptures from the Book of Mormon to their situations. Then we picked up Jhannah since her mom couldn't make it to the baptism. We were pretty sad about that but Jhannah sure looked pretty when we picked her up, and she was so excited! Joshua came with his sister, Princess. The baptism went very well and Jhannah Lamigo and Joshua De Ramos are now the newest members of the Bago 2nd ward!! After the baptism we attended the Young Women's New Beginnings and Laarni, the YW president (she's 19) did a great job at arranging everything. We were asked to testify of our experiences in Young Women and how it prepared us to serve our missions. I'm truly grateful for the Young Women's program and for Personal Progress, and even though I didn't know I'd be serving a mission while I was a young woman, it has blessed me and prepared me more than I can ever say. I hope these young women will be able to see the blessings of Young Women and stay strong to be amazing missionaries and mothers someday! After that, brother Romano Balair from the Bago 1st ward had a referral for us and wanted to come with us. He's been best friends with this man (they're basically brothers) for the longest time. His name is Remil Rapedro, and even though he drinks, he wants to change. We went to his house and met him, his wife, Lillybeth, and his four kids, Lovely (11), Nika (10), Carl (7), and Karen (5 months old). The spirit was SO strong as we met with this family for the first time and discussed a bit about our religion. We can really feel the love that Brother Romano has for this family and he wants so much for them to have the same blessings and peace he has felt in his life. The family was very receptive and even though the parents said they couldn't make it to church the next day, Lovely and Nika were very excited. We're excited to see how this family will grow in the Gospel. I'm incredibly grateful for the Spirit. Apparently Brother Romano hasn't had so many great experiences with missionaries, so we were praying the Spirit would be present in our lesson, especially with the family he holds so dear. We as missionaries, without the power and authority of our call, are just normal, average, every day people. It's truly the power of the Spirit that teaches and testifies to the hearts of the people. We were grateful that after the lesson, Brother Romano thanked us for the Spirit we brought in the lesson. We know it wasn't us though, it was truly Heavenly Father pouring tender mercies of His Spirit on this family and Brother Romano. 

Sunday was great because Jennifer came to church for the first time! The ward did a great job at swarming her with love. Alex came too, and he shaved and combed his hair! He looked great. :) The two Rapedro girls, Lovely and Nika, came as well. We had wonderful meetings and then Sister Fanene and I did a missionary preparation training for the single adults in our ward. I've just gotta say that I have one amazing companion. The spirit Sister Fanene brings to her teaching/training is incredible. Then we worked with Michelle and visited the Rapedro family. We taught the Restoration and the Spirit was so tangible. They committed to be baptized in April! We also were invited to dinner at the Moises' family household. They are active and so very kind and just hilarious, especially brother. We stopped by Mark and Nancy as well and we just can't get over the change in Mark! It's night and day difference and we're so grateful for the power of the Atonement that has taken place in his life. 

Well, as I'm writing this, we just got transfer calls so now I can't really concentrate on what I'm writing. haha Sister Fanene will be transferring and I'll be staying in Bago to train a new missionary. I feel so blessed to have experienced two of the best transfers of my mission with Sister Fanene. I have learned so much from her of what it means to love wholeheartedly, serve selflessly, be exactly obedient, teach in the Spirit, be positive in all things, have faith, and work hard. She is truly a bright light to all who know her and will do wonders in her next area. I love her so much and will be eternally grateful Heavenly Father placed us together to be companions. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Thank you all for your love and prayers! I truly feel them and appreciate them. Oh, I got letters this week from the Allred's, the Clifford's, Mom, and Rissy. Thank you so much! And happy birthday to Mom on Thursday and Dad on Saturday! I love you both sooo much!! You'll never know just how much. :) Have a fantastic birthday!! xoxoxo

All my love, 
Sister Dixon

"Sorry, We're OPEN"?  :)

A festival in Bago

Jessica's district

Teaching the children

"The Wise man built his house upon the rock...."

"I love the Philippines and the people"

We can hear that laugh. :)
Enjoying the journey!

What beautiful children.

Young Single Adult activity to prepare the youth for missions.

Philippine Art

Dresses Nancy made us with the fabric Sister Fanene's family sent. :) 
We love Sister Fanene very much. She is like our fifth daughter. :)

Sister Fanene, Mark, Nancy, and Sister Dixon
(Nancy is the sweet sister who made the awesome dresses).

A path Sister Fanene and Sister Dixon take as they visit a family.

Look at the size of the caribou in the background.
 Jessica said it is tame and roped :)!
"There are never good-byes in the gospel, just see you laters"
We love you, Sister Fanene and wish you well on your transfer.
You will always hold a special place in our hearts!

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