Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 3... Really? Already? In České Budějovice

Good afternoon and greetings from the Czech Republic! In České Budějovice. The reason that I cannot adequetely explain how to pronounce this city (we asked for a pronunciation guide) is because the "děj" letter combination does not really have an equivalent sound in the English language... Now that my Game Show Host moment is over, I will move on to the updates from this week. Compiled in no particular order, are some fun things that have occurred this week, or last week, or the week before and I forgot to include them. I hope you enjoy.

Some pictures from last week's trip to a cool tomb in Třeboň

This picture basically summarizes our district to the t...

  • So, last Saturday we went to "Follow-up Training" for new missionaries in Brno. Where we reunited as an MTC district and received some welcome encouragement from President McConkie. It was fun to learn that although I don't understand what people are saying, I am not alone in that. No one else in my district does either. So that was a fun thing to learn. It really was a great training and we talked about a lot of great missionary things. President McConkie is awesome. He has lots of great historical insights and spiritual insights on scriptures, and is also an excellent public speaker.
This is our MTC Czech District 
(this was taken at the MTC)
  • We also enjoyed some very strange weather this week. It has been generally cold (It's the Czech Republic in the middle of January, that's kind of a given) with some snow, and then some rain on Thursday. So that was a bit different. On Saturday morning, my companion and I awoke to a blanket of snow. And it was still snowing. And then the sun came out and melted a lot of it. And then, while we were finishing up Weekly Planning and preparing to go out again, it began to snow again. And then Saturday night it snowed. Quite a bit. And continued to snow through virtually all of Sunday. Which leads me to my next thought.
  • On Sunday, people generally do not want to meet. I don't know why. And our investigator pool is rather shallow at the moment (think of a kiddie pool). So we went out contacting and tracting. For about 4-5 hours. I will show you the sight we saw as we prepared to leave in picture form. It was an adventure to say the least.
View from our apartment as we got ready to leave
  • We also went on exchanges. This requires a bit of background. In the mission field, the Mission Presidents call two missionaries to serve as Assistants. He also assigns Zone Leaders (we have 3 zones in the Czech Republic and 1 in Slovakia). And then finally, District Leaders. (Each zone has 3-4ish Districts). This is the path of communication. The District Leaders get calls/reports for statistics, and send it up to Zone Leaders, who give it to the Assistants, who give it to the President. Once a transfer, we do exchanges. Where we are split up from our companion and go for 24ish hours with one of the Zone Leaders. They then give us some feedback and direction and can report more accurately to the President on our progress. So we went up to Plzeň for our exchange. I spent the day contacting with Elder Cook, because our two appointments both fell through. It was a good time. We seemed to meet a lot more people willing to talk to us, so that was fun. Still couldn't understand what they were saying, but at least we were getting somewhere. It was a good experience.
  • Some fun Czech improvement. Every other week, Elder Galbraith and I visit an elderly woman in our branch. She is awesome. Actually we have two or three we visit and they are all awesome. But this one in particular, we visited her on my very first full day here in C-Bud. And I couldn't understand a word she was saying. This week, I could follow the conversation. I didn't understand all of the vocab, but I could follow the general topic of discussion for almost the whole time, including when she was asking Elder Galbraith what he wants in a painting before he leaves, and also when she was reprimanding us for not wearing hats. (We brought them to church so we wouldn't get in trouble) It was really cool to get to have an opportunity to recognize that although I am still lost during virtually every contact and lesson, I am definitely improving.
  • As a final fun note, we had a fun little fireworks display outside of our apartment on 8:15 on Friday Night. Not entirely sure the significance of January 15th in the Czech Republic, but someone was celebrating something.

A Kabob. These don't exist in America. For that you have my condolences. Lunch today was amazing.  The Kabob is chicken, french fries, and sauce (yummy) inside a Pita bread type thing. Very, very good. Not very healthy, but very, very good.

Fried rice from my companion's skilled chef hands!

Our District Meeting my first week, with dinner. Our apartment.
(Elder Galbraith, Elder Pickett in the mirror, Sister DeMann, Sister Birkeland)

From Elder Galbraith:  "I always put the kofala and our cups in the freezer while I make Halušky every Sunday but this week we came to the conclusion that it was probably colder outside than in our freezer so it would cool down faster...."

Spiritual thought for the week. I read a conference talk this week, or maybe last week that was really good. I believe it is the one called "Testimony" by Elder Oaks in 2008.
He talked about the importance of prophets. Since we have personal revelation and a personal relationship with the Lord, some people wonder why we need the prophets at all. Elder Oaks explains it very well. For ourselves, we receive knowledge from God through personal revelation. Through prophets, we receive commandments and ordinances. It was interesting to realize that fact. Ordinances are important too. We make promises with God and receive awesome promises and blessings in return. We couldn't have that without prophets! So my challenge this week is to study one General Conference talk to help you personally better understand the importance of modern day prophets.

Thanks for all of the love and support, and prayers!

-Elder Pickett

Czech pants. More Czech pants. So many Czech pants options.
(these are the pants that Brad thinks we might need... ha ha ha)

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