Friday, October 31, 2014

Small and Simple Things

With Soledad and Maria (Walter and Silvana's daughters)
October 13, 2014

Hola familia!!!

So guess where I am right now???  In Montevideo!  I signed my visa papers today and I have the opportunity to spend the rest of my P-Day here.  It’s been so fun to walk around this big city and just look at all the’s kind of like a mini New York!  One thing I’ve loved learning with Hermana Gordillo is we should always keep our eyes peeled for tender mercies.  This week, I would like to write about all the small and simple things that have brought about GREAT happiness in my life.
  • We’ve been running around a plaza near our house and it is so fun!  One morning this little dog ran with us and it was just so cute!
  • I’m not sure if I ever told you guys this...but we live pretty close to a cemetery!  There’s a worker we always see as we’re walking by named Ilda.  We had the chance to teach her a lesson, and afterwards, she took us on a tour of the cemetery.  It was so beautiful, and it made me think about Great Grandma and Grandpa Browning a lot.
  • Walter and Silvana’s wedding day was very fun!  We helped them set up for the reception for most of the morning and then got to see them sign all the wedding papers.  We are so happy for them, and it was fun to see a wedding in a different country.
  • There is the cutest lady in our ward named Hermana Mirta.  The past few weeks, I've noticed she always wears this little heart ring.  Yesterday after sacrament, I complimented her on her ring and guess what...she put it on my finger and told me it was mine!  It was honestly so sweet and a gift I will treasure forever.
  • Every time I tell people I’m from Colorado, they always say, "Oh, so you live by the Grand Canyon of Colorado???"  It just cracks me up because the Grand Canyon is in Arizona, right???  
  • Sweet Hermana Gordillo always leaves cute little sticky notes in hiding spots.  I’ll be reading the scriptures and I’ll turn the page and there’s a little note for me!  I've been trying to do the same for her, and this past week, I hid one in the lid of her lotion bottle.
  • Some of our investigators are really beginning to exercise more faith.  Jorge and Magela, whom Hermana McMurray and I met the day we went to the meat packing museum, are beginning to read and pray together as a couple.  They are just so cute and they gave us this apple jam stuff that is super yummy.  ALSO, we’ve been teaching a lady named Virginia.  She’s got four kids and her life is crazy busy.  But it’s awesome because every time we come back, she’s a little more relaxed and her house is a little more tranquil.  Little by little, she’s changing her life and home!
  • My ward is honestly SO NICE!!!  Hermana Gordillo and I left for Montevideo this morning around 2:45.  Last night around 9:20, as we were leaving a meeting with our ward mission leader, the elders asked if we had picked up our tickets.  We hadn’t, so we thought we’d have to walk twenty minutes to the terminal the next morning to pick them up even though there’s a bus stop super close to our house.  Our ward mission leader, another man in our ward, and the elders walked to the terminal for us and dropped the tickets off at our house last night.  If that wasn't enough, a ward member met us outside of our house this morning and waited at the stop with us until our bus came.  I was in awe of how considerate these ward members acted.  I am one lucky missionary to be serving in this ward!
So yeah, it’s been a good week! 

 I would also like to talk about one more tender mercy that is also really sad.  On Friday, I did divisions with Hermana Colwell and we stayed in my area.  Our first visit of the day was with this cute older lady in our ward named Hermana Wilma.  Her son, Aldo, happened to be visiting her, so we had the opportunity to teach Hermana Wilma AND him about the Book of Mormon.  Aldo was super receptive and especially loved the line in the “Introduction” that talks about how through the teachings of the Book of Mormon, we can find peace in this life.  Afterwards, Hermana Colwell and I both talked about how happy we were Aldo had been in the lesson as well because his answers to our questions really brought the Spirit.  On Sunday, Hermana Wilma`s grandson bore his testimony and mentioned that one of his uncles had died and that he was able to give his grandma a priesthood blessing of comfort.  It turns out Aldo was the one who passed away (he fell while working on Saturday).  I felt so sad, but I was also grateful for the chance I had to get to know him the day before and be touched by his spirit.  I know the Book of Mormon can help us find peace in this life and peace in the life to come as well.

I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be here and for all the amazing people I get to interact with on a daily basis.  I know this gospel is a gospel of happiness, and I hope you have a great week!  Also, I can’t believe we’re moving to Utah!!  I’m sad but I know it’ll be a fun adventure for our fam.

Love you all!

Hermana Dixon

Thursday, October 30, 2014

With Sandra and Roberto, the "water" neighbors

October 6, 2014

Hola familia! 

So one thing I’ve learned a ton about on my mission is WATER!  I’ve learned it’s important to stay hydrated and drink often from my special little missionary filtered water bottle.  I’ve learned the rainstorms I experienced in Colorado don’t even compare to the rain here in Uruguay (but man, I think if I experienced that crazy hailstorm I would beg to differ).  I’ve learned having your water cut is NOT FUN.  Let me explain the last point a bit...I guess the elders in charge of finances accidentally paid all of our water bills to a different account.  So we were without water Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Mom...those body cleansing wipes you sent me with sure came in handy those few days!  A sweet lady in our ward named Hermana Sandra, who lives a few houses down from us, let us fill up huge buckets of water with the faucet outside of her house!  We used this precious water to wash our dishes, wash our faces, brush our teeth, and flush our toilets.  Hermana Sandra was just so nice to us and even said it was a miracle she was able to serve us because she had been praying for service opportunities!  And she took a picture of the four Hermanas in our house, printed it out, wrote us cute notes, and gave them to us.  What a gem!  But anyway, we have water in our house now and I am currently staying up to date on my showers so don’t worry!!!  And last, but most importantly, I’ve learned there is such a thing as spiritual water!  I will explain by inserting a bit of my letter to Presidente Smith from this week:

"Hola Presidente! ¿Como ésta? This week has been a very interesting one. On Wednesday afternoon around lunchtime, our water got cut in our house. It was a very stressful situation, but Friday morning, our water returned! Before this experience, I never truly realized how dependent I am on water and how amazing it feels to have water after not showering for a few days! As I think about this past week, I now realize I was also in need of a different kind of water...spiritual water. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mission, but it is by far the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. For some reason or another, I felt really down this past week. I am by no means a perfect missionary. Teaching lessons is still a difficult thing for me, I am not as patient with others as I should be, I get super time stressed, and I easily fall into the trap of focusing on my own afflictions before others´. I know the Lord has blessed me with specific talents and strengths, but for some reason, this past week, I began to focus on what I’m doing wrong and all the mistakes I’ve made throughout the mission. I didn’t really feel like the normal Hermana Dixon! Metaphorically speaking, I was spiritually dry. But you know what? God always sends us little raindrops. Raindrops like sweet Hermana Gordillo who listened to me and gave me counsel even when I was being grumpy. Raindrops like finding the scripture DyC 58:42, "He aquí, quien se ha arrepentido de sus pecados es perdonado; y yo, el Señor, no los recuerdo más," and realizing if the Lord doesn’t remember my sins, then why should I dwell on them? Raindrops like listening to General Conference and remembering how sweet the gospel truly is, how much President Monson and his apostles care about us, and that Jesus Christ knows how it feels to be an imperfect Hermana Dixon. Raindrops like giving besos to all the sweet people in Uruguay. Raindrops like being forced to pray harder than I’ve ever prayed before. Raindrops like remembering my mom’s last words for me before I left were, "You’re going to be great," and that through the atonement, I can work a little bit every day on becoming great. Raindrops like seeing one of our investigators and her daughters in conference!!!!!! Quite frankly, this week kind of stunk. But I am so grateful for all the raindrops I’ve been blessed with and for the opportunity I have to STRETCH. I know the Lord knows me better than I do and knows what kind of experiences I need in this life. And I know the gospel is so so true and that by living it, we are given raindrops in abundance. We’d better get our umbrellas ready!"

So yeah, this week was hard but full of so many raindrops!  And, before I forget, let me tell you a bit about the investigator I mentioned in my letter.  Her name is Hermana Silvana and she has four cute kiddos.  She has lived with Hermano Walter for many years and guess what...they are getting married THIS Thursday!  I am so excited to see my first Uruguayan wedding.  Hermana Silvana and Hermano Walter and their family have been investigators for about a year and have been visited by so many missionaries.  It makes me so grateful for all the missionaries who have been here in Fray Bentos before me!  We’ve been working with this sweet family a lot and I am really growing to love them.  On Thursday night, Hermana Gordillo and I stopped by their house and they were busy painting little wooden puzzle thingies (Hermano Walter is a carpenter).  We had the opportunity to paint with Hermana Silvana and just hear about her life.  She’s been through a lot but is so strong.  I am so grateful for this fam!  I love you guys so much, and I can feel your prayers all the time!  OH!  And as for conference...I watched it in English.  There is an Elder in my district from Utah who has only had a month or so in the field who wanted to watch it in English, so Hermana Colwell from Montana (she lives in my house and is just so fun) and I watched it with him so he wasn’t left alone.  A part of me wishes I could have seen it in Spanish, but I was grateful to understand all of it! 


Hermana Dixon

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

Hola familia!

Haha this week was one to remember.  I would like to tell you all about one day in particular, this past Thursday.  Hermana Gordillo is a Sister Training Leader, so she had a meeting in Montevideo.  I stayed behind in our area, and I had this cute girl from our ward, Manuela, be my companion for a day!  I busily planned for our day together and I was just so excited to give her a little taste of missionary life.  But you know how every once in a while, you have those days where just about everything goes wrong???  Yeah, it was one of those days.  Actually, the morning started out pretty well.  Before I picked her up, I planned a lesson and game for a ward activity I thought I was going to be in charge of (the elders in my ward were also in Montevideo).  I also sent TONS of messages to invite everyone!  After I picked Manuela up, we visited a cute older lady in our ward named Maria and a new investigator named Patricia!  Both lessons went really well so I was grateful!  After, we had lunch with a fun family in our ward, Familia Retomar.  We had milonesa (fried meat) and noodles.  After lunch though, things started to go downhill.  During language study, I decided to practice my Spanish while simultaneously making cookies for Manuela.  For some reason, the cookies turned out gross.  Then, together, we walked a long way to another young woman’s house because we were planning on going out with her.  But it turned out she was taking a nap.  So we busily started calling a bunch of members in our ward to find another person to accompany us.  We thought we’d have to teach one of our investigators, Jorge, without a member, but luckily, as we were walking by Jorge’s house, I remembered a man from our ward, Hermano Molina, lived nearby.  We knocked on his door and he accompanied us for the lesson.  Hallelujah!  We had another good lesson, but during the lesson, it started POURING rain!  So Manuela, Hermano Molina, and I all huddled underneath my umbrella and trudged back in calf-deep water to Hermano Molina’s house.  My skirt almost fell off because it was so waterlogged and heavy, so I was just struggling to keep it up.  After we dropped Hermano Molina off, I got a call from our ward mission leader and he informed me our ward activity was cancelled.  So I sent messages to everyone I invited to let them know it was cancelled.  And poor Manuela was just freezing cold.  So we went back to our house and grabbed a jacket for her.  I forgot the cell phone, so then we had to go back to our house again.  At this point, I didn’t have plans for the day because I had been planning on being in our ward activity.  So we tried visiting a bunch of people but either people weren’t home or were busy!  But luckily, we had the opportunity to teach two sweet families.  We headed back to the house a little past nine, and we were both just so freezing and wet.  So I decided I would make Manuela some hot milk!  I prepared it and then handed it off without trying it (bad idea).  She took one sip and then just kept on swirling it around, so I could tell she wasn’t a big fan of it.  And then, sweet Manuela left to head back to her house.  After she left, I tried the milk (it was disgusting, poor thing) and then I just flat out laid down on the kitchen floor because I was so dang exhausted.

So yeah, it definitely wasn’t a day to remember!  But I learned some valuable lessons. 

1)       Manuela is AWESOME!  She is only sixteen but she did not complain once during our crazy day together.  She wants to go on a mission and I just know she’s going to rock it. 

2)       It’s important to laugh when you have crazy days!  Because if you don’t laugh, you just might cry instead.
3)       The Lord, our Gardener, knows what’s best for us.  The day after this crazy day, I had the opportunity to watch a Mormon Message about a man who was pruning a currant bush (  When he cut the currant bush, he imagined it crying and saying, "Why are you cutting me?  I was just beginning to get so big!"  He then chuckled to himself and said, "I am the gardener.  I know if I cut you now, you’ll be able to hold more fruit in the future!"  A couple years later, this same man wanted to be in the military but got rejected.  He was angry with the Lord because he had done all he could but his efforts resulted in nothing.  But he heard the Lord say, "I am the Gardener.  I am cutting you down so you can be stronger for the future."  

Life is so difficult at times, but I am so grateful we have a Gardner above who knows what experiences His children need to have so they can grow and become stronger.  So many people here in Uruguay experience trials and have extremely hard lives.  But it is amazing to see them grow and rely on the Lord.  I am grateful for this gospel and the strength it gives us! 

I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Hermana Dixon


Covered in treats from Hermana Smith

September 23, 2014

Man oh man it’s been a great week here in Fray Bentos!  Hermana Gordillo is kind of like a Guatamalen version of me, so we are getting along really well!  And we’ve had a lot of cool experiences this past week!  Here are two experiences we had during Noche de Hogars (aka Family Home Evenings):

1) Last Monday, we had a Noche de Hogar with our bishop and his wife (Obispo Novelasco y Hermana Zulma...they are awesome).  We talked about the sweetness of the gospel (Lehi’s dream about the tree of life) and brought fruit candies!  Suddenly, the bishop’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandson showed up at their house.  They are not members, so it was a great opportunity to teach them about the gospel!

2) On Saturday, we had another Noche de Hogar!  We brought Finding Faith in Christ ( and some brownies.  But once we got to the family’s house, we had to wait a while for the mom to get home.  We realized we didn’t have enough time to show the DVD, so we did a fun object lesson!  The family lent us some mayonnaise...we cut two pieces of brownie.  One piece, we kept normal, and the other piece, we dumped mayonnaise over it.  We then asked everyone in the family which brownie they would want to eat.  Everyone chose the brownie without mayo, of course!  We related it to the Sabbath Day...mayo is super yummy with other foods like hamburgers, sandwiches, and rice (here people eat mayo with rice), but not with brownies.  Similarly, a lot of activities are super great during other days of the week, but they don’t work on Sundays.

Okay and now I’ll just tell you a bit about YESTERDAY!  Yesterday, we had interviews with president and he also taught us a lot about the doctrine of Christ.  Interviews with President Smith were a bit different this time...we talked with him a bit at the beginning like normal, but afterwards, he invited us to teach HIM the doctrine of Christ.  You can bet I was a bit nervous, but Presidente is super nice so it was fine!  While I was teaching him about the doctrine of Christ, I got the feeling I should talk about my apellido (my last name, DIXON)!  I hadn’t really thought about this until my time with Presidente, but as a missionary, I have two very important names on my tag:  my apellido and the name of Jesus Christ.  I talked about how right now, I’m super far from my family, but I’m doing my best to honor my last name by following what my family has taught me my whole life.  I never realized this before, but it’s the same with our Heavenly Father.  Right now, every single person living on the earth is far away from Father in Heaven.  But even though we’re far away, we can to our best to follow His teachings and the teachings of His son, Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to represent two very important names here in Uruguay!  

I love you guys very much, and thank you for all you do for me!  Hasta proximo semana!

Hermana Dixon

Sunday, October 26, 2014


With Hermana Gordillo

September 15, 2014

Hola familia!  

Man oh man life is good here in Fray Bentos!  It’s been a week full of changes, but I’m grateful for all the experiences I’m having here.  First things new companion is AWESOME!  I have no idea how I’ve gotten so lucky with all my companions!  Like I told you guys last week, Hermana Gordillo is from Guatemala and has quite a bit of time here in Uruguay.  But what you guys don’t know is she’s super sweet (she always makes my bed for me when I’m not looking and buys me alfajors), fluent in English (but don’t worry, she’s still helping me out with my Spanish), and a very compassionate missionary.  

And on to other good news...I haven’t gotten us terribly lost yet!  Hermana McMurray was gone quite a bit during my training for divisions and conferences in Montevideo.  At the time, I really hated it because it meant I was in charge of our area a bit, but now I’m so grateful for the chance I had to get to know all the streets well!  

And more good zone had our last Charla Fogonera last night in FRAY BENTOS! Before I go on, I just want to talk a little bit about how cool it’s been to participate in these programs.  When we first started practicing as a zone, we were a group of twenty-two missionaries and most of us had no idea what we were doing.  Most had no musical background whatsoever, but we were ready to praise our Savior through music.  It’s amazing to see how the Lord makes up for our faults when we give it our all. During the majority of the practices, things were definitely a little rough around the edges, but during all of the three Charlas we had here in Mercedes, our songs sounded great and I hope helped people feel a portion of the Savior’s love for them.  All of the Charlas were special in their own way, but man I LOVED the Charla Fogonera last night because it was in the area I've come to love, FRAY BENTOS!  Yesterday was quite poured the entire day.  Not a lot of people were able to come to church because of the rain, so in my heart, I was worried no one would be able to come to our Charla Fogonera either.  But you know what? The Lord blessed us and almost two-hundred people came.  It was so special looking out into the congregation during the songs, videos, and testimonies and seeing individuals and families who have become such a big part of my life.  

There’s Eliana, an eighteen-year-old young woman who has a crazy busy life with her four-year-old daughter, but still manages to come to church every week AND go out with us so she can share her testimony.  There’s Familia Flores (Hermano Flores is our mission leader and Hermana Flores is the Relief Society president), who were reactivated only two years ago but are so willing to sacrifice their time, talents, and food (they always feed us) to help the work of the Lord here in Fray Bentos.  There’s Manuela, a sixteen-year-old girl who always goes out with us, who is planning on serving a mission in just a couple of years.  She got sealed to her family for time and all eternity on Saturday.  There’s Hermana Carolina, a single mom of six who puts her trust in the Lord even when life is difficult. There's Hermana Clotilde, a fun and happy older woman in our ward who never misses a Sunday and always has a smile on her face.  There’s Hermano Maneyro, a man who served his mission in Paraguay around ten years ago but has not lost the spirit of missionary work whatsoever and is willing to help us with WHATEVER we need.  And there’s Hermano Molina, a sweet man who’s beginning to attend again and who always lets us have fruit from his garden whenever we visit.  The list could go on and on.  In Lindsay’s letter, she mentioned how a mission gives us a little glimpse of what God sees in humans.  A mission is SO hard and in all honesty, when I first started out, there were times when I just wanted to give up.  But you know what? These little glimpses are what make all the hard work worth it.  I know without a doubt God and Jesus Christ love every single person in the world, even though we as people are so imperfect.  And I know the relationships we form in this life are more valuable than anything else.  I love you guys so so so much, and thank you for always writing me.

Thank you for being the best!:)

Hermana Dixon

p.s.  It is beautiful here right now!  I am tightless and that doesn’t happen very often!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

September 9, 2014

Hola familia!

Okay so this week has been another interesting one!  Another week of Charla Fogonera stuff!  We had practices on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and we sang in a Charla Fogonera on Saturday in Dolores (a little city an hour and a half from Fray Bentos) and Mercedes (a city about thirty minutes from Fray Bentos).  The Charla in Dolores was awesome, but something funny happened.  People didn’t really get the memo about not clapping, so they clapped after the first few songs.  We were all like, "Um, what should we do?" but eventually, the congregation figured things out!  And the Charla in Mercedes was awesome as well!  I was the missionary sitting closest to the pulpit, so it was my job to tap people with a folder in the backs of their legs if their testimonies began to run too long (Uruguayans love to talk)!  I honestly did not want to do it because I hate hitting people with things, but I did it very gently and everyone got the point with no problems!  Phew!  As for our area, things have been going well with the little time we’ve had in Fray Bentos.  We are beginning to teach a lot of new investigators, and some of them have LOTS of potential!  Yay!  Sad news though, this really awesome couple we’ve been teaching is moving...but they’re moving into the Elders’ area, so they’ll still be in our ward.  Okay and BIG NEWS...I am officially done with my training now.  Hermana McMurray will be leaving to go to Cerro tomorrow (I think it’s a suburb of Montevideo) and I will be staying here in Fray Bentos with Hermana Gordillo (from GUATEMALA)!  She just has two transfers left in her mission, so it’ll be awesome to be with another missionary with a lot of time.  I am going to miss Hermana McMurray like crazy (she has honestly been the best trainer I could’ve asked for), but I am excited for this new opportunity.  And please pray for me because I am now the person who knows the most about my area...crazy!!!  But I know God will help me, even though I am super directionally challenged.  Well, I’ve got to go, but before I head out, I urge you all to read Alma 26:12, my fave!  I know that I’m nothing, but I know with God, I can do all things, even navigating streets here in Fray Bentos! 

Hasta proximo semana!

Hermana Dixon


September 2, 2014
Hola familia!  
Man oh man has this week been interesting!  But
interesting in a really great way...don´t worry!  So Presidente Smith
really likes putting on these things called Charla Fogeneras aka
firesides...I´ve mentioned a little bit about practicing for our
Charla Fogenera in Mercedes in some of my recent emails.  Anyway, this
zone had a Charla Fogenera this past Sunday and needed some more
singers, so I had the opportunity to go to PAYSANDU!  It´s a cute
little place about two hours from Mercedes.  I went there to practice on
Wednesday and Thursday, and then went back for the actual event on
Saturday and Sunday.  Along with practicing for our Charla Fogenera, I
barely did any work in my area so it felt so weird, but I was grateful
for the opportunity I had to participate in such a cool thing!  I got
to meet a lot of cool Hermanas and Elders who are serving in Paysandu,
this sweet lady in the ward I attended gave me a bookmark for my
scriptures because I told her I liked it, and the Charla itself was
incredible!  Lots of beautiful hymns, wonderful videos (my fave was
"Gracias a El," the Easter video the Church did this past year), and
awesome testimonies!!!  It was one of those moments that made all the
hard things about being a missionary worth it!  And guess what...we´ve
got three Charlas coming up in my zone!  It´ll be another crazy week full
of practicing, but I`m excited to look out in the audience and see
people I actually know!  Also, can I just put in a little insert about
how awesome Hermana McMurray is_ )Sorry the parentheses and question mark
keys don´t work).  She stayed in our area while I was gone and worked
like a champ!  I missed her a lot, so it´s fun to be back together and
we both cannot believe we´ve only got a little bit left together.
Time really does fly when you think about it.  OKAY and last but not
least, this past week, I learned TONS from Presidente.  He was in
Paysandu for the Charla and then we had a zone conference in Mercedes
the next morning, so I got to ride in his car with three other Hermanas!
I was starstruck a bit but he is honestly so nice!  He gave us little
apple sauces and banana muffins (my fave) and told us about a lot of
cool experiences he´s had in Uruguay.  His dedication to the gospel is
incredible, and when I was around him, it was really evident how
many sacrifices he´s making to be a mission president right now.  He
has three grandkids who have been born while he´s been in Uruguay, he´s
away from his wife and children a lot to help us out, and he´s
honestly driving around to all the zones all the time.  But you know
what...I never heard him complain!  What a great example.  During our
zone conference we talked a lot about learning the doctrine of
Christ...aka Christ´s own words.  I am looking forward to reading my
scriptures and marking spots where I find the doctrine of
Christ...after all, when it all comes down to it, the gospel is all
about doing your best to become a bit more like Him every day.  I love
you all and I hope all is swell in sweet Colorado!  I can´t believe it
is some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for me!
Hermana Dixon