Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 4, 2013

Hey everyone! 

Time is seriously passing so quickly.  I cannot believe it's P-day again and this transfer is rapidly coming to an end!  This week was wonderful.  The Halloween spirit was in the air.  

We started off the week by teaching an investigator named Sandy on Monday night.  Sister Nuttall and Sister Anson found her two transfers ago.  They were driving down the road and Sister Nuttall felt the distinct impression they should stop the car and go knock on her door and sure enough, she was interested!  I think that is just the neatest experience.  Sandy is AMAZING.  She knows it is true and takes notes during our lessons which is really awesome.  She is kind of hard to get a hold of though and her daughter is holding her back in a way.  Her daughter, who is about 7, recently started going to a different church and is really involved with all of the activities there.  Sandy doesn't want to tear her away from that so it's a difficult situation, but she is definitely progressing, so we are grateful.

On Tuesday, we had a ward Halloween party which was so much fun.  Sandy came with her daughter.  Her daughter kept calling us "The Holy Girls" which was really funny.  They both had a really good time and it was so fun to see all of the little kids dressed up in costumes.  It reminded me a ton of Halloween in Colorado--many of the costumes were covered up by winter coats and scarves and mittens but everyone had a really good time trunk or treating.  Also, pretty much everyone in the ward made jokes about us dressing up as missionaries for Halloween which I just loved.

Wednesday we had our weekly scripture study class.  An investigator named Kelle came.  Kelle is absolutely incredible.  I love her so much!  She has been investigating for a really long time.  She knows it's all true but she doesn't want to get baptized because she doesn't want to discriminate against other's kind of a hard situation. She comes to scripture study every week though and is such an amazing woman!  She used to live in Highlands Ranch a while ago so that was a fun connection to make.  She has been having some really difficult situations recently.  Her father passed away a month or so ago and she said her kids have been asking about the plan of salvation and we are going over there to teach it to them tonight.  I am excited to testify of the things I have learned about the spirit world from grandpa recently passing.  It's amazing to see how much the gospel really helps us in those dark times.       

Thursday was Halloween.  It was POURING RAIN the whole entire day which was so much fun!  We went door knocking out in the rain (my favorite--miracles ALWAYS happen) but we had to stop at 5.  We dropped by a less-active’s house and taught her.  It was pretty funny because her last name is Gentile.  We felt like we should read Ether 12 with her.  In the past when we have visited her, we usually aren't able to get a very solid message in because she diverts the conversation and is very talkative, but this chapter talked about the gentiles and she really wanted to read more about it!  Haha, the Lord definitely works in mysterious ways.  After we dropped by another less active’s and helped her pass out Halloween candy.  Our favorite costume was a little girl dressed up as a founding father.  It was revolutionary. 

On Saturday we had interviews with President Hess in the morning.  He is amazing, and I learned so much from him.  We talked about the Spirit and Christlike attributes.  When we have the Holy Ghost, we are able to cultivate our Christlike attributes.  When we are exhibiting those attributes, we are able to more fully feel the influence of the Spirit in our lives.  It's really amazing to see that these 2 connect so well and they fully help us to become like our Lord and Savior.  He also shared with me that they haven't heard anything about my visa so it's looking like I will spend Christmas in Michigan!  He said there is a chance I could get permanently reassigned here.  It's crazy!  I didn't really ever think that could be a possibility, but I am excited to serve where the Lord needs me.  He used a quote I really liked:  "Life is hard by the yard but a cinch by the inch."  Isn't that wonderful?  Focusing on the present is the key to being happy in life.  If we dwell too much on the responsibilities of the future or focus unnecessarily on the mistakes of the past, we won't have a good today. 

We went on Saturday night and taught Jaszzameen.  (We just learned that's really how you spell her name, haha.)  She got a priesthood blessing from Brother Winder and it was really powerful!  She was able to feel the calming influence of the Holy Ghost and the immediate contrast it brought from the stress of her life.  We went over and read with her after church on Sunday as well and she is progressing well.  I love her so much and I am so blessed to be able to witness how the gospel is positively changing her life.

Things are going so well and the members are amazing too.  We haven't had a car this week and they have been so willing to help with rides and appointments and feed us dinners!  The Hunters fed us again and their girls were so cute.  They wrote notes to us and gave us some of their Halloween candy. 

One thing I really loved in gospel study this week was reading Ether 6:5.  It talks about how the Lord sends a "furious wind" to direct the barges across the waters.  To me, that could be interpreted as a trial in their life.  It's funny to see how the trial came because the brother of Jared asked that they could receive steering to get to their destination.  Sometimes, we pray for blessings and guidance.  The Lord helps us to get to that destination and answers our prayers--but not always in the way we expect.  Sometimes, the path we take might seem like a "furious wind" is blowing against us but really it helps us to reach who we need to become much faster than a gentle breeze.  It made me think of a quote by Neal A. Maxwell:  "How many times, naively, have we vigorously protested while on our way to a blessing?"  I love it!  The church is true and trials are true!
Thanks for all your support and love!  I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve my loving Heavenly Father.  Have a great week!

Sister Dixon

Friday, November 22, 2013

At Hu Wen Qi's first baptism
October 28, 2013

Ola familia! 

Thanks for all your e-mails and sweet hellos.  Aren't we all so blessed to be in a family with each other?  Seriously, though, our family really is so great!  This week was amazing!  It flew by.  I really can't believe it is P-day again.  Time is so bonkers on a mission. 

The weather here is definitely getting chillier.  This past week we had a little snow even!  I love tracting in crazy weather though!  The other day we got to go door knocking in some hail and it was SO fun!  It makes you feel like you are working harder for some reason.  Luckily we have a car so the weather usually isn't too terrible, but we are losing our car this Wednesday for a week so hopefully the cold weather can hold out for just a little while longer!  I checked on the missionary portal and it said it should be in the 50s all week so that is definitely manageable. Phew. 

It really was such a great week though.  We experienced a MIRACLE!  Thomas has not been able to come to church because of his work schedule.  He said it's impossible to get work off at Walmart on Sundays.  He even had a family reunion over the summer and they didn't give him work off so he had to call in sick.  Anyway, we fasted with him last Sunday so that a miracle could happen and he could keep the Sabbath day holy.  He told us during the week he couldn't come to church, but he would come watch a baptism on Saturday.  We were sad, but happy he would come feel the Spirit at the baptism.  Well, he texted on Friday and said he got work off!  He switched his days around and he came to sacrament meeting.  He is student age, so we went to the MSU ward with him and this week we will be passing him off.  The Spirit was so strong at the meeting and I felt like the talks were directly applicable to him.  That was such a beautiful answer to our fast and I could feel Heavenly Father's power and love in my life.

We had exchanges this week and Sister Smith came to Williamston with me.  It was my first day in the mission with only one companion, haha.  I am so grateful for her wonderful example.  We found such an amazing man as we were door knocking and we got to tract on a street called Mullett Street.  It was a great day! 

Sister Anson shared something cool from her sister this week.  The gospel is full of paradoxes.  For example, we learn in the scriptures when we find our lives, we lose them; but when we lose our lives for Christ's sake, we find ourselves. I love that beautiful and simple message.  Her sister shared another one with us this week. 

If you read 1 Nephi 8:30, there is a huge paradox.
"But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of thearod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree."

It says they fell down and partook of the fruit but we know fruit grows at the tops of trees.  There is a beautiful message in there that we have to go down to feel true joy.  We have to experience humility and find ourselves willing to submit to the Father in order to feel God's love for us.  If you notice, the people who partake of the fruit and don't fall down (vs. 24-25) end up eating it and then being embarrassed and falling away.  So interesting!

I am so grateful for a gospel that tells us it's ok to rely on God.  It is beautiful to trust in Him and know we can't do it alone.  When we seek Heavenly Father first and humble ourselves, with an eye single to His glory, we are able to experience eternal bliss.  This is definitely not what the world teaches, so I am grateful for the scriptures that help us to know otherwise.

We went to a baptism this weekend with one of our other investigators, Jazzameen.  She ended up coming late and she missed the actual baptism which was a bummer but the baptism was really cool because Hu Wen Qi baptized the girl!  It was so amazing to see him do that and he told me he felt the Spirit really strongly.  These people are amazing.  The gospel is amazing.  I love being a missionary so much!

Earlier in the week, we were looking through our formers and there was one family who intrigued me because they were dropped due to a trip to China, and not for any other reason.  We decided to call them and they said they were interested in learning more and we scheduled an appointment for Saturday night at 8 p.m.  We were super excited because they were from China and they seemed so solid.  We got a member who spoke Chinese to come with us to translate.  We arrived on Saturday night and knocked on the door.  They opened it and we were shocked because their family was there but also our zone leaders!  It was so bonkers. We were both there to teach lessons and we still aren’t sure how it happened.  We think our former investigator gave his old phone to this family who just barely moved to Michigan like 2 days ago.  The zone leaders helped them move in and scheduled a lesson with them for the exact same time we did.  It was soooo strange.  But, it was a huge witness to the power of prayer because the zone leaders were looking for a fellowshipper who spoke Chinese.  So we brought them a fellowshipper and ended up leaving and their prayers were answered!  We were able to visit someone else who really needed us too so it was amazing to see how plans work out.  I don't know if that conveys how confused all of us were but it was really strange but also really hilarious. 

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week!  Remember during the down times that we have to go down to truly feel God's love and joy!  I love you all!

Sister Dixon

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sisters Anson, Dixon, and Kaegi

October 21, 2013

Hey family!

It's been a great week here in the Williamston area!  I love the area more and more with every day I serve here.  The investigators we have are all progressing nicely and we have met some more amazing people.  It's so wonderful to be able to feel of God's love for people and watch them be touched by the gospel message.  I learned especially this week that Christlike love and service and charity bring such a sweet spirit. 

Dayra is doing well.  She is such an inspiration to me.  We were able to go over this week and wash her dishes for her.  It was a simple act of service but she was so grateful for it.  Her children have been sick recently and the dishes were piling up--we came at the perfect time.  We sang hymns as we washed her dishes and it was just a powerful moment for me.  I felt blessed to be there and be able to help her. 

Another experience was when Jazzameen came to church on Sunday.  We went to Gospel Principles with her and our ward mission leader, Brother Winder, taught the class.  He showed us a few videos, so he set up his laptop and speakers to play them.  At the end, he was packing his stuff away and Jazzameen told him his speakers were nice and asked where he got them.  Then, he proceeded to say he had another pair at home and she could just have them.  It was amazing to see how charitable that gift was.  Jazzameen comes from humble circumstances.  I almost started crying because she was in such disbelief that someone would do something so nice for her.  She said, "Well, what can I do in return?"  And Brother Winder said, "Keep doing what you're doing.  Keep learning about the gospel."  It was powerful.  True conversion comes when we are able to disregard every worldly care and devote ourselves to the cause of bringing happiness through the gospel to others.

We had lots of finding time this week and we had some awesome experiences.  One of them was with a man named Kenneth.  We initially passed by his house and didn't knock because he had people leaving.  As we were walking by, they came over and started talking with us.  They were Jehovah's Witnesses (We have knocked on multiple JW's houses this week.  It's always kind of funny and bonkers how many we meet!) and we talked with them and exchanged literature and such.  They said they go to Kenneth's and read the Bible with him.  Later, as we were finishing up door-knocking, we went back and knocked on his door.  He invited us in and we read the Book of Mormon with him.  We invited him to pray about what he read and he told us, with tears in his eyes, “God will say it's true!”  It was so powerful.  We went back the next day and taught him the plan of salvation.  It was really powerful because he is a widower and he has had a son and a daughter pass away.  It's kind of an interesting situation though because he is not physically able to come to church due to his older age but it was definitely such a miracle and it brought such an amazing spirit!

Yesterday we were sitting in the chapel when all of the sudden Bruce came in with Erin and Greg!  They came to our sacrament meeting and it was really cool because one of the speakers was a recently-returned missionary who shared stories about the change he saw in people due to the atonement.  His message was powerful and I was grateful that we got to tell Bruce about God's love for us and that we can change and that he was sitting right there with me!  Afterward, I talked to Bruce and it turned out he and Yifan got to do temple baptisms on Saturday for the first time.  Ah it was so wonderful to hear!  Bruce said the temple workers looked like angels and he felt like he already knew the people he was doing baptisms for.  Also, bishop requested Bruce get the Melchizedek Priesthood early for some reason.  We don't really know why, but Bruce came to our ward yesterday so he could get interviewed by the stake president during the MSU ward's sacrament meeting.  It was just so cool to see him progressing so well in the gospel and to see how happy he is because of it!  I am grateful to have witnessed that.  The gospel is amazing.  God's greatest gift to us is our ability to change.

This past week was fun because we got a car.  And ya I will get to drive a bit while I am here.  We have a pretty nice car too! I'll have to send a picture.  We are on a rotation but it's definitely good when we have a car because we can knock in different areas.  We live in Okemos which is not as much of a rural area but when we have a car we can actually go to Williamston.  It is a very beautiful rural area indeed!  The farms and fields are SOO pretty, especially right now in the fall!  It is crazy I have been waiting here for so long, but I have been cherishing my experience here.  This week is my 6-month mark--I'll have less than a year in Brazil.  Time is flying!  I am nervous about getting there at times but I know it's all in the Lord's hands!

We are going thrift store shopping today so hopefully I can get some boots and jackets and tights and such.  Wish me luck!  I have gotten a few new skirts but I also have companions who love sharing clothes so that makes it fun:-)  Probably very different from elders, haha. 

Love you all!!

Sister Dixon