Monday, July 16, 2018

Week 78: New week = New me

This week was a pretty interesting one. Not much really happened on the southwest home front. I've decided to start a diet - kind of like a 6 months to sexy thing. Except, I'm starting at 5 months.  I think this will help me both spiritually and physically.  I'm definitely looking forward to this being a positive experience. Setting goals in life is important.  It gives you something to work towards, makes you desire the right things and hopefully helps you find a more healthier you.  Hopefully at the end of five months, I'll find a more spiritual me too.  I also got a cool haircut this week and it has been raining a lot - thank goodness!   The rain keeps the temperature down, but it also makes it humid, which I never thought I would miss (summers in Wisconsin are really humid).  But, after working and living in the dry heat, I sure have missed it.  Before I left for Arizona, I met a guy who described ‘yeah, but it’s a dry heat’ being like someone holding a blow dryer to your face all day every day, lol.  Man, was he right.   I'll jump into the week now.

Monday, was a really cool day.  We got to see the O__ family again. It was a wonderful reunion, being able to spend the day with that wonderful family.   We spent the day preparing an entire pig for a Polynesian feast. We went through the entire step-by-step process (which I won't go into detail for those who are faint-hearted).  After 6 hours of cooking we ended up with 30 lb. of pork served with lou and various other Polynesian side dishes.  We spent the next hour eating as much as we could.  Only a pound of pork remained after the eight of us had finished eating.  I'll let you do the math, but I'll just say I was a very full boy for the rest of the day (and the rest of the week, lol). Other than chatting with Mom and Dad, Janet and grandma - that pretty much sums up my Monday. 

Dinner with the O Family!!! (they are the best)

Making Lou

FInished product!! YUM

We spent most of Tuesday day visiting people with not much success finding any new investigators.   That's pretty much what happened all day Tuesday, other than lunch and dinner. We ended the night attending the Butterfield Ward’s correlation meeting.  The ward really needs help, but we don't really know how we can do, but things are starting to look up.

Wednesday:  We were able to have a good day doing some visiting and street contacting. We didn't find any new investigators, but we did talk to 30 plus people. While spending time doing this it might not seem like we're doing missionary work, we always are.  Just being out there letting people see us doing what we should be, is a form of missionary work.  Wednesday night we started exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  Those exchanges went pretty well and extended into Thursday.

Thursday was a pretty good day of exchanges with Elder Eldridge.  He's one of our Zone Leaders. We did a couple visits and some service.  The service was helping Bro. and Sis. C__ clean out one of their storage rooms.  Man, did I sweat a lot!   It was so hot and humid.  After several hours of working there we had a wonderful lunch with them and then headed home to shower and change for a few teaching appointments.  Later that afternoon, we met with a guy named S___.  He is a member, but has been less active.  He used to meet with the missionaries, but then he got a new job as a trucker and was no longer able to meet.   Now, he is able to meet with us at church on Sunday - so that's good.  After that meeting with S___ we had a dinner appointment with Sis. A__.  After that, we eventually exchanged back. So, Thursday was a pretty eventful day.

Friday we did our weekly planning and later Elder VanSweden worked on his My Plan.  Later that night, we had a dinner appointment with the C___ family from the Butterfield Ward followed by doing some finding. That was pretty much Friday.

Care Package Goodies!
(I think the white shirts are my fave! Whew! LOL)

Saturday was a pretty interesting day as well.  We did some finding, but I wasn't feeling very well, so we spent some of the daytime trying to recoup.  Later we did some more stop-by visits, then headed to bed –after dinner of course.  Saturday night was a rough night of sleep - mainly because I wasn't feeling well. Then, around 3 a.m. we were woken by several gunshots.  They were pretty close.  So, that was exciting.

Sunday:  We had a wonderful day at church at the River Crossing Ward.  We learned a lot about family history and missionary work.  I was impressed how they put on a good sacrament meeting about missionary work without including us, lol.  So, that was definitely a nice change, for once.  After church, we headed to the Butterfield Ward for Sacrament Meeting, after which we went home and changed out of our suits and into short sleeve shirts and ties.   We headed to a dinner appointment with the L__ family.  We had an awesome meal of cranberry chicken, peas and rice. After that we headed to J___ and B__'s to say hi to them.  They were really busy working on their $1 trailer house, which is starting to look really nice.

Sunday evening we also received a referral from somebody.  It was like a last-minute miracle that we we're able to find an investigator this week. The Lord sure works in mysterious ways.

That was pretty much my week.

I'm sorry I didn't have much to report on this week, but not much happened.  I hope you guys all had a good week back home.  Please stay safe and healthy.  I can't wait to hear from you tomorrow. God bless and keep the faith.

I love y'all.

Elder Connor William Dickinson.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Week 77: Let’s Not Dwell on it

Sounds like you guys had an exciting week back home in Wisconsin. Down here on the southwestern home front we had almost the polar opposite. 

Will be Sending 3 former Companions home soon!

Dinner dropped off for us at the church on P-Day!
( I think I made an impression) :D

On the brighter side, we did have a decent amount of opportunities to take some pictures.

This week really consisted of three things. 

1)  Finding, finding and more finding...with no success.
2)  Zone Conference 
3)  We found one new investigator at 7:30 on Saturday night.  Her name is M__, and she is an elderly Hispanic lady who is catholic, but might be interested in hearing more.

Other than those three things, almost nothing happened this week. That being said, there is not much to add and I don’t want to dwell on the negativity of tons of hard work with no results too much.

Today (Monday) we will be getting together with the entire O__ clan and will be butchering and cooking a pig - Polynesian style – as an early send off for Elder VanSweden.  I’m pretty sure he will be the first missionary to die (finish his mission) in this ward in at least the last five years.  We will be spending the entire day with them and we will have Wi-Fi.  I can’t wait to shoot the breeze with you guys!

Love you, keep the faith.

Elder Connor William Dickinson (a.k.a Elder Tall Companion)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Week 76: And you lose some...

Well this week was flat-out wild –and not in a good way, sadly.  We lost one of our investigators with a baptismal date due to some unforeseen circumstances.  Another investigator got angry at us for no reason and while all this was happening, we were getting very frustrated.

I just want to start by saying that the Lord provides. No matter what you're going through, be it missionary work or making it throughout the workday or finances - the lord always provides. Most of the time, this is contingent on faith.  That being said, while we had a sad week in some cases, we were still able to have 55 Quality Gospel Discussions and find four new investigators.

Monday:  The week started out with a much-needed PDay (day off).  After doing laundry and shopping, we played basketball all day.  A member brought us fresh fruit, which was a very refreshing surprise.  Following basketball, we had dinner with the L__ family. We had a burrito night and then talked with the family and just had a good time.

Tuesday was the day that the stuff hit the fan.  It all started out all fine and dandy.  We got a text from our investigator C___ saying she wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday because she was ill.  She was still sick on Tuesday.  During that time we checked in and asked her if she needed anything every day, Sunday - Tuesday.  Later, she freaked and told us that nobody was there to help, even though we and several ward members had offered to help.  That was the kind of roller-coaster day Tuesday turned out to be.  Along with the drama, we got a lot of good work accomplished.

P-Day Basketball (soon I'll be sending these 3 home)

Wednesday:  Even more stuff hit the fan on Wednesday. The day started off with our weekly District Meeting.  During the meeting, we had Zone training on how more effectively mark the Book of Mormons we hand out to people.  We learned a lot, but it was also kind of different. After the Zone training, we went to In-and-Out Burger with Elders Bangerter and Eldridge.  After that, we went to meet with C__, (a different C__ than the one mentioned above), She had recently took a liking to the Church and wanted to be baptized.  A couple years back she got in a car accident and had some kind of head trauma which makes it really hard for her to comprehend and remember things.  So, we've been meeting with her and she's willing to learn, but she can’t retain information.  So, we ask her simple questions like, “How do you know the Church is true?” and “What is your favorite aspect of the Church?”  We ask a lot of simple questions like that so we get an understanding of how she feels towards the Church and what she likes about it.  Questions like that are all required for a baptismal interview.  That's when she freaked out on us. She no longer wants us to teaching her.  That's sad - but things happen for a reason, I guess.  It wasn’t our fault.

Thursday was also interesting.  While having a good day of contacting people we got a call from a Ward member.  C__ had called the member and complained about how we had called her mentally ill.  We had said no such thing.  The member, not knowing the truth, was upset at us and the whole situation turned into a merry-go-round of hate towards the missionaries = us.  We had to do some damage control.   We even called Mission Present to ask for help.  He said that we were not in the wrong, so no worries there.  He said that we should stop teaching C__ and transition her over to the Sisters Missionaries. 

Friday:  We spent the day doing weekly planning.  Later we had a dinner, then met with V__ and G___ and it went well.  She is excited to continue towards baptism. 

Saturday was quite a day – for different reasons.  Saturday we got to help move somebody in the morning.  Well, it actually turned out to be an all-day move - until 5:00 or so.  After we had loaded up the truck, it turns out the apartment they were moving into was up 5 flights of stairs.  We made well over 50 trips up and down, so my thighs are still on fire! 

Sunday:  We had a good day of church.  As it turns out, as the week finished up, we almost hit the Mission’s “Standard of Excellence.”  We reached all of the qualifications needed, except we needed to have two investigators attend church on Sunday, but we only had one.  Other than that, we had all the other qualifications:  We had over50 QGC's, set two baptismal dates, found four new investigators.   We just missed the standards of excellence which is very hard to get, but that's okay.

I hope you all had a wonderful week to make up for my roller coaster of one, but if there's one thing I've learned - it's everything happens for a reason. Even though we may not know why, God sure does and its all contingent on faith.  We need to rely on our faith to get us almost anywhere.

I love you all and can't wait to hear from you!

Elder C.W. Dickinson

Monday, June 25, 2018

Week 76: A blur

This week really flew by because we were super busy meeting with people.  When we weren't meeting with people we were working on contacting potential investigators or walking around just talking to people.  All-in-all, this week we hit some pretty high numbers we are pretty proud of – so all the work and heat was worth it.  There were a couple of times we were teaching so much that we couldn't get the number of Quality Gospel Discussions (QGDs) required for the day, so we had to work harder the next day.  That was pretty much my week in a nutshell.

Monday: We got to email home and I got to play basketball for the first time in six months.   It was awesome and it was worth all the pain the next morning.  I actually dunked it once, so that was pretty awesome too.  Later that evening we had a dinner appointment with a family and by the time we were done with the dinner we headed home and called it a night.

Tuesday quite honestly, could have been the busiest day of my mission.  We had six lessons.  I don't really remember the details of all of them, but the thing that stood out to me was a lesson we had with lady named C___.  She is an interesting one, but once we realized her intentions were to follow Christ.  So, we invited here to do just that and follow Christ and be baptized.  We showed her the scripture in 2Nephi which says:

10. And He said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

I assured her of how baptism was a commandment and I invited her to be baptized so that she can follow all of Heavenly Father's commandments and follow Jesus Christ and return back to him.  This is the lesson that most stuck out to me on Tuesday.   Being that we were so busy with lessons – we went from air conditioning to air conditioning to more air conditioning so we don't have to worry about the heat too much.

Wednesday, on the other hand, consisted of a lot of finding and talking to people.  We also had exchanges with the APs for just for an hour.  We went out and did some finding people on the streets.  What eventually turned out to be a fun time actually started off as a pretty hostile experience.  First, we were working this apartment complex and a lady stated chewing us out for what she called ‘soliciting,’ but because we are licensed ministers, we are able to do so.  After we finishing talking to her we visited a few people we know who live in that complex.  As we were getting ready to leave and start to get into the AP's van, she was waiting for us there and started claiming that we had lied and how we were trespassing and how we were just being terrible people.  She said she didn’t want to hear anything about God. So, me being me, as we were walking away I said “God bless you.”  While we found that hilarious, she got irate and threatened to call the cops and a bunch of other fun stuff.  So, we sat there talking for 10 minutes discussing the finer points of trespassing and blah, blah, blah.  We were we're defending ourselves and then all these other missionaries showed up to pick up there companions from exchanges.  That just set her off, but luckily by the time we left the cops hadn't showed up yet and the lady was still hard-hearted but it turned out to be a fun experience, lol.  I actually got the chance to show her my ministerial certificate proving that we were able to do what we were doing. So, that felt good.

Thursday:  I can't really remember what we did Thursday.  We mostly did finding and contacting people and we did teach a lesson or two.

Friday was a good day of weekly planning and Elder VanSweden got to do his ‘My Plan’ because he’s going home this coming transfer.   A couple weeks ago we received a referral for a lady named G___.  Friday night we were able to visit G___ and her fiancĂ© V___.  They are wonderful couple in their mid-20s and he played college baseball and basketball.  He is about 6’10” and had hair as long as mine before I had to cut it for my mission.  He is a big boy.   She comes from a Catholic background and V__ grew up being LDS his entire life, but due to college sports he strayed a little bit.  They have a baby on the way but they are super excited to get married and to take the lessons so they can have a temple marriage and to raise a family in the church.  It is something that they both really want.   So hopefully we will be able to invite Grace to be baptized sometime soon and have V__ baptize her.

As for the rest of the week, not much happened. Sunday, V__ and G___ both came to Church. That was about it for these last 2 days. We were able to meet most of our goals this week and we ended up having 52 QGCs!

I'm looking forward to hearing from you all.  I hope you had as good of a week as I did. We stayed really busy. Too bad it's so dang hot, but anyways I can't wait to hear from you all.  I love you.


Elder Connor William

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 

Week 78: New week = New me

This week was a pretty interesting one. Not much really happened on the southwest home front. I've decided to start a diet - kind of l...