Monday, March 17, 2014

I Stand All Amazed

Hello my friends and family! What a fabulous week we had! 

Monday we had FHE at Mark and Nancy's with the SA, which was a lot of fun. Our ward is the best when it comes to fellowshipping investigators. :) Tuesday we had district meeting and then went to work! I had read a talk by Elder Scott in my studies earlier that day about smiling. There's this little girl named Nicole who lives near Jennifer (I attached a picture--she's the one wearing red in the front of all the kids). She never smiles. Ever. And every kid here smiles ALL the time, so I was determined to make her smile. I even told her that was my goal. Well the next day, when we arrived in their little purok, she sees me and the first thing she does is give me this half way smile!! I was so excited that as I was walking and talking to her, I wasn't watching where I was going and hit my head on the metal roof of someone's house. All the other little kids around me got a kick out of that. If anything, my self abuse causes children to smile. haha (Don't worry Mom, it wasn't a serious hit). After that nice little incident, we taught Alex about missionary work and service. As we were sitting in the area where we first met him, by Brother Mariposa's house, I couldn't help but smile, thinking of how much he's changed. When we first met him, he had a long beard, drank with his friends, was always on his phone, wouldn't ever look at us in the face, and would do this somewhat awkward giggle. Now he's shaved his beard, told us that anytime his friends ask him to drink he says no and when they tell him he's changed he says, "I haven't changed. I've just come closer to Jesus Christ," leaves his phone at home, has his Book of Mormon always in hand, actively listens, and has great understanding of the Book of Mormon. He always prays and thanks Heavenly Father that we never forget to come teach him, and the light in his eyes and face has completely brightened and he can't help but give the biggest toothless smile when we talk about his baptism. :) It's the best thing ever. My favorite thing as a missionary is seeing changes like this in people when they come unto Christ. :) Later we visited Mark and he told us that he changed his mind, he wants to be baptized on his original date of March 15th instead of waiting to be baptized on the 29th with his mom, Nancy. I think Nancy was kind of sad at first, but then she liked the idea that it'd be her own special day. Mark changed his mind because he remembered how he had promised at first that he would prepare for the 15th and wanted to stick to that promise to God.

Thursday I finished the Book of Mormon. My heart is so full of peace and joy at its truthfulness. I know this Book is true. It truly does testify of Christ and changes lives. We met with a new investigator this day named Arnel Sayson. He's the cousin of Brother Rebotalla (the uncle of Mark), and is living with them while looking for a job. He came to church last Sunday and told us he really has a desire to change and join the church. He headed back home to Iloilo on vacation, but he'll be back home today, so we're excited to keep teaching him. His countenance is very dim and he wouldn't look at us for very long (similar to Alex when we first met him), so we're anxious to see how his countenance will change as he begins to understand and accept the Gospel. We also visited the Repedro family (Lovely's family) that night. We taught the Word of Wisdom and brother Remil drinks alcohol and the rest of the family drinks coffee but they committed to stop. Sister Lillybeth was especially excited to have her husband stop drinking. They are such a cute family and are doing their best to have family scripture study. After they eat, they gather in a circle and read a verse or two, then say a prayer, then go to bed! It just makes my heart so happy. :) 

Saturday was the big baptism day! We actually had five baptisms--2 from Ma-ao (the Assistants area), 1 from Bago first ward, and then two from our ward. And just like every other baptism we've had, Satan does what he can to prevent it from happening, which results in some pretty awesome baptism stories. Since all of the candidates were adults, we needed bigger jumpsuits, but we were limited. The Calumungan sisters brought a few, and the Assistants stopped by Valiadolid to get some more, but even then, it was a close call. And Brother Rebotalla, the one who was going to baptize Mark, wasn't able to because there weren't enough jumpsuits. :( We felt pretty bad but hopefully he'll get to baptize Nancy. For the actual baptism, Elder Wilstead baptized Alex and it was all fine and wonderful. Then Elder De Vera went to baptize Mark and he got a bit nervous to put his head under water. It took four attempts, and then we had Elder Wilstead get in the font with them so that he could help dunk his upper half in the water (Mark is a pretty big guy). After the fifth attempt...success!! Both Mark and Alex gave great testimonies afterwards. :) 

Sunday Mark Cabellon and Alex Blauro were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There were nothing but smiles on this end of the world. :) Sister Tanes and I also gave talks during Sacrament meeting. I talked about Charity and how it's more than just feeling love, but ACTING on feelings of love. I sure learned a lot about Charity while preparing my talk. I had a big amount of love poured into my heart for these people, my family and friends back home, and most especially for my Savior. I think my heart was about to explode with the amount of love I felt! Cute little Lovely and her little sister Nika came to church, but their parents didn't. :( Sister Lillybeth got the flu, and so Brother Remil was working to buy medicine. Hopefully they'll make it next week...after church we visited Cecile and Carl George. They could tell we were super sad that they didn't come to church, and we explained why we were so sad. Not for our sake, but for theirs. I truly love these people so much and I want to see them again in the next life! We can tell they are SO close to coming to church and accepting the Gospel...we're just working with the Spirit to try and get that heart piercing moment where they change their hearts and decide to keep all of God's commandments.

Monday we had a normal proselyting day because today we are doing our preparation day and headed to Bacolod to stay overnight because we have our Zone Conference tomorrow. :) 

This week Sister Tanes and I studied a lot about the Plan of Salvation and it came up a lot in church and in our lessons throughout the week. My gratitude for the Savior and the Atonement has grown so much this past week. I don't think I'll ever be able to adequately express my gratitude for the Savior and how much His Atonement has influenced my life. I'm just grateful that I still have seven and a half months to tell as many people as I can here in the Philippines about the Atonement and Christ's Gospel, our Heavenly Father's glorious Plan for us, and the Restoration and how it can truly change their lives...for eternity. This is truly the best message and work ever. I love it with all my heart. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Thanks for all the love and support. Know how much I love each and every one of you and I'm so grateful to have such incredible family and friends in my life. 
Palangga ko kamo!!

All my love, 
Sister Dixon 

PS Sister Tanes taught me a word... Nakakapagpabagabag. Try saying that 10 times fast. It's the word you use to explain something that is causing you to worry. I think saying the word itself could do that! haha 

PPS I tried quail eggs. Yes. I really did. Sister Tanes cooked them and made me try it. And they're actually not too bad!
Cute little Nicole (in red) and her friends!! :)

Jessica told us that the fabric to make this dress came from Samoa. Her last companion, Sister Fanene gave it to her. Nancy (Mark's Mom), then made the dress for Jessica.  She is surrounded by such giving and loving people who have been such a blessing in her life. 

"FHE at Mark and Nancy's with the single adults in our ward"

  "The sunsets this week were INCREDIBLE! 
The pictures do NOT do them justice."

A beautiful companion

                                                                "Sister Tanes and Me"
"Pretty tropical flower (i can never remember the name of it...)"

   "Sister Tanes riding on the outer edge of the tricycle...
her favorite spot. haha" 

Mark and Alex--Baptism Day :)

Mark and Alex

Nancy (Mark's Mom) and Mark

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