Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Finding Miracle!

  • We are scheduling a good number of return lessons, usually a few a week. The problem is that over the last 6 weeks/ this entire transfer, not one person has come to that second lesson yet. Which is a little bit ridiculous. But that's going to change this week. We met a super cool guy named P. last night. I will detail that experience more in my main email (somehow Brad’s main email never was sent but his companion Elder Robinson gave a good report of the meeting.  Maybe next week I will have Brad's info too!). Prayers for him would be welcome.

From Elder Robinson:  "We had a marvelous experience yesterday. Basically, we had been contacting all day and the opposition was downright ridiculous. I received an impression that I needed to calm down, so I asked my companion "Elder, may we read from the Book of Mormon? " So we took ourselves a sit and started to read. I wanted to pray and ask for patience and I began to read in Mosiah chapter 7. I heard the last 2 verses like lightning in a thunder storm. Mosiah 7: 32 And now, behold, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and ye are smitten and afflicted. 33 But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.
 I know that in His time we will see blessings.

The next person we talked to was P. We had contacted him early this week and he had not the time to talk. But he had seen us on his bike ride, stopped and waited for us to walk by. He asked us why we are here and what we offer. So we taught him about God and prayer. He loved it. So he asked us where we had our office so we can meet. We asked if he knew PSG and that we are on the second floor. His face went still and his eyes widened. He then said "Boys, I work at PSG on the second floor. My office is the one next to yours."

GOD IS IN THE WORK. THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES. Man I never prayed with such Gratitude after meeting P."
  • In district meetings we have talked about Hope, the Holy Ghost and finding, and this last week we talked about the Light of Christ. It is one of our mission focuses right now, and I have noticed some really cool things about how the scriptures talk about light. So we went over some stuff. It was a great one.
Our District on the bus (photo: Sestra Ludlow)

I got some decent pictures this last week, so I will go and send them today.

A few pictures of Zlín. Over by the bus stop, and the street we live on.

  • We went to a cool place with a Cathedral and some statues and actually a Catholic run school, that's the location where Christianity was first introduced to the Czech Republic. It is called Velehrad. 


 Sisters Ludlow & Hayden had already walked in when I took the picture.  Elder Gaudlin, Elder Raines, Elder Robinson, Elder Pickett 

                                    Now including Sisters Ludlow & Hayden (photo: Sestra Ludlow)

                                                                    (photo: Sestra Ludlow)

 And a random fountain there.

(photo: Sestra Ludlow)

Elder Robinson and I in our apartment.

  • Last Friday was the Barum Czech Rally through the streets of Zlín. They closed off some traffic through the city, and there was a lot going on. We went out during our dinner hour to take a few pictures. They have it every year. 

Here is the winning car (photo from the internet)

Some pictures of Zlín from the top of the tallest building. 
It's called Building 21, and we went up there this morning.

 Elder Pickett & Elder Robinson

  • The parking space Elder Lovell parked in during our exchange in Brno. It was a great exchange, we got to visit a member family, teach a really great lesson, and do a little finding. Brno is an awesome city.

  • It's really weird to be the only missionaries in a city. Not used that at all. This is the first time in my mission this has happened.
  • This week we will get to go to Bratislava to have training with President Paul V. Johnson, who is the new Europe Area President. 

Have a great week!

Pday bowling with our District (photo: Sestra Ludlow)

Monday, August 21, 2017

What Eclipse?

Elder Pickett & Elder Robinson getting a “Missionary Mom Couriered” package while in the Mission Office in Prague!  Thanks Heap family!

Hello everyone! This week has been quick, disturbingly quick. Lots happened, and I will try to include what I can.
Two weeks ago:
  • We had exchanges with the Assistants in Prague. I was with Elder Chadwick, my old MTC companion. He is awesome, and it was a great exchange. Elder Robinson exchanged with Elder Carlson, the other AP. He served with Elder Beazer before I did, and they are from the same MTC group. We also got to run through the main train station trying to catch a train to get back to Zlín on time. We wouldn't have made it at all, but luckily the train had a 50 minute delay, so we were able to make it home on time and not be stranded in Prague.
  • We also had district meeting here in Zlín with the Zone Leaders. They did a great demonstration of teaching someone, and afterwards we went finding together. We drew out a big chalk display and sent some missionaries out on a scavenger hunt. It was very successful, and we met a lot of great people.
This week:
  • Finding was not very successful this past week, but I believe it will be better this upcoming week. We have lots of people, we just need to successfully get in contact with them and set-up lessons. We will be making some more calls today, hopefully that will go well. The district is doing well. We are seeing some success, not as much as we would like, but still making progress. I hope that we will continue to see more.
 Fun with the District (photos from Elder Raines!)

  • We had Zone conference on Thursday in Brno. Our bus got into a tiny car crash (I can't even classify it as a fender-bender, because the only damage was paint), but because of laws with car crashes in the Czech Republic we were delayed by almost a full hour, and got into training late. So we ran in (reverently), only to find out that a bunch of other missionaries had gotten stuck in traffic and had other transportation delays, so we didn't miss anything. That was good news. It was a fabulous training and we heard a lot of great thoughts. The Slovak Zone Leaders shared a talk by Elder S. Mark Palmer (Scott also sent it to Brad as a spiritual thought) about learning to see others as the Lord sees them rather than with our own eyes, and when we do, our love for them will grow and so will our desire to help them. This applies to everyone we are contacting, companions, members of our district, branches and wards. Elder Palmer says, "with Christlike love, we will not be afraid to speak with boldness, for perfect love casteth out fear."

  • On Saturday this week we got to do some service for a member, and afterwards eat lunch at their house. Their son is leaving for the MTC today, and will be serving in the Germany, Berlin mission. It was great to talk with him a little about the MTC and missions, and fun to remember the pre-MTC butterflies.
  • On Sunday I woke up with some bad stomach cramping and after throwing-up went back to bed. So we missed church yesterday, and spent the day recovering, and eating bread and drinking water, very slowly. But I am alive and healthy now, totally recovered.
  • We email from a library, but it has an interesting computer system thing for us. I'll include a few last week highlights for this week's email as well. Pictures next week...Sorry. I have about 2 minutes of computer time left, but I just finished my main email (this blog update!), so it should arrive at any time.
  • I love all of the eclipse build-up. It is always lots of fun, and almost everyone misses the actual thing (not this time!), or doesn't notice, or is inside and can't see anything.

My spiritual thought today is on the Book of Mormon. We have started a new challenge in our mission, that we are reading 17 pages a day in the Book of Mormon, outside of study time (meaning when we are getting ready, when we are eating, when we have a moment, we are reading) in order to finish it in a month. We started it after training on Friday, and it has been interesting to see the power that the Book of Mormon has. I have a strong testimony that the Book of Mormon has the power to change our relationship with God, to strengthen us against temptation and discouragement, and to strengthen our testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. So I invite you all this week to dedicate some time to reading in the Book of Mormon. It doesn't have to be 17 pages, but try to do some. I know it will make a difference for you. Thanks for all the support and prayers! Love you lots! Have a great week!

-Elder Pickett

From Brad:  Brandon (far right) is home, that is so weird to me. He is awesome. He is very comfortable speaking in front of a large crowd so no surprise to hear his homecoming talk was great. And he is a spiritual giant as well, which is always a big help. (1st of 4 high school/ XC friends returning from his mission!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Great Week in Zlín

Service. We went out to a forest to help Bro Kvasníčka, a member who owns some land there. 
It was pretty tiring, but also really good. 

My week was pretty great:
  • We will be in UH today, we are going for a hike and some fun, so I might be able to use the computer at their building to send off pictures. We will see. I don't have time to address it all (our emailing thing here kicks us off automatically after 80 minutes and I will save time for pictures later)
  • Our district is good.  It is a pretty young district. Lots to do as District Leader, but all good things. I am trying to think of a way to sum everyone up...Elder Gauldin is a pretty calm and collected dude, who is also pretty funny. Elder Raines is all about positivity and is pretty funny as well. Elders Raines, Gauldin and Robinson all played football and other sports in high school, so even though I am the oldest, I am pretty small compared to them. It's kind of funny. Sister Ludlow and Sister Hayden are full of faith and doing great things.
Our district eating sandwiches (photo- Sestra Ludlow)
  • Everyone's Czech is coming along well. Elder Gauldin basically speaks and knows Czech better than I do already, he's got some skills. The rest of the district is doing great. With Czech as well as with the work.
  • When we were in Prague, we did see the Heaps (Sestra Heap is from Brad’s MTC group and she is visiting the Czech Republic with her family), for about 13 second before we literally ran out the door to catch a train. We wouldn't have made it, but it ended up being an hour late, so we lucked out big time. Thanks for the awesome package, I am enjoying everything, and even sharing some candy so my companion is enjoying it as well.
  • I didn't get my license, I am not really expecting the car back any time soon. It is okay, we are doing just fine without it. It's different, and a little inconvenient, but it's all good.
  • Upcoming activities: Zone conference will be Thursday, and we are going to the Wallace Toronto Foundation project which will happen in Brno this transfer, which will be great.
  • We got to go to Prague for an exchange and had some rad group finding here. We have also met a few really cool people that will set up eventually.
  • And we had some really successful group finding here in Zlín, so we have some new people to set up with and some lessons already set-up . It should be good.
  • The weather fluctuates between very nice and burning hot, which is a little obnoxious, but no heat stroke so far, so that is a good sign.

“I invite you to place all of your trust in God and in the teachings of His prophets. I invite you to renew your covenants with God, to serve Him with all your heart, regardless of the complex situations of life.” Thanks Dad for the spiritual thought from Elder Soars’ last conference address and reminding me that we are blessed immensely when we do put our faith and trust in God and go forward.  I will keep on keeping on. Have an awesome week.

Elder Pickett

Last week we took a little walk along a trail to see if it led to houses. 
It didn't, just the middle of a forest.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In Zlin We Eat Lots of Ice Cream

A post service painting photo of Elder Pickett & Elder Robinson

Hello everyone, this past week was great. It was an interesting one, and I will give a few updates!
  • We went to UH for haircuts last week on P-day. Free from Sister Hayden, and as you can probably see from pictures, there were pretty stellar. So that is a nice plus. Today the UH missionaries are coming here and we are going to go bowling.
  • Elder Robinson is a good worker. Language study is going well. Learning a language is a step-by-step kind of thing. He has really funny analogies for how he is doing and tells stories in a really funny way.
  • I also went on an exchange with Elder Gauldin in UH. UH is a pretty small city, I think I was able to see the entire city in one day there. But we met some cool people and got to meet with a guy for lunch and a little discussion afterwards. It was a good meeting.
An exchange selfie with Elder Gauldin

  • We also had district meeting in UH, where we talked about what some new ideas are that we can use to find people. It was a good discussion. We are talking about how we can focus more on the influence of the Holy Ghost since it is very important.
  • This past week was quite hot. We got very sweaty and showered at night as well as in the morning. We don't exactly have the ideal dress for hot weather, but it still works out, and we eat lots of ice cream.
  • We were finally able to go tracting this last week, on Saturday and Sunday evenings. It also got a little cold and rainy on Sunday, which was a very welcome change. We met lots of really nice people, but still didn't meet anyone there yet who has interest. It is a little village outside of Zlin called Jaroslavice. It was a 10 minute bus ride from the center area of the city, and we went over a hill into a little valley, surrounded by a forest. It was a pretty fast change of scenery. The village is actually really pretty, and has some good views from the top of the hill.

 This is where we went tracting this week. A 10 minute bus ride from the center of the city.

  • We have a few good potentials, but no one who has set-up lessons. We are trying to get more creative with finding. Our ward is awesome. The Bishop is Bishop Dynka. He is great. Super supportive, and a great guy. And our ward mission leader is awesome.
Elder Robinson in our office space in Zlin. 

For my spiritual thought this week I wanted to talk about opposition. I have come to realize that the phrase from the Book of Mormon about "Opposition in all things" is a very true phrase. I have seen over the course of my mission how opposition provides us with a unique opportunity. It is a chance to prove to God, and to ourselves, why we are doing the things we are doing. We can prove that we are doing our best and trying our hardest because we want to do our best, and not just so that we can have success and a great life. I have found that when we recognize that we are doing our best truly because we want to do our best, we can be happy even when things are not going our way. So I challenge you all to choose one aspect of your life (work, school, fitness, a hobby even) and evaluate why you do that. I can promise that when you strive to do something because you want to do your best at it, you can be happy even in the face of difficulties and lack of obvious success. Thanks for all the prayers and support!

-Elder Pickett we realized because of public transportation and a lack of coins on a Sunday 
that we couldn't go tracting.