Thursday, March 26, 2015

"The Lord is Hastening His Work! Are We Keeping Pace?"

I hope everyone had a great week! This week was an interesting week full of ups and downs. Like every week I guess. Everyday is so different and it's an adventure to see what you'll be doing that day because nothing ever goes as planned. One day ALL of our appointments fell through. Kind of tough.
 But luckily we had back up plans! ;)

Last Wednesday night I had my first meal with Italians! It included 4 courses: pasta and bread, some sort of meat, a vegetable casserole thing that was delicious, and muffins for dessert. It was so good!
Thursday we had a lesson with Gift. She's a lady from Africa who met with the missionaries once or twice before. She speaks English so we taught in English. Teaching in English is so easy! I think that's why I needed to learn a language... It has definitely been a trial and has helped me to really rely on the Lord. We invited her to be baptized the first lesson, and it actually went super well! We were going to meet with her last Sunday but she changed it to Friday. So tomorrow we'll see how that goes! 

I also had a special experience on the Metro. I started talking to a lady about Christ and she said she wasn't really sure if she believed in Him, and I think she told me how life is hard and confusing to know and stuff. I just bore my testimony about Him and how much He and Heavenly Father love us and how they want us to be happy. And she started crying! Wow the spirit was strong. And I definitely know the spirit was guiding the conversation because I would wonder why I was saying some things. I don't remember most of the stuff I said. I didn't know what she needed, but Heavenly Father did. She was going to Torino, and I told her there are missionaries there so hopefully she finds them there! I wasn't able to get her number as a referral. But it was amazing to help bless someone's life in the smallest way.

Fun fact about Italians: they love brownies! So they always ask missionaries to make them! We made 5 pans of brownies this week! Crazy! We'll definitely be pro brownie makers in no time! ;) We also made chocolate salami this week, french toast with panatoni bread (these cake/bread things that they have everywhere for Christmas. The missionaries got a ton so there are still leftovers... they have still lasted til now amazingly, and the french toast was so good because it's already a sweet bread with fruit and stuff in it.)  Sorella Nedelkov made pasta sfolia. That was so good! I will make it for you all the time when I come home :)

Remember Romolo, our miracle guy on the bus? Well, we had our first lesson with him on Saturday and it was so good! He is an amazing guy. He actually came to English class on Thursday, but we weren't able to have a lesson with him til Saturday. But when we did he was just eating up everything we taught him. And we invited him to baptism. I love inviting people to baptism the first lesson! He said he would if he knew for sure this was true! The only hard thing I can see with him is he really wants to learn English so he wants us to do lessons in English... But we really need to teach him in Italian so he'll understand everything. It will work though. We'll figure out how we can help him with English and also teach the gospel in Italian.
Sunday we had lunch with Giovanna and celebrated her 70th birthday with her! She's such a funny lady. She loves missionaries and it was fun to celebrate her birthday with her! She was one who asked us to make brownies. We also had gnocchi and Terimasu! (i don't know if that's how you spell it...). Good stuff :)

Last week we tried to find the Aria family. We went to their building, but couldn't find the right button. So we tried calling them and set up an appointment with them for Monday. Then after the call, Sorella Nedelkov realized that it was actually a different Arias family we called! We had to look up the address and make sure it was the right person she thought it was. Well, when we went Monday to the Aria family we set up the appointment with, it was amazing! It's a great member family but the oldest son is inactive. He was telling us that this week he felt like he was lacking in faith, so we talked about faith and he was participating and asking great questions. It was exactly what he needed. We were led right to them, even if we had no idea we were! We weren't planning on visiting them this week, but Heavenly Father had a different plan for us!

So Tuesday we had a lesson with Marlene. The lady who we set up the baptism date with. Well... near the end she told us she would be leaving to Venezuela the 4th of April!! (I think I told you she was from Peru last time... She's actually Ecuadorian but lived in Caracas, Venezuela.) Anyway, we were trying to figure out what to do. Because she said she wants to get baptized in Italy. At first she said she would this Saturday, but then she said she wanted to wait until she got back. which wouldn't be until next Feb! We knew we couldn't wait a YEAR! Then after talking to her more, she decided she felt like she wasn't ready, and was sure she wanted to wait until next Feb. We were so heart-broken.
We decided to fast and pray.Then the middle of yesterday she just called us randomly and said to set up an appointment with Anziano Kessler (our DL) because she wanted to get baptized this Saturday!! YAY!! Miracle!!! So we're working on that! and hopefully everything will work out so she can get baptized before she leaves!
Yesterday we had a new missionary training and it was AMAZING!! I love President and Sister Dibb! We learned so much! One thought from the training was "The Lord is hastening his work. Are we keeping pace?" That goes for missionaries and others! We can definitely see how his work is moving along. I'm so glad I can be a part of this work! It truly is amazing! 

Guess what?!?! (I completely forgot to tell you this the last 2 weeks...) Anziano (Elder) Bednar is coming to OUR MISSION April 27th!!!! We'll get to learn from him for 6 hours!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we'll be getting iPad minis! Woot! We don't know if it will be when he comes or a few months after. But apparently part of his training will be about iPads!
Well, I got to go! Have a great week! I don't know if this is in English too, but this Saturday there's a video coming out for Easter, Perche Egli Vive (or "Because he lives" in English). Hopefully you'll be able to watch it! It sounds amazing! We've been telling everyone about it!
Vi Voglio bene!!!
Sorella Dixon

Italian Salami

The recipe! (Thanks, Sorella Dixon)
She also said to refrigerate for 1 hour after shaping and putting in foil.
 I think we will use Oreos for our crushed cookies!!
And I will need to convert the measurements!

"PIZZA! :) My first actual pizza in Italy! Delicious :)"

"This is at the top of Marlene's apartment in the back.
                                          I thought it looked so Italian so I had to take pictures! :)"

"The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him.  More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children".

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Literally Feel at Home Here!

Caro Tutti!
Ciao! Come state? I hope everyone is doing well. My second week in Italy was pretty great! It's crazy how so much happens everyday! Some days are super slow in the afternoon and then we see miracles at night!

Thursday we had an amazing zone training about inviting others to baptism. It was so great because we were planning on inviting a few people to baptism at our next lesson! Thursday was also the first time we got lost in Italy!! Well not Sorella Nedelkov's first time, but mine! It was pretty fun being lost in the streets of Italy ;) Italy is beautiful! But it wasn't really bad because we saw a bus, and then Sorella Nedelkov somehow magically figured out where we were. So It's all good.   (Mom's note--this girl....)

Friday was a pretty slow day. We'll blame it on Friday the 13th. A bunch of appointments fell through. But It turned out better when we were able to talk to quite a few people on the metro. We have decided to split up and go in completely different doors when we're on the metro so we can talk to more people. That helps so much! One time I was talking to a girl and got off at our stop, but when I looked for Sorella Nedelkov she wasn't there! She was still on the metro looking for me! Thinking that I was still talking to someone! I tried to get her attention and she didn't look out the window until it started moving! So she left me for a little bit.... Had to go to the next stop and come back! It was pretty weird being without a companion! (Mom's note---this girl...)

Saturday night we visited the Marzanno family and they are just Bravissimi! They're actually just an older couple because all their kids have moved out and are married with kids. Fratello Marzanno is so nice and LOVES missionaries. He was converted and just loved his missionaries. He's like a grandpa here! He even took the bus with us and walked us all the way home to make sure we got home safely when we were done visiting them.

Sunday we had a miracle! We got a baptismal date with Marlene! She is this older lady from Peru who has been meeting with the missionaries for awhile. She wants to be baptized but has always been hesitant in setting a baptismal date. We fasted and prayed for her this week. On Sunday we called to set up an appointment at 11:30. Then about an hour earlier we called to see if a member could come. His name is Henry and he speaks Spanish. He said he could! When he got to Marlene's house he said that he woken up early this morning and thought about getting in the shower but then decided not to because it was Sunday and he could sleep in, but then he just decided he was going to. Right after he got out, we called! It was so great because he really explained the importance of having a baptismal date and Marlene could completely understand him because he speaks Spanish. Her date is April 25. We are really excited and happy for her!

Monday we had an awesome lesson with a member family set up, and guess what? They brought a nonmember friend! Yay! Referral and member present lesson! Their friend's name is Francesca. She is so great. We are planning on continuing to teach her. They are all from Ecuador. That was probably the best lesson for me, talking wise. I was actually able to talk to them a ton because I had some sort of connection! I was even able to show them pictures of when I was in Ecuador! It was so great! And then they fed us Ecuadorian food! Yay! so good :)
Then after we left their house we were waiting for a tram for ever... Sorella Nedelkov decided that we weren't going to take it, then at the last minute decided we could wait a little longer. Well, then after the tram we got on a bus and I was like, "let's sit across from that guy over there!" So, we did and started talking to him. He asked US if we were part of some Church thing and asked US to know more. We got off at the same bus stop, got his number, and he said he would call us to meet with him. well.... then Tuesday guess what? He actually called! You know you have someone special when they call YOU. He's from Peru and is living with a friend and her husband and child. So he set up a time when we can come talk to all of them! His name is Romolo. We also invited him to English class because he once he found out we were American he asked if we could help him with his English, and we said we actually have a class every Thursday night! So we're really excited to start teaching him and his friends.

Life in Milan is great. It's full of really tall apartment buildings, buses, metros, trams, and people! All sorts of people from all over the world! I've talked to lots of people from Peru, Egypt, Africa, some from Romania, England, and of course Italy. I am slooowly, but surely learning the language. That has probably been the hardest thing for me. But that's really all right now. I love the work and the things I'm learning. Milan is pretty much like a normal city. Drivers are crazy, but they always stop for us when we want to cross the street, so that's nice. Most people keep to themselves. No one greets other people here, so when we talk to someone they will ask if we know them. And then we say we don't we're just asking how they're doing, then they'll be friendly to us and talk our ears off! haha The kids are super cute! They'll even do the bacci (little kisses on the cheek) to us! Everyone does that here! Its so cute!

I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I literally feel at home here! I love it! I love the people, the places, even the little things like the plants hanging on all the balconies and the clothes drying out windows. Its amazing to see how our message changes people, even after a short lesson with them. I'm excited to see the gospel bless so many lives while I'm here!

Vi voglio un sacco di bene! 
Sorella Dixo

 "A pic of some restaurant. It was just so Italian looking. I loved it! 
With the vines and the part of the restaurant that comes out. :)"
"A cute little church!"

Sorella Dixon's big apartment

Looks pretty homey!

The hands on the wall are a "Group Hug" we sent to her before she left!!

Looks like she has a great kitchen to cook in! :)

"This is a wall with advertisements. I thought it was pretty cool. 
This is a guy putting them up, just over the other ones."

Last email I asked Sorella Dixon a bunch of questions that a Mom JUST has to know.
 Well, maybe others would like to know, too!! :)
 Here are the questions--here are the answers:

1. How was the flight? Did you sleep? How was the layover in Germany? hm.... not really.... the layover was super short. nothing too exciting. But german planes are NICE! 
2. Who is your companion? What part of Utah is she from?  (When the office elder called and left a message--I wasn't home--SNAP!!, he said her name, but we couldn't understand, and he couldn't remember what part of Utah she was from. :) Sister Nedelkov from Clinton :)
3. What were you first impressions of Italy? I don't even know! it is just like a city! ok, lots of SMALL cars! and the apartments sometimes look like they're stuck in the 70s haha. Some buildings remind me of Doctor Suess! colorful, sometimes weird shapes! It's great :)
4. How is the food? :) well, I haven't really had real Italian food yet. But sorella nedelkov and I make delicious food for lunch!
5. How is your apartment/flat? so big! Ill send pics! Its so nice!!
6. How is the language? hard. But I LOVE it!
7. How are the people? they love to talk. after you start talking to them. before that they don't say a THING! if you say hi they'll ask if we know each other! Some people will just ignore us.  But once you actually start talking they just go on forever!
8. How is your ward? so great! there are AMAZING members here!
9. How is the weather? good! last week it was so nice! this week there was a little rain. But I like rain. and everything is so pretty in the rain!
10. Did we prepare you with the right clothes? yep siree!
11. Are you riding a bike? nope
12. What have been the highlights? when the lessons we set up actually work out! eating gelato. the sun. little miracles.
13. What have been the stresses? communicating with people. getting over my fear of talking to people
14. What is your mission president like? Super Amazing! I can tell he will be really good!
15. Will your p-day always be on Wednesday? yep
16. Where do you email? What time? an internet point. Probably around this time mostly
17. Do you know how much we love and pray for you? :) I can only imagine :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Mission is a Life Changing Experience

Sorella Nedelkov, Sorella Dixon, Sister Dibb, President Dibb
March 2015

Dear Brother and Sister Dixon,

Sister Dibb and I are happy to report that your daughterSavanna Dixon, has arrived, received a warm Italy Milan Mission welcome, and been sent out to the field. Her first city of labor is Lampugnano and her companion is Sister Nedelkov.

My primary concern as mission president is the well-being of each missionary and to help them realize the purpose of a mission call, to “Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” (Preach My Gospel, page 1). I invite you to join me in that effort.  Through your prayers, encouraging letters and support of mission rules, you can help your missionary in this challenging but wonderful experience.

A mission is a life changing experience for both the missionary and those she teaches.  It requires faith, spirituality, discipline, obedience, physical stamina and great effort. Early in a missionary’s mission, the task ahead can seem overwhelming.  However, with persistent effort and faith in Jesus Christ, a new missionary can achieve great things and do all that is necessary to become a great servant of our Heavenly Father.  Throughout your missionary’s mission, but especially in these early months, I encourage you to write letters expressing your confidence in her and the inspired calling she has received.

Parents often have a variety of questions about mission life and policies. To help answer some of those we most frequently receive, I have attached some information that I hope will be helpful.  I encourage you to read it carefully and save it as a reference while your missionary is here with us in Italy.  I am also attaching a photograph of your missionary with Sister Dibb and me.

Thank you for all you have done to prepare this wonderful missionary to serve our Heavenly Father and the people of Italy. Please let us know if you have any concerns or if we can be of any help.

Un caro saluto,

Presidente Bruce L. Dibb

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm Officially Here!

Caro Famiglia e amici!
Ciao from ITALY!! Woot! I am officially here! I'm in Milano Lampugnano right now and my companion is Sorella Nedelkov. She is from Clinton, Utah. So whenever someone from the ward asks me where I'm from I say Utah, about 15-20 min away from Sorella Nedelkov. And then they say," Oh so you knew each other before?! You were in the same ward?" ....Well not exactly..... Utah has about a bazillion wards in between us... Our ward here is HUGE! We have a huge area and there are 6 missionaries serving in 1 ward. There are about 585 members, but only about 130 or so are active. So lots of missionary work to be done. 

Anyway, the first day was so great here. We got to go talk to people on the metro and around the Duomo, a huge cathedral that is very popular in Milan. Hopefully you got to see pictures of that from the mission blog.(**Mom's note---I will post the photos when we see them.)  A miracle that day was I was trying to tell this girl about the Book of Mormon and a lady could tell I was having a hard time, so she just came in and started telling the girl all about it.  After she explained it, I was like, "Have you read it?" and turns out she had, and had actually talked with the missionaries but was having a hard time with Laban and with Nephi killing him. An AP ended up talking to her and she will probably talk to the missionaries again. yay!
That night we ate at a restaurant and had delicious food !The lasagna was soo good! Then we had a testimony meeting with our group who came in. It was amazing. I am serving with amazing missionaries! 

The next day I got my trainer! Yay! Sorella Nedelkov has been here 7 months. This is her 6th transfer. She loves sports, camping, and hiking. She is so sweet and is great at talking to people. She has taught me so much already! We had a crazy first day going so many places and trying to talk to people. So we were at a bus stop and man was there who heard us say something in English and then he started talking to us in English. It was great because since it was my first day, I was pretty overwhelmed with everyone speaking Italian. We talked with him on the bus and at the bus stop we all got off. He had great questions about pre-earth life and where we are going after. We said a prayer with him and told him about church and English class that night. We couldn't set up an appointment with him. But he actually came to church on Sunday! He said he was out shopping and then remembered there was church! So he came at like 10:30. It was great! We got to talk to him there and he will probably talk with the anziani.(elders)  He said he plans on coming every Sunday! His name is Ermes. Another guy heard us speaking English later in the day and tried to speak a little English to us since he's learning it, and he ended up just coming with us to the church since we were doing English class that night. He said he's going to come every week, so that would be awesome. 

Goodness, there's so much to write about. I don't even know how to choose since there's not enough time for everything! There is this older lady that we visited named Giovanna. She is almost 70. She invited us to a birthday type of celebration for her on the 22nd. She is so sweet and loves the Sorelle. We visited her on Friday and then on Sunday she called us and specifically asked to talk to me! On the phone! AAH! First time talking to an Italian person on the phone! It was pretty hard to understand. ok, really hard. I had no idea what she was saying. I would just say si... or i don't know what. It took about 10 tries for me to understand this one question she was trying to ask me, but I finally got it! (**Mom's note--now I know why Sorella Dixon had such a determined mind and soul as a child and really, always,--it certainly is paying off now).

Italians love to talk. It's true.Sometimes too much. We can barely get a word in! 

The members are super nice here. I had a fun time on Sunday meeting everyone. I had a headache by the end because of trying to understand! But it was great. Fratello Butto is an older brother who is over family history and he has so much confidence in me. He says I'll be fluent in 3 months. We'll see... He's going to do a test he said! haha

Lydia is a member from the Philippines. There are a lot of Filipinos here. It's great because I can say my sister served there, and then we just go in a great conversation about the Philippines, and the typhoon there. That is always brought up. They are the nicest people. Lydia is soooo sweet and just fed us so much food! I felt bad eating all her food! But it was really good. She makes and sells food for a living. 

I actually haven't had a meal with Italians yet. But that's ok! I had gelato today and that was delicious! We went to the Duomo and the Galleria! My favorite store there: The BOOK store! Oh man it was amazing! We probably spent too much time there.... 

The work is truly hastening here! We taught a family the restoration on Sunday and the spirit was so strong. The whole family was just taking it in! 

Well I have to go! Thanks for your prayers and support!!
Vi vogio bene!
--Sorella Dixon

******Mom's note--Thank you, thank you to all who sent Sorella Dixon an email. She said she had several, and my heart is full of gratitude!! I hope you all are dumped on with lots of blessings for thinking of our sweet Savanna and taking the time to write to her. I know those emails from family and friends she loves so much will help her as she transitions into the life of a full-time servant of our very loving Heavenly Father.*****

"Best Book Store Ever"

"Real Italian Gelato"

Sorella Dixon and Sorella Nedelkov
"Celebrating Festa Delle Donne or Festival of the Women. With chocolate :)"
"Homemade pillowcases from Mom"
"Exchanges with Sorella Osborn"
Sorella Dixon and Sorella Nedelkov standing in front of the Duomo

"A cute little Italian street"

The Duomo

Stores in the Galleria
"I don't even know what most of these are..."

"Best Book Store Ever"

Sorella Dixon's 7 year old cousin sent Flat Stanley with her for a little visit to Italy. Here is his adventure in Sorella Dixon's words:
"He got to see colorful buildings because so many buildings are colored here.
He got to see little cars because everyone drives little cars here.
He got to see the Duomo, a HUGE cathedral in Milan that is very popular.
He got to go shopping in the Galleria, a huge mall with very high class stores.
and He got to eat real Italian gelato, his favorite I'm assuming :)"

Friday, March 6, 2015


Wednesday morning we received a phone call from Italy! Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we weren't home. Unfortunately because we didn't get to talk to the nice elder, assigned to the mission office, on the other end of the line, and fortunately because the answering machine took the call, and now we have the one-sided conversation recorded for posterity!  

It is exciting to get a phone call from someone in another country who knows and is excited to share the whereabouts of your sweet daughter. 

Here is what he shared with us:
1.  Sorella Dixon arrived in Italy safe and sound!
2.  She proselyted a lot that day and met and received instructions from her mission president.
3.  She had dinner.
4.  She met her trainer and was assigned her first area.
5.  We will hear from her on Wednesday, March 11--her
6.  She will be serving in Milano!! In one of the largest wards of the north half of the city.
7.  Her companion is from Utah, but he couldn't remember from what part.
8.  He thanked us for sharing her with the people of Italy and said she will be a great addition to the mission.

We are anxiously awaiting photos that will be posted on the mission's blog!! I may or may not check it 500 times a day!!
 In honor of Sorella Dixon's safe arrival, and because we miss her to the bone...and because the name seems to fit, I bought some cookies!! 

We will eat one or two for you, Sorella!!
Prayers and lots of love sent your way!!