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

Monday, June 2, 2014


Hellllooooo everyone!!

Well, it's that time again... transfers. :)  This is the first transfer that it really has sneaked up on me... time is going by too fast!!  Maybe it had something to do with having such an eventful last transfer :)  So... good news.... I am staying here! :)  No surprises there :)  My new companion will be Sister Fewster!  I'm so excited to be her companion!!  She entered the mission field at the same time as my anak, Sister Tomasi, so I briefly got to meet her at the mission home that day.  She is from England... the only British missionary in our entire mission.  She was born in the Philippines though---very cool!  Sister Fewster has been on the island of Mindoro for the last two transfers so I can't wait to hear about here adventurous times in "the jungle". :)
Sister Sikotilani will be transferring to Tatay Zone and will be follow-up training... meaning her companion will be on her 2nd transfer in the field.  Sister Strebel and I are being taken away from each other again (darn it) and she will be transferring to the Quezon City Zone.  Sister McCarthy is staying and she... will be training!!!  I'm so excited for her and so excited to have a newbie in the house again :)  I'm really looking forward to this next transfer!  I still don't know my area as well as I would like to.... between the emergency transfer and the multiple trips to the hospital/having to rest and recover at home, BUT... we have awesome branch missionaries who love working with us, so it will be just fine. 
Last Tuesday, I got to leave the Missionary Recovery Center and return to "the real world."  :)  Our whole zone did a session at the temple and got to see the new temple video, which was pretty cool.  After that, we went on temporary exchanges (there have been a lot of those this transfer) because Sister Strebel and I were both asked to sing in the mini choir for the Mission Conference later that day... so we went to the Mission Office and to choir practice.  A few hours later our whole mission was there... minus those elders and sisters serving on Mindoro.  It was sssoooo cool!!  It was so much fun to be there with literally, almost everyone!!  All of my companions were there except for Sister Jones because she was on Mindoro.  Lot's of people asked me about my surgery and there was a lot of attention... which was a little uncomfortable but oh well... at least it helped me realize just how many friends I've made in the last year.  :)  The singing went well and the conference with President Christensen was great!!  
The next day I went back to work... hallelujah!!  We had some great appointments but I was in a lot of pain, so starting Friday night I put myself on bed rest...   I didn't go back to work until yesterday.... it was rough.  Finding a balance between taking care of my body and taking care of my area/people has been difficult...  The doctor says I'm ok to work when I feel up to it as long as I keep drinking lots of water.  I'm just discovering that I'm not very good at "listening to my body."  :P  I just want someone to tell me when I should stay home and when I should work....   Well, I feel better now than I did over the weekend... I'll just need to drink water, take pain meds (I hate taking medicine!)  and take it slow... :) 
My Aunt Kathy just reminded me of something in the email she sent me... back when I wasn't a missionary, I had this picture in my bedroom that said "I can do hard things".... honestly, I love that quote, and I had forgotten about it until Kathy mentioned it in her email.  :)  That quote kinda was my motivation for everything before... when I was going through trials it was like, whatever... I can do it because I can do hard things.  I guess I just forgot that a little lately... so it was good to be reminded of it.  :)
So... a funny from this week.  Last Sunday, in our sweet little branch, I got a big welcome back from the 1st counselor at the pulpit, who informed our branch that I was back from undergoing a "major operation."  Sister McCarthy thought that was hilarious... and is still calling me "Major Operation."  :) 
Love you all!!  Thank you so much for the emails and for your prayers!!  
Hope you all have a great week!!
Love, Sister Dickison