Thursday, December 11, 2014

Little Update!

With Hermana Ventura

December 8, 2014

Hey fam!

It’s great to hear from you!  This week, I’m just going to give you a little update about my life because I realized there are so many details you guys haven’t heard about yet!

·         My new companion is Hermana Ventura and she is awesome!  She served with Hermana McMurray in Fray Bentos before I arrived.  It’s so fun because we know a lot of the same sweet people in Fray Bentos!  And she will be ending this change so we’re really trying to make the best of every single moment.

·         I haven’t gotten us too lost yet!  I was honestly so scared to lead us around Juan Lacaze, but I’ve been receiving lots of divine help.  And with our little map, we are doing just fine!

·         We’re really starting to get some sun here and I am loving it!  My hair is changing colors because of the sun--I have a few streaks that are super blonde.

·         Alba is doing really great!  She didn’t come to church yesterday, but she’s still loving the Book of Mormon.  She has a goal to be baptized December 27, so we’re really excited!  And she is just the sweetest.

·         I kind of have a calling in this branch!  We are teaching Primary!  I taught a couple of classes with Hermana Paredes and it was super fun so I am excited to continue teaching this change.  Mom, if you have any tips, I would love to hear them.

·         Christmas is really around the corner!  We’ve been seeing lots of trees in shop windows and all the people in our branch are starting to invite us to join in on their Christmas festivities.  It’s so weird that it’s not freezing outside...I am going to enjoy this hot Christmas!

·         We’ve been eating lots of ice cream lately but we have to be time someone gave Hermana Paredes and me ice cream.  I tried one bite and it tasted a little funky...we looked at the ingredients and it had alcohol...YIKES.

·         All the people here call me niƱa because I guess I have a young-looking face!

·         I am obsessed with April 2013 General Conference.  I found a May 2013 Liahona with all the conference talks my first week in the field, and this little Liahona has stuck with me all this time.  It doesn’t have a cover anymore and is super ratty, but I love it!  My three favorite talks, which have helped me TONS in the mission, are: “Lord, I Believe” by Jeffrey R. Holland (, “The Savior Wants to Forgive” by Craig A. Cardon (, and “Your Wonderful Journey Home” by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (

·         My ballet flats are becoming missionary shoes.  I guess they’re starting to look pretty ratty because a lady in my branch asked if she could buy me new shoes.  I told her I’ve got lots of other shoes I can use, but it’ll be sad to say good bye to my flats:-(

·         Our branch is really working on being more unified, and our branch president held a special "start our fast" at his house.  Oh my goodness it was delicious, and I am excited to start seeing some little changes in our branch!

·         I’m still eating lots of bananas.

·         I saw Hermana McMurray!!!  She ended this week and her parents asked the mission office for our address.  They came to find Hermana Ventura and me!  It was honestly the best surprise ever!  You guys should try to get together with the McMurrays sometime because they are awesome.

·         I am loving life as a missionary here in Juan Lacaze, Uruguay!!! 

Thank you for all you do for me, and know I love you lots!


Hermana Dixon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Farewell Hermana Paredes!
December 2, 2014

Hey fam!!! 

I don’t have much time, but THANK YOU!  Thank you for writing me such sweet things and for sending me pics.  I am so lucky to have you guys as my family!

It’s been a bittersweet week in Juan Lacaze. We received our changes on Saturday, and sweet Hermana Paredes will be heading off to Flores (a part of Montevideo) and I will be staying here in Juan Lacaze.  Hermana Ventura (also from Peru) will be coming!  I have honestly learned so much with Hermana Paredes...I was praying for a companion to help me teach PEOPLE, not LESSONS, and Hermana Paredes was my answer.  I will miss her like crazy, but we’re both relatively new so we can see each other at mission conferences and such!  And oh my goodness...I really do not know the streets well in Juan Lacaze, so let’s just say I’ll be using a map lots!

I would like to tell you about a few experiences this week.  On Friday, all the missionaries in Colonia gathered together and saw an extremely special video, “EL ES LA DADIVA” (you can find the Spanish version of this video at and the English version at!  I absolutely LOVED this video and it reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas and WHY I am a missionary.  After we got back from Colonia, a sweet lady in our branch, Hermana Teresa (we actually live in a mini house in her house), made us a Thanksgiving lunch!  Her daughter lives in Boston and called her to remind her that it was Thanksgiving for Elder Ballif and me.  She couldn’t find a turkey so we had CHICKEN!  Just like our fam does it!  It was honestly the sweetest gesture and a Thanksgiving I will never forget.  Afterwards, Hermana Paredes and I put on a little actividad de rama!  It was DIA DE GRACIAS themed.  We taped paper on everyone’s back and people wrote things they were GRATEFUL for about every person.  Afterwards, we had a little lesson, played a game with colored candies (for each color, people had to say different things they were grateful for), and had treats.  It was super simple, but Hermana Paredes and I just couldn’t help but smile afterwards!!!

Okay I have to head out, but I love you so much! 

Hermana Dixon

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Give, Said the Little Stream"

November 24, 2014

Hola fam! 

I don’t have very much time to write you all because it’s been a busy P-Day in Colonia and the cyber was full until now!  Oh my goodness Colonia (about an hour from Juan Lacaze) is breathtaking.  Look up some pics of Colonia and you will not be disappointed...maybe I’m biased, but I think Uruguay is the most beautiful country ever!

So it’s been a great week in Juan Lacaze!  I am so grateful for my sweet comp; we had a lot of wonderful experiences this week!  On Monday, we had a Noche de Hogar in the area of the elders and we missed our bus.  So we ended up walking half an hour to the Noche de Hogar with a member named Hermano Poses.  It stunk that we missed our bus, but we got to talk with Hermano Poses the whole way and he is just awesome!  On Tuesday, we had a meeting with our whole zone in Colonia.  We were without our cell phone and got confused, so we accidentally got on the wrong bus.  We ended up getting off the bus, waiting for an hour or so ALONE in a random little parking lot, and getting on another bus, but we made it safely to Colonia!  A miracle!  On Wednesday, we had a sweet member named Loana accompany us for the whole day.  She is fifteen and it was so fun to hear her testimony and see her grow even after just going out with us one day.  The rest of the week was kind of a blur, but church was awesome yesterday.  Our sweet Alba has been coming to church and it’s so fun to see her get along great with the members in our branch.  I am grateful for the unity we feel through the gospel!  And a lot of less active members are beginning to return, and it just makes Hermana Paredes and me so excited to see them happy and well in the chapel.  Life is good!

This week, I read a bit about the two thousand stripling warriors and just loved it!  I would like to share a verse with you all (Alma 56:17):

And now they were determined to conquer in this place or die; therefore you may well suppose that this little force which I brought with me, yea, those sons of mine, gave them great hopes and much joy.

I love three phrases in this verse..."little force,” “great hopes,” and “much joy!"  Hermana Paredes and I are a little force.  Sometimes we work and work and work, and I just wonder if we’re even making a difference.  But you know what, even though we’re small, and every other missionary companionship in the world is small, we can make a DIFFERENCE!  Here’s a little list I’ve made of ways we can make a difference (even if it’s just a difference within ourselves).

·         We can pray every day for those who need help.
·         We can read our scriptures and LIVE what we learn.
·         We can smile at random people in the street.
·         We can ask people questions about their lives.
·         We can be patient with those around us.
·         We can bake a sweet treat for someone who needs a pick-me-up.
·         We can laugh when life gets stressful.
·         We can forgive and forget (including ourselves...sometimes the hardest people to forgive).
·         We can tell people THANK YOU!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the song “Give, Said the Little Stream” (  We are all small, but wherever we go, we can make the grass a little greener.  And by doing our little part, our little force can spread great esperanze and much joy.  I LOVE YOU all, and have the best Thanksgiving ever.  I am so grateful you are my fam, and I am grateful I get to be a missionary in cute little Uruguay!

Hermana Dixon