Sunday, July 27, 2014

Count Your Blessings

Good morning!!

What a fabulous week! It just cruised on by! Monday we had FHE at the Acallings, with Elsie, Cheyene, and Miguel. It was a flop. haha It was raining so hard, poor Miguel had an awful toothache, so Elsie couldn't really focus on the lesson, and the ward missionaries weren't able to come. It's okay though! We were just happy Elise and Cheyene actually wanted to go to family home evening! They're faith is strengthening with every visit, and Sister Acalling is the sweetest fellowshipper ever. :)

Tuesday we had our awesome Mission President's training and learned how to work more with the members to hasten the work. It was really good and it's been neat to see the miracles this week of applying what we learned and receiving referrals from the members! 

Wednesday we had a pretty full day but had some pretty neat tender mercies. We had a lesson with Mary Chris and Maxine's mom, and her heart was softened to let us teach her kids, and allow them to be baptized if they choose to. We also visited Cheyene and Elsie. They still haven't 'received an answer,' about Joseph Smith and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, even though they study really thoroughly. Elsie goes back and rereads each chapter until she feels she understands, and they always pray before reading. We helped them understand what the spirit feels like and then made sure they remembered the correct way to pray, because they only way to get an answer is if they pray in the name of Jesus Christ. That seemed to help make things a bit more clear. :) 

Thursday we visited Winnie Medelle, a long time, part member investigator who has arthritis and can't move very well. He sits pretty stiff in his chair all day. :( There have been several sets of missionaries that have taught him, and his excuse for not being baptized is, "it's a secret." He's read the Book of Mormon and knows it super well, but won't pray to know if it's true because, "it's a secret." It's my personal goal to find out this 'secret' of his and help this man out! :) We also visited Shiela Mae and watched the Restoration video. The spirit was super strong and she even sang along to "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," when the choir sang. She was really impressed with the humble circumstances Joseph Smith came from. Later that night we visited Sister Quino, recent convert, whose husband is going less active because of some persecution of neighbors. She cried and told us how hard it was, because she's trying so hard to stay strong. We read 3 Nephi 12:9-11 about how much God blesses those who are persecuted. She was really comforted by that and was excited to read it to her husband later after he came home from work.

Friday we met a member named Jun who's kept a journal of missionaries that have passed through the area ever since he was baptized. He's 74 now and was baptized I think in the 80s. Sister Canimo was even in the journal! He painted this sign about how our physical body is the instrument of our spirit and signed it "Mormon." Man, this brother was so passionate about being a member of the church! He had this awesome brown hat that he wears every day, and it was a perfect tender mercy that we met him while walking to our appointment because he's now the fellowshipper of our investigator, Henry! He gave a pretty awesome testimony of the word of wisdom, since that was our lesson. Later that day, we were walking to a member's house to pick her up to work with us, on the way, we heard someone say, "hi sisters!" We turned around and saw someone waving from a doorway. We immediately went up and talked to them, shared a little message, and they accepted a return appointment! There are so many people on the streets, that it's literally impossible to talk to EVERYONE in our path, because we'd never get to our appointments if we did that, so we usually have to pay pretty close heed to the spirit to know which people we need to open our mouths to each day as we go throughout our day. Whenever someone says "maayong hapon!" to us first, we make sure we open our mouths always to them, because a lot of times it's Heavenly Father literally placing someone who's ready in our path! I like to think if it as His way of telling us who to talk to. Those are the best tender mercies. We just always have to make sure we act on those promptings! :) 

Saturday we had a really successful day and were able to do exchanges with Rowena and Prennie for part of the day, some awesome recent converts who are on fire with missionary work. :) I was with Rowena and we visited Renalisa, one of our investigators who does dialysis every five days. She's prayed to know if the Gospel is true and has received her answer in a dream (very common for the Filipinos), and when she went to do dialysis with absolutely no money to pay for it, she took it as a sign that God wants her to join this church when they miraculously told her that someone from Singapore donated money to provide for people who couldn't pay for their dialysis. Pretty amazing, huh? She's just having a hard time giving up her coffee, which was hard for Rowena too, so it's the perfect fellowshipper. :) We watched the Restoration DVD and the part that really got Renalisa was the part when Joseph Smith's dad gets baptized. She got teary eyed and said that she wants to be dressed in white to make her Father happy, and she now realizes how important it is to be clean in and out to be baptized. We had to move her date because of her coffee, but she's pretty set now on quitting so she can fully repent and be baptized. 

Sunday we literally had a miracle! We only had 3 investigators at church the week before, so we worked extra hard this week and did our best to be exactly obedient and we were able to reap the miracles: 11 investigators at church!! Cheyene, Elsie, Sheila Mae, Renalisa, Henry, and a few other investigators we've been working with! It was Elsie's first time attending church and she was pretty sleepy throughout the meeting because it was her first day to give up coffee (after teaching the Plan of Salvation the night before and her realizing the need to be baptized to be in the Celestial Kingdom with her family, she was pretty set to give up her coffee, just like Renalisa). We were pretty proud of her though for not drinking coffee. When we visited later and asked how their church attendance was, the first thing Elsie said was, "I like how you sing reverently. There's no drums or bands." haha It's so true though! Music is so powerful, especially when it gives reverence to our God and Savior. Later we were visiting some less actives, and we ran into Michelle! A ward missionary from Bago who always worked with us and visits Talisay on occasion. We were so excited to see each other and it just made me think that if I was this excited to see one of the members after four months, I can't imagine the joy I'll feel when I see all these members, investigators, recent converts, and people I've grown to love in the presence of Heavenly Father. That alone gives the motivation to endure faithfully to the end! 

With that said, I just want to bear my testimony that I know our Savior lives. His Atonement is so real, and without it, there's no way we could progress, become perfected, and return to live in His presence with our families and our Father in Heaven. I know that through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the desire to repent. Repentance isn't a bad thing, it's so perfect and good, and without it, we can't claim the blessings of mercy that our Savior so lovingly gives to us. I know that through the power of the Atonement, we can do all things that the Lord needs us to do and we can become the people and disciples He needs us to be. Those changes come little by little, step by step, but it happens. I know because I've felt the Atonement change me day by day, little by little. And I'm only just beginning. I have a long way to go to become like my Savior, but at least I've started. And it all starts with that little seed of faith in Jesus Christ. 

Have a great week! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your constant love and support. Palangga ko kamo! 

All my love, 
Sister Dixon 

                                           FHE at the Acallings with Elsie, Cheyene, and Miguel
How many missionaries does it take to.....?

Getting Robuton (a fruit) from the tree

Jun's sign

Henry and Jun

                 Michelle and Sister Acalling....two of the best ward missionaries from Bago and Talisay :) 

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