Monday, February 23, 2015

8th week in Caballito

Let's get this party started! Or this week I should say;)

Hermana Dickson and Guillermina

17th of Feb: We had an amazing lesson with Emmanuel (Not Manuel). The bishop accompanied us, as well as the two sisters of his wife. We were teaching him about the Restoration of the gospel, of the church of Jesus Christ. The spirit was strong, but was nothing in comparison to the spirit present after each of us one by one shared our testimony regarding the Book of Mormon. The spirit's presence grew stronger and more and more heightened as one testimony after another was shared. Each was special, and each added to the beauty of the lesson, but the testimony that meant the most was that of Hermana Machado, Emmanuel's wife. As she shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon he couldn't give her enough attention. The love he showed in his eyes and his posture was so evident, so easy to see. He clung to every word as though it would be the last time he ever saw her again. The key to Emmanuel's conversion will be through the strength and testimony of his wife. That is what draws him in and captures his attention. The hope that he can be with his wife forever, not only during this brief mortal duration. It made an impact on me and my companion, and was a lesson I will not forget. 

18th of Feb: We had a district meeting:) It actually went quite well and I enjoyed it. After everything wrapped up and it was time to go home I asked Elder Johnson, my district leader, for a blessing of health, as I hadn't been feeling good the majority of the week. He asked me which language I would prefer... that's when you know your life has changed dramatically. I told him he could give it in either language, but I ended up asking for the blessing in English, just to mix things up. I don't remember all of what was said, but as with any other blessing I instantly felt the love and the concern my Father in Heaven has for me. Elder Johnson said that God was grateful for the work I was doing, and that he was proud of me, things I needed to hear. I know that I am doing well out here in the mission, and I am doing my best to serve others and follow the Lord, but there are times when I feel like I could be doing so much more, that Father expects more from me. To hear that he was pleased with me really changed the entire week for me and my outlook on the things I was doing, or trying to do. 

A street in Caballito

19th of Feb: Macarena accompanied us! It was her first time and she did a wonderful job! I think she thought my companion and I were crazy, because we were saying hi to everyone on the street. Every time we would do so she would get nervous and look at us with large, questioning eyes full of fear. I completely understand, as I probably looked at my first companion in such a way for the first couple months of the mission. With her help and enthusiasm we ended up teaching a lot of lessons and found some new people to teach! My companion and I were in high spirits, spirits that were only heightened as we had dinner with the Machado's and then began to teach the Plan of Salvation. We had just finished explaining the fall of Adam and Eve when we looked at the clock and saw that it was past time to go. As we told him we'd have to come back to finish teaching the lesson another day he looked at us and said, ¨You guys have to go Now?? Can you come back tomorrow?¨My companion and I just about keeled over... that is not the usual reaction one receives from an investigator! We assured him we'd be back as soon as he had time and ran out the door! 

20 of Feb: We went to the doctor to put strange stuff on my face, as seems to be a weekly ritual for me:)....... However, on our way over as we were walking a couple blocks to the doctor's office we ran into a woman from Utah. She greeted us as sisters, which was weird after hearing only Hermana for months... Once in the office, as I finished my treatment the woman helping me asked where I was from. I explained that I was from the states, to which she started talking to us in English! The funny thing about the people here is that they think they can speak very well... she kept asking us if we wanted to use the toilet, and that if we didn't want to have to wait there were two toilets downstairs. My companion and I just about died... But you know, these things happen. 

21st of Feb: We had Samantha accompany us:) It was actually a great experience, as she got to meet Bernarda and well as see the Bertoia family, who live a couple blocks away from her. I could tell that Samantha took a lot from the two little lessons, and I was glad we were able to help all of them connect. We then went to a Family Home Evening a the bishop's house with Macarena, Guillermina, and Lucila. We learned about keeping the commandments, and about the freedom we receive by doing so. Then we had pizza;)
A building in Caballito

22nd of Feb: On Sunday we were finally in our own chapel, the one a block away from our apartment! After some great church meetings we had lunch with the Machado's and were able to finish teaching The Plan of Salvation. Emmanuel was very attentive, and took everything in well, but as we reached the end of the lesson and asked him how he felt about his baptismal date of the first of March he said he still had his initial doubt: that this church was the only true church. We explained to him that the only way for him to know if the church was true was to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if the book was true. He said that he had yet to do so, even though we had invited him to do just that earlier in the week. We asked him how he felt, and he said he felt as though he needed to read the book to know for himself. My companion and I are praying and fasting that he will do just that, because try as we might we cannot and will not give him a testimony that these things are true. His wife cannot give him a testimony. The bishop can't either. But HE can. God can and Will give us answers, if we are willing to receive and ACT on the promptings given. Of this I am CERTAIN. I don't have any doubts. We finished off the day by having the most American dinner ever. It was wonderful, the family was wonderful, and we ended off the week very well. 

So, here is the homework for all of you lovely people this week! Ready? Great:) Read this and send me a message telling me what you think!

>>>>>>>>>> THIS: The Quest for Spiritual Knowledge 

Love you all!
Hermana Dickson

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 25 in Argentina. 7 months in the mission!

Buenas Dias all! 
This week has been a little interesting, as I'm now leading the area of Caballito. It's been an adventure, taking all sorts of colectivos, or buses, that I don't really know. We've only gotten badly off track about five times, so its all good;P It's been a humbling experience, as everything seems to be in the mission, and my companion and I are working on getting to know this area together. 

At the despidida.  My companion, Hermana Olmeda,  who went home to El Salvador and my 
district leader, Elder Johnson

Let's go through the run through shall we?

10 of Feb: My first Pday with Hermana Weitl. Hermana Olmedo and I headed over to the offices early to find my new companion and to drop her off with the rest of the sisters that are going home, taking off the plaque, and stepping into the next phase of their lives. You would think with all of the companions I've had that are finishing the mission that saying goodbye wouldn't be too hard. You would be mistaken. It was hard to say goodbye to Hermana Olmedo. Along the way I came to realize that she was much more than simply my mission companion. She was a sister to me, a best friend and someone I could always turn to. I'm not a crier, but I think that's what everyone says before the mission. 
At the baptism last week!
last meal
After pulling myself away from her I headed back to Caballito with my new companion, Hermana Weitl, a sister with 11 months in the mission from Washington and California. As silly as this might sound to all of my English-speaking friends and family, I was afraid to speak English with her. After being with two latin companions I was pretty well programmed to only speak in Spanish. Upon arriving to the pension we took her stuff to the room before going in search of food. My comp thought she had spotted a Burger King, so, as two Americans might do in Argentina, we went in search of food. However, we didn't end up finding it... After eating in Gustavos, an Argentina joint, we went off in search of computers to write the family and friends. That was also an adventure, as the kiosk we usually went to was full. Eventually we were able to find computers and write! Once 6 rolled around and Pday officially ended we headed down to visit Macarena and Guillermina. Everything went well until Guillermina started crying. She had really connected with Hermana Olmedo, and was taking the separation badly. As she cried I did all I could to comfort her, ensuring her that everything would be ok and that Hermana Olmedo would be in touch. I didn't mention that I felt like joining her in her sadness. I was very happy to be working with Hermana Weitl, even if being apart from Hermana Olmedo was quite painful. I had seen the Hermana Weitl before and she had been extremely kind and loving around me in a time when I had needed all the support and love I could get. 

11 of Feb: Lunch with the Casteneda family:) After eating and talking with the family, who are always very supportive of mission work, we went off in search of Ariana, singing church hymns in Spanish as we went. We found the house just fine, but didn't end up finding the young 11 year old convert/less active. We then proceeded to walk forever. I wish I could say that was an exaggeration... but Hermana Weitl can testify that we walked more than anyone should. That's what happens when your companion leaves and you aren't familiar with the the 30 different buses... However, we managed to find our way down to visit Macarena and Guillermina at 6 before heading to our appointment with Hermana Machado and her husband. He's not a member, but had come to church with his wife the Sunday before. We had set up an appointment and were looking forward to getting to know Manuel and see if he had interest in joining the church. When we showed up the Hermana greeted us warmly, but informed us that her husband, Manuel, was helping a neighbor and wouldn't be able to make it. We were a little disappointed, but took the time to get to know her and her story. As we talked she shared with us a very beautiful dream she had had. She had found herself in a wonderful house. However, upon looking out the window she realized that her husband could not enter, but only look at her through the window. In other words, illustrating that her husband wouldn't be able to be with her forever if he didn't take the step to join the church and get sealed to her in the temple for time and all eternity. As she shared this dream I felt the spirit strongly, and had to fight to hold back tears. We testified that she could be with her husband forever, and that she didn`t need to settle for a window view. 

12 of Feb: We headed over to the Zone meeting in the morning before taking the bus to have lunch with Hermana Amador, the wife of our new Ward Mission Leader. We were able to sing a hymn for her and invite the spirit before heading out to work. We had planned on visiting with Gisela, but received a message letting us know that she wouldn't be able to see us. After that just about all of our other plans bailed on us. However, we continued on and headed back to the Amadors at 7 for our weekly meeting with our Mission leader. I was very impressed at the enthusiasm he has for the work and was able to feel the spirit during the meeting. 

13th of Feb: Usually when walking down the street in Argentina as an American in a skirt with an American companion, people calling out to us are usually bad news. Especially when their faces are half covered by hospital masks. However... sometimes they just happen to be members from a different ward who just got out of the hospital. I have a hard time telling. As my companion and I were on our way to lunch, a process that had already gotten a little sidetracked as we had to run and pay the rent, we were called out to by two people in masks. I don't know how all of you would react, but my companion and I started to walk faster. That is, until the man said he was a member of the church. I'm going to be honest, I didn't really believe him. But my companion seemed to, as we walked over and started talking to them.
 It turns out that he was a member, although his wife wasn't. They had just left the hospital. Apparently he was going through Tuberculosis and just wanted to hear a scripture and a couple words of encouragement. Feeling terrible for almost brushing him off, we sat down and talked to him about the atonement of Christ and how He has felt and experienced all of our griefs, sorrows, pains, and sicknesses. As we taught the two of them started to cry. It was a humbling experience, and taught me once more that I can't look on the outside and expect to know what is going on inside, the value within. Upon arriving at lunch we did English homework. I didn't understand why we do certain things in English until I came to Argentina and found myself teaching people in Spanish how to speak and write in English... What a strange world I live in right now. 
My new companion, Hermana Weitl and I

14 of Feb: We went running in the morning! I was so happy:D After studying we made lunch, french toast;) As we went out to work all of our planned appointments fell through once again, but we had enough backup plans to get through alright. We passed by to visit Bernarda, an elderly lady who we had stopped to visit with the day before. Her son was present as well, and we ended up teaching the two of them about the Restoration. We were able to bring the spirit, testify, and teach. I love teaching, and was thankful for the opportunity and privilege. After such we grabbed a couple colectivos to go to church, where the Ward council was being held. We were able to share with the leaders some of our ideas and learn more about what the Ward is planning and where it wants to go. All of the leaders are relatively new, and the ward is the process of getting back on its feet. 
I am in the heart of Argentina!

15 of Feb: As if I didn't love colectivos before... Lets just say that we got lost Badly.... But, made it to lunch, ate it ridiculously quickly, and got to church via taxi barely in time for the sacrament. How I loathe these buses! After church we had the chance to talk with the bishop. He truly is a great man and we have a very good relationship with him. He seems extremely willing to work with us and I'm looking forward to making progress with this ward:)

I love you all! If you've gotten this far in this long letter, good job! I'm proud of you;) 

Best news of the week:  Two of my sisters here in Argentina got their mission calls :)!

Also heard that Anita and Domingo from my last area are getting married!

And I have to share one of the goals I'm currently working on in the mission! I have set a goal to read the Book of Mormon 6 times in Spanish during my mission. I'm currently in Mosiah and started the first of this month. I absolutely love the Book of Mormon, and am growing to love it as much in Spanish as I already do in English! I challenge each and every one of you to set goals to read the Book of Mormon. If you haven't ever read it, Read it! If you've read it countless times, read it again. It will change your life.

Lots of love!
La Hermana Dickson 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

6th Week in Caballito

Two Baptisms and a New Companion.
This week has literally Flown by! I don't know where the time has gone! Here I find myself at the beginning of week 1 again, this time as the companion leading Caballito. A little frightening! This last week Hermana Olmedo and I worked hard to teach Macarena and Guillermina, our investigators of 14 and 11 years, all of the lessons in order to be ready for their baptisms on Saturday. We visited them about every day for thirty minutes or so and visited with their mother as well, a less active. 
(I had the opportunity to see some friends from PP at the mission farewell
for the missionaries who had completed their missions.)
La familia Pucheta
On Monday, my companion and I had several appointments. As our last P-day together progressed one by one our plans fell through. By the time 6 rolled around we found ourselves without a plan!  Never something a missionary likes going through. However, we decided to stop by and see how Guillermina and Macarena were doing. We stopped by and found the house in a state of conflict. The two girls had just been on the phone with their aunt, who apparently was very against the idea of the two of them becoming members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The two girls were in a state of anxiety and worry, fearing that the family would treat them differently or act coldly towards them if they took this step. 
Picture I promised Hma. Arntsen if I ever saw it!
Hermana Olmedo and I bore our testimonies that the two girls were making the right decision, and that the adversary, or Satan, didn't want them to take such a big step forward. That things were going to be hard during the week, but that it was worth it. I felt prompted to share 1 Nephi 8 with the two of them, the story of Nephi and the tree of life. I talked about the people who clung to the iron rod, who stayed by the tree even after being mocked by those in the great and spacious building, or those of the world. My companion later shared her testimony of her own baptism, how her father had been against it but how she and her sister had decided to take the step anyway, relying on the Lord. It was very powerful.
 Hma. Olmeda with the Nevares family
 I don't have any doubt that our plans fell through on Monday so that we could have that talk with Guill and Mac. Throughout the week we visited with the girls, preparing them for their baptism. On Saturday, at 7:30 in the evening, the two of them were baptized by the bishop. We had quite the turnout! I was privileged to give the talk on baptism. It's funny, before when I had to give a talk in front of a group of people I took the time to write out exactly what I wanted to say and was a little nervous. Now I bring my scriptures up with me and I'm set. It turned out wonderfully, if not simple and concise. And in Spanish at that! Giving talks in English is going to be a breeze;) That is, if I remember the language.... On Sunday the two girls were confirmed, making them members of the church:) I was beyond thrilled for them, and know that they will always be a very special part of my life. 
The Wonderful Baptism and all those in attendance

The Bishop got to baptize the girls.

My companion and Guillermina.

Today I said goodbye to Hermana Olmedo. Man am I going to miss her. She was more than just a companion. She was a sister to me. 
Celebrating Hermana Olmeda's 18 months as a missionary :)!


My new companion is Hermana Weitl from Anacortes, Washington. She has been serving for 11 months.  She joined the church a few years ago.  I'll have to let you all know how things go next week;)

Love you all!
Hermana Dickson 

Monday, February 2, 2015

5th week in Caballito

Here we go Week 23! Yeaaah buddy;)

This week has truly been full of miracles! We have been blessed in so many ways. I have been blessed in so many ways: with a wonderful comp, people ready and willing to hear the gospel, and health. 
(I had the opportunity on P-day to visit La Chacarita Cemetery.  It is also known as the National Cemetery and is the largest in Argentina.  It was created during the yellow fever epidemic of 1871 when other cemeteries were beyond capacity and the upscale Recoleta Cemetery refused to allow burial of the victims of the epidemic.)  

My companion looking at the Spanish-Argentine Mutual Society Pantheon.

I'm that little person in the middle of the street!

Like all the fotos above, another view of the cemetery.

Best part of the week: 
Let me introduce you to Macarena and Guillermina. 14 and 11 years old, they will be getting baptized this Saturday and confirmed this Sunday, the last Sunday my comp has left in the mission. What a blessing being able to baptize at the close of the mission! The two of them are extremely ready to take this step. As we have taught them they have truly astounded us with all that they Already know. Macarena in particular has a powerful testimony. We asked her how her reading had gone in the Restoration pamphlet. We expected the typical,"Oh, well, I read part of it, and it was good, not that I remember anything. But yeah, I read!" Instead, she proceeded to teach Us the first discussion! She did the same with the Plan of Salvation! Seeing the enthusiasm she has for the gospel has truly made all that time in the hospital, all that time without electricity, Well worth it. The Lord has seen our afflictions, our trials and hardships. And He is now Pouring blessings down on our heads! 

Our relationships with the ward are improving, members are inviting their friends, and we are receiving referrals from the church office. 
I'll have to write more next week, as today is my companion's last Pday and we have a busy day planned!
Ausi and my companion
Love you all:) 
Trust in the Lord. Trust in the patience He has for you. Allow Him to trust you to be patient with the rest of his children.
Hermana Dickson