Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas! Feliz Natal!

Back at MSU for a day
December 23, 2013

Hello family!

We had such a wonderful week here--probably one of my most favorite weeks on my mission! 

On Tuesday, I went on exchanges with the MSU sisters.  Sister Anson and I got to go to MSU and work with Sister Richardson!  Holy moly, it was so awesome to be back at my stomping grounds.  I taught some of the people I worked with while I was there and it was so fun to be back.  We even managed to fit in some lessons with Bruce and Yifan!  Unfortunately, Hu Wen Qi is out of town, but it was so fun to see those guys.  Man, I love them so much.  Bruce and Yifan are both doing so well.  Their testimonies are growing stronger and stronger, which strengthens my own.  It is amazing to see people who give up everything for the gospel!

We went back to Williamston Wednesday and we taught scripture study class that night.  We talked about the Christmas story and sang hymns to go along with the verses.  The Spirit was so strong there.  The investigators were so touched and everyone was in awe of the sacrifice Christ has made.  It's especially humbling to think of him as a small baby and think of all of the things he would have to endure.  As President Hess put it in his weekly e-mail, "He came in to the world a helpless baby. From the moment He was born, he stirred up darkness and the wrath of Hell tried to take his life before he reached his first year. He met opposition wherever He went. But He just kept going, always saying that He was here to do His father’s will. In obedience to His father’s will he never faltered, even in the last great act of His suffering, death and atonement. He gave everything He had and invites us to do the same."  How beautiful!  We ended the lesson by watching “Mr. Krueger's Christmas.”  I was touched by his exchange with the newborn Christ child and how we can each have intimate relationships with the Savior as we study the scriptures, pray, and become more like him.  Man, I love Christmas.

We have been finding and looking for new ways to share the gospel.  We met some really awesome potential investigators this week.  They are busy until after the new year, but I am way excited to meet with them!  Also, a lady named Sister Jeffery in our ward had a great idea.  Sister Jeffery visit teaches Sister Nelson, who recently had to move into a retirement home.  Sister Jeffery thought it would be cool for us to do Family Home Evening at the nursing home.  We went to The Marquette and talked to the coordinator and she was stoked by the idea!  We are going to start in January and do FHE's there every other week.  I am so excited!  What a creative way to share the gospel!  The work is progressing here! 

We got to eat with a family this week and they invited us over for a "Shepherd Dinner."  It's a tradition they do where the children dress up like shepherds and they each get to pick their food to contribute to the dinner. Then we sat on blankets and read the story of the shepherds as we ate.  It felt like I was doing the Jerusalem Dinner again!  It was so fun to be with the Conveys.  I am amazed by them inviting us to participate with them in their tradition.  Sister Convey even gave us goodie bags at the end with hand warmers inside!  Hallelujah! 

Which leads nicely into my last point....ICE STORM!!!  This taught us a ton about the blessings of being prepared and how good the members are here in Williamston!  So it started getting really icy on Saturday night (we ate dinner with the Hunters that night and Brother Hunter gave us the sad news about church being canceled).  We were pretty bummed because we were expecting SO many investigators to come!  Sandy was going to finally be able to make it but now we have to push her date back, so we were a little sulky.  But as it turns out, it was a huge blessing because the weather turned out to be crazy!!! We got a call from our district leader on Saturday night telling us we would have to stay in until 12 p.m. and then call before we left.  We woke up Sunday morning and we didn't have any power in our apartment so we had to do studies by flashlight.  Members kept calling us to make sure we were ok and I was so touched at how willing they were to help!  We got a text around 11:50 a.m. that said we would have to stay in the apartment until further notice because the weather was worse than they expected.  We ended up staying in the whole day!  It was crazy, and I definitely missed doing missionary work.  Our power ended up coming back on around 6 p.m. and we got to study a ton, which was a huge blessing.  I guess trees were falling over all around town and the light signals were out.  The roads were really icy and conditions weren't that great.  It was a crazy adventure!  We will see how it affects our Christmas...most of the members we were planning on eating with don't have power and/or water, so this week should be fun.  I am excited for our Christmas plans, though.  We are planning to see lots of members and less-actives so it should be amazing!

I'll talk to you soon,

Sister Dixon

Monday, December 16, 2013

There's snow place like home!

With Sister Empey (from the MTC)
Hi family and friends!

Wow, we had quite a crazy and exciting week!  We had some interesting setbacks, but miracles always followed.  It was a great week though, especially with the half-mission Christmas party!

Here is the rundown:

We did a lot of door knocking in the snow and freezing cold.  It has snowed a ton here these past few days so it's been reminding me a lot of Colorado.  I think I have finally figured out how to be sufficiently prepared in the snow, though, so the snow has provided us with quite the adventure!  We lost our car last Wednesday so we knew we would have to get creative with ways to stay warm.  I have been wearing 2 pairs of fleece tights, 2 pairs of sweat pants, 2 pairs of warm socks with hand warmers in the toes, 2 jackets, a hat, and 3 pairs of gloves and it has been great!  Tuesday was awesome.  We were finding for about 3 hours and we had 5 minutes left before our dinner appointment so we decided to do another door.  A lady named Tabitha opened the door and let us right in and offered us hot chocolate and was so nice.  We declined, but told her about the restoration of the gospel and she was interested and invited us back!  She is from Rwanda and her husband is from Uganda--I learned a little bit of Luganda (the language they speak in Uganda) from an investigator at MSU so I showed her and she absolutely loved it!  We haven't been able to go back yet, but that was a complete miracle.  We receive the witnesses after the trials of our faith.  It seems like it's always the last door!

On Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning, Sister Kaegi woke up and was throwing up.  We think she ate some bad salad dressing at a member's house and it upset her stomach.  We had to stay in the apartment for a while which is always a bummer.  It's amazing to see how much I have learned on my mission about the power of work.  The happiest times are when we are working hard.  I love this quote from PMG-
“I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”
I have definitely found this to be true and I know it relates to our lives in general--not just missionary work.  We are happiest when we are progressing and not complacent.  The greatest gift God has given us is the atonement--the ability to become better every day!

We had a few other interesting run-ins with sickness this week.  We were eating dinner at a member's house on Thursday and Brother Ruggieri is a doctor.  He knows I was a nursing major so he pulled out some cool pictures from the ER to show me.  One of the elders who was there stood up and left after a while and his companion followed him and it turns out he was about to faint!  He was really pale and lost his vision and hearing and was swaying back and forth.  Luckily we were able to get him on a couch and get him some water before he actually passed out but that gave us a good scare!

Probably the crowning event was on Sunday.  We had our ward Primary program (it was seriously so cute) and Jaszzameen wanted to come.  She wasn't feeling her best, but she decided to try and go anyway.  Here is some background information:  Jaszzameen had a total knee replacement surgery a couple years back and recently she was moving around in bed and felt her knee pop a little and has been in some pain since then.  She has been taking pain pills for it but for some reason on Sunday morning she didn't take any.  Jaszzameen and her daughter, Danielle, both came and really loved the Primary program.  We went to Sunday School after and Jaszzameen said she was starting to feel a little pain so the elders gave her a blessing.  We went to Relief Society with her and I was sitting next to her when all of the sudden she leaned to me and was like, "I need to get out NOW."  I went out in the hallway with her and then she leaned over her walker and started bawling!  I had no idea what to do and was saying silent prayers to myself.  Jaszzameen is a pretty heavy-set woman.  I wouldn't really be able to move her anywhere myself.  Luckily, some men in the ward walked by just then and one ran and got her a wheelchair.  We wheeled her over to some comfy chairs at the end of the hall.  She was crying and wanted to go home right then.  Our ward mission leader (he is a saint!!) came from priesthood and he gave Jaszzameen and Danielle a ride home.  We went with them to help out.  It was pretty difficult because we had to get her from the comfy chair to the wheelchair, the wheelchair to the car, the car to the wheelchair again, and then the wheelchair to her bed in her apartment.  The whole time she was crying and in pain so it was stressful!  It was amazing to see how much the ward helped us and her though--we definitely couldn't have done that alone!  We were emotionally and physically drained after that but here is the miracle:  As we were helping Jaszzameen get out of the car, Danielle came over and said "Want to hear some good news?  I want to go to church every week now."  It was SO awesome!  We were really excited for her and we think it will help both her and Jaszzameen progress.

The Christmas party was awesome.  We were with about 100 missionaries and I got to see some past companions and good friends from the mission so it was wonderful.  We had some amazing training, then played Christmas games, and then sang Christmas hymns.  I am SO GRATEFUL I get to be on a mission right now.  I wish I could be a missionary every year on Christmas, because it has just been the most beautiful and spiritual experience.  I have never felt the impact of the atonement on my life so deeply and fully before.  I am learning to understand day by day how much it means to me that Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer, took upon Himself every sadness, doubt, feeling of discouragement, frustration, guilt, or mistake I have made and ever will make.  It's amazing, and I am so excited and grateful for this season to reflect on His birth.  I love being a missionary so much.

Most of our investigators were still sick last week.  It might get hard to meet with them this week due to the holidays as well, but that's alright!  It provides plenty of time to go finding, which I absolutely love!
I had another cool experience I forgot to mention...we had dinner with a family this week.  Their son was in town and he actually served in Sao Paulo South so he was telling us some stories from his mission.  I thought it might be hard to hear about it there...he was saying they baptized every weekend and how it was 70 degrees there right now and such.  However, I was filled with so much peace and calm and the quiet assurance I am right where I need to be for now.  I have a firm testimony Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, and it is so much better than the plan we could pick out for ourselves! 

Well, I hope you have a wonderful week!  Love you all,

Sister Dixon

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sister Dixon didn’t include a picture for me to post this week.  But she did include the paragraph below.  If you’d like to participate, please send your testimony, favorite scripture, and/or favorite hymn to  I’ll print everything up and include it in the “little book” I hope to send her December 23.  Thanks in advance!
Debi Dixon 

“I thought of a Christmas gift...I would love a little book that has pictures from my mission thus far and also little snippets from family members and friends with their testimonies, their favorite scriptures, and/or their favorite hymns.”

December 9, 2013

Hello family and friends!

We had a wonderful week here!  Christmas is coming so soon and everyone is being touched by the spirit of the season so it is a great time to be a missionary.  It was a difficult week as well due to the fact that almost all of our investigators, potential investigators, and members have been coming down with nasty colds and haven't been able to meet.  I guess the spirit of the season is responsible for that too because the temperatures are dropping and it's been snowing quite a bit!  It was difficult to schedule lessons and we experienced disappointments with many of our lessons being cancelled and people not showing up to the ward Christmas party and such, but it's amazing to see that the work is still progressing and that we still feel joy.  I have come to learn as long as we are obedient, working hard, and using our agency to choose to be happy, there is no reason to ever feel discouraged or disappointed.  There are many things we can't control, and as we seek to focus on becoming better ourselves and loving the people, Heavenly Father will provide us with tender mercies and opportunities to feel joy along the way.

For example: on Friday we had 3 member-present lessons set up, which we were really excited about.  Well, in the course of about an hour, 2 of them canceled.  We went to visit the third investigator and he said it actually wasn't a good time.  We were walking away, feeling a little bit bummed, and then I slipped on his front porch steps and fell down all of them.  Here is where agency comes in:  We could have said, “Wow, that is the worst luck ever!” but instead we all laughed about it and went about our work.  I know it sounds weird, but that was definitely a tender mercy from God.  We laughed about it for sooo long and throughout the day we recounted what happened and it was still funny every single time.  It brightened our spirits all day and we found ourselves being more charitable and excited about the message we get to spread.  And now I have a HUGE bruise on my backside so that's fun.  I bet you are glad to see that though I am changing in many ways, I am still the same old klutz I have always been.

We haven't been finding very many new investigators lately.  It's been pretty hard.  Please pray we will be able to!  There are still so many other things to be grateful for, though.  The Williamston ward hasn't had a baptism in over a year which is a huge contrast from the MSU ward.  It's been hard for me to adjust and I have been pretty hard on myself at times, but I know the work is still progressing in different ways.  I would really love your prayers! 

We were able to make a ton of progress with Jaszzameen this week, though.  We figured out she has a testimony of the gospel except she still lacks a testimony of Joseph Smith seeing God and Jesus Christ.  We had a wonderful lesson about Joseph Smith and were able to share scriptural accounts of God appearing to men.  The member we had with us bore a really strong testimony of Joseph Smith and her son had given a talk about Joseph Smith a few weeks earlier so she was able to share his experience as well.  It was amazing.  Jaszzameen still has to receive the answer for herself, but I know it will come soon because our accounts strengthened her desire to know the truth for herself.  She wasn't able to come to church because she was sick, but her daughter came to the singles ward and then Jaszzameen came to the stake musical program and Christmas devotional and I know she felt the Spirit there.  She is so close, I can feel it!

We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday night, which was wonderful.  All of the investigators who said they would come ended up canceling because of sickness, but we still experienced a huge miracle.  Sandy, one of our investigators, has a strong testimony of the gospel.  We have set a baptismal date with her for January 4th and she is progressing and reading the Book of Mormon but she hasn't come to church yet because she is held back by her daughter Haley.  Haley is really involved in a different church--she is in the choir and dance programs and has performances almost every week.  Sandy and Haley were both going to come to the Christmas party.  Sandy canceled but Haley was still able to come with a member in our ward and her daughter--they are in Girl Scouts together.  It was such a blessing Haley got to come because she made so many new friends there and really got out of her shell.  Sandy and Haley should be coming to church on the 22nd and we think it will be a much easier transition for them now Haley has a friend base!  It was cool to see how that all worked out!  There were also a bunch of less-active members who were able to come, so it was a really nice evening and a really fun party. 

On Sunday there was a stake music program before the Christmas devotional.  Holy cow, it was beautiful!  There were many non members in attendance and the Spirit was so strong there.  I was touched by how much Heavenly Father loves us--so much that He would send His precious Son to atone for our sins.  The Christmas Devotional was really cool as well.  It's crazy because I was at the Conference Center for last year's devotional.  Time flies so fast!  I really wish it would slow down.  This will be my only holiday season on a mission, so I am really trying to embrace every moment. 

This week I was really impressed by the story of Enoch in Moses 7.  Enoch and his city have been translated.  The Lord is looking at the residue of people and weeping because they are not following His path.  The Lord loves His people SO much.  Enoch cannot understand why the Lord would weep.  These people have just rejected Him and are not choosing to follow His ways.  The Lord explains to Enoch that these are all His children, despite whether or not they are following Him.  Then, the most beautiful thing happens in verse 41.  Heavenly Father grants Enoch the ability to love the residue as much as He does.  "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and atold Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his bheart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook."  Is that not the most beautiful verse?  I love the phrase “his heart swelled wide as eternity!”  I have learned loving the people, loving God, and loving your companion is really the only way to do missionary work.  When we allow our hearts to align with God's heart, the necessity for the gospel becomes that much more urgent.  We just know.  The Spirit is much more able to penetrate our hearts.  I aspire to have a moment similar to Enoch's--once he had that love, all eternity shook.   I take that to mean the gospel was able to have success among the people.  I just think that story is so beautiful.

Sorry this e-mail has been scattered.  I wish I could adequately express my thoughts during my e-mails but it is pretty much impossible to write what I am learning and feeling out here.  I am pretty sure I sound bonkers at times, but I want you to know that my testimony of the gospel is deepening every day and that I do have times where my faith wavers, but I am learning how to trust in the Lord and His plan more and more. 

On a funnier note, we had a crazy experience this week where we helped a member clean his house that HE HADN'T CLEANED IN SEVEN YEARS!!!!!!!  SEVEN!!!!!  It was soooo disgusting and I volunteered for bathroom duty because normally I enjoy cleaning bathrooms (weird, I know).  BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!!  It was really fun though and I definitely gained a testimony of cleaning our apartments every P-day!

Thanks for your notes and experiences.  Love you all and have a wonderful week!  

Sister Dixon
With Sister McCord
December 2, 2013

Hello family!

We had a wonderful week!  Thanksgiving was seriously SO GREAT!!  We had weekly planning and then we visited a man in our ward who is homebound and doesn't have many visitors.  I really loved getting to meet with him because he didn't have anyone else coming on Thanksgiving.  He was really grateful to have us there.  After, we went to the Rinners house for dinner.  Side note--they told me they know the Hammonds!  Apparently Hammonds used to live in Michigan in the same area as Rinners--you will have to ask Hammonds about it.  Rinners are an amazing family in our ward!  Brother Rinner is a convert to the Church and they have 3 children who have all moved out of the house.  Their daughter, Lizzy, was in the singles ward with me.  She goes to BYU, so she came home for the holidays and it was really fun to be with her and their family.  We had a couple of other families there with us and it was incredible.  Sister Rinner is an interior decorator and she likes to go ALL OUT with EVERYTHING!  Her favorite word is fabulous--and that is definitely what Thanksgiving dinner was.  We came over for appetizers before dinner and then we had dinner itself and then we played games and had pie.  It was extravagant.  We had such a nice time and they also had a chalkboard on the wall where everyone could write what they were grateful for.  I loved seeing everyone's responses--some things were small and simple but so beautiful! 

It was kind of a hard week work-wise because of the holiday--people were out of town or had family in town, so it was hard to meet and hard to get members out with us but it was still really fantastic and a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the blessings I have. 
So...I decided to have a gratitude e-mail this week and share some of the things I am particularly grateful for in light of Thanksgiving.  Sorry the holiday has passed already, but better late than never, right?

I am grateful for a family that is supportive of me being on a mission.  I am grateful they take the time to write to me every week and they pray for me every day.  I can feel the power of their prayers as I struggle and grow on my mission.  I am grateful for a family that loves each other.  I am grateful that our home is filled with laughter and love and that we honor the commandments of God.  I am grateful for parents who have honored their temple covenants and raised me in the gospel. 

I am grateful for the scriptures.  I am grateful for the guidance and counsel they provide, and I am thankful for the people who labored and suffered so we could have the Book of Mormon and the Bible today.  Most importantly, I am so grateful for the sweet Spirit that comes as we search and ponder the words from our Heavenly Father.

I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves me.  I am grateful He provides me with so many opportunities to grow and He gives me so much help along the way.  I am grateful He has created a perfect plan for me and He gave Jesus Christ as a sacrifice so we can return to live with Him again.

I am grateful for Michiganders.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve here and to really learn what it means to TRUST in God's plan and be patient along the way.  I am thankful for the kindness of the members I have met here and the way they have touched my heart. 

I am grateful for fleece tights, boots, jackets, and gloves.  I don't know where I would be without them.

I am grateful for the opportunity to pray and communicate with our Father in Heaven.  I am grateful for the peace that prayer brings and that we can receive answers to every one of our prayers.

I am grateful for music and that we have such a beautiful way to worship our Father in Heaven. 

I am grateful for all the companions I have had.  They each are such beautiful daughters of God and such hard workers.  I am thankful Heavenly Father knows who I need to serve with at each time of my mission.  I am grateful they have all taught me different things and have been patient with me.

I am grateful for President Hess and my other mission leaders who inspire me to become better every day.  I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned from them that will truly impact the rest of my life and influence the kind of disciple I will be as I work to endure to the end.

And most importantly, I am so grateful for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  I feel as if I have started to understand the atonement more on my mission, but I am still nowhere close to understanding the depth and the beauty of the sacrifice Christ made for me.  It's humbling to realize I stood in the same spot where He performed the sacrifice that will allow me to return to live with God again and that helps me to overcome all that is unfair about this mortal life.  I am grateful that I can have forgiveness from my sins when I use the gift of repentance and that I have someone by my side who is able to empathize with every challenge I face. 

The gospel is amazing, and I am so grateful I have had this opportunity to come on a mission and experience its power in a whole new way.
Have a great week everyone!

Sister Dixon

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

James's baptism
November 25, 2013

Hello family!

We had a truly wonderful week.  We have been applying many of the principles from Elder Golden coming and I can see them paying off!  One thing he talked about was comparison.  In missionary work, we should NEVER compare ourselves to other missionaries.  We should always compare ourselves to the Lord, though, and strive to be more Christlike.  The way we can truly experience the miracle of the atonement is to compare ourselves to our old selves.  We have been applying that to our goal-setting and Heavenly Father has been helping us with increased desires to improve and increased faith.  Here are some highlights from this week:

We were door knocking on Friday and we met this lady named Alba.  She is from Columbia and was feeling sick when we came to the door.  She was on her way to closing the door but we asked if we could say a prayer for her health.  She let us in to her house and we talked more about the restoration and said a prayer.  She invited us to come back the next day.  We were so excited!  We even got a member who speaks Spanish to come with us.  We showed up Saturday at the time we planned and she wasn't home.  However, her husband was there.  We explained we had an appointment set up with Alba and he invited us to come in.  He said while we waited for her to come home, we could give him "a 15-minute presentation."  It was amazing.  As we started bearing testimony of restored truths, his heart truly softened.  Alba eventually came home, but her husband stayed and we ended up teaching for over an hour.  He started posing questions like, "What happens to people after they die if they have never heard of Christ?" and it was amazing to see we had the answers.  We are going back this weekend so we are excited to see them again!  It was such a huge miracle!

We had two more opportunities to rake leaves this week.  It was awesome!  One of them was so cool.  We door knocked into this lady named Del on Halloween.  She is pretty old and set in her ways but was really nice.  We had an impression to go back last Monday after P-day and she mentioned her neighbors had to leave town for a family emergency so no one was there to rake their leaves.  We offered to help and we went back on Thursday to do that.  We raked with a guy named Daniel.  He lives in that neighborhood and offered to help out as well.  Del told us Daniel was studying to become a minister and so we were really excited to talk religion as we were raking.  Sure enough, we raked for a couple of hours and Daniel asked questions the whole entire time!  It was so awesome to be able to teach in a service-oriented setting.  We got his number at the end and he wants to learn more so that was awesome.  We will have to pass him off to the MSU missionaries, but we are all working for the same team so that's ok.  ALSO, we asked him at the end about wanting to become a minister and he said, "I have no clue why Del said that.  I am a web design major."  It was hilarious but also so inspired Del said that!  It set us up to expect having religious conversations with him.  When we have that faith and those expectations, Heavenly Father meets them!

We taught Sandy Saturday night.  We felt like we should teach the restoration again and we really emphasized there being one true church.  She told us at the end she knows Joseph Smith saw God and the Book of Mormon is true and we asked her what she would do with that knowledge.  She has a goal to read the Book of Mormon by the 1st of the year so we are doing that challenge with her and she accepted a baptismal date for January 4th! 

Jaszzameen is progressing well.  She has been consistently coming to church for a while now and is really well-fellowshipped by the ward.  She is just waiting for Heavenly Father to tell her if this is the right thing to do.  It was really cool to see her at church on Sunday.  We learned about family history and baptisms for the dead and she was so touched by that restored truth.  We read with her about it in 1 Corinthians 15:29 and it really brought the Spirit showing the Bible talks about these ordinances as well.  Pray for her that she will be able to recognize her answer!!

One of my old investigators at MSU got baptized this weekend.  His name is James.  I think I talked about him before.  He was the one who we found after an hour-and-a-half of walking and not seeing a single soul!  Heavenly Father really knew where we needed to go.  His baptism was such a spiritual experience!  Right after James came out of the water, he said, "Wow, I feel different."  He bore such a powerful testimony of the atonement after.  He is definitely someone I have seen change throughout the process of becoming converted.  I am so grateful for the atonement and how truly joyful it can allow us to be.  Also at the baptism I was able to talk to the sisters in the Lansing area.  Do you remember the lady I talked to on the bus named Rikisha?  She was super prepared--she even had a daughter named Cumorah!  Well the sisters told me she is on date to be baptized as well!  Miracles are happening all over and it is so amazing to be a part of it.  Missionary work is truly an invitation to participate in miracles.

In other news, it is freezing.  If you have any good ways of staying warm, let me know!  The humidity here is killer during the winter time. 

Also, I did a cool thing where I counted the number of times it says, "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land."  It says it SO many times!  It is such a testimony to me Heavenly Father really does keep His word.  Our family really has been blessed so much.  I am amazed at the things I took for granted growing up.  If we all commit to keep his commandments for the rest of our lives, we WILL be blessed. 

I love you all!

Sister Dixon

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I'm not "leafing" Williamston!

With Elder Wiscombe, who is leaving Williamston
November 18, 2013

Hello everyone! 

I chose this title because I am staying in Williamston with Sisters Anson and Kaegi.  And it's also symbolic because we raked leaves SO MUCH this week.  It was wonderful! 
Well, we are all super shocked we are staying together but really excited too.  Sister Anson trained Sister Kaegi and usually they separate trainees from trainers after training is done but we are all staying together.  It is going to be a great transfer, I can feel it. 

We had a wonderful week here.  The highlight was obvious--Elder Golden coming.  It was incredible.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude I get to be on a mission at this time and in this area to learn from such a great man! 

Our mission spent time spiritually preparing for Elder Golden to come.  We fasted and prayed that it might be a revelatory experience and that we might ponder the questions we need answers to.  I wrote down questions about faith and following the Holy Ghost, and lo and behold, he hit really hard on those subjects.  It's like this church is true or something!  I really loved what he said about faith.  Faith is personal righteousness, and personal righteousness comes from obeying God's commandments and laws.  Our church has many commandments and laws to keep--and missionaries have even more rules to abide by!  However, obeying those increases our faith, and Elder Golden said our church is the ONLY church on the earth that helps its members cultivate enough faith to enter back into the presence of God.  What a blessing it is for Latter-day Saints to know commandments are not restrictions, they are opportunities!  We are working hard to implement what Elder Golden said into our missionary work.  I am confident we will have increased success.

Service was kind of a theme for this week.  We ended up doing 3 different service projects of raking leaves which was amazing:  for a couple we met while we were door-knocking; for Kenneth, our 91-year-old investigator; and last, for a couple who was moving next door to our ward mission leader.  Each time it was amazing to see how touched people were for the simple acts of service we rendered.  Hopefully we continue to be blessed with opportunities to serve!  The Relief Society lesson was about serving others as well.  It really made me think about something I heard once:
Trials either make you BETTER or BITTER.  The difference between those 2 words is the letter "I.” When we experience difficult times and we focus on how they impact ourselves, we become bitter and lose faith.  On the other hand, when we focus on others, we become better for it and we are able to bless others in the process.  This has been so true for me throughout my mission.  Missions can be terrible when you focus on yourself.  However, when you focus on helping and serving others, you find yourself lifted and ennobled by the spirit of charity.  The spirit of charity helps us to become more like our Savior.  I think Mosiah 5:13 says it best:
For how aknoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?  Our ultimate goal on missions is to become as the Savior, and the way to do that is to serve others selflessly.  Loving the people is the key.

Here is a quick weather update:  Last P-day after we left e-mailing it started snowing a bit!  It melted the next day and then it was pretty good weather for the rest of the week.  Hopefully it stays pretty nice because we lose our car this week.  Yesterday afternoon after church we were going door-knocking and then we got a text from our zone leaders that there was a tornado watch!!  The weather was CRAZY!!!  It was so much fun.  It was pouring rain and there was so much wind.  People at the doors were so receptive because we kept telling them how important this is to us!  Tons of people lost power though and we taught a lesson that night with flashlights in hand in case the lights went out--they kept flickering throughout the lesson.  It was such an adventure. 

I know God has a plan for each and every one of us.  I hope I can serve my best in this area and I am grateful to serve here!!
Love you all!!!

Sister Dixon

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nono's baptism
November 11, 2013

Hello family!

We had such a wonderful week here in Williamston.  I realized this week I have fallen in love with this area. It was shockingly different at first, but day by day I have really grown to love the area and the wonderful people I have the privilege of working with.  I really hope I get to stay and see the miracles unfold next transfer, but we will see what the Lord has in store for me.  I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. I love reflecting on this past transfer and seeing how much I have learned and how many tender mercies the Lord has sent us.  

Here are some miracles from this week:

We have had some issues figuring out the best use of our time during the days here.  None of our investigators can meet during the day and none of the members are home, so we usually go door knocking at that time.  However, many of those people are not home either, so we feel pretty unproductive.  We have been praying for an investigator who would be able to meet during the day.  Lo and behold, we found someone out in Williamston who is amazingly prepared and is a stay-at-home dad so he told us to come back any time during the day.  It was such an answer to our prayers and I am so grateful. We taught the restoration to him this past week and it was amazing.  We have lots of hope and faith for his progression.

Getting investigators to church here is always kind of hard.  Our proselyting area is like 30-40 minutes from the church building and many of our investigators need rides to church.  The Lord always helps out, though. The standard here is to have 3 investigators at church every week and we have been praying for that to happen.  We were expecting 2 investigators to come and then church started and another strolled in all dressed up in a suit!  We were not anticipating it in the slightest and it was such an amazing miracle.  It was the first time this transfer we have been able to achieve that goal and ahh, we were so happy!  Prayers are answered, folks.

One of the girls whom I taught at MSU got baptized this past weekend.  Her name is Nono and it was amazing to go.  Bruce was able to baptize her and then he confirmed her the next day in sacrament meeting. I wasn't able to go to the confirmation, but it is so humbling to see him fulfill his duties as a priesthood holder. The baptism was so special.  Nono had the strongest desire to follow her Savior's example.  It's amazing to see our impact goes further than the time we spend in an area.  There are hundreds of people in Michigan whom I have had the opportunity to talk with and share the message of the restoration.  Sure, only a few of them have made a covenant with their Heavenly Father, but missionaries leave more of an impact than they know.  It is so exciting to think about the people who, for one reason or another, will eventually be prepared to come unto Christ and follow His gospel.  I know missionaries everywhere in the world have more of an eternal impact than they can ever comprehend.  And that is reason alone to never ever get discouraged. When we are participants in the Lord's work, our efforts extend into the eternities.

When I first got to this mission, President Hess gave us each a Book of Mormon and a red pencil and invited us to read it and highlight all of the references about Christ found within.  I finished yesterday.  It was an amazing experience.  The red passages found on every page have truly strengthened my faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I was especially touched by verses 25 and 26 of Moroni 9.  Christ was lifted up so He can lift us up.  The good news of the atonement is enough to help us out of the deepest of trials or afflictions.  As I read the beginning of Moroni 10, I was filled with the Spirit and I know without a doubt the Book of Mormon is true!! Because it is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet and this really is Jesus Christ's church once again established on the earth.  What a huge blessing the Book of Mormon has been in my life.  I feel truly blessed to be able to share it with others.

In other news, we have a general authority coming to our mission this week!  Elder Golden is here and we have the opportunity to hear from him this Wednesday.  I am SO excited.  I can't wait to tell you all what I learn.  We fasted as a mission last week that we will all have a revelatory experience with Elder Golden here and so I am excited to see what the Holy Ghost teaches us!

Also, I keep forgetting to tell you, but we heard a couple weeks ago our mission will be getting iPads soon! We should have them by January.  It is so exciting to see how the work is hastening.  It is tangible.  I know people will respond to this technology and it will bring a new side to missionary work.  We are really excited for them.  Each missionary will have his/her own iPad that comes equipped with an electronic planner and area book, Mormon Messages (we can show them on doorsteps!), all of the study materials I could dream about, and much much more.  It will be amazing.

Here are some funny things that happened this week:

Nono wanted us to sing a musical number at her baptism and the song she requested was “Angels We Have Heard on High” hahaha.  People in the audience were pretty confused but hopefully there will be a YouTube video of it soon. 

A less-active lady named Sister McCord came to church on Sunday!  We go and visit her every week or so in Williamston and she is SOOO hilarious.  She is older and sure knows how to speak her mind.  Yesterday in the middle of sacrament meeting a member of the bishopric was up speaking and she yelled out to us, "Who is that?  He looks like he really needs a haircut!"  Later on in the meeting, she pulled out her wallet and started paying us each $10.  We tried giving it back to her but she kept pushing it away and yelling, "I can afford this!"  Oh gosh, we were dying laughing.  By the end of church we were able to give it back but we learned there is never a dull moment with Sister McCord!  

Have a great week!  Love you all!!

Sister Dixon