Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"also [my mission] passed away like as it were unto [me] a dream"

October 13, 2014


Wow.  I really can’t believe it.  My last e-mail as a missionary.  Honestly I still don’t know what to think or feel right now.  This week was an absolute blur with mission P-day, lots of lessons and tracting, and the opportunity to visit the people in Cidade Vargas for a few hours.  I loved this week so much.  It was hard at times and my poor companion must think I am absolutely crazy because of my mood swings up the wazoo, but it was perfect.  

Here are a few quick highlights:
·         Ronaldo finally accepted a firm baptismal date!  He will get baptized this next Sunday.  I was a little bummed I won’t be there, but it was a huge testimony builder to me that we have to accept the Lord's timing and not our own.
·         We had a cool experience that I really loved this week.  Sister Barraza and I were walking and talking to people on the street and we ran into an Irma in our ward.  She was talking about how she was on her way to work to care for an older woman and visit with the family there.  We asked her if they would be interested in learning more about our message and she said come and visit with me right now!  We went with her and it was AWESOME!! Seriously such a cool family and such a neat experience.  We taught them two times last week and the Spirit was so strong.  The second time we visited, the woman we taught invited other people to listen to our message about the restoration and all of them felt the Spirit so strong.  It was a huge blessing at the end of my mission and I loved seeing how members help us out in the work so much!
·         And this week I loved reflecting about the things I have learned in this short eighteen months.  Seriously it passed by so fast (like a dream--hence the title from Jacob 7:26).  I really can’t believe it’s already ending.  I am not perfect, but my mission was perfect for me.  The circumstances, the people, the difficulties, everything helped me come unto Christ and experience the atonement more fully in my life.  It was just what I needed to help me prepare to be the disciple Christ needs in these last days.  I feel happy about everything that happened.  I feel happy about the service I rendered.  I feel sad I have to leave (The other night I had a pathetic moment after nightly planning when I was sweeping our quintal and crying by myself.  Sister Barraza said, “What’s wrong, Sister Dixon?” and I said “Sister Barraza, I just realized I will never have another opportunity to invite someone else to be baptized again” in between my tears haha I am an emotional wreck right now) but I know it’s my time to apply what I learned and keep learning about this wonderful plan God has for me.

But, in other news, I finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese this morning!  I have been reading it ever since I got here in Brazil and it was fitting I had the chance to finish today during morning studies.  The Book of Mormon is true.  There is no doubt about it.  It’s the reason I am here, and it’s the thing that will help me stay strong for the rest of my life.  As I pondered about the Book of Mormon this morning, I thought about lessons I learned during my mission and from the Book of Mormon and I thought I would share a few:
·         Helaman 3:7--Lesson:  It’s always important to have a Plan B.
·         Moroni 9:6--Lesson:  Diligence is vital.  We only have our short lives to serve the Lord, and one day we will rest in His kingdom.  I think before my mission I was borderline lazy but I feel as though I have truly learned about the value of hard work.  Whenever I felt sad, tired, or bummed out on my mission, hard work always cured me.
·         Mosiah 3:13--Lesson:  We need prophets.  The Book of Mormon testifies over and over about the role of prophets and how much we need them in our lives.  I am so grateful we have a prophet in our day and age and I know Thomas S. Monson is here to help us come unto Christ.
·         Alma 5:33--Lesson:  Repentance is a blessing.  I used to think repentance was only for the really big sins, but during my mission, I learned repentance should be a daily process that will help us become better and more qualified servants of Christ.  I learned repentance truly does bring peace into our lives.
·         Alma 34:41--Lesson:  Patience has become one of the most important attributes of Christ to me.  I learned patience is hard, but trusting in God’s plan will ultimately give us more happiness and peace in our lives.  I learned God has many blessings in store for us if we just wait.
·         Alma 55:8-14--Lesson:  Alcohol is bad (self explanatory).
·         3 Nephi 11:15--Lesson:  The Atonement is personal and we can have our own personal and intimate relationships with Christ.  He heals us one by one.
·         Alma 37:44/Helaman 3:29-30--Lesson:  The word of God changes people and is so so so powerful.  I have seen hearts, attitudes, and people change through the power of the word of God.
·         Moroni 10:4-5--Lesson:  The Book of Mormon is true.
·         Alma 8:14-15--Lesson:  Sometimes we feel down, but God will always send us blessings to help us feel better.  The most important thing is our own personal change and growth, and Heavenly Father focuses on the fact that we are trying our best.
·         1 Nephi 1:20--Lesson:  Focusing on the tender mercies of the Lord will always help us feel better about our circumstances and help us continue being righteous.
·         Alma 34:8-9--Lesson:  Without the atonement, we would be lost and confused.
·         Moroni 8:25-26--Lesson:  Baptism and covenants bring blessings into our lives.  I saw many people who received many blessings through the covenant of baptism.
·         Mosiah 18:30--Lesson:  We have a deep love for where we served our missions.  Brazil and Michigan are so beautiful to me and I love these places and people more than I can express.
·         Mormon 9:15--Lesson:  Miracles still happen.
·         Mosiah 2:41--Lesson:  Obedience is so so important.  We will be happy and blessed when we are obedient.  I think the biggest triumph of my mission is to say I always strived to be obedient!
·         Mosiah 3:7-8--Lesson:  Jesus is the Christ and He lives and loves us!!  I know He truly is our Savior and Redeemer and is here to help us return to God’s presence.  I love my Savior.

And these are only a few of the wonderful lessons I learned.  I know that this Church is true and that Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  I know that God’s plan is perfectly difficult in order to help us grow and develop the attributes of Christ.  I know that the atonement is real.  

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve my mission and learn and grow.  It has been truly wonderful.

I love you all and thanks for the support and encouraging words!!

Sister Dixon

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


October 6, 2014

Hello family! 

Thank you for the wonderful letter you wrote.  I especially love what Kirsten wrote this past week...I think I have been having similar feelings lately!

This week was difficult for me, but I truly gained a testimony of the last part of chapter 1 in PMG, “A Successful Missionary.”  I think at the beginning of my mission, I imagined myself at the end as being a missionary with power and authority who knows exactly what she is doing and has success as a result of increased faith and sensitivity to the Spirit.  Yes, my faith and testimony of the gospel have increased but I am at the end of my mission and I still feel as lost and helpless at times as I did in the beginning.  This transfer was an interesting one for me.  I thought for sure I would stay in my other area until the end.  We had investigators on date for baptism and things were going well.  But I was transferred.  I remember praying after getting the transfer call and expressing my feelings to my Heavenly Father.  A sweet peace came over my heart as I felt there was truly a purpose for me being transferred.

I, with my limited mind and vision, thought the reason I was here was to find a prepared person or baptize an elect family, and I was excited.  I got to the area and saw it was struggling a little bit because the sister before me was sick and they had to stay in the house lots of days.  But that didn’t stop us.  We went to work.  I absolutely love my companion, because she wants to work hard like I do.  We went out every day and talked to so many people.  We saw miracles.  We found new people to teach.  I fell in love with my area and with the members here who are so willing to work.  I had to glue my shoes multiple times because of how much we walked.  But here we are at the beginning of the last week and still nothing happened.  This week was especially hard.  We had one investigator on date, but it fell through.  We had exchanges and they were stressful.  Things didn’t happen as we wanted them to.

For a while I wanted to feel down.  I wanted to feel frustrated at the lack of results that I thought I would see at the end of my mission.  I remembered my investigators in my other area got baptized and I questioned why I was here.

But I read "A Successful Missionary" and my vision grew.  I realized maybe I am here to help my companion who had a hard time last transfer.  Maybe I am here to build up a teaching pool right now so that other missionaries can have success in the future.  Maybe I am here to help the less-active family I love so much.  Maybe I am here for my own personal growth and testimony.  I don’t know the purpose right now...but the most beautiful thing is that’s ok!  PMG says:

Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.

Avoid comparing yourself to other missionaries and measuring the outward results of your efforts against theirs. Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message. Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true. You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation. You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit.

You can know you have been a successful missionary when you:

• Feel the Spirit testify to people through you.
• Love people and desire their salvation.
• Obey with exactness.
• Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say.
• Develop Christlike attributes.
• Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek earnestly to learn and improve.
• Help build up the Church (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work.
• Warn people of the consequences of sin. Invite them to make and keep commitments.
• Teach and serve other missionaries.
• Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message.

When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you.

This beautiful message brought me so much comfort and joy.  I will continue working hard and having faith and trust in the Lord during my last week as a missionary.  I learned the biggest triumph I can have right now is to be obedient and hard-working until the very, very end.

I know at times I have a lack of faith and vision, but I know every trial and experience during my mission was necessary for my personal growth and salvation.  I know this gospel is true.  I know God’s plan is perfect.  I know He is happy with the service I have rendered and I am excited to wear myself out proclaiming the gospel this week!! 

Love you all!! Thanks for the support!

Sister Dixon

p.s.  Wasn’t conference so wonderful??  It was a great experience to watch it all in Portuguese...yes I missed lots of things and sometimes I laughed only because other people were laughing when in reality I had no idea what was going on.  But I loved it!!  So many great and inspiring talks.  It really gives you a good perspective of how worldwide our church really is.

Keep Calm

September 29, 2014


I called the secretary this week so I am glad you finally got the itinerary.  (Lindsay arrives October 15 at 10:03 a.m.  She reports October 26 at 9 a.m.)  He told me I would have a layover in Michigan too and I was pretty excited.  My mission is like a Brazil sandwich.  Crazy the time is passing by so quickly!

We had a great week here in Utinga filled with exchanges, Conferencia das Mulheres, and Zone Conference too!  This week flew by...I seriously can’t believe it’s Monday again. We had some difficult circumstances due to rain, lessons falling through, and investigators dropping us, but one miracle that happened really affirmed my faith and showed me once again Heavenly Father knows what He is doing.

We taught our investigator Ronaldo a few times this week and he was progressing so much!! We finished all we had to teach him and so our district leader came to do a baptismal interview.  It went well and they set a baptismal date for October 5 in between conference sessions.  We were excited!!  On Sunday we were in the chapel waiting for Ronaldo to show up to church but it was 9:15 a.m. and he still hadn’t come.  I was disappointed, but we had the strong impression we should visit him and see what was going on.  We went to his house and he let us in.  When we invited him to come to church, he gave us a mountain of excuses...I have things to do...I am tired...I am just not feeling it today.  We were SUPER confused at what had happened.  After a little while longer of asking questions, he confessed he had to give his brother a ride to the bar the night before and when they arrived, all of his friends made fun of him for not drinking and so he drank one beer.  He felt AWFUL about what he had done.  While he was sitting in the bar and thinking about his decision, he saw two Mormon missionaries walking by the window.  The elders walked by, looked in the window at Ronaldo, but kept on walking.  Ronaldo said they looked in the window directly at him and he knew he shouldn’t be there.  He left and said he thought about his choices and prayed for forgiveness.  But here is the cool part of the story:

1)  The elders who walked by were the same elders who came to do the baptismal interview.  This was crucial because Ronaldo recognized them and he thought they saw him as well.  We called the elders later and they didn’t even notice him there!  But it was just the reminder Ronaldo needed.
2)  The elders were in our area to do a baptismal interview with the other sisters in our ward.  They walked to our area but the man who needed the interview wasn’t home.  They thought they walked all the way there for nothing, but once again it was just the reminder Ronaldo needed.
3)  Our district leader is training a new elder right now.  When the man wasn’t home, our district leader said to his companion, “Right now we have a bit of extra time so we can talk to people on the street and I want you to follow the Spirit and go where He wants us to go.”  The new elder felt like they should go down one street and there was absolutely no one there...but this was the street where the bar was.

How cool, right?  Ronaldo said he woke up and decided he wouldn’t go to church, but he felt strongly we would come and visit him during church.  It was so good we came.  We talked about repentance and the power of the sacrament and in the end he agreed to come to sacrament meeting.  Here is where the title of my e-mail makes sense.

There are moments on a mission where people do or say things that make you SO RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY!!! All you want to do is hug them or shout because you know they are making such a good decision that will help them in their eternal progression.  However, the difficult thing is you have to pretend like nothing happened because your investigators can’t think you are absolutely bonkers.  It’s the hardest thing to control for me because at times during my mission, my heart feels like it will explode.  Anyway, when Ronaldo said he would come to church I felt that way.  He had to go take a shower first so we waited for him and then went together.  When he said he would come, I wanted to shout and show how happy I was inside, but all we said was, “Ta bom.  Nos esperaremos aqui.”  When he left the room, I started to cry.  I am such a baby these days.  But I was so overwhelmed by how perfectly orchestrated everything was and how strong the Spirit was when we were testifying of repentance.  He came to church and loved the testimonies that were born, and he is still on date for this Sunday.

I hope all of this made sense.  It truly was a really great experience!  Pray for Ronaldo this week!!  I love you all so much and have a great week!!

Sister Dixon

p.s.  I got news that Jaqui got baptized this past weekend! She was the investigator from Peru who I talked about a while back.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Abinadi vs. Alma

With Sister Barraza at the temple

September 22, 2014

Hello family!!

This week was so so great.  I was so grateful for the experience to go to the temple and renew my covenants.  It was a very spiritual experience!!  I received an answer as well about when I will be coming home...if you remember I was fasting and praying to receive an answer and when we got to the temple, one of the assistants told me missionaries can’t extend anymore, so there was my answer!! I feel scared and sad about leaving my mission, but I know it’s necessary for me to progress and continue with other things in life.  Needless to say, I will do everything in my power to make every day of these last three weeks count!!

This week we had lots of miracles and cool spiritual experiences, but pretty much every good thing happened because of the members in our ward.  I wanted to bear a little testimony about the power of members in missionary work!

Think about Alma and Abinadi.  Abinadi was a fantastic missionary, but only one person converted from the things he preached.  However, we read in Mosiah 18 about all of the people who were converted from the things Alma preached.  I firmly believe that one of the differences between Alma and Abinadi was Alma knew the people he taught.  He had relationships with them, and they could trust him.  Abinadi was a stranger...in fact he had to enter in the city in disguise.  People are more likely to respond to the gospel when they hear the message from a source they trust.  

In every ward I have served, there has always been a huge example of a dedicated member who absolutely LOVES missionary work and will do ANYTHING to help the missionaries.  At MSU it was Lara Ellsworth, in Williamston it was the Ruggieri family and the Chaffin family, in Cidade Vargas it was Claudio and Eneida, and here in Utinga, I am learning lots from a wonderful member named Debora.  I am grateful because these examples have taught me who I want to be...no, who I NEED to be when I am a member missionary in the future.  Missionary work truly changes when members get involved.

We got a referral from a member this week named Marta who is progressing lots and loving the gospel.  We also brought members with us to teach our investigator Ronaldo this week and they brought such a power and spirit into the lesson.  We, and the members, are excited about the work that is happening and I am so grateful!!

I’ll get off my soapbox in a second, but I want to invite you all to go out with the missionaries and do things to help further the work of the Lord.  You will feel more joy than you have ever felt before!

LOVE YOU ALL!! Have a great week!!

Sister Dixon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Children of Our Heavenly Father

September 15, 2014

Hello everyone!!

It was such a great week here and I am loving my new area.  It’s different, and sad to think I am leaving soon, but I am treating this transfer as if it’s not my last transfer and trying to build strong relationships with the people here in Santo Andre.  

As you all know, my favorite hymn is “Children of Our Heavenly Father.” https://www.lds.org/music/text/hymns/children-of-our-heavenly-father?lang=eng
After Grandma Dixon passed away and I had to learn the music to play for the funeral, I became entranced with the words to this hymn and I loved the message it portrayed. Heavenly Father literally is our Father and He loves us with the most infinite and perfect love that exists.  He gives us things and He takes away things in our lives, but He knows what will benefit us the most in the end.  I always read the words to this hymn when I am feeling down or alone and without fail, I feel my Heavenly Father’s love every time!

This week I pondered about how we are all children of our Heavenly Father and how much He loves each and every one of us.  I have said this before, but I think one of the greatest parts about being a missionary is the ability to feel a teency portion of the love God has for each one of his children.  We see others in a different light when we are helping them learn about the gospel.  And throughout my mission, I have had the grand opportunity to meet many of God’s children from many parts of the world and from many walks of life.  I feel like this week in particular, we met some awesome people and it really made me feel I am sooo lucky to be a missionary right now!!  I get to meet God’s amazing children daily and feel of God’s love for them.  Here are some examples of some wonderful children of God whom I have met here in Brazil:

·         Jose Carlos--We met him while we were door knocking here and we taught him this week for the first time.  Jose Carlos makes and sells Brasilian percussion instruments (probably why I thought he was so cool).  However, last year, he was making a drum and he accidentally cut off his own hand!  How awful! But, he learned how to continue making and playing drums and is really so positive about his situation.  What a cool lesson on positivity!
·         Viviani--One day we were searching for a woman in an apartment complex and we met an eighteen-year-old named Viviani.  She started asking us the most absurd questions about religion that we had no idea how to respond to.  However, we started teaching her about the restoration and plan of salvation and though they didn’t have direct answers, she said she felt peace about her questions and didn’t need the answers right now.  She is absolutely hilarious and really makes me think.  I am grateful for people who challenge us and help us seek new knowledge.
·         Conceicao--We met her on the street one day and went back to teach her another day. She offered to make lunch for us and truly made a feast.  She has tons of children and grandchildren and her husband passed away.  Many of her children and grandchildren have problems with drugs and alcohol but she continues to fast and pray and have faith one day they will come around.  She really took us in and became a Brasilian grandmother of sorts. 

Although not everyone we meet progresses in the gospel, I still feel really lucky to meet these children of God daily.  I am loving the experiences I am having and I am so grateful because I have learned, through feeling love for others, more about how Heavenly Father feels about me.  The gospel is true, folks.  There isn’t a doubt about it!!

Have a great week,

Sister Dixon

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


September 8, 2014

Hellooooo familia!

As you all know, the Brasilian flag has Ordem e Progresso written on it.  Order and progress--I think those two beautiful words are some of the biggest blessings the gospel gives us. This week I was thinking lots about PROGRESS and progression.  The opportunity to progress is one of the most exciting things we can have in this life.  The gospel, and all of the blessings and trials that come along with it, gives us a huge opportunity to progress and become more like our Heavenly Father in this life. Progression is hard at times, growing isn’t always easy, but in the end it is thrilling to see how you and your spirit have changed and developed.  

Anyways, I wanted to start off with that thought because I am so grateful for the change that happened this last transfer!  I didn’t realize it before, but I needed an opportunity to progress.  And with a new area and companion, that’s exactly what I am doing.  I am loving my new area and companion.  Seriously.  At times I still feel a little bit sad about leaving my old area (side note:  Maria Ines and Karine were baptized this past weekend!! Woo woo!!) but I am so happy to be in Utinga with my new companion, Sister Barraza.  Cool things to report on:  We share a ward with two other sisters and we all live in a really big house!  Sister Barraza is from Chile and she will go home a transfer after me, so we are working hard to make the most of our missions until the end.  I feel so blessed and our ward is truly wonderful as well!  I was apprehensive about how my last transfer would be, but I feel so at peace and so grateful right now.

Sister Barraza’s old companion was sick a lot so they had to stay in the apartment quite a bit.  Consequently, they didn’t have tons of investigators when I got here so we have been getting out and finding new people to teach!  It’s been so cool and we have seen so many miracles.  Also, we decided to look in the area book and find people we could go visit who were taught in the past.  It’s been cool to see that in the past, people weren’t ready to accept our message but now, they are opening up a little bit more.  It’s a testimony builder to me of seed planting and also never giving up on people. The missionaries who served here long, long ago don’t know but we are still reaping the effects of their sowing! And we should never give up on the people who don’t accept right now, because it just maybe isn’t their time.

Thanks for your love and support!  I love you all and I am grateful for your prayers--I am sure this transfer will be full of miracles.  Love you!

Sister Dixon

Monday, September 1, 2014

Eu vou embora

Last "noite familiar" in Cidade Vargas

September 1, 2014

Hello family!!  

I am glad you all had a great week!! It was a good week here in Cidade Vargas.  We had some ups and downs, but overall I had a good time and loved the people we got to meet and work with.  

We started off on Tuesday with a mission-wide conference with President Broadbent.  He is really trying hard to increase the faith, power, and authority we have as missionaries.  The conference was AWESOME. President Broadbent is funny because he loves to talk and the meetings always go longer than planned...for example, the conference was supposed to be from 3-7 but lasted until 9 at night.  Luckily we live close to the chapel where the meeting was but it was truly a revelatory experience.  We set a goal as a mission for baptisms in September and for the rest of the year and I am so excited to be able to reach this goal and truly use the power I have as a full-time missionary of my Heavenly Father.  

The rest of the week was wonderful as well.  We had some ups--Karine finished the Book of Mormon; Iara and Fernanda stayed in Sao Paulo again; and Maria Ines (Henrique’s mom) went to church two weeks ago, felt the Spirit, and decided she wanted to quit smoking and get baptized.  She will get baptized in a few weeks--a huge miracle!

But also some downs--Karine decided to push back her baptism a week, Iara’s dad didn’t come to church so we have to wait for him to baptize her, and other awesome investigators fell off the face of the earth.

However, I have learned as a missionary the good ALWAYS outweighs the bad and the most important thing to do is have faith in God’s timing.

But the most unfortunate news is I won’t be in this area to see how these people progress because we got transfer calls today and I found out I am getting transferred.  I have to admit, I am more than a bit heartbroken.  I didn’t think I would get transferred with only one transfer left and I am sad to leave this area behind.  I am crying a little bit as I type this (the other Brasilheiros around me must think I am pretty pathetic) but I really did fall in love with my area and companion and investigators here.  

I don’t know where I will be serving or who will be my new companion but I will find out tomorrow...it will be an interesting experience to only serve in a ward for my last transfer but I feel very strongly Heavenly Father wants me there for a reason!  

Have a great week!!  Please keep me in your prayers and pray for the investigators here as well!!  This transfer will be a grand adventure!  Wish me good luck in my new area!

Com muito amor,

Sister Dixon