Thursday, February 25, 2016

Helena is Set for Baptism on Saturday!

Cari tutti!

Hello from beautiful Bologna! The weather is getting warmer so it has
been nice. Although occasionally there is rain. And it's still pretty humid.

This week was a great week! It was actually full of conferences. On
Friday we had a zone conference in Mestre and it was so great! We
really learned how to become master teachers. Also, Sorella Albos and
I had the opportunity to lead a discussion about the mission broadcast
we saw a few weeks ago. In it Anziano Bednar had a portion where he
lead a discussion about the spirit with missionaries. So we were able
to follow his format. The missionaries were really good about
commenting and their thoughts and experiences. It was really good. I
learned so much from them. I also learned a lot about the spirit. He
truly is the teacher and when we come with an open heart and an open
mind he can teach us so much. In this zone conference we talked a lot
about repentance. Someone said "Repentance is change and joy". I also
really liked "We don't become what we don't think about".
Train Ride

"This was once an old barn. Now it's a church."
Then Sunday was stake conference and that was amazing :) It was in
Mestre again and Helena was able to come! A few members gave her a
ride and she loved it!! It was so neat because after the conference
they had a little meeting with new converts and friends of the church
where people got to share their conversion story. Hearing how people
found the gospel and the blessings they have received from the gospel
was so powerful. I love how most of them talked about the PEACE they
felt in their lives from the gospel. Incredible. And seeing their
strength and example now as members is amazing.

"A ride to stake conference with our ward mission leader and wife"

Stake conference

President Dibb shared a great story with us about missionary work.
There was a stake president in Italy who had a friend he wanted to
share the gospel with. He was weighing between risking his friendship
or not taking the opportunity to help his friend gain eternal life. So
he decided to invite his friend to church. When he did his friend
declined and went home and told his wife how we was invited to go to
church. And then she, "Well, if he's your friend, why don't you go?" So
he and his wife went to church with the member friend. Then as the
stake president was telling the story he said, "And now today, that
friend is my bishop."
Incredible huh? Sometimes we can get scared to share the gospel, but
fear is not from the spirit. If we have faith in Christ, we don't need
to fear. God loves our friends just as much and more than we do, and
He has a plan for them.
"I like this photo because President Dibb is laughing"

Yesterday we went to another zone conference in Rimini and it was just
as great :) I just love being with missionaries! This time when we did
the discussion it was completely different than the one we did in
Mestre. I think that's why I loved doing these discussions. We were
able to completely follow the spirit and talk about things according
to the needs of each group. The others were able to say the things
they were feeling in their hearts at that time and really learn from
the spirit.

In between all these conferences we still were able to see lots of
people, so that's good :)

Helena is doing great and is all set for her baptism this Saturday! :D
It will be amazing! Feb 27th- the perfect day, Happy Birthday Mom! :D

We were able to see one of the Stirbu's cousin on Saturday. So when we
go to this house there's the mom who doesn't speak Italian at all...
so we usually have to rely on someone to translate. So one time it was
this son that we had met but hadn't really gotten to know or teach.
He's usualy the one there in the background who's not really
interested or doesn't say anything. So we start teaching him the
restoration, he was just translating for the Mom, but then as we got
more into the lesson he was really into it and interested. As we gave
him the Book of Mormon and explained it he was really reading the
words and trying to understand. And then he agreed to praying at the
end. It was so neat! He also has a wife and 2 kids! The wife came home
just as we were leaving, but we ended up seeing her a different day,
and she really opened up to us. So I'm excited to keep teaching them!
Their names are David and Anna Maria :)

Well. I hope everyone has a great and last week of February! :D
Vi voglio bene!!! :D

Sorella Dixon

""Carnivale with our Bishop"

There's always "good food "pictures!

"Just a cute street"

"Valentine's package from home"

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

For My Yoke is Easy, and my Burden is Light

Cari Tutti!
Buongiorno tutti! Come state? Sorella Albos and I are doing great in Bologna! We love it and the work is just on fire! This last week was so busy and so full of miracles!

So Thursday when we saw Gilda we brought Sorella Whiting. And this time Gilda was home! yay! So we were able to have a great lesson with her. Sorella Whiting served her mission in Romania so she speaks Romanian and they made a great connection. Sorella Whiting is willing to help us out and read the Book of Mormon with Gilda. So hopefully this will help Gilda really gain a testimony. Sorella Whiting and her husband are here for school, and they love missionary work. We actually had a lunch with her this week and we got to talk about all of our investigators with her and she wants to help us out so much. She said that part of the reason coming to Italy was in the hopes that she would be able to help out because she knew that a lot of Romanians come to Italy. And now we are getting soo many Romanian investigators... so it's perfect! God just plans everything out so perfectly. 

On Friday and Saturday we were able to do a scambio with Sorella Osborn and Sorella Yonk from Rimini. They came here, and it was so great! I got to work with Sorella Osborn and it was so fun being with her since she is from my MTC district! Sorella Yonk was so happy to be back in Bologna since she served here a few transfers ago. She was able to see Chiara with Sorella Albos and I think that was exactly what Chiara needed. They said she really felt the spirit and really really wants to find the truth for herself. She has a tough situation because her husband doesn't like her to come to our church because they are veeeery catholic. So she doesn't want to cause contention in the house because every time she brings up the church it turns into an argument. She is such a great person though and really wants to follow God's plan for her. She has sooo much faith. So we are praying for her husband's heart to be softened.

On Sunday after church we traveled home with Helena because she has now invited us over to her house for lunch after church every Sunday :) We were at a bus stop and Sorella Albos and I were talking about the week and making sure we both knew about the appointments that we had since we were talking to a lot of people in church, and so Helena just decided to talk to the people there! Haha she wants to be a missionary so bad! We are trying to teach her how to talk to people because she just taaaaaalks so much haha!  But she really is good at talking to people on the bus and has asked us for pass along cards and stuff to give to people, so it's great :)

That evening we went to try to find the house of Corina and Ovidio's cousin and we actually found it! So now we have more Romanians to teach! It was actually a lady who is the mother of 9 children and there were 3 of her children there. They are all in their 20s or 30s. She doesn't speak Italian but one of the sons speaks really well and was able to translate everything for us. It was really good. Rhe mom is very religious.   Before them we were trying to figure out the appointments we would have the next day since we had another scambio so we needed double the appointments and nothing was working out. Well, after we leave their house and look at our phone we saw that we had a couple of missed calls and a text and it was the Palmieri's family inviting us over for an FHE with Helena! So that was perfect! When we told Helena she was super happy. It was so nice of them to think to do an FHE with her :)

So Monday and Tuesday we had a scambio with the Ravenna sorelle-- Sorella Snow and Sorella Arbon. I got to be with Sorella Arbon, and she is in her second transfer. So cute! It remineded me of when I did my first couple of scambi as a greenie :) I just love being with new missionaries. They can't speak that well, but they sure are full of the spirit. Everything she said in the lessons we had was so powerful. Simple, but full of the spirit. It reminded me to be simple in my testimony and say short powerful statements. We were able to do a lot of work and saw a lot of miracles! We were even able to squeeze in doing casa just so she could experience that. haha And it sure was a typical evening of casa where there are a few people who were nice and listened for a little bit but most people weren't interested.

Oh another little miracle this week was on Saturday and SundaySaturday night we had an activity with the ward for Carnevale. A girl named Bruna came with her uncle who is a member. She came to a talent show we had a few weeks ago and loved it. This time she brought her friend Ylenia. They are 15 and 12 and... Italian. Marilia, a young woman leader, invited them to church the next day and they came!! And they loved it! We were actually able to teach the Sunday School class since their teacher wasn't there, so we just combined them all with gospel principles and it was a great lesson! They made great comments and don't seem like they are 12 or 15 at all. We should be seeing them this week again so we'll be able to explain everything more!

This week I've been thinking a lot about Christ and the Atonement. Mainly this scripture:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I know that Christ does carry us. His way is the easy way. As we take His yoke upon us he will give us rest and lighten our burdens. As I was studying more about this I found this quote:

"Because of His atoning experience in mortality, our Savior is able to comfort, heal, and strengthen all men and women everywhere, but I believe He does so only for those who seek Him and ask for His help. The Apostle James taught, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10). We qualify for that blessing when we believe in Him and pray for His help" -Anziano Oaks

Pray for the Savior to comfort you, heal you, and strengthen you. And then LET Him. The Atonement is something we need everyday. I know that Christ truly strengthens me in my work. I wouldn't be able to do it without Him. 

Have an amazing week!
Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Dixon

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Amore e

Cari Tutti!

I hope everyone had a great week! As you know last week was transfers and Sorella Albos came here to serve with me! Thursday was great because they changed how we do transfers so she was able to come that morning and we had a full day to work pretty much! I've only been with her for about a week but I can already tell this is going to be an AMAZING transfer! She is such a great missionary! I've already learned so much from her! She is such a great teacher and is so in tune with the spirit! She is a hard worker and we've been able to get so much done already! She is in her 11th transfer so she'll be going home in April. She is from Caizon City. It's neat because she worked for the church before the mission and wrote articles for the Liahona in the Philippines. She loves to interview people and write about their lives. 

Anyway on Thursday we had a neat experience with a woman named Lilia. So a couple of weeks ago Sorella Russell and I talked to a woman on the bus who is from Moldova and had only been here for a few months. Once she figured out where we were from she said she has a sister in law who needs help learning English so we gave her our information and said we would love to help out! The NEXT day her sister in law, Lilia, called. We weren't able to see her until last Thursday, so when we saw her with Sorella Albos it was the first time we saw her. We just met her in the church and helped her with English and then at the end we asked if we could share a spiritual thought and then we had such an amazing little lesson about God and families! She shared such amazing personal experiences and LOVED the video we showed. The spirit was so strong. We were able to see her again yesterday and we talked about God's plan for us and how we would be able to live with our families again someday and she loved it since her grandma passed away a little while ago and she was super close to her. But she always felt like she was there. She is so sweet and I'm excited to keep seeing her!

Friday we saw a less-active named Luisa. She shared with us how she loves the church and the programs it has but she became less active when she had a really hard trial in her life. She told us that she never really gained a testimony of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. The worldwide missionary broadcast a couple of weeks ago was about "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts" and this just showed just HOW important it is to make sure people gain that testimony. So they can stay strong even during the hard times. Hopefully we'll be able to come to love the Book of Mormon and really gain a testimony of it's truthfulness and of Joseph Smith as a prophet.
Sorella Albos also met Helena for the first time! yay! And it was great! There was also an activity in church that we all went to and she had a great time :) Since she studies SO much she asked us for exercises and stuff to go along with the Book of Mormon, so we gave her a manual for the Sunday School class about the Book of Mormon and so far she really likes it. On Sunday there was a baptism after church so she got to stay for that and really liked it :) She's so excited for her baptism! It will be on the 27th of February! (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM)  
(Mom's note: Seems like the perfect birthday present for sure!!:))

On Saturday when we saw Corina she said she WOULD come to church. She said even if Ovidio didn't come she would get up and bring Romina. So we were pretty excited. And then she slept in.... But since we had a baptism and a luncheon after church we still invited her to come for that! And she got there at the very end when only  a few people remained.... haha but at least she got to see the church and meet a few members! And she loved it and everyone was so nice to her! So now she knows how to get there and everything so hopefully it will be easier for her to come. 
At the luncheon Sunday there were actually quite a few nonmembers who came to the baptism, so that was so neat! I talked to a lady, Miriam, and her daughter, Asia. And they were so nice. They really liked the baptism and being there in the church. They even took a Book of Mormon. So that was a neat little miracle :)

Monday Sorella Albos and I went to Milano for a missionary counsel and it was at the Lampugnano church!! I got to go back!! It was so great!! And it seemed like I served there just last week. I loved riding the metros again and seeing the church :) I just love Milano! 

This week since it's Valentine's day on Sunday, I've been thinking about love and what it really means. Being on a mission I've been able to see all types of acts of love and understand a little more of what love really is. I've been able to understand how it's such an unselfish thing. It requires time, sacrifice, thought, ad prayer. I've thought throughout my mission of acts of love I've seen or heard about. Here are a few little and major acts of love that have come throughout my mission. I hope by reading these you can think about the love that has been shown to you and how you can show love to others.  

Love is:
-Adopting a teenager child so they can have a normal family who loves them
-Supporting your parents who adopted the teenager
-Praying for a wayward older sibling
-Coming home dead tired and helping the wife with dinner
-Making funny faces to your baby on the bus and not caring who sees you
-Helping the old lady you don't know off the bus
-Taking your grandchild to school because your child has to work
-Holding a child so she stays warm in the cold house
-Doing laundry week after week for the wife while she's at work
-Going out of your way to pick someone up for church
-Writing a little note of gratitude or encouragement and hiding it to be found later
-Calling someone unexpectedly who needs to hear from you
-Staying up til 3 am with your sister who just lost her child
-Visiting your mom everyday who is in the hospital
-Sacrificing your time to take care of your parents who aren't able to take care of themselves
-Staying with someone so they don't have nightmares
-Rubbing your sisters back at night to calm her down 
-Going to the doctor with someone and waiting hours or possibly days with them
-Waiting years before being able to see a dear one
-Being the ear a friend can talk and complain to
-Helping a friends kids with homework without expecting anything in return
-Having the desire to forgive someone who hurt you 
-Caring for a disabled sibling
-Singing for someone who loves the hymns
-Listening to someone's life story 
-Leaving your kids little notes in the morning before going to work
-Tending a child when the mom unexpectedly has to go to work
-Showing appreciation for those who were there for you in a hard time 
-Limping home with your sons hand in one hand and a bag of groceries in another all the while carrying your sleeping child on your back
-Being locked in your home with no job and a broken foot, being called crazy and discriminated because of your race all because you love your daughter and want her to be with you
-Waiting patiently for the one you love to come around
-Running and giving someone a huge hug like it's been years since you've seen them but really it's only been a week
-Changing a child's clothes five or six times a day because they are constantly making a mess
-Going to another country and not knowing anyone but your spouse and baby so he can get a good education 
-giving a little kiss on the cheek 
-and so much more!

As we show our love to others we are helping them feel the love of the savior. It is HE who performed the greatest act of Love. He is the example of true selflessness, sacrifice, service, and thought.  As we do these little acts of love we will be able to understand Him more and feel His love more in our life.

Vi voglio bene! Happy Valentine's Day!
Con amore,
Sorella Dixon

What a happy companionship!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Staying in Bologna!!! Getting a companion from the PHILIPPINES!!!!

Caio Tutti!

Come state? Happy February! It's so crazy that January is already
done! Valentine's Day will be coming up pretty shortly! It's
cute because a bunch of shops already have cute little Valentine's
decorations in their windows :) There's also an Italian holiday called
Carnivale in February. I guess it's kind of like Halloween, but in
February. People dress up and they have these fried scone things
topped with powdered sugar. We see those everywhere!

Work in Bologna is going great. We got transfer calls this week and I
will be staying here! Yay! :D Sorella Russell will be going to Pisa.
and I'll be getting a new companion named Sorella Albos who is from
the Philippines! I'm so excited! :D

This week was great! Helena is still doing great. 
We learn so much
about her life every time. She has had such a crazy life! (Really, we
hear a TON. She sure knows how to TALK! And she always says that she
talks too much. And then in the closing prayer she'll say sorry for
talking so much haha. But it's understandable because she's alone
practically everyday so she has no one to talk to. We were telling her
about visiting teaching, and she's so excited, she just said that she's
going to have to learn how to talk less!) She has really tried
out every religion and has now found the truth. It's amazing to see
how God has prepared her. A huge difference the church has that other
churches don't, is the feeling of the spirit. This week she talked to us about
the spirit. She LOVES it. It's so amazing to see how she has developed
her testimony and how much it grows everyday. It's also amazing to see
how much the gospel changes a person. She is so different than when we
first met her-- and that was only 20 days ago. Not different in
personality, but spirituality. She's so happy despite her hard
situation. She can't walk and has lost her daughter. Has had to deal
with a horrible relationship. Lives alone with no job. Has had so many
bad things happen to her because of other people. Yet she always has a
smile on her face and is looking for ways to give and serve other

This week we had a few activities with the ward which was fun. We had
a talent show and we also helped out with the Young Women's New
Beginnings. These youth are So. Strong. They are so alone in their
beliefs and values, yet they stay strong because they know how much
the gospel will bless and help them.

We had a neat little miracle before seeing Gilda this week. 
We go
there and she wasn't home yet, so we did some casa while we waited. We
probably did about 3 buildings and it wasn't until the very last door
that we tried that someone actually let us talk to them. A girl
answered. She looked maybe 20 or 21, and she said she believed in
Christ and stuff, she just didn't go to church. Pretty typical for
people here. We talked about the Book of Mormon a little bit and she
said she could come back a few days later. So we went back Sunday
evening and she let us in. We go in the kitchen and her Grandma is
there. And she was exactly how a typical Catholic older lady is. She is
very set in her religious ways, loves the Madonna and the Pope, and is
"too old to change". But she was very nice and we had a really good
conversation about God and prayer. But she wasn't interested at all so she
eventually left. But we still got to teach Giada, the girl. She is
from Napoli and we found out that she's 17 (everyone always look older
than they really are...). She liked the restoration and tried to pay
us when we gave her the the Book of Mormon. but then we said that all
we wanted was for her read it and let us come back. And she agreed!
She really does seem interested. when we taught the part about
families in the restoration and how the gospel blesses families with
love and more harmony, she said we came at the right time, because
their family kind of has problems and lot of contention. It's pretty
neat that she cares about helping her family and growing spiritually.
So we really hope we can help them and continue to see her!

Well, this week I just want to leave you with a quote: 

"We must remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices,
elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us
to love and to serve. It will do us little good to speak of the
general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are all
around us as our brothers and sisters.” -Spencer W. Kimball

Since it's February, the time when we think a little more about love,
I hope that we can remember that we can love everyone! Even those we
don't know! In the parking lot, on the bus, in the office, at the
store, in school, and at home. God has GIVEN them to us so we can
serve them. Look for little ways to serve and help others feel a
little bit of God's love this month. :)
Love you all!  or... Vi voglio un sacco di bene!
Sorella Dixon

Last few days with Sorella Russell

English class

Beautiful Bologna