Monday, February 27, 2017

Good Weather and Miracles

The Plzen District

Hi everyone! This week has been pretty great, helped along by the fabulous weather and the miracles that we have seen. We just needed some opposition the last couple weeks to be more appreciative of what we have.  It's been a bit of a crazy week, but a good one all the same. I will give some updates:

  • Last Monday after emailing we went and toured the brewery here in Pilsen, the Pilsner Urquell beer factory. It is world famous and so they have tours in lots of languages. We didn't look up beforehand, but happened to get there just as an English tour was started with people from all over the world as part of it. Our tour guide was Czech and she freaked out a little bit when she learned that we were Americans who spoke Czech. (She asked us to teach her to speak English the way we speak Czech. She also speaks Polish and a few other languages.) They also give you a free taste of beer on the tour, which we didn't take, and everyone thought we were a little insane, but it was all good. Then she asked people in our tour if they knew any bar songs which they sang.  Then she came over to us and asked us to sing. We told her we didn't know any bar songs but she asked us to sing any song while everyone was beer tasting. So we sang a Czech Christmas carol about Christ being born. It was a very interesting setting. Who knew there was so much interesting chemistry involved with beer making? Not me, but now I do.  

 Pictures of the beer factory! These are the famous gates into the brewery. 
And giant barrels of beer.

Apparently they use these things to make beer. Who knew?

 Here is me climbing through the opening of a beer barrel lid. They take "volunteers" from the audience. (Meaning that she points at you and tells you to try it)

  • We got to have a first lesson with a young mom that we set up with through email. She is really cool and open to hearing new ideas and new things. We also had to run between the place we were at and the building to make it to English on time. We made it with about 1 minute to spare.
  • We also ran into our investigator L. almost every day this week. We visited him on Sunday, and then helped him translate some things on Tuesday into English for his new work, then saw him through a window on Wednesday, then Thursday ran into him in the center while we were having a singing display. It was pretty crazy. We joked that it is a sign for him from God and he needs to start believing. He is quite a character and thought it was pretty funny that we kept meeting up. When we saw him on Thursday he told that on Friday he was just going to stay at home all day and not go anywhere so he didn't see us.
  • Other than that we had a lot of success calling to set up with people and meeting new people this week. Our week already looks really full, which is something very exciting as a missionary, and we are excited to see all that is in store for us.
  • The Patriarch here in the Czech Republic is one of the most Christ-like men I have ever met in my entire life. We say (fairly seriously) that if the Lord didn't need him here as a Patriarch, he would have been translated already.
  • ·         I dream in Czech pretty frequently. I have had several dreams about you guys being here or me being home and I couldn't stop speaking Czech and none of you knew what I was saying. And if President P is ever in my dream he only ever speaks Czech, because that's basically all I ever hear from him.
  • ·         I understand Czech better than I speak it. I have a fairly large passive vocabulary (meaning I understand the word when I hear it, but I can't pick it out of my brain to use it in conversation) and I am good with context clues (because at the beginning of your mission that is all you have to go on), and between those two things I feel very confident with understanding. I have also found that I am good at translating from Czech to English at conversation speed which is really tough for a lot of missionaries, but it works in my brain.  
  • ·         I have seen in my mission that the “gift of tongues” allows me to speak and understand past a language barrier to speak to the heart of people and understand their ideas without understanding their words.  There have been specific instances when I have felt like I was speaking in Czech and the words that were naturally coming out of my mouth in an understandable and confident manner were not my own but from the Spirit, but that has been more rare.
  • ·         Elder Trythall and I have both joked about how funny it is that we had to come all the way across the world to realize that we could be such good friends. Kind of funny how circumstances played into that really. (Elder Nick Trythall is also from Roseville, he went to a different high school & different ward.)
  • ·         Sometimes you meet people on the street as a missionary who just want to argue. The best option I have found is to just bear testimony and challenge them to learn it for themselves. You have to give people sass sometimes, it keeps them on their toes. And Czechs are super sassy, so they speak that language.
  •  I will probably be staying here next transfer. I could leave, but that would be very unlikely.  (Elder Tingey completes his mission in 2 weeks.)
Sisters made a lunch in honor of Elder Tingey’s 2 year mark in the mission 
(Czech missionaries serve for 25 months due to transfers)

My spiritual thought is about following inspiration. Elder Tingey and I are preparing to give a training at zone conference this week. It will be a 40 minute training that we lead, and we started preparing it on a certain topic that we decided on a few weeks ago. When we brought our ideas together and started really talking about it, both of us felt that the topic we had was not at all what our missionaries needed. So we decided to completely change it and go a totally different way. We called President and asked him if it was okay, and then prepared our training. So we are doing a pep talk about the phrase "Called to Serve," focusing on the fact that we are called to be here by God through His prophet, and then the fact that we are here to serve and love the Czech people. And we are really excited to give what we planned and feel that it will really help. So in preparing for lessons, talks, discussions, study, or whatever you are preparing for, remember to listen to the Spirit if he prompts you to follow another path than what you originally thought. Thanks for the prayers and support!

-Elder Pickett

2 Elders from the trio… Elder Pickett & Elder Brockbank

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