Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ricoooooo, Dioso (Bill?), and Angelica :)‏

Hey everyone!!!  So this week was pretty much awesome and full of some crazy times :)

First off the Taguig Zone had our zone activity last P-day which was pretty darn fun.  We spent a lot of time filling up water balloons and then played Dungeons and Dragons with them until it got too boring and everyone just started chucking water balloons at each other.  I hid safely inside of the chapel with my companion and Sister Faka'osi so our clothes remained dry :)  We then played hide-and-go-seek and ordered Pizza Hut Pizza (Ssooooo gooood!!:) 
The next day was our Zone Training so our whole zone was together again and yeah... that was about all the excitement that happened that day.
Last Wednesday we did service for some of the elders' investigators.  We cleared a huge field of weeds.  It was really hard work actually and my legs are still sore from it.  I was using a sickle to cut the weeds, and then I almost took out a plant with it.... haha, it was great.  
So the best part about our week was definitely our investigators.  First there's Rico... We met Rico on Saturday the 11th after teaching our investigator Dioso (Bill?).  He was waiting for us to finish our lesson with Dioso to meet with us.  He told us he was searching for the truth and honestly seemed like a golden investigator.  He went on to tell us a few things that made a red flag appear in Sis. Doucette's head: 1) He asked us about proxy baptisms (who knows about that outside of Mormon's?) and 2) He asked us if we were allowed to listen to other religions.  So he texted us over the next few days and we kind of ignored him because our phone is NOT for "fun texting" and then it all came out when we tried to set up an appointment with him... He said, and I quote (except it was sa tagalog), "Haven't you guessed by now?... Hahaha!... my religion is Inglesia ni Cristo!!"  Inglesia ni Cristo is a wonderful religion, I'm sure, that is very popular here in the Philippines and was actually formed by a man who used to be mormon.  Long story short, he wanted us to come and either debate with him over religion or be converted to his church.  Obviously we dropped him as a potential investigator and Sister Doucette is still trying to get over "Rico: Our Golden Investigator."  :)
  So then there's Dioso (Bill?)... Apparently his name is not Dioso... it's Bill.... or at least, that's how he introduced himself to our ward missionary Raymond.  Can't wait to see what this week has in store for us and "Bill."
Finally, there is Angelica. :)  After being so, so, so nervous for her baptismal interview she made it through and will be getting baptized this upcoming Saturday!!!  We're so excited for her!!!  It's perfect timing too, because I'm 99.9% positive I'm transferring out of this area in a week and a half.  I love Angelica so much!!!  She's been through so much with what happened in Tacloban and having to leave her family behind.  She's grown so much in the gospel and will be an awesome member of the church!  Sister Doucette and I will be bearing our testimonies with her after her baptism to help her not feel so nervous (did I mention she is really shy and get's nervous easily?)  :)  
Well... that's all for this week.  Until next week!!
Love, Sister Dickison
(P.S. I also ate chicken feet at a funeral last week... good times... )

Monday, January 13, 2014

5 Months in the Field :)

Wow... it's P-day again already.  So Sister Doucette and I have had a pretty awesome time during the last few days.  All of last week we had to do a lot of finding, but our efforts paid off and so did the fasting and prayers.  We found a ton of people who are interested in being taught and have return appointments with them this week.  We actually had four different, random people come up to us during the last two days and ask us if we can teach them...  Hallelujah!  We've also been trying to help establish visiting and home teaching in our ward.  I never realized how important visiting and home teaching was before my mission.  Everyone needs visiting/home teaching; active members as well as less-active members.  Our ward here in Pateros would probably have a lot less less-actives if they were being visiting every month by other members.  Since the focus of our mission is to find and baptize, we're really trying to help the ward visit less-actives and recent converts so that we can spend the majority of our time with investigators.  This was the first week that we had an even number of less-active/recent convert lessons and lessons with investigators.  It's a huge improvement, but we're working on having more lessons with investigators period.  
Something I may have mentioned before that Sister Doucette and I are trying to focus on is having hope.  We're both pretty realistic (ha! that's a nice word for pessimistic...) and so hope is an area we both recognized we needed to grow in.  It's been cool over the last transfer to watch as Heavenly Father has given us experiences to help us grow in this area.  I never realized how crucial it can be to have hope.  There is a scripture in Ether chapter 12, verse 32 I think, that talks about having hope and how it is crucial in order for us to return to live with our Father in Heaven again in the mansions prepared for us above.  That's pretty serious stuff when you think about it.  
Sister Doucette and I have also been reflecting on how very different serving a mission is than we thought it would be.  There is a lot more that goes on in our missions than just knocking on doors and learning to speak a different language.  Over the last five months I've learned how to go apartment hunting in the Philippines, recover from floods and break-ins, and all about U.T.I.s.  I've also tried to help establish home/visiting teaching and help the church here in the Philippines become more established and run smoother.  I've found myself talking to the richest of the rich people here about our church, in English, with my whole ward watching my companion and I (that was terrifying) as well as made almost daily visits to a couple who didn't have enough money/food to feed themselves let alone their three-month old son.  I never expected to do half of these things let alone all the other stuff I didn't mention that has happened as well.  I feel so incredibly blessed that Heavenly Father has given me this opportunity.  I didn't really have a desire to go on a mission for any other reason than it sounded kind of fun and I knew it was God's plan for me.  I'm so grateful that this was part of His plan for me and I can't wait to see what else the mission has in store for me (haha... I'm knocking on wood right now...).  
Oh yeah!  If you are willing, please include my Grandpa Luke in your prayers.  He had a stroke last week and is doing much better, but still needs the prayers.  Thank you for your love and support always.  God bless!
Love, Sister Dickison

And all the Whos down in Whoville...‏

Wahoo!!  Temple days are the best!!  I'm seriously so blessed to have a temple not just in my mission boundaries, but literally just 15 minutes away from where I live... so awesome!  So yeah, we woke up around 4:00 this morning and left the house at 5:00 so we could make it to the first session and guess what... we didn't get into the first session.  Practically all of the elders from the Quezon City North mission were already there when we arrived at the temple and apparently got there at 4:45 in the morning... :/  Oh well, we just waited for a while and then attended the 8:00 session, which was wonderful too :)  We then went to eat at Banapple (American food!!) where I chose to get a salad over a honkin' huge slice of cheesecake because... I really miss green salad!!  Super delicious!!  Afterwards we hopped in a taxi and now I'm here emailing :)
Let see... other news... oh yeah!!!  Haha!!  New Years!!!  Pretty sure my expectations of what a New Years Eve should be like are ridiculously high now... It Was Amazing!!!!  So people started setting off fireworks like the day before, right?  But they were just a few here and there.  On the 31st they kind of became... more as soon as we woke up and Sister Doucette was kinda freaking out about going out and working.  We figured God would protect us though so we went out, taught, and then made it home by our early curfew in the evening.  It was pretty noisy by then, fireworks going off and kids blowing on noise-makers.  But the real deal started at 11:00... people went crazy!!  The only way I can describe it is it was like being there in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" when all of the Whos down in Whoville were banging on stuff and going crazy!!  People were laying on car horns, lighting fireworks like crazy, blowing on noise-makers, and the one that really got to me was whoever was revin' up their chainsaw (I'm not joking)... It was SO loud!!!!  Fireworks were going off everywhere!!  And not just baby ones either... but huge ones in the sky!  Man... it was the best birthday celebration ever.  :)  Times Square has got absolutely nothing on my Filipino New Years Eve. :)    
Great news... Angelica is still getting baptized!!  :)  I'm just a little bit more than excited :)  She's developing a testimony so quickly and has really settled into the ward and Young Women's.  We watched Finding Faith in Christ with her last week... she loved it.  We also taught her Word of Wisdom the other day which was fun since I haven't had an opportunity to teach that since back when I first got here... when I wasn't capable of saying anything.  I'm really, really enjoying teaching right now.  Sister Doucette and I have both noticed each other growing in leaps and bounds in the language every day.  Guess that's what happens when you both HAVE to speak in lessons because neither one of us is fluent (or close to being fluent) sa Tagalog.  It's a party :)  We also get to go finding for a few hours every day... probably for the rest of the transfer, to find more investigators again.  It's not exactly something either she or I loves doing... so, we've turned it into a game with bonus points and treats and stuff just to give us the courage to speak up to random people on the street.  And it's working :)  Yesterday we found/talked to seven different people and have return appointments with them.  :)  
Also, we had the opportunity to work with the Sister Training Leader's which was great!  Once we were all back in the apartment, it pretty much felt like a huge sleepover party.  Sister Campbell is awesome and obviously Sister Jones is as well, so it was fun.:)  
As always thank you for your prayers and your love and support!  It really means a lot to me!  Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Love, Sister Dickison