Monday, March 5, 2012

My first tornado warning in Georgia

Better than reasonably priced, we're free!
The faces of missionary work can be ... interesting.
What a week we've had! It's gone by so fast, compared to the week before.
Most exciting thing that happened? I had my first Tornado Warning; quite exciting! We saw the weather get progressively worse, then we got a call from our zone leaders, telling us to get back to our apartment and bunker down. As we were heading back, we heard to tornado sirens go off; needless to say, we set a new record for getting home lol! The zone leaders, who were nearby, also came to our apartment, since it was closer. We watched the stinging sheets of rain and thundering and lightnings and fierce winds from the window; it was pretty intense! Fortunately, the tornado missed Kennesaw by like 30 miles, so we were all fine. Their was a bit of damage north of Kennesaw, but nothing to serious, as far as I know. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to sleep; we were all pent up with nervous energy. Eventually the fear faded, and we slept like babies.
I have been sleeping pretty well, which is surprising. For those of you who know me, I'm a very light sleeper, and a night owl. I used to go to bed at 12, and not fall asleep till 3, then get up at 11:30 lol. Now I'm out like a light at 10:30. I still have to fight to get up and at 'em in the morning, but I've gotten better. All missionaries, no matter how they were before, develop some kind of sleep disorder; we all snore like bears, and most of us talk in our sleep lol! I've never done that before! Some missionaries even teach lessons in their sleep, and all get incredibly weird dreams. I've had some pretty crazy ones about plane crashes and battles to the death and marshmallows and a Russian sniper love interest (she was pretty cute...) and things like that. I used to be never able to remember any of my dreams, and I still can't very well, but the bizarre ones really stick out lol!
Welcome back to rambling for paragraphs about nothing, with me, your host, Elder Dickson!
Anyway(s; still pretty sure it's a real word, Mom; everyone around me does it), other things that happened this week:
We had a pretty intense district meeting, where we were taught by the assistants; Elder Magleby (my mission grandpa), Elder Montez (Elder Asher's companion before me), and Elder Briggs (Elder Bower's trainer) taught a superb training about extending baptismal date upon FIRST CONTACT!!!! Preposterous, some proclaimed. But we have received a witness of this by going out and doing it this past week and the one before; we have 5 baptismal dates! Yay! We would have had 6, but one of our investigators who had a date, who we haven't seen in weeks, got arrested for a DUI and is in jail. (Waah waah waah). It sucks; he was so cool, and so ready to change his life. I hope that the seed we planted will be able to get nourished whenever he gets out.
We met a woman who, evidently, is a relative of Michelle Smalls (the mom we baptized a month ago); also, coincidentally, she was being taught by Elder Briggs and Elder Bowers before Elder Youd and I got here. She was sitting in the Smalls lessons, and had a date, but then she disappeared until now. She says she loves what joining our church has done for the Smalls, and wants that herself; unfortunately, she has problems being available. Still trying to catch her home or by phone.
That same Tuesday night, we went to go visit a less-active member of the Branch; incidentally, they had moved, and the person who answered had lived there a week. He let us in, offered us a beer (which of course we refused), and asked if he could learn more about Mormons. He had met some members at the base he was at (he was in the army), and a bunch of soldiers there joined the church. He wanted to know why. We shared an awesome first lesson (super spiritual) and invited him to be baptized, which he accepted. We are still trying to catch him home again, but I got a good feeling about him.
Wednesday we taught a girl who goes to KSU; we met her last week and scheduled a return appointment. We taught her at the LDSSA booth with a member of the Branch; it was pretty good, and she had some good questions. Unfortunately, this is the week of spring break, and most of our members and investigators will be out of town. I HATE HOLIDAYS!! Holidays used to mean something special; a time for family, friends, and relaxation. On a mission, all it means is that we can't get a hold of or get in with anyone! ARGH!!!
Thursday we had an exchange with the Spanish Cherokee elders; I went there with Elder Hokey Pokey (his name is really Hokafonu, but I call him Hokey Pokey) and Elder Holland (of no relation), who is a Visa-waiter (which means he is stuck here till he can get all his stuff so he can go to Argentina). Elder Richardson, our fearless District Leader, came to Kennesaw. It was certainly interesting; I was the senior companion in Spanish (which is new for me), but since I don't speak any espanol they did all the contacting and teaching. I never understood having exchanges with Spanish missionaries; oh well.
We swapped back later that night and saw a lady we met last week (who lives by the guy who got arrested for the DUI); she is very funny and kind; she'll make a good member lol!
Friday we ate at Stevie B's again; for 6 bucks it's all you can eat pizza, dessert pizza, and drinks. And guess what? It actually tastes good (unlike CeeCee's; BLAAH!)! We taught a less-active member there (hitting a stone with two birds, or something like that), and it was pretty cool; he is a nice guy who made some mistakes in his youth, and is striving to return. I hope he continues to do well.
We also saw Sister Fletcher again; the funniest and sassiest old woman on the planet! We always leave in stitches!
Saturday we volunteered at Shiloh Methodist Food Pantry again, which is always fun. What is really funny is that more people from our church go there to volunteer than any other congregation! Represent!!
Guess what? We had an investigator at church! Yay! She was the one who is getting divorced; she has had it rough, but she is a pocketful of sunshine! She thanked everyone at church for bearing their testimonies... in the middle of Relief Society! She'll make a great primary president, lol! I hope she lets the gospel help her.
There was also a lovely musical number at the Branch as well, preformed by some acapella choir at Southern Virgina University; apparently, they are about 94% Mormon up there. How cool is that?
We also met some pretty cool inactive members; we talked for an hour and a half! The first step for any and all less-actives and such is to be their friend; one of the reasons people stop coming to church is because either they don't feel welcome, or they got offended by someone. They all just need a hand of friendship and kindness; talking about the church will come. I like seeing less-actives we visit come to church; it's one of the happiest things that happen out here for me. They are all precious in God's eyes.
That's all for now; today we might go to a civil war museum that Sister Fletcher used to work at.
Hey, how is everyone? I heard that Mom destroyed in Volleyball (of course) and that Shelby is at Disneyland. Lucky!
I sent that letter Aunt Nina; you should be getting it soon.
It certainly has been eye-opening, being here in Georgia. Growing up in Happy Valley, I never really knew what it meant to be a member. The kids here have to defend their faith daily; they are so strong out here. It's also interesting to talk to so many
converts; I have always been in the church, and have had the Holy Ghost since I was 8; I don't know what it is like to be in the dark and cold; to have the emptiness of doubt and the loneliness plenty of others experience. I don't know what it's like to NOT be a member; that knowledge helps these converts remember what life is like without the light of the gospel. I think I know why I was sent to Georgia now (aside from the people I'm supposed to help). I needed to learn how to defend my faith if need be, and to be thankful for the way, the truth, and the life which is our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Gospel.
Thank you all for your wonderful examples, all to which lead me to decide to serve. I wish you all luck with all your endeavors. May the grace of God be with you all.
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

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Casey Guy Dickson

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