Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Week 50: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

It was a wonderful morning. Today will be the hottest Christmas since 2002, at a whopping 78°.

Being that today is Christmas and a PDay...this email is going to be super short!

This week was an interesting one:

Monday:  We spent nearly all of Monday driving Uce (Elder Ikimau) all over to say good-bye to as many people as we could.  We visited Bro. Collingswood and Sis. C__ and a few others.  By the time we were done with that we went home to get all of his luggage for his short trip to the Mission home.  Before we left, Elder Ikimau presented me with his Lava lava and I surprised him with an New Zealand All Blacks Ruby jersey (his favorite professional rugby team) as a gift from my family to him.  I think he really liked.

The Pig Roast we had to send off Elder Ikimau

We dropped Uce off at the mission home at 6:00, and we sent him off in style – with a haka!  Check out the video.  The audio is not very good, so turn it way up and enjoy.  It was a very sacred a special moment for all of us.  It was so awesome and I was very proud, happy and humbled to be part of it.  It was very emotional, because shortly after, we had to say good-bye and he would fly out for Nieu bright and early Tuesday morning.

With all of this happening, I also received my two Christmas packages from home.   I’m so excited to open the presents!

Saying Goodbye to Uce

The trio of tribal ties :D

The Lava Lava / All Black swap with Elder Ikimau

Tuesday:  I spent Monday night at the other Elder’s apartment until my new/old companion could transfer into Midvale.  My new companion turned out to be my old companion.  Elder Lee, my MTC companion and I will be working together in Midvale for probably the next 7 weeks.  By that time, I will have spent the last 6 months in Midvale and the Mission President told me, I would probably be transferring out.

Nice gift from a thoughtful member. :)

It turns out, good-bye wasn’t actually good-bye.  We got a call late Monday night that Uce had forgotten his Go-home suit at our apartment.  So, we woke up super early and we went to our apartment to get his suit then drive to the airport to deliver it to him personally.  It was good to see him before he left the country.  (A go home suit is when a missionary has about 6 months left on his mission.  He picks out the nicest – least worn out - suit he has and has it dry cleaned and puts it away so he can look his best when he walks off the plane and meets his family).  Earlier this month, we had a Stake Conference were young man who just received his mission call to Chile shared his awesome testimony about missionary service.  It just so happens that we ran into him at the airport as he was getting ready to catch a plane to the South American MTC.  It was a cool experience.

Some Uce Swagger

Like I said, with sending off Uce and welcoming Elder Lee and the run up to Christmas, it has been an interesting week 

I am so excited to get to skype with Mom and Dad today! I am so excited to talk to you guys! 

The Tucson Temple Nativity

I promise to share more details about Christmas next week.  Until them, I love y’all,

Elder Dickinson

Monday, December 18, 2017

Week 49: The last week of Uce

Breaking news: Uce killer on the loose
Well, well, well, this week has been a crazy week for sure. We had almost no teaching opportunities.   Did I mention, this week was crazy?

We tried our best to find some people to teach.  Finally, after attempting to contact a media referral four times, we finally got in touch with her and she is interested in learning more.  Hopefully, it will be a family we can teach.  Being we have been so busy, I haven’t been able to absorb everything that has happened. Seriously, this week has just blurred all together.  I won’t be able to encompass every day like normal, but I will share with you the highlights:

Mondays highlight:  Writing home. I don’t think that will ever change, lol.  One fun thing we did was drive out to the Old Mission San Xavier del Bac.  It is an old historic Spanish Catholic mission about 10 miles south of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian Reservation.  It was a really cool place to visit.  I’m glad we took the time to go there.  We only did the ‘self-guided’ walk around tour because as missionaries we couldn’t afford the $20 tour, lol.

Sportin' the Hawaiian shirt in front of the Old Mission San Xavier del Bac

Tuesday’s highlight was seeing sister C___.  Sister C__ and her daughter Sis. P__, gifted us with a box of Russel Stovers’ and $20. I love spending time with her. It usually turns into an hour talking about the Ward and/or sharing stories of our week! She is so sweet. It will be hard to leave her when it is my time to transfer.  Elder Ikimau also worked on his ‘My Plan’ for after he returns home.

The highlight of Wednesday was the Christmas half-mission conference (a conference that half of the mission’s 170 missionaries attend – the other half have their own conference). Here is a funny story, about the conference.  The three of us decided to be the best dressed and wear bow ties.  Needless to say, that didn’t go over well, lol.  We got slightly chastised, but were also complimented for being the best dressed.  The conference was interesting and included a game of Church/missionary Family Feud, which we won!  After that, we were served lunch and did a short training session.  That took up pretty much whole the day, because after that Elder Ikimau went to the temple for his last trip.  So, I was in a trio with Elders Perry and Esplin. That was the highlight of Wednesday.

The highlight of Thursday...hmmm.  We did some referral visiting and Uce (Elder Ikimau) had to finish his ‘My Plan.’ So, that took pretty much most of the day.  We had a dinner appointment with the I__ family. 

Friday’s highlight was dinner with the L__/C___ family. After an awesome family dinner, they gifted us with a popcorn tin and $30, lol.  We pretty much spent all evening telling stories before Elder Ikimau leaves for home. It was a wonderful evening with ‘family’ I have here.

More  pics of  Old Mission San Xavier del Bac

Saturday’s highlight as a BBQ/luau we had planned for Elder Ikimau’s leaving. Bro. O__ and Bro C___ butchered a 160 lbs pig for the luau.  That night they had all kind of Polynesian food like plantains and yams in coconut milk, their version of chop suey over rice and Kula pork. It was an all you can eat pig buffet, including lu. Lu is corned beef in coconut oil wrapped in taro leaf. Man, that stuff is good! Lol.  I told Elder Ikimau I need to marry a poly girl, lol.  He got a huge kick out of that!  That party lasted from 4:00 to 8:00 and it was a blast!  We probably had about 30 people gathered together in one house!

Selfie with the Saint!

Sunday’s highlight definitely happened after church meetings in Sells, AZ.  Some of the members made Indian fry bread and pop overs to eat.  After eating, Sis. M___ sang some O`Odham (native American) songs. Then, to thank them for what they did for Elder Ikimau, we did an impromptu haka for the members.  I still need a little more practice before tomorrow but it went well! It was very impromptu, but they loved It :) My first ever haka!  I messed up but Elder Ikimau said I did amazing for my first time, lol.

Those were just the highlights of my busy week.

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to email you today because in the afternoon we have to visit some people before Elder Ikimau heads off to the mission home.  So, since Mom and Dad won’t be able to email this morning, I’ll for sure be on WIFI from 7:30 your time until whever you guys conk out.  I’m sorry about this, but our day looks something like this:

Crepe party until 1:00 pm
Drive to the apartment
Get all of Elder Ikimau’s stuff packed up
Visit people until 4:30ish
Drop ikimau off at the mission home at 6:00

All with no WIFI.

Oh yeah, here is some transfer news:  Elder Ikimau will be replaced by my MTC companion Elder Lee!

Sorry for any inconveniences with no WIFI, I will try my best!

Good bye and I love you all

Elder Dickinson

Bonus Pictures of the Old Mission San Xavier del Bac Below

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week 48: 897 Miles

Well this week was crazy - crazy good- and just plan crazy, lol.

We drove 897 miles this week...ugh!  At the end of this week, I can honestly say I gave my all. I’m tired, exhausted and all-around just done for the week!

I guess I might as well just start with how my week went:

Monday was a wonderful day with a mix of emailing home, good P-Day volleyball and practicing the haka.  However, the highlight is defiantly emailing home and hearing from my loved ones!

Tuesday, we started our day off with a wonderful foodbank session - unwrapping and restacking the goods.  After the foodbank, we went to the library so Elder Ikimau could do his My Plan program (remember, a program for returning missionaries – so they have a good plan of what they want to do when they come home). While he was doing his My Plan, I worked on family history for a little bit. After two hours of that, we contacted some media and member referrals. No one answered the door, which means no return appointments, but it was all a good experience. After dinner with the B___ family, we had a short lesson with the S___s.  The husband was conveniently absent, so we talked to the wife about faith and invited her to act on it. She’s a massage therapist and her best clients make appointments on Sundays.  If she doesn’t work Sundays she will lose over half of her income. So, it is faith vs. money right now. That would very hard to be in that position.

Pic spoiler alert...there will be more of this next week.... :O

Wednesday was a good day. It started with our District Meeting – but it took some effort. We planned on having our meeting at the church building we always use.  However, when we got there, it was being used for a funeral - so we had to drive a bit north and hold it at a different church building.  After District Meeting, Elder Ikimau and I went out with Grandpa Collingwood (you might know him as Bro. Collingwood – but we call him Grampa, now). We visited over 20 families that day, and had in-depth conversations with most of them.  It was a lot and I mean a lot of driving. The family we had scheduled our dinner appointment with never got back to us to finalize plans, so we worked right through dinner, continuing to visit more families and individuals. I think out of 30 total families we visited, 24 of them opened their doors and talked with us. In the missionary field that high of a percentage is unheard of, lol. We worked until 7:30, that’s when we had a lesson in town with Sis. M___. We talked about a lot stuff with her, but nothing specific.

A majority of the roads we drive on look like this....

Thursday was the day-of-all-days! Usually we would have worked at the Food Bank until 1:00 pm. Instead, we commenced day #2 of contacting as many people on Grampa Collingwood’s list as possible. We worked from 10:00 until 2:30. We contacted 15 more individuals and families. Elder ikimau had his dying interview (his last interview with the Mission President before he goes home in a week) so we had to cut things short with visiting. Surprise!! I had an interview with the President also. It went well! Very well, in fact! Anyways after interviews we took Grandpa and headed out to Sells, AZ for Book of Mormon class we teach - and for the second week in a row, no one showed up, but we came with a Plan B and set up some service opportunities for this coming week.  We drove home and ate at McDonald’s at 9:30 at night.

Brother & Sister Collingwood (WML & Wife)

Friday consisted of weekly planning, weekly planning... and more weekly planning.  We didn’t have a dinner appointment, but one of the sisters in the ward bought us a $60 Olive Garden gift card.  We knew we would not use it all, so we invited our other missionaries. The server who served us said we ate the most bowls of soup he has ever served. Then we all ordered one more bowl each to pad our record!  The four of us each had an entreΓ¨ and 5 bowls of soup. That is 20 bowls in total!  The final bill came to a total of $63. We tipped him $10 bucks for his soup running efforts, lol. 

Saturday was an interesting day. We did service which consisted of weeding the dessert (you might know it as yard work – but without the grass – because – you know – it’s the dessert) and cutting down dead trees. This all took place in Three Points, AZ – a.k.a. the Midlanowhere. We worked there for a huge portion of our day.  After doing service, our dinner appointment for that night was at the Ward Christmas Party, which was an ugly sweater contest. We just went for the food since we live on a missionary budget.  They had soft and hard shell tacos. It was a fun time. They had a wonderful turn out, but not as many as the Halloween luau. But it was a fun time.

Sunday was the best day of the week.  To start we had ward counsel followed by Midvale sacrament. Karen bore her testimony and it was wonderful, it made my day. Its so cool knowing after us elders transfer out of the area, she will be just as strong in the church as the other stalwart members. She is just wonderful in general.  After sacrament meeting, we headed over to Grandpa’s and had breakfast. We had some darn good French toast. After we ate, we were asked to give Sis. Collingwood a blessing (she wasn’t feeling well).  It was a wonderful experience. After that, Elder Ikimau and I headed out to Sells. We had Fast and Testimony meeting there too, and Z___, our 14 year old investigator, shared his testimony for the first time ever. Man, was it something special! There wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation. He was homeless when he was 12 until he turned 14. He has rolled with gangs and seen and done stuff nobody should have to see or do.  That 14 year old non-member stood in front of the congregation and bore one of the sweetest most sincere testimonies I have ever heard! 

Where we meet in Sells, AZ

That is why I’m on my mission - to invite others to come unto Christ and helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring until the end.

I want to thank all of you for your support.

I love yall.

🌡🌴Elder Dickinson🌴🌡

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week47: 11 Months Today!

This week was defiantly a good week.  Teaching wise, we didn’t get a lot got done, but learning wise, it was huge!  "Seek ye first to obtain My word, then seek ye to declare My word"

This week, it was a pleasure to have a General Authority speak to the mission on Thursday! Richard J. Maynes of the 70 came to the mission.  I will highlight that later in this email.

I want to thank you guys for that awesome email you sent this week.  It filled in all the gaps of the stuff I miss most - other than snow.  I am having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit without snow.  Trust me it’s hard.

I did see a lady wearing a Packer jersey today and she filled me in on how the game went, lol.

Anyways, I might as well jump into how my week went, because I guess that’s what I’m here for, right?

Monday we played volleyball in the morning, followed by haka practice and some shopping. After shopping, we went to the library (only for the internet to email, lol) and then home for the night.  The everlasting highlight of Monday(s) is defiantly emailing home. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like every time I write home the time in between P-Days becomes shorter and shorter – or is that’s just me.

Tuesday:  We went to the food bank and worked there for two hours. After that, we went home and made some lunch.  I wasn’t feeling all that well so I took a quick nap.  After that I felt much better.  Later, we had a dinner at Peter Piper Pizza - it’s like Chucky Cheese.  The family we went with had little kids, so the kids played while we ate.  Afterwards, Elder Ikimau lined me up (gave me a haircut).   Now, the top of my hair, which is longer, is black and my short sides are brown, lol.

Thanksgiving Package---Better late than never!

Wednesday we had a wonderful District Meeting on the Church’s Christmas initiative called “Light the World” and we were showed how to present it to members.  It was a pretty cool meeting.  Look Light the World up, it’s on lds.org.  It consists of 25 days of service. There is a short video for each day with different ideas of little acts of service.  After District Meeting we contacted some referrals, who were not home at the time.  I learned that we actually cover three different reservations:  The San Xavier, Pascua Yaqui (pronounced yockey) and the Tahono O'Odham nations.  After contacting the referrals we had dinner on our own.  After dinner we met with C__ and talked about how her job is going and stuff like that, the, we shared some scriptures with her. 

Food Truck Style

My all time FAVORITE Mexican Food... the "sonoran whataburro"
 from pershones food truck (bacron wrapped)

Thursday:  In the morning we went to....drumroll...the food bank, lol!  No, just kidding - we had a Mission Conference where Elder Richard J. Maynes of the 70 came and spoke to our half of the mission.  His wife talked about how angels bless the lives of others - and we (missionaries) are those angels.  I could not help but think of my angel... my mother - and all the lives she saves (as a trauma nurse)... just in different ways than us missionaries πŸ˜‰.   Elder Maynes talked about the Book of Mormon and finding people to teach.  It was a really good training.  He helped me to be able to BETTER understand what I am reading – rather than forgetting what I’ve read 3 pages later.  Does that make sense?  Anyways after the conference, we had to get the oil changed in our truck.  It took forever, but it was fine - not a biggy.  After this we had dinner appointment with the O___s.  We had some awesome big ribeye steaks and baked potatoes with Caesar salad. All of which are my favorite! Did I mention I have quit drinking soda all together?  I have and today is the forth day so far.  I’m just trying to drop a few pounds by eating heathier. (The idea of dropping weight is going to be pretty funny after you read about the Chinese Buffet a little further down, lol)

Quitting soda, had to make the last one "top shelf"

Friday:  We drove to Sells, AZ and played sports and stuff with Z___, then we taught him another lesson.  After that we drove home. Later, we had dinner on our own before we taught a lesson to J__ L__ and A__ Q__.  She recommitted to baptism on the 16th of December. We talked about tithing and fast offerings and committed them to paying tithing.   After meeting with them, we went home, hunkered down and got some rest for the terrible day that was to follow.

Saturday was just a terrible mess – that is the best way to describe it. We picked up another set of Elders who had some service lined up for 10:30 - but the people we were supposed to help move had not given the other Elders an address to meet at.  After 11:00 they finally got a hold of people and they said we should show up at 1:30 and they would be ready for us to help. So we went to get lunch and then were ready to help at 1:30 – but guess what - still no address.  Finally, after some calling around we finally had an address and we were supposed to meet them at 2:30.  We were supposed to meet at a storage place to help these people move their stuff into an apartment.  We got there at 2:30.  The people said they were on their way - like 10 times.   The 19-year old in me said, “This is stupid, let’s just leave.”  but the missionary part of me and the other missionaries decided we would wait until they showed up. Needless to say, they finally showed 2 hours later. So, we finally got the unit open and started moving stuff out – then after seeing all of the stuff that had to be moved, they decided they needed a u-haul truck.  After an hour of us sitting on their couches and watching their stuff we had already moved out of the unit, they finally arrived with the truck.  However, the rental unit place closed at 7:00 so we had to just chuck all of their stuff in the truck in a hurry, then move it into their apartment.  Needless to say, it took forever, ugh!  It makes me so upset just thinking about it, but it did teach me that planning is essential for success. After this we had time to eat quickly after not eating all day. We chose a cheap Chinese buffet and we destroyed the place!  I ate 110 shrimp, 20 pieces of sushi and crab rangoons, and a whole plate of ice cream for desert, lol.  (What can I say, it was my only mean of the day – you got to make it count. Lol)

First Christmas away from home tree!

Ending the post with a pic of a great friend, Elder Ikimu

Sunday was a good day.  We had my first Stake Conference on my mission.  The theme of the talks was missionary work.  After Conference, we made some stop-by visits.  Later we had Ward Correlation Meeting.  And that was a wrap for the week.

I hope y’all had a wonderful week and maybe learned something from my misfortunes. If not, sorry.  Jesus loves you, so there, lol.

Any who,


       πŸŒ΅πŸŒ΄Elder Dickinson🌴🌡 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Week 46: What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for? 

Here is a short list of the things I’m thankful for:  My Parents, my late dog, my family (and family in general), learning opportunities, the Church and the Book of Mormon.

I am indeed grateful to be serving a mission also.  Why?  So far, it has been tough being away from home, family and various other activates - especially during the holidays.  I am grateful for the spiritual growth and maturing that come from serving a mission.  I must also say, while I miss all of the stuff back home, I know I am where I need to be.  In just a short couple days, I will only have a year left before I return home - in early December of next yearπŸ˜‰.  Oh, how time has flown by. Right?

Anyways, this week has been a good one; whether it was Thanksgiving Day spent with Bishop and his family, or being thoroughly humbled by being able to serve others this week.

That being said, here is what my week looked like:

Monday was a wonderful, even though we didn’t do much.  I got to write home!  That is and will always be the highlight of Mondays - hands down!  While we are not too sure of our plans for this Monday, I am looking forward to hearing from all of you!  If you are reading this, shoot me an email at connor.dickinson@myldsmail.net, I’d love to hear from you – yes YOU!

Tuesday was hectic!  We ended up putting together 1,200 boxes of food at the food bank, instead of our usual 530 boxes.  This being the week of Thanksgiving, it was really busy!  They were taking the boxes we put together right out of our hands as soon as we filled them up, turned around and handed them to people in need  I was blessed to be a part of the workers on that day.  It was a special opportunity.  Sadly, I got stuck on juice duty.  I had to add a 3lb bottle of juice to each box during the whole time we were at the food bank.  If you do the math, one 3lb bottle of juice per box X 1,200 boxes = 1.8 tons of juice!  After the food bank, we headed out to contact some referrals.  We’ve been busy lately and the referrals we receive have been piling up.  We had seven referrals and we visited all of them - without one bit of luck.  Oh well, time will tell if our visits will come to anything – and we can always try again later.  That night, we had dinner with the C___ family. They are a very nice, young family.  They had a super cool bathroom with a Roman walk-in shower/tub thingy.  It was a very cool idea (from a construction management point of view).  After dinner, we stopped by K___ to check in with her, but she wasn’t home.  As we were leaving, she pulled into her driveway.  She had a rough day and was just glad to have someone to talk to.  God works in mysterious ways. I was glad we were able to stop by her place and help, even if it was something simple, like listening to her.

They love their fires here in AZ!

Wednesday was a good day.  We had our District Meeting at the Los Reales Ward Building, here in Tucson.  We learned about teaching the commandments.  After the District Meeting we went out to eat at a Chinese buffet and almost ate ourselves to sleep.   After that, we did some stop-by visits with some active church members.  Later, we had dinner with the B__ family.  We had chicken, potatoes and broccoli – it was a great dinner!  After that, we had a lesson with a relatively recent convert.  We talked to her for a little bit and then that was a wrap for the day.

Turkey Day:  Gobble gobble, lol.  As far as I am concerned, Thanksgiving was an awesome day!  It started off as a normal day until linner (you know, the meal between lunch and dinner = linner).  We went over to Bishop’s house at 3:00 for linner and we ate an amazing Thanksgiving dinner.  The best part was the candied yams and green beans.  Man, I am excited to be home for Thanksgiving (2019, sigh) and eat those awesome green beans Mom makes!  After eating dinner, we played tetherball, had nerf wars and later played table tennis.  After all of this we headed home with a ton of food they boxed up for us.  We made it home and felt like we were going to die from how much we ate.  I did miss being with family, huntin’ ‘up nort’ (No, that’s not a type-o, that’s how they say it in Wisconsin. Yeah, it’s weird - if you’re not from there) – but that’s OK, because I have the rest of my life for that kind of stuff.  Man, it was the hottest Thanksgiving I have ever seen. We have been breaking all kinds of temperature records lately. This was the first time I have ever had a 94 degree Thanksgiving, lol.


Post Thanksgiving Linner Smiles

Best way to work off linner....NERF WAR!

Thats some serious competition!

Leftovers! Thank you!

Friday was an interesting day - for sure!  First, we did our weekly planning while we recovered from the day before. You would have thought we were hungover... nope just coming out of a food coma, lol.  It was rough!  After planning, Elder Ikimau and I were invited to go to a fireside in Topawa, AZ.  Part of the O'Odham (the native American tribe on the reservation we serve) culture is you can only tell stories in the winter. So now that it had been cooling down, (call it winter if you want to, but 94 degrees…not in Wisconsin, lol) after sunset, they can tell their folklore.  They shared a story about the Great Flood - it was comparable to the Noah’s Arc story.  After they shared their story, Elder Ikimau shared a story form his Niuean tribal lore.  It defiantly was special in the fact that it was like a family reunion, where nobody has ever meet before.  It was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve experienced.  After sharing his story Elder Ikimau did a 'haka,' the war dance they do before well...war.  It is a sacred dance. He is teaching me and one other elder in the district the haka, so we can send him off next month when he goes home.  I can’t wait!   It is going to be awesome.  I will have someone record it when the time comes.  That being said, he has given every one of his companions a lava-lava (look it up). Well, me being his dying (last) companion, I will be receiving the lava-lava his mother gave him, the one his mother wore to school in Fiji, the one he used his whole mission and the one he wore growing up.  I am so honored to accept it!  We have grown close over the last couple of weeks.

Saturday was a very humbling day for me.  It was a normal day until about 3 o’clock when Bro. Collingwood drove us to Sells to help a family named the D__s, on the reservation.  Sis. D__ is from a tribe in North Carolina and her mother is sick, so she is in N.C. taking care of her.  Sis. D__’s husband is 60 and has been suffering from Parkinson’s since he was 40.  It came on really fast. They were a normal family until one day they were playing volleyball and he had a stroke, which basically activated his Parkinson’s.  He has had batteries placed in his chest with a wire running to his brain, which has helped stop the shaking.  He can no longer stand, eat or get into bed alone. He can hardly talk or do anything.  It’s extremely sad. I was HONORED to be able to help watch over him for that night.  We spent the night with him since he was basically alone all day.  So, we had a tender mercy of watching football with him and talking with him for the night.  We later help put him into bed and got everything situated for him and for the person who would be there to help in the morning.  This was all super humbling for me!  It made me wonder why we complain about what we have or don’t have?  Things we have to do – No – make that things we GET to do.  Don’t take what you have or what you do for granted because it can all change in the blink of an eye! 
I know I have been guilty of this and will probably be again.  It was such a humbling experience.

Sells also has more than its fair share of crime.  There were two shootings in Sells while we were there, which resulted in one death. There was a big gang fight…with knives and guns...the Crips from L.A. are really strong and active out there right now.

This happened across the street from my apartment!

Anyways, Sunday was a long day for me. It included me doing the following:

-          Attending Ward Council Meeting (Midvale Ward)
-          Giving the Opening Prayer (Midvale Ward Sacrament Meeting)
-          Blessing the Sacrament  (Midvale Ward)
-          Driving to and from Sells, AZ. (150 miles round trip)
-          Blessing the sacrament (Sells Branch)
-          Giving a Spur of the moment Sacrament Meeting talk on charity (Sells Branch)
-          Eating only one meal all day
-          The saving of souls (aka missionary work)...Priceless

It was all worth it but I was wiped out.

I hope all of y’all’s week was as good and fruitful as mine was.

I sure do love y’all!

🌡Elder Connor William Dickinson🌡 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Week 45: 10 Dollars πŸ˜€πŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ

This week I learned a valuable lesson that I would like to share with everyone. It is not a call to repentance or anything like that, lol.  The experience I had goes as follows:

Imagine you have a bank account with $86,400 in it.  Sadly, someone steals $10 of your money.  Now, would you be so upset over $10 being stolen that you would throw away the remaining $86,390 balance – just to get back at the person who stole the $10?  Or, would you forget the $10 and move on with your life? 

You see, we all have 86,400 seconds in a day.  When somebody does or says something that makes you upset,  don’t let that 10 seconds of negativity make you so mad, sad or upset (all of which are selfish emotions) that you let it ruin your entire day.

Approaching negative situations like this has allowed me to just relax and not sweat the small stuff.  It’s only been a week since I adopted this outlook, but I have been much happier.   If someone does or says something that might upset me, I just remind myself...”It’s only 10 seconds, don’t throw away the whole day - just throw out the 10 seconds of negativity!”  I hope you all were able to take something from this. Maybe - maybe not, lol, but it hit me hard. 😊

I hope you all have had a wonderful week!  After sharing my $10 story, I might as well hop right into my week:

Magnificent Monday

Monday = emails from home! :)  Need I say more?  I only have a month until I will be able to skype home!!!!! Time is flying by.  However, I’m not going to lie, not being able to hunt this year has made me so... so... so bummed -  but hey, $10 right? Anyways, that was my Monday!

Transfer Tuesday

We had transfers on Tuesday.  Even though we were not affected, we had to give the bike Elders a ride to the transfer site (not every set of Elders has a car – we’re lucky!)   After getting everything taken care of, we were able to go shopping for the coming week.  Luckily, I haven’t had to buy much recently.  I will start using my cook book that you guys sent in my last package at the beginning of December!  Later Tuesday evening we had dinner with the C___ family.  Man, I sure do love bananas in Jell-O for some reason, lol.

Whumpday Wednesday (the W is silent)

Wednesday was a great day!  We were able to attend our weekly District Meeting down in Sahaurita, AZ.  After the District Meeting we taught a lesson to A__ out in Three Points. We were planning on setting a baptismal date with her and two of her girls, but we got distracted. Well, they got distracted, we didn’t.  It turned out they had completely run out of fresh water. They had literally just run out!  So, we put their 55 gallon barrel in the back of our truck and asked some members in town to help fill the tank- with no success.  So, we then went the fire station.  The lady at the front desk said the Fire Chief would not let us fill the tank there.  Right after she said that, the Fire Chief came out of his office and said because we were missionaries - of course he could help out.  It turns out his wife is a less active member and he was more than willing to help.   It was so nice and he restored our faith in humanity - if you ask me.

The blessings I received on Wednesday was not because of us helping out.  The blessing was my realizing back home, how could I possibly complain about not having something?  They did not even have drinking water and here I was complaining about not having the latest (insert gadget here).  This week was full of life lessons! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

Tall Thursday (tall - as in long)

Thursday was a pretty good day; we had some lessons planned that ended up being cancelled – but that’s just a part of missionary life.  That being said - we had some library time followed by our Book of Mormon class in Sells, AZ.  So, that made for a late night McDonalds trip for diner.

Fun-day Friday

Friday was a special day that I will remember for a while.  We were able to go out to Sells with another set of missionaries and play basketball with our investigator  Z__ , who is14. We played at the Sells Rec Center.  I was one of only two white people in the building – it was a blast!  We played basketball with him and his buddies for two hours. We have become good friends with both Z__ and his cousin, who he lives with.  His cousin appreciates that we keep Z__ out of trouble.  However, after balling, we taught the 3rd lesson and committed him to be baptized.  He is super excited! We didn’t have to pick a date, because he wants it to be on his late mother’s birthday, but who knows if that will happen.  Being that we were so far south in Topawa, we decided to go see the border – four miles away.  Oddly enough, we saw mile marker 0 and kept going...then we hit mile market 1, then 2 , and then we were stopped by the Border Patrol.  It turns out we were already in Mexico...whoops, lol!   The Border Patrol Agents saw that we were missionaries and the said just please turn around, lol.  It was quite the adventure!  There was no reason to take pictures, because if we were able to cross the border without knowing it, you can understand there was no way to tell where the boarder was.  It looked, smelled and felt the same, lol.  After that adventure we had dinner with Sister D___ and her family.

Sad Saturday

Saturday we had more lessons ‘magically’ fall through.  However, there was a cool member who needed help moving, so we helped move them almost all day.  It was sad because all the church members and family who were helping out started leaving until it was just us helping.  We moved and moved and moved until late afternoon.  After that, we visited with Sis. C___ and then went to a dinner appointment with a recent convert. She took us to El Nindito, a very famous restaurant down here.  It was darn good Mexican food!  In 1992, then President Bill Clinton ate there and sadly we were seated in the same booth he ate in.  At least the food was good πŸ˜‰

Super Sunday

Sunday was a typical Sunday for the Midvale ward. The only difference was Sis. Collingwood made some banging pumpkin pancakes, lol.

A typical Sunday in Sells, AZ
(this is our whole branch)

All-in-all, I learned a lot this week.  I hope to hear from y’all,  I love you! 

If you are reading this, email me at  connor.dickinson@myldsmail.net.


🌡🌴Elder Dickinson🌴🌡 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Week 44: Transfer News

We got our transfer calls Saturday night and take a guess at what happened! You’ll never guess... well, actually nothing happened.  Elder Ikimau and I are staying in Midvale!  I’m pumped that I get to kill him (be his last companion before he goes home) in this area.  So, unless they white wash this area (transfer us both out at the same time and bring in two new Elders), which they probably won’t, I’ll be locked in for at least two more transfer!!!!

I’m so excited to be in Midvale for at least another two transfers!  I love this ward so much. The people are awesome. 

Monday was good in the fact that I got to email everyone - but it was not very awesome at the same time, because we had a lot of trouble with our email server not cooperating.  Hopefully, it will work a lot better today because I’m excited to just email back and forth all day.  I’d love to hear from everyone – if you are reading this – send me an email at connor.dickinson@myldsmail.net.

To be honest...the rest of this week was not all that eventful.  There was a lot of time spent driving.  And to make it worse, I didn’t take any pictures - so I am apologizing in advance.

Tuesday started with service at the food bank.  I love working at foodbank, partially because of the tender mercy of music.  Music makes working there pretty darn enjoyable.  After the food bank we drove home, dropped the other Elders off and decided to do some stop-by visits until dinner.   Our dinner appointment was with the B__ family.  We had a great time.  We had tri-tip steak and twice baked potatoes and man, was it good!   After some conversation, we shared a Thanksgiving message and scripture.  Then, we headed home for the night.

Wednesday:  We had our weekly District Meeting in Sahaurita, AZ.  It was Elder Stephenson’s last district meeting before he dies (the end of his mission) and  returns home in a few days.  He’s a great guy and a great friend, he will be missed.  We held his funeral after District Meeting, lol.  After the drive home we had a few referrals to contact with no luck (as usual).  After that we went on splits with the Valencia Elders.  Elder Ikimau went with Elder Perry.  They went to a dinner appointment and taught a lesson.  Elder Ranson and I went to the S___s’ for a lesson...but they cancelled, so we went to the park and did some basketball tracting.  We met a guy named M__.  He wasn’t really interested, but said that we could come by.  Too bad he is in Valencia Elders’ area.   We had a fun night playing basketball at the park, but it was super sketchy because it was in south Tucson - where if you don’t hear police sirens something is wrong!  There is a murder just about every day along with robberies, drive-shootings and stuff like that.  It’s like a little Los Angeles, lol.

Thursday was a pretty good day.  We did service at the food bank again. We ran boxes the whole time.  After finishing at the food bank, we went to Lin’s Grand Buffet for lunch.  It was a Chinese buffet and man, I smashed that thing.  They had some awesome boiled crawfish that were so good! After the buffet we went on splits again. Elder Perry and I drove to Sells and Three Points and Elder Ranson and Ikimau went and taught a lesson to A__ Q__.  Both went very, very good! Lot of driving though. That was pretty much Thursday.

Friday:  We did our weekly planning for the first part of the day and the night was interesting.  We drove to Sells again.  Actually, we went to Topawa, AZ, which is actually 20 miles south of Sells and taught Z__ at his uncle’s house.  It went well, but there is still quite a bit of work to do with him.  We taught that lesson 4 miles from the Mexican border.  It was pretty cool, but kind of eerie feeling because the Border Patroll is everywhere and on the way home we passed some illegals and the house where teaching the lession had been broken into last week. We played basketball before our lesson and after the lesion we had dinner. We ate menudo.  It was pretty good, but was by far the weirdest thing I’ve eaten, so far.  Menudo is tripe (cow stomach) and hominy (corn soaked in lye).  It was pretty good, but had a weird texture. Then, we spent part of the long drive home dodging cows on the highway - in the dark, lol.

Saturday:  We made some stop- by visits.  While doing that, we stopped by K__’s house and gave her a triple combination set of scriptures.  She loved the gift.  After visiting with her, we stopped in to visit Sis. C__.  She is the best - such a sweet spirit!  Also, Wisconsin won their game!  So, it was a darn good day! Later, we had a dinner appointment with the C__ family.  We had steak and potatoes - and a lot of it!  I was a happy man!  Then, once we got home, we got transfer calls and nothing changed.  

Sunday was a typical Sunday in this area – Missionary Work from dusk ‘til dawn. I was exhausted.

As a missionary we often leave a spiritual message with our families or stop bys. This month we have been sharing a message of gratitude because of Thanksgiving. However, I wanted to share my favorite message that I like to leave with members, it is called: Only 10 Dollars and can be found here:

I hope you enjoy it.

I love you guys so much!   Keep the faith!


🌴🌡πŸ”₯Elder Dickinson πŸ”₯🌡🌴

Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 43: Week something or other...

This week ended up being a pretty decent one.  I don’t have any complaints, so that’s a plus, right?

Monday we just chilled until we went shopping and then headed in for the night.  Of course, I enjoyed emailing you guys. It was good to hear from you and thanks for all of the support you sent my way.  Some people think only family can email me – not true.  Feel free to email me at connor.dickinson@myldsmail.net.  I’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday:  We went to Sis. W___’s house to do some service for her.  We weeded her whole yard!  I think at some point before I left for my mission, Dad said something about me not having to mow any lawns – because of the lack of grass - but weeding gravel yards is WAY worse, by far, lol.  Later in the day, we did some stop-by visits and then had a dinner appointment with the R___ family.  She made some killer fried tacos and Uce (Elder Ikimau’s nick name) and I ate 13 each. Needless to say, being fried you can guess what happened at 3:30 a.m.  My stomach absolutely rejects grease, so right back up it they came, lol.  Probably TMI, right?  But it happened, lol.

Halloween = Temple trip

I love the Tucson temple!

Wednesday:  We headed off to our District Meeting, which was decent.  Afterwards, we drove home, ate lunch and visited Sis. C__.  She is such a sweetheart!  After that, we went to the library so Elder Ikimau could work on his ‘My Plan’ (it is a church program for missionaries to complete before they go home.  It helps them plan for their future after their missions) and then we ate dinner at home and then did some finding for the rest of the night.  The finding was very uneventful, as it almost always is – but it is what it is.

Thursday we worked at the foodbank until about 1:00.   We got a lot of boxes done but there were less people there than usual, so it took little longer but we got all of our work done! After the foodbank we worked with Bro. Collingwood contacting less active members – all day long.   He has a spreadsheet with all types of info on each inactive person in the Ward (500+). Yes, with that many less actives, it seems like a never ending task.  It was fun and we get to meet some really nice people – they’re just not active.  Later that night, we had dinner with the O__ family.  We had some awesome Polynesian fare followed by toasting marshmallows and learning more about each other.  Its simple times like this that I enjoy the most on my mission.  There are people down here that aren't just people I serve, they have become family.   The O__s and Bro, Collingwood are the ones from the Midvale ward so far.  Man, I sure do love them

Friday:  We did our weekly planning and had a dinner appointment with Sis.G___.  She made us some killer chili!  It was very good, but so hot that I burnt my tongue badly, which has made for a couple rough days (eating wise, of course). 

Saturday:  We got to do some service for Sis. S__. We cleaned up her yard.  This time I was on tree duty and found out I have a knack for trimming trees. Oddly enough, right?   It was fun and what was once was kind of ugly now looks beautiful!  She thought I was like a uber talented tree trimer .  I just think I got lucky, ha-ha.  That took up most of the day and then we went out with Bro. Collingwood and visited a ton more people - then it was time for dinner so we went home  and I got my hair cut........ and dyed ………black, lol. 

Rainbow = = RAIN! :O

It looks surprisingly good and people love it!  I don’t know why.  Personally, it’s growing on me, but once my hair grows out I won’t do it again lol. Now, I really look like Clark Kent when I wear my glasses, lol.  πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I was thinking about purposely leaving that out of the email, but it’s not a big deal, lol.

Sunday:  I freaked out when I looked in the mirror because I had forgotten my hair had been dyed the night before, hahahaha.  This Sunday we didn’t have our regular meetings, but instead, we had a regional broadcast.  The Stakes all met together in their respective buildings to watch it.  It was interesting.  Fun fact:  If I counted right, Tucson has twice as many Stakes as all of Wisconsin.  Crazy, right?!  After the meeting, we stop and visited with K__ and then we went to Bro. Collingwood’s for dinner. After that it was back to the church for a Ward Correlation Meeting, where we talked about the needs of the ward.

Such a beautiful temple!

I’m sorry if this email might seem bland, but that was just the perfect way to describe my week - other than Saturday night, lol.

I hope y’all had a good week. I Love you and can’t wait to hear from everybody.


Elder Dickinson 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 42: The Preciousness of Life

This week has been wild - in both good ways and bad.  This week has really opened my eyes to how precious life really is.  Not only how precious it is, but how life is too short to be upset.  I’ve come to the realization of how often our prayers are answered and we never know when or how.  For example: praying for safety on a trip home - I will go into more detail about that later on in this email.

Like I said before, this week was hectic. It all started on Monday – well, technically it started after Monday, because for me, Mondays are like Christmas to a little child. I literally can’t wait to hit send on my email to hear back from all of y’all. Mondays just downright get me through the week!

Tuesday:  We meet K__ for her baptismal interview, which she passed with flying colors! After her interview, we did some stop-by visits, including Sis. C__.  She’s the best, and I love her to death.  We visited for an hour or so until we had to head off to dinner.   We ended up eating on our own because we didn’t have a dinner appointment.  I made poor man’s curry. Dad would probably be insulted, lol.  It was just chicken and potatoes over rice mixed with curry powder. But it was all we had, lol.  After dinner, we meet with K__ at a church member’s house. It was a good lesson.

Wednesday was a blast! We had our Zone Conference.  We talked about a lot of stuff, but one thing in particular stuck out to me was about making the time you have left in your mission count, rather than counting the time you have left in your mission.  After this we had dinner with the Relief Society.  They had an activity called “Truth or Treat.’  We had to go to a lesson so we could only stay for the food part - impeccable timing, right?  We then sped off to our next lesson with A__ and J__.  We were able to set a baptismal date on November 25th and a date for their wedding.  We are so excited to work with her, but it will take some work.

Thursday: We headed off to foodbank where we pre-opened stuff for 2 hours! After the food bank, we headed to Bro. Collingwood’s house and he drove us out to Three Points to visit people.  We stopped by and visited around 15 people.  I was basically Home Teaching, but we managed to generate two more teaching appointments for this week, which we hope will result in the setting of more baptismal dates!!!  It should be pretty interesting to see how it will all work out.  After this, we headed to Sells for our Book of Mormon class, which no one showed up for.  So, we visited people and invited them to come to church. It worked, because we had about 5x as many people come to church on Sunday!

Friday:  We had interviews with the Mission President and did our weekly planning. That was pretty much it for Friday. I did buy a new blanket, and I love it because the nights here are starting to get chilly.

Saturday:  I was running on no sleep (because I wasn’t used to my new blanket) we woke up at 5:00 am, picked up Bro. Collingwood and headed to Sells where we had a service project.  We poured a cement wheelchair ramp for someone. 

When it was complete it worked out well and it looked amazing!  And, I got to practice my construction skills. After this, we drove an hour and half to get to the church where it was time to FTF...fill the font, lol.  K__ was baptized on Saturday and I got the honor of preforming her baptism.  She is so happy and she said she will never forget or regret her decision. Those words were worth all of the trials an tribulation on my entire mission. After her baptism she had so many people welcoming her - she fits in so well.

Such a happy smile!

Sunday was a day to remember – for both good and bad.  We had a great Sacrament Meeting in Tucson (it was the Midvale Ward’s Conference). I fasted all day until dinner, so that turned out to be a defiantly a blessing. Bro. Collingwood drove us out to Sells, AZ and had sacrament out there, a lot of people showed up and it was a grand ole time. We were hurrying home to pick up my package from Mon and Dad from the front office of our apartment complex before it closed at 5:00.  However, we got stopped by the Border Patrol and Elder Ikimau forgot his passport. So, we were pulled over for 20 minutes while things got sorted out.  I wasn’t sure we were going to make it home by 5:00, so I suggested a different route to get home quicker (keep in mind, Bro. Collingwood was driving).  We ended up not taking the new route I suggested and at an intersection we were T-boned by a car that didn’t stop at the stop sign and turned into us. We were going about 55 mph at the time. It all happened so fast, I honestly don’t remember a lot, but thank goodness for Bro. Collingwood’s driving, because if he hadn’t done what he did, our vehicle would have defiantly rolled numerous times.  There was some damage done to Bro. Collingwood’s car that will have to be fixed and the other car was totaled.  Me being so tall and being in a small car I was in the back seat, leaning forward towards the center of the car and I hit my head on the window. To be honest, I was surprised it didn’t break. I have a nice goose egg on my head and I was slightly concussed and I wasn’t even sitting on the impact side.  It all happened so fast - everything was super confusing, but all-in-all we are all OK and resting. I do however feel like I got hit by a Mac truck. My neck down to my back is sore and of course my noggin.

Poor Bro. Collingwood! :(

So, this week I’ve learned life is precious. I’ve learned: When you pray for safe travel and you make it where you are going safely -be thankful!  I believe if I had been driving, I would not have reacted the same as Bro. Collingwood - because of his years of experience.  Or, if we would have been hit by a larger vehicle like a truck, we wouldn’t be here to tell the story. A Good Samaritan driving behind us that saw the whole thing and said it was gut-wrenching to watch, but yet we were all alright!  It was a miracle! I want to testify of divine happenings today. We had the Lord on our side, we were lucky to escape with little or no injuries. Life is too short and precious to be unhappy. So, smile and put one foot in front of the other and keep on trucking. Life can always be way worse than it seems. When it’s raining, don’t worry about getting wet, look for the rainbow and learn to dance in the rain. Life is beautiful. Enjoy what we have because evert day is a gift.

I love you guys so much!  Please email.

Elder 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....