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.