Monday, April 3, 2017

A Mission First (which we hope will never happen again)

 Our District at an Indian Restaurant. They had some interesting decoration.

Hello everyone! This week was fantastic. We saw a lot of great things, had some great experiences, and saw some opposition as well.
  • Last Tuesday we had zone conference in Prague, with our zone and the HK zone. It was fabulous and superb! Lots of great trainings and thoughts. Elder Anderson and I shared a spiritual thought about testimonies, and about how we should bear them. The Sister Training Leaders talked about how to invite people to church well and prepare investigators for their first experience at church. The HK zone leaders shared a fabulous spiritual thought about how anti-Mormon material in the end has no effect and is forgotten. They shared a story about an early member of the church who fell away and then became a vocal critic against the church and eventually left Christianity altogether. We see the problem that people find negative information about us on the internet very frequently here. There isn't a ton of positive content about the church in Czech on the internet, so people find the negative stuff right off the bat. It can be tough to see how many people read it and lose interest in our message. But the spiritual thought was all about how in the end we already know that the truth is always the truth, and that those searching for it with a sincere heart will always find it. The Assistants trained about being spiritually self-reliant, and how to help our investigators do so as well. And President trained about urgency, and how we need to be an urgent mission. It was great. President is awesome. We all love him.
  • From Elder Anderson:  “Elder Pickett and I were able to give a fifteen minute spiritual thought about what it means to have a sincere testimony, how to get one, and then what to do with it once you have it. We studied and looked for examples in the talk called “Testimony” by Elder Oaks and we were able to find a lot of great stuff that helped us. We really expounded about how a testimony of the gospel is a personal witness.” 
  • After the conference we brought home Elder Wutzke and Elder Newman from Prague with us for an exchange. They are doing really well. Elder Wutzke is a new missionary and he was with Elder Anderson. Elder Newman and I had a great time meeting new people, and he served here last year, so he was happy to be back. It was really fun, and we had fabulous weather, which makes it even better.
Elder Wutzke (also a greenie) and Elder Newman from Prague

  • As far as opposition goes, this week we had probably 4 lessons with investigators that fell through, which was really unfortunate to see. We try hard to set things up and meet new people, and then they can't show up for whatever reason, and sometimes we never find out why. But we are still working hard, finding new people, and keep trying to set up with people we are already working with.
  • We have also been doing a lot of service for a family that we help teach, a lot of tree removal and hole digging. They are doing a bit of a yard remodeling. We helped moved a bunch of branches and we were wearing short sleeves. Not the best idea, but we both recovered just fine.

  • As far as the mission first, we had a lesson set up for Saturday afternoon with someone that Elder Anderson met on the street with Elder Wutzke on Tuesday. He didn't answer when we called to confirm, and then when the time of the lesson came and we called again, his brother answered and told Elder Anderson that our investigator had died in a car accident that morning. At first Elder Anderson didn't believe him and kept asking questions, but when the brother invited us to his funeral we decided that it probably actually happened.We weren't being insensitive, it's just that we got lots of excuses about why people don't want to meet with us. So that was a pretty sad first that I hope to never repeat. But the brother actually told us that we could meet and talk some time, so that was an interesting twist.
  • We are looking forward to watching General Conference next week, and I hope I get to watch it in English. It all depends on where we are at, but Bishop Kyncl is pretty high level, and I think we will get it in English. Which will be nice, because watching it in Czech is just not the same.  We We do recognize the voices, but they are all Czech members. There are several that have absolutely perfect English, and so they translate to Czech for the members. They do a voice over during the talks so that it keeps it at roughly the same pace. They do a great job, but they speak pretty fast to keep up and can be really tough for us missionaries to understand (conference language is usually above the stuff we hear and speak on the street every day). I am amazed that Pres Monson is still going. It is pretty incredible to realize all of the wonderful things that he has done for the church during his lifetime. He certainly is a great example of service. I am pretty excited for what we are going to hear this weekend.
General Conference lettering from Lindsay Pickett Roper

  • Our Plzen District greenies are still alive and kicking. They are doing well. They are working really hard and making a lot of progress in the language. They are still a little frustrated with themselves sometimes, but they are going to be great.  Elder Brockbank is good and supportive as a trainer. Some of the most important experiences for brand new missionaries are to let them try some things out for themselves, and fail a few times, that is okay. Let them do as much as then can alone, and then step in and help. And teach them to love their calling. Also, teach them correct Czech. I think those are all pretty important.
 Elder Raines (Plzen greenie) by the tallest Kostel (church) at the Center of Plzen
 Elder Raines takes great pictures of the city (photo credit!)

  • I really like being a Zone Leader. I especially like exchanges, because I feel like they give me a chance to really influence and help missionaries, especially just by talking to them in interviews. I also really enjoy giving trainings, because I like sharing cool insights we find in the scriptures, and I feel like I can really recognize the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in preparing and giving them, which is a great experience. Elder Anderson and I are working hard and have a really good relationship. We both respect each other and feel comfortable sharing our opinions without being competitive, and we're doing good.
  • Responding to his Dad:  I am currently working on overcoming fear. Even after more than a year in the mission field, I still find it hard to talk to everyone that I can and should talk to. So I am working on overcoming my fear of that right now, and charity and love are the key. It's actually most of the Christlike attributes from Preach My Gospel wrapped up into 1, which makes sense.
  • Happy Late Birthday Mom! Your birthday letter is on your way, I sent it off today, and they put a "priority" sticker "so that it won't just hang around for forever" the lady told me.
My spiritual thought this week comes from something we are doing as a mission. We are all studying about the life of Jesus Christ every day during personal study leading up to Easter. It has been great to study in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon about His role and all that He did and does for us. Doing so has helped me to strengthen my testimony of the Savior, and helped me to gain a new appreciation for his example and life. So I challenge you all to dedicate some time to study the life of the Savior now around Easter, and think about His role in your life. Thanks for the support and prayers!

-Elder Pickett

We did some arts and crafts at FHE last week, this is Starsi Frog.

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