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"

October 10, 2016 - Mom forgot to post

Week # 30

Time is so crazy here. Sometimes it feels like General Conference was yesterday and other times it feels like it's been weeks. We are so busy all of the time, but whether it feels like it or not this transfer is coming to a close and I will be sending another companion home (I'm getting good at that). Don't worry, it doesn't make me trunky.

So the last few weeks have been crazy, I really don't know what to email about. We are really struggling with the people that we are teaching right now. Yesterday, one of our investigators followed us out of class and yelled at us. She said that she is going to tell our "pastor" that we shouldn't be missionaries anymore. . . Needless to say, there was crying. . . and then she said "this never happened" and walked away . . . Our Branch President told us to lay low. . . So yeah. That's what happened yesterday.

We've done a lot of singing this week. Hermana Brower and I both sing so we have been singing in all of the English wards. It's fun. Hermana Brower translates songs that we already have and then we Spanglish it. :) 

We've been packing today. And cleaning. That's pretty much it. 

I promise to write a real email next week.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

No explanation . . . yet

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

General Conference Weekend

Week #29

You know you're a missionary when you. . . I honestly have no idea this week because I have 7 minutes to email and my brain isn't working. . .

My brain really isn't working. I hope you all had a wonderful time watching conference. If you didn't get the chance this weekend, watch them when you can.

I love you all,

Hermana Dickson

Missionaries watching General Conference

We went to young women's with our recent convert and an investigator! We had a tea party

Salem Mission Conference. Half of the mission (Hermana Dickson is in the other half - no photo . . . yet)

Hermanas Brower and Dickson