Monday, September 26, 2011

The Mission Decision

This question from my cousin Alva offers a fresh perspective...

How did the decision come about that you guys are going? did you put in for the challenge? my hat is off to you. and as they say "the best is yet to come". even though I don't write I think of you so very often too. Love you, Alva
Hi Alva,
I've wanted to go on a mission "someday" since I was a college student.  Rog and I have been talking about it for a long time and finally said this is the time to do it.  We told our local Bishop that we would like to go and he set the steps in motion.  It's not hard to be accepted, since there are so many ways one can serve that I can't think of an offer being turned down.  We left it open as to where and when we would go and what we'd do.  (We said any time after the end of Sept.)   The assignment letter from the church president (Prophet) is referred to as a "calling".  We had the family over to watch the letter opening and to find out at the same time we did where we would go.  (It could have been anywhere in the world, doing just about anything, including humanitarian service.)  Sounds like I should address this on my blog.  
Thanks for writing.  
Love you lots!  Deanne

P.S.  I'd like to add that last spring we heard a talk at church in which the speaker encouraged senior members to go on a mission.   As Roger listened it seemed that the speaker was talking directly to him and he felt impressed that now is the time. 

Blog Names

Here's peek into a recent family e-mail exchange, and our slightly twisted sense of humor...

Deanne to DixonFam
Any suggestion for a title for our mission blog?  Our friends have "What's New in Jersey" in an attractive layout.  I figure I have to be at least as clever as they are.
Dan to DixonFam
Suggestion: “What Happens in Jersey... Stays in Jersey” – the key being not to have any posts or pictures... just a blank page.
Deanne to DixonFam
I should have known!
Jennifer to DixonFam
That'd be easy to keep up. ;)
Debi to DixonFam
Tagline: a senior couple's missionary adventures
Title: the Jersey Snore
Jennifer to DixonFam
Debi for the win!
Deanne to DixonFam
I LOVE IT AND JUST MIGHT USE IT!    Can't speak for Roger though, who miraculously still has a sliver of dignity after raising you guys!
Dan to DixonFam
Umm... Mom... you might want to goggle “Jersey Shore.”
Liz to DixonFam
Jennifer to DixonFam
Mom is going to goggle over The Situation. (Actually, just the thought of that makes me giggle!)
Dan to DixonFam
Jennifer to DixonFam
Yeah, that too. 
Roger to DixonFam
You guys are way too clever.  How about "jerseys and skins"?  Or, "milk before meat"?  You know, jersey cows give milk and we need to teach simple principles berfore we get into the heavy doctrine.
Deanne to DixonFam
Help, Somebody!
Debi to DixonFam
I like Jersey News. 
Roger to DixonFam
That is pretty good; although, Jersey Olds may be more accurate.
Jennifer to DixonFam
Debi to DixonFam
Old Missionaries, New Jersey!!
Dan to DixonFam
I like it.  Had the same thought.
Deanne to DixonFam
Not funny!  So I had the same thought too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Call!

Announcement e-mail from Roger, to family and friends:
Just to let you know that Deanne and I received our mission call today in the mail and opened it this evening with many of our family members present.  We are "... assigned to labor in the New Jersey Morristown Mission ... primary assignment is to labor in the East Brunswick CES Program ..." as Spanish speaking CES specialists.  We are to enter the MTC in Provo on October 3 and serve for 18 months.

We are very excited to get going.

Love, Dad/Roger 

This is "The Call" waiting for our family to gather for the Opening.

Announcement e-mail from Deanne to the Highland 16th Ward Relief Society women:
Hi Friends,

Thanks to all of you who have expressed interest in our mission, it's so sweet to hear your support and enthusiasm.   Today we f i n a l l y got the call.  So without further delay, here is where we are going:  we've been "assigned to labor in the New Jersey Morristown Mission."  Our primary assignment is to labor in the "East Brunswick New Jersey CES Program as Spanish speaking CES Specialists."    We will report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Monday, October 3. 

How do we feel about the calling?  Great!  We're excited to know that is where the Lord would like us to serve and we expect it to be a wonderful experience.  Rog is fluent in Spanish but I'm going to need the gift of tongues, fast.  The next month will go by quickly!

Thanks for your friendship and interest.
Deanne (and Roger)

Opening the Call, being Set Apart

We were happy to have our family gather at our home in person or by phone/Skype to share in this awesome moment with us.  I surprised myself by getting a little teary at several unexpected times throughout the day our letter came.  Guess I'd better get that over now!

A lovely collage of "the opening" by Thea

Joining in via five cell phones spread out in front of us and were Jen, Andrew and family in Oregon, Jared, Jeff and Holly.   Deb and children watched on Skype in California.  The rest of the family, including Thea and Larry McKinney and Calvin and Ashley Skinner were packed into our living room:

Cassidy and Carter

Thea and Larry

Calvin and Ashley, who are house-sitting while we're away

Liz and Rog

Claire and Sienna

Taylor, Rog and Grant, looking at maps of New Brunswick, NJ


We set up a display of some special missionary keepsakes that we received from each of the returned full-time missionaries in our family.  We wanted the children to see how proud we are of our missionaries and for them to see items from their own parent and grandparent (Roger served in Argentina and Deanne served for 5 years as a Stake Missionary in Maryland) and their great grandmother (Maurine Dixon). We are especially pleased with the notebooks full of letters the missionaries sent home.  Things have changed a lot since then and today missionaries typically email their families.  Families will miss the beautiful foreign stamps we received.

Missionary tags in Italian and Spanish

Our living room, set up for opening the call 

 All the missionary displays

 L to R: Maurine (Rog's mother, Guam), Roger (Argentina), Eric (Italy)...

 ...Jennifer (Dominican Republic), Jeff (Chile), Daniel (Fresno, California Spanish-speaking) and Deanne (Stake Missionary in Maryland for 5 years).

The Reason

Set Apart
On October 2, 2011, our Stake President Kevin Anderson and our Bishop Gary Carter & his wife Nari Carter came to our home to set Roger and me apart as missionaries.  We cherished our locally family gathering with us for that event as well.

Waiting for the Call

We got a phone call at 7:45 this morning from the postal lady who delivers our mail.  She said, "We have a special letter here for Elder and Sister Dixon.  Would you like to come pick it up or shall I deliver it?  And congratulations!"    Ahhh, Utah!   

So now she's 38.5 minutes late, but who's counting?

In the meantime, we sent an email to our immediate family inviting them to join us in person or by telephone or Skype for the grand opening and asking for their predictions of where we will be call to serve.   Here are their responses:

Dan:  Dad talked about getting together around 7.  Jeff and I will be with Sienna and Ella this afternoon, can you wait until say 7:30?

Liz:  WOOHOO!!! I guess Paraguay...
We are available ANY TIME tonight. The kids have exactly NO activities today…rare and special occasion!! Can’t wait to share in your rare and special occasion!!!
“There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master.” ~Thomas S. Monson
Thanks, Rog and Deanne, for setting the best example for your children and grandchildren. You are truly exceptional people!

Deanne: What more can I say?

Holly:  Having grown up in Utah, we always got a phone call the morning a mission call came. I love that.  Unfortunately I will be at gourmet club tonight, but if I know the time you are opening it I will try to call Dan. 
My guess is...North Dakota. :) Either that or somewhere in South America. I can't wait to find out!!!     Ditto to what Liz said about you guys being such great examples to us all. We love you! 

Jen: If you go stateside, Georgia. If foreign, Chile. Where I WANT you to go is Spain, but that's for purely selfish reasons. ;)

Liz:  Are you gonna steam it open??

Deanne:  Roger might!
Thea:  Awe... very exciting news.  We'd like to come there for the 'grand opening' of your letter.   We could come earlier [5 or so]  and have a little celebration dinner someplace with you..  and catch up on OUR recent trips!  Are you really going to wait til tonite to open it? !!!!   I don't have any predictions.. just hoping for something!!  Please let us know what's up..

Debi:  Panama! Or somewhere in the south pacific!

We'll be ready, 6:30 our time. Jared will be working in Bakersfield but the twins and I would love to skype. Can't wait!!

That's really cute that the postal workers call. Why shouldn't they be in on the fun? Good job, Utah.

Eric: I'm guessing it is a rejection letter. ;)


Dan: Detroit

Dan:  Wait you guys are going on a mission???  Since when?  I thought this was about a cruise you might take.  Why am I the last to know everything?

Eric:    A mission?  I thought Dad said he was going fishin.  Now it makes more sense why he keeps talking about being "fishers of men".

Liz: The older Roger’s boys get, the more like him they become... and that’s a GOOD thing :)