Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Almost No Time...

Our HK District with returned missionary Sister Baxter (who came for a visit)

This week was awesome with teaching people! We had 4 or 5 first lessons, and everyone came, which is a rare event. We had lots of good discussions, and set up 2nd lessons with everyone, which will be great. I will give a quick sum up of our week.
  • On Tuesday we had a lesson with L., a YSA who is studying here. His best friend is a believer and so he has talked about faith a lot with him, but doesn't know if he believes in God or not. We talked a lot about prayer and about how he can find that God exists. We will meet with him tomorrow. That night walking home from English we met another person who set-up with us. He is a believer, but hasn't had too many experiences with churches or scriptures. We will see what happens.
  • On Wednesday we drove to a small village to meet with a mom named K. She met with the missionaries a few years ago until she moved to Germany and lost contact, but she is back now and really cool. We talked about how God can help her to know how to better raise her children, and how he wants to help us with our everyday lives. We are hopefully going to meet with her again this week and talk about how she can find God for herself.
  • We also had an Exchange in Jičín with the missionaries there. I was with Elder Belshe in Jičín, and on Thursday,  I think I talked to the entire city. It is very small. Other than a quick run-in with the cops and being with Elder Belshe in general, nothing too crazy happened.
  • We try to offer service often, especially while tracting. Czechs tend to be somewhat prideful though, and most men tell us "I've got it covered." But we try it and it gives a good impression about us. 
  • Our weather is quite warm. The humidity is higher, but the temperature is lower. Basically heat here is like CA heat, I think it feels the same. 

Elders Beazer, Gubler, Paxton, Pickett and Sestras Brown, Cyrier

  • Almost no time to email, because we had a crazy fun P-day. We went with our 19 year old ward mission leader, his 15 year old sister, and one of the sister's investigators on a super cool hike. It was through an area called Adršpach -Teplice Rocks, which is apparently where they filmed some of Narnia. It was super beautiful and totally worth it, but planning didn't totally work in our favor and because of that we have very limited emailing time.

(Amazing pictures of the rock formations from an internet search!) 

That's basically it. Expect lots of awesome pictures and a spiritual thought next week when I have a little more time.

-Elder Pickett

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This Week in Hradec Králové

 Elder Beazer and I got lost on the way to somewhere and had to drive to the main square to find a map there. And there was a cool cathedral and statue thing, so we took a picture. This is from a couple weeks ago.

Hello everyone! This week has been pretty warm. And plenty wet again. I will go straight into the updates.
Elder Gubler in the hailstorm we got caught in in Pardubice.

  • On Tuesday we had zone conference in Prague. It was an awesome experience. President had a fabulous training on the power of faith when we choose not to doubt. And we trained about goal setting and planning (I know it's hard to believe that two young adult males could give such a training, but don't worry, we quoted heavily from outside resources). We also translated training, except for our own of course, which was an added fun. It's a fun challenge to translate, and I normally enjoy it. It was a great training, and I learned a lot from it.
  • Throughout the rest of the week we had nothing too crazy. We visited a former investigator and we are probably going back this week with some translation help, because his Czech is pretty limited.
  • After the soccer game last week, Kingsley came to church the next day as well. He and his friend tell me I look like Mr. Bean. They actually call me that now. Unfortunately Kingsley actually just moved to another city, so I won't see him again most likely.

  • We also did some tracting, with somewhat successful results. Essentially we are just struggling with finding new people at the moment. Finding is going slowly, but picking up a bit for this week, which is nice. We are struggling to get lessons with people and get people interested. We are not sure what's holding us back really, but we are going to keep on keeping on. But we have had a few cool experiences and are looking forward to more happening this week. Should be better than last week in terms of having lessons. The missionaries in our zone are doing great.
Elder Beazer and Elder Paxton. 
  • Sunday I translated Sacrament meeting, which was an adventure. I found out it is really hard to translate when someone talks about the different translations of the Czech Bible, because I was reading out of the King James version in English, and so I couldn't figure out what they are talking about fast enough to translate it. Other than that though I think I went pretty well.
  • Today we also got in contact with a young adult we met at the very beginning of the transfer. We had 1 lesson with him and after that lost contact, and we thought he wasn't interested, but today we saw him on the square and he came up and talked to us, and set up another meeting for tomorrow. So that was a nice little miracle. He doesn't live here in HK either, so it was pretty awesome to see him.
  • This transfer with Elder Beazer is going good. No crazy new English slang to report on. We don't speak a whole ton of Czech together, although we both speak it well. We understand basically everything we hear from anyone though, which is nice. I haven't actually had consistent language studies since I left C-Bud. It is pretty sporadic, and normally doesn't happen for us this transfer. HK is great. The ward here is amazing and I love them. 
                                                                             the Bishop's family

  • For P-days we do some relaxing, some missionary work, sometimes we go play sports, today we are going on a bike ride with some of the Bishop's family, and also some shopping. There are some crazy good H&M deals so we will be going over there today. I am slowly going Euro on my fashion. Stay tuned for more next week.
  • Each week, we teach English class to beginners. We have anywhere from 0-4 students every week. We also have sports night which is usually really good. We have foreign students that sometimes come from South America, as well as a guy from Oregon, and we usually invite any younger kids that are hanging around to join us as well. They are usually pretty darn good as well.
  • It doesn't usually break 100 at all here, that is super hot for the Czech Republic. I am crossing my fingers that it never does. I have been eating lots of ice cream. We average about 1 per day. The best flavor is citron, which is like lemon flavored. It is delicious. But they also have lots of other good ones. Cookie, strawberry, and some others. Ice cream is good stuff.
  • Happy Father's Day! I am so grateful to have you as a Dad. You have been a great example to me for my entire life, and I am glad I have been able to see that up close. I don't think the day really exists here in the Czech Republic, because no one did anything for it at church...But that's okay!
  • So to tell you more about that recital we went to, it was for a school for students with disabilities. And they had a band supplying music in the background (Dad would have loved the music). And so the performers, except for 1 or 2 little girls, were all kids with disabilities. And they did a dance of life in a Czech village including a little love story and a wedding. And it was just such a happy, positive event. All the kids had a great time, and the audience just loved it.

My spiritual thought for the week is about prayer. I have found that Heavenly Father is very patient with me in prayer. He is patient when I complain about things I shouldn't complain about, he is patient when I have trouble staying awake while praying, and he is patient with my shortcomings. I think that sometimes I need to be more patient in prayer as well. More patient to accept His timing, more patient to listen to the Spirit, and more patient to feel His love. So I invite you all to try and be patient in praying this week. I will work on it as well. Thanks for all the prayers and support!

-Elder Pickett

Monday, June 12, 2017

Oldy and Busy Missionary

HK Elders
A super quick update, because we have an early lunch appointment with an investigator:
  • Unfortunately my card reader doesn't work at this library, so that's why the pictures have been lacking these past few weeks. I will borrow one from the other elders next week and send a bunch.
  • We had exchanges in Olomouc with Elder Dean and Elder Wutzke. I was with Elder Wutzke. It was great. I showed off my Bohemian Czech (since Brad has served in the Bohemian areas of the Czech Republic his entire mission) to a YSA Slovak girl who speaks literally perfect American English. She was pretty upset, because she hates Bohemian accents. It was funny.  
  • We also went to a soccer game to support a less active member who lives far away and his non-member semi-investigator friend. They lost 7-3, but our member scored 2 goals, so that was fun.

  • And we have zone training this week in Prague, so we are excited for that.
  • The ward here is great with supporting us. The Bishop has given a lot of referrals to missionaries, and the members invite us over to eat and to the feel the great spirit in their home, which helps remind us why we are working hard. The members try to teach when they can, and have gone on splits with missionaries in the past. The ward mission leader is a 19 year old named Vojta. He is awesome. Super spiritual and very well organized. He keeps in great contact with the Bishop and lets him know about how the ward can help us. He is super cool. He will be going on a mission next year, when he has a break with schooling to be able to do so. It's a little harder for members here, because universities don't really have a deferment option for 2 years. Finding is going slowly but surely.
  • We have literally no one right now, but we also never seem to get time in our area to do any good finding. We either have exchanges, MLC, or training, and we are just going all over the place. It's rough, but this week should be better. We have some good lessons with new people set up, so we are pumped. Also we are going to start teaching a few former investigators with families, so hopefully we can add some families to the HK ward. That would be great.
  • But the mission is killing it right now. We had 6 baptisms in the last 2 weeks. Elder Stacey has now baptized 3 people in Zlin. He's going out with a bang.
  • We are getting nice and warm. And eating a ton of ice cream.
  • The Czech Republic has tons of colleges. Almost every city has one. We see and talk to students all the time. There are a good number of foreign exchange students as well. We have met with a girl from Belarus, a guy from New York, and a Muslim from England all during my last transfer. We do lots of street contacting. Houses are farther out and a little harder to get to, but we try to go and tract at least 1 or 2 times a week. It also depends on the city. In small cities they have to tract a lot, because there's no one outside to talk to in the evening, but in Prague you have to travel like 30 minutes before you find normal houses. So it varies. But mostly street contacting during the day.
  • I don't really have time to respond to all your emails, but I read them all and am glad that you guys had an awesome trip to LA. Sounds like a great family memory. (Picketts/ Ropers went to Universal Studios Hollywood.. Wizarding World of Harry Potter)

Thanks Dad for the spiritual thought from Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk about faith.  “Our personal prayers and supplications to a loving Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ can bring blessings into our lives beyond our ability to comprehend. The foundations of faith should be the great desire of our hearts. However, initial foundations of faith, even with spiritual confirmation, do not mean that we will not face challenges. Conversion to the gospel does not mean all our problems will be solved.” Have a great week!

Love, Elder Pickett

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hot, With a Chance of Rain

No pictures this week so we will look at Elder Pickett eating ice cream last year in C-Bud! (update... Elder Beazer's family came through with pictures!!)

The subject line sums up the weather for this past week. We were eating melting ice cream, which alternated getting rained on suddenly and violently, for a period of about 30 minutes. Quite the adventure. Some of the other highlights:
  • We went to visit a former investigator, and we got lost several times on the way there due to closed highways between cities, which created a navigational problem because we don't have a GPS. We finally found the city, in the pouring rain, and finally found the street, but never the house. At one point we had to pull-off and stop because it was pouring so hard we couldn't see anything. She ended up calling an apologizing, she accidentally wrote down our visit on a different day and wasn't even home. But she will be in HK next week, so we set up a lesson. It was quite an adventure.
  • We also had exchanges with Elder Paxton and Elder Gubler here in HK. That was fun. Still in the same city, but we visited a member who lives an hour or so outside of HK by train. It was a fun and quite warm trip. Trains don't usually have AC, so we were nice and toasty.
Elder Paxton, Elder Beazer, Elder Pickett, Elder Gubler, former Czech missionary visiting!

  • We also had MLC  (Mission Leadership Council) on Wednesday, followed by a great singing display. MLC was great, it felt like we were very unified there, and we had some great ideas for the mission. Also, after the singing display we went to the concert of the Bishop's daughter here, who is handicapped. The school she goes to had a dance recital with a band in the background of a love story in a little village in the Czech Republic. Probably one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen in my life.
(Photo credit:  Elder Beazer)  The school program- including the Bishop’s daughter

  • Other than that we have been working hard to find new people this week, with limited success. We are going to keep going though, and we are confident that we are going to see success this week.
  • I am trying to keep that intensity and focus up that Elder Russell M. Nelson talked about in the last conference, “Faith in Jesus Christ propels us to do things we otherwise would not do. Faith that motivates us to action gives us more access to His power.”   I think it is going well, but I feel like I am not really seeing the results from it yet. I think I am also getting a chance to exercise patience. Hopefully it goes well.
  • I did get the birthday package! I got it on Wednesday when we had MLC. It has just been a while since I went to Prague, so that was the problem.  I am enjoying the pictures and delicious candy. And Elder Beazer is enjoying the candy too.
  • As Zone Leaders, we always get to proselyte. Even when we have Missionary Leadership Council (like we did this Wednesday) we still got 2 hours of finding in. We normally try to do Zone Leader stuff during studies, on P-day, and at night so that it doesn't take up extra time. Sometimes it doesn't totally work out and we have to take some extra time, but we try to limit that. We go on exchanges when we plan them. We are doing 1 a week right now, we have 4 district leaders to go out with, and we have been with 2 so far. Our 3rd is on plan for Thursday. We are going to Olomouc. The Zone isn't too spread out, and HK is right in the middle. We have about 1.5 hours to Liberec, a different direction to Olomouc, and Jicin is basically on the way to Liberec  about 45 minutes away. So no too crazy.
Castle picture (not sure the city)
  • (Follow up answer to Mom regarding moving all his luggage during transfers) I do use the secret suitcase strap when I transfer. The main problem is that not all train stations have elevators, and when I have to go up and down 2 flights of stairs, I have to unclip the carry-on suitcase so I can carry them up and take 2 trips since I have 3 suitcases. That's where the true madness happens.
My spiritual thought for the week is on exercise. Kind of an odd one, but bear with me. At church we talked about the creation, and how we are commanded to use God's creations wisely. That includes our own bodies. One of the things I have found on my mission is how much I enjoy exercise. Not starting it, but afterwards. Usually the day after I am sore when it is a really good workout, but it is such a refreshing feeling to run around, sweat a little, and use the human body well. So I challenge you all to exercise, and pay attention to how you feel about 20 minutes after you finish. Have a great week!

-Elder Pickett