Sunday, June 30, 2013

Holding birthday packages

June 24, 2013

Hi everyone!  

First of all, Thanks SO MUCH for the birthday packages!  I had the best day and I just felt so loved.  But I will get to that later. I am so glad to hear everyone is doing well!  I'll give a little description of my week.

We had such an amazing week again!  Monday and Tuesday were filled with finding and teaching.   I discovered I have a love for bus finding!  Talking to people on bus rides is the best.  Plus it's suspenseful because you never know when they are going to get off so you have to time the invitation to learn perfectly.  I love it!  I am still working on mastering the timing though.  The worst is when I don't get to ask for someone's number and we have to leave.  It's a fun challenge though.

We had district meeting on Wednesday and we got to go to Chipotle for lunch again.  We taught the rest of the day on Wednesday which I just love!  We saw so many miracles that day.  We taught 2 new investigators--one from India and one from Saudi Arabia.  So cool.  The one from India is named Ashwini.  He is a referral from one of our Chinese members named Lyons (Lyons is hilarious and is one of the best missionaries ever!) but we taught him and he came to church yesterday so we have high hopes for him.  Then we taught Thamer from Saudi Arabia.  That lesson was interesting because he is VERY hard to understand.  He was a miracle though.  He got our number from one of his friends who was a former investigator and randomly texted us that he wanted to meet.  That NEVER happens so we are excited.  We are meeting with him again this week so hopefully that goes well.  Bruce meets with us almost every day and on Wednesday he prayed the Miami Heat would win their next game hahaha it was so funny.  But they won!  And Bruce told us he has a strong testimony of the power of prayer.  Heavenly Father was definitely helping us out with that one.  On Wednesday night I went on exchanges!  Sister Christiansen and I went to Williamston with Sister Nuttall.  

Being on exchanges was an awesome experience because Williamston is a family ward.  It was interesting to see the different dynamics.  We started out the day doing service for a lady in the ward.  We pulled all of her weeds and I loved it!  We don't get too many opportunities to serve in our ward because the students are all super busy and they don't really have front lawns or anything we can help out with.  So the times we do get to serve are just amazing!  We had a picnic at the park with another member who was hilarious.  She is very old and said some very interesting things about the Church and men (she is divorced and very bitter!) so we enjoyed ourselves.  We got to go door knocking later in Williamston.  That was very different to knock on family doors!  Some people were very nice and open but some people were very set in their ways and not very polite.  It was still fun though and hopefully they will get return appointments.  There was one guy that really gave us an interesting experience.  He came out on his porch and we started talking but then he stopped us and lit a cigarette and then pointed to a tattoo on his hand.  He said "See this mark on my hand?  It means you’re not welcome here.  Bye now.  Don't get hit by a car or anything."  And then went back inside.  It was creepy but we were all dying laughing.  One thing that bugged me was how people kept saying they are comfortable where they are in their own church.  I decided I HATE that word!  I think the only time we can experience true joy is if we are striving and growing.  If we are comfortable and complacent, we are not learning or becoming better.  For the rest of the day, whenever we would feel uncomfortable or awkward or frustrated, we would look at each other and say "YES!  We are growing!"  I am glad I learned this because it's definitely something I want to strive for the rest of my life.

On Friday we had a sister training meeting.  It was with all of the sisters in our zone and it was awesome!  I seriously learned so much and it just made me so stoked to be a missionary in this time and in this place.  Later on we taught Bruce and went to Book of Mormon study.  All of the members sang an early Happy Birthday to me and it made me so happy.  Like the most joyful I have ever been.  I love these people so much and I was just so touched by their love.  

My birthday was awesome!  I got your packages on Friday but I waited to open them until Saturday morning.  Thank you for everything!  I love it all and I already wore the shoes.  And my companions say thanks for the Starbursts!  Sister Probert made a scavenger hunt for me while I was in Williamston and she gave me some cute gifts.  One of them is a whiteboard for me to write on because I am doing an English fast tomorrow.  Wish me luck!  And Sister Christiansen wrote a hilarious comic for me.  I loved it all.  Later, Greg and Erin (some members) came by and gave me a chocolate croissant.  We worked the rest of the day and then went out to a pizza place for dinner.  Overall, it was an awesome day and I just felt so loved.  Oh and the best part of the day was our lesson with Bruce!  We committed him to get baptized on June 29th for sure!  He told us on Friday he was considering waiting because he had a crazy schedule but on my birthday he told us he got it all worked out!  So he is getting baptized this Saturday and we are all so excited for him.  I can't believe it though.  I mean we met him on June 6th, my first day, and he has just progressed so much!  He is the definition of being prepared by the Lord.  It's going to be an amazing experience.  

Sunday was good too!  We had some investigators at church and we got to teach Gospel Principles about the sacrament.  I am so grateful for the sacrament!   The broadcast too was UNREAL.  It was cool too because there were some missionaries I know in the choir.  We were sitting there with all of the missionaries in the district and President and Sister Hess were with us and you could just feel the energy from how excited everyone was.  All of us were just sooo pumped up after and we kept saying how lucky we are to be missionaries right now!  I feel so blessed!

I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Dixon

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 17, 2013

Hello everyone!

Michigan continues to be so good to me.  I don't know how I got so blessed to be here but it will definitely be a sad day when I have to go.  I am still so excited to go to Brazil, but Lansing is awesome!

I'll give you a lowdown of my week.  We had such a good week.

Monday--we went to FHE with one of our investigators, Brooke.  We haven't actually had a lesson with her yet because she lives super far away and neither of us have a car, which has been a bummer!  She was found by some elders in our district and given to us because she will go to the singles ward after she is baptized on June 29th.  That will be an awesome experience.  We got to talk to her a little bit at FHE and I am so excited to talk to her more!  One cool thing we learned is that people without landmarks wander in circles.  I guess there was a study done where they had people go to a place without any landmarks.  When they were told to walk in a straight line, they tried to, but they ended up just going in circles.  That was so cool for me to hear and it made me so grateful for the landmarks we have in our lives!  The Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost are such amazing landmarks that I am so grateful for.

Tuesday--Tuesday was the best day ever!  We had 5 lessons that day which is a record for us.  I loved teaching nonstop and meeting all these cool people.  Every single lesson was so great though!  We would always walk out so happy; our investigators are so cool.  I know it's the Spirit!  I feel so blessed to have it with me when we teach.  Two of our favorite investigators are Bruce and Yifan.  We had awesome lessons with them on Tuesday and they both came to church yesterday!  Both of them are from China and they are so great.  The best quote from that day came from teaching Bruce. Bruce is seriously a stud.  We were talking to him about the Book of Mormon and he was like "Wait, I have a question.  It keeps saying Nephi is obedient.  Does that mean he is fat?"  We were laughing so hard and we had to explain obedient is not a derivative of obese.  It was too good.

Wednesday--We had our first district meeting on Wednesday.  It was good and I learned some great tips.  I love seeing how inspired missionary leaders are.  They taught about seriously every little thing I have had questions about or we have been struggling with.  It's so amazing to me to see the power of prayer.  Whenever I ask Heavenly Father about something, He always sends me someone with the answer or whenever I am having a hard time, He always sends a tender mercy to cheer me up.  I love it so much.

Thursday--Thursday was hilarious.  We taught Yifan again and he just eats the gospel up.  He told us he feels we were sent to him for a reason and that was awesome.  He is progressing so well and we hope he will continue to come to church and be baptized soon!  We also had a lesson with a girl named Elizabeth.  Holy cow was that interesting.  We found her on campus a few days earlier and she told us she is becoming a nun soon but she was interested in how we are sisters too.  We gave her a card and got her number.  We were planning on calling her on Thursday but she called us on Wednesday night which NEVER happens.  We were way stoked.  We thought she had looked at and wanted to learn more or something but we were way off base.  Basically her whole purpose was to try to get us to convert to Catholicism and save us!  Here is a direct quote "I admire that you are out here working, but it just makes me so sad it's not for the right church."  I have never wanted to Bible bash so hard!  That took some serious restraint.  But it ended on a good note.  We gave her a Book of Mormon so maybe something will come out of it but that was definitely a tense lesson.  We had dinner with a member that night too which was so nice!  I am always so grateful when that happens because our ward is a bunch of starving college students so it is very selfless of them to feed us.

Friday--On Friday we went out to lunch with a member named Helen.  She is so solid.  She is from Troy, Michigan which is funny--Helen of Troy.  She is Chinese and she got baptized in January and she still hasn't told her parents she is Mormon...we are working on helping her tell them.  Anyway, she always helps us with rides and goes to lessons with us.  We went to Chipotle and then went to teach a recent convert named Nang.  Nang is from Burma and has a hard time speaking English.  It's crazy how diverse it is here!  We have taught people from Germany, Uganda, Iraq, Burma, China, and so many other places.  I love it.  On Friday night we had Book of Mormon study and Bruce was able to come.  He is so awesome!  We read 2 Nephi 2 and he loved how it focuses on happiness and joy.  He said "I like reading the Bible and I feel happy when I read it.  But I feel so much happier when I read the Book of Mormon."  It was such a wonderful experience.

Saturday--Saturday was a bit harder.  We didn't have any lessons scheduled,which was a bummer, so we had a busy day of finding! I am curious to see if my Sao Paulo mission is mainly teaching or finding.  I feel like we have a good balance here.  We took a bus and did some bus finding and then went to some apartments far away from where we live.  It was hard because it was a Saturday and most of the people there were really drunk and not very nice to us.  I also left my bus pass on the bus because I was talking to the girl next to me and I forgot to grab it on our way off (but I got her number! Silver lining?).  I was feeling pretty dejected but the Lord kept sending things to help me out.  It is amazing how that happens!

Sunday--Church was awesome!  The members here are so strong and work so hard to keep the ward running.  They are so good about helping the missionaries with their work.  I feel so blessed to be in such a missionary-oriented ward.  After church we visited with a less active and then had another lesson with Bruce.  Bruce and Yifan both came to church and they loved it.  Anyway, the lesson with Bruce was so good.  We read 2 Nephi 31 with him and talked about baptism and the priesthood.  We ended with challenging him to be baptized on June 29th!  He accepted, but he is nervous for it.  We reassured him we can always push it back, but it's good to have goals.  He said the closing prayer and said "Dear Heavenly Father, I am so nervous but so excited for this baptism date.  I already know it is true and that Mormon is good for everyone.  I love the Book of Mormon because it makes me feel like I have a torch in my hand when I am in the darkness."  Needless to say we were all trying to hide our tears when he finished his prayer but we are just so excited!  It's been amazing to see the blessings from Lansing.  Hopefully he continues to progress!  Both he and Yifan are coming to FHE tonight so we are excited.  

Anyway, there is the week wrap up.  I just love being a missionary and I am so grateful for all the amazing people I have been able to meet!

That's about it.  Thanks for your continued love and support and thanks for the birthday wishes!  I am excited to be in Lansing for it.  Also I am turning 20?  What?  I can't believe it.  

Love you all!

Sister Dixon

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hello from a Michigander!

Sisters Dixon, Probert, and Christiansen

June 10, 2013

Hi family!!!

GO SPARTANS is right because I am a campus missionary at MSU!  My new address is: 
4912 South Hagadorn #103
East Lansing, Michigan 48823  

Ok first of all let me start out by saying I absolutely love it here!  And people really are called Michiganders so that's kind of fun.  I will give you an overview of all that's happened so far... sorry if it's long but I have so much to say!

So we arrived at the Lansing airport on Wednesday afternoon.  We were greeted by President Hess and his wife, the assistants, and all of the missionaries going to Lansing (the visa waiters arrived an hour later than everyone else).  Overall, there were 27 new missionaries coming in to the mission.  We packed up all of our stuff and drove to the mission home.  The mission home is in the same city as MSU (East Lansing).  We spent the rest of the day doing training and we even got to go on campus for a bit and go finding just to see what it was like.  I had tons of fun.  I was exhausted, but it was awesome to finally be talking to real people instead of fake investigators.  I do miss the MTC though.  We had a nice home-cooked dinner at the mission home and then spent the night there.  They have so many beds!  They were so accommodating of everyone.  On Thursday, we woke up and had more training.  Then, we met our companions and trainers!  It was awesome.

I am in a trio as you have probably been able to see by the pictures you received from the Hesses (if you received them).  By the way, I probably look way tired in them so if you think I am sickly or anything, don't worry.  My trainer's name is Sister Probert.  She is from Oregon and she has been here since January.  She is AWESOME!  You were right, I didn't have to worry about my trainer.  She is the best example to me and has been so helpful with everything.  I am so grateful for her.  When we teach lessons, she just connects with the investigators so well.  It's so touching to watch. I am trying every day to be more like that!  She definitely teaches by the Spirit as well.  Our other companion's name is SIster Christiansen from San Francisco.  She is absolutely hilarious.  She has an incredible knowledge of the scriptures.  Also, she was on a Danish reality TV show that you should look up.  She said the episode of her getting eliminated was absolutely hilarious. Nick, I think you would enjoy it.  It's call Alt for Danmark or something along those lines but she has great stories.  She has been to Sweden too.  Oh and my zone leader is from Sweden!  I can't remember his last name though but he didn't know who you were.  Anyway, we all get along really well so that is such a blessing!  We are still trying to perfect the art of teaching in a trio but I know that will come.

Once we met each other, we dropped our stuff off at our apartment and got to work.  It turns out my new area is MSU!  I am a campus missionary and I couldn't be happier about it.  When we went finding on the first day I kept thinking how cool it would be to be serving there so I was way stoked to find that out.  I love working with the students.  It's been kind of hard to find people to teach because of summer break but we go door knocking a lot to try to find.  Sister Probert said it was almost harder when school was in session because the number of people was overwhelming.  You didn't know who you should talk to.  There is an institute building right across the street from campus and then our apartment is right in the same parking lot.  It's awesome.  We live in the "Living Center.”  It's actually a church building that is dedicated and everything.  Pretty much everyone who lives in the same complex as us is LDS so we have gotten to know the ward members really well.  We are serving in a student ward and the people are so solid.  The ward is small, but so strong.  We don't have a car which is a blessing and a curse.  We can only teach people really close to us (we usually teach people at the institute building) but I am glad we don't have to worry about a car.  We also get tons of mosquito bites.  Any remedies?  Also, you should look up about a Michigan left turn.  I don't know if you have ever heard about it, but it's this crazy traffic law I do not understand so I am grateful I don't have to drive here.  I absolutely love my area though!  We are about 5 minutes away from the mission home and the assistants also work on campus with us so we have great resources all around.  I just feel so blessed!

We went door knocking on Thursday in some apartments.  We didn't find a ton of people, but we found someone golden!  Like seriously a miracle.  His name is Bruce and he is from Shanghai (most of the people we teach are from China.  I guess a ton of Chinese people go to MSU for some reason.  Like 3/4 of the investigators we have are Chinese.  They are great and they always give us referrals (hard to understand, but so great).  He was so interested in all we had to say though.  We taught him on Saturday and then he came to our ward bbq right after and he hit it off with all of the members.  He came to church on Sunday too and really enjoyed it!  We are so grateful we were able to find him and hopefully he keeps progressing.

On Thursday night we went to a member’s house for dinner.  We don't get a ton of dinner appointments so I was really excited to have one on our first night.  Ashley had us over and get this--she served in Brazil!  So I got to speak a little Portuguese on my first night there.  There is one other member in our ward from Brazil so I try to falar com eles com frequencia.  It was so cool though!  And both of them have offered to help me with my language study.

On Friday we had weekly planning and then we taught some lessons.  Sister Probert found an investigator named Rooney a couple weeks ago and we have been teaching him almost every day.  He is from Iraq and he has a crazy story.  I can't even imagine some of the things he has gone through.  He is solid though.  He wants to be baptized but he wants a testimony of the Book of Mormon first.  We have been trying to help him with that but I love meeting with him.  He calls me Colorado instead of Sister Dixon because he said that's his favorite state even though he has never been there.  Whenever we ask him who should say the prayer he always points at me and says "Colorado." 

We also do this thing called Book of Mormon every Friday night where investigators and members can come and read The Book of Mormon and talk about it.  We brought one of our investigators named Kenzy.  She moved on Sunday though :(  so she isn't an investigator anymore but it was still an awesome experience.  There was an investigator there named Yassr and he is also from Iraq.  He is getting baptized soon and he is a hoot.  He definitely speaks his mind.  Nick, I told him the Arabic I know from Islam and the Gospel.  I guess that class was good for something!  

On Saturday we went finding with not too much luck but then we had the ward bbq.  Sunday was good too.  We taught Rooney again and found out some of the elders in a family ward are passing us one of their investigators because she will be in the singles ward.  Her name is Brooke and we are SO excited to teach her!  She has a baptismal date on June 29th so it looks like I will witness one baptism here.  It is such a miracle.  We get to meet with her the first time this week and I am really excited.  She has only been taking lessons for a week but she knows it is true and has such a solid testimony.  The people in Lansing are awesome!

Here are some general things about Lansing.  It is very green and so beautiful!  The MSU campus is really nice and pretty too.  We are up there almost every day and it is gorgeous.  The weather is pretty nice.  It hasn't been hot at all which I am really grateful for.  It rains or drizzles almost every day and it is pretty humid. Kirst, my hair hasn't really been wavy but when I straighten it, it flips out weird and stuff.  I need to experiment with some things though and see what happens with the humidity.  When it does get hot, though, the mosquitoes really attack.  I swear the mosquitoes here are like some crazy breed--the tracker jackers of mosquitoes!  I got around 20 bites the other night when we were tracting.  I have been trying to use that roll on repellant, mom, but they still go crazy.  And my bites have been getting HUGE!  It's disgusting.  I don't itch them either.  I know you probably don't believe me, but I figure if I can invite people to live the Word of Wisdom and challenge them with that then I should be able to restrain from itching.  I am trying to keep an eternal perspective and not go with the temporary satisfaction.  Anyway, I am trying to wear my longer skirts more often for protection and to hide my legs!  They have bites all over and it isn't a cute look.

Even writing that, though, I feel so blessed!  That is really the only thing I have found here to be remotely disappointed with.  It will be hard to leave.  I am already dreading the day.  It's weird though, because I am still so excited to go to Brazil.  I also have to keep reminding myself the living conditions will definitely not be so nice in Brazil.  I have to enjoy it while it lasts!

Well, that's about it.  I have unlimited e-mail time so tell me if my letters get long-winded.  I could talk for hours about the people here!  I hope everyone is doing well.  I pray for all of you.  I hope you have a great week!


Sister Dixon

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sharing the Colorado flag with Sister Hargrove, who is currently serving in the Colorado Springs  mission

June 4, 2013

Hi all!!!

Thanks for e-mailing me from Texas.  It sounds like Dallas is treating you well!  I am glad you are all having fun and that the car trip was safe.

Honestly, I am SO EXCITED!  I can't believe I will be in the mission field tomorrow!  And Michigan is perfect.  I found out my mission president's name is President Hess.  I can't wait to meet him 

Ok here are some general things.  It will probably be short because I am pretty scattered right now and I get to talk to you tomorrow!!! YIPEE!!!

Here is my flight plan.  We are flying Delta.  I leave the MTC at 4 am and my flight leaves from SLC at 7.  I might have some time there to call.  (I am not sure what any of these times will be Texas time so I am sorry if it's really early or really late).  We arrive in MN at 10:29 for a layover and then I board the plane again at 1:05 so I will definitely call then.  I drop down in Lansing at 3:34 pm!  I can't wait to be there and see what it's like.  I can't wait to talk to you all.  I will call cell phones since you are gone.  Also, if you have any questions write them down because I would love to answer them! 

The devotionals here continue to be awesome.  We also had a lesson yesterday from a Brazilian native.  He is from Sao Paulo and told us so much about where we are going!  I am so excited to be there!  I can't wait to serve in both places.  Things like that make me realize how special the MTC is and how much I will miss it when I am gone. 

Sister Cox, Sister Empey, and I are the only ones from our district left now.  Things are kind of lonely but we are busy with preparations before we leave tomorrow.  I can't wait to be in the field. Sorry this was brief!

I love you!

Sister Dixon