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