Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Well, I Made it Through the First Week!

Cara Mia Famiglia e amici!
Well I made it through the first week! It was long but now I can't believe I've already been here a whole week!

 Wednesday after I got dropped off we just kept walking everywhere picking up stuff and more stuff. It felt so amazing when they officially put my name tag on! I love the feeling of being a missionary! When I got into my classroom the teacher, Fratello Gessel just started speaking Italian! It was kind of hard to understand, but it sounded so cool! We pretty much just played Guesstures and had to guess what he was saying. We learned how to pray in Italian that day so I've been able to pray in Italian since day one. It was very simple at first, but now I can say quite a few more things and make it more personal. We get orange dots on our tag the first day so everyone says "Welcome to the MTC!" the first day. Since today is Wednesday,I'm pretty excited for the new missionaries to come in so I can welcome them!

My companion is Sorella Pulli. She is so sweet! We are pretty opposite. I'm quiet and have to always be doing something or else I feel like I'm wasting my time and she's out-going and laughs all the time. She makes things really fun. It's a good balance because we need to focus and work, but we also need to have fun and be happy all the time. 

I love my district! There are four anziani (elders) and four sorelle (sisters). The anziani are from Canada, Oregon, California, and Arizona. The sorelle are from Ogden, American Fork, and Huntington. We all have so much fun together! Sometimes we can get pretty loud... but we all get along so well. We have no problems and have all become great friends! We're pretty much like family now. I guess you become like that after spending literally ALL day with them. We are in the same classroom 9 hours of the day and only leave for meals. By the end of the day I'm exhausted. Not physically, but mentally. My brain just wants to explode because I've stuffed so much information in it! But I love it. I love learning the language and the gospel.

My Italian is coming along pretty well! It's amazing how much I already know! We had to teach our first investigator Friday night. In Italian!! Ahh! that was pretty scary since we knew like NO Italian! But the gift of tongues is real. We made it through the lesson with prayers and relying on the spirit. It was amazing that we were actually able to communicate and teach a real lesson. The next lesson on Saturday was a lot harder. We couldn't remember the words we wanted to say and Sorella Pulli and I were pretty stressed. We realized later that it was because we were focusing only on ourselves. We were trying to rely on our own language skills and not on the spirit. We weren't focusing on our investigator. That's one thing I've learned really quickly here. EVERYTHING we do is for others. What we study, what we learn, what we do is so we can teach and bless others. I watched "The Character of Christ" By David A Bednar on Sunday and it was amazing!! It was all about turning out, instead of in. Especially when we are struggling and having hard times. Remember the talk President Morgan gave in Stake Conference awhile ago about the women whose daughter died in an accident, but she was only thinking about the other daughter's mother and even took dinner to a sick lady in her ward? Ya, that was from this talk. It was a good reminder to love others even when it's hard and stressful. This is God's work, not mine.

Sundays and Tuesdays are my favorite. We have choir and devotionals! I was so happy when we were able to watch Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday! I really needed that spiritual boost from music! The choir is amazing. Yesterday there were half of the sisters in the whole MTC in the choir! 

They have early morning exercise classes for the sisters almost everyday. Twice a week it's yoga! :) So I'm totally in my element there! It's so nice to get exercise everyday since the rest of the day we sit and study and eat. The food is pretty good. They have a lot of choices. Most people say it all tastes the same, and sometimes I can understand that, but we still get fed really well. It will be such a contrast once we get to Italy though since all the vegetables are so fresh! Our branch president's wife is from Rome so she talked to us quite a bit about Italy the first day we met them! She is so cute!

On Tuesday we got to leave the MTC!!! Well about 18 of us. We had to go to Salt Lake to sign papers and stamp stuff for our visas. We had to go in person to the consulate. It was so fun to leave the MTC and actually see other people and places. While we were out people would say "Hi Sisters!" as we were walking together. I'm one who loves to greet the missionaries so it was kind of cool to be on the other end of things. I can't believe I'm a real missionary! We took the front runner and Trax to Salt Lake. The consulate had been to Italy several times so she told us a lot of stuff while she stamped.

I absolutely LOVE learning Italian! It's such a beautiful language! After the fist day I've just wanted to learn more and more so I can actually speak it! It has actually come pretty easy for me since it's pretty similar to Spanish and sometimes French. I'm slowly forgetting my French though which is sad. But it's pretty cool when I go to say something in french and only Italian comes to mind! 

We see miracles everyday! Mostly with the language! Another miracle happened last night with Sorella Pulli! Her brother is serving in Fiji and she heard a girl say she was from Fiji so she asked if she knew her brother and showed her a picture of him, and he was the missionary that served in her ward!! How amazing is that?! 

Well, I wish I had more time to write more! An hour goes by WAY too quickly. I love the MTC and I love teaching the gospel. I know that God is with me every hour of everyday. There is no way I would be able to survive without Him. I'm so grateful for the atonement and that I can strive to become better. I'll leave one quote from Brother Eggett. He was talking about how we are CALLED to serve missions. We didn't choose. So when someone asks why we are serving a mission we should answer "Because God loves YOU. So he CALLED ME to come share this message with YOU." I know God loves us individually and I'm grateful I have the opportunity to help others feel His love. 
Ti Amo!
Sorella Dixon

Riding the front runner to Salt Lake to sign papers and stamp visas!
Thanks to those who said, "Hi, Sisters", whomever you may be.
 That makes this Mom's heart happy!

Sorella Pulli and Sorella Dixon

Sorella Dixon's district

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"I love this gospel with all my heart. It is my life!"

Welcome to the mission chapter of Sorella Savanna Dixon's life as she serves in the Italy, Milan Mission. Sorella Dixon won't see this blog until she comes home in July of 2016, but she has asked me, her Mom, to post letters, photos, and memories of the next 18 months, months that will be THE BEST for her life!! 
The top tabs of the blog lead to what she believes, her addresses, and eventually you can view her and her companions. The side bar also has tabs you can click on to read her Mormon profile, view her mission's blog, and check out weather and time in Milan and surroundings.

 Having a daughter leave home for 18 months is not easy, not easy at all. The sudden stop in communication that was always daily, and is now weekly, and only through written word, is a bit tricky, to say the least. However, I know that Heavenly Father will temper my heart, and bless and give peace to Savanna's heart. We will be okay. We will be more than okay. 
We will stretch and grow and refine. 

The past few months have been a flurry of activity and preparation that have finally lead to the past couple of days. Here is a glimpse into the final events that are so tender 
as a missionary prepares to leave.

Savanna's setting apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of  Latter-Day Saints.
L to R (back):  President Troy Anderson, Mark Stanger, Savanna's Dad, Ryan Moyes
middle: Sorella Dixon, Grandpa Dixon
front: Grandpa Warburton

Savanna Smiles!

With Beccers

With Jess

With Momsical

With Fath

A beautiful winter day in Provo, Utah.

"I will write to you and send you packages. I promise."

"Mom, who will help me with math? And answer my high school questions? 
And just be there for me?" 

"You will love it, Savanna. I love you."

Never were there truer sisters!

Good-bye for now!! 

On her way to a life-changing experience!

And...her host sister was from the...Philippines!!
Coincidence? I think not! :)
We found a note on our bed when we got home from our trip to the MTC. 
In part, here is what Sorella Dixon wrote:
"I don't know how I'll survive 18 months without being able to come home to my family who loves me each night. But I know Heavenly Father will be there for me and you.
I hope you know that I love this gospel with all my heart. It it my life! I know we have a Father in Heaven who loves us. I know we have an elder brother who atoned for us. I love them so much and am so grateful for that knowledge. See you in 18 months!"