Saturday, September 17, 2016

An Exchange and the Craziest Friday of All Time

This is a very inaccurate representation of our height difference (5'9" and 6'6"). 
We took this picture for our tracting letter.

Hello everyone. My new companion Elder Brockbank is great. He is incredibly easy to get along with, he loves everyone, and he is pretty hilarious. He is learning the ropes quickly. We are having to spend far too much time in the office, but we are working to stop that. This has been yet another insane week, but it has been really great as well. We had a pretty normal time through Monday and Tuesday, nothing too crazy until Wednesday. So I will go from there.

  • On Wednesday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I will briefly explain the mission pyramid organization to give you a picture of how this all works. At the top is President. He has two Assistants (Elders here in Prague) who help him look over the needs of the whole mission and plan how to work with that. After that the mission is split into 4 zones: Prague, H.K., Brno, and all of Slovakia. Over each zone is a set of Elders who are Zone Leaders. And within each zone is 3-5 districts, depending on the size. And there is 1 missionary who is assigned to be over each district. That is me in Prague. The District Leader goes on exchanges (24 hour companion switches) with each Elder in his district. The Zone Leaders go on exchanges with each district leader in their zone. And the Assistants go on exchanges with the zone leaders, as well as whoever else President asks. The Zone leaders are part of a district in the zone as well, which gets a little confusing, but not too bad. This week I had an exchange with Elder Belshe here in Prague, and Elder Brockbank went to Plzen with Elder Croney. It was so much fun. I have so far been following Elder Belshe all around the country, I was "born in the same city" (mission lingo for Brad's first area) as him with Elder Galbraith, and then came to Prague right as he left to do his job in the office with Elder Terry, and we finally got to work together on an exchange. During this exchange we also had a great district meeting and set goals as a district about what we want to accomplish this transfer together. It should be really good, and I am really excited. Elder Belshe is an awesome missionary, who has had my exact same position, so it was great to get some advice from him about how I should do things here.
Here is our "exchange selfie" Elders Belshe & Pickett

  • Thursday was Missionary Leadership Council, which is all of the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders (kind of like sister zone leaders), the Assistants, President and his wife. We got invited to lunch after, which was really tasty, and were able to get out of the office that evening to finally go do some proselyting. It was a crazy day, but we got a lot done.
  • Friday morning I had visa work, and I had to drive President's car. That was terrifying, but went well. Then the Foreign Police were especially speedy with getting our group through, which was awesome. After that we went out to lunch for Indian food, then had a lesson with a member. And I received a text message from President asking us to go pick up some translating devices for the ward from an address in Prague. So we got to go on a fun drive with some not-so-fun traffic included on the way back. This adventure described by Elder Brockbank:  “We drove through the madness known as the streets of Prague and then got to this weird building. We rang the intercom and they let us in. Then we met this guy and he gave us translating headsets for the ward and we signed our lives away (we had no idea what we were doing) and then drove back.” 

the madness known as the streets of Prague 

  •  After that we weekly planned very quickly, and then had Game Night. And during that we had to help some of the sisters with their car problems, which we couldn't resolve. It was a crazy Friday. Luckily while I was gone at visa work Elder Brockbank was able to go out with some other missionaries and actually talk to people, and we actually got two new investigators.  We don't have many investigators. We have one that we are consistently working with a few more good possibilities that we are hoping to keep on with. We are working with two recent converts who are somewhat less active.
 We also made it to the end of Prague looking for a couple of less active members. 
Twas an interesting sight.

  • We still play the piano in Primary (Sunday meeting for the 3-11 year old children), and last week I translated there too. We have some kids who know Czech, some who don't, and some who don't know any English, so they need translation sometimes. Translating is really fun, but also tough. 
  • President P is a big hands-on mission president, who likes to teach with us, practice role-plays, and whatnot. And, like all of my favorite high-quality members here, he is a big take-the-initiative problem-solver. 
  • Last week we went to the Toronto project in a little town. They did a project for a school called "Life without barriers" for people with disabilities. We spent the whole time emptying out an attic in a pretty run-down building that clearly used to be a hospital. They are clearing it out and I think refurbishing for new purposes with the school. It was good times. You can probably find a lot of other pictures on the website. A guy was there taking pictures of us the whole time.  (In response to a question about the sweet looking pants…) And President P has Czech pants! That's what those were. They are work style pants. They are so great.

My spiritual thought for the week comes from goal setting. Goal setting has always been something I am not great with. But on my mission I have gained a strong testimony and setting goals and working towards them, with the direction and guidance of the Lord. After we set goals in District Meeting on Wednesday it was great to see how focused we were, and how we knew exactly what needed to do. Goals give us better direction and purpose so that we know what we are working toward. So I challenge you all to set a goal. But not just to set it, but to actually commit to it. Because that makes a difference. And as you set goals with faith and trust in the Lord, He can help you to improve in ways you never realized were possible. Thank you for the support and prayers!

-Elder Pickett

Prague is pretty.

Also, last Sunday our power was not working, so we had to come to the office to make our spaghetti to eat. It was a fun adventure.

Someone drew Elder Brockbank and me, and the Assistants got jealous and drew themselves.

(Mom & Dad went to a restaurant in downtown that had a menu with Czech specialty choices.  We sent pictures of our meal!)  Your meal was pretty Czech, I have bratwurst and wiesswurst sausages at a few outdoor barbecues, Dad's was classic Czech. I literally could have ordered it for lunch today if I had wanted to. Gulash with knedliky. And raw onions on top. Also, in the picture you sent of the restaurant, the background actually looks Czech, because the posters and what-not are from a classic Czech beer company and that logo is everywhere in restaurants here. Even the chalkboard with food options is pretty classic.

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