Monday, February 29, 2016

The New Transfer

Today was the beginning of my 2nd transfer here in C-Bud.  My first one was an amazing experience, I am already excited to see what the next one brings. Elder Galbraith is with us until Wednesday when his parents arrive. The C-Bud missionaries will have dinner with the Galbraiths on Thursday. My new companion arrived today. His name is Elder Dean and he is from Eagle Mountain, Utah. He has been in the country for 6 months. We are going to be having a lot of good times together and do lots of great things here. The Sister missionary who came to replace Sister Birkeland is Sister Manners. She has also been in the country for 6 months. Sister DeMann (from my MTC District) is still here also. (note- transfers are normally 6 weeks but they are 9 weeks in this mission)  

Elder Dean and Elder Pickett (deep thoughts?) with Sestras Manners, DeMann, and Birkeland.

And, as always, I have the weekly highlights:
  • First off. The weather here needs to make up its mind. Last week was warm. We went out on Monday without coats, just sweaters. Then it rained most of Tuesday. Then it snowed a little Tuesday night, but none stuck. Then it was cold and cloudy. Then it was sunny again. And today it has rained non-stop. We're not even sure what to think anymore. Every day is a new adventure with being outside all day long.
  • Also, we attended an excellent Zone Conference in Prague on Wednesday. This is something we do every month, and it's pretty fun. We get a lot of good instruction, and we get to see a lot of the missionaries who serve here in the Czech Republic as well. It's kind of like a little reunion of sorts. So I got to see 7 of my 9 MTC district friends. That was great. We also found out who our new mission president is: Jan Pohořelicky. As you can probably tell by the fun little addition to the r in his name, he is a native Czech! That is super awesome. It really is a huge step towards the Czech Republic becoming a self-sufficient country in terms of the church. We are all really excited. He already knows English well, but he is practicing over skype with a return missionary from the Czech Republic to learn some more.
I am buying postcards!  Cesky Krumlov (pday a few weeks ago)
  • To give an example of how ridiculous Czech is...I have explained already, I believe, about casing. It is when you change the ending of a word based on the ways, grammatically speaking, it is being used in the sentence. It is one of the most challenging parts of the entire language for English speakers, or anyone coming from a language that doesn't do it, to learn. Here is an example of just how hard it is. We were in a lesson on Saturday with a member who has lived his entire life in the Czech Republic. He is a grown man, married, with several children. He was trying to case a word, struggled for about 30 seconds with it, and then literally gave-up and just explained the meaning of the word instead. This is what I am dealing with here. It is great fun, but also absurdly difficult.
  • To follow-up on my challenge to myself to be fearless...Phone calls are so hard. I have done a lot more of them this week, and I have no idea what people are saying. But I go for it anyways. So I would say I did decently. Also, I tried to engage people in conversation in Czech at church. Also a little bit challenging. But some good times. I find that the more I open my mouth, the more that I can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost helping me to know what people are intending to say. Even when I don't understand any of their words, I can start to understand the emotion behind it. Every week I find more and more that I understand what people say. It is really fun to be able to look back and see the growth that I have been making.
  • The work is coming. Slowly but surely. We have so many pieces here in C-Bud, we just can't quite seem to get them to all fit together. But we'll get there. The language grows and grows every week. Really every day, it's just hard to measure language progress by the day. I am getting really comfortable here in C-Bud, which is good because I now have to lead my new companion around the city, and take a much bigger role is talking to people because I already at least know them.  Elder Dean has only been in the country for 6 months so his Czech is good but we are always learning.
  • It may seem to many of you that we have a District of very young missionaries here in C-Bud. Which is true. But it would be more accurate to say that we have a very young mission actually. We are not entirely sure why that is as missionaries, but we think it probably has to do with needing to prepare for the new mission president coming in this July. We want to have a lot of missionaries who are comfortable here already.
  • Since this has been Elder Galbraith's last week, it has been his last big opportunity to enjoy Czech delicacies. We have not eaten very healthily...But that's okay.
From Elder Galbraith:  "My final Game night as a real missionary... so strange. 
I love these people so much!"  Making visits to our members to say goodbye.

Spiritual thought: Today I want to talk about the Book of Mormon. Because it is the bomb. I have been trying to read from it more these past couple weeks, and I continue to learn new things every time I re-read a chapter. It is truly a book from God. I have a goal this week to read 3 chapters from the Book of Mormon every day during personal study. I know that as I do, I will better learn about Jesus Christ and I will feel the Spirit more. I invite you are to begin or continue reading the Book of Mormon. Make the commitment to dedicate at the very least, 5 minutes a day. Because no matter how busy life is, everyone has at least 5 minutes a day that they can read the Book of Mormon.  I know that as you do so, you will come to know it as the word of God. Thanks for all of the prayers and support!

-Elder Pickett

The entrance to our church building.

The chapel. Also, we move the chairs and put up ping-pong for Game Night on Friday.

 Primary room and game room on Friday. The Kitchen. These two rooms are where we have most of our lessons, as well as some downstairs.
A picture from Věra. It is the Angel Moroni visiting Joseph Smith. 

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