Monday, September 26, 2016

Chocolate and Roses . . .

Week #28

You know you're a missionary when your companion almost gets emergency transferred because of chocolates and roses. . . 🍫🌹

Now that's not normal, but it would happen to us. It's been a fun week that's for sure. The Iron Rod activity last Monday was a huge success! It was so fun. I realized that my Spanish vocabulary doesn't include "Wait! Watch out! You're going to hit your head on the chalk board!" Being a Spanish Holy Ghost was fun.

Had some not so fun times this week. On Tuesday we decided it was "serve the members day" and so we planned to just show up at our members' doors and say "put us to work". We put on service clothes and got on our bikes, but we didn't get very far because my brakes broke. We were in the middle of that fiasco when we got a call from a man that we had been teaching. Now Hermana Dickson only talks on the phone in Spanish when it is members (calling) who know that I am going to ask them to repeat themselves 3 times. They have patience with me, but most investigators always get to talk to Hermana Brower because she won't have to ask them to repeat themselves. So he calls right? . . . and then proceeds to ask Hermana Brower what she was doing this weekend and what kind of chocolate is her favorite, to which she responded with "I'm really sorry, you're breaking up. I can't understand what you are saying. It's really fuzzy on your end for some reason. . ." etc . . . So then he texted us. 

We found out later that he had been asking his coworkers - who are members of our branch (congregation) - how to ask out an American girl. Suffice it to say, we called the Elders and gave them a referral.

We have been teaching the sister of a less active and she is on date to be baptized November 5th! When we explained what baptism was a week ago she said, "I can be clean?! I need to get baptized!" We asked her if she would prepare for November 5,she said "yes" and then got the cutest grin on her face. I'm so excited to keep teaching her.

General Conference peeps. Watch it. ( This last weekend was the Women' Broadcast and I honestly feel like those talks affected me more than conference talks before and it's just the beginning. In that short hour and a half I had so many questions answered and I can't wait for next weekend to be more spiritually fed.

I was reading in the New Testament in Spanish the morning after President Uchtdorf's talk on faith in Women's Conference and found a quote from him (what he had said), but in Spanish not English. . . It's really confusing to explain, but what he said is exactly what the scripture said, but not in English, in Spanish. In the English bible it says it differently, but it was exactly the same in Spanish. . . I don't know if that made any sense. It was just a really cool moment because what he said really stuck with me and then I read the same thing the next morning
in another language in the scriptures.

Heavenly Father knows exactly what I need to hear or read (and sometimes both ☺️). It's really cool to read the scriptures in another language because things are said differently and you can get different personal revelation from the same exact verse.

There is rumor going around that there are 8 Hermanas coming in next transfer. (October  There will only be 11 Hermanas here (able) to train and 4 of those 11 are going to be fresh out of training. That means that some newbies will be training even newer newbies. . . Excited. "Well excited and scared" (See what she did there?)

Embarrassing moment this week (because there always is one when you are Hermana Dickson). Did you know that "apoyo" and "pollo" don't mean the same thing? And when your companion says "hay más apoyo en tu vida ahora" she isn't saying "there is more chicken in your life now". . .

That's all folks! I'll be here all week (actually only on Mondays for one hour before 6). 

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

"The Evidence"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Service Softens Hearts

Week# 27

You know you're a missionary who loves your (branch) members when you spend your whole pday setting up for a Branch activity.

That's what I've been doing today. We are super excited for it tonight. We have a potluck (because LDS parties require food. . . especially Hispanic ones) and then we are doing an iron rod activity. Elder and Hermana Burke made a tree of life for us and we made the obstacle course. You know that one activity at they always do at youth activities with a blindfold and a string representing the iron rod? Yeah that's what we are doing. We are super excited. The primary kids are also singing at the activity which will be great and will get all of the families there.

This morning we got up at the bright 5 a.m. (actually it's not very bright out here in Oregon until after 8:30 or 9 at this time of year) and we went to Seminary! It was my first time at early morning seminary and I loved it. We brought our recent convert Lourdes with us. She's not totally on board with it quite yet and it's hard because she is the one and only Laurel in the branch so she doesn't know anyone. She is making friends with the English wards slowly, but surely. 

We also got her to mutual with one of the English wards this last week. Speaking of, Hermana Brower and I decided to join in on the fun to get Lourdes excited and we were running across the church grass for a game. I biffed it. Hard. In a skirt. 🤕 At least I was wearing my biking shorts right? I should probably call the mission office and order a name tag at says Hermana Murphy at this point.

We had a lot of opportunities to do service this week. We went and painted Margarita's kitchen with some Elders and Elder and Hermana Burke (the senior couple missionaries in the branch). It was really fun. I fell into the wall a couple of times and Margarita got paint in Hermana Brower's hair, but at least the house looks good right? Right after that service we went over and helped someone else move and then the next morning we did a Branch service project. I love doing service. It's amazing how it softens people's hearts to the Gospel.

This week was hard in some ways. We found a really awesome new investigator and she really loved the first lesson. A lot of times people tell us we are wrong or are really skeptical in the first few lessons, but with her, whenever we brought up something new to her, she would say "I didn't know that". She was so open and so excited. BUT unfortunately she was given some anti materials and won't meet with us anymore. It makes me really sad. 

We also have run into some interesting situations which have made us have to be really creative with our lessons. It's fun to try something new right?

I'm going to take a nap today. It's been too long.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Early Morning Seminary

Margarita & the Hermanas

Painting (look at those tomatoes!)

 Our favorite Hermana Dickson and Elder Burke

Painting (perhaps the wall that "Hermana Murphey" fell into?)

Tree of Life

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Be Christlike

Week # 26

You know Tiwi is out to get you when he says "check your speed" as you're on the phone with 911. #imnotthedriver

Yesterday we had a wonderful conference with Elder Schwitzer and his wife. They actually came and spoke when I was in the MTC and both of their talks really impacted me and my desire to serve a mission. Their names and words are written in my journal many times and I use them in lessons all of the time. It was such a tender mercy to meet them and hear their words again.

This week hasn't been one hundred percent peaches and daisies. What I've learned though is that the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" isn't true. Words are so powerful. They can uplift and they can scar. 

One of my favorite talks that I've read recently is "The Tongue of Angles" a talk from Elder Holland in April of 2007. Go read it. I have listened and read it so many times and I learn something new each time. I've always been sensitive, but when people say things to us on the street, when they yell at us that we listen to the devil, when they tell us that they hope they never see us again, I'm okay. I'm sad for them, but I'm okay because I know that I am called of God and doing His work. What actually hurts, is when those that are representatives of Christ are cruel. As members and missionaries we have the responsibility to be Christlike.You can be right and say something in the wrong way.

Be Christlike. That's why we are here. To become perfect as He and our Father are. It may not be possible in this life, but it is a commandment to try.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Hermanas and Sisters in Forest Grove

Monday, September 5, 2016

He Loves Us

Week #25

You know you're a missionary with an iPad when mint green is your favorite color (it's the color of recent converts on the Areabook app)

They got baptized!! I am so blessed to be a missionary. I have been able to see lives change and I haven't been here very long. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. I know it and I get to help others come to know it as well. We've have had an amazing (and crazy) week. I forget how hectic it gets the week of a baptism. There is so much behind the scenes that no one really sees. 

Maria was baptized in June by her son who was baptized last year. Her other 2 children were baptized on Saturday. They were all glowing. ALSO! Their dad came! His heart is opening up. He wouldn't come to his wife's baptism in June and wasn't receptive to the missionaries, but he was there for his kids' and he even wrote them a note saying that he was proud of them. I can't wait for them to be sealed as a family!

Miracles happened this week! We had exchanges and I stayed in our area. That means that I was companions with an English STL (Sister Training Leader) in a Spanish area. I was the only one that could speak Spanish all day. It was really scary. 

The first time I met my mission president he asked me, "Hermana Dickson, are you sufficiently humbled enough to learn this language?" I was definitely humble that day and I felt the power of the Atonement. My Spanish vocabulary is very small. I really struggle. I am behind other missionaries who have been here for less time, but I was able to communicate that day. At one point I opened my mouth and I honestly don't know what I said. My mouth was filled with words that I don't know. I am so blessed to be able to have the chance to be a tool in the Lord's hands.

One of the lessons that day was with a recent convert. We were talking about our prophet, Thomas S Monson. She asked me "if he is the prophet for the world, then why doesn't everyone know that?" I can testify that I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much. He loves all of His children and I know that He wants every single child to know that. He wants us all to know that He has given us a prophet to lead and guide us because He loves us. He is waiting for us to come to Him so that He can bless us. 

I know this. If you don't, then find out. 

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Emanuel, Daniel, Lourdes, Heramanas Brower and Dickson
Mom and Dad too!

Extra from other emails this week: At the baptism Hermanas Dickson and Brower sang "Make Me Whole" by Rob Gardner. It is a song that Lauren brought with her and was able to sing for the leadership while at the MTC. Of course it was in English so they translated it to Spanish. I had written to Hermana Dickson that Sister Gale had kindly sent a video of their musical number and she replied "We hadn't practiced once and we had just barely finished writing the translation (which was so hard!) and the harmonies." Hermana Brower's email included "It's so hard to get the accents of the music to line up with the accents of Spanish words. I had to kind of change the message of the song, so it became Sáname (Heal Me)". They wrote the harmony to turn it into a duet.

Hermana Brower also shared "The baptism was FANTASTIC. We filled the entire Relief Sociey room, which is a big deal for such a small branch! You know what is so sweet? The entire Laurel class from one of the English wards came because they heard the Lourdes was getting baptized and would be coming to mutual with them (our YW program is small and combines with them)!! How sweet is that? They'd never even met her before! The youth of the Church are AWESOME!"