Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 16: Change. For the worse or better...quien sabe?

This week was…meh.

I was delighted to hear about my little pup being a little better.  Keep praying that everything will work out.

I'm going to warn you right now, this was not a good week for pictures. Sorry in advance.

Monday: P-Day is always awesome hearing from my beloved family and Sis. McBride!  It is always awesome getting to talk to you guys on Mondays.  It makes Monday so much better than before my mission.

Tuesday was my first transfer day that affected me directly.  It started out good. I met my new companion, Elder Rodriguez, who transferred in from Douglas AZ.  We picked him up in the Gila Valley We talked while he loaded his stuff into the car, then we picked up the other transferring Elders and started our hour and a half trip back to Lordsburg. At Lordsburg, we had time to get Elder Rodriguez unpacked before we went to dinner at B___ S___’s house.  We had pork roast, potatoes and corn. After diner, we walked around town street contacting. We found two people out of about 50 who would speak to us.  So it wasn't very successful, because nothing came out of it, but it's whatever. It’s part of the work.

A brown recluse spider we found in our apartment! :O

Wednesday: We had district meeting in Duncan, AZ, ate lunch and came right back to Lordsburg.  We did some service for M___.  We’ve worked with her before at the food bank, but today we helped her get her yard in shape. So, now it looks nice. By the time we were done with service, it was time to head down to Animas NM for dinner with the H____’s. C___ is one of P___ R___’s daughters. It was super cool, I talked with Z___ about construction management, general contacting, and civil engineering. It was a fun time.  After this we drove back to Lordsburg because we missed playing basketball. Elder Rodriguez is a super nice guy.

Thursday was a long day.  We ended up walking just under 7 miles, it was brutal.  We went street contacting/knocking doors and talked to 3 people for a while. Then we walked a mile to H___& C___’s only to find out they were out on a town.  That meant we had an hour to fill, so we did some more finding. After that, we went to the S___’s house. The story behind L__ S_  is he is a 87-year old non-member who has paid tithing and come to church for the last 76 years of his life.  Over the years, he had all these reasons of why he didn’t join the church. Now, he is 87 and his only excuse is "Well I don't want another job (calling), I've worked for 60 years." Mind you, he is now 87. So, I felt inspired to talk to the Bishop.  The Bishop said this has been his excuse for 10 years and no one bothered to ask Bishop about it. I felt prompted to ask bishop if he would give L___ a calling. Bishop said of course not, L___ can barely see, hear or walk.  He said this in a joking and loving manner.  He also told me to tell L___. So we shared a scripture with L___ and invited him to be baptized for what L___ said was the 27th time.  I told him what the bishop had said.  L___ then said, “Well I guess I will be baptized.  I just want to wait for my son to get back in the fall.”  I know I won't be here, but maybe I'll get to come back and see him get baptized - after 76 years of investigating the Church. We then had dinner with the B___s and we talked about his border patrol job. I love hearing his stories.

Baby birds just chillin'

Friday, we did service for P___ H___. We finished with that about 1:00, and then went home, ate lunch and did companion study and weekly planning until the Ward party.  We had to set up for the part by 5:00.  We were only expecting 30 or so people.  It was a bring your friend type of deal, so we could be introduced to some non-members. There ended up being 60 people who showed up. It was amazing! We had brisket made by Bishop and the rest was pot luck. After the party, we had to take down everything, then we had to drive to Animas. 

Saturday was interesting.  We had a plan to visit a lot of people, but not of them one of them answered their door.   We drove to Rodeo from Animas. In Rodeo, we tried to see some people and no one there answered their doors either. So, we then we went to Sister B___’s.  For reasons I won’t share here, the lesson didn’t go as planned and she did not receive it well at all.  Because the lesson ended early, we had a bunch of free time we didn’t plan on.  It wasn’t a good situation. Later we had a dinner appointment with the M___’s which was awesome. We got to talk for a while and I was surprised we were able to do that because of what happened with Sis. B___’s erlier in the day.  Then we spent the night in the ‘Man Cave.’

Elder Degrange saying goodbye to Sister R

Sunday:  I hate the time change at Arizona border!  Somehow, we ended up waking up at 5:00, which made us an hour and a half early for Church, it was a mess. We used the time for planning. We had talked about how things have been done in Lordsburg. We went to Church in Rodeo, then high-tailed it up to Lordsburg to teach the M___ brothers.  It went very well.  We are shooting for baptisms on May 6th, and if that doesn’t work then May 13th. After that we talked to Bro. H__’s and ate dinner there, then we did more street contacting with Bro H___, it was pretty fun.

Elder Degrange and I after our "tie swap" tradition
(saying goodbye on transfer day)

I hope you had a better week than I did.

Love you lots

Elder Dickinson

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 15: Same Area, New CompaƱero

I love Lordsburg, love love love it!  Everybody asks me why. I love it because I love the people.
Saturday night we got the transfer call and Elder Degrange is transferring to Safford, AZ, 3rd and 5th wards, on a bike. I'm taking over Lordsburg and my new companion will be Elder Rodriguez, transferring from Douglas.  He has only been out for three transfers - so it's going to be the blind leading the blind, lol.  He is Spanish speaking so he has to do language studies. Here's my chance to better my Spanish for a month and a half.  Everybody says he's pretty cool.

Anyways, time to start the weekly report:

Monday:  It was sad to hear about poor Finley, but it was nice hearing from you, as always. It gave me a sense of comfort with the whole situation.

Tuesday was an interesting day. In the morning, we were going to do service, but we ended up just doing individual studies instead. After lunch, we went over to H ___and C___’s and read from the Book of Mormon. We read five chapters that day. She loved it. We then had dinner at L___ P___’s house. He is the brother of Lordsburg’s bishop. He's an awesome guy. I look up to both of them. There just happened to be a member from out of town staying at his house. It was a cool situation. So we taught them the restoration for practice and it went very well.  We then went over to T___ F___’s house and taught him about enduring till the end. The spirit was defiantly there. 

It is sooo beautiful here

Wednesday - The Zone Leaders slept over Tuesday night, so we went on exchanges with them again today.  After that we all drove to our district meeting in Duncan, AZ. After district meeting we went out and ate at R and R Pizza – I bet you couldn't have guessed that, lol. We then drove back to Lordsburg and visited a few people. We tried to find some referrals, but no one answered their door, so we left our Easter message cards which have an offer of us doing service.  A lady called back later that night and offered us $200 to come clean her yard. Of course, being service we can't take money, but we were shocked at the offer. Hopefully we will get an investigator out of this contact. After this we drove all the way back to Duncan for a missionary stake meeting. It was a good meeting. We talked about who needs help and what not. Lordsburg is the busiest of the 3 areas included in the meeting.

Yet another beautiful sunset

Thursday morning, we had to set up tables for a senior center event at our Church’s pavilion (the Lordsburg ward building is too small to have a gym or cultural hall, so across the street from the church, they have a pavilion where they hold any activities we hold in cultural hall in Wisconsin) So, we did that for community service. One of the people running the event was a church member and asked us to stay for lunch. We did because we had to take down the tables shortly after. All the senior citizens loved the little Easter egg hunt and picnic. They all thanked us. It was well worth the effort. After that we went to H___ and C___’s and read the Book of Mormon. After we read with them a guy pulled up to H___’s mechanic shop with a blown out tire. We helped H___ patch the spare, mount it and balance the rest of tires. H___ made a quick $25, but he offered us the money since we did all the work and got our hands dirty, but then we said no to the money, I was just happy to learn how to do that.  H___ being H___ said, "SHUT UP AND TAKE IT. " He told us he loved us, lol.  He said, “Go buy yourself a sandwich.”  After that, we went and finished weeding B___ S___’s yard, remember we started working on it last week. Then we had dinner at Kranberry’s  and went home.

Friday was service day. We started off by doing service for the lady I told you about earlier. We ended up being there from 8:30 to 2:30. We had to hula-hoe her yard of weeds, rake them out of the dirt, then smooth it back out. We also weed-wacked all the tall weeds.  It took forever and my arms still hurt. After that, we used H___’s tire money to eat at a new diner in town.  It was very good. We both had a burger called the Big Juan.  It has 2 big patties, avocado, extra hot green chilies and cheese - it was very, very good.  After lunch we did studies and then drove to a dinner appointment in Animas with the C____s.

Elder Degrange meets the "Big Juan"

This is one serious burger! 

Saturday was full of driving, we woke up in Animas did our studies then drove to Rodeo saw some peeps.  We did our weekly planning in the canyon bottom river bed of the Chircahue Mountain Range in Portal, AZ. It was beautiful (check out Google Images of the Chircahue Mountains) Then we had dinner with Sis B___’s. She made curry, the kind my Dad makes.  She wants you to take a picture of the brand or curry Dad uses and maybe even send a sample so she can buy it. She had toppings like raisins, apples coconut and peanuts for it. Man, did they add a whole new dimension to the curry, it was amazing. Then we drove back to Lordsburg. 

Sunday - Happy Easter! We had to speak in sacrament meeting, but being so busy during the week I didn't get to write my talk until Sunday morning. We were asked to speak on Easter, but being a missionary, I talked on how Jesus Christ was the best missionary.  I talked about Easter combined with member missionary work. Everybody loved it for some reason. During my talk I told of some funny things speakers should do and everybody loved it, lol. It was only a 15 minute talk, but it was a good one. Then we drove to Animas, NM and went to Sunday School and Priesthood classes so Elder Degrange could say goodbye to everyone, it was sad. I was thinking that will be me in a month and a half - but that is just part of the mission. I actually almost cried watching Elder Degrange saying goodbye to the people, it made me so sad. I love these people soooo much.

Elder Degrange doing the "hula-hoe"

Nice work, right?

After all this, we drove back to Lordsburg and played cards with members at Bro. H___’s house until dinnertime. So, technically we had like 6 member visits in about 3 hours, so it all worked out. Bro. ___’s mom is 92 years old, we played a game called Books and Run.  At the end, when she lost by like 100 points, she exclaimed. "This is the most fun I've ever had with missionaries." it was the cutest thing!  We then drove to Bishop’s house for Easter dinner. We had ham and potatoes and all the good stuff.  We had homemade southern pecan pie and I about lost my mind it was so good… but Grandma's is still better.  After dinner we went and cleaned up the apartment like crazy and Elder Degrange packed up all his stuff and we drove to Duncan, AZ. Transfers are on Tuesday, but if we save the miles, we might just stay here. 

 Chircahue Mountain River bed is the perfect place for a planning meeting

Elder Degrange (DL) conducting our weekly planning meeting

But anyways that was our last week together, it was not only crazy productive, but it was a good week even though I was stressed out about Finley, I didn't let it show.  Hopefully, Finley keeps getting better. Keep the faith and keep praying. Poor pup.

Love you guys so much.  Until next week,

Elder Dickinson 

P.S. Check out the picture below (bittersweet memories)

Elder Dickinson and Elder Degrange's last ride

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 14: Big Spider and a Zone Conference

Hearing about Finley’s scary medical issues was probably one of the hardest things I had to hear.  I literally cried. No, I balled all the way to Duncan, AZ from Lordsburg. It's a 45-minute drive and now it's 10:15 at night and as I'm typing this out I'm still feeling shaken. Finley is my life, the only real friend I've had for the last 2 years. So, he has to be okay. I'm crying as I type this out now. I can't help it, he means so much to me, I hope he can be a tough little puppy. Give him some loves for me, please. He needs to be okay :(

This week was awesome, until I got the Finely news.

I don't know what my plans are now, we were going to go explore some wilderness place, but now I just want to sit here and email, nothing else. The place we were going to explore turned out not to be what we expected. It just hurts that I can't be there for him. 

I'm going to try to live up to my weekly email expectations, but can't promise anything because I'm just so worried about Finley.

A baby turtle one of our investigators let me hold

So, Monday (P-Day) was awesome getting to hear from you guys. Then we had a dinner and a short visit instead of a FHE. Then we played more basketball with a lot of nonmember youth in Duncan, AZ.

Tuesday, was good.  We did exchanges, so I was up Duncan AZ with Elder Lundell.  We visited some long-time investigators, and fellowshipped them and their children. After that we then went to a member’s house and played a couple games Skip Bo and talked.  Later, we drove home and had dinner, takeout from Kanoa’s, a Hawaiian restaurant in Safford AZ, which a member brought to us. We then drove to Clifton, AZ and played basketball, with the regular Tuesday night crowd.

A HUGE spider in our apartment

Wednesday was awesome, we woke up in Duncan AZ, super sore then Elder Degrange and I drove back to Lordsburg. We felt prompted to go visit T___ F___, even though we usually visit him on Tuesdays.  When we showed up there was a gal named S_____ that T____ is helping out.  She was interested in the church, so we taught a couple points from the gospel of Jesus Christ.  So, we picked up a new investigator. I don't know where that will be going, because She and T___ had a disagreement.  Anyways, the spirit was strong. She started crying because of it. It was truly amazing. After this we went and visited a few more people but they weren't home. So, we had dinner in Animas NM and Then played ball with some youth down there and then drove back home and read our scriptures.

Thursday was rough, I was super sore, and kind of out of it.  After an early lunch, we went to see H___ and C____, but they weren't there right at the moment, so we went to the church and did our 12-week study program. We went back and only H___ was there. So, we talked to him about life and it was a good visit - interesting as always. We were going to zone conference on Friday so we did our weekly planning a little bit on Thursday.

"Missionary Habanero Stew" (has an entire bottle of Tobasco Habanero in it)

Friday was zone conference. Man, what an amazing experience - Spirit filled and all! We talked about the difference between doctrine, principles, application of the gospel and also how to better involve members. It was a really good experience, and the spiritual up-lifter I needed. After ZC we went shopping at a Walmart, which was great because we haven't been to civilization in 6 weeks, lol.  We then went to dairy queen and then drove home.  Our dinner appointment cancelled on us, so we ate at Bro. H___’s house.

My Mission Family

Saturday was exhausting for some reason. We drove 200 miles trying out find people, none of which we found. We the visited with Sis. B____ in Rodeo NM, but she was busy so we made it quick. We didn't get to share a message.  We went to dinner with the P____s.  We didn't have to work for dinner this time.  We had Peruvian fast food, pollo con fritas, it was good. And then we drove an hour and a half home. 

Sunday had highs and lows.  We had fast and testimony meeting in Lordsburg, it was good, and then we drove to Animas just in time to teach 2 hours of primary. No joke I got mauled by an 8-year-old, not one part of me was left untouched.  It was something else, we taught about missionary work, and how Samuel Smith was the Church’s first missionary. Our high point of the day was our investigator family of 5 showed up to church, but his wife started a business in California and the moved there today. So, I'll never see them again. Sad, but that’s life. We drove all the way back to Lordsburg and taught the M___ brothers. They are now, for sure, getting baptized on the 22nd. Two more lessons to go, they will be ready and they are excited. Later, we ate dinner at Bro. H___’s house, and then I got the awful news about Finley. I'm still upset and crying about it. No one here will understand the bond I have with that dog, I hope it all works out OK.  I'll pray often for him these next couple days, it's so sad. 

Elder Pinson. The one standing up top. (My mission grandpa)
From Left to right:
Elder West the greenbean. I'm his uncle lol becuase he's being trained by my brother.
Elder Vansweeden(my brother... trained by Degrange also)
Elder Degrange my (Dad)
Elder Dickinson (Me)

Ps. This is our mission family. 

Elder Pinson is now a great grandfather. :)

Please keep me constantly updated on Finley these next couple days.

Love you guys lots, until next week, 

Elder Dickinson

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 13: My Favorite Birthday Cake (Chocolate Roll) & The Worst Night of My Life

This week was a good one for sure, but the missionary work is in a lull, again. It doesn't look like the M___ brothers will be baptized before Elder Degrange transfers out, but they will be baptized before the end of my time here. As long as they get baptized is the important part, it really doesn't matter who does it. 

I saw some links and videos about Officer Weiland’s funeral in Wausau.  It was sad and I cried watching those videos. It is truly sad, but I am so proud of our community for coming together to give Officer Weiland the sendoff he deserves. It was an amazing sendoff.  He will be missed. 

Anyways, here we go:

Monday:  Getting to hear from you on P-Days is awesome! I know I say that every week, but it's true. 

Tuesday, we did some service for a member in the ward. We weeded his yard with hoes. It took forever and my arms felt like jell-O afterwards, but it's service and I love serving others. After that, we hurried got changed, ate lunch and went to C___ and H____’s. We read the Book of Mormon, as we usually do with them.  After doing this we tried seeing some people, which didn't turn out too well. No one answers their doors, a typical Lordsburg thing. Anyways, after this we drove to Clifton, AZ and played basketball with a lot of nonmembers. It's always a good time to play ball.

Elder Degrange & I
At one of our host families

Wednesday, we had our district meeting, then went out and ate at R and R Pizza and Wings, again.  I'm doing so bad at this diet thing!  Actually, I just gave up on it, lol. After this we went on exchanges. I split with Elder Jordan and we drove to Lordsburg and had dinner at Kranberrys. I had my usual brisket meal. I love brisket!!  After dinner we went to Bro. H___’s house. I introduced Elder Jordan and we talked for a while.

Thursday, had some highs and some pretty low lows.  The day started out a little late when our alarm clock didn't go off.  It didn’t go off because it died.  Anywho, we walked to the post office, and picked up my awesome General Conference package from Sis. Sell (my seminary teacher). Thanks you so much Sis Sell, you would be delighted to know I took 13 pages of notes and ate all the snacks. I love you, Sis. Sell.

After our walk, we ate lunch and then went to C___ and H___’s. To my surprise, Cindy gave me her Spanish copy of el Libro de Mormon (Book of Mormon) with a note written in the back cover. When we visit them we speak to each other in Spanish, sometimes (except for Elder Degrange – he doesn’t speak a word of Spanish). Being out of practice, speaking Spanish is hard, but I was so happy to receive this gift from her. She expressed her love for us missionaries. I was blushing, lol. That was the high point of my day. We returned home and packed for our return trip. Elder Jordan and I then headed down to Animas NM. Little did I know what this night would hold for us. We had dinner with the W___s.  We had a great time.  We ate pizza and talked about stuff like summer internship opportunities in Alaska.  I super interested, to be honest. Anyways, after we spent the night with the R___’s.  We slept in the camp trailer.  This is where the ‘fun’ begins. In the evening, it was as calm as it could be in the Caliche Valley. The second we got into the trailer, a massive dust storm blew in from out of nowhere. It was blowing and upwards of 90 miles per hour. Just to let you know, they haven't had a night dust storm in 60 years. It was awful!  The wind was blowing so hard I literally got seasick from laying down in the trailer. So at 2:30 AM with no sleep, we went inside. From the walk from the trailer to the house, I was caked in dirt.  The wind was so loud we didn't get to bed until like 5:30, so we got an hour of sleep that night. That, no doubt, literally was the worst night of my life!

Anyways, on Friday morning, the dust storm was still blowing. So, by the time we needed to leave to pick up Elder Degrange in Clifton AZ, the interstate was closed. Perfect! I'm just ranting now, lol.  It was a disaster.  We did manage to drive back to Clifton and pick up Elder Degrange, the drove to Cotton City, NM to go to R___’s and the H___’s birthday dinner party. We had some amazing meatloaf, potatoes and carrots with chocolate roll to top things off. For a first time making chocolate roll, P____ did amazing. Everybody loved it. She made two chocolate rolls, and they were completely gone, lol. So, it was a huge success. She's going to teach me how to make chili rellanos. I'm pumped, they sound amazing.

They made Chocolate Roll (Grandma Dickinson's recipe) for ME!!!!!! 

Saturday was the best. We rode with the R___’s to her parents’ house. We watched the first session of General Conference. I think the first session was my favorite. After the first session we went out and did some service for them. We mowed the lawn, weed-wacked and burned a bunch of tumble weeds. It was fun.  In the picture, I have my pants rolled up because I didn’t want the weed-wacker to stain my slacks green with weed juice. Lunch was BBQ pork sammies with a bunch of sides. We then finished our service and watched the second session, which was super good, as well. When this was done we drove down to Cotton City, NM and ate dinner with their family and watched the Priesthood Session. It was sad to see Thomas S. Monson getting so old. Anyways, it was a very good day.

This area is a service area---whenever, wherever, and whatever...we live and love to serve!

My attempt at a new fashion trend....on point?

Elder Jordan and I on exchanges

Sunday was also a good day watching General Conference. 

Until next week, Love you guys,

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....