"There is sunshine in my soul today!"

"There is sunshine in my soul today!"

Feliz ano novo!

Christmas was great here! We spent Christmas Eve with our district leaders at a big party in their area--I'm pretty sure Christmas only consists of food here haha. But don't worry, I was keeping the traditions alive with Sister Almeida. She likes Jingle Bells a lot. :) On Friday during lunch a member began telling stories about his mission, and he started showing photo albums. We were, of course, very anxious at this point because they live at one end of the city and we still needed to walk for about an hour to catch the right bus to get to the other side (where we were going to skype). But somehow we managed to leave and get there in time to talk with all of you. :D (I loved that by the way--I couldn't see you all or understand very well what you were saying... but it was great anyway :) ). 

On Saturday we had Samuel's baptism. It was a very tender experience. A recent convert who got baptized two months ago performed the baptism, and he was so excited! However, on Sunday we had a huge let down because he didn't come to church to be confirmed... :( Apparently his mom took him to visit his dad in another part of the city. That kind of ruined my day. However, complaining doesn't help anything. I'm excited to have this week to work, be a little better, and prepare for the new year! 

I have a little invitation for all of you--read Ether 12:27 before you choose your New Year Resolutions. I know that when we come to the Lord, asking, "What do I lack yet?" like a young man once did with our Savior, He will show us our weaknesses so that we can come unto Him. 

Happy New Year!

Sister Dickerson




Feliz Natal!

Can you believe that it's almost Christmas??? Time really flies. 

Let's see where to begin this week.... Domingos was baptized on Saturday! It was an interesting day. In the morning, we went to clean the font, and to my surprise it was full of dirty water from the last baptism... So we had to empty out the font with buckets (to make it move faster). So, soaking wet, and super sore, we finished up and filled the font with fresh water for the baptism. It was quite the experience. Domingos has an interesting story. He and a group of young men started to play soccer at the church three years ago. Gradually, they all started to go to church and seminary, and nearly all of them have chosen to be baptized. I nearly had a heart attack on Sunday because Domingos wasn't there (for his confirmation), and so when we passed by his house we found out he was feeling super sick. However, he made an effort, went, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Instant prayers of gratitude.)

We are also working with a friend of Domingos, whose name is Marcos, but everyone calls him "Mormon." His family is 99% Catholic (he says that he's the 1% who isn't), and he's been going to church every week for a year now. He also plays soccer at the church almost every day. Wow, you have to meet this kid to know how amazing he is! When we were teaching the Restoration to Domingos, Marcos recited James 1:5, the First Vision, and everything. He does more missionary work here than the members. The only problem is that he's 16 and no one in his family is willing to authorize his baptism. (He carries his baptismal form with him, just waiting for someone to sign it). So, if you could keep him in your prayers, that would be great. He's an amazing person and I realllllllyyyyy want to help him be baptized. :)

Oh and on Thursday we had our Christmas activity with our zone. President and Sister Stasevskas came, and it was a blast!  Every one was playing soccer, football, capture the flag; we ate lots of food, and even watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 (such a good movie).

And on Sunday I had to give a talk... but it was all good. I spoke about the true meaning of Christmas, how Christ was born to save us all, and that He was the best gift ever given. I also invited them to give a gift to our Savior--invite someone to learn more about Him. The worst thing they can say is no. :)

Love you all so much!! Merry Christmas!!!!


Sister Dickerson

















Loving the Christmas Spirit already!

In all reality, it's just me in the Christmas spirit here... hahaha. Sister Colussi refuses to sing Christmas carols with me until tomorrow, when it's actually December. She says that Christmas is too trunky haha. So I just sang by myself... alllllllll morning. We were cleaning our apartment extremely thoroughly today, since next week we have transfers, and one of us might be going.... (I'm not happy with this idea--I love Paragominas so much!! Never want to leave... can I finish my mission here? One more year isn't too much time haha).

Let's see... this week was Thanksgiving right? As it's an American holiday, we didn't do much here.... but I did have the opportunity to study more about gratitude in the scriptures, which was absolutely wonderful! Honestly, being grateful is such an important commandment, with such a great blessing--eternal life. Want to know why? Because when we give thanks to God, we are keeping the most important of all commandments--loving God. And in turn, we will keep the other commandments, right? To show our gratitude. Preaching over. :D

So we are teaching a family of Seventh-day Adventists now... Maurício, Keline, and Renato (their brother-in-law). I think that church has a lot of truth. A lot. It's probably the closest to ours. But that also makes it hard to teach them, because all they want to do is Bible bash and prove you wrong. When I say "they" I mean Renato. Wow. I was honestly so thankful for the Spirit during that lesson... I've never seen someone try so hard to confound us in our words. He even called us the two harlots mentioned in Revelations. But the Spirit just told us to bear our testimonies about the Book of Mormon. And you know what? He's reading the Book of Mormon now, and he's loving it! Haha, it's amazing how the Spirit works.

I don't have much else to say... we are working on three marriages right now, we rode pedalboats, and we had ten investigators come to church this week (I love getting blessings!)... And Marisa and Eliasafe wanted to see where I'm from, so they found our house on google maps haha. I was feeling really trunky that day!

Love you all so much!!

Sister Dickerson



Here are all of our investigators that came to church on Sunday!! They are all super fantastic! :D




Quick Update

This week was... interesting! First--Everson was baptized on Friday!!!! It was such a special experience. He was so happy, so excited, and so nervous!! He already talks about serving a mission, and he wants to go teaching with us this week! He is sooooo great!

Second, I caught the flu this week... we had a conference in Belém, and we had to leave 2 am in order to be there when it started.... and somewhere along the way I got really sick. So don't judge me in the picture of his baptism... I almost fainted. It was sad not to be able to work one day, but I seriously needed rest. The other thing is that we are working really hard to marry an amazing couple so that the wife, Rosilene, can be baptized on Saturday. I have never seen the enemy work so hard to stop something! We have had so many obstacles... but it's all going to work out! Heavenly Father wants our success! He is going to help us!


Love you all so much! I am so thankful for each and every one of you! Remember to pray, study, and help the missionaries. Haha :)

-Sister Dickerson



Semana de Milagres!

Every time I start an email my mind goes blank. Where to begin...

This week we had a zone meeting (finally!! Because we live four hours from Castanhal, we only have the meeting one time per month). It was really nice to see other missionaries finally! We had lots of role-plays, practices and such... it was nice. The only thing I have to complain about is that Sister Colussi and I slept in the house of the Sisters in Castanhal, where the mosquitos were awful... we didn't sleep until about 4 AM. But oh well, we slept on the way back!

Because of our zone meeting, Sister Colussi and I were a little stressed out, since we had to go two days without working. We didn't know how we were going to reach all of our goals, teach all of our investigators, and find new investigators... That's where the miracles started! On Saturday we went on splits with two young women to recuperate the work. Sister C. went into a neighborhood that we had never tracted before, and I went with Elica to visit some of our investigators. Somehow, along the road, we found two new families that are GOLDEN. When Elica and I entered the first house, we asked Maria Lucilene if she wanted to invite her husband to participate. She called him and her three sons. I have never seen a family so intent and focused in a lesson,  or so grateful for a message. Maria cried. It was such a tender experience.

The other miracle is that we are working on two weddings at the moment! Marisa and Eliasafe (we've been teaching them for about a month now) are going to marry here in Paragominas--probably in December or January because it takes longer here. Another investigator, Rosilene, is going to get married this week, through Barcarena (it's a little complicated to explain), so that she can be baptized next week!! I've never seen someone with so much desire to be baptized. She said that it is her dream to be baptized and be born again. :)

Also, yesterday we were teaching Everson and we stopped to talk to his neighbor, do Carmo. She said that the night before she had prayed for the Lord to show her the right way, and that we were that answer to her prayers. We invited her to watch a session of conference with us in the chapel, and she loved it!

Honestly, I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for answering my prayers. He really does hear us. He really does help us. We only have to look to seek His hand. He is always placing people in our paths that need our help--don't be afraid to open your mouth and be an instrument in His hands!

Love you all!


Sister Dickerson







Time Flies!

I can hardly believe that another week went by!! Wow... time flies. I know that the last time I wrote I was feeling a bit stressed... but no worries, everything is "tranquilo" now. Sister Colussi and I got to know eachother A LOT this week (which is good and bad haha), and now I think we work much more as a team. :) I think I'll just jump to the highlights now--

1. One of our investigators has a monkey!!! He's so sweet!! The only thing that I don't like about him is that when I was playing with him he peed on me... Not cool. 

2. We finally have a branch mission leader! Irmão Marcos is helping us make a map of the city--because the area is so big this should make it easier to see which members can help with our investigators and less actives. He is really excited to help, which of course makes the rest of us even more excited!!

3. Everson is still an awesome investigator. :) We brought him to a family home evening this week (see photo), and nearly every day afterward he has called us to see when we can visit him again. He is loving the Book of Mormon and praying lots about baptism. :D We also are teaching a girl named Juliana--she is only 11 years old, but she has been coming to church every sunday for the past month, brings the Book of Mormon to school, and marks the scriptures during our lessons. :) The only problem is convincing her mom to let her be baptized... It'll all work out. :)

Love you all so much!


Sister Dickerson



Halloween!

Actually, people don't celebrate Halloween here... but Sister Colussi and I did. :) On Saturday on our way home we bought a small pumpkin (I had a lot of fun making the jack-o-lantern :) ). We also found an old sheet and made a ghost--you can never go wrong with a classic. :) I think it's a good lesson of the spirit world... with the gospel being preached to the dead and all (see Peter 3:19-20 haha).

Overall this week was... crazy. To be perfectly honest I've been feeling quite a bit of stress. However, it is so amazing how the Lord places little miracles along the way to lighten our load! On Saturday a guy stopped us in the street and said that he had a friend in Belém who is a member. She had said to stop the missionaries because they had something really special to give him. We took down his address and invited him to church, and he came!!! (Trust me folks, this doesn't happen). His name is Everson, and he's an eleito!!! He liked church a lot, and when we taught the restoration afterwards and invited him to be baptized, he was so excited. :) We also taught his friend and sister, and I think it was the first time I heard someone, without hestitation say "Of course!" when we asked if they would be baptized if they received an answer to their prayer. Foi bom demais!

The hardest thing about this week was that my favorite investigator decided that she isn't strong enough to keep the commandments... so we had to cut her from our investigator pool. It was so hard to do... but when a person doesn't want to change, there isn't much we can do. However, I know that, at least, I planted a seed. And she knows this church is true, and when she decides to change, she knows where to go. :) 

Anyhow... my mind went blank about the other things I wanted to say. So I'll just leave it at that. Love you all!


-Sister Dickerson






Transfers, Baptisms, and More!

So on Monday we had a transfer and Sister S. Silva was transfered to Belém. :( But she's a sister training leader now, so that's pretty cool. And I don't need permission to call her, so that's even better! My new companion (it looks like I'm going to have lots of companions on this mission...) is Sister Colussi. She's from São Paulo and is downright adorable! 

The best part of this week was that we finally had a baptism!!! Woo-hoo!! Victoria was so excited! I love that girl so much! She was most nervous about the interview beforehand (she even took to studying her pamphlets on the way there haha). She said that afterward she felt so much lighter and so much happier. :) My camera is dead and wasn't able to take pictures, but Sister S. Silva took lots. However, as she was transfered.... I don't have them. Darn. But the next time I see her, I'll try to send them. :)

This week really had a lot of ups and downs... We were preparing Erleane to be baptized as well, but at the last moment she decided she didn't feel ready yet. But we are going to continue working with her and I'm sure it all is going work out! Also--funny story: We were at a member's house for a family home evening with some of our investigators, and the member decided to show us what he had been teaching his one-year-old son. He said, all super excited, "Who is it that's never going to marry a Sister??" To which Marcos Paulo (the one-year-old) shouted, "ME!!" Please don't teach your kids this... us sister missionaries want to get married too ya know. Haha

Other than all of that... life is good and busy. We have so much work to do... so much... I'm trying not to get stressed. But I have faith that it's all going to work out. This work is so marvelous! I love this gospel. Also--we had a great activity on Saturday with the young women when we went on splits and contacted as many people as possible, and the young women gave sweets to each person. It was lots of fun and very effective! If there are sisters in Sauk Rapids see if you can to that with them!

Oh!! I almost forgot--Eddy Mercado arrived yesterday! My zone leader called and I got to talk to him for a bit! I didn't realize until that moment that I am no longer fluent in English... But it was really nice to talk to someone from home!

Love you all!

Sister Dickerson

"Be of Good Cheer"

Hmm... Where to start... This week was pretty good, I'd say. (Just about every week is pretty good on the mission). I think first I want to start with my favorite part--people recognizing answers to their prayers! I believe it was on Tuesday or Wednesday, but we visited five or six investigators just to follow up on the commitments we gave them last time. What was so cool was to hear each and every one of them talk about how they felt when they prayed. Each of them described the good, peaceful feelings that they felt praying and reading the Book of Mormon. Ahh!! I love this gospel! It is so true. I know that any person who prays in faith, with an open heart, will receive an answer because this gospel is soooo true. 

But you know how I love to say that everything comes in opposites? One investigator, Geovane, who was supposed to be baptized this week got appendicitis, so he's recovering... And Vitoria's dad also had to go to the hospital Sunday morning, so she wasn't able to come to church either... So her baptism will have to be next week too. And two of my favorite investigators who already have a testimony of the Book of Mormon keep flaking out on church... ugh. On Sunday, as we were waiting for investigators to come to church, I was feeling pretty low. But!! My wonderful companion started talking about good cheer. :) We do our part; the Lord does His; and the people have to do theirs as well. I'm working as hard as I can, so that will have to be enough. :)

For fun little tidbits of the week, it was my companion's birthday on Friday! She's 24 now. We ate lots of great food. :) And I learned that icecream is super expensive here. And we're singing in the branch choir here (you know how I love music. :) )

That's about it for this week! I love you all so much! Remember to "be of good cheer--the future is as bright as your faith." (Pres. Monson). And remeber to work with the missionaries! Missionary work is the union of member missionaries and fulltime missionaries. :D

Love you all!

Sister Dickerson







Conferência Geral!!

Needless to say, I was incredibly excited for General Conference. And
it was so great!! The only problem was that the translators spoke too
fast haha. But I understood the majority of what was said, and I loved
it!! I have so many things to improve in my life... But so much hope
in how to do it. :D

This week was a week of miracles! (And the opposite... everything
comes in opposites...) There was one day when we had walked from one
side of town to the other to see an investigator, and he turned out
not to be home. By the time we got back to the area we usually work
in, we had very little time to work. We visited a few people, but
still we weren't finding much success. It was just then that a woman
called us and asked us to teach her. Just like that. She had already
been taught by the sisters but hadn't been baptized because her
boyfriend doesn't want to get married. However, she told us that she
really wants to be baptized, and she is willing to leave her
boyfriend, raise three kids on her own, in order to receive the
blessings of baptism. I was so astounded at her faith. We also found a
really great family (who is married--shocker here). The wife isn't
terribly excited... but the husband, Misarel, loves the gospel. He
came to conference. :)

Oh!! This week I went on splits!! We have a lot of investigators right
now, so Friday we had to do a division in order to visit everyone. I
went with a recent convert, Elica, to teach people. I think, for the
first time, I felt completely confident in my ability to lead as a
missionary. :) (It's really easy to let your Brazilian trainer do the
majority of the talking... so this was really good for me). Elica and
I found three new people too, which was super super great. :) Anyway,
I have a lot of pictures to send... but I think that I'll have to wait
for next week when the internet is better to send them.

Remember that the Lord loves you! Stay strong! And remember to do the
little things--family prayer, scripture study, FHE, and Church
attendence go a long way to strengthen your faith.

Love you all so much!
Sister Dickerson

Time Flies!

Wow, is September nearly done already?? I can hardly believe it! This week was really nice; Sister S. Silva and I are already very good friends. :D She taught me to make pizza on Wednesday--which was utterly fantastic, of course. And I'm absolutely loving this branch! The members are very loving; they treat us like their own kids. There's a really sweet young woman who always draws pictures for us and a six year old who proposed to my companion (no worries, she said that he would have to wait 20 years first).

This week we had much more success finding people to teach, and we had five investigators in church!! (It was quite the feat, since they all live really far from the chapel and they were still sleeping when we got there haha). But they all really liked it. :) We had a lot of really special moments this week in our teaching. People here are very open; they tell you their entire life story the first time you meet them. I think the most special was teaching a mother and son. The mother had just lost her other son, who was only five years old. Naturally, we taught about the plan of Salvation. It was so special, to console that mother and tell her where her son is and what she needs to do to be with him!! 

This week was also full of embarassing moments... 1. We found one investigator because my skirt was dirty and she offered to let me use her bathroom. 2. An old man hugged me. He did it so fast I had no idea what to do! And there are probably others that aren't coming to mind... 

Also: mini miracle!! We had a fast for our zone (we haven't had much success this week) and afterwards nearly every house offered us food. Seriously. Blessings of the Lord. haha :)

Love you all!!
Sister Dickerson

Primeira Semana em Paragominas!!‏

Wow, so this week was NUTS!! I left Cabanagem Sunday night, spent the night with some other sisters, and Monday morning went to Belém, thinking that I would be heading for Paragominas that day. NOPE. I had to wait in Belém with another group of sisters until Wednesday, because my new companion, Sister S. Silva, had to take a plane from her old area to meet me. On Wednesday we headed for Castanhal for a zone conference (about 1.5 hours from Belém), and from there to Paragominas, which is 4-5 hours more. It was pretty cool to actually see the jungle on the trip--you don't usually see much nature in the city. 

Sister S. Silva is super cool! She's from Bahia, and we have a deal. She's going to teach me how to dance Baiana style and cook super good food, and I'm going to teach her to read music and cook American desserts! We are getting along great!! 

Paragominas is wonderful! There is just a branch here, and we don't have a chapel yet, but we are loving it! We already have some super great investigators. The city is beautiful, and clean!!! The only problem is we haven't had electricity for five days and we don't have a phone charger... And we are opening the area again, so we get lost all the time. haha! Oh and Saturday there was a baptism!! It was so special!! The other missionaries had been teaching them before us--Luciano and Cleonice. They've been being taught for two years! I even got to speak at the baptism-- It was so neat. 

Anyway, love you all!! Have a great week!


-Sister Dickerson






It's hot here...



Cleiton e Yarlei!! 

Henrique!

Transfer!

Oi!! Boa tarde!!

So yesterday I had the surprise of my life! I'm being transferred! It's really unusual here to be transferred in your training period or when your companion is headed home... but the mission doesn't have very many missionaries right now. 17 missionaries are leaving this week and only a couple are coming in. Because of this, they closed five areas. Since Cabanagem Ward had two sets of missionaries, they closed our area. :( But I'm headed to the interior!! Whoo-hoo!! Paragominas, Castanhal Stake. :) I haven't met my companion yet--she is going to arrive tomorrow. I'm spending the day in Belém with other sisters.

I'm pretty sad to be leaving Cabanagem. It is honestly an AMAZING ward. Amazing. The members, our investigators... ahh!! It was really sad to bid them all goodbye. I love them all so much! It was also really hard to say goodbye to my companion, Sister Mimbela. We honestly became best friends! But she promised to write... so she better. I need to see pictures of her wedding. 

Henrique had his interview for baptism this week, but our District Leader didn't think he was ready.. and I think he was right. I got to teach him with a member yesterday while Sister Mimbela was visting other areas that she had been in, and it was wonderful! We talked about repentance, commandments, and how baptism helps us endure to the end. It was really fantastic. For the first time he said that he actually wants to be baptized, and he is going to really try to prepare for it! Ahh!! Amo trabalho missionário!

Anyway, I love you all! Life is great!

-Sister Dickerson

Zone Conference Choir





Boa tarde todos!

Boa tarde todos!

Well, this week has been an interesting one. Sister Mimbela only has one week left in the mission... so we have been trying to work hard, have fun, and change lives. I love her so much!! I really wish she could stay longer... we've become the best of friends. I don't really have much to report this week... the majority of our appointments fell through, a baptism fell, and other things of the sort... but what is amazing about it all is that I still feel happy and positive! The gospel is still true, for all people, all children of God, whether or not they are willing to accept it in this moment. 

This week I had the great opportunity to get to know lots of missionaries better! We had more practices for the choir throughout the week in Belém, and on Friday we had the conference! I was so great! It was entirely focused on preparing investigators for baptism and confirmation, which is what we've been working on with Henrique. Henrique knows that all the things we have taught him are true, but he's still struggling to find the desire to be baptized. The conference was a great reminder that we need to be patient and loving--he needs to find that desire in order to endure to the end. :) 

That's about it! I love my companion, I love my ward, I love my mission, and I love all of you! Have a fantastic week!! 

-Sister Dickerson



                                                                





Ola!

Ola!

Another week! This one flew by! Fortunately, Sister Mimbela and I are feeling much better now health-wise, so we were able to do a lot more work! This week we experienced a lot of rejection... which is of course part of being a missionary. However, we have two really special people that I want to ask you to pray for! The first is Emily, who is 16. Emily is the perfect, golden investigator that every missionary wants. We had the sweetest lesson ever when teaching her about the Book of Mormon this week. She sincerely reads, prays, and reflects on the things we teach her. She received an answer to her prayers! The only problem is her mom... She is very nice to us, but because she loves her church, she won't let Emily come to church with us. Please pray for this family--they really need it!

The second is Henrique--who is simply fantastic! He's 17, and we are hoping to have his baptism this coming Saturday. The only problem is that he's not feeling prepared enough to be baptized, even though we know that he is. We are going to fast for him tomorrow... You don't have to fast as well, but your prayers are very appreciated!

Other than that, this week has been rather slow. We have a big conference on Friday, and Sister Mimbela and are singing in the choir, so we have gone to Belém twice now for practices. It is very... interesting to sing in a Brazilian choir. The majority of people here are slightly tone-deaf, but it's still so fun to hear their enthusiasm!

To sum up--I'm great! It's still interesting to have people attempt to speak English to me every day and to give pamphlets of the Word of Wisdom to drunk people... And we watched the Testaments twice this week with recent converts... I'm going to have that movie memorized by the time I come home. In Portuguese.

Amo vocês!

Sister Dickerson


Two months today!

Wow, it's really weird to think that I've been a missionary for two months now... And I'm happy to say that I survived another week here in Brazil. :) 

You know that scripture in 2 Nephi that says that there is opposition in all things? That was this week... We had two glorious weeks and then this one. Nearly all of our appointments fell through; none of our investigators came to church; my companion had to go to the hospital; and I got a cold/virus. How fun. 

However, I don't want you to think that I'm down in the dumps because I'm not! I'm still loving the mission. I think it was really good for me to have a week like this because it made me appreciate more the highlights of the week, the experiences I have already had, and the quite moments throughout the day in which I can rest! We learn through hard things, and we grow through our trials! And even though this week was a little difficult, it was still a good week because I'm serving the Lord.

I do want to share with you a little story about a 17-year-old that we are teaching named Henrrique. He was a referral from one of the people here in the ward, Yago, who actually just left to serve a mission in Portugal. Henrrique is so special. The other night, we were teaching him the law of chastity, and I felt prompted to mention eternal marriage. It was so powerful! We had a member, Felipe, with us and he shared his testimony and feelings about the power of the temple. The next day we (finally) found Henrrique's mom. It was so clear that she had been prepared by the Lord to hear our message. As we talked to her about her son and his faith, she began to cry. She shared her feelings of faith and confusion with all the churches here (There are seriously ten churches on every block). It was SO special. I love this gospel and I love this work!

Also, we had stake conference yesterday! So that was great. And last night I got to watch the Testaments with a family of recent converts. That was really special, too. I still think that movie is super cheesy... but I love how it truly testifies of the Savior. He lives and He loves us!!

Love you all,

Sister Dickerson

This is Yago--he left Wednesday to serve in the Lisbon, Portugal mission!

Brasil Belém--Missão de Milagres!

Òla!!

If I don't have time to respond to everyone's personal emails... my apologies. Time is short!

This week was pretty great! I'm gradually learning more and more about the language, culture, and my purpose as a missionary. I think I'm just going to skip to the good stuff--

We had another baptism!! His name is Cleiton; he is 13 years old! We met him my first day here, as he is Yarlei's cousin. He is honestly such a great example of faith; it's a gift of the Spirit to be able to believe so readily without doubts, and he has it! Getting to know him as been such a blessing! On the day of his baptism he was 40 minutes late... which of course caused us much anxiety! However, when we went to his house to get him, we found out that he had wanted to be as presentable as possible. He had even parted his hair; he was practically jumping for excitement as we walked to the chapel. :)

Let's see... other miracles... We were tracting and came across some very special people. One is Anderson; he told us that he already had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Church, his only problem was going to church! So we're working with him to get him there. We also met a woman named Gleicy who is married (legally--super rare here) and super excited to learn! She already has lots of member friends! Also there are Rosa and her son Jonathan; we taught the Restoration for them. The Spirit was soooo strong. So strong. I'm really excited for them.

Honestly, all of our investigators here are wonderful. The people here are so open and receptive. Their only problem is commitments. It's difficult to get them to actually follow through... but ya know, agency and all. One huge help here has been the ward. Cabanagem has one of the best wards I have ever seen! They have activities almost every night; the members love to fellowship and work with us! It is soooo great! I'm making lots of friends in the primary. Currently all the little girls call me "Elsa" or "Frozen." It's pretty funny to be an American here...

Oh! This was a fun experience. One night we were teaching Yarlei and Cleiton in the street when all these little kids gathered round to hear the lesson. It was so special! Afterwards they were swarming us... saying "Hello" and "gracias"... It was difficult to get to our next appointment!

Honestly, I love this gospel. Some days are hard. Some days I feel really homesick, but I know that I'm doing the Lord's work! And I'm honestly so blessed. For one, the food here is amazing.

Love you all so much!!

Sister Dickerson

Brazil!

Wow.

Too be honest, I really don't know what to tell you. Except that this keyboard is really difficult. Brazil is so... different. So interesting. And also so great! The people here are really friendly and helpful. Their accent also is super difficult... I talked with a lot of missionaries from São Paulo and could understand them fine, but the locals are MUCH more difficult. But I'm learning so much every day! Every day it gets a little easier. And we talk to people all the time... I think Sister Mimbela and I had 102 contacts this week! Woot woot!

Oh, Sister Mimbela is my "Mãe"--or my trainer. She's from Lima, Peru! A member told me last night that I'm starting to get a hispanic accent... She's fantastic, super helpful and super pacient. So I am really blessed. Really blessed. She's been helping me a lot to get past all the culture shock.

So right now I'm serving in Cabanagem, an area of Belém. Too be perfectly honest it's really the slums... Culture shock, I tell you. But I love it here! It's really hot. Really hot. I sweat all the time. Some days this week were really difficult to stay positive and keep the homesickness away... but then, at the end of the day, I know that every thing was worth it. Our ward is also super cool! They all want to be involved in missionary work!

Oh!!! BIG NEWS!! We had a baptism on Saturday. :D His name is Yarlei--he's ten years old and AWESOME. Other missionaries did most of the teaching, so when we arrived we just had to teach him some of the commandments. His baptism was so special! On Sunday in the MTC, I fasted for a miracle... not a miracle in my own life, but to see a miracle happen in some one else's. I felt like this was the answer. I loved seeing the huge smile on his face. Also, pretty neat, Brasil Belém is the "Missão de Milagres." Pretty coincidental.

Any how, this week was crazy... there are so many little things I'd love to tell you all if I had more time... unfortunately I don't! But bathrooms here are very different, the food is also very different (but great!), and being an American here is.. an experience. But I love missionary work!

Love you all so much!

Sister Dickerson

"Be strong, and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest." -Joshua 1:9 (My motto nowadays) :)











So Close!

Boa tarde!

Alright, so I might as well get the big news out of the way first: I'M GOING TO BRAZIL IN SIX DAYS. No big deal. My visa came through yesterday! I'll be flying for about 23 hours, and I'm so excited for it! It looks like I will be going first to Atlanta, then Sao Paulo, and then back up to Belem. Woo-hoo! My whole district got their visas this week as well! Sister Dustin, unfortunately, is going on a different flight than me, first to Detroit. However, Elder Ploeger will be on the same flight as me as far as Sao Paulo, so I shouldn't be completely lost and on my own the whole time! This was honestly such a faith-builder to me that I am going where the Lord needs me. A few weeks ago, I prayed saying that I would leave this whole visa matter in the Lord's hands. He knows where I need to be, who I need to talk to, and what I need to learn. I know that I was supposed to meet certain people here in Provo, learn from them, and build strong relationships. I also know that the Lord's hand was in getting me to Brazil at the last moment as well. :)

As for this week--it's been an adventure! We had thirty-six new missionaries join our zone on Wednesday, which made hosting a nearly all-day affair. I hosted more elders than sisters, which was quite the experience. I'm not sure how all of the elder's moms felt about a sister walking their son around the MTC for their first day on their mission... but it had to be done! The other thing is that I've been adjusting to is being a Sister Training Leader. I had this goal to get out of here without a leadership responsibility... but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I like this assignment, though, I've gotten to spend a lot of time with the new sisters, who are all utterly fantastic! I love them all so much! We need more sisters in our zone. Out of the thirty-six newbies, only four of them are sisters... Elders are great, but come on. :P

Today Sister Dustin and I have found ourselves utterly alone in our usually crowded residence. Sister Graham is off for Washington on a reassignment, Sister Nash for Brazil, and Sisters Waddell and Streadbeck for Portugal. Sisters Oldroyd and Smith are also off for the Brazil MTC as well! It's really hard to say to goodbye to friends. However, I am so excited for each and every one of them! They are going to do so wonderfully! Sister Dustin and I also like having a clean room finally... 

I am loving teaching! Our investigators are fantastic! We are really making progress with Adriano. He opened up to us so much this week. Our teachers here are wonderful too; we're learning so much about the language, but I think it's time for us to do some more intense English-fasts... I'm never going to get completely comfortable unless I let go of English completely.

This week, I've been thinking a lot about how much God loves every one of us. He is so merciful to us. Being a missionary is so wonderful because we have the beautiful opportunity of sharing this love with other people. We were talking to Adriano yesterday about repentance, and he said, "How can I do all of these great things? Nephi was a prophet; you are missionaries, servants of God. I'm just Adriano." You are never just you. You are a perfectly made, perfectly loved child of God with infinite potential to be so much more than how you see yourself. And Heavenly Father sees it all.


Amo voces muito! Ate mais!

Sister Dickerson

Has it really been a month??

Ola!

Well, to answer my own question, no, it hasn't! But it two days, it will be. To be perfectly honest, I am really ready to leave the MTC. Don't get me wrong, the MTC is great and all, but the schedule does get old. Just two more weeks! I'm expecting to get my travel plans this week, and I think I'll be going straight to Brazil! You can check your visa progress online and mine is all processed! So, I'm super excited. It is so amazing to see the will of God working in my life. Hardly anyone has had their visa processed from the LA consulate; the Lord will put me where He needs me! 

Let's see... as for teaching experiences, this week has given us all the ups and downs we could ask for! Both of our investigators have a lot of serious problems, especially concerning the law of chastity, so we teach that just about every day. However, we have grown in so much love for them, and we have seen the Spirit work on them in so many ways! It's honestly amazing. (Our teachers role play as investigators that they met on their mission. However, as we treat them as real investigators, we are actually able to get a feel for how to truly teach). 

Last night was a sad night in that it was our last lesson with Irmao Machado and our last lesson with Jose. That was hard. We walked out feeling so much love, though, and I couldn't help but see our progress in the progress of our investigators. Irmao Machado has to teach the two incoming districts this week, so we're getting Irmao Sears instead; I'm sure he's great, but we really love Irmao Machado! Change is good for me though... Last night was also hard because about 3/4 of our zone shipped out. Nearly all of the missionaries going to Portugal, Mozambique, and Angola are gone! Also, nearly every missionary in the two districts that came in after us got their visas to Brazil, so they are now at the MTC in Sao Paulo! We're of course excited for them, but it was hard to say goodbye. Most of them left at incredibly early times in the morning. It was adorable--last night we were walking back to our residence with the zone leaders and one of them said, "Elder, do you know what I'm going to say to you at 3:35 AM? I'm going to say, 'What time is it?' and then you're going to say, 'It's 3:35 AM.' Do you know what that means?" They were so excited to get out in the mission field, and they are all going to be great!

On Sunday I was incredibly surprised by being called to give a talk... Considering that the majority of our zone was heading out, that I've already given a lesson and my testimony and prayers in meetings, I thought I was safe for another week. Nope! It went fine though, even though it was terrifying. Portuguese is becoming more natural every day. On Wednesday I got to host new missionaries for the first time! That was fun, meeting so many new people and helping them get a good first impression of the MTC. The only downside was hauling suitcases up flights and flights of stairs. We get to host again tomorrow, so that should be great!

My dear companion, Sister Dustin, has been rather ill all week. Poor girl. Please keep her in your prayers! She's been improving steadily though, and she is such a champ about the whole thing. Her positivity is contagious! We've had lots of glorious moments throughout the week because of it. And lots of embarrassing moments. I don't think they would be as funny if I typed them, though, so I won't bother for now. :) I also found out last P-day that Sister Dustin is utterly AMAZING at playing the flute! She is so talented. I'm making her audition for a musical number this week. She is seriously so great. 

In other news, we have gotten very close to our district, which consists of Sis. Dustin and I and Elders Ploeger, Lewis, and Smart. The Elders might be getting a little too comfortable with us. We were studying outside one day and came in to grab our Portuguese dictionaries. We walked in to find the lights off, the elders sleeping (Elder Smart even had a eye mask on) and the whiteboard covered in pictures of animals! It was a pretty startling and hilarious moment. However, considering that they were just called to be the new zone leaders, I think they'll get a little more focused from now on. 

Anyhow, I'm learning a lot! Every day! I love the people here, and I'm loving the people of Brazil more and more every minute! It's amazing how I am finding more of my weaknesses than I ever have in my life, but I feel so much more hope for change than ever before as well.

This is the scripture we're memorizing in Portuguese as a district this week, Joshua 1:9:

"Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest." 

I hope you all have a marvelous week! Love you all!

Sister Dickerson








Half-Way There!

Bom dia!

I'm happy to saw that I am officially half-way through my stay at the MTC! 

Thank you all so much for the outpouring of love I received this week. Your letters were very appreciated! 

Well, where to begin... this week was great! Sister Dustin and I are getting along perfectly, and we are loving teaching together! There were some days that I could hardly keep my eyes open and some days that I could hardly go to sleep. Life is always up and down here! 

I guess I'll go backwards. I just went to the temple today! It's been closed the past two weeks for cleaning, so it was so amazing to finally be able to go and feel the peace and love that permeates those walls. It was amazing. One of the elders in our zone had a stack of family names to do, so all of the sisters were able to do some! It was seriously so great.

Sister Dustin and I are loving the work! Our two investigators, Jose and Vania, and progressing quickly. We love them so much. We asked them to do some really hard things this week, and it has been so incredible to see their faith at work. It's also been amazing to see my own faith grow. Every experience is for our good! On Sunday we spoke a lot about enduring to the end in Relief Society; I was disheartened to hear so many sisters talk about enduring hard trials on their missions and how this life is about experiencing hard things. It's all true, of course, but it is so much more! Happily, by the end we were talking about enjoying to the end, finding joy in the journey, and how our entire purpose is to have joy. I love the gospel!

On Friday we had our first TRC, when we teach members. The two members we taught were return missionaries from Brazil--Mia and Chase. They were so cool! I felt like we talked more than taught... but it was an amazing experience! It also made me think more about this life. Mia expressed concern about all of the awful things going on in this world and how to deal with it. I got to thinking... if there really is opposition in all things, then if some of the worst things are happening today, then some of the best things are happening as well. When we are in the deepest of trials, we can find the deepest joy. Everything has its opposite, and often times its opposite is found right along its side. It's amazing! On Friday we also had the opportunity to watch President Packer's funeral. It was a sad experience, but it was also incredibly enlightening. That man lived an amazing life, and he is still touching people's hearts where he is now. We even got to hear President Monson speak at the funeral--he still looked frail, but he sounded so much more like himself than last conference. That boosted my spirits.

Otherwise, this week has been one of learning and practice. Learning and practicing a lot of Portuguese, teaching skills, and of course, teaching with the Spirit. It's amazing to see how much progress we are making. Sister Dustin and I had a confidence builder yesterday when a new professor from Sao Paulo who doesn't speak much English yet came into the class to chat with us. He spoke faster than any teacher I have ever heard at the MTC yet, but we understood every word! He said he was shocked because the missionaries who are leaving next week couldn't understand him, let alone respond. I'm not trying to boast, if that sounds like boasting. I'm just so extremely grateful that the Lord is helping me communicate in this language! The gift of tongues is so real!

Oh, I have one more fun story. The other day some elders going to Argentina came up to us for some "street contacting." What came next was about a half hour of a half-Portuguese, half-Spanish lesson. It was so fun! What was even better was that we all understood each other! (Most Spanish-speaking missionaries don't pick up any of what we are saying...)

Well, I would love to go on more about all the other little stories of this week, but I'm just about out of time! So here ya go--the highlights. I love you all so much! Have an utterly fantastic week!

Love,

Sister Dickerson

Aprendo Cada Dia

I can hardly believe that another week has gone by! This week was... difficult. I guess that's the best way I can put it. However, I learned so much more because it was difficult! The biggest thing that happened was that my companion, Sister Packard, got her visa, as well as another sister in our district, Sister Sanabria! To be perfectly honest, although I was very excited for the two of them, I was also quite discouraged. I had to say good bye to them this morning, and it was very difficult. I'm really going to miss Sister Packard! She has taught me so much about teaching with the Spirit, carefully preparing, and working diligently all of the time. She's going to love the Brazil MTC though. She said it will be really good for her because then she will have to speak the language all the time. And it will be good! The course of this week has been difficult as I have worrying about my visa... Through prayer, though, I have finally been able to let these worries go and place them in the Lord's hands. It's hard to accept His will, but when I do I am filled with so much more trust and love for Him! (So no one ask me about my visa again--it's not my problem. :P ) But my new companion, Sister Dustin is great!) I have learned a lot about faith and patience this week; the Lord is definitely the greatest teacher.

The Fourth of July was quite an experience here at the MTC! My teacher Irmão Machado, who is from Florianopolis, Brazil, gave us the greatest lesson on appreciating our country and the principles on which it stands. It was so enlightening. We also spent a great deal of time studying about Captain Moroni! There was a special fireside in the evening about bringing the gospel into all the world. The speaker sort of went nearly an hour over... so we all hurried out to the parking lot, watched about five minutes of fireworks, and went to bed late. It was great though! I like getting a nice break from all the stress. 

I have learned so much about teaching this week. It is fantastic! We got a second teacher, Irma Hill, and she's wonderful! Her teaching style is quite different than our other teacher. We have two new investigators, Vania and José, who we taught for the first time yesterday. I have loved seeing the difference in what we prepare and what we actually teach. It is obviously important to prepare as well as we can, but it is even more important to listen to the investigator and the Spirit to know their needs. We had some really tender teaching experiences. And that's the whole point of missionary work, right? It's amazing to see the Spirit work with them, even with our broken Portuguese and help them tell us the desires of their hearts!

Hmm... just for funny experiences (in case you are all bored already), Sister Packard's favorite song is "Ye Elders of Israel," so this whole week has been full of us breaking into deep, manly harmonies while singing that song, much to the surprise of surrounding elders. Sister Sanabria and I have also created a form of communication based solely on facial communication! So now I'm known as that weird sister who can make strange faces... love that... But it's been fun. :) 

I hope you are all doing well! Have the greatest week ever!

Love,

Sister Dickerson