Monday, March 24, 2014

Buhay Pa Rin :)


Just wanted to let you know that life is still going great here in the Quezon City Mission!  We had a wonderful time at zone interviews last Thursday and it was fun to see our Mission President and his wife there.  My love for the two of them grows every time I see them.  I'm so grateful to have them here in our mission and for their sacrifice for us and for the Lord.  
I'm doing just peachy :)  So I just read your letter (Mom) a few minutes ago and almost started crying, which, you know, never happens... :)  I understand what you're saying about looking at my pictures and feeling like it was all a dream or you just imagined me or something... sometimes it feels like that for me too.  That's why this morning, I pulled out some old letters you guys had sent me and started reading them.  Hand-written letters really do the trick :)  I wish I had known before that I would never stop missing home so I could have better prepared myself.  But I guess if I had known that, I may not have come.  

The longer I'm out here, the more I realize how symbolic being a missionary can be... in this case, to God's Plan of Happiness.  We lived as Spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father before this life.  There He loved and knew each one of us personally and we were happy... but we couldn't obtain a fullness of happiness by just living there with Him for forever.  He knew that they only way for us to truly be happy would be to let us go.... to send us somewhere where wouldn't be able to communicate face-to-face.  I think He knew it would be hard... infinitely harder for Him as so many of His children wouldn't even know He existed or would lose all contact with them.... but He also knew this would be the only way for us to learn and grow in order to become like Him.  He knew that for us... it would feel like a dream in some ways... and even then only for those of us who have the gospel in our lives.  How difficult and sad He must feel for those of His children who don't have the gospel... who have completely forgotten who they are and who He is and what the plan was.  
So... despite the fact that I long for home and to be reunited like none other, I know that God needs me here to help His children who have forgotten to remember.... to remember that we do have a loving Heavenly Father, that we had a life before this one and that our experience here is all part of the plan.  How blessed I feel to be able to help my brothers and sisters.  This time really is insanely short in the whole grand scheme of things... a small sacrifice to pay for the blessings I've received.  
I'm still here, just out of sight for a little while.
 My greenie is doing just great :)  She and I really do get along very well and I'm so grateful for her!!   I'm not doing a perfect job, but I'm continuing to learn and grow each day and hopefully my trainee will look back on these days with fondness :)  Actually... I'm pretty sure she will.... we have a lot of fun :)  
Dad, thanks for the reminder in taking things one day at a time... not just in terms of handling stress, but also in remembering to enjoy each day.  :)  It's easy as a missionary to keep moving forward by counting down time... until the next district meeting, the next p-day, the next zone conf., the next time to skype with family, and so on and so forth :)  I'm trying to remember to enjoy every day... even those days when it's insanely hot, we are getting punted at our appointments, and when I'm struggling with the language.  Gee... in some ways that sounds like a lot of days here.  :)  We have some golden investigators who are all struggling with big issues... kind of stressful, but I'm learning patience.  :)  Thank you for sharing your testimony as well :)  So true... there is no greater blessing or joy than having a sure witness of the truth and being able to share that with others.  :)  I love being a missionary!!  it's hard, but so wonderful!! 

Training.... I'm really loving it in spite of the stress.  My companion is so awesome and we have so much fun together!  I'm discovering that I'm learning so much at the same time she is.  In some ways, I feel like this is my training and not hers.  :)  
Love you all!
Sister Dickison

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

First week as a "Mom" in the field... :)‏

Phew... what a week.  :)  It's been so great and, yes, a little stressful.  So.... to back up a bit.  Last Wednesday I dropped Sister Sanders off at the transfer point and we had a very sad good-bye.  I miss her a lot but know I'll see her again, if not sometime during the next eight months, I definitely will after I return home.  I'll be traveling up north to visit her often.  :)

After dropping her off, I traveled to the mission home where I was happy to see Sister Alailima and Elder Tinsley who are training this transfer as well.  It was fun to spend almost that whole day in a "temporary companionship" with my companion from the MTC.  They didn't announce who are new companions were until the end of the day so we had lot's of time to make our guesses. :)  We  went to the American War Memorial for all of the people who fought here during World War ll.  It was an awesome experience and such a beautiful place.  It was there, inside this one building we went to, where Pres. Hinkley (that's embarrassing... can't spell his name...)  announced that the Philippines was open for missionary work and gave a dedicatory prayer.  It was so cool to be there, especially since the Bataan Death March was one of the only things I had ever heard about the Philippines before I received my mission call. 

After that, we went back to the mission home and they made the training announcements....  Looking around throughout the day, I'd realized that there weren't any native Filipino trainees, meaning, I would be helping my trainee learn how to speak the language too.  I had a gut feeling even before I was told I'd be training that my next comp. would be a polynesian, and sure enough, my anak, Sister Tomasi, is from Western Samoa.  :)  I love her to pieces by the way!!  She is so amazing and already is learning everything so quickly!  She was baptized a member of the church when she was 13 years old.  She has a strong testimony of the restoration of the gospel and such a big heart. 

The work is going great too!!  I was feeling pretty stressed up through Monday... training a trainee during the last week has made me very aware of just how NOT fluent I am at Tagalog and how much room for improvement there is in my teaching, but, I'm also learning to rely on the Lord and the Holy Ghost more to guide me in knowing what to say.  Yesterday was a good day of work... I just felt the words coming more easily and definitely the Lord's hand in all of it. 

Seriously... Sister Tomasi is picking up on everything so much quicker than I did.  Right now I'm encouraging her to contribute to the lessons as much as she can.  Right now it's mostly testimony, prayer, reading a scripture, or starting the lessons, but each day she's contributing more and I have total confidence in her that by the end of the transfer she'll be a pro.  :) 
I feel like this opportunity to train came at the perfect moment... I'm just hitting that peak, my half-way mark, coming up soon (you can't tell I'm looking forward to it at all... not like I keep mentioning it every week or anything ;P) and be a trainer is helping me to stay focused and get even more excited about the work. 

Yesterday really was an awesome day!  I was getting a little discouraged, because it was getting late and we'd only had two lessons so far but then, as we were walking back from getting punted at one of our appointments, some men called out to us, asking us if we knew some famous girl who supposedly was a Mormon and that led into an awesome OYM opportunity.  :)  These two men are super interested in religion and said they believe that all religions believe in the same God, but having different ways of getting to Him.  They said they are looking for the right way.  We talked to them a little bit about some of our basic beliefs and Sister Tomasi also had an amazing opportunity!  She mentioned to them that she was a convert and they asked her what made her decide that this was the right church.  She pulled out and held up a Book of Mormon and went on to share a beautiful testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I was ssssooooo proud of her and felt so blessed to be her companion.  :)  They are super interested to learn more and so we set up an appt. with them for this Saturday, which I'll be sure to email you all about next week.  :) 

Hope you all are doing well!!!  Take care and may God bless you!
Til next week!
Love, Sister Dickison
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Monday, March 10, 2014

I'm Training!!

So.... tomorrow my "anak" (that's child in Tagalog, in other words, my trainee) will be born into the mission field!!  I'm so stoked and yes, kind of nervous.  Really, really excited though.  As part of the fun of training, I won't find out who my anak is until I meet her tomorrow.  :)  Sister Sanders and I both knew that after having such an easy, amazing transfer together we would both have to experience a "more challenging" transfer for this upcoming one.  Sure enough, I'm training, and she has been called as a Sister Training Leader.  It's been great to be companions with two sisters who have been called to be an STL while I've been with them.  She is so amazing and she will do such a great job!  So happy for her!!  
Phew... so yeah... trying not to stress out here.  My anak will basically be born into one of the prime areas in the mission.   Seriously.... our ward is amazing, our area is beautiful, and the work here is absolutely the best.  We have so many amazing investigators here... phew... she is one lucky girl.  :)  Now the pressure is just for us to maintain that awesomeness.... haha.... not stressed at all! :P  
Joke-lang... it will be great.  
I'm really, really, really going to miss Sister Sanders.  This transfer has been a little bit unbelievable with how much fun everything's been.  I feel so blessed to have made so many life-long friends in the mission field.

 Our area is huge!  It takes us about an hour to come home every night since our house is in the other sisters' area.  We almost never use tricycles here which is so different from my last area.  All of it is either walking if we have time (because transportation can get expensive in this area) or most of the time we take multiple jeepneys to get to different parts of our area.   As a whole it a lot cleaner, more open, and less crowded than my last area.  Some of our area is in areas where there are huge rice fields so it's green over there, but for the most part we're in the city still.  We have two main highways that run through our area, and literally like five ginormous malls in our area... so yeah... it's definitely more in the city
So here's the low-down on our people....  The M family are doing awesome.  I seriously love that family!  They haven't been able to attend church for the last two weeks in a row which has been kind of disappointing.  They're super busy with moving into a new home.  However, we've had some awesome lessons with them.    They are wonderful!  Brother R will be baptized at the end of this month and keeps on chugging along steadily.  :)  He is continuing to be more talkative during our lessons.  He also is as solid as a rock when it comes to church attendance.  We still trying to help him to say prayers from the heart.  Sister H is diligent in her pamphlet reading and has started cruising through the Book of Mormon as well.  Last Sunday, she read Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life with us and we helped her to understand it and how it applies to her own life.  Such a great lesson!  She has such a wonderful desire to live the gospel and is going through some really tough times in her life right now.  We know she can do it as she continues to put her faith and trust in God.  Two of our investigators that we just met a few weeks ago are also progressing really well, especially the daughter.  She also is doing a great job of reading and we taught her about Joseph Smith and the Restoration yesterday.  
We had Mission Tour last week with Elder Larry Echo Hawk of the first quorum of the seventy and his wife.  It was so great to meet them and all of the talks were wonderful.  They helped me to remember my experience that led me to being a missionary, which I can see now was a really good reminder with my new calling as a trainer and my half-way mark coming up in just a few short weeks.  I feel so blessed to be a missionary!  I love this work and am so grateful that I still have so many months to spread the gospel here in the mission field!!  
Well... That's all for now.  'Til next week!
Love you all!
Sister Dickison 

Monday, March 3, 2014


Welcome to March everyone :) 

So exactly one month from today I'll be at my half-way mark... that's weird.  I'm about the same age in the mission my trainer was when she started training me... so weird!  She seemed to have been here forever at that point! 

Basta... So there's this show here in the Philippines that's called either Foreig-noy or Foreign-nay, the first is a contest for guy foreigners and the second for girl foreigners.  The point is it's really, really popular in the Philippines right now and people are yelling "Foreig-nay!" everywhere we go.... we're trying to just take it as a compliment or whatever but it's getting a little old after like the 32nd time of hearing it in one day :)

Random funny - as Sister Sanders and I were doing our weekly planning, the plans we wrote down for finding new investigators were "Shake Lady and "mga bata" which means "children"... It was more funny at the time I wrote it down to mention it in my email, I swear...

Had some actually funny things happen this week.  I got a comb stuck in my hair during companionship study one morning... I was just, you know, twisting my hair around the comb like I usually would with a pen or something when... BAM... stuck.  Sister Sanders was laughing so hard at me and I don't blame her.... it literally took me like fifteen minutes to get it out of my hair... I was afraid we were going to have to cut it out of there....

So yeah... we worked with the Sister Training Leaders last Friday and at the end of the day they informed us our companionship study is just like something off of "The District" videos... we just burst into fits of giggling.... which is also what usually happens during our companionship study.  I don't think we've made it through our opening song without laughing in at least a week :)  We get along way too well... it's a problem because she's probably going to be transferred next week :( 

In addition to working with the STL's we also went on exchanges with some of the sisters in the Manila MTC.  It was my first time working with someone younger then me in the mission.  What a great experience it was!!  It was weird being the only one who could understand and speak during the lesson we taught, and I'd be lying if I said I did not have a headache for the rest of the day... it was a lot of Tagalog.... the lesson was really long :)  But, it was a great reminder for me to see just how far I've come in both the language and in being able to teach.  The Sister I worked with was super sweet and I know there are reasons I was supposed to work with her that day :) 

One thing (probably the only thing) that's been difficult about this area are the temptations.  I absolutely love being in an area that's more "city"... but just the feel of it is distracting sometimes.  With all of the malls, and the busy highways, the big buildings, restaurants, music blaring on very "colorful" jeepneys, and such, it's making me miss life before my mission a lot.  Not that that really makes sense... I'm from Small-Town, Utah for crying outloud! :)  I just keep trying to remember to throw myself into the work.  Thank goodness the work is so awesome here and makes it easy to love what I'm doing :)

I've been thinking about sacrifice lately.  Maybe because I keep on having to remind myself how small of a sacrifice of my time this is for so many wonderful blessings.  I've also thought a lot about how one of the hardest sacrifices we may make is sacrificing our pride.  I keep mentioning how I've got a lot of weaknesses, right?  Well I figured out you have to sacrifice your pride in order to allow weaknesses become strengths.  Something the STL I worked with and I talked about is being grateful to the Lord for giving us weaknesses.  I've never thought about being grateful for my weaknesses before.... and it's harder to do than it sounds.  I don't know... I'm still thinking about this whole thing... More on the subject next week, I guess. :)

Love you all always!!!  When you are having a rough time, just imagine me in front of the mirror for forever trying to get a comb out of my hair :) 
Sister Dickison