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 Ancestry.com 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