Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tasty Twist--a post-baptism tradition!

August 12, 2013

Dear family,

You are near and dear to my heart.  We had another awesome week here at MSU!  Ah, I can't wait for fall to start.  Everyone says it's nutso with all the people here--especially on game days!  It's going to be crazy with so many people to talk to but I am really excited.  We spent time calling people this past week who were gone for the summer but tons of them are coming back and are still interested in learning more about the gospel message.  I am SO STOKED!

Here were some highlights from last week:

-I got to use Portuguese this week on multiple occasions!  It was really exciting.  On Monday after P-day we went door knocking at some apartments.  We met a guy named Carlos who is from Mexico and only knows a bit of English.  We shared what we could in English, but he was pretty confused.  So I tried talking in Spanuguese and it kinda worked!  He was interested in the message and we will hopefully meet with him soon.  Also, I met some Brazilians on the bus this week.  So exciting!!!!!  Sister Probert was talking with them at the front of the bus and yelled back to where I was, "Sister Dixon, they are from Brazil!"  I basically ran to the front of the bus to talk to them and then when I got there all Portuguese I had learned was gone.  I was able to remember a little bit but holy cow was I nervous!  They were from Sao Paulo too which was cool! They spoke English, too.  They were so nice and helped me so much!  Both of these experiences were awesome, but humbling as well.  Just keep me in your prayers that I can learn Portuguese when I get to Brazil because it will be pretty rough :)

-Our investigator Dennis is progressing well.  He stopped drinking tea which is awesome and we are so excited for him!  He didn't come to church yesterday though which was a bummer because we need to postpone his baptism now.  And he will be out of town this week but we have faith he will continue to progress well when he gets back.  He is actually going to Kentucky so I hope he runs into Elise!

-We have been doing tons of service lately which I just love because people have been moving in and moving out quite a bit.  We helped our friend Krystal pack up and move this week.  Holy cow she had SO much stuff!  We all got back to our apartment and were so grateful all of our possessions can fit in 2 suitcases.  And Nick and Chris, she had like 3 times the amount of stuff I did whenever I moved.  It was crazy, but we were happy to be able to help!
-There was another baptism this Saturday for the elders’ investigator named Yi Ming.  We were asked to sing at his baptism too and holy cow, it was so funny.  We decided to do a mash-up of “Teach Me to Walk in the Light” and “Be Still, My Soul.”  We practiced so many different versions of it--so many I forgot which one we were actually doing.  We got up there to sing and we were supposed to start singing the words to “Teach Me to Walk” but to the tune of “Be Still, My Soul.”  I completely forgot and while my companions were both singing what we planned, I started singing to the tune of “Teach Me to Walk.”  It sounded sooo bad.  And then I realized what I was doing and stopped and then laughed to myself and everyone just felt really awkward.  Luckily I was able to figure it out and get the end of the song right.  I felt pretty stupid, but it was a great baptism despite that.  Our streak of singing at baptisms might be coming to an end soon though after that performance (http://youtu.be/nP8mgCxNqU4).  Stay tuned.

-We ate at a member's house for dinner last night.  He went to Brazil on his mission and cooked Brazilian food and it was soooo delicious!  It's fun to see how I can be in Michigan but still have Brazilian influences. Tender mercies!

-Also, how cool is Abish?!  I love reading about her in the Book of Mormon.  She has such a passion for sharing the gospel and has such amazing faith!  I have read her story multiple times this week and each time I am just amazed by her.  She has taught me many things and I am grateful we can liken the scriptures to our lives.  Mom and dad, how would you feel about having a granddaughter named Abish? I just admire her a lot, so don't be surprised when it happens.

Anyways, we had a great week.  It went so fast, which I am really sad about.  I can't believe we only have 2 weeks left of this transfer!  I am nervous to see what will happen.  We have an exciting week planned.  Sister Christiansen and I are going on exchanges to Holt tonight with Sister Smith and then we have zone training on Friday.  It should be amazing!

Sorry if there are tons of typos, the keyboard is way sticky.  Love you all!!  Have a great week,

Sister Dixon

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brooke's baptism

August 5, 2013

Hello everyone!

Thanks for writing.  We had such an awesome week!  I decided I am just going to write a list of all of the good things that happened.  We had so many tender mercies and I was just overwhelmed by how happy missionary work makes me!

-Bus finding this week was AMAZING!  We had a dinner appointment at a member’s house this week but he lives kind of far away.  We knew the bus ride was going to take like 2 and a half hours so we were praying it would be good for us even though we would have to spend longer on the bus than we would like. And holy cow our prayers were answered!  We met some awesome people on the bus and then when we got to the bus station in downtown Lansing we saw 2 guys who we have been trying to get ahold of all week. We had met them before on the bus and both of them came up to us at the station and said they had days off from work and we were able to schedule return appointments.  It was so cool!  Like what are the odds we all would have been at the bus station at the same time?!  Then we got back on the bus and I sat by a lady. She looked over at the Book of Mormon in my hands and said "Oh the Book of Mormon, eh?"  I thought she was going to complain about the Church but then she was like "Ya my whole family in Washington is already LDS.  I just moved here and I have been looking for a Mormon church!"  It was so cool!  She told me the missionaries in Washington would meet with her and her children all the time and read the Book of Mormon with her.  She told me she knows it's true and she wanted to come to church.  Unfortunately, we won't be teaching her because she has children but it was still such a testimony people are being prepared and they just need to be found.  OH and her daughter's name is Cumorah.  Uhhh, ok?!  I just kept thinking "This can't be real."  But the Lord definitely provides!

-The dinner appointment we went to was awesome.  We went to Matt's house. Matt went to Georgia on his mission and he cooked us a real Southern meal complete with collard greens, okra, and fried chicken ( I have no clue how to spell any of that).  It was delicious! And also very heavy...he said one elder in his mission gained 100 pounds when he was out!  Holy moly.  

-We have been meeting lots with a less-active named Silvestro.  He is so cool but really does not believe the Book of Mormon can be true anymore.  He is trying to find truth but keeps going to anti for the answers. Anyway, this week we taught him about how to feel the Holy Ghost and he interrupted in the middle of us talking and said "I just wanted to say I feel I really needed to hear that today so I am really grateful you are teaching me this."   It was so tender.  Plus he came to the Book of Mormon class we have every Friday and to a baptism on Saturday!  He wasn't able to make it to church but he texted us and told us he was fasting  It was awesome and I just love seeing how him coming back to the gospel is making him happy!

-We got to give a church tour this week and I loved it!  Greg and Erin are getting married in November and Erin's mom wanted a tour of the stake center because they are going to use it for the reception.  Erin's mom isn't super supportive of Erin joining the Church so we really wanted to make a good impression.  It was so awesome though!  She absolutely loved everything about the stake center and we know she could feel the Spirit in the chapel.  Erin bore her testimony on Sunday about how her mom's heart has been softened and it is just amazing to see how the Spirit works. 

-We have an investigator who has been taking the lessons for about a year now.  His name is Dennis and he is from Uganda.  He went to church last year but hasn't been since and recently we met with him and committed him to baptism!  He even came to church this past week!  He still has some things to work out but we are hoping by the end of this transfer he will be baptized because we know he is ready and that it will bless his life so much!

-We have continued meeting with Bruce and Yifan.  They are both super active in the Church.  They go to all of the activities and just love every minute of it!  They are even going to the temple this week to do baptisms! So cool!  Yifan passed the sacrament for the first time this Sunday and he said, "It was such an honor to serve God."  And Bruce blessed the sacrament so that was really cool to see.

-We had interviews with President Hess on Friday.  It was amazing!  He is such a great man and I am so inspired by how close he is to the Spirit.  We helped Sister Hess weed the stake center while we were waiting to be interviewed and after, President and Sister Hess took the sister missionaries to Panera for lunch.  It was delicious.  It's a good time to be a missionary and an even better time to be a sister missionary! The examples of President and Sister Hess have touched my life and helped me be a better missionary.  I am so grateful I have gotten to know them.
-We went to a baptism on Saturday for Brooke!  She is awesome.  We were going to start teaching her but her house is far away so the elders got her.  She found the missionaries about a month ago and was just super elect!  She was supposed to get baptized a while back but then she went out of town so we were so happy it finally happened.  Sister Christiansen, Sister Probert, and I sang at the baptism and we are singing at another one this Saturday.  We make quite the trio :)  We love singing together and also Yifan and a few other Chinese people at the baptism recorded us singing and said they were going to put it on YouTube...so look for us onTop 10 videos this week (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg0-ClpNdRw, see also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1pBsv8xzd0)!  The baptism was amazing though!  We had to schedule it in Holt, Michigan because our stake center was being used for something else.  (Kirst I thought you would be delighted to know there is a city named Holt in Michigan!)  It was kind of a bummer because it was far away so not many of our ward members made it but all of the Chinese people were there!  Frank even paid 20 bucks to take a taxi because he thought it was so important.  I love them so much.  Bruce gave a talk at the baptism and Frank gave the closing prayer (he typed it out--so adorable).  It was inspiring and I am so happy for Brooke!

-We went to Nang's house for dinner this week.  Nang is a recent convert from Burma.  The food was amazing but sosooo spicy which I am not used to!  She is so cool though but has a hard time with English and it's sad because the Book of Mormon isn't in her native language yet.  Hopefully soon though!  It's just been amazing to meet these people from all over the world.  She also sang in Burmese for us and it was incredible!  Such a fun night with her.

-I love my companions!  I love spending each day with them and I am just so blessed to be with them.  We can't believe the transfer is already half way over.  It's gone by so fast!  We are just trying to enjoy every moment we have with each other because we have no clue what is going to happen next transfer!

That's about it.  I just feel so blessed to be here and I love the people so much!  God really knew what He was doing when He sent me here for the time being.

p.s. Sister Christiansen has been sleep talking a ton lately!   The other night I woke up to her kneeling beside my bed and saying "Join the Church" (don't worry, she said I could put that)!

Have a great week!

Sister Dixon

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

video

July 29, 2013

Oi everyone!

Thanks for writing.  I am so happy to hear everyone is doing so well.  Can you believe it is August this week?  Time has really been flying and it's so crazy!  The semester is going to start up soon and we are really excited.  Bruce and Yifan and countless other Chinese members have been sharing the gospel with their friends back in China who will be coming back for the fall so we are just anxiously awaiting their arrival.

This week was a little slow.  Bruce and Yifan have been our investigators since I arrived so it was weird not having either of them as investigators this week.  I think that's the best way to lose an investigator, though :)  We have been working this week to try to build up our investigator pools.  We saw so many amazing things happen through the week and I have faith we will find more of the elect very soon!

Here were some highlights of the week:

On Monday we went to Bishop Solomon's house for a steak dinner.  It was so delicious!  He is an amazing man and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with him here.  But holy cow it was a trial to be in a house with children!  His wife just had a baby a couple of months ago and I really wanted to hold her.  With us being in a singles ward, we haven't really had to think about the whole children rule but I was very much reminded on Monday.  His kids were so fun to be around, though, and I am just grateful for his family and their influence on the singles ward.

We were blessed with so many appointments this week and some new investigators who we think will really progress.  I love being on a campus because we meet up with people in the library and such and get to teach them there.  It's weird at times because I feel like I haven't really left BYU (There is a bell tower here!  And no, it doesn't play “Come, Come Ye Saints.”  Oh, and HBLL is way nicer than the MSU library.) but I love the diversity it brings to missionary work. Missionary work really can be done in so many ways and I love being on a campus.  People at this pivotal time in their lives are trying to figure out who they are and what they really want in life and we love being able to bring them the gospel message.

We got a referral from Salt Lake this week which rarely ever happens!  It turned out there was a Chinese lady who went to visit (or wisit as she said) the SLC temple.  She felt the spirit there and requested for us to come bring her the Book of Mormon in Chinese.  We got her address and went to visit with her and it was so fun!  It was like geocaching or a scavenger hunt or something.  I really got the biggest adrenaline rush before knocking on her door and we were able to teach her an awesome lesson when we went.  Hopefully she will continue to be interested, but that was really awesome!

Things are definitely changing here and we can feel it start to progress towards fall.  The weather is really cooling down and raining a ton--I got to break out my raincoat and my umbrella that I thought I wouldn't need until Brazil!  My umbrella even turned inside out one day as we were walking because it was so windy.  We looked like idiots, but we were having a great time in the rainstorm!  The ward is changing too.  We are having so many people coming and going. It's pretty sad actually because some of the members who I have gotten really close to are leaving soon so they can go to school other places.  I love them tons and I will miss them!  But that's kind of how missions are.  We are getting sooo excited for fall semester to start though!  There were many people who were awesome investigators way back in April who had to leave for summer break so we are excited to be able to meet with them again.  

I really do love it here and I am excited to see what this week brings!  Things are awesome with Sister Christensen and Sister Probert as well.  They are my best friends and I love being able to do something I love so much with people whom I have grown to love so much,  Life couldn't be better!

Have a great week everyone!

Sister Dixon 
Yifan's baptism (Yifan is on the far right)

July 22, 2013

Hey everyone!  

Holy cow we had an AMAZING week.  We saw so many prayers answered and miracles have continued to happen.  And Yifan got baptized!  It was the best night ever--he is so happy!  Everyone who attended was so touched by the tender spirit there.

But more on that later...

This week was good.  We had some lessons and finding opportunities, but we had so many appointments fall through as well.  We have found some amazing people who we want to meet with but for one reason or another they haven't been coming to appointments or we can't get a hold of them or whatnot.  It has been a bummer, but yesterday we were sincerely praying for help in that area.  Our prayers were answered! We called so many people last night and we got so many appointments for this week.  We have faith they will come and progress so that was a miracle.  We helped a girl in our ward pack up her things this week because she is moving somewhere else. She is blind, so I was really happy we were able to help her out.  I can't imagine how difficult it must be for her and she is an inspiration to me!  She is so happy all of the time despite her trial.  People are so cool.  We also had a unique service opportunity this week to help a guy in our ward clean his fish tank.  It was awesome.  But I way overused the phrase "fishionary work" so I think I need to tone it down a bit.

Mainly this week I had so many times where I was able to see the power of prayer and how God always answers our prayers.  Along with the experience mentioned before, so many other distinct times where our prayers were answered in such an amazing way!  I lost my nametag a couple weeks ago and I was really sad about it.  It was my magnetic one and I still had my other one but I hated poking holes through my shirts with it and the magnetic one is just way more convenient.  I was praying so much that I would find it and I had checked EVERYWHERE.  Seriously everywhere.  Well, anyway, on P-day last week, I was emptying the trash cans and I had a feeling to check in one bin one more time even though I had looked there before. Sure enough, it was in there and I was so happy!  The Lord cares about every little detail.  We also were teaching a less-active named Silvestro on Friday night.  We had multiple appointments that had fallen through on Friday and so all of us were hoping one would work out and we would have an opportunity to teach. Silvestro is usually right on time to appointments.  It was like 10 minutes after he was supposed to meet with us and we were losing faith so we decided to kneel and pray he would come.  Literally right after we said "amen" he walked in the door.  It was a moment straight out of The Best Two Years or something!  

The baptism was on Saturday night.  It turned out another guy named Nick got baptized as well!  Nick is from Jonesville which is like an hour away from East Lansing. He found the church's website randomly one night and just showed up to our ward one day.  It was great!  The elders in Jonesville have been teaching him but he drives every week to our ward so he can be in the singles ward.  He even comes to FHE!  He has such devotion--that is so much time to drive.  Well, we got to the church building a little later than we hoped to because the member giving us a ride was running late.  We got there and it turned out no one had towels so we were stressed.  Also, the only people who were there were us, Bruce and Yifan, the elders, Nick, and the elders from Jonesville. We were really worried at how the baptism was going to turn out!  We decided to go in a different room and pray and ask that more people would come.  Sure enough, we walked out of the room and tons of people were in the room!  Also, Sister Hess brought towels so that was such a miracle. We started the baptism and instantly the Spirit came.  It was so cool to see the contrast between stress and the peace the Spirit brings.  Lyons (a Chinese member) gave a talk about baptism to start and it was amazing.  He memorized the whole thing and it was so powerful.  He even challenged everyone there to spread the gospel at the end so we were pretty happy :)  Then Bruce baptized Yifan!  It was honestly the most tender thing I have ever seen.  Bruce was so nervous and whenever we looked over at him during Lyons' talk he was reciting the baptismal prayer to himself.  So cute--it went well though!  Yifan had to be baptized twice because his hand popped up.  The whole week, he kept asking us if he could be in the water longer because he wanted to enjoy the feeling longer, so part of me wonders if he did it on purpose haha.  It was just so touching.  They gave each other a big hug afterwards and I was seriously the happiest I have ever been!  Nick got baptized too and there was just a really sweet spirit there!  Not going to lie, I was a crybaby and I am usually not a crier but the Spirit was just so strong.  

After, Bishop Solomon got up and talked.  I don't know if I have said much about him, but he is AMAZING!  He is from Hawaii and is a convert to the church.  He is really tough and intimidating and he speaks with so much power.  At the baptism, though, he was bawling just because the Spirit was sooo strong.  It was amazing and everyone who was there came away a little more converted to the gospel of Christ.  Yifan bore his testimony afterwards and it was incredible.  He also bore it in church and it's just amazing to see the impact he has been having on everyone.  These new converts are SO excited about the gospel.  It really makes me think about how much I have been taking the knowledge we have for granted! My favorite line Yifan said was, "I believe I will hold firmly to the rod for the rest of my life and say goodbye to those guys in the strange building."  We all went and got ice cream after and it was just a perfect night.

I felt so much joy and I know it was from the Holy Ghost!  The Holy Ghost is something I have definitely taken for granted and I love studying more about it and learning how it can help us in our lives.  In the BD, under the entry earnest it says, "The Lord gives us His Holy Spirit in this life as a foretaste of the joy of eternal life. The Spirit is also the Lord’s surety that He will fulfill His promise to give eternal life to the faithful."  Isn't that cool?  The joy I felt during the baptism from the Holy Ghost that was present is only a small part of what we will feel in eternal life.  I love the joy we get from being missionaries and bringing more people to Christ!  And I am so excited we get to prepare for eternal life now.  

Oh and there was a guy at the baptism named Pavel Yurevich.  He is interning in Troy for the summer and he is from Russia.  It turns out grandpa gave him his patriarchal blessing so that was a really cool connection to make!  

As you can see, it was an amazing week and here are some funny things I thought I would share.

-One of our Chinese members named Frank rides his bike everywhere.  He needed sunglasses but he didn't have any so instead he found a Darth Vader mask and started wearing that. We DIED the first time we saw him just cruising around East Lansing with the mask on.  I am going to have to get a picture! 

-Yifan just cracks me up.  We were at the institute and he saw a poster about BYU Hawaii.  He pointed to it and said "BYU and Hawaii?  That sounds like a synonym for paradise."  And he kept asking us what the typical amount of time was for someone to be underwater.  He seriously wanted to be underneath for like a minute.  Also whenever he holds a firefly in his hand he always says, "Thank you Heavenly Father."  I honestly wish I could talk like a Chinese person through e-mail because you just have to hear it...they are just so wonderful.

I don't know if I ever told you but Sister Probert has been at MSU her whole mission.  This is her 5th transfer here and she feels like it might be her last.  We are thinking this will be our last transfer together so we are trying to make every single moment and day count!  Well, that's about it from my end.  I feel so blessed to be here and I know I am here now for a reason!

Keep up the good work!  Love,

Sister Dixon