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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

With President and Sister Broadbent
June 30, 2014

Are other people having a hard time believing that July will start tomorrow??  Or is it just me?  Wow time is going way too fast!  We had such a great and interesting week . . . full of miracles and changes and all sorts of Brasilian fun.  Here are some highlights:

--President Broadbent arrived!  I still can’t believe I will have three presidents during my mission but wow he is really great!  We had a meeting on Saturday with all of the missionaries in the mission and he talked about his standards for us and his testimony of the gospel.  He served here in Brazil and loved it so much.  We have interviews with him this week and I am super excited to get to know him better.

--Two times that Brasil played in the World Cup this week.  (And two times that they won!)  We had permission to watch the game against Chile on Saturday in a member’s house.  It was really strange to watch as a missionary but holy cow was that an intense game!!  I feel really blessed to be here during such a monumental time, though.

--We are seeing some great progress with our less-actives and investigators.  Celia is still working on her addiction to coffee, but she is definitely coming along!  She made it three days without drinking which was huge, and now she believes she actually can do it! (Before she was doubting herself.)  We decided to read the Book of Mormon with her from the beginning.  She has a hard time understanding, so we read verse by verse and explain every little detail.  The Spirit is always so strong and the Book of Mormon is really the thing that is giving her the spiritual power to continue.  I know the Book of Mormon is so true!  I can’t begin to say how many miracles I have seen come from the Book of Mormon during my mission!!

--We also had a ward activity this week called Festa Junina--it’s a huge party Brasilians have every June. Tons of people came and it was such a miracle! Seriously so many investigators and non-members and referrals.  Ah I was so so so happy.  We picked up a new investigator named Wyctor who is a cousin of a member.  He is seventeen years old and loved the activity and came to church the next day.  We are really excited to work with him!

--And on a more spiritual note, we had a profound spiritual experience yesterday.  Sister Moscoso and I visited the restroom before sacrament meeting.  We found one of the recent converts in the ward in the bathroom crying and started to talk to her.  She had an extreme migraine and was really suffering.  We decided to stay with her and give her a massage and help her to feel better.  By the end of sacrament meeting, she was feeling much better but as a result we ended up missing the sacrament.  Later on in the day, we were teaching lessons with a member of the ward named Paulo.  We told him what happened and he offered to bless the sacrament for us.  We got permission from the bishop and we had a mini sacrament meeting in Paulo’s house.  It was seriously so beautiful.  Paulo is seventeen years old and he is the only member in his family.  He carefully prepared the bread and water and we sang hymns with his non-member mother to prepare and to invite the Spirit.  He knelt on the cement floor and carefully read the scriptures from Moroni to bless the sacrament.  I started to cry because the Spirit was so strong and because it was so touching to have this experience when we thought we would have to wait another week to take the sacrament again.  During this moment I was so so grateful to be where I am as a missionary right now.  It is so beautiful to see the humble devotion to the gospel these people have.  I am grateful for the Book of Mormon, for the sacrament, and for the atonement.  This gospel is so true.


Sister Dixon #1

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm 21?!

June 23, 2014

OLAAAAA familia!

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!  It was seriously such a good week and such a great birthday. Heavenly Father blessed me so much!!  We got to go to the temple this week and Sister Moscoso and I had great opportunities to teach some really awesome people.  

At district meeting we learned about the importance of getting our investigators to church because it is a really revelatory experience and necessary for conversion.  Sister Moscoso and I decided this would be our focus and our goal for the week.  At every lesson we taught, we invited people to come to church. We invited random people on the street to come to church, and when Saturday night rolled around, we had tons of people lined up to come to church!  We were really excited. We were going to call people and wake them up Sunday morning and also visit some people and walk with them to church.  However, when Sunday morning rolled around, we did all we could but only two people ended up coming.  And we were pretty disappointed because Celia, Leticia, and Nickoly didn’t show up like they said they would.  But we didn’t stop there . . . we decided to leave during Sunday school (we have sacrament meeting last) and try to find those who didn’t come.  We visited people and invited people on the street to come, but still nothing worked.  We entered the church building just in time for sacrament feeling a bit dejected and tired.  I was down, especially because I was hoping for some big miracles on my birthday!  But taking the sacrament was a huge miracle for me this Sunday.

As we took the sacrament and renewed our covenants, I could feel the burdens being lifted from my shoulders.  I knew that God knew we tried our hardest, and that is all He expects.   A scripture in 2 Nephi 25:23 kept running through my head:
´´for  we  know  that  it  is  by  grace  that  we  are  saved,  after  all w  can  do .´´ 
We literally did all we could do, and once I realized that, I decided it was time to put my trust in God and wait for His grace to help us out.  During the sacrament, I was praying we could find an investigator who would feast on the scriptures, progress, and come to church.

And after church, we went to work.  We started visiting people and we kept having the most amazing contacts and experiences.  We met one man named Aparecido and he especially was such a huge miracle. We started talking to him and his neighbor, Shayla. Aparecideo told us he already read all of the Book of Mormon because his daughter was an investigator of the missionaries.  He said he LOVES to read and was anxious to read the restoration pamphlet we left with him.  When we invited him to church next Sunday, he readily said yes and we are going back to teach him tomorrow.  Sometimes it baffles me how quickly and how specifically Heavenly Father answers our prayers.  

We taught a few more lessons and then a family in our ward made dinner and dessert for us for my birthday. They made a dessert with pineapple (abacaxi) because I told them it’s my favorite!  I felt so loved and so grateful to be here at this time.  Sure, at times, our investigators don’t progress like we want them to and we can’t always understand the people on the streets.  Sure, at times, it’s really difficult to walk up the hills of Sao Paulo or work in the pouring rain.  But I am a missionary!! I get to wear a name tag every day.  I get to meet the most inspiring people and I get to have trials that help me build my faith. Yesterday, I just felt so grateful to be a missionary right now.  I think it’s the best gift I could have received!!

Also, the family we ate dinner with recorded little messages for our families.  The mom is Girlane and the dad is Isais--they help us out so much!  Rebecca is their daughter and Samuel is their son.  They made SO many desserts--I was so full afterwards.  This is not typical in Brasil, but they spoiled me rotten for my birthday.

This week we will receive a new mission president and also we will have a Festa Juninha with our ward!  It should be a great week!


Sister Dixon

Goof and Grow

Brazil/Uruguay flags

June 16, 2014

Oiiiiiii familia!!

I hope everyone is doing well!  Sorry in advance for the grammatical errors I will have--it is sooo weird to be thinking and typing in English.  Well we had a great week and I love my new companion!  I am training Sister Moscoso and SURPRISE she is from Peru so we are learning Portuguese together!  There were three sisters who arrived the same day--two from Brasil and one from Peru.  The other sisters training have much more experience with Portuguese but sure enough I am training the Peruvian.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am though.  She really is exactly what I needed!  

Sister Moscoso was born in Peru but moved to Spain six years ago and she was waiting for her visa as well!  She ended up serving in Spain for two transfers and then came here. It is such a blessing she already knows how to teach and how to be a missionary and such.  She is teaching me so much and we love using the things we learned from our previous missions here in Brasil.  

This week has definitely been a week of goof and grow.  We have had some pretty funny experiences because I really have no idea what I am doing, but Sister Moscoso has been patient with me so I am really grateful.  I feel like I have learned so much this past week and I am starting to feel really confident with Portuguese which is a huge blessing!
Here are some funny goofs from this week:

1)  We decided to visit some less-active families.  We have a HUGE list with members in the ward and Sister Vieira crossed out all of the people who are active so we won’t visit them.  (90% of our ward is less-active so we have a lot of options to work with!) Anyways, we knocked on a door of a casa and who came to the door?  The bishop’s wife! Sister Vieira forgot to cross out the bishop’s family so that was funny trying to explain why we were there.

2)  I accidentally scheduled two lunch appointments for us yesterday.  And both with people who would have been upset if we cancelled . . . I don’t think I have ever eaten so much in my life.

3)  During a lesson I was trying to tell an investigator we would pray for him but I ended up saying we would pray TO him--oops.

But despite all of these goofs, I have had some huge growing experiences and I have learned so much about patience, charity, and the atonement.  So I wouldn’t trade my mishaps for anything!

The World Cup was interesting.  The day Brasil played, we had to stay in our apartment because it was too dangerous to be out working.  Brasil will play again tomorrow so I am guessing we will have to do the same.  But it is really cool to be here during such a historic event!  The streets are all decorated and the people are super excited, so it is really cool to be a part of it all!!  

We get to go to the temple tomorrow and I am really excited.  President Tanner will be leaving very soon and President Broadbent will be arriving!  So many changes are happening and I feel very blessed to serve right now!

The work has been a bit challenging during the World Cup, but we are still teaching Nickoly, Leticia, and Celia.  They are all ready for baptism except Celia and Leticia need to stop drinking cafe.  Pray for them!!  I am sure they will be baptized this transfer though.

Well sorry this was so random, but I am happy and loving the learning experiences I am having!  Love you all!! And thanks for the birthday wishes!  I don’t know where the time has gone--twenty-one already? Sheesh.

Eu espero que voces tenham uma boa semana!

Sister Dixon