July 17

hey mom and dad,

just a fair warning this email is probably going to be short because we are crazy busy. this week has been a gong show. I guess ill answer your questions. 1) i am starting to get comfortable because its just like being a district leader with a really big district. so we train every week just like the district leaders except we train at three meetings. we also meet with the stake president every month to discuss missionary work.  2) no we dont get very much time in our own area, at least not as much as i would like. 3) we are working with a few people we have on baptismal date, yan, daniel, alex and thanh. they are all progressing well and are all foreign except for alex. and to answer your mom question yes i got a coat. because it is really cold and wet.
this last week we had zone conference given to us by president and the assistants. it was really weird conducting it.  we have some great missionaries in marion zone.
love
Elder Dickson

July 9

hey mom and dad,

well its flipping cold down here. the past few days have been a killer. i have come from 35 degrees and humid every day to 11 degrees cold rain and dry. so im serving in an area called oaklands park. so that puts me in a new ward (marion ward). a zone leaders life is crazy. we attend 3 district meetings and we have to run errannds for companionships. plus trade offs and flat rock ups. so its pretty crazy. we have spent a total of like 4 hours in our area this week. it should be a little better now that we are over week one.  its nice to be back in marion. i get to see a lot of missionaries that i knew before. its pretty much like being a really big district leader except my companion is there to help. so elder heindel is from idaho. this is his last transfer and he has been in oaklands park since christmas (a long time). ill probably need to buy that coat. we are in carge of the biggest zone in the mission and im the designated driver so that means i do a lot of driving
Krista – What are s a flat rock up?
Tommy – yeah im comfportable with driving just took a little while to adjust and a flat rock up is when we crash another missionaries companionship study to check on them. we have keys to every flat in the zone so we will show up and make sure they are doing tjhe right things like not coming back to the flat early and stuff
Brent – ‎Hey, freezing at 11 C. You are a true Australian. Sounds like lots of different duties. Change is a good thing.
Krista –

That must be a little strange…
 Did you have that happen to you before you were a zone leader? How is the new ward? Do you have other missionaries in it?
Brent – ‎You sound like the enforcer! Just make sure to do it with love and a smile. Mission letters have changed from back in the day. Instant communication from Calgary, adelaide, and Washington DC – It is still really hot here at 7PM. I think I will take Jake to the lake at 8PM. I don’t think he can break the sabbath. I will read the ensign on shore :).
Tommy – that happened to me but i had never done it. the ward is awesome. the bishop ois really on board for missionary work and we have a gung ho ward mission leader who is smashing it! and yes we are in a flat with 4 missionaries. we have the glenelg elders with us (elder riding and elder mikami (cousin!!!)). and we also have the marion sisters in the ward sister buyanbadrakh and sister afualo
Krista – I remember seeing that picture of Elder Mikami. Who is Elder Riding? How long has he been out? Do you enjoy being in a flat with more missionaries? Well I guess the one thing that will be definite is that you will get a new companion in 6 weeks.
Brent – ‎Guess you won’t get lonely. Good to hear you have Bishop and mission Leader support. So are you going to brave the Cole and do something fun today? – ‎So the TV keeps getting interrupted for a Tornado warning just North of Calgary. Super hot day with a Tornado possibility. Not sure you get those down under.
Tommy – he was in firle with me. he has been out 4 months  – i love 4 elders, never a dull moment – not even close
Krista – What is your area like? Is it similar to the area you served with Elder Punou?
Brent – ‎Of course when I go swimming not so worried about crocs
Tommy – no its closer to evandale. a lot more units and like closer to the city. the photos we are sending is a member named rob deromano or “captain”. he has some handicaps but always has us over every wednesdya and we make him pancakes and french toast every saturday. – he loves the us navy – yeah i guess so, oh wait we dont swim  – i gotta go i love you have a great day
Brent – You are awesome. Have a great week
Krista – I love that. It is so nice when members support missionaries and missionaries return the favour. The US navy huh… well I am in the middle of Everything US military in DC right now. Wow that last picture of you and Elder Heindel was wacky….you look like you could be twins!!!!! I have been meaning to ask you . Would you be interested in having contacts? – Love you have a great week. Rock Oakdale!!!!!!!!
Tommy – jokes im back apparently we have longer email time as a zone leader because we have to update so much stuff – Oaklands park (we call it OKP) not oakdale – no not at all
Brent – So any big plans for today?
Tommy – we are going to costco!!!!!!!!!!!!
Brent – ‎Is it the same company as here? Do they have sweet hotdogs and lots of socks to buy?
Tommy – yeah its the exact same – tell drew to open to zachariah 5:1 (first documented food fight) – or psalms 137:9
Brent – ‎I’m getting him right now for his thoughts. – ‎He likes the idea of throwing stuff. It spiritually moved him. ‎Drew fun fact. At EFY he ate a lot of melons. ‎Not sure the significance of that.
Tommy – i think the second one is how we all feel when we are annoyed – if he reads verse two he will find out how big the bun is – why melons?
Brent – Drew says that is a huge bun. Drew is quite insightful.
Tommy – oh and big news gary e stevenson is coming to adelaide in a month
Brent – They taste good. As you can see he is a big talker. He has now left to watch Simpsons. He was able to give five minutes of his time for you. Touching. ‎Very cool. Is that the first General Authority visit for you. They have very cool and direct messages for missionaries.
Tommy – wow touching
Drew – He is a bit of a Simpsons junkie. He has 22 plus seasons to choose from.
Tommy – well we have had general 70’s in the past but now we have an apostle – i gotta go now. i love you
Brent – Proselyte like a boss! 🙂

June 18

hey mom and dad,

so you met sister townsend? she told me right before she left that she was sister woodruffs neice. we have had a great week here. its been all over the place. first of all we went on trade offs with elder arnaud and elder mattie. i went to palmerston with elder arnaud and we were able to see their struggling recent convert. us and a member gave him a blessing and it was super spiritual. also this week we have seen lots of cool animals near our flat. so benny can look at the photos that i will add. one of the best things about darwin is the people. they are so nice always kind and wanting to talk. one of the people i will never forget is brother maloney. he is a solid member who loves elder ivory and i. he always has us for dinner and is always looking to help us out.
love ya
elder dickson
Drew – You’re a noob you are a ret -drew
Krista – Hooray! I totally cried when Sister Townsend came and gave me a hug. She said great things about the Mission and the Parkers and said how much faith the parkers had in you. It totally surprised me because I was in the middle of Nursery Chaos  and I had forgotten about the Woodruff’s niece. I was so happy to see her. It was kind of like seeing you. I’m glad you are getting meals. How old is Brother Maloney? Does he have a family?
Tommy – the daughter is 6 – he is in his 40’s and has one daughter. he is recently returning from less activity and his wife is a recent convert.
Taylor – ‎”Email him something cool or something” your dad telling me to tell you. Anyway hey it is taysteed. How are you doing? I may or may not have torn my acl so that is fun. So what is going on for you right now?
Krista – That is cool. It sounds like it was a great week in Darwin. Where is Palmerston?
Here is Joseph to say a few words:“ Piitsburgh won the Stanley Cup and Warriors won the NBA final. I won my tournament. How is it in Darwin?”

Brent – ‎So for Father’s day we had a rootbeer bar. Lots of brands and taste cups. I liked the grizzly brand out of Canmore. Mom likes Crim City rootbeer. We think it is because there is a cartoon picture of a guy with tattoos on the front.

Krista – I was proud of my 8 different kinds of rootbeer… not even Barqs or Mug! I had to go to like 4 different stores to find it all.! Some of it was really gross.

Tommy – hey taysteed, so guess what up here in darwin nobody cares about trump (yes that is possible) but the trade off is that everybody here is a bogan (aussie word for hillbilly) – hey well taysteed how was grad?

Krista – I am asking … how do you define an Australian Hillbilly?

Tommy – they drink a ton of beer and all think that they live in the outback even though they live in the city. literally the australian version of a redneck

Krista – This is fro Grandpa Steed… Do  you spend any time climbing termite mounds? Grandpa is now giving me info on termite mounds!

Tommy – there arent termite mounds in darwin only in the bush

Taylor –  was good. We went as a group of people in my grade.  I went with Sophie Carter as my date, and it was good.  The day after a lot of the people came down to waterton and were able to hang out for a couple of days, the guys stayed in the big cabin and the girls stayed out at the Remington cabin.

Well that is kind good and bad, in that you can’t have any type of mutual hating session with the people, but on the good side you don’t ever need to worry about people giving you baggage about Trumps new policies or what he tweeted about.  Are you spending time to keep up with the us’s politics or is this more of a general hatred you have with you? Like what if I was to say that Trump was impeached, would you even know or not?
Brent – ‎Jake is lounging on the swing in the back yard and talking about who just went pee and peeing in the toilet. Some things don’t change.
Tommy – no we would have no clue unless people tell us. thats sweet! and guess what? everybody in darwin has flipping gates and a big dog so we cant knock on their door
Krista – Is it a single mom with kids? Have you started to teach them? What are their names?
Brent – So any fun stories with contacting. ‎Any fun stuff happen on PDay?
Krista / Bronwyn – Here is Bronwyn… Hot? Warm? Or Cold?    Yes that is really all Bronwyn wants to know. Well you know your cousin…. just a “little different!”
Tommy – yeah a single mom with kids and their names are linda, hartley and i dont remember the rest but we are seeing them tonight – it is 30 degrees or hotter every day – not really except for aboriginals telling us that we are brainwashing them by talking to them
Brent – ‎I didn’t know you had such amazing mind powers. What are your top tips for brainwashing 🙂
Krista – It sounds like Darwin is busy with new potentials! Palmerston? Where is it?
Tommy – its 30 minutes from darwin. its like okotoks to calgary
Krista – Ok… that makes sense. Where is Elder Arnaud from/ How long has he been out?
Tommy – he is from tahiti and has been out for almost a year and a half – taylor. the gates are like 6 feet high and man some people have the angriest dogs. its probably just cuz im white :p just kidding
Krista – Are all of the missionaries in Darwin on bikes?
Tommy – you wanna know something funny actually? australia doesnt have rabies – no food and no we are the only area exclusively on bikes. everyone else has both
Brent – We can send Jake down. He can bring it with him. (rabies)
Krista – As you can imagine… Grandpa Steed was most interested in the fact that Australia doesn’t have rabies. Thanks for the fun fact! – You just are never going to get off that bike..! So much fun in 30 degrees!
Tommy – haha yeah they dont have rabies (at least that is what they claim) but the have a bat virus that a member said is basically the same thing – seriously its lie president knew how much i hated biking before the mission
Krista – Isabelle says it’s 66 days until you have been out a year… She knows that because it is her birthday. Father’s Day is fun but I think I am all partied out. Aunt Christina  made great cake and I ate just a little too much!
Brent – ‎So Drew is working hard at playhouse making dreams come true for the little ones. I would have hated that job. I think I would rather mow lawns.
Tommy – my patience would probably run short too
Krista – Grandpa thinks that makes sense. Grandpa thinks deer tastes like Kangaroo. I’m not sure what I think> What are the plans for the rest of Pday?
Tommy – well we are just gonna go to the mall
That is all for this week.  A little disjointed because cousins were sending in emails too.

May 28

hey mom and dad!

so this has been a cool week mostly because of wildlife. we see heaps of animals around here. for example last night after our dinner appointment we came outside and there were like 10 tree frogs on our bikes so we were playing with them for a bit. it is really hot up here with humidity. 33 is nice but not when your biking in a shirt and tie. so mom do you remember how i told you some missionarries are on the charles darwin university campus? well thats us. the farrrers buy us polo shirts and khakis that we wear onto campus. we also wear khakis while proselyting up here because the humidity would destroy our pants. i have yet to see any crocs (elder ivory says they arent that common). its cool to be back with elder ivory because i get to see how much he has grown. And another cool thing is one of the elders in my district is from mission bc. (elder mattie) – oh and its not a small branch. its bigger than most wards in adelaide. (150 members) – so the mission buys me khakis

Krista – Mission BC… that is cool. Is he your age? you were probably babies together in the same Stake

Tommy – and yeah we are getting along well. ad our ditrict is great – yeah he’s 19

Krista – Ok… tell me about Elder Ivory and your flat. How are the Farrers? They seem great. She posted something about a flat inspection where 5/6 flats passed and the last flat was maybe … well not so clean Tell me, i have a sneaking suspicion that was maybe you 🙂 Do your old mom a favor and win that cleaning crocodile one time while you are in Darwin! Well that surprises me about the branch size. That is good, you will have lots of members to meet. I will have to check your account for you to buy Khakis. I don’t know how much money is in there right now. Maybe  get a statement and I will put more money in tomorrow. Or if you need to shop today I can run over and put in money when we are done chatting. How is Elder Ivory? Are you getting along? How is your district? Do you have any investigators? Have you been to the University yet?

Tommy – oh ye of little faith…… we passed. our flat is really small and we get lizards in it all the time. the farrers are awesome. sister farrer is sister parker’s sister – not many investigators but yeah we go to the uni twice a week

Krista – Oh… that makes me so happy. I was making your brother’s clean today because I was worried I hadn’t taught my boys anything about cleaning! You are the BEST! What a kid! Benny would be so thrilled about the tree frogs. You will have to send him a picture. That is cool about the lizards… are they annoying or still kind of fun? When you go to the Uni do you teach in a room or do you contact around the buildings?  I asked the Wilson’s about how we get packages to you now and it seems like we still send them to Adelaide and then either the Parker’s bring them or they mail them on. So we will see. I’m really hoping you will get to celebrate Canada Day. Tell me about your area. Is it like a suburb? Are there more aboriginal Australians in Darwin?

Tommy – you still send the packages to adelaide and they mail them to us. yeah so they are nice becuase they eat all the bugs so we let them in our flat. and we just walk around the buildings talking to people and then teach lessons at tables or in the student lounge

Krista – Do you know any of the other missionaries in Darwin? I can imagine that once you are in Darwin you don’t just stay for one transfer. What are your plans for the rest of your PDay? Are there interesting things you want to see?

Tommy – not really they are all new to me. we are probably gonna go to the mall today

Krista – How many Elders and Sisters do you have in your district? Who are they? Do you train every week?

Tommy – I train every week and we have two sets of elders and one set of sisters

Krista – That sounds great. You said you had a dinner appointment. How is the branch? I know you have only been one week but did you meet anyone interesting?

Tommy – not really but we meet a lot of american marines around darwin. (american naval base)

Krista – I’m surprised, I would have never have guessed there was a base there. So Drew has his semi final rugby game tomorrow. As long as they beat Wisewood they will go to provincials. This year provincials are in Edmonton. If they are going I think Dad and I are going to try and take a day off work and go to see them play . It will feel weird to go to Edmonton and have to stay in a hotel instead of Grandma and Grandpa Dickson’s.  Dad is at ASLC, the weather is nice and he is taking 20 kids so he should have a lot of fun. He was picking up licorice to throw at kids on the bus… memories!  We have Joseph and Porter here right now. There is an epic lego game going on in the basement. I don’t even want to think about how much thee will be to clean when they are done. Grace Matthews spoke in church today. She is getting ready to go on a mission in the fall. She is a neat kid.  Oh… what about the tag?

Tommy – she is going on a mission?! thats awesome! yeah and darwin has heaps of historical ww2 stuff. it was bombed by the japanese in the war.

Krista – Yes! I was surprised. There was no note just the tag. Do you get new ones? Is it a tradition to send tags home? The tag is sitting on our mantle right beside the picture of you that is on your mission plaque at the church

Tommy – no i just ordered two new badges from the office so i figured i would send it home

Krista – There are some interesting things about dressing for an Australia Adelaide mission. Sister Parker posted some pictures of a trip out bush where everyone is wearing bush boots because that red dirt gets everywhere. Who knew!

Tommy – yeah you get some big differences from nt to sa

Brent – Hey buddy, sitting in the opening ceremonies of ASLC. They had a million dignitaries. Very painful. How are you!!!!

Krista – I was glad to get it.  the same day I also got a thank you letter from Sister Sennett. i had sent a card when Elder Sennet died and it was really thoughtful of her to send a reply. It was an Australia day in the mail! What did you end up doing with your paintings? Are you hauling them with you?

Tommy – they are in the vault in adelaide. and far out dignitaries suck

Brent – Just read your first letter. Proselytize on Darwin campus sounds really cool. Have you seen any kangaroos? I’m still hoping for the kangaroo punch.

Tommy – yeah we see wallibies sometimes but since we are in the suburbs not so much

Krista – Oh who knew there was a mission vault? I am learning so much. Drew is doing some makeup Seminary assignments right now… sound familiar? He is not too happy with me.

Tommy – haha sad life

Brent – Probably not as cool punching a wallabee. This opening ceremony is a little long. Mama Mcgreggs says hi.

Krista – I am forcing him to finish them in case he ever wants to go to the States for University. Not likely but we’re covering our bases. It’s graduation season here. Centennial’s grad was this weekend and I saw things from Dallin’s grad on Facebook. I guess no matter how much we fight it  you all grow up!

Tommy – tell mama magreggs i say hi too wallabies are small but there are heaps

Brent –  I had a cool discussion with a bunch of advisors. They were asking about you. Got to explain about missions, how you get called etc. It was good. I’m being a member missionary.

Tommy – yeah eventually i guess – which advisers?

Krista – I’m not sure punching wildlife is a great plan. I have been watching Australian Border Patrol shows ( yes mocking inserted here) and let’s just say those Australian officlas don’t mess around! I will be excited to see pictures of your new place and Darwin. What a change! Is your area as big as your Adelaide areas. Do you have to bike far?

Tommy – dad can you send any more photos of our aslc and any more training ideas. they are helping so much, really engaging

Laura McGregor – Hey Tommy…mama McGregs here.  Missing you here at ASLC. Hope you are having a great time. Use lots of sunscreen!

XO

Brent- Wisewood, two Airdrie schools, small schools near Lloudminster, Drumheller.

Tommy – thank you! and yeah its just as big but we cover what is called lee point so its super far

Brent – I will find some stuff for next week. Why do u want ASLC pics? I can send activities.

Tommy – awesome well tell them i say hi – idk i just want some pictures of us hosting it – companions always ask about it but it never really works just to just explain – hey om and dad i gotta go ill talk to you next week. love yous

Brent – I will send pics and ideas. No problem. It brings back great memories of you at ASLC last year. You made an impact on some of these advisors!

 

 

 

 

Tommy is transferred to Darwin!

Fun fact: Getting transferred from Adelaide to Darwin is the same distance as Calgary to Houston.  Yes Tommy flew.

Hey Mom and Dad so sorry about the late email. So transfers happened and I got shipped to Darwin! I’m the Palmerston district leader in Darwin and my new companion is…… Elder Ivory!(They were together in the MTC)  We are in an area called Malak. So Elder Miague is still in Evandale and his new companion is Elder Hobby. Other than that it has been a pretty normal week. It’s really freaking hot here though. 90% humidity and 30 degrees (there’s the weather report for grandpas). We are doing great and it should be a really good transfer.

so I don’t think I will need a winter jacket

May 8

Hey Mom and Dad, so this week has been a good one. We got 5 new investigators this week! More than all of marion zone. So I talked to Sister Parker and she said I should be able to facetime home on Monday here so Sunday night there. So another cool experience is that I met Brother Steed this week in my ward! Turns out he is from Salt Lake and that he has been in Adelaide for 7 years. #metmycousin. That is crazy that the guys are killing it this year. Far out I’m excited for back to back provincial titles.

We missed Tommy’s email that came a day later so that is all for now.

April 30

Hey Mom and Dad so this week has been pretty good. We were able to get a new investigator named Gideon this week. Gideon is from Kenya and he has had a rough life. He told us stories of watching people starve to death so needless to say he has a tough time believing in God. This week we were also able to go on trade offs with the zone leaders. Elder Leutele (from new zealand) and I got to stay in evandale and smash it here. Other than that it has been really normal. Our converts are doing great and paul is slowly progressing.

  1. read d&c 50 or d&c 112 is what I do to lift myself when I’m feeling down.
  2. adobo is my favorite new food I’ve tried.
    10. Investigators would say this about me i talk really fast and tell stories

Brent – Hey buddy, I’m cheating in the Moroni’s quest fireside and am emailing you. How cool to meet someone like Gideon. I loved teaching Africans in Sweden. Amazing people. The convert  baptism went great. We were in the RS room at Parkland. It was packed. All the YM were standing. At least 10 non members from Centennial came. A good day

Krista – Oh… that is no surprise that you talk really fast and it makes sense that you  are a storyteller coming from your family. I am glad to hear about the two sections of D&C . I will make that my scripture study for this week. So Paul and Gideon and remind me again the name of your Chinese investigator… and what is adobo?

Tommy – his name is martin and adobo is a filipino food that elder miague taught me how to cook. super simple but really good. and yeah the africans are always really receptive – that is sweet i dont even remember convert baptisms in sundance

Brent – Neither do we! It is pretty great.

Krista – Ok… so just saying Philipino food is not that descriptive… any more info? Tell me what you did on splits and a little about your Zone leaders

Tommy – its like meat and filipino soy sauce (very different)  on rice – same as usual finding

Ben – Ben- hey Tommy on our program it says your returning auust 2017

Tommy – one more year

Krista – Hmmm… I will have to look it up and try to find how to make it. Sounds interesting. Where do you go to find in your area? – I think Benny meant 2018 the part he likes is that there is no G in August  …Auust. We look for it every week…  it’s kind of a tradition now

Ben- doh somehow I forgot the year

Tommy – we do a lot of door knocking in a place called campbelltown – haha all good benny

Krista – What is your favorite way to contact people? What are you the best at and what are you trying to improve at?

Tommy – i am not the best at going slow with my contacts, the easiest way to talk to people is on the street because they cant run away

Ben- hey did mom tell you I’m playing Rugby now it is really fun I bit too hard on my mouth guard now it gets stuck in

Tommy – good you want it to get stuck because then it wont fall out – what position are you playing?

Krista – Oh that cracks me up… what a surprise that you are not into details and going slow… sound familiar Benny??? I also laughed at “they can’t  run away”… they also probably can’t send their dogs after you 🙂

Ben- no like have to pop it out from the back. Don’t know my position yey

Krista – Tell me about some of the personalities of the missionaries you work with senior or junior… Who is the most serious? Who likes a good joke?  Who is a good cook? Who is a fierce teacher?

Tommy – exactly – everyone in the district are jokers. i have to be the serious one which is no fun

Ben – in my first practice I scored a try

Tommy – elder garbutt and miague are good cooks – thats sweet!

Krista – That is a hard thing when you have to be a leader… you told me about the adobo… what does Elder Garbutt like to cook? What has become your go to meal for you to cook?

Tommy – i cook a lot of mexican and assorted

Krista – What is coming up for you for PDay… any new training on the horizon?

Ben- thanks, on Friday I went to comiccon. Me and my friend played classic brawl

Tommy – classic brawl how was it?

Krista – What about the senior missionaries? Who is like a mom or dad? Who is a great teacher? Who is a details person?

Tommy – i have been training a lot for meetings speaking of, dad do you have any good leadership trainings that can be applied to the gospel?

Ben- really fun you can be mew two in it witch is awsome

Tommy – and sister smith is like leder miague and i’s mom

Brent – I will have to send you something next week.

Tommy – ok sweet im running out of ideas for trainings

Krista – What!!! I don’t understand, I think you were typing too fast.. explain about Sister Smith and Elder Miague

Tommy – sister smith is like a mom to elder miague and i. she makes sure we are fed

Ben- one thing I got was a pin with cat Head in a cupcake cup with a unicorn horn

Brent – Taylor says hi. The boys and I gotta go. Have a great week.

Krista – What about using the story of Jake in Cameron Lake… He kept swimming deeper and deeper, having a great time and he had no idea that there was a big drop off and that the water was so cold he could be in danger. Finally a man in a kayak pushed him to the shore… could use the analogy of sometimes we don’t know the dangers of what we are doing or what is around the corner… have to listen to people on shore(spirit) and get help from the Lord and others to avoid danger… reminds me of President Packer’s crocodile story.

I have always been interested in animals and birds and when I was a little boy and the other children wanted to play cowboy, I wanted to go on safari to Africa and would pretend I was hunting the wild animals.

When I learned to read, I found books about birds and animals and came to know much about them. By the time I was in my teens I could identify most of the African animals. I could tell a klipspringer from an impala, or a gemsbok from wildebeest.

I always wanted to go to Africa and see the animals, and finally that opportunity came. Sister Packer and I were assigned to tour the South Africa Mission with President and Sister Howard Badger. We had a very strenuous schedule and had dedicated eight chapels in seven days, scattered across that broad continent.

President Badger was vague about the schedule for September 10th. (That happens to be my birthday.) We were in Rhodesia, planning, I thought, to return to Johannesburg, South Africa. But he had other plans, and we landed at Victoria Falls.

“There is a game reserve some distance from here,” he explained, “and I have rented a car, and tomorrow, your birthday, we are going to spend seeing the African animals.”

Now I might explain that the game reserves in Africa are unusual. The people are put in cages, and the animals are left to run free. That is, there are compounds where the park visitors check in at night and are locked behind high fences until after daylight they are allowed to drive about, but no one is allowed out of his car.

We arrived in the park in the late afternoon. By some mistake, there were not enough cabins for all the visitors, and they were all taken when we arrived. The head ranger indicated that they had a cabin in an isolated area about eight miles from the compound and we could spend the night there.

Because of a delay in getting our evening meal, it was long after dark when we left the compound. We found the turnoff and had gone up the narrow road just a short distance when the engine stalled. We found a flashlight and I stepped out to check under the hood, thinking that there must be a loose connection or something. As the light flashed on the dusty road, the first thing I saw was lion tracks!

Back in the car, we determined to content ourselves with spending the night there! Fortunately, however, an hour or two later we were rescued by the driver of a gas truck who had left the compound late because of a problem. We awakened the head ranger and in due time we were settled in our cabin. In the morning they brought us back to the compound.

We had no automobile, and without telephones there was no way to get a replacement until late in the day. We faced the disappointment of sitting around the compound all day. Our one day in the park was ruined and, for me, the dream of a lifetime was gone.

I talked with a young ranger, and he was surprised that I knew many of the African birds. Then he volunteered to rescue us.

“We are building a new lookout over a water hole about twenty miles from the compound,” he said. “It is not quite finished, but it is safe. I will take you out there with a lunch, and when your car comes late this afternoon we will bring it out to you. You may see as many animals, or even more, than if you were driving around.”

On the way to the lookout he volunteered to show us some lions. He turned off through the brush and before long located a group of seventeen lions all sprawled out asleep and drove right up among them.

We stopped at a water hole to watch the animals come to drink. It was very dry that season and there was not much water, really just muddy spots. When the elephants stepped into the soft mud the water would seep into the depression and the animals would drink from the elephant tracks.

The antelope, particularly, were very nervous. They would approach the mud hole, only to turn and run away in great fright. I could see there were no lions about and asked the guide why they didn’t drink. His answer, and this is the lesson, was “Crocodiles.”

I knew he must be joking and asked him seriously, “What is the problem?” The answer again: “Crocodiles.”

“Nonsense,” I said. “There are no crocodiles out there. Anyone can see that.”

I thought he was having some fun at the expense of his foreign game expert, and finally I asked him to tell us the truth. Now I remind you that I was not uninformed. I had read many books. Besides, anyone would know that you can’t hide a crocodile in an elephant track.

He could tell I did not believe him and determined, I suppose, to teach me a lesson. We drove to another location where the car was on an embankment above the muddy hole where we could look down. “There,” he said. “See for yourself.”

I couldn’t see anything except the mud, a little water, and the nervous animals in the distance. Then all at once I saw it!—a large crocodile, settled in the mud, waiting for some unsuspecting animal to get thirsty enough to come for a drink.

Suddenly I became a believer! When he could see I was willing to listen, he continued with the lesson. “There are crocodiles all over the park,” he said, “not just in the rivers. We don’t have any water without a crocodile somewhere near it, and you’d better count on it.”

The guide was kinder to me than I deserved. My “know-it-all” challenge to his first statement, “crocodiles,” might have brought an invitation, “Well, go out and see for yourself!”

I could see for myself that there were no crocodiles. I was so sure of myself I think I might have walked out just to see what was there. Such an arrogant approach could have been fatal! But he was patient enough to teach me.

My young friends, I hope you’ll be wiser in talking to your guides than I was on that occasion. That smart-aleck idea that I knew everything really wasn’t worthy of me, nor is it worthy of you. I’m not very proud of it, and I think I’d be ashamed to tell you about it except that telling you may help you.

Those ahead of you in life have probed about the water holes a bit and raise a voice of warning about crocodiles. Not just the big, gray lizards that can bite you to pieces, but spiritual crocodiles, infinitely more dangerous, and more deceptive and less visible, even, than those well-camouflaged reptiles of Africa.

These spiritual crocodiles can kill or mutilate your souls. They can destroy your peace of mind and the peace of mind of those who love you. Those are the ones to be warned against, and there is hardly a watering place in all of mortality now that is not infested with them.

On another trip to Africa I discussed this experience with a game ranger in another park. He assured me that you can indeed hide a crocodile in an elephant track—one big enough to bite a man in two.

He then showed me a place where a tragedy had occurred. A young man from England was working in the hotel for the season. In spite of constant and repeated warnings, he went through the compound fence to check something across a shallow splash of water that didn’t cover his tennis shoes.

“He wasn’t two steps in,” the ranger said, “before a crocodile had him, and we could do nothing to save him.”

It seems almost to be against our natures, particularly when we are young, to accept much guidance from others. But, young people, there are times when, regardless of how much we think we know or how much we think we want to do something, that our very existence depends on paying attention to the guides.

Now, it is a gruesome thing to think about that young man who was eaten by the crocodile. But that is not, by any means, the worst thing that could happen. There are moral and spiritual things far worse even than the thought of being chewed to pieces by a monstrous lizard.

Fortunately there are guides enough in life to prevent these things from happening if we are willing to take counsel now and again.

Some of us are appointed now, as you will be soon, to be guides and rangers. Now we don’t use those titles very much. We go under the titles of parents—father and mother—bishop, leader, adviser. Our assignment is to see that you get through mortality without being injured by these spiritual crocodiles.

I’m glad Sister Smith is so awesome. Their flat is close to where you live right?

Tommy – around the corner

Krista – That was lucky! Jake is rocking out to the Lion King. I swear I could sing all of those songs in my sleep!!!!!!! Sang with the priests for the first time last week. They did well. Coy sang with them but also showed them a funny email Sister Woodruff sent to him giving him a lifetime exemption from Ward Choir. I suggested Drew go this week… Let’s just say he was hoping for an exemption too

Tommy – haha that is funny

Krista – Yep…there was all sorts of stuff like” it would be detrimental to the testimonies of his family and the ward”. Not sure it is that bad but the priests enjoyed it. May tomorrow finally feels like we can hope for Spring. Have you found that you have adjusted ti the weather enough now that the 19c fall weather feels cold in Adelaide? Are you glad for no more hot weather? I shouldn’t say that because then maybe you will get transferred to somewhere like Darwin where it is always hot

Tommy – gotta go love ypu

April 23

Hey Mom and Dad so nothing much has really changed since Thursday. We had a really cool opprotunity on Saturday though to go to the temple with the youth form our ward. We were asked to come and help with baptisms because of not enough priesthood so we did the confirmations. Other than that this week has been pretty normal. A lot of finding and it is slowly coming. We were able to have lunch with the Smiths yesterday and it was sooo good! oh this week was also firle stake conference which was really cool because the area seventy shared about how we need to catch the wave! Totally a coincidence but he also shared a video of hark all ye nations and that we need to have that enthusiasm. Total testimony builder!

  1. speak many different languages (tagalog, chinese, punjab)  is something I know how to do now, that I never thought I would.

6.. I feel best on my mission when I had the opprotunity to baptize darcy

Brent – Hey stud. We are here. I just got off the phone with Grandma D. She downloaded Rugby rules for dummies an do was explaining stuff. That is a dedicated Grandma. They came to Drew’s game last week

Tommy – haha i heard! so who is playing what position on the back line?

Brent – I don’t know. It shifts around a lot. The key guys are Isaac G, Issac W, Kees, Matt B. They make everything happen. Unfortunately Konor Yee broke his arm. Not sure when he is back.

Tommy – ok i see so pretty similar to last year plus matt b

Brent – Benny’s first Rugby practice is tomorrow. Lance Watson and Marcus Woodruff are on his team.

Krista – Ok, Ok…. lots of rugby. Now tell me about your lunch with Smiths and the temple!

Tommy – the senior couple smiths just invited us for lunch and it was awesome. and we got asked by bishop to do confirmations

Krista – Just you and your companion? Where did you go? How many youth were at the temple? Was it your whole district at the temple or just the two of you?

Tommy – just the two of us and about 6 youth

Brent – Quinn Stewart reported his mission from Iceland today. Only 8 missionaries in Iceland. 100 members attend in two branches on a given Sunday. He bore his testimony in Icelandic and I understood about 70%.

Tommy – we have more youth in sundance ward than all of firle stake  – sweet he’s home now? that was fast

Brent – That’s okay. I bet it takes real strength to be faithful in your Stake.

Krista – Tell me a little about the new investigator that you have committed to baptism.

Tommy – yeah his name is martina dn we dont know heaps about him. he is from china and has moved over for school and our recent convert introduced us to him

Krista – I bet those Firle youth are learning to be very strong and will be great leaders in the church. Quinn mentioned that the mission in Iceland had only been reopened since the 1970s. He also told a story about being up north and in an area 6 hours away from other missionaries where there were only 5 members to begin with. I think that is the way the church is in a lot of places. What a great opportunity and challege – Are the Smiths the new senior missionaries? Did you just go to lunch at a restaurant with them? Tell me a little bit about them?

Tommy – yes they are new senior missionaries and we ate at their flat – and yeah its tough to be youth here

Krista – It sounds like there is a lot of missionary work going on in Adelaide with Chinese students and converts. With the new branch and the teaching centre I hear they are quite busy. It is nice that you have that opportunity to teach someone from China too.  I think without regular missionaries in China this must be the way the Lord is bringing the church to China as all these students either go home or teach their families.  How old is Martin? Single?

Tommy – he is single and 25 – and yeah for sure thats the way the lord is getting into china

Brent – Jake just ran by with his iPad listening to Raffi. He has his cats in space shirt on that we bought him. Some things don’t change.

Krista – So when you committed him to baptism, how much longer do you teach him before his date? Had he had any discussions before?

Tommy – we are going to have to move his date due to his comprehension but we arent sure yet

Krista – Do you have his friend translate for him or do you have a Mandarin missionary come to discussions with you?

Tommy – we teach him in english

Krista -Oh my goodness! Dad was bragging about Jake’s lying cat shirt to our home teachers. Lets just say I think they thought Dad was crazy. Flying cats maybe not too much their thing! Benny also went home teaching today because Drew had to work… Now all three boys have home taught the Mc Cues. I really should be checking to see if there are any new Who’s Your Hero books… You can only find a mouse so many times!

Tommy – yeah seriously those saved us

Brent – I went rogue with a different lesson today. Talked about being joyful. In the middle of it Kathryn accidently dumped a bunch of nacho chip crumbs on the floor. Jenny Lynn just said to keep going. I think they are pretty comfortable with us.

Krista – So Dad heads to Winterpeg (AKA Winnipeg) tomorrow. He is sad to be missing rugby but I think he might like the peace and quiet. Too bad it is not a more tropical destination but hopefully no snow

Tommy – hahah love winterpeg

Brent – Mom is overestimating the peace and quiet factor it can be pretty busy.

Tommy –  I have to go, love you!

April 10 New Tommy Video

hey mom and dad,

Yes at this point we have seen conference and it was awesome. Us as missionaries were jumping in our seats when Elder Costa started to talk! Nothing too interesting has happened this week other than transfers. But we didn’t move. So all good means I don’t have to pack! Elder Miague and I are getting along really well. And no paul has had a rough week. He had his alarm system go on the fritz when he was supposed to come to general conference so he wasn’t able to attend 😦 I had three favourite talks 1) L. Whitney Clayton on how whatever Christ says, do it 2) Gary B Sabin about how we have to be all in not just lukewarm 3) Deiter F Uchtdorf on fear. other than that its been a pretty normal week. crazy with transfers but normal.

Brent – Hey,hey Sitting and watching Star Wars the original with your Bros. Classic – Maybe you need to go live with Paul and guard his house. He has had it rough.

Krista – We figured you would stay put because you have only been in the area for one transfer. Did anyone else in your district move? Will you have some new missionaries?

Tommy – did you like gary b sabins refrence to star wars? – there are 12 new missionaries and nobody moved in the district but sister jorakhe will be training. and seriously satan is working on him

Brent – Yes it must mean Star Wars is true. I really liked the missionary talk. I was thinking of you.

Krista – I will have to go and check that out… I don’t remember. How do you continue to reference conference talks? Do you all get an Ensign? Are you allowed to print talks out? Does that mean 12 new in the mission? Are any of them in your district.. is Sister Jorakkhe in your dostrict?

Tommy – yes sister jorakkhe is in my district and is gonna train one of the 12 new to the mission. we put them on a usb and listen to them. in a bit we will get the ensign and we can print if we want

Krista – Are there any other new trainers that you know? Do you have any plans for Easter. I didn’t send a particular Easter package because I think it would have melted, but buy yourself some chocolate eggs for me 🙂

Brent – So great you have access to conference. In Sweden we would see one session two months later. We only got an English Ensign if someone mailed it.

Tommy – oh wow we watch all the sessions but they are a week late and no not that I know

Brent – Just watched your video with your companion. Drew says it is Mom funny but I think it rocks.

Krista – Just watched your mission motto video. Cracked me up!!!! Drew just thought it was “mom” funny. That is really cool. Did President Parker write that? It seems like you are enjoying each other as companions

Tommy – yeah president wrote that

Brent – So any special plans for Easter?   I plan on stealing from the boys baskets.

Tommy – not that I know of

Krista -LOVE IT! You are becoming a powerful missionary.  I am excited to go and read your favorite talks this week. That will be my scripture study focus – Yep the young missionary teaching his mom… how do you like that! There should be a package that will get to you before your next transfer. It is pretty silly… maybe that can count as Easter. How are your shoes holding up? ( How’s that for  a mom question!!!)

Brent – So Sis Johnson asked me to be involved in Moroni Quest reenactments but I had to say no because I am in charge of activities. She wanted me to be Laman. Not sure if that is a compliment. They didn’t seem to think of me as Nephi.

Tommy – yeah my shoes are holding up because im applying the advice tanner steed gave me for shoes. to alternate pairs each day -that’s ok in all the skits we do here for zone trainings im always the bad guy

Brent – So it runs in the family. I guess you are a missionary shoe Ninja.

Krista – I think you get to be the bad guy because you are big and can look scary… probably the same for dad. I’m not sure your smaller companion would look all that scary! We had our 18th priest ordained today (Cody Rice) I am lucky or foolish enough to get to work with them and have them all sing in Sacrament meeting at the end of May… I will be sure to bring treats!!!! We are doing a missionary medley

Tommy – far out that is more preists than all of the youth in the firle ward

Brent – I think we are up to 84 total youth. Keeps the Bishop busy with interviews.

Krista – What mission events are coming up for you?  i am still in love with Sister Parker’s blog . It gives me such a great picture of what is happening in the mission. I also sometimes look at the blogs of the senior missionaries in the other areas. You are so blessed in having the Parkers and the great senior missionaries!

Tommy –  I don’t know of any big events really and that is almost the whole firle ward dad

Krista – It is a little ridiculous but very exciting. it will be quite the choir but I have to admit I will be talking to a couple of men in the ward to be “ringers” in case the priests don’ sing too loud. I think Sundance Ward is an anomaly even in the rest of the stake. There certainly aren’t the same number of youth in the other wards. Have you got to know the youth in your new ward? Are there any priests? What a great opportunity for mentorship and strengthening! I think you are really blessed to serve in a ward  that is small and you can really serve the members and make a difference. What a great mission!

Brent- We have had a lot of people move in, even since you left. Take the opportunity to connect with their youth. You never know the impact you can have.

Tommy – that’s what we are trying to do

Brent – The Millennium Falcon just escaped the Death Star. Spoiler alert Ben got killed

Tommy – nooooooo    (editorial comment by Dad – this is my favorite response from Tommy this week)

Krista – Good for you… you would be a natural at that. It will be so important for those youth to be strong for their communities and their families. Our ward is doing a big focus on Family History (right up my alley) We are having a ward temple day coming up soon and one of the new couples in our ward is working on a new temple and family history program. the snacks in Nursery are great but I have to admit I am a little jealous!

Brent – I feel confident they will be able to take out the death star. A little creepy watching Luke oogle Leah. I prefer the ASLC version. Carrie Fischer who played Leah passed away around Christmas.

Tommy – yeah I heard about that. sad…..

Krista – And the kids are pretty darn cute… there is this little boy who has the biggest cheeks you have ever seen and he is a dancing and singing machine. He reminds me a little of you. Although Brother Gilson does like to bring recorders…. so imagine recorders in 2 year olds mouths…. just a little less than musical!

Tommy – haha about as talented as me :p

Krista – Oh those nursery kids have some pretty awesome moves… a little London Bridge, some 5 little Monkeys, Ring  Around the Rosy… it has been a while since I lived in that world. Benny asked me if he could skip deacons and come instead maybe a little more active ( on second thought maybe deacons is busier) Benny uses all his active self on Drew since you are not here to distract and let’s just say Drew is not all that impressed! I can’t remember, remind me , where does Elder Miague sit in his family. How many siblings?

Tommy – he is the oldest of four

Brent – The oldest child must make him extremely noble.

Krista – So you are similar… cool. Are you busy contacting this week or do you have any other possible investigators you are teaching? Dad and I have a SLIGHT oldest child bias… and if you stretch because of Jake we might just let you in that club!

Tommy – very busy contacting – haha yes! I have to go love ya bye!

 

March 26, April 2

March 26

hey Mom and Dad,

This week has been crazy sooooo many meetings. We had the funeral on Wednesday and arrivers training on Thursday and zone conference on Friday. Crazy. But singing at Elder Sennetts funeral was a really good experience. We had 70 missionaries singing and it was really powerful, and YES! Darcy got baptized on Friday night at 7pm and boy was he nervous. He asked us a million and one questions before going into the water. It was a really good baptismal service half the ward attended it! We were also able to get a lot of less active members along to the baptism. Other than that this week has been awesome. Tons of meetings and boy was I spiritually drained after Friday. Going to conference should be a great experience but don’t tell me anything because in Australia we see it one week later.  Ofa atu!

Elder Dickson

Krista – Ofa atu???? What is that ?  I’m so glad about Darcy and I’m glad you had some less actives at the baptism. Do you have a picture? Do you work with the less actives alot?

Tommy – ofa atu means love you in tongan

Krista – Hooray… I’m surprised arrivers training was so late… didn’t you do that already? Or did those visas come through for the other missionaries? How is Elder Miague doing?

Tommy – its the second one and he is doing great far out I swear he’s training me

Krista – That is great. Did you do anything for your birthday? What are you going to spend the money on?

Tommy – we made puffed wheat squares and a cake and im not sure yet

Krista – I saw that picture of the puffed wheat squares… that cracks me up. Do Australians know what puffed wheat squares are? How was Zone conference… what did you do?

Tommy – no they have no clue I brought them to ward correlatrion meeting and the ward mission leader was really confused and it was really good we got trainings from sister parker, president and the assistants

Krista – So did they like the puffed wheat squares? Maybe it is just a Canadian Prairie thing. What did Sister and President Parker teach?

Tommy – they loved them and asked for the recipe and the taught about teaching repentance

Krista – That’s great I just wanted to be sure I didn’t miss you. It sounds like Evandale has lots of work to be done. I was so happy to see the baptism photos. You will always remember that. That one event is worth your whole mission. I’m proud of you and so happy for Darcy. I’m sure this week will be a little quieter after such a big week. I cant even imagine training, funeral, baptism, conferences. It will be nice to just teach. Do you have any other investigators?

Tommy – yeah we have a man named paul who wants to be baptized

Krista – Cool… is everybody an islander ? New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa etc…..How far is Morialta away from you?  Tell me a bit about Paul

Tommy – New Zealand isn’t considered islander unless you are maori – and its like a 30 min bike ride – paul is a wonderful man in his 50’s who just lost both his parents. he already has a testimony of the word of wisdom. he was a former investigator of the assistants who just lost contact with them

Krista – That sounds like a great opportunity. What stage is he at in his teaching? Are you working with him or are the assistants?

Tommy – we are working with him and he is just starting again

Krista – Paul??? Your investigator? How did they ever contact him then? Just goes to show a change of heart is real!

Tommy – yeah we are working with an awesome family who are just being butts and not coming to church

Krista – Well… that’s an interesting way to put it… do they have kids, teenagers?

Tommy – yeah they have two young kids 3 and 1 and they love the missionaries and the gospel but aren’t coming to church

Krista – Ofa atu… got to go and get Jake in the bath… Have a wonderful week. Mom

April 2

This week has been a crazy one also. So we were only able to see Darcy once this week because he is preparing to go down to tazzy (Tasmania) this week. He is doing great though, He is super keen to be a home teacher and president Kelley (EQ) is super pumped for that. Paul has been having a very rough month. For the past three weeks his water line was sabotaged. This week his house was broken into. It just goes to show you how satan works on those that are preparing. other than that it has been a normal week. We went on trade offs with the other elders in the district this week and had to build them up on a few things but they are really great missionaries. Its been a lot of finding this week and not very much success but we know that it is coming so we push forward.

Isaiah 43:2

love Eder Dickson

Brent – Is Paul an investigator or less active?

Tommy – investigator

Brent – Are you able to help Paul out. Maybe guard his house :). mom and the boys loved conference. They were on the main floor row 13 on the left side. They didn’t know the tickets were so good. They came in and we’re told to take the elevator down to the main floor. Whooooo – So it has been a weather and geographic themed dinner with the two Grandpas.

Tommy – haha yeah lots of talk about Chinooks im sure – lots of door knocking and some street contacting. and really good just slow

Brent – No, lots more talk about what can kill you in Australia. People were worried about the cyclone that hit NE Australia. Is Tom okay. That is the same as asking if the storm in Halifax impacted us in Calgary. Grandma D wants to know if it is still super hot and are you on bikes.

Tommy – no that’s like asking if an earthquake in chile affected Calgary. there arte a set of mountains and a whole desert between us and the cyclone -no it has started to cool down 18-25 degrees and lots of rain. yes we are still on bikes

Brent – Grandpa Steed is really impressed but questioning the accuracy of your geography. Super nerdy  Grandpa said something really needs about the height of Chilean mountains. You fill in the blanks. – Grandma D – do your pants still fit. Are u losing weight.

Tommy – of course but it is as insignificant as that – losing weight and the pants are still the same

Brent – Grandpa S says takes a Nerd to know one. One day you will be obsessing over the clouds at the head of the lake just like Grandpa

Tommy – haha actually I predicted the weather like that a day ago

Brent – Grandpa D is lazy and laying on the couch. He has no questions. Just thinks you are pretty cool. Grandpa S is telling Grandma D about sharks. True Story in Australia. In that cyclone a shark got thrown inland. A 3 foot bull shark showed up inland quite a few feet in a pool of water. They confirmed it got thrown from the ocean. Sharknado is real.

Tommy – sharknado strikes again

Brent – I think Grandpa S has a tear in his eye. He is so proud. Turns out the flooding pushed the shark inland and whe the water retreated the shark was stuck

Tommy – sharknado Adelaide edition…..but I don’t think chainsaws are approved

Brent – As your father and patriarch if danger from a sharknado arrives I give you authority to find a chain saw and arm yourself. How is your companion doing? Do you see the Parkers much. If I don’t ask mission questions Mom will get mad. She won’t want everything about sharks.

Tommy – we see the parkers quite a bit considering we live down the street. and he is doing awesome will for sure be a future leader

Brent – Grandpa D wants you to know the Oilers are now in 1st and Flesh fourth. Both made playoffs. 5 points from first to fourth. Final four update. Gonzaga beat S Carolina and N Carolina beat Oregon. Both super close games. Go Zags

Tommy – oilers are first in the west?

Brent – 1st in Pacific division. Anaheim 2 San Jose 3 Flamers 4. It could all change with one week to go. All four are in. Who knows where they finish. Anything exciting or different this week? We had a great experience in the St. George temple. Crud, it is rain snowing now and Rugby is supposed to be outside tomorrow.

Tommy – haha tough it out

Brent – Oh, the fat flakes are sticking. There is a by election tomorrow to replace Jason Kenney. Pretty sure the conservative will win.

Tommy – that’s a pretty safe bet – we see all conference sessions at the chapel and a week behind

That is all for this week