Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas

Week # 41

You know you're Hermana Dickson when you try to make friends with a cat sized rat.

Merry Christmas yesterday everyone! I truly hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. How perfect that it was the Sabbath. We had church with an English ward because most of our branch is gone. Both the Elders and we had investigators that came. We were supposed to have translation, but the branch president forgot his keys so we couldn't get into the office and get the equipment. The meeting consisted of me walking around talking to people in Spanish and reaching across the aisle 15 times to help investigators and members find the right hymns and seats. Even though they didn't understand everything they did feel the spirit and that is what is important. The programs were so wonderful. Lots of music and a couple of speakers. Elder Burke, the senior missionary in our branch, gave a wonderful talk. He was switching back and forth between Spanish and English so that everyone would understand, but he would forget and switch into the wrong one. I understood everything! . . . but not everyone did. It was really cute though and the best part of the meeting. We sang "Mary Did You Know?" in Spanish with Hermana Burke. It's so beautiful in Spanish (well everything is, but I'm a little biased). We got to Skype our families after and then spent the day with Lourdes and some other members. It was a good day. A good Christmas. I was telling my family that this is the best way to spend Christmas, partaking of the Sacrament and being a missionary. It can't get any better.

This week we had exchanges. I went with Sister Bennett. She is amazing (and from St. George). I was in the English area and so it was a little different, but we saw some miracles. We prayed to meet our goals and we met every single one! We also had a good heart to heart (let's be real, that's the real reason we have exchanges). We talked about the work, the area, my companion, me, and Christmas. Exchanges are so needed and inspired. I am so grateful that we have Sister Training Leaders.

We had a little miracle this week. I was really sick halfway through. We both didn't sleep because of it and the next day I just lay on the couch feeling miserable. I had a fever and it was looking like our whole day and night was going to be inside and I was grumpy because of it. It's so hard being sick as a missionary because you just want to be out working, but you can't. I got a blessing that morning, but I was still sick through the whole day. I said a prayer near the end of the day (a grumpy one) and 20 minutes later my fever was gone. We were able to go out and work for the last couple hours of the day and see some more miracles.

We had a missionary Christmas party. We had lunch and a talent show and it was . . . creative . . . I'll just say that there are some "special" talents in this mission. Hermana Hunt and I wrote and sang a little silly song about missionary work to the tune of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?". Everyone loved it. Maybe I'll attach a recording.

This morning we went to a bird marsh wildlife reserve place. It was actually really cool. My companion loves birds. She was so excited about the Bald Eagles, Canadian Geese (they are really loud!), ducks, etc. I was so excited about the water rats :) Really though! They are so ugly! Remember Princess Bride? The big rat thingys? Yup. Not that big, but a good 20 pound rat that swims. Well I'm sure they have another name, but I like "water rat". One got really close and I tried to be his friend, but Hermana Hunt wouldn't let me. I named him Cornelius. We were going through our pictures from the day and Hermana Hunt has a bunch of pretty birds and I have water rats. Yup, same old me. I did like the birds too though.

I think that's about it. I had a good week and a wonderful Christmas. I wish that I had two in my mission.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson


"Don't Stop Believin'"

Christmas Day Skype

Happy Christmas Call

Christmas Dinner with Sister Carbine

Christmas Day visit with Lourdes

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

True Love, Miracles and Snow

Week #40

You know it's Christmas time when it is normal to stand outside someone's door/window and sing.

We went caroling this weekend! We went around to members and investigators and sang and delivered cookies that we made. Confession. I have never liked caroling . . . Ever. Why? Because I was doing it wrong. Before now I have gone to hang out with friends or because it was a mutual night activity and I was promised a cup of hot cocoa. This time I felt different. I actually enjoyed it. It was freezing cold. At one point I couldn't switch the song on my iPad because my fingers were so cold they wouldn't register. BUT the reason I enjoyed it is because I felt such an amazing love for these people. I was hoping that they would open the door not because I was cold, but because I wanted them to hear the precious words of our hymns and know that they had people who missed them at church and wanted them there. Some of the people I didn't even know because they were the Elders investigators, but I still felt that love for them.

That is one of the amazing blessings of being a missionary. We can meet someone and love them. Really love them. We get to feel a small portion of our Heavenly Father's love for each person individually. I am learning what "true love" is. True love isn't romantic love. True love is our Heavenly Father's love. He loves unconditionally. He loves our strengths and our weaknesses. He loves us. And you know, sometimes it's hard to believe that for ourselves. We can believe it for everyone else, but we don't believe it for ourselves. Even as a missionary I have fallen into that belief. It's not true though! Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally and individually. He truly loves us. His love is "true love". 

This week has been weird. It went fast and slow at the same time. Slow because our cars were "grounded" and fast because I don't feel like I worked my hardest. The best feeling is when you get to a Pday and you NEED it because you are completely exhausted from working all week. This week was hard because is snowed and froze. That means grounded cars (and we can't ride our bikes) and when you live outside of your area it makes it harder to get to places. Then when you get there your lessons cancel because no one wants to let you in when there is snow for some reason. We did get Skype approved in our mission, but none of our investigators have Skype so . . . Yeah. We did have some awesome phone lessons though! It's not something that I really have liked before because you don't know if they are actually focused and listening, but it actually went great. 

We also had some miracle lessons at church. We had two families drive through the snow and ice to come to lessons at the church. We thought for sure they would cancel, but they didn't. I know that Heavenly Father is definitely going to bless them for coming. It's so important that people act. That they do something with what they are learning. That is how true conversion happens. The Spirit was so strong in those lessons and I know it is because they exercised their faith by coming despite the weather. And now two of them are on date! I'm so happy to help them progress! 

We did make snow missionaries this week. How could we not? We even put pass along cards in their hands. Hopefully someone picked them up.

I'm so excited for Christmas! It's this week! We are going to combine with one of the English wards for Christmas and it's going to be wonderful. It'll be half in English, half in Spanish. Most of our members are gone for the holidays so it'll most likely just be us and a couple of families, but we will represent! We are going to sing in Spanish and one of the Elders is giving a talk. Everyone is just going to be staring, not understandng, but it's fine 😊  our members will understand.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Go caroling, just make sure you do it right.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Hermanas in the winter

"We are a little cold this week, but don't worry we still passed out pass along cards." 😊

"Did I mention that it snowed?"

Our missionary angel!

"We made cookies with the Elders before caroling. Elders Heiner and Quinlan."

"We had an ugly sweater contest"

Sunday, December 18, 2016

O Christmas Tree

Week #39 - December 12th

You know it's Christmas when someone allows Hermana Dickson to hold a saw.

Really though. I should never have a saw. Especially with my history and luck. . . but it's because we cut a Christmas tree! We just finished decorating it. It is so beautiful. We went out into the woods (well, not really, it was an abandoned part of a tree farm) and cut it down all by ourselves in the snow. It's a little bit bigger than what we planned. . . It bends at the ceiling, but we decided to leave it that way. We are really proud of the tree toppers though. We made them out of a file folder, paper towels and yarn. I had to spend a lot of time coloring my (yarn) hair brown. Speaking of snow though, we had quite a bit this last week and are supposed to get more next week. The freezing rain isn't as fun though. It's so cold!

This week was awesome. We have so many progressing investigators including a family of 8! It's like a Christmas miracle! They have such a strong desire to follow Heavenly Father and the parents want to raise their children well. They are a little wary about organized religion because of past experiences, but they are coming to church with us on Sunday! I will keep y'all updated.

I have seen some tender mercies this week. I have been struggling for a while and I was talking to someone and they used the same words that were said in my setting apart blessing. Heavenly Father does take care of us. I've seen and felt the manifestations of His love.

I don't know what else to write this week. I hope you are doing well. Remember why we have Christmas.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Hermana Dickson has been so well taken care of by many members in her area. Sister Carbine sent a lovely email to tell me of their "Tree Day". I am including it here for Hermana Dickson to see when she returns from her 18 months of service.

"We had a lot of fun today. I took the girls up just past our home and a friend up there has a huge Christmas tree farm and she let us get off on the side of the road and find a tree for them. She gave it to them. The girls sawed it down and took a video etc; they will send that next week. They loved it, neither have cut down their own tree before. It was a perfect 6' noble. They were in heaven, with the snow and the fresh scent of trees and the sun was out today.

As they brought it out of the forest a car or two would go by and I had them throw it on the ground so the people wouldn't think we were stealing it. Then we all started having a snowball fight until they passed. haha
When we returned to thank J, who lost her dear husband last year, she invited us in and made us hot chocolate. We visited for a whil and we gave her a DVD of Jesus' bible videos and the girls gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. Then they sang most beautifully, "Away in a Manger". They sound soooo good together. J. asked them to come visit more, but it's not their "real area" (assigned area). It was a wonderful experience. Your daughter is adorable.

Hermana Dickson sent the following video. I was glad for Sister Carbine giving us an explanation of the "stealing". It made us laugh

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Stay Focused on Christ

Week #38

You know you're in Oregon when everything shuts down because of snow. . . Even the tree farms . . . Even when it melts two hours later.

So we planned to get a Christmas tree today, but literally every farm was shut down. Even after all the snow had melted. So next week for sure.

This week went so fast, but I feel like so much happened. It's been a rollercoaster for sure.

Tania got baptized! It was so special! It has been such a bumpy road, but that makes it even better. It was actually really stressful because she had her interview last Sunday and we thought everything was good to go. We found out Thursday that we may have to move her baptism because of lack of communication with our mission President. No one could get ahold of him and he still hadn't given approval for her baptism. Our district leader was trying to call everyone he could, but no one answered. On Friday we were talking about moving it just in case, but we were really nervous because we had moved her baptism multiple times already and we didn't want her to be discouraged. My sweet companion said "I feel that we need to wait until noon. Something is telling me 'just wait until noon'". District meeting had ended just before noon and our district leader received a call the minute the closing prayer ended and it was President Tateoka. I ran out after him and just stood there waiting, straining to hear what President was saying. Elder Thompson gave a nod and then I ran back into the room to tell everyone that we have a baptism tomorrow night and everyone is invited! It was exciting (aka stressful).

We also had another adventure the next day when the font started draining so I had to get in a jumpsuit and go plug it back up 15 minutes before everyone got there. Pictures are included.

Everything literally seemed to be working against us. The font was draining, there was a parade blocking all of the traffic so everyone was late, and the man who was going to baptize Tania texted us and told us he might not be there. I have such a testimony of the Will of God. We had to turn it over to Him. We knew that if it was His will there would be a baptism. And there was. The water was warm (not boiling hot or freezing cold! I finally got it right!) Tania was so happy and I hugged her right after. It was the best hug I have ever received. It was wet, but the light in her eyes made it worth it. Her words of relief, "I'm clean", will never leave my mind. It is so magical to see true conversion change someone. She has changed. The next morning her dad and brother came to church for her confirmation and stayed for all three hours! That was so special and I know they felt the Spirit there.

President and Sister Tateoka came to the baptism and we got to spend some much needed time with them afterwards. He told us that he was looking at the board of the mission and just felt that he needed to be in Forest Grove. I was able to receive a much needed blessing of comfort and counsel and I know that he loves me. More than anything I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. Unfortunately I'm really good at forgetting that. Priesthood blessings are so powerful.

I hope that you were able to watch the Christmas Devotional. It was wonderful.

Running out of time, but I hope that you know that I truly love you. I wish I had time to write to each one of you. Stay focused on Christ this season. He really is the reason.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Glowing! Look at those smiles.

Keeping the water from draining out.

"I Love This Gospel So Much"

Week # 37 - Sent November 28th

You know you're a sister missionary when you feel weird wearing pants.

So one thing I forgot to write about last email. You know how my last companion had an admirer that offered chocolate and roses? Well, we have been teaching a man for a while and one morning we were in the home with a member talking about the investigator. The member mentioned that he thinks that the investigator may like one of us a little too much. We brushed it off. That night we actually go the chocolates . . . They were yummy. Did I ever mention that I don't like dropping people? It made us laugh, but of course we didn't admit to the member that he was right. :)

It's been what? 4 days? (since her last Pday and email on Thanksgiving) I don't have much time to write. We went to Tillamook today and so we are emailing here and I have about 10 minutes.

Tania is getting baptized!!! Next email you will be getting pictures in white! We are so excited! Her face when she came out of her interview was so sweet. This Gospel brings true happiness.

I love this Gospel so much. Every day the miracles that we see affirm that it is true. We really do have a Heavenly Father who is watching over us.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Note from Mom: Sister Carbine took Hermanas Dickson and Hunt out to Oceanside for Pday. To explain "dropping people": Interest like "chocolate and roses" means the sister missionaries transfer the investigator they have been teaching to the Elders. Or even dropping completely since interest in the sisters is different than interest in the Gospel :) 

She also sent a 7 second video which said: "Love you family. I am at the Tillamook Factory and I have zero time to email. I'm so so sorry and I love you all. Bye." - Every word & photo we get is precious!

Hermana Dickson and Hermana Hunt at Oceanside (P-day pants)

Sister Carbine who lovingly takes such good care of the Hermanas

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Look at all that cheese!

Forest Grove Spanish Branch missionaries:
Elder Quinlan, Elder Peltier, Elder and Sister Burke, Hma Hunt and Hma Dickson

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Testimony

Week #36

You know you're a missionary in Oregon when you are drenched from head to toe. (I feel like I may be using that one a lot.)

Really though. I slipped into a foot deep puddle today. So wet.

There is a reason why our Heavenly Father rested on the seventh day. This 10 day week pushed my limits. Let's just say that I woke up on the floor this morning still dressed in my proselyting clothes. I'm a little tired. I've had multiple members point out the circles under my eyes (make-up doesn't stay on very well in the rain), but it's Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving!

This week has been pretty full. The 17 year old girl that we have been teaching for a while is doing great. We are just waiting on an interview on Sunday and we will hopefully have a baptism the next weekend. We already have her program see up and everything. We are so excited! It has definitely been a bumpy road with her, but it has all been worth it. Last night we were at her apartment talking about our blessings and she told us that she was thankful for the chance that she has to be clean. I wanted to cry (let's be real, I did cry). I love this work so much! There is nothing else I'd rather be doing.

This has been a week of little miracles. Well every week is really, but I've seen our Heavenly Father's hand so often recently in our lives and in the lives of those around us. This last week we felt prompted to go visit a former investigator and we found out that the whole family (who was separated before) is all living together and that they are reading the Book of Mormon as a family! We also found some really prepared people this week and there are some miracles that I can't share quite yet, but when they are for sure I will let you all know!

So this week we have been focusing a lot on gratitude because of the season. There is a Mormon Message from a few years ago that we have been sharing a lot. In it, Elder Oaks talks about being grateful for our adversities. I think that I need that reminder sometimes. We came down here to earth because we wanted one thing, to be like our Heavenly Father. That requires a body and physical experiences including what may seem as bad ones. There are so many blessings in everything. I am positive that our Heavenly Father had adversities and He made it to perfection so we can do it too.

So adversity this week. Well, we got locked out of the church building in the rain. We left our phone, keys, bags and coats (did I mention that it was raining?) in the building. There was someone inside, but we couldn't get their attention. They always seemed to be on the other side of the building. We found an open window and tried to crawl in. That resulted in getting awkwardly wedged in a window in a skirt. We finally did make it into the building, but did I mention it was raining? So . . .

Adversity: getting locked out, stuck in a window (which resulted in bruising) and wet and cold.
Blessing: I have a funny message to email home :)

Hey look it works! Adversity and blessings!

Also, I have gotten two eviction letters since I've been in this apartment. Maybe Heavenly Father doesn't want us living here.

We had a fun Thanksgiving dinner as a branch this last weekend. It was awesome and they even brought a turkey. We also had a dance after. Everyone knows how to dance. It must be required if you're a Hispanic. It was really fun, but we were exhausted. The party was a good 4 hours long and they still had energy. It was impressive.

I really am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve. Earlier today I was thinking about last Thanksgiving. I had just recently received the letter that told me that I was not eligible to serve a mission. I was so confused because I was sure that I had received the answer that yes, I should serve. It made me doubt if I really could recognize the Spirit in my life or if I had just made it up. I really struggled with my testimony. I am so thankful for the little habits I had developed. The habits of reading my scriptures, being in His house on the Sabbath, talking to my Heavenly Father through prayer. Those little things saved my testimony and gave me the strength to decide to re-submit my papers. I had received a prompting from the Holy Ghost to serve. 

I have definitely gained a testimony that we are called to a place *at the right time.* I know now that if I had received my call earlier I would not have had the same MTC experience. I would not have had the same trainer. I would not be here in Forest Grove teaching the same people. I am thankful for what seemed like an adversity at the time. That adversity has changed my life and has made me appreciate this opportunity so much more.

One more thing I want to share. We had an amazing Sacrament meeting on Sunday. The speakers talked about the Sacrament. They spoke with such reverence. They reminded me of the blessing that we have to partake of the the Sacrament every week. One of the speakers talked about the apostles in the garden where they fell asleep. He told us that when we come in late, when we are thinking about school or work during the sacrament, when we aren't focused on Him, it is as if we are asleep. 

As if we are asleep.
"Could ye not watch with me?"

That really hit me. The reason we go to church is to partake of the Sacrament. To remember His Sacrifice. To learn more of Him. How can we do that if we are asleep?

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rain, Blessings & Prayers for Safety

Week #35

You know you're on a mission (and you're a clutz) when your legs are bruised from biking.

Alrighty. This week was an interesting one. Filled with drunk people, bible bashing (not on our part), and rain.

The rain is finally starting and staying. I keep denying it, but I think it's here to stay now. Maybe I should buy a rain jacket with a hood at this point since no one uses umbrellas here. More than anything I do not like driving in rain and I have to drive because my companion doesn't have a license so that is fun. Lots and lots of prayers. Someone in the mission totaled their car 2 weeks ago and I'm so nervous because there is so much responsibility (and I have never liked driving). Oh well. That's why we pray all the time, and always for safety.

Speaking of safety, the number of drunk people we have talked to recently is a good one. Also it gets dark around 5 so we are out working in the pitch black knocking on doors. My poor companion keeps asking me when I got comfortable doing that. I will not, but hey He protects His missionaries and if we are living worthy of the spirit then we will know when to turn around, get back in the car, and get inside.

Still struggling with the Spanish. It's interesting though. We will be in a lesson and we both will have no idea what they said, but we open our mouths with a prayer in our hearts and some how we are able to say what needs to be said. I have definitely felt the truth of the scripture "open your mouth, and it shall be filled" (D&C 33: 8 & 10) and I have felt the power of the gift of tongues. We are struggling with the "gift of remembering what you just taught and said so that you can make an accurate lesson report" though that's for sure :).

Our progressing investigator is doing so well! She is finally getting it. She asks us after each lesson if we can come the next day. One time this last week we were two minutes late and she called us and asked if we were still coming. It's so special to see her finally understand the importance of our message and really truly "hunger and thirst for righteousness". (Matthew 5:6)

We have had some powerful lessons this last week with another man. Missionaries will know what I'm talking about when I say "we found the iceberg!" He has some past things happen that has made him angry with God. Now that we know, we are finally able to help him heal and repent and come closer to Christ and to his Heavenly Father. Last night we spent an hour just talking on his porch about the priesthood and the power that he could receive from a blessing. We are praying that he will ask for one.

Training is going well. I'm definitely stressed, but I love it. I love how excited Hermana Hunt gets at the end of lessons. It helps me remember to see the little blessings and miracles that happen everyday in this work.

Thanksgiving is coming up. I won't have a pday next Monday so don't expect an email. It will be coming on Thanksgiving. I really am so grateful for this season. I don't think I've ever been so excited for Christmas. I guess that happens when Christ is the center of your life.

I hope you all are doing well and are happy. Be thankful for what you have. We are so blessed.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

It's cheesy, but this is a picture right after an AMAZING lesson!
It was so spirit filled so we decided to take a selfie with some pretty cool people.

No we weren't biking in the church, but we did do a lot of biking this week

We love these sisters. I think we'll keep them :)

On our way to Zone Conference. The fog made the sunrise so beautiful.

November 7, 2016

Week # 34 

You know you're on exchanges with Sister Shumway when you step in dog poop and don't find out until the end of the day. 
(Really Hermana Dickson? This bit of info was hard for your mom to post and NOT edit out . . . exchanges are a temporary companion swap with the STLs - Sister Training Leaders. Hermana Dickson was with Sister Shumway and Hermana Hunt with Sister Bennett)

Really though. Every time I have been on exchanges with Sister Shumway I have either stepped in dog poop or ran over in on my bike (which I do have to admit that the bike was worse because the breeze carried it up to my nose the whole time we were riding). 

Moving on to more pleasant topics.

This week was good. Kind of average. Not going to lie. I can't think of what to write about. 

We did have a few people drop us (triste). We dropped a few people (triste-er), but we also saw miracles this week. The 17 year old girl that we have been teaching for a while is doing a lot better. We moved her date to the 26th and she is really excited. We've had 3 lessons in a row now and have one tonight. It's really neat because
she is the one setting them up, not us (like normal). At the end of lessons she asks "ok when are you coming back? Can you come tomorrow?". It's a really drastic change and it makes me so excited that she is so excited. She shares what she reads and tells us about what she learns at church without us even asking her. That really is a miracle. You have no idea. 

We ate a lot of Chinese this week. Literally every dinner except one (not that that is really relevant info for my email, but I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the Asian culture).

We went biking this week for Hermana Hunt's first time. She wanted to bike to dinner and I told her she didn't want to bike up those hills, but she didn't believe me. She also didn't believe me about how she needed a looser skirt. . . We ended up walking our bikes to dinner :) We laughed about it later (like way later). The good thing is that she still wants to get back on the bikes. Seeing how many miles we've already used this month that is really good. #bikingintherain 

Oh goodness I don't know what to write about. I'm really tired.

I gave away my jacket to an investigator this week. I was really wet that day. I'm not sure how I feel about the rain here. I also don't like that it gets dark at 4:30 and people go to bed at 6. We still work until 9, but every door we knock on has upset people because they were sleeping. "Oh hey sorry to wake you up, but here's a Book of Mormon, maybe you can read it while you wait to fall back asleep eh?" (we have a Canadian elder so I've started saying "eh" . . . It's a problem). I hope you are all staying dry! 

We went to an antique store today and we found a box full of Zions national park post cards. . . And one of the MOTAB choir. Wooh Utah!

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Hermana Hunt's first missionary biking adventure

The Zone

The completed Halloween pumpkins!

Look! Mom's tea cups at the antique store

Monday, October 31, 2016

"Blessed Are They Which Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness"

Week # 33

You know it's Halloween when you have to be inside after 6 p.m. That means . . . All day Pday. . . Kind of sad about it honestly. I love being out and working.

Hmm what even happened this week?

Oh lots! We went to the temple with an investigator. It was. . .the most interesting temple trip I have ever been on that's for sure. It was filled with rain (of course), an almost car crash (don't worry Mom,
I said "almost"), a little boy taking a bathroom break on the flowers, and a lot of talking about jail. . . And drugs. Also she asked where the aisle was to get married. BUT the most important part was that she told us that she felt such a peace and she recognized it as the Spirit.

We are having fun Spanishing adventures. We both are far from fluent. I don't know how many times I have nodded and said "si" . . . And not known what was going on at all. Well not completely. I can understand most of it, but I won't lie and tell you that there aren't moments when I open my mouth, begging the Spirit to put something there. The people don't know we don't understand which is good. . . I think.

We had talks in church yesterday. They don't give us topics which is fun. We can literally talk about whatever we want. I didn't have any time to prepare though. We were writing them the half hour before church in the lobby, but members kept coming up and talking to me so I didn't get much done. I figured that I wouldn't be first so I planned on figuring it out more while the other missionaries were talking, but guess what? I spoke first. I grabbed my scriptures and walked up there. It actually went really well. I talked about treasuring up the scriptures and how we can't expect to be able to have confidence sharing the Gospel without first studying ourselves. I love the part in the Sermon on the Mount when Christ says "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled". It's a promise that if we sincerely hunger and thirst, and look, and ponder. We will be filled. It's definitely a promise that I am striving for and grateful for, especially as I am praying for my mouth to be filled with words of a foreign language.

I really am so grateful to be a missionary. The world thinks that we are required to serve as members, but it's not like that. We wouldn't have the power that we have if we weren't here because we want to be. We wouldn't have the power that we have without the desire to serve. We wouldn't have the power we have if each one of us hadn't prayed sincerely to know if we should serve. 

God trusts his 18-20 year old children to speak in His name. I am so blessed to have receive the prompting to go on a mission. I'm so grateful that I listened. I lot of people say "I don't know where I would be without the Gospel" or "I don't know where I would be if I hadn't decided to serve a mission". The things is, I do know where I would be. It's not a place I want to be. I may have said this before, but I will say it again and again as I am prompted to in my emails to you all. My mission has saved me. Physically and Spiritually.

I hope that you are all doing the simple things. There is a reason why all of the General Conference talks talk about the basics. It's because they are basics. We can't progress without them.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Hermana Dickson, Sister Harold, Sister Barnes, Hermana Hunt

Carving Pumpkins. No band aids required.

Portland Temple

Portland Temple

Training, Answered Prayers, & a Pumpkin Patch

Week #32

October 24, 2106 

You know you're a trainer when you are constantly stressed (in a good way of course).

Well, life of a trainer :) It's going pretty well. I don't know what I'm doing at all, but we are surviving. Actually we are doing really well. 

The beginning of this week started with Sister Barnes and I eating lots of ice cream and crying and worrying about training. We were taking care of two areas for a while there (each of their previous companions returned home) and that was stressful enough. BUT we went to bed the night before our babies (new companions) got here and we were calm.

We had to get up early the next morning to go meet them and we had to drive to the mission home. It was early and so it was super dark and foggy. At one point we could barely see the lines on the road so we had to slow down. Sister Barnes was driving so I said a prayer and when I opened my eyes the fog was gone. I cried. I was so nervous that morning, but having that fog cleared so miraculously was an answer to more than one prayer. It was an answer to our immediate need for help so that we could drive safely, but it was also the answer to our many prayers over the last few days of confusion and desperation. We were both so worried about the assignment to train. We both feel so inadequate. I know we were both asking "why me?" and I really didn't believe that my call came from God.

That fog clearing on Thursday morning let us know so clearly that our Heavenly Father does hear our prayers and He is there. It's something so small, but it meant so much to both of us. He really is watching over us constantly.

Not all my nerves are gone of course. I didn't come back to the area with an amazing gift of tongues, but I do know that each companionship is inspired and I need to be companions with Hermana Hunt.

I sent another companion home this transfer (Hi Kamriana!). It's so interesting to see the different sides. Both of my companions so far have been at the end of their missions and Hermana Hunt is just barely starting. She is so excited about the work! I love it! We are doing really well with talking in Spanish as much as possible and I am learning so much from our studies. Lots of people have told me that you learn the most when you are a trainer and I'm definitely seeing that.

We had a really good Pday today. We went pumpkin picking! We are going to carve them next week because we ran out of time, but pictures will be included next week.

We've had some really amazing lessons recently. We have one tonight that I am very nervous about, but I'm figuring out taht I really shouldn't be worried about lessons and training. It's His work right? He's got it under control.

I hope you are all happy and doing well. Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what is going on back home, but I sincerely hope you are all happy. I learned again this week that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, who loves me, and I love Him.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Me, Sister Harold, Hermana Hunt, and Sister Barnes on our way back to our areas

Some of my favorite people. #halloweenparty

President Loza and family. Hmas Dickson, Hunt, the Burkes, Elder Peltier, Elder Quinlan

Hermana Dickson in a Pumpkin Patch
(Now mom's second favorite Halloween picture ever)

Hermana Dickson and Hermana Hunt

The most wonderful Sister Carbine taking the sisters on a Pday adventure

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Love you, Bye"

Week #31

You know your companionship is having too much fun when you have too many things to write about. Alright. I know I've been horrible at writing recently. I will try to do better in the future. I promise.

Our most progressing investigator yelled at us at church and told us she doesn't want us to be part of her baptism. We were told to lay low by our branch president until he had the opportunity to talk with her. We finally got the all clear, but now we can't find her. That is the goal for this week . . . she was on date for the beginning of November, but that may be changing. Pray that we find her maybe? She's a really special girl and we really love her. She could use some prayers.

Our recent converts are doing great. I really love working with them. Helping them learn and accept the Gospel before baptism is amazing, but I love that I have been able to be a part of their progression after their baptisms as well. We get to teach deeper doctrine and help them understand their role in His plan. Also they have the gift of the Holy Ghost with them so the lessons are so amazing and full of the the Spirit. The Villas went to the temple and did baptisms for the dead and love it. They teased me and told me that the water in the font was the perfect temperature. I've got a good streak for baptisms. The Villas water was freezing cold because the heater broke and the Farfan family got burned. One of these times I'll get it right.

So we are in a temporary trio with an English (speaking assigned) sister. She doesn't understand much [because they are serving the Spanish speaking areas], but it seems like she is having fun. We had to initiate her into our companionship and now she is a full blooded Hispanic. She is super awesome. We both just found out that we will probably be in the area until after Christmas and we are excited. I love Forest Grove so much. Looks like it's going to be a 9 month area for me. That's half my mission. I can't imagine leaving right now. I love the members and investigators so much. It's really special to be able to see progress and changes in people over such a long time. It's not 100% for sure that I will be here that long, but it's looking like that will happen. 

Yes, storms happened. Yes, we saw a tree smash a member's car. Yes, we are fine. It was an adventure. Everyone just started pulling out their chainsaws and hacking away at the trees so they wouldn't continue to fall down. Pictures are included. Really though. We got like a little pinch of the storms. I hope and pray for those that got more than a pinch.

My wonderful companion Hermana Brower is going home on Wednesday. I'm getting good at sending missionaries home. :) I have loved being her companion. It's interesting to see the difference because my companions have both been at the end of their missions and my next one will be the complete opposite. I've learned so much from both of them. They are both such good missionaries.

Oh, the reason I will probably be here for 9 months is because I just got called to be a trainer! Excited and scared.

Love you! Bye (at least this is what I said to my DL -district leader- over the phone . . . #HermanaAwkward)

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Forest Grove Zone

Storm damage

More storm damage. Mild compared to the hurricane winds and a tornado out on the coast.

Forest Grove Spanish Branch Missionaries
Hermanas Dickson & Brower, Brother & Sister Burkes, Elders Quinlan & Peltier

No explanation, but IF she was recorded her momma sure wants a copy!

"Initiation part one with Sister Barnes"