Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"Teach Everyone"

Week #10

You know you're a missionary when you teach a lesson to the nurse in the ER.

I guess when we are told to teach everyone we take it seriously. Now don't freak out (Mom). I did end up going to the ER this week, but I am still alive and preaching the Gospel. It was really neat though. One of the nurses came in and she asked me my religion and how long I had lived in Oregon for paperwork and so of course we used the opportunity. We started talking about missionary work and she was really interested. She had heard of the church, but didn't know much about it. She was so amazed that we put off school, work, and relationships to serve the Lord. We were able to bear our testimonies about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and explain why we were here. It's definitely an interesting lesson when you are lying down on a hospital bed. 

I am learning something new every day. This week I learned that Mexican food doesn't sit too well with my tummy. Also, I learned that missionaries can't say no to more food. These people are wonderful and make so much food for when the missionaries come over, even if they don't have very much money AND THEN they keep piling it on your plate. I haven't learned how to politely say no yet. . . One night as another serving was being heaped onto my plate my companion look over at my distressed face and started laughing and whispered "Welcome to the mission!"

I am understanding a lot more in the lessons, but sometimes I feel like I am back in the MTC for day one and I don't recognize any words other than "no" and "gracias" and sometimes "comida". On those days I watch Hermana Coca's face so that I smile when she does, look serious when she does, and nod when she does so nobody know that I don't have a clue to what is going on. It usually works out really well for me, but this last week we were at a door and I couldn't see Hermana Coca's face because she was standing slightly in front of me. I thought I heard the investigator say that she was coming to church on Sunday so I smiled really big. Bad move. She was offended because she was actually telling us why she couldn't come to church and she thought that I was laughing at her and calling her a liar. . . whoops. I guess mistakes happen, but even when I don't understand the Spanish, I understand the Spirit. I can see the changes in the faces of the most stubborn investigators as we testify of the Savior and his Restored Gospel. I can see it and I can feel it. 

We had a baptism on Saturday for a family and the Spirit was definitely there. There were a couple bumps in the road that day. We were running late, the family showed up 15 minutes after we were supposed to start, and they got locked in the bathroom right before we were about to start. But they didn't take any of that as bad signs. They are truly converted disciples of Christ.

Yesterday we had an investigator come to church who has been investigating for a long time. She is an elderly woman who won't be with us much longer. In Sunday School the teacher asked her her name and where she was from. She stood up and went to the front of the room and said "I am Margarita. I am here because I died and I saw Christ on the right hand of God and so I know that they are two different people. They told me many things and told me that my work isn't done yet." It was so powerful. She is such a sweet amazing lady.

We visited some recent converts yesterday, two 12 year old twins. We talked about how they can share the Gospel on their own and we ended a with a prayer. The boy praying said (in English so I understood), "Bless the missionaries that they don't die so that they can keep teaching us more about you". It made us laugh, but I want to thank you all for your prayers. I feel them every day.

I love you all,
Hermana Dickson

The Baptism!!

The Zone

This is from forever ago, but this was hanging in the apartment to welcome me. 

#avoidingtheappearanceofevil #wordofwisdom #hotchocolate

Green... Everywhere. Really though, moss grows on everything. 

So I ordered a name tag... They sent me an English one. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Short On Time

Week #9

You know you are on a mission when you have no time to write emails!

The mission field is amazing! I wish I had gotten out here sooner! I don't have much time today because we had to drive to the mission office which is an hour away so that took a good chunk out of our day.

So many miracles! It's so amazing when we find such prepared people. We try to talk to everyone and it's crazy how many people we find that are looking for the Gospel (even if they don't know it). We are teaching so many people. We have three investigators getting baptized on Saturday and I get to sing at it. I am so happy for them. They have been investigating for 6 months and I was able to be the one to invite them to be baptized! They are so excited and I can't wait for them to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!

The Spanish is getting easier. I am understanding more and more as I study and as I speak it. There are some days that I don't understand anything though. Yesterday one of the older Hermanas called me over to talk to her and she started talking so fast. I didn't understand anything except for the word "chocolate". Hermana Coca was across the room and I mouthed "Help me!" and she started laughing. I am reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish everyday and that is helping a lot.

Ahh! I am out of time! 
I love you all!

Hermana Dickson

One night we walked into the church and there were like 15 umbrellas out all over the floor... So we took a picture.

We went strawberry picking last week!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Beautiful Work

Week #8

You know you're on a mission when you go berry picking in a skirt. 

This week has been super long, but I love it here. Still adjusting. I thought that I was tired in the MTC. Not even close. I actually get more sleep here because I go to sleep earlier than anyone else because I am so tired. I've started waking up 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. . . Every morning. . . No Bueno.

There is so much beauty here. We go to the farmers market and today we just stopped by a random house to buy vegetables and fruit. The food is so yummy and the strawberries don't bother my mouth so I can eat as many as I want. The land is beautiful. There are fields of crops and so many trees. Every house is surrounded by trees and bushes of roses and other flowers. The mountains are beautiful here. They are often covered with fog. Everything grows here. 

The people are beautiful here. The majority of them are very nice here and love to talk to us. The members in our branch are wonderful. They are super patient with me and my Spanish. They help me a lot. All of the elderly Hermanas wrap their arms around me and tell me that I don't have to worry anymore because they are going to teach me Spanish. Spanish. This is hard. Not everyone speaks it and my companion never speaks it to me even though she is a native Bolivian. It's frustrating because I don't know if I will learn it with so much English around me all of the time. I am struggling with talking with strangers. I know its weird to think of me as shy, but I am so scared to talk to people in Spanish. They talk so fast!

So my first Sunday here I was called up to share my testimony (which is normal for a new missionary). My second Sunday the Stake Presidency was supposed to speak, but they cancelled and so who do they ask? The missionaries! Very little time to prepare and in a different language. I was so stressed. Usually in the MTC you give a talk, but I was never asked so this was my first talk in Spanish. It actually went well. I did have to ask the Branch Presidency for help a couple of times, but I didn't say anything too embarrassing. I talked about gratitude and that everything that we have comes from God and that we need to recognize that and do what we can to show our gratitude through serving Heavenly Father's other children. The only time Spanish is easy is when I am bearing my testimony. When I share my testimony it just flows. Once I get past the nerves I don't stop. It feels like I am speaking in English. I definitely feel the Gift of Tongues.

I get to testify to more of Heavenly Father's children every day. Some of those people want to know more and we are given the chance to allow the Holy Ghost testify to them of the truth of our message. The young teenagers here are so wonderful. It is amazing how excited they get about the Gospel. This is a righteous generation growing up. I have had the opportunity to invite many of God's children to be baptized by the proper authority and three of them are getting baptized next week with another one getting baptized the week after. I am so excited for them to begin to make sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father.

This is beautiful work and there is nothing else I would rather be doing.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

P.S. I don't have any pictures this week because I forgot my USB plug in thingy...next week, I promise.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

First Week In Oregon!

Week #7 

You know you're on a mission when you are called out of the congregation to come up and bear your testimony...in Spanish.

Lots of changes this week. The last couple of days in the MTC were crazy. Hermana Swapp left early Monday morning so I moved in with the other Hermanas in the Zone. I became a solo missionary which means I had no companion. I still always had to be with other missionaries though. I went everywhere with the Hermanas in the new district. Even to their classes. It was nice to be able to review the first few weeks of class. I also got some one on one time with my teachers because I was the last one to leave in my class. It was really helpful. We were able to go over things I was unsure about.

I was so tired the last couple days in the MTC. I couldn't really sleep. One of the days I was sitting out in the lobby of one of the buildings waiting for the other Hermanas to finish a lesson and I fell asleep. They found me with my head on a table, drooling... how embarrassing. The last day I was there we played sand volleyball. Super fun, but of course I fell over... and got kneed in the head. It's fine.

Packing was not so fun. I had to rearrange so many times so that my suitcases were both under 50lbs. I reweighed them so many times, just to double, triple and quadruple check that they were underweight. I only got about 2 hours of sleep that night. 

I had to be at the travel office at 3:30 a.m. and I was traveling with one other sister, Sister Drollinger. She was super excited because she had never been on a plane before. First we rode in a van (I fell asleep), then the train (I fell asleep), then the trax (I fell asleep), and then finally made it to the airport. BUT we went to the wrong terminal first so we had to figure it out. I purposefully only brought 2 suitcases and not a carry-on so I couldn't have any problems transporting my luggage and I wouldn't have to depend on anyone, but my companion didn't think about that so I ended up taking one of her suitcases as well (What would Jesus do?). We made it to the gate, called my family (wooh!), loaded the plane and took off (I fell asleep). The flight was about 2 hours long and when we got off I saw some missionaries and I was like "Hey look missionaries!" and then I realized they were looking for me...

President and Sister Samuelain are so amazing. So energetic and so funny. They took us to the temple (so so beautiful! No picture does it justice). We met up with our trainers and headed to the coast.

The mission scripture is D&C 6:34: "Therefore, fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail." The symbol is of a huge rock off of the coast. We got to go out to it even though its not actually in our mission. We were the smallest transfer group ever so the group was small, but the spirit was so strong.

Okay, so it's super beautiful here, but these curvy roads are killing me. I'm car sick every time we get in the car. I had to tell the Mission President to pull over that first night.
We slept in the mission home the first night and went on a hike/walk in the morning (did I tell you how beautiful it is here?).

My trainer is Hermana Coca. She is from Salt Lake and has been out for a year. She was already fluent in Spanish when she got here so she is going to help me a lot out here. She's really fit and gets up an hour earlier than I do to exercise. I die with just the half hour we exercise together. She pushes me though which is awesome. The Branch is really small here. I was really surprised. On Saturday we had a Mother's day lunch and because the men were in charge, the food was 2 hours late! This is why we need mothers! To keep us on time! The members are amazing. They are really patient with me. I bore my testimony in Spanish yesterday and they could understand me which is cool. I pretty much just smile at them and give them lots of hugs.

The first investigator experience here for me was pretty cool. We got lost and had to pull over and ask for directions. We got talking to a man and he told us that he was confused because all of the churches had part of the truth, but none have all of Christ's teachings (sound like anyone we know?) We told him about Joseph Smith and that he was in the same position - and he was. He is so prepared for the Gospel. We got lost for a reason!

Running out of time, but I will write more next week. If you want my mailing address ask my parents for it.

I feel like Annie "I think I'm gonna like it here".

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson