Monday, February 1, 2016

Time Flies When You Are a Missionary!

From Elder Galbraith:  Elder Pickett received this LED party light in the mail this week that we have put into one of our lamps. It makes missionary work that much more of a party! The simple things in life can get one through those hard days. There's nothing like jamming out to missionary appropriate music with all the lights off and our disco light thing spinning around. 

LED Party Light from Owen Weitzel!

So we are officially on week 6 of this transfer. Also it's February. When did that happen? I have no idea. Lots has happened this week. Also, quite a bit happened in the last weeks that I have previously forgotten to explain, which I will now do.
  • First, I have heard rumors of a picture of me sleeping/studying (yes, I can do both at the same time, I have many talents). Actually, I have seen said picture, so it is not just a rumor. The result of that picture is 1) Jet-lag. 2) Going from sitting in the MTC all day long to walking around the Czech Republic all day long. And 3) the District President lives in our area. He is super awesome. He likes to go running in the morning with the missionaries (except the last few weeks, when it has quite literally been freezing). When we do that, we wake up early and run with him. Super great work-out, really awesome. Also a little more than my body could handle those first weeks out of the MTC. But I'm good now. Promise.
  • Second, the other picture of me doing my first phone call. So
    I still don't understand Czech. And I understood it even less when that picture was taken. Elder Galbraith and I were going through the area book and looking at old investigators of missionaries in years previous, and calling people who seemed like they have might potential interest. So Elder Galbraith does a few of them. And then hands me the phone and says "Your turn!" So I call someone, who had met with the missionaries in 2010, to ask if he wanted to talk to us again. Do I even know how to ask that? Not really. He answers and is quite confused as to who we are and what we want. But not nearly as confused as I was. You know how people are a little bit harder to understand over the phone? Yeah, try that with a language that you don't really understand at all to begin with. Let's just say, I literally did not catch a single word he said the whole phone call. It was on speaker, so I could look at Elder Galbraith and he could tell me what to say in response. He did not have interest in meeting again, unfortunately.
  • Since that call, I have done several other phone calls. Basically my tactic is this: 1) Say hello. Ask how they are doing. 2) Reply "good" to whatever they say. 3) State the purpose of the call, phrased in the form of a question. 4) Not understand what they say in reply, and basically just ask them "Yes?" until I hear a clear reply in the negative or affirmative. 5) Get lost in something else they usually say, and try to respond as best I can (usually asking them to repeat themselves) 6) Say thank you, and goodbye, and then hang up. So far it's worked pretty well.
  • It is warming up here now. The river in C-Bud isn't even frozen anymore. And we have no snow on the ground anymore.
Our District when there was snow on the ground (Sestras Birkeland & DeMann, 
Starsi Galbraith & Pickett)
snowman & snowballs
  • Fun story. There are Roma people here, who are literally what we would consider Gypsies. And a lot of them a) don't work or can't and b) are obsessed with money. Who has it and who doesn't, etc. etc. We contacted two Romas on the street and set up to meet with them again. One of them wasn't there, but the other lady, whose phone number we had,  invited us to her friend’s house. There were actually 5 adults there, and they were all smoking, but that's pretty standard. And one of the guys basically spent the first 10-15 minutes ranting about churches stealing money from people. And it was pretty much directed at us, because we are representatives from a church. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but he was getting very passionate and standing up, and it was starting to make me nervous. But it was all good, because my companion did understand and so he wasn't too worried. He just explained a lot of times, that we don’t we get paid as missionaries. And also that he can't speak on behalf of other churches. But two of them wanted a Book of Mormon at the end of the lesson, so it actually turned out pretty good.
  • We had some success talking to some new people and meeting some new people this week as well as getting a few new investigators. We like investigators. They make us happy. We also had a lesson with an active YSA (18 year-old) member of the ward. He is Ukrainian, and speaks Czech with a Ukrainian accent. And I actually understand what was happening in the lesson! It was great stuff because usually I can't understand anything he says. Czech from a Czech person is hard enough for me to try to decipher at all.
  • Highlight of the week was our lesson last night with one of our awesome investigators. When people are really eager to learn about the gospel, and really humble about it too, they will learn. The Spirit was so strong in that lesson. It was amazing. Probably my favorite lesson of my mission so far, and the one where I felt the Spirit the strongest. I didn't understand everything, but the great thing is that I don't need to in order to feel the Spirit.
Spiritual thought of the week: Comes from my language study, oddly. I am trying to understand the Czech versions of the teaching pamphlets that we have. But one of the phrases (in the English one) really stuck with me. It is from the Plan of Salvation pamphlet, about the Atonement and reads, "All that seems unfair in life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the mercy and love of our Heavenly Father." I know that to be true. Although we don't understand why everything happens to us in this life, the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the ability to help us to feel peace at any and every stage of our life. As we utilize that power, we can not only overcome the effects of sin, but we can overcome all of the pain, anguish, and sorrow of this life. And that is an amazing blessing.
-Elder Pickett

From Elder Galbraith:  The Sisters had to spend their PDay in Prague, so Elder Pickett and I went to Jindřihův Hradec by ourselves!
The cathedral and one of the towers of the castle

Answering a few questions from family emails:
  • ·         I am playing the piano a little. Elder Galbraith does Branch Council stuff (he's 1st counselor) and so while that is happening I sit in the chapel and I usually bring piano books to play from.
  • ·         For Caroline in the fall and my high school friends… There are a whole lot of distractions during the high school years, and it is really hard to stay focused. The best ways to stay on track are Seminary and church. Those are vital! As well as personal scripture study and prayer of course.
  • ·         Shout out to Owen Weitzel who sent a package to Elder Brad... the LED Party Light!  Wow!  J
  • ·         Czech pants update to Caroline:  Czech Pants. Honestly, I have absolutely no clue how sizing works. Even a little bit. The good news is, I can find them literally everywhere in this entire country. I saw a dude the other week with neon green hounds tooth pattern. That was pretty sweet. I might get myself some of those at some point. I imagine that they have elastic/drawstring waists, and are almost certainly hemmable. So that is pretty nifty.

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