Thursday, March 28, 2013

Not "Trunkie!"

Today we are in the process of winding down our tasks and planning our return home.   It has been sweet and sad to be with each of the classes for the last time.  They have been very kind in their remarks about how much they have enjoyed the classes and how much they will miss us.  One class threw us a surprise fiesta with Roger's favorite: pupusas and a dish I am growing to like: tres leche.  

We are so proud of the kids who are faithful attenders.  They show so much strength of character, testimony and dedication to the Lord. We went to the Manhattan Temple with one student earlier this month.  He was thrilled with it all.  We are excited for him as he begins his mission in Brazil.  I (Hermana Dixon) have tried to make a contribution to the YSA by encouraging them to begin doing genealogy and preserving the family histories they have, with one goal of taking an ancestor to the temple.  One girl who has been in the church just 15 months, took some family records and using was able to take her ancestoral line back to the 1600's!   She is on fire!  A young sister on Tuesday and proudly showed me the Family History notebook she has assembled with photos of her ancestors and copies of important documents.  Last Sunday I helped a sweet convert from the Dominican Republic start her genealogy.  As she put the names of ancestors in the chart on her computer she said "I'm soooo excited!!  I can just feel the Holy Spirit wash over me!  I can't wait to go home and have my family (not members) give me more information to put in here."  Another sister from Brazil came back from a trip there with a pile of more than 100 aging documents that she rescued from a relative's shed.  The delicate pages contained valuable genealogy and love letters over 100 years old.  I helped her make copies of them so that she could do research without damaging the originals.  She said that (in her opinion) people in her country would not think to preserve those things.  Quite a few YSA  have started but I wish I could stay here to help them continue.  Many are away from families and I think this effort would help them feel bonded across the miles and the years.

Several YSA have promised to come see us in Utah...they all seem to think that Utah is a magical place.  

We have a lot to do and we're down to 6 days, many of which include meetings and goodbye dinners.  Roger says, "we are not trunkie, we just want to go home."  (If trunkie means sitting on one's suitcases doing nothing.)  This has been a tremendous experience, although it has also been difficult.  (Last night for example out trip to Institute took nearly three hours (one way) because of a traffic jam just before the Holland Tunnel going into NYC.  Give us Highland traffic!!!  When we got there 1.25 hours late the Institute room was dark and the Bishop said they had all gone home.  We opened the door and the kids yelled "Surprise!"  They enjoyed that!  They had made a goodbye poster for us with personal notes.   We'll bring it home.  

But back to the important things:  Our testimonies have grown so much.  Our understanding of the amazing plan of salvation has expanded as we have studied the Old and New Testaments and seen the amazing correlation among all the scriptures.  We know more than ever that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the fullness of the Gospel and is the only true and living church on earth.  We are grateful for the love and generosity that Heavenly Father shows to all of us and the great atonement by our Savior Jesus Christ.  We have grown as a couple and our love for the people we have met here is a precious and cherished gift. 

We will finish April 3rd and take 10 days to see relatives and Church historical sites on our drive home...with a visit to Cooperstown slipped in...don't ask me why!  We pray for God's blessings on all the missionaries and our friends and family here and there.  

See you soon!  Love, Elder and Sister (Hermana) Dixon

Monday, March 25, 2013


Our Granddaughter, Cassy,

addresses an envelope at school,

folds up "Flat Stanley" and sends him to us!

We decided to "take him on a mission".

If you don't know who Flat Stanley is, ask a 1st grader.  I haven't read the book but this is what I understand:  Stanley was a normal little boy who went to school and had a bulletin board fall on him making him flat.  Now he can be folded up and mailed by the student in an envelope anywhere.  The recipient of the envelope is to take photos of Flat Stanley having adventures in the new environment and mail them back to the sender along with Stanley and treats for the class.  The goal is for the child to learn how to address an envelope and to learn about different places on a map.

With the assistance of Photoshop, here is some of what Flat Stanley experienced on a mission in New Jersey:

A view of Philadelphia, PA

Members of our Institutes in Union City, New Brunswick and Eatontown, plus some adult ward members go on a bus trip for an amazing experience at the Washington DC Temple.

The Sacred Grove in Palmyra.  We have just heard an inspiring talk by the local Mission President.

The damage caused by Super Hurricane Sandy is tragic.

NYC skyline from Ellis Island

The Aquarium in Camden, NJ, provided some pretty awesome photos.

Stanley meets one of our awesome training missionaries, Elder Wells.  Stanley is proudly wearing a mission badge too.

The first day in Jersey, Stanley went to Transfer Conference where the missionaries meet their new companions for the next 6 weeks or so.  In this conference we said goodbye to 5 missionaries who have finished their missions and greeted 24 new missionaries.  The conference is full of energy: missionaries are leaving with a mix of sorrow and joy, new missionaries are wondering "What am I doing here?"  or "I can't wait to get started!"  Trainers (experienced missionaries) are thinking "I hope I can help this new one feel the spirit, enjoy the service and make the most of his or her mission. "

Stanley hangs out with Elders Stanley, Smith and departing Archibald.

Even our Mission Mom, Sister Jeppson, knows all about Flat Stanley and joins the fun.

Fourteen-year-old Jonathan just magically appears at the end of our Institute lessons in Union City and offers to help take our things to the car.  I have a box of supplies:  paper plates, napkins, utensils, a pitcher of lemon flavored water, table cloth and treats for the night.

Some of our New Brunswick.  Guillermo on the right is a new convert.  Libi in the center is a convert and a returned missionary who served in Arizona.  Magali on the left comes from a Mormon family.

Stanley wants to learn how to do his Family History.  We have  YSA who come early to church so that they can  discover their ancestors through,, and other Internet programs available at the Family History Centers.

Stanley meets Brother Corbin (in the center) who is the head of the Church's Public Relations Department
 in NYC and to the UN.  

Elder Dixon poses with a photo of Stanley before entering to do service in the Manhattan Temple

Brother Corbin, is an amazing servant of the Lord with great experiences to share.
He is also Stake President in the Cherry Hills, NJ Stake near Philadelphia.

Lincoln Center, across the street from the Temple

The famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC.  Sister Dixon celebrates her birthday with a gift certificate from
the CES program.  She shares the goodies with the group because she's a missionary.

Spraying a missionary's bed for possible bedbugs.  

Missionaries called to teach in Spanish.  (New one on the right).

Missionaries teaching in English.  New one on the left.)

Photoshop brings Stanley to the Statue of Liberty

The Rockefeller tower rises into the clouds.  Guess that's why it's called a  Sky Scraper?

Our missionaries in the Elizabeth area like to drop in for the lessons and maybe for the food.  The students here for the photo are Belyruth and Cinthia in the back and Nefi and Cesar in the front.  The girls plan to go on missions this year.

Through Cassy's Flat Stanley project we were able to pull together some of our favorite memories of the mission.  Thanks Cassy!  Your candy is on it's way!