Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oh What Songs of the Heart

Hello everyone! 

Here we are to the end of September. Where does time go? This week was great because Monday we had a super awesome family home evening at the Wenceslao's. We had a pretty powerful lesson on the Atonement and we had lots of people show up, which was great to help fellowship these new members. :) They are all officially members of the Church except for their son, Darwin. I met him for the second time this week. He only has one day off a week from work, so on Thursday, Sister Tangonan and I made sure we got the chance to meet him. He was hiding upstairs in his bedroom, but after talking to him for a bit about work, he seemed to warm up a bit more. He's still pretty shy and when we asked him if he wanted to join, just to listen, he said next time. Amat amat. We're working on it, so that one day this sweet family can be eternal. :) 

Tuesday Sister Ve'ehala was with us since her companion went home and transfers were on Wednesday. We had some pretty great experiences serving cute little old ladies carry water to their homes and then sharing a message. One of them, Ramona (86), told us she often times goes to her 92 year old friend's house to chat about about life, Christ, and wonder where they go after this life. Perfect intro into Plan of Salvation! Only thing is that she loves to talk and we can't even get a sentence in without her interrupting with another story. haha she's such a sweet lady who lives all by herself, so I'm sure she just loved having someone to talk to, so we'll see how it goes next time we visit. :) 

Wednesday we took Sister Ve'ehala to Galo to get her new companion, Sister Turtal, and then took Sister Reid and Sister Lazan back with us to the apartment because they are training and needed to stay the night close to the mission home to go there the next day. We went on exchanges, which was awesome, and I got to learn from the amazing Sister Lazan! She's super good at teaching people, not lessons, and just had a way of really helping our investigators understand how the gospel can really bless them. It was great learning from her. 

Thursday the spirit guided us in such an awesome way. A few months ago, when I was with Sister Arcinas, we taught an investigator named James, and a lot of people would gather around and listen. One of the sisters name was Teresa, but for some reason we lost contact with her and weren't able to visit her. Well on this day, we were in a completely different area than when we first met her, and we were going to one of our investigator's house, when we happened to bump almost right into her! She was doing laundry, and immediately stopped and said, 'hi sisters!!" She was more than receptive to let us teach her, and after we had a powerful lesson on the restoration, she said that she felt exactly like Joseph confused as to why there are so many religions. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she committed to read it and pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Her cute little 9 year old son, Goven was there too. He said, "Sisters, can I go to church with you on Sunday?" of course! "Can you come pick us up?" we'd love to. :) So Sunday we went and Goven was all set and ready to go, but his mom had to go to the tindahan, so hopefully next week Teresa will be able to come to church and we'll be able to meet the rest of the family this week. It was just neat to see the hand of the Lord preparing this family though and the timing of how we met them and how receptive they were. I know someday we'll be able to teach all of them and that they'll be baptized--all in the Lords timing. :) 

Friday was a day of patience tested. Loud kids, stubborn less actives, investigators not progressing. But hey. That's how we grow in Christ-like attributes, right? :) But we had some pretty neat lessons as helping clear up the doctrine of tithing with one of our recent converts. Poor woman...she thought she couldn't come to church if she didn't pay tithing, and that's why she hasn't come to church for a while. Glad we cleared that one up! In the moment, days like this aren't so fun, but when I look back, I realize it actually wasn't all that bad as I try to see what was good from the day and learn from the not so good so I can improve and be a better missionary. :)

Saturday we met with the Dela Cruz family, a family that Sister Tangonan met when she was with Sister Reid. Oh my goodness. This family has SO much potential, especially the father. I mean, yes, he was drunk, but I was somehow able to see past that and see him as a future leader in the church. It's amazing the love of God you can feel for His children as a missionary and see their divine potential. He has 6 adorable kids and you can tell they all love their dad and that he loves them. We haven't met the mom yet because she's been gone every time we've visited, but I just get so excited when I think about teaching and helping this family! There's just nothing quite as joyful as teaching a FAMILY about the gospel and how they can be together forever. :) 

Sunday was awesome because Brother Thomas Buenaflor (his brother Joseph, who lives in Utah, is apparently somewhat famous in Utah) and his niece Mitzi worked with us. They have INCREDIBLE singing voices, so after each of our lessons, they offered to sing to our investigators. The power of music in bringing the Spirit to our lessons was amazing, and each of the investigators we visited commented on how much peace they felt. Oh how I love the power of music! Sister Rossini also had her baptismal interview and she's set to be baptized this Saturday! Elder Rokuro said she's the smartest kid he's ever interviewed. She's just that awesome! :)

Well, I better get going, but I just want to close by saying how much I love this work! It's been amazing to see the lives change in so many people as they accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There's no other work I'd rather be doing right now, and I know this is where I'm supposed to be. The message of the Restoration is truly the foundation of faith for us and I'm so grateful for the faith Joseph Smith had to pray to our Father in Heaven. I know he was a prophet of God. And I know God speaks to us today. He loves us, and I sure love Him. 

I hope everyone has a great week! Welcome to October! Conference month! I'm pretty excited. :) Love you all so very much and I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Dixon  

"Sister Russon, Sister Tanes, and Sister Tangonan. I trained all three of them.
Rare opportunity that we were all in one place at the same time! I sure love
these sisters!"

"FHE at the Wenceslaos"

"FHE at the Quino family with the Montero family
with us"

"Sister Turtal--the newest missionary in Talisay"

Home Sweet Home

Looks pretty nice! :)

These apartment photos were on President Lopez's Facebook page this week. 
The caption read, "Sister Dixon and Sister Tangonan--cleanest apartment."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How Great the Wisdom and the Love

Hello everyone! 

Another wonderful week has come and gone. Time is just flying by! Last Monday I had to get my chest x-ray(****I asked Jessica why she needed a chest x-ray. She said it is to check for TB. It is done to all the missionaries who will soon be departing the Philippines..she said no worries, she is good!!)....I couldn't believe I already had to do that! It was pretty funny because I think I was asked by about four or five different health workers what my middle name was. They were shocked when I told them I didn't have one. haha Every Filipino has their mother's maiden name as their middle name, so I think they were culture shocked. ;) 

Anyway, this week we were blessed with finding new investigators, helping with immunizations for the kids, spirit led lessons, celebrating family week here in the Philippines, and having the Baptism of Daniel Wenceslao! 

Honestly, my brain is kind of fried at the moment, so I'm just going to list some of my favorite moments from the week. Okay lang? Sige. :)

-Cheyene bore the most powerful testimony to one of our investigators who happens to be her aunt. She explained how before she and her mom were baptized, there was always contention and misunderstanding, and whenever they didn't have food for dinner, she would get pretty upset. But now, there is so much love and laughter in the home, and when there's no dinner, Elsie just smiles and says, "let's pray! The Lord will bless us." They always pray before leaving the house and before meals, and their family has really come closer because of it. A family that prays together, stays together. :) 

-One night after we planned, I had the name "Bellya" come into my mind. The name of a former investigator. We hadn't planned for her, and I thought it was just myself thinking her name, so I brushed it off. The next morning in my prayer, all I could think of was "Bellya." So after lunch, I asked Sister Tangonan if she wanted to go to Bellya or the people we had planned. She said the people we planned, so we went, only to have them not home. Then I knew for sure we were in the wrong place. We went to the Chua's home, where Bellya is their househelp. Sure enough, she was there. We had no idea what to teach since she doesn't really listen when we teach...she just compares everything with her religion. We just started teaching about how the Gospel blesses families, and somehow the discussion led to how poor they were. I thought, "tithing." But I had never taught tithing before as a 'first lesson,' and wasn't sure how to bring it up without confusing her. Then she randomly asked, "do your Bishops get paid?" We said no, and she all of a sudden had a change of attitude. She thought that was pretty awesome. She then asked where all our money goes if it doesn't pay the Bishop. Perfect lead into Tithing. It was so neat to feel the Spirit work through us to help this Sister. We left her with a tithing pamphlet and the first picture she looked at was a family eating a nice dinner. We told her that is the promise of paying tithing. We're excited to go back and see how the Spirit has worked on her to hopefully soften her heart to accept the Gospel. I also learned a valuable lesson from that experience that Heavenly Father is constantly reminding me...always follow the Spirit! 

-Saturday we celebrated family week with the members at the church and then later that afternoon, Daniel, the head of the Wenceslao family, was baptized! It was such a wonderful moment and his family, especially Cheyene, was grinning from ear to ear (although in the pictures she smiles with her mouth closed). haha It's been amazing to see Daniel accept the Gospel and how it's really changed their whole family. Cheyene gave a sweet prayer the other day praying that soon her older brother, Darwin would join our lessons so they could be sealed in the temple in a year and be together forever. She's so sweet. I just love this family and I feel like they are one of the biggest reasons why I was sent to Talisay. :) 

-One last experience....a few weeks ago, a tricy-kad driver named Roberto took us to church. We talked to him along the way and gave him a Restoration pamphlet. He said he'd like to come to church with us the next week and said he'd wait outside our apartment so he could take us. Sure enough, he was outside our apartment early Sunday morning reading the pamphlet again and smoking a cigarette. This man's life is pretty sad. His wife left him because he had no money, so he currently lives in his tricy-kad. He has long hair, a beard, always smells like alcohol and cigarettes, and his clothes are pretty old and grungy. As he was taking us to church, he said he didn't want to go to church this week but would really like a Book of Mormon. He had studied the pamphlet and knew everything from prophets, to the Apostasy, the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, and the need for a Restoration. He's read the Bible of many different religions, so all he wanted now was a Book of Mormon to find out for himself if Joseph Smith is a prophet. It was quite an amazing experience to see a man in the above description holding a copy of the Book of Mormon in his hands. Holding CHANGE for his life. We are praying that he truly will be able to find change by reading the Book of Mormon, because I know that it can and does change lives. Every single day. 

I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us. All of us. I love serving His children here in the Philippines and know I was sent here to be here at this time. These people and their faith never cease to amaze me and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to learn from them. I know the Atonement is real and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know Joseph Smith was called to restore Christ's church here on the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet. I love him. I can't wait to hear in a few weeks the guidance our Heavenly Father has for us through his prophet. 

Thank you for everyone's love and support as always. I am sure one blessed sister missionary. :) 

Palangga ko kamo kag halong kamo permi! 

Sister Dixon 

District Meeting

Daniel Wenceslao's baptism

 Saying goodbye to Sister Lara. 
She left this morning to Bacolod, and so her companion, Sister Ve'ehala is with us until transfer calls are made. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm Trying to be like Jesus

Hello everyone!

This week was stuffed full of tender was great! I'll just list one we had each day though for sake of time. 

Monday we left our apartment exactly at 6 pm. Exact obedience sure brings miracles because we happened to take the nearest c-kad and the driver happened to be Alan Mana! One of the less actives Bishop asked us to visit, but we haven't been able to find his house. Miracle for sure! We talked to him as we rode and he was glad to see us and said he'd try to make it to church on Sunday. :)

Tuesday we met with Jeffery, our investigator who has gone to church for over a year every single week, but just has issues with the word of wisdom. (He's really working hard on it though and is scheduled for baptism on the 27th!). He told us that earlier that day he really needed money to buy rice for his family. He thought about doing something 'bad' to get the money, but then thought about how much more blessed he'd be if he kept the commandments. So instead he went and donated blood! He felt pretty weak after that for a while, but he said that he was able to get 2 kilos of rice, noodles, and a few extra things. He said that he really saw the blessings of the Lord in obtaining food, all because he kept the commandments. :)

Wednesday we felt prompted to go to PJ, one of our recent converts who's blind, even though we didn't plan to go to him that day. When we arrived, his parents were there, packing his things and preparing to move to the complete other side of Negros Occidental the next day. They wanted to let us know so we could move his records, but didn't know how they could find us. We shared the message of the Restoration with them since his parents aren't members and they were willing to continue listening to the missionaries down in Sipalay. PJ was really happy we came by and gave one of the most sincere prayers I've ever heard and thanked Heavenly Father that we were able to come by and say goodbye before he left. I'm so grateful we followed that prompting to go visit him! 

Thursday we had quite a few tender mercies in finding new investigators, one of which is Reneliza's niece, Loraine. She's so cute and got mad at Euliza for not calling her last time we came. haha We also met a woman named Fairy Rose who went to church a few times in Alijis and was taught by the missionaries before she recently moved here to Talisay. She was happy to let us teach her and come back to teach her husband too. :) 

Friday was a pretty crazy day because we helped out with an immunization thing for polio and measles for all kids 5 and under that the city health was doing, but that the church actually funded. We went to the place they told us we needed to volunteer, but it turned out that it was the wrong location. They decided to do it somewhere else. It all worked out well though because we were actually able to contact a referral from Elsie in that area that we hadn't found yet, and the health care worker we were with, Claire, said she wanted to come to church on Sunday. She thought it was pretty neat what we were doing and wanted to find out more about our church. That was the biggest tender mercy since because we were working with government stuff, we weren't allowed to 'proselyte' or talk about the gospel...just let our light (and name tags with Mormon helping hands vest) so shine. It's amazing what good service can do! 

Saturday Euliza Arevalo was baptized! Her service was wonderful. Her friend and one of our ward missionaries gave a great talk on baptism, and Euliza gave a nice testimony. :) Her mom, Reneliza, who was baptized a few weeks ago gave the closing prayer and it was all around a great service. We also had a pretty neat experience where Elder and Sister Mower, one of the senior couples, asked our district leader if there was a baptism in our district. He told them we had one so they decided to attend. Turns out Elder and Sister Mower sat by Reneliza (our RC and Euliza's mom) a while back when she was still an investigator and attended church in Bacolod 5 ward. Reneliza does dialysis every week and Sister Mower is the mission nurse, so she remembered Reneliza quite well because they had talked about it. Sister Mower couldn't stop saying how good Reneliza looked for being a dialysis patient, and Elder Mower pointed out it was because she has the gospel and the Gift of the Holy Ghost now. I totally agree. Reneliza just radiates now! And what a neat experience where the spirit guided them to come to the baptism of Reneliza's daughter. :) The Lord sure is in the details of our lives...even the littlest ones. 

Sunday Euliza was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. :) Our tender mercy for this day was of course that one, but then later that day, I went to close my fast, and there was no power. Brownout. Which meant no water. We wouldn't be able to cook! While I was closing my fast, I sincerely prayed that we'd have electricity so the water would work. Low and behold, in the middle of my prayer, the power turned on. Miracle! The same thing happened last time we fasted too. Heavenly Father sure is looking out for us! 

Aside from that, we've been busy, busy, busy and enjoying noticing all the tender mercies and miracles Heavenly Father showers on us each day--(which are quite literally showered because we've had the effects of a typhoon in Luzon this much rain!). There was a sister missionary in Talisay who honorably came home this last week from the Cebu mission (and happens to know Chandler Welling)*****Mom's note: Chandler is the sister of one of Jessica's close friends who is serving in Ukraine on a mission. She and Jessica entered the MTC on the same day...the gospel sure makes the world small********. She gave her talk on Sunday and talked about learning, living, and becoming. It was amazing as I was able to relate to her testimony of the process of learning, living, and becoming. As a missionary, as a disciple of Christ, and as a daughter of God. Learning, living, and becoming more like Him. I know that is truly His work and His glory. That we may return to live in His presence with a fullness of joy because we have become like Him. I'm so grateful I have the opportunity to help others know this same purpose so they too can strive to become more like our Father in Heaven in this wonderful adventure called life. I know we'll never be perfect in this life, but as we strive to perfect ourselves each day through repentance, putting off the natural man, and becoming as a little child, we will be able to become more like our Father and Savior. I know They live and love us, and that They're there every step of the way to lead and guide us to become more like Them.

I hope everyone has a great week! Thank you for the support, prayers, and love. Palangga ko kamo! 

Sister Dixon

 PS They're starting to put up mini Christmas trees in their homes and play Christmas music! Bring on the Christmas spirit! :)

Cutest tricy-cad driver around!!

Sister McIver ( Sister Dixon's trainer came back for a visit)

Studying in a brown-out

WOW!! We sure are spoiled with the nice comfy mattresses we have!
Looks like this little guy can sleep anywhere, though! :)

District Meeting

FHE fun and treat!

Helping with immunizations

Sister Dixon said they named the puppies ( a week old) after them! 

Euliza's Baptism

Elder and Sister Mower with Euliza;s Mom

Monday, September 8, 2014

Improve the Shining Moments

Hello wonderful friends and family! 

This week flew by! Here's some of my favorite moments of the week: 

- We had an amazing lesson with the Flores family (they're the ones with the 5 girls similar to our family :) ). A while back, there was a member that kind of scared them thinking we were forcing them to be baptized, and so then they told us they didn't want to join or go to church or anything. We gave them a break for a while and then this week went back to visit them. They let us in and were willing to listen. We talked about how much the Gospel can bless their family and that that's why we were help them know how. Sister Flores got very teary eyed and started to cry and the spirit was strong. We were hesitant to bring up baptism again after the last encounter, but the spirit was really urging us to invite them to baptism again. We read a couple verses from 2 Nephi 31:10-12 about following Christ, asked a few questions, and they committed to baptism. :) It was probably one of the most intense, but most spirit filled lessons I've ever had. We left from the lesson and Sister Tangonan said she had goose bumps and couldn't stop smiling! I felt the same way. :) Amazing what the Spirit can do to the hearts of those who are ready for the Gospel. Next time we're hoping to meet the father, who Sister Flores said is such a good, good man. "Different than any other man in the Philippines" we'll see how it goes!! :) 

- Elsie Wenceslao told us that Miguel insisted to her one day that he's not, "Miguel," he's "Brother Miguel." And Cheyene is "Sister Inday." haha (Inday is a word that most parents use when calling their daughter. They rarely say each other's names. And they say Toto for their sons). She also said that after he does something naughty, she always finds him afterward, sitting down with his eyes closed and arms folded in prayer, as if repenting. Isn't that the cutest? He was blessed this past Sunday and I loved how part of the blessing was that he would grow to be a strong Priesthood holder and powerful missionary and be strong in providing for his future family. I can't wait to see what's in store for this little man. He'll make one awesome missionary someday! :)  

- We had a few great lessons with Marlyn this week. One was on the word of wisdom. She said she wasn't sure if she'd be able to give up the coffee right away but she'd try. The next visit, she told us something like, "you know what sisters, I was really thinking about what you said about the word of wisdom, and there really are a lot of alternatives, so I've stopped drinking coffee. I just drink milk now, and I don't even have a headache!" :) She said she kept herself suuuuper busy to distract her from drinking coffee, which meant she forgot to read the Book of Mormon..but hey! It's good progress! And she promised not to forget to read next time. ;) 

- Rossini, who's 9 and one of our investigators, and daughter of our investigator Henry, gives the sweetest, most sincere prayers ever. I love them. They are truly from the heart. For example, we went to their home, and there wasn't an adult there, and we need to have an adult to enter the home, so she went and grabbed her 25 year old sister, Rose, who occasionally joins us when she's not busy, and then said, "okay! You can come in now sisters!!" When she gave the closing prayer she said something like this (it might sound weird translated into English)..."We're thankful that Rose came in so that the sisters could come in, because it's dark outside bala haw and gani, we're thankful that the sisters could come in here." Okay, that really doesn't have the same effect in English as it does when she said it in Hiligaynon haha... but it was sure a sweet, sincere prayer. She's definitely a sweet example of praying straight from the heart. :) 

- Euliza, our investigator who's the daughter of Renaliza (our recent convert), was gone all this last week on vacation so we didn't get to meet with her until Sunday. We were a bit worried because she's scheduled to be baptized this Saturday, but when we had our baptismal interview question lesson with her, it was amazing to see how much she's grown. When we first met with her, baptism wasn't really one of the top things she wanted to do in life, but as we went through each question, her testimony really showed through and she told us after we talked about what she'd be covenanting at baptism, that she really feels now that this is what she needs to do. She's completely humbled her heart, repented of her sins, and is so willing to take upon herself the name of Christ and stand as His witness. We were overjoyed with the change that has happened in Euliza. :) There's a quote in Preach My Gospel about how the study of doctrine changes behavior quicker than the study of behavior changes behavior. I've seen this to be completely true in Euliza as she has changed over the last few months into a new, more Christ-like Euliza, all because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. :) 

We had a lot of other tender mercies and spiritual experiences throughout the week. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but I'm constantly in awe at the many blessings and miracles and tender mercies Heavenly Father blesses us with each day and to all of our investigators and members. He truly does love each and every one of us, and I'm so grateful I get to see His blessings first hand in the lives of His children here in the Philippines. I feel so blessed to be serving here among them. Being a servant and disciple of the Lord is truly the best calling in the world. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and are able to notice the many tender mercies Heavenly Father gives to each and every one of us. They're there! We just need to take the time to look, and we'll realize there's more than we ever imagined. :) 
Palangga ko kamo! 

Sister Dixon 

FHE fun

Zone Leader's Training Meeting

Sweet Sisters

Henry is picking coconuts for Sister Dixon 
and her companion.

Henry and Rossini
Wouldn't it be awesome to taste a coconut straight from the tree?:)

Helping make bags and building trust with an investigator

Maybe we will have to get a loom when 
she gets home--she looks like a natural!

Looks yummy, Sister Dixon!!