Monday, May 26, 2014

Be Thou Humble

Hello my fabulous friends and family! 

What a crazy week full of rain, transfers, meetings, and teaching! Gotta love missionary work! 

Monday after p-day, all of Pontevedra was in a brownout because a certain box blew out, so we taught by candlelight to the Edral family and by bonfire to the Espinosa about flashbacks to girl's camp! It was neat to sing hymns and discuss following the prophet around a fire. :) Because our apartment water is run though an electric tank, we didn't have water, so in the process of taking our big water jugs to the nearest bumba, the power came back on. Miracles!! 

Tuesday we had an awesome district meeting on teaching people, not lessons. Elder Van Wagoner is a very inspired district leader and all the elders in our district are so humble. We're the only sisters in our district. Later that day, we worked with Nelly Rusia and had some pretty spirit filled lessons. We really tried to apply what we learned in district meeting. As a result, AJ, one of our investigators who was super interested at first and randomly just lost interest, really opened up with his concerns. One of which was that he feels like there is no purpose to his life. Nelly bore powerful testimony of how she felt like that before she joined the church. Hopefully we can continue to help AJ feel he has purpose in his life and how much Heavenly Father loves him. While proselyting, we got the call that Sister Manosig would be transferring. We walked Nelly home and it started to POUR rain. We only had one umbrella, and since Nelly is pregnanat and Sister Manosig's bag isn't waterproof, I let them use my umbrella and pretty much took a tropical shower. I haven't "danced" in the rain for a while, so it was pretty refreshing! ;) 

Wednesday we headed to Bacolod. Sister Manosig is now in Cadiz with Sister Remund, which is where Sister Batalero was. And now Sister Batalero is MY companion!! :) We're batchmates in arrival (we actually stayed in the same hotel room when we first arrived in Bacolod), so we were pretty excited. :) She is from Bicol (sp?) and is 4 out of 10 kids! 5 boys and 5 girls. She is the third to serve a mission in her family. She has just the sweetest spirit ever and is very humble. She's one of the most positive people I've ever met and so hard working. I'm excited to work with her this transfer. :) By the time we got back to Bacolod, we were only able to have a few teaching appointments, but we were able to see a bit with how we work with each other, and I think it's gonna be a pretty great companionship. :)

Thursday we pulled out our finding skills and did quite a bit of OYMing and helped a woman named Juletta do her laundry at a bumba (water pump). We studied in Preach My Gospel about the importance of doing good, then preaching the Gospel. :) It sure opened up Juletta's heart and she said we could come back and teach her next time. We were also able to continue to help AJ understand his purpose in life and he's starting to warm back up to the Gospel a lot more. Later that night we went to the Rusia's just in time to see that the elders were there. Nelly wasn't feeling so good so they gave her a blessing. The power of the priesthood never ceases to amaze me. After that the elders found a family in our area and so we met and talked with them for a while. They said we could come back in a few weeks because one of the sons has surgery next week, so we're praying they will be open to our message! 

Friday we had our weekly planning and visited a few less active families, recent converts, and investigators. We taught Marissa (RC) and Ricardo (investigator) about the temple. Ricardo's been having a hard time stopping his coffee and cigarettes, so we focused on the eternal blessings of the gospel, and the temple. He's getting better and better each week, however, and as of yesterday is down to 1 cigarette and no coffee! Just milo. :) So we are really excited about that. 

Saturday we were able to teach Justin, our 10 year old part member investigator who rarely wants to listen. Sister Batalero pulled out her magic tricks and we were good after that. haha We found out that he really does want to be baptized, he's just nervous to stand in front of so many people and bear his testimony. He thought that part was necessary to be baptized. We cleared things up and now he's excited to be baptized in June. :) Later that afternoon we held our first PEC meeting here in Pontevedra. It was kind of long, but was pretty successful I'd say! We want so much for this branch to become a ward, but nothing's going to happen if there isn't order, so we're doing our best to help the branch grow in all aspects. Later we taught Haydee (more like she taught us---her memory is incredible!) as well as Analiza. Hopefully they will be able to make it to Bacolod soon so they can get their CENOMAR to be married! :) 

Sunday was pretty crazy. We taught both Relief Society and Gospel Principles, and Sister Batalero gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. haha President Antonio, our stake president, visited and had a special meeting after church with the youth to promote fellow-shipping. Then we held a branch council meeting to discuss a lot of the things we did in PEC with the other auxiliary leaders. I think by the end of this year we'll be able to get a new church building and become a ward for sure. :) After church we had exchanges with Jane Espinosa and Haydee Aligan. I was with Jane and she told me a pretty neat experience she had where she promised God that if she passed the board exam to become a teacher that she'd serve a mission. Her grades in high school were lower than the average of people who usually pass the exam, so she was kind of nervous. She studied hard though and out of 1000 people, she was ranked 159 out of 450 who passed the test! She gives all the credit to Heavenly Father and is super excited to start and finish school and then serve a mission to keep her promise! She said that's another reason she always works with us. To thank Heavenly Father. It's amazing the amount of blessings Heavenly Father gives to His children who do missionary work in any form. I sure have felt the abundance of blessings, and I love seeing it in the lives of others, especially the youth and single adults here in the Philippines. They are so amazing! 

All in all, it was a great week! Lots of tender mercies, testimonies strengthened, and firmer faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you all had a good one and hope that this week is even better! Happy birthday to Grandpa Dixon this week! Love you! Congrats to all the seminary and grads and soon to be high school grads! Can't believe it's that time of year! 
Love you all! Thanks so much for the love and support! 

All my Love, 
Sister Dixon 

Sister Dixon's district

Working with Nelly 

Working with Nelly and Haydee

Sister Batelero--Sister Dixon's new companion

"One huge mango"

"Sister Batelaro used to work in the rice fields so she loves this area"

"Helping shell tahang...a type of shell fish." 

"Cutting the huge mango. Awkward photo. ha"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

Hello everyone! 

Goodness, it was so good to see you last Monday and hear your voices on Skype! Everyone is looking so much older! Stop growing! haha 
We had a great week this week! Monday, after we skyped, we headed to Bacolod for our mission president's training at the mission home. We had our interviews with President and then had such an inspiring training. The inspiration I received the strongest from President's training is to have faith in Jesus Christ, not just faith alone. When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we can do anything, including our vision! 

We stayed at the Bacolod 6 sister's apartment that night and then the next morning headed back to our areas. We stopped by McDonald's real quick for breakfast however, and as we were leaving, there were some beggar kids. The elders had left us leftover food in a box with pamphlets from the training that we didn't realize we had until AFTER we ate, so we gave it to the kids as well as a few pamphlets. :) Afterwards we headed back to Pontevedra and got to work! We had some pretty awesome finding experiences and ended up with 7 new investigators at the end of the day. :) On the way home, as we were walking, this girl named Julie walked up to us and said, "hi sisters!!" We started talking to her and found out she was a former investigator of the elders that had moved into our area! She said she was still reading the Book of Mormon and still wants to be baptized! 

Wednesday we started our day by visiting a few less actives, one of which was the Semillano family. Sister Rusian just had a baby a week ago so I was dying at how adorable he was. Filipino babies are so cute! We read the Book of Mormon with them and they said they'd come to church that Sunday. :) Later that day we visited Allyza. She still hasn't gotten permission from her dad to be baptized, but she headed back home this week to be with her family for a week before she starts school here in Pontevedra, so hopefully she'll be able to get permission from her dad! She is so ready and excited to be baptized. Nelly told us she gave the FHE lesson last Monday and just cried the whole time...used a whole thing of tissues. She felt the spirit so strong. :) She's so sweet. :) We also visited Justin. He's a part member and 10 years old and wasn't so happy to visit with us. haha We sat on the floor with him and had a little chat with him, and told him how much we love him and how much Heavenly Father loves him. He just sat and pouted...I think he's the first kid who hasn't wanted to listen! haha While we were teaching him, it started POURING rain outside....looks like rainy season is on it's way!! :)

Thursday we had lunch at President Castaneda's house and shared an uplifting message with him. His wife is in Manila working and he has four kids to take care of, so he has a pretty heavy load being Branch President as well. He really is doing his best, but we can tell it's pretty stressful for him. We're doing our best to help ease his load and help our branch to grow and strengthen. While we were there, we ate rice, liver, and pig leg fat :).  Later that day we met a man named Nonoy in his 50s that the elders met and referred to us. He's a pretty devoted Baptist, but has real potential. When it's his time and he joins the church, he'll be a great leader. That's all I could think while we taught him with his shirt off and an earring in one ear. Amazing how the Gospel can transform people, even if it hasn't happened yet. ;) We visited Haydee and she basically taught US the 10 commandments. haha She is so smart and has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. We stopped by Analiza and Jojo and while we were talking about the importance of scripture study, there was an earthquake! Just a little one, but enough of a shake to get your adreneline going. I was nervous when it started, but then realized there really is nothing to be worried about when we're keeping the commandments and doing what we should be. 

Friday we had our weekly planning and then headed to one of our further areas. It started to rain really hard, which made the walking path super muddy. It took us a lot longer to get to our area than we planned, but luckily we were able to teach when we got there. The sisters we taught were friends of a member in our ward, and they're all teenage girls. They didn't take our message very seriously, but with time hopefully they'll come to understand! We taught Jet and Irish later that night (less actives in our branch), and we had a really good discussion on missionary work. Erwin, Nelly, Allyza, and Shane were there, and they LOVE missionary work, so the room was full of the Spirit of experiences and love for missionary work. :)

Saturday we had a one day mission! The turn out was smaller than we anticipated, but it still turned out very successful, and everyone had a good time. I was paired with Sister Boncag and Haydee. Haydee was baptized after the one day mission, so while we were doing the one day mission, she was technically an investigator. Her testimony was SO powerful, especially when we taught a new investigator named Tracy Era (that we found by trying to find a different Tracy Era...maybe it was inspired!) who is Catholic. Haydee shared her testimony of how she was Catholic at first but was being baptized that afternoon as a member of the Church! I know it was Haydee's testimony that caused Tracy to decide to give our message a chance. I love (almost) new member testimonies...they are so powerful!! After a few hours of our one day mission with the members, we came back to the church and had lunch, a testimony meeting of experiences we had, and then had Haydee's baptism! The spirit was strong and her testimony was so sweet and so powerful. We went out to work again after the baptism and when we came home we were beat. I love when we come home absolutely exhausted because that means we've had a good, hard working day.

Sunday the Domingo family came to church! They're now in the elders area, but this is the family whose daughter you saw when we were skyping. The WHOLE family came! Oh, I was so excited! After church and studies, we worked with Nelly and had a good lesson with Haydee's brother, AJ. He was super receptive at first but then something happened that we're still trying to figure out. The spirit was really strong in our lesson as we talked about the restoration and expressed our love and God's love for him and how his life can be so blessed through the Gospel. He opened up and said he feels like there's no meaning to his life. Nelly bore a powerful testimony about how she felt the exact same way before she became a member but how happy she is now. We're praying that he will open up and start to accept the Gospel more in his life, especially since before he said he wanted to serve a mission! We'll just keep praying and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that a miracle will occur! :) 

All in all, it was a great week! This week is transfers, so we'll see what happens, but I've got a good feeling I'll be staying in Pontevedra. Have a wonderful week! Thank you for all you thoughts and prayers! They mean so much to me! I love this Gospel...I love missionary work and bringing sheep back to the fold... And I love you all! 

Palangga ko kamo! 
Sister Dixon 

"Laundry! Lots of it!"

The Rusia family!

Jessica's zone

Jet and Irish and their cute baby--a family in the branch

Working with Nelly, Shane and Allyza

"The dried fish I told you about when we skyped"
Jessica said this is the least favorite thing she has eaten--they eat ALL of it--from eyes to tail!!

"Eggs on plants--that's how they decorate here"

 "Mount Canlaon...the tallest mountain in Negros Occidental. 
You can see it on the way to one of our areas."

So much rain equals so much mud! Good times for walking and tricycle driving! ;)"

"Working with Sister Boncag and Haydee for our one day mission" 

 "Haydee Gedamia Aligan's baptism!"

"The monster we killed last night. That's how big it is AFTER it's shriveled. You don't want to see it when it's alive and creeping and spazzing along the wall and floor TOWARDS you as it's writhing to it's death after being attacked with permetherin..." 

Location of the earthquake that Jessica talks about in her email.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

There is Sunshine in My Soul Today!

Hello everyone!! 

First off, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! To all the wonderful mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, leaders, and friends that have influenced me so much in my life. I hope you had a wonderful day and know how much you are loved, all the way from the Philippines!! 

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm kind of a perfectionist. I like to do things the right way, and don't like it any other way. If I fall short, it stresses me out. So of course, as you can imagine, this can sometimes be a problem in the mission field. Where disappointments and setbacks and imperfections are so prevalent. However, I am grateful for such an amazing companion, who has helped me this week to remember that it's okay to be wounded. The mission field is a battle field, not a vacation field. If I'm not getting wounded, then I'm not a missionary! Sometimes we learn best from mistakes, whether our own or other's. And sometimes, even when we are striving to be exactly obedient, the miracles we want or expect (like finding elect new investigators, investigators attending church, and having member present lessons) don't always come, but miracles are still there. We just have to see the unexpected miracles amongst the battle scars. Focus on the limb that's healthy, not just the severed one. That being said, here are the miracles that came this week, that weren't what we were expecting or hoping, but were just as significant as if we received the blessings and miracles we wanted/expected. 

-Thousands of kids receiving help from the Liahona Children's Foundation (a private LDS charity) and being able to participate. Estimates suggest that the Philippines has more malnourished children than any other country in the world, around 40,000 children, as many or more than in all of Latin America, and far more than the entire African continent. Children were screened and will receive nourishment daily. What a blessing!
-A less active telling us he finally read the Book of Mormon and felt the spirit testify strongly to him that he needs to return back to activity. 
-The masterpiece of Heavenly Father's sky after a heavy rainstorm. I always think of the line from the Primary song, "I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain..." :)
-The testimony of a member to an investigator about keeping the Law of Chastity. Member's testimonies are SO powerful! 
-Teaching by candlelight because the Rusia's don't have money for electricity, and beforehand singing, "Count Your Many Blessings." Smiles all around. 

-Our Branch Mission Leader allowing us to use his webcam so we can skype from the church for Mother's day!!
-Giving my first training at Zone Leader's Training and not fainting. 
Traveling from Binalbagan to Hinigaran by tricycle with 6 elders on the outside of the tricycle and Sister Manosig and I inside...and arriving safely. (After a slight transfer to another tricycle because we made the tire of the motorcycle go flat....).
-Our 8 month pregnant investigator, Analiza, telling us that she and Jojo are finally making plans to get married so she can be baptized! Crossing my fingers she gets married in May since I'm missing TWO weddings this month at home!! :)

-Minerva stopped drinking coffee!
-Nice cold Boco juice at the Rusia's after a suuuuper hot day. 
-Our Tagiya (landlord) allowing us to buy rice (we forgot that we ran out) even though her tiangee was closed. 
-Modern technology--Mom being able to chat back and forth with Nelly Rusia on Facebook. She was so excited to tell me about that. She added 10 pesos to her internet time just to keep chatting with ya, Mom! :) 

-Investigators finding US and asking questions about the Gospel. (She was couldn't get over that fact that I can speak Hiligaynon..haha). 
-Finding the mother of one of our investigators and she being super receptive. 
-Haydee's nervous Mother always sitting in to listen to our lessons. She doesn't speak up and she always looks upset, but we know she feels a difference when we're there! 
-Being out all day, full of lessons, and Sister Boncag texting us to eat at her house for lunch! Saved us a ton of time of going back home to eat. 

-Singing Hymns calming crying kids
-The power and joy of missionary work, even when it's pouring rain and we get sloshed by a tide of water from a truck that drove by and sprayed us. haha We worked with Nelly (member), Shane (recent convert), and Allyza (investigator), and it was nothing but smiles and sunshine despite the rain.
-Being able to teach one of our child part member investigators who's been hiding from us for a while...and making him laugh! 
-The testimony of an investigator (Allyza) in our missionary work. 

-The overnight brownout stopped and the water turned on just in time for me to shower and get ready for church. 
-One of our young men who struggles some wore a white shirt to church! 
-Spark finally being confirmed a member of the Church after a few attempts of incorrect wording (thank goodness for the missionary handbook!)
-One of the branch missionaries who was super rebellious a few weeks ago, called as assistant branch mission leader, wore a white shirt and tie, and taught an incredible lesson on Obedience in Gospel Principles. 
-Haydee interviewed as set to go to be baptized on Saturday! 
-Holding a branch council meeting and discussing a one day mission this Saturday (trust me...this really is a miracle). 
-Allyza going home to get permission from her dad to be baptized! 
-Receiving sweet notes from Allyza and Nelly for working with us the day before. 

Looking back on the week, despite all my imperfections and weaknesses, as well as the trials that just come with missionary work, there were several "have I not reason to rejoice? Yea! :)

Have a wonderful week, full of miracles! I love you all so very much! 
Sister Dixon

We were so happy to talk to Sister Dixon tonight through Skype. She looks beautiful and radiates the light of Christ. She sounds so happy and said to tell everyone "Hello" and that she loves you all.
Notice the flower in Jessica's hair. As she was talking to us, one of the members gave it to her, and then he put it in her hair.:)

The Branch President is the one in yellow in the background. So kind of him and the branch mission leader to let the missionaries use their web-cam! Technology is such a wonderful blessing.

Is that happiness or what? :)

She was telling us how she smashes cock-roaches and then laughed at our reaction. She just takes off her shoe and whacks them--crunchy and all! :) 
Anyone who knows Jessica, knows how amazing this is :) She also told us, she just lets the "little" spiders crawl over her scriptures--or just flicks them away with her fingers. The BIG ones get the bug spray!

As we were skyping, this little sweetheart came in to the Branch President's office. She is the daughter of one of their investigators, who was at the church waiting to see the missionaries.

Sure miss this girl! Sure love this girl!

Sister Dixon and Sister Manosig. She came to the screen to tell us "Hello".
We are so grateful for their companionship. We are also so grateful for technology. How incredible that we could see and hear our sweet daughter who is 7,500 miles away. What a great way to end a very tender and special Mother's Day. The next time we talk with Sister Dixon, it will be in person! She commits to continue to work hard and share the joy of the gospel these next 6 months! What a trooper!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

365 Days

365 days of missionary work. A lifetime of memories. An eternity of blessings.

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013


January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014