Monday, August 29, 2011

Letter from Casey in Georgia 8-29-11

Things here are going great! I'm meeting so many wonderful people who want to know more, so I'm excited! We have our first baptism date set for a family we met the other day; it was the first lesson too! We just gotta teach the rest of the lessons and get them to church; they are already reading and praying, so I am excited for them!

Training is done pretty different now; they have just barely started this new 12-week program; it's a kind of study guide that assigns me particular gospel principles to focus on, things to read, things to watch (we get portable DVD players with special missionary DVDs to view), and things to focus on. Also with assignments like 'the first week, the junior companion, if occasion permits, to invite to baptism' or 'the second week, the junior coma Their goal is to get us trainer-ready by the end of it (Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). It's a pretty scary thought to have to train someone after only 3 months, but this was written by men far wiser than me, with revelation from God this is what we should be learning in our first few months, and it's the best way to prepare us for this work.

The ward is great; I have met a lot of them over the past few weeks because we have a dinner with one of them every single day; sometimes lunch as well. They feed us well, and are always glad to have us over. The other day I had ox-tail, which was delicious! It's a good thing I am biking, or else I couldn't possibly work off all this food! The big thing they are trying to teach missionaries nowadays is to involve the members as much as possible; we need to get them excited about missionary work, and for us to prove to them they can trust us with the salvation of their non-member friends.

I just barely heard about the earthquakes and hurricanes happening on the east coast (we don't watch the news or read newspapers); we haven't gotten anything here, so no worries, but I pray for all those with relatives up there (which is most of the people here in the ward).

People sure do know their Bible down here; accepting the Book of Mormon is a hard thing to ask them, but I know that they can gain a witness of it's truth if they pray with sincerity for God to tell them if it is true or not.

I am in a biking mission; what a blessing! Sure, it's pretty darn hot to be biking in church clothes (not that I am complaining or anything lol), but because of it, we get the chance to talk to so many people who are just walking around. I know that is the reason why we were put in the biking mission; to be there at that time to talk to that person, and I see the evidence of it every single day!

Things are going very well, and I'm still so excited to spread the gospel to everyone willing to hear it. I want to bear my testimony, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and we are His children; that He sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and Redeemer. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that it testifies of Jesus Christ along with the Bible. And since the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet; and if he was a prophet, then Christ's true church is restored to the earth; and if the church is restored, then it was lost after Christ's apostles death as foretold by the prophets, and the authority to act in God's name has returned to the earth. I testify that this church is true, and no flattering words or clever speakings and reasoning of men can ever shake my faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Amen.

Love and miss ya!

Elder Casey Dickson

Monday, August 22, 2011

Casey's first letter from Georgia!

!Hola Familia!

Wow, where do I start? It's been incredible being here; I'm loving every minute of it!
I guess I'll start from the beginning: I awoke at 4 a.m. on Tuesday the 16th so I could shower and be ready to be at the travel office by 5; at 5:30 we left for the airport. We ended up driving past University Mall, Utah Valley University and the baseball stadium, Coney's in Orem and AF, and all the places I recognized from my former life lol; it was a little weird for me to see all those things after weeks secluded in the MTC, but it didn't bother me that much. I was bound for an even greater adventure, and I was dang excited!
The airplane ride wasn't so bad; in fact, I slept through most of it. When we landed we found President Wolfert and his wife waiting for us, along with the two assistants. They took us on the MARTA, which is a train that goes across most of Atlanta, and goes pretty dang fast! We got to President Wolfert's home, got situated, then had a delicious southern meal of BBQ pork sandwiches, cream of corn, baked beans, and peach cobbler! It was great! The next day we arose to another great meal (cinnamon fresh toast, bacon, and eggs), then left to attend new missionary orientation, then transfer meeting.
I was assigned to Elder Nielson (that's him in the picture); he has been out 6 months, loves fixing cars, snowmobiling, wake boarding, boating, and sharing the gospel! It's his first time as a trainer, but I won't hold that against him lol. We were assigned to the Conyers Inner Area, which is an hour and a half from Atlanta. It is kind of a mixture of small town and what Orem is like; there is all the Wendy's and Arby's and such, but there are also places in our area away from the busy road. We were assigned to bike; mine hasn't arrived here yet, so I've been using someone else's. We were taken to our apartment to unpack, then went tracting. We will be doing alot of finding here; the missionaries before us have some incomplete records, and a lot of the formers we are tracking down are dead ends. It's up to us to find some new investigators, and revive the less-active members. It's been a lot of work, but I'm enjoying it so much! I've met so many interesting people!
There was this one lady the other day who was a Catholic, then a Jehovah's Witness, and now she's not sure what to believe, but knows that the Catholics and Witnesses are not right. Another guy is a from Jamaica originally, and is a master of the Bible; his wife is a member, but he wants to make sure all the stuff we believe he agrees with. He does have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but won't commit to baptism just yet. So many people from so many different backgrounds and so diverse in their stories, but they all need the same thing; to come closer unto Christ by receiving His restored gospel! I'm so excited to begin teaching!
Most people here are originally from Alabama, and there are alot of black people here (culture shock!). The accent is pretty strong in my area; no doubt I will pick it up in a few days. The people are wonderful; southern hospitality is a true thing! But they are also pretty reluctant to accept anything but the Bible (working on that!).
Thanks for all the extra shirts and clothes, Mom, I certainly needed them! It's so hot and humid I need to change my shirt twice a day, sometimes shower twice a day! According to the locals, this is cool weather compared to how it was a week ago; Geez Louise! We did get rained on the other day; good thing I was already soaked! Thunderstorms are cooler here than in Utah; lightning lights up the whole sky, and the thunder is a lot louder! I'm loving the weather lol!
There are so many cool people in the ward; I can't wait to work with them! We do have dinner with members or part-members almost every day, so I haven't had to cook anything yet (haven't been shopping yet, so we have nothing to make anyway). I had Ox-tail the other day, at the Jamaicans home the other day; it was delicious! I'm sure it is the start of many interesting foods to come!
I am way excited, but also way tired; the weather and the work is fairly draining! But I'm happy at the same time; it's kind of weird. I have been doing work, and while I'm nowhere near satisfied (nor ever will I be), but I am grateful to serve and looking forward to it all!
Love and miss ya'll! E-mail me back when you get the chance!

Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pictures of Casey in the MTC!

Casey's dad: Casey left the Missionary Training Center on Tuesday (August 16) for Atlanta. He is currently in the field and we look forward to his first letter/e-mail from his new area. In the meantime, here are some photos from the MTC. I'm sure the people with him have names but Casey didn't send them to us. Suffice to say they are his district and companions in the MTC.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Casey letter from the MTC

!Hola, Familia!
Thanks for all the care packages, I've enjoyed them all immensely! The Twix and Peachios were awesome, but I'm actually not allowed to chew gum in class or when I'm teaching or when I'm proselyting, so I can really only chew it in my room. So while I love gum, and love that you sent me some, I'm not really allowed to have any. Thanks, though!
Mom and Shelby - I have no idea where my phone is. I thought I gave it to dad that Tuesday night. Ask him, or else search my room, but be careful. Braver and the wiser than you have lost their lives in the horrible depths of my domain. I'm good on clothes (thanks, by the way), but I always would love more sweets lol. But you guys don't have to get my anything. Thanks again, and ask dad if he has the phone. Love and miss you!
Dad - Do you have my phone? I don't remember if I gave it to you or not. Thanks for the e-mail, sounds like all is good in the land of Nebraska. Want to hear something cool? The other 4 Elders and a sister in my District are going to Omaha, Nebraska for their missions! Maybe they will see you or the rest of the fam, when they get there. They are Elders Boddy, Chesley, Brown, Widmer (who I went to high school with), and Sister Coats. If they end up in your boundaries sometime, feed them!
I am fed pretty well here (it's slightly better than school food), but I don't feel like I'm getting enough exercise to burn it all off, so I've been trying to do extra push-ups and sit-ups in my downtime (happy, Mom?). Glad you're doing so well in Nebraska, let me know how football goes and such. Miss you!
Devin - Thanks for all the Psych updates; all my roommates are fans of the show, so we all enjoy hearing about it. Sounds like an eventful last episode, let me know when the new one comes out. Also, check out or and let me know the TOR updates, OK? How's basketball going? Keep me updated on all family stuff too.
Thanks to all of you for your support. I do miss you guys, but I keep myself busy so I can focus on my purpose: to help others come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I know that if the early missionaries didn't teach my ancestors, I wouldn't be here, and I never would have grown up knowing the truth. How can I deny other families that enormous blessing? I bear my testimony, I know this church is true, I love my family, and I know that Christ is my Savior and Redeemer, and through him we can return to our Heavenly Father to live in eternal happiness and peace. Amen.
P.S I will send some photos I have taken in a hand-written letter, since I can't send them by e-mail. Feel free to put them on the blog, but not on Facebook yet.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Casey's first letter from the MTC!

Hello Family!
They finally got my e-mail to work; it turns out that in my account, the Bishop (or possibly me) forgot to mark me as a missionary on the site, so that's why it wouldn't let me access the missionary mail site. Go figure.
So how is everybody? Thanks for all the packages by the way, everyone in my dorm is jealous. I enjoyed the Peachios immensely (don't worry, I shared), and thanks for the shirts and other clothes, I almost ran out; since we have Gym every day but P-day and Sunday, I went through all my clothes, so your last package really helped.

Dad - It is definitely different here at the MTC; I didn't know quite what to expect, but I'm loving every moment of it! So tell me how work is going, how you are doing, etc. I sent some letters to mom that I hand wrote, but I don't have your address (I know I wrote it down, but now I can't find it) so maybe Devin could scan them and send them to you (I'm not sure if he knows how to scan, though), or maybe just physically mail it to you. Love and miss you! Show those Nebraskans how sports is done! P.S. My MTC companion is elder Andreason from Apple Valley, California; he is the district leader now, and I'm his assistant. He is smart and fun and cool... just like me!

Mom - Thanks for the notes and the packages and the check; they will all come in handy. How's volleyball going? Shelby and the girls looking ready yet? Tell me what you guys have been up to. I think I'm good on shirts so far, but I'll write if I need more. Love you and miss you!

Devin - Thanks for the notes and the updates, keep them coming! How's basketball prep going? What's TOR up to? It is pretty awesome here, but i can't wait to get out there! Miss you, love you, may the force be with you!

Shelby- thanks so much for your notes; it makes me miss poking you and bugging you and teasing you to death. I bug my companions instead, but it isn't the same. How's volleyball going? Piano? Getting ready for High School? let me know what ya'll are up to!

The MTC is both challenging and rewarding; I am learning so much, I think my head might explode! And I'm having fun with my roomates (Elder Andreason, Elder Robinson from Spokane Washington, and Elder Brimacombe from Alberta, Canada (who gets kind-heartedly teased for it), but not too much fun! I'm here to work.

While I do miss ya'll, I know that I made the right choice by going on a mission, and I'm so excited to serve the people of the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. I bear my testimony about missionary work; I know that if we can bring but one soul unto God, how great will His joy be, and if we bring many souls to Him, how much greater will be His joy! I know that great blessings come from serving a mission, for both me and you guys, and I want to help others receive the blessings and joy I have had in my life, and will have in my life to come!

Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Casey Guy Dickson

Casey Guy Dickson
Called to serve in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission (July 2011 to July 2013)