Saturday, November 5, 2016

The End (of this Transfer)

Hello everyone! This is my last email home for this transfer, which has flown by at an alarming rate. We had a pretty crazy week in the office, which left little time for proselyting, but this next transfer I will be leaving the office, which I am ready for! Here are some updates from the week:

  • I had an exchange with Elder Petersen, one of the Assistants this week. He goes home next week, it was a good exchange. We ran close to 5 miles for exercise and I was ready to die by the end. I haven't run in a while.
  • We had a good final district meeting, and we were able to practice for our concert as well. We have been practicing for that this whole week, as well as advertising for it. More on that later.
Here is a selfie of us at the Peterson's house. They are an American family and they made us delicious chili and we had Fritos with it. It was delicious.

  • The end of the transfer tends to get pretty crazy in the office, so we had to be here a lot, but it has been good as well. We have to prepare things for the new missionaries coming in, and since it is near Christmas time, we have gone to the Post Office probably 3 or 4 times in the past two weeks. Lots of packages coming in.
  • So with advertising for our concert, we went to three different metro stops and sang and passed out flyers. We passed out several hundred, and got a lot of really good reactions (except for from some disgruntled teenage employees at a pizza place, who turned up their music louder. We stayed there and sang a little louder too). Unfortunately we did not have anyone from our metro singing that actually came to our concert, but those people at least know that Mormons can sing and enjoy it. From Elder Brockbank:  “As we were singing, people would even stop and pull out their phones and record us. What was very interesting though, was that it wasn't when we were singing "One Love" by Bob Marley or "Lean on Me" but it was when we sang our acapella version of "Nearer My God to Thee" in Czech that had the most people recording us. The Spirit just whipped those phones right out of their pockets! Music has power. We honestly don't know what happened to the videos that people took of us at the metro stations. Maybe they are now flying around the internet. We sometimes don't know what comes from our actions, but we can trust God knows and that it will all turn out good!”
  • On Friday we had our concert. We had a decent turnout of ward members, and a few investigators. It was really fun and we played lots of variety. Our theme was peace, love, and gratitude, and we wanted a mix of lots of songs with upbeat as well as more reverent. I will just list the songs we sang/played (don't worry, we got everything approved by the Mission President): And acapella, jazzed-up version of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,”  “Nearer My God to Thee,”  also acapella. Then a guitar duet by Elder Smith and a member here, who played the song “Hallelujah” but changed the lyrics so that it is about Christ. The Sisters sang the song “Beautiful Savior.”  We all sang “Lean On Me.”  Then we had a piano solo by Elder Tingey, an arrangement by him of “Where Can I Turn for Peace” and “He is Risen.” Then we sang a changed-up, jazzed-up version of “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today” as Elders. We got some good laughs out of it, which was the goal. Then we sang “One Love” by Bob Marley, and finished with the song “Prayer of the Children.”  We had really good reactions from everyone who came, and I think that they enjoyed the experience. We hope to see some good results from it.
And here is a selfie of our district after our concert.

  • Forgot to mention that we went to a fabulous production of Phantom of the Opera on Thursday for culture night. 
Here is an awkward picture with Elder Brockbank from the concert (excellent photobomb by Elder Geier). Heap, Elder Pickett, Elder Brockbank (below) at dinner before Phantom, 
notice the big mug of Kofola!

  •  That is so weird to me that Elder Farnworth (one of Brad's best friends from home) is home now. I can't believe it has already been two years. I am glad to hear that he is doing well and has a good solid plan in front of him. Weird that people are going in and out of missions a lot. Hard to believe all this stuff has been going on since I left.  
  • Elder Hymas is coming to the office from Brno to serve with Elder Brockbank.  I  am going to Plzeň, I will be serving with Elder Croney as Zone Leader. I am really looking forward to it. This means that I have officially stalked Elder Belshe since the beginning of my mission. We will see where he ends up... 
·         (Elder Belshe served in CBud with Elder Galbraith and then was transferred to Prague.  Brad took his place in CBud with Elder Galbraith, then served with Elder Dean.  Then Brad was next transferred to Prague and took Elder Belshe’s place again with Elder Terry, then Elder Brockbank.  We joked then that we needed to closely watch where Elder Belshe went so we could see where Brad would go next.  Elder Belshe was transferred to Plzen at that time.  Yes… now Brad is being transferred to Plzen to take Elder Belshe’s place!!  We can’t wait to hear where Elder Belshe is being transferred to this Monday!!)

That was our week. To finish I would like to share a spiritual thought about the importance of maintaining focus. In doing so I want to talk a little about Peter, when he briefly walked on the water to the Savior. As he went toward the Savior he successfully walked on water, which is quite miraculous. "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink" It was as Peter stopped focusing on the Lord that he began to sink. And when he realized this "he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him." I think that this story has many applications in our lives and in our faith. I think we often make the mistake Peter does, we begin to do something because the Lord has asked it of us, and then we lose focus on him, and begin to be overwhelmed. But the Lord is there, and as soon as we focus on Him again and ask for His help, He will "immediately" reach out to us. I challenge you all to keep Christ as the focus of your service and activities. Thank you for your prayers and support!

-Elder Pickett

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