Monday, July 31, 2017

This Week in Zlín

This last week was accompanied by pleasant weather and plenty of time to talk to people. Here are some highlights.
  • We have found that not having a car in this area anymore makes things a little tougher for tracting, and working with some people we know. It has been an adventure, but luckily we have plenty of public transportation experience.  We haven't been to Prague, so I haven't got my driving permit.  And our car has been relocated to Prostějov, they picked it up from us. So we are carless. It should be interesting, and we have no idea when and if the car is coming back here. We almost got stranded in UH yesterday after church for a few extra hours, but some members going back to Zlín gave us a ride. Our only bus options were 4 hours apart...
  • We met a lot of cool people this week, including a guy named Leo, who was on roller skates. He is actually leaving in a few weeks to go study in New Jersey, so that was fun.
  • Church was awesome, with some awesome talks. And we have an American I got to translate for, which was good.
  • The sisters are in UH too. We are alone here in Zlín. We go there for District meeting every-other week, and weekly for church. And today for P-day. My District is made up of newer to the mission missionaries- Elder Gauldin is in his 6th transfer, my companion Elder Robinson is in his 4th transfer, and Elder Raines and Sestras Ludlow & Hayden are in their 3rd transfer. Being a district leader is a whole lot more stressful than being a Zone Leader actually. It is kind of weird but in a good way.  Czech is going pretty ok for people. Elder Robinson and I are focusing our language studies this transfer on improving his Czech speaking since he is understanding people ok. Our zone leaders are Elders Lovell and Collins. Elder Lovell is like a missionary wizard. He is awesome. And Elder Collins is a great too. I look forward to exchanges.
  • The Czech food you ate and sent pictures of last week looked pretty authentic!  I have probably eaten most of those dishes here before. (since we got no pictures from Brad, we are including our own Czech food pictures!)
 Beef goulash and dumplings

Cheese Pierogi (Varenyky) and Bratwurst & Dill Sauce
Fruit dumplings- Svestkove Knedliky- 
missionaries in Plzen are invited over for a Knedliky challenge to eat 14 of these!!  Ahhh....

  • Praying for charity was actually a commitment that I gave at District Meeting last week, because I realized how necessary it is for us here. UH is a similar situation to Zlín as far as people and experiences with missionaries. We are going to try and get creative this week with finding. We will see how it goes, but I think that we can get in contact with different and new people and that we can have success. It should be good.
Sorry, no more time. Have a great week!
Love, Elder Pickett

PS- Mom, I am fine with you letting me know of after-mission-plans with schooling and that kind of stuff. I have thought a tiny bit about classes, because I know that is a necessary thing to plan. Maybe wait until next transfer (his last?!) to tell me about "party" plans with the family if that's ok.

Monday, July 24, 2017

2 Weeks!

Sports night with HK District  before transfers

Hello everyone, sorry for the mix-up with last week's non-existent email. I somehow totally forgot to send it. Not sure how that one happened. But this will include some basic highlights of both weeks.
  • So the last Friday in HK we went up to Karlštejn to celebrate the anniversary of the Czech Republic being dedicated for the preaching of the gospel. It was awesome, and like a giant reunion party. I got to see all of my still living (mission lingo for those still on the mission) companions and other friends from all over. It was great. We had a training in a restaurant and then ate lunch before going up the hill. It was cool and almost rainy, which was a welcome difference from last year, when it was about 300 degrees Celsius. We heard some great testimonies and had some great experiences all together. Always a nice experience.

 Karlštejn and a picture with Elder Belshe there

  • Saturday we got the call, and I was told that I will be serving here in Zlin. The rest of the day consisted of some packing, some sports night (for the last time in HK) and getting things ready, because they are closing down the apartment in HK a week after transfers, so we had to start getting things out.
  • Sunday was saying goodbye to the wonderful HK ward. I have only been here a few short months, but this ward was fantastic, and I will miss them. Other than that we packed and got a little bit of time in for tracting, before our last dinner together as the Elders, where we made Halusky.
Pictures with Elder Pickett & Elder Gubler & Jitunka (Bishop's daughter) 

Elder Pickett & Vojta (ward mission leader) 

  • Monday was the great move. 3 trains later I made it to Zlin. Luckily I had help at all of the train stations except for one in moving my luggage, because 3 suitcases are difficult to get around. It wasn't too terrible, and it is a lot easier to travel now that I understand Czech. I can ask for directions and actually understand what I am being told. Total it took about 4 hours to travel to Zlin, so I got a few good naps in and some reading of talks.
  • This past week in Zlin has been quite a change. Zlin is the smallest city I have served in, and it is interesting to have so many people already know us. It is one of the oldest missionary cities, missionaries have been here for 20 years, so a lot of people have talked with missionaries before. The city has about 80,000 people.

  • I am serving with Elder Robinson, who was born (missionary lingo for his first area in the mission) in Cbud at the same time of year that I was, only a year later. We say he is my "shadow group." He served in Cbud for two, and then came here, so he is now in his 4th transfer. We get along great and have fun finding and eating ice cream. Elder Robinson is hilarious, and we have a good time. The work is good, and different.
  • Sister Ludlow and Sister Hayden are in my district, along with Elder Gauldin and Elder Raines. And I am district leader out here. It is way the heck away from stuff. We are pretty close to the border of Slovakia actually.
  • We also got all new furniture the day after I moved in, which was quite the adventure. The landlord and his wife came over and we threw the old stuff out, as well as clearing out a few years’ worth of missionary leftovers from the closet. It was a little crazy, and quite an untraditional way to start the transfer.
Our new furniture and what it looked like eating dinner before the new table was in. (Elder Robinson- new companion)

  • We also went to UH for our district meeting, which is about 45 min away by bus. It was a good meeting, and we had a good singing display afterwards on the main square.
  • Other than that we also went there for church yesterday. The city Uherské Hradiště (UH) and Zlin branches combined to form a ward, and it is a good one. Lots of new faces and new people to get to know, but I am looking forward to it. .
  • That is a really good spiritual thought Dad about having Christlike love for everyone you meet. I am working on that one, but this past week has been hard for that. Since people already know the missionaries, they often just shut us down without bothering to hear anything from us, which makes it hard to love them. But I am working on it. And we are still finding people, so that is nice. I will work on your commitment as well to recognize the love that He has for us, then go out and show that love to others as we share the gospel.  
  • I am glad you got to meet some of my mission peeps. Weird to realize they are part of real life again. Also weird to see them all referred to by their first name. That kind of scares me. (Our family met Elder Connor Dean, Sestra Melanie Hale, Sestra McKenna Heap, and Sestra Ashley DeMann when we were in Utah.)
  • Sounds like you guys all had a great time in Utah with the family and friends. It is so crazy to me that Makayla Allison is at the MTC already. Time sure does fly. And sounds like a fun reunion with some Roseville students at BYU (Tyler Holland, Abby Boden, Alexis Crews). Those are always great!
That is a quick highlight. I wanted to share a spiritual thought quickly about change. Change is great. I had a pretty big change in coming all the way across the country to Zlin, to a new area and a new district. It has been fun this week to recognize all of the opportunities that I have had with this new change, opportunities to learn, to be optimistic, and to work hard getting to know a new area. I know that change brings us great opportunities to grow, and I challenge you all this week to look at change in a way to optimize your personal growth. I know that as you look for ways to do so, and ask God to help, that you will see new opportunities. Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Love, Elder Pickett

We were in a cathedral in HK and went up the tower there. Here are some good pictures.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Transferring to a new city, new companion

HK District with Ward Mission Leader at church before transfers 
Sestra Brown, Sestra Cyrier (heading home), Elder Pickett, Elder Gubler (transferred to CBud), WML Jost, Elder Beazer, Elder Paxton

We can't send pictures from here, so it will be a bit sporadic throughout the month with picture sending. Also, I just realized that I had extra time, because I completely forgot to send a main email so I will send an extra good one next week. Sorry! (Blog update from Brad’s email to parents this week about transfers and photos thanks to Sestra Brown, Sestra Cyrier, Elder Belshe, Pres P)
  • We went to Karlštejn on Friday with all of the Czech missionaries.  The Czechs started this tradition and the missionaries have kept it going to remember and celebrate when the Czech Republic was first opened to missionaries. Elder Beazer and I gave a spiritual thought about Jesus Christ. It was Matthew 14 the miracle of feeding the 5,000.

Fun missionary game… called spot your favorite Elder!

  • For transfer news, I am in Zlín with Elder Robinson. He was born in C.Bud (Brad’s first area too) and trained by Elder Smith from my group. I know him pretty well because I was his Zone Leader for 2 transfers and had an exchange with him. He is on his 4th transfer. He is a good missionary, and I am pretty excited. 
  • Our area is combined with the city of Uherské Hradiště as a District and a ward. I am DL here. We are the only missionaries in our city here. And we have a car, but my international driving permit is expired, so we have to wait until we can get the one waiting in Prague in the office for me.
  • Zlín is a little city close to Slovakia. It has kind of a crazy weird history, and it is very unique. It was founded by a guy who made a super successful (and awesome) shoe company here in the Czech Repbulic. His last name is Baťa, which is the name of the shoe company as well. Those were the shoes that I bought in Plzeň. Well he made this city as a factory for his company and a place for people to live, so almost the entire city is brick. It is a little bit nuts actually. I will have to take some pictures and send them.
  • 15 missionaries go home this transfer, and only 6 are coming. So quite the change. We closed down several areas due to numbers. One in Plzeň, one in Prague, one in HK, the sisters in Liberec, and sisters in Slovakia somewhere. Other transfer news. Elder Beazer stayed in HK with Elder Paxton. They are the ZLs there. Elder Trythall is in Plzeň with Elder Anderson. Elder Chadwick is the new AP with Elder Carlson.
  • I had a great transfer in HK. We finished up with exchanges earlier in the transfer, except for the ones in our own city with our District Leader. So nothing too crazy.

 HK District- sports night and posing with their cars!

  • Crazy to hear about the missionaries that I know from home coming home and going out. Time sure does fly.


Elder Pickett

Monday, July 10, 2017

4th of July in Prague

Elders Mueller, Pickett, Beazer, Jensen, Hanis, Trythall, Newman

Hello everyone, this has been quite a week, and we are now down to the last week of this transfer. Should be pretty good, and plenty crazy. I will give some updates.
  • On Tuesday we went up to (or maybe down to?) Prague for MLC. We had some great discussions and planned out some good upcoming events, including the schedule for our celebration at Karlštejn.  This is where we go every year to celebrate the dedication of the Czech Republic for the preaching of the gospel by Elder Widstoe in 1929 (if I remember my years right). There is a little monument on a hill there that is called Priest's Hill, and a little area where a small group of missionaries and members gathered on that day. We go up there and sing songs, and have a prayer in remembrance of that every year. All of the missionaries come and it is a great event. The members here do their own event, which will be on the 22nd. I am really looking forward to it.
  • After MLC we went to a bbq in the church parking lot, put on by the Scotts, the senior couple in Prague. We had some baked beans, potato salad, watermelon, hamburgers and hot dogs. Nice and American.
 MLC training and July 4th BBQ hosted by the Scotts!

  • We also got a new car, which is always a fun change. We now drive a silver Hyundai iX20. Just in case you want to look up what it looks like.  

  • We are going with the Bishop's wife this week to visit K. again. She used to be a nurse, and was the one who gave me medication for my leg when I got bitten by the bug at the beginning of this transfer. Mom, you would be friends with her. And we've met a few cool YSA guys who we should have lessons with this week: L. & M.
  • Other than that, our week mostly consisted of talking to people on the street, trying not melt from the heat and then trying not to drown in the sudden downpours. It's kind of fun weather to live in, but it makes missionary work tough when you get stranded under a random overhang for safety. The good thing is that when it's warm your clothing dries quickly, even if you are completely soaked. Sounds like things have been quite warm this summer at home. I am glad it is not so hot here, or we would all be melting.
 It was raining.  A lot.

  • Our week of speaking Czech was good. We did really good until yesterday, we kind of broke down. But it was actually a lot more manageable than I was expecting.
  • Question from Caroline:  Is it difficult to write in Czech? A lot harder than speaking and understanding? Do you guys ever really write in Czech?  It is very difficult to write in Czech. Lots harder than speaking, because of all the funky markings, and sometimes I don't know how to spell words that I say a lot. We do write though, text messages, my emails to president, and sometimes I like to just write stuff in Czech because I can. I have a little journal where I write about spiritual things, and I like writing in there in Czech, just because.
  • I still have no idea what to get Caroline for her birthday,  which is a real problem I am struggling with, because it is getting further and further away from her birthday. We don't have a Tigr store here, otherwise I would just get something random, but I can't really think of/find anything. But I will keep looking.
Oh yeah, ice cream rocks.  Fancy looking ice cream that was less than $2.

  • Things are still going great with Elder Beazer. I really like him and we are looking for ways to keep improving. It has been a good transfer, but pretty rough as far as numbers go. That is actually all around here though.
  • Missionary work is really struggling, that's actually all over the whole world though. If you look at numbers of converts and the number of church members, it is not too awesome. And the number of full time missionaries isn't doing so hot either based on statistics this last April. We talk about why that is a lot. I had an interview with President this last week and I asked him why more people don't accept the gospel, and how we can help them. He told me that he asks himself the same question every day. So we just keep on keeping on.
For a spiritual thought I wanted to talk a little about humility. My companion and I have been talking about this for a while this last week, and we are looking for specific ways to become more humble in our work. We have talked about that humility doesn't mean a lack of confidence. Even though we sometimes stereotype humble people as timid and unsure, humility is more about knowing where the source of our blessings is, and acknowledging that fact. Our blessings, including the skills, talents, and abilities that we develop come ultimately from God, who created us and supports us throughout our lives. As we acknowledge and turn towards Him, we are able to gain greater access to His power and enjoy His blessings more fully. So I challenge you all to think of a humility goal for the week, and work to apply that. Thanks for all the support and prayers!

Elder Pickett


Monday, July 3, 2017

This Past Week...What happened?

More pictures from the super cool hike last week, through an area called Adršpach -Teplice Rocks (pictures from Sestra Cyrier and Brad’s camera too)

Hello everyone! As you might have guessed from my email title, I am having some trouble remembering what we did last week. But here goes my best attempt:
  • Monday we went on that really cool hike with 2 members and an investigator. I will sent some more pictures today. They are really cool rock formations and some beautiful nature. It was really fun, with lots of good sites. I would recommend it if you are planning a visit.

  • Tuesday we had some lessons. The main problem with early summer is that anyone you are working with who is a student is probably going to leave...So our investigator thanked us for the 2 lessons we've had, and said he'll let us know in August when he gets back if he wants to hear more. 
  • D. is not doing great, K. is doing better, and we have another meeting with A. on Wednesday. We are going to skype with Russian speaking missionaries, because his Czech is so-so.
  • We had an exchange with the other Elders in our district this past week. It was really fun to get to spend the day with Elder Gubler. On that day we ended up (do to some confusion and miscommunication) eating 2 lunches within the period of 3 hours. I didn't need dinner that night, because I was plenty full.
HK District

  • Saturday Elder Beazer woke up with a sore neck, which made things like driving and walking rather interesting (he doesn't turn his head too much, so he looks a bit like a robot)
  • Yesterday we met some cool people tracting, and decided we are only going to speak Czech this week. Should be an adventure. No English. It will be hard, but really good as well. I actually had a goal to read only in Czech last week. It was really hard, but good.
We got caught in a torrential downpour on Tuesday. It went from cloudy and dry to 
pouring rain in about 13 seconds. We took cover for a while until it let up enough 
to walk back to safety and English class.

  • Elder Beazer and I get along really well. We like perfecting the art of Bible-bashing (don't worry, we don't use our skills), discussing why the doctrines of the church could fix all social issues in the world, and trying to figure out how to do everything right as missionaries (that one is still very much a work in progress).

  • MLC is tomorrow, and Karlstejn is Zone Conference for the month (annual celebration of the day when Czechoslovakia was dedicated for missionary work, on July 24th, 1929). That will be next Friday.
  • We don't have AC. We have open windows and a fan! :D But I can't complain too much, we don't have so many bugs that we have to sleep in mosquito netting, so we can actually leave our windows open.
  • We get fed about once a week here in HK, which is a lot for our mission. We mostly fix our own food. We have 30 minutes for lunch, so we eat sandwiches every day. For dinner we do frozen pizza and spaghetti most frequently. And Sunday nights we do Halušky with the other Elders.
  • Sounds like an AWESOME high adventure Dad. I would have loved doing that. We got to go hiking last week for the first time in forever, and it was a ton of fun. I didn't realized how much I liked it until I hadn't done it for a full year.
  • Mom, as far as Girls’ Camp, there actually is some kind of camp happening here this summer for girls all over the country.
  • From Elder Belshe's blog:  "Wednesday night to Thursday I had an exchange with Elder Pickett! :D I love Elder Pickett! He is a great example of love and diligence in missionary work, and I am very grateful for the friendship that we have been able to develop as we served around each other (he has followed me around his entire mission)." 
For a spiritual thought I want to talk a little bit about gratitude. During a lesson this week we discussed with an investigator, who isn't a believer, the power of gratitude. We talked about how gratitude really puts perspective on life, and helps us realize what is really important and what isn't. It helps us to know that we can be happy in all circumstances and we are very blessed to be here. So I challenge you all to use the better perspective that gratitude can give you to recognize how many great things you have in life. Thanks for the support and prayers!

-Elder Pickett

                     More pictures from the super cool hike last week, through an area called 
                                                                Adršpach -Teplice Rocks