Monday, January 11, 2016

It's Cold!

Good morning America! I feel like a news anchor with that opening. Let me see, where to even begin. I missed some things last week, so I will start there.

My companion:
  • Elder Galbraith. Some fun lingual things about missions. When you are going home, we call it "dying." And if you are companions with a "dying" missionary, then you "kill" them at the end. So, Elder Galbraith is dying this transfer, which means I will be the one who killed him. He served one transfer in Slovakia while he has been here, has excellent Czech, and is an excellent missionary/trainer. He also is very good friends with two of my roommates from the summer at BYU, there's the Mormon small world coming into play again. He also loves shopping. Turns out I actually read one of Elder Galbraith's emails (about Czech killer bees) before I left...I got it from Austin. So yeah, that was a weird thing to realize.

From Elder Galbraith: “Elder Pickett's first week of personal study captured in one picture.  The jet lag and only getting 7 hours of sleep every day as an Elder in CBud really takes it out of you....”
·         Added in from Mom-- From Elder Galbraith’s email home:  “Not too much happened this week. We've honestly been hitting a very unexpected brick wall with missionary work lately. It's been a struggle to find people who actually want to listen to our message but I'm motivated each and every day to give it my all since I don't have much time left to wear the name badge.  Elder Pickett has been progressing a lot this past week. He's willing to step up to the plate when I ask him to and he's been blessed as a result of it. He has a wonderful future ahead of him! I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve. Though days where we contact all day sure are a lot more difficult than days when we are indoors all day teaching lesson after lesson, I'm grateful for the chance to represent Jesus Christ.”

The area:
  • C-BUD is a decent sized Czech city, making it a very small US one. It has buses, which we take to the "suburbs" for tracting (more on that later). It has a University, so we talk with lots of college students and people who are studying here.
  • It has a small branch of about 20-25 attending members every week. There are very, very few children in the primary. (think 1 or 2)
The language:
·         Something that makes Czech so difficult is that there are different words for when you are saying something in a different manner/context. For example: there are 3 verbs for "to know," 2 for "to understand" and 3 different words for "if." Also, I still cannot understand what anyone is saying. I'm starting to catch every twelve-hundredth word or so, so I feel like I am improving. I am working on the language. I have decided my two options are to laugh about it, or be frustrated. I would much rather laugh, so I do that.

From Elder Galbraith: “Elder Pickett making his first phone call! He had no idea what the person was saying on the other end of the line but he did his best at it! That's mah boy.”

The people:
  • So, first let me start off with a disclaimer. We try to talk to virtually everyone. If they are not obviously drunk or appear crazy, we try to talk to them. We have had many normal, and even productive conversations...But those are much less fun to report on. So, following is a last of the strangest people that we have talked with/weirdest conversations that have occurred. (The vast majority come to you second hand, because I have to ask my trainer what everyone is saying). We have talked with: 1) a gentleman who told us that God is the sun. Not a son. Not has a son. Not created the sun. But literally is the sun. 2) A gentleman who was dressed in a trench coat, unbuttoned, flaring out behind him like a cape. Also finger-less gloves and a Draculaish haircut. Flaring out on the sides. He spoke Czech so fast that my trainer caught about 50% of what he was saying. And he showed us his Anarchy necklace he was wearing. Good times. 3) A gentleman who told us about how we have personal weaknesses, but it's all good, we don't need to do anything or try to get better. I don't think I have ever met a single human-being before who did not think that self-improvement was a good idea. I was a little in shock. I could tell the conversation was getting weirder and weirder, because my trainer was starting to ask questions like "why?" and saying "I don't understand what you're saying." 4) We met a Satanist. Who told us in English that he believes in all things evil and bad. And all this time, I though those people were kind of like an urban legend. Apparently not. 5) We also were supposed to have a lesson with an elderly couple, who texted us saying "Our children talked to us and told us that your church is a cult. So please never contact us again."
  • As I said before, the majority of people we talk with are normal and nice. Ish. Most of them don't want to talk to us. But they still wish us a nice day if we wish them one, even when they say they don't care what we have to say and have no interest. So that's fun I guess.
Tracting: There are many adventures that go along with tracting. We take the  bus out to suburbanish areas and try to ring people's doorbells and talk to them. The whole concept is an adventure. But I will endeavor to explain some of the unique fun parts of Czech tracting.
  • There are no true "suburbs." The houses are all very unique, and sometimes have multiple families living in what appears to be one house. And you don't know until you ring the bell.
  • You must first find the bell. These can be set into the wall by the door as is usual in America. They can also be on the gate of the fence surrounding their house, with or without an intercom. They can also be taped to a fence area. They can also be set into the wall on the street. It's like a treasure hunt every time! Also, sometimes you have no way of telling if they work or not. Also, sometimes they just don't exist. But wait, that's not all, because most bells reverberate through the entire building, causing multiple people to answer at once.
  • Where will people answer? Sometimes out the door. Sometimes out the window. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they open the door to their balcony and talk to you. Often, one will come to the door, while another pokes their head out of a window, and you and your companion are left each talking to one person from the same family.
  • Also, I cannot figure out the configurations for streets here. So you will almost guaranteed, get lost. Tracting is great.
Trials & Adversity: The beginning of this past week, really Saturday night through Wednesday morning was really tough. I was feeling really cold, really discourage with the language and with my ability to talk to people and contribute at all. I don't generally like walking up to strangers and trying to talk to them, and I was not having a good time with that either. But my companion gave an amazing spiritual thought during out District meeting on Wednesday. He talked about a lot of things, about what we can and cannot control as missionaries, and other things. One of the things he touched on was that our Faith and Obedience are two of the biggest things we can control. And that's what we should focus on. He also talked about 1 Nephi 4 and how Nephi was trying to fulfill a commandment from God that seemed impossible for him. He had tried to get the plates twice and been threatened with death. But he went forward anyways with faith. It really spoke to me. Right now, I feel like I can't do much, and I can't magnify my call because I can hardly say or understand anything in Czech. But I realized I needed to re-focus on what I could control instead. My week became a lot better after that, even though we didn't experience any more success. But as I was reflecting on that message that night while I was writing in my journal I remembered a specific line from my Patriarchal Blessing, that I realized had been fulfilled by our District Meeting spiritual thought. By looking to the example of Nephi, I was able to go forward again with renewed determination and faith. It was an awesome personal spiritual moment for me.

Sooooo. Christmas presents. All of the Czech Christmas markets that are on the town squares during Christmas are already gone. But, I have an idea for this Christmas. Next Christmas, I can do fun Czech things from the markets. This Christmas...maybe Czech pants? They are a popular thing here. They look horrible, but they are great. I will send pictures with options of colors next week. If you are disturbed, I can certainly find other things. Just a possibility.  (Stay tuned next week for pictures…??) It is good stuff. Or rather, completely terrible stuff. But in the best way.

Třeboň. We visited a cool tomb. (p-day)

My spiritual thought for the week is about Christ. There is a scripture, which I cannot remember the reference for right now, about Him leaving peace with us. I know that when we follow the example of the Savior and strive to live as He did, we can feel that peace. I invite all of you to ponder about when you have felt the most peace in your life, and what has caused it. If you can't think of one, try to find a way that you can live more like the Savior did, and you will feel that peace. I know that He lived and died for us. And then when we follow Him, we will find peace. Love you all, thanks for the support!
-Elder Pickett

Some MTC photos

Christmas Eve- Czech Elders opening gifts and my stocking presents (those Hand Warmers are coming in handy!)

Our MTC Zone... people leaving together to different places.

No comments :

Post a Comment