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Thursday, June 30, 2016

All Manner of Affliction

HAPPY SUMMER!
Oh my, it's crazy how a change in season and a little bit of sun can
make anyone happier. Missionary work is going great. There are a lot
of people out gardening and walking so we have so many wonderful
opportunities to share the gospel.

So cool story about that, we were walking down the street one day and
there was this lady out gardening so we stopped and asked if we could
help her. She said that she was just about done, but that she knew
someone who did need help. She pulled out her phone and called her
right up then and there so we could talk to her and set up a time to
help her. It was awesome!! We did a lot of gardening this week for a
lot of different people, which is awesome. I love being outside and
especially outside in pants!

So cool miracle happened on Saturday. We were out tracting and
everybody was saying no, which isn't out of the ordinary. The time
came for us to head back to the car so we could make it to our dinner
appointment. On our way back to the car a man, named Jesse, who we had
already talked to was out walking to his car. We were surprised when
he stopped us because when we had talked to him before he said that we
was all set with his beliefs. But he stopped us and asked us if we
could actually share our message with him. So, we got to teach him the
restoration and give him a Book of Mormon! And he told us he was going
to read it and that we could come back another time. It was fabulous!

Today is President Stoker's last official day as our mission
president. Oh ouch, stab me in the heart! I am going to miss him and
Sister Stoker so much! They have done so much for me and for the
mission, it's so sad to see them leave. I feel so blessed that I got
to serve with them. I am excited for the new mission president and his
wife to come though. Their names are President and Sister Blair. I
know they are going to be doing wonderful things.. I just wish we
could get the Blair's and keep the Stoker's.

Well let's talk about more positive things now, like my Spiritual thought!
Woo!

Anyways, trials always seem to be a huge topic that is always running
through my head. I have found myself really pondering about trials.
During our companionship study Sister Hallam and I got to talking
about Nephi.

Nephi's big main trial in the Book of Mormon is his family. His
brothers threaten to kill him, attempt to kill him, and abuse him over
and over and over again. Their prosperity even continues to fight with
each other for hundreds and hundreds of years. I am sure that many
prayers were offered by Nephi in an attempt to soften his brothers
hearts and for his brothers to be kind towards him. But over and over
again those prayers seem to go unanswered. He spent his whole life
dealing with this problem, and it never got better.

I feel like that same thing happens to us. We may have the trial of an
addiction, or we are being bullied, or we have some mental or physical
disabilities. I am sure many prayers have been offered to Heavenly
Father for relief of these trials, and I know without a doubt that He
is listening. But yet, we still struggle and we still have to suffer
with all manner of afflictions.

This is where I think Nephi is so awesome. Nephi didn't give up. Every
time one of his brothers tried to kill him he relied on the Lord. He
exercised great faith and we see that he gets stronger each time he
goes through this trial. His brothers never change. His circumstances
never change. But Nephi changes.

I think it's the same for all of us. No matter what trial it is. Most
of the time we will find that our trials won't magically go away.
Consequences will still come, people will still make mistakes and our
weaknesses and disabilities won't magically be take from us.

But we can choose to either become better or bitter. Our whole life is
going to be us going through hard things that are intended to make us
better and stronger. That is why there is the gospel and the church
that we can rely on. As we live the gospel and do the simple church,
prayer, scripture study and keep our covenants we have made then we
will be able to bear our burdens with the Savior by our side every
step of the way.

Life is good everyone, we have a Savior to help us!

I am so grateful for Him.

And for you!

I love you all!!
Have a happy week!

Xoxo
Sister Dickson




God's Favorite Color

Well hello!
I love life! haha well, this week was just so busy and so good!
First things first, Sister Hallam and I both survived transfers! We
are staying together! Woo!! I am so excited!! I love being here and I
love being companions with Sister Hallam.

This week was so fun. We went on a mini mission with the one of the
youth here. Her name is Susan and we had SO much fun!! Susan also gave
us a referral named Theresa and we picked her up as a new
investigator!! It was awesome!!

Volunteering with the Monks is probably my favorite service that I
have done so far!! It is so fun!! They feed us lunch after service and
they make the BEST homemade bread and lemonade!! Mmm.. I love it!

We also picked up a new investigator named Sonya, who is great! We
also set a baptism date with our investigator Marion.

Wednesday night the ward had an ice cream social which was so fun!! I
really love the ward here. They are so awesome! Plus our investigator
Lorriane went to the party too!!

On Saturday we went on exchange with the Brewer Sisters, Sister
Castillo and Sister Johnson. I went with Sister Johnson and I was so
fun. I love getting to go on exchanges with different sisters every
week. I feel so blessed to get to be in a position where I can learn
from and serve closely with all of these wonderful sisters.

On Sunday a less active named Myrt, who we have been working with a
lot, came to church again!!! Woo!!! I so love it when the gospel
changes people's lives for the better! We set a date with her as to
when she will go threw the temple and we are so excited for her!!

This coming week is the Stoker's last week as my mission parents. It
is slightly killing me inside because I love them so much, but I am so
lucky to get to have two mission parents to love and to serve with!!

Well for my spiritual thought I would like to talk a little bit about
how getting answers to prayers works. I always under the impression
that the scripture, "ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be
opened unto you" meant that we would get the answer we want right then
and there.

I learned this week that is quite the opposite. It all started when
Sister Hallam told me of this exercise that missionaries do to help
them figure out how they receive answers to their prayers.

Its simple, all you do is ask God what His favorite color is. Sister
Hallam said that everyone who has ever done this has gotten the same
answer. I thought that was so cool! So I decided to ask.

I prayed, and I asked and the color purple came right to my head
immediately. So I rushed over to Sister Hallam,
"It's purple, isn't it?!?" I burst out
"What?" she asked confused.
"Purple. God's favorite color. Its purple, right?"
"uh.. nope not that I have ever heard of."

I was crushed. I went back into the study room and laid on the floor
and had a personal temper tantrum. What the heck?!? I thought to
myself! Why the heck did purple come to my mind, I was so wrong! oh
my, this totally means I have no idea how to listen to the Spirit! I
started to doubt every single decision I have made. Such a minor error
had led me to the point of doubting every single spiritual impression
I have ever gotten. For awhile I was convinced that I had no idea how
to get answers to prayers or how to listen to the Spirit.

If I couldn't even get an answer to such a simple question, then why
would I ever get an answer to an important question or decision.

After awhile of laying on the floor and freaking out in my head, I got
up and started to study the scriptures. But the question kept going
through my mind, why hadn't God just answered my simple question?

It was then that it occurred to me that God was trying to teach me
something. But, what that something was, I had no idea. So I went to
Preach My Gospel and read chapter 4 on how to recognize the Spirit. I
came across a scripture D&C 6:14-16, 22-23 "Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired
of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received
instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have
come to the place where thou art at this time.

Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten
thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that
thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth;

Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save
God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast
your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that
you might know concerning the truth of these things.

Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What
greater witness can you have than from God?"

It occurred to me that prayers are a form of work. When I asked God my
question I hadn't studied it out or even prayed to confirm my answer.
If it meant something to me, I would need to show Him that it did. I
asked Him with my head, but not with my heart. I listened with my
ears, but not my heart either. I am a firm believer that God talks to
us more through our heart then any other way.

I know for a fact that God does hear and answer every prayer, but most
of the time, the answer is not really what we expected. He even
answers prayers about what His favorite color is.

I love you all!!
Have a happy week!!
xoxo
Sister Dickson

ps, ask God what His favorite color is and shoot me an email when you
get the answer!!
(by the way its not purple.)






True Greatness

I feel like every single email I send home I just rant about how much
I love being a missionary. But it's so true! I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!
Ahhhh! I just wish I could transport all of you here to see how
wonderful life it!

This week was.. Odd. Odd but so good. Monday afternoon we had district
p day with our district and we went candlestick bowling. From reading
my letters so far I would assume that most of you have figured out
that Maine is weird, and has weird things, like candlestick bowling.

Candlestick bowling is just like regular bowling except the bowling
balls are like a little bit bigger then a soft ball and the pins are
really thin and light. So we all go in to this little run down ghetto
as heck bowling ally. It was so old that we had to keep score by hand
on a piece of paper and reset the bowling pins ourselves. Hahaha but
it was so fun. I love everyone in the district! We had a party!

Monday night we picked up a new investigator named Megan. She is so
solid. We also met some really great potentials. Then the Ellsworth
sisters came over that night for exchanges. Sister Hallam wakes me up
a little bit earlier the next morning and it took me awhile to
comprehend what she was saying. You know me in the mornings, I'm not
very coherent or even very nice. Haha but anyways after her repeating
the same thing like 3 times I finally understand what she was saying.
She told me that she had been way sick all that night with the flu and
we needed to cancel exchanges.

I felt so sad that we couldn't go out with the sisters. But the
mission nurse forbade us to leave the apartment that whole day! In a
way though it was a slight blessing in disguise. Not saying that
Sister Hallam dying all day was a blessing, that was not that fun. But
my back was killing me from the day before and I could barely move.

So we just had to sit in the apartment all day and fill out 350
mormon.org cards and laugh about how we were falling apart. The Bangor
elders were really nice though and they came and gave us a blessing.

Staying in the apartment all day really is not that great.. Quite the
opposite actually. When Wednesday came we were both so pumped and
ready to get back out and work.
We picked up some new community service that we now do every Thursday
morning. We volunteer at the bake shop called Friars Bakehouse. We
didn't realize that the bake shop was run by a monastery. It is so fun
volunteering with a bunch of monks. We wash dishes and clean and such!
I felt like I was on the movie set for Nacho Libré.

"They give me no eagle powers! They give me no nutrients!"
"I get to sleep alone for the rest of my life, it's fantastic! No go
along, read some books!"
"Have you ever been in love with a nun?"
"Now leave, while sister and I talk of holy things."

None of the quotes will be funny to you if you haven't seen Nacho Libré.

Anyways, on Friday we had zone conference. I LOVE ZONE CONFERENCE. I
didn't know that I could love being rebuked so much! Haha!

It was President and Sister Stoker's last zone conference they will
have before they end their mission in July. It was very emotional. I
have learned so much from them. Even though I will miss them so much,
I am very excited to meet the new President and his wife. There names
are the Blairs. It'll be a fun adventure.

Saturday was great! In the morning we got to go to the University of
Maine and volunteer at the special olympics! Where I got to see the
HopeSmith family and Charlene from my last area! It was so fun. We
helped give out sneakers that a shoe company had donated. Later that
day, we taught one of our new investigators, Portia. Portia is like a
power mom and she has the two cutest boys ever!! And we picked up a
new one and her name in Mary Ann. She is literally the sweetest lady I
have ever met. She is so excited to learn more. Then we had dinner and
a lesson with Lorraine, another investigator and we all sang "I Need
Thee Every Hour" together. It will continue to blow my mind at how
much I can love these people. I hardly know them, but yet it feels
like I have known them forever.

So I guess it is time for a spiritual thought.

In relief society we had a lesson on true greatness. I love this quote
by Joseph F. Smith that says "Those things which we call
extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do
not make real life. After all, to do well those things which God
ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest
greatness."

I have reflected a lot on what really makes someone great. I feel like
the world would tell you it's by how successful you are. I think I
would agree with that, but what is success? When I think of how the
world portrays success I think of fame, money, having nice cars and a
nice house, being well recognized and popular. But when we look at
those people the world would classify as "great" and see how they
really live, it's very obvious that they are anything but happy.

So what makes one truly great? It is being settled firmly on a
foundation of truth and light. It is by small unrecognized kind deeds
and words. It is the giving of ones self and the quiet example one
sets. True greatness comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ and
loving all men. It's in the little everyday to day acts, decisions,
and moments that make up eternity and define greatness. That is when
we become truly great and extraordinarily happy.

Alma 37:6 "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but
behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great
things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth
confound the wise."

Have a great week!
I love you!
Xoxo
Sister Dickson








A Merry Heart!


Before I start my email I need to make a correction, last week in my
spiritual thought I typed that commandments are restrictions, which is
so NOT true, I reply need to proof read these emails haha. But FYI
commandments are not restrictions..
Well anyways... On with the goods!

"Sister Hallam, do you know how practically every morning I tell you
that I feel like I got hit by a truck?" I say as I lay in my bed.
"Yeah," she says "except this time you actually do feel like you got
hit by a truck!"

*3 weeks earlier*
"Sister Dickson! I have a wonderful idea! Let's tell the Ellsworth
district to have their district pday at Acadia National Park!" Sister
Hallam says

*Last week sometime*
"Yeah we talked with President and he said we can go to Acadia. We
thought it would be fun to go on a sunrise hike. Meet us at our
apartment at 4 am. You could stay the night at the Sisters." Says the
Ellsworth Elders.

*3:30am this morning*
"Sisters, I am so sorry. I am going to be lame but I just really don't
want to go on that hike this morning. I am just barely getting over
this cold!" One of the Ellsworth Sisters tells us as I look out the
window watching rain flood the streets.

That my dear friends is the story of how Sister Hallam and I went on a
hike at 4 am in the rain with 8 random 18-20 year olds that I hardly
know, otherwise known as Elders. It was so fun though! The only down
fall was that we were basically rock climbing (not really but there
was a bit of climbing involved) and I slipped on a wet rock and fell
flat on my bum, knocking the wind right out of me. Oh man.. Did that
hurt. My back is still a little sore but it was totally the grace of
God that helped me hike 600 feet down back to our cars.

I feel so blessed to be in such a sweet mission, there are FANTASTIC
missionaries here. Especially all those elders we went hiking with who
made sure they were behind me and in front of me to make sure I didn't
fall down hard again. It was such an adventure! Sadly we didn't see
the sunrise because of how foggy and rainy it was, but it looked so
beautiful against the green trees.

Oh my! So much has happened this week! There is so much I need to say!
Well first off last Monday our pday was cut short because we had to
drive down to New Hampshire for MLT ( missionary leader training) and
we were driving with the same elders we were with last time we went to
NH. The ride down was just as entertaining as last time. This time the
elders tried to get every semi truck we passed to honk their horns.

We stopped at the Portland Headlight on our way down. Apparently it's
like the most photographed lighthouse in the world. We were so excited
and when we got there the lighthouse was covered with scaffolding.
That was a bummer, but the ocean was still sooooo pretty!! I love the
east coast. It's beyond beautiful.

MLT was FANTASTIC! President Stoker gave so many great trainings. It
was so fun. On our was home we stopped at the Portland Mall to use the
bathroom and the Elders said we had 15 minutes or else we would be
late getting home.

So Sister Hallam and I went to the bathroom real quick and waited in
the food court for them. And we waited.. And waited.. But no Elders.

We know one of them wanted to get their iPad looked at so we though
maybe they were at the Apple Store. So we went there.. No elders.

So we went out to the car.. Still no elders. So we went back to the
food court and waited for no joke 20 minutes. So we went back out to
the car and stood there. Mind you that our phone was in the locked car
so we had no way of getting ahold of them. 45 minutes later we see the
Elders walking out with Macy's bags. THEY WENT AND BOUGHT TIES! Those
dang Elders. Hahah they also put on some nasty smelling Johnny Depp
cologne. So the whole 3 hours home we spent most the time informing
them which colognes are really ok and not ok to wear. Haha

This week we were on exchanges with the Dover Sisters! It was so fun
seeing sister Hoopes again! We had a party and went up to our creepy
third floor and had a dance party with our black light. Haha exchanges
are so great! I am a firm believer that exchanges brings miracles
because we got 5 new really awesome investigators this week!!

Ah.. Such a great week. Such a great 11 months, I LOVE being a
missionary. All the blisters and sore muscles are worth it.

For my spiritual thought this week, it's all about attitude. I love
the scripture in Proverbs 17:22 "A merry heart doeth good like a
medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."

Attitude is really everything, especially in a world where it is so
easy to get caught up in all the junk. But how is it possible for us
to remain positive and optimistic in such a scary world?

Well the answer is Christ. Christ is the answer to everything but He
will bring that hope and happiness into our lives that we need. He can
turn doubts into optimism. He can turn hopeless into hopeful. He takes
the pain and gives us strength to go on.

Sometimes we may think that they trials we endure are to hard. We may
want to give up.

But when Christ was in the garden suffering for your pains, and your
trials, and your temptations and your fears and heartache He didn't
throw his hands up in the air and exclaimed that this was just "too
hard". He never has and never will give up on you. So don't give up on
yourself. Lift up your head, paint on a smile and enjoy all the good.
There is so much to grateful for and so much to be happy about.

I love you all!
Have a happy week!
Xoxo
Sister Dickson









I need thee every hour

Hello hello!!

Well this week was just lovely because the weather here in Maine is
FINALLY getting so beautiful. My 11 month mark is on Wednesday and the
weather is reminding me of the beginning of my mission with Sister
Bee. Such great memories!! I love being a missionary!

On Tuesday we were teaching one of our investigators about
commandments and how they are a restriction but wise counsel to keep
us safe and happy. Well we start talking about praying to know if
these things are true and teaching her how to pray and her 14 year old
son came right up to the lesson and started to listen. He took a pic
of the how to pray page in the pamphlet we gave and was so interested.
It was so cool! He took a Book of Mormon and wants to keep learning!
MIRACLES!

So as sister training leaders we get to go to other sisters district
meetings whenever we want. There are 5 sets of sister in the zone that
we cover and we try to go to all of their distinct meetings. So last
Wednesday we decided to go to Dover's district meeting!! It's was so
great seeing Sister Hoopes and Sister LaFevre. It was so crazy weird
being back in my last area and in the Dover chapel. Like it kind of
felt like coming home.. But also like I didn't belong. Haha weirdest
feeling ever, but it was so great.

On Saturday we went on exchanges with the Waterville Sisters, Sister
Clegg and Sister Turley. Sister Clegg has been out for 8 months and
Sister Turley has only been out for about a month. I was on exchanges
with Sister Clegg and so many miracles happened! We were able to give
out 3 Book of Mormons and teach a lesson to a potential investigator.
We also got a return appointment. It was a great day only to come back
to the apartment to find Sister Hallam and Sister Turley had given out
2 Book of Mormons, got 3 return appointments and 2 new investigators!
Miracles happen on exchange let me tell you!

Oh and another miracle. We have been working with this less active for
a while trying to help her to get to church again. She hasn't been to
church in at least 10 years and she finally came to church on Sunday!!
It was so great! I was jumping up and down all excited! Best Sunday
ever!!

I love the change the Jesus Christ can bring into our lives. I am so
grateful for Him. Which leads me into my Spiritual thought!
This morning the words to the song,
"I Need Thee Every Hour" have been running through my head over and
over. I've always loved this hymn, but this week it took on a new
meaning for me. We really do need him not just every hour, but every
minute, and every second of our lives. More than that, He is there
every hour, minute, and second of our lives. So, you ask, why don't we
feel like He's always there? Because feeling Him, talking to Him, and
listening to Him takes work and I'm grateful for missions and trials
and situations that teach me how to do that work.

Now pay attention: the song says I need thee every hour. Not Mormons
need thee, sad people need thee, missionaries need thee, etc. You know
why that is? Because it isn't an exclusive statement! We all, in each
and every one of our circumstances, need Him every hour. It's amazing
that to so many this statement applies to everyone else but them.
Also, notice that this is in first person. You, yes you, you do need
him— just admit it! Heavenly Father cannot give anyone the help that they
don't want, we all would do all to get over our pride and ask for it.
Literally, His way is the only way that will bring us true happiness.

I need Him every hour. Christ is the only way.

I hope we all would follow President Monson's counsel to "always
choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong. If we choose
Christ we would have made the correct choice."

I love you all!
Have a happy week!
Xoxox
Sister Dickson



.but these are our days.

Hello my loves!,

This week was just so unbelievably wonderful! So many miracles!!
The beautiful flowers are a blooming and the weather is just amazing!
I remember thinking last winter that for the rest of my life I was
doomed to an eternal bitter cold. I never thought the warmth would
come.

So in honor of the beauty that is all around we have been doing a lot
of missionary work on foot. It is such a blessing to be in an area
where I can actually walk to appointments.

Tuesday I went to my very first exchange as an STL with Sister
Lescarbeau who is serving in Farmington, ME right now. It was so fun!
She is a great Sister! Sister Lescarbeau, Sister Hawes, and Sister
Castleton are all serving together in a trio. So we had 5 Sisters all
staying with us in the apartment, it was a party let me tell you! I
made French toast for everyone and I made the smoke detectors go off.
Three times. Haha but it was so fun.

We got the coolest opportunity this past week end to have a mission
conference down in New Hampshire, where Elder Rasband from the twelve
and Elder Bragg from the seventy came and spoke to us. IT WAS SO
GREAT!!!

So Friday afternoon we meet the Bangor Elders and the Brewer Elders
and we all hop in the famous Brewer mini van and drive the long (so
long) 5 hour drive down to Bedford New Hampshire. I really didn't know
how long 5 hours was until you are locked in a van with 4 elders. For
about an hour they all looked at pictures of themselves and then for
another 4 hours they made up their own definitions to different words.
They would, as awkwardly as possible, wave to every car passing by and
shout out the missionary discussion out the window. Oh, and did I
mention they did all that while speaking with a British accent? For 5
hours down to New Hampshire and for the 5 hours back up to Maine..
Hahah it was pretty funny though.

We got to stay Friday night at the mission home in Bedford and it was
so fun! In the morning President Stoker comes upstairs and announces
that he has made waffles for everyone! Sister Stoker had yummy fruit
salad and home made Carmel syrup. It was so good!! I love the Stoker's
they are so awesome!

So we had to the chapel Saturday morning and all 180 missionaries in
the mission were there. It was so great getting to see everyone from
the MTC and seeing old friends in past districts and seeing Sister
Jensen and Sister Hoopes.

Getting the opportunity to hear from and apostle of the Lord was such
a privilege! Oh my, Elder Rasband is just the coolest! He has a
grandson who is serving here too. I learned so much from him. And that
leads into my spiritual thought.

Helaman 7:8-9
"Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul
have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.
But behold, I am consigned that these are my days..."

Elder Rasband really stressed on the importance of living in the
moment. Right now. And loving every second of it. Aren't we all just a
little like Nephi here? Wishing to go back in time, focusing on what
could have been or what once was.
Well.. If that is ever you (because it is mostly certainly me very
often) then you need to knock it off right now.
Even God doesn't dwell in the past. He isn't fixed on who we used to
be, or what we did, or how our life was. He is focused on us now. Who
we are now and what we are doing now. He sees us as who we are and who
we can become. He see every ounce of good in us.

There is always good in everyone and in everything.

These are our days, my friends, live in them and love them "for the
Lord will do wonders among us".

I love you all!
Have a great week!
Xoxo
Sister Dickson






You can call me Tropicana because I'm an islander!


I LOVE MY NEW AREA! It is so awesome here! I am so blessed to be serving in the Bangor area!

So the town that I live in is called Old Town. It's one of 3 islands of the Penobscot River. The other islands are smaller then Old Town and are called Indian Island and French Island. I haven't been to French Island yet, but I have been to Indian Island a few times. It's an Indian reservation so we can't prostyle on it or else they will shoot us. But there are some members who live there so we get to go visit them.

We also cover Orono which is where the University of Maine is. I am in a college town! Ah! It's so great seeing people my age. Haha Life here in the "city" is defiantly a lot busier then good Ol' Milo.

This week we have had so many fun adventures. Tuesday transfer day was hectic crazy! A lot of missionaries were getting new cars, so a lot had to go down to Manchester. The Dover Elders wrecked their car so we had to drive them to Auburn, ME where we stayed and they took the Jeep to Manchester. It was fun staying in Auburn for a few hours with Sister Hoopes and Sister Adaline. I didn't get to my area until 8:00 at night. So much driving!! Ahh! It was nice to get out of the car!

Wednesday we get a call from a former investigator and she leaves a voicemail and you can tell by the tone of her voice that she is in panic. She asked us if we could do some service for her so the next day we went expecting to help her patch holes in her kitchen and paint.. But that was not the case at all. She was trying to put up some new shelves in her kitchen and when she pulled off the cupboard she discovered that her whole kitchen wasn't insulated. She was a wreck. She told us that all the walls needed to come down and handed us sledge hammers.

I have never used a sledge hammer in my life.. Especially not to knock down walls. But it was literally the best thing ever. All the stress and worry I have ever had was all let out on that poor poor wall. "All I wanted was to put up shelves" our dear friend kept saying as she banged her hammer into the wall. If her life wasn't falling apart at that exact moment I totally would have filmed me making complete destruction, but I am sure you can all just picture it in your head.

Well everything was fine and dandy until Sister Hallam stepped on a old rusty nail from 1929. She the next day we had to go to the insta care and get her a tetanus shot.

Saturday the weather was literally perfect! We were out walked a lot and talking to so many people! Oh my, there are so many people here! I feel like I am slightly in culture shock, but I'll get used to it because it is so awesome! Our apartment is a famously known in the mission as "the Bangor Mansion" because it is HUGE! Ah! I am so blessed.

The members here are so sweet and I have gotten to meet so many! It's a hard adjustment come to a new area where you literally don't know that much. Especially coming from Dover where I literally new everything about everyone. But I have got my stalker board all ready so I will know everyone here pretty soon.

Well on for my spiritual thought!! Sister Hallam gave a really great talk where she told a story about a little pioneer girl. She was so tired and really just wanted to ride on the wagon. But nobody offered her a ride. She walked and walked just about to the point where she couldn't go any longer. Then one of the men with a wagon asked her if she wanted a ride.

"Yes, please sir." She responded. She was so relieved to give her achey legs and feet a break. Her relief was soon cut short when the man grabbed her by the hand and made her run faster then she thought her little legs could go. She ran and ran along with the wagon and she was so angry at the "mean" man who was making her do this. Then unexpectedly the man swooped her up and wrapped her in a blanket putting her in the wagon.

While the young girl was snuggling all warm, in the blanket she realized that the heat for her exhausted body was keeping her warm in the freezing winter weather. The man she thought was so mean actually had saved her from freezing.

Life is like that a lot I think. We go through hard trials and when we ask for help from God things just always seems to get a little bit harder. Why is that? Why doesn't God just take away our pain and make our lives easy?

I think it's safe to say that God is so much wiser than we are. He is all knowing and He knows what is best for us. When trials get harder and we think there is no way we could possibly go on, take a moment to consider what the blessings are and look at life with an eternal perspective. Is God helping us to grow and become better? Is He keeping us safe from unseen danger? Is He preventing us from freezing in this cold and dark world?

Someone once said that we should be grateful for all the cracks that we have. The cracks that are in us from trials and hard times. Because without those cracks the light couldn't shine through.

I love you all so much!
Have a safe and happy week!!
Xoxoxo
Sister Dickson



They say when a door closes...



Another one opens.

Ahh! My head is just going crazy right now! So many great things happened this week!

Well.. The time has come and this week has definitely been bittersweet for me. I am being transferred. Oh man, ok well let me at least start from the beginning.

Tuesday we did a lot of service. We helped one of our investigators paint in her house, and we helped a member with yard work. I love doing service! Wednesday was the usual teaching and such.

Thursday morning we got some bad news when our landlord's daughter knocked on our door. She came to tell us that our landlord's husband had passed away. He was old and it was expected, but still such a shock. We spent a big part of the day with them and their family. These people have become like my family. I have spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with them. They are such wonderful people, and I am so grateful for the knowledge we have that death is not the end. Because of Jesus Christ we will all be with our loved ones again.

Even with that knowledge it is still hard to be separated from our loved ones for a time. Sister Hoopes and I were pretty down in the dumps. We decided we were going to spend the day cheering up others because we know that the best medicine for sadness is service.

We went down to Dover in the grocery store (the store here in Milo is just way to expensive) to look at some flowers. We saw that they had these beautiful big bouquets for sale for only 4 dollars each. So of course we bought pretty much every kind of flower there was.. Enough to make 19 different flower bouquets to be exact.
Oh my! It was so fun playing florist. We put the flowers together in different arrangements for the single mothers in the branch, and also for a few other special women who have really blessed our lives. We also wrote a cute quote and a love note for these amazing women.

It was so fun surprising all of them! Especially when we gave our landlord some big bright happy yellow flowers. I am so grateful for such wonderful women in my life. Shout out to my beautiful mother who has and continues to do so much for me! Thank you so much! I love you!

By Saturday though my nerves were shot. I don't know what it is about transfers that are so stressful, but I am pretty sure I have high blood pressure because of it. When President Stoker called us that night and told me what my fate is, I was in complete shock when he told me I was being transferred to Bangor, Maine and will be a sister training leader.

AHHHHHH! I am soooo excited!! I am also completely and utterly terrified. But since I already have been on exchanges in Bangor 3 times I know the area decently well and I already know my new companion, Sister Hallam, who is a doll. Plus I will be Sister Hoopes Sister training leader so that means I get to go on exchanges with her! Woot woot!

It has been completely terrible saying goodbye to all of my friends here in the Dover area though. I love all of these people so so much. I feel so grateful that I have so many new friends here and for all of the wonderful experiences I have had.

I ended the week on a great note though, getting to video chat with my wonderful family! Haha they are as crazy as ever and so fun!

So for my spiritual thought I only find it fitting to talk about mothers,
"There is no role in life more essential and more eternal than that of motherhood." -M. Russell Ballard
"There are few things more powerful than faithful prayers of a righteous mother." -Boyd K. Packer
Mothers have been given the highest and most holy calling ever. They are essential to Gods plan of happiness.
Thank you so very much to my wonderful mother. She has done more for me then I could ever ask. She is so unconditionally loving and I would be proud to become half the women she is, if I could become just that I would be going to the Celestial kingdom for sure.

I am so grateful for my knowledge that I have of the plan of happiness. I know where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. I know that there is a purpose to life and that death is not the end. It's beginning. The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the fullness of the gospel and the truth, which helps us make it back to Heavenly Father again.

Ahh! I love it!
And I love all of you!
Have a happy day!
Xoxo
Sister Dickson





Refiner's Fire


It feels like everything is just going by waaaay to fast! 10 months already!!
Ahhhh! Just slow down time, ok?

A sister can dream.

Anyways this week was pretty good! We saw sooo many miracles.

Tuesday we were on exchanges with the sister training leaders in Bangor. I went with Sister Hallam, who was companions with Sister Bee right after she got done training me! So we had so much fun! We went walking around all day tracting and potential hunting in the snow.

Yes, the snow. SNOW, I am really not a fan.

And my foolish dreaming innocent self thought that since it was just about May that it would be warm. I was wrong, so horribly wrong.

Well this week we taught a lot of people and members. We did a lot of yard work service and flower planting. And we helped a lot of people who have a lot of hard problems that we can't do anything about except teach them of how the Savior can do to help them.

It seemed like every lesson we had the infamous question always came up. "Why does bad things happen to good people?"

For example there is a member here that we teach, and with her permission, I would like to share some of the hard things she has been going through.

She has tried her whole life to be good. She reads her scriptures, went to church, prayed, raised her children the best she could. But then health issues came up. She has been through cancer already twice before I met her 6 months ago. And offer the course of that 6 months I watched with her as she went though more cancer, resulting in her finger being amputated. The battle that she thought was finally over suddenly popped up again when the doctors discovered a malignant tumor in her cheek that has spread to her temples, jaw, and neck. She is now going through test after test, in the process of moving an hour away to be closer to the hospital, and she can barely open her mouth all the way.

Along with her problems there was a member with 3 deaths in the family. Another member going in to surgery today, another member going through radiation, and other member was just released from the hospital after a sudden attack which could have killed him. Another members dad just got admitted to the hospital after almost dying and now she has to take the role of taking care of him.

These are all good people, why are all theses bad things happening to them? They have been faithful, and have always relied on Christ. What's the deal?

In the Book of Mormon class we were teaching, this subject came up. A sister shared of how her sister died of cancer and while she was dying she asked, what did I do to deserve this?

We all have problems, some worse than others. But as it has been pointed out to me, life just happens. God doesn't sit up in a cloud thinking of different ways that he can afflict us. He doesn't ask Himself, "hmm... What can I do to cause the most pain and heartache possible?"

Now back to this sweet sister with cancer in her cheek. We had a lesson with her and we asked her to txt us or call us a miracle she saw from the Lord everyday. Well, last night she texts us and says, Sisters, I NEED you to call me asap.

So we call her and she tells us this story. About a month ago she was at the hospital for a check up. While she was waiting for her son she was looking at some shirts at the gift shop and saw one she really liked. With all of her medical bills she couldn't afford it. A lady she had never met before came over to buy one of the shirts and struck up a conversation. After hearing a little bit of what this sweet sister was going through this kind lady grabbed the shirt she liked and bought it for her. This sister was so overwhelmed with such a small act of kindness.

Well the month goes on and this sister is in the laundry room of her apartment complex  doing laundry when a familiar face walked in. It was the kind lady! She had just moved into that same apartment complex and was there to stay! Well these two women start talking and this sister expresses more of her cancer and how it has spread in her mouth and neck when the kind lady started tearing up. She had been through the exact same kind of cancer and offered so much comfort and counsel.

Along with the comfort of the Holy Ghost and her faith, this sister has another companion to help her through this difficult time. She new that God had heard her prayers and knew her fears. But He never has and never will leave us alone.

So I guess this whole letter is just one big spiritual thought,
But bad things happen to everybody. No matter what kind of life you live or how strong your faith is.
Things happen because that is life, that is what it is like to be mortal. Our Heavenly Father knew how hard it would be. So that is why He gave His son, Jesus Christ. Who suffered EVERYTHING we have and will ever go through. Everything. Every tear, every heartache, every pain imaginable He has felt it.

James E. Faust said, "Here then is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong... In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.
Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful... This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner’s fire causes a loss of belief and faith in God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process.
In our extremities, it is possible to become born again, born anew, renewed in heart and spirit. We no longer ride with the flow of the crowd, but instead we enjoy the promise of Isaiah to be renewed in our strength and “mount up with wings as eagles” (Isa. 40:31)."
This letter may seem a little sad, with all of the heartache and pain that I mentioned. But, I am just filled with so much joy and gratefulness towards the Savior. Through hard times we are never ever ever alone.
Ah! So many miracles that I am so grateful that I get the privilege of witnessing.
The church is true my friends,
Christ is the Savior and God is our loving Heavenly Father. We can be happy during the hard times as well as the good. There is always a miracle that God provides for us every single day.
Have a happy day loves!!
xoxox
Sister Dickson






The true meaning of April Fools...


Ahhh!! Oh my.. There is just so much I need to tell and not enough time!! Ahhhh! Ok, ok, first thing first...

I FREAKING LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! AHHH!! I literally just don't want it to end!!

The weather this week was wonderful!! There were two whole days where it was like 71 degrees with a slight breeze.. Man, a girl can't ask for more then that!

I know truly understand the full meaning of the phrase "April Fools". April here is Maine is a mean, mean month. First off, the weather app will tell us that it's going to be in the high 50s and 60s all week.

So, of course, us sweet little unsuspecting, trusting, innocent, sister missionaries fold up those winter leggings and put away our jackets as the warm sunshine is beaming though the windows. We finally have that spark of hope of warm days and the depression of dark -20 degree weather has been lifted off of our backs. We run outside only to find that the weather man failed to mention that it would be 68 degrees that day, with a wind chill of 30 degrees.

Darn you April fools... I am very much looking forward with hope to a kinder May.

Anyways this week has been great! We did a lot of service! On of the members is moving so we helped paint their staircase, front porch and doors. We also helped other member rake up leaves. Oh yeah and we also helped, well by helped I mean attempted, to pull down these huge branched off of a tree.
I LOVE doing service!! The members here are so sweet! I love them!

We also picked up a new investigator this week!! Woohoo! Her name is Sue and she is hilarious. She had been taught by missionaries before a long time ago and really like reading the scriptures with them. She really is the biggest sweetheart.

On Tuesdays we had interviews with the mission president. So there I was talking with President Stoker when he mentions the fact that this will be our last interview together.   Well we both start tearing up and all these memories come flooding into my head. President Stoker's mission ends in July so they will be packing up and heading back home to Arizona soon. We sat there and talked about memories and how fast the time has gone since the first interview I had with him when I was in his office at the mission home just about 10 months ago.

Ah! It was so emotional. President and Sister Stoker are both some of the kindest people I have ever met and have really become my mission parents while I am away from my parents. I am so lucky to be serving here!!

I also got the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting on prayer. It was a last minute talk that they asked me to give because the member who was supposed to talk was sick. I love this branch and all of the people in it!!

President Stoker shared with me a really great poem that I want to share as my spiritual thought..

The Fellowship of the Unashamed

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
The die has been cast; I have stepped over the line.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my presence makes sense, and my future is secure.
I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with penance, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven.
My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the mass of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the name of Christ.
I must go on til He comes, give til I drop, preach til all I know, and work til He stops me,
And when we returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me, my banner will be clear.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believeth...

Romans 1:16

"Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you." Joshua 3:5

Have a happy happy day!!
I love you all!
xoxox
Sister Dickson