Monday, April 29, 2013

Transfer Day is a special day ...

Elder Dickson "Tebowing" on the field where "Remember the Titans" was shot.

Elder Dickson at Homer Sharp Field in Covington, Ga.

Hey, guys!
So transfer calls were today; I'm staying in Conyers, and my companion, Elder Kallon, is going to Covington with Elder Adams, the next area over; the elder in Covington, Elder Moore, is coming here with me! A pretty smooth transition if you ask me; makes things easy on us. Elder Moore is pretty cool, so I'm excited! 
The work is starting to pick up: we have Charles on date for baptism still, and picked up 3 new 'gators this past week, so things are looking up! The weather has been all over the place; blistering hot and pouring rain. We biked A TON! And I'm still not losing weight lol! 
My week: 
So Monday night we went to go see a less-active family on a whim (or the spirit...); we met their older daughter Rachel and Rachel's little six-year-old. She isn't a member, but had a lot of questions for us, so we came in and taught her. It was pretty sweet; God definitely has a plan for everything! We went there to see a family and found a gator instead! Nice! 
Tuesday we had district meeting, then I went on exchange with Elder Free in Covington Inner; Elder Free was trained by Elder Bowers (one of my favorite companions), so we had a lot to talk about lol! We taught the Fullers, a family they are baptizing May 4th, and a girl that Elder Bridge and I taught when I was in Covington last. Both went well, I think; it's nice to be able to sit down and teach instead of biking all day to see people who aren't home lol...
Wednesday we went to early morning seminary to share a message with the kids, then we played "Fiery Darts"; a person sits in a chair in the middle of a circle of people, and has to find the scripture mastery announced by the teacher. While they are searching their scriptures, everyone else is throwing Nerf darts at them lol! I didn't do too badly on my turn; I never memorized the scripture mastery like I was supposed to, but on my mission I have used a lot of them in teaching. I never thought I would be a scriptorian, and I am not still, but I'm a lot better at scripture chases now. I love reading the scriptures! 
After that we helped at a food pantry at Solid Rock Baptist Church for a few hours; I love doing stuff like this! We get to serve and be helpful while not being overbearing or have people feel like we are pressuring them or something; it's a comfortable way to share what we know and do without getting people angry at us lol... and I've always been a believer that actions speak louder than words! Then a member took us to Pizza Hut, and after that, we took some pictures of downtown Covington; did you know that a lot of movies have been filmed there? Dukes of Hazzard, Sweet Home Alabama, and, most importantly, Remember the Titans! One of the fields they played on in the movie was close by, so I'll be enclosing some pics of that lol; it was awesome! 
After that we tracted until we exchanged back with Conyers; we had another appointment with Rachel that night with Sister Nolden, which went well; we watched the Restoration with her and answered her questions. She was going to be out of town for this weekend, but after that she said she would come to church; sweet! While I was gone, Elder Kallon and Bridge taught Charles twice; he is progressing really fast; the only hold up is the smoking, which we are working on with him. I hope he's still good for the 11th...
Thursday we went to try to see a ton of former investigators; most of them weren't home or moved, but we did get a few return appointments, so we'll see. We taught Charles the word of wisdom that night, and it went well; pray that he can quit...
Friday we weekly planned, and biked A LOT! Most of our appointments fell through, but it's all good; as long as we work hard, I feel accomplished. 
Saturday we also went to try to see formers; most of them weren't home or moved as well, but had a bit more success; we saw alot of J. Dubs that morning lol ;) we waved and smiled at them, and they returned the favor, so it went by without incident...
Sunday was pretty good; Charles came, as well as some of the formers we saw this week, so it was sweet! They also went to the YSA fireside that night, and loved it! Things are going pretty well here now...
That's about it. 
Thanks for being awesome, love ya so much! 
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bless the rains down in Africa (or in Georgia, or in Nebraska ...)

Hey, howdy, hey!  
My week: 
So Tuesday we had District Meeting, then biked A LOT and talked to a former investigator of mine, who enjoys talking, but doesn't really want to come to church... oh well, I'll keep working on 'em! 
Wednesday we did some service for a member; tore up their weedy backyard so they could lay down sod. Then we taught Tasha, a gator of ours who actually reads the assigned scriptures we give her lol, and she enjoys studying with us, but has yet to come to church because of her work. Keep praying! 
We had dinner with the Nolden's that night, who are the all-star members of the ward; Sister Nolden is one of our ward missionaries, and she goes above and beyond the call every time! We are really grateful for her. 
Then we had a meeting with our ward mission leader (Brother Mitchell) to have missionary correlation; there is some big YSA thing in the Southeastern U.S. that Elder Bednar will speak at in August, so we are trying to get all the young single adults to get active and come, as well as non-members between 18-30. 
Thursday we saw Charles, a man from Cameroon, Central Africa, who has been living in the States for 13 years; he is pretty golden. He was living in North Dakota, and a member of our church gave him a car when he really needed one... for free. Because of this Christ-like man, Charles has sought out the church so he could learn more about what would cause someone to do what that man did. He has been to church twice now, and has been taught the first three lessons; he is on track for baptism on May 11th. He's way legit! He really loved the idea that he can get baptized for his deceased father; it truly is amazing the covenants and miracles of the temple. Us and our past and future families can be bound together; I don't know of any church that teaches salvation for the dead. 
Later that day we also taught Danquarius at Tasha's; we talked about the safety and freedom that comes from the Law of Chasity. He said he would think about it. 
The rest of the night we tried to find some formers of mine, and we ended up finding a pretty cool Jamaican family that we are going back this week to see. 
Friday we saw Charles again, and got him prepped for church and the open house, a Meet Your Mormon Neighbors presentation was had Sunday night. Then we got rained on pretty hard lol and spent the rest of the day weekly planning inside and had an appointment with a gator; a member took us there, and we answered their questions and invited them to the open house (they were Muslim, so they were very interested about us...).
Saturday we went to Sister Nolden's son's baseball game, so Sister Nolden could introduce us to her friend who was somewhat interested. Turned out her friend wanted to argue instead... Our team won, anyway! 
Then we biked to Keisha, one of my old gators, and we talked religion for a while; she says church is too long for her...
Then we went to go teach Tasha's grandma, Ruby Kate, with a member. She didn't understand much, but we made sure she knew we loved her, and she was thankful. She had 12 kids, worked 2 jobs, and retired at 79; she is almost 84. She is a trooper, and we are grateful for her example. 
Sunday we panicked for 30 minutes until Charles showed up; turns out he thought we met at 930; that explains why he was late last time lol...
We had an early brunch with the bishop so we could get back early to set up for the open house. It was a great idea... I wish it worked. Charles and his kids were the only ones who came, aside from the members... we invited at least 30 people, we were hoping for at least 10... oh well, we'll try again in a few months...
That's about it; the open house put me down, but Charles lifted me up; it's been a roller coaster kind of week...
I found out that I need to talk to the mission president about where to fly when I go home; since he used to be a stake president, he will probably tell me to go to where my records are; still, doesn't hurt to ask! If I can, I'm flying to Utah. I want to work and get some money before I go to school; I really don't want to get tangled up in loans until I have to. I certainly don't mind suggestions; I really have no idea what I want to do or go. I need to fast and pray as well. I'll also do whatever is easier on y'all.
I have been working too hard to think about home too much, but it happens occasionally... I plan on going out with a bang, not a whimper. God needs three more months out of me: I promised. 
Thanks for all that you guys do and have done! Take Luck! Sorry this is kind of short...
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mormon moving company; two guys, no truck!

Hey guys! 
Thanks for the e-mail! I had a lot of service this week; we helped 3 different families move this week, had a big service project the ward was doing for some high school, and of course, serving God by testifying of Christ! Busy week, yet not much got done...
I'll miss getting free dinners; it's been so nice to have a well cooked balanced meal every night; I know that when I get home I'll be wishing for those dinner appointments...
I have never wanted to go to the temple more than right now, on my mission, and it's out of our boundaries by half a mile! Come on! Oh well, at least I can go with my departing group with P. Dub. Speaking of boundaries, since the Macon mission is reopening, we will be giving some of our mission to the Atlanta mission in July; most of Conyers stake, actually! I'm not sure if that means I will end my mission in a different mission, or what... I don't want to, but I guess it would be kind of cool to serve in two missions at once lol. 
Anyway, my week: 
We had zone meeting Tuesday, which was fun; some of the elders and I played a trick on our zone leaders and he parted our hair down the middle; the dreaded butt-part lol! It was pretty funny, I'll send a picture. We then had dinner with Sister Wallace, who is a nice lady who helps us with team ups and rides all the time. Wednesday we ate at the Bucks, another one of my favorite families! The mom and all the kids are Japanese except for the husband, and they are the nicest people! They actually came to the church for conference! That's discipline. The dad is one of the most Christ-like people I know, and he used to be a swearing drinking sailor with a crazy beard! The gospel truly changes lives! We also got a washer with the help of our ward mission leader, so now we can stop washing our clothes in the sink! Kidding lol...
Thursday we helped the Lopes family move; us and a couple other members showed up, everyone else was at work; that's what happens when you move on a weekday...
Saturday we helped our ward and others clean up a nature park for Rockdale County, particularly the Hightower Elementary school. We worked long and hard, and we got free t-shirts! Too bad it's a red shirt...
Later that day we helped some other families move, and that took all day lol. I don't mind moving, but it is courteous to have everything packed up BEFORE the ward arrives to help... just saying. 
Sunday we had a man named Charles show up; it was someone we met just after conference last week who said he would come back, and he did! He is from Central Africa (my companion is from the west), and he seemed to enjoy everything; we'll see him this week. 
That's about it for me. About where to fly to: we can do what is easier for y'all about the return trip; my vote is to fly in to Salt Lake and hang out till I can give that talk, then head to Nebraskaaaa or whatever. But I'll do whatever works. Do my records need to be in Utah to justify flying back there? I'll call the office and ask what my options are...
I'm nervous about getting back into the swing of things with school; hopefully by the time I have earned enough money to go somewhere I'll have my groove back. 
You know, I never thought about the fact that Uncle Darren lives Rexburg and that could get me a job and a place to stay... I'll consider that. Do you know how much I miss you guys? Most of my mission, I have done pretty well with not getting homesick; I am having far too much fun for that! But the homecoming is close enough that it's starting to scare me, and makes me excited and sad at the same time. On one hand, I love my mission and Georgia and everyone who lives here, and I don't want to stop being a missionary; on the other hand, if they are going to force me to go home anyway I might as well go back to my family lol! I am pretty stoked about seeing y'all on Mother's Day, then see ya in person in July! Holy the freak cow, that's not too far away! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know that God lives and love us, and that His Son did die for us, and that because He lives, we too shall live. I know that The Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet, and I know this because I read and prayed to know the truth. I know that we are lead by a prophet today, and we get to hear from them twice a year. I know this church is true; how could it not be? In Jesus' name, amen. 
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference, in general ...

Elder Dickson and Elder Kallon, two serious missionaries.
Hey, guys!
Wasn't General Conference awesome?! Perry and Holland threw down! And I always love Pres. Monson's and Utchdorf's talks; conference, in general, was great! (Get it? Conference, in general? I crack myself up, if not anyone else lol...). We watched it at the church; we aren't allowed to watch it at member's houses... Unfortunately, no one came; we'll get 'em next time!
This was my last General Conference in the mission... now that it's over, it's kind of a sad thought. I have never appreciated Conference more in my life then on my mission; it's like the super bowl out here for missionaries! It gets me pumped for the work, and I always find not only answers to my own questions, but for our investigators as well! Most of us don't realize how incredibly unique and special Conference is; how many other people on the earth have been able to witness so many prophets speaking to them as regularly as us? There may be over 14 million members, but that's less than 1 percent of the population at this moment, not to mention all the other people in the ages of the world who had no prophets on the earth at all, or else didn't know there was one. It is a rare and valuable opportunity for us to be witnesses AND participates of the dispensation of the fullness of times. I always looked at people going about there everyday business around Conference time, and think: "These guys have no idea what they are missing? Do they know what day it is? God could have a very special message for them and they don't even know it!"
My week:
 Tuesday we had a long district meeting, and I gave a training on the Vision of the South, by President Kimball: "Make no small plans: They have no magic to stir man's souls."  "This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people into the church than all other English speaking missions in the world together.""There are great hosts of marvelous Baptists, and members of the Church of Christ, Methodists and Catholics who are honorable people, and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and love him. As they see the church veering off to the right or to the left of those basic teachings, they will begin to search for the truth. And as pivotal teachers come into the church and have influence, we will see the time when we will baptize hundreds and thousands, tens of thousands. In your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be Temples plural in the South States. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people.""These missionaries love the South. We are making great strides and expect to continue."
I love this! It's a prophesy, one that is being fulfilled as we speak, about the destiny of missionary work in the South. Most people here have resigned to the fact that baptisms just don't happen here, and it's true that we don't baptize as much as some other missions, but I was asked to train the elders about forgetting the past and looking to the future, and that it has been promised us of the Lord by his prophet that baptisms will and are happening. We just need to believe it.
Anyway, we also had interviews that day with the mission president; he's a really good guy. He asked me about how I think I have improved since I have been on my mission, and what I wanted to work on before I left. I feel a lot more confident about everything in general, but especially about teaching. Still struggle to initiate first contact with someone on the street, but when I do it, everything else comes easy now. I talk way too much in lessons, which bugs my companions sometimes lol. I told him I want to keep focused and keep my fire going about the work so I could finish strong.
After the meeting we had a companionship exchange; I went with our District Leader, Elder Bridge, to Covington, while Elder Free came here with Elder Kallon. It was pretty fun; we taught a pretty cool gator named Paige who is pretty elect, and it always feels good to teach a lesson and feel that the spirit is working through you, and the gator feels it too. Elder Bridge and I talked all night pretty much about everything you can think of, then on Wednesday we went and helped out at a food bank this baptist church had going on. Service is my favorite way to preach the gospel; it shows an example without appearing overbearing or arrogant because we are smiling and helping rather than teaching and testifying (which are great as well, but the wicked take the truth to be hard; that which they call anger was truth...). Then we switched back around lunch and went back to work. That night we saw an old gator of mine, Keisha! She and her kids we taught for awhile when I was here last, but they were dropped after I left. It was always hard to teach them; it felt like we were dragging them to everything, and we had to work hard to get them to talk to us. We went with Sister Nolden, who is a ward missionary, and our mission mom pretty much; Sister Nolden rocks! It was a good meeting; we really just visited and got to know them again and told them about conference; they said they would watch it on t.v. We'll have to check up on them this week to see if they did...
Thursday it rained all day, so we spent a lot of the day doing indoor activities, like weekly planning or making phone calls...
Friday we biked around all across our map to make up for yesterday, and saw a few people and invited them to conference. Talked to some 50 year old guy who does nothing but play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons); again, not judging, but I don't think that pays really well...
Saturday was conference, and we spent the day at the church, and between sessions we went wherever the zone leaders wanted to go because they got the car lol. Same with Sunday; after the last session, we had someone turn up who was looking for a good church (they missed it by that much...). We'll go over this week and teach them.
I found out that Elder Youd has to go home early because his knee is really giving him problems again; this time, he'll be back for good. He would have gone home in May otherwise... anyway, I called him last night and talked to him; he was one of my favorite companions, and he still lives in Orem, so if you guys see him at a stake conference or something, say hi for me!
That's about it this week. We don't have a washer, so we went over to Sister Nolden's to do that real quick, that's why I'm e-mailing so late.
In response to your e-mail:
I should have asked P. Dub (that's what we call President Wolfert... behind his back, of course...) in our interview about where I would be flying home to; I'll have to call him this week. I want to fly back to Utah as well...
I love you so much, thanks so much for being an awesome family, Take Luck!

Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easters, everyone!

How do you like our new look?
Happy Easters!
Sorry for the short letter; thanks so much for the package! I love peanut butter and chocolate; it's almost all gone now lol...
How was y'alls Easter? Our Easter program was just ok; they sang a medley of I Believe in Christ and Beautiful Savior; they have only two men, so it was interesting. It was kind of fun the first Sunday to be back and see everyone, but now I feel like I have been here forever; like I never left Conyers. It's been hard; most days I'm good, but my companion and I have been at odds a little bit... It's really the first time in my mission when I have struggled to get along with someone. It's not that bad, I just haven't had to do it before; we'll get it figured out! 
For Easter dinner we ate at this old black lady's house, and had some rather poorly cooked soul food; mostly I just drank the Kool Aid, and got sick anyway. But she was nice; the missionaries mean a lot to her, and I was glad we could make her day. 
Anyway, my week: 
We biked A LOT and didn't get too far yet, but every drop of sweat counts! We found some new investigators that dropped us before the week was over, but we'll keep on truckin'! Also gave a lot of blessings this week, to members and missionaries and gators. It's cool, since I'm still pretty new to priesthood blessings, to get to see how important it is to have people who can help you that have God's authority to do so. Other churches claim they can help you, and I'm not discounting prayers on behalf of others, but I have seen miracles, large and small, in the mission. 
Our top investigator Gary is moving to Covington, so we'll pass him along...
With General Conference coming up (my last one at that!), I'm trying to see what questions I need God to answer; every time I come with a question, it gets answered. God and I have done a lot of chatting lately lol...
Also trying to get everyone to Conference so they can get baptized! Keya, Jerry, and Author got baptized, and they all came to conference; therefore, attending Conference + pure intent and sincerity = Testimony and Conversion, for members and non-members alike! 
Thanks for being awesome! Take Luck! Love ya bunches!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson
P.S. The pic is of me and my last companion, Elder Schmidt, with snazzy bow ties we got from little Isabelle.

Casey Guy Dickson

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