Monday, February 17, 2014

Thank Goodness for Ice Cream :)‏

Sometimes, you just get along really well with your companion, the missionary work is awesome, your area is sweet, and life is good.  Other times... not so much.  Right now my life is in the first category so I'm going to continue to enjoy it while it lasts.  :)
This last week has been awesome... and one of those weeks where I realize how much growth still needs to happen here, for myself as a person.  I've said it before and it's still true - missions have a way of bringing out weaknesses.  I've learned that unfortunately that is a necessary part of the growing process.  Dang it. 

When I first arrived at the Mission home six months ago, they had us do some activity where we formed play-dough into something we wanted to get out of our missions.  I had no clue what to make... but what I ended up doing has had more relevance the further I've gotten into my mission.  I formed a simple, cookie-cutter looking girl and slapped a name-tag on her.  When I got up to explain I told everyone that I knew the kind of me I wanted to be by the end and that that was my goal.  At that point, I don't think I realized that my Father in Heaven was listening to what I was saying and decided to help me out with this goal.  How nice of Him.  :) 
I wish it wasn't so hard to change... I'm glad Sister Sanders is here to help me out this transfer.  Talking to her about this stuff has helped me out a ton, cause she's kinda going through the same thing.  That being said...

Why do we hold onto stuff we don't even like about ourselves?  I'm pretty good a getting rid of old papers and "junk" around my room and stuff and I wish I was good about doing that same thing with habits and characteristics I really could do without.  Sometimes... okay, mostly lately, I feel like I'm trying to get rid of "junk" that I really don't like at all, it's just hard to get rid of it after I've hung onto it for so long...

That, my friends, is where the Atonement comes in.  Phew... Hallelujah for that!!!  The Atonement is sssoooooo central to the gospel.  It doesn't just help us repent and overcome sin, but it also allows us to change in other ways as well.  The process for any type of change is much the same as the repentance process, meaning... it is not easy!!  You have to acknowledge that you have something that needs to be changed (sometimes this is made apparent in very open, awkward-ways... and sometimes not).  Then, you have to struggle to actually try to change it (yeah... this part basically feels impossible sometimes).  And somehow, with the Lord's help, you make it through to the other side.  Of course, that is not the end... the hardest part is that darn, whole enduring-to-the-end-thingy.

Man... life is difficult.  Good thing there is ice cream to help us along the way.  :)

Life is really going great here! :)  We had five investigators at church yesterday... an all-time high for me :)  More importantly, our investigators are progressing really, really well.  We've tried focusing on/using the Book of Mormon more in our lessons and I can see the difference it is making.  We had a bit of a rough spot yesterday... We were sitting in the gospel principles class with our investigators yesterday and they were all getting really into the discussion.  Tatay, who almost never speaks, ever, opened up and was asking all of these questions.  Then Jenny joined in, and their questions were awesome... but were all over the place and even though we are only in lesson one with one of them and mid-way through lesson two with the other, their questions were covering all of the lessons and then plus-some...  It was a little overwhelming to say the least.  At one point our investigator asked the teacher if he was the bishop, and if she could meet with him because she had a lot of questions and then she basically said that Sister Sanders wasn't answering them so she needed to meet with him.... it was rough.  I pointed out to Sister Sanders that at least she mentioned her name... I'm still the "Other Sister" at this point.  :)  It's great that our investigators have so many questions, we're just going to have to remind them that we can't teach them everything all at once.

Anyways... Hope you all had a romantic Valentine's day!  We had a date at our apartment after working and watched the Testaments movie... there's even kissing in that movie... it was great. 
Love you all!
Love, Sister Dickison 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Valentine's!‏

Hello everyone!!!

So... this week was awesome and a high point of missionary work!  Yesterday we had four investigators at church, including the three we gave bap dates to last week.  They are so awesome, coming to church for the second week in a row and progressing and everything!!  We also watched Tatay be baptized on Saturday and confirmed yesterday.  He was so cute!!  Just grinning the whole time :)  We also watched one of our recent converts bless the sacrament for the first time!  Man... It was a wonderful week :)  We taught more lessons in a week than I ever have before!  I also think I walked more that I ever have before... and we had more dinner appointments than I've ever had before so it's a really good thing we're doing a ton of walking.  :)

I'm seriously loving life here in the Sumulong 1st ward.  The ward members are great and so kind.  They are pretty great about giving us referrals and working with us... I don't ever want to leave this area :) 

Sister Sanders and I are having a great time together!  We became really close friends with each other super quick and I just love getting to talk to that girl all the time.  :) 

We have zone training tomorrow followed by zone conference on Wednesday so I'm pretty excited to see everyone.  :) 

I learned this week just how mindful Heavenly Father is of us, and how willing his is to help us with stuff we want/need when it is in accordance with his plan for us.  I don't have any specific experience, but just a bunch of little ones that have strengthened my testimony in this area. 
I'm so grateful for the gospel!!  I feel so blessed to have been born into the truth and for the opportunity I have to share it with others!!

Love you all!  Happy Valentines Day!
Love, Sister Dickison

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Welcome to the Big City :)‏

Well... My new area is pretty much fantastic!!!!  As a whole, the people here are a lot better off than the people in my last area.  I have more city-city in my area as well as more province (I've seen so many trees and even fields of green stuff here!).  Our area is huge but a lot less crowded than my last area.  I'm loving it here!!  The work is amazing!  We have so many investigators we are having a difficult time making time to visit recent converts and less actives.  And... I have another baptism this Saturday.  His name is Narciso and he is like 70-something years old.  It's funny actually... all three of our people who attended the gospel principles class were 70-something year-old men... :)

My new companion, Sister Sanders, is absolutely wonderful and we got along really, really well.  It's been a really difficult week for her though.  When I met her last Wednesday, she told me that during her email time the day before she had just found out that her Grandpa had terminal cancer.  Just last Saturday, President Revillo called her to inform her her Grandpa had just passed away.  She's been so strong but the passing of her Grandpa has been really, really sudden and difficult for her.  Please keep my companion and her family in your prayers! 
The Tagalog is coming along.  Sister Sanders is insanely good at Tagalog even though she's only a transfer ahead of me!!!  Not going to lie, it's been a little bit discouraging in some ways, but everybody here keeps telling me I'm really good at Tagalog and Sister Sanders has been really grateful that I can speak and understand what people are saying :)  Apparently I'm the first companion she's had who can speak Tagalog since she was trained.  It's going to be a great transfer... just being with her has made me more motivated to get better faster.  :)
Everything has just fallen into place.  Yes, it was difficult to say good-bye to some of the people I taught in my last area, especially those who I had taught from the beginning as well as my sweet Angelica, but my new area, companion, and ward our great.  :)
I had a really cool experience a few days before I left Pateros...  Sister Doucette and I were eating at the Biluan's house and I was just sitting there soaking it all in.  All last transfer, my companion often talked about how much she loves the Philippines and how she doesn't want her mission to end.  I always kept my mouth shut, cause in my mind I was thinking, "Why?  I love America, I love my home, and I can't wait to go back."  It wasn't that I didn't love it here too... it's just that I love being at home with my family more.  :)  But as I was sitting there, I just suddenly got it...  Everything I do here is for other people.  It can be so overwhelming to have to constantly be worrying about other people's lives and how you can help them overcome challenges and stuff, but when I go home, everything I do will just be for me, and somehow that seems kind of pointless in a way.  I'll go to work to earn money for myself, I'll go to school to earn my degree for myself, and yeah... everything will just be for myself.  How boring.  Here, I have the amazing opportunity to help so many people in so many different ways and I'm really going to miss that.  Don't get me wrong... I'm still looking forward to going home in 11 months (not that I'm counting or anything), but in some ways I guess I'm kind of dreading it as well.  
Missionary work is awesome.  It's the toughest thing ever, but it's amazing as well.  I'm so grateful that this was part of God's plan for me... every day I see more and more of why I'm needed here, and why I needed to be here to become a better person.  
I love you all!  Hope you are all doing well and have an awesome week!
Love, Sister Dickison