Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"also [my mission] passed away like as it were unto [me] a dream"

October 13, 2014


Wow.  I really can’t believe it.  My last e-mail as a missionary.  Honestly I still don’t know what to think or feel right now.  This week was an absolute blur with mission P-day, lots of lessons and tracting, and the opportunity to visit the people in Cidade Vargas for a few hours.  I loved this week so much.  It was hard at times and my poor companion must think I am absolutely crazy because of my mood swings up the wazoo, but it was perfect.  

Here are a few quick highlights:
·         Ronaldo finally accepted a firm baptismal date!  He will get baptized this next Sunday.  I was a little bummed I won’t be there, but it was a huge testimony builder to me that we have to accept the Lord's timing and not our own.
·         We had a cool experience that I really loved this week.  Sister Barraza and I were walking and talking to people on the street and we ran into an Irma in our ward.  She was talking about how she was on her way to work to care for an older woman and visit with the family there.  We asked her if they would be interested in learning more about our message and she said come and visit with me right now!  We went with her and it was AWESOME!! Seriously such a cool family and such a neat experience.  We taught them two times last week and the Spirit was so strong.  The second time we visited, the woman we taught invited other people to listen to our message about the restoration and all of them felt the Spirit so strong.  It was a huge blessing at the end of my mission and I loved seeing how members help us out in the work so much!
·         And this week I loved reflecting about the things I have learned in this short eighteen months.  Seriously it passed by so fast (like a dream--hence the title from Jacob 7:26).  I really can’t believe it’s already ending.  I am not perfect, but my mission was perfect for me.  The circumstances, the people, the difficulties, everything helped me come unto Christ and experience the atonement more fully in my life.  It was just what I needed to help me prepare to be the disciple Christ needs in these last days.  I feel happy about everything that happened.  I feel happy about the service I rendered.  I feel sad I have to leave (The other night I had a pathetic moment after nightly planning when I was sweeping our quintal and crying by myself.  Sister Barraza said, “What’s wrong, Sister Dixon?” and I said “Sister Barraza, I just realized I will never have another opportunity to invite someone else to be baptized again” in between my tears haha I am an emotional wreck right now) but I know it’s my time to apply what I learned and keep learning about this wonderful plan God has for me.

But, in other news, I finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese this morning!  I have been reading it ever since I got here in Brazil and it was fitting I had the chance to finish today during morning studies.  The Book of Mormon is true.  There is no doubt about it.  It’s the reason I am here, and it’s the thing that will help me stay strong for the rest of my life.  As I pondered about the Book of Mormon this morning, I thought about lessons I learned during my mission and from the Book of Mormon and I thought I would share a few:
·         Helaman 3:7--Lesson:  It’s always important to have a Plan B.
·         Moroni 9:6--Lesson:  Diligence is vital.  We only have our short lives to serve the Lord, and one day we will rest in His kingdom.  I think before my mission I was borderline lazy but I feel as though I have truly learned about the value of hard work.  Whenever I felt sad, tired, or bummed out on my mission, hard work always cured me.
·         Mosiah 3:13--Lesson:  We need prophets.  The Book of Mormon testifies over and over about the role of prophets and how much we need them in our lives.  I am so grateful we have a prophet in our day and age and I know Thomas S. Monson is here to help us come unto Christ.
·         Alma 5:33--Lesson:  Repentance is a blessing.  I used to think repentance was only for the really big sins, but during my mission, I learned repentance should be a daily process that will help us become better and more qualified servants of Christ.  I learned repentance truly does bring peace into our lives.
·         Alma 34:41--Lesson:  Patience has become one of the most important attributes of Christ to me.  I learned patience is hard, but trusting in God’s plan will ultimately give us more happiness and peace in our lives.  I learned God has many blessings in store for us if we just wait.
·         Alma 55:8-14--Lesson:  Alcohol is bad (self explanatory).
·         3 Nephi 11:15--Lesson:  The Atonement is personal and we can have our own personal and intimate relationships with Christ.  He heals us one by one.
·         Alma 37:44/Helaman 3:29-30--Lesson:  The word of God changes people and is so so so powerful.  I have seen hearts, attitudes, and people change through the power of the word of God.
·         Moroni 10:4-5--Lesson:  The Book of Mormon is true.
·         Alma 8:14-15--Lesson:  Sometimes we feel down, but God will always send us blessings to help us feel better.  The most important thing is our own personal change and growth, and Heavenly Father focuses on the fact that we are trying our best.
·         1 Nephi 1:20--Lesson:  Focusing on the tender mercies of the Lord will always help us feel better about our circumstances and help us continue being righteous.
·         Alma 34:8-9--Lesson:  Without the atonement, we would be lost and confused.
·         Moroni 8:25-26--Lesson:  Baptism and covenants bring blessings into our lives.  I saw many people who received many blessings through the covenant of baptism.
·         Mosiah 18:30--Lesson:  We have a deep love for where we served our missions.  Brazil and Michigan are so beautiful to me and I love these places and people more than I can express.
·         Mormon 9:15--Lesson:  Miracles still happen.
·         Mosiah 2:41--Lesson:  Obedience is so so important.  We will be happy and blessed when we are obedient.  I think the biggest triumph of my mission is to say I always strived to be obedient!
·         Mosiah 3:7-8--Lesson:  Jesus is the Christ and He lives and loves us!!  I know He truly is our Savior and Redeemer and is here to help us return to God’s presence.  I love my Savior.

And these are only a few of the wonderful lessons I learned.  I know that this Church is true and that Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  I know that God’s plan is perfectly difficult in order to help us grow and develop the attributes of Christ.  I know that the atonement is real.  

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve my mission and learn and grow.  It has been truly wonderful.

I love you all and thanks for the support and encouraging words!!

Sister Dixon

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


October 6, 2014

Hello family! 

Thank you for the wonderful letter you wrote.  I especially love what Kirsten wrote this past week...I think I have been having similar feelings lately!

This week was difficult for me, but I truly gained a testimony of the last part of chapter 1 in PMG, “A Successful Missionary.”  I think at the beginning of my mission, I imagined myself at the end as being a missionary with power and authority who knows exactly what she is doing and has success as a result of increased faith and sensitivity to the Spirit.  Yes, my faith and testimony of the gospel have increased but I am at the end of my mission and I still feel as lost and helpless at times as I did in the beginning.  This transfer was an interesting one for me.  I thought for sure I would stay in my other area until the end.  We had investigators on date for baptism and things were going well.  But I was transferred.  I remember praying after getting the transfer call and expressing my feelings to my Heavenly Father.  A sweet peace came over my heart as I felt there was truly a purpose for me being transferred.

I, with my limited mind and vision, thought the reason I was here was to find a prepared person or baptize an elect family, and I was excited.  I got to the area and saw it was struggling a little bit because the sister before me was sick and they had to stay in the house lots of days.  But that didn’t stop us.  We went to work.  I absolutely love my companion, because she wants to work hard like I do.  We went out every day and talked to so many people.  We saw miracles.  We found new people to teach.  I fell in love with my area and with the members here who are so willing to work.  I had to glue my shoes multiple times because of how much we walked.  But here we are at the beginning of the last week and still nothing happened.  This week was especially hard.  We had one investigator on date, but it fell through.  We had exchanges and they were stressful.  Things didn’t happen as we wanted them to.

For a while I wanted to feel down.  I wanted to feel frustrated at the lack of results that I thought I would see at the end of my mission.  I remembered my investigators in my other area got baptized and I questioned why I was here.

But I read "A Successful Missionary" and my vision grew.  I realized maybe I am here to help my companion who had a hard time last transfer.  Maybe I am here to build up a teaching pool right now so that other missionaries can have success in the future.  Maybe I am here to help the less-active family I love so much.  Maybe I am here for my own personal growth and testimony.  I don’t know the purpose right now...but the most beautiful thing is that’s ok!  PMG says:

Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.

Avoid comparing yourself to other missionaries and measuring the outward results of your efforts against theirs. Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message. Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true. You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation. You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit.

You can know you have been a successful missionary when you:

• Feel the Spirit testify to people through you.
• Love people and desire their salvation.
• Obey with exactness.
• Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say.
• Develop Christlike attributes.
• Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek earnestly to learn and improve.
• Help build up the Church (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work.
• Warn people of the consequences of sin. Invite them to make and keep commitments.
• Teach and serve other missionaries.
• Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message.

When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you.

This beautiful message brought me so much comfort and joy.  I will continue working hard and having faith and trust in the Lord during my last week as a missionary.  I learned the biggest triumph I can have right now is to be obedient and hard-working until the very, very end.

I know at times I have a lack of faith and vision, but I know every trial and experience during my mission was necessary for my personal growth and salvation.  I know this gospel is true.  I know God’s plan is perfect.  I know He is happy with the service I have rendered and I am excited to wear myself out proclaiming the gospel this week!! 

Love you all!! Thanks for the support!

Sister Dixon

p.s.  Wasn’t conference so wonderful??  It was a great experience to watch it all in Portuguese...yes I missed lots of things and sometimes I laughed only because other people were laughing when in reality I had no idea what was going on.  But I loved it!!  So many great and inspiring talks.  It really gives you a good perspective of how worldwide our church really is.

Keep Calm

September 29, 2014


I called the secretary this week so I am glad you finally got the itinerary.  (Lindsay arrives October 15 at 10:03 a.m.  She reports October 26 at 9 a.m.)  He told me I would have a layover in Michigan too and I was pretty excited.  My mission is like a Brazil sandwich.  Crazy the time is passing by so quickly!

We had a great week here in Utinga filled with exchanges, Conferencia das Mulheres, and Zone Conference too!  This week flew by...I seriously can’t believe it’s Monday again. We had some difficult circumstances due to rain, lessons falling through, and investigators dropping us, but one miracle that happened really affirmed my faith and showed me once again Heavenly Father knows what He is doing.

We taught our investigator Ronaldo a few times this week and he was progressing so much!! We finished all we had to teach him and so our district leader came to do a baptismal interview.  It went well and they set a baptismal date for October 5 in between conference sessions.  We were excited!!  On Sunday we were in the chapel waiting for Ronaldo to show up to church but it was 9:15 a.m. and he still hadn’t come.  I was disappointed, but we had the strong impression we should visit him and see what was going on.  We went to his house and he let us in.  When we invited him to come to church, he gave us a mountain of excuses...I have things to do...I am tired...I am just not feeling it today.  We were SUPER confused at what had happened.  After a little while longer of asking questions, he confessed he had to give his brother a ride to the bar the night before and when they arrived, all of his friends made fun of him for not drinking and so he drank one beer.  He felt AWFUL about what he had done.  While he was sitting in the bar and thinking about his decision, he saw two Mormon missionaries walking by the window.  The elders walked by, looked in the window at Ronaldo, but kept on walking.  Ronaldo said they looked in the window directly at him and he knew he shouldn’t be there.  He left and said he thought about his choices and prayed for forgiveness.  But here is the cool part of the story:

1)  The elders who walked by were the same elders who came to do the baptismal interview.  This was crucial because Ronaldo recognized them and he thought they saw him as well.  We called the elders later and they didn’t even notice him there!  But it was just the reminder Ronaldo needed.
2)  The elders were in our area to do a baptismal interview with the other sisters in our ward.  They walked to our area but the man who needed the interview wasn’t home.  They thought they walked all the way there for nothing, but once again it was just the reminder Ronaldo needed.
3)  Our district leader is training a new elder right now.  When the man wasn’t home, our district leader said to his companion, “Right now we have a bit of extra time so we can talk to people on the street and I want you to follow the Spirit and go where He wants us to go.”  The new elder felt like they should go down one street and there was absolutely no one there...but this was the street where the bar was.

How cool, right?  Ronaldo said he woke up and decided he wouldn’t go to church, but he felt strongly we would come and visit him during church.  It was so good we came.  We talked about repentance and the power of the sacrament and in the end he agreed to come to sacrament meeting.  Here is where the title of my e-mail makes sense.

There are moments on a mission where people do or say things that make you SO RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY!!! All you want to do is hug them or shout because you know they are making such a good decision that will help them in their eternal progression.  However, the difficult thing is you have to pretend like nothing happened because your investigators can’t think you are absolutely bonkers.  It’s the hardest thing to control for me because at times during my mission, my heart feels like it will explode.  Anyway, when Ronaldo said he would come to church I felt that way.  He had to go take a shower first so we waited for him and then went together.  When he said he would come, I wanted to shout and show how happy I was inside, but all we said was, “Ta bom.  Nos esperaremos aqui.”  When he left the room, I started to cry.  I am such a baby these days.  But I was so overwhelmed by how perfectly orchestrated everything was and how strong the Spirit was when we were testifying of repentance.  He came to church and loved the testimonies that were born, and he is still on date for this Sunday.

I hope all of this made sense.  It truly was a really great experience!  Pray for Ronaldo this week!!  I love you all so much and have a great week!!

Sister Dixon

p.s.  I got news that Jaqui got baptized this past weekend! She was the investigator from Peru who I talked about a while back.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Abinadi vs. Alma

With Sister Barraza at the temple

September 22, 2014

Hello family!!

This week was so so great.  I was so grateful for the experience to go to the temple and renew my covenants.  It was a very spiritual experience!!  I received an answer as well about when I will be coming home...if you remember I was fasting and praying to receive an answer and when we got to the temple, one of the assistants told me missionaries can’t extend anymore, so there was my answer!! I feel scared and sad about leaving my mission, but I know it’s necessary for me to progress and continue with other things in life.  Needless to say, I will do everything in my power to make every day of these last three weeks count!!

This week we had lots of miracles and cool spiritual experiences, but pretty much every good thing happened because of the members in our ward.  I wanted to bear a little testimony about the power of members in missionary work!

Think about Alma and Abinadi.  Abinadi was a fantastic missionary, but only one person converted from the things he preached.  However, we read in Mosiah 18 about all of the people who were converted from the things Alma preached.  I firmly believe that one of the differences between Alma and Abinadi was Alma knew the people he taught.  He had relationships with them, and they could trust him.  Abinadi was a stranger...in fact he had to enter in the city in disguise.  People are more likely to respond to the gospel when they hear the message from a source they trust.  

In every ward I have served, there has always been a huge example of a dedicated member who absolutely LOVES missionary work and will do ANYTHING to help the missionaries.  At MSU it was Lara Ellsworth, in Williamston it was the Ruggieri family and the Chaffin family, in Cidade Vargas it was Claudio and Eneida, and here in Utinga, I am learning lots from a wonderful member named Debora.  I am grateful because these examples have taught me who I want to be...no, who I NEED to be when I am a member missionary in the future.  Missionary work truly changes when members get involved.

We got a referral from a member this week named Marta who is progressing lots and loving the gospel.  We also brought members with us to teach our investigator Ronaldo this week and they brought such a power and spirit into the lesson.  We, and the members, are excited about the work that is happening and I am so grateful!!

I’ll get off my soapbox in a second, but I want to invite you all to go out with the missionaries and do things to help further the work of the Lord.  You will feel more joy than you have ever felt before!

LOVE YOU ALL!! Have a great week!!

Sister Dixon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Children of Our Heavenly Father

September 15, 2014

Hello everyone!!

It was such a great week here and I am loving my new area.  It’s different, and sad to think I am leaving soon, but I am treating this transfer as if it’s not my last transfer and trying to build strong relationships with the people here in Santo Andre.  

As you all know, my favorite hymn is “Children of Our Heavenly Father.” https://www.lds.org/music/text/hymns/children-of-our-heavenly-father?lang=eng
After Grandma Dixon passed away and I had to learn the music to play for the funeral, I became entranced with the words to this hymn and I loved the message it portrayed. Heavenly Father literally is our Father and He loves us with the most infinite and perfect love that exists.  He gives us things and He takes away things in our lives, but He knows what will benefit us the most in the end.  I always read the words to this hymn when I am feeling down or alone and without fail, I feel my Heavenly Father’s love every time!

This week I pondered about how we are all children of our Heavenly Father and how much He loves each and every one of us.  I have said this before, but I think one of the greatest parts about being a missionary is the ability to feel a teency portion of the love God has for each one of his children.  We see others in a different light when we are helping them learn about the gospel.  And throughout my mission, I have had the grand opportunity to meet many of God’s children from many parts of the world and from many walks of life.  I feel like this week in particular, we met some awesome people and it really made me feel I am sooo lucky to be a missionary right now!!  I get to meet God’s amazing children daily and feel of God’s love for them.  Here are some examples of some wonderful children of God whom I have met here in Brazil:

·         Jose Carlos--We met him while we were door knocking here and we taught him this week for the first time.  Jose Carlos makes and sells Brasilian percussion instruments (probably why I thought he was so cool).  However, last year, he was making a drum and he accidentally cut off his own hand!  How awful! But, he learned how to continue making and playing drums and is really so positive about his situation.  What a cool lesson on positivity!
·         Viviani--One day we were searching for a woman in an apartment complex and we met an eighteen-year-old named Viviani.  She started asking us the most absurd questions about religion that we had no idea how to respond to.  However, we started teaching her about the restoration and plan of salvation and though they didn’t have direct answers, she said she felt peace about her questions and didn’t need the answers right now.  She is absolutely hilarious and really makes me think.  I am grateful for people who challenge us and help us seek new knowledge.
·         Conceicao--We met her on the street one day and went back to teach her another day. She offered to make lunch for us and truly made a feast.  She has tons of children and grandchildren and her husband passed away.  Many of her children and grandchildren have problems with drugs and alcohol but she continues to fast and pray and have faith one day they will come around.  She really took us in and became a Brasilian grandmother of sorts. 

Although not everyone we meet progresses in the gospel, I still feel really lucky to meet these children of God daily.  I am loving the experiences I am having and I am so grateful because I have learned, through feeling love for others, more about how Heavenly Father feels about me.  The gospel is true, folks.  There isn’t a doubt about it!!

Have a great week,

Sister Dixon

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


September 8, 2014

Hellooooo familia!

As you all know, the Brasilian flag has Ordem e Progresso written on it.  Order and progress--I think those two beautiful words are some of the biggest blessings the gospel gives us. This week I was thinking lots about PROGRESS and progression.  The opportunity to progress is one of the most exciting things we can have in this life.  The gospel, and all of the blessings and trials that come along with it, gives us a huge opportunity to progress and become more like our Heavenly Father in this life. Progression is hard at times, growing isn’t always easy, but in the end it is thrilling to see how you and your spirit have changed and developed.  

Anyways, I wanted to start off with that thought because I am so grateful for the change that happened this last transfer!  I didn’t realize it before, but I needed an opportunity to progress.  And with a new area and companion, that’s exactly what I am doing.  I am loving my new area and companion.  Seriously.  At times I still feel a little bit sad about leaving my old area (side note:  Maria Ines and Karine were baptized this past weekend!! Woo woo!!) but I am so happy to be in Utinga with my new companion, Sister Barraza.  Cool things to report on:  We share a ward with two other sisters and we all live in a really big house!  Sister Barraza is from Chile and she will go home a transfer after me, so we are working hard to make the most of our missions until the end.  I feel so blessed and our ward is truly wonderful as well!  I was apprehensive about how my last transfer would be, but I feel so at peace and so grateful right now.

Sister Barraza’s old companion was sick a lot so they had to stay in the apartment quite a bit.  Consequently, they didn’t have tons of investigators when I got here so we have been getting out and finding new people to teach!  It’s been so cool and we have seen so many miracles.  Also, we decided to look in the area book and find people we could go visit who were taught in the past.  It’s been cool to see that in the past, people weren’t ready to accept our message but now, they are opening up a little bit more.  It’s a testimony builder to me of seed planting and also never giving up on people. The missionaries who served here long, long ago don’t know but we are still reaping the effects of their sowing! And we should never give up on the people who don’t accept right now, because it just maybe isn’t their time.

Thanks for your love and support!  I love you all and I am grateful for your prayers--I am sure this transfer will be full of miracles.  Love you!

Sister Dixon

Monday, September 1, 2014

Eu vou embora

Last "noite familiar" in Cidade Vargas

September 1, 2014

Hello family!!  

I am glad you all had a great week!! It was a good week here in Cidade Vargas.  We had some ups and downs, but overall I had a good time and loved the people we got to meet and work with.  

We started off on Tuesday with a mission-wide conference with President Broadbent.  He is really trying hard to increase the faith, power, and authority we have as missionaries.  The conference was AWESOME. President Broadbent is funny because he loves to talk and the meetings always go longer than planned...for example, the conference was supposed to be from 3-7 but lasted until 9 at night.  Luckily we live close to the chapel where the meeting was but it was truly a revelatory experience.  We set a goal as a mission for baptisms in September and for the rest of the year and I am so excited to be able to reach this goal and truly use the power I have as a full-time missionary of my Heavenly Father.  

The rest of the week was wonderful as well.  We had some ups--Karine finished the Book of Mormon; Iara and Fernanda stayed in Sao Paulo again; and Maria Ines (Henrique’s mom) went to church two weeks ago, felt the Spirit, and decided she wanted to quit smoking and get baptized.  She will get baptized in a few weeks--a huge miracle!

But also some downs--Karine decided to push back her baptism a week, Iara’s dad didn’t come to church so we have to wait for him to baptize her, and other awesome investigators fell off the face of the earth.

However, I have learned as a missionary the good ALWAYS outweighs the bad and the most important thing to do is have faith in God’s timing.

But the most unfortunate news is I won’t be in this area to see how these people progress because we got transfer calls today and I found out I am getting transferred.  I have to admit, I am more than a bit heartbroken.  I didn’t think I would get transferred with only one transfer left and I am sad to leave this area behind.  I am crying a little bit as I type this (the other Brasilheiros around me must think I am pretty pathetic) but I really did fall in love with my area and companion and investigators here.  

I don’t know where I will be serving or who will be my new companion but I will find out tomorrow...it will be an interesting experience to only serve in a ward for my last transfer but I feel very strongly Heavenly Father wants me there for a reason!  

Have a great week!!  Please keep me in your prayers and pray for the investigators here as well!!  This transfer will be a grand adventure!  Wish me good luck in my new area!

Com muito amor,

Sister Dixon

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Trying acai

August 25, 2014

Hello family!!

This week was wonderful!  We worked so hard and I feel right now that I have never been so exhausted in my life.  I think this e-mail might be a little scatterbrained because my mind is really tired, but I will try my best to report on how things are going! 

We had such a great week in our area with our investigators and less-actives and members.  I love the ward I am serving in right now!  What a great blessing it is to be in Cidade Vargas.  We had another trial with Iara and her mom.  On Wednesday the bishop went over and talked to their family.  He talked with Iara’s less-active stepdad (William) about coming back to church and baptizing his stepdaughter.  William accepted the invitation and we were so so so excited!  The bishop marked the baptism for August 31.  However, when Sister Moscoso and I returned the next day, Fernanda told us again that they will be separating still and that she and Iara will leave Monday (today).  It was a bummer, especially because this family could use the gospel right now, but we still have hope things will work out and when we visit tomorrow they will still be there.  

However, like I said last week, even amidst the trials I felt such a sense of peace and happiness with the work I was doing.  Sometimes it’s stressful when the results aren’t what I want them to be, but I know Heavenly Father is pleased with my efforts.  Here are some tender mercies/funny things I wanted to share that happened as of late:

·         We are teaching a man named Carlos who is really awesome!! He came to church last week and loved it but the coolest thing is he owns a pizzeria here in Sao Paulo.  We meet with him in the pizzeria before it opens and teach him lessons there.  This week he gave us a free pizza too!  We seriously get to meet the coolest people here.

·         It’s funny because throughout my mission I have been able to see the attributes I develop from my companions.  With each companion I have, I acquire new phrases and habits I didn’t have before.  The thing I am learning most from Sister Moscoso is a love for pimenta!!  In the beginning of our companionship I thought it was gross that she put pimenta on everything...I tried it and I didn’t like it...but then I gave it a second chance and now I am addicted.  Also she says the thing she is learning from me is to trip on everything haha I am still the same old Sister Dixon.

·         This week we met a woman on the street and marked an appointment with her.  We went to visit her apartment with a member in our ward.  We buzzed into the apartment building and a man who worked at the front desk walked out.  He said she wasn’t home but she left little goody bags for us.  Sure enough, she had made little packages for us with our names and little Brasilian candies.  It was the nicest way of turning down the missionaries I have ever seen.  Also she wrote Sister Nixon on my goody bag which I thought was kind of funny.

·         I am officially understanding most of what I am hearing!! Still I have difficulties with speaking, but sometimes I end conversations with people and think to myself, four months ago I never would have understood what that person said.  It’s really cool to see myself progressing. 

I am really grateful to be here in Brasil right now.  I am learning so many things that I have never learned.  My mission has been full of new and exciting experiences and I will forever be grateful!!

Please pray for our investigators Karine, Iara, and Jaqui!

Love you all!!

Sister Dixon

p.s.  We went with an investigator to eat acai (it's famous here in Brasil).

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

August 18, 2014

All of you know Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 has had a profound influence on me throughout my mission.  I picked it to be the scripture on my plaque before my mission.  I always had it visible on my desk so I could see it when I was stressed during studies or nightly planning.  I repeated it with my companions in Michigan when we were door knocking in the freezing cold.  But this week, I felt like I started to get a grasp of what it truly means to look unto the Lord and trust Him with everything that is going on.

I think I have been somewhat of a worry wart on my mission.  When I left, I wanted to make sure I made my mission the best experience I could.  I wanted to obey with exactness and work my hardest and really make every moment count.  But sometimes, I stressed myself out with thoughts of ´´Am I really doing my best?  Does Heavenly Father expect more of me?´´ Or when trials came, ´´What did I do wrong?  How can I overcome this?´´  

But as I arrived in Brasil, I was really put through the refiner’s fire.  Training a Hispanica with only four weeks in the field here was the hardest thing I have ever done.  Going on exchanges right now when I feel really inadequate and new here can be difficult at times as well.

But I really feel like one reason I came to Brasil when I did was I had to learn how to trust in the Lord. Really, truly, trust.  Through the difficulties, I have felt God’s love for me and felt the peace that comes when I cast my burden on the Lord.

And this week, I saw a glimpse of how wonderful this principle can be!  I mentioned Iara the other week. This week we visited her and her mom to see how they were doing.  We entered the apartment and Fernanda (Iara’s mom) was crying.  She told us she was having marital problems and she and Iara would be moving to Rio de Janeiro the next day.  The bags were packed and everything!  It was a sad moment.  We said our goodbyes, wrote down Iara’s number to give to the missionaries in Rio, said a prayer, and left.  As we were leaving, I should have been worried about the missionaries in Rio, if Iara would continue to progress there, how we would find another person to teach, and so on...but instead, I felt such peace in my heart.  I felt a spiritual prompting everything would work out as it should.  And so Sister Moscoso and I said a prayer for their family and continued to work.  

Later on in the week we were talking to people on the street when we felt like we should visit William (Iara’s dad who stayed here in Sao Paulo).  It was kind of a weird thought because he works during the day when we wanted to visit him, but we decided to follow the prompting.  We were absolutely shocked when we buzzed and Fernanda opened the door!!  She and Iara decided to stay here.  It was such a sign to me all things work out as they should when we do our part and wait patiently for Heavenly Father to do the rest.
Things are going really well here.  We are teaching a guy who owns a pizzeria (we teach lessons in the pizzeria)!  I went on exchanges with a sister from Africa and we had some new investigators who went to church this past Sunday.  I am loving the experiences I am having and am so grateful to be a missionary!

I hope you have a great week, and always remember to doubt not, fear not!  LOVE YOU ALL!!

Sister Dixon

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Open Your Mouth

August 11, 2014

Hello all!!

We had a great week here in Cidade Vargas.  Time is flying so quickly but I am loving every minute of it and working my hardest until the end!  I really want to make sure I learn everything I am supposed to while I am here!  But I still have two months so I have plenty of time:-) 

This week was so crazy busy because we had MLC on Tuesday and then we had exchanges on Friday.  I was exhausted every day but so glad to be a missionary because of all the wonderful experiences we have!  Miracles happen every day--we just have to have the eyes to see them.

Our investigators are all doing well.  Jaqui is progressing and reading so much!! She has so many questions and doubts which is good because I know she will have a rock-solid testimony in the end.  We are also teaching a nine-year-old girl named Iara who has been coming to church for three months now.  Her dad is a less-active member and she comes to church with her grandpa.  She should be getting baptized soon as well so we are excited for that!

This week I learned a huge lesson about the power of opening your mouth.  President Broadbent is a firm believer in the power of talking to people and he is bringing that concept into the Sao Paulo South mission right now.  He raised the standard of contatas we have here in the mission and this week at MLC he talked about why.  It isn’t just about spreading our message with everyone (which is a really good thing, too) but it’s about showing our faith in Christ and our obedience!  It can be hard to talk to people on the street--especially when you and your companion are still learning Portuguese--but Heavenly Father will provide miracles when we show we are willing to talk to His children.

This week we did over 130 contacts and seriously talked with so many people on the street!  It was a WONDERFUL experience.  I felt so happy all the time and grateful for the message we carry.

And, sure enough, we saw the miracles come.  For example, we met a man who had been taught by the missionaries in the past.  He still remembered about the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  However, he said after the first lesson he wanted to learn more, but for one reason or another, the missionaries never returned!  We got to teach him on Saturday and it was so cool to see how Heavenly Father puts people in our paths.

The gospel is wonderful.  Truly wonderful.  And I know when we open our mouths about this message, our own testimonies will strengthen and we will feel happiness, joy, and peace.

I love you all!!

Sister Dixon

God's plan is perfect!

August 4, 2014

I  know I have said this time and time again, but I have learned on my mission that Heavenly Father’s plan is absolutely PERFECT.  I learned this in Michigan while waiting for my visa.  The timing of my visa was perfectly planned--I have been learning the lessons I needed to at just the right time.  I have such a strong testimony that if we just trust in the plan Heavenly Father has for us, everything will work out in the end!

Anyways, this week we had a huge miracle that strengthened my testimony of this even more.  On Thursday we were doing nightly planning when we got a call from one of the secretaries of the mission.  He was excited to tell us he had a VERY important referral to give us. 

The secretaries received an e-mail from a guy who lives in the US.  He is a member of the Church who recently got home from his mission and returned to visit South American countries with a mission buddy. While they were traveling through South America, they met a girl named Jaqui who looked like she was going through a hard time.  They talked to her about the gospel and she was really interested and so they got her contact information and sent it our way.

We called Jaqui right away and set an appointment for the next day.  But here is where it gets even more perfect:  Jaqui lives on the same street as us here in Brasil and also she is PERUVIAN!!  And if you don’t remember, so is my companion!!!

Jaqui grew up in Lima, Peru but moved here about two years ago to go to school and work and live with her uncle.  She speaks Portuguese but it’s been so cool because she and Sister Moscoso talk in Spanish with each other and relate and I just have such a big testimony that this was divinely orchestrated.  Jaqui has had lots of difficulties lately and she is loving the gospel.  She came to church yesterday and has a hunger to learn--she has been reading everything we give her and truly feasting on the words of Christ!

We had lots of good experiences this week and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be on a mission and see the hand of the Lord in my life with such clarity.  

What a huge miracle it was and still is.  I am grateful for the returned missionaries who continue to share the gospel because they made two sister missionaries in Brasil very happy!! I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and how it heals the wounded soul.  I am grateful for mission calls because I know there is inspiration about where and when.  I am grateful for the infinite love Heavenly Father has for us.  I am grateful He would plan something so elaborate and wonderful for each one of our lives.

I hope you have a great week!  I am grateful for all that my mission is teaching me right now.  Love you all!  Dulce é o trabalho! 

Sister Dixon

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Calm after the Storm

Henrique's baptism
July 28, 2014

I seriously cannot remember right now if the phrase is The Calm before the Storm or after--I am forgetting things in English!! But I feel like last week I kind of vented about it being a hard week but we had calm after the storm and this week truly was wonderful in every way!  And if I messed up the phrase...oh well.  I hope you all can understand.

We had so many great things happen this week but I would have to say the highlight is that Henrique was baptized!  I don’t know if I have talked much about him but it truly was a wonderful experience to teach him and see his progression in the gospel.  I talked about how on my birthday we found an awesome man named Aparecido and he said we could come back and teach him.  Anyway, when we came back, he wasn’t in his work where he usually is and his neighbor said he is an alcoholic and doesn’t want to learn more, but just said those things to be nice to us.  We felt really disappointed by this, but we felt like we should knock on his door anyways.  When we visited, he wasn’t home, but his wife, MariaInes, was.  She told us about many experiences and we talked about the gospel and she said we could return as well.  When we returned, she said she wasn’t interested because she already has a religion but we started teaching her son, Henrique.

As I am typing out this story I have chills.  It is so amazing to me to see how Heavenly Father plans things perfectly...I have such a strong testimony that when we listen to the Spirit, we will always be guided to where we need to be.

Henrique is wonderful!  He is twenty-seven years old.  He really changed so much throughout the teaching process.  He was baptized yesterday and it was so great.  MariaInes came as well.  While Henrique was changing after the baptism, Sister Moscoso and I gave brief testimonies about baptism and the Holy Ghost.  We sat down and then MariaInes went up to the pulpit and started thanking everyone for how much they changed her son’s life and she started crying!! She said the Spirit touched her heart so much when he went down into the water.  It was such a spiritual moment for me and we were so grateful that MariaInes was touched.  We talked with her after and she wants to join the Church too!! She has WOW things to work out so it will take some time, but it was such a miracle.

Sister Moscoso and I feel really grateful to be working in this area right now.  I am loving the Brasilian people and all of the experiences I have had.   I am certain this church is The Church of Jesus Christ here on the earth and that it changes lives.  I know we truly can gain power to become like Christ as we study the scriptures and pray.  I know the sacrament and the atonement of Christ can change our natures and help us feel the joy and peace that comes from forgiveness.  I know Christ lives and He is directing this work right now!!

I love you all so much--have a great week!

Sister Dixon
July 21, 2014

Well I am going to be honest...this week was the hardest week of my whole mission.  This transfer has been difficult, but this week was so so hard for me.  At the beginning of the week, we had six people who were ready to be baptized this coming Saturday.  

However, as the week progressed, one by one the baptisms fell through.  
We had baptisms for children and their mom decided not to give permission even though she had given permission in the past.
We had one investigator who drank coffee even though he told us earlier he doesn’t like coffee.
We had one investigator who decided randomly to go on vacation and we had no idea.
And then the hardest one was Wyctor, who decided he doesn’t want to continue participating with the Church at all.  We saw him the next day on the street and said hi but he wouldn’t even talk to us.

I didn’t really care about having the baptisms, but it’s really hard to see people reject something that will be such a huge blessing in their lives.  Things like this really really hurt when you are a missionary.  I don’t think I have ever felt so lonely in my whole life.  Thoughts of ´´If only you were better with Portugues, this wouldn’t have happened´´ kept running through my head this whole week. 

However, in the midst of it all, I learned some beautiful lessons.  I learned we are here to learn to become like our Heavenly Father.  Heavenly Father feels disappointed at times with the choices of His children, and so in order to become like Him, we have to feel the same way at times.  I learned the atonement of Christ truly is there to help us when we feel lonely.  I learned comfort and peace can come through sincere prayer and scripture study.  I learned it’s a choice to feel discouraged.  I learned there is always something to be grateful for.

I am grateful for how tough this week was, because I truly don’t think I have ever learned so much so quickly.  My testimony was strengthened and fortified daily by the healing words of Christ in the scriptures.  Sorry all of this is sounding really dramatic, but I just want everyone who reads this to know we will have trials and difficulties in our lives but everything will be made right through the atonement of Christ.  I may not have had the most success on my mission or been the best missionary out there, but I have gained a testimony of the gospel throughout my time here and to me, that is worth everything!

I love the lyrics to this hymn:

Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?
Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new—
A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.

Sister Moscoso and I will stay together this transfer and we are feeling hopeful for the great things that will happen.  It was hard for us both, but I know blessings come to those who wait upon the Lord.  

We will be staying here in Cidade Vargas and I really can’t believe I am starting my last twelve weeks.  The time really flies!  President also called me to be a sister training leader here which I am pretty nervous about but I know it will help me to grow and progress even more.  Keep me in your prayers!  

Sorry this e-mail was so scattered and random, but I am grateful for all of you who support and love me and the gospel.  Have a great week!

Sister Dixon

Sunday, July 20, 2014

With Sisters Calvancanti and Moscoso

July 14, 2014

Oiiii familia!

So glad to hear from all of you.  Sorry this letter is coming in a bit late . . . we went to a huge park in Sao Paulo (it’s like the central park of Brazil) with our zone and it was so great!  It was called Parque Ibirapuera and we even rode bikes.  

Anyways, I don’t have tons of time so this will be a bit short.  This week was great again! Every week is wonderful when we are missionaries.  We had permission to watch the Brasil and Germany game which was pretty devastating but I loved how passionate the Brasilians were about soccer.  The culture here is so beautiful.  I am really loving it!  I also ate my first true Brasilian churrasco (barbecue) before the final game.  It was a week of landmarks.  The World Cup is over which is a bit sad but I have to admit I am happy because at times it was a bit of a hindrance to the work.  

We still have some wonderful investigators on date.  I have a rock solid testimony right now that the gospel is absolutely true because of the opposition we face.  It was a bit of a difficult week for the people we are teaching--all of them are facing challenges, but I am certain it will all work out how Heavenly Father wants it to.  Nevertheless, we are still seeing Heavenly Father’s hand in the work every single day and the tender mercies of the Lord testify to me this gospel is so true.  

For example, the other day, Sister Moscoso and I were in a bit of trouble because we were lost on the street and we lost our map as well.  Anyways, we were trying to figure out what we should do when a member from another ward came and approached us and looked up directions on her phone for us. What a huge miracle that was!  It was so beautiful to see that Heavenly Father answered our silent, fervent prayer. 

This week we will be fasting and praying and doing everything we can to help our investigators be baptized this Sunday.  Please pray for us and them!  

LOVE you ALL!!

Sister Dixon

Friday, July 11, 2014

Semana de Milagres

July 7, 2014

Helloooo family!  

I hope all is well with you and I hope your 4th of July was fantastic.  I celebrated by wearing red, white, and blue.  Our zone leaders called us in the morning and sang the national anthem.  It was a great day!

Well let me start off by saying I think one of the greatest lessons I have learned on my mission is PATIENCE.  I never thought I was an especially impatient person before my mission, but time and time again on my mission my patience has been tested. It’s been so hard at times, but I know patience is the key to truly accepting the will of God and being humble enough to serve during the difficulties.  At the beginning of my mission, I had to learn PATIENCE with accepting the will of God and serving where Heavenly Father wanted me to serve.  It was so hard, especially during the winter in Williamston, but I loved every minute of it and I have such a strong testimony now that the plan of God is perfect.  I had to learn PATIENCE with other people many times throughout my mission, especially when people rejected our message or when our investigators didn’t progress like we wanted them to.  I had to learn PATIENCE with myself when I arrived in Brazil and I wanted to be fluent right away and be the same missionary I was in Michigan.  It truly is such a Christlike attribute.  Every time my patience is tested, I think of a quote from Elder Holland that really has touched my heart:

´´Some  blessings  come  soon,  some  come  late,  and  some  don’t  come  until  heaven;  but  for  those  who  embrace  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ,  they  come.´´

Beautiful, right?  And this week was such a proof of this prophetic statement.  I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful our week was.  Wyctor, our new investigator, is so solid.  We taught him a few times this week and he will be baptized on the 19th.  He said he prayed about the Book of Mormon and he knows it is true.  At church he was asking us if he could be baptized sooner but he has to come to church three times first.  Heavenly Father really is preparing people, we just have to have the spiritual eyes to see.

Also, Celia, Leticia, Nickoly, and David are progressing well.  We picked a date for them as well for the 19th and they are so excited!  For a while, they weren’t progressing like I wanted them to.  It was frustrating at times.  However, we kept doing all we could do and trusting in the Lord to provide and it’s made all the difference.  We have been visiting every day and reading the Book of Mormon with them little by little from the beginning. Just imagine Sister Moscoso and I reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese to a Brazilian family and trying to explain what is happening with our limited vocabulary. Most of the time is spent with us looking up words in our dictionaries, but despite this, the Spirit is always SO strong!  Also we gave them some old skirts we aren’t using and they wore them to church yesterday and they said this Sunday was better than the others and they felt the Spirit stronger.  Cool miracles like that have been happening and I feel so excited about the work here right now.

My time here has been filled with little challenges and setbacks with the language and with investigators . . . however, I can testify with PATIENCE, the blessings truly do come. Everything is coming together so nicely and I am so so grateful for the hand of the Lord in my life right now.  Thanks for all of the prayers and advice--every little bit helps!

Still can’t figure out how to send pictures, but I have some good ones ready and waiting!  
Love you all!!

Sister Dixon