Monday, April 24, 2017

Following His Will

Week # 58 

You know you are trying to spice up your language study when you decide to make a telenovela (Spanish soap opera) about coming to know that the Book of Mormon is true.

I feel like this email will be a short one because no tengo el ganas to write much. I can't say that it has been a bad week, but I am tired in almost every way.

We had interviews with our mission president this week and after my interview I walked up to some Elders and one said "Interviews were pretty spiritual huh?" I said "Does my face tell you that?" He said "No, just your red eyes . . . " So yes, I cried, but that doesn't mean it was all bad right? :) President did give me a blessing and I can testify that he is a man called of God to be serving in this mission and to be my mission president.

One funny thing happened this week was that we had a Relief Society activity. We got our hair and make-up done by the members. . . lets just say that it was a good thing that we had studies afterwards instead of proselyting time because we definitely couldn't have gone out and looked like misioneras.

We are teaching a woman right now (and her name isn't Maria!!!). She is actually going to a ward outside of mission boundaries so it's a little complicated right now. Basically, we teach her and she goes to church services somewhere else with different missionaries. It's a little complicated, but she had a baptismal date for this Saturday over there, but it isn't going to be able to happen quite yet. It's hard that there are 2 sets of missionaries teaching her and there have been a couple of mishaps between lack of communication between members and missionaries. She is so cute and wants to be baptized so badly. We made her a baptismal plan yesterday to show her what lessons she has left before baptism and she asked if we could do it all in one week. Yesterday's lesson was so lead by the Spirit and we were really nervous because of the situation and we weren't exactly sure how she was going to react when we told her that she couldn't be baptized yet and we also don't even know if we have the right to receive the revelation as the missionaries teaching her because of the situation. It's a mess, but the lesson went well and she is still progressing. She has some important decisions to make this week so please keep her in your prayers.

Yesterday was the Hermana Show in church. We started off the day walking in late to Sunday school and there was no teacher, so with no preparation we taught the lesson. It went really well though because #compunity so we can't really complain. We were able to talk about the Atonement of Christ so it was a special class. I love learning more and hearing others' experiences with the Gospel and the Atonement. We also were asked to give talks with little notice and for some reason I was more nervous this time than when I gave my first one in Spanish. I think I'm just tired. I also played piano in 2 meetings, we organized a baptism, and sang at the baptism. We were nervous that people were going to get annoyed of our faces. Everything went well and after 8 hours of being in meetings and at church, we finally made it out and to a lesson before crashing last night.

Welp . . . we just had an interesting turn to the end of our Pday and I am out of time, but I just wanted to share a little about what I was asked to talk about on Sunday. We talked about following God's will and I prepared a talk before church, but didn't really end up sharing most of it. I really think that it was for me. I am not perfect at following His will, but I am trying I promise. This week especially I have been struggling with not being able to have more control of the things that happen around me. I'm working on it. What I do know is that He really does have a perfect plan and what I focused my talk on was humility. Without it, we can not follow His will. Well, we could, but it would be grudgingly. When we do follow His will with humility, we can do it with a smile.

Les quiero,

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Sisters Pday at Silver Falls: Hermana Karren, Sister Wright, Hermana Dickson, Sister Emery

The District: Elder Bankhead, Hermana Karren, Dickson, Quinlan, McKell, Baxter and Davis

A little quote from Alma 32:28 Elder Baxter and bacon

"Me being tired" - (15 hour days are long!)

This was also our (Mom and Dad's 24th anniversary - on the 24th) Hermana Dickson and her companion Hma Karren and Sisters Wright and Emery sent a darling video singing us "You've had an Anniversary - shout hooray!" So fun and nice to see and hear her.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"For Me" - A Powerful Easter Testimony

Week #57

You know you are a sick, delirious missionary when you accidentally call out to your companion "Mom?" . . .  when you need more medicine.

So, no we didn't have transfers again. Hermana Karren is still my companion; I just accidentally called her "Mom". She really did take care of me this week as I was yet again sick. We still had an awesome week though. 

The Spirit works in interesting ways. After emailing last Monday we left to go and try to contact some people in our records and a thought came to my mind to switch it up a little bit. I would never have thought that it was the Spirit, but we chose to go and contact a less active that Hermana Jensen and I have tried multiple times over the last few months. We were able to find her and talk to her for a little bit. She has a lot of hurt in her life and doesn't see how the promised blessings of an eternal family can happen for her "broken family". It was so special to be able to testify of the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father and how He will keep His promises to us, whether in this life or the next. Just before we left she told us that she knew that God sent us at that specific time for a reason. I'm glad that the Spirit told us to go and see her.

We also were able to have exchanges this week and I stayed in the area this time with Hermana Stockett! It was a blast. I love exchanges. It mixes things up for a day and you get to learn so much from your leaders. Hermana Stockett has been companions with both Hermana Jensen and Hermana Hunt and we have both served in Woodburn and Forest Grove so we had a lot to talk about. She told me about my beloved Forest Grove and the people that I love and miss so much. That was a little tender mercy.

Yesterday in church I realized that this was the absolute best week to be sick. It was a humbling experience honestly. Sacrament meeting was very special. Even though I was sick, I had been asked to help with the music to make the Easter Sunday special. I played the piano for the meeting and we also sang some special musical numbers. Though I was embarrassed to sit up in front of everyone hacking and coughing, I had the special opportunity to look out at the faces of the people that I love so much in our little branch. Was I able to hear the talks very well? No, my ears are all plugged up. Did my voice sound raspy while singing? Yes, my name is "Hermana Murphy" * and I am sick. But, it was a Sacrament meeting full of personal revelation.

This was the best week to be sick because this weekend we celebrated and remembered that our Savior Jesus Christ has suffered for all of our sicknesses, temptations, pains, and sins. He has felt my frustration with the language when I have felt as though I'm trying, but am still not measuring up to my unrealistic expectations that I had as I entered the mission field. He has felt my disappointment in myself when I fail to be exactly obedient because of my weaknesses. He felt and understood my anger that I felt in high school when I felt like my life was "not fair". He felt my physical pain in high school that couldn't be explained. He has felt the loneliness that I felt in college as I shut everyone out. He felt the struggle that I had when I was trying to put a smile on my face for my family while skyping on Christmas though I definitely did not feel like smiling. He suffered for my many temptations and when I fall to those temptations.

He suffered so that all could be healed. We can be clean and can be made whole however many times it takes. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is always there and just like He did on the third day, we will all some day be resurrected and those pains, sicknesses, temptations, and sins will be gone. Washed away by a loving Savior and Redeemer. 

This was a perfect week to feel sick and weak. My drops of tears will never add up to as many drops of blood were shed by Him. For me.

I love you all,

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Woodburn Tulip Festival

Exchanges: Hermanas Karren, Barnes, Stockett, Dickson

The Elders decided that we should all wear pink as a district for Easter.
Promise that it was their idea :) 

Text from the Elders:
"We are all going to be wearing pink ties, so wear pink if you want to match with us"

Zarahemla North District: Dickson, Karren, Quinlan, Baxter, McKell, Davis, Bankhead

Zarahemla North District:
Davis, Baxter, Quinlan, Bankhead, Dickson, Karren, McKell

* (Murphy's Law: What can go wrong, will go wrong. . . It happens with our beloved Hermana Lauren Dickson).

Monday, April 10, 2017

Building & Growing

Week #56

You know you have a new companion who is tall when a little boy walks up to you in church and says in broken English "She, so big. You, so small."

Changes. They are good. Sometimes I can be stubborn and not want them, but when we get out of our comfort zone is when we grow.

A lot has changed here recently. On Tuesday, I said goodbye to my wonderful companion Hermana Jensen. I cried of course and the poor Sister who was my temporary companion did not know what to do ha ha. I explained that I cry about just about everything. So I haven't changed too much if anyone is worried. :)

This week was another week of "dropping" or stopping teaching someone for a while. That's always hard, but I definitely have a testimony that the Lord is in charge of the work. J has decided to stop meeting with us and my heart broke. We drove by this week and the chairs were gone from his porch. Prayer with my Heavenly Father has really become a solace to me this week.

We met some not nice people this week too. Honestly I don't get upset anymore though. If I know what I am doing is right then we can walk away from the people and laugh it off. It does make us sad because we know what we have could help them, but they don't want it. We had someone answer the door and say 'Why don't you go build a house or something and actually do something productive" and then close the door. I do have to say that building houses is probably a good skill that I have not developed so maybe I will look into that after my mission.

My new companion is Hermana Karren! She is so excited about everything and sometimes I just awkwardly laugh because she surprises me, but I absolutely love her. She also came out with Hermanas Hunt and Jensen so I officially been companions with all of the Hermanas from that transfer. I have had multiple spiritual confirmations during lessons and as we are working that we are supposed to be together and Hermana Karren is needed here. She is amazed at how many hispanics live here. Her last area they really had to go searching for people who spoke Spanish, but here is one of the rare places in the mission where we can really go tracting and talk to most people in Spanish. Both of the areas I have served in have been like that so I've been a little spoiled in my mission with being able to speak Spanish more than most Hermanas.

I feel like so much happened this week, but I can't pull my thoughts together with how little time I have to email today. 

I want to invite you all to go to and watch the "Prince Of Peace" video. I haven't always been able to identify the Holy Ghost when I feel it, but every time we watch that video I can not deny the Spirit.

I am so grateful for a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. He really does know me. 

I love you all,

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Pictures include last pictures with Hermana Jensen and a trip to the tulip festival. We also got a few from a cute surprise birthday party for my companion Hermana Karren. The birthday party I sneakily threw with some members because I knew she must have been sad to have been transferred right before. It was really fun and stressful because I had to be sneaky and when you share a phone and are in sight and sound of each other that is hard. :) At one point the member called and it was really funny as he realized that he was talking to her and had to play it cool. :)

Woodburn Tulip Festival

Hermanas Jensen and Dickson, Sisters Kris and Rachel Carbine

Joyful smiles

Sweet Sister Kris Carbine traveled - injured- to see Hma Dickson

 Beautiful Birthday tulips from Sister Carbine
 "They are starting to wilt. I think I drowned them."

Hasta luego to Hermana Jensen

Hola to Hermana Karren
"She so big, You so small"

Happy Surprise Birthday to Hermana Karren

Monday, April 3, 2017

How Firm a Foundation

Week # 55

You know it's a normal day in the missionary life when a man opens his door in his boxers, a sarape and a beanie.

Not much surprises me anymore, though I should say that I do usually gasp when people walk straight out of the shower without knowing that their child has the door wide open talking to the missionaries.

This week was a blur. I feel as if not much has changed, but in all reality quite a bit has. Our investigator J could use some extra prayers. We hit a bump this last Monday and haven't quite recovered. We aren't sure how we can help him and could use a little extra help from prayers.

Transfer calls have come. The epic companionship de las Hermanas Jensen y Dickson is coming to an end at 10 a.m. sharp tomorrow. Transfers are bittersweet. My testimony of the blessings of change has grown so much on my mission. Though I will miss her, I also know that she needs to go find and touch a new area, a new branch, countless new souls, and a new companion. I think that I have laughed with her more than ever before in my mission and am so grateful to have been one of the many people that she has and yet will touch.

The highlight of my week has been the words of God's Prophet and Apostles. I did not fully appreciate General Conference before my mission. This is the third and last conference that I will have in my mission and it seems as though each time is the most powerful conference. It just keeps getting better and I plan for that exponential growth to continue after my mission.

The reality is that conference has always been filled with a powerful spirit. The difference that I have felt has been me. What you put in, is often what you get out. While I knew that General Conference was important before my mission, I have really come to love and long for more of the words of God. I truly know that Thomas S. Monson is God's chosen Prophet on the earth today and that his words are words of God.

I remember in my last area a special moment just before this last October conference. We were teaching a young lady and we explained that the words of a prophet are the words that our Heavenly Father would speak to us if He were here. That amazed her and she seemed so astounded that it made me contemplate that eternal truth. There have been countless times where I passingly thought "I wish Heavenly Father was standing right in front of me and could give me the answers to my questions. What does J need? Why am I struggling so much with the language? Why can't I feel happy right now?" While speaking and testifying to this young girl the Spirit spoke and testified to me that He is doing so. He gives us the guidance that we need. It may not be God literally standing in the room, but His servants just spoke to us this weekend. His words. No matter the question, we can ask. And if we ask with a sincere heart and with real intent, He will manifest the truth of it unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I have often asked people that we meet this question "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" A lot of the responses are very personal, but end with "well yeah that would be nice if we could actually ask Him that". We can ask Him. And we should ask Him. He is anxiously waiting for us to ask Him. He has given us the gift of prayer. Where we can ask any question that we feel to ask. He also has given us many gifts where we can find the answers. Promptings of the Holy Ghost, scriptures, feelings and words of the living Prophet and Apostles.

So since I'm a missionary I'm going to invite you to do something. :) Think of your question, and then ask Him. Look for the answer in the conference talks and the scriptures. Don't just wait for the answer to come, look for it.

Something that I really loved from this conference was Elder Cook's statement that the whole purpose of General Conference is to help us build our faith in Jesus Christ and in our Heavenly Father. "If there is one preeminent objective of general conference, it is to build faith in God the Father and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." That is one of my deepest desires. To continue to build my faith in my Savior and Heavenly Father throughout my life. I think that we all have the desire though we may not immediately recognize it.

The message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ rings a familiar bell when we teach people. They may not even believe in a God, but will tell us that it sounds familiar. That's because it is familiar. We knew God before this life and chose to come to earth to build our faith in Christ and in our Heavenly Father. General Conference is a tool that we are given to accomplish that. A personal relationship with our Heavenly Father doesn't only have to be a desire. It can be reality.

I love the chance I have to be a part of the Lord's work. I love the days when I am exhausted. I love the moments when members give us the whole history of sarapes while not wearing pants. I love the people, my area, and every companion that I have been blessed to serve with. I love the message of peace and joy that we share. I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father.

Les quiero, 

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Smiling, serving  sisters. Rain or shine.

Keizer Zone

Woodburn District selfie:
Elder Bankhead, Hmas Jensen, Dickson, Elders Patterson, McKell, Davis 

Woodburn District:Hermanas Dickson, Jensen,Elders McKell, Patterson, Davis and Bankhead