Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 29: The best two years of my life…(its not what you are thinking)

The best two years of my life started when I picked up a little pup for the first time. He was mine, I named him Finley.  As we grew close to each other we formed a bond similar to that of someone who had accidentally super glued their fingers together. Yes, we went everywhere together.  He trusted me and I trusted him. He was my shotgun rider, my right hand man, my brother. He was my everything. Unfortunately, Finley developed a brain issue and passed away this week.  Now, he is taking good care of (and vice-versa) my Grandpa Dickinson. He’s in a better place now.  Am I happy with it? That he is in a better place; yes. That he is gone; NO.  I’m not okay with that.  He only lived for two years, far too short of a time, but he completed and aced his mission.  Why he was sent here? Not only to steal the hearts of the Dickinson family, but to bring us closer together as a family. So, I not only want to thank him for that, but I wish he knew how much he meant to me. What hurts the most is…the night before I left on my mission, seven months ago.  I told him, “I will see you in two years,” but I won’t.  I wish I could have been there for him, but I wasn’t. We had different ideas on when we would see each other again, I guess - but until that time, Finley...I love you and hope you enjoy chasing rabbits for days up there. Take good care of Grandpa D!

My Bestfriend. RIP buddy, I love you
PC: E.V.

But anyways, this week was kind of lax, so to say.  Almost nothing happened - just a lot of finding with no results.

Tuesday: We woke up and did our morning routine and then we went to Beads of Courage and worked there for two hours.  Afterwards, we ate lunch and then did more finding until our dinner appointment with the W___ family. After that went to the church and synced up our area books - that is when I got the news that Finley wasn't doing too well.  Tuesday night we also played basketball with some ward members until it was time to go to bed.

Wednesday:  We woke up and then we went to Zone Break out Meetings, then later went to our District Meeting followed by lunch at home.  We went out to do some finding, then did our studies.  It was then I got the news that Finely was going to be put down and I lost my mind!  I was so distraught, so sad, but it was for the best. It’s always hard to say goodbye, but it had to happen.

Thursday:  I was broken. I was so sad. I didn’t know what to do and kind of moped around the first part of the day.  But, then we went to Beads of Courage and did service, which got my mind off of how I felt.  After Beads, we went and helped move some Elders out of their old apartment and into a different one.  So, I ended up doing service for most the day to keep my mind off of Finley. So, I was able to cope with it.  We had dinner and then we did some family history until the end of the a day.  I ended up being super sore from doing all the service.

Friday started off at Beads of Courage to help out with service and then we went out to lunch to Sushi Ten. After that, I don’t need to eat sushi for a while now, lol. The good thing about Friday was I was able to be so busy I didn’t have to think of you know what.  I’m doing a lot better than I thought I would be.  We also did some weekly planning and finding and then headed to a dinner appointment.

Saturday morning started off with doing service for the B___ family.  They are building a house and we are helping them with a whole bunch of stuff.  I helped by sanding their floors upstairs so they can put hardwood flooring down. It was fun, but my knees hurt afterwards. We did this from 9:00 to 3:00, so it was a pretty fun time and they had good food! After this we did family history until dinner. After dinner we did some finding and then worked out for the rest of the night.

Sunday:  We went to church and it was an awesome Sunday.  I don’t exactly know why, but it just kind of flew by, for some reason. After church, instead of eating lunch we took a nap and then did some finding and then went to dinner a dinner appointment, which was awesome.

I’m super sorry this week’s email sort of sucked.... but I’m still kind of broken from all that has happened this week.  We had planned to go fishing today, but everything fell through.  So, today will be just another normal P-Day.  I’m kind of glad about that because I want to email with Mom since she has the day off and I usually don’t get to email with her that much when she is working.

I just want to let y’all know, I love each and every one of you. I honestly do!  Missionaries, i resect what you are doing; Satan doesn’t want you out here on your mission so keep on trucking!

Love, 


Elder Dickinson 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 28: Best week of my mission yet! Wooohooo!

Two more souls are closer to inheriting the kingdom of God this weekend...

Howdy!

This week has been amazing! I guess I will just cut right to the chase...why not, right?

Last Monday was awesome.  Getting to write home and trade emails with you guys; it literally is the highlight of my week! It is what gets me through the hard parts of the week - even though I didn’t have a bad week, it still helps! The weeks feel like days and the days feel like weeks, it that makes sense, lol.


Tuesday: We did service at Beads of Courage. We usually do service there for two hours at a time.  After Beads of Courage we ate lunch and had time to do our studies. I've just started the New Testament. I have gained a better knowledge of the Book of Mormon. So, why not expand and study the books of scripture people try to use against us, right?  After studying, we had K__’s baptismal interview. He passed! His testimony is awesome. He told us he would have a cup of coffee every morning, then the day he meet us, he quit - cold turkey! He is so solid!

Remember, K__ is a retired veteran. One of our converts of three years named Billy, also a veteran took K__ shopping and bought K___ a suit, white shirts, ties and shoes. It goes to show that there is still hope for humanity!

After all this we had dinner and a follow up visit with K___ that went well!


Wednesday:  We had District meeting until lunch. After lunch we did our studies, then we went on splits with our District Leader.  I went to Tucson Central Ward, because the work there is slow.  We did some active member visits then we talked to some crazy people. That pretty much sums up our splits.


Thursday:  We headed out to Beads of Courage.  They pointed out; since I transferred to Tucson I have done over 38 hours of service for them! So, they gave us some home baked goods!  I loved it!  After Beads, we ate lunch and went with A____ to her baptismal interview. She passed too! After her interview we stopped by K__’s and taught him one last lesson before his baptism! Then we had dinner then did some stop-bys.

These monsoons here are amazing!


Friday:  We went to Beads of Courage and then we had lunch until we did our weekly planning which took up the rest of the day - literally!

Saturday was probably the highlight of my mission so far!  It started with us waking up early for zone sports. Having to wake up super early is not fun.  When we got home, I accidentally fell asleep while we were talking in the kitchen, lol.  I must have been pretty tired!  Later, went to a baptism for a convert taught by the other Elders in our District.  We went to feel the Spirit and support the Elders and the new member, as well.  Shortly after baptism, K___ showed up in his new suit and looked good.  When he saw the program for his baptism had his name on it, he was so spiritually overwhelmed and excited.  Is there any way you guys can blow up some pictures and frame them for K__?   He was still on cloud nine afterwards.  He was so, so happy. We Skyped in his friend that referred him!

My favorite part of the whole thing was the hug he gave me when he first came out of the water.  No joke, I think he had a smile on his face while he was under the water, lol.  While he hugged me he said, “I can’t believe my Elder tried to drown me.". I almost lost it, lol. There are so many details, I’m probably missing some.  Maybe the best way to put it is in K__’s own words “The best day of my life.”  

The baptismal service was special because it was a double baptism.  A__ was also baptized by a friend of hers from the ward she had been attending.  Remember A__?  She was the investigator who had been going to church for 3 years and hadn’t had a desire to be baptized, until she went to the temple open house.   Having a double baptism was an awesome experience because it opened my eyes to how fast the Lord’s work is progressing.  A__ and K___ are proof of that.  They both reached out, trying to find us because they knew it was true!  And, it’s just proof that as missionaries we are privileged to be out here, serving the people of Arizona and New Mexico.

Myself, K__ & Elder Thompson

A___& K___'s Baptism
Skyping with K___'s friend who introduced him to the church.
HOW COOL IS THAT!!! :O

Hmmm, how many baptismal poses can we come up with!
Love how happy K__ looks! :D


Sunday, during Sacrament Meeting, I got to confirm A___ a member of the church! It was a special moment as well. It was my first time doing it, but it went well so that’s good! 

This week was a major success and one of the best weeks of my mission so far, no doubt.

I love y'all so much!

Love.

Elder Dickinson


Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 27: It's Monsoon Season!

Rain is a Good Thing!!

This was a pretty good week, now that I look back and reflect on it.

Not only did we get a lot accomplished, but it rained for the first time is 6 months!!  I got my stitches out and while doing service I met someone whose wife’s sister was born in Gresham and  knows me by first name!  We have had some amazing monsoons, had a good pair of exchanges and we will get to go fishing sometime in the next couple weeks.  All around, it was a good week.

CLOUDS! YEA!!!! :D


Monday:  After I finished emailing for the day, I witnessed my first monsoon! Man, was that something else or what?!?! It was awesome! We ate dinner with a member at Frankie’s Philly Cheese Steaks. Once again, it was amazing - easily one of my favorite things to eat here in Tucson, so far. After dinner, and the monsoon cleared out and we took some awesome pictures of the sky. As always, it’s awesome writing home to my awesome parents!

Tuesday, we started the day by helping a companion set of Elders move out of their apartment - since they were getting pink washed out of that area.  We took them to the transfer site so that they can go on their separate ways to their new areas.  After doing that, we went to the Mission Office and got some commissary (supplies that we needed for teaching throughout the week) After lunch we did our studies for most of the afternoon.  Afterwards, we went and did some finding until our appointment to teach A___, which fell through, because her car was in the shop.  After dinner, we had a lesson with S__ R___, she is a long-time investigator that previous Elders had struggled teaching, but she came to church on Sunday and has finally had a change of heart.  I was able to give her a blessing of comfort and council.  It was an awesome experience.

I had to say goodbye to my mission Grandpa, Elder Pinson (He’s not really a Grandpa – he’s 20.  He trained Elder Degrange – my mission Dad who trained me – get it?).  He died (finished his mission and went home to his family). I miss Elder Pinson already.  He genuinely helped me a ton.  I owe him greatly for getting me through my last transfer in Lordsburg

Saying Goodbye to Elder Pinson (aka Gramps)


Wednesday, was also a pretty good day.  We went to Zone Break-out meetings and I got to meet all the new sister missionaries, which was pretty cool.  After Zone meetings, we had our District Meeting where we talked about our District’s goals, then we went out for lunch at Raising Cane’s - the awesome chicken place I told you about.   After that we had a lesson with K___.  He is out of the hospital and the lesson went very good.  We talked about the Word of Wisdom and giving up coffee.  He agreed to work on that and working towards baptism.  After that, we had a lesson with A___ again and it went very well.  After that we had a dinner appointment with the M___ family and he made us French toast.  After that, we started our exchange with Zone Leaders - pretty intimidating, but it was a fun time.

Yes, MORE rain clouds!


Thursday:  We were still doing our exchanges with the zone leaders.  We started off doing service at the Arizona Historical Museum, cleaning out old exhibits.  It took 6 hours but we were given an underground tour afterwards- so it is well worth it.   It was also a good bonding activity for our Zone.  After that we went to Del Taco for lunch.  That afternoon we went and got my stitches out.  That was pretty interesting.  I don't think my finger was healed all the way and I might have to see a specialist depending how the healing process goes these next couple days.  After that, we went to the mission office and picked up a large print triple combination for S__ R___.  We then went home did our studies then had a dinner appointment with Bro. F___ .   Guess what, we had French toast – again.  After dinner, we exchanged back. I forgot to add we also dropped by the large print copy of the Book of Mormon with S___, with specific scriptures mark for her to study to work towards baptism.


"Zonin'" it up!

 
Friday:  We did some service, did our studies while we ate lunch and prepared for a lesson we taught A__.  During the lesson, we went over the commandments with her.  After the lesson, we went to dinner with the V__ family and had breakfast for dinner for the third day in a row.  It was good though. We also did some weekly planning. Friday was a pretty slow day.  We did see some hobos shooting up heroin behind our church building again. Ugh, don’t do drugs kids.

Saturday started off with some Zone Sports as the Stake Center.  It was fun!  We played a game called chair soccer where everyone has a chair somewhere around the gym.  Your chair is the goal you protect.  Think of it like soccer but everyone is their own goalie. It’s a free for all and I won. lol. It was super fun. After that we did service by helping someone move for 5 hours.  While doing that, I met a guy whose sister-in-law knows  me on a first name basis.  Apparently, they were texting back and forth and she’s like:  “Oh, Elder Dickinson?  As in Connor Dickinson?”  I almost lost my mind, lol.  Needless to say, I grew up with her daughter,  lol. After this we had a meeting with K___ and then we did some family history until our dinner appointment with the D___ family.   It’s always a fun time going there, and they are awesome people. 

I cant get enough of the RAIN! :)

Sunday:  We didn’t find any new investigators this week, but we did have 5 of them at church. So, that was awesome!  We sat through the Sunday block of  meetings with both K___ and A___.  After church we went home and did studies and other administrative stuff and then we had dinner with our Ward Mission Leader.  After dinner we went to a bring-a-friend fireside about the temple.  Sadly, nobody brought a friend and no investigators came.  It was poorly planned and announced - not even going to lie. 

Always that was our week.

Keep on keepin on!!

I love y’all


Elder Dickinson 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 26: Fingers; Who Needs 'em?

So sad to hear about the loss of our Poppa T. Please give Grandma T a big hug for me and let her know I’m praying for the family. Poppa T. will be missed. (The T’s are our non-related neighbors from across the street in Weston, Wisconsin.  They adopted me as their honorary grandson and I have known them since I was 5).

Dad, now you know the importance of safety glasses and why we wear them.   Please wear them! You don’t need any more cuts on your eyes. You need to see my face when I get home, lol.

Here is what we were up to this week:

Monday:  P-Day! Monday was a good P-Day and we had fun.  We played water balloon capture the flag! So fun! I wish I had pictures, but it’s so hot and dry here, after you get hit with a water balloon you are almost dry immediately!  Emailing home is always my favorite! ‘I live for Mondays’ - as usual!

Tuesday,
Happy 4th of July!

We did service at Beads of Courage and then after lunch, we went out and contacted some referrals, who were not in interested. We focused our efforts on finding for the day, but came up short and couldn't find anybody who wanted to hear the gospel and our dinner appointment cancelled on us. So, we had a BBQ cookout with all the Elders as you saw in the pictures - it was fun!  I burned a tie in honor of my 6 months in the mission field!  After that, we went up to the top of Campbell Avenue and watched fireworks over the whole city of Tucson.  We counted that as our finding activity, because we did talk to people!


Celebrating the 4th ATM style

Thats a cheesy looking bunch...for sure

If only the weather was as cool as we look!! :D


Wednesday:   We went to district meeting, which was about a 1989 talk given by Gordon B. Hinckley titled ‘Beware of Pride.’ It was very good and afterwards we ate lunch back at the apartment – again. Afterwards, we headed out to an appointment that we had with A___.  She is the investigator we have that set a baptismal date set for July 22nd.  After our meeting with A___, we went home and cleaned up a little bit and then went and did some finding until dinner. after dinner we went to the Family History Center and did our family history!

Thursday - what a day!! (that doesn’t mean it was good)  We started out at Beads of Courage and after that we ate lunch at Subway.  After that we did some finding.   Our dinner appointment for Thursday cancelled - again, so we made our dinner at home.  After we ate, I was washing the dishes and I reached into the sink and cut my finger open on a knife!  The cut was super deep and I lost a lot of blood, so Elder Thompson took me to ER & I had to get stitches.  After that we had a really lax night because I was in so much pain.  It was super deep, and it was the most blood I’ve ever lost! I almost passed out, lol.

I spared you the more gorey photo :O  ... You're welcome!


Friday we woke up and got ready for the day and went to zone conference - our first one with President then Sister Browning (own new Mission President.  It was a very fun time and we learned a lot.  Sister Browning pulled me aside and told me she and Pres. Browning had read my whole blog when they were getting ready to come to Tucson and they loved it😁.  After that we all went out to eat lunch at Wendy’s.  Afterwards we did some finding and then we had an lesson appointment with K___, but it fell through because we found out he was in the hospital.  He is okay and we will continue teaching him, but we will have to push his baptism date back probably to the 22nd!  I’m just glad he’s still alive!  After that, we did some weekly planning and had dinner at Wendy’s.  It was awful because we ate lunch at Wendy’s....so much for the weight loss. 

Saturday:  We had a couple lessons lined up for the day, but they all fell through.  Later that night we received transfer calls and found out that Elder Thompson was staying!! So that's good! I'm excited to work with him for another six weeks.  Two of our Zone’s areas are getting pink washed (sets of elders being completely replaced by sister missionaries – due to having so many single female ward members and investigators) So, we'll see what that brings. All those new sister companion sets are training new green bean sister missionaries. The Central Zone (my Zone) went from 18 Elders and 4 Sisters to 12 Elders and 10 Sisters, so it should be interesting to see how the work progresses.

Sunday:  Somehow, we accidently slept through our alarms and woke up late.  So, we had to scramble to get ready for church – which made everything more interesting, lol.  We had stayed up late the night before preparing a lesson on sacrifice we were going to teach in Gospel Principles class. It went very well and everybody said it was awesome! After church, we ate lunch in the apartment - again, and what do you know?  Our dinner cancelled - again. So, we ate on our own - again, but it ended up being a good day.

The ATM has a tradition of burning your 6th month tie!
I turned 6 on July 4th! :)

This week was another slow, hot week. But thankfully we still have the two baptismal dates set for the 22nd.

I want to leave you guys with my testimony of sacrifice.  While preparing the lesson we taugh on Sunday really had me questioning - Why am I on a mission?  I’ve lost too many people who mean a lot to me while I’ve been out on my mission.  So, why am I still out here?

The answer is:  Because it’s what I want to do.  I love the Lord, his prophet, and especially the Plan of Salvation. Knowing I will see those I've lost again makes me not fear death, because it’s not the end, it’s only the start of what is to come. 

Keep reading and praying in faith, because faith without works is dead, and work without faith is pointless.

Anyways I hope you all have an amazing week,

Be safe

Love,


Elder Dickinson 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 25: Out With the Old and In with the New….Mission President

Our mission president is now home! It’s crazy that we have a new mission president. Elder Thompson and I were the second pair of missionaries to meet President Browning! The APs were the first. It was really neat to meet them, they are so nice, and very talkative. We already talked about after the mission, he told me some good fishing spots in Idaho. It was awesome.

Always, I should probably get started telling you about my week! This week was truly amazing! We were able to meet our mission’s Standard of Excellence (SOE) goals over the last 2 weeks.
 To reach SOEs we need to find two new investigators, set one baptismal date and have at least one investigator attend church.  Pretty high goals, right?

Well, last week we found three new investigators, set one baptismal date and we had one investigator attend church.

This week, we found two new investigators, set three baptismal dates, and had three investigators attend church.

So, needless to say we wrecked it this week!!! :)

Monday:  I loved emailing with you guys, it’s always fun. Emailing home makes my week. So much so, I have a new motto, "Survive until Monday."  So, no matter how rough my week is, all I have to do is "survive until Monday"

Tuesday was a good day.  We got to go to Beads of Courage and we helped out for two hours.  After lunch, we did some finding and studies until we had a lesson with an investigator named A___.  A___ has been coming to church for several years and has never felt a desire to be baptized…until she went through the temple open house. Now, she is meeting with us and said she would do whatever it takes to be baptized.  We have a baptismal date set for the 22nd of July and we are looking forward to helping her make the next steps.

Text Messages from our Zone Leaders :)
ZUMBA----Haha!

Wednesday was another amazing day.  We had our district meeting and zone breakout where we meet to discuss our goals.  After district meeting we went out to eat at the new Costa Vida that is owned by a church member.  We went on their grand opening and there was a lot of church members there. We talked to most of them and they all wanted to pay for our meal.  Everybody loves the missionaries.  It was a pleasure being there, lol. Especially, when you live the life of a broke missionary.  After Costa Vida, we meet with another referral named K___ S___.  He has a friend in Oregon who has been talking to him about the church.  One day, a couple months ago, a set of missionaries stopped by K___’s, but never returned.  Now, he had us over to teach him three lessons one week.  He is on track for baptism on the 15th of July! I am truly blessed to be helping both A___ and K___ towards baptism!

Thursday:  We did service at Beads of Courage.  After lunch, we did some finding until we had an appointment with A___ again after that we had a good member visit with Bro.  L___.  He is a Samoan who plays rugby. He and his wife will be getting sealed in Temple on Oahu in November!  After this we had dinner with the S___ family.  After dinner, two of our appointments fell through, so then we did family history instead.

Forest Fire


Friday:  We did our weekly planning and then had a lesson with K___.  It went very well.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation and we emphasized it’s importance. K__ loved it!  After the lesson Elder Thompson and planned for a couple hours and then had dinner with the C___ family.  He owns a restaurant called Kneaders (Super good, look it up).  He made us his favorite dish from his restaurant and then gave us gift cards for Kneaders!!!!  I’m so excited to go there because it was awesome!  After we ate, I shared a message with them.  I shared Mormon 9:19-21. They both loved it. They were going through a rough time and they said that this message made them realize they needed to take a step back and look at how good they have had it! They loved it! After that we did some finding.

Saturday:  We had a whole bunch of tiny things to do.  We did a little service here a little service there.  We ran to pick up some stuff we need and we dropped off something for someone.  We had another lesson with A___ and later with K__.  K__ didn’t have a tie to wear to church on Sunday, so I gave him both of my purple ties since purple is his favorite color.  He was so happy and loved the ties.  I figured he could use them more than I needed them. Here is a little bout K___, he is an African American retired air force vet! He is quite a hoot and we love teaching him.

Sunday was a good day.  We got to set through the meeting block with K__.  Man, he is so funny, everyone at church loved him and he got along with everyone.  For the first time ever, I got to sit through a High Priest lesson, and believe it or not, it was better than Elders Quorum, lol. We did more finding and family history after Sunday meetings.

More forest fire... :O


All-in-all, it was a wonderful week!  This week, I want to invite every one of us to look for the tender mercies of the Lord in our lives. Whether its rain, you haven’t seen for 6 months, a beautiful sunset, or anything that helps you realize how amazing life is!  If you going through a rough time, turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones!

Mom, Dad, everyone, 

I love all so much!  Thanks for all the support and everything you do.

Love,

Elder Dickinson 


Week 48: 897 Miles

Well this week was crazy - crazy good- and just plan crazy, lol. We drove 897 miles this week...ugh!  At the end of this week, I can ho...