Monday, July 30, 2012

The many moods of Elder Dickson

Greetings from Georgia!
Hooray! The family move to Nebraska is complete almost! It finally happened! Must be a relief for y'all; it's been a trick getting it all figured out, I wish I could have been there to help, but what do ya do? I hope it all works out with school and sports and such. How are y'all doing?
Things are going pretty good here, I guess; we have tried to find some new people by knocking doors, but not much has come from it yet; don't worry, we'll get 'em!
We got in contact with a part-member family that has been out of town for months, as well as a recent convert who sort of fell of the map, so we are working with them now.
Author is still doing great; we had a barbecue Sat. which was awesome! The Sherwoods cooked the chicken and pulled pork, so that was fantastic (Sister Sherwood was a professional chef; we LOVE eating at her house lol)! We fished and played horse-shoes, and Author loved it; we had a grand ole time! Also, some less-actives the other elders have been working with, but we know as well, came to church! Yes! It has been years since they have been; I was ecstatic (not Jafar-kind of ecstatic, I was actually happy about it lol!)!
Went on an exchange with my District Leader, Elder Everett, who's a super cool guy; I learned a lot from him that day. He is really good at contacting, which is something I still struggle with; I don't mind teaching, but it's hard to walk up to complete strangers and ask them to change. Someone has got to do it though, and we missionaries have been the ones set apart to do so. I'm better than I used to be, but not where I want to be yet with talking to people. I continue to pray that the Lord will turn that weakness into a strength.
Yesterday, we had a traditional English meal: Yorkshire pudding and potatoes! I have had it before, and it's great! It's not even pudding, funnily enough (This is not pudding...[Grinch, I miss that movie]); it's bread and gravy. Very tasty.
Working with Elder I (that's what most people call him) has been pretty fun; he is always happy, and always sincere when he talks to people. Everyone in the branch loves to talk to him about his country and culture. It has gotten us more dinners, so I'm not complaining lol! He loves Michael Jackson music and Bruce Lee movies; you don't get more awesome than that! It is kind of tricky, because while he speaks English very well, he is still working on understanding what everyone else is saying; it doesn't help that the English down here is not the same he learned in the MTC, or even the same as I grew up learning lol! That southern drawl can be killer sometimes lol! I know he'll get it, though; Elder I is up for anything!
That's about all I have to report; we are trying to re-vamp this area, it's been struggling since it has opened, and we are trying to do new things to see if we can change that. It's tricky, but we'll get it!
I hit my year day mark on Friday; July 27, 2011, I went to the MTC. And today, the 30th, is the day, a year from now, that I'll be joining y'all in Nebraska; at least, that is when my Ministerial certificate expires; most likely, the 1st of August is when I'd fly back. That is an incredibly weird thought; I have done this all my life, haven't I? I could've sworn I was born here as a missionary; I don't remember too much about my pre-mission life, a veil has been put over it, lol. I can't believe I am on the downhill slope; I have less time left then I have been out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! The time is slipping through my fingers! How could this have happened?! Oh well; all I can do is use this time which have been given me to the fullest, and hope my offering is acceptable. I've got a lot of work to do.
Hey, Mom, how's Nebraskaaaa (never gets old!)? How is everything else? Miss you bunches!
Hey, Devin, how's life? How was Batman/Spiderman/MIBIII? Being on a mission, I have proven I can go at least a year without movies; that doesn't mean I don't want to see them when I get back, though, lol! Keep being a stud, wash behind your ears, take luck!
Hey Miss Shelby! How has the summer been? Got volleyball going on in Nebraskaaa yet? Watch out for those guys (especially the ones with pointy teeth lol), and keep smiling! Love ya!
You guys are all in my thoughts and prayers; it makes me sad that I couldn't be there when help was needed, but I'm so grateful to my Father in Heaven who looks after you all while I dedicate my life to Him absolutely for two years. I know that the blessings that come from serving an honorable, full-time mission far outweigh any perceived losses; the reward is infintely greater! I know this church is true, because I have seen it in action; I know the Book of Mormon is true, because I have seen it change hearts and minds; I know Christ is my Savior, because I wouldn't be out here if I didn't feel like I owe this much to him. We can never really pay the debt, but we can sure as heck try! "I know my Father lives, and loves me too; the spirit whispers this to me, and tells me it is true." In the name of our Master, Jesus Christ, amen.
Hope everything continues to work out! Enjoy Nebraskaaaa! Love you all!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. First picture is of me at the river at the barbecue; the second is of a windchime with Black Jesus on it (yeah...), the third of our "church building" lol, the rest our of me being sort of bored on a P-day lol! A face only a mother could love; what do you think, Mum?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mission life with Elder Indy

My very own street!

This is Elder Indy.
Hola, Familia!
How is everyone? Things have certainly been interesting this past week; My new companion, Elder Indriamiarina (try to say that fives times fast) is pretty darn awesome! He is always happy, which is refreshing. I have learned a lot about Madagascar from him; did you know that Madagascar has it's own president? I didn't. French is there second language there, after Madagasy, so he can speak 3 languages! He had to learn english in the MTC; he does a great job! His speaking is just fine, he just struggles a little bit with understanding others; not enough to hinder him, though! This is the first time I have been the area senior (the missionary in the companionship that has the most experience in that area, timewise); it's been tricky, but it all works out.
Not too much this week otherwise; took Elder Hansen around to say his goodbyes, then dropped him off Wed and picked up Elder Indy (that's what our branch president calls him). Got both Author and an elderly less-active Sister Cox to church; always sorta tricky, but we got them rides there and back, and all is well. President Marchman took us out to eat a few times this week, and also to see less-actives. He also wants to go tracting with us, which is awesome! We need to find new people to teach. Most of this coming wek will probably be spent tracting and finding and street contacting.
That's about it for now. Sorry for the short letter this week.
What is everyone up to? I got Dad's e-mail about the move going down today; I hope it all works out for y'all. Wish I could help. Kind of sad to leave that house, but I know all will be well. Write me and e-mail me when everything is said and done; I want to know what happens. Love you all, running out of time, Take Luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, July 16, 2012

Another transfer! (But not for me ...)

Would you like to learn more about the Mormon Church? No?

How about now! (;
Dear Family,
Good news; I'm staying! Bad news; Elder Hansen is heading up to Winder. Elder Indriamiarina (probably misspelled) is coming here with me; he's from Madagascar, and is my "brother" in mission terms; he was trained by Elder Nielsen, like I was! Should be very interesting lol! Elder Hansen is bummed about leaving; I am, too. We got along really well (since we are both Star Wars nuts lol!); I wish him the best.
Not too much happened this week, except the other Elders officially got moved in to the Sherwood's basement; I'm jealous, it's really nice. We can't bum rides from them anymore either, so we're hoofin' it for reals now lol. We even walked to church, which was actually good; it's not too far, and we got to street contact along the way!
Had Author at church again; found out he may not be able to get baptized for a while, for legal reasons I won't go into. That and the WoW issue still, so it may be a few months. He's still solid, though; we got him a big print Triple, and he's lovin' it! He can read on his own now (his eyes were too bad to see the words before).
Some of our other investigators have fallen off the map, but a few have resurfaced; a lady they were teaching before I got here, and her daughter, were both home when we decided to knock. We taught them a first, and the daughter loved it! Only a soft commitment to baptism, but it was a pretty spiritual lesson; I'm excited for them!
Some of our 'gators we'll be moving soonish, so we are planning to send their info to the Elders in those areas; we'll get 'em!
Not too much else is going on aside from transfers; it's always sad to see someone go, but it's also a good growing opportunity for everyone. 
In response to your e-mail: Hey Dad! It's crazy Brenna and Garrett got married; who to? Seems like just the other day we were all in the 16-17 year old class eating candy. All my friends are getting married or on missions or in college; I can't really grasp it!
I wish I could be there to help pack; oh well. Six different families checked out the house? Anyone seem promising?
Most door approaches don't last past them answering the door, scowling, and them telling us their Baptist and slamming the door. If I got the chance to, I'd ask them how they were doing, then usually look for clues such as a sports insignia or something to strike up a pleasant conversation. We'd tell them who we were and who we represent, and give a brief summary of what our message is. For example: "After centuries of being lost, Christ's church and truth have been restored to the earth by a living prophet; through those living prophets, we receive more of God's word, such as the Book of Mormon." Then we usually have to send 10 minutes explaining that the BoM is not another version of the Bible (like the New World Translation or International Version or New King James or whatever); if we get that far, they'll usually let us come back and share more. Most people agree with the idea of modern prophets and families being forever, but they don't realize that is only found in Christ's true church; their churches don't teach that, even if they inherently believe in those principles. It's kind of frustrating, but it helps us figure out who is interested, and who might be later. The elect will feel the spirit, and will act on it. I know that if we bear testimony, and invite them to act, we have done our job; the Spirit will do the rest, as long as they allow it. Amen. Anyway, hope the move goes well! Take luck! Thanks for being the best dad ever!
Hey Missy! You're going on a date!?!?!?! AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't remember you asking me 'fore permission jk lol but seriously. How could you be 16! You were like 15 when I left, it doesn't make any sense! Oh well; just remember who you are, and what you are forth, and I can sleep tonight. Good job on Personal Progress, that's pretty shnazzy (as Mom would say lol!). Hope all goes well with volleyball and summer and dating and such. Love you bunches! Oh, and that quote is from Megamind; it may have been a year, but I'm still the master; thanks for playing lol jk! d
Hey Devin! Keep up the good work! Keep an eye on Shelby's boyfriends for me lol! You're a stud, stay cool baby bruh. Take Luck!

Hi, Mom! I haven't seen Sister Coleman since the Christmas party; she's going home then? That should be cool, it's fun when missionaries parents can come get them; I wonder if I could see her at the Lilburn building when we all head there for transfers? I guess we'll see. I do need some new shoes; the pair I am wearing as we speak have holes in the middle (that go all the way through lol!) and my other ones are soaked hard core and are still recovering; if i is at all possible, I would like to have a nice black pair that I can wear to church, and maybe another that I can walk around in. Ties are always good, and I could do with another pair of pants (black), please? Hope everything is still okay in the west; apparently it has been on fire the past few months; literally! Hope everyone is safe and happy in Happy Valley while y'all are still there! Love you bunches!
Thanks to all y'all for the letters and e-mails! Take Luck! The Church is true, the Book is blue, and God is a Mormon!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Don't be a casual Christian; You'll only become, in the battle for our lives, a Christian Casuality."

Hey Dickson clan!
Greetings from the land of... darn, I've run out of southern traditions! I'll have to ask about some more.
Anyway, it was a pretty good week this week; We have still been meeting with Author; his date was moved back to the 28th of July; he hasn't quite kicked smoking yet. He's doing good though; he's been to church four times now, and has officially been taught all the lessons! He loves the Book of Mormon, but his eyes are too bad to read it on his own, so he has us or his girlfriend read it to him; legit! We will be getting his big print BoM at District Meeting tomorrow. We had another pleasant surprise this week; we found one of our 'gators that fell off the map! He was investigating for the first few weeks I was here, then after his Dad pretty much chased us away, he sort of disappeared (his Dad probably told him to avoid us). We saw him on Saturday; he came over to us, and told us he was still interested in coming to church, and that we'd see him tomorrow. And he did! It was pretty cool; not that we try to show off, but it's good when the members see us bringing people to church; it gets them excited about the work, and they start to get more involved. That's really what we need here; unfortunately, this branch isn't quite as excited for missionary work as Kennesaw was; but it's all good, we'll get 'em!
Oh, also found out that the other Elders who stay with us are officially moving to a member's basement this coming week; it's nuts! We have been scrambling most of this week, getting ready for that to happen. It'll be weird having that two story apartment for two people; that's what I did in Dahlonega.
There is a less-active member family that we see every Monday night for dinner, and sometimes another day of the week, that we are working with; they want to stop smoking as well. I don't know too much about addiction recovery, but I know that Christ is the Master Healer, and His word can do astonishing things for us if we read and follow them!
Tried to spend some more time finding (a.k.a. tracting), and it's been working pretty well; got a couple of return appts. and also gave out some BoMs! Awesome! One of them was this cool older guy who's daughter and granddaughter are members, and he's sort of curious as to what they believe. I'm excited for him!
Spread some mulch hay for a part-member family; it was pretty fun, actually, and they are both pretty cool! They got two little kids who are absolutely hysterical! We usually go over there and/or to Dan's house on Saturdays. Dan is pretty cool; he's the other Elders 'gator, but we see him pretty often. He's a slower process, but he is really funny, and loves us to come over! So we'll see.
That's about all for me this week. The Fourth of July wasn't anything spectacular; holidays just don't mean the same as a missionary. Didn't even really get to see fireworks, which is fine; they aren't really great out here, I've heard. We did have some awesome ribs and homemade garlic bread from the super members, the Sherwoods! She is a cook by profession, so every meal we have with her and her husband (and we eat over there frequently; once a week at least!), it's the most delicious thing I've had out here! We even had root beer cake; don't ask me how, but in some crazy way, we had root beer cake! It was awesome! Actually, the Sherwoods are the members the other Elders are moving into; lucky!
So how are y'all?
So I heard from Dad that the move is finally going down; sweet! I wish I could be there to help with the move; I'll just cheer y'all on from all the way over here lol! Go my favorite sports team, go! Score some more goal basket units (good ole Brian Regan)! Devo, you'll be 18 in September, that's crazy! Wasn't so long ago that I was 18; don't do the stupid things I did at that age. Just because we legally become an adult doesn't mean we actually know anything lol. Listen to Mom and Dad! They're smart! How is the summer going? Have you gotten taller since I left? You better haven't!! Lol jk jk.
And Shelby; how the heck did you turn 16 already?! You had just turned 15 when I left; how long have I been out!? Oh yeah, almost a year. I guess that makes sense.
Anyway, sounds y'all will be 4/5ths of the way complete as a family lol, which is better than 1/5 or 3/5. And by my year mark too (July 27th); time has flown by so quick! Life never really goes the way we suspect; that is why God is in charge, and not me lol!
Thanks for the e-mail! I love hearing about what y'all are up to; I do miss you guys, but I think I'll stick it out about another year or so lol! Good luck with all your hopes and dreams! Your prayers are felt and appreciated; I hope y'all can feel the ones I'm sending your way! Take luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. Please send candy. Love you all!

Monday, July 2, 2012

"I saw that!" --- God

Hello, Dickson clan!
It is so freaking hot down here lol! This past weekend was terrible: 106 with crazy humidity! It was record breaking for so early in the summer! No one was outside to talk to because it was so hot! Today is is much cooler, since it rained pretty bad last night; we got drenched!
Other than that, things have been going great! Author is still good for his date, and he is down to 1 cigarette a day, which is far better than he used to be; we'll get it! His girlfriend has expressed interest as well, so we'll see were that goes! He loved Fast Sunday; it's always the best meeting of the month! Then we went to take him home (courtesy of Brother Numa), and had an awesome conversation, in which he told us he knows this is true and can he get baptized sooner! He's our ray of sunshine here; everyone else is either hot and cold with us, or are super friendly, but not interested.
Brother Numa is the funniest guy I have ever met! I know I say that a lot, but he is! He is Haitian, so he has a french accent, and always comes to church in a sweet suit! This time, it was a tan 6 button suit! Way sick! He is rich, but no one is sure what he does... lol. His step-son played for the Utah Jazz, but for the life of me I don't remember his name. That is where he first ran into missionaries; he tells us he was a hard nut to crack, but he finally got it! He often tells us how modest he is, and what a great driver he is (both might not be true lol), and he is always willing to do missionary work with us! Sadly, he is leaving in a week or so for New York; oh well.
We met a father and a son that hang out by Family Dollar, because the mom/wife works there. We talk to them all the time now; most of the time, though, the dad (who is a druid, interestingly enough) is the one talking; from UFOs to Leonardo Da Vinci to blind rages to monkey brains (apparently, they are a delicacy). If we get a second to talk, we'll see if we can swing by for a teaching appointment lol!
We also see Sister Cox regularly; she is a sweet old lady at a nursing home who loves (and sort needs) visits from us; in every area in the mission, there is an older person that the missionaries are supposed to visit, and it's actually pretty fun! She says she wants to get a ride to church, but every time we set something up, she doesn't feel good enough. We'll get her.
Met a guy in an electric wheelchair with one leg; he says he'll swing by the church sometime, and we plan on visiting him again soon.
The other Elders teach this cool guy named Dan Eddy (that's right, Dan Eddy, the man with two first names!); we always go with them to do service on his farm. He is a slower process, but he always hints about joining the church, and will randomly ask questions about the gospel. If they pursue too hard though, he changes the subject. He's so cool though, I hope it all works out! Church is true!
There is this super cool couple we see regularly; not super interested yet, but they love us! The husband is a rocker (with a poster and everything!) and his wife is trying to get a job with Georgia Power, so they might be moving soon; that's ok, we'll send the missionaries there after them lol!
Oh, the other Elders might be getting a different apartment, so Elder Hansen and I might have to two-story all to ourselves!
And that's about it. Please e-mail me or write me and tell me what y'all are up to! What have y'all done so far this summer? How's sports/ work/ play? Let me know!
Anyway, not too much happening here yet; I know that with our faith, diligence, and heed, we can be led to the more fertile parts of the land. Take Luck!

Love, Elder Casey Guy Dickson

P.S. Please send candy (and money if you want, lol jk). My secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret secret stash just ran out lol!

Casey Guy Dickson

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