Monday, January 28, 2013

"The Unexpected Moving Day"

Hey, Family! I certainly had a very eventful week; let me tell ya about it lol!
So Monday was pretty cool; we played soccer all day at this member in a different ward's house! It was a lot of fun; turns out my comp. Elder Schmidt can play him some futbol! There were a lot of missionaries there, so of course the game got pretty competitive lol! Later that night, we taught our top gator: a darling 9 year old girl who has been ready forever to get baptized; the family has just been dragging their feet some, but since the girl's primary teacher is leaving for a senior couple mission, they have decided to take some steps toward us. So she has a baptism for the 9th of February; it's a week before her teacher leaves, so we have been teaching like crazy! She is the smartest and tallest 9 year old I've seen; her less-active mother has been participating quite a lot as well; hopefully we can get them all to church a few times before the big day lol... Missionaries have been trying for a year to get this to happen, and we are blessed enough to be here when it is finally happening!
So Wednesday was the big day... a day that will live in infamy; a wonderful story of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, true... conversion :) and miracles!
So we were outside walking around, doin' our thing, when we got a phone call from the Mission Office. Figuring they were calling about Elder Schmidt's package, we answered, unsuspecting of what was to come. The office lady greeted us kindly, and asked us if we were going to turn in our keys today. Confused, we asked why; she said, "Aren't you guys moving today?" After a stunned silence, we responded that this was news to us. She was also puzzled; she said she would call some people to find out more info, then call us back. I didn't believe it at first; I thought maybe in was a mistake, that someone else was moving. We swiftly returned to our appt. to await further instructions.
After 10 agonizing minutes, she called us again. Horror filled our souls as we heard her tell us that we had to be moved out that evening, or the church would be fined. She was incredibly sorry that no one told us; everyone assumed that we knew. Fortunately, our new apartment was in the same apartment complex ... on the second floor. With few resources and even less time, we got to work; I have never worked so hard in my life! We got a member with a truck to help us with furniture (since it was in the middle of the day, everyone was gone or at work...)but for the most part, it was just Schmidty and I; we walked most everything over to the new appt, which took us from 10 am that morning to midnight that evening. We were cut some slack by the appt staff and they said that if we got out by 9 am tomorrow, they wouldn't charge. After getting a few hours sleep, we got up again at 5 am to finish; we barely got done in time! There was so much stuff in that appt; it seemed like every time we would go back, there would be more junk! Completely exhausted, we collapsed at 930 in our new pad, and slept for probably 5 hours...
So that's the tale; it was quite the experience. I freely admit, I murmured quite a bit; it was long, hard, back-breaking labor! However, throughout this trial, I noticed the tender mercies of the Lord; for instance, getting the phone call in the first place was a blessing; I can't imagine what would have happened if we weren't notified when we were. We also did get some help from Sister Draney and her husband's truck; the weather was the warmest it has been all week, and we also got to contact a few of our new neighbors who are interested in learning more. If someone get baptized because of this move, it would have all been worth it! 
Some of the couches and desks couldn't fit in our new appt, so we left them by the dumpster. We got a call from the apartment office that we couldn't put furniture out, so we had to collect it or we would get a $200 fine. When we went back to get it, they were both gone; someone had taken it back to their place or something; it was a miracle! I really feel like I have come closer to God; I saw so many blessings, so many things the Lord did to make our burdens bearable (Mosiah 24: 10-16). I don't know who was supposed to tell us about the move, and frankly, I don't care; it's strange, but I have no anger or frustration or bad feelings about all this; just an increased love for God and a better awareness of His role in our lives. It may seem like a little thing, but it's the little things woven together that makes a mighty testimony.
So on Thursday afternoon, we got a call from the mission president's wife, Sister Wolfert; she was in the zone, and had some of Elder Schmidt's headache medicine; she also heard about "the Move", so she asked if she could take us out to lunch; we agreed and we all went to Chili's. It was pretty cool to have a non-formal exchange with Sister Wolfert; she is a sweet, spiritual lady who does so much behind the scenes in our mission... and she's from Orem! Represent!
This was not the end of our eventful week lol; Saturday morning we got a call, asking if we could substitute for the speakers this Sunday (they had gotten super sick)... Of course we said yes, and spent most of that day writing our talks lol. So Sunday Morning rolls around; we had early morning meetings with the church leaders, which is always informational. Then we commenced with sacrament meeting; a young man spoke first, then I talked about patience in afflictions, and told the ward about "the Move"; not to complain about it, or brag about our accomplishment, but to share what I had learned about the Love of God, and waiting for His time and His way. Then after a lovely quartet, Elder Schmidt gave a super powerful talk on the Atonement (with no notes...); it was awesome! This kid is one of the most spiritual kids I have met! He's bold as well, which is good, cause I could be more bold sometimes; we are a good combo! Anyway, I have never had so many people compliment me so sincerely about the talks we gave (Schmidty's was better...). It was very cool.
So that night, we met with the Kellys again (with the 9 year old preparing for baptism); had a sweet, simple lesson about Joseph Smith, and watched the restoration video. I love teaching kids, especially sweet, happy kids like this little girl. The mom had some good questions, and we got most of the program for the baptism organized. It was a good day...
So that was our week; the numbers we record of our mission efforts didn't show it, but we got so much work done, and I learned so much more about charity and patience; I also learned more about my companion; I freakin' love this kid! I'm excited to keep working with him. Today we are playing tennis ball tag again (which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds...), but I don't know what else; I don't think I could handle anything else more strenuous; I am soooooooooooooooooo exhausted lol! But I'm sooooooooooooooooo happy at the same time; it's complicated, but it's pretty awesome if you think about it. (Devo should get that quote).
I heard about the Falcons... I was hoping they would win, too, but now we can cheer for Pitta! Yay! So I don't know too much about either team as of recent; how are the Ravens and Niners? The other day, we watched the Restoration DVD with an investigator, and I couldn't figure out how to make the t.v. and DVD player work lol I am so embarrassed! I've lost my touch; I can barely use the knock-off touch screen phones we have lol!
Go Cougars!
I hope all is well in Zion and that Aunt Nina will heal quickly. I love y'all and miss y'all. Remember, God is good. His love transcends every other love, and He is always looking out for us; I love Him so very much, and I'm doing everything I can to make sure my offering is acceptable to Him. I love my Savior, I know this church is true, i know the Book of Mormon is true; how could it not be? I love you all so much and will see you soon!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rolling, rolling, rolling ... keep those referrals rolling!

Elder Dickson, Elder Chugg and Elder Rogers
Hey, Everybody!
The area is picking up a little, we've gotten a lot of media referrals recently, so those will keep us busy for a while. My companion and I get along swimmingly, no problems yet, and I don't think there will be, I've liked all my companions; I've been pretty lucky I guess.
Sounds like the others are doing well; it's weird to here about them going to dances; was it weird when I started dating? It's definitely weird for me to here about Shelby being 16 and driving and dating...
Anyway, my week:
We did a lot of service this week; we moved this MONSTROUS fridge up this very narow staircase, it was scary, but we did it somehow! I still hurt from that! The cool part was, it was a less-active family we helped, and they came to church that Sunday; awesome! We also helped a member move some washers and dryers, which are monsters!
We have a done a ton of biking and tracting this week, trying to see the formers and potenials; nothing yet, but we made progress on some 9 year olds in the ward we need to baptize, and we have a lot of referrals to see, so things are on the up and up.
Went on exchange with Elder Sarniguet again; it was pretty good, we talked to a lot of people...
Spanish had a baptism Saturday; it was a lady who comes to our ward to learn English, but is Hispanic; either way, Elder Chugg got to baptize her (he served in this area last year, so he has taught Anna for a long time; it's come full circle), and Elder Tarver confirmed on Sunday. There was a lot of people there; almost 70 adults, not to mention the kids!
Got a letter from Collin this past week; sounds like he is doing good!
That's about it this week; more to come, I'm sure!
It's always a tricky thing when trying to get investigators to church; sometimes you need to push, and sometimes pushing doesn't help. It reminds me of Moroni 9:4 that says, "Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them." 
You know I have always been a bit more timid about confronting people or asserting my opinion; I still may be, but i feel a lot more confident about calling people out, when the spirit prompts me too, of course. While we need to be loving and kind, the most loving thing someone could say to me is "You gotta shape up or you're not gonna make it!" 
They may be grumpy with the missionaries now, but how much grumpier they would be if we didn't try hard enough to help, and when we all met up in the next life; awkward. We need to love them into changing for the better; most times, people don't wanna hear that they are doing wrong.
Anyway, not a long letter today; know that I love ya and miss ya! Take luck!
Love, Elder Casey Guy Dickson
Elder Grant and Elder Dickson

Monday, January 14, 2013

Georgia on his mind ...

Dear Dickson Clan,
So it's official; Elder Rogers got transferred to Fort Yargo with Elder Jeffs and Elder Campbell, and I am still in John's Creek with Elder Schmidt. Schmidty, as we call him, just got done being trained by Elder Dahl; he is pretty cool, so I think this will be a good transfer. He is a hard worker and is smart; the perfect companion for the kind of lazy and kind of forgetful Elder Dickson lol! I'll miss Elder Rogers, of course, but I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen in the next 5 weeks.
Elder Grant, Elder Chugg's greenie, went home this week; I'll miss that kid...
Elder Everett is going to Conyers Inner, where I started my mission! I'll miss that kid too!
Elder Chugg is getting Elder Tarver, a convert of a few years who was playing basketball in the D-League (not sure where); looks like we'll have some ballers in the zone for once!
Tuesday was Zone Training, so we got to say our goodbyes to everyone that was leaving, as well as some spiritual upliftment for the week. So good...
So as we were picking Elder Schmidt up (after dropping Elder Rogers off) we got a media referral from the website that someone requested a missionary visit. After a few hours of trying to find the address, we realized that this guy lived in an Extended Stay America Hotel; also, this guy used to be a member, but he had asked for his records to be removed a few years ago, and has since had a change of heart and wants to come back. He are in the process to see if his records still exist, so this will be interesting...
We spent a lot of time biking this past week; the weather has been good up until today (of course the one day it rains is P-day...), so we took advantage and tried to bike to everyone we have a name and address for! Not much success yet, (some of our gators have gone into hiding...) but I know they are out there!
Thursday we saw a few less-actives with the help of Brother Gunnel of the Elder's Quorum Presidency, and one of our ward missionaries, Brother Oyervides; he and his family moved in a few months before I got here from Texas. Bro. Oyervides is a blunt kind of guy, and that's what I like about him; he doesn't take any one's lip, and he'll tell you straight up what he thinks about you; on the other hand, if you asked for anything, he's got your back. Not only did he drive us around but he fed us dinner unexpectedly, which was awesome! I appreciate his honesty and loyalty; there is nothing fake about him.
Anyway, Sunday was pretty good as usual; we had quite a few visitors, none that we had invited lol! Some people had come just looking for a church nearby to attend (score!) and some were friends of members that promised to come lol! The best was this guy who had worked with one of Brother Baker's sons on an Eagle Project: collecting backpacks and other school supplies to send to some place in Africa where his man was from. He loved everything about our church, but he doesn't live in our area (gosh dang it!), so we sent some other missionaries after him.
That's about it thus far; things have been pretty slow since Christmas, so we have been trying to get whatever we could the past few weeks; I know there are people here for me to teach, otherwise I wouldn't be here. The Church is true, the book is blue, and God is a Mormon!
Anyway, how y'all doin'? How is work/school/play? Is it snowing in Utah or Nebraskaaa? How is the old ward? TELL ME!!
Take Luck! Love you all!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. Sorry I forgot my camera, I promise to send pics next time!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Short but sweet message from Elder Dickson

Elder Dickson and Elder I strike a pose.
Hey, everybody!
Pretty short e-mail today, sorry...
Sounds like some crazy adventures to get there (Utah) and back again for Christmas lol. And I never realized how many interesting people there are until you either get out of Orem or just talk to everyone around you lol!
So first off, transfer calls are today. Haven't heard from the APs yet, but through the mission grapevine I have heard that Elder Rogers is leaving to be with Elder Jeffs (don't know where) and I'll be staying here and getting Elder Schmidt, who just got done being trained. Apparently he is a super spiritual person and a hard worker, which is what I need... I have been getting a little lazy with the cold and the work being slow, so I'm prepared to shape up. We'll see, though; the official call hasn't happened yet...
This week we had a New Year's Eve Party Monday (P-day) night; lots and lots of sparkling white grape lol!
Wednesday we had a team-up with a ward missionary and saw some less-actives; it's been a while since we were able to get a ward missionary out with us cause of the holidays, so it was nice.
Spent a lot of the week tracting with not much success, but we'll get 'em!
Sunday was a pretty good day, as always; we are meeting at 9 am now instead of 130 pm so it was an adjustment for everyone. Being fast and testimony meeting, it was a pretty spiritual Sunday; after church we had a missionary correlation meeting with the ward missionaries and the ward mission leader, which was good, giving out everyone's assignments to set up rides for us during the week, so it'll be nice to have a car to get to places...
We then had a good dinner then went out and gave a recent move-in a blessing and visited another so it was pretty good to be busy.
That's about all to report. Glad you all liked my Christmas presents, I had the hardest time deciding what to get everyone...
The church is true, the book is blue, and God is a Mormon! Take Luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Casey Guy Dickson

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