Monday, January 26, 2015

22 Weeks in Buenos Aires!

 Hermana Olmeda and I at our pension.

Ether 12:27
And if men
unto Me
I will Show unto them their 
I Give unto men weakness that they may be 
And my grace is Sufficient for All men
that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me,
and have Faith in me,
THEN will I make Weak things
Become STRONG unto them.


My mission consists of a vision. The vision?

 It starts with me. The goal? To strengthen my strengths. To eliminate my weaknesses. The only way? My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The first goal of the mission: To become completely converted to the Lord. To learn and embrace the doctrines in such a way that I become a strong person. That I build up myself as an individual. As a daughter of a loving and all powerful God. To be able to ask myself every night: Am I progressing in the way Thou wouldst have me progress? 

Second: My companion. What am I doing to strengthen them? They are my responsibility from the Lord. 

Third: My Area. Caballito currently. What am I doing to help those that are not members? Secondly, those that are? 
Views of my area from my pension:


Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk to President about the vision he has for my mission. These are the things he shared with me. It wasn't a long conversation: perhaps five minutes. But it truly touched me. I could feel the love that the Savior has for me. The scripture, Ether 12:27, instantly got to me. It's the scripture my dad shared with me right before I came out on the mission. It's a scripture I'm currently living. I haven't reached the end of the verse yet; I seem to be hanging around being humbled;) And I have certainly been humbled recently and in the mission. I've experienced a little bit of it all. Homesickness, illness, stress, exhaustion, loneliness, and sadness. Happiness, joy, peace, comfort, great love, and an undeniable sense and knowing that Christ Knows me. That He has never been far. 
Pictures I drew for Cami and Martina from  my last area:


But let's talk a little bit about the past week shall we? Before I continue to ramble on;)

20th of Jan: We started out with a District Meeting:) We talked about quite a few things. Through it all I felt that it all came down to the struggle we all have between the natural man, and our personal spirit. The only way to overcome this natural man, or this tendency to take the easy way out? Sacrifice. When we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to the Lord, everything changes. I learned that I just have to give it all to Him, all to Christ. All of me, to Him. Because only with Him am I able. Only with Him am I strong. After the meeting, which was quite spiritual, we headed over to the Bishop's house to have lunch with his wife and children. Then back to the doctor! Yay...
Upon arriving we visited Hermana Bernuda, an old investigator. She has a lot of interest in the church and in getting baptized, but has a lot of health problems and isn't able to come to church on her own. We were able to talk with her and brighten up her day a little bit with a scripture and prayer. I felt blessed to be able to invite the spirit with my companion.

21st of Jan: I had a lot of time to study in the morning, as my companion wasn't feeling well. We seem to take turns getting sick! However, after rest and a Tylenol she seemed to be just fine. In the afternoon we stopped by to visit Silvanna, an old investigator who neither myself or Hermana Olmedo had met before. We had found her old record and called her. Amazingly enough, she had answered and we had set up a time to meet with her! She lived in New York before and speaks English perfectly, although we had the lesson in Spanish for the sake of my companion, and Brenda who was accompanying us. Silvanna has an incredible testimony regarding the Restoration and the experience of Joseph Smith. However, she's been exposed to anti Mormon information and wants to learn more about what we actually do and don't believe before moving towards baptism and joining the church. She told us that she had been baptized before but that she was willing to be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if she felt that it was the right thing to do. All in all we had a very good talk with her and scheduled a time to meet with her again:) After a successful but LONG lesson with Silvanna we headed to Cristian who had a referral for us. We stopped by to see if we could contact them, a less active mother and her two daughters, but they weren't home. We did however get free ice cream, always a plus;) 
Change in hair style thanks to Karen friend of Ausi!

Karen and I

Hna. Olmeda, myself, Ausi, Karen

22nd of Jan: We were up bright and early to go to San Fernando where President had a meeting set up for all that would be going home in February. It was incredibly spiritual. Dan Clark, a motivational speaker, talked to us via Skype from Salt Lake City. As he spoke the spirit was strong and present. I felt blessed to be able to be present and hear the things he had to say. He spoke of giving one's all to the mission, and the power of covenants. Very inspirational. 

23rd of Jan: We finally got a hold of Cristian's referral! The two daughters were with their grandma, so we didn't get the chance to talk with them, but we did get to meet and talk with their mother, a less active. Her name is Lucilla, and as we talked with her and got to know her better it was very clear that she was humble and ready and willing to come back to church. She said her daughters had lots of questions and had instantly become interested when Cristian had mentioned that we believe in marriage for time and all eternity. How cute;) It felt good to help her, and I'm very much looking forward to meeting her daughters today at the end of Pday. 

Yesterday, the 25th, we had to run to make it to Sacrament meeting on time! With all the buses we have to take we keep on arriving late and missing the sacrament... a no go. However, we literally sprinted as soon as we got off the bus to ensure that we wouldn't miss it this time! It was a good Sunday, highlighted by the short phone call with President. 

I feel extremely blessed for my companion and for the time I have right now to grow closer to my Savior. I know that this church is true. I know that every day I am becoming more and more converted to Him and His teachings, and That is what truly matters. This isn't just for the mission. This time will change the rest of my life. Of this I have no doubt. 

I know that God gives us weaknesses. That He handpicks them. That He knows just what I, Mallory Lynn Dickson needs, to be humbled. To be more reliant on my Savior. To be more the person I can become.

I love you all and am praying for you:)
Hermana Dickson 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 21 in Buenos Aires

Hola todos! I've now been on my mission for 6 months!

Photo of me taken today with the familia Pucheta


This week was spent mostly in the hospital:) Now, before stressing out, know that going to the hospital is common here. When someone has a health problem, big or small, off they go. I was experiencing ear pain, so off we went. I've also been to the dermatologist for face treatment. Throughout all of these ¨fun¨ experiences I've been quite humbled. One thing I have learned in Caballito, is that I am extremely weak. On my own I am nothing. I seem to be made up of weaknesses, doubts, and failures. And yet, somehow, in these moments of seemingly great weakness, I feel whole. I've never been so aware that I can't do it on my own. Yet I've never been so aware of the power of Christ. I'm not sure how many prayers I have offered up, talking to God about all that I lack, all that I need help with. Prayers that I never felt the need to offer up before.

Interesting face treatment

I have come to realize that every companion has a strength, something that I want to emulate and cultivate in my own life. With Hermana Johnson it was her ability to Love the investigator. Hermana Arnsten? Her courage to talk with Everyone. Hermana Pilliza: Her boldness. And I am coming to realize the unique gift and trait that my current companion, Hermana Olmedo, has to offer. Throughout all of the hospital visits and different things I have to apply for my face, my companion has been all service. She has helped me do things I can't do alone. She has helped me talk to doctors, get things straightened out, buy the medicine, and apply it. This week I have felt like a bit of a burden. We went to the doctor on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Due to all the travel and time it was hard to get in the work we wanted to. Yet, through it all she was loving and patient. It has certainly been a blessing in my life to work with this companion. 
Reflections on Parque Patricios
With Hermana Pilliza

Last meal before I was transferred (I had a hamburger)

Also had asado on my last day!  Very good food!
The only good thing about going to the hospital is that it resides in Parque Patricios. I've been blessed to see the familia Pucheta every week! It's been great to see them and spend some time with them. Brenda in particular has been wonderful, going with us to the hospital and keeping us company. Too much love! 
With the familia Pareja: Christmas


This week I have been humbled. I have seen many miracles. Some might consider them small, but they were miracles none the less to me. At one point during the week I felt weak, like I didn't have the strength necessary to do all God needed me to do. So I went into our room and prayed. As soon as we went out to work we received a referral from the offices. It was as though Father knew that we needed help. That we are searching for investigators that are going to progress and aren't having a lot of success.  
Skyping with my family at Christmas


I am thankful to be in the mission. To be in Buenos Aires Norte. To be serving in Caballito with Hermana Olmedo. Things are not easy. Far from it. But Christ is around, within, and encircling all that I do as a missionary. My task is to trust Him. To allow Him to humble me. When someone is in the process of coming unto Christ, they are shown their weakness. Where they fall short. Where they don't measure up. And Why? To be humbled. To be prepared for something Great. Something Extraordinary. Something that they cannot fully comprehend. Cannot see in its entirety. And when they are humbled, truly humbled, weak things become Strong. Weaknesses change into strengths. And we become more of who we were meant, designed, to be.

Christ lives. I know it. I am in Argentina because of it. I cannot and will not deny it. I would not give this up for anything. 

I love the view here!  The artist in me is thrilled!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 2 in Caballito, Week 20 in Argentina

Here we are again! I have a lot to say, and, as usual, not very much time to say it. As my mother would say,"It's a good thing that you type fast!" And yes, it is;) So, let's get down to business shall we?

6th of Jan: We were greeted by rain:) Which was quite welcome after all the heat we've been experiencing. I know those in the states are possibly a little jealous, as it's quite cold up there, but I wouldn't mind changing weather! In the morning we had our District Meeting. We talked about finding and working only with the escogidos, or those that are searching and prepared to accept the gospel. After learning and taking notes we headed off to pick up lunch. 
After eating we tried to find Vanesa. She wasn't there, and after calling and talking to her (reminding her who we were, as she had no recollection of two missionaries she had talked with in the street for a good 15 min) we realized that she didn't have a desire to hear more. Thus, we went over to the church to wait for Toni, the member that would be accompanying us. Toni has an incredibly impressive gospel knowledge! You can ask him about anything and he has scriptures, experiences, and answers. It was fascinating to hear from him and to learn! 
While he accompanied us we stopped by Andrea's house to see if we could talk to her. We didn't end up finding her, but ran into Josue, her brother, instead! He seemed open and interested and accepted a baptismal date for the 25th of Jan! He seems like a great kid, but I'm not sure how much we'll be able to work with him, as his mother doesn't want anything to do with us. We have, at least, planted the seed, and for some future missionary it will grow into a strong and beautiful tree, teeming with life. As the day rolled to a close we stopped by Grido's to celebrate the 17 month mark of my comp in the mission! I have celebrated three of these now... and not one of them has been mine! 

7th of Jan: We had lunch with Cristian, our ward missionary leader. He has a lot of enthusiasm for the work and has an energy to get things done that I appreciate. After talking with him we went to visit with Josue, but were unable to find him. We went next to contact a referral we had received from the offices. Once near the laundromat where he lived we called to let him know we were waiting for him. He said he was on the way and that we only needed to wait 15 minutes or so. We waited; however, as 15 minutes turned into almost an hour we realized that he wasn't coming. 
The rest of the hot and humid day was spent out on the streets trying to contact old investigators and less actives. However, no one was home. At 7 we headed to the familia Iquise for dinner, which was the highlight of a hard, long day on the streets. We came home to an apartment without electricity. So, we did what any regular person would do;) We took our mattresses out onto the fenced in balcony and slept there, where there was at least a breeze. I fell asleep enjoying my view of the 5 stars we have access to;)

8th of Jan: Interviews with President! It was great to talk with him and to let him now how I'm doing and how the area is doing. At the end of the interview I asked him if I could have a blessing. As he gave me the blessing I could feel the love Father has for me. Answers were received, and as he ended I found myself in tears, as seems to be normal here when blessings are involved! We spent the rest of the day teaching lots of small lessons. We ended up talking with Maria, a recent convert, and her family. It was nice to be inside with air conditioning, even if it was only for a small while;) We ended the day by going to Cristian, who owns the ice cream shop. We were supposed to meet up with his friend who he had presented earlier and teach him, but the friend didn't end up showing. We did get free ice cream however, so it wasn't all in vain;) And still no power in the apartment...

9th of Jan: This day was rough. After spending most of the day in the heat and sun I wasn't feeling well. We headed to our apartment around 5 so I could take some medicine for the pain. We were without power again. I was laying down in the bedroom with a cold cloth on my forehead, trying to sleep a little. However, in the heat it wasn't really possible. So I took out my little Book of Mormon and randomly opened to Helaman 12. I ended up reading until 3 Nephi 12 before sleeping for a little while. It was interesting to see the patterns of belief and disbelief. I was shocked that after seeing such miracles the people could forget so quickly!
After a short nap I woke up hurting more than before. I was praying incessantly for electricity, so that I could at least suffer in air conditioning. Not really thinking it would work, but praying that it would, I pushed the on button on the remote for the AC. And what do you know, cold air started pouring down! All I could think to myself was,"What a miracle!" On that note I fell asleep. Maybe something as little as having AC doesn't seem like a miracle or anything worthy of note. But to me something as small as this was a sign that I wasn't alone. That Father was there, and he knew just how much I could handle. He was watching out for me. 

Also this week we got to teach the familia Salas. Jackie has a lot of desire to be baptized, to feel closer to her son who passed away two years before. It is truly a blessing to know her and to see just how strong she is. She came to church this Sunday and participated in Gospel Principles, sharing her testimony and personal experiences! We also had Dana and Ariana at church with us. The best part of Sunday, in my biased view, was getting to see Mario and Rosanna from Parque Patricios! It truly was like being with my family for a short time:) It was just the visit I needed after a rough week. 
My dear Rosana and Mario!
I love you all and am praying for you! Remember, no matter how rough the day or the week is, there are little miracles all around us. Like AC that works, stars above us, and a knowledge that the love of God transcends all pain and discomforts, all silences and moments when we feel utterly alone. Of this I can bear testimony.
Hermana Dickson  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 19 in Argentina and end of week 1 in Caballito!

What a fast week! It's hard to believe that I've already spent a week in my new area, Caballito. I've gotten to sleep in air conditioning (What a blessing!), got free ice cream along with referrals, made Peruvian food with my companion, and celebrated the new year! Lots to write about, and as always, not much time to do so!

The view from my new pension!

On the 30th, after Pday ended my companion, Hermana Olmedo, and I went to visit a member named Cristian who works at an ice cream shop. When we arrived we found a referral he had for us sitting patiently in a chair. Talk about unreal! We talked to him and invited him to come to church and to learn more. On our way out the door Cristian treated us to free ice cream! We were then on our way, looking for old investigators and less actives. Right now we're in finding mode, which means a lot of faith and a lot of walking;) After getting in the pension and planning I got to go to sleep in an air-conditioned room for the first time in Argentina. What a beautiful blessing! 
My new companion and I
Hermana Olmeda Martinez from El Salvador

On the 31st we were greeted by a storm of rain and wind! We bundled up and went to visit an investigator named Jorge first. He had shown interest and was reading the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets. I didn't know him; from the start it was clear that he was a great guy, but that he wasn't willing to change and give up certain things to be a member. We made sure he knew he was invited to church, but knew we weren't doing to focus on him anymore. Our time as missionaries is precious, and we truly only have time to work with those who truly want to progress and take the steps necessary to follow their Savior. We picked up lunch afterwards and ate it in the pension. After eating I had some time to write in my journal, which I desperately needed to do after so much change! Later Oscar accompanied us. We stopped by Cristian's ice cream place again, as he had yet Another referral for us! From there we took the train to get to a different part of our area. Our area is so large that we can take a train and Still be within our limits! Talk about insane. At the end of the day to celebrate the new year we made Peruvian food at Oscar's house. It was really good and I felt like I was among family, even though I'm brand new and don't knew them very well yet. We hustled to get back to the pension on time, because with all the festivities we're been asked to be in the pension by 8:30 for safety. I was fast asleep as soon as 10:30 rolled around;)
Amazing Peruvian food made by my companion!

The new year! On the 1st we had lunch with the familia Waker. They're a ton of fun! The food was delicious, turkey with a sweet sauce and potato fries. We had fruit salad for dessert and icecream, an interesting but yummy combination;) We met up with Ausi, our member, afterwards. Ausi is a ton of fun and reminds me a lot of my aunt Tanya:) With her we visited the familia Mino, less actives. It was a little hot in their house and I found a little hard not to fall asleep`. It was quite the battle. However, after visiting with her she presented us her neighbor and we had the chance to share the gospel with her and invite her to church:) We then visited Carla, another less active, and talked with her father, who's not a member but has investigated the church quite a bit.A busy and fun day:)
P-day Pizza

On the 2nd we blasted the weekly goal for lessons with a member present out of the water! We met up with Oscar after lunch and found Ariana, a less active. While in her house we had the chance to contact quite a few people who weren't members and invite them to come to church. Ariana herself seemed very excited at the prospect of coming to church with us. I feel like like house definitely has potential and that we could find someone ready to progress and accept the gospel! After such success it seemed necessary to celebrate with Grido ice cream, courtesy of Oscar;) At the end of the day we visited the familia Nevares, a couple who have been married for 70 years! Impressive!

On the 3rd we were up EARLY for our zone meeting in Belgrano, about an hour away from where we are. It looks like it'll be a great zone and I'm looking forward to working with and learning from the Elders and Sisters. After the zone meeting we bought some food and cooked up some Lobo Saltero (spelling), a delicious Peruvian dish. Later in the afternoon we met up with Ausi once more. We covered a ton of ground, but NO ONE was out on the streets, making it a little difficult to talk to people... However, we did find a couple less active members and were able to teach them and invite them back to church:) 

Yesterday we had church at 2 in the afternoon until 5! Talk about an interesting schedule! The members of Caballito are very nice and I'm looking forward to working with them and getting to know them better:)

Today in the morning we headed to Parque Patricios because I had the money for the pension still... a mistake on my part. However, due to this I got to say hi to Hermana Pilliza and the familia Pucheta! It was so great to see them! 
Wonderful people of Parque Patricios

Things are going really well. My companion is a lot of fun. She's from El Salvador, cooks excellently;), and reminds me a lot of Alanna. She has a lot of positive energy and is ready and willing to get to work. I love you all a ton and wish you all the best in this new year! Make it count:)
Hermana Dickson