Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From an Apostle's Visit to a Robbery...all in a Day's Work!

Cari Tutti!
This week was pretty exciting :)! The conference with Anziano Bednar was AMAZING!! Simply amazing. I learned so much and the spirit was so strong. He truly is an apostle of God. He started out the conference saying, "Today is not about Ipads" and then just wanted us to give our thoughts and reactions to that. Then he based the rest of the conference off of what was said pretty much. And even though iPads were mentioned, it really wasn't about the iPads. It was about us. Who we are and who we are becoming. It was about being a disciple of Jesus Christ and always staying strong in the gospel. It was about understanding and agency. It was about teaching with the spirit and learning from the spirit. It was about going from a full-time missionary to a life-long missionary after our missions. My brain was seriously spinning will all the insights and thoughts I was having. I really felt like Lehi and wanted to cast myself on the bed because I was overcome with the spirit. The most powerful part- when Anziano Bednar bore his testimony at the end and bore witness of Christ, the restored gospel, and Joseph Smith. Being in the same room as an apostle, just a few rows from him as he bore his testimony, is truly an amazing experience I will never forget. 

One of my favorite quotes that he said was "If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten." How true is that? I love it. I also love how this is a gospel of change, and we really can change and get different results and become different and better people by choosing to be. We can also use different tools and ways for missionary work. Like technology! So even though it wasn't about iPads, we still talked about them. We learned a lot about technology and how to use it effectively and for missionary work. We will each be getting our own iPad in about 2 weeks! Pretty much just whenever they get here! President and Sister Dibb are excited about it. They gave us apples as we left. The kind you eat :) 

Getting "Apples" from the Mission President

They also talked about different things that the church will be doing with technology. It's amazing how much the work can hasten through technology! One thing they will be doing is training people, online, the day after they get their call. There will be trainers online to teach the language and other materials so missionaries will have a head start when they enter the MTC. How neat is that? And who will be the trainers? US!! When we return! I will be able to continue the work and teach new missionaries when I go home! We talked about blessings of iPads, and how to stay a disciple with the iPad. It was a great training. 

"Conference with Elder Bednar. There wasn't time for photos
with him, because he was on his way to Rome."

"This is how close we were"
A room full of missionaries!
So after the conference Sorella Nedelkov and I returned to Lampugnano and started to go to work! We were able to talk to lots of people and see miracles! We had a FHE with a family that went really well then we went home. We were having a great conversation about the conference that day and other insights we were still having about it. We walked in our house and we both noticed our closet door open at the end of the hall. I asked her if she had swept or something, and she was wondering if I left it open. Then I looked to my right and the door to our balcony was open and our tapereli was up about 2 feet. (the tapereli is a metal thing over the windows for security that you can lift and lower from inside the house). We were both kind of in shock. Someone had been in our house!!
"How the closet door looked when we walked in"
"Our broken door"
"The open door and tapereli up"

 We always close the tapereli to every window before we leave, and this time was no different. We both went immediately to our passports and amazingly they were both there. But all of our stuff was everywhere. It was just what people say or what you see in movies when someone is robbed! Stuff everywhere, drawers opened, cupboards opened, etc. Crazy stuff. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And of course it was the ONLY day that Sorella Nedelkov left her wallet at home. We came home from the conference and just took everything out of our bags, but she forgot to put that back in. So her Mission debit card and metro pass were taken. Luckily not her personal card or permesso di soggiorno. And her jacket was taken. We called President Dibb, and now we're staying at the apartment above the mission office. Which is super nice. But it's about an hour metro ride back to our area. Or a four hour bus ride. We figured that one out yesterday when we got to the metro station and it was CLOSED because there was a sciopero. Or strike. Those are actually really common here... but usually it just means the metros just don't come as often. This time it was closed. So we had to take buses. and 4 hours later we were home! We had lots of time to talk to people though!  We'll be staying there for a few days until they get the window/door fixed. 

A pretty disappointing sight to two sister missionaries to see the
Metro closed for the day.

This meant a 4 hour bus ride home...
Quite the experience! It's actually really neat though because we've gotten to know the office elders pretty well as well as President and Sister Dibb! This morning they took us to the metro because they were headed that way and we got to talk with them for quite a while in the car! They are amazing people :)
So things are pretty exciting here :) We truly are protected and watched over though. So many little miracles occurred with the conference and with the robbery. We know God's hand is in our lives! 

Well, have a great week!
Vi Voglio Bene!
Sorella Dixon

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"I Want a Sack of Good for You"

Cari Famiglia e amici,
Buongiorno! I hope everyone had a great week! Last week was transfers and we got two new elders in our district. Anziano Orso and Anziano Benge. This is Anz Orso's last transfer and Anz Benge's first! So I'm not the youngest anymore! I can tell its going to be a great transfer. Anz Orso is our district leader and he is on fire! He is definitely a hard working missionary and I can tell he wants to end his mission well. Its amazing the difference you can feel between different leaders. I'm glad I'll be here this transfer to really get the ward involved with missionary work. That's probably one of our biggest struggles-getting the ward motivated to do missionary work. To bring friends, to come to lessons, to fellowship investigators and new converts, etc. One thing you definitely learn on a mission is the importance of members. It just helps me realize the kind of member I want to be when I get home so I can help keep this work moving. 

On Friday Sorella Nedelkov and I had a great meal at the Bishop's home. We haven't really talked a lot with the bishop before this so it was nice to get to know him and know his thoughts on missionary work. He also expressed to us his vision for the ward, but really needs help getting the members to see that vision. He is a great Bishop and we had a great time with his family.
Saturday we had a lesson with Elda. She is a lady who we met at the bus stop after Gloria's lesson and who just started talking to us! She had a Book of Mormon, but lost it. Got another Book of Mormon from Elders, lost it again! And now has one from us. She is from Milano, suuuuuper sweet,and has a pretty rough life. Her husband left her for another woman younger than their daughter and she has some sort of leg problem that makes it hard to walk. But she is such an example of strength and endurance because she still walks everywhere even if its "piano piano" or little by little. And she is always smiling! I just love her already! We had another lesson with her on Monday and she is loving everything we have taught her.

On Monday on our way to visit her we were riding the bus and I started to talk to this lady who had a baby. She is from Ecuador and had 2 kids. We just talked the WHOLE bus ride--WAY past Elda's stop!--and I taught her the restoration. It's amazing, when you recite the first vision to someone, they really can't unlock eye contact with you. They always feel something. The only issue was she wouldn't give me her phone number because she had NO time to see us... she works everyday and when she's not working she's travelling to pick up her kids or drop them off places. Bummer. That's actually a HUGE dilemma here. Everyone is ALWAYS working and can never see us. And they don't come to church because of work. It also makes it hard to get a hold of them because they don't answer the phone when they're working. But anyway I know that someday she'll find the church. And she'll be able to learn from missionaries at the right time. She was an amazing person. 

While I was talking with her, Sorella Nedelkov was behind me talking to another lady and taught her about the restoration. She wasn't really interested in learning more, but she still gave her a pass along card. Then the guy across from her asked her if she had another pass along card! He had been listening to the whole thing. That was a miracle bus ride. We were late to Elda's lesson because we went WAY past her bus stop, but it was ok because we had amazing experiences on the bus. It was kind of funny because that morning in District meeting Anz Orso talked about that and said if you're having a good spiritual conversation with someone on the bus, don't get off. Keep talking. If you're late, the person will understand if you explain why. So we did exactly what he said and it was so worth it!
Also on Monday we were riding a bus and got off the same time a lady got off who had just gone shopping. She walked for a little bit and put her bags down and it looked like she was having a hard time carrying them, so we offered to help her! She was so grateful and actually let us carry them for her! Most of the time when we offer our help to people they refuse. So we talked with her as we carried her bags and ended up having a lesson with her and set up another appointment for this Friday. So we hope and pray we'll actually be able to see her! She's from Ecuador too. I love having that small connection when I find out they are from Ecuador :)  (Mom's note:  SHOUT OUT TO LENA!!! LOVE YOU LENA)

Sunday was a great day! I saw the Georges, which was super great!  People I know from Home! So that was fun to get to talk to them!(***Mom's note: the George's are friends of Sorella Dixon and our family.)

Sorella Dixon with the Georges.

" I saw them(referring to the Georges) and I just thought "HOME!!! Someone from HOME!!!" haha I just wanted to keep talking and talking, but I knew I couldn't. :) But yes, they delivered a package!! Thank you SO Much!!! I LOVE it!! Peanut butter! YES! :D Grazie mille!"
(The George's were so very kind to deliver a package for us to Sorella Dixon--she wanted peanut butter!! :))

 Then Sorella Nedelkov and I went to lunch at a member's home but whose parents aren't members. His name is Moreno. He actually joined at 18 or 19 and served a mission in Manchester. He is super great and wants to slowly get his parents to church. The missionaries haven't been over there in a LONG time, so we went to his house for lunch and got to know his parents. They are so nice! And I think they like us :) They said "Alla Prossima" or "To the next time" pretty much. So they'll let us come back again :) After lunch Moreno took us around Rho, the little town they live in. Its outside of Milano but still in our area and missionaries haven't really been there in awhile. This was such an answer to our prayers! We have been trying to find new simps but have been having a hard time! But we feel like we need to start working in Rho and possibly other little towns around it! He showed us great finding places at parks and different buildings. It was such a blessing!
Things are always great here. It's great to remember that I'm walking along the streets of Italy! I love everything here! We always have great conversations with people from all over the world, which is amazing. I am understanding more and more everyday! I just love the Italian language!

Next Monday we'll get to sit at an apostle's feet (Elder Bednar) and hear inspired words just for this mission. It will be so amazing. The whole mission is so excited. It will be great to tell you all about it next week! 

Vi voglio un sacco di bene!  or Love you bunches! (ok the actual translation is I want a sack of good for you :) 

Sorella Dixon

 "There's an EXPO here that is huge! Its starting the beginning of May and there are signs all over for it! So I had to take a picture with one. I don't exactly know what it is... but its something with food from a bunch of countries all over the world. President Obama is coming for it."

"I love all the bikes here"

"Sometimes the art on the walls is actually really cool;)"

"A train station! I got to ride on my first train! Well for like 5 minutes".

"This what the mailboxes look like that are found on the side of roads.
 A little different than the blues ones we are used to."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We are Trying to be Consecrated Missionaries

Cari Famiglia e Amici!
Buongiorno! I hope you all had a great week! This week was just FULL of miracles! Too many to tell you! First off, last Thursday we had a zone training and that was amazing. As usual. and then after we had scambio! (or exchange). My first one! It was with Sorella Curtis from West Valley, Utah. She leaves in July. She is a SYL(Sister training leader) and super sweet. She actually knew Elder Dixon(Savanna's cousin who is serving in Spain) from EFY a few years ago. It was weird to talk to someone who knows someone I know from home! I learned so much from her and we had a great scambio. She is so happy all the time and we saw so many little miracles! One was on the first metro we got on. We started talking to the first lady we saw and she ended up becoming a new investigator. Wow! All within 15 minutes of starting our scambio. We had a great time serving in Navigli. This scambio came at the perfect time for Sorella Nedelkov and me. We both learned so much and are rejuvenated to do missionary work!

On Friday after we got back with our companions, Sorella Nedelkov and tried to do some pass-bys. But they weren't home. So we decided to try to see a less active family we have visited a few times. We got on the bus and saw the cutest family. The little boy would wave to me when I smiled at him. We wanted to talk to the mom but she got 2 or 3 phone calls. FINALLY she got off the phone and Sorella Nedelkov started talking to her. I wasn't in the right spot to talk to her too, so I started talking to the little boy. They were just so cute! Hopefully we'll be able to see them again. After they got off we were talking about them and then realized that we didn't really know where we were going! We went WAY past our stop since we were talking to them. So we just decided to stay on until the end of the line. After  a few stops another family got on, and I started talking to them. We invited them to the English class we have on Thursdays and they were super interested. We are hoping they will come! Amazing! 2 families on one bus! This bus is a miracle bus. We need to ride it more often. Its actually the same one we found Romolo on! Who is still doing awesome! The Anziani are teaching him and he is progressing really well.! They say to dig where the gold is. :) I think this bus brings people who are prepared for the gospel!

Its so interesting how some days are FULL of miracles and some days hardly anything happens... Like Saturday. It was a hard day. We tried to visit several people who weren't home. and we ended up waiting for buses and metros for quite some time. They were slower than usual. Some days are just slow, but Sunday made up for it because too many things happened to count!

First off in church a lady named Francesca came in. She actually grew up in the church but hadn't been there for awhile. She's from New York but when she came to Italy as a model she got married and has lived here ever since. She had 3 kids and is Christian. She loves the Bible and is a faithful church attender. Just in different churches. She feels though that she should return to this church now. We're going to work with her and her family. Her kids are actually all members and her husband. They just never come to church. Also a lady and her 2 little girls just randomly walked in the church. They speak English and the Italians had no idea what to do with them. She just came in and asked if there was  place she could pray. We brought her in the gospel principles class where we were talking about prophets. She loved it! We are going to teach her more! She is so cute!

After church we visited a member, Rita Dal Zotto, and had lunch with her.  She is so amazing. She loves genealogy. She lives in a little town outside of Milano. So it took us almost an hour to get there. But its ok because we got to go past a canal and see the country side a little bit! I love it! There was a bike path and so many people were out riding their bikes. I hope someday I can be in a biking area! :) We are trying to visit a lot of members because when we call them they ask "you want to visit ME?" and we're like YES! of course! She wants to start a family history thing at the library by her house and then will have us teach the people who she becomes friends with through that. We saw her last night at the church because we were there for FHE and she was there for family history stuff and she was just so happy to see us! 

Later that day we were able to visit other people and talk to other people on the street. Other small miracles that I'll have to tell you about another day. But that night as we were waiting for the bus we were trying to remember all the great things that happened that day. We couldn't believe how blessed we were. We got on the bus and were sitting there. Then these guys got on and sat at the back of the bus kind of behind us. And they just smelled of cigarettes and alcohol.. We felt to move to different seats at the front of the bus. There was only one other guy on the bus besides the ones in the back. He was in a seat in front of us. At a stop he moved past us and I thought he got off. Sorella Nedelkov looked back and said, "Phew he didn't get off!" She didn't want to be alone with the men at the back of the bus. I was like, that's weird. Why did he just move seats? Then he came up to us and asked if we were associated with the guys with tags, white shirts, and ties. And we said yes! Then we had a great conversation with him! He said he was atheist and that he lost his grandma when he was 13. We taught him about the plan of salvation and gave him a pamphlet. He was  interested and we were able to pray with him and got his number. We are going to see him again this week! As we were leaving he even told us he doesn't smoke or drink or anything. Wow. That's great! It's amazing how God puts people right in our path who are prepared! 
That also happened yesterday as we came up to a bus stop. Another lady just started talking to us and wants to meet with us! I know this is God's work and He truly loves His children. We are trying to be consecrated missionaries to prepare for Anziano Bednar and we can see the miracles because of that. I love it!

Well I hope you have a great week! I will be staying here for another transfer with Sorella Nedelkov! We love it here! I can't believe a whole transfer has already gone by here! We're not the youngest batch anymore!

Vi Voglio un mondo di bene! 
Sorella Dixon

Other small tidbits about Italy:
Pizza delivery cars are actually pizza delivery motorcycles with a box on the back.
There are just about as many men's fashion stores as there are women's
Sometimes accordion and trumpet players will just get on the metro and play. And they are good! I love it!
To say sweet dreams say "Sogni d'oro!" which actually means "dreams of gold!"

Zone Training
Zone Training

Zone Training

"This is called the Bone Church.
YES, those are real bones".

This is the description of the Bone Chapel. 

"The church of medieval origin stands on the site of an ancient cemetery, which occupied the Garden known as the Brolo. Rebuilt several times (it was destroyed by the collapse of
The old bell tower of Santo Stefano in 1642 and by fire in 1712), the building, designed by
Carol Gineseppe Merlo, was finished in 1754. It has a central floor plan and dome with
Elliptical oculi. The imposing octagonal lantern dominates the square. An atrium leads
 To the Ossuary Chapel, a square chamber with frescoed ceiling whose very architectural
Detail is clad in human bones. Reconstructed in the late 17th century to the original medievalDesign, the chapel has its own front, built in 1776, which faces onto the narrow Vivolo di SanBernardino, formerly known as Dead Man’s Alley (a reminder of the cemetery that once occupied the site)."

Exchanges. Sorella Dixon served with the other blonde Sorella--
who knows her cousin, Elder Dixon, serving in Spain.

A glimpse at the Metro

Going so fast, it's a blur! :)

This looks cleaner than I imagined.

Sorella Dixon's District
The elders are from Arbania, Oregon, California and Colorado.
"This is Patricia! She is the one from Ecuador! She is actually in Utah right now for a work conference.
 She was so nervous to travel! But she'll love it! She's going to the Salt Lake Temple too!"

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nourish and Encourage ALL Light...and an Italian haircut!! :)

Cari Tutti!
Buongiorno! And Buona Pasqua! I hope everyone had a great Easter! We did here! We even tried dying eggs for Easter so we could celebrate it a little how we celebrate it at home! Here they have big chocolate eggs and a sweet bread, kind of like cake, called Colomba that everyone buys. We got to try both. Pretty fun. Saturday before Easter we had lunch with a lady from Peru. She made us Sebiche (who knows how that's spelled...) but it's this fish dish with octopus! I thought it was actually pretty good. Maybe a little rubbery... but not bad! haha We also had rice and potatoes. Then on Monday we ate with Giovanna and Gaia and had pasta and pasta sfolglia!! Delicious! Quite the different dishes! Easter day was so great because we got to enjoy conference! General Conference was AMAZING! I loved every second of it! I could go on and on about what I liked about it, but I just want to mention one quote that stood out to me. "Nourish and encourage ALL light". I love this. We are all at different stages in the gospel and have different levels of spiritual light. Yet, that's ok. No matter who we are we can help others grow spiritually so their light can grow. And by doing that our own spiritual light will grow. I loved all the talks about the Savior and the Atonement. I know the Atonement is REAL and Christ is ALWAYS there. If there's one thing I've learned more about than anything else on my mission it's about the Atonement. I love it.

Last Wednesday we visited Lydia, the member from the Philippines, again. She is so adorable! I just love her! She told us how she came to join the church and it was a beautiful story. She grew up with 10 kids in the house and they all had chores. Her father was a soldier and was pretty strict, but sometimes she would sneak out to go across the street and up a hill in the trees. It was her favorite spot. She loved to sit there and eat fruit. Sometimes she would get caught as she came back and would have to do wall sits. As she got older and ended high school she worked with her aunt and sold things in the market. They had a pretty good business and they needed driver to drive all of their bags there. Eventually she married the driver. His name is Romeo and he's super nice. He's not a member, so we're trying to work with him. Anyway her brother eventually joined the church and she would have debates with him about it. It wasn't until years later after she had kids in school that she actually talked to the missionaries and asked what they were teaching. She was baptized and was eventually able to go to the temple. She wanted to go to the temple but didn't have the money. But then her daughter came to her and gave her the money she had been saving from her allowance. She said as she was riding to the temple they passed her old home from her childhood! But it was different because across the street there were new big houses. As they drove a little more she looked up the hill where she used to sneak off to and there in her favorite place was the temple! 
Beautiful! I just LOVE it! I get chills every time I write this story! Heavenly Father just knows us so perfectly and individually!

Last week was our 21 lesson week. President Dibb challenges all the new missionaries and their trainers to have 21 lessons one week in the first transfer, and we were able to do it! It was definitely with help though. We had 20 lessons by Sunday morning, so we just needed one more. Sunday was Easter so quite of bit of the day was spent watching general conference. It was also rainy, so it was kind of hard to talk to people when no one was outside... But when we went to get on the metro, Sorella Nedelkov couldn't get her card out to scan. We could hear the Metro below coming but she couldn't get it out. Finally she got it out, scanned it, and we missed the Metro. Since it was a Sunday and a holiday the public transportation isn't as regular, so we had to wait 15 minutes. There was no one on the platform to talk to... But! Eventually a girl came and sat kind of by us and we started talking to her! She was super nice and we were able to pray with her! it was so great! Miracle! and we got the last lesson we needed! We're hoping we can continue to teach her!
Well I need to go soon! Sorry if this one was a little shorter... The work is great here! We're excited for and preparing for our conference with Anziano Bednar that is coming up!! 

Vi Voglio bene!
Sorella Dixon
Just some fun tidbits about Italy! Well at least about Milano:

-There are tons of lizards around. In the city!
-Everyone has a little dog. Everyone. And they all have little coats or sweaters. Kind of funny.
-I saw a mailman who was delivering mail on a motorcycle
-Sometimes people just park in the middle of the road if there's no room on the side.
-Tons of people ride bikes and I love it! 
-There is graffiti everywhere.
-Pretty much every balcony has plants or vines! 
-Cars are tiny here! Especially the fire trucks! Someday I will get pictures of those!
-Streets are crazy here! We were on a bus and there were about 5 different streets going into this one intersection, but they have barely any lights and definitely no lines... so I have no idea how there are never accidents! We have to cross 3 streets sometimes to get to the other side. And instead of just watching for cars, there's also watching for trams, because there are tram tracks along those streets too! crazy!
-Carpet just isn't a thing here.
-Pretty much everyone smokes.
-There are people from all over! Sometimes we'll start a conversation with someone from Sri Lanka or something and then in the middle of the conversation they'll realize we're American and start speaking English with us because its easier for them.
-For pharmacies they have a green cross instead of a red cross
-We always hear ambulances. But apparently they aren't just for emergencies. Because they're free, so I guess people call them all the time.

Cute Sisters!

The Castle at Cardona

"An arch that I don't remember the name of"

Happy Easter

Traditions from home

Sister and Elder 


"Chocolate eggs that everyone buys"

It's rainy a lot!

Looks yummy!

"Sometimes I just like cool old walls and colorful buildings"

"This is Marlene. She is in Venezuela now."

"This is my lovely haircut.... DISASTER the first time! And then I got it fixed this morning! Phew! Scariest thing of my life last week! haha so...its quite a bit shorter than I was expecting... good thing I have a year and a half to grow it out! and ALL of my split ends are gone! :)