Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 24, 2014

Alma 29:  9-10
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it.  I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

This is exactly how I feel today.  As this transfer comes to a close and a new one begins, Sister Smith and I have been reflecting on the amazing miracles we have witnessed.  Seriously, though, we have been SO ridiculously blessed.  We decided the theme of this past transfer was the song "I Stand All Amazed."  We would sing it as we were out finding and such and whenever a miracle would happen--we always made sure to emphasize the line "confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me."  That's how we feel.  Confused. Or undeserving, rather.  We are imperfect and weak vessels, but as the Spirit of the Lord works through us, we get to take part in miracles.  THIS is my joy.
We had a wonderful week.  We were so blessed with new investigators who are absolutely amazing.  Here are some direct quotes from two of our newest investigators, Darnae and Sean.
To Darnae:  "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized?"  Darnae: "Yes.  I grew up in the Catholic church and watched people getting baptized, and I always wondered when it would be my turn."
To Sean:  "What are you expecting to learn about as a result of meeting with us?"  Sean: "I don't really know, but I don't know a ton about the Mormon church and I want to learn more. I know churches these days don't really teach what Christ taught when he was on the earth, though.  And that people changed the things he taught to fit with their standards."
If your jaw isn't dropping, then it should be.  It was truly amazing.  I felt like I was a missionary in “The District” videos!  People are being prepared by Heavenly Father, and when we find them and teach them, miracles occur!
Sister Smith is being transferred, which I am really sad about.  I have learned so much from her during the time we spent together.  She is leaving later today and I am picking up my new companion, Sister Hyde, tomorrow.  The assistants couldn't figure out who I could be companions with so instead I get to ride the transfer van all day today and then I get to be companions in the office with Sister Gardner while we wait for Sister Hyde to come.  It should be an interesting few days!  
Heavenly Father is amazing.  All He asks of us is to remember Him and keep His commandments.  It's the little things we do that truly make a world of difference.  I love my mission so much.  I love the people we get to meet and the adventures we get to have. I love that my relationship with my Savior is increasing.  This Church is so true.  Everything is just so great!                                                                                           
Side note:  Sister Smith and I went to dinner at the Hansen's house last night before she left.  They are the cute family that lives next door to us with the redheaded daughters. Brother Hansen was saying we have been such a good example to his daughters and he said, "If I was your parents, I would be so proud of you. If your parents aren't proud of you, then they should be medicated."  
And another funny thing:  Hu Wen Qi came for a lesson yesterday and as soon as he walked in he just said, "Sisters, I did something dangerous today."  We were like uhhhh...ok??  He then proceeded to show us the new car in the parking lot he had bought the day before and driven over to the institute for the lesson.  It was really nice!  But the dangerous thing was he drove it over sans license plate, insurance, or driver's license.  Whoops--looks like we need to re-teach obey and honor the law!
I love you all and have a great week!
Sister Dixon

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Aje's baptism

March 17, 2014

Hello everyone!  

We had an AMAZING WEEK!  Seriously one of the best weeks of my mission.  I just continue to feel so blessed and "[c]onfused at the grace" that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ give us.  Here were the highlights of the week:

1)  Aje got baptized!!  (Also we found out her name is really spelled Ajee with an accent over the second "e" but she just leaves it off most of the time to make it easier.  She is from Detroit, but her name is French.)  It was absolutely amazing!  Aje loves the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and the ward so it was very powerful.  The jumpsuit she wore was a little big so when she came out of the changing room with it on she said, "It looks like I bought this at convicts-r-us."  Haha she is hilarious!  Also I just wanted to illustrate how much Heavenly Father played a part in finding Aje.  When I was at MSU last year, we got a call from the assistants at the beginning of a new transfer saying they had a referral for us.  Some of the new missionaries had gone PCing on campus for the first time and the sisters found a girl named Aje who was interested (one of them was Sister Kaegi, my old companion)!  We called Aje and set up an appointment with her, but when we went that next week, she wasn't there.  We tried and tried to get a hold of her, but she would never answer back so as we started to find new potentials, Aje got put on the back burner. Fast forward to Christmas break, when Sister Richardson and Sister Smith were in the area.  They started calling old potentials during break because there weren't too many people on campus.  Aje answered and set up an appointment and the rest is history!  It is just so amazing to see how everything was orchestrated perfectly and how we should never give up on people!  Heavenly Father knows so much more about the people we teach than we do!  

2)  We picked up a new investigator this week named Alysha and she is absolutely amazing.  The zone leaders found her at the library and referred her to us.  We didn't know anything about her when we met with her the first time so the lesson was completely guided by the Spirit and it turned out to be such a powerful lesson.  Alysha expressed how she has been feeling unhappy lately and just sick of the party atmosphere at MSU.  She really feels like people around her are dragging her down.  We felt like we should share the story of the Tree of Life with her to introduce the Book of Mormon and she absolutely loved it.  She kept saying how happy she felt and how much hope it gave her to know there is something to hold on to and a reward at the end that makes the persecution worth it.  She came to church yesterday and we are teaching her again tonight so that was a huge miracle!  It was probably the most spiritual lesson I have ever been in on my mission.   I am so grateful!

3)  We had half-mission training this past week.  It was truly amazing.  President Hess shared how he was called to the Spanish-American mission but then he had such a hard time learning Spanish in the MTC that his mission got changed.  He felt guilty about it and inadequate at times.  His story brought me to tears.  I realized that is how I feel sometimes, which is really silly.  At times I feel like I haven't gotten my visa yet because I haven't worked hard enough here or I haven't learned the lessons I needed to learn here.  This realization brought me to tears.  President Hess talked about how it was a daily struggle to rely on the Lord and trust in His plan and realize he didn't need to feel guilty or inadequate.  Once I recognized that in myself, I felt so much peace to know it isn't my fault I am still here.  Heavenly Father's plan is so much more magnificent than anything I could ever dream up.  It was so amazing to realize what exactly I am feeling and then that President Hess is my mission president so he could help me overcome those feelings.  I was truly humbled and grateful.  Sister Smith and I had to do a demonstration in front of everyone about committing people to come to church.  I pondered about why church has been such a blessing in my life and it made me so grateful to have a place where I can be "unspotted from the world."  I invite each of you to ponder why church is important to you and to do things to make your Sabbath day even more holy.  
The work is truly so sweet.


Sister Dixon

p.s.  A ward member bought us twin shirts because she knows we love to match!  We wore green skirts in honor of St. Patrick’s Day :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mission Leadership Training

March 10, 2014

Hello family!!!!

First of all, YAAAAAAAYYYYYY KIRSTEN!!!!! I am so so sososooooo excited for you.  It's definitely NOT what I expected but the good news is Uruguay doesn't have visa problems :)  I read a different e-mail from mom first that only mentioned Argentina so that's where I thought you were going until I watched the video.  Congratulations!  I am so excited we get to be sister sisters!

Well I really loved this verse in Ether 6:3 this week:
And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.

I thought I would share some of the "stones" of the week.  I am grateful that Heavenly Father always prepares a way and that we are surrounded by so many amazing blessings.  I like to think of the darkness as the worries and doubts and fears we have in our lives.  I have seen so many “stones” reminding me that Heavenly Father will NEVER leave us alone and that He will ALWAYS prepare a way for what He commands us to do.

Stone #1--preparing a way to teach during spring break.  Sister Smith and I were pretty nervous for spring break because most of our investigators were leaving.  But I knew I should trust in the Lord and it would all work out.  Turns out, we got permission to Skype our investigators over break and teach lessons to them using members’ computers!  It was such a blessing and such a cool experience.  Technology is an amazing way to share the gospel!!  We also were able to contact so many people who we haven't been able to reach in a while and we were just so grateful for the great week it was.  It didn't feel like spring break one bit (mostly because we were so blessed with things to keep us busy, but also because it was still pretty cold outside haha)!

Stone #2--the scriptures have been so great for me lately.  I am grateful for the love I have developed for them throughout my time serving Heavenly Father.  There have been so many times when I struggle with faith or patience and I can find the peace and calm my soul desires by reading the words of God.

Stone #3--2 people from Brazil at church on Sunday!  Apparently a HUGE group of Brazilian students came to MSU this week to start some block classes.  One of them is LDS and he posted on the ward Facebook page that he and a friend would like to come to church on Sunday.  They both came and Sister Fehlman (a visa waiter who is also serving in the MSU ward) and I tried to speak Portuguese to them.  It was terrible but it was still so cool to see there is definitely a reason why I am here.

Stone #4--Aje!  She is our top investigator right now and we are blessed to be teaching her!  She is progressing so well and is planning to get baptized this next weekend.  We are having a stake women's conference before her baptism and she volunteered to be an usher for the conference--already a kingdom builder!  She has such an amazing testimony of the gospel.  We taught her a little while ago and she was saying the closing prayer and said, "Thank you for the sister missionaries.  I honestly feel happier than I ever have been before in my life."  The gospel truly does bring us happiness.  It's such a testimony builder to see how happy it makes other people as well!!

Stone #5--The people in this mission.  Honestly, I would probably be depressed to still be in Michigan if it wasn't for the AMAZING people here.  I love the missionaries I get to serve with and the ward members and the people we get to talk to every day on campus. They truly have kept me going and I will be forever grateful for these Michiganders.

These stones are the lights in my life right now and I am so grateful for all the blessings surrounding us.  

The picture is from MLC this week.  I got to see Sister Christiansen and Sister Probert again which was so much fun!  And I learned so much.  President Hess is amazing!


Sister Dixon

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sweet is the work!

Rita's baptism
March 3, 2014

Hello everyone!  

Wow.  Let me just start off by saying I am so overwhelmed by the amazing things that have happened this week.  So many sweet moments!!  Here were the highlights:

-Remembering Nichole--a miracle!  A few weeks ago, we were sitting in Snyder Hall and I had this memory come to my mind of when I served in this ward before and we would sit in Snyder Hall and teach a less-active named Nichole.  I suddenly realized we hadn't heard from or seen Nichole in so long, so we went home that night and gave her a call.  She was so happy to hear from us and we scheduled an appointment to meet with her the next week.  We looked on the ward list to find out where she lived and we couldn't find her ANYWHERE! It turns out, her records never got transferred here for some reason and so no one was visiting her or reaching out in any way.  She said one day she was wondering why she hadn't heard from missionaries in so long and then we called her that very night.  We met with her and she is coming back to church after spring break! It was really cool to see Heavenly Father's hand in things.  And I was so happy to be back in this ward at this time--Heavenly Father definitely directed that!  Nichole never would have been found otherwise!

-Rita got baptized this past weekend.  It was such a sweet experience and I was so grateful for the miracle of finding her at the library.  I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and it made me reflect on how amazing the Holy Ghost truly is.  I decided to share what the Holy Ghost has helped me with in my life by making a little acrostic poem:
R-right path
I-improve abilities
The talk went really well except the part at the beginning when I started to share my poem and I said, "So Spirit is spelled S-P-I-R-T."  Oh boy.  Everyone laughed and I quickly corrected myself but I think I had some new color in my face for the rest of the talk :)

-Going to Brother Ericson's funeral was bittersweet.  I don't know how much I have told you about Brother Ericson's past, but he used to be a Catholic priest up until he was 50 years old or so.  He was so devoted to his faith, and when the missionaries came, he loved how the gospel helped him increase and improve that faith.  He converted to the gospel, was baptized, and left his old profession behind.  He didn't have any family left, so the missionaries became his family.  For years, missionaries have visited his house and had gospel-centered conversations.  He LOVED missionaries so much.  Everyone who served in the Williamston ward really loved visits with Brother Ericson.  Missionaries were the only people who could drop by his place unannounced at any time of the day. His funeral was really beautiful.  We found out he donated all of his money and possessions to the MTC, which really touched us.  Also, all of the pallbearers were missionaries, so it was a really tender experience.  I am so grateful to have met Brother Ericson; he left a lasting impact on my life.

-Bishop Solomon taught us something sweet this week I thought I would share.  We have been talking a lot about visiting and home teaching in our ward these past few weeks and how much they truly correlate with missionary work.  Regardless of our callings or our positions, we each have a divine duty as disciples of Christ to "feed His sheep."  Bishop Solomon related the story of David and Goliath to this commission.  David felt confident he could conquer Goliath, but only because he had tended to his father's sheep in the past.  He was able to protect and love them, and because he was doing that, he was not worried about the big problem facing him.  Bishop promised everyone in that room if we take time to tend to the Father's sheep, we will be able to conquer the Goliaths in our own lives.  I can promise that is true.  I have never felt happier in my life than right now.  And I know it is because I am focusing on others and how I can make them happy.  The own big problems of my life suddenly don't seem so big when I am on my knees pleading for the welfare of others.  Try it in your own lives.  What a difference it will make!

-On a more unrelated note, it was pretty nippy this week.  As we were PCing, Sister Smith looked over at me and busted up laughing.  It turned out my cheek muscles froze.  Whenever I tried to smile or laugh, my face looked SO weird.  It looked like I had just returned from the dentist with a numb mouth.  We had a grand time.  But it will be in the 30s this week!  Woo!

Love you all!

Sister Dixon

Sunday, March 2, 2014

10der Mercies of the Lord

Potter Park Zoo

February 24, 2014

Hello family!!

Wow--this has probably been the most amazing week of my mission thus far and I just feel so blessed with everything that has been going on.  Today is my 10-month mark (booo) so I thought I would reflect on the 10 10der mercies we have seen as of late.

1-Finding miracle #1.  On Tuesday, we were on exchanges and I had Sister Harris with me from the Mason area.  We were having a great day and going finding and we decided to go to an apartment complex to hunt down a less-active in the ward.  We couldn't find him, so then we were going to go finding again, so we said a prayer as to where we should go. Sister Harris said, "I feel like we should go on the tree trail, but before we go, can we knock on door 123?"  We knocked on it and it was an amazing lady named Katherine, who let us right in!   We taught her and then set a return appointment and I was grateful Sister Harris was close to the Spirit.  It was seriously so cool.

2-Finding MIRACLE #2.  We were teaching a lesson in a dorm study room to a man named Herbert.  We were sitting around a table and it was pretty quiet and there were people all around us, so we could kind of tell they were all listening.  The lesson went really well and after we finished, Sister Smith wanted to go and talk to a girl who was sitting a table away.  The girl had been making an art project the whole time we were teaching, so Sister Smith just went up and said, "What are you making?  That looks so cool!"  The girl told told her and then proceeded to say, "Oh ya, and I was also wondering how I could join your church." DIRECT QUOTE.  It was amazing!  I was talking to Herbert this whole time, so I didn't hear any of it but Sister Smith told me after and we were stunned by what a blessing that is.  Sister Smith scheduled a return appointment with her for that very night and I had to leave for exchanges but Sister Smith and Sister Frei taught her and her name is Dymin and she is incredible!  She is on baptismal date for March 22 and we are so excited.  She also gave us referrals for 2 of her friends, so it was just such a huge 10der mercy.  I get to teach Dymin tomorrow, so I am looking forward to that.

3-The other sisters in the zone.  We are privileged to have such obedient and diligent sister missionaries here. Sister Smith and I went on exchanges twice this last week, so that was crazy but I loved it.  I went on Friday to serve in the St. John's area with Sister Jensen and Sister Pierce and we had a grand old time there.  I love getting to work with and learn from other missionaries.

4-Our investigators!  Our top investigator right now is Aje.  She is working towards a date of March 15, but she has been praying about baptism and she knows it is an absolute yes!  She loves coming to church and is SO so so funny.  In Sunday School yesterday, we were talking about the creation and how necessary it is for us to have bodies.  The teacher said, "Why did we need to have bodies?"  Aje said, "I wouldn't be able to experience true joy if I couldn't eat a bacon cheeseburger." The sisters also taught Qian again and said his lesson was amazing.  We have others who we are working with and we are seriously so blessed.

5-The plan of salvation in general.  Sister Smith and I found out yesterday Brother Ericson from the Williamston ward passed away.  I think I have included pictures with him but he was one of my favorite people I have met on my mission.  Sister Smith served in Williamston as well, so we were both really sad. He was so sassy but delightful to be around.  He used to be a Catholic priest but met with the missionaries and became so converted to the gospel.   I really loved his dedication to the true gospel and his love for learning. We were super sad and weepy when we found out but found such great comfort in the plan of salvation. The gospel is amazing!

6-The people here.  I love these people with all my heart!  They are too good to us.  Sister Convey in the Williamston ward bought Sister Smith and me new clothes and gave them to us on Sunday--it was so nice!! That is just one of the many 10der mercies I have experienced here from the wonderful people.

7-Priesthood blessings.  I have tried to get a blessing at the beginning of each transfer on my mission. Sister Smith and I finally got ours yesterday (even though it is week 3 of this transfer, haha) from Elder Gardner.  It was an amazing experience!  I prayed I would receive guidance and comfort regarding my new calling and also about my visa.  I thought I would share a quote from the blessing that touched me:  "There is great purpose in the delay of your visa.  Heavenly Father knew it would happen before your call."  It was so powerful and such an answer to my prayers!

8-More answers to prayers.  When I went on exchanges to St. John's I was praying so hard we would see some miracles.  Those sisters have had a hard time with finding new investigators which is something I really struggled with in Williamston, so I was excited to work there.  Anyway, as we went door knocking, we found some people and set return appointments with 2 of them and it was just such a blessing to see God's hand in this work.  We also prayed for moments to find joy and laugh and we had an interesting lesson with a less-active, which pretty much satisfied that plea as well.

9-Rita.  Rita was such a 10der mercy to find at the library in Williamston!  She is getting baptized this Saturday and I am so grateful for our paths crossing.  I will send pictures in the e-mail this week!

10-God's creations.  We experienced snowthunder today (it's a real thing--a thunderstorm when it's snowing) and we also went to the zoo this morning with a girl in our ward who is interning there!  Side note-we got to pet a rhino!!  But all of these things got me thinking about our amazing Father in Heaven and all He created for us.  We are beings capable of creating as well, and I am so grateful for the knowledge of our divine nature. God is amazing!  I love Alma 30:44, Mosiah 4:9, and 1 Nephi 11:17.  

11-My companions on my mission (it was hard to only pick 10).   I seriously have been so blessed with amazing people to work with and Sister Smith and I are having the BEST time right now.  We trust each other so much which seriously makes a world of difference.  My Christlike companions have helped me to understand and appreciate my relationship with my Savior even more.

Well that's about it on my end.  I am sorry I don't have a ton of time to answer you individually but here's to 10 months of missionary work!  Time is going way too fast but I am SO grateful to be a servant of the Lord!

p.s. I got the package, mom.  Those wool socks could be counted as 10der mercy 12.  


Sister Dixon