Thursday, August 28, 2014


August 26, 2014

Hola familia! 

So yesterday I didn’t write because it was August 25, Uruguay’s day of independence!  There weren’t any computer places open, so we cut our P-Day short and are writing today!  For this week’s letter, I am going to write 25 things I’ve learned on my mission in Uruguay thus far!

1) Mate (hope I spelled that right--look it up on wikipedia) is not just a drink.  It is a way of life. 

2) Rain MUST always be accompanied with torta fritas and hot milk.

3) When Uruguayans ask if you want more food, it’s not actually a question.  No matter what your answer is, they give you MORE food!

4) If you want to make someone feel loved, call them mi hija (aka my daughter), preciosura (my precious), or mi amor (my love).  All the ladies here call us that and it is SO SWEET!

5) It is actually not that traumatizing to step in dog poop.  I’ve probably done it about twenty times or something. 

6) Words have a gender.  (Who knew el and la were such a big deal?)

7) Uruguayans are honestly the most OPEN people.  We ask them their names and how they’re doing and they tell us all about their lives.  It is so cool to be able to learn about people from halfway across the world!

8) Mold really is not that scary.

9) When in doubt, wear a scarf!  People here are genuinely concerned for our health when we don’t wear scarves in this humidity!

10) There are good people all over the world (especially in Uruguay)!

11) Uruguayans love their families just as much as I love mine.

12) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates the same wherever you are.

13) It is good to be generous (I am in awe of how generous Uruguayans are).

14) Missionary work is all about spreading seeds.  Sometimes, we may not see the fruits of our labors right away, but we know we’re doing our job when we’re doing our best.

15) It’s okay to feel weak and accept the help of others.  Man oh man, I have felt so weak at times, but it has been a beautiful opportunity to learn and accept guidance from Hermana McMurray!

16) The Book of Mormon truly is the word of God.  Whenever life has been rough on the mission, reading the Book of Mormon has been a place of refuge for me.

17) The members of the Church here are INCREDIBLE.  They serve their fellow ward members with all their hearts and it is inspiring.

18) Reading Liahonas is so fun!  The words of general authorities really can help us!

19) The beautiful scenery in Uruguay helps me enjoy every day!

20) Every missionary is incredible in his/her own way.  It is so cool to see how every missionary has little quirks and how God uses these quirks!

21) It is important to give other people the benefit of the doubt.

22) One of the best ways to bond with Uruguayans and people in general is to LAUGH with them! 

23) Stress is like a rocking chair.  You can rock, but it won’t get you anywhere.

24) Heavenly Father hears prayers, no matter what language they’re in.

25) Jesús Christ lives and loves EVERYONE!  Especially Uruguayans!  His atonement can heal us and beautify our lives.

Anyway, I’ve got to go, but I love you all!  Hasta próximo semana!!!

Hermana Dixon

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Your Wonderful Journey Home"

August 18, 2014

Hola familia!  

How’s everyone doing?  So not going to lie, it’s been a bit of a difficult week here in Fray Bentos.  We’ve still been struggling with helping our investigators progress, we’ve had a hard time teaching lessons because no one was really home, we’ve been losing a lot of proselyting time (which I will explain later on), and we’ve had challenges finding members to go out with.  Even church was very stressful yesterday (which I will also explain later on).  But you know what???  Life is still good, and I am glad for every part of this crazy journey, even if it’s hard.  One talk I’ve absolutely loved reading on my mission when I feel down is “Your Wonderful Journey Home,” by President Uchtdorf (  He talks about our journey here on earth, but I think it applies really well to missionaries because we are going through mini journeys every day!  I especially love this little quote (before, he talks about leaving our heavenly home):  "The journey ahead seemed so long and uncertain--so filled with risk.  It wouldn’t be easy, but you knew it was worth every effort.  So there you stood on the edge of eternity, looking forward with unspeakable excitement and hope--and I imagine, also with a degree of worry and fear.  In the end, you knew God would be just--that His goodness would triumph.  You had participated in the great heavenly councils and knew that your Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would provide a way for you to be cleansed from sin and rescued from physical death. You had faith that, in the end, you would rejoice and join your voice with a heavenly chorus singing praises to His holy name.  And so, you took a deep breath...and a great step forward...and here you are!  You have, each one of you, embarked on your own wonderful journey back to your heavenly home!"

Okay so that quote wasn’t little at all, but I love it!  You can bet this week has been a hard journey, but it’s been worth it.  So here’s the about four weeks, we are doing three firesides within our zone!  The missionaries are in charge and we’ll be doing lots of musical numbers, so we have two practices every week from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon!  And as for church yesterday, woah.  It started out with a ward council where everyone kind of got angry at each other.  And then, Hermana McMurray and I got pulled out of Relief Society because some members in our ward wanted to have a meeting with all of the missionaries because we’ve been having some difficulties finding members to come with us.  The meeting started out okay, but as time went on, a member in our ward began giving us suggestions as to how we can be better missionaries. But let’s just say it wasn’t really constructive criticism...he pointed out many things we’re doing wrong one after another.  Hermana McMurray and I were a little shaken up after that, so she asked if I could play the piano in church.  I started playing the introduction for the opening hymn, and then I realized I couldn’t play it.  So I turned to Hermana McMurray in the congregation and said, “Hermana could you please play?”  She handled it like a champ and played, but oh my goodness gracious SO EMBARRASSING!  And then, I had to go up and announce the fireside and I forgot to say where and what time. Man it was a rough day for me but I survived and learned lots! Like I should probably practice piano on P-Days!  

But anyway, lots of good things have happened this week too! Once again, tons of less active members came and were so happy to be back at church!  Yay!  Also, we had some awesome street contacts. Another yay!  I got to see a beautiful garden in Hermano Molina’s backyard, a member we’re working on reactivating.  And last, I am just so grateful for Hermana McMurray!

I love you all and I hope you’re doing great!

Hermana Dixon  

Oh and P.S. This week, I had heard a member’s mom was going to move.  We were teaching this member a lesson, so I was like, "Is your mom moving?"  And I guess I pronounced it wrong because he thought I said, "Is your mom dying?" Ayayay.  But don’t worry, everyone had a good laugh.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


With two-headed cow
August 11, 2014

Hola familia!

Greetings from Uruguay!  So this week has been a fun one!  Our week started out a little slow...on Tuesday and Wednesday, we tried to visit a million people, but none of them were home.  So we did lots of walking, clapping (you guys know we clap here instead of knock, right?), and talking to people in the street.  A mission sure does teach you the value of hard work! 

On Thursday, Hermana McMurray had a leadership training meeting in Montevideo, so I stayed in our area with Hermana Argao who is from BRAZIL!!!  I totally thought of Linds.  She is serving in Mercedes right now, an area in our zone.  Let me just say...bless her heart.  Hermana McMurray and I carefully planned the day, but we didn’t really have time to go through where all the houses exactly were.  As you know, directions aren’t really my thing, so we did A LOT of walking looking for all the houses.  We always ended up finding them though, and Hermana Argao was such a good sport! Anyway, Hermana Argao and I had a great time together.  She taught me a bit of Portuguese, we made a yummy pizza for lunch, and it was so great to see how she taught.  Ìt’s hard when Hermana McMurray is gone, but I always learn so much because every missionary does things a little differently! 

On Friday, I had the opportunity to attend my first baptism in Uruguay!  Our bishop’s mother-in-law’s records were found, so that was a huge relief.  But an eleven-year-old girl named Judiht who the elders have been teaching was baptized!  I ended up playing the piano last-minute for her baptism, so tell Sister Ashcroft thanks for me.  Anyway, her baptism was so cute.  She got all done up, and our Relief Society president made little cards to hand out and a beautiful, white cake!  Judiht looked so happy and it was also a cool experience to see her be confirmed yesterday in church!

So in Uruguay, there’s this huge holiday called Dia de Niños.  We celebrated on Saturday by having a ward activity!  The ward put on this circus, and all the adults dressed up and danced to these little songs.  They also gave Hermana McMurray and me clown clothes so we got to dress up as well!  It felt so weird to wear pants in public!  Afterwards, all the kids in our ward got their faces painted, jumped in a bouncy house, and ate caramel apples/popcorn.  It was a hit.

Yesterday, church was great!  As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s been difficult for Hermana McMurray and me to find investigators who are willing to attend church (especially in the winter when it’s cold).  We invited all of our investigators to church, but unfortunately, none of them came.  However, it’s been great because Hermana McMurray and I have had the opportunity to meet some awesome less active members who are beginning to be reactivated!  It always makes me so happy to see them, and yesterday, a lot of less active members came!  Yay!

Today has been quite the P-Day.  We walked to the beach and saw this giant building in the distance.  We decided to walk to it, and guess what it was?  A meat packing factory museum!  I guess Fray Bentos had a bunch of European owned factories during WWI and WWII because it was difficult for factories to be built in Europe.  Anyway, the museum was AWESOME.  We saw a two-headed cow and a ton of machinery and pictures.  We even got to talk with some of the museum workers about genealogy (they want to see if the Church can help them with some microfilms or something)!  It was a super fun adventure, and I’m so glad I’ve got a companion who likes to do fun stuff on P-Day!

Anyway, it’s been a good week, and I’m really beginning to love life as a missionary.  For some reason or another, these past two nights it’s been difficult for me to fall asleep because my mind just can’t stop thinking about Fray Bentos.  I am learning so much from everyone here, I honestly think Fray Bentos is just so beautiful, and I’ve got an awesome trainer.  I am really beginning to gain a testimony that Heavenly Father truly sends missionaries where they need to go.  There are a lot of hard things about Fray Bentos, but I’ve found myself feeling like this is really where I need to be right now.  I am one lucky gal!

Anyway, I love you all lots, and thanks for all you do!

Hermana Dixon

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 4, 2014

Hola familia!

So this week has been super weird but super good!!!  We woke up two mornings in a row at 3 to head to the bus station to drop off missionaries from our district and then Hermana McMurray came back from Argentina early another morning, so we were all super tired!  But luckily, we were still able to work hard!  On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to spend the whole day with sweet Hermana Marisol.  She is a sassy lady who is in her fifties or sixties, knows absolutely everyone in Fray Bentos, and loves taking people’s blood pressure (she used to be a nurse).  My day with her was good--we visited some less active members in our ward in the morning and then kind of had a weird afternoon.  She asked me if she could run an errand, and I told her yeah!  So we started going to all these random houses and taking people’s blood pressures.  I didn’t really know what to do, but I kind of let her do her thing.  It ended up working out great because I got to talk to the people while they were getting their pressure taken, so Hermana McMurray and I have a bunch of new people to visit!  And then near the end of the day, she took me to this house that makes super good pastries!  We each pitched in a little bit and bought some pastries, and Hermana McMurray and I are going to visit that house sometime this week as well!  It was an interesting day, but I am grateful for the time I got to spend with Hermana Marisol!  She is going to get her mission call sometime soon, so I’ll keep you updated where she’s going!  When Hermana McMurray came back, we had the opportunity to teach a lot of amazing less active members in our ward.  We still haven’t had a lot of progressing investigators, but it was incredible how many less active members came to church yesterday!!!  One lady who came to church yesterday is named Maria, and her sister is our stake Relief Society president.  I had the opportunity to teach Maria on Wednesday with Hermana Marisol and then again on Saturday with Hermana McMurray and her sister!  The lesson with her on Wednesday was very spiritual for me...Hermana Marisol and I shared a scripture about how the Lord can strengthen us to overcome our burdens.  Yesterday, when both Maria and I were in gospel doctrine, we talked about service and ways we can serve others.  She raised her hand and shared that on Wednesday, she had been struggling a lot and our visit gave her strength to move forward in her life.  I was almost brought to tears because it’s sometimes hard to see whether or not you’re making an impact on people!  Okay I have to go, but really quick, I have some other news.  First, our house is getting super moldy.  Second, we have a baptism on Friday!  Our bishop’s mother-in-law was baptized before, but her records got lost.  So she is getting baptized on Friday!  She is so sweet and has been less active for awhile, but is so excited to get baptized again! 

Anyway, love you all!

Hermana Dixon
Making cookies with Kiera

July 29, 2014

Hola familia! 

It’s been another fun week here in Fray Bentos!  Sorry I didn’t email yesterday...the last Monday of every change, we clean our apartments for three hours.  As a result, our P-Day is switched to Tuesday.  So if you don’t get an email on a Monday every once in a while, don’t be stressed.  Well, the end of this week has been full of reflections.  I cannot believe I’ve made it through one whole change.  Sorry to double dip, but I’m just going to quickly include what I wrote to President because it sums up how I’m feeling right now pretty well!

¨I cannot believe I’ve been in Uruguay for a whole change! In all honesty, it’s been the craziest, hardest six weeks of my life, but at the same time, I’ve loved it. As I reflect on the past six weeks, I can’t help but think of my favorite scripture, Alma 26:12: 'Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.' This past change, I have had many moments where I’ve felt like nothing. I’ve been brutally aware of how difficult it is to communicate with people in another language, how difficult it is to teach people about the gospel when you still have so much to learn, how difficult it is to talk to random people on the street, and how difficult it is to adapt to life as a missionary in general. If it were just me doing these things, I don’t think I’d be able to survive! But luckily, I’ve got someone else on my team. Although it’s sometimes hard to see and remember, I know God has been with me every step of the way. He has put huge blessings in my life as a missionary. I am so grateful for my ward, for my companion, for Fray Bentos, for my house, for the people we’re teaching, for my district, for you and your fam, and for the prayers of my family members. I still have a loooong way to go and at times, I feel freaked out because I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around the fact that I’ll be living in Uruguay for another sixteen months, but as I look back to where I began six weeks ago, I know all this stretching has helped me grow. Life as a missionary is so so hard, but it is definitely worth it.¨

Anyway, I am excited and super nervous for another change.  I guess I’m kind of obsessed with bullet points, so here are some things that have been happening lately!

·         This week, we had lots of meetings with all the presidencies in our ward.  We’ve got some good missionary goals with them, so it should be great!  During the Young Women meeting, we got assignments to do divisions with members of the presidency and some of the young women.  We ended up doing the divisions on Saturday, and they were so fun!  We visited two girls, shared a scripture about prayer, invited them to attend church, and chatted for a bit.  At one house, we even got to help a girl named Kiera make cookies!  She came to church the next day, so we were excited!

·         On Saturday, Hermana McMurray and I were in charge of a scripture game for a ward activity.  We literally had no idea what to do and had several failed attempts.  Throughout the day, I was praying we’d be able to make a fun game, and God answered my prayers!  We concocted this weird game where we told people a reference and asked them to look for a specific word.  For example, we would tell them to find the 30th word in the verse.  Then, when a team found the word, they would try to shoot a ball in a trash can.  It was a hit so I was grateful!!!

·         On Sunday, our zone leaders received information about changes.  Hermana McMurray and I were walking to our bishop’s house on Sunday and we saw the zone leaders in the street.  They totally played a trick on us!  They told us that we were going to be split up...that she would be training my MTC companion Hermana Schaeffer for these last six weeks and that Hermana Schaeffer´s companion would be finishing my training.  You guys all know how gullible I am...Hermana McMurray and I totally fell for it and even started crying a little bit.  But luckily, as we were walking away, they told us they were only kidding!

·         Hermana McMurray is experiencing visa problems so she left for a bit.  We dropped her off at the bus station this morning at 3 and she’ll be back Thursday morning.  So I am in charge of my area for a few days!  I’ve been hanging out with the other sisters today and will be going out with an older lady in our ward tomorrow.  Her name is Hermana Marisol.  She’s a cutie and is actually working on her papers to be a senior missionary, so it’s good practice!

·         I went to my first Uruguayan birthday party and it was fun!!!  It was actually for Hermana Marisol, the lady I just talked about.  We made her a giant brownie shaped like an M!

·         For some reason I never tell you guys about my Spanish!  It is going well, slowly but surely!  I understand probably eighty to ninety percent of the time, and I can teach lessons more or less!  One time, I said Jesus Christ was holding a corbato aka tie instead of a cordero aka sheep, but it’s going well.

Anyway, I love you all!!!  You are the best, and I can’t wait to hear from you next week!

Hermana Dixon

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Think I'm Falling in Love . . .

"[S]uper swollen and purple" finger

July 21, 2014

Hola familia! 

First and foremost, thank you for all the tips.  I got teary eyed while reading through them because it is amazing to have such a supportive family at home.  Thank you for giving such thoughtful answers, and I will do my best to apply them!  I am happy to let everyone know this week was BETTER!  I am nowhere close to being comfortable, but slowly but surely, things are getting better!  Yay!  This is the first week where I’ve actually started to fall in love with Uruguay and the people here.  Little by little, we’ve been seeing some miracles!  We’ve started teaching a really cute family (a mom, a dad, an eighteen-month-old baby named Dillon, and a baby on the way)!  We found them on the street one day, and we’ve been visiting them a lot since.  They live in a one-room house and Hermana McMurray and I have to share a chair when we teach them, but I love it.  My whole leg fell asleep one lesson because I was leaning on it so I wouldn’t fall off the chair, but it’s all good.  Anyway, since they are a new family, they (especially the dad) are super open to everything we’re teaching!  We invited them to come to church and they didn’t end up coming yesterday, but we are still so excited! 

Okay, now I’m just going to write bullet points of things I love about Uruguay and some funny things that have happened!

·         I love the rain here.  Sometimes it kind of stinks because when it rains, it POURS, but it’s kind of fun to dodge puddles and look out into the flooded streets.

·         The little kids here are so cute and are hoots!  This little boy in our ward is super aggressive, but it’s funny.  One day when we were eating at his family’s house he threw a chewed-up orange piece at me and yesterday during ward council he reached up and scratched my face with a wooden block, but it’s all good!

·         We played basketball last P-Day, and I jammed my finger.  I didn’t think very much of it, but the next day, my finger was super swollen and purple.  I will have to send you a picture sometime soon!

·         Everyone here wears Crocs and I love it.

·         I love looking up every night at the sky and seeing the stars!

·         I love how generous people are here!!!  I have never had so much torta (cake) and hot cocoa in my life because whenever we visit people, they love giving us little treats.

·         I just realized the other day I am the first new sister missionary my ward has ever had!  They love that I don’t know Spanish very well and joke around with me a lot.  It probably should bother me a little bit, but I just think it’s funny!

·         I have been making a lot of sweet treats these days!  We give treats to ward members when they go out with us and to investigators or to random street contacts.  

·         I love how much members of the Church here love the Lord!  

I have to go, but I love you all so much.  Once again, thank you for the advice!!!  This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but I know hard things are always worth it. 

Until next week!

Hermana Dixon