Saturday, May 7, 2016

Greetings From a Land Far Away

I decided to be a bit more creative in my title this week. As you can probably tell, I didn't really try all that hard. This week has been madness. Absolute, amazing, slightly-stressful, fun, inspiring madness. Great, with a side of overwhelming. I'll just get right to it and talk about why.
  • President Uchtdorf is coming to make the Czech Republic a stake. A very historic conference of the Church in the Czech Republic happening May 14-15 in Prague with all Church members from throughout the country invited to attend!
  • I am in the office of the mission, and I am over the visa work for the missionaries. Basically, if I do something wrong, I could get people kicked out of the country. One of my goals this transfer is to not get anyone kicked out of the country. Because I am over that I get to do lots of fun things. For example, on Wednesday, the day after the new missionaries came in, I got to take them to the Notary to get a notarized form granting President McConkie power of Attorney. That was probably about the most stressful 30ish minutes of my entire life. Also, on Tuesday, while I was trying to get them into the online Visa system, something went wrong. And the previous office elder (Elder Belshe, who is basically my panic line) had no idea what the problem was. So, I got to call the Foreign Police and try to ask for IT support in Czech on a form I got trained to fill out the day before. Let's just say, it was an adventure. Luckily, after about he explained it to me in 3-4 different ways and I misunderstood him and did several things wrong, I was finally able to figure out how to do what he was telling me to do, and it all worked out well. It was quite fun.
  • My new companion is Elder Terry, from Vallejo, CA. He is really good at working here in the office. He has been here for 2 transfers already, and he is good at balancing time. He loves the branch too. In our district we have 9 young missionaries, and two senior couples. Elder Nick Trythall (also from Roseville) is here, he is serving with our District Leader. 
  • We also had lessons with several recent converts who are members here in Prague. They are super awesome. And we attended the YSA FHE here. Which contained about as many people as our entire branch in C-Bud. That was an odd site to see. We have several recent converts and less actives we are working with, but only two real investigators. Something about baptizing investigators kind of makes the investigator pool smaller. Weird concept, I know. So we have been contacting a lot this week! And I have learned that interesting people are not just limited to C-Bud. Prague has them too! We met 1) A very grumpy young man who was upset that we are here and not in Afghanistan of Africa trying to teach them about Christ. 2) An angry man who lived in an apartment building and came onto the balcony in the rain to yell at us for tracting there, and told us to go away (But you've got to admire his dedication to be out in the rain, right?) 3) An English-speaking mathematician who enjoys meditation 4) Lots of people who speak neither Czech nor English (unfortunately I don't know Bulgarian or Russian) 5) A man who I met at 1 in the afternoon, and after a 10 minute conversation, still couldn't tell if he was drunk or not and finally 6) A man wearing teal sweatpants, a beanie, dress shoes, and with a sweet beard who told me he doesn't like money, because he prefers to live in the forest and talk to God. As you can see, I have had some good times this week.
  • Also, today I'm 19. And oddly enough, it feels no different. So that's fun. But we have sports night tonight, and we get to play soccer, so I am excited for that. People do know it's my birthday here, the APs sang happy birthday to me a few minutes ago. And Elder Terry bought me a chocolate bar last night.
  • Final thing: Prague is huge. I don't even know what to do with all of this space and all of these people. It's wonderful. We travel by metro, by streetcars, by bus and by foot everywhere. It is significantly larger than C-Bud. Multiplied by about 10. I am so happy to be here, but I do miss C-Bud. That little city will always have a place in my heart as my mission birth-city.
Our favorite stop for a late night meal in C-Bud. Hladovy Vokno. (means Hungry Window)

 President Chrdle- District President of Bohemia
He and his wife are converts but all 3 of his kids have been raised in the Gospel

Me and President Ambrož outside the church building
Our Branch President: he is our rock. He is fantastic.  His is a covert of 4 years

Br Rybak , me, Br Maška 
These are 2 members of the branch that we teach with the most, they are great, 
always willing to help out the missionaries.

Brother Rybak and one of our investigators, A.

The spiritual thought for the week comes from the fact that Mother's Day is tomorrow! Moms are the best. My commitment is two-fold. 1) Go to the homepage and watch the tribute to mothers. And 2) Tell your mother, or a mother that you love and care about them, and appreciate the work that they do. Love you Mom!

Thanks for all the prayers and support from everyone! See you tomorrow for our Mother’s Day skype! 

-Elder Pickett

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