Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Week 74 & 75: Cambio Grande (Big Changes)

‘Big Changes’ pretty much sums up the last 2 weeks – which I haven’t emailed.  The biggest change, sadly, was transferred back to Tucson.  Last week I transferred out of the Benson area and I had to say goodbye to all of the friends in Benson who became family.  We spent Monday night at the S___'s playing pool.  It was a wonderful goodbye gift.  Brother and Sister S___ are amazing at pool and somehow we beat them four times in a row.  During all of the Monday night FHEs we’ve spent at their house, we only ever won 4 games, but last Monday, we won four straight - fair and square. That was a memory I will hold onto for a long time.  They really enjoyed the maple syrup that you guys sent.  After playing pool and saying goodbye, we headed home and finished packing before the transfer day that we both had ahead of us.

Going to miss these feisty ducks, chicks, companion and family here in Benson!

Tuesday:  Transfer Day!  We finished getting packed and welcomed the two new Elder to the Benson area. (This was a whitewash transfer – meaning both Elder Ramsden and I transferred out and two new Elders transferred in)  We spent the day showing the new Elders around, bringing them up to speed with the appointments we made for the coming week and people we've met.   After spending the afternoon showing them around, Elder Ramsden and I packed our bags into the transfer van and headed to Tucson.  The rest of this week was pretty much a blur, so I don't have much else to say.

I’ve started a new chapter in my mission.  I have decided to rededicate myself to the work and try to work a little harder every day.  That being said, my new companion is the awesome Elder Vansweeden.  We are really ripping it up here, talking to people and always staying busy.  Even after not emailing for 2 weeks, I really don't have much to say due to the fact that we've just been teaching lessons and working constantly at finding and talking to anybody and everybody who would talk to us.  This past week we were able to talk to over a hundred people - asking them if they were interested in hearing the message of the restored gospel and doing the Lord's work here in the River Crossing Ward.  This Ward is really awesome.  It has a whole bunch of good families.  To be honest, it reminds me a lot of the Wausau Ward.

Who knew I would be doing this on my mission????

Elder Vansweden and I have also been assigned the Butterfield ward.  We are going through a very weird process because the Butterfield Ward also just had a whitewash transfer, and we are the new Elders.  We showed up to church on Sunday and it was funny because we didn't know a single person and nobody knew us.  As luck would have it, we got to know quite a few people and fit into the ward really well.  It appears they like us, but the only downside is the Butterfield ward is not very keen on missionary work at the moment.  So, it makes it hard to light the fire under the members about missionary work and the need to provide us with referrals of people to visit, hand out Books of Mormon to and teach.  That makes it hard to do missionary work with the members.

This week we had the coolest thing happened.  We had our first monsoon of the season. It was the remnants of a tropical storm that blew in from the Pacific - off of Baja California.  It dropped some crazy rain.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to send a video of what we saw. It was an unbelievable amount of rain in a short time!

Going to miss this town and companion, Elder Ramsden! 

Here is something funny:   After leaving Benson and coming to Tucson I thought I had escaped the whole day of church thing (we covered 3 wards in Benson).... Yeah right, lol.  Covering two wards, plus all of the auxiliary meetings still makes for a full day.  So, I got to thinking that this was probably God’s way of making me appreciating only going to 3 hours of church back home.  I don’t think I will ever complain about only 3 hours, because now it would just fly by.  It would be like, “Wait...that's it for the week?  No, I need more.”  lol.  But, I just thought it was kind of funny because I thought I could run away from 3 wards...but nope 2 wards and auxiliary meeting still take forever, lol

As disappointed as I was to be transferred from Benson back to Tucson, I really have nothing to complain about. The Rivers Crossing Ward it is awesome, the area is nothing special - but it's humbling and the missionary work is going well.  So, it only leaves me with one thing to complain about = THE HEAT! I’ll never get used to it and I’ve had countless 3 shirt days... its really bad, lol.

To cap off the week, we found this awesome hillbilly couple. J__ and B___.  They literally only have each other, shirts on their backs and a mobile home they bought for a dollar.  Nope, that’s not a type-o, $1.  There is one thing that I have noticed. Even having so little and having the world against them at every turn, they are the happiest people I've met in my life.  They are willing to learn and want to make us part of their life.  J__ has been collecting a bag of ties and he didn't know why, but now that he has met us - he says he now knows why. They want change and we are willing to help them.  It is a wonderful time right now.

I can't wait to hear from y'all tomorrow, it's been a wonderful week and hopefully you had one too!


Elder Connor William Dickinson

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Week 73: Another Week Down

Another Week Down

Well, howdy there,

Long time - no talk, huh?  Honestly, I’m getting so bad at writing these weekly updates.  We had a couple of busy PDays in a row and it is what it is and I am sorry.  Next week I will do a lot better.  Once again, I am sorry.

This week has been pretty darn uneventful, but the highlight of my week was having the privilege to speak in the Butterfield Ward Sacrament meeting.  We, along with our ward mission leader, spoke on missionary work.  It went so well, I can't believe how many people loved our talks.  Several said that our talks had changed their whole outlook on talking about the gospel to others.  One guy exclaimed how my talk had actually changed his life and how he now views everyone as a child of God and loves them!  So, things are going well in this ward, which was once not so keen on missionary work.  All three of us knocked it out of the park.  The bishopric loved it and said that they were fascinated with our speaking abilities, lol.  So, that was defiantly the highlight of my week!

Let's see Monday we emailed home, went fishing and went to the S___’s later for FHE.

Tuesday we were busy all day long with Zone Conference (ZC).  It hit me then - that I only have 4 more ZCs left before I head back to Wisconsin.  That’s pretty crazy.

ZC consists mainly of talks.  This time the topics were the Book of Mormon and talking with others.  After being on my mission this long, ZCs basically repeat topics over and over, so to be honest they are all beginning to sound the same.  However, I still learn something new at every ZC.   We did take some fun pictures of the Zone, but man, the highlight of the ZC was an awesome lunch!  I think that may have been my favorite part.  We had some killer Sloppy Joes with all kinds of desserts.  It not only hit the spot, but it almost put me to sleep during the second half of conference, lol.

Wednesday we also got the opportunity to help out at foodbank.  It is pretty humbling work. It makes me appreciate what I have a lot more.  Later, we had a going away party and yes there was food, so I was a happy camper.

Thursday we had the privilege to teach the first lesson to F__’s wife.  It went really well, but as always, there were some bumps along the road - just questions or concerns, but ultimately I think we’ll be able to work out.  You just never know, but other than that it went super good!

Friday we had weekly planning and some service so that was a pretty uneventful day.

Saturday we got to move two families, which took all day, but service makes me happy.  So, it was well worth the back pain.  In the afternoon we had to do some chores around the house. Not only that, but we had to write our talks.  There is nothing like writing a talk last minute right?
Sunday we went to many hours of church and gave our talks.  It was a spirit filled, edifying and uplifting day.  Later, we had dinner with the G__s and once again I ate too much! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week...

I love you.

Elder Connor William Dickinson

Monday, May 28, 2018

Week 72: Week Bajillion and a Half

This week was an interesting week - not necessarily in the best of ways.  Mother’s Day was wonderful as was emailing home on Monday!  I love, love, love emailing home and chatting with family!  It makes my day and sometimes week.

Being honest up front, this going to be a super short email - only for the fact that Tuesday through Friday morning I was super sick.  Being sick doesn't sound like a lot, but I lost five pounds in that little stretch.  Let's just say, I would wish what I went through on my worst enemy - not that I have any, but you get the point!  So, that was a massive part of our week when combined with our weekly planning, which darn near takes an entire day. 

On Friday night we met with Aliyah again and taught her the Plan of Salvation.  She basically taught us again. It was a wonderful experience and she is still on track for her Baptism on June 9th! 

Now for the highlight of my week!

Brother F__ B__, the one that takes us fishing has been coming to church ever since we first met him.  He was inactive when we met him.  No, we have both met him and his wife several times... but we didn’t know she was a non-member.  After being around us, she said she would like to take the lessons!  She has come to church a few times.  She has some concerns, but nothing that can't be solved.  I just look at this situation and think:  What would have happened if we didn't ask some questions about fishing that when we first met him?  So much of his reactivation stems from a simple question.  That change has now led to his wife wanting to know why we are so nice, happy and joyous.  Let me tell yah, it's not just the fishing, it's the gospel of Jesus Christ and the comfort it brings all of us. Now who could have known that I would have used fishing as a missionary tool... let alone being in the middle of the desert, lol. 

I'm sorry this week’s email is so short.   Kids, don't get the stomach bug that's going around - its death! But anywho, that last story is super meaningful to me. I'm not sure why, but it's just been another day on the mission, another day I wouldn't trade for anything!

I love yall.


Elder Connor William Dickinson 

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

Week 74 & 75: Cambio Grande (Big Changes)

‘Big Changes’ pretty much sums up the last 2 weeks – which I haven’t emailed.   The biggest change, sadly, was transferred back to Tucson....