Monday, November 10, 2014

I'm Coming Home :)‏

Dear Family and Friends,
The time has flown by.  Here I am, facing my last week in the Philippines as a missionary... so weird.  Last week was busy and we got a surprise phone call from the office last Tuesday informing us that we needed to come in the next morning to go to immigration again for fingerprinting.  Surprise!  So, we had to change are plans for going on exchanges last Wednesday and moved those exchanges to this week.  It was fun to see all the exiting missionaries again, especially my buddies Sisters Sanders, Strebel, and Rupp, and it was fun to see how everyone is handling leaving in different ways.  :) 
I thoroughly enjoyed MLC last Friday except for the part where I bore my testimony, haha!  I guess I just got too nervous about not wanting to cry in front of everyone and so my testimony turned into just a bunch of random ramblings about my decision to serve a mission and other stuff.  Oh well.... I get to share my actual testimony in Zone Conference this week to make up for it.  
Just want to mention how incredibly blessed I've been to serve as an STL for these last two transfers.  I've loved attending MLC and being part of the council.  My faith and trust in my leaders has grown so much from the experience and I love all of the new and exciting plans for our mission.  Especially, I'm grateful to have served the sisters and to go on exchanges with them.  Almost every time I've gone on exchanges, I can really see why we needed to go on exchanges that particular day with those particular sisters.  They've strengthened my testimony and I hope I've been strengthening theirs.
As for us here in Cogeo, we have zone conference on Wednesday followed by two days of exchanges.  Thus we won't have much time to work in our area.  Not exactly the way I had planned to finish my mission, but I'm grateful for this calling I've had to serve as an STL and serve the sisters even if it means our time in our own area is limited.  Sister Suminguit and I found two wonderful new investigators over the last two weeks.  One of them, Bernadette was a referral from a family member.  She's so great!  We had a wonderful lesson with her yesterday, taught her all about the Restoration and inviting her to be baptized on December 25th to which she said yes.  She also committed to come to church next week.  The other investigator is Twinkle, who is the "Nanny" for a very active member and has already come to church for the last 5 weeks or so.  We had a great lesson with her about the Restoration yesterday and invited her to pray about Joseph Smith and to begin reading the Book of Mormon.  One of our progressing investigators, Mary Ann, came to church yesterday with the person who referred her.  Hurray!!  It was so wonderful for her to come and we're looking forward to her baptism on December 6th.  Well... I guess we're excited for her to be baptized, but obviously I won't be there which is weird... man... this whole going home thing is so weird.  In about half an hour we will be leaving this internet shop to go visit my old areas and say good-bye to people for the last time.  I'm so excited to see them all again... I just hope I don't cry, haha!
Love you all and God bless you!
Love, Sister Dickison   

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mission Tour with Elder Oaks :)‏

It's pretty obvious that my Father in Heaven knows me very well for many reasons.  One of those being that obviously, I'm really excited to be going home in just about two weeks (ahhh!!!) and so, instead of allowing me to work in my area and get even more attached to the people, or have time to get punted a lot and be tempted to not work as hard, I was only able to work in my area for about two days total last week, and the same thing will be happening this week and the next week.  It's been weird, not having like any time to work in our own area and rarely getting to visit our investigators, but I'm trying to keep positive about it.  This is how last week's schedule went.... Mon.: P-day, Tues.: District Meeting in the morning/half day of working, Wed.: Exchanges, Thurs.: Exchanges, Fri.: Weekly Planning/Mission Tour.:, Sat.: Service Project in the Morning, got punted for an hour, Ward FHE for a couple of hours, got punted for the rest of the night (they celebrate Halloween here on Nov. 1st and everyone goes to the cemetery), Sun.: Finally, appts. in the morning, church, area broadcast.  And... that's basically the exact same schedule for this week except instead of Mission Tour we have MLC on Friday and instead of service we have a temple trip with our investigators on Saturday.... : / It's really fun and I'm enjoying all of the activities, I'm just trying to be okay with not ending my mission how I thought I would.... oh well. :) 
I had a great time going on exchanges last week with the sisters in Sumulong.  I was able to visit and teach a few more people in my last area including Tatay N. which was great.  Mostly, I just love going on exchanges.
I love helping the sisters and I guess this calling has made me more excited to continue on my career path of counseling something or rather.... I don't know.  On Friday we had the wonderful opportunity to meet and listen to Elder Dallin H. Oaks (probably spelled his name wrong), who came to the Pines and we had a special mission tour with him, his wife, and Elder Bowen from the Seventy.  We all got to shake hands with Elder Oaks, which was awesome, and then they all spoke.  As soon as Elder Oaks stood up I swear there was this visible light just radiating from him.  He spoke so powerfully and the Spirit just was bursting through the room.  We were able to listen to him speak again last night as we watched the area broadcast at our stake center.  I absolute love Sister Oaks!!  She is so adorable and it was fun to "get to know" an apostle's wife a little bit better. 

Saturday us sisters from Cogeo Ward and the elders from Bagong Nayon Ward went up to Taguisan, the big mountain in our area and we helped a family, the Pendon's, do some serious yard work/house building.  Later that day, we went back up to Taguisan, found and taught a new investigator named Bernadette who's golden, and then had FHE with the ward in the house of another family, the Somes.  Which.... Surprise!  Us sisters were in charge of.... and didn't know until our WML, who was conducting, announced that Sister Suminguit would be giving the lesson and I was in charge of games.... :) 
I can't believe it's ending so quickly... It just plain feels weird.  I get to bear my testimony at both MLC later this week and at Zone Conference next week since I'm leaving.... man.... I just don't want to cry. :) 
Love you all and hope everything's going well!!  Until next week!
Love, Sister Dickison

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Less than a month left!!!! Nope... not excited at all ;)‏

What a wonderful, busy week it's been!!  I love Sister Suminguit!!!  We are having such a fun time together as companions this time :)  She's helped bring some closure for my first few transfers in Pateros and we've been able to laugh over a lot of old memories and good times :)  The work is going so well!!  Jhon-mela was baptized and confirmed last weekend!  We are so proud of her!  It was great... for the brother who baptized her, it was his first time baptizing anyone and I guess he was worrying about doing it too quickly so he very, very slowly lowered her in the water... as in, slow-motion :)  We were all silent for a few moments and then everyone burst into laughter.  Definitely memorable. :)

We have so many progressing investigators who are doing so well.  I've seen miracles happen in this area just since Sister Suminguit got here.  It's been so fun teaching with a Filipina companion again... and this time actually understanding what she's saying.  :)  Our investigator, Mary Ann, talked to her husband about the baptismal date and he said he thought it was great. :)  She's really looking forward to it now and continues to progress rapidly.  Daniella and Ella Mae should have been baptized this week.... unfortunately, Daniella is ready but doesn't have parental permission yet, and Ella Mae has permission, but isn't quite yet ready.  So.... we extended their bap date for another month.  We're sure Ella Mae will be ready by then and we're praying that Daniella's mom will change her mind.  Daniella's dad is the member and he's supportive, but he's abroad and as such, not able to sign her bap record.... and obviously, we don't want to baptize her if her mom's not going to be pleased with it so yeah.... just waiting on that.  One of the recent converts in this area finally returned to earth.  He just disappeared for like two months and yeah... is obviously less active now.  Had a great lesson with him and sounds like he's made some mistakes and realized he misses his life before, when he was living the gospel.  We're really looking forward to helping him live the gospel again.  Man... many other wonderful things happening with the work.... just feeling blessed to have lots of work to do to keep my mind somewhat busy instead of thinking of coming home all the time.... :)  
We got to go to the temple today, which of course was wonderful.  Three of the branch missionaries from Morong were there.  It was so great to see them again and to talk to them a little bit, especially since one of them will be entering the MTC this week so... that's the last time I'm ever going to see her :(  We went on exchanges with our kabahays last week and had a party.  Sister Faasavalu just asked me trunky questions the whole time, silly goose.  But, we had a really wonderful lesson in the morning and committed two of their investigators to a bap date.  Love working with the Sisters!  They're so great!!  Last Friday we went and got our fingerprinting/x-rays done.  So weird.... not going to lie, I'm loving the fact that Sister Strebel, Sister Sanders, and I are all going home together.  Had a party talking with them.... haha... they both crack me up.  
Love being a missionary!!!!!  We're still going strong and I'm determined to leave with no regrets.  Hope you all have a wonderful week!!  Ingat kayo lagi!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Monday, October 13, 2014


This last week was so great and so busy!  Sister Alailima just barely left for Mindoro this morning.  Yesterday she was picked up by the Johnsons who took her to the Sisters house in Cubao where she slept for a few hours before getting on her early flight this morning.... so weird... that was the last time I'm going to see her until next year, when she comes back to Utah to go to school :(  I was so blessed to be her companion twice.  Learned so much from her and we had some great times :)  Sister Suminguit is currently not here yet, but she should be getting dropped off in a few hours.  Can't wait!!  I've just been chilling, working with my kabahays since yesterday. 

Great news... we should be having a baptism this week!!  Sister Jhon-mela had a great interview on Saturday and is so ready to get baptized!!  At the beginning of last transfer, we started teaching her grandmother who had been inactive for a long time, come to find out Jhon-mela, who's 10, lives with her and hadn't been baptized yet.  We invited them to church and honestly were totally shocked when they came the very next day.... and they've been coming every week since, including attending all four sessions of general conference over the last two days!!  They're so great!!  So happy for Jhon-mela!  Her mother who's inactive is going to come to the baptism... :)

Last Friday I went to Mission Leadership Council companion-less... It was really weird.  Sister Alailima couldn't come, cause she's not an STL anymore, so I got stuck riding in a taxi with my Zone Leaders and their kabahay, who's companion was still on Mindoro.  It was so weird.... probably preparing me for being without a girl companion 24/7.... I don't like it.  However, MLC was so wonderful!!  Pretty much the strongest I've felt the Spirit my whole mission.  My testimony of the power of councils has just grown so much with this calling.  It's so great sitting there with everyone and discussing the needs of the mission and ideas for helping things to get even better.  I love it!!  The Assistants presented the most amazing workshop for zone training which I can't wait to participate in again tomorrow at zone training.  It's going to be awesome! 

General Conference was great!  I played "Where's Uncle Dave" by myself as we watched the MoTab sing :)  Loved all of the talks and especially appreciated the talks about sustaining our leaders, it was very fitting for me having just attended MLC. :) 

We have so many great investigators in these area, many whose bap dates are coming up soon.  I haven't been able to work in my area since Thursday so... I'm really excited for my companion to get here and us to go to work.  The break from traveling for exchanges has been nice but I'm excited to get to work with all of the sisters again. 

As for how I'm feeling.... I feel weird to be quite honest.  The fact that I"m leaving just becomes more real to me every day, and it doesn't help that everyone's reminding me about it 24/7.  :)  I'm excited, but for some reason scared at the same time.... I just can't imagine going back to "normal" life again.  I had another one of those moments, those priceless ones.  Sister Alailima and I were teaching a lesson to a new investigator named Mary Ann.  She lives on the mountain, in the middle of nowhere, in a hut that's the same size as my closet... which isn't that big.  She has two little kids, a two year old and a one year old.  Her husband works all week long and usually just comes home one day a week to sleep for a little while before he heads back out to work.  They have very little of the things of the world, and yet she is at peace.  I just thought about us coming from Utah and Hawaii to teach this wonderful daughter of God, who lives in basically a box in the mountains in the Philippines about the Restoration of the gospel and God's plan for us.... man... it was one of those surreal moments that I'll cherish forever. 

I love you all and encourage you all to apply what you learned from general conference into your lives!  I know this gospel is true and a gift too wonderful to not being sharing it with those around us.  Have a wonderful week!
Love, Sister Dickison

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Final Countdown

As my kabahays have been singing regularly for the last week or so, "The time is far spent, there is little remaining...". :)  Can't believe it's already here!!  Tomorrow is the first day of my last transfer.... crazy or what!?  Sister Alailima will be transferring to the island of Mindoro on Friday where she will be "white-washing" with her new companion, Sister Panice.  I will be finishing my mission here in Cogeo with my new companion, and newly called STL, Sister Suminguit!!  Wohoo!!  So excited to be with her again!  She was my kabahay my first few transfers here in the field and we're already good friends :)  Really looking forward to finishing my mission strong.... we have so many wonderful people we're teaching - less-actives becoming active again and investigators well on their way to fulfilling their bap date goals... so exciting!!  I'm truly being blessed in all ways for this last transfer.  Can't wait to get to go on exchanges again with the sisters!  I learned so much from each and every one of them this last transfer.  This calling has been such a blessing!

So... in fun news.... I got my hair cut this morning.... really short :)  Guess I just decided to start the changes coming early.... fortunately I think cutting my hair was easier than ending my mission.... man.... it's going to be another adventure. 

 We were up on the Taguisan mountain almost every day this last week that we weren't on exchanges.  You would think that climbing steep stairs and mountains every day would eventually stop making you feel sore but no.... I'm still sore, every day.  :)  I slipped twice this last week climbing up and down the mountain.... got pretty muddy and have several lovely scratches on one arm from the thorny plant that attacked me during my slipping.... dang it.  That's what I get for being cocky and proud of myself for only slipping twice this transfer. :P
I'm so looking forward to watching general conference this weekend!  It's going to be a VERY busy week.... we have MLC on Friday followed by the conferences... should be exciting.  Sister Suminguit is coming off of Mindoro so she actually won't get here until Friday I think.  At the same time, Sister Alailima won't leave until Friday, so we get to be comps for a few extra days :)  
Feel so blessed with everything.  Life is just great!!  I love you all and hope things go well for you this week!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Partying it up in Sumulong

Uh.... where did this week go?!  I swear I was just sitting here emailing yesterday.  Guess I've discovered that the time goes even faster when you do exchanges two days a week instead of just one.  So crazy!!  It's amazing how even though we have less time to work in our own area than usual, we are still able to see so much progression here...  I wish you guys could have been there for my first ward missionary coordination meeting here in Cogeo.  Up until last week, we had only had one even though they're supposed to be weekly, and it was only us missionaries and the assistant ward mission leader in attendance.  During the last two weeks a new ward mission leader was called as well as two ward missionaries.  Wohoo!!  We have ward missionaries now!  Also, for the last two weeks most of the auxiliary leaders have attended our meeting and the coordination is actually happening!  I wanted to jump up and scream "Hallelujah" yesterday as our new ward mission leader, Mark, stood at the front and discussed all of the people we visit and their needs and everything... it was so great!!  The meeting has gone from being next to non-existent to now, being the best missionary coordination meetings I've ever been to.  We had some awesome lessons during the last week!  We had a particularly great one yesterday with our investigator Gloria.  We hadn't been able to visit with her for awhile.  She had read the pamphlet about the Restoration and had lots of questions for us :)  We had a wonderful visit.

Our exchanges in Sumulong were so great!  We were there last Wednesday and Thursday.  On Wednesday we had planned to work with Sister Umstead and Sister Nayadu, however, Sister Umstead was really sick so we changed plans and ended up working with Sisters' Rupp and Maraj Gill in my old area. :)  So great!!  I was able to teach Hazel again!!  She was that awesome investigator we had who was progressing so well.  Yeah... she total got baptized a few months ago and is now a recent convert :)  Her testimony is so strong and it was so great to see her progression :)  I also got to briefly see my recent convert, Tatay, who is doing well. :)  We also taught a less-active mother and son who are not less-active anymore :)  Man... So great to see all of the progression that's happened since I've left!  We also went on MTC exchanges that day and got to take two sister missionaries from the MTC with us as we visited Hazel.  It was great :)  Last time I went on MTC exchanges was right before I trained in that area.  Best part was the sisters' excitement as they got on a jeepney for the first time.  I remember feeling that way :)  The next day we worked with Sisters Umstead and Nayadu.  Sister Umstead was feeling better but she's had this same sickness on and off her whole mission so Sister Revillo told her to go to the doctor for a check-up appointment.  I really don't know why I always end up going to the hospital... I know I'm supposed to learn something from this.  Basta, for most of our exchanges together Sister Umstead and I were at Medical City talking to the doctor and then trying to make our way back to Sumulong on jeepneys and taxi's.  It was exciting... and definitely did not feel like a usual exchange :) 
Well.... that's all I guess.  I'm really looking forward to watching the General Women's Broadcast this week.  I'll have more updates on that next week.... transfer week.... Ahhhh!!!!!  My last transfer week until I go home..... *Breathing*..... :)
Love you all!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Monday, September 22, 2014

Typhoons and Makeovers at Zone Interviews

Magandang umaga po sa lahat!

So not too much has happened since I wrote you all last Wednesday...  We just, you know, went to the temple, had zone interviews on Thursday, had a no-work-Friday because of the typhoon, and then attended part of our ward's "Family Day" on Saturday.  :) Exciting stuff.
The temple session was great!  There were ten Filipinos receiving their own endowments for our session.  It was great!  Zone interviews were great too... our zone in Cogeo is the smallest zone I've ever been in... four elders and ten sisters.  Morong had five sisters and twenty elders so... big change :)  It was weird, realizing that it was my last zone interviews... ever.  Had a great interview with President and during Sister Revillo's workshop she had us all do "makeovers".  :)  It was definitely different.  Wish I had video of the four elders cleaning their faces... It was definitely the highlight of the day.  Friday morning we woke up to some serious rain and a little bit of lightning and wind.  Sure enough, we got texts from the A.P's informing us that work was cancelled and we weren't allowed to leave the apartment... ay naku.  So, we tried to keep ourselves entertained during the day by doing laundry and writing b.r.'s (kinda like yearbook entries) for people.  It was a long day... We were really happy to get out and work the next day.  Last week we were only able to work Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday in our own area so our numbers of lessons definitely wasn't the best.... learning patience :)  Despite our limited time working in our area, the work is really progressing.  We extended five baptismal dates to investigators last week, three of whom came to church yesterday.  And we had a total of nine investigators and ten less-actives at church yesterday.  So great!  We also had a great Missionary Coordination Meeting with everyone yesterday, including our newly called (and much needed) Ward Mission Leader.  Love helping get things organized and these next two months will be really exciting as far as baptisms go :)
Few stories about the people we're teaching... so we have these two investigators named Charmaine and Christ (yes, he has a unique name :)).  Charmaine's in her early twenties and Christ is 14.  Last Tuesday, we had an appointment fall-through, again, and decided to go visit these two investigators.  They are both so great and ready for baptism, especially Christ, they've just had a hard time with church attendance.  So, I opened my scriptures to share a scripture about faith with them... and then it was the wrong scripture so I picked another one on the same page... and both me and Sister Alailima were wondering where I was going with any of this, so I just sat there.... praying really hard for the Spirit.... and we ended up talking about how sometimes we have to walk in darkness before finding the light.  We talked about how taking first steps, such as attending church, can be scary sometimes.... but that we will be blessed for exercising our faith in trying and that it will get easier.  We committed both of them to come to church and then.... they came to church yesterday.  Yay!!  This is big step for both of them. :)  Also, two weeks ago we went "finding" using our ward directory.  We were searching for this less-active but we didn't even know where she lived.  It's really difficult to find people here sometimes... it's not like America where everyone has house numbers and there's street names and stuff... really, it's just kind of a big mess and you just have to ask people everywhere to find where you are.  Basta, we were walking and I just felt like we should go up these stairs (there are stairs everywhere here) and so we did.  We asked the first lady we saw if she new where 30 cluster J was... she was all, "I think that's my house."  Sure enough, she was our less-active.  We scheduled an appt with her for last Sunday.... then weren't able to go because of the other typhoon.... so we were finally able to meet with her last night.  Had a great lesson with her.  She told us she fell-away because she doesn't believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet.... we told her we understand why she stopped being active.... knowing that Joseph Smith was a prophet is an important part in knowing that this really is Jesus' church here on the earth.  Basta... great lesson, we're looking forward to going and teaching her again next week.  
I'm still loving life and just focusing on making every day count.  We will be going on exchanges with the sisters in Sumulong this week!  Wohoo!!  Can't wait to get to work in my old area :) 
Love you all!!
Love, Sister Dickison