Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Less than a week...

Ciao!
Well I have less than a week before I leave for ITALY!! Crazy! We're pretty excited here! It's kind of sad though, leaving the MTC. It is such an amazing place with a powerful spirit! I just love missionaries so much! :)

Last Thursday for TRC we skyped with real Italian members in Italy! That was pretty exciting. Sorella Pulli and I talked with a brother but the connection was really bad so it was hard to hear and understand him. We felt kind of down after that. But we received a tender mercy when they had another member volunteer to skype so we got to do another one! This time the connection was so much better and we were actually able to talk and teach! We talked with Valeria and Gabriella who live in the Rome mission somewhere It was such a cool experience! They were so nice! When were telling our teachers about TRC, we found out that Sorella Preston knew them!

Friday we got our flight plans! Yay! We leave at 6 Tuesday morning, fly to Chicago, then Frankfurt, Germany and then Milan! It's so exciting! The only thing we're sad about is Anziano Yee isn't coming with us. He's from Canada and has to go to Canada to pick up his visa, so he'll be going there for a transfer when we leave to go to Italy. We're so sad he won't be travelling with us and experiencing Italy when we do! But I tell him that he'll probably have to teach an Italian in Canada so they need him there. Who knows!

 We also had a great lesson in class on Friday with Fratello Gessel and Sorella Preston. We talked about raising the bar and seeing God's vision for us. I love the quote "Ff you don't raise the bar, how will you know how high you can go?" or something like that. If we make our standard higher, we'll learn more and improve faster. As a district we really decided to speak Italian as much as we can, because our time before going to Italy is quickly disappearing!

It truly is amazing how much we've learned here. I'm sure it won't seem like that once we get there, but it will come! The first day Fratello Gessel told us that we'll know we're ready to leave the MTC once we can understand everything they say. Well I can! I can't speak it as well as they can, but I can still have full on conversations with one of the teachers all in Italian! I think another way to know you're ready to leave the MTC is if you prefer speaking Italian than English. I absolutely LOVE speaking Italian and would speak it nonstop if I knew more words! But it's still fun with what I do know.

Saturday we kind of had an unexpected lesson with Valeria because her husband, Rosario, also met with us! So that was fun. We were a little flustered, and it probably could've gone better, but it was good to kind of have an experience with that kind of situation. Saturday night Fratello Gessel wasn't really up to teaching (I don't blame him. How fun is it to be a college student and have to work on Saturday night...?) so we just had a Q&A session! It was a blast! We asked all sorts of questions about missions, Italy, and some of his experiences in Milan! We're going to have a full on culture day on Saturday with all the teachers where they just tell us all about Italy, their investigators, and answer more questions! We're pretty excited!

Sunday was amazing like always! President Willis (our branch president) had us sing Sono un figlio di Dio again, but at the temple! I loved it! The spirit was so strong as we sang that right next to the temple! So many people stopped and listened. It had snowed the night before so we all wore our coats, and guess what? Sister Willis (who is actually from Rome!) asked me where I got my coat and said it was the exact type of coat you need in Italy! She just got back from Italy and said that was the style there! So yay! Now I know that we got the right type of coat!  (Mom's note--and THAT is a miracle because the buying of it was a PROCESS!!)

 In choir Brother Eggett asked me to say the prayer. I'm only really saying this because I had to say it in English! What?! weird! It had been WEEKS since I said a prayer in English.. The first week we had choir he told someone who was leaving that week that you know it's time to leave the MTC when you'd rather say the prayer in your language. Well I guess I'm to that point!

Sunday night one of the videos they had playing was Legacy in Italian! So of course our whole branch (except the ones going to Romania) watched it! I couldn't totally understand it... but I was able to pick out quite a few words and phrases! And it was easier to understand it since I knew the story.
Yesterday the devotional was the Bishop Causse from France! It was amazing! and guess what? He had a guest come who was from ITALY!!! They played a piano duet together. It was so beautiful! and then afterward about half of our zone went up to talk to the brother from Italy! It was only for a few minutes, but he spoke to us in Italian! We haven't gotten to hear from an apostle yet, but we did get to talk to a member from Italy on our last Tuesday devotional!

Well, I'm almost out of time. Tempo vola! The MTC is great and the energy is so high in our district because we're all so excited to leave! We've all probably gone a little crazy because there have been some funny moments, but I love it because we really are family! 

Vi voglio un mondo di bene!!!
Sorella Dixon
Companions!


video
Nine seconds of happiness and literally music to my ears! :)
Not nearly long enough, but we will take what we can get! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

He Pushed Us and We Flew

Caro famiglia e amici!

This week just flew by! Really, I think weeks just get faster and faster here! But it was a great week! Days were filled with studying, teaching, more studying, lots of learning, and the spirit. It's amazing to be here where I don't have to worry about ANYTHING else besides growing in the gospel and bringing others to Christ. 

Sorella Pulli and I probably had our BEST lessons yet with both of our investigators, Valeria and Francesco, this week. We totally followed the spirit and were able to discern their needs. We had lessons planned, but ended up teaching something totally different than we were planning. It was pretty great. We officially have baptismal dates set up with both of them! Yay!

Last Thursday was TRC and we taught Brother Haynie again! And we saw him several times in Music and the Spoken word! It feels like we know someone famous. We actually talked to someone from the outside world! Haha. 

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's day! It was great here! The MTC is probably the best place to celebrate Valentine's Day because no one has a significant other! It's just filled with missionary love :) My district loved the Valentine's you sent to give to them :) As a district we all tried to wear tons of pink and red. And that night before quiet time, the sisters had a little Valentine's get together where everyone shared goodies from home. So many people got sweets! It's safe to say I had WAY too much sugar that day.

We have the best teachers here. Sorella Preston and Sorella Ansted are angels! They are so sweet and are full of the spirit. We have fun in class playing games to learn knew tenses. This week we played Simon Says as we were learning the command form. Last week Fratello Gessel was gone all week and we missed him. He is such an amazing teacher. He is pretty spunky and is always bouncing around, but really, that helps us stay focused and makes the time go by so quickly. He also shares experiences from his life and what he had been thinking about that day. We learn a ton from him. While he was gone we had 3 different subs when our other teachers couldn't come. I'm actually grateful that we got to experience different teachers. I learned something different from each of them. 

On Sunday, Sorella Pulli, Sorella Insalaco, Sorella Osborn, and I sang " I am A Child of God" in Italian for sacrament meeting. Those sisters are amazing singers! We did a 3 part harmony. Throughout the week we would hear elders singing a song on the stairs in Dutch and they ended up singing in the devotional on Sunday! They sang in Dutch. It was so cool! Yesterday for choir we sang Consider the Lilies! It was soooo pretty! I love that song! I just love music!

The MTC is an awesome place! I'm kind of sad I'll be leaving in less than 2 weeks. The spirit is so strong here. It's pretty great when you can just be walking around and elders come up to you and ask if they can give you a short lesson. So they read a scripture and just share a spiritual thought.

It's pretty great when you walk down the hall in the building and it's normal to see a companionship praying together before they teach a lesson. 
It's pretty great going to eat breakfast and everyone is dressed up and bows their head in the cafeteria to say the prayer over the food. 
It's pretty great to talk to so many new people everyday who are going all over the world to change people's lives. 
It's pretty great trying to speak a different language that you can't really speak, but your district can still understand you because they're at your same level.
It's pretty great when you start thinking you knew people before the mission because you've seen them so many times around the MTC. 
It's pretty great to get mom/grandma type hugs from the wives of our branch presidency when we miss hugs from home. 
Highlight of the week: An elder looked at my name tag and had to do a double take because he thought it said Cinderella Dixon. :) It's pretty great to be mistaken for a princess ;)
It's pretty great to hear spiritual thoughts all day everyday!

We got to hear from Elder Holland this week. Ok, not in person, but in a recording from a devotional he gave at the MTC a few years ago. It was so good! The talk was "Missions are Forever". He just talked about really making the most of it. He also talked about how it WILL be hard, but it's because salvation is not a cheap experience. We need to experience a little of what Christ experienced to really care about the work and to be able to get our message across. A little poem I liked from his talk:

"Come to the edge He said. No, we'll fall.
Come to the edge He said. No, we'll fall.
Come the edge He said. So we came to the edge.
He pushed us and we flew".

I know this work is of the Lord. I know he is ALWAYS there and can work miracles! I'm so excited that in less than 2 weeks I'll get to be in Italy and serve the people there!!!

Vi voglio un mondo di beno!
-Sorella Dixon

Valentine's Day in the MTC!!
Sure love this "Cinderella Dixon"!!

Sorella Dixon's District

Sorella Dixon's Zone---just the sisters

Laundry Day at the MTC--bright and early so they don't have to
wait and wait for their turn!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

God Shows His Love for Each Person in the Smallest of Ways

**** Mom's note: I entered a weekend post on February 7. It is the post below this one. Yes, Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives. We are so excited for Sorella Dixon to begin her Italian journey, to share the gospel, and to share her love for Heavenly Father's children all over the world. She has always been a friend to all, and her letter this week is certainly an expression of that. Enjoy!****

Caro Famiglia e Amici,
This week was a pretty great week! I can't believe it's already p-day again! And that I'm already half way through my MTC experience! Il tempo vola! (Time flies!)

Since missionaries are going all over the world, we also have missionaries from all over the world here at the MTC! Let me tell you about some of the people I've met! An elder from a little island by Madagascar. He speaks french, English, and is now learning Spanish! We met him when he came up to us and wanted to know if he could understand Italian because he knew Spanish. So we got to speak a little Italian to him and we actually understood each other! We've also met an elder from Italy going to somewhere in the states! So that was fun! There is a missionary here from Syria! The FIRST ONE from Syria! How cool is that? I haven't met him personally, but President Burgess (the MTC president) had him share his testimony in our mission conference. His experience was amazing to here about. He has so much faith! 

Yesterday we also got to have two international sisters stay in our room for the night. Today they moved out to their actual room. Sister Kolo is from Tonga and she's going to Pocatello, Idaho. It turns out that she had to go to Fiji for visa stuff and met Sorella Pulli's brother because he's a missionary in Fiji! Tender Mercy! and Sister Danso from Ghana, but lived in South Africa and is going to Temple Square! So in a couple weeks after she leaves the MTC, you could go to Temple Square and possibly see her! They are the cutest sisters and it was so fun to get to know them! We got to hear songs and testimony in Tongan, and hear about life in Africa! Simply amazing! 
We have missionaries from all over the states, Canada, and the Philippines in our branch. One sister going to Romania is from Quebec and speaks French. On our Sunday walk, we were all sitting on the grass, enjoying the sun and she sang hymns for us in French! It was so beautiful! One elder from Hawaii was super sick Sunday morning, so his companion and other roommates gave him a blessing, and he got better in time to give a talk in sacrament meeting that afternoon. He shared his testimony about the Book of Mormon and the hymn "How Firm a Foundation". It is his favorite hymn. I was actually playing the piano for Sacrament meeting and had chosen that hymn for the closing hymn. How amazing is that? God shows his love for each person in the smallest of ways. 

With Sister Kolo from Tonga, who will be serving in Pocatello, Idaho 
and Sister Danso from Ghana, who will be serving at Temple Square.


Here's a little about my district: 
Anziano Cunningham (the tallest with dark, dark hair) is from Oregon. He was our district leader. He loves to talk about his family. Well, just talk in general. We probably know the most about him than anyone else. He is also very spiritual. We had a great discussion last night as a district that he lead. 
Anziano Yee is Anz. Cunningham's companion. He is half chinese and from Canada. He was super quiet the first couple of weeks, but this last week he has totally come out of his box and is a completely different person than we knew! He is Hilarious! And always has great insights to share. Yesterday we changed leadership, so now he's our district leader.
Anziano Hales (the one with red hair and the shortest) is so smart. He loves to read books and has amazing insights. He is very knowledgeable about the scriptures, church history, etc. He has an amazingly strong testimony.
Anziano Lingardo is Anz. Hales companion. He got baptized about 2 years ago, so it's amazing to hear about his experience. He has great missionary tips and has a pretty fresh view of the gospel which is great to have in our class.
The Anziano at "The Map"

Sorella Osborn (the one with blond wavy hair) is really sweet. She and sister Pulli have us laughing the most. She and I usually run together in the mornings and its fun to talk with her and try to SYL.
Sorella Inslaco is amazing at the violin. She has played with Jenny Oaks Baker, the Piano Guys, and others in concerts. She's probably going to play for one of the devotionals here. Her parents went to Italy on their missions, so she already knows quite a bit of Italian. She lets us go to her when we have questions. She's a life saver! She's so sweet and very down to earth. 
Sorella Pulli is still the best companion ever! She is so close to the spirit and has taught be a lot about really listening and following the spirit. She truly loves everyone and I can see that as we are teaching. 
We have a great time as a district family :) I'm so blessed to be with all of them!

The Sorellas at "The Map"

Last Thursday we got to do TRC--Training Resource Center. So we taught members who spoke Italian. They weren't "investigators" they were just themselves. So it was fun to get to know them. That was such a great experience! We just got to get to know them and share a spiritual thought with them! It's definitely something to look forward to each week now! One of the members we taught said he liked to sing, and then on Sunday we saw him in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during Music and the Spoken Word! So that was pretty neat! We taught another lady and the spirit was so strong when we shared our scripture with her. It was 3 Ne 28:9-10:


 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.
 And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

These verses are amazing. I have definitely been able to feel a piece of that joy here because I'm serving the Lord. We always have amazing devotionals here. 

Here are some thoughts that I really liked, "focus on the edges and the center takes care of itself" He was talking about sanding a piece of wood. So when we focus on others around us, we will grow and become more Christ-like even though we're not working on ourselves. Along with that "Receive without forgetting. Give without remembering."


This week our lessons with our investigators went well! We can always feel the spirit when we teach Valeria. One lesson we went in planning to tell her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but ended up completely changing our plans because her needs were different. We had to totally rely on the spirit. It was a powerful lesson. Probably the best one we've given because we were following the spirit. 
Francesco is a little harder to teach because he asks so many questions. Questions are good! but It's hard to answer when we don't know the language. We get through it though, and I think (hope) he understands most of what we teach him. 

I'm slowly but surely progressing in the language. Praying in Italian really helps. I have learned how to say pretty much everything that I would want to say in English in Italian! Also studying the Book of Mormon in Italian helps. I'm understanding more grammar everyday and my vocab is always expounding! I just love Italian! Something fun to say: In bocca al lupa! (it translates to "in the mouth of the wolf" but they say it to mean Good luck!)

Well I have to go! It's hard to believe I'll be in Italy 3 weeks from today!!! Non vedo l'ora! (I can't wait! but literally meaning I can't see the hour)

Vi voglio un mondo di beno! (how they say I love you! it literally means I wish you a world of good :)
Ciao!
Sorella Dixon

Enjoying the sunshine--
I think these sorellas are a ray of sunshine!!

"We have a great time as a district family.
I'm so blessed to be with all of them".



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pfiefferhorn=Matterhorn

Bret and Savanna spent a summer day hiking together to the Pfiefferhorn located up Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. Because of its similar shape to the famous Matterhorn located in the Alps that border Italy and Switzerland, the Pfiefferhorn is also known as the Little Matterhorn. Little did Bret and Savanna know, as they were hiking and creating memories in that location, that years down the road, Savanna would be sent to the location of the actual Matterhorn. The Matterhorn "just happens" to be part of Savanna's mission.

Bret sent Savanna a letter this week with these photos and his memories from the hike. As tricky as it is to send a daughter so far away and for such an extended time, we know Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives--even in something as simple as a summer hike!!  He loves us. He wants us to be happy, and He helps us create experiences and memories that are meaningful and eternal.

Happy will be the day that Sorella Dixon sends us a photo of the "real" Matterhorn. She won't be hiking to the top of the Matterhorn and she won't be with her Dad, as shown in the photos below, but the memories will be sweet and the experience very tender.

We love you Sorella!! You got this!!


The top of the Pfiefferhorn


On top of the world!! I am thinking if she can conquer this, 
she can conquer just about anything!



What a beautiful creation--just for us!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Put God First and Everything Else Falls in Place

Buongiorno!

This week was full of ups and downs! Some days are harder than others and I can feel the adversary working on me as I try to learn the language and teach according to the investigator's needs. But this is God's work and nothing can stop it from happening, so we just have to endure and not let Satan get to us. Even when days are tough it's amazing how looking for miracles and tender mercies at the end of the day really makes the day better.
So here are some miracles and tender mercies from the week:

Thursday: I'm really understanding the language a lot more. Fratello Gessel, our teacher, was telling this long story all in Italian and in the middle of it I realized that I was actually understanding everything he was saying!! Granted he was using a lot of hand gestures and kind of acting it out... but I could still pick up the words and understood what he said too! He speaks super fast, faster than our other teachers.... but I love it because it's a challenge and I feel accomplished when I can actually understand what he says. Sorella Pulli and I also taught Lydia, our investigator, for the last time. She asked us a question we weren't anticipating and all of a sudden words were just flowing from my mouth! It probably didn't make the most sense, but I was able to get something out and answer the question! The gift of tongues is real!

Friday: We have one elder in our district who has been having a hard time feeling accepted and getting along with everyone else. So Thursday night after he and his companion left and the rest of us were about to go back to our residence hall, we decided we would all pray for him and then try to help him feel more accepted. Our purpose as missionaries is to help others come unto Christ. Not only investigators, but everyone, including other missionaries. We decided we would play volleyball as a district on Friday morning during gym time because that's his favorite sport. We had a blast! And he's really grown closer with all of us. We have an amazing district. We all just feel like family! 

Saturday:That evening Fratello Gessel, our teacher, changed the lesson plan so many times and then we couldn't get TALL to work. (the language study program on the computer). So he told us about Italy instead! We just got to ask him questions and he told us all about the areas he served in, the people he taught, and the experiences he had. It was the perfect thing for all of us. We all just needed a little break. It got us super excited for Italy and helped us want to work harder. 

Sundays are always tender mercies. Just the whole day. It's great to get a spiritual re-boost. For our temple walk our district decided to match for pictures :) It's kind of sad that the only colors we could match with were black and white... So we all looked like we were going to a funeral. But it was still fun. We had a great devotional about companions, and how important it is to have a good relationship with our companion. I absolutely LOVE my companion. We get along so well and always have a great time together. When I'm having a hard day she lifts me up.She is so happy and Christ-like and loves me no matter what. We are so unified when we teach. Sometimes I feel like we can read each other's minds. We're definitely not perfect, but we try to teach the best we can.

Monday: So even though my district is amazing, sometimes we can still get off task and things get really distracting. It was one of those days, but then our district leader decided to set district goals to help us focus a little better and bring the spirit in. After that we could all feel the spirit a lot stronger. It's amazing to see the growth of each person after just 2 weeks. Missions truly are amazing. Sorella Pulli had a great lesson planned for our new investigator, but we got our first bidone!!! (dumpster). She told us to come back another time. It was because we were the last ones to teach and only had 5 minutes until 9:30, so we couldn't teach that night. But it's all good. Now we'll be super prepared for when we teach her tonight!

Tuesday: Sorella Pulli and I taught Fratello Gessel for the first time. It was a tough one. I figured he would be harder to teach than Lydia (our first investigator who turned out to be our new teacher!) We didn't do as well as we would've liked, but we did get him to pray at the end of the lesson! We also had a GREAT devotional Tuesday night. It was about developing Christ- like attributes. The way we do that is by keeping the commandments. As we willingly keep the commandments until they are WITHIN us then we become like Christ. We had a good district meeting after the devotional where we talked about it and everyone shared great experiences and testimonies. 

Other blessings that happen everyday:1) EXERCISE!! It feels so good to exercise and actually exert energy everyday! It really helps focusing the rest of the day especially since we're literally in the classroom the rest of the day.

2) Studying first thing in the morning at 
7 am. We actually didn't know about this rule until Sunday. We didn't know we were supposed to be in the classroom at 7, dressed, and studying until breakfast at 8, but after we figured that out and have done it, the blessings from it are amazing. the day goes so much better. A bouncy ball and beans will only fit completely in the jar if the bouncy ball is placed in first. Put God first and everything falls in place. Even though we do have personal, companion, and language study later  in the day, something about that first study/planning really helps the day go so much better.

3) SYL- (speak your language) we try to speak as much as we can and it really helps us progress in the language! Some days are better than others, but when we actually focus and try our best we can see how much we learn!

Well I need to go! That hour goes so quickly!

Ciao! Vi amo!!

Sorella Dixon :)

Happiness found in the form of packages and letters from home. :)
Close-up photo of Savanna's name tag!! 
Doesn't that Italian looks awesome?!

 "Sometimes the anziani take selfies when they're supposed to be taking pics of us!"

What a beautiful group of sisters.
This photo is from last week when they went to the Consolute
 to get visas and passports stamped and signed.

Sorella Dixon's district--deciding to be matchy!

Sorella Pulli and Sorella Dixon