Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 3. Right? (no pictures of food and Elder Brad's 1st selfies ever)

Here is my face! In case you forgot what it looks like. That's our balcony view.

Ahoj všichni! I hope everyone has been having a stellar week. I certainly know I have. This week has been in equal measure miraculous, difficult, exhausting, busy, and strange. Lots happened and lots didn't. It's been, in other words, a reasonably typical week in the life of a missionary.
  • To start off, we were in Prague twice this week. Travel and eating cuts down on our available money funds, so we have to budget carefully (only 1 thing of Kofola this week...). We went up on Tuesday for Visa work for Elder Dean. He has a residency card! Which means he is done with visa work forever. Lucky him. I am just about to start my residency this transfer (now I understand why we sent visa renewal info to the mission office back in August!!). We don't know when. So, while he was meeting with the foreign police, I went out contacting in Prague, with 3 other missionaries, all in their 3rd transfer (which is just one transfer ahead of Brad). It was a great time. At one point we were on opposite sides of the street talking to people, 2 on each side. And Elder Hymas, who I was with, and I started talking to a woman, who had met missionaries many times before, and thinks we are polite and nice, and so was willing to talk. And across the street, the two elders contacted a man who started yelling at them as he walked away, and then saw us, and yelled at us on the way past. At which point, the woman who we were talking with said something back to him along of the line of "Are you for real? Calm down!" Well, he did not like that, and so he started yelling at her, and then they just started going at it in Czech. And Elder Hymas and I are just standing there (we can't understand anything they are saying because they are talking really loud and fast) while these people have a shouting match on the street. And eventually he walked away. And she told us not to contact people like that. She said we should only contact nice people who are smiling. It was great.

Me on the train. 
  • Our second Prague trip was for the Prague District Conference on Sunday. The District President lives here in C-Bud (he is the one that we run with), but our district includes Plzen, Prague, C-Bud, Pardubice, and several other cities I won't even bother trying to spell. It was really great. And I could understand a decent-ish amount. Always a good thing. My favorite talks were probably from Sister McConkie, and the Area Authority. Because they were in English. The only downside was that we had to get up at 4 am in order to be there on time. But luckily, I inherited the genetic ability from my dad to sleep well in many different situations, on a moving train for example.
  • Other than that, our week included some other good highlights. On Sunday night after we got home we went bus contacting. And I was having a conversation with a girl when all of a sudden I realized that we had reached the end of the line, and we had to get off. I don't actually know that neighborhood, so we were grateful that she pointed us in the direction of another bus stop after the contact ended. Also she told us we were "interesting boys." We'll take that as a compliment I guess.
  • The language is coming, slowly but surely. I am actually able to have real conversations with people now, which is very exciting for me. In my first transfer, Elder Galbraith was great at teaching me about thorough language study. He was an awesome trainer. He would always encourage me to speak, and would let me go for it when we were around people, but when we were the only ones speaking, he would always correct me. Which was really helpful. It helped me to be confident in what I was saying. I am very careful with casing because I want to speak confidently enough that my grammar makes it natural for people to talk to me.
  • On Saturday, we tried to broadcast the priesthood and adult sessions of conference. We had two less-actives show up for the Priesthood session! Unfortunately, turns out, owing to the fact that Elder Dean and I don't always understand Czech, that we were mistaken in thinking the priesthood session was going to be broadcasted. That was a bit of a bummer. But the Adult session was good at least!
  • Also, on Sunday, we had the craziest experience probably thus far on my mission. We contacted a woman, who initially did not seem very interested. During the contact she became very emotional and started crying, talking about how much she was struggling, and how her life hadn't turned out at all like she had wanted it too. She told us we were angels, and kept reaching out to touch us to make sure that we were real. At the end of the conversation we prayed with her and for her, and she gave us her phone number. It was a great example to me of how the Lord is always preparing people, and he will lead us to them.
  • Dealing with angry people on the street doesn't even really phase me that much anymore. I am learning to have joy in the journey! In every part of it. The good times, the bad times, and everything in between. It has been a great experience so far, and I am confident it is only going to get better!
My spiritual thought relates to that contact. The Lord is always mindful of our circumstances. He knows when we are pushed to the edge, and he always has a way prepared for us to be delivered. He loves us, and always will help us. My invitation to you is to try to mindful of the circumstances of others. Try to recognize the ways that they are different, but don't be afraid of that. Also, try to look for ways throughout the week that you can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord in helping people around you. Thanks for the prayers and support!
-Elder Pickett

  our map of CBud.

Stay tuned... while I ask Sestra DeMann's mom for tennis pictures this week. From Pday.

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