Monday, November 26, 2012

I can fix anything ... just give me time

Elder Dickson, bike mechanic.
Hola, Familia!
This week: Elder Rogers was sick, so we didn't get to work very much; we did get to see a lot of less-actives, and members who have recently moved in; we made a lot of phone calls too. Sunday we helped the Priests with their PMG class, which was cool; we shared something I heard and don't remember who said it: something along the lines of: if you think that your friends would be upset if you tried to talk to them about the gospel, how much more upset will they be when we all meet up in the spirit world, and they find out that you could have shared this message with them, but you were too scared to talk to them about it. That one still keeps me up at night...
Anyway, glad to know that the fam is still representing in Nebraskaaa, Dickson style! I wish I could have been there for Mum and Dad's talks... sounds liked they killed it! What time do ya guys meet on Sunday, out of curiousity? We are at 1:30 now, but next year we will be 9 a.m. again...
Glad y'all had a good Thanksgiving! We had ours at the Rowberry's, one of the many studly families in the ward! The also had the Richards over, a family that recently move in that are fairly recent converts and their kids, as well as Bro. Rowberry's brother and his wife and daughter; it was a full house! They made this excellent fried turkey; we have to try to figure out how to make it when I get back lol! It takes maybe an hour to make, and it's at least twice as juicy as a baked turkey! The down-sides are that you need to let the turkey completely thaw, or else it will explode in the fryer lol! Also it is apparently a messy clean-up, but I think the taste was worth it! They injected it with Cajun Butter too! I think they'll have fried turkey in heaven, pretty sure lol! We took a lot of left-overs home, so we'll be good on meals for probably a week and a half lol.
Also had a pretty sweet turkey bowl game earlier that day; yours truly caught a few, and even got a diving touchdown where the ball was bobbled out of like 3 players hands lol. It was Elders vs. Elders Quorum, and the Elders won soundly lol!
Go, Nebraskaaaa! Go Cougars!! Who is BYU playing in the Holiday Bowl?
I do really like my new area, I just am looking forward to when the work picks up a bit; we have a few potentials, some part-members, and a guy named Keithe who has been out of town for the Holidays. Being on bikes when it is cold with a large area has been a good test of my commitment lol, but I know that there are people here for us to teach, we just need to try harder to find them.
Dang it, Courtneys! Oh well, get 'em next time! The Elders are the ones who recieve the revelation on how to teach them, but when it's time to be bold, and the spirit prompts, I like to use Luke 14:16-24 to teach about the importance of the sacrament (which is THE most important reason we need to go to church). It's the parable of the Lord's Supper; the Lord invites several people to attend his feast, but on the day of the supper, everyone who was invited gave an excuse for why they couldn't go. The Lord was angry, and sent out his servants to bring anyone and everyone off the streets who was willing to come, saying, "None of those men bidden (previously) shall taste of my supper." The Lord's Supper is the Sacrament, and we make the Lord angry when we choose not to attend. It's pretty bold and condemning, so use it as a last resort.
I'm so excited for when all these new missionaries coming in; it'll be crazy for a while, but the work will explode! Question: did you ever train or was in leadership? Not that it matters, but since we are going to have so many missionaries, all us veterans need to step up, and I'm a bit fearful I will be put in leadership, lol! If the Lord requires it of me, I'll do it, but I'm not striving for it lol; all I'm stirving for is to be the best missionary I can be! The church is true, the book is blue, and God is a Mormon! Thanks for being awesome, keep it up! Look forward to seeing you Christmas!
Love ya, Miss ya, Take Luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. I think it would be cool if you guys could each send me your favorite scripture in the next e-mail...
P.P.S. The first picture is of me and Elder Hernandez (who I served near in Kennesaw) who is home now (sad day...), the second is myself and Elder Peterson, who was my district leader here (my companion is the DL now), and is now going to be zone leader in Conyers with Elder Youd for his last transfer. Elders come and go, but memories last... (yes, that was kinda cheesy, sue me.)

A funny t-shirt I saw.

"You're a panda ... He's a panda!"

Me and Elder Rodriguez, who is home now.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sticking around for Thanksgiving

Elder Dickson has many moods ...
Transfer news is coming in from the southeast... I'm staying for the holidays! Yay! So is Elder Rogers; not much changed to our zone except for a few leaving for home, one who is training, and Elder Rogers is District Leader now. The assistants told him that President Wolfert wants him to be a zone leader this next transfer (duh duh duh), and that I might train in the next few transfers; with all the new 18 year old's flooding in a lot of people will be training for awhile lol. I still don't want to train or be in leadership, but I am more OK with it then before; I want the Lord and the President to be able to trust me, so I gotta step up my game and serve diligently. Still, I'd be just fine if I wasn't ever given too much responsibility lol.
By Feb., 80-100 new missionaries will be coming to our mission (more than half of them sisters); we are not getting more cars and they are not dividing up the mission boundaries yet, so it'll be very crowded here lol. Almost everyone, even the sisters, will be biking; they are predicting that there will be 4-6 missionaries (2 of them sisters) in every unit, and that almost all the areas will be divided in halves or thirds. It's going to be nuts here for a good bit, but we'll get the hang of it. I'm excited to be out here as the changes happen! Go Elders! Baptize!
This week I went on exchange with Elder Jarman, who is a little strange but is a good guy, and we talked to a lot of nice people in his area, and I ate dinner with Elder Everett (my former District Leader who serves in the same ward as Elder Jarman), which is always a pleasure; he's a funny kid!
We spent a lot of this week biking, which yielded some fruit; we have plenty of potentials we need to follow up on, and we actually ran into a few less-active members we were looking for; what a co-wink-a-dink.
Saturday there was a baptism for an 8 year old named Fil Fil that we got to help out with; I love going to baptisms, there is an awesome spirit there, and it's the perfect thing to invite investigators too! We also contacted a referral we had gotten last week and have tried several times to see; a kid named Qwik (not kidding. I love Georgia!). His brother converted and has like 2 days left on his mission in Brazil; his mom is a non-member, and hasn't shown too much interest, but his brother had some questions about the church and the Book of Mormon, which we were happy to answer. He seemed to like what we shared, but wouldn't give us a definite time in which we can come back, so we'll see.
The less-active family with the unbaptized daughter we were hoping to get in with all got sick this week, but they apparently came to church and sat in the back and left before we got back there to say hi lol. Next time, baby!
We also got volunteered to do a sharing time in Primary (we get volunteered a lot lol), so we went in and talked about how they can be missionaries now, and invite their friends to all our holiday activities; the ward is putting on this HUGE nativity festival that apparently is a pretty big deal, and very well attended. We have been asking members to each bring at least 1 non-member friend to it; this should definitely invite a great spirit of Christ and plant a lot of seeds! Happy Christmas!
A priest also invited his girlfriend to church, and we talked with her and we might be going over this next week to share the first lesson; keep your fingers crossed!
Keithe didn't make it to church this week, and will be out of town for the holidays for a while; we taught him Thursday at Brother Colton's home and had a good Restoration lesson. We finally dragged outta him his concern; he doesn't know too much about the priesthood or the need for authority, so we focused on that. We also got him a big print BoM so he has no excuse about reading it, lol! Early christmas present!
Thanksgiving is at the Dewberry's house; they are a nice family, so it'll be good. Plus, the turkey bowl will be that morning! I can't wait, I haven't played football in FOREVER!
That's about it for now.
While it's probably not as cold as Nebraska or Utah here, it is a lot colder than last year (which is weird to think about... last year at this time I was on my mission...). We have some very pretty fall colors, but nothing beats our red and orange mountains in Utah at this time. Biking has been fun lol; I was in a car all last winter, so we'll see what happens if it snows or whatever. Members have been good with giving us rides when we need them, I just don't like asking people to do things for us but we kinda have to so I'm always in a state of conflict when we need to call someone for something lol.
Go Huskers! Go BYU! I heard the cougs lost this weekend... bummer.
I hear from Dad about the investigators you are fellowshipping ... going slow is frustrating for me, but some people need time, and some need a push. Sometimes both. Go by the spirit, and work together with the elders to see when they need to be reminded that their excuses are lame... push too soon and they'll disappear, push too late and they will lose the desire, if there is any. You and I both know that other peoples agency, especially when pertaining to salvation, is the most frustrating thing on the planet! I don't know how God puts up with it; I mean they know it's true, and you know that they know it's true, and they still don't want to do anything about it. I've had my fair share out here that just don't get it, and it makes me sad... but of course I shouldn't complain about having free choice; it's better than the alternative. Just keep praying and being their friend, because investigating the church puts them on the devil's radar; never give up on them, because Satan won't either. Tell them they are missed at church, and that they are needed.
I wish I could be there to here mom and dad talk; I only remember that happening once or twice in my lifetime where I heard y'all give talks. We talked about conversion this last Sunday; there was an awesome quote by Mother Teresa the speaker shared about her seeing lack of success in her ministry in India: "God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful." That quote meant a lot to me, because I haven't felt like I have seen too much success out here; I learned it is not the baptisms that measure success, it is my own personal dedication to what I have been asked to do.
Anyway, good luck with your talks, I know that you'll do great!
Thanks for the news, I love to hear about all the things that are going on in y'alls lives. You guys are the best family I know (and I've met quite a few now), and I miss ya plenty, but I'm having too much fun to stop!
I don't mean to be greedy and ask for things, but I am in need of some new sturdy black shoes; I have gone through 3 pairs lol. Some new short-sleeve shirts and G's would be cool too...
I'm super grateful that Mom let me use her quad out here; it means a lot to me, and I treasure it. A new mini-quad that I can mark up and make missionary tab bookmarks in would be nice, but not necessary.
Also, if maybe I could borrow someone's watch, that would be stellar; mine broke in Dawsonville.
Ties and CD's are always acceptable, especially this Oct. general conference on CD. A small 2013 Temple calendar would be fun...
Candy, money, and baked goods are always a staple lol! I also would like this years BYU T-shirt if that's ok... all my T-shirts are worn or too small, so any kind of T-shirt would be good lol.
Last thing is I had gotten a call from the mission vehicle coordinator who said that President Wolfert wanted to know if I can be a driver soon... I'm not sure what that means, but if I was to get one present this year, could it please be having the fine at the Utah DMV paid off and a copy of my birth certificate sent to me so I can get a Georgia licence?
Thanks again for being an awesome family, and I look forward to chatting it up with all y'all together at the same time lol! Take luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. Also something I would like to know about peoples like Devin and Shelby and Ethan and Myles and people in our last ward's mission plans...
Matching Taylor Swift blankets ... OK.

Four elders after a rousing game of rain-tag.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm Elder Dickson, and I approve this message

!Hola familia! ?Que hora es? Estoy bien, gracias.
Seriously, how the heck are y'all doing? Is it snowing in Nebraskaaa yet? How is school/ work/ play/ life? How is everyone else who reads this e-mail?
My week has been pretty good; we actually got some lessons in, and got a hold of people on the phone we have been trying since we got here, so things are moving in the right direction.
Tuesday was a bit crazy; we were told we had to be in by 6p.m. just in case something happened during or after the elections. Kinda sketchy, but we made it okay; just played RISK and read scriptures the whole night, then found out from a member texting us who had won. A bummer I guess, but on Wed. our Mission President made us feel better about it by explaining that all things are in the Lord's will, and that the campaign brought a lot of awareness and curiosity about the church. There were some rough patches, but I'm confident that most of the feedback from this whole "Mormon President" thing was positive; myths were dispelled, people were asking questions, and Billy Graham took us off his cult list, so that's something lol. I feel like a lot more people understand that we are Christian (those that followed the race, anyway), and if that's all that came from this campaign, Mitt did his job. Despite any ill feelings we have, we need to shake it off and remember that we support our leaders in this country. Anyway, enough of me being all political and philosophical, no need to continue torturing y'all with my babbling lol; it's just my views on a lot of things have changed, as well as my priorities. A few years ago, I would be the last person you would catch talking about politics or whatever. Every time I read out of the war chapters in the Book of Mormon, all I see are politics and the world today. The theme of the Book of Mormon is that when a nation is divided against itself, they will destroy each other. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land. If ye keep not my commandments, ye have no promise. That is in the Book of Mormon about 20 times or so. Coincidence? I think not! That promise is still in effect on this continent...
Anyway, I'm doing it again.
Wednesday was zone conference, and we had Elder Giddons of the Seventy spoke to us about justification and purification, pretty much calling us to repentance in a super spiritual way. It was pretty cool, I love zone conference; it gets so so pumped up for the month. It's like a missionary pep rally, except less screaming and more testifying. I also met another Elder I went to school with (what's with Timpanogos and cranking out the GANM elders?); Elder Thorne. That brings it up to 4, being Elder Youd, Elder McAllister, Elder Jones, and him. Sister Coleman was our neighbor, but she went to MT. View. It's just kinda crazy to see people from my premortal existence (before my mission I mean lol).
Thursday we did work! We biked all over our map and contacted a ton of people, including less-actives and former gators. Trying to fill our teaching pool has been a slow process, but were working on it! We saw Keithe that morning too. He told us he was praying to see what was it he was supposed to get out of meeting the elders and coming to church... then told us his answer was that when he was coaching soccer, he didn't play one of the members daughters (like 10 years ago) because he wanted to win, and has felt bad about that ever since. He feels like the reason he was brought here was to apologize for something that the girl doesn't even remember. It was sort of anti-climatic when he started talking about praying for answers lol, but it brought him to church, so I'll take it for now lol!
A kid named Jordan Mack (younger brother of Jenn Mack, the member's soccer playing daughter just mentioned), is leaving tomorrow for a mission in the Philippines; he gave a super spiritual talk this Sunday; I wish him luck, he's a good kid.
Spanish elders had a baptism last Saturday for a 10 year old girl whose siblings are members, but the parents are not (yet!). It was pretty cool to see Elder Grant get his first baptism (she asked him to baptize her) in the mish.
I don't have time today to write all I want, but I feel like it is time to talk about what I should do for school and such; also, when I get the chance, I do have a small Christmas list of some necessities, like shoes and shirts and stuff.
I love y'all and miss y'all and will see your bright happy faces in a little more than a month on the computer screen. Take Luck!

Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Halloween from the mission field!

Elder Chugg and Elder Dickson painted up for Halloween.
Hi, how are ya?!
I've pretty good here, just getting off being sick; this weekend I was getting a little tipsy on NyQuil lol that stuff is the best I feel fantastic today!
I have really liked the new area as far as members and member involvement in missionary work; it's a change lol. The work has yet to pick up, but it always takes a transfer for everything to start clicking. Most of the people here we talk to are referrals for Spanish (because they are the only ones here without cars, so they walk to and from work, lol), Asians that take cards and smile but don't know what is going on, or people who are too rich for the gospel; they have everything they need, what do they need God for, right? Haven't gotten into any conversations where I have dusted my feet off here, but I came pretty close to in Kennesaw lol; that area has a melting pot of religions, and they were really really open or not at all.
We have a few though that are nice and we have plans to see; there is a less-active family who has a 9 year old daughter who wants to get baptized, which is cool, and a girl we met in the park. We have some referrals we still haven't caught home, and plenty of formers and potentials, so we are plenty busy!
Sunday our referral from Web Bridge came to church, which was awesome; he already knew a ton of the members from coaching soccer for his and their girls when they were like 10. He seemed to have changed after coming to church, in a good way; he was investigating because he wanted to know more about Mormons since we might have a Mormon president in a few days (cross your fingers and say good prayers!). I don't know what he was expecting, but he really enjoyed it, especially High Priests, when a member shared a really spiritual story about when he accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun, the blessing he got, and the faith he knew he would lives through it since God told him before that he and his wife to serve a mission. Then he shared his experience
of giving a Article of Faith presentation to a Presbyterian church (3 weeks after his accident) which was pretty cool. It was also fast Sunday, which is always scary to bring gators to (just in case some member decides to preach false doctrine or flip out on everyone... it's happened before...), but this one was pretty good. Keithe (the gator) was quite impressed with the youth and how strong and knowledgeable they were in the gospel (the youth here is solid!). Keithe is one of those guys that likes all religions, and that if you believe in Christ, it doesn't matter what religion you are. Most people here are like that (or else totally the other way like Strict Southern Baptist or Jehovah's Witnesses), so it's a little frustrating to teach concepts like the priesthood authority or apostasy very clearly and simply and they don't get it; not angry at them, of course, but of the doctrines of men that teach the easiest and quickest way out or in is the best way, and if every church is true, there is a lot less pressure and contention, but also a lot less truth or structure. The scripture that comes to mind is Matt 7:21-22; just saying it is not enough, it's doing the will of the Father, and the will of the Father is to have faith and repent, be baptized by proper authority, to receive the Holy Ghost by the same authority, and endure to the end (keep the commandments); makes sense to me.
Anyway, I digress; I brought up that point in the first place to describe Keithe's attitude towards organized religion and our church in general, and how he was more subdued and a little in awe from the experience he had; I know he felt the spirit! We have an appointment with him on Thurs., and he is planning on bringing his daughters to church this next week so they can catch up with their soccer friends. Nice!
 So Halloween was kinda interesting; we are supposed to be in by 6 p.m., so we worked till 5 (met Keithe that morning, actually), then went to dinner; we got there early, so we knocked a few doors. I thought it was pretty funny; two elders knocking doors on Halloween handling out fliers for the Nativity activity in December, lol! We actually didn't think about the fact we were knocking doors on Halloween till we had been at it for a few minutes, lol! Then we met the Spanish elders at our apartment for Risk and Uno and Phase Ten and Monopoly, lol; it got pretty intense! Elder are usually pretty competitive in anything, but these guys were nuts!
Went and got my tire rim fixed with the money y'all sent me (Thanks!!!!!); I had been borrowing another elders bike for the past week. John's Creek has plenty of sidewalks, but the places that it doesn't is scary, since there is so much traffic here. I think my life flashed before my eyes at least twice this week, lol!
Thursday was when we met Jessica while we were contacting in the park; found out just barely that see is just BARELY out of our boundaries (gosh darn it!!); she actually lives in the AP's area. Turns out they had a referral for us, so we traded gators; we have yet to meet the lady they met, she hasn't called us back yet...
Friday we had an appointment with a less-active member and his son; they both want to come back to church, but they are embarrassed because they don't remember anything about the doctrine; they asked us to teach them, which we gladly accepted. They are good guys, and have been coming to church consistently, so keep your fingers crossed! The father has to get past smoking, which is always fun lol; if there is one thing standing most in the way of people getting baptized, it's an addiction. They just can't quite let them go, even when they know the church is true; it's sad to watch, but I have met a few who have overcome it, one of them being Grandpa Dick, lol (even though I didn't know him before then, lol)!
Saturday was a super busy day; the elder's quorum had a service project at the local high school to pull up some trees and replace some of the wood around the boxes of trees they had. It was good hard work, and I enjoyed it a lot; I can be pretty lazy, but there is something about doing service with cool people for a good cause that just fires me up! Hammer down!
There was also the Fall Festival that day; since Halloween fell in the middle of the week, and last Saturday was the BYU game, they moved the Halloween party to this last Saturday and dubbed it the "Fall Festival". It was pretty sweet; it was at a members house (which was ginormous! I couldn't imagine having to clean that thing!) with chili and bouncy houses and games for the kids, and a pretty good warm-up for Turkey bowl game with the youth; it was a blast! There were also a lot of non-members there (who we talked to, of course), so it was a good use of our time. The Spanish elders even found a family that had been taught a year ago that sorta disappeared and has since resurfaced there, so I'm glad we all went!
That's about all for my week. Elder Rogers and I are doing pretty well together; we have had some in depth talks about how we can get better and work smarter; we are both kinda lazy, so our resolution is to make sure we have something we can do every hour of the day.
Go Nebraskaaaa!!!
Go Dickson clan! Way to be attending activities, getting into family prayer and study, and doing missionary work!
So Wreck-It-Ralph was good? I haven't heard much about that movie; was Brave good? I keep hearing mixed reviews; same with the new Spiderman.
Adults dressing up for Halloween is a little weird, but I love dressing up still; if you haven't noticed, I still got a lot of kid in me! I have taken a lot of pictures of me in hats or masks, I noticed; makes me feel a bit narcissistic when I see all the pics I have of just me making faces lol.
Thanks for all the e-mails, packages, prayers, and money over the past 15 months; I can't really describe how I appreciate it. I wish I would have tried harder to earn more money for my mission than I had...
You're the best family anyone can ask for! Take Luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
I'm crazy face-painted guy ... now give me some candy!
The next Spiderman sequel, straight outa Georgia!
P.S. The last pic is Elder Chugg (Spanish Elder) and I after getting our faces painted at the Fall Festival!

Casey Guy Dickson

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