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

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