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 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sketchy Service Project :)‏

Happy Temple Day!!

I've been very impatiently awaiting this temple day.... can't wait to go!  We're leaving for the temple right after emailing.  Since Morong is so far away from the city, we didn't have temple days there so I haven't been for a few months.  Makes me so grateful I've served in a mission where the temple is close and we can go so often :) 

This last week and a half has been great!!  We were able to go on exchanges with the Marikina sisters as well as with our kabahays two days ago.  So funny... about a week or so ago, our kabahays told us they wait for the first ten minutes of their companionship study every day for us to walk in their room and say we're going to work with them.  We teased them that they were going to have to wait until the very end of the transfer.... but we decided to ease their pain and work with them sooner than that. :)  When we showed up to the Marikina sisters' apartment, they weren't there.  We called them and found out they were doing service so they came back, let us put our stuff in their apartment, and then we all headed out for service.  We all laughed afterwards because the service was super, super sketchy.  What it was was these people from the health something going door-to-door and giving kids shots for tidas.... measles, I think?  Basta, it was an interesting experience standing there and watching as these random strangers gave peoples' kids shots.  That never would fly in America.... hahaha!!  Ssssoooooo sketchy..... :)  The sisters' bishop hadn't really explained what the service would be, he mostly just told them it would be a great finding opportunity.  We didn't really find any potential investigators.... guess they were a little distracted when we tried to tell them about the gospel by their screaming children or something.
We got stuck at the chapel after church last Sunday.... there was some serious wind and heavy rains... guess there was a typhoon or something... :)  Oh the joys of not having a t.v. and not knowing what's going on. :)  It was just fine.... we just had one umbrella for the four of us, but eventually we made our way home safely.
The work here is just going great!  Last week, we began using our ward directory for finding less-actives (I'm a convert now to this method of "finding").  We spent quite awhile struggling to find where some of the members lived and as we were walking, a women said, "Hi Sisters," in a way like she had some connection with the church.  Sure enough, she's part of a part-member family and her sister who was right behind her is a less-active member, not on our ward directory.  We scheduled an appointment with them and when we went to them on Saturday, the less-active was there along with many non-member relatives.  Turns out her daughter is super interested in learning more about the gospel so now we're teaching a less-active and an investigator.  I love the ward directory!!  I feel like even when things don't go as planned, Heavenly Father is always aware of your efforts as a missionary and He will guide you where you need to go. :)
I just don't understand how people can be trunky and stop working as hard just because they're going home soon.  If anything, I'm feeling a little panicked now like I have to do everything I possibly can before the journey ends.  Man.... excited to come home, but not at the same time.  Being a missionary is so weird... and awesome :) 
I had my first opportunity my whole mission to speak in sacrament meeting last Sunday.  My assigned topic was Missionary Work and Service, a topic I was more than happy to share about.  Sister Faasavalu was also assigned to speak and she gave the first talk.  Cute girl took up most of the time so both I and the speaker who came after me had to cut our talks really short, which was just fine by me :) 
I love the gospel!!  I love serving the Lord and watching as people change and align their lives with God's plan for us.  I love watching families come together and are strengthened as they beginning to be nourished by the gospel.  I love teaching little kids about the First Vision and then them asking, "So which is the true church?" and then inviting them to pray and find out for themselves and them doing so and then listening as they describe their experience.  I love less-active members realizing that they have been spiritually weakened and then exercising their faith by taking that sometimes scary first step and attending church for the first time in years.  I love sharing with members and inviting them to be part of the work of salvation.  Basta, I love it all!!  Missionary work is the best and right now, there's nothing I'd rather be doing :) 
Love you all so much!!  Ingat kayo lagi!
Love, Sister Dickison 
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Above: Picture of Sketchy Service Project

Monday, September 8, 2014

This Girl from Pateros Finally Cracked... and ate Balut‏

Magandang umaga sa lahat!!  Kamusta na kayo? 

This week was so great... and both Sister Alailima and I are so tired. :)  Phew... missionary work is exhausting and wonderful :)  We climbed some more mountains this week in our area and then ran a lot in our Mission Leadership Council (MLC) last Friday so yeah... my body's feeling kind of achy here, but that's alright... getting stronger, I think. 

My first full week as an STL was different and exciting.  At MLC on Friday we had a STL meeting with Sister Revillo and then after that had the actual MLC with the eight other STL's, twenty Zone Leaders, and the four A.P.'s... and of course President and Sister Revillo.  The Spirit was ssoooo strong there!!  It was so cool.  President talked about the organization of councils and how there's been councils since the very beginning, as we were all part of the great council in heaven.... it was really cool.  So... found out some amazing news.... in our mission last year we were averaging about 50 baptisms per month, President Revillo set a goal for 2014 that we would aim for 100 baptisms per month.  Almost every month for this year we've gotten a little bit closer, usually having between 70 something or 80 something baptisms a month, but.... we finally made it in August!!  In August our mission baptized 124 souls!  So many more than the average of 50 per month last year... So great!!  Ever since they arrived, President and Sister Revillo have been making lots of changes and our mission has grown so much.  I feel so blessed to have been part of this big transition... The Philippines Quezon City Mission really is so different than it was when I got here and although it's been hard at times with all of the change, it's so been worth it.  Anyways... we kind of had a little celebration for the occasion and after having the actual meeting in the morning, we were treated to lunch at a buffet and then went to the "Rainforest Park" in Pasig where we played games and such.  It was a blast and quite the way to start off my MLC experience :)  At the very end of the meeting, those missionaries who will be leaving this transfer bore their testimonies... Sister Doucette was one of them.  All of their testimonies were beautiful, but I felt the Spirit extra strong when my former companion bore hers.  I just love that girl!! 

Oh!  That reminds me... good news.... people she and I found in Pateros are actually still progressing, hallelujah!!  Sister Alailima went on exchanges last transfer with the sisters in Pateros and was able to work in my old area... she said Rebecca, one of the investigators Sister Doucette and I found and start teaching, is super close to baptism and attends church regularly now.... so great!!  I just remember Sister Doucette and I, especially me, struggling with feeling like nobody was progressing in our area... I especially felt discouraged since I had been there for six months.  Blessings. :)  Sometimes, you plant the seeds that other missionaries harvest :) 
Speaking of Pateros... it's the famous home of Balut... lovely partially cooked duck embryo... a favorite snack of the Filipinos.  So I absolutely have refused to try it for my whole mission.... mostly because, you know, I'm stubborn and just the fact that most of my companions and kabahays have wanted to force me to eat it has made me more determined to NOT eat it.... anywho... at the end of one of our lessons last week, our investigators gave us some balut, and I, having just informed Sister Alailima the day before that I was willing to finally try it with her since my mission is coming to a close (and she loves balut), was left amazed at Heavenly Father's knowledge of our goals and the desires of my companion's heart (and stomach).  So.... I ate it, stalling as much as possible, at guess what... it was pretty tasty.  Not a big fan of the rest of the egg, but the duck tasted great :)  Who knew?   I will send the pictures of my balut experiment.  :)
We went on our first exchanges of the transfer two days ago.  It was such a great experience for me!!  As soon as we walked inside the sisters' house, I instantly just felt this love for them... even thought I had never met them before.  So cool!!  I quickly learned that while the sister I work with may learn absolutely nothing from me, I'm going to be learning tons from them :)  I really learned so much!!  Also, I learned that it's a good thing the purpose of an STL is to love and support the other sisters because I can do those things :)  So much fun!  I do think it may have contributed to us being so tired though... we traveled early, worked with them all day, and then traveled back to our area... all after spending the previous day traveling and running around for MLC.  Welcome to the life of an STL... it's great, but tiring.  So glad I'm not one of the Training Assistants who don't even have an apartment... they just travel every day going on exchanges with other elders... kudos to Elder Hammond. 
Well... guess that's it for this week.  Love you all and hope you have a great week!! 
Love, Sister Dickison

Monday, September 1, 2014

Reunited and it Feels so Good :)‏

Hello!!  Kamusta po kayo!?

It's been such an amazing first few days here in Cogeo!  I'm loving it!!  It's so much fun to be with Sister Alailima again!!  We're having a blast!  So many times during those first few days especially, we would be doing something, like reciting the missionary purpose, and then just look at each other and bust up laughing... it's just so weird to be together again, after a year, and remembering how life was in the MTC when we had no clue what we were doing :)  So great.  I love teaching with her!  She is such a great teacher and so good at the language as well.  I'm learning lots from her every day.  Our area is so, so mountainy!!  My legs have been so sore, but I know that's got to be a good thing.... how blessed I am to be getting a serious hill workout almost everyday before I come home, haha!  The area is so beautiful!!  Our apartment is beautiful as well and we have an awesome view from our bedroom window of Cogeo and the mountains, love it!!  Haven't really had to do much with the whole STL thing yet :)  But, we'll be attending Mission Leadership Council later this week and then I'll be going on my first exchanges as an STL.  Should be exciting :)  Cool thing, Elder Hammond is the new Training Assistant in our mission, and Elders Anderson, Martin, and Tinsley are all Zone Leaders, so we'll be kind of having a mini reunion at Mission Leadership Council :)

The ward here is doing so well!  Yesterday, Sister Alailima said our attendance was three times as much what it was her first week here.  The work in Cogeo is just booming!!  Our gospel principles class was so full yesterday!  Loved seeing so many  investigators there.  We also had so many less-actives attend church.  They just barely called a new bishop in this ward and you can feel his enthusiasm.  :)  He is so masipag and has been make visits every day to the members and you can just feel his love for the people in this ward.  He also is full of lots of ideas to really help this ward grow.  So excited to be working with him for the next few months!! 
It was hard to say good bye to Morong... I really do love it out there, but I'm already in love with this area, ward, and especially the people.  This ward has the most interesting collection of characters I've ever seen and my abs are still hurting from laughing so much yesterday. 

We have some awesome investigators here who are so ready to accept the gospel.  I love it!! 
All in all, life is good and I'm so excited to be serving here in Cogeo!
Love you all an hope you have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Dickison
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Transfer and a new calling...

Ay naku.... I'm really going to miss it here.  Yes folks, it's that time once again.  Last Sunday, all of Morong District did a Member Missionary Fireside in which President Revillo spoke as well as his 1st counselor, President Jose, and our District President, President Valdriz.  The fireside was great!!  The missionaries put on different workshops to train the members about member missionary work.  After the fireside, President Revillo said he needed to speak with me (would've been more scary, but he said that to like half of the missionaries in our zone).  So I had a feeling what was coming and yup, I've been called to be a Sister Training Leader for my last two transfers.  I have mixed feeling about this new calling... I'm really excited, but of course, a little nervous... mostly to be doing workshops for conferences.  However, my new companion is not so new to me.... I'm companions with Sister Alailima again!!!!!!!  (She was my MTC companion.)  I'm so excited!!!  It's like a perfect ending.... I get to be with her at the very beginning and at the end :)  Not too worried, because I already know how amazing she is so she'll train me well :)

I'm really having a rough time leaving Morong.... I've just gotten attached to everything here... the area, our investigators, the members, our washing machine & microwave :), and of course... my companion.  Good news though!!  Sister Sanders is going to be Sister Fewster's new companion!! Yay!!!!  She and Sister Fewster will be great together and there's no one I'd rather come and be able to continue to teach these people than her.... She's going to love it here.  Last time I talked to her, she mentioned that while she's loved being an STL.... she's really missed getting to teach all the time in her own area.... Now she'll find herself crazy busy with teaching :)  So happy for her!!

I love Morong so much... my time here has been like a misisonary's dream... I've been so blessed!  Saying good bye has never been so hard before, but I just keep on reassuring myself that it's all okay because I'll get to come back to visit again before I leave :)  I'm really excited about getting to serve the sisters more in our mission!!  And I know that this calling's going to help me to be a little less trunky as I finish off these last three months :) 

Something I've been studied a lot lately during my personal study has been "redemption".... love that word. :)  I've realized repentance is something so basic that I really feel like I don't understand at all. So I've been investigating.  Without a doubt, my favorite person in the Book of Mormon is Alma the Younger... he's amazing.  I love the story of his change and especially his choice of words as he describes being freed from eternal torment... what a hero.  I love that a focus of the gospel is change :)  

Can't speak English anymore, I really can't.  :) How did that happen?

I keep entertaining new goals in my head... among which is to continue to be a missionary after I"m released from being a full-time missionary :)  I love this work so much and I'm so grateful that a theme my whole mission has been focus on "member missionary work".  Hope to be able to fufill those goals after my mission.
Well.... I'm sure I'll have lot's of fun stuff to tell all of you next week!!  Ingat lagi!!
Love, Sister Dickison   

Monday, August 18, 2014

Road Trip with the Johnsons

The adventure never ends here in the Mission Field.  :)  If it's not me having to go to the hospital, it's my companion... Here's the story.  So, all last week, two of Sister Fewster's mosquito bites (her legs and most of her body are just covered with them) started to really hurt and look like giant zits and before we knew it they started "erupting".  It was gross, but really I felt bad for her because she was in so much pain she would just start crying.... I told her multiple times every day to text Sister Revillo about it, but she's more stubborn than I am and was determined that if she just waited long enough, they would be gone the next day : /  I should have just texted her myself.... but it's bawal... So last Tuesday the Johnson's (one of the couple missionaries) attended our District Meeting and so I made Sister Fewster show Sister Johnson the bites.... apparently Sister Johnson is more persuasive than I am because she told my comp to text Sister Revillo and she finally did.... hallelujah!!  We spent the rest of the day traveling from the dermatologist, to one hospital in Antipolo (about 30 minutes away from Morong) and then we ended up in St. Lukes in Manila (Oh how I love St. Lukes!!)  I felt so useful knowing where everything was and how to do the insurance stuff/get the stuff at their pharmacy (I tried to focus on how it's been a blessing to have all of this knowledge about that place instead of how pathetic it is that the hospital has become like my "second home" here in the mission... much like feeling like I go to Wal-Mart every day back at home....:))  So, the doctor's said that Sister Fewster was allergic to mosquitoes (I knew it!) and that when she would scratch her legs, whatever was on her fingers would get into the wound... and as a result she ended up having two absesses full of infection.  Delicious.  So one of the wounds was bad enough that they thought for sure she needed surgery, but the doctor at the Missionary Recovery Center wanted to check it out first before we jumped into surgery, so went traveled over to the MRC and he decided they could easily take care of it there and no surgery was required.  Sure enough, my companion's absess-whatever-thingy's know look great and she's doing just peachy.  It does mean that I was without her for a few days, which was hard, but our kabahay, Sister Taufa became my temporary companion and everything worked out just fine.  If there's one thing I've learned from all of these trips to St. Lukes its this... take care of your body!!  Don't procrastinate getting help when you need it!!  It's always worse in the long run if you aren't proactive about your health.  The end. :)

Last Wednesday, we had our Zone Conference.  Sister Sikotilani gave her pa-uwi (missionaries who are returning home) testimony and it was so weird... I was just companions with her when she was at the same point I am at now.... Ahhh!!!!!  It was super fun to see so many people I love at the conference!!  With the exception of Sister Alailima, I was able to see/visit with all of my old companions who are still in the field.  As we were listening to the workshops, it just hit me, again, how much I've loved my mission.  I remember coming here I feeling like such a foreigner (which I am) and now I just feel right at home with everything.  I love President and Sister Revillo!!  I think my favorite thing about them is just that they are so them.... not once have they ever pretended to be anyone different.  They both have unique skills and personalities that our mission really needs and I can feel their love for every one of us.  Oh... as a side note, the Johnsons were able to drive us everywhere that day that we went to all of the hospitals.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them... pretty sure they are some of my most favorite people ever!  And not just because they spoiled us rotten like we were their grandchildren.... :)  They made me laugh so hard my abs were hurting real bad at the end of the day.  
The work continues to blossom here and I'm dreading transfers next week because I'll probably have to leave.  :(  I don't want to!!!  I'm in love with Morong and the people here.... It's just been such a blessing to watch the work grow and thrive here as well as to be a part of it all happening.  We have several investigators who are well on their way to hitting their bap. dates and so many less-actives are coming back into activity.... sighing.... I'm really praying a miracle happens and I stay here.  
Hope you are all doing well and know how much I love you!!  Ingat po kayo lagi!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Monday, August 11, 2014

God Will Open a Way :)‏

So... last Wednesday, Sister Fewster and I were kinda having a rough day for lots of different reasons and at one point I just had to go into this other room in our apartment and pray.  I just felt so down.... and I didn't/still don't know why.  I just prayed long and hard for like 15 minutes that the feeling would go away, because I couldn't get it to go away by itself.... and that's when I spotted this quote from President Hinckley that said, "God will open a way.  When there is no way, He will open a way."  Suddenly I just felt so light and happy.  Honestly, it reminded me of the part in Harry Potter where that "little ball of light" finds it's way into Ron's heart.  :)  So we went out and walked to our first appointment, Sister Fewster wondering what in the world had happened to me because, as she said, "I was practically casting rays of sunlight everywhere." :)  We got punted at our first appointment... and then made the very long walk to another house... where we got punted again, and then a third time after that.... wouldn't have been unusual in my other areas but we seriously just never get punted here.  So, in my mind I was like, I should be disappointed, but the whole sunlight feeling was still there so I just kept walking and we started the long journey back out of that part of our area.  Sister Fewster was still feeling really down and the fact that I was casting beams of sunlight everywhere was just making her feel worse.  Suddenly, she stopped and said she felt like we needed to go up this one hill.  So we started up this very steep road and about halfway up the hill she just broke and started cracking up which made me start to laugh too, just cause it was so steep and in my mind I was like "well... this is my exercise for the next month" and then the tension was gone and we both felt better.  So we made it to the top of the hill and there was like an empty field with just a few houses.  The houses all looked abandoned except for the laundry hanging out to dry.  Sister Fewster walked up to this one house and when the people came to the door she asked them what the name of the place was called.  The answered and then the woman said, "Are you guys Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?"  Sister Fewster and I just looked at each other, shocked, before answering yes.  The women then got the biggest grin on her face and said, "Me too."  Miracle.  Turns out this woman, Ann, hasn't attended church for the last seven years.  She moved not too long ago from a different part of the Philippines so our branch has no record of her.... really, there's like no way we could have found her if it wasn't for the Spirit prompting Sister Fewster to go up this random road that seemingly led to nowhere.  Turns out Ann stopped coming to church because she felt guilty for some sins she committed.  We bore testimony of God's unconditional love for her and for each one of his children and that he wants her to return to Him.  The Spirit was so strong and Ann started crying, saying she's wants to return she just didn't know if she would be allowed to because of her sins.  Man.... it was a great lesson.

The gospel is true guys.  There just simply is no denying it.  Out of everything I've learned on my mission, learning to recognize the promptings coming from the Spirit and then acting on those promptings in faith, has been one of the coolest things to learn.  Each member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints receives the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Sometimes I think we as members forget how crucial and how special this gift is.  I encourage you all to include receiving guidance from the Holy Ghost in your prayers.  As members, God uses us as instruments in His hands to help and serve His other children here on earth.  If we're not living righteously, we become numb and can't feel the Holy Ghost very strongly in our day to day lives.  What a waste of one of God's most precious gifts!!  I'm so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and for the trust that God has in each one of us that even though we're not perfect, He can use us to accomplish so much good.  Truly, "He will open a way."  :)
Love you all!!  Have a wonderful week!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Monday, July 28, 2014

Busy wonderful week :)

What a busy week we've had here in Morong!!  We found 9 new investigators this week as well as taught 30 lessons... It was awesome!!  Kim's baptism went really, really well.  It started an hour and a half late, because the Branch President was in a town about an hour away but he eventually made it there and we were able to start.  Kim looked so beautiful and I think it was the first time I've ever seen anyone start hitting the person who was baptizing them right after they came out in the water.  Apparently she forgot to plug her nose or something and so water got up it and then she took out her anger on Paul, the branch missionary who baptized her... it was all quite funny, and definitely something she'll never forget nor will we.  Her confirmation was beautiful as well.
Just thought I'd share a story or two with you all from this week...  So last Tuesday, we taught one of the less-actives members in our area, and her husband who is one of our investigators.  She had just been released from the hospital and had measles so we asked her if she would like a priesthood blessing.  She said yes and her husband was very enthusiastic about the blessing.  So we scheduled to come over the next morning and then later that day, contacted the branch leaders to find out who would be available to give the blessing.  However, things didn't end up working out for that person to be there to give the blessing.  Just a few hours before it was time for the blessing,  I felt prompted to go and ask this one member that we'd just visited on Monday to see if he would be willing.  He was the E.Q. president not too long ago.  So we showed up at his house, asked, and he said he was more than willing too.  An hour later we went with him to her house where he gave her the blessing and her husband was also present.  It was just awesome to watch this previous E.Q. president feel "needed" again. :)
We are really working on getting the recent converts and less-active members more involved in the missionary work in our area.  My testimony has a grown a lot about that statement President Hinckley made when he said that one of the three things every convert needs is a calling/responsibility.  I think it's something every member needs... everyone's help/talents/abilities really are needed for building up the Lord's kingdom here on earth as well as preparing for the Second Coming.
We also had a really wonderful lesson with one of the less-active families that we've been visiting every week since I got into this area.  We went to their small house where there was this huge tree missing from the front.  This was the first time we were able to visit them since the typhoon hit.  They said the tree had fallen on their house (fortunately no one was there) and destroyed most of it.  We just sat there and Sister Fewster started to cry.  We were so grateful that all of them were okay and we just bore testimony about how much God loves them.  Yesterday, we were happily surprised when we walked into the chapel to see their whole family sitting on a bench, bright and early.  :) :)  Ahhh.... miracles :)
Well... that's all for this week. :)  Hope everyone is doing well and enjoys this week as we head into August... (ahh!!!!  The time is going by too fast!!) :)
Love you all!!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Typhoons, Stomach Flu, and No Electricity! Oh My! :)

Yup, just a regular week here.  :)  Phew.... Man, where do I even start?  So last week after emailing, our work was cancelled for that evening because the typhoon was due to hit later so we just made all the necessary preparations and then headed home.  That night the rain started a little and then all of the sudden the wind came outta nowhere.  When we woke up, we didn't have electricity or water and the wind was blowing like crazy/it was raining like crazy.  There were trees that fell and power lines broken, etc.  but we were all safe.  That Wednesday was supposed to be our transfer day but transfers got cancelled...for obvious reasons. :)  We just stayed inside all day and kept safe/tried to keep ourselves busy with no water or electricity.  Fortunately we had saved up quite a bit of water.  That night was pretty fun... we had bonding time as kabahays for the last time, since Sister McCarthy was getting transferred the next day.  The next day she went to Pateros, to my first area, and we got two new sisters in the house.  Sister Taufa, who was in my zone in Pasig and trained Sister Umstead, and Sister Faka'osi, who was in my zone when I was in Taguig zone.  They're in a threesome with Sister Delasan.

So that day of transfers I got the stomach flu which wasn't fun... mostly because we were running short on water, still didn't have electricity, and it meant another day at home instead of working.  The power/water finally came back that night and my sickness went away.  We were able to go back to work again on Friday.

All of the people we've talked to so far were safe despite the typhoon.  There is one family of members who lives not too far away from us who are now sleeping/living in the church because their house got destroyed.  :(  We're all just glad everyone is safe.

Oh yeah... and Kim wasn't able to get off work for her baptism so it was rescheduled for this Saturday.

Despite all of that, we still had a great week. :)  Several less-actives came to church yesterday and there are several other members who are officially active again! Yea!  So happy for them!!  Also, a few awesome investigators came to church again.  We're still finding new investigators everyday and seriously.... so, so blessed to be here in this area.  Sister Fewster and I just reflected back on this last transfer and both agreed that this has been the best one for both of us... not because it's been easy, but because of how much we've both grown.  We're so ready and excited for "round 2" :)  
Guys.... the gospel is true.  We are so blessed to know the truth.  We are so blessed to live in a time when we have the fullness of the gospel here on the earth... a living prophet, revelation, the priesthood, everything.  We are too blessed to not share those blessings with others.  There are so many people who are searching for the truth.  I promise you they are out there, all around us.  We, as members, made a promise when we were baptized that we would stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places.  I invite you all to open your mouths and share those blessings you've been given with those around you, both people you already know and those you haven't met yet.  There is know need to fear because the success is in the invitation.  :)  Love you all!!!  Go do some missionary work!!!! :)
Love, Sister Dickison

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Can I stay here? :)

Hello everyone!!

The work here continues to grow every day and honestly... it has just been amazing to me!! :)  We stopped using the directory a few weeks ago as a finding tool.... we found about as many less-active members as we can currently handle with our schedules.  It's been cool to watch many of them  start coming back to church.  Sister Imelda came to church two weeks ago, then missed last week, then came again yesterday, all by herself, AND bore her testimony.  We're so proud of her!  We went and taught another less-active member for the first time last week.  His wife just returned from living away in a different province for like 6 years... we're still not sure why... along with their 17 year old daughter.  Both the mother and daughter are Catholic, but they enjoyed our lesson with them, asked if they could attend church (love it when people ask that!!), and the daughter even talked about serving a mission like us some day. :)  We committed them to come to church and I was pretty disappointed that none of them came yesterday... but we'll keep working with them :)  We had Family Home Evening with another less-active member last Friday.  His wife and kids are active... so we're not exactly sure why he just doesn't come.  The FHE was awesome though!  We brought a rope and some little oranges and acted out Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life.  It was so much fun!!  It was the cutest thing to watch the dad, playing the part of Lehi, inviting his family to come partake of the fruit.  Then, at the end, they all just wanted to try walking with their hands on the rope with their eyes closed. 

We also had an awesome week with our investigators!!  It started off kind of rough.... we went to go have Family Home Evening with a family last week.  We had all of their fellowshippers with us, and when we got there, none of the kids were there and he was very drunk with one of his buddies.  He, however, was not drunk enough to not feel guilty.... actually he felt really, really bad.  In fact, when we returned on Wednesday, he said he was so grateful we came because he was afraid that we would never want to come back again.  We reassured him that we still love him (of course!) and then later on in the lesson committed him and his kids to a baptismal date in August.  They didn't come to church yesterday,  but we have a lot of hope for them.

There is this one man who just showed up to church two weeks ago.  We weren't able to meet with him until last Saturday, but it was worth the wait.  He's 26 years old and, as he puts it, "still seeking for the truth."  He started doing lessons with the missionaries in his hometown but then moved out here for work and showed up at church. :)  His coworker, joined in our lesson and then they both went to church yesterday :)  They're super interested!!  We're really excited for another lesson with them this Saturday.  We were able to teach this one family we found again.  We had an awesome lesson with them about prophets and Christ's life and then as we left, their little boys and their kid's friends, who joined us for the lesson, started clapping before we left :)  So cute!!!  We were pretty far away from their house when one of the little boys ran out of the house and started clapping some more :) 

Lastly, we went yesterday afternoon to try to contact this women we had talked to a few weeks ago.  She ended up not being there but her neighbor came up and started talking to us in English.  He said he was interested in learning how to speak English. :)  We kept on talking to him and asked him if we could share with him, the first two times he said no, but as we continued talking to him about the gospel and answering his many questions he finally invited us into his house and we ended up have a kind of lengthy/really good lesson  with him.... with basically me being the only person speaking in Tagalog... :)  (I just can't teach all that well in English!! :))  Basically everything he said had something to do with some aspect of the gospel and it was such an incredible lesson!!  We're so excited to teach him again next week!  And we knew there was a reason we kept on being drawn to that area :) 
So yeah... life is great and I so do not want to be transferred out of this area next week!  Hopefully President will receive revelation that I should stay here for another transfer :)  Oh yeah!!  We had our zone interviews last Tuesday and.... It's official.  I got the "okay" from President to come home a few weeks early so I'll be back for school (Winter semester).  

Love you all!!  Hope you have a wonderful week!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Monday, June 23, 2014

I really really want to do my best here...

Well, this week was pretty crazy busy, but awesome.  We just got back a little over an hour ago from the city.  My follow-up visit at St. Lukes hospital was scheduled on the papers they gave me for last Saturday, so we woke up before 5am to head out to Manila, got there only to find out the doctor wasn't even his clinic on Saturdays... would have been nice if they had scheduled my appointment for a day when he's there.... it's okay, just learning patience :)  So we got it rescheduled for this morning.  Everything went well.  He showed me the video of them taking the stent out as well as the x-rays.  He said as they were taking the stent out they found the other two small stones and so using some "basket-thingy" they took those two stones out.  Yay!  No more stones!  I've felt so great this last week and I"m so relieved that I probably won't have to ever return to St. Lukes again... (keeping my fingers crossed). 

This last week has been such a week for growing... especially in "finding" and opening my mouth.... not going to lie, it's something I avoid when I can.  Let me rephrase that... I only like to "find" when it feels natural and like I'm not going out of my way, in other words, when it's "easy".  This week though, something clicked, and I've just been talking to everyone. Finding is something that Sister Fewster is absolutely a natural at and as a result, I decided it was time I shaped up and just did it. As a result, we taught 12 new investigators last week and found about 30 new potential investigators.  It's been awesome!!  Some of them seem really, really interested and we can definitely see the Lord's hand in helping us find those who have been prepared to receive us.
One of the less-active members attended church this week after many many weeks of inviting her to do so.  We are so happy for her!  I've visited her at least once a week since I first got into this area and she has had a lot of excuses.  Last Tuesday and then again on Saturday we were bold with her and basically said, "You are going to church this week and we are going to pick you up."  I guess she just needed that push because when we showed up at her house to pick her up, she looked all beautiful in her church clothes and her hair dyed and was ready to go :)  It was so great!  The branch welcomed her back and everyone told her how much they had missed her.   She told us that she's had many callings in her previous branch but hasn't received one yet in this branch.... which she's been a part of for at least six years now.  We brought it up in coordination meeting so hopefully she will soon be given either a responsibility or a calling. :)  Just was a good reminder to me that everyone needs to feel "needed" and important.

The Sister Training Leaders made their surprise visit last Thursday.  I had an awesome time working with Sister Rimano.  She was a doll.  I learned a lot from her and she was a great support that day... it was kind of scary in the beginning.  I gave Sister Fewster all of our planned appointments for the day since she knows where they live and then my plans for the day were all in parts of our area that I haven't been in yet... mostly contacted members in our branch who we've never met before and didn't know if they were active or not.  It all worked out well though.

My testimony has just grown so much this last week in loving everyone.  I've really enjoyed being able to listen to people... both the people we are teaching, people we randomly met, as well as my companion.  Listening with love really changes everything.... I just think of the Savior and what a great example He was, being able to truly understand how people felt and have them instantly feel of His love for them.  Just read Kellie's email and I can totally relate to what she said about meeting people and instantly like seeing how their future could be with the gospel... so beautiful.  :)  Missionary work truly is the best.  :)
Honestly.... I'm exhausted.  This week has been so tiring as I feel like there has been no break.  I put my head on the pillow only to have the alarm go off and it be another day.  And yet, it's been one of the best weeks of my mission.  I can't believe we're like half-way through another transfer.... where does the time go!?!  Ahhh!!!!! 
Other good news... when we came home from the hospital earlier there was a package waiting for me :)  Thanks Mom!!!!  It totally made my day and I was so excited it took me quite awhile to calm down and be able to open the box up properly :)  
Love you all so much!!  Until next week!!
Love, Sister Dickison

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


This last week was awesome in its own unique way. :)  It's been amazing to notice all of the little miracles happening in our missionary work right now.  I don't remember how much I talked about our plans with the branch missionary directory in my last email, but it really is changing our work!  I want to just let everyone in our mission know about what a wonderful tool this directory can be (this sounds so corny, but it's sooo true!).  I really think if everyone in our mission used the directory more, it would help out with the work.  So we printed off the directory last week and started bringing it with us to all of our appointments and asking the members (both active and less-active) if their information was correct.  Often times it wasn't, or people's names were missing so we wrote down the correct info and the proceeded to ask them if they knew people who were on the directory, and who's addresses were close to theirs but we haven't met them yet.  We've had great success in meeting other member now and I've loved the support we've gotten from the branch.  Yesterday, we brought it to church and had several small miracles happen.  It has helped us to put names to faces, find out if they live in our area or the other sisters, etc.  We also thoroughly went through our area books during weekly planning last Friday and made note of everyone who may/may not be a less active in the directory and then yesterday we were able to ask around about many of these people.... some of whom are active, some of whom are not.  There was an older women who practically begged us to come and visit her and her family.  She and a few of her grandchildren are active but her husband as well as all of her children are not.  She told us to PLEASE come and visit her... because they haven't had a visit from the missionaries in forever... and then mentioned the last missionaries who visited them, one of whom was Sister Fewster's teacher in the MTC and has been finished with her mission for quite a while.  Wow.  She told us she really wants her children to be active again, especially her youngest son and asked if he could come work with us to get him excited about the church again.  Of course we are going to visit them asap. :)  Last weekly planning was the coolest weekly planning ive ever had.  There is just so much work that needs to be done here and we are really going to try to change the work here.  We've also been blessed to quickly see changes happening already.... we were able to find and teach at least one new investigator every day last week... most often they just seemed to appear out of no where and sit in our lessons with other investigators or less-actives.  We've been able to teach less-actives that we didn't know existed and visit members that we didn't know existed either.  We almost reached our goals in how many lessons we taught to both investigators and recent converts/less actives... and that was even with not working for three days because I was sick/our trip to the hospital... more on that later.  :)  It's simply was an amazing week and I was shocked and how drastically the work had changed here.  God really is in charge of this work, and I just never want anything holding me back again from experiencing missionary work like this.  :)

Okay, so... last Thursday we went an taught Tatay in the morning and then I was just in too much pain to go back out and work.  We stayed home and slept until maybe 5pm.  Then one of the couple missionaries, the Jardines, stopped by to drop off a new mattress for Sister McCarthy and check up on me.  I was gently (and kind of forcefully at the same time :)) advised by sweet Sister Jardine to take the next few days off of work so that my body could finally heal.  Having her permission somehow made me feel less guilty about not working, so we rested on Friday and then on Saturday we woke up at 3 in the morning in order to make it to my appointment at the hospital on time.... that was a very short night.  We were blessed to make good timing though... however the Sister who was supposed to meet us there with the papers for the billing never showed up.  That was super stressful.  The doctor ended up making his rounds for an hour as we waited for the papers so that I wouldn't have to pay for the operation by myself.... with what money?  Yeah, I didn't have any.  :) Finally it all worked out and then I had a very smooth, quick operation.  The results that we got back say that they found one of those tiny kidney stones still in me...not sure if that means they took it out, like it was in the stent, or what... but it's tiny so even if it is still in me, shouldn't be too uncomfortable to pass.  Being very me, I was ready to get outta there as soon as possible so we made our way home, with me sleeping almost the whole jeepney ride home, and then sleeping again once we got home, walking up at 10:30 to eat something, take my pills, and then go back to sleep for the rest of the night. :)  All that sleep felt good.... even better, for the last two days I have been in no pain whatsoever!!  First time in over a month!!  It feels great :)  That stent was just so uncomfortable but I now have it in a little jar as just another relic from my mission :)
Thank you so much for all of the prayers on my behalf!!!  This recovery has been a miracle and it feels so great to be back to "normal."  So looking forward to another amazing week here.  :)
Love you all!!
Love, Sister Dickison  

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Like a Fire is Burning"

This last week has been awesome!  I've been feeling a little bit better and been able to almost go fully back to work... just had to quit a little early both Friday and yesterday nights.  Hoping that everything will go well at the hospital on Saturday when they take the stent out of me.  (I will be under general anesthesia again.)  I'm getting another priesthood blessing from my District Leader tomorrow so I'm sure it will all be fine :)
Well.... this last week really has been amazing.  It's a new transfer with a new companion and I'm feeling the fire of missionary work again.  It's been awhile... that fire just kinda got lost because of a lot things.... weird events occurring like stalkers and surgeries, hitting that "I've been on my mission for awhile now and feeling kind of tired funk"... but now, it's all gone and I'm feeling great again :)
My new companion is adorable.  I just love her to pieces!!   She is on her third transfer and just loves life... the people here, the work, this area, and is so optimistic about everything :)  Personal and companionship study have become fun again... and I would hate it when study time's over, but, then we get to go out and teach so... life's still good :)  Sister Fewster and I are really going to give it our all this transfer... and next transfer as well since, you know, we've just decided that we're both going to stay here together for next transfer.  ;)  Right now, we're planning on making the branch directory our new best friend.  We're going to use it to figure out who the heck all of the members are here, find and reactive less-actives, receive referrals through member visits, and fix all of the problems with the directory as we go... pretty excited stuff.  It's going to be revolutionary. :)  Okay... this totally wasn't my idea.  It's what everyone decided to do in Marikina Zone right before I got transferred outta there... I was instructed to take the idea and apply it here.... and then my normal missionary life got turned upside down with the health problems but now it's back to normal so we're going to give it a try :)
We have quite a few investigators who are really progressing and we love teaching them.  Sister Fewster and I also are on the search for new people to teach.  Since I can't spend a lot of time roaming around on the streets trying to OYM because of my physical challenges as of late, we're really going to push for receiving referrals from the members.  Our branch is already pretty awesome about referrals.
Life's good... the mission's great :)  When you have a chance, I encourage you to read in Alma around chapter 24... there are some pretty amazing stories of missionaries in there. :)
Love ya all!
Love, Sister Dickison