Monday, August 27, 2012

What's in a nickname?

Hola, Familia!
What's going on in the great state of Nebraskaaa?
Dad asked me if people call me E.D.; People do call me Elder D sometimes, but the joke between my former companions Elder Bowers and Youd was Elder Dickerson: you'd think my name would be easy, but most every time I introduce myself, people look at my name tag and go "Elder... Dickerson?" Last I checked my name tag, there was no "er" anywhere in there lol. Elder Youd, who is my zone leader now, knows it irks me so he still calls me that; it's ok though, I call him Elder You'd (his name is pronounced Youd like loud, but everyone says it like you'd) or Youdface or Youdmouth, so we're even lol.
Anyway, transfer calls were today; Elder I and I are both staying! Yay! And the other Elders in our District are mostly staying the same; the only change is the other area, Stockbridge, is being divided up into a North and South; Elder McAllister, who also went to high school with me (of course. Everyone out here went to high school with me, seems like) is opening the Southern part with a greenie, so that should be fun lol! And they get a car (lucky...). I was pretty convinced by certain sources and friends in high places that Elder I and I were going to get white-washed: that is, both be replaced at the same time; I took a bunch of pictures with the members and everything! Good thing we get to stay, though; we still got some work to do here!
So Monday we spent the day talking to and teaching with Terrell, a cool recent convert that just got back in town; he's a good kid with some troubled past and difficult family, but he comes to teach and wants to come out with us to teach people; what a stud!
Tuesday we found out that Author had set a date for his baptism (we have been asking for months lol); he wants to be smoke-free and married before December, and wants to be baptized on his birthday, December 12th (which is 12/12/12!); it's a Wednesday, but we might make it work. His girlfriend came to church with us this Sunday, and seemed to like it. She especially enjoyed the food we had as part of the linger longer for branch conference lol ( I know that that was my favorite part!). I wish the branch did more activities; they are the genius of the church! It gets gators and less-actives and visitors in a friendly, non-threatening place with no pressure, and there is usually food! They get to interact with members, and see that we are normal people (some of us anyway lol). We had 3 other gators at church; some part-member families brought their non-member spouses, and some of the other Elders gators came; it was awesome, definitely the highlight of the week!
Had an exchange with Elder Boman from Jackson Outer; he's a cool kid, loves Disney with a firery passion (maybe even more than me!) and is a great ballplayer. It was a pretty fun exchange lol.
We spent most of the week tracting, looking for new people to teach; we talked to more than 70 people this week, but no new gators yet. Called a lot of people Friday (which is our weekly planning session) and set up some appointments, so we'll see!
That's about it.
So is there a Papa Murphy's in Nebraskaaa? The pictures of the family and the Bieb are pretty funny; especially Devin lol, just like his brother!
Happy 29th birthday to Mom! Love you! Good luck!
Go Cornhuskers!
Sounds like Lincoln has been fun for y'all lol! Go Devin and Shelby for giving talks! Devin, you "winging" your talk reminds me of what my trainer taught me: "Sometimes, you just got to say a prayer, and wing it like a pro!" I have found a good plan and thorough study helps a lot too, lol. I hope everything works out with Mom and Devin and Shelby finding jobs, I love you all, and am grateful you all are together and doing well. Thanks for being the best family ever! Take luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. Thanks again for the candy... sorry to report that it is all gone lol. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Magically transported images of Elder Dickson!

Hello, Dickson clan! Greetings from Jackson!
Thanks so much for the package, I loved it! Actually, my first thought when I opened it was "Hey, someone ate all my candy already!" Then I read the letter and it made sense lol. I love the camel; it has a prominent place on my desk. The money helped too, I'm always low on dough at the end of the month.
How is everyone? Things are alright on my end; not a lot changes around here lol.
Monday we spent most of the day biking lol; from grocery shopping to getting haircuts to the post office (hope y'all liked the gifts!) and back; just a normal day for bike elders! Elder I helped fix my bike; the brakes where rubbing against the whell, so we loosened them; however, we had loosened them too much and the brakes didn't slow the bike any lol, so we fixed it again.
Wendsday we ran into a former gator; he was friendly, and his children enjoyed Elder I's backflip (this kid is a freakin' ninja lol!); he says he is not interested anymore because he believes that his baptism he had was valid, but wasn't sure. We asked if he has prayed about that, and he said "I guess I should." We'll see what happens with that.
Thursday we had zone conference in Conyers, which was awesome! Not only super spiritual, but we got to hang out with some elders I haven't seen in a while (in the pictures...). Too bad they are only every two transfers.
Got a new investigator this week whose last name is Dixon (close, but no choclate cigar); she was very interested in the Plan of Salvation, and she cried in our lesson. Hope good things come of that!
Took Author to a child of record baptism on Sunday; it was a good experience for all of us!
Also met with a lot of less-actives over the week, so good things should be coming from that!
Sorry this letter is so short, I'm on a time limit!
One minute left! Hey, I love you all, miss you all, hope all is well in Nebraskaaaa, and hope to hear from y'all soon!
Elder Dickson

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just another day in the mission field ...

Hola, Familia!
How are things in Nebraskaaaaa?! Things here are pretty much the same here in good ole Butts County (I'm not kidding, the county is called Butts...?)!
On Tuesday, we got to meet a family the Elders before us were teaching for awhile, but then they were out of the state for months; they came to church to hear Elder Indriamiarina's talk, which was awesome! The husband is hysterical, and his wife (who actually used to be a member...) is really sweet; the branch was awesome at fellowshipping them, and I think a lot of good will come from this.
Still seeing Author; he has become an eternagator (an eternal investigator); not that he does not want to get baptized, but we have to wait for some legal issues outside his control before we can do so; we'll probably have to wait till November or so.
One of our gators, who is a deacon at his brother's baptist church, has told us he enjoys learning from other religions, but not in conversion to it; I kind of figured that from how the lessons have been going, but it's still a bummer to hear it. He loves the Book of Mormon, but doesn't quite understand the concept that if the Book of Mormon is true, our church is the only true church, because that is what it teaches (1 Nephi 14 for example); not too many people do, it seems. We either run into people who hate the Book of Mormon (most of whom haven't read it) because it's not the Bible, or they love it, but can't grasp the concept of One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: One Church and One Authority. That's why it's our job to present and explain the message of the Restoration, share testimony of it's truthfulness, invite them to find out for themselves, and, hopefully, let the spirit that is there testify to their hearts if they allow it. I have never been more frustrated with other peoples' agency than on my mission lol. But never have I been more happy than when someone we teach "gets it", and uses their ability to choose, to choose eternal life through the Great Mediator (2 Nephi 2: 27).
Anyway, I digress.
We did pretty good on dinners with members this week; that also gave us great opportunity for some team-ups, which is key; we can't really help our Lord accomplish great things in His Vineyard unless we have the members' help. We went out with our branch president a few times to see some less-actives and the elderly; making sure everyone is covered.
That is probably the biggest thing the church, at least in the south, is focusing on; the rescue of those who have strayed from the fold. Like President Hinckley said, "There is no point in doing missionary work if we cannot hold on to the fruits of that labor (or something like that; I struggle with quotes)." There are so many people who have been baptized who need help to come back to their Savior; it is missionary work, and a work that everyone, in particular the members of that ward or branch where the names of those lost sheep our on the records. We need to all work together to save souls for the Father.
Digressing again. We had a zone meeting for the first time this past Tuesday; once a month, we are to gather as a zone for a training. Before, we just had District meetings and zone conferences, so that means us bike Elders have to find rides to Conyers once a month lol. Oh, and Elder Youd, my companion in Kennesaw and the one who went to my high school, is now my zone leader! What a co-wink-e-dink. Looks like we are in for some fun and laughs, as well as some awesome missionary work about to go down in Conyers Zone!
That is actually probably all I have to report. I'm sending mum and dad's birthday package today, so look for it by the end of the week, probably lol; I hate snailmail. Hope you all are well, take luck, love you all!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jackson, the sweet secret in the heart of Georgia

Hey y'all!
How are things in the land of corn and snow lol?! Hope everything has worked out so far with work and school and sports and whatnot.
Anyway, things are just dandy down here in Jackson, the sweet secret in the heart of Georgia (that was the old saying for this town... not sure if it still applies lol)! This past Monday we went on a team-up with a member to visit some less-actives and some 'gators. Having a member makes all the difference; they can relate to the person better than weird, fancy-dressed missionaries can ever do lol! The help the person we are teaching have a friend to fall back on when we can't be there; because sooner or later, we have to pass them off to the ward/branch. If they get too attached to us, there is a danger of them becoming less-active because they feel alone or unwelcome. The biggest thing that gets missionary work rolling is participation from the members; without them, we will miss out on 2/3 of the baptisms we could be getting, and have a far lower retention rate than we should.
Anyway, I digress.
We are continuing to see Author everyday; his girlfriend has also requested she would like to stop smoking, so we'll see where that goes! He is in some of the pictures I sent, along with Bro. Numa (with the hat), and Brother Martin (the white guy who served in Africa!).
Wednesday we met a guy who is a deacon at his brother's Baptist church, but was very open for discussion, and was "quite intrigued" by the Plan of Salvation, and wants us to visit more, and bring him more books/pamphets; will do!
We have been working with our branch president to work with less-actives; it's probably the thing needed most for Jackson, so we have been "bounty hunting" the past few weeks for less-actives and former gators and such. It's the same thing I did in Conyers and Dahlonega/Dawsonville, so I should be a professional by now lol.
Ate a delicious authentic mexican meal at the Martins (it was there graduation/birthday/moving away party. They are in the second to last picture.) Brother Martin was a way funny guy, and we are all gonna miss them!
That's about all that has happened this week; in the newsletter that goes out to all missionaries about events in the mission, I found out Kent (who I taught in Kennesaw) and the Alfaro's kids (last picture) and a kid in Dawsonville (who was the boyfriend of a member) all got baptized in the past few months; yay! That just about made my week when I saw that; there is no better feeling than to know someone you have come to love has taken the big step closer to their Savior.
Things are still going well with Elder I and I; he is a funny guy, and is always happy! He asks me all the time about things in english; I have come to realize that english doesn't make any sense! Trying to explain it to someone who didn't grow up with english has been harder than I thought! English is weird.
Anyway, that's it for now; we got zone conference coming up soon, which means a trip to Conyers; yay!
 So how are y'all doing? Please write me!
Take luck! Love y'all!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Casey Guy Dickson

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