Monday, February 23, 2015

Working with the missionaries- February 23, 2015

We had the privilege of having Elder Soares come to the Branch for a Fireside on February 15, 2015.  He and our Branch President, President Tedjamulia, knew each other from Seminary when they were young.  The Branch put on a wonderful feast for him, and also fed those who attended.  Elder and Sister Soares are in the middle, our Branch President is next to us, the Relief Society President is next to them and  her husband, the Branch First Counselor, is next to her.  Our Stake President is next to Brother Nogueira.

Sometimes we take lightly having a General Authority talk to us.  For most of the world, it is a privilege and they are thrilled when they have the chance.

One of the highlights of our mission is working with the missionaries.  Sometimes, they ask us to go along when they are teaching.  Elder Dixon goes more often than I, but I get the chance sometimes.  We went to visit a mother with two young sons.  The sons spoke English.  The 10 year old is very smart and was asking good questions.  We had the cut-outs for the Plan of Salvation and so I was able to teach that lesson.  I told the young man that I would teach the class in Primary that he would attend if he came to church.  He was excited about that.  His mother was very happy that he would agree to attend Church.  On Sunday, I was delighted to see that he came to Church.  He liked it and indicated he would like to come every week.  That was such a wonderful thing!

The Elders had us go with them to one
appointment and the lady (who is absolutely hilarious and delightful) really liked me.  She gave me a huge chocolate egg.  It was delicious- chocolate outside with a layer of coconut inside.

I really hope that I get to see her again.  I would like to take some chocolate-covered grapes.

We were able to attend three baptismal services on Saturday.  In all of the baptisms we have attended, I have not heard better talks about the baptism.  One of those talks was from a young woman who had only been baptized three weeks earlier.  She was so clear and accurate on the doctrine, I was astonished.

The highlight of those baptisms (for us) was the baptism of Diogo and Sonja.  He is from Brazil, and she is from Colombia.  Because of that, both our Brazilian Elders and the Spanish Sisters taught them.  The lady in the back is the one who made the referral to our Elders.  She is an awesome Branch missionary.

The baptismal service was conducted in both Spanish and Portuguese, and I said the closing prayer in English!  President Tedjamulia came in a show of support, even though they will attend the Spanish Branch.

Diogo and Sonja are really choice.  Diogo had a dream, before he met the missionaries, in which he was in a room in which everyone was dressed in white.  There was a podium in the center and the man at the podium was an older man dressed differently than the others.  Diogo listened to him and loved what he taught, so in the dream Diogo jumped over the little wall and hugged the man.  The man told him that there would be more for him to learn.  Diogo was ready to listen when the missionaries heard his dream and explained that was the Temple.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The valuable role of women- February 16, 2015

My mind has been on the importance of women this week.  On Saturday, it will be my mother's birthday.  There are many times here in the mission field that I wish I was more like her.  She never hesitated to speak to a new person.  She quickly found things she had in common with them.  Sometimes, I would be embarrassed by it- like the time she called from the Union Station to find out if my Brazilian children were home because they had a tour bus of Brazilians and she was certain the tourists would want to talk to my children!  As a result, she made many friends.  She was a great example of service.  Even on her deathbed, she was concerned because she wanted and needed to bake for others.

Mom was there to encourage her children.  Even though she had to work hard, she always made me feel important.  She supported me in my activities and encouraged my success.

Women like my mother valued her role.  She was proud to be a mother and held to high values.  She was a great example of a supportive wife.  She loved my Dad and was not afraid to say so.

I have spoken in this blog about the roach problem.  I think we finally have it under control.  But, Elder Dixon saw one last roach just as she was about to lay eggs.  As much as I hate roaches, I have some respect for her.  She came out of her hidden nest to try to hatch those babies away from the poison we had sprayed.  That could not have been easy, and certainly was not done for herself.

We could learn from that roach.  We are being surrounded by the destructive forces of Satan.  One of those is pornography.  Unfortunately, women seem to have bought into the terrible messages of recent books and movies.  We must not fail to realize that pornography demeans women.  It dehumanizes women and makes them objects.  We need to have as much desire to purge our society of those messages as that roach did to save her young.  There are organizations trying to fight the current battle.  I invite you to join and protect our young.

For such a time as this- February 14, 2015

I have been thinking the past couple of days about the story of Esther in the Bible.  For those of you who may not know the story, Esther was a Hebrew.  When the King's wife died, he sought a beautiful bride and found Esther.  At some point after she was made the queen, the King's advisors convinced him that the Hebrews were a danger to him and convinced him to sign an order that the Hebrews would be destroyed.  Esther's uncle, Mordecai, came to her to ask that she plead for the Hebrews.  There was a law in the land that when anyone came to the King without invitation, if he failed to extend his scepter, they would be killed.  Esther would literally be risking her life.  Mordecai says to her:  "and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

I have thought of Esther often these past couple of days.  Sometimes we may not understand why someone we love is going through a trial.  Once they have conquered that trial, they may be there for others "for such a time as this."  I am grateful to those who turn their trials into blessings to others.

This is a nice video about Esther:  Video about Esther

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tender moments and memories- February 8, 2015

Had a wonderful little moment this week.  A few weeks ago, I intended to get chocolate chips at the grocery store, but grabbed butterscotch by mistake.  I am not one to take things back, so I just kept them to use in a recipe for something.  So, a few nights ago, I decided to make them into a type of treat that Mom used to make.  In my entire married life (almost 33 years) I have never made this treat for Elder Dixon.  He scoffed about them, but tried it and ate some again after that, so it must not have been too bad.  I thought I must be missing Mom and that is why I made them.  Any of the family members remember them?

Our Portuguese Elder was on a split with our new Zone leader, Elder Roderick.  They stopped by to pick some things up and we offered some to Elder Roderick.  He said that his mother made them for him at home.  I have no reason to believe that he was homesick or needed a reminder of home, but I have no doubt that he was the reason that I made those treats.  Love those moments!

This week will be Valentine's Day.  I am very grateful for my Valentine.  We spend a lot of time together, but I don't mind.  He is very helpful and supportive.  He makes up for my weaknesses and mistakes.

We don't often shop without the other there, so he asked me if I wanted flowers.  Oh, yes. I did want flowers.  Years ago, I discouraged him (being the practical person that I am) from giving me flowers and so he doesn't give me flowers very often.  I have been sorry that I had ever discouraged him.  So, we bought some lovely flowers.

Our sweet Young Women have been saying the Young Women theme in English, then turned the poster over where the words in Portuguese were handwritten.   I thought that they deserved their very own poster in Portuguese.  They were really happy.  I still can't say it, but they do.  I am so                                                        proud to work with them.

I made another diaper buggy.  This one is for a non-LDS mother who is going to have a C-section.  She has been told that we would have a baby shower for her just to get her to join the church. If only people really knew and understood us!  This isn't about joining a church- it is about being a true Christian and reaching out to someone who might be in need.

On Saturday, we helped at the Family History Center so that members of our Branch could do Family History.  These faithful people traveled a ways to come.  Despite technical issues, we found many family members for people.  I love family history and the opportunity it gives us to connect with others.  There will be over 250 ordinances completed for their family members in the Temple.

Elder Soares will be coming to our Branch next week.  He will hold a Fireside for the Branch and then will fly out.  We are very excited.

Have a wonderful week and a Happy Valentines' Day!  Buy flowers for each other!  Make dinner for each other!  Mostly, love each other.  And laugh a little. . .

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The good and the bad-but no ugly February 1. 2015

The week began with the roach treatment to try to eliminate the roaches.  It was not an easy process.  Every cupboard had to be cleaned out.  So, this is what the house looked like:

It is amazing what one can accumulate in a short time.  I am happy to report that we were able to fit most of it on the bed and on closet shelves.  Now, let's hope it worked this time!  We put everything back together on Tuesday.  It was almost like moving!
While we had to be out of the apartment, Elder Dixon and I went to the Anne Frank Museum in Sandy Springs.  It was a very moving exhibit regarding the holocaust.  I was saddened, even horrified, regarding the inhumanity.  I learned some terrible details of the actions taken against innocent people.  Anne Frank had hidden out for months, but weeks before the area was liberated, she and her family were captured.  She died of typhoid in one of the camps.  I appreciate this museum, and the reminder it is to all of us.  Stereotyping, bigotry, and bullying allow for the victims to be made less in the eyes of others.  That is not Christ's way.

 Elder Dixon and I had another interesting experience this week.  I went to the eye doctor and one of the technicians indicated that she knew who we were.  She spoke sharply about Joseph Smith, but then showed tremendous charity towards Latter-day Saints.  She indicated that she appreciated that we are committed to try to live our religion.  She indicated that one of her Baptist friends felt supported by the Latter-day Saints as she was going through a tough trial.

How grateful I am for good people who try to live the commandments and follow the example of the Savior!

Today was a sweet ending to the week.  Bala, Sravanthi and Varnika drove down to our Branch for Church.  Even though it is in Portuguese, they stayed the entire time.  They enjoyed it and said they would return next week.  They are such a dear family.  I am so grateful they enjoyed it!