Sunday, August 31, 2014

Argentina! I'm here!

Mallory left the MTC at 6am on Monday August 25th.  She then flew out of SLC at around 11:04 and arrived in Atlanta, GA at around 4:50 pm.  She had a layover there until her flight left for Buenos Aires at 9:08 pm.  We were able to talk to her briefly from a courtesy phone.  It was difficult for her to hear us but it was nice to hear her voice and she sounded very excited to be finally going to Argentina.  Her flight was a little late in departing and I was able to stay up to watch her plane fly over Cuba and Jamaica and then I had to go to bed.

When I woke up the next morning her plane was just about 20 minutes from Buenos Aires so I was able to catch the end of her very long flight!  It arrived at 8:37 am on Tuesday which was 6:37am here.

Date: August 26, 2014, 4:50:18 PM CDT
Subject: Your missionary has arrived

Dear Family,

We are thrilled to report that your daughter, Sister Dickson, has finally arrived safely in her mission here in Buenos Aires.  She was picked up at the airport, and after a brief tour of Buenos Aires was brought to the mission home for a luncheon, followed by an interview with the President.  You should expect to hear from your missionary on her next P-day, which will be on Monday, Sept. 1.  Thank you for your prayers and support.

Presidente y Hermana Ayre

President Ayre called at 4:41 on Tuesday, right after I had jumped out of the car to get Hyrum from Cross Country practice so I missed talking to him but he left a wonderful message on my phone letting me know that Mallory had arrived safely and that she was a wonderful young lady.

I did get a nice email from the mission secretary:

Thank you for your note!  Sorry you missed the chance to speak with Pres. Ayre.  We got to meet the new missionaries yesterday, and we really felt the strength of the new Hermanas that just arrived.  The Hermanas in our mission have had great opportunities, and are well received by their Wards.  They perform a unique work here in Buenos Aires.  I look forward to getting to know Hermana Dickson more personally.


Hermana Lines
MisiĆ³n Buenos Aires Norte

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Last week at the MTC. We got our flight plans!

 Literally flying as we got our flight plans!

Hola mi wonderful family and friends! Whether or not you've looked at any of my previous emails, I recommend reading this one, because it will be fantastic;) As many of you know and as many of you don't, this upcoming Monday I fly to Argentina! I cannot wait to meet the people of Argentina and serve them and grow to love them:)

My last Preparation Day, in the evening Hermana Johnson and I had the opportunity to once again teach Javier:) and were extremely excited about this! We were planning on focusing on asking inspired questions and listening as we taught. We also really wanted to focus on baptism. Upon ending the prayer we asked him how he had liked 1 Nephi 8. He said he had found it very interesting and that verse 28 had really connected with him. It talked about taking of the fruit, or the love of Christ, and them falling away because of heeding those who mocked from the great and spacious building (the philosophies and beliefs of the world and of the devil). He said he connected to this verse because He had been one of those people. He told us he never wanted to do that again, that he wanted to stay. Hermana Johnson and I were obviously thrilled to hear such! 
We started explaining the symbolism behind the tree and the fruit, that it represented Christ. I then asked him how he thought he could hold on to the rod of iron spoken of in the story (the word of God). He mentioned reading the scriptures, the Book of Mormon, and how by holding onto the literal Book of Mormon he was holding on to the rod. I asked him what he thought he needed to do after partaking of the fruit. He said that after doing such we needed to Never fall away. Hermana Johnson started talking about ways to follow Christ and was talking about the five steps: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end when I felt very strongly that we needed to ask him his thoughts concerning baptism. I could Feel that Javier had things to say. As soon as there was a pause I asked him, 
"What are your thoughts concerning baptism?" 
He thought for a moment or two before saying, 
"I am willing. I want to be baptized. I know it is right."
 Hermana Johnson freaked out a little bit she was so thrilled! Javier looked up to see such enthusiasm and laughed, pointing out how big our smiles were. We didn't mind; we were'e unabashedly thrilled! I then asked him how He felt about it. He said it felt right and that he felt very at peace, even if a little nervous as well. I felt that peace as well, and it was a very comforting feeling, like coming home to friends and family after a long day of work and stress. We asked him if he would say the closing prayer. He gave a little chuckle of apprehension but once again gave a beautiful prayer in which he thanked Heavenly Father for our smiles and the choice to be baptized. Hermana Johnson also thought she heard him say that he prayed for his friend who had hurt him before and had made him apprehensive about the church.

We left that lesson feeling on top of the world. We've never gotten this far with an investigator! It's exhilarating and so powerful! I love it, I truly, truly do, 
Some photos:
on our way to the temple: Hermanas Hawkins and Johnson

 Mi Companera y Yo

August 16th was my one month mission anniversary! An entire month done already... that's hard to believe... only 17 more! 

On the 18th we had to the opportunity to teach Javier again:) We're been teaching him since the 30th of July! Esta loca. We didn't have a lot of time to teach, but we did ask him how "going with us" to church went. He said it seemed familiar, not as strange as he thought it would be/ He also said he felt the spirit during church. We then talked about obedience and how we folowed because we loved the Lord and that it was essential to having the Holy Ghost. We also talked about the necessity to praying every day as well as reading the scriptures diariomente. Javier loves reading the Book of Mormon, but he didn't think he'd have time to read every day. I promised him that as he took the time to read every day that he would develop more faith and that the Holy Ghost would become more present in his life. I also explained that even reading one verse was better than nothing because each read would build off the other, He asked if by only reading a verse a day he would continue to develop. I told him yes, but that it would be much slower, and that the more he read the faster he would develop. It was a good lesson, though short, and he ended with the prayer. He wasn't as hesitant as he'd been the past when we'd asked him to pray. I'm so thankful for the opportunity I've had to meet Javier and teach him. 
Beautiful night at the MTC

August 20th consisted of so many amazing and happy events! I knew it would be destined for greatness when I walked out into the beautiful rain. It was cold and lightly drizzling with thick puffs of clouds once more. A truly beautiful day. As we were finishing up class and about to go the lunch we ran into Hely and Jose! It was so good to see them! We instantly asked if we could take a picture with them. I was so happy to get one. 
They then talked to us. Jose told mi companera y yo that he was very thankful for our teaching and especially for the words I shared regarding the situation with his daughter, the experience I had shared. He said we could have success and this because of the fact that we truly loved those we taught. He said he could feel the love we had for him when he was being taught and that because of this love we would go far. Hely also told us how special we were and how lucky Argentina was to have us. We hugged her quite a few time. Jose also told Hermana Johnson and I that he was going to visit his home in Guatemala and that when he did he would send us letters. So cool! We also got their email and they took ours, promising to write. Such amazing, wonderful people! I love them more than I can express and can't wait to have this kind of love for the people of Argentina! 
This is where we first met Jose at the park bench:

My Favorite part of the day was teaching Javier for the last time, which was saddening, but the lesson went unbelievably well. The spirit taught a gorgeous, fluid, conversation-esque lesson. We started with a kneeling prayer that I had the privilege of giving. As I did I prayed that the spirit would be in the lesson (which was more than answered). We then asked him what he thought of Enos 1, the chapter we'd asked him to read. He mentioned that he really enjoyed it, especially the part about a "lucha", or a struggle before God. We explained what this meant to us, to which he quietly asked, 
"But how do we come out triumphant in this struggle?" At this point I felt impressed to share Mosiah 3:19. He then said,
"Oh! So we're struggling with the natural man?" We told him this was correct and explained that all of us had this natural man and needed Christ to overcome it. Hermana Johnson then asked how Javier's prayers were. He said they were going well but that he didn't pray every day. We explained that when we pray every day, just as when we read the scriptures every day, that we gain power, the power of God through the Holy Ghost to overcome the natural man. 
My depiction of the plan of salvation:
Everything Hermana Johnson and I have learned about teaching these last 6 weeks were in this beautiful lesson. We forgot about the language and focused on only teaching the things of the spirit. We kept it simple and took turns frequently in who was speaking. We used scriptures well and shared personal experiences. We listened to Javier and asked inspired questions that helped him to teach himself. We applied the doctrine of Christ to His needs. I felt so happy and at peace when we felt the lesson! The spirit was so warm and present during the lesson. I felt so invited by the spirit to learn more also. It is true, that when we teach with the Holy Ghost that All are enlightened, the missionaries and the investigators. It is a beautiful and miraculous process and I cannot express how glad I am to be a part of it.
Being here is such a miracle. I love all of my district as brothers and sisters. I learn so much from everyone and every one invites the spirit and works hard. 

This week has been amazing in so many ways. I do not have the words to fully describe it. As Hermana Johnson and I have played a game where we are "spending the day in Argentina", aka speaking solely Spanish during the whole day, amazing things have happened. I don't even Want to speak in English! (I'm perfectly ok with writing in it, however;) 
We often study out here at the picnic table:

I love you all and pray that God is with you:) 
Hermana Mallory Dickson

Thursday, August 14, 2014

It appears that Mallory will be heading down to Argentina on Monday the 25th of August.  If you were wanting to send her something while she will be away, I would suggest doing so quickly.  Apparently, it is very expensive to send packages to Argentina but it is even more expensive for the missionaries to claim them, costing them like $100 to receive a package so the Area President has said no packages to Argentina at this time.  I'm sure she would appreciate many letters!  

 While most of the food they serve is pretty unhealthy, I LOVE LECHE (milk)!

A lot to report: hopefully I do this week justice!

The highlight of my last P-day was teaching Mario with mi companera. We really wanted to ask him during the lesson if he would be baptized, as he seemed so ready to receive the gospel. We were talking about temples and the things necessary to go to the highest level of heaven, the celestial kingdom, baptism being one of the requirements, when Mario/Hermano Humbert got quiet and put this hands over his face. At first I thought he was thinking, then I assumed he was praying, and as he continued to bow his head and cover his face I wondered if he was crying. After a long while he said, "I'm sorry sisters. I'm so sorry." Hermano Humbert had broken character. "Mario" had left. Mi comp and I didn't know what to do. He was quiet for another long while before saying, "I just remember having Mario say these exact words..." He had been talking about and asking as Mario before in the lesson, "If God loves all of his children, why only One way? Why only one church? How could God be so limiting when there are people that are doing all they can to follow Christ?" 
As Hermano Humbert shared his experience teaching Mario during his mission the two of us started crying. We could feel so much love for Mario and we felt the love Hermano Humbert had for Mario. We couldn't really jump back into the lesson after that, so we asked Hermano Humbert what we had taught Him (He had mentioned this the day before and we were curious). He said during our plan of salvation lesson the spirit had taught him about the judgement of Cristo. That it had taught him, not just Mario. He made sure to point out that it was the Spirit that had taught him, not us. That was humbling, but in the best sense. After our conversation Hermano Humbert said the prayer and we left.
Once out of the room Hermana Johnson and I went directly onto the porch to talk about the amazing thing that had just happened. She asked me what I thought the answer to his question was. And then I shared a metaphor on music. I said that we, at the beginning of this life, were each given a song, with very precise notes. And that if we didn't play those notes, it wouldn't truly be the song on the paper. The instrument was the Atonement, or sacrifice of Christ, the only way we could even attempt to play the song. And yet, even with the music and the instrument we would screw up, we would play the wrong notes. But the last act of the play, the concert, wasn't in the Second act, but in the last. The main point was, the notes on the page would Never change. The correct notes were just that, the only correct way to play. Only one way. Because truth is not many paths, but One. As I shared this the spirit overwhelmed me and I couldn't help but cry. This was probably my favorite lesson up to this point, because I finally feel like I've been given a question I can study and ponder: 
"Why only one way"
Our classroom and my very sparse bedroom (I don't spend any time there so no decorations).  Complete opposite of my college dorm room!  Yes, I brought my giraffe!

On the 8th we had one of our best lessons with Javier. Our plan had been to read the Book of Mormon with him, a chapter or so. We figured we'd ask him about his needs and his questions and then find a chapter and read it with him. For this lesson I remembered the prayer (as I had forgot in a lesson earlier that day and the spirit hadn't really been there as a result) and it was one of the very first things we did. I then asked him about what he'd read in 2 Nephi 2. We then told Javier we wanted to read the Book of Mormon with him. We asked him what he wanted to learn about and he mentioned Christ. At first I thought maybe we should read in 3 Nephi 11, where Christ visits the Americas, but then I wasn't sure. As we were looking, Javier was looking at the pictures in the front of the book which was very endearing and cool to see. Suddenly the spirit prompted me to Helaman chapter 5. We began reading out loud, taking turns. When H. Johnson got to verse 12 she read it and began talking about Christ being the rock in her life, her foundation. The spirit was strong as we talked about Christ and asked Javier if he wanted this foundation in his life. He said yes, but then asked us,
"What does your church have to offer me that my own does not?
We then talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost, the ability to have a member of the Godhead with you always. Then my companion asked him if he would be baptized. At first I was caught off guard and a little surprised, but then I realized we and the spirit had been building up to this point the entire lesson! He thought about it for a little bit quietly. Hermana Johnson and I were both feeling the spirit so strongly. And then he said he wasn't sure as this was a big decision. Suddenly I felt prompted to talk of my own baptism and how it had required prayer and scripture study. As I testified of a very simple truth, tears came to my eyes. As I looked up at Javier I could see tears in his as well. We invited him to pray to know if baptism was correct for him. Not to take our word, but to ask God. We talked about the importance of prayer as well and he agreed to pray about it. We were definitely over time with our lesson (although Javier/Hermano Voss didn't check his phone even once as he usually does to make sure we stay on time because Javier and He were so engaged) so ended with a prayer. I felt prompted to ask if he would say it. He looked a little taken back, and murmured something about not having done so in a long time. H. Johnson and I encouraged him, explaining that prayer was like a conversation with a friend and very personal between himself and God. He asked if we should sit for the prayer or kneel, to which we asked if we could kneel. This was our first kneeling prayer with an investigator. It took Javier a few moments to begin his prayer, but as soon as my knees hit the floor the spirit began washing over me in tangible waves. I felt comfort and peace, deep and lulling like the ocean tide. Javier's prayer was simple but beautiful, and asked if he could receive an answer regarding baptism. As soon as we were out in the hallway I did a little happy dance and gave mi companera a big hug. I was just so full of excitement for what had just happened! It might have been my favorite lesson so far (although they keep on being amazing, so I just don't know anymore.). 
After the prayer Hermana Johnson told Javier, "the spirit is here". He said he could feel it as well. It reminded me of when the RM from Argentina told us, after we had recited the first vision in Spanish, to recognize how strong the spirit was. I wouldn't have noticed without her mentioning it, and only after she did was I able to recognize it.

On August 9th we found out that Hermano Roberts, our first teacher, was being switched to a new set of missionaries. We were heartbroken! He has been such a strong example and an amazing teacher. 

Something I realized also on the 9th was how much the Elders and Hermanas feel like family to me. 

On the 11th we got to teach Javier again! I love getting to teach him. When we first entered to teach he seemed very excited to teach us. We asked him about his day before praying. We then asked him how his prayer went over whether or not baptism was right for him. He said he hadn't gotten to pray over that, but was very excited to show us that he had read the rest of Helaman 5 on his own, something we hadn't even asked him to do! The spirit had been present the moment we walked in because Javier had already invited the spirit. He said he had really loved reading in Helaman 5 and had prayed over the chapter and his desire to have an experience like the prophets in the chapter. He said he wanted to experience that darkness leave his life and had felt it doing so. The spirit; I can't begin to describe it! We talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost  and how we could always have him with us. He told us he felt that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. It is not possible to express my joy at hearing that. He then said, when we asked about it, that he could feel the spirit and wanted to have it at all times, that he wanted the gift of the Holy Ghost. He said the closing prayer and spoke of wanting to know how to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, as well as over his need to be baptized. We left the teaching experience in such high spirits! 

Hermana Johnson and I have been teaching Mariana, one of our investigators, for a while, and not with a lot of success until the 12th. It was actually our last chance to teach her, as she would be leaving for Mexico the next day. We were a little worried as we went in to teach her, as she often threw us curve balls of questions and had just the day before told us that she had randomly opened the Book of Mormon and had read something that seemed to say that the book wasn't true and how because of this experience she no longer wanted to read. I was extremely determined to help her have a desire to read the Book of Mormon and to feel good about it. We talked about our own experience reading the Book of Mormon and bore testimony to her. She listened and then said this would be our last lesson. She then said she'd have a lot of time on the plane ride down and she would read the Book of Mormon during this time. She then asked for our email addresses which was really exciting. All in all it was a great lesson, which surprised mi companera y yo! 

On the 13, yesterday, Hermana Johnson and I, as well as our district, got to be Hosts for the new missionaries coming in. There were over 138, a huge number! All Spanish speaking, naturally, as this is a Spanish only campus. While Helping one of the new Elders get to his classroom we were walking by the creek that runs through the little park. I was looking at the water when I saw a wet head pop out of the creek! Then a tiny "otter".ferret/weasel creature catapulted itself from the creek and charged at an investigator sitting at a picnic bench. She screamed and bolted! Craziest thing I've ever seen 0.o

The last large thing to report on for this week was the Book of Mormon reading we did with the other Hermanas: Murphy, McKnight, Downs, Hawkins, my companera, Herrarra, Shumway, Erikson, and Wilson.At first they seemed apprehensive, but as we started reading together in Mosiah 2-5 the spirit started pouring out revelation/direction. I couldn't write down all of it quick enough! It was certainly things I needed to know. We had a powerful discussion and ended with a prayer, all kneeling down together in a circle. I feel so much more connected to the Hermanas in the other district now. They said it was the coolest thing they had ever experienced at the CCM. Every time I go in wondering if it will be as powerful as the first time. And it never is; it's always BETTER, so much better.

I love all of you! I leave for Argentina on the 25, so about 12 or 11 days from now! I couldn't be more thrilled to be serving the Lord and there is NO WHERE I would rather be than here. 
Hermana Mallory Dickson

Thursday, August 7, 2014

4th week at the MTC in PROVO, UTAH

Hola todas mis amigos, amigas, y familia! Ellos amo! 

Today is the start of my fourth week in the CCM. So much has happened and so many spiritual experiences have occurred! 

At the beginning of the week Hermana Johnson and I taught Javier, aka our teacher Hermano Voss, aka Oscar (identity crisis much;). It was such a powerful lesson. We had invited him to read the Book of Mormon and to pray and ask if it was true. When we had come back to teach him again we had asked how that experience had went. He told us he had been torn about whether or not to read and hadn't been able to. Hermana Johnson and I felt prompted to share experiences and testimony that invited the spirit and completely changed the lesson. The spirit and the love of our Heavenly Father was strong and we easily agreed that it was our best lesson. We talked about how we go to Church not for the people, but for Christ. Javier had been through an experience where people at church had hurt him and betrayed him, and he didn't know if he could ever go back because of it. We testified and promised that we didn't go to church for the people, and that the people of the church were not perfect. It was a powerful lesson.

We also had the opportunity to teach Mario this last week. We taught him the plan of Salvation and I drew a picture to correlate with what we taught. He's a funny guy and is also making chistes (jokes) ;) 

Hermana Johnson y yo were called as Sister Training Leaders on Sunday. Now that there are more than just us four Hermanas it actually means a little bit more;) We also had the opportunity to bear our testimonies this Sunday in Spanish. I have clearly only bore my testimony in English, but I wasn't afraid. I just felt an overwhelming desire to get up there and to share the powerful feelings of my heart and the impressions of the spirit. It was one of the most powerful testimonies I've given, and the spirit was strong. The language didn't bother me at all, and I felt like I spoke clearly, yet simply, the things that I knew were true and that I believed. Through the Holy Ghost and Christ I am getting a hang of the language and developing a deep and abiding love in all that we do and in my Savior. 

Sunday continued to be a wonderful and spiritual feast, as we saw the Joseph Smith movie for our film. I always feel the spirit testify to me that he was a true prophet of God when I watch that film and recommend it to all. 

Once again we had to say goodbye to some wonderful Elders who are now in Mexico! Elder Loo, Elder Fife, Elder Hunt, Elder Smith (el Diablo;), Elder Benson, Elder Anderson, and Elder Freeman will be wonderful missionaries! As we sang "God be with you till we meet again" it rained, the sky bemoaning their rapid departure as well. While shaking hands with Elder Smith he said I would be a wonderful missionary, which was kind of him. It's crazy how much they feel like older brothers!

Elders Long, Anderson, Di Siqueria, Gardner, Laudie, Fife, Lyones, and Wilcox

Volleyball at the CCM with Elder Glenn is always a treat;) That guy can spike the ball like no other and almost took out my companion this week! Which would have involved a luchar (fight), so I'm glad she blocked the ball aimed at her face. 

Funny moments at the CCM this week:

Elder Kelly does Perfect impersonations of Obama. How? No se. Pero, es la verdad (I don't know but it's the truth).. Elder Long also made a chiste. His companion and he were the first ones to get to the classroom. When Hermano Voss asked where all the other missionaries were he said, "Yo come ellos". For those of you who don't speak Spanish, he was saying, "I ate them". It wasn't funny at first, but when he told me about it in Spanish I thought I was just hearing him wrong... however, Nay! Not the case. Quite the joker apparently. 

Service, which we perform every Tuesday at 6:15, is always a good experience and a blessing, even if I am a walking zombie for it. I love the feeling of helping clean around the beautiful West Campus and the lessons we teach are always so powerful that day as well. Hermana Johnson and I actually taught FOUR lessons this Tuesday, and I loved it! Teaching is one of my Favorite things to do here and is the only thing keeping me sane. We taught Javier, Hely, Mariana, and Jose and Hely. Each was taught by the spirit and each went beautifully! I love the spirit and the power it has to teach! 

Everything we do here at the CCM is inspired of God. Our companionships are inspired of God, the things we learn and how we learn them are inspired of God. His workings are all around us. I am filled with peace and an assurance that God loves me as I walk these grounds and teach these wonderful people to grow closer to their Savior. 

Elder Fife and Elder Lyones

I love each and every one of you and would love to hear from you! I keep you in my prayers and wish you all the best in whatever endeavors you are pursuing! Please don't forget about your Hermana soon to be in Argentina:)

Love and best wishes for all,
Hermana Dickson 

From her letters to our family:
I did see Dom's (Sister Temple's) blog and it was super fun to read what she wrote, so thanks for sending that via DearElder:) 
Check out the blog of my cute cousin, the link is on the sidebar. 
Sister Temple and her companion at the Mexico MTC, Sister Temple is on the right.
In the future you should send the questions via DearElder as to insure I have time to respond;) 
The food is good, although not terribly good for you. I have milk at literally every meal, porque me encanta leche. Where we sit varies every time, but it's all good:) The food doesn't go to the rooms, we can although we don't have any food, I'm not in a bunk bed, I haven't bothered with decor because we're never there, my classroom is in raintree/Wyview, we only go to Main campus on Pdays, for Devotionals on Sunday and Tuesday. West Campus is much kinder. We do go to the temple every Thursday, si. I'll have to let you know next week because I'm almost out of time!

(My personal favorite comment of the week.  Why we can let our children go in the first place!) Thanks for everything mom, you're the best:)

It was exciting to see all the new missionaries come in on Wednesday!  We got 12 new Elders in and our zone now consists of 44 people. Crazy huh!
(This week, Mallory's younger brother, Reed, is on a mini-mission.  He is serving in Steelville, Illinois.) I'm sure they'll have wonderful experiences on their mini missions:) Hope all is well in Cape! And thanks for the DearElders, they're great!:)
(Chart we are making to keep track of the days Mallory has been gone, we are going to list her areas the big pink space and her companions in the other pink space.)