Friday, December 25, 2015

MTC, MTC, MTC. Final Week!

Veselé Vanoce! (Merry Christmas!)
Dobrý den!
Today is my final email from the MTC. That is so bizarre! I feel like maybe I have been here for my whole entire life, but at the same time, maybe I just arrived last Wednesday. We laugh a lot at English speaking missionaries who complain about being here for "so long." We were passing someone in the hallway the other day who was singing a song about being almost 2 weeks in and so I copied his song and sang 8 instead. I think he very nearly died of shock.

MTC companions... Staršís Chadwick & Pickett

Significant things that happened this week:
  • In-field orientation was on Wednesday. We have watched the giant poster they set up every week and this week it was finally for us! What a great moment. We also learned some important things about goal setting, finding, missionary purpose, and working with members. Overall it was just a great experience, presided over by the husband of our teacher Sestra Godfrey
  • Two of our teachers, Sestra Godfrey and Bratr Knapp left last week. That was a very sad moment. All of you who are about to enter the MTC, just know that your teachers will be amazing and will pretty much change your life. I'm sure they have lots of spiritual and language requirements for being a MTC teacher, but they also have to pass an interview of awesomeness. Every one of them.

 Saying goodbye to our excellent MTC teachers!
  •          I am emailing a voice recording of my companion and I doing our favorite phrase from TALL (our online learning program). It means "God prepared a plan so he could help us return to Him." When other missionaries in the MTC ask us where we are serving and what language we are learning... then they ask us to say something in Czech.  This is what we say!   (I can’t attach this… but if anyone wants to hear it, let me know!)

Best Zone in the MTC!

District birthday celebration for Starší Marcucci

Zone Elders- Czech, Slovak, Polish, Northern Adriatic
pictures courtesy of Starší Brad 's card reader!!
  • Really not too much happened this week. We still don't have confirmation on Visas from the church travel office for any of us. But we're packing today. So that is an interesting adventure for everyone.  (I got confirmation from the travel office that Brad’s visa has come.  I couldn’t wait for once a week information, so I took care of that myself!  Thank goodness, I would be stressing right now!!)

Here is our District wearing matching Christmas scarves that Sestra Heap's boyfriend sent to us all!

  • Travel plans. We report to the Travel Office at 8:30 AM on Monday. We fly from Utah to Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. One hour layover. Then to London, that is our overnight flight. We arrive 9:30 in the morning. 1 hour layover and then fly to Prague. Travel British Airlines. 50 pound limit for all bags, including our carry-on plus side bag. We have a scale in our residence hall closet. It will all fit. Probably.
  • We have lots of fun Christmas things that will be occurring tomorrow, including a special devotional, meal, watching "A Christmas Carol" and other various things.
  • Our final gym time occurred on Tuesday, December 22, 2015. It was a glorious and terrible day. Also this was the final day of service for us. We will dearly miss those toilets that we cleaned.
  • We have a cool devotional tonight (Christmas Eve) that I am sure will be great fun. I believe we will be having a Nativity presentation by some Elders and Sisters.
  • The MTC gets to call home on Christmas this year! I get to talk with my family, which is good, because I only have 2 different 1 hour layovers in US airports on Monday.
  • We are all so excited to go to the Czech Republic on Monday, and also just a little terrified. But only in a good way.  (It will be GREAT if all the visas come through, then they will travel as a whole District of 10 missionaries plus 2 Slovakian Elders!)
The Czech District!
  • Spiritual thought for the week. During our devotional, the member of the 70, Elder Nielsen who spoke talked about getting called as a member of the 70. And he said that he did not have anything to do for the first 2 days, and on the 3rd day he was called in for an interview. He asked when the training would happen and was told "Go to your office and become. And we will let you know later when the training begins." What an interesting insight! It also goes along very nicely with my last week thought about a "to-be" list. We should seek to emulate, and to become like Christ. I add my testimony to the numerous ones that have already been born that He is the Savior of the world. That because of Him, we can all live with our families in a state of "never-ending happiness," as the scriptures say, after this life. So as you celebrate this Christmas, remember that the real reason to celebrate is because of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Love you all, thank you for the support, letters, and packages! Lisa Dalton sent me another letter that was very nice. Also, the Hollands sent me a Christmas letter with some Czech writing. And Lindsay and Alan sent Christmas stuff. And Dave and Karen and kids. Lynette Wilie sent me some fun DearElders also.

I am off to the Czech Republic on Monday!

-Starší Pickett

That was from our small group performance of "Come Thou Fount." These pictures were taken during a practice. We also had a violin and piano accompaniment. Myself, Elder Burnett (Croatia/Serbia) Sister Demordaunt (Polish), Sister Rougeau (Croatia/Serbia) are the singers.

Sweater Saturday
(We sent Starší Brad a new sweater for Christmas but told him to open it early... for more options!!)

This sunset was from a few weeks ago, top floor of our classroom building looking out a window.

Christmas Day update from our  30 MIN PHONE CALL:
  • Elder David A. Bednar and his wife spoke at the MTC today, with 12 other MTCs from around the world linked in to a Q&A.  Starší Brad reports it was awesome!
  • When asked about what he loves about the MTC, he reported everything.  But narrowing it down, he said the amount of time he has dedicated to studying the scriptures.
  • His favorite part about being a Zone Leader is taking the time each night to pray for every missionary in the zone by name and ask for guidance to know what is needed.
  • Starší Brad bore his testimony of Jesus Christ in Czech and we loved it.
  • He reports that thanks to the Sestras in his district (sister missionaries)... they actually get things done!  He loves his district and zone so much.
  • The missionaries are getting all packed and ready for their Monday flights. 

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