Monday, July 22, 2013

HE'S COMING HOME! (ie, the last letter)

Hey, guys!
So I am very excited, and nervous, and happy, and sad, not to mention
bored, comatose, serendipitous, melancholy, ecstatic, and avuncular...
let's just say I don't know what to feel; of course I am excited to
see everyone and will be very happy to get to know my family again,
but how can I leave this? I have been extremely happy helping others
come to Christ through service and teaching and example and testimony;
I hope it's not presumptuous to say this, but I think I understand, in
the very smallest sense, how Heavenly Father feels about His children;
he loves them and desires their salvation, no matter what kind of
person they are. I'm not saying I have perfect charity (I don't anyone
here on earth does, though some come close), but I can honestly say
that I truly love the people here in Georgia, even the ones who
weren't so nice to me... at the same time, though, while I know God is
perfect and is in control of every emotion and passion He has, I also
understand how frustrating it is to work with and work for people who
don't want the help or don't keep commitments or want to change; I
mean, there are plenty of people who I KNOW they felt the spirit, and
they got a witness of the truth, and they walk away from that... I
have never cared so much for people who weren't family... On the other
hand as well, the most precious moments of my life up till this point
have been the baptisms of those I have gotten to know and care very
deeply about; I love teaching and testifying and working for the Lord,
and I can still do that as a member, but it's not the same...
Anyway, my week:
My last full week as an elder was not super eventful; our phone broke
again, so we went most of this week without one, which was incredibly
Tuesday we had district meeting, then tried to see a bunch of people
on our list from the bishop without success... did see our local
conspiracy theorist, so now we are all caught up on what's going on in
the world lol...
Wednesday we had lunch with Sister Gomez (who is awesome) at a Chinese
restaurant. That's right, I said Chinese. I can tolerate it now
(barely!). Did a bunch of walking that day... my legs will be sore for
the rest of my life with all the walking and biking I have been doing
lol; it's torn all my church clothes to pieces...
Thursday we went to the Trainer meeting (Elder Bowers is training a
new missionary, and as his companion, I have to follow him) in
Lilburn, which was fun; saw some cool guys I haven't seen in a while,
and probably won't see till they finish their missions lol!
I also got the chance to conduct my first baptismal interview as a
District Leader that day... I was pretty nervous, but it was fine. The
sister missionaries in our ward were teaching a really cool lady named
Rebecca, who is uber-prepared! She passed the interview with flying
colors and she got baptized this Sunday; it was a pretty awesome
service, with an awesome musical number by our own Elder Bowers, who
is an amazing singer!
Friday we weekly planned, then we did service for Sister Seghi, one of
my favorite people here; we painted her house some more, then she took
us to our dinner appointment, Sister Sutherlin, my other favorite
member in Paper Mill! We ate Mexican food twice that day lol; both
Sister Seghi and Sister Sutherlin took us to Mexican restaurants for
lunch and dinner... I wasn't complaining lol (I am so excited for Los
Saturday we got to help at the ward's pancake breakfast for the
Pioneer Day activity; I decided I really like this ward, they are all
super nice and do a good job taking care of us; wish I could have
spent more time here... oh well.
After the breakfast we helped Rebecca (the lady who got baptized) into
her new house; it was crazy! We probably had ten of us there helping,
but she had so much stuff it took us like 4 hours to get it all lol!
We were all super exhausted...
Finally that night we got in with our french gators from the Congo,
and taught the first lesson again; it went better this time cause his
wife was there, and she speaks better English than he does, so she helped
translate. They couldn't make it to church, but they want to come next
week; hope they do, though I won't be here to see it...
Sunday was pretty good; my last Sunday as a missionary... Rebecca was
baptized, we had a marvelous dinner with our wonderful bishop, and got
soaked in the rain! A pretty good day (the rain ruined my favorite tie
though lol oh well).
Today we may go bowling, but I don't know for certain; what I do know
is that I don't really believe I am going home; I feel like I will
still be here in a week, I can't make my brain believe that I will be
home with you guys so soon...
Well, to wrap up this last letter, here is a song by The Nashville
Tribute band (a bunch of return missionaries who make church CDs),
from their The Work: A Tribute to Missionaries Album, which I think
sums up how I am feeling perfectly. It's called, "The Hardest Thing I
Have Ever Loved to Do."
"The hardest thing I have ever loved to do, was letting go of
everything I ever knew. Nineteen years left in my room, As I buttoned
up the jacket on my suit.
"The hardest word I have ever loved to say, Was goodbye to my mom and
walk away. Choking on my tie and on my tears. As I walked away down
the halls and into those years.
"The sweetest song I've ever loved to sing, Filled the MTC on angel's
wings. The chorus filled my soul five thousand strong, And I wished it
would just go on and on.
"The firmest hand I've ever loved to shake, Was my trainers with that
big grin on his face. He grabbed my bag and put his arm around me, and
whispered 'I'm gonna work those MR Mac's right off your feet.'
"The hardest words I have ever anguished for, Came just before some
lady slammed the door. My trainer left me hanging dry, As a minute of
painful silence rolled right by.
"But the hardest tears I have ever loved to cry, Fell as I opened up my
mouth and testified. Between the tiny walls of a strangers living
room, The spirit told their hearts my words were true.
"The hardest thing I've ever come to see, Is a man down on his knee's
in agony. A drop of blood falls down on olive leaves, And for a moment
he suffers there for me.
"The hardest thing I've ever loved to do, Was getting on this plane and
coming home to you. In a million ways completely torn apart, As a land
far away still owns my heart.
"In the most sincere prayer I've ever prayed, I thank my God for each
and every day, for the blessing of the man I've come to be, As I walk
up and kiss my mama's cheek."
That last part will be fulfilled in a few days. I know beyond a
shadow of a doubt this church is true, and no one can tell me
otherwise, because I have received a witness from the Holy Spirit that
this is the truth, and we invite all men everywhere to repent and come
unto Christ. I love you all so much. See you soon.
Elder Casey Guy Dickson... one last time, signing off.

Monday, July 15, 2013

G'Day, Mate!

Hey, everybody!
I am completely FREAKING OUT about coming home in a week lol! I am so
excited! And kinda sad (about leaving the missionary work and
stuff)... I am a roller coaster of emotions; I don't know what to feel
So what's the plan when I fly in? Or is it going to be a surprise lol?
I thought the other day, about only two more letters! And one more
Sunday as a missionary! Insane! Has it really been two years? It
wasn't nearly long enough...
So this week:
Monday we tried to go bowling, but it was WAY too expensive lol, but
we did get to play ball at the stake center, which was awesome...
Tuesday we had a zone training, which are always fun, because you can
see the other missionaries in the zone! Later we had dinner with
Brother Challis, one of our ward missionaries, who had invited a
friend to dinner for us to teach named Michelle; she was super nice
and out-going, and asked a lot of good questions, so we will see how
that goes... it felt good to teach again, it's been a while lol...
Wednesday downpoured ALL DAY lol we got so soaked we had to go back
and change our clothes... We found out that day that Elder
Christensen's visa came in, and he was to fly to Australia on Sunday.
We were to drop him off at the stake center to the assistants Saturday
night; we were both happy and sad... E. Chris was excited to finally
get to his mission, and we are too!
Thursday we helped a part-member paint her house, which was pretty
fun; we took some crazy pictures lol... Later we had dinner at the
Hilton's, the family that took us in when the tornado got us a few
weeks ago; they are very funny, I'll miss them... Brother Hilton came
out on a team-up with us to see Brother Vaughan, a super nice
less-active; we were planning on teaching the 10 commandments, but the
spirit said otherwise... we talked a lot about Brother V's recent loss
of his Mom and his best friend; the spirit was very strong, and
everyone felt better at the end of it. Bro. V then bought us ice
cream; nice! A pretty good day...
Friday Elder Bowers had a doctor's appointment in Norcross (I used to
serve in that city when I was in John's Creek!), so I got to see my
old building again; then we helped a member set up for a wedding
rehearsal, and after dinner with the Paget's, the husband took us to
see Becky and Larry; we talked a lot about the sacrament and church
attendance, but they stayed stand-offish throughout the lesson, so we
don't know what else to do... They got to start progressing, or else
we gotta drop them...
Saturday we went to this barber shop some elders who used to serve
here recommended us, and had a pretty intense religious discussion
with Ali while Elder Christensen was getting his hair cut. Then we
went to go see a referral YSA elders gave us; a family from the Congo
that spoke more french than english, but they were super nice, and
they love Jesus Christ! The husband is a boxer, and they have the
cutest 18 month old! They wanted to come to church this week, but at
the last second they had car problems, so they promised to come next
week. I wish I knew french; it's hard to teach them just because I
don't know how much they understand...
After dinner we dropped Elder aussie at the stake center; after a
quick goodbye and a long hello to some of the other elders I saw there
(like Elder Everett; he is one of my best friends out here in the
mish!), they drove off into the sunset... We'll probably never see him
again until he gets back (he lives in Cedar Hills, so he is super
Sunday I gave a talk about teaching by the spirit; it was only 5
minutes, but the spirit killed it! I shared a story that I have come
to love so much:
"The following event took place in a ward in Salt Lake City in 1974.
It occurred during a sacrament meeting and was told to me by Regional
Representative of the Twelve who was in the meeting. A young man, just
before leaving on his mission stood in sacrament meeting and bore in
essence the following testimony:
Brothers and sisters, as you know, the past two weeks I’ve been
waiting for a mission call. During the time I was waiting I had a
dream. I knew it was not an ordinary dream. I dreamed I was in the
pre-existence and awaiting my call to come to earth. I was filled with
the same anticipation and excitement that I had before I received my
mission call. In my dream I was talking to a friend, and I felt a
special closeness to him, even though I’ve never met him in this life.
As we talked a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew it was my
call to go to earth. In great excitement my friend and I opened the
letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. It said:
“You’ve been called to earth in a special time and to a special land.
You will be born to the true church and you will have the priesthood
of God in your home. You will be born into a land of plenty, in a land
of freedom. You will go to earth in the United States of America.”
My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call, and while we were
rejoicing the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my
friend. We knew it was his call to earth. My friend gave me the letter
to read out loud. His letter said:
“You’ve been called to go to earth in circumstances of poverty and
strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will
attend your life. Your land will be fraught with political and social
difficulties – which will hinder the work of the Lord. You will be
born in Costa Rica.”
We wept, my friend and I, as we read his call. And my friend looked at
me with tears in his eyes, and said, “When we are down on earth, you
in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, please come and
find me.”
Then this young missionary, with tears in his eyes, said, “Brothers
and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I am going to Costa
There is a sequel to the story. About a year after the sacrament
meeting, the bishop received a letter from the missionary in Costa
Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it and on that sheet
written in capital letters were four words: I FOUND MY FRIEND."
Isn't that such an awesome story!? I know that there are people out
there that we have to share the gospel with... we promised...
I'm glad I could help this ward; I never got so many compliments for
such a short talk; all credit goes to God...
That's all for this week; I got one more full week to go...
So I plan on working hard up to the very last day; there is two more
district meetings, and we have found a few new gators, so I am gonna
keep on it! On the 24th there is a fireside were I can invite people;
what's kinda convenient is a lot of the wards I served in, most of the
people going home with me also have served there, so I hope for a good
turn out; most of my converts have moved out of the state, and some
members too, but it'll be good still.
Thanks so much, hope to see y'all soon, take luck!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, July 8, 2013

Knocking on doors in the rain

No guns, just poses.
Hey y'all!
So it has rained ALL week. ALL WEEK. We have never seen this much rain 
in July. 
It made for a dreary Independence day, as well as rained on
our missionary work party lol...
Tuesday I went on exchange with the ZL's, which was fun; I was with
Elder Hoyt, who is from Canada (eh?). It was SO nice to be in a car
all day; we meet a lot of interesting people while contacting; one guy
said, "Holy *beep*, it's the Mormons! How the *beep* are ya?" He was
the nicest person we met all day; he is an atheist, but he was super
nice and animated. Also met a Russian lady and some crazy people;
doesn't get better than that!
Wednesday it started DOWN POURING; we got absolutely drenched! Good
thing I was wearing a polyester tie...
Friday and Sunday we saw Becky and Larry, and had good visits with
them. They are getting closer, just slowly... We talked a lot about
obedience and church attendance, but they haven't come yet; we brought
the bishop with us, hope that helps...
Not much happened this week; just a lot of rain and a lot of knocking
doors with not a lot happening yet. Had one nice family let us in and
give us water; they prayed with us, but don't seem interested in
converting; the world is full of nice people of all faiths...
Elder Christensen, our visa waiter, is heading for Australia in a
week; we'll miss him, but we are also excited he is finally going
where he is supposed to be; my only son has grown up so fast
All my friends in the Conyers Zone got the ax; now they are in the
Georgia Atlanta Mission... oh well, at least I can e-mail them now...
I will be coming back home without any money or civilian clothes or
car or driver's licence lol so I'll go wherever you will take me...
I am sending some boxes home (to the Hall's address; idk where y'all
are now...) full of ties and books and stuff I can't really take with
me lol...
This ID thing has been the biggest headache for the past 6 months lol!
I have been trying so hard, and when I finally thought I had all that
I needed, they didn't accept my letter signed by President that says I
don't have bills or school records or work records to prove my
residency, so I'm gonna try a different DMV and see if they would be
more accepting; I'm gonna try still to get an ID, but Sister
Conners and I have a few ideas if that doesn't work... I had a UVU ID
at one point back home, I have no idea where that is at home... I'll
keep trying on my end; if you find anything with my picture on it,
that would be cool lol...
I haven't really noticed a difference being DL; I just take numbers
and conduct district meeting... I am responsible when things happen,
but nothing has happened yet (knock on wood)... Being organized is one
of my achilles heels, but it's been working out.
On the fourth we just tracted all day; we had hot dogs at a member's
house, but no fireworks; it has been raining all week, so everyone in
town missed out, not just us lol!
Sorry this is super short, not much has happened aside from trying not
to think about home...
Love y'all so much!
Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Monday, July 1, 2013

Georgia (and Utah) on my mind ...

Sister Worthington, Sister Mayes and Elder Dickson.
Hey, Howdy, Hey!
Bit of a slow week work-wise... and yet at the same time the weeks are flying by as July 25th gets closer and closer...
So this week:
Tuesday we had a mission-wide fast in preparation for the Month of Consecration in July (I'll explain in a sec.) We fasted from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning, which I have never really done before. It's hard to fast as a missionary lol; we got permission to drink water because we were biking, thank goodness! We spent the whole day on Tuesday tracting, hoping we could find a new investigator... we talked to A LOT of people, and few of them said we could come back, so cross your fingers! Wednesday was district meeting as well as interviews. We met at the stake center (after breaking our fast at Chick-fil-A lol!) and had a pretty good meeting. President Wolfert interviewed all of us; when it was my turn, we talked about logistics more than spiritual stuff (out of necessity, of course); he also gave me a temple recommend interview; turns out the temple will be closed for maintenance the week I leave, so we won't get the usual trip to the temple like other departing missionaries do... oh well. (Speaking of which, is there a way we could have a couple of temple sessions at Salt lake or Provo or Timpanogos or somewhere when I get back? I really miss the temple...). He gave me the info about the departure devotional, so I gotta start inviting people to that for a last hurrah!
Later that night we had a delicious steak meal (which we don't get a lot of; we always get chicken lol), then we taught Becky and Larry, are only true investigators, with Brother Challis; she reads and asks good questions, but neither of them are "ready" yet to take the steps necessary like quit smoking and coffee and come to church; we tried to explain that we are not pressuring them, but the sooner the better. We'll see how that goes...
Thursday we walked A LOT! Then we saw Dan, a less-active who is super nice; we can't figure out for the moment why he is less-active...
Friday we weekly planned, then painted and did yard work for a very funny sister named Sister Seghi; she is a hoot, and her husband is a very nice non-member who hands out programs at our church... we have yet to determine why he is not a member yet... Later that night we bought a homeless guy some McDonald's, and he was so grateful he took a Book of Mormon as well; Nice!
Saturday we helped like 3 members move (it's that time of the year again lol!); there was a lot of support from the Elder's Quorum, and those who were moving had there stuff boxed up BEFORE we got there, so things went by very smoothly lol... After that we walked A LOT and talked to a lot of people, then went to Chipotle with some rich members, which is always fun lol! I'm so grateful for all the support the members have given me over the past two years! So many good meals and team-ups! God bless you all!
Sunday we taught a missionary lesson for 3rd hour about how to talk to your friends about the gospel; I think it went over well... everyone loved Elder Bowers skit, he's a funny kid! After trying to see some referrals after church, we got a ride to the Nelsens, a new family who moved in about the same time I did! Had some Spaghetti Squash, which I've never had before, with meatballs and tomato sauce; it was scrumptious!
That's about it for the week.
So the Month of Consecration is something we did as a mission last August, where we promise to be EXTRA obedient and diligent, and to watch the blessings flow; last time we did this, the mission doubled in baptisms! Wow! The problem is, we couldn't seem to keep it up in succession afterwards, so we are trying to start again. To consecrate something is to make something holy, to set it apart as something special; so as we set aside the things we want to do, so we can do the things we need to do, the Lord will bless us with his miraculous power. It's a good way to go out with a bang as a missionary; obedient and diligent to the end!
In response to your letter:
Shelby: I'm glad I'm safe from the tornadoes as well I don't know what I'd do without me lol ;) Glad girls camp was fun; was that your last one? I forgot you were in the marching band; I thought about doing that, but I wanted to play football more lol. I can't wait to be back to come watch your parades and volleyball games and such! I miss going to Summerfest; they have a lot of festivals out here in Georgia (more booths and less rides then ours...), but they aren't as fun as a missionary lol... How goes the packing? How does it feel to be moving back to the old house? Have y'all started working at the Owlz yet? How do you like it? I thought it was fun because of the people, but it was hard at first when the nights are super busy; you have no time to catch your breath! Still, the occasional free food was nice lol! How is your summer? Any movies or swimming, or is it all packing and marching and working? How is mission prep going for ya? Do not deny me your gifts (from the Testaments movie, it's a missionary joke...)!
 Thanks for being the best sister ever! Can't wait to see ya in a month! Stay sweet!
Hi Mom! Don't worry about the writing, I haven't really written y'all either for the same reason: stress lol. Where is it that you are working at again? Is it the old folks place like before? Thanks for asking about the gators! I haven't heard yet from my old comp down in Conyers how Henry and all them are all doing, but my guess is they haven't changed much... unfortunately... We don't have very many gators here; they ones we do have want to take things VERY slow, which is fine as long as they are coming to church (which they are not...) and such; you just have to be careful. You don't want to jump into something without knowing what you are doing, but when do you know enough? When you know the Book of Mormon is true; if it's true, then Joseph Smith is a true prophet; if he's a prophet, then so are his successors, which means the authority to lead God's church on earth and bless His children lies in this church and the words that His servants speak is what He would say, etc. That's why it's so important to pray about the Book of Mormon, and to act on that knowledge once you do; we are judged by what we know, and we don't know how long we'll have on earth...
I'd love to help y'all move back into the old place lol, thanks for asking! Where will y'all live until then? I don't know about UVU yet; I want to work for a semester or so, then keep working while I go to school (hopefully Weber State or somewhere)...
I am soooooooooooooooooooooooo excited to see you too! Love you so much! 
Ollo, Deverino! What classes are you taking at UVU? Are you taking one of Brother Hugh's classes? He is an awesome guy! How is working at the Owlz treating ya? How is SWTOR? How far are you, what does your guy look like, etc? TELL ME!! How is mission prep going? How does it feel to be done with high school? Are there any friends of yours that are going to Georgia? Thanks for being studly, remember, "There is a connection between heaven and earth. Finding that connection gives meaning to everything, including death. Losing that connection makes everything lose meaning, including life." (Elder John Groberg, The Other Side of Heaven. Good movie.) take luck!
Love, Elder Casey Guy Dickson

Casey Guy Dickson

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