Monday, March 30, 2015

My Caballito Elefante and Training in San Fernando!

As all of you already know, I didn't have time to write this last week, as it was Holiday on Monday and Tuesday and pretty much everywhere was closed. It seems like when the most miracles occur I always find myself without the time to write about them! And that pattern continues. 

My favorite ice cream place in Caballito

Look at these great quotes on the wall there!

I spent my last week in Caballito working hard with Hermana Weitl to prepare Emaunel for baptism. He had been on vacation, and we stopped by on Tuesday to see how they were doing. He had already told us before that he was Catholic and that he didn't want to be baptized. We didn't plan on pushing baptism, but rather on seeing how they were doing as a family and sharing a scripture. And yet, God had other plans, plans that never crossed my mind or that of my companion. As we talked to Emanuel he mentioned that he had been reading and praying with his wife during their vacation. He had gone to the stake conference that Sunday of his own initiative and had enjoyed it. Somewhere along the line my companion felt prompted to ask Emanuel if he still doubted that this was the only true church. He very quickly responded that he didn't have any doubts. We both felt a little stunned from such a response. He then quickly followed up with such a startling and miraculous comment by asking us when the next baptism service was. My eyes grew wide as I looked at my companion, waiting to see if she was as amazed and thrilled as I was. I think she was a little shocked, but after it registered we could hardly contain our enthusiasm. I felt filled with a warmth that I can't begin to describe. 
I knew that Emanuel would be baptized. I never doubted or questioned such. And yet, I didn't know if I would be around to see it. I didn't know just how quickly the Lord would work. I knew that the transfer was coming to an end, and that I might very well leave Caballito and Hermana Weitl without having baptized with her. And here was the hand of the Lord, giving us nothing short of a miracle. We invited him to be baptized that Sunday, the very last day of the transfer. He accepted, but with a condition. While in their house we would have to refer to the baptism as an elephant, as his mother and brother didn't know about his decision and would try to stop him from being baptized. 

One thing is for sure, Emanuel was my first, and will be my last, Elefante. 
He was baptized on a beautiful, clear and cool morning, March 22nd, in the year 2015. Hermana Weitl and I sang for him. You know, I just can't seem to help but do everything I was uncomfortable doing before. I'm never going to forget about Emanuel and his beloved family. 

On Monday, the night that we would learn of transfers, my companion and I had stopped by a McDonalds to use the restroom. Argentinians don't believe in public bathrooms, so we had to find a relatively American joint to have any luck. I'm afraid to report that the food is just as sketchy as can be found in the states, but I avoid it anyway;) Any who, as we're leaving the bathroom someone calls us on our phone.  The call didn't have a name, so I didn't want to answer it. My companion took the call. Quickly she handed me the phone. It was the assistants. I listened in shock as they told me that I would be finishing someone's training. I have dreamed of training since entering the mission, and to have such a blessing completely blew me away. I accepted, absolutely thrilled! For some reason my comp and I thought that such an announcement meant that she would be leaving the area and I would be training there. 
I asked her who she wanted to see before we left, and she said Emanuel, so we headed over, abandoning other plans. Once inside we told Hermana Machado the news. She started crying along with my companion. When Emanuel got home he asked the girls why they were crying. Once they stopped crying he asked what had happened. We told him that Hermana Weitl would be leaving Caballito. We told him we had some good news as well. His wife told him that I was going to be a mom. As she said such Emanuel looked at me with a shocked, confused look on his face. His eyes were as big as plates. I looked at him with eyes just as wide as I realized that he didn't understand that mom in the mission signifies someone that is training a brand new missionary. We quickly explained such, but it was too late. It took quite a while to stop laughing;) 
My comp bore a wonderful testimony, took pictures with them, cried, and gave them her email, telling her how much she loved them as we left. As soon as we got out the door the tears started. I assured that I would take good care of Emanuel and that we would stop by a chino, or a store, to buy the stuff we needed to have french toast and enjoy the maple syrup I'd smuggled from the states;) We were in the middle of buying the stuff when we get a call from our district leader, who starts talking to my companion. I couldn't hear what was being said, but as a look of pity entered her eyes I knew that something had happened. She looked at me once off the phone and said, I'll help you pack. 
I looked at her in shock as tears started running down my face as I thought of everyone I hadn't said goodbye to. That I might not ever see again. I realized that I hadn't really said goodbye to Emanuel or Macarena and Guillermina. It Hurt. My comp asked if I wanted to go back and say goodbye, take a picture, but I knew I'd only cry. 
We got to the apartment and made our french toast, going up on the roof to eat it. As we were doing so the zone leader called to tell us what would be happening in the transfers. He said that Hermana Weitl would be staying and that I would be leaving. From what we heard he said I would be going to San Pedro with the Hermana Yancey. San Pedro is on the very outskirts of the mission and is about 3 hours away from anything. Very country. I was excited and scared. I barely slept.
Adios Hermana Weitl
That morning we headed to the offices to get our new companions and go to our new areas. Upon our arrival I was told that I was there. I didn't really quite understand what they meant, as I knew I was there. I was more concerned with finding my new comp and going to San Pedro. That's when I was told that my new area was San Fernando, or in other words, that I was already IN my area. Talk about a surprise! From there I met my new companion, Hermana Yancey. She has 6 weeks in the field and is from Santa Rosa California. She reminds me quite a bit of my friend Emily Cisco. She's hilarious, a hard worker, and super obedient! I know that I'm her trainer, but I feel that she's teaching me much more than I'm teaching her.

The new area is Wonderful. The members are terribly supportive, the bishop is incredibly nice, the assistants are in our ward, and Elder Lines and Hermana Lines as well. Talk about a shower of blessings! We had a lot of success this week, ending Sunday with 11 lessons in a day. The people here are very open and receptive, the members very loving, and the area more country than I've experienced previously. I love it all. As for my zone, I'm with Hermana Hawkins as my sister training leader and Elder Roberts, the brother of my MTC teacher, as one of my zone leaders! Talk about a small world. Hermana Yancey and I are currently working with a woman named Maria who has a baptismal date for the 12 of April. I'm ready to see miracles in this area. 

This is also my first time as Senior Companion. It's wonderful, and a little frightening, as every one looks to me to start, to end, to make the first move and to understand. For once my Spanish is the more advanced, meaning that if I don't understand, we're in trouble! Thankfully, the Lord has blessed me with the language, and I feel pretty good about it. I've had a couple people ask me if I was Argentine. One said I sounded like I was from España. I'm assuming Hermana Pilliza rubbed off on me;) I've had to grow and be humble to fit this role. The thing I've learned the most is that as senior companion I have to always be looking for ways to serve my companion. She is AMAZING. She knows what she's doing, what her purpose is, and has such a drive to work! She inspires me daily. And keeps me laughing, as she's hilarious! 

As most of you know, we have General Conference this upcoming weekend, and I am so excited! Please make every effort you can to go and listen to ALL of it. It will truly change your life. Also, take the chance to watch the new LDS video, "Because of Him". 

Love you all!
Hermana Dickson
Happy Easter:)
(Since Mallory is now in the same area as the mission home, now would be a good time to send her a letter, or anything in a small firm envelope that has no monetary value. She will be able to get what ever is sent right away.) 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Surprise! I've been transferred to a new area! End of Week 12 in Caballito.

Well it was a WONDERFUL week in Caballito!  

First off, Emanuel got baptized on Sunday! 

I love this beautiful family!

In my last area of Parque Patricios, the wonderful Anita and Domingo got married and baptized!

 So happy for them!

district in Caballito

I was with Hermana Weitl for 6 weeks.  She's awesome!

Let me tell you where I am now real quick! I'm in San Fernando, in the same ward as Hermana and Elder Lines, they are a senior missionary couple that work in the mission home, and with Hermana Yancey, from Santa Rosa, CA. I'm actually finishing up her training, so I'm senior comp and a mom! (A mom in the mission is a trainer.) We're having trouble finding a place with internet and this closes really soon, so I'll do my best but wanted to let you all know! 
Until next week!
Much love,
Hermana Mallory Dickson 

Monday, March 16, 2015

8 Months Today!

First of all, my Pday for this next week will be on Tuesday, so don't get too worried when I don't write on Monday! This is my second transfer in Caballito, so I could very well leave or stay. I could remain with my companion or someone new could come in. But let's get down to the week shall we?

Sometimes on Preparation Day we do something fun!  Bowling!

This week went by pretty fast but felt pretty rough. It felt like I was walking on sharp rocks at times, knowing that I had to press on, but knowing equally as well that every step would be painful. During the week my companion reached the 1 year mark of her mission, I reached 8 months, we had divisiones with the sister training leaders, we had our stake conference, Carla accompanied us for the first time and bore powerful testimony, we found Michaela once more and taught her before having her drop us, I was able to send a voice recording to Anita and Domingo back in Parque Patricios for their marriage and baptism tomorrow!, we had lunch with the Madariaga family and taught their new-found friend Pepe, taught lots of little lessons with one of the recent converts of the ward Fabel, and I reached 3rd Nephi in my Spanish Book of Mormon read! A busy week all in all. 
The construction ended and we are able to meet in the building near us.
Our chapel here in Caballito

There I am.

But, more than what we did is what I learned throughout the week. I learned the importance of communication. With my companion, and with my Father. The week consisted of a lot of prayer. It consisted of Ether 12:27. It consisted of weakness, of knowing that without God I don't have a chance out here. A poem my companion shared with me really caught my attention. I'm sure some of you have already read it, but read it again with me:

The Old Violin

The Touch of the Masters Hand

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."
"And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.

I feel like out here in the mission I am really coming to understand the touch of the Master's hand. Sometimes it may feel as though he is causing us pain, giving us scars. But, as Jesse Perkins from my ward in Cape shared with me a while ago, "some wounds are caused because God refuses to let go." I can promise that that is true. I won't lie and say that the mission is easy. It's Not. And that's truly the beauty of it. Getting down in the dust and admitting that we are weak. That we can't do it alone. That we need the power of Christ. It's simple and sometimes it's hard to admit. It's hard for those we teach at times. For the members that surround us. But, more than that, it's hard for us as missionaries. A comment from one of my good friends recently caught my attention. He said, " The Lord is not building the church through us, He is building us through the church." Take a moment to think this through. He doesn't need us to make the work go forward. We have been promised that it will roll forth boldly and independently of anyone and any thing. But

where will We be? 

The touch of the master's hand is in my life. At times it hurts, and I feel the scars, but they are wounds caused by God's refusal to let us go. By his everlasting and perfect love. 

Hermana Dickson

Hermana Weitl celebrated her one year mark this past week!

She gave me permission to share her email update this week.

Did you know that there are 31,556,926 seconds in a year? That's what google tells me. (Just so you know I haven't actually counted) I've spent that many seconds, and then some as a full time representative of Christ. Looking back over the past year I've lived in 4 different areas, had 10 different companions, countless prayers, have read the greatest books known to man, and have sat with some of the strongest saints I know in the most precious chapels here in Argentina. People have taken seconds to look at us, let us in, reject us, shew us, hug us, and love us. The good has outweighed the bad in seconds. There's been seconds of hurt, hope, sorrow, and love for the people here, including my Redeemer, who can bless any open heart in SECONDS. 

In a year there are 525949 minutes! I used this minutes to study, study, study in the morning and walk, walk, and waaaaaalk through the day. I've taken minutes to talk and laugh with the zone of missionaries I'm with, to learn from the members around me, and to find all the ways I can help someone come unto Christ just MINUTES after meeting them! It may take a couple awkard seconds to get started, but it only takes a minute of singing a hymn, saying a prayer, reading a scripture, or stepping in the doors of a chapel to feel the Spirit of the Lord surround you. I've been given some of the greatest minutes here to receive the inspiration I need to press forward, and humbly try to help others do the same. 

It takes us HOURS to travel, to eat, sleep, contact, find addresses, teach, do service, have meetings, go to the temple... etc. There have been 8765.81 hours, and then some that I have tried to dedicate to this cause. In the beginning it was so hard not to fall asleep in meetings, on bus rides, in lessons, in CHURCH! (because it felt like HOURS!!) In an average hour, I have come to know someone more than just as the world knows them, but rather on the level that the Savior knows them. In an average hour I'm able to know if they love the Savior, why, and how I can help them to make that love stronger. In an average hour, I've shed tears of worry, frustration, pure joy, and because I'm laughing too hard. All the hours I've had here have molded me different, and I only have more to go. (I'm so excited!) 

365 days have been spent! Some days are long! They can feel like weeks, but then at the end of the day, it feels like a week has flown by. And in my experience, they have! 52 weeks of happiness. :) 

1 whole year. Wow. 

It's been great this week, we did divisions with the Sister Training Leaders, and were able to have Stake conference. The last time I was at a stake conference, I was in this stake! I was able to see so many dear members that I love and miss terribly. Every day I realize how deep my love is for the people here, and more than that, Jesus Christ. I'm only here now because He was, and IS! 

I love you all, 
Hermana Jessi Weitl

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 10 in Caballito: Reaching the Midpoint of the Mission (Month to go)

I'm going to go over a couple highlights from the week and then get to the bulk of what I actually want to write about: my feelings regarding the mission, the area, and the progress made thus far. So let's do this first part quick!  (My computer did not work this week, so thank you so my dear companion for sending pictures from hers.)

La Capilla Abierta

Two witnesses that Jesus is the Christ

On the 3rd I did all I could to talk to Everyone in the street and invite them to the Capilla Abierta, or open chapel, that would be taking place on the 7th, Saturday. I said hi to one woman on the street. She greeted me quite warmly, which just doesn't happen here in Caballito! She called me Tesoro, or treasure, and asked us how we were doing. I said we were doing fantastic (especially now that someone had talked to Us on the street!) and gave her an invitation. She accepted it readily and said she'd be there on Saturday. It made talking to everyone on the street a little bit more enjoyable afterwards. knowing that sometimes Someone will respond:)
Hermana Weitl

Some thoughts from Hermana Weitl:

"We worked, and I mean WORKED!  We started praying as though everything depended on God, and worked like everything depended on us.

We were able to serve and help in little ways, but meaningful to the people that received us.  No slowing down!  The Open House for the church was Saturday night and we invited EVERYONE. And ALMOST EVERYONE CAME!!!! There were so many people that came, there were about 80 nonmembers and over 100 members, I think. Hermana Dickson and I taught and taught and taught!!! And from this event we received a ton of referrals! 

On Sunday, I turned around to see a less active family who came back with the rest of their family who are nonmembers. I turned the other way and saw another less active family, and another.... And they came! Some with their FAMILIES!! It was a great week. A great week indeed. :) 

I love the mission."

On the 4th we had to drop Emanuel from our teaching pool. He wasn't progressing and said that he felt pressured towards his baptism. His wife had broken down in tears when he had said such, which I'm sure had to have killed him. He's a great guy, and I know one day he'll take this step. But for now we have to back away and let him grow on his own. He knows that the Book of Mormon is true. With that little bit of faith, that little bit of knowledge, GREAT things will happen. As my companion and I were heading home from their house it started pouring rain. Thankfully we both had umbrellas, a luxury I haven't enjoyed up to this point in the mission.
 As we made our way home we heard something in front of us screaming bloody murder. As we got closer we found the source of the noise. A poor cat was stuck outside of its house and was screaming as it got absolutely drenched. It sounded like a siren and went off just as frequently. My comp and I couldn't just leave it there suffering so we carried him about 100 yards over to an overhanging where it was dry. As my companion held the cat in her arms its crying stopped. As soon as she set it down however, it bolted out of the safety and back into the pouring rain, stopping in front of the locked gate once more. Crying just as loudly. My companion and I both thought of Emanuel. How he was more willing to suffer with what he was comfortable with than take a step into the unknown, into something infinitely better. It was sobering, walking away from the cat as it screamed out into the night. 
Our view of Caballito

The 5th consisted of following a prompting. My comp and I were trying to get in touch with a few less active members when I felt prompted to go visit Silvana, an old investigator. My companion said we should follow the prompting, and off we went. When we rang her bell I just knew she was going to be home and have time to talk. Not that that is normally the case. She's hard to find. But she was there, with time free to talk. She invited us up and we went on in. She wanted to talk to us in English to practice. We ended up teaching the Restoration in English, something I've never done before. It was powerful, if not for her, than for me. She kept asking us, but why did you come today? Who told you to come see me? I was pretty blunt. I told her, God. 

The 6th was spent at the doctor and sprinting to pick up our dinner and run it back to the house. We went 20 something blocks in 15 minutes. Talk about bookin' it. 
And the 7th was the Capilla Abierta. It was a great success and many members as well as their friends stopped by. I get kind of nervous when teaching in front of large groups of people. It's a good thing I wasn't called to be a visiting center sister. I'd much rather work one on one. But life goes on. 

On Sunday I gave a talk, my first in Argentina and in Spanish. I was a little nervous going into it, but as I got up and began to speak the words flowed, the spirit aiding my tongue and my nerves. At one point I asked who was a convert to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only my companion, out of everyone in the congregation, raised their hand. I gave them a second to redeem themselves before raising my own hand. I explained that I had been a member my entire life, but that I was ALSO a convert. I then asked who was a convert of those present. Almost every hand raised. There was a sort of power in seeing all of those hands raised. I actually kind of felt unified with my ward for the first time since coming here. My talk was over the blessings of the Atonement. I shared many scriptures, ending with a powerful testimony. And then I sat back down. The ward can choose to implement the things they heard or not. But they cannot say they have not been told.

Looking back on this week, we did go through a lot of hard things. We had a lot of plans fall through. Hardly any members accompanied us. We were sick at different times during the week. Our baptism fell through. We couldn't even save a cat from the rain. Yet, for some reason, I just feel so Happy. I get down on my knees and just can't thank God enough. I can't thank Him enough for this time. For the scriptures. For my family. I have never prayed so much for my family. I go into my personal studies so dang excited to read my four chapters in El Libro de Mormon. I just want to Work, Work, Work. Serve and Work some more. I feel on fire. Maybe right now we don't have someone progressing towards baptism. Maybe right now we're looking. But I am happy because God is good. He is gracious. He is loving. He is in the inner workings of this mission, of me. 
How I love the Lord my God.
Hermana Dickson

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 9 in Caballito

Hey all! To start off my week, I ate worms with my companion. Great huh?:D
 If any of you said "yes!" please leave. So, let's get down to business.

24 of Feb: This would be where we eat worms! Everything was going well, and we were enjoying a package of snacks, when my companion started dumping the entire package out on the table. I thought she was a little confused, until I saw what happened to be crawling all over the crackers... yep, little worms. More than a little terrifying. However, after calling Hermana Ayre and being assured that 
A. We would not die and
B. We would not have little worms growing inside of us
we got back to work. 
We met with the Bertoia family, less actives, and had the opportunity to teach the brother:) He had a lot of questions and seemed quite interested. After the lesson we ran back home to pack up our stuff to head over to Belgrano, about an hour away. We ended up staying the night with the Belgrano sisters, as we had a conference the next morning in San Fernando.
The Mission Home


25 of Feb: We had the conference with Brother Zeballos of the 70! It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot from both him and his wife, and the spirit was very strong. One story Brother Zeballos shared really stood out to me. It was about climbing a hill with his son. The son had seen the hill and had wanted to climb to the top. One morning the father had agreed. After a lot of hard work and sweat they reached the top, only to see another hill, even taller and with an even better view. The little boy instantly set his sights on the next hill, one they had not been able to see from the ground view. Brother Zeballos went on to explain that often in life we are given trials or obstacles that allow us to grow and have the strength to face higher tasks. However, we often cannot see the higher mount from the ground view. Also, if they had seen the higher hill at the start they might have claimed that it was too hard, that they couldn't do it. It is the same in our lives. If we saw the heights the Lord had in mind for us from the start many of us would give up before we began. We would complain. We would say it was too hard. How well the Lord knows us, to place a small hill in front of us, giving us just enough strength and faith to make it to the top, and then, and only then, showing us the next hill, the next mountain to climb. God takes it step by step with us. The story really stood out to me.
Hermana Weitl in Caballito
That night we taught Emanuel. He told us he knew the Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, but that he still had his doubt that there could only be one true church. We have been praying, fasting, and doing everything we can to help Emanuel see what we can see, but we know that this will be done in God's timing. What I do know is that my companion and I have developed a lot of love for Emanuel and want the best for him. I can picture him as a member of the church, married to his wife for time and all eternity. And it hurts to have this kind of love, this kind of vision for someone who doesn't quite get it all yet. But we will continue to pray. This is Father's work, and He will work to bring to pass his designs. 
 Emanuel and his wonderful wife

26 of Feb: Macarena accompanied us again! We were able to talk with Carmen again and teach her the Restoration. The spirit was strong as we shared Joseph's experience in his own words. Whether in English or Spanish the words are powerful. We also had an FHE, or family home evening, with the Bertoia family:) The pizza was great, but being able to share the Book of Mormon with one of the members of the family who was not a member of the church was even sweeter. 
Lots of yummy pizza in Argentina!
My companion meets a furry friend

27 of Feb: We got to watch the Restoration video with Emanuel:) We had actually gone over with the intent of only talking to his wife, as he had told us he wasn't going to be able to make it. However, when we showed up in front of his door he opened it, practicing his English with us until his wife showed up and we all went inside. As we watched the video the spirit was extremely strong. Emanuel could feel it, and as we invited him to be baptized not the 1, but the 7, he accepted. I have a lot of faith for this investigator and cannot wait to see his family united in the church.
Had the opportunity to visit my companion's old area of Nunez today


Found Wal-mart in Argentina for the 1st time.  However, it does not have American things inside.

Even found Tarzan :)!

29 of Feb: Yet another wonderful lesson with Emanuel. This time Khristian Vargas, our old mission leader, accompanied us. He bore powerful testimony and was really able to relate to Emanuel and his doubts. All of us ended up saying a kneeling prayer together. Emanuel didn't pray out loud, but for 10 to 15 minutes he prayed silently, asking to know if this was the true church. The rest of us, I'm sure, were praying for him, that he would receive an answer. Khristian had told emanuel prior to starting the prayer that he needed to ask God a specific question, as that was the way to receive a specific answer. After the 15 or so minutes had ended we all got back into our seats. Emanuel said he hadn't received any big answer, but that he did feel as though he needed to started offering more prayers of such a quality. He said he always said his prayers, but that many times it was offered in bed, laying down. He said at times he'd fall asleep before getting through the entire prayer. I understand what he meant, as I've lived the same thing. It wasn't until the mission that I really understood the importance of kneeling prayers and just how powerful they can be. Now I look forward to bedtime, when I can get down on my knees and literally converse with my Heavenly Father. 

It's funny the little things that one learns in the mission. The importance of reading the scriptures daily, of truly studying them. Of saying kneeling prayers and taking the time to talk to God. The importance of the family, of all the blessings one has enjoyed during their life. And so many more things. This is God's work. It is not easy, and it is perfect. I know that it is true.
Hermana Dickson