Saturday, May 28, 2016

Where Did May Go?

Elder Terry and I.. at a fancy palace across from the zoo. 

In case there was confusion from the title, this transfer is flying by. And just getting crazier and crazier. Luckily this Saturday I actually have an opportunity to breathe, so I can include some more general details about Prague, and missionary work, and the language, and all of those other important details that general inform you on how my life is. So, here is the what, the who, the where, the why, the when, the whatnots, the wherefores, and everything else.
  • First off, my job here in the Office is over Visa Work. That is the main thing I do. It is stressful, important, terrifying, and one-of-a-kind. I don't know if I have already talked about this or not. But basically there are several main phases of the visa process here. So for the first one, I do that right when the new missionaries come in, and it is not too difficult, as long as I am careful and double check things. Then phase two, which involves a lot of paperwork I have to do for them, and them coming down to visit the Foreign Police office here in Prague. I have that next month. It won't be fun, but hopefully will also not be a complete nightmare. That is usually the best I can hope for. Then we have Biometrics after the paperwork all goes through. And finally, an appointment to pick up the card. The last three all involve the missionaries coming down to Prague and going to the Foreign Police office. It's a really fun building. I have only had one nightmare about it so far this transfer.
  • So this week, on Friday, I had a group of 9, including myself, for Biometrics. Well, the GPS didn't take us the right way to go, so we ended up slightly confused and lost, with time running out before the appointment. Luckily I was able to phone a friend for directions, (my companion, on splits back in the office) and he was able to direct us to safety. We all made it in time, and we all passed! So yay for that.
  • On Thursday we had zone conference, which is basically the highlight of my month, every month. We got several excellent trainings about such things as: recognizing the Spirit, a modern day parable about boats, sleeping bags, and saving people, and helping people to overcome concerns and come to church. It was quite wonderful.
Companions- Elders Pickett & Terry
  • Thursday night we also had an opportunity to meet with the Ukrainian couple we are teaching. They have been together for 18 years, but are not officially married. So we have been encouraging that. Because after that they are virtually completely ready for baptism. We met with them on the island of the same place where we created a stake. So that was fun. We read from the Book of Mormon, Alma 32 about faith. It was a good lesson.
  • Also, Czech is coming along for me. I am having fun trying to understand what is happening, and trying to carry on conversations. It is an adventure. Every time I have a problem with the visa work, I have to call the Foreign Police and ask for help/explain what is happening in Czech. It is really odd, and quite a unique challenge. I am learning all sorts of random words about passports, appointments, and whatnot. (See, I said I would talk about the whatnot)
  • Within the last two-three transfers, the Office Elders also baptized two really fantastic young single adults, so we are working with them and meeting with them still. They are incredible, and an example to me every time we talk with them. One of them is from Spain, and when she says things in Spanish, I remember just how thoroughly I have forgotten everything I learned in Spanish for those 3 years in high school. The moral of the story is that I am not at all tri-lingual
  • Also, the new stake presidency is rather amazing. I don't really know them well personally, but President Pilka has been a member since during communism rule in Czechoslovakia. President McConkie showed us a picture of one of their secret Sacrament Meetings, and President Pilka is sitting on the first row. He is awesome.
  •  Keep working on Duty to God (LDS Personal Gospel study program for teenage boys) with people! That really is an amazing program. That is where my decision to start really personally diving into the scriptures came from, which then, quite simply, changed my life and relationship with the Lord. I was reading about Personal Study and whatnot with Duty to God, and I decided to set the goal to read the scriptures three times a day, for a total of 30 minutes. And I kept at it, and my testimony and desire to follow the Lord grew so much as I did. This is why the scriptures and these programs are so important. As well as our agency to decide to do things personally.  
My spiritual thought for today is about being together. I shared a similar thought during the Sacrament Meeting "Missionary Moment" last Sunday I was asked to give. We do district finding, where all of the missionaries in Prague come together and talk to people and do a chalk display or a singing display. And every time we do, it is more successful than just contacting. I testify that we are more powerful together than we are separately. And when we are together with God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, we are unstoppable! Thanks for the support and prayers!

-Elder Pickett

 Me and Vasyl at the Czech Stake Conference. I sat next to him during the conference, and then forced him to take pictures with me after. (this is a member from the CBud branch)

 Elder Pickett and Vasyl (from CBud) are on the left edge as you look at the picture, 3rd row from the back.  (Vasyl in a white shirt and Elder Pickett in a suit next to him)

President Uchtdorf and President McConkie

Our apartment is really fancy. And cool. And hot, because it is at the top of the building.

Our kitchen, and view from our awesome balcony.

Preparation Day (pday) fun in Prague:

 The view at the park next to church. Also the scene for the beginning of the Prague Walk. When missionaries first arrive, President McConkie takes you up here and tells the story of the Velvet Revolution, pointing out the buildings and the places.

Vyšehrad, the cemetery where the students gathered to begin their march on Wenceslas Square. Essentially the beginning of the Velvet Revolution.

 We visited the Prague Zoo last week with our District. 

Here's an Elks Lodge at the Zoo.

This is one of the views from the Zoo. Supposedly number 3 in the world in terms of zoos. How you measure that is unknown.

And me being sophisticated and European with my McDonalds. The only thing that kept its flavoral integrity in Europe. Unfortunately. (this whole caption seems to be an oxymoron...)

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