Monday, February 25, 2013

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Don't they look handsome?
Hola, Dickson clan! 
This week was a pretty good week; we found some new investigators and got in with several LA's (Less Actives) we haven't been able to get a hold of. It was a remarkably easier week than last week; either this was our reward week for being good during our trials, or it's the calm before the storm lol...
Tuesday we had our district meeting, and later that night had a short ping-pong game with a member when we were over there for dinner; I hung in for a while, but Elder Schmidt and Brother Gunnell are WAY better than me lol. Then we had a team up that evening with a cool old guy Brother Lang and saw a inactive member who calls himself a "free-thinker". Oh, brother. There is a lot of that kind of attitude out here, that as long as you got Jesus, you're good, that there are many ways to get to heaven, and we just got to find the one that works for us. I can see the appeal of not getting mixed up in all the doctrinal confusion that sets these churches apart, but we know that authority or permission from God is necessary to preform the saving ordinances, as well as correct knowledge of the plan of salvation is required. We need to change ourselves to God's ways, not find or create a church that conforms to our ways. God doesn't and shouldn't change for us, we change for Him.
Anyway, ranting again.
Wednesday we had an appointment with Ian, a person we had contacted on the street a few weeks ago, who had called us back and asked if we could meet that day. We met him at the Chick-fil-A by his complex and taught a first. He is way legit; he bought us lunch, first of all lol, and he asked a lot of good questions. He doesn't have much of a religious background, which is kinda nice, since those who do are sometimes more difficult to teach, because they tend to hold to the traditions of their fathers; a clean slate to start on is almost better. He did have a concern with the Church's view and response to same-gender attraction. He has family who are gay, and while he isn't, he can't grasp why God would hate on what he sees as a personal decision of preference, and that if they are happy and love each other, it's okay. I have been hearing about the boy scout thing, and the Church's statement about it is on, while additional information about the Church's look at this is found on the Church's official websites, such as and That's the same answer we gave to Ian, and I'm not sure if he was satisfied with that. It's a hard thing to explain sometimes, but the Scriptures are clear about how God feels about that kind of behavior, as well as the Church's The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It's all stuff I'm going to have to do more study on.
Anyway, that same night we had dinner with the LeCheminant's, who are a very interesting couple; they asked Elder Schmidt if he could arrange some flowers she bought for them (I don't know if I told ya, Schmidty is a very talented florist). He was very excited to do it, but wasn't nearly as excited to see Sister LeCheminant show it off at Church to the Relief Society lol! We're expecting phone calls with requests soon lol!
Thursday we had a team up, and we saw some referrals and a LA who is building a robot; it was so creepy, and so awesome! We need a robot to knock doors for us lol! The future is now!
Saturday we had lunch with Sam Chambers, a guy who has been an eternagator in Florida for like 5 years, and just barely moved here. He is very knowledgeable about all Christian religions and their history, which is his downfall (2 Nephi 9:28-29, Jacob 4:8-10). He is a super nice guy, though, who tries to find people for us to teach. I don't get it; our religion is not good enough for him, but it is for his friends? Oh well; it'll be fun teaching him, I'm sure lol.
Sunday we gave a missionary presentation to the High Priests, and we threw down on them! We had quotes from Prophets and scriptures and bore powerful testimony of the work; I hope we didn't scare them too bad lol. I made sure we expressed our love for them and our desire to work together to further the Kingdom, but we were pretty bold; hopefully we shook them up enough to get them a-movin' lol! We were nicer than my companion wanted to be, though; he's a firecracker lol!
Also we sat in as the Priest's Quorum practiced teaching the Plan of Salvation to one of the priest's non-member dad. They stumbled here and there, but didn't too bad. The best part is when my companion was impressed to tell them that the son needed to bear testimony to his father, and when he did, a very sweet spirit was in the room. Hopefully this will open the door for us to get in and teach this guy soon!
That night we had dinner with the Hawkins, and we went to see a part-member family the Browns. The non-member husband didn't join us, but Sister Brown was a hoot! She was a sweet old lady who was funny and spiritual at the same time; we all enjoyed the sweet spirit that was there. It made our night to make her night :)
That's about it for now.
I have been thinking a lot, and I realize that I was certainly not as prepared for my mission as I should have been; I spent my time doing things I would miss doing, which isn't a terrible thing; the problem was I spent more time goofing off rather than reading Preach My Gospel or developing mission skills. I've spent my whole mission playing keep up with everyone else out here. My new companion is not only a better missionary than I was when I was his age (can't believe I said that lol), but he was the most prepared greenie I have ever seen! Makes me want to be better. I know everyone has different talents and whatnot, but I feel more like the man who buried his one talent paired up with the servant who made 10 additional talents aside from the ones he had previously. You guys know I'm pretty lazy, and I have a hard time finding the drive to accomplish something. Devin and Shelby, please prepare now, because when you're out here it is almost too late lol! 
I had a small epiphany yesterday that I am maybe not taking my mission as seriously as I was earlier; just like how we go to church for years and it just kinda becomes routine, and the spiritual experiences are sorta taken for granted. Talking about the gospel has become second hat to me; not that is necessarily a bad thing, but it hasn't felt as special as it really is. We talked to a family in the ward that had a son on a mission, and they really enjoy his spiritual experiences he shares. It makes me want to write better e-mails lol; it's REALLY hard sometimes to write e-mails and put lots of detail into it aside from the day by day events.
Things are kind of up and down here; some weeks there is a lot going on, others when we can't find anyone. I know that they are out there, and I'm doing my best to stay excited about this area. It has been kind of dragging for me just because I have been hear a while and I have had a bad attitude about it. I'm getting better, though! 
I love you all! Please write! I wanna know what y'all are up to! 
Take luck! 
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, February 18, 2013

The trial of your faith ...

Those fine missionaries of the Georgia Atlanta Mission!

Hey, guys! Thanks for the valentine's day package, it had everything I need right now lol. The candy is gone now...
I'm doing pretty good; had some interesting trials this week... Elder Schmidt and I still get along swimmingly; he might be my favorite companion! John's Creek is my longest area now; it'll be 6 months at the end of this transfer. I like this area fine, but to tell you the truth, I'm getting a little sick of it, lol... The people here on the streets are pretty rude, and the work is still very slow; the members are fine, I am just ready for a change of scene, ya know? Where ever I go next is where I'll go home from, and my next companion will probably be my last. It's all coming together now...
The Kelly family we are still trying to keep tabs on; last Monday we went over to drop off Elder Schmidt's flower arrangement for little Isabelle, which she loved! We missed them at church this week...
Tuesday was the last district meeting before the transfer ended; said goodbye to Elder Bushaw and Elder Larsen, then went to this fancy-pansy Italian restaurant called Ippilito's, which had really delicious rolls. We had a gift card from a member, so we went and treated ourselves. I'd never go there if we didn't have a gift card; it was like ten bucks a plate! We are switching from JP Morgan Chase to Bank of America starting in March, so we had to withdraw all our money off our old cards and use that cash until the new cards activate...
On Wednesday we went with Elder Tarver as his temporart\y companions to go pick up his new comp., Elder Cundiff. It was fun, actually; I saw Elder Youd and Bowers and a bunch of other people I haven't seen for a while there at that Stake Center we were supposed to all meet at. It was a party lol!
We had weekly planning with our zone leaders on Friday, which was fun... yay...
Later that day we went to give a blessing to a less-active guy who is struggling with smoking. He was very nice and open, but feels uncomfortable at church due to the smoking, as well as his work schedule getting in the way of church. We testified of the importance of church, and that the sweetest smell in the church is cigarette smoke, because that means that someone was there trying to change their life. We missed him at church this week too...
Saturday PeachTree North had a baptism, Vanessa; Elder Larsen came back from Snellville to baptize her. I love going to baptisms, they are something that is so tremendously important, yet it's so sweet and simple and peaceful...
Sunday we had church, of course, which was good; we were asked to share our testimonies of Jesus in Primary, which is always fun lol. I had forgotten what it was like, when I taught Primary with you before I left; the lack of control the teachers have on the kids at times, but also how pure and simple their answers to our questions were...
We went to a kid in the ward's farewell (free food!); it seems like just yesterday I was getting ready to leave; now I'm getting ready to come back lol. It goes by way too fast...
Later that night, we went to a fireside that we took some potentials too; have you ever heard of Lindsey Stirling? She was on America's Got Talent; she plays the violin and dances at the same time, kind of a rock star violinist. she had gotten X'ed in the finals for not being marketable enough to go anywhere in life. Now she is a YouTube sensation, and is in the process of going on 30 something tours around the world until May! And best of all, she is a Mormon and a return missionary! She had both preformed and gave a talk at this fireside, and both were incredible! She quoted the Lion King and Cool Runnings (both of which I approve, lol), and she talked about not letting the world tell you how to look or feel or do or be; how to be creative and unique while also following the spirit, and having confidence in God, not caring how others think of you. It was pretty cool; it's a talk I think a lot of young women in particular, but also youth in general, needed to hear. It was a good ending for our week.
We were riding on the spiritual high of our baptism, and we thought we were on top of the world. My companion and I had recently listened to a series of talks from General Conference; Mountains to Climb by President Eyring, and Trial of Your Faith by Elder Anderson. We had both decided, without telling the other, that we were going to pray for more trials, so as to have more patience and charity and faith, and opportunity to prove ourselves. We were pretty sure we could handle them... We got what we asked for; pretty darn quick, I might add. I'm not sure if I have had God answer a prayer so quickly. Elder Schmidt had some stuff happen outside the mission, and we both had some inside as well. Our top investigator dropped us, the rest have gone into hiding, the weather took a turn for the worst, Elder Schmidt's health started acting up, dinners became scarce, ants infested our apartment and ruined a lot of our food, got in some bashes, talked to some crazy people, got in a small disagreement with our zone leaders, popped a bike tire, before that biked all week without much success, and so forth lol. This kind of stuff happens all the time to everyone, it was just interesting to see it all go down in the same week. Other missionaries around the world go through far worse, and the early saints, as well as the first apostles, and Jesus Himself, went through more than I certainly can comprehend, but it still was not fun. It's the kind of thing that either allows you to become closer to God, or to push Him further away from yourself. Also, despite everything, I now know what I already knew, but often forget, that God is there, and answers prayers. Sometimes I wish He would answer some of my other prayers that quickly, I know that it's His time in His way, because His ways are higher than our ways.
Anyway, those little things are not that important, or were even that bad, and the end of this week definitely made up for it all. I continue to gain a stronger testimony of our Savior and His true Church and gospel; there will always be opposition, but that only proves to me that we are on the right path. Why would Satan try so hard on our Church in particular, to bring it down, if it wasn't true? Our God is the grand and wise Master of the Universe, who looks down with all the tenderness of a loving parent on His rebellious children; how truly great He is! The book of Mormon is true, and I strive to read it everyday! We have learned a lot recently about the difference between testimony and conversion, and how to strengthen and deepen both of them. It's something we got to keep up everyday until we have our PPI with Heavenly Father. The church is so true; how could it not be? In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Sorry if I sound preachy; I'm not trying to impress y'all with my amazing testimony or my wild adventures, I'm just trying to be honest and share my thoughts.
So how is everyone? How is scholl/work/play? Write or email! Thanks for being the best family in town! Take luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, February 11, 2013

"I like to look for rainbows, whenever there rain ...‏"

Elder Dickson and Elder Schmidt with Isabelle and her mother at the baptism.

Happy Monday! How y'all doin'?
First, we had Isabelle baptized this past Saturday, it was great! More details to follow...
Second, Transfer calls were today and Elder Schmidt and I are staying together; yay! Elder Schmidt is one of my favorite companions, and we got a few baptism prospects to finish up here before I go, so I'm happy! My buddy Elder Chugg is the new assistant; Elder Hanny (who was AP for almost 10 months) is a ZL in a troublesome zone lol. It's been kind of a crazy transfer for everyone except us...
So Tuesday we decided to do a last second exchange so our district leader, Elder Gomes from Brazil, could interview Isabelle for her baptism. I went to Peachtree South with Elder Larsen (my buddy Elder Everett's greenie!); we had dinner with a fun family that had a nephew who went to Mt. View... don't know him, but he played lax and football, so we probably played each other...
Later that night, we went and taught a Part-member family; the husband was a non-practicing Jew who thinks too much, which was a little frustrating, but by the end we just testified of our love for him and that he should pray to God to find out for himself. He seemed touched by that, but we'll see.
Meanwhile, in John's Creek...
Elder Schmidt and Elder Gomes taught a super spiritual lesson to Isabelle, gave her a blessing (she was sick...), and did the interview. It went perfect, from what I heard. The mom is expressing more and more desire to come to church and read the Book of Mormon, which is a lot of progress from like a month ago, when she wouldn't even talk to us or answer the phone. The Kellys love us now, especially Elder Schmidt; I might have told you he arranges flowers for a living (which is a lot cooler than it sounds), and he made a corsage for Isabelle and her mom for the baptism. We have them now!
Then Gomes and Schmidty taught seminary the next morning, while Larsen and I got to sleep in to 630 lol. In Peachtree I helped a family move in, then we swapped back.
Thursday we had a team up with Brother Oyervides; we tried to see some referrals with little success, then went to go see some new move-ins, another part-member family; they were super nice, and they live close, so we'll see...
Saturday, the big day, was super stressful, of course; Satan never tries harder than the week of a baptism! Everything seems to go wrong at the last second. However, "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing"!
They showed up a bit late, and we had a very sweet service; her 16 year old cousin baptized her, and her uncle confirmed her the next day, at church (which they were late to, of course...). We got to bear our testimonies at the end of the program, and Elder Schmidt blew it out of the water, of course; he is probably the most hyped-up, quirky, spiritual person I've met!
That Sunday a young man was having a farewell, as well as a senior couple, the Johnston's; they were heavily involved
in helping the Kelly's come back to church and get their daughter baptized. They are going to Japan, where Brother/Elder Johnston served many years ago lol. They gave great talks and we went over to their farewell party. They had it at the Tanner's house, which is pretty much a mansion! They had chauffeurs to take us from the parking lot to the front door, and had a racquetball court downstairs lol! I totally want to be rich when I grow up lol!
Today we probably won't do much, since everyone has to pack (except for me... ;) ). All these pics our of the baptism except for the last two, which are of the day we moved.
Thanks for being the best family I could of asked for! Take luck! Love y'all!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, February 4, 2013

The coolest missionaries in Georgia!

Saving souls LIKE A BOSS!
"Going tracting LIKE A BOSS!"

"Making faces LIKE A BOSS!"
Hola, familia!
I had neglected to mention last Monday that we had gone to early-morning seminary (taught at the Colton's home) to talk about missionary work. It went well; the youth here are pretty awesome!
So this week we had some excitement; a tornado warning! My second one(The first one was in Kennesaw)! Elder Schmidt's first, how sweet; this Wednesday we were told at about 10 in the morning to stay inside and stay down. We spent the whole day playing board games and sleeping and watching and listening to the wind and rain. The Tornado wasn't anywhere near us, but it was still both exciting and boring at the same time. We were allowed to go back out at 6, so we went to the Bishop's for dinner, and got a list of people he needs help finding. It was good, but as a missionary, inside days are even worse lol! It's not like we can watch t.v. or drive somewhere; on the positive, I got to know my scriptures a lot better!
Thursday we taught Matt, the guy who used to be a member, and wants to be retaught; we spent a few weeks trying to locate his records (just to make sure he wasn't still a member), and when we didn't find them, we went over and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). He is so legit! It's almost like he has gone through the lessons before lol ;) He answers all the questions correctly, asks good questions, and does the thing we ask him to do (pray, read, etc.) It's refreshing; it's been awhile since we have taught in general, let alone anyone legit...
He also came to church, which is stellar! It's been awhile since that happened as well...
Friday we had dinner with the Macks, who are pretty cool; they got 2 sons on missions right now. We also had a surprise guest; the former Elder Hernandez (a.k.a. Leo, pictured below)! He has only been home for like 3 months or so, but he came back to say hi to everyone! It was cool to see him. We might be playing ball with him today...
Saturday we helped someone move... surprise! Mormons helping with a move? That never happens lol! The lady that was moving was a less-active member; the first time I met her was that morning... don't mean to be rude, but it was interesting the way she resurfaced when she needed help moving...
Anyway, happy thoughts! Sunday was fantastic; we had our mission president and Elder Giddens, our Area Seventy, came and spoke for the third hour, and he sat in with us for Gospel Principles! It was a good Sabbath for Matt to come! It was fast and testimony meeting, which is always good; a formerly less-active member, whom we had help move a few weeks before, bare a powerful testimony about how his daughter, who is on a mission, baptized her grandparents in Japan! He says he is back for good, which was super cool to hear! President Wolfert is a good guy; his comments in class and his training in combined elders/high priests were awesome!
The nine year old is still on track for her baptism this coming Saturday! Cross your fingers! She was sick, so they didn't make it to church, but we only have one more lesson, then the interview, then the water!
We spent plenty of time biking and finding, so we are still trying to get new gators, because our old ones stink...
All these pictures are of Elder Schmidt and myself, posing like bosses! We are definitely a weird companionship; he's the bad cop and I'm the good cop. He is bold and fired up, I am the peacemaker; it makes teaching interesting...
That's about all this week.
Go Ravens! I was excited when I heard they won, go Pitta and Kruger!
I'll write y'all more next week, the timer is almost up...
Thanks for being the best family in the world! Love y'all!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
Return with glory! Former Elder Hernandez and current Elder Dickson.

Casey Guy Dickson

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