Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Week 71: Happy Mother’s Day!!

Well, what a week! We have had a lot of ups and downs lately, which is to be expected in missionary work.  But, more times than not, there are more positives than negatives.  I wouldn't trade the time I've spent out here for anything.  Every day, I am gaining valuable knowledge like construction and people skills, but most importantly I’ve come to know my savior, Jesus Christ.

This week being Mother’s Day week and I had A chance to Skype with Mom & Dad on Sunday I would just like to hit the highlights of my week.  Oh, for those of you who have been getting my weekly emails in the past, but are not receiving them now – don’t worry – I haven’t unfriended you, lol.  When I broke my tablet last month, I lost all of my email addresses – except for the ones I had memorized.

I'd have to say the best part of my week was being able to Skype home for Mother’s Day and being able to talk to my wonderful parents.  What would we do without our wonderful mothers, right?  I wouldn't be here right now, lol.  I would have to say that Skyping home on my mission is an experience I will cherish forever.  Luckily for me, by the time the next Skype opportunity rolls around (Christmas) I will have been home for a month already!  I can't wait to see everyone then, but Skyping with Mom & Dad was defiantly the highlight of my week!

Secondly, we finally finished the chicken coop and got all the girls moved in there.  Give them two more months and they will be laying eggs! Through a lot of sweat and sarcastic jokes from our landlord S__ (it’s his coop) we were able to put together one heck of a chicken coup, which will probably stand through the Millennium, lol. 

Happy Mothers Day!

On Saturday night we had an awesome and humbling experience, which turned out to be one the things that I really love about being a missionary.  Were headed to a dinner appointment in a rural area outside of Benson.  In this area, people don’t like to put their house numbers on their house, so it is really hard to find an address you are not familiar with.  We thought we were close, so we stopped at a house and knocked on the door.  When the door opened, we know we had the wrong house and made an apology and were turning to leave.  The lady quickly stopped us and said, “Oh Elders, how did you know I needed a blessing.”  She was a member who’s husband had just undergone a liver transplant that day and she had been praying all day for someone to come and give her a blessing.  So, what started out as a wrong address turned out to be divine intervention.

Also, this week we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  I guess we had a good lesson with one of them.  We met this guy named R___, he is an investigator who has two pet wolves. They were so funny.  Being wolves, you would think they would be vicious, right?  Nope, hey were so timid, but he said when they see a rabbit or if the neighbor’s dog gets loose it's game over, lol.

Oh, also this week I learned that K__ S__ one of my recent converts I baptized in Central Tucson has received the Aaronic priesthood and blesses and passes the sacrament.  Oh, how happy was I when I heard this...this is what serving a mission is all about. 

Today (Pday) we got to go fishing and later this evening we have Family Home Evening with the S___s.

To close, I'd would like to leave you with my testimony of the Church.  Simply put, this church is about families and how by living the commandments we can be eternally happy – as families.   Ever since I made the decision to walk on the plane, leaving behind the only thing I knew, I was happy, not sad.  It didn't make sense to me at the time, but I was doing what my Heavenly Father would have me do - to share his gospel with the people here in Arizona and New Mexico. 

I know this Church is true, that the restoration of the Church is true.  Not only true, but it needed to happen because God is a loving God. He loves every last one of his children as much as he loves his own son Jesus Christ. And because he loves us he sent his only Begotten. To become the Prince of Peace and the savior and Redeemer of all mankind.   I know that God lives. And he is furthering and hastening his work at this very minute.  I invite you all to read pray and ponder about the Book of Mormon. It is literally heaven sent! It'll change lives of others if you choose to share, or it will uplift and edify one’s self!

That's my testimony I would like to leave with yall.

I hope you guys have had another week, and hope there is a good one to come,

Love you,

Elder Connor William Dickinson 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 70: Enduring Trials = Success

I had this great email about this week all typed up, but it somehow got deleted, so here are the high points of the week.

Well, it has been ages since I've been able to say this:  We have found a person who is excited to get baptized!  Her name is Aliyah and she is 9 years old, turning 10.  She is the most adorable little girl ever.  When she heard we were coming over, she freak out in excitement.  We have a baptismal date set for June 9th.  So, this was a success of this week.  The road was rocky leading up to this point, but it makes all worth it!

 Along with the good news, it has also been a sad week here in Benson.  Whether it's a young family splitting up, someone our age who has been diagnosed with a rare life threatening cancer, someone who was highly thought of in the Benson community passing away or even our wonderful District being broken up by last week’s transfers - it's been sad, but I've learned a lot from it. 

Benson District

Like I said, this week has been sad, but we ended it with a couple high notes by adding 4 new investigators,  having 12 Quality Gospel Conversations and setting 1 baptismal date.

This week also involved a ton of service including two acts of service I'd like to share with you:

First, we been working at the DAV; a thrift store where all of the proceeds go to Disable American Veterans.  All of the volunteers we work with are disabled vets and it's a blast.
They have us do everything from moving and delivering furniture to hanging up clothes. Knowing who all of our time benefits makes us come away from there so happy.

The second act of service we did this week was moving Steve and Donna's chicken coop.  Man, what a process!   Thursday night we removed the entire coop floor and moved the rest of the building onto the concrete slab we poured last week.  It took the four of us and a tractor to push and pull the forty year old structure onto the slab.  That thing was so rickety it was more than a little scary moving it.   The next morning we had to do everything from replacing base plates and studs to trusses and sheeting the outside.   We replaced corner posts and even framed up the south side.  So, by this Friday the chickens and ducks will be in their forever home.  We just need to finish framing, sheeting and installing a door and vent and all of the electrical – all by Friday.


I know this is a short email this week, but it's from the heart.  One important thing that I learned was not waiting for the storms of life to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.  Sometimes we focus too much on the troubles of the past and/or the present to realize that no matter what, the sun will still come up tomorrow. 

That being said I hope you all had a wonderful week and I can't wait to hear from y’all. 

I love you,

Elder Connor William Dickinson 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Week 69: Service = Happiness

This week consisted of a lot of service - again.  Believe it or not, that happens out here in the boonies. I must say, I am learning a lot from it. Whether it is hard work or learning to love people no their circumstances, it has defiantly allowed me to look around instead of looking inward (selflessness vs. selfishness).  It all makes a massive difference in how you feel, so go out and serve someone. It will make you happy. I can promise that, because I see the correlation between happiness and service every day.

Transfer calls were this week, but we are both staying in this area for another month and a half.  During this transfer (the next six weeks) Elder Ramsden and I will be buckling down and will focus on building our teaching pool. This area needs it.  Hopefully, we will be able to set some baptismal dates in the coming weeks.

Here is what my week looked like:

Monday:  It was an awesome opportunity to be able to tour the Karchner Caverns, (google them – voted best tourist attraction in Arizona).  They were so beautiful.  The best part of the trip was the Karchner family took us.  So, during our entire tour, we got history and insight that nobody else gets. It was defiantly worth the trip.

Tuesday:  I was still recovering from being sick...all day and night I felt like trash.  I worked through it, but I suffered all day long.  I was so sick that I honestly can't remember what happened on Tuesday.

Wednesday: We worked at the foodbank and then had our District Meeting.  It was a wonderful day of service mixed with stop-by visits. 

Thursday morning I had to wait and sign for the delivery of the building materials for the chicken coup. So we will be busy using those materials for most of the next few weeks.  During the afternoon we helped somebody move.  They didn’t have a ton of stuff, but it took time to load it, drive it and unload it.

Friday:  What a day!  We poured concrete all morning for the chicken coup. We poured a 10x8 foot 5 inch thick concrete slab.  Next week we will be moving the coup onto the slab and then residing it.  We will also be residing their 40x60 garage.   So, my construction skills will be put to the test these next couple weeks.  Friday afternoon I got to use my construction expertise again when we helped the Sister missionaries with some service for B__.  Elder Ramsden and I built her a ramp out of reclaimed lumber. It looks really good!

Saturday:  B__ took all of us out to lunch with her son, who I had met in Tucson.  He had just  take out his endowment this last month.  He's an ex Hell’s Angel. He has a wonderful conversion story.   We also got transfer calls Saturday evening.  Nothing is changing with us, thank goodness.

Sunday was a long day of church.  Afterwards, we had dinner and a FHE with Grandma and Grandpa C__ and the Sister missionaries. 

This week was good, long but good and I am finally starting to feel better.

Hope y’all had a wonderful week as well!

Love, Elder Connor W. Dickinson

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Week 68: Rough Week

This week was a little rough at times.  I had some allergy issues and didn’t feel very good for a day or two.  Then, I accidently knocked my tablet off of the counter and completely shattered the screen.  I had to email Mom & Dad to ask them to send my personal tablet to replace it.  Because I don’t have a tablet to type on, I have to use our phone to type out this week’s email.  Because itty bitty smart phone keyboards and big sausage fingers don’t work well together…this week’s email is going to be extremely short and sweet.

This week was a lot of service - as always. We had exchanges this week – they went alright. We did service during the exchanges, so that made them more enjoyable.  My favorite service this week was helping a ward member hang drywall.  It was a good experience. Also, we started helping the family who is hosting us build a chicken coop. S__ driving the tractor and we would unhook and re-hooking chains to haul all of the building materials all day long. We got a ton accomplished and we should be able to  finish it in about 2 weeks. I don't have much more to report on. I will be able to email today, but We are also going to Kartchner Caverns at 2:00.   The caverns are some really awesome caves that were voted the #1 tourist attraction in Arizona.  We managed to score some free tickets, lol.

Love Elder Connor W. Dickinson

Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 67: Only in Arizona can you sweat through a suit in APRIL!

As my subject line says, it’s been constantly mid 80s here, while y’all are sitting in 30 inches of fresh snow.  Now, to be honest, I’d switch with you in a heartbeat.  I love the winter and snow!

Today, I get to do something I haven’t done in 15 months…the thing I live for. That would be going fishing!!!  A less active member owns some private ponds he lets people use and he is taking us and the Sister missionaries tomorrow. It’s like an oasis in the middle of the desert. It’s pretty darn cool and I wasn’t able to sleep last night, because I was so excited!

Here is what my week looked like:

Monday: Tombstone, what a blast. I felt like we were at Wall Drug in Wall SD.  It was a wonderful time, full of laughs and history.  I can’t wait to take you guys down there!

Shoot out at the OK Corral

Tombstone, AZ

Tuesday consisted of of contacting people and some service around the house.  The service involved digging up grass to make a garden for the people who are hosting us. Having to earn our keep takes some time out of our day, but it helps us maintain sanity and helps the G__s with things that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.  I hope that makes sense.

Current Status : Duck Farmer!

Duck Babysitting for Dona

Wednesday:  What a day!  Service, service and then more service.  We started out loading boxes for our local Foodbank. After the Foodbank we had our District Meeting.  District Meeting was good, we talked about receiving personal revalation and having the Spirit.  After District Meeting we went out to eat at one of the local caf├ęs here.  They have darn good burgers.  The one I had, had jalapenos cream cheese, onions bacon and I added coleslaw.  It was a darn good burger!  For the rest of our day we did stop-by visits out in the harsh wind.  After our dinner appointment, we picked up a potential investigator.  Her husband is an avid hunter and fisher and is a professional bull rider. He’s so fun to talk to.

Thursday, we worked at St. David’s Foodbank for 3 to 4 hours.  After the Foodbank we had a joint lesson with the Sister missionaries with a recent convert.  After that we had lunch with her as well.  She made meatloaf.  Later, we had dinner with the T__ family, then we went home for the evening and kibitzed with S__ & D__ , the people who host us.

Friday was brutal! First, we spent the morning helping with some yard work for this lady named Machete Betty.  She is fun.  Following that, we spent most of the day moving the Sister Missionaries out of their old apartment and into a new one. That took a while.  We had dinner on our own due to our dinner appointment standing us up. But its whatever.

Saturday, we did our weekly planning and finished up digging D__’s garden. It was a good long day.

Sunday:  Don’t even get me started about Sunday. Not only did we have 8 hours of church, but between all of the Sacrament Meetings we go to, we sat through 7 strait talks on genealogy.  They were so boring. Not only boring, but monotone and monotonous.  It made for a long day. Luckily, we had dinner with S__ & D__ and then a short visit with the S__ family.

I hope you have a wonderful week and please be safe on those wintery roads.

I can’t wait to hear from y’all.   I love you


Elder Connor William Dickinson 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Week 66: A Sonoran Coachwhip

Well, I hope you all had as wonderful of a week as I did.  This week really flew by and today we will be going Tombstone!!!!!!

We are starting a heath challenge Monday, which involves a whole list of things.  Wish me luck, because I need it, lol.

We were involved in a lot of service again this week... everything from working at the foodbank to fixing a barbed wire fence and laying pipe. It has been a wonderful week full of service

The weather here is been really nice.  I noticed that you guys are getting a lot of snow while we are in the eighties.  I'm getting more tan everyday so that's pretty nice. I’m starting to turn super dark, lol.

Monday:  It was wonderful getting to talk to y'all.  We finished PDay by playing horseshoes and corn hole.  We had a dinner appointment and then we went to the S__'s to play pool with them.  We lost the best out of 3 for the second straight week, but we will get revenge tonight. J

Tuesday:  We had zone conference and interviews on Tuesday but were not informed of it until Tuesday morning   It was super annoying that we were not informed and I got pretty upset about it because we had plans that we had to cancel.  Luckily, our interviews went well so there's nothing to complain about now.   Afterwards we got to do some service - nothing special and then the people we live with bought some baby chicks.  You can say Tuesday was the day that Elder Ramsden and I became chick farmers.  It's super fun.   We also did a couple stop-by visits with no success, but that's all part missionary work isn’t it  J

Wednesday started with service at the foodbank for a couple of hours.  We ended up loading boxes in to cars for 3 hours or so.  It was a really fun time.  After the foodbank we headed to a lesson with J___. It's was a referral lesson with the Sister Missionaries, but it didn't really go anywhere. J__ is a less active member who just moved into our area.  We will be doing some less active work with her - which is mainly what this area consists of.   Working with Elder Ramsden is a blessing.  We get along well and understand each other. So, it makes for a fun day with little to no stress. We finished the evening with a dinner appointment.

Thursday we had a lesson and then we helped someone move.  Other than that, there was not much to report.  During our study time I was reading the General Conference talks given this past weekend about failure and how failure is a way of learning and how we can turn our stumbling blocks into stepping stones and we can become more like our Lord, Jesus Christ.  I've come to embrace and to love the trials that I have had during my life, because they have shaped me in to who I'm supposed to be when the judgement day comes.  I also learned a lot about meekness and being humble so it was a very good time spent studying.

Friday was more service.  We helped lay some pipe for the S__ family.  We also did our weekly planning and helped the Sisters with some yard work service.  It was a fun day because I love service.

I always remember the scripture Mosiah 2.17, which reads:

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God

Oh how great shall be your joy, knowing you are serving your God?

Saturday:  We did more service involving fixing barbed wire fences for 3-4 hours it was fun, but the barbed wire stuck me once pretty good. A barb jabbed under my thumbnail and I started bleeding a lot, but it was all good.  Man, I just love this area and I love serving these people.  It's such a fun time.  We also ran over a snake. It was a Sonoran Coachwhip. You should research it. It’s not poisonous, but scary none the less.  A church member in one of our wards is mounting the skin for us – for the fifth wheel trailer we live in. I might send my portion home in a mailing tube ha-ha

Sunday was brutal!  We had another 8 hours of church spread over the three wards we cover. It was a really  good Sunday.  It was really cool seeing all the changes being instituted into our Sunday meetings, almost instantly.  The Spirit was there in all the meetings and it was wonderful.  The testimonies were fantastic as well as being able to sit and learn in the Benson Ward Sunday school.  It was a fun learning about the history and the ministry of Jesus Christ and how in his 33 years on this earth he did not travel farther than 150 miles, but the amount of lives he impacted was amazing.  After Sunday school and Priesthood meeting we had a dinner appointment and then we came home and did our studies because we were exhausted from being at the church from 8:30 until 4:30.

I just want to thank yall for your love and support. I would love to hear from y’all sometime.

Love you, keep the faith,

Elder Connor William Dickinson 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Week 65: Happy Easter

This will most likely be a shorter email because of the time that was taken up by all of the service we did - and we did a ton – and I mean a ton of service!

Monday was quite a change of pace for PDay, but it’s nice out here in Benson though.  Living out here is defiantly an acquired taste, but is well worth it.

Tuesday: We tried making some stop-by visits.  One of the people we were looking for ended up either visiting Mexico or moved to Mexico. We’re not sure.  Hopefully he is just visiting, lol. Following a couple of stop-by visits, Elder Ramsden started showing me the area along with introducing me to some of the members.

Wednesday:  Let’s just say after Wednesday I was wiped out.  We started at the Foodbank.  Benson’s Foodbank is an open air operation and our job was to wipe off the window where they write on it with Crayola maker to identify the number of boxes of food each car gets.  It was a fun opportunity for us to talk to people and people get to see the missionaries out and about serving the community - so it’s good!  After that we ran to the church for our District Meeting.  We had to change at the church before and after the meeting because later we helped move a lady that really needed some help.  It took us until dinner time to finish and by that time we were donzo. We were completely beat because it took a lot of time and there was a lot of heavy appliances.

Thursday consisted of some more stop-by visits and a heathy dinner, which tasted good, but wreaked havoc on my stomach.

Friday was a day that we spent setting up for the G___ family’s (the people we live with) 40th annual Easter egg hunt thingy.  We moved and sat up chairs and set up games stations.   Bro G__ weed whacked and we raked up what he cut down.  After a while, the G__s  had to leave to go to a funeral.  So, I surprised them by weed whacking the rest of the yard that they would have had to do when the funeral was over.  I ended up weed whacking like an acre and a half, lol.   It brought back some memories of one of my summer jobs – where I would weed whack all day, everyday. 

Saturday was the day we had the G__ Family Easter celebration. It started at 10:00, we hid over 175 dozen eggs (thats 2,100 eggs) for 150 kids.  It took forever!   We started hiding eggs at 7:15 and finished at 9:45.  Who knew it would be such hard work?   Well, the festivities wrapped up around 2:00ish and we changed, put some stuff away and then headed off to do some service.  We fished up with that around 5:00ish.  The service entailed digging a trench to lay pipe which we will be doing at a later date.  Sadly, we had to watch General Conference on tape delay. But, after service we had homemade green chili pork. It was very good!

Sunday, we watched the wonderful General Conference sessions and then had dinner in Dragoon, AZ, which is around a 30 minutes away from home.  After dinner we visited the S___ family and then wrapped up the night.

Sorry this email was short but like I said most of our time this week was taken up by doing service.

I can’t wait to hear from y’all.

Love you
      Elder Connor William Dickinson 

Week 71: Happy Mother’s Day!!

Well, what a week! We have had a lot of ups and downs lately, which is to be expected in missionary work.   But, more times than not, th...