Saturday, July 27, 2013

Week 4!

Kumusta everyone!!
Kumusta po kayo?  Mabuti po ako.  :)  This week has been so awesome starting with the fact that I took my first nap since getting here last Sunday.  It was so wonderful!  Sister Alailima and I taught a kind of Sunday School lesson to our district last Sunday as well.  Our lesson was on having faith in Christ.  It went really well and it was so nice to teach in English instead of Tagalog.  :)  On Monday we had a really difficult lesson with our investigator Toni.  We tried to teach him about the Book of Mormon but it opened up a whole slew of questions such as "So since I'm Catholic I can't go to heaven?" and "Wait, how could Jesus appear in the Americas after he was dead?"  It was so frustrating because we couldn't answer any of his questions cause we didn't know how to answer in Tagalog!  However, in the end we did get him to finally take a Book of Mormon and it was a really good learning experience.  It was also the first time we've really tried to answer at least some of his questions and have an actual conversation instead of just talking at him.  We've also been teaching an investigator named Joy this week.  Joy was the easiest investigator to teach.  Unfortunately, we won't get to teach her anymore.  She was a booster for our self-confidence and we will miss her a lot!  On Thursday Sis. Alailima injured herself playing volleyball and couldn't move her neck because all the muscles in her neck and back were tensed up.  Only after I threatened to kill her (just kidding... sort of) did she finally give in and let herself lie down and heal instead of going to a three-hour class that evening.  She's so stubborn! :)  It was good for the both of us because we've been sick this week and sounding like we're dying every time we cough... okay, maybe that part is just me.  I'm finally getting better and not going through a ridiculous amount of cough drops and taking medicine that makes me act like I'm completely drugged during class... that was embarrassing.  :)  A lot of things about the Tagalog language finally clicked for me this week and so this week has been so great.  I was able to see Elder McGuire the day he came in along with Elder Clark who was his host!  I almost hugged him, but barely caught myself.  :)  I saw him again on Thursday and he seemed to be feeling a lot less overwhelmed.  Tomorrow Elder Clark, Elder McGuire, and Sister Vanfleet and I are going to try to meet and get a picture by the big map they have here since Elder Clark leaves on Monday.  Oh yeah!  I see Sister Vanfleet like a gazillion times every day since she is in my zone and both her classroom and her bedroom are like 10 feet away from mine, and Sister Umstead and Sister Koloi are in her bedroom too.  It's been so much fun to hang out with someone from home all the time.  Lastly, yesterday during gym time I was playing Fry-em, or Speed, or Knock-out as they call it here, with the elders from my district and I was on fire!  It was a missionary miracle!  Seriously, I shot it from half-court and it swished in!  Now all the elders think I'm some sort of basketball pro and I keep trying to tell them it's just like the Holy Ghost helping me out or something but they're not convinced.  :)  Anyways... I miss you all so much! 
Until next week!
Sister Dickison
p.s. here is a picture from this morning's sack breakfast with most of our district :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Week 3 at the MTC!‏

Kumusta everyone! 
So this last week has been awesome but challenging.  It's amazing how fast the language is coming when I compare it to learning German, however, there are times where it feels like it's coming so slowly, especially when we teach our investigators and can't answer any of there questions because we don't know the Tagalog words to use.  Our teachers push us really hard which as a whole is really good for our district because with the exceptions of Elder Tinsely, Elder Jones, and Sister Umstead, the rest of us are not perfectionists and really need to be pushed.  Again with the exceptions of those three members of our district, we also have a really hard time focusing.  That was our goal this week - to focus, and we pretty much failed miserably.  However, I can see the progression everyone else has made both in the language and in "becoming a missionary" since I got here so hopefully I'm progressing as well.  :) 
One of the best things about being here is, as my Polynesian sisters would say, "I have found my people."  I have never connected with people so easily before!  It's also cool to finally be in a place where no one has any previous knowledge of who I was or who they thought I was so I can just be me as I am right now and that's the only "me" they know.  :)
Today, on my preparation day I get to write a talk for sacrament meeting tomorrow in case they ask me right then and there to give one (yeah, it's stressful, and in Tagalog), prepare a lesson that Sister Alailima and I volunteered to teach our district about (yeah, don't know why we did that), and prepare to teach two 20 minute lessons tonight to volunteers all in Tagalog.  So much for today being our "free day".  I'm realizing that as a missionary, there is no free time, ever.  This last two and half weeks have definitely taught me about what a real hard work ethic is. 
Sister Alailima and I continue to be best friends, which is great, however we're both realizing that there are downfalls to being so similar and getting along ridiculously well with each other.  We don't learn as much from each other as I feel like we would if we had more differences.  So I'm trying to look to some of the other members of my district to help me to grow in that way. 
I'm still adjusting to following rules I don't think are necessary/don't understand.  This probably doesn't surprise any of you.  :)  This experience has definitely been very humbling and is teaching me a lot about life skills I feel like I'm severely lacking. 
I love you all!  Thank you so much for your support and prayers!  Until next week!  :) 
Love, Sister Dickison

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy P-day for week 2!‏

Hey everyone!
Thank you for the emails and the love and support!  I'm going to apologize in advance for the lack of personal emails and such.  The hour they give us for emailing on p-day goes by way too quickly and snail mail is basically out of the question.  If anyone wants to see the pictures I sent, hopefully someone in my family will be uploading them to my blog sometime during the next few days.
So... What a week!  The first few days here were super tough but this last week has been amazing!  My district has become my family and it's so great to have so many brothers and sisters to support each other and laugh together during these great but often overwhelming times.
Okay, some of the highlights have been getting to go on our temple walk last week as a district (the pics from that will be on my blog), singing in the MTC choir for a devo. last Tuesday night, wrapping up teaching our first investigator, Ervin (he commited to baptism!), getting a back massage from Sister Alailima (seriously, it was amazing), and the best thing has definitely been the nightly priesthood blessings that the elders in our district have been giving.  The power of the priesthood is so amazing and everytime one of us receives a blessing the room is just full of that power and love.  It's wonderful!  Our mission pres. recommended that we do these blessings as a way for the elders to practice using their priesthood authority, but I feel like they have been such a great blessing because they have helped us grow in our love for each other. 
We're often exhausted, especially in the evenings, and as a result a lot of us (especially me) quickly run low on patience.  I've been praying for more patience in every prayer I've said this week (which is a LOT of prayers) and hopefully I'm doing a little bit better. 
The language is coming along ridiculously fast proving that yes, the gift of tongues is real.  :)  I remember getting here last week and listening to the other members of our zone speaking Tagalog and wondering how in the world I could do that so quickly.  It's definitely possible and totally amazing!
Thanks again for your support and your love!  I hope you all have an amazing week!
Love, Sister Dickison

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kumasta Po Kayo!

(We are guessing pero means but or however in Tagalog)
Kumusta everyone!
Wow... these last few days have been insane!!  So Wednesday's schedule was jam-packed because we were having a 4th of July celebration on Thursday so stuff we normally would be doing then got bumped up to Wednesday.  Not going to lie... Wednesday was rough and I barely got any sleep that night, pero it's been a lot easier since that first day. 
Thursday was supposed to be our first "normal day" pero because of the celebration it wasn't and we got to bed around midnight.  The celebration was amazing!  Everyone was there, and I mean everyone!  We sang a ton of patriotic hymns and then we got to watch 17 Miracles, which was fun, first because it was a movie, and secondly because it felt like we were all breaking the rules by watching a movie at the MTC.  :)  We watched fireworks afterwards, pero they were nothing compared to the fireworks for the Summer Games. 
Yesterday was our first really normal day and it was pretty darn great!  I've learned how to pray in Tagalog and I'm still trying to learn how to bear my testimony in Tagalog.  We taught our first investigator, Ervin, and it was a disaster.  We just sat in awkward silence for forever pero I could still feel the Spirit really strong, so it was still great. Thankfully, he was very, very nice so my companion, Sister Alailima and I, just kept on saying Pasensiya ( I can't spell that) Tagalog Hindi Mabuti, which means Sorry, Tagalog no good, and desperately praying for divine inspiration.  We teach him agian tonight... this time with no notes (ha!) so it should be very, very interesting.  Sometimes I understood what he was saying, pero I couldn't speak back to him in Tagalog.  It was so frustrating!  I'm really learning patience with myself and this language. 
I love my companion so much!  We work very well together as well as with the other two Sisters in our district - Sister Koloi and Sister Umstead.  The Elders (all eight of them) act like 18 year olds, which most of them are, pero we love them anyways, especially when we're about to crack and then they make us laugh until tears start running down our faces. 
I can't really describe what our normal schedule is like because we haven't really had one yet.  Even this Sunday is different because it is fast Sunday.  Unfortunately the temple will be closed until August, so I don't even know if we'll ever get to do endowments or anything, pero we still get to go on our "temple walk" tomorrow with our district.
I've been able to see so many, many friends!  I've seen Elder Clark at least three times every day, in addition to seeing Sister Harless and... Sister Dangerfield!  :)  That was the best moment ever!  She said she saw my family after they dropped me off and was so grateful! 
Okay... my time's almost up.  I love all of you!  Thanks for your prayers, they truly help!
Love, Sister Dickison