Sunday, March 9, 2014

10 months of bearing the name of the Savior over my heart.

Hello everyone! 

What a wonderful week! But that's really nothing new. ;) Monday we had family home evening with the Repedro family. They are such a sweet family, and although Remil, the father, is still a bit quiet, he's opening up more and more with each visit. While we were having FHE, their neighbor, Leonard, joined in. He's 13 and has the biggest desire to learn. The elders taught his family a long time ago. His parents are pretty busy providing support for their family, so they don't come home until late at night but we're hoping we'll be able to start teaching his family again.

Tuesday we visited the Lipat family. Brother Lipat and his wife have been less active for about 10 years or so. He's the brother that just randomly walked into our lesson with the Garceniego's a few weeks ago. We were with Sister Llorito, one of the members in our ward, and her testimony did wonders in our lesson. We talked about 3 Nephi 13:33 about seeking the kingdom of God first. Brother Lipat is very knowledgeable in Gospel doctrines and even quoted the scripture in English for us. The only thing is that he doesn't act on what he knows. I think the real concern is that he doesn't feel worthy to return to church because of a few habits.  Sister Llorito and Sister Tanes both gave powerful testimonies and we were pretty bold in our lesson with him. Sister Lipat just kind of listened the whole time, but when the time came to close, she gave the closing prayer and couldn't help but shed several tears as she asked for forgiveness and promised to attend church. The Spirit was so strong. Brother Lipat, too, had tears in his eyes after the prayer and said he'd come to church on Sunday. It was a true miracle lesson. Afterward we visited Jennifer Mariposa and talked about prophets. Sister Tanes gave a very powerful testimony of how President Monson's last conference talk blessed her and her family, especially with the difficult situation her family is in. She got a bit emotional and Jennifer did as well because her situation is similar to Sister Tanes'. Out of the many reasons why Sister Tanes is here in Bago, I know for sure that one of them is so that her testimony can bless and help Sister Jennifer. They connected from the very moment they met.

Wednesday we had our zone leader's training meeting, which was wonderful, as always. One of the things we discussed was opposition in all things and how we experience opposition to help us grow. This was really put into application because afterward we kind of had a punty day. But only the wounded soldier comes home with battle scars of experience and growth. Of course there were still tender mercies in our day. The Repedro family was able to buy bamboo to extend their house to make it bigger and provide more light--a blessing that I think may have come because of their willingness to listen to the Gospel. :) It's amazing how when we keep even the smallest commandments, like reading the scriptures as a family and praying, that the Lord will prosper us.

Thursday we visited Jennifer and had a good lesson about keeping the commandments. She told us that she's stopped drinking coffee so we were pretty excited about that. :) We also taught Alex about the law of fasting. His understanding of the scriptures has grown an incredible amount since we first visited him and his prayers are becoming a lot more sincere. It's truly been amazing to see the Gospel transform this man. He's set to be baptized this Saturday so we're pretty excited. :)
Later that night we taught the Plan of Salvation to the Repedro family and as Lovely (their 11 year old daughter) walked with us to the main road after the lesson, she told me that she really wanted her family to come to church with her on Sunday. I talked with her about being a good example like Nephi to her family. To initiate scripture study if her parents didn't, and to keep asking them to come to church on Sunday with her. I felt prompted to promise that if she was a good example to them that they would listen and read and come to church with her. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of love these children have for the Gospel here. They are such incredible examples to their parents. In a lot of missions, it's discouraged to baptize just the children if the family won't be baptized. But in this mission we're not discouraged from teaching the children if they have a true desire because a lot of times they are the strong rock in their family and in years to come the rest of the family is baptized. I'm grateful for Lovely and her sweet example to her family, especially her parents.

Friday we had weekly planning and Sister Tanes taught me how to cook Sinigang! I felt really bad that I didn't know how to cook for her when she got here but we've had fun learning to cook together. :) And I can't wait to share her talent with all of you when I get home! Filipino food is delicious. :) After planning we had a full day working with Michelle. We had a few baptismal interview question lessons with Alex, Nancy, and Mark. Alex is good to go but we're going to have to move Nancy's date back because she hasn't gone the full four weeks of not drinking coffee. Mark wants to be baptized the same time as his mom, so his date is pushed back too. At first I was pretty down that we had to move their date---they've been so excited! But I know the Lord's timing for them is just what they need and their baptism on the 29th will be extra memorable for them.

Saturday we had a few meetings with Bishop De los Santos and Brother Reymon our ward mission leader.  Then we visited Cecile and her cousin John Rey (19) and her neighbor Carl George (13), the one with lots of good questions. We talked about the Restoration of the Gospel and they had good questions about John the Baptist and Christ being baptized as well as how we can know Christ better and where we go after this life. They had a ton of other questions, so we just stuck to the basics of the Restoration this time and committed them to read the Book of Mormon to help answer their questions. We'll discuss the Plan of Salvation in our next lesson. It was kind of funny though because after our lesson they started asking random questions like, "why is the gate outside your church black?" I just answered and said, "well why is that paper on your wall green?" Cecile got a kick out of that one. haha Really though, it was one of the most powerful lessons this week, especially for Sister Tanes. A lot of what she studied that morning she applied in her teaching and it was so neat to see the Spirit work through her the way He did. She really has such a sweet, powerful spirit and testimony that blesses our investigators.

Sunday we had so many miracles at church! Brother Lipat came with a fresh new haircut (his hair used to be to his shoulders) as well as the Repedro family!! Well, everyone except Lovely and Brother Repedro (he had work). But we were SO excited that the mom, Sister Lillybeth, came! The ward did great at fellow-shipping her. Then in Sacrament meeting, even though we had a brownout and it was super hot, Elder Nobleza from the Seventy came and spoke to our ward! He truly is a powerful servant of the Lord. He gave a very humorous but spirit filled and straight to the point talk about the importance of families. After church we had ward council, our studies, then worked with Laarni (the YW President) and Kyla (one of the YW). They worked with us for Kyla's personal progress. When we visited Jennifer she gave a sweet testimony of how prayer has blessed her family, even though her parents are less active. The spirit really touched her as tears fell from her eyes. Later we visited the Repedro family and again, the Spirit was so strong in our lesson. We testified of the importance of families and how much Satan is attacking families and wants to prevent them from receiving the Gospel. We talked about how we are all a part of God's family and how much He wants ALL of us to return to His heavenly family, and how we can experience joy as an earthly family here on earth as well. The Spirit really touched me as I saw both Brother and Sister Repedro sitting next to each other, with their beautiful kids surrounding them. I could truly feel the love that God has for this family and I want so much for this entire family to accept the Gospel, not just one at a time. Brother Repedro gave the closing prayer and promised Heavenly Father that he would go to church on Sunday with his family. (YES!) It's his and Sister Lillybeth's anniversary on Sunday, so they said they'd make it extra special by making a change in their lives as they ALL come to church. :)
I'm so grateful for all the miracles Heavenly Father has blessed our investigators with this week. I truly know that He loves each and every one of us. I feel so blessed to be one of His instruments in proclaiming good tidings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to my brothers and sisters. I reached my 10 month mark this past week. It's been the hardest but best and most rewarding 10 months of my life and I look forward to the next 8 months of bearing the name of the Savior over my heart with all the strength that I have.

Thank you for all the love and support back home. I know your prayers are what lift me and bring such success to our area and investigators. Love you all so much!
All my love, 
Sister Dixon 

Repedro Family in their home

Zone Leader's  Training Meeting

Sister Tanes

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