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.

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