Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!!‏

Hello everyone!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a wonderful New Year's celebration this week!  My first Christmas in the field was pretty fun, even if it didn't feel very much like Christmas due to the fact that is was insanely hot last week.  We spent most of Christmas trying to meet with people (it was a normal work day for us) and getting punted because everyone was out partying or had family over and didn't really want us to teach them.  We understood, but it was still kind of rough to spend Christmas walking around and getting punted.  However, we had a wonderful visit/lesson with the Sambo family.  They had invited us over to their house for Christmas dinner.  They had prepared a ton of food and even made us spaghetti and bought us some chicken from KFC just to make it feel a little more like an American Christmas. :)  So sweet!!! 
My cute sister Mikaela had given me a special gift for Christmas which was ang Aklat ni Mormon (Book of Mormon) that had her hand-written testimony in the front cover.  I had spent the last week carrying it around with me on our visits and waiting to feel prompted to give it to someone.  We were sitting there in the Sambo's home and I suddenly knew that they were the ones I needed to give it to.  At first I was hesitant since they are recent converts and I was really looking for an investigator to give it to, but as I started reading Mikaela's testimony to them (and bawling the entire time) I realized that it was the perfect gift I could give from my family at home to my family here in the Philippines.  It was a really sweet experience and something I will never forget.  As a side note, they gave me a Christmas card this last week that said that even though I was from a different culture, I'm still their child.  :)  I love them!!!!  Ah!  I'm going to bawl when I transfer and leave them...
Anyways, so yeah, Christmas was great besides getting punted and having everyone ask us if we were Jehovah's Witnesses because we were out working instead of celebrating Christmas... :) 
The last few days have been a little difficult work-wise as we continue to get punted because everyone's partying it up.  We figure things will be back to normal once the New Year's celebrations are over and everyone has to go back to school and work.  Our investigator Anjelica is still doing great and is on her way to being baptized the 25th of January!  We are so excited for her!!  We're once again in that process of dropping several of our investigators who aren't progressing and finding new ones which is always kind of frustrating, but I'm looking forward to finding more people who have been prepared to hear the gospel :) 
Being in a house full of people who are trying to learn how to speak Tagalog is actually extremely fun :)  We're all trying to help each other out and more than anything it's taught me how NOT to stress out about learning the language.  We're not fluent... not even close, but somehow the work moves on and the gospel continues to be preached to these people.  :)  I actually had a really cool experience the other day...  Sister Doucette and I went to go try to teach some of our recent converts who are now less-active.  It's been really frustrating, because we haven't been able to teach them since my first week last transfer, so almost two months now.  So were sitting there and talking to the mom and all of the sudden I'm remembering the last time I was there, and all the times I was there before that and how I had no clue what anyone was saying and I couldn't say anything and basically just felt mute.  As the sister was talking to us, I understood what she was saying and could have a normal, back-and-forth conversation with her, no problem... It was so awesome and so weird!!!!!  I hadn't realized how much I had grown in the language just over the last transfer with Sister Jones.  Yeah... we're talking drastic change!!!  Hallelujah!!  The gift of tongues is real!... It just requires a lot of patience, continued practice, and, surprisingly, not stressing out over learning the language.  :)
As a side note... Sister Doucette and I are having a fabulous time being companions with each other and right now we're just trying to work on not spending so much time talking to each other because we're, uh, having issues with time-management because we're always having these awesome conversations :)  Sister Strebel, the other new sister in our apartment is hilarious and I love her to death, and Sister Tereke is suddenly a lot more talkative (and sarcastic) then she was before. :)  They both are ridiculously funny and crack each other up, which cracks us up, and all-around we are just having a great time in our apartment :)
Well... that's all for this week!  Happy New Year again to everyone!!
Love you all tons!!
Love, Sister Dickison :)   

Monday, December 16, 2013

Transfer week again :)‏

Wow!  Happy Holidays everyone!  There is so much that's gone on in the last week...

First off, we got transfer announcements this morning.  Sister Jones has been called to be a Sister Training Leader (not surprised, she'll do great... but I'll miss her like crazy!), and I will be spending another transfer in the Pateros area.  My new companion is Sister Doucette, who I briefly met once at the Mission Office and seems like a sweetheart.  She went to the same school as my cousin Chase... crazy how people end up being connected here... I've run into two elders who went to Cedar High with me... but I had no clue who they were.  Their names are Elder Roy and Elder Robertson.  Anyways... I'm excited to have another transfer here, and that I don't have to leave my first ward right before the Christmas season!
Last Tuesday we had our Christmas conference.  It was so much fun!!  Every zone had to perform a skit and a musical number.  Our zone was pretty average in both areas, but some zones had obviously spent hours if not days working on their skits, I swear!!  It was super fun to watch everyone perform.  I walked up to the floor where the party was being held and almost bumped into Sister Alailima.  It was so great to see her!!!  I kinda screamed and I think I scared her.  :)  We talked quite a bit during the conference and she is doing very well.  :)  I also saw several other members of my MTC district there which was as great as always. :)  Not going to lie, the highlight of the Christmas conference was definitely watching a movie... that's right, a real movie, not just "The District" or "The Restoration".  :)  We watched "Arthur Christmas" which was a super cute animated movie and was fun because I've never seen it before.  Watching it kind of left us all on "movie-withdrawal" for the next few days, but we got over it.  :)
Sister Jones and I have continued to be blessed in our work!  We had to drop a few investigators for one reason or another, but have been so blessed to find really strong potential investigators over the last few weeks as well!  We've specifically been praying to find investigators around our age and families and have been blessed to find both!  I wouldn't be surprised if we have several baptisms coming up in the next few months.  :) 
I'm so excited for Christmas!!!  Not that will be doing much of anything really crazy fun, but still... it's Christmas, right?  AND I get to skype with my family!!!  AAHHHH!!  I'm so excited to get to talk with them face-to-face (well, sort of face-to-face).
Merry Christmas to you all!  Until next week!
Lots of love, Sister Dickison

Monday, December 9, 2013

Malapit na sa Christmas...!!‏

Hello everyone!!

So Sister Jones and I had another awesome week!  Last Tuesday was our Zone Conference which was super fun!  I'm sending a pic of Sister Jones, Sister Wilson, and myself.  Sister Wilson lived in the same building as me during my first transfer and I love her to pieces.  She was also Sister Jones' companion in the MTC. It was great to see so many friends from previous districts and zones, especially Elder Schenk from my MTC district who I haven't seen since my first week in the field.  All of the speakers were really good and then there was Sister Jones' and my musical number... actually it went pretty darn well.  I don't know what happened.  She always sings amazingly of course, but I must have had some serious help from the other side or something.  :)  However, I've informed her to never volunteer us to sing in public again while I'm hooked up to an I.V. and on drugs and not thinking very clearly so I somehow end up agreeing to sing.  :)  I received my Christmas package after the zone conference, hallelujah!!  Thanks Mom!!  The shoes were so needed and I can't wait to open up my present and the letters... hopefully I can wait until Christmas. ;)  
We had a tougher week in some ways.  Almost none of our investigators are keeping their commitments and almost all of the less actives who have been coming back into activity did not attend church this week.  However, we've been continually getting better at teaching and are really going to try to focus on extending good commitments this week.  We have an exciting week ahead of us with our Christmas conference tomorrow and then our ward Christmas party on Saturday!  Even though it's sunny and hot and there are no pine trees, Christmastime is still here.  :)  
We have really been trying to be healthy this transfer and things have finally clicked for me health-wise.  I think it's since we both realized that word of wisdom was given to us not just as a list of things that are "bawal" (not allowed) but it talks about the healthy foods we should eat and getting enough sleep and yeah... it's just the first time I've really wanted to take care of my body for the right reasons.  So... I'm sending a picture of our food after our big grocery trip last week as well as a pic of a lunch meal we made.  We've switched out our white rice for brown... so much healthier and tastes better too. :) 

I'm so grateful for my mission and I know this is where I'm supposed to be.  :)  AND... we get to skype in two weeks!!  Probably on Christmas.  I'm so excited!!  I really, really am hoping that Sister Jones and I get one more transfer together!!  Sister Suminguit will almost for sure be leaving our area/apartment and I'm having a hard time with that... she's been such a good friend and we've lived together for the last four months... Man, I'm going to miss her!
Well, that's about all for this week.  Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Love, Sister Dickison

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!‏

Well... Sister Jones and I may not have had a turkey to eat for Thanksgiving, but we did have a bounteous feast in terms of missionary work.  :)  We were able to find and teach a total of 22 investigators last week!  It was awesome.  11 of the less-active members we've been visiting attended church yesterday.  It was so great to see them there and a lot of them have attended several times in a row and are now back into "activity."  Probably the greatest blessing we received last week was to be able to feel the Spirit so strongly as we taught.  It helped us countless times to know what to teach including a few times where we had to change our plans last minute, whether or not to extend bap. invitations, where to go to find people, who to talk to, helped me a ton with the language, and overall just guided us in everything.  I'm so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost!  It's such a powerful gift that anyone, if they are worthy, can receive and have with them always.

Besides feeling a little sad that we couldn't be with our families enjoying good food last week, we haven't had any major challenges this last week, Hallelujah!  The Mango Float I ate yesterday at some of our members' home makes up for missing out on Turkey and Mashed Potatoes. :)  This week we have Zone Conference tomorrow and Sister Jones and I will be singing a musical number for that... hopefully it goes well...  Health-wise I've felt back to normal, thank goodness.  I'm still keeping in eye out for anything weird though.  
I hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Have a great week!
Love, Sister Dickison