Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year from Elder Dickson!

I can't believe another year has come and gone!

Hey, y'all!
Hope y'all had a very merry Christmas! It was terrific seeing everyone on the computer, Devin looks taller and sounds older every time...The tricky thing with Skype (as we discovered) is that everyone wants to talk at once; I guess we have a system for next time in taking turns like we did on Christmas. I felt a lot more relaxed talking to y'all then last Christmas for sure, though it still took me a second to remember how to talk to everyone lol. It gets to a point to where I don't know what to say or ask since the e-mails have worked out pretty well, and I have forgotten how to interact with ya. I'll be quite the weirdie when I get home lol...
Anyway, thanks for being the awesomest family anyone could get at a reasonable price (just kidding; you don't put a price on family). Too bad about Aunt Nina, is she doing okay? She's in my prayers every night, as is the rest of y'all, but the focus is on her...
Did you guys get to open the package at the Jensen's yet (Say hi to them for me!)? How'd you like them? Christmas shopping is always difficult for me, I have no shopping or gift wrapping talent...
Our Christmas was pretty good; we got up pretty early and opened our gifts; thanks so much! I got everything I needed and them some; I wear the Star Wars shirt every night to bed, and those shoes were a tremendous help! Then we skyped at the Poulters (they had many laptops and desktops for us to use, so we all got to Skype at once), then went to the Macks for dinner and board games. The Macks are pretty awesome; they have two sons on missions now, and a daughter who is one of the funniest people I have met lol. We had ham and all that good stuff, and I took a Christmas nap (it felt soooo great lol). Then we ended with some beautiful looking and tasting hot chocolate and cookies by yours truly. Overall, a pretty good day.
So what is everyone up to? When everyone gets settled, I wanna hear all the adventures y'all are having...
Oh, I found out Friday night that one of the people I was teaching in Jackson was getting baptized on Saturday! It blew my mind! Author Price a.k.a. Blue finally kicked smoking and got dunked by Bro. Vanhoy (Elder's Quorum President). Thanks to Elder "I" and his new companion, as well as God, for getting that accomplished. It made me pretty happy even though I couldn't go see it (it was too far, and I was notified too late...).
Went on exchange with Elder Larsen, Elder Everett's greenie, on Wednesday after district meeting (we had it on Wednesday because Christmas was a Tuesday), which was good; he got a flat tire almost as soon as we stepped outside. Someone obviously didn't want us to work that day lol, but we went out anyway and just walked around. Had dinner with the Koch's, one of my favorite families here; she is a sweet lady, a single mom with funny kids who feeds us almost weekly, and we love her for it.
Thursday we finally got a hold of a referral we have been trying to see for a few weeks; he knows a kid in our ward and wants to get right with God, so we'll see how it goes. Baptize!
Sunday was alright; all our gators were gone for the holidays, so it was just us and some less-actives in Gospel Principles. In Sacrament, the young man assigned to give a talk didn't show up, and the deacon's president bore his testimony; how embarrassing...
The Priest's Quorum is always my favorite; the kids are fun and the leaders are cool, and they usually have some pretty spiritual lessons in there; this time we talked about extending invitations to make commitments as missionaries. It's the most important part of the work, otherwise nothing gets done!
The rest of this week was a bit of a drag; the holidays kept everyone busy except for us lol. All our gators were out of town or state, and no one was outside besides us because it was too cold; I love this gospel. Why else would I bike in 18 degree weather (wind chill included) with no one around to share a message people think they don't want to hear unless I knew it was what God needed me to do, and that I knew that this Church is the only true church on the face of the earth, with His Authority and His authorized servants leading it? Why would I be in Georgia of all places, postponing school and dating and such to get bashed and ignored and yet love the people here and desire their salvation unless I was dedicated to do the will of the Lord? I has been hard (especially the loving my neighbor part), and I have wondered what is the point, why am I even out here, and feeling like I am not accomplishing anything. Then moments like Keya's baptism, like hearing a less-active decide to turn his life around, like seeing a elderly woman smile because she got a visit from the elders, like hearing about Author's baptism the other day; those make it all worth while. Especially in Jackson, I felt like there was no one there to teach or baptize, and that I was wasting my time. Now we see the fruits; all credit for Author's baptism goes to the Lord, of course, but it just showed me that even if you can't see immediate results in the work, we have no idea what influence we have on someone to make a decision in the future and such. It took 7 or so months for Author to get baptized, and it was definitely worth all the empty days and long hours I spent there. This church is so true; how can it not be? I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ, and I do this for them. Amen. 
I love y'all so much and hope all your wildest dreams will come true! Take Luck! 

Elder Casey Guy Dickson 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Elder Dickson!

Hola, Familia! Feliz Navidad!
This letter will be kinda short since I'm speaking with a lot of y'all tomorrow, but I'll tell you about my week:
First off, thanks for the packages and the cards and such! I hope everyone has gotten their Christmas card by now lol! I sent them a week or so ago...
Tuesday was District Meeting as well as interviews with the President; good news: I passed! Yay! Bad news: some other elders had to go home because they did something, and another set had to confess publicly what they did (they're staying, though). It is very sad to see Elders (especially ones you know) go home for anything, but especially disobedience; I mean, they ruin the rest of their lives, not to mention their salvation, because they don't like following the rules; right before Christmas too! I couldn't face you guys if I was sent home dishonorably, I can't even imagine around this time of year! The reason we have rules is not only to keep us and others safe, but we can't do this work without the Holy Ghost, and the Spirit will only come to our aid if we are worthy and obedient. I'm not saying I've been perfect in obedience, but I know I need to be, and try my hardest to be. I need those blessings if I am to get by.
Anyway, we also had dinner with Susan, a lady Elder Rogers knew in Colin's Hill, which is close to us, a few times this week; she covers us when we don't have a dinner, and we usually have dinners here, but we had a few cancel, which is fine. She is a super funny lady, and just got back from Utah, where she saw Elder Rogers family. How cool is that?
Wednesday we had the Mission Christmas party, which you'll see plenty of pictures of in this e-mail lol. It was such a blast! We had a wonderful turkey dinner, some musical numbers, Elder McAllister's chin-balancing trick (he had a table on his face, it was nuts!), and a slide show of 2012; I was in a lot of those pics, so I felt pretty awesome (I'm kind of a big deal lol). The best part was getting to see everyone I haven't seen since the last Christmas party almost! What a good time!
The next few days we tried without success to see gators, potentials, referrals, and less-actives... everyone is out of town or busy or just straight up doesn't want us around... a bit of a disappointing week, but what do ya do?
Saturday was Elder Grant's birthday (20), so we went to Zaxby's, a fast food place everyone goes to. I don't know what I'll do when I get home and there is no Zaxby's or Waffle House or Chick-fil-A or ABDub (Atlanta's Best Wings); I practically live off these places!
Sunday was nice; some nice musical number, a less-active family and their 9 year old who we are trying to teach came, and had a pretty good lesson in Priest's quorum about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation. Read 2 Nephi 9 to see what life would be like without an Atonement. It's no fun.
We also had an awesome dinner with the Stake President and his family; his grown-up kids were visiting for Christmas, and they were very funny! Had some sweet garlic breadsticks! Pizza Factory, anyone?
It's raining pretty good today, so we might just be playing board games and restlessly waiting for what tomorrow will bring lol. I'm so excited to see y'all and talk to y'all! We've got plenty to talk about (Christmas festivites, movies, moving back, starting to talk about schools and such, etc.)! I love you all so much, and I love this holiday season where we reflect on God's gift to us, as well as Christ's gift of the Atonement. Take Luck! See ya tomorrow!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson a.k.a The Dicksonian (like the Smithsonian... get it?)

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'll be home for Christmas (if only in my dreams)

Missionaries are always ready to strike a pose.
I have a Christmas package for y'all. Since you're going to Utah for Christmas, where should I send it? Also, where will I be Skyping to? I almost sent the package to Lincoln today, but something told me to wait; I guess that's why lol. Should I send it to Grandpa's?
The "end of mission" talk doesn't make me too trunky, but it makes me realize it's about time to start talking about it... to start talking about school and filling out applications and how to work out where I'm flying to lol. It kinda scares me that I'm that close to the end that I need to get this going...
I got Aunt Nina's package this last Thursday, so I got it after I sent my letter. I just sent her an e-mail to thank her.
Did that family you guys were helping fellowshipping come to church yet?
Anyway, this week:
Tuesday we had a zone training (which is in between a district meeting and a zone conference), which was good. They talked about a new way to try to get referrals from members, LA/RC (less-active/recent converts), and investigators. We teach a lesson to the members about missionary work or the Restoration or Plan of Salvation or such, asking them to keep friends in mind as we share it, then we help them understand that when people come to their minds as they hear truth or something about the gospel their firneds don't have, that is revelation from Heavenly Father to help them feel that Christ-like love for their friends, and that it is their duty to share it with them. Then we'll kneel with them and pray for those names they have, or to have names come to them if they don't have any yet. It is only through the members we can ever hope to accomplish this work.
Also went Christmas shopping for y'all that day, hope y'all like what I got ya guys!
Did service on Wed. for Sister Draney, a super awesome lady in the ward who deals with everyone else's problems aside from her own, so we decided to help her with some of the moving boxes and funiture that she needed done. Even with all she does, she still finds time to give us rides, and she apologizes to us for not being able to do more; wish we had more like her!
Thursday Elder Rogers had a leadership training meeting, so I went up to Milton with Elder Ontiveros (his name is hispanic, but he is not) for two days. It was a pretty good exchange, Elder O is a brand new missionary who wants to baptize the world, but doesn't know how yet lol! I remember those days... anyway, he did A LOT of biking when I was there, but we talked to a lot of nice people and met a super elect guy who already had a Book of Mormon, was reading and praying about it, and believes it's true; Holy cow!
Then Friday evening I got back to John's Creek, and went on exchange with one of the zone leaders, Elder Sarniguet (he IS hispanic); two exchanges in a row takes a lot out of ya! I didn't see Elder Rogers for like 3 days!
Saturday my real comp. and I got back together and got back to work; he share with me the new thing they learned at leadership; about doing what's called a "Peace and Blessing": as we find, we ask people if we can say a prayer over their home; we figured whether they want to hear our message or not, not a lot of people would say no to a blessing. It gives them a chance to feel the spirit, and a chance for us to explain priesthood authority. Tried it a few times, and it worked pretty well; we got a lot of return appointments after the holidays, so we'll be busy in a bit. We also went out and took some cookies to gators and LA's, which was nice; got in with the Kelly's, a family we have been trying to see for a while; they have a 9 year old daughter that has wanted to get baptized, but her mom keeps saying she'll call us and hasn't. Will get 'em this week! 
Sunday was a good day; we had our top gator Steve come, and he loved it! We had a stellar Christmas Music Program, and had some good discussions in the classes, so I suspect he felt the spirit and that we'll see him again; trying to set up an appt. for Thurs...
Then we had dinner with the LeCheminants, a fun family who moved from Utah to Alabama to Georgia while their son was on a mission... sound familiar lol? Anyway their son is back now, and he's a funny guy. Then we weekly planned Sunday night because Elder Rogers and I were apart on Friday. 
That's about it so far; we got some ballin' to do today, and have a team-up with our ward mission leader Bro. Lakip to see some LA's and maybe the Kelly's.
Can't wait to hear from y'all, and to open the huge package I was told I have waiting for me at the office lol...
Our family is on a journey across the map, trying to do what we can; but no matter where we all are, because of the sealing power, we are all strapped together, and we are never truly separated from one another. I know God and His Son live, and that families can live with them forever in His Kingdom if we keep the commandments. In Christ's name, amen.
Good luck to everyone! Love ya!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's the holiday season (sing it with me!)


Hey, how ya doin'?! I've sent a Christmas card, hope y'all see them soon!
Elder Rogers loves Christmas music, and I do too, but we have been listening to it since the day after Halloween, and I'm just about done lol! I'm actually okay with listening to Christmas music by Thanksgiving, but I know for a fact that we'll all be sick of it before Christmas even comes!
Dang it Nebraska! Oh well. I find it kind of ironic; Casey's mission vs. Casey's new home, Elder Dickson vs. The Fam lol! I thought it was funny, anyway! I actually still don't care for either team...Go Cougars!
It hasn't snowed in Nebraskaaa yet? I guess I don't know that much about Nebraskaaa but it has probalby snowed in Utah by now. We certainly aren't getting any snow here! Two years ago they had a freak snow storm here that pretty much shut down the whole state for a week; panic in the streets, people starting their food storage late lol. They don't know how to handle snow out here; I mean Georgia only has like 4 snow plows for the whole state! Last year it didn't snow at all, so we'll see about this year; I doubt it, though.
Dang it, Ronnie! Are you willing to sell your salvation for 5 more minutes of sleep? Follow the missionaries direction, of course, but it sounds to me like it's time to be bold; go big or go home! He can take a nap in sacrament meeting, for all I care, as long as he is there, the Spirit will tell him why he needs to be there. Be gentle and loving, but it's time to call them out I think!
On behalf of all the missionaries of the world, thanks a bunch for feeding the elders lol! Too bad they don't get a Christmas party over there; how were your Christmas parties in your mission? I always like hearing about your mish...
I know I've asked this a lot, but have you run into Elders Boddy, Brown, Chesley, Widmer, or Sister Coats? They serve in your mission, and were in the MTC with me... maybe the other elders know them...
Anyway,we spent this whole week setting up for and hosting The Festival of the Nativity; we had nativity sets from all around the world, live music, and a ton of pictures of our Savior. It was a decent turn out; Friday and Saturday were a little slow, but Sunday we must of had about 300 people there! Our hope is not only to share with our neighbors our belief in Christ but also to get them interested in learning more. We are expecting a few referrals from some members that brought some friends, so keep your fingers crossed!
The good thing about the holidays is that everyone is more Christ-minded; the bad thing is that everyone is super busy or out of town or has family visiting, so they don't want us bothering them. We should be good up until a few weeks before the big day, though.
I can't believe how little time I have left! Time is slipping through my fingers! While I don't want to go home yet, I'm warming up to the idea some lol...
Not much else happened this week; we went on exchange with Spanish, where I let Elder Chugg do all the hablar-ing lol; still got some teaching done, and when I was in our area with Elder Grant we talked to a ton of people, and had a lesson with Keith and a few less-actives. I'm not sure what to do with Keith; he keeps wanting to meet with us, but doesn't understand authority or the necessity for baptism; we gave him 3 Nephi 11 to read, and we plan to teach Gospel of Jesus Christ next time we see him, but I don't know how to be clearer on biblical concepts like priesthood and baptism and such...
We had stake conference this Sunday at Lanier Technical College, which was interesting; the Roswell Stake center is not big enough for all the stake, so in past years they have split up the stake into multiple buildings for stake conference. This year though, they decided to try something different and rented a space at this college, which actually turned out great! The stake presidency spoke, as well as some sisters from various wards, the stake patriarch, and our Mission President and his wife. They all talked about what the holidays are supposed to be, and how we can be more Christ-like. President Wolfert and Sister Wolfert both talked about the joys of missionary work, and preparing to go now. Good stuff.
One of the missionaries I'm serving with, Elder Chugg, had an investigator die this past week; they went to the funeral and apparently had a very powerful experience teaching about the Plan of Salvation. I haven't been to a lot of non-member funerals, but they always seem so gloomy and very very sad. Not that we aren't sad at Mormon funerals as well, but we know that there will be a joyous reunion in Heaven. I don't mean to make fun by saying this, but it does make me think of the end of Lord of the Rings 3, when everyone is reunited for the first time since the first movie, and everyone is happy and clean and all is well; that's what I imagine it to be like. We just have to keep trucking along till it's our turn. The Plan of Salvation is a wonderful thing, because a lot of people see death as a scary and terrible and lonely thing, and it can be, but it doesn't have to be; because of the knowledge we have of God's plan, I know exactly where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going. We are promised to see one another again, and that gives me a lot of comfort. I know this church is true; how could it not be? I know Christ is my Savior and Redeemer, and it's because of His Atonement that it is possible to return home to our Heavenly Father and our families. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, because together with the Bible, we have a fullness of the Plan of Salvation, and another witness of Christ's divinity. I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God, because if he wasn't, how could he translate the ancient record of the Nephites? I know Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today, because God has not ceased to be a God of Miracles, and he still loves us and speaks to us now as well as then. I love this church and this gospel, and say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thanks for being the best family any elder can ask for, I love and miss ya'll tons, and I'll see ya Christmas day through the magic of computers! Take luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, December 3, 2012

A great week in the mission field!

A missionary's Christmas tree in Georgia.
Hey you guys!! 
What's going on in Nebraskaaa? How's work/school/play? How's the weather? TELL ME!!!
Anyway, my week was pretty good; Monday we played Monopoly, and I DOMINATED, for once lol! I usually stink at board games (except Disney Scene-It lol; wish we could play it...), but I cleaned house! Then the next game I went out first lol. 
Tuesday we had dinner with the Macks, who have two sons on a mission, so they help us out a lot with supplies and dinner and such; we are skyping from there for Christmas, I think. After dinner we visited some less-actives, including the local crazy guy that no one in the ward really knows what to do with lol; he wasn't so bad, but he was all over the place in our conversation, and told me I was a beautiful person. What is sad actually is that he is not the only crazy person to tell me I was beautiful lol. The mission is so great just so ya know! I love teaching people, and all the little quirks that come with meeting people. Doesn't get better than that, lol! 
Thursday we went out with the Elder's Quorum President to see a lot of people on his home teaching list, which was perfect, because a lot of them are on our list of people to see as well. We have been going out more with the members to see people, so things are under way. 
We were also supposed to see Keith, but his wife was at the hospital longer than expected so we'll catch him next week. 
Friday was our miracle day: it started slow, we just did some weekly planning, when to Stevie B's with Spanish (of course), then we went to go see a referral the mission office gave us, who turned out to be golden! His deceased mother is a member, and his sister is as well, and he is now wondering how life would have gone if he would have joined when he was a kid. He couldn't make it to church this week, but he wants to get baptized before Christmas, so we're excited! He is living with a lady friend who he shares rent with; we'll cross that bridge when we come to it lol. She is agnostic, so this will be fun lol! Later that day we also taught Bro. McRoberts, who is recently been coming to church. As much as I love gators coming to church, it seems more sweet when a member who hasn't been in quite a while start making their way back. It's all part of missionary work; bringing EVERYONE closer to Christ. 
Saturday there was a tree-lighting festival in town, so we went and talked to everyone! Seriously, we talked to like 100 people! Then we went to dinner at the Koch's, one of my favorite families in the ward. 
Sunday is always good; we go to priest's quorum instead of elder's quorum; the priests here rock! They brought us a REAL Christmas tree and decorated it for us in our apartment (picture disclosed)! It even looks like young men put it together, and I love it lol! Gives it character! Then we ate at the Belnap's; by the way, I eat salad now. I know, crazy, right? I eat all kinds of things now. 
Today we have been helping the ward set up for the Festival of the Nativity this weekend; it's gonna be big! Seriously, we are going to be working on it all week, there is so much that goes into it. Lots of people, particularly non-members, should be there! Yeah! Baptize! 
That's about it for now. 
So what do you guys want from Georgia before I come back? Devin has all the shirts lol...
It's so weird to not have snow here this time of year; it's like 75 degrees still, it ridiculous! I can still short-sleeve it...
Can't wait to see y'all on Skype, be prepared to tell me all about Nebraskaaa and BYU and what Devo's and Missy's mission plans are now that the age changed lol...
I love you guys a ton! Know that everything is according to God's big plan; as long as we are prepared, and doing what we are told to do, we have no reason to fear. With God on our team, we can't lose! Take luck! 
Love ya, 
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. First pic is our lovely tree, second is us all playing monopoly, third is yours truly, and lastly is my strange companion...
The face of a happy missionary!

Elder Rodgers, BYU fan!

Who owns Park Place?

Casey Guy Dickson

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