Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 12: My first "Lingerlonger" and my second dust storm!!!

When you think of Wausau, WI, you don't think violence. It's sad to see that one of our Wausau police officers and 3 others were shot and killed last week over a divorce. I never thought I would hear Wausau making any headlines here in Lordsburg, NM. After the shootings in Wausau made the national news, one of the members here remembered where I was from and informed me of what had happened. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that something like this happened so close to home – literally, just a few blocks from my house. I feel so bad for the community. People won't feel safe there for a while and that’s sad too. I just flat out can't believe it. It's crazy. I knew that police officer personally. He would come work at my school once in a while. He would talk to me and my friends when we were just chillin’ at the high school. He was a very nice guy, can't believe it. It is so sad!

Anyways, this week in New Mexico has been alright.

Mondays are the best, because I get to talk to you guys.

Tuesday we worked at the food bank for a couple hours. They gave us a box of basic staples, things like beans and rice. It's nice to not having to buy those basic commodities. After the food bank, we made some weird but amazing chicken for lunch.  We mixed buffalo chicken seasoning with Italian dressing and marinated the chicken in it. It was amazing. After lunch, we headed over to H____ and C____’s and had a good Book of Mormon study session. H____ is fun guy, we love him to death.  Later we found out our diner appointment forgot about feeding us, so they just gave us money. So, we bought what we needed to make buffalo/Italian chicken, jalapeño potatoes corn bread and green chili chip dip with homemade chips. After cooking and eating dinner, we dropped in and visited a few people.  Then, just like that, the day was over. The APs slept over at our apartment.

Missionary Dinner

Wednesday, the APs checked our companion study, which went well. Then we drove to Clifton, AZ for our district meeting.  After the meeting, we all ate R & R pizza and wings, again. After lunch, we drove home to Lordsburg and tried visiting some people before our dinner appointment.  We ate dinner at a recent convert’s house and after that, we went over to Bishop’s house and reviewed the ward directory and talked about all the less-actives live. Now, we have a plan to set aside an entire day to visit like 50 people.

Thursday was a rough day.  We walked like 8 miles.  To start the day walked about a mile to the church for interviews with the Mission President. It’s always a good experience and fun
time seeing the Mission President.  After interviews we walked home for lunch. It was pouring rain, so we got soaked.  We were offered two rides within 200 feet of our apartment, at least people tried to be nice, lol. We had buffalo/Italian chicken again. It was amazing, again!!! We then walked to C___s house and helped him fix his flat bike tires that had been popped by all of the goat head thorns that literally grow everywhere. It was 3 miles there and 3 miles back.  That was a long walk. Later, we drove to Animas. On the way, a dust storm blew in we almost died.  We couldn't even see out of the truck, so we had to pull off of the road and shut off our lights so nobody would follow our tail lights and plow into us.  It was probably one of the scariest things I've done.  When we finally got to Animas, we had dinner with S____ and S_____. They were getting married at 5 o’clock so we had a wedding full of missionary opportunities. It was also her birthday.  She turned 77.  When the day was over, we slept in the trailer at the R____’s house they used when their daughter is home. So I got to sleep in a trailer with 2 queen sized beds with memory foam.  It was amazing. 

Watching the dust storm approach! :O B

Zero Visibility

The rainbow aftermath. Whew! What a scary experience!

Friday was fun and interesting at the same time.  We ate lunch and went to the church for our weekly planning. We planned for 2 hours and then played hide & seek. I won!  I hid in a boiler room that had to be 100 degrees. I had to give up, otherwise I would have passed out and died and Elder Degrange would have never found me, lol. After planning a little more and then went back to the R_____s for my belated birthday dinner and family game night. After that we had family prayer with them. They said we are their family. We love them and they love us. It turns out I'm like 7th cousins with P____ R___.

Saturday was a good day.  One of our appointments fell through, so we did some service for the P____s. We worked for 6 hours.  I rototilled for all 6 hours arms are still like Jell-O. We had dinner with the M_____s. 

We dont have a church gym...we have a pavillion!

Sunday was cool, We went to church in Cotton City, NM for the missionary home coming of J__ K____. He's a cool guy. He spoke for 30 minutes without notes. There were about 150 people there to hear him speak. The normal Cotton City sacrament attendance is about 40 people, lol. After seeing that, I want all my family from all over the country to come to Wausau when I come home off of my mission. That would be awesome! Anyways, after church the two young brothers we have baptismal dates with were out of town so we stayed in Cotton City. After church, the ward had what the call a ‘linger longer’, or potluck as we a call them in Wisconsin. We ate lunch at the linger longer, then the K____’s invited us over after for fun and games.  We played cornhole and talked with their massive family. It was a blast!  They consider us family too, lol. We then drove home, ate dinner, did our studies then drove to Duncan, AZ for P-Day.

I taught our ward mission leader how to make pickled eggs Wisconsin-style! Haha!

Today for P-Day, we are going to go see some native American rock paintings. So I'll email you guys as much as possible

I love you guys!


Elder Dickinson

P.S. I need the chocolate roll recipe to share with the R_____s for my birthday cake since we had their favorite cake on my birthday lol. They are family, so no worries.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 11: Green Spagetti and the Stomach Flu

This week defiantly had its highs and lows - but hey, that’s life, right?  I’m typing this email with my new wireless key board. I love it!  Not only does it allow me to type faster, it allows me to have more room for my big hands.  (before, I had to use the typing function on my tablet.)

Not only do we hear about the big drug busts here in Lordsburg, we get to experience them close up - and it’s awesome!  This week, the Border Patrol pulled 3,600 pounds of ‘grass’ out of two cars that were covered with tarps and left in a wash. The illegals who drove the cars got away and stole horses then rode them 20 miles to I-10 –thinking they could catch a ride to Los Angeles or New York. That only happened like 2 miles away from our apartment!  On Sunday (yesterday) we had dinner with a Border Patrol agent who worked that bust and he told us all about it.  He also shared a ton of other stories, which was really cool.  Growing up, I always watched TV shows like Border Wars, and he was actually included in some of the cases on TV involving the Lordsburg Station. We talked about his career and the salary. Man, they make some good money and it is always something I was into. He said 7 years in the force and he has never been in harm’s way and is making six figures.  It’s a tempting occupation, that’s for sure.

Anyways, as previously stated this week had its high and low points. On Monday (P-Day). its always good getting to talk to you guys. I loved every minute of it. Later, we drove to Galeyville, AZ and explored a nearby cave.  The cave was big, and if you can’t tell by the picture, it was hot and humid and very tiring.  I was sweating super bad.  After the cave, we drove to Animas NM and played basketball. Later that afternoon, my companion got sick with flu-like symptoms, so we went home and he was in bed by 6 p.m.

Spelunking in AZ!

Tuesday (my Birthday), Elder Degrange still wasn’t feeling good, so while he slept away his sickness, I quietly cleaned around the house, did personal study, read some talks, and made lunch. We had tuna helper – it’s what he wanted - so I made that for him. After lunch we went and visited H______ and C______ and read the Book of Mormon with them.  After that Elder Degrange needed to rest a little bit.  While we were at the apartment my package arrived!!! I was soooo happy about it and I loved every little thing in it. That evening, we went to the Bishop’s house for dinner. We had softshell beef tacos. I also learned I have a new found love for avocados.  They are super good.

My 19th Birthday package just before unpacking! SO EXCITED!

Also, something I forgot to mention, New Mexico is the green chili state, and man, do they know how to use them. Green chilies are used in 90% of the meals down here. The largest green chili farm in the world (Hatch Green Chilies) is just on the other side of Deming NM.  Any green chilies in the US are probably from here. Pretty cool right?!?

After dinner at the Bishop’s we left and drove to Clifton, AZ to play basketball with the other elders and some non-members. It was a fun time as always, but we actually went up there for our district meeting the next day and to do laundry, since we didn't get a chance to on Monday.

Wednesday was a great day! First we had district meeting, which was probably the most spiritual meeting of my mission so far. For some reason it turned into almost a big intervention. First, we talked about each other’s weaknesses and what annoyed us about each other.  Then we said two things we loved about each person. After two hours, the spirit was so prevalent, we felt even closer than before. So, that was awesome. After this we went to an all you can eat chicken wing and pizza joint for $5 - with a missionary discount.  It was awesome! We then did exchanges. Elder Forté and I drove back to Cotton City and stayed the night there. 

Thursday Elder Forté tried to visit some people, but no one is ever home during the day, and as soon as it gets dark they don't answer the door. It was kind of of disheartening, but good practice, I guess. By the time we were done with this we had to drive to Duncan, AZ to pick up Elder Degrange and then drive back to Animas, NM for dinner.

One weird thing = Arizona doesn't observe day light savings time.  So, New Mexico is an hour ahead of Arizona.  Being so close to the state line - it is confusing. We leave NM drive an hour and get to Arizona – but we get there the same time we left New Mexico - it confusing, we end up having a 25-hour day.

We ate dinner with the M______’s, I had my first genuine chicken fried steak. Ugh, I was in heaven. We then played basketball with their priest-aged boy. It was fun, but I got super sweaty. Then shared a quick message and drove home.

Friday was not. I repeat NOT a good day. I woke up sick with a constant, severe stomach ache.  After I ate I would almost through up, every time.  Being sick, I slept most of the day until mid-afternoon.  We did do about an hour of weekly planning, then went to dinner at the R______s house. They had all of their grandchildren over for a St. Patrick’s Day party. We had green spaghetti, green Jell-O and green cupcakes. It was fun, but once again I felt like garbage after eating. So still being sick, we then returned home and went to bed. I’ve been using a fan to sleep, because it's so warm here. It has been in the 90s this last week. It was awesome.

Backyard Redneck Rollercoaster one member made for his children! :O

Saturday, I woke up - still sick – then rolled over and slept until lunch.  Finally, feeling better, we ate those Kings Hawaiian roll sandwiches you make in the oven (now that I have the recipe). I was so happy, lol. Later, we were finally able to contact some of our other investigators.  We had a planned to teach them, but they got caught up talking about other things. The good news is: they did come to church on Sunday. 

After this we drove to Rodeo, NM and tried finding some people we were told about. It took forever, but we finally found one of them out in the middle of the desert.  Holy cow, the was an experience that scared these two Mormon boys for life. We were supposed to find a woman in her 30s, but she actually ended up being in her 60’s.  When we finally located her house, she answered the door with no clothes on. I almost got sick again, LOLOL!!!!. After all this nonsense, we had dinner with the K______ family and had some sort of stew that was just flat out amazing! It was super fresh with lots of veggies, just awesome!  We had to drive all the way back to Lordsburg, because we had to give the prayers in sacrament meeting the next day.

Oh, I forgot to mention, earlier that morning, Sis R______ gave me a haircut. It doesn’t look bad at all, but you will have to wait until next week for me to send a picture from my missionary plaque.  I still need to practice how style my new haircut, lol.

Sunday was just an all-around good day. It was a beautiful morning so we walked to church where we greeted people, as always.  I always love seeing peoples’ smiles on Sunday mornings.  We have sacrament meeting, Sunday school and priesthood meetings all in the chapel, which makes for a sore back and a numb bum, only because you don’t get to stand up and walk around in between meetings and because the pews are the old wooden kind.

This Sunday was awesome for us and the Lordsburg Ward.  We had 5 investigators show up to sacrament meeting!!!!!!! It was insane – and we have 2 baptisms planned for April 15th, rescheduled from the1st because of General Conference. It looks like Lordsburg is a hot spot for missionary work now.

I cant get enough of the NM sunsets!

After church, we had Ward Council, then we hurried over to teach the M____ boys. We taught them the second lesson: The Plan of Salvation. The lesson went really well and they understood everything.  The birthday gift you sent (the diagram of the Plan of Salvation) arrived just in time for me to use it in the lesion and it helped soooo much. I love it, lol.  We then went over to Bro. H_____ and fellowshipped his son.  Little-by-little, he is starting to warm up to the church.  We then had dinner with the B_____s, He is the Border Patrol agent I told you about earlier.  He is a super cool guy, and their family has seven kids, and the oldest is 12. To end the day, we went to our apartment and packed for P-Day then drove to Duncan, AZ.

For what it is worth, that was my week. I guess lol.

I love you guys so much. Soooooooooooo much!

Until next week,


Elder Dickinson

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 10: Flat Tires & Deep Pits

This week was a busy week, but a fun one.  I can’t believe I turn 19 tomorrow!!! Insane right, lol. I haven't gotten my package yet, so it truly will be a birthday present – if it shows up tomorrow, lol.  Actually, we have a pretty full day planned for today, so I will have to pick up any packages at the post office tomorrow. I can’t wait!   

So, this week- in a nutshell:

Monday (P-Day) was so much fun, I loved trading emails with you guys. After P-Day we had family home evening with the L______s. There was a bunch of elderly members from our ward there playing cards, so we crashed their party with Bro. H_____, our ward mission leader, and ate some dessert.

Tuesday was rough that's for sure. After our morning schedule, we drove an hour south to Rodeo, NM and helped Bro. P_____.  This time we didn’t help with his adobe house, but helped dig a massive pit.   He had dug part of it and we helped finished it ;).  We helped by leveling out the bottom and had to throw all of the dirt and rock out of an 8 foot hole in the ground. The pit was huge! He's planning on using it for storage. I love his thought process. Let's just dig a hole and put all my stuff in it, lol. It took us about 5 hours and we still didn't finish. After working, we drove back to Lordsburg, NM and went to dinner with the P_____s. They are super cute old couple. We ate take-out pizza and talked about miracles. After a wonderful dinner, we had our weekly visit with T____ F____ and read from the Book of Mormon with him and talked for a while.

Brother P & I Diggin' Pits

The Infamous Pit....UGH

Man, did I wake up sore on Wednesday morning. I had to take some ibuprofen and stretch after a hot shower. We were asked by the Zone Leaders to study Preach My Gospel ch. 11 for a zone meeting today. Our zone meeting was pretty good, I guess. It was in Lordsburg, so we didn’t have to drive - for once - but everyone else did. We talked about how to have a more effective companion study. Good thing we've been following the outline they gave us already! We met our zone's goal of five baptisms for the month! We fell just short of our reactivation goal of 16, we had 15 - not too bad of a month. Our Mission President set a goal of 48 baptisms for the mission, and we had 42.   For reactivations the mission goal was 67, and we had 116!!!!! So our mission is doing pretty darn good, I must say.

After zone meeting we went out to eat at McDonald's, because there is nowhere better to eat in Lordsburg. Me being on a diet, I didn't eat at all, until we got home. I'm working on my self-control. Later in the day, we had Stake Missionary coordination meeting in Duncan, AZ.  We talked about our progress in all our areas. All 3 sets of our District's missionaries were together, so it was a pretty fun time. 

The New Mexico Zone

On Thursday, we walked a mile to visit with H____ and C_____. After this we went to visit with P_____ and X_____ but they were both busy. So, we fellowshipped them for 10 minutes, then walked the mile back to our apartment to packed for our weekly stay in Animas. We drove to Cotton City, NM and had dinner with Bro. and Sis. C_____. It started our kind of quiet, but they finally warmed up to us. We shared Mosiah 2:41 with them. I've learned while studying the scriptures, most verses will commanded you to do something, then in the same verse (or the one right after) gives you a promise if you are obedient to the commandment. I continued to point this out because it is important for people to understand.

Friday was a fun day! After our morning schedule, we drove to the church and did companion study. We are working on how to better teach the plan of salvation. Now that we have practiced, it is pretty simple, in my opinion. Later, we had dinner with the K_____s. We had honey teriyaki chicken with cauliflower and broccoli. It was pretty good. I guess I now have the mental capability to make myself eat anything (the cauliflower and broccoli), lol.

Saturday, Sister B____ (our 40 year investigator) invited us to the Portal St. Patrick’s Day parade.  We drove the 40 miles to get there and holy cow it was the shortest parade I’d ever seen. The population of Portal, AZ maybe 30 people – and they all participated, so it was cool in that sense.  As missionaries, we got some weird looks, lol. After the parade, we tried to stop in and visit couple people, but they weren't home. So, we went back to Portal and taught Sis  B_____.   Remember, the last time we asked her to pray to get an answer about Joseph Smith. She told us how four weird things happened and it was clear to us they were answers to her prayers.  I pointed out how they related and she was completely oblivious to them and denies they were answers. So, hopefully Heavenly Father will make it a little more obvious next time. Later, we had dinner with the K____s again. Bro K_______ and I talked about trucks for a while and then we shared a quick spiritual message because we had to get back to Animas, MM.

The Beauty of Portal, AZ

On the way home we popped a tire in the middle of nowhere - literally. Good thing we both know how to change a tire. Needless to say, after that our white shirts were pretty dirty and sweaty.   Don’t worry, we talked to the Mission Vehicle Coordinator and we are headed to Smith Ford today to replace the popped tire.

Flat out busted!!! :(

Sunday was so cool. We went to church in Animas for a senior missionary couple’s home coming.  The congregation nearly double what it usually is. It was insane to see that many people at church - in Animas.   During their talks, they picked on us young missionaries, in a loving way and got us to smile. Afterwards, they talked with us. Later, our appointment with the two boys with baptismal dates got rescheduled, because they went on vacation. So, we stayed in Animas and had lunch with the K____s, again. They love us so much. After lunch we drove back to Lordsburg, to Bro H____’s house.  We ate dinner and talked to and fellowshipped his son.

Today for P-Day, we are planning to drive be down to Portal, AZ to explore a cave and doing ranch things on the R____’s ranch then go to  Cotton City, NM for basketball and then probably drive to Animas, NM for volleyball later tonight.

I love Portal, AZ!  this was my view for the day !!!

If you were wondering, it's supposed to be 83 here today and I'm loving it! I'm getting pretty tan, but don’t worry I have a hat and I'm wearing my long sleeve shirt during service - so I’m doing what I can to avoid skin cancer.

I keep in touch with my MTC district every week.  We set up a big weekly group message and we share a picture and a, experience every week.  By the way, I heard from my MTC friend Connor D____   today.  Remember him?  He got super sick in the MTC and had to go home, bummer.

Until next week, love,

Elder Dickinson

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 9: Well, this week was definately interesting!

This week was defiantly interesting.  Lordsburg, NM has had only one baptism in the last year. This week we found two boys the age of 10 and 14 who's dad is less active, but they have been coming to church and want to be baptized.  So, on Sunday we taught them Lesson One. It went very well and we set a baptism date for April 1st. Hopefully things will work out.

The only good part of Monday last week was the fact that I got to trade emails with you and basketball was fun. We drove to Safford, AZ and played basketball with some of the Elders and Sisters there and then shopped at Walmart. That was the best part of Monday…and I still haven't figured out why shopping at Walmart is now so much better than it was before my mission.

After this photo we're going to bench this rock!

City of Rocks Poses!

Hiking in The City of Rocks State Park

City of Rocks State Park is in Fayette, NM

Tuesday was less than great, but we all have down days. Due to my companion, being the District Leader, he went to Duncan, AZ for the day to do splits with the Elders there, which gave me more time for personal study so I read 14 chapters in 2nd Nephi. I am now in Alma.  Once my split companion was here I was left to run Lordsburg as the ‘senior.’ I was excited to finally get to run the show, because Tuesdays are usually our busiest day.  However, all of our appointments fell through. Yes, ALL of them. It was rough but we made due, and were only 2 miles away from going over our mileage limit for the month - so we had to factor that into our plans as well. We ended up visiting with a few less actives so it turned out alright, I guess.

Oh, by the way, I've been losing some of my MTC weight.  I have lost 8 pounds over the last 2 weeks. As soon as I get back to 215, I can start building muscle again. Right now, I don't have the time to convert the fat to muscle so I got to do it step-by-step, lol)

On Wednesday, after a healthy breakfast and some push-ups and sit-ups, we had our district meeting, which was just alright. Afterwards we went to Hilda’s Restaurant and ate $1 tacos again. It's almost a tradition now, if you can't tell, lol. After Hilda’s we went back to the stake center and did some family history. After that, we had our standard 45 minute drive back to Lordsburg, NM .  We ate dinner at Kranberrys Restaurant, where a lovely part-member family from Colorado Springs asked us to eat with them. They were so nice and they bought our dinner.  We talked for almost 2 hours and now the non-member husband wants to join the church. I don't know what happened there, lol. He is the curriculum coordinator for construction management at Colorado State University. Because that the major I want to study after my mission, we got to talking and how if I took one more math class I can become a civil engineer and multiply my income. So, that is defiantly something to look into.

Thursday was a good day we got some exercise riding our bikes. We rode a total of 7 miles and did some less-active work for the afternoon. When we finished up for the afternoon, we drove to Animas, NM, where we visited with a less-active for an hour or so.  He had a pet snake. We had dinner with the M______s. They are amazing people. That's one thing I love down here - everybody is so nice and loving. After dinner we drove back to Lordsburg for the night, because we had apartment inspections the next morning.


Friday was awesome! Usually it's not, because weekly planning takes forever, but we made it fun. After weekly planning, we drove to Animas, NM for dinner. Everything here is literally 45 minutes away from each other. We had dinner with the F____s and R____s again.  We talked about how we should always heed the prompting of the Spirit. I shared two stories I had heard in the MTC.  The R____s are a part-member family. In the past, the dad has said he would not be baptized. Well, after that lesson he finally started warming up to the idea of talking to us and it ended up being a great lesson! We had to cut it short because the Animas high school girls basketball team are going to state.  So, they had to get to their game. We then drove back to Lordsburg for the night because we had a lesson there - but once again, the people cancelled.

Clean Closet!!!

Lordsburg, NM apartment ready for inspection!

Saturday was weird. We had plans to go help Bro. P______ for a couple hours. However, during studies he called and said it was blowing 50+ MPH plus and didn't want to work in the wind.   So, we had nothing planned so we went tracking - for the first time on my mission. Nobody opened there doors, because most likely nobody was home. On the way back to our apartment for lunch, these people called us over to their house. It was legitimately like an episode of COPS. The woman was freaking out and her friend (or boyfriend, I don’t know) was trying to calm her down. They were both drunk, and the whole situation was so weird.  She went on and on about how her children had left her, how she used to be rich and now has no money and how 3 husbands have left her.  So, we snuck a lesson in on how God loves us and we shared Ether 12:27.  She was saying how we had to listen to these country songs (which I've already heard). We made her a deal: if she would read from the Book of Mormon - just a couple versus, because I knew it would help - then we would listen to those songs. So, it ended up being a pretty cool experience. After that, we drove to Rodeo, MN and had dinner with Sis B______, our investigator of 40 years. She had made pozole, a soup with hominy and pork. She had everything decked out for St. Patties Day. She is super cute, clocking in at 93 years old. She has been going to church for 40 years but she doesn't believe in Joseph Smith.  I respect her for not joining the church if she doesn't have a testimony. Elder Degrange asked her if she had prayed to know the truth. Well, it turns out she had given up 4+ years ago, because she didn't get an answer right away. So, I tied in the Book of Enos back to her.  For the first time in forever  she prayed to get an answer. We are finally making progress, which is exciting.

Sunday was an even better day. Church meetings were a good experience. The overarching theme was priesthood. I like the fact that I get to keep learning about the gospel.  After the meeting block, we found the two boys who want to be baptized I mentioned above.  We taught them first lesson: The Restoration, and we invited them to be baptized, in a little less than a month. They both said yes and we are super excited.  So it turns out diligence and obedience is finally paying off.  Like I said earlier, Lordsburg has had only two baptisms in the last like two years.

Overall, this week was pretty darn good. Weird, but good. I hope yours was just as good!

Love you Mom, Pops and others.


Elder Dickinson 

P.S. We are a pretty tight district so we had these T-shirts made. 

The DDD gang! (thats me on the bottom right)

THE Dirty Duncan District together for the last time...tomorrow is transfer day and one of us is leaving :(

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....