Monday, August 29, 2016

Humility "Lord is it I?"

Week #24

You know you're Hermana Dickson when you get excited about eating squeaky cheese.

I have about 10 minutes to email so this will be a fast one. Squeaky cheese is the culprit. Hermana Brower and I have been biking so much that we saved enough miles to drive to Tillamook. It took all day and I drove so unfortunately I have no time to email. But hey it was fun. I cut my lip on ice cream. . . #hermanamurphy

Most important, two of God's children are getting baptized! I'm so, so excited for them! We've had some really awesome lessons and have received so much guidance and revelation from the Holy Ghost as a companionship this week. I wish I had time to tell you. 

I have really learned a lot in my personal studies this week. I was studying chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel (go study it, it's amazing) and I was specifically studying humility for a training I was giving in District meeting. I was reading in Matthew this week as well and I read the part of the last supper where Christ tells the apostles, His best friends, that one of them will betray him. The thing that I loved, that really impressed me, is that the apostles had developed humility, the Christlike attribute that I was studying. Not one of them said "well look at Juan over there, he's been cranky lately" or "hey I bet it's Judas, there's something going on with him". They all said "Lord, is it I?" 

They looked at themselves and knew that they were weak. They were humble. I guess my invitation for everyone who reads my emails is this: When you have an argument with someone, when you don't understand the "why" for a commandment, when you feel disconnected from your Heavenly Father. Drop to your knees and humbly
ask "Lord is it I? Am I the one who is stubborn? Am I not doing what I am supposed to? Am I not humbling myself enough to feel of your love and to follow the guidance of your servants?"

I promise, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that when we go to our Father in humble prayer we will feel of His love and be able to recognize His guidance in our lives so that we can be more like Christ.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

PS I'm so excited for the baptism!

Hermana Brower and Hermana Dickson 

Tillamook Factory

Ice cream that she "cut her lip" on??

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I Really Love Being a Missionary

Week  #23

You know your name should be Hermana Murphy when . . .
you wake up to go to a lesson and realize that you popped a car tire (that's right . . . AGAIN!), then you spend an hour at Les Schwab fixing it, then you go home to pick up bikes to go out and proselyte and realize that your tire is flat and then fill it up only to realize that it popped too, then get stuck at the church - miles from home outside of your area, then get a ride back home - late so that you have to call dinner and tell them you're running behind, then miss a turn to go to dinner, then hit a closed road and have to backtrack 10 miles, then tell your companion to take a turn and realize that it was the wrong turn, then talk too much at the dinner table and overwhelm the members because the day has been hectic, then drive back home only to have 40 minutes of time left to proselyte, then start texting people and forget that you're supposed to be directing your companion who is driving so she makes more wrong turns, then knock on a door and find out that their little girl is in the hospital with appendicitis, and then your companion gets a paper cut and cries because the day has been the worst! (if you can't tell, my companion typed this and she's a little bit bitter about that day) *

I really love being a missionary. Even on the days like the one described above :) We literally get to talk about Christ all day, every day. We get to see and help people change their lives so that they can know Christ better. A lot of people that we talk to tell us that they've "already accepted Christ", that they "don't need anything more". What does that even mean? To accept Him? To accept Him, is to know Him. To have a personal relationship with Him, not just a belief.To accept Him is to recognize, appreciate, and USE His Atonement and then to trust Him when he says that we are clean. There is always more that we can do to come closer to Christ.

This weekend has been especially special! On Saturday we got to drive to Albany and go to a baptism of one of the people that Hermana Brower taught. It's such a special experience to witness a baptism of someone who has changed their life. We also went to a baptism yesterday for a family in the English ward. Hermana Coca and I were teaching the mom for awhile before switching her over to the English ward. It's the rest of the family of the boy that was baptized 2 weeks ago. Most of the family got baptized and the dad's heart is softening. He has actually come to church twice now!

Speaking of baptisms, we have one coming up in the Spanish branch for Lourdes and Daniel. They are the children of one of our recent converts and they have a baptismal date of the 3rd of September. I'm so so excited for them. Daniel struggled for a while understanding and staying focused so we started teaching them separately. We play lots of games and Hermana Brower has a lot of cool ways to teach kids (ideas that I will definitely be using the rest of my mission). We were a little worried about Lourdes too. Not with her understanding, but with her desire to be baptized. We weren't sure if she was doing it because her family is or because she likes us. We asked her if she knew what we were teaching her is true and to she told us that when she reads the Book of Mormon she feels that she is following Christ and she says that she is happier. I can definitely see the happier part. She smiles so much more, especially in the last couple of weeks. This Gospel brings happiness! We went through the interview questions with her and she has an interview set up for this week. I'm so excited for both of them.

I learned the importance of prayer this weekend too. We left Albany at a run because we were already running late and we forgot to pray. We only made it about 2 minutes before having to pull over and repent. We were riding with a member from one of the English wards and she is really jumpy. Albany is the land of trains so first a train blows their horn right next to us and we all jump, then 10 seconds later we drive by sprinklers and Hermana Brower's window was open so she got soaked and screamed, and then 5 seconds later a firetruck pulled out right in front of us and we decided that Heavenly Father was trying to get us a message. We pulled over and took a few minutes to calm down because our member had an asthma attack from laughing so hard. Prayer is important! Don't forget to pray!

A couple weeks ago we were asked to teach one of the relief society lessons this month. My dear sweet companion picked the one on marriage. Because obviously we have the most experience with that topic. It was fun though. We had them write out qualities of a perfect husband or what good qualities they see in their husbands and then talked about how we need to have those qualities as well. It was a good lesson. We used the video "expressions of love" In our lesson. It's super cute. Go watch it.

Other than that the only excitement was the day described above. We woke up to a flat on our car, had the elders come over again, went to Les Schwab, came home and got on our bikes and I had a flat bike tire. It just got crazier from there. That day was a little psycho. BUT like I said earlier, I love this work. Those days are worth it with the miracles that we get to see.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Another flat tire changed by Elder Wankasky

Baptism in Albany
*Mom could tell! Mostly because it was one great big long sentence. We may ramble, but she does generally punctuate when writing. Learning another language is influencing her - which is a great thing.

She also sent a sweet video instead of typing family emails last week. For posterity's sake (though I may get in trouble later) & so we don't forget, she said (with her perfect little inflections and expressions):

"We decided the Elders think we are fat. They are taking away two weeks of our dinners (??) and they are taking away our miles on our car (they have a mile limit each month) so we're biking, which is fine . . . it's fun . . . and it's good for us, but . . . I think that they looked at us and said 'Those Hermanas need to lose a little bit of weight. Let's take away their food AND make them bike' so . . . it's fine, it's just good for us right?"  

I love her positive attitude!

Monday, August 15, 2016

"The Girls on the Bikes In Skirts"

Week #22

You know you're a real missionary when you're riding a bike!

Miles in a car this week: approximately 65. 
Miles on a bike this week: approximately 55. 
Tears this week: approximately 0.5. 

That's right I'm a real missionary now. We got cut on our car miles so we got bikes! Our first day we rode over 20 miles because we hadn't figured out the the shortest/most down-hill routes quite yet. We've figured it out now, but let's just say that we over doubled our miles that day.

I'm actually not sore at all. #blessingsofamission, but it is harder than I thought it would be. Those first couple of days were long. We get a lot more attention though and people recognize us as the girls on the bikes in skirts which is good. The bad thing is that we also get a lot of wolf whistles. But hey, recognition is recognition right? :) Riding in a skirt is a talent that I haven't quite mastered yet. I've only ripped one skirt so far though so that is good. 

It has been super hot this week and we've felt it all because we have been on bikes. I have the greatest tan lines to prove it. Shoes, watch, biking gloves, and CTR rings. They're pretty impressive let me tell you. 

Our apartment is also really hot so we are sleeping in the living room with 5 fans and 5 alarms set because the fans are so loud. We also had 4 Hermanas living in our itty bitty apartment for 5 days so that was fun. Super crowded, but now that they are gone we miss them. It was a party.

We have been working so hard every day. We are literally talking to everyone now that we are on bikes and we are cleaning up our area book. There are a lot of people that haven't lived in the address that we have for them for 4 years and we are finding out that some addresses don't even exist. We've contacted all our referrals as of yesterday and some of them we have had for months so that was good. Speaking of referrals, we received one from some other missionaries and he is awesome. He is 21 and so so humble and ready for the Gospel. We are super excited to help him develop a faith and relationship with Christ. 

Being a missionary is not what I thought it would be. I don't actually know what I thought, but it is different than any other experience that I have had. As I see and help others come closer to Christ, I am coming closer to Him myself. I love this Gospel and I love this work. I love what the first page in Preach My Gospel says. "Every missionary has an important role in helping to 'bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man'". Change that to "every member" and I love it even more. We all have a role in this great work. I hope you all can realize and seek to fulfill your role in this great work. 

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson 

Riding bikes while in a skirt takes talent. She's a "real missionary" now!

At Sister Gale's for dinner

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pokemon - Go . . . To the Temple!

Week #21

You know you're a sister missionary when you call the Elders instead of the Cops.

This week has been a little crazy (I know, I say that every week) We had our last Pday in Les Schwab getting our flat fixed and this week we did our weekly planning in Ford, so it hasn't been the most normal week, but it was a fun one. We like to say that we started our companionship "sprinting and falling". We're getting good at picking each other back up, but we haven't had a normal day quite yet.

My Spanishing is going well. I talked the almost the whole time in our missionary correlation meeting where we tell our Branch Mission Leader about the people we are teaching. There was one time where I turned to Hermana Brower and said "well...companion?" and she took over. I'm getting there though.

So the whole calling the Elders instead of the Cops thing. Hermana Brower and I were parked in the church parking lot using the Internet to sync our iPads and I heard some weird beeping. I honestly thought someone was just playing Pokemon-Go (more on that later), but we looked up and there was an old man with a metal detector digging holes in the church grass. We're always told if we have an issue to first call our district leader and then make our way up the line of authority right? I'm not sure where the cops come into the line of authority :) but we just called the Elders and they came and talked to him. And got his address. And set up a teaching appointment. #missionarylife

Speaking of setting up teaching appointments (and Pokemon-Go), there is a "gym" at our church building so we always have random people at our church building playing and we're missionaries so of course we talk to them. There was one guy on his hover board playing in the parking lot so the Elders actually started talking to him, but then they had to go so we stayed. We ended up setting up an appointment for the Elders and learning a little about Pokemon-Go :) ALSO there is a "gym" at the Portland Temple so people are going there too! #mysteriousways Heavenly Father is in control :) The visitor center was packed!

Best part of the week though *drumroll please* We went to the Temple with our investigators/recent converts! It was amazing! The Spirit that you can feel at the Temple is different. I turned to our investigator and asked her if she felt it and she said "yes, it's so much stronger here". Also she told her brother that she is excited to be baptized! The Temple is powerful. It is the most sacred place you can be in this life and the blessings of the Temple are my favorite. I'm growing to appreciate them more and more. The fact that I know that my family can be together in the eternities brings so much peace. I wouldn't trade that knowledge for anything and helping others find that truth and receive those blessings is the best job ever. I am so blessed to be called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Go to the Temple. Just sit on the grounds. Humbly ask to feel your Heavenly Father's love for you personally and I promise that you will feel it.

I hope you all are being safe while playing Pokemon-Go :)

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

The most sacred place you can be

First time temple trip for a new member/investigator family

Temple Trip Traveling

Forest Grove Zone

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Exceeding Joy That the Gospel Brings

Week #20

You know you are lucky sister missionaries when you have Elders as neighbors who will come and change a flat tire.

I have a companion! Who speaks Spanish! No more trio life for me. Hermana Brower is from Arizona. She actually came out with my trainer so she will be going home in 2 transfers. Maybe I'll send her home too :) This week has been good. Last Pday was crazy crazy busy, but we made it to transfers on Tuesday. We had pretty much already guessed who my new companion was going to be.

Investigators are progressing! We have been teaching the daughter of one of our recent converts, but she wasn't progressing very well. She would switch off going to different churches. I felt like she was more examining our lessons than actually listening to learn. BUT this week was different. We went by to visit her and she actually cancelled our appointment, but we started talking about what she likes to do and we found out that she wants to learn piano. So we are teaching piano! (#service) We set up lessons for piano with her and then we teach her a lesson after. So that gets her to the church and this last lesson we had with her was amazing. 

The Spirit was so strong. She really felt it and she asked sincere questions, not examining ones. She asked us how we know. How we know that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored. I realized that my answer is actually quite simple. Because I am happy. There is a happiness that you can only find through Christ and His Truth. One of my favorite scriptures is Alma 36:24. It is Alma telling his conversion story. He says that since his conversion he has labored without ceasing, so that he "might bring [others] to taste of the exceeding JOY". That's what this Gospel brings. Joy. I know because I am happy.

Joy also comes from serving others. This weekend we painted another investigator's house. And the girl we have been teaching came! It was really cool. And then she came to church! I'm so happy! We already have two more lessons set up with her. Hopefully she will be getting baptized in September.

So we are teaching three people piano; which is awesome. We teach them at the church and then we talk about the Gospel. It's such a good teaching/finding tool. Also music is life. And church is life. So church music is life squared.

So funny moment this week. We went to find a referral and we knocked on the door. We could tell that someone was trying to open the door, but couldn't for some reason. Then we saw a little boy trying to open the front window to talk to us. . . and then the other windows in the house. . . and then the door again. He literally spent a good 5 minutes trying. We were dying laughing. He finally came out of the garage and said "Are you from the church?" His family was waiting for us to come. It was super cute. We get to teach his family this week.

This week has been busy, but I feel like I say that every week. We are both super tired so it is nap day.

I hope you all are able to feel the exceeding joy that the Gospel brings!

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Hermanas Dickson and Brower eating Hawaiian Snow (thank you Sister Merrill for the photo!)

Elders who change flat tires