Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 24: Lived through history . . . AND broke the record!

This week I was a part of history – kind of!

This week tied, then broke the record high temperatures for Tucson.  This week it hit 117°, that’s the hottest it’s been in Tucson – ever!  This week, our old Mission President finishes up his mission and we will get a new one on July 6th.  I will miss the President, he has changed my life in many ways.  

Also, between June 3rd and the 24th, 1250,000 people went through the Arizona Tucson Temple open house!!!  Out of the four Temples I’ve been through the Tucson Temple is by far my favorite.  It is so unique and awesome that worlds just can’t describe it.  You just have to see it for yourself.
Here is how my week went:

Monday:  After signing off from emailing everyone, we had dinner with our bishop and his family.  It was kind of funny because his oldest son is dating our mission president’s daughter.

Tuesday started off with a couple of hours of service at Beads of Courage, then we went home and ate lunch, then did a lot of stop-by visits in the afternoon.  Tuesday was probably one of the worst days to do this because the temperature peaked at 117 that afternoon.  We made it a point to be out working just so we could say we were part of history.  Granted, Tuesday would end up being a three-shirt day, lol.  Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to give a blessing to an investigator of ours who needed a pacemaker.  Her procedure went very well and now she has a bunch of questions about the church, so it was a very good opportunity and she’s looking very promising. 


Wednesday:  We had Zone Breakout meetings followed by our District meetings.  It was very cool, but kind of boring at the same time – if that makes sense.  Then, we went out to lunch at Raising Canes’ for some chicken and then made some stop-by visits and visited the M___s.   After that, we did some more stop-by visits and then went to dinner.  After dinner, we went and did exchanges with the other elders.

Thursday was kind of a slow day.  We went to Beads of Courage and then did some stop-by visits in the afternoon.  It was a very slow and hot day.  We also did some planning at the church, which was fun – and cool.  Thursday night, we did a less-active member visit with D___ L___.  It went very well and we invited him to go to the Temple open house and work on fulfilling a promise he made to a friend who had passed away two years ago.  We set up a date for him to go, which turned out to be the last day of the open house.  I was kind of worried that it wouldn’t work out, but it did.  Then we exchanged back later that night.

Friday:  We woke up early and went and played ultimate frisbee with our Zone.  After showering and getting ready, we and did service at Beads of Courage, then we decided that our apartment really needed to be cleaned.  So, we deep cleaned all day long while doing our weekly planning.  It worked out very well and now our apartment is super clean.

Saturday was an awesome day!  We woke up and went to a lady named I___’s house to do some service.  It turns out, she was a hoarder and we were there to help her clean up some of her hoard.  It was awful!  We cleaned for two hours and it looked like we did nothing.  We had planned on working for four hours, but we took a break to pick up some water.  When we got back, she wasn’t there.  So, we left a note for her that said we had to leave…it was that bad!  After all of this, we went home to get cleaned up and changed, then the Mission President called asking us to help with the Temple open house tours.  It was a tender mercy, because this was the last day of the Temple open house and we also got to go through a tour with D___ L___ (the guy we invited on Thursday) so it was pretty cool.  One thing that makes the tours so awesome is they are silent tours, then questions are answered at the end of the tour.  It really adds to the spirituality of the experience.  After a full afternoon, we went and got dinner at Costa Vida and later that evening we got to go to a wedding for two of our recent converts at the church.  It was an awesome experience!  Honestly, Saturday was one of my most favorite days of my mission, yet.

Tucson Temple tour guides :)

Sunday:  We woke up and went to church, which was just OK.  After church, we got home, ate some lunch and did some studies – then we went to see a referral.  After that, we went to do some family history after dinner.
That was my week.  Now just imagine doing all of that basically drenched in sweat, because I’m still not used to this heat.
Anyways, hope you all had a good week.

Love you all,

Elder Dickinson

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 24: Happy long distance Fathers Day!

Being Father’s Day, this Sunday was special.  I was sad being away from home and my Dad was 
on my mind all day today. At church, they handed out the program which had the primary kids’ answers to questions about their Dads. All I could do the whole time was think about my answers to those questions.  It was rough being 2,000 miles away from home, but it was a good day.  Happy rather than sad!!!

Man it is starting to get hot.........Flights at the Tucson and Phoenix airports were being delayed today because the tarmac was melting.  There are excessive heat warnings today that say everyone needs to stay indoors as much as possible.  We are just going to hang at the Family History Center (for the wifi and AC) and email until its time to play some Zone basketball.  Rumor has it, the Mission President might show up.

Cool gang graffiti 

Monday:  P-Day was good getting to email!!!! It was such a good day. We played sports and then ate dinner and did some finding.

Tuesday was the best!!!  Frist, we had Zone Conference.  After zone conference we got to go to the Tucson Temple open house and take the tour. It was super awesome and so beautiful words cannot describe the level of amazingness. The blue dome is Rhine slate from Germany and it also had Swahili wood from Africa and marble from Greece – only the best of the best materials.  It was awesome!  After Zone Conference, we went to Costa Vida for my first time for lunch and it was amazing. I ate the sweet pork burrito that was so good.  Later, we had two appointments that fell through - just like last week. So, we ended up doing some finding and taking it easy in the shade. Afterwards, we had dinner with the H___’s he has a super nice Jaguar and lives in the foothills in a massive house.  It was an awesome time at dinner.

Zone Conference

Wednesday:  We had our district meeting that was pretty chill.  We talked about dress and grooming. It was pretty light-hearted, but still boring but better than being out in the heat. After district meeting we did some finding and went to one appointment, which we had to reschedule because we didn't have members to come with us, because she was a single sister. After this we had dinner with the S___s. It was a fun time.  Following that, we did some more finding and then went home for the night.

Elder Thompson & I at the Tucson Temple Open House

Tucson Temple

Thursday: We went to Beads of Courage and did some service until lunch time.  We went home and ate lunch, then did some phone finding.  After that, we went to a member visit. Following that, we did some more finding.  We had dinner with the Scotts who are from right outside of Idaho Falls ID.   They don't know Janet and Rory but we are probably related, so that's cool! After dinner, we had a visit with D____, which went very well.  We talked about the Plan of Salvation and it was a super awesome spiritual experience. He said he would come to church. He’s a less active ward member trying to find the path back. He has had a super rough path, but he is ready to fully embrace the gospel now, so we are helping him find his way back. He said something that struck with me. He said, "I will never be able to repay you." This is the number one reason I am a missionary!  This pulled at my heart strings and I almost cried, the Spirit was so prevalent.  Thursday was awesome!

Friday:  We went to Beads of Courage to do more service. After Beads, four of us elders went out to eat.  It was a fun time. After this, we commenced our weekly planning session - for a couple hours.  After that, we had dinner with the T___ family.  It was cool to learn about his temple experiences because he is the temple facilities manager. After dinner we did some finding then we packed up Elder Thompson for exchanges.  On the exchange, I got to team up with our new District Leader, Elder Nielsen – who was just an Assistants to the President, so it was kind of nerve wracking.

Saturday:  We started by helping move some guy from one apartment complex to another. Following that, we went out and saw a ton of people and had some awesome appointments. One particular appointment that stuck out was with a less-active lady.  Well, we thought she was less-active, but it turns out her daughter was taking her to a different ward.  So, that was a pretty interesting visit and it was very cool to know that she was still going to church. Later, we had dinner with the D___’s it was very good!  We had a baked potato bar followed by some homemade ice cream cake...super yummy!  After diner, we had another appointment, but it fell through, so we did some finding until it was time to end the exchange - and I got my little Elder Thompson back. But before that happened, Elder Neilsen and I talked and he shared three good things about me: 

1. I can make any bleak, plain situation a good/fun one.  For example, when he was AP he saw I was going to Lordsburg as a green bean.  He thought after Lordsburg, I’d probably quit and go home because Lordsburg was such a hard area to serve in.  Nope, instead I baptized two people. He was super proud of me.
2. Making connections:  I’ve made some super close connections with the people I serve. Even being new to the Campbell ward, he said he could see that I’ve already made people remember me in a great way by loving the people I serve. He also said I was one of those elders people will remember – like "I remember Elder Dickinson, he was the nicest most loving person ever” or “I remember Elder Dickinson, he was so cool". Stuff like that
3. I work hard and I have the drive of a work horse.

That’s what he said…his words, not mine.

Elder Dickinson signing off from Arizona the "Ditat Deus - God Enriches" State

Sunday:   Happy Father's Day Dad!   Sunday was a fun day and we learned a lot in church. After church, we had an appointment cancel, so we did some finding. After a long hot week, we took some down time to do some additional studies. The people our dinner appointment was scheduled with were out-of-town so we ate on our own and did some family history.

This week was a lot better!!!!!

Love you all so much!

Elder Dickinson

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 23: A Crazy Sketchy Week!

This week was quite interesting. We went from having an amazing week last week to having 97% of our lessons fall through this week. I’m not quite sure what happened. Although, during the summer months the university students and staff go home and the locals tend to leave during the super hot times. This week is supposed to be up to 111 degrees. I’m basically already dying in this heat.  I’ve already had a 3 shirt day. Not fun!

Monday was good day, even though I didn’t get to talk to you guys very much. But this week I will have more time to email. Last Monday we had a good time running the streets of Tucson.

Elder Thompson and I muggin' the streets of Tucson

Tuesday:  We went to Beads of Courage. It is good service we do there with the other elders. We were able to give out several temple open house invitations, so it was also a good finding activity. After Beads, we came home and did studies and ate lunch. After lunch we went through the Part-Member family list. It didn’t yield any rewards…yet, but it will eventually. Anyways we worked away on that list until we had to go give a blessing, which turned out to be a really good spiritual experience. So that was good.  Following that we had dinner with the R____s, thay are very cool people. It was taco Tuesdays, so we had tacos. After dinner, we had an appointment, which fell through, so we attempt to contact a less-active lady and we set up a return date. There are so many single sisters in this ward who we are not able to contact because we can’t get members to participate in lessons. The mission president might pink wash this area soon.  Who knows?  (Pink washing is when a set of elders is transferred out of area and a set of sister missionaries are transferred in to work with a large number of single sisters)

Wednesday:  We had district meeting. It was good and it was hot.  Arizona in general just gets so hot and I strongly dislike that much heat. Anyways, we then worked on finding people to teach from the Part-Member family list.  As of Sunday, we still have 63 names to contact.  After lunch we had a lesson, which once again fell through. If you can’t tell this week was kind of upsetting. We had a dinner appointment with the F___s. We had taco salad and a quick visit. After dinner we had a lesson with Bro. S___. He’s a less-active member who just needs to have a talk with bishop and he will be reactivated. Then, we did some more finding and that was our day.

The Tucson Temple at night (I will try to get a better picture)

However, Wednesday night was the sketchy part of this week. We were not able to fall asleep for who knows why, but about 11:00 pm we heard what sounded like gun shots - super close to our apartment. At first we thought it was the complex maintenance man shooting birds with his pellet gun, but sure enough two minutes later - there were like 20 cop cars, more shots fired and a police helicopter chase. All this happened two blocks away from our apartment in a nearby park. It was cool seeing the helicopter with the big spot light, but dang, it was pretty scary!

Thursday:  We did service at Beads of Courage and afterwords we ate lunch. Then, we went to contact an investigator that we will probably have to drop, who knows, it’s not going so well. He has a cat that was basically Satan, lol.  He kept attacking us…Satan cat…is all have to say about that, lol. After a decent lesson we did more finding, then we had dinner with the W___s, again. They are awesome!  After dinner we went to our 6:00 appointment, which fell through. So, we invited some investigators to come play ultimate frisbee with us and the elders quorum. Only one showed up -  they are moving for the summer....grr so upsetting. We just keep losing this week. 

Friday: We woke up and went to Beads of Courage again. After lunch, we did our weekly planning at the Fort Lowell Ward building - where our ward meets. It is the oldest functioning church building in AZ. Its super cool and old - the Chapel has stained glass. But, the down side is a bunch of hobos stay there at night.  They either break in or ward members accidentally leave it unlocked... they also sleep under an overhanging part of the roof outside the church building.  While we were doing our weekly planning at 3:00, we heard the voices of 4 people shooting up who knows what kind of drugs. It was weird and scary because they had a gun....That’s Tucson for yah. After that we got to set up chairs for a funeral on Saturday. Then we had dinner on our own.  We went to Panda Express and got take out for diner.  Then we had studies and planning for Saturday.

Elder Thompson getting ready to do some Panda Express damage

After Taco Tuesday and Taco Salad Wednesday, you just got to scratch that Panda Express itch

Saturday was a weird day.  We went to the funeral. It was super long and sad, but it was good with lots of laughter. So that was good. Then we had an appointment at 1:00 that fell through. So we went finding again, until our next appointment.  That appointment fell through, too. After all the finding we’ve done all week we just needed a break. So we took an hour and read the scriptures until it was time to head out to our next lesson, which…you guessed it…got cancelled.  So, we went out to dinner with some other elders at a make your own 12 inch pizza place. It was good, after that, we did family history from 7 till 8.

Dinner with the parents of one of my favorite families in Duncan!
(they are in this ward!!!)

Sunday:  The block of meetings were good, The sacrament talks were about family and having spiritually safe homes and all that jazz. It was okay, but very repetitive. After church we ate a nice lunch of leftover funeral food. Then, we did studies and some finding until dinner. We had dinner with the A____s. She is from Tahiti and oddly enough makes some killer enchiladas, lol. Then we headed of to do some more finding.  That was our week...kid of bummer to be honest.

I can’t wait to talk to everyone,

Love you.

Elder Dickinson

Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 22: Culture Shock!

This was a big week.

Monday was good. Getting to go to the temple was an awesome experience….going with the people I’ve been serving for 5 months was awesome! I had the opportunity to do 32 baptisms, 5 for my own family, all the confirmations and I was able to officiate or actually do the confirmations for some people. Then I was able to go through an endowment session with everyone. I was able to do all the work from start to finish for Samuel Moffet - born before 1678.  It was special, being able to do everything for him. When his parents’ work is done I will be able to seal him to his family!  It was an amazing day.

Tuesday was transfer day. I had to leave the awesome people of Cotton City and Lordsburg NM, but it was time to start a new adventure.  After saying goodbye and a couple of tears, I drove to Lordsburg and hopped on the transfer van. I finally got to Tucson around 3:30. When I got to Tucson I met my new companion, Elder Thompson. He’s so cool, he reminds me of Elder DeMille - almost the exact type of character (Elder DeMille you’re the man). Always, after meeting my companion we did service for a family that was moving out of the ward. It was the first and last time I’ll meet them, lol. After that we had dinner with the W___s. Sis W___ is Sis. B___’s (from Duncan) mom. So, that was pretty cool. Then we went to see some people.

Bye Elder R! 

Wednesday:  We had zone breakout and district meeting. It was pretty cool to see so many missionaries at district meetings - something like 30 of them. Coming to Tucson from Lordsburg was a culture shock for me.  Honestly, it was super shocking, for sure. 

After district meeting we all went to Raising Cain’s Chicken Fingers. It’s a chicken place like Zaxby’s and it was super good. After that we went out and worked on finding people to teach or working on contacting a list of less active or part member families. We didn’t find anyone, but we have a good list of pretty solid investigators, with 6 recent converts. So, this area is really awesome. It has mix of a lot of young families and older families. It covers the university medical center and some of the Catalina foot hills. It’s an awesome area with some awesome people. We had dinner with the C___’s. He served his mission in France. So, we talked about missions for a while. It was pretty awesome. Then we did some more visits.

University of Arizona - Tucson Stadium

Thursday: We woke up early and went to basketball. It was okay, but not great – kind of a waste of time. We went to do service at Beads of Courage. It’s for a great cause! You should Google it up because it takes way too long to explain it, lol (Found here Not only is it pretty easy service (compared to digging pits by hand in Lordsburg).... it’s fun too, and they feed us well! After beads, we went back to the apartment and did companion study followed by lunch.  We then we started work for the day. We went by and visited a couple less actives today, and one really stuck out to me.  His name is D___ L___.  I love this guy so much. His story is so sad, but he’s now meeting with us and wants to comeback to church in the next couple weeks. I’m so happy for him. It was a super spiritual lesson.

The Tucson Temple in the distance (and in the windshield dash)!

Culture shock again – I’ve only been in Tucson for two days and I think I’ve taught more lessons than I did in Lordsburg in 5 months. It’s quite awesome actually.

Friday was awesome! We woke up at 5:40 and we played Zone Ultimate Frisbee. Following that we drove home and got ready for the day.  We went to Beads of Courage. Yes again lol. But it’s just what we do here and it is awesome. So, no complaints from me, lol. Following Beads of Courage we had lunch and then did weekly planning. Our weekly planning took a while, but luckily we found an awesome mothers room at the church that had amazingly comfortable padded rocking chairs. Then we want out to eat with Elders Sherwood and Lloyd, since neither companion set had a dinner appointment. We went to Sushi-Ten. It’s awesome sushi for cheap. We are going back today for happy hour where rolls are half priced. So, I’m pumped about that. After sushi, we had ward correlation meeting. It was pretty interesting. Not as fun as with Bro. Hill’s Lordsburg correlation meetings - that’s for sure.


Saturday was another good day.  Other than the crime and threats, Tucson is a good place and missionary work is thriving. Especially with the temple open house. It’s such a good missionary tool and conversation starter.

We got to do a five minute teaching lesson during the Bishop’s son’s baptism. It was super cool. We showed the Mormon message called Our Happy Family Vacation and shared our testimonies on eternal families. There were a lot of non-members there. So it was a great experience. Then we filled the day by visiting various people. We had several visits. It was cool.

Sunday was interesting, to say the least.  Talk about culture shock - again. There were so many people at church, it was overwhelming. There were so many people compared to the branches I’ve been serving in Lordsburg, Animas and Rodeo. At the end of the meeting block some crazy people showed up and talked our ears off for 45 straight minutes. We were really luckily because we were able to do a ‘pass-off’ lesson because they didn’t live in our area.  We passed them onto the Elders who’s area they live in - thank goodness!  After that, we had a lesson, then drove to our dinner appointment and ate homemade spaghetti. Following that we had one lesson, but another two lessons we had planned fell through so we did our hour of family history.

We went all "Goodwill Hunting" for some P-day party clothes! :D

The top 5 BEST things I LOVE about my new area:
1.      More teaching
2.      My companion
3.      More members
4.      More missionaries
5.      LESS driving

That was my week.  It was pretty awesome.

Saguaro Cactus exclusive to the Sonoran Desert
These can get 70 feet tall AND live for up t0 200 years old!!!!

Love you guys so much. Cannot wait to talk to you today

Love you all,

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....