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