Sunday, June 15, 2014

More Holiness Give Me

Hello Everyone!
To be honest, I'm grateful it's a new week. This past week was kind of crazy (note to self, if you pray for humbling experiences, they will happen)... This week was full of rain, sunshine in the soul, drunks, revelation,tender mercies, almost exploding water tanks, finding, teaching, baptizing, disappointments, sugarcane, laughter, punting, awesome studies, prayer, stuffy noses, rainbows, tears, smiles, service, priesthood blessings, mangoes as big as my head, Grace, singing, humbling experiences, strengthened testimony, baby powder, Faith in Jesus Christ, weak bodies, strong spirits, and of course miracles. That's missionary life in the Philippines! And we love every minute of it. :)
Monday night we had an awesome lesson with Marianne about premortal life, the creation, and the Fall of Adam and Eve. It was so amazing to see her eyes just light up with understanding as she realized that Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy. It was such a spirit filled lesson as the Spirit testified to her of our purpose to have joy in this life in preparation for eternal joy and happiness in the life to come, all through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Tuesday we had a wonderful district meeting on How to Begin Teaching and involving the Doctrine of Christ. We've been applying what we've learned all week and it's done wonders in our lessons. When people really understand our purpose straight off the bat, it makes the following lessons so much easier and they're a lot more receptive. I started off the day praying to be more diligent in my work and in finding new investigators. Heavenly Father sure answers prayers in the most unique ways sometimes. We met a group of drunk men who wanted to hear our message and shook our hands I don't know how many times. We sang a hymn and prayed with them, so I hope they were able to feel the spirit through their intoxication. We also met an 11 year old boy who claims he's gay. I was a little shocked and even more saddened because he's so young!  He really wanted to have one of our Restoration pamphlets, so we happily gave one to him. We also met a man (he was actually our tricycle driver), who was very interested in our message. He goes home around 6 from work, so we returned later to teach him and his family. It turned out that he had to work overtime, but we met his wife and four of their kids (one of them looks like Harry Potter). They are super nice and interested in our message, so we're really praying that they accept the gospel as we continue to visit. They like to talk quite a bit, so it's sometimes hard to control the discussion, so Sister Batalero and I have been practicing how to teach to talkative people. haha
Wednesday we visited a long time investigator names Rhodora. Her family is less active. She actually went to church with her family when she was young, she just never got baptized. She's in her 30s now, and hasn't been to church in a long time. They're pretty poor, so usually don't have the money to go to church. Rhodora could feel the lack in her life, however, so she went to the Catholic church last Sunday because it's closer. She told us she still felt nothing and that she wanted to come to church that following Sunday. Sister Batalero bore strong testimony of her family and how when she was younger, all 12 of them would walk two hours to get to church every Sunday, rain or shine. They would usually arrive at the church hungry because they didn't have money for food and didn't get to eat that morning, but her father insisted that they go to church instead of work on Sunday for extra income. Because of her father's great faith, and really all their faith in going to church, they would often arrive and people would offer them rice. The spirit was so strong and Rhodora and her sister Russian committed to come to church. They were so inspired by Sister Batalero's story and testimony. Yes, I pretty much have the greatest companion. :) Later we visited a less active member. I've come to a conclusion about less actives....they know that they're not keeping the commandments, and they know there's something lacking in their lives, and they know why, so it does no good to drill them to read, pray, and go to church. All they really need is a friend and someone to nourish them with the Gospel. We tried to do that with Brother Dorio and we saw a big difference in the way he accepted our visit. Later that night, we visited Marianne and she was still pretty sick so we asked if she wanted a Priesthood blessing. Elder VanWagoner and Elder Lopez came over later and gave her a Priesthood blessing. I'm so grateful for the power of the priesthood and the peace it brings to any situation.
Thursday was Independence Day in the Philippines. :) We started off our day with some pretty awesome studies about the Atonement and then found quite a few investigators throughout the day. One of them thought I was a Spanish. That's a first! We had a lesson with one of our investigators named Karena and while we were there, her father and a few of his friends were over drinking. The spirit was completely gone in that lesson and it was the worst feeling ever. It's so sad how disobeying the commandments doesn't effect only the person breaking the commandment, but everyone around them. Karena's father actually started asking us why we don't drink and trying to make justifications for why 'it's okay.' We stood firm in our testimonies and I felt for a minute like the missionary in Elder Holland's talk last conference. It sure strengthened my testimony of the importance of the commandments and how they really do give us freedom and happiness. I don't want to ever do anything in my life that will prevent me from feeling the spirit the way I do now. Karena was really apologetic. I think she could sense the difference in lack of spirit.
Friday we had a good weekly planning then visited Rhodora again. She said she had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true, and right after opened to 1 Nephi 19. She said it was an answer to her prayer. :) We taught the Plan of Salvation and everything clicked and made so much sense to her. :) Later we visited Darwin. He's 12 years old and is the most respectful Filipino boy I've met. He always calls us "Miss" and gives us mangoes. He's so incredibly shy and usually has his head down pretty low. But he reads all the reading assignments we give him and remembers a ton of details, especially about the Restoration. He's really smart and just different than all the other kids we teach. I feel sad for him because his mother died when he was still little and his dad works a lot. He just seems so burdened and sad. We told him that it makes us sad to see him so sad, and that next time we see him we want him to have a smile on his face. :) I sure hope we can bring some hope and happiness into his life. He's such a sweet boy! Later we visited Haydee and retaught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She told us the amazing difference she's felt in her life from before she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and now. She said she is so much happier, has so much more energy, and has the desire to share with everyone. She's in Helaman in her Book of Mormon reading and is still astounding us with her memorizing of scriptures. :) We returned home that night just in time for the ocean to pour down on us. That's what it sounded and looked like anyway. I was so grateful for the shelter and protection we had, and prayed for all the people that weren't as fortunate as us with shelter, because it was quite the rainfall!
Saturday Sister Batalero didn't feel too well, but she is awesome and said she was still good to go out and work anyway. She was pretty weak when we started out, but by the end of the day, she was back to full energy. Normally it would be just the opposite if you're sick, but it's amazing what happens and the blessings you receive as a missionary when you work, even if you feel like...well you know what sick feels like. We had an awesome lesson with a sister named Mary Rose. It was our first lesson with her, so we did how to begin teaching with doctrine of Christ and her body language showed us she was super interested and when we committed her to baptism she explained how she was baptized when she was younger. That's often the response we get when we extend baptism, and it leads perfectly into our lesson about the Restoration and need for Priesthood. We explained a little bit to her right then and there but we'll go in more detail with her next time, but I'm excited to see how she'll progress. Later we attended the baptism of Sister Norma. I taught her for about a month with Sister Manosig, but now she's in the elder's area. She got baptized a day after her awesome to be baptized so close to you birthday! She was so excited and I was so happy for her, especially after being able to teach her and know of some of the experiences she's gone through. After the baptism, we headed to one of our further areas. We were with sister Haydee but while we were there, we got a text from our tagiya saying we needed to head home quickly to turn off the water before the house burned down. In our apartment, the water is run through the electricity, and only in our apartment is the off switch for emergencies. When the water is left on, the motor continuously runs, and if it gets hot it can catch on fire. Well we were clear in Canorma and so we quickly caught a tricycle, only to have it die half way home. We got off and started running home as fast as we could because there were no tricycles. By the time we were close the the church house, a tricycle finally came by, so we got on and made it home as fast as we could. We got there in time for the tank not to blow up. Turns out there was a leak in the tank and water was continuously flowing from it, causing the motor to keep running. Good thing for emergency switches and prayer! After that we headed back to Canroma because we told an investigator that we'd stop by. They ended up being asleep, so we took a tricycle and headed back to the banwa. It started pouring rain again (maybe this time it was a lake that was raining ;) and not even our umbrella could keep us dry and it was pretty much a flood everywhere we walked. When we arrived at Analiza and Jojo's, we were sopping wet, so we just had a quick visit and sang, "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today." It was one of the best singing visits we've ever had. :) 
Sunday we were SO happy because Rhodora came to church!!! We also had a meeting with the branch council and it was one of the first weeks we haven't had to teach Gospel Priciples (thank you Brother Erwin!). We also had 105 attendance! Our branch is improving, slowly but surely! After our meeting, we had studies and had exchanges with Sister Haydee and Jane. I was with Jane, and our work was pretty typical, but Sister Batalero and Haydee had quite the experience! They went to one of our further areas and by the time they left, it was pretty late and there were no more tricycles. They had to walk probably 3-4 miles in the dark, rain, and surrounded by sugarcane campos, which is super dangerous. They ran most of the way to the banwa (or city area) because they were pretty scared. When Sister Batalero told me what happened I just got the chills because I knew they had had special protection. I really do feel like we have an extra bubble of protection as missionaries and that we have angels always around us to protect us, especially in moments like that.
Anyway, sorry this is kind of long, but there was just a lot that happened this week! My testimony has sure grown a ton this week, as well as my patience, diligence, humility, charity and love, and Faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for my mission and for all the experiences I have in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with my brothers and sisters. I love the people of the Philippines so much and love the message we get to bear to them. I know it's true with all my heart. I know this is Christ's true church and was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He is full of so much love, grace, mercy, and patience, especially for his imperfect missionaries. I love Him with all my heart.

Also, Happy Father's Day! I love you so so very much Dad! And I'm so grateful for all the grandfathers, uncles, leaders, and other fatherly figures in my life. I hope you had a great day! 
Have a great week everyone! Thanks for all the emails. I wish I had time to write everyone back, but just know I'm grateful for all your love and support! Palangga ko kamo!!
All my love, 
Sister Dixon

Sister Norma's baptism

"Sopping wet, and not even our umbrella could keep us dry"

The "emergency switch"

Working with Haydee

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