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