Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Week 4: Intro to "New Mexican" Food

Well, week one in my first area is in the books. It's been a blast! So far, we have only taught 2 lessons but only because our area is 99% reactivation, which I'm fine with, but it's hard because our area is so spread out.  In the last five days, we have driven 500 miles.

This week has been a lot to take in. Busy busy busy, that's for sure. We have one family that lives in Hachita, NM, which is waaaayyyy out of the way, but they are on vacation now.  They own a massive ranch in the middle of nowhere. It is a 200 mile round trip.  It's tough getting out there.

Elder Degrange & I
Who is the tallest??? 

It’s a family of five that wants to get baptized. So, now we wait for them to get back so we can continue to teach them. Other than that, there is honestly not much to report on.

On Friday night, we had dinner with the M______s, they are honestly the nicest people I know. They have so little but yet they give so much. I already love them.  They are amazing people. After dinner, I felt the need to share a scripture with them instead of a giving a lesson. The scripture I chose to share was D&C 121:7-8...

7.  My son, peace be unto they soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

8.  And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

Little did we know Sister M_____ had just beat cancer she had been battling for 2 years. Brother M_____ broke down and told us how awesome it was that we were fellowshipping them and shown them love. He said he could feel the love just by us being there and talking to them. It was an amazing.

Saturday, we did service for the P_____s. They live in a trailer right now, but we are helping to build their adobe house. Everyone here is so nice and hospitable. Before my mission, I told myself that I would eat anything that was put in front of me. Well, I actually love peppers onions now! I'll even eat broccoli and whatever kind of fruit you put in front of me.  I don't know what happened, but I'll legitimately eat anything, lol. Did you know that spam is an amazing thing, lol. Oh, the missionary life :).

Building an adobe house

Last night we drove to Safford, AZ, in the Gila Valley, about 150 miles from Lordsburg.  We stayed in the local missionary's apartment.  Today, for P-Day, we will be doing our shopping and laundry in Safford, then playing basketball with about 30 to 40 elders and sisters at the stake center.  It should be a blast.

No need to worry about us, we get fed at least twice a day - sometimes 3 or 4 times. We are well taken care off.
On Saturday, for breakfast we had drowned eggs...look it up, they are good J.  For lunch, we had Peruvian spaghetti, the sauce is actually made from carrots and it was amazing. For dessert, we had lechma fruit with cinnamon and condensed milk, which was also awesome. After that we had linner (between lunch and dinner) and ate at a member owed cafĂ©.  I had a green chili burger that was exceptional. Apparently green chilies are a big thing here they eat them on almost everything.

For some reason, it is hard to email pictures, so I will have to email them separately. I will send pictures in the next email. I hope all is going good at home. I hope work is going well.  Hey Dad, do you know an Elder Bart Merrell? He served in Japan, Sapporo Mission about the same time you did.

I want to challenge you guys to start reading the book of Mormon. I have seen the blessing that it brings to people’s lives and their families. I love you guys so much.

A couple members of the ward work for the border patrol.  They always wave to us when we are driving. Everyone knows the missionaries, lol.

Our district meetings are once a month in Duncan, AZ, about 45 miles from Lordsburg. The meetings are once a month, usually on Wednesdays, so on P-Days we do exchanges and reunite on Wednesday, so tonight I am headed up to Cliffton.

I love it out here in the boonies, there is literally no one out here. Someday, when I get enough money, me and Pops need to own a ranch down here. It’s so beautiful. We’ll hire a ranch manager so we don't have to do anything. That would be the life.

Sunset over the mountains
Love you all! 

Elder Dickinson

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 3: Hello! From....New Mexico?

Well, hello!  I can only email you guys once today, but I just want to let you know that I am got to my new apartment and am safe!

We flew into Tucson on Monday and I spent a few days at the Tucson Mission Home.  I love Tucson, the mission home was nice. 

My first area is none other than Lordsburg, New Mexico, 175 miles west of Tucson.  My area actually covers three towns: Lordsburg, Animus and Rodeo. Lordsburg is the biggest of the three with about 2,700 people, just over the New Mexico border, in the middle of nowhere! It used to be a thriving metropolis, but now every fifth home is abandoned or has been torn down. There is decent sized meth epidemic here, but other than that the people here are super nice and charitable. The Lordsburg ward size of about 50 max. I would guess about 90% of the members are elderly couples.

Both Animas and Rodeo are super small towns about 30 minutes to an hour away. The people that live here tend to be poor, but they give the most, which I find truly amazing.
The Animas Ward has about 30 people in it and they meet in Cotton City. The people there are awesome. 

We are staying in Rodeo next Sunday their ward meets in a convention hall with a branch of about 30 as well.

All three towns are in the middle of nowhere, which means there is no place to shop, no dry cleaning, or places to eat. So, it's hard, but it's amazing at the same time. And it’s all ways its always super windy here.

Where I am currently serving, we will be doing a lot of service, like putting up fences, digging trenches, and believe it or not, castrating and branding cows come spring time. So, needless to say I'm going to need my boots.  We also work on doing a lot of reactivation. We have only taught one lesson, which went good, but our investigator seemed confused, lol.

My area has a truck, a 2016 Toyota Tacoma. Because our area is so spread out, we drive like 750 miles every 5 days.  I’ll be doing all of the driving for my first couple transfers, only because my companion can't drive because of speeding, lol.
My companion’s name is Elder Degrange. He's super nice and is the same height as me.  He is awesome, and is from Utah. Shocker, huh?  He looks like Dad when Dad was in high school, lol.
Mission Truck & Chapel

Nothing changed this week other than we have exchanges for the first part of this week. I am able to go north to Clifton to do service work so that should be exciting.

I love you guys so, so, so, so, so, much. I have kind of started to miss you guys but I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing. So, it makes it a little easier. Gordon B. Hinckley once said "forget yourself and get to work.

Love Elder Dickinson 

P.S. These pictures were taken overlooking the Tucson sunset.  I'll email more in-depth on P-Day love you guys

Tucson at Sunset

Its beautiful here...

My current address is (If you send me anything I would suggest requesting a signature on receipt so they hold any packages at the post office for me, we do not stay at our apartment that often):

Elder Connor Dickinson
501 De Moss street apt 8
Lordsburg NM 88045

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Week 2: MTC Life

It's been a long week at the MTC.  I have good news and bad news. Bad news first:  I only have a week left here at 'Heaven on Earth.' The good news: I will be welcomed to 70-degree weather from here on out! I can’t wait for that! The

Tuesday night devotional was defiantly an awesome experience! It was broadcasted to all 14 MTCs throughout the world. Neil L. Andersen was the presiding general authority. I was sitting in the second row and was on camera a lot (apparently). Even better, after the devotional, when he walked out, I got to shake his hand!!! It was awesome!

This week has just flown by. The food here is just alright. I am trying not to gain weight (a.k.a. MTC 15, lol). Our TRC investigators are paid investigators the MTC hires for us to practice on.  Some are now members and some are not. It seems like Elder Lee and I were paired with our TRC investigator for a reason. They both have been to or lived in Thermopolis, Wyoming!  I thought this was awesome. We extended invitations to be baptized just to find out they were already members, but it was still a great experience for practice.

Quick note of importance:  I need a charger for my camera battery and my driver’s license.  If needed, please express ship.  I need it before Monday the 23rd to fly to Tucson.  I asked if my temporary license would work and I was told it would NOT work.  So, my new license needs to get here ASAP. Thanks in advance!

Our days are just a blur because we spend 8 hours studying and 8 hours in the class room. It's brutal but, it is amazing. It's awesome to feel the spirit all of the time. I had a humbling experience the other day, I met an Elder with cerebral palsy. It all started when he asked where I was going to school. I took the time to talk to him and to get to know him a little. After talking about school for a while I noticed his CTR ring was the same as mine. We kept talking more… turns out his name is Connor too. We kept talking and he spells his name the same as mine. Only difference is his last name was Davidson.  As the facts kept linking up, you could just see the smile grow on his face. He kept saying how this day was just getting better and better. He said, although he has only known me for 10 minutes it felt like we were brothers. He's an awesome young man with a strong testimony. He wanted to take a picture together and exchange emails. I'm just glad that I could take ten minutes out of my day to make his that much better. Not only that, but, we both gained a lifelong friend.

The sister missionary who I sat next to on the plane from MN to SLC (Sis. Ensign) kept her promise and mailed me her talks she promised she would and also said she would stay in touch, if I needed anything. I thought that was pretty cool and really nice of her. Getting her talks was a mission changer!!

Funny story…Sis Sell sent me a Dear Elder package with a of variety cinnamon rolls a day before you sent me the cinnamon flavored ones. So, now I have cinnamon rolls coming out of my ears, lol! Its okay though, I've been sharing them with everyone. I love getting the Dear Elder letters every day. Thank you they are awesome.

It's crazy how our district continues to get closer and closer and closer.  It's going to be hard to leave them in a week, because I love them all. However, like I said before, I'm SO excited to get out to Tucson!

In our PI (practice investigators) lessons we got someone to commit to baptism!!! It was a super good experience for me to teach and just a little success story for you guys.

Lastly, they called a new MTC presidency this week and they serve for the next 3 years. And, in July when the Tucson Temple is dedicated, did you know we get a new mission president?
Anyhow, I love you guys and I miss you - but at the same time I know I'm doing the right thing, serving the Lord, teaching repentance and baptizing converts.  I am already dreading leaving AZ in 2 years because what I am doing is so fun.  Knowing this is what I am supposed to be doing takes away the sting of missing you guys and Finley.

I had an awesome experience at the Provo, Temple last week and I’m excited to go to the temple again! It’s interesting to see the differences between here and the Minneapolis, Saint Paul Temple. Below are some pictures of us going to the Provo Temple for the first time.

Thank you, Sister Sell for the amazing rolls! It was such a nice gesture, and we all loved them!

Happy birthday Mom! love you guys!

MTC District Temple Trip

Provo Utah Temple
Proud to take Bishop T with me to the temple!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week1: Heaven on Earth

Well can I say…the MTC is heaven on earth. Tuesdays are my P-Day! I, Elder Dickinson, am doing good, exceptionally fine! Thou shalt not worry lol. The first couple of days have not only flown by, they have also been a whirlwind! I am currently teaching a TRC. It is definitely something I never thought I would be doing only five days into my mission. A TRC is an actual person the MTC “pays to play” either who they were before they were converted or they are an actual investigator. In the first five days, we have also learned how to teach the restoration of the church in under ten minutes. With the spirit and the Lord on your side you can do amazing things!  I am missing the little red ninja (Finley), like crazy and I can't wait until the day I get to see him and you guys again.

On my flight from Minneapolis to SLC I sat next to Sister Ensign (fitting, right?) who was returning home from her mission. She was amazing, very nice and friendly. She comforted me and actually ended up asking me what she had missed out on while on her mission, like what's the best iPhone and stuff like that so it was kind of funny (I had to let her in on some of the new fashion and technology fads, lol). She also shared all her mission tips with me.

Remember how my setting apart blessing stated that I would serve in leadership positions? Well, I am my district's District Leader! My district currently consists of 12 elders and 12 sisters. Already, the first 6 elders and sisters are departing and we have 12 green beans coming on Wednesday! So we won't be the newbies anymore! I love this calling!  Most of all, I love my district and companion!

My District in the MTC
My companion, Elder Lee, is from Utah. He is a great and strong individual who has suffered a lot so far in life but, he is in good hands on his mission now. He suffers from juvenile Parkinson’s disease. Not only is he my companion, but I GET (not have to) watch over him. I love him with all my heart and we relate on many levels. Now, you may ask, how can I love him already? Well, we have to love all children of God. Also, Christ taught with love and as a missionary we strive to become more Christ like. His mom packed him 35 names for the temple so in the next 3 weeks we get to attend the temple twice with our district, not only for endowment session but for baptisms. I am super excited to get to have the temple experience, again!

First Companion: Elder Lee
The MTC averages anywhere from four to six in a dorm all the elders from our district are in our dorms so we have six Elders in our room. One companionship is going to the Texas, Dallas mission one is going to the California, Bakersfield mission and we are going to Arizona, Tucson, of course. However, there is a set of sisters in our district that are going to Tucson and we found another set of elders that are going as well. One of them is my height, lol. Elder Lewis and Elder Lee can't wait to get there. My reading of the Book of Mormon is going good. Brother Kelly Mills and his wife spoke on Sunday.  He is the worldwide MTC leader. He and his wife served in Fukinawa Japan.

All 12 members of my district are in the choir (I love it) and we get to sing 8 songs tonight at the devotional! We heard a rumor that Neal A. Anderson is speaking tonight!!! Wow!

A fun fact: I can shave in the morning and find myself needing to shave again at night. That's how fast my beard is now growing, lol.  That's my random fact for the day! I hope everything is going great back home I love and miss you guys like crazy, but I can testify that I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing. Yes, 24 months may seem like a long time but in the grand scheme of things I know that my sacrifice of 24 month is well worth being able to bring even one family together for an eternity. I love you guys to death, I can't say it enough.

Another couple fun facts:  There are 40 new missionaries headed to Japan in 2 weeks so I guarantee that there are some headed to the Sapporo, Japan mission.  I'm also (on my own) starting to speak more Spanish in my free time to try to 'prime the pump' of the gift of tounges, lol. I have taken several pictures and still need the 'first companion' and 'stand and point in front of the big map - solo' but we did not have time to do that as we were busy but here are some pictures I took with my tablet.

Tucson was 84 degrees yesterday!

Love, Elder Dickinson

P.S I loved the first OWL (Open When Letter) on the plane lol ... love you guys

The FAMOUS MTC Mission Map

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....