Serving in the Rancho Cucamonga, California Mission

Monday, February 29, 2016

my first week in the field

i started of my week by meeting my new companion! he is elder smith he has been out 20 months and i am pretty sure that i will kill him(be his last companion). i am in Ontario! it has not yet been colder than 75 degrees outside during the day yet, it is really weird to see all the people wearing scarves and sweaters in so much heat, but i guess I'm a Washingtonian born and raised! i have already met so many cool people.  i met my first investigator and found out he is a mechanic! while we where talking i found out that he has a 96.5 supra in his garage! an awesome car, i managed to weasel my way in to see it on our second visit! a beautiful car to say the least. we have a "grandma" she is a investigator that we go see when we can, she is not necessarily progressing but we where able to help her move along with our visit this week! my companion and i where what is called whitewashed into an area! this means that the other missionaries where transferred out of the area and we where both transferred in! this is a very stressful experience because without missing stride we have to pick up where they left off and continue the work! to make matters even harder we don't even talk to the old missionaries! but we are finally starting to get a grasp on what is happening around here. i am loving the work and i am growing rapidly! like no kidding i grew an inch in the MTC! some of my slacks look a little funny now! 
a tired missionary
elder Dickson

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Incoming photo

Isaac with the missionaries he went out to the mission with as well as his mission president and wife.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Leaving the MTC

There won't be an email this week because Isaac is traveling out to his mission on his Preparation day.  But, even better than an email, Isaac got to call me today when he got to the Salt Lake airport.  He'd been in the MTC for 12 days but said it felt more like 3 hours.  He was excited by what he'd accomplished at the MTC; teaching seven "investigators", serving as a zone leader (his duties included instructing an elder on the importance of body deodorant), giving a few blessings to other missionaries, and visiting the Provo temple.  17 missionaries from his district left the MTC together to fly to his mission.  He's been told that when he arrives in California that he will spent the night at the home of the mission president before meeting his assigned companion and moving in to his apartment.  It sounds like the mission home is going to be a full house with 17 missionaries arriving on the same day!

Each mission is presided over by a mission president.  He and his wife are asked to serve for three years to manage the mission.  The process of becoming a mission president is not like that of becoming a missionary.  A missionary begins the process of going on a mission by approaching his priesthood leaders, expressing a desire to serve, and filling out the required paperwork.  A person can not ask to be a mission president; it is something that comes from inspiration through church leadership.  One day your phone rings and you find a church leader wants to meet with you.  An interview or two later, you are invited to give up three years and move to your assigned area.  Dode's uncle was asked to serve in Mexico City a few decades ago.  He, his wife and all the kids moved down there for the three years.  In July  Dode's cousin and her husband will be leaving in order for her husband to serve as a mission president to the Africa Uganda Kampala mission.

The mission president is responsible for training and overseeing all the missionaries serving in his mission.  He meets regularly with them to see how they are doing, he offers pep talks and council as needed.  He is also the person Dode and I would call if there was an emergency at home (like a death in the family) that we thought Isaac needed to hear about from us in person instead of in an email.  The home the mission president and his wife live in is called the mission home.  17 missionaries arriving at once, being served dinner and breakfast and spending the night in the mission home must be interesting.

There is also an office for the mission.  All of Isaac's letters and packages go here, then they are delivered to the missionaries scattered throughout his mission.  There is usually a retired couple serving a mission who serve in the office with the mission president, overseeing the logistics of the apartments that are rented for the missionaries, cars the missionaries drive, mission finances etc.  Dode's Aunt Viv and Uncle Dave are serving a mission doing that in Maryland right now.  A few young missionaries are also asked to serve in the mission office for part of their mission, they are called Assistants to the President.

Isaac and his companions ended up having extra time at the airport when their flight was delayed two hours.  Isaac had a couple really nice things happen to him while at the airport.  He ordered lunch at one of the restaurants and when he tried to pay, he was told that someone else had already paid for his meal.  A little later, he was watching over everyone's bags while the other missionaries got food and made phone calls and someone came up and handed him $100 and told him to buy a meal for his companions and himself.  He was absolutely blown away that people would be so nice to him.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Photos from the MTC

Isaac sent me some photos from the MTC, I added the commentary.

Isaac with his MTC companion Elder Mann
blurry selfie of my boy

Isaac engaged  in some light reading

his room at the MTC.  There are three sets of missionaries sharing this room.

a view of his desk during class time

his classroom

his desk in his room

one of the MTC cafeterias

Learn more about the MTC at this link
Here's an interesting article about the MTC link

Some facts about the MTC from 2007, the numbers are much larger now!

Provo MTC by the Numbers
2,443—Missionaries in the Provo MTC the day the New Era visited. The number ranges from 1,700 to 2,700.
4,300—The most missionaries the Provo MTC has had at one time.
3, 8, or 12—Weeks a missionary will spend in the MTC, depending on the language he or she is learning.
324—New missionaries who reported to the MTC the day we visited. Between 200 and 500 arrive each Wednesday.
300—Average number of missionaries who participate in the MTC choir.
50—Languages taught at the Provo MTC, including Icelandic and Malagasy.
26—Languages MTC meetings are translated into for missionaries learning English as a second language.
2,700—Service people, including employees, service missionaries, and volunteers, who keep the MTC running.
15—The smallest number of missionaries in a branch. The most is 75.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

One week at the MTC, 2/18/16

Here is Isaac's email after one week in the MTC.  I checked with him and he said he's just kidding about not wanting me to make a blog.  He will leave the MTC on Monday the 22nd.

so i have heard that my mother against my better wishes has chosen to make a blog about my mission! 

this was the first week of the mtc. a few things to start stuff off. the food is pretty good except for the fact there is MILK in EVERYTHING! constant upset stomach! i have been told that i am too loud for people, too loud for people to study:/ i have been called as a zone leader! that means i am in charge of around 24 missionaries (too lazy to count). as of week one i have taught 5 investigators, learned more than i could ever hope to remember or understand. i have some awesome sisters in my district ( aka girl missionaries) this is our classroom! i have been here for a total of 9 days now and i feel like i maybe have been here 9 hours.

being here at the mtc is a lot like being told that i can fly, and then immediately being thrown out of an airplane. the one perk is i get to watch my companion screaming just as loud as me! 

a few fun things new things about me! i now run at least 1 mile a day (ive never been a runner), the food here has me so confused... they do tacos with scones!!!! i am so confused about that... i have about 20 minutes of time to breathe a day, and during that i get the pleasure of doing my personal studies! one of the sisters in my district said "you can breathe when you are dead" hahahaha that one went straight into my notebook. here at the mtc i am in my suit 24/7, and i have managed not to spill anything yet!!!

basically i have too much to say and too little words.


Elder Dickson

1st letter from the MTC 2/11/16

Isaac entered the MTC on a Wednesday and his "P Day" (preparation day - used for things like laundry, shopping and letter writing) happened to fall on Thursday.  P Day is the one day of the week when Isaac has time to email us.  Here is his email after one day in the MTC.


i love you 

i am doing well in the mtc. my companion is elder mann! awesome name, he is one heck of a man. tell everyone i love them. thank you for the letter. i was just called as zone leader! i am starting that calling on Sunday!!! everything here is really exiting. i am learning more than i ever knew before.

 i left behind a water bottle, and would appreciate a care package. you can just send it to my mtc address i am mailbox 93. let everyone know i love them. tell EVERYONE i will be emailing on next Thursday. i finally stopped crying when i got through security. Let Isaac know i love him, if you catch wind of rem give him a hug. let everyone know that it is totally legal to send letters on any day i will try to respond on Thursday to who i can. 

There is soooooooooooooooooooooooo much snow here. Miriam, and William would love it!  i will begin sending photos when i am again happy with my hair but until then ima pull a Jacob and hide from ya'll. 

my companion and i get along greatly, we have so much in common. tell Miriam she better build a dang cool airplane by the time i get home. flying in the airplane was a blast.

hugs and kisses from your boy at the MTC.

Elder dickson

2/10/16- Leaving Washington

On Wednesday February 10, 2016, Isaac flew to Salt Lake City to enter the MTC (Missionary Training Center).  It would be the first time he'd ever flown on an airplane.  We left the house at 3:15 am in order to get him to the airport in sufficient time for his 6:00 am departure.  The whole family plus Isaac Colson loaded into the big rig and set off for SeaTac.  On the way there, Luke got sick and filled the vehicle with the smell of vomit.  William, Luke and Dode had been sick a few days before and we were hoping not to send a sick boy to the MTC.  As luck you have it, Isaac was sitting right next to Luke when Luke got sick.

Once we arrived at the airport, found parking and Isaac got his bags checked, we had about 15 minutes before he needed to head through security.  Miriam was in tears and she went first with the hugs, insuring that Isaac was crying from the beginning.  Leah didn't understand what was going on.  She just knew that she'd been awoken in the middle of the night in order to endure a long car ride.  When Isaac asked her for a hug, she gave a firm answer, "No!"  He tried a few times but her answer was always the same.  We wouldn't let him try to hug Luke because we didn't want Luke to pass  his bug along.  We gave Isaac hugs and tried to pour two years of loving into them.  Then we stood off to the side and watched Isaac make his way through security.

I had to keep reminding myself that this would  be the last time I would be in the same place as him for two years.  It didn't even seem real.  We drove home and I kept thinking, "At this time he's taking off, at this time he's in the air, at this time he's landing".  It seemed odd for life to go on like normal while my boy was flying away for such a long time.  

Once he got to Salt Lake City, he had about three hours before he needed to be at the MTC.  We have a family friend who moved to Utah last year, Brad Fowler, and he'd offered to take the morning off work and pick up Isaac at the airport.  What a wonderful blessing.  Brad is someone Isaac did a lot of things with when he lived in Washington and he and Isaac are good friends.  I knew that instead of wandering around feeling like a lost waif, Isaac would be kept busy and kept company by Brad.  They picked up a few last minute things at the store that Isaac needed, ate breakfast and went by Brad'd mom's house so Isaac could get a hug from her (he met her last year when she came to Washington to help Brad move).  He was able to call me for just a few minutes as they were heading to the MTC to tell me he loved me and that he was doing ok.  Then, it was off to the MTC for a few weeks of training.
Isaac and Miriam

Isaac and Isaac

Dode took the photo and he was keeping a sick Luke away from Isaac

walking away from us towards security

The last time I'd be this close to him in the next two years

Going to the Temple- 1/26/16

On January 26, 2016, Isaac went to the Seattle Temple in preparation to going on his mission.    Going to the temple for the first time is a big step in our faith.  It shows you are willing to make promises with Heavenly Father about how you will conduct yourself and treat other people for the remainder of your life.  Departing missionaries go to the temple before reporting to their missions.

Since it was Isaac's first time going, he had to be there quite early in order to receive instruction.   When you go the first time, you have someone go with your as your escort to help you find your way around.  Isaac asked his dad to be his escort.  Dode and Isaac made a day of it, stopping to pick up the new suits he'll be taking on his mission and going out to lunch before arriving at the temple.

The temple session (2:00 pm on a weekday afternoon) was quite small, with only two people going through for the first time.   In the evenings or on the weekends there could be 30-40 people going through for their first time.  We are so pleased with Isaac and the choice he's made to give up two years of his life to teach other people about Jesus Christ.

After the temple, we fought our way home through traffic to enjoy a late dinner with Anastaya that I'd prepared the day before.   You see, that day also just happened to be Anastaya's 18th birthday and yes, Isaac heard all about his stealing her day.  I can relate to her "pain" since my brother, born 2 days shy of my birthday, pretty much stole my birthday that year.

Isaac's support team

Isaac with his grandparents, Lynn and Sharon Dickson
Isaac is their 4th grandchild to serve a mission.
Lynn and Sharon served a mission to Nauvoo, Illinois a few years ago.