Monday, December 30, 2013

2014!!!!


It was good to talk to some of you on Christmas.  I got a ton of chain emails from the family about Christmas stuff.  It sounds like y'all had a good time.  It's weird, my cousin group is all grown up and thee of us were not there due to missions.

Christmas was good. Last week was different because we were inside as prisoners for a lot of the week.  We have the same rules for this week.  We must be in by 6 pm tomorrow and all day on the 1st.  2014!!!! That is so crazy.  This year, 2013, was my mission year.  I left right at the beginning so it gets the mission title. Who knows what will happen in 2014!  The first half will consist of a mission.  The second half, maybe marriage?!  

I hope you all had a great holiday week.  My weekend was crazy. Friday afternoon my body finally broke down in its fight with Annie, "my"dog.   I took Benadryl that night.  The next morning…I don't really remember that much about the morning.  I slept in!  I did not sleep in on purpose although I am sure I made a decision at some point.  It is all blurry.  At one point, I was up to go running.  That ended when I somehow fell asleep with my legs sticking up in the air while stretching.   I can't take that stuff!  So Dad, do you have any suggestions?  I bought non drowsy pills today. Sister Taylor said it’s normal for your body to take a week to react?  Basically, I’m miserable.  So, if you have any allergy first aid to share, that would be awesome.

I've been studying charity this week.  I found a lot of good material from Sister Allred ! :)  (Remember what a brat I was when I met them?)   Here are two of my favorites:

Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbors’ virtues.

… You must enlarge your souls toward others if you [would] do like Jesus. … As you increase in innocence and virtue, as you increase in goodness, let your hearts expand—let them be enlarged towards others—you must be longsuffering and bear with the faults and errors of mankind. How precious are the souls of men!”

President Monson teaches:  

“Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.  This [Relief] society is composed of women whose feelings of charity spring from hearts changed by qualifying for and by keeping covenants offered only in the Lord’s true Church. Their feelings of charity come from Him through His Atonement. Their acts of charity are guided by His example—and come out of gratitude for His infinite gift of mercy—and by the Holy Spirit, which He sends to accompany His servants on their missions of mercy. Because of that, they have done and are able to do uncommon things for others and to find joy even when their own unmet needs are great.

By the way, Dad, those pajamas are my favorite!  They were the best idea ever!  It meant a lot, so thank you!  They are soooo comfortable.   Please feel free to give this to me for every important holiday. :)

Today is pizza p-day and... we found out we can go to the Gilbert Temple open house and be part of the dedication.  Today is a good day.  I need to get a white handkerchief!

Felix año nuevo!

Hermana Pickett

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Family!

I would love to Skype when Tim and Natalie are there, so... 6 o'clock it is!  Also I got the package.  Thank you!  I am saving it till Christmas.

So, the first news of the new area is that I live with the Davis family!  Brother and Sister Davis are awesome!   Their daughter has her birthday on Christmas.  You will be getting a picture of her and a picture of me with the coolest member for the Davis family.... Annie!!!   I lived all my life begging for a dog... all I had to do was serve a mission!  I get to come home to a dog every night!  It's like a dream come true.
But, on the same subject... Dad,  any ideas as to how to handle allergies?   I thought you would enjoy that!
Wohoo!  It is just really nice to be in a home.  It's crazy how different it is.  This morning, Sister Davis got a guitar out .  I was so happy!!!   And, we study by a Christmas tree!   Life could not be much better for Christmas.  Solano is a great area and ward. They might as well call me as the ward pianist.  Currently, they have to ask a member of another ward to come play for sacrament meeting.  But now, it's me.

Have you ever heard of Glendale Glitters?  I had but never thought I'd see them on my mission.  (Glendale Glitters is Glendale’s award-winning holiday lighting event. This year marks the city’s 20th year. It is a stunning display of 1.5 million lights illuminating 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale.  It is the largest free holiday light display in Arizona.)  

Hermana Holmes, one of my two new companions, and I have completely switched roles.  She was with me for the first three weeks of my mission and I am here for the last three weeks of hers.  She is not excited to leave. :(   I am sure glad to have her here to ease the transition.

Besides that, I don't really know what else to say.  Tara!  I'll get Mom and Dad to call you for a minute on Christmas so I can just say hi. :)  I'm looking forward to talking to you on Christmas!

Hermana Pickett

Also... I'm emailing from my iPad now.  Weird!:)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Change of Address

New Address for Christmas!

7604 West Ocotillo Road
Glendale, AZ  85303

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Querida Familia!


The news is, I am leaving!  I am also training.  Since there is only one Spanish Hermana coming in, President Taylor told me who my new companion is. Her name is Hermana Palomino.  She is from Peru.  So there is the news.  After emailing, I am going to pack.  We have three appointments tonight.  I am really sad to leave Estrella and Hermana Dayton right before Christmas.  But, I will never take for granted being able to choose who I am with and what I do for Christmas ever again! 

Christmas conference was THE BEST.   After an amazing morning at the transfer building, we went to the temple to do a session.  We did a session and then got to walk around for a couple of minutes to see the lights.  After having been on a mission for almost a year, receiving a hug from President and Sister Taylor and then my companion in the celestial room was one of the best presents I could have asked for. 

It seems as if everyone has taken a vacation from church the past couple of weeks... interesting how the holidays do that sometimes. But... on the bright side Christy is getting baptized in 2 weeks!!!! :) I am so happy for her! 
I had a really cool experience last Friday and Saturday.  We had a talk with our zone leaders and district leader about how to best help out the Hermana’s we live with.  It was such a good experience.  I feel like I finally know how to help the sisters in the mission.  I started the whole sister training leader thing as the guinea pig and it has come so far!  Still, I am sad now that I finally feel I might know how to actually help, I’m done.  Oh well.  At least now it’s set up better for those who serve.  And I actually mean that... what?!

Well, I have more I could say but.. I do need to go pack.   I also want to do something fun this afternoon here before leaving.  So, I will leave you with a Merry Christmas!!!

Hermana Pickett

Monday, December 9, 2013

Yikes, It is Almost the Middle of December!


To update on this week, we had lots of meetings but loved them.  I’m figuring that my time as a sister training leader has to be coming to an end so I will soak up all the times I get to be in the mission home and learn from President Taylor.

This week in our zone meeting we learned a lot about vision, goals, plans, tasks, and accountability.  It was cool because it was something I have used grudgingly my whole mission.  For the first time it really made sense.  So EVERYONE pay attention:   this is your Christmas present! You get to hear about "VGPTA" and do it.  It has helped so much in our area.  I have been waiting to find the time to make it work for different aspects of my life.  So, you start with choosing a vision.  For this specific explanation, I will share with you what we came up with to help people we meet as we start to teach them.  Their vision is to return and live with their Heavenly Father.  Their goal then becomes to receive all of the ordinances needed to return (namely baptism).  Then, the plan is for them to become truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The tasks that they have to do to do include:  prayer, reading the Book of Mormon, repentance, and church attendance every week.  They must do these tasks of their own choice.  We cannot do it for them.  We come into the plan as we represent the Savior and teach His gospel to allow the plan to be fulfilled as they complete the tasks.  Their goal is then achieved which allows their vision to become reality.  As they focus on their vision the tasks become possible.  It is only the Savior that can be the reason (and the accountability) as to why doing those things results in returning to live with God.  So, my Christmas present to you was to teach you The VGPTA so you can make your own.  I am sure as Jesus Christ suffered in the garden of Gethsemane, His vision was US.  Everything He did was so that we could change, and return to live with our Father in Heaven. 

On another note another focus for this week has been repentance and obedience.  I love both.  I love how Elder Scott said that "repentance is not a punishment" (I am paraphrasing this.)  It is a road that leads to happiness and to who we came here to BECOME.

I got to watch the Christmas Devotional last night with this guy named James.  We "accidentally" found him last week and he came to the devotional! Unfortunately, we get to hand him over to the YSA missionaries.  We say we are struggling finding people to teach but really we are finding machines! We find so many that are prepared! Seriously, we find a lot.  We just never get to teach them because we give them to other missionaries.

But for the record, we did invite Peter, Dad’s friend, James, and John to come listen to a prophets voice.  Speaking of which, Dad, it was amazing to be able to teach with you!  Shoot,  you did all the teaching.  We were just there to make it an official lesson and slap a label on it.  Way to go! It was so good to hear your testimony.  It was a mission experience I will never forget. 

Alright my arms are tired from typing.  Also, if anyone gets bored and wants to send me a math problem to solve in their next letter that would be fun.  It has been a year since I have done anything of the kind! I love you!

Hermana Pickett

Monday, December 2, 2013

December? What? Crazy!

Can you believe it is already December? What?  Crazy!  

Thanksgiving has been a highlight, for sure.  So, my area is pretty close to the Phoenix
Airport.  Normally, we see planes landing or taking off frequently.  On Wednesday, however, there were soooo many planes!!! Wednesday night at about 8, I counted easily 17 planes, That is 17 easily visible planes. When I counted same time same place two days later, I saw only 3.  It was nuts on Wednesday with all of the airplanes!!!  On Thanksgiving, we got to leave twice for dinner.  I was so full after eating two dinners with only 40 minutes in between them.  It was nice staying inside on Thanksgiving, but it was not fun.  It’s hard to push out of your head the thought of what everyone else might be doing.  Because you are staying inside, you don’t have things to distract you.  We did came up with a good things to do.  We set up the Christmas tree that Hermana Dayton's mom had sent her.  Yeah, nuts!  So.. Christmas here I come.

Our stay inside on Thanksgiving was nice because it was a pause.  Because I stayed inside, I was not worrying about "What are we doing to live our purpose?" or "What invitation are we going to leave with them?"  It was so different.  It really had me stop and think about the day I go home and take of my name tag.  It will be hard.  I will feel like a part of me that I love is being taken away.  I also think I will feel a load lifted off of my shoulders.  It is a great privilege and also a responsibility to represent the Savior.  I am so grateful He is Him better than I represent Him. 

Other than our stay inside on Thanksgiving, it’s just been a pretty normal week.  We finished exchanges for the transfer on Wednesday! Wohoo!  Hermana Dayton and I have really been studying and praying about how to help our area.  We talked with the bishopric yesterday about how to help the ward here.  At first, we are all stumped!   It has been incredible to watch the inspiration come and then have God confirm it through others or through our studies.  Basically, we are going for a deeper conversion rampage.  It will come from doing the little things everyday: scripture study, prayer, church every week and FHE.  These are the things that can get everyone out of being "sophisticated neutrals". 

I hope everyone has a wonderful start of the Christmas season.  Enjoy your snow!  I’ll enjoy my short sleeve and a skirt weather!

Hermana Pickett

Monday, November 25, 2013

Key Indicators

Today’s email will be short.  This morning was hectic!   I haven’t eaten since seven this morning when I had two pancakes.  So, I’m starving.  It is hard to write on an empty stomach.

Big news!  We are no longer counting referrals as a key indicator.  This blew my mind.  It is good news.

Most of last week, I was gone on exchanges.  When I came back, all of our food was gone!  I felt grumpy but repent and got over it.   I am feeling exhausted.  All this work and we didn’t get to weekly planning.  Both my companion and I are unorganized.   Good thing Thanksgiving will give us some time.  We get to stay in all day except when we leave for an hour to go eat dinner with a family.  I hope everyone out there enjoys their Thanksgiving!

Speaking of holidays, I have good and bad news.  The good news is I get to Skype home for Christmas!  The bad news is that I am only allowed to Skype where my parents live. So this means I can’t talk to anyone else unless you are with Mom and Dad.  I have 30 to 40 minutes just like Mother’s Day.

We lost the key to our mailbox this last week.  Today when we saw the mailman, (we are friends with him) he said he was worried about us because we hadn’t collected our mail.  When we told him what happened, he expressed condolences and then proceeded to give Hermana Welch four letters and a package! What?  I guess I just kind of pushed it out of my mind that it’s a normal presents for Christmas.

Hermana Dayton and I took Christmas pictures this morning.  You will all be getting a Christmas card from us.

I had a dream last night that I was transferred.  The next transfers are 6 days before Christmas.  I would really rather not leave or have Hermana Dayton leave 6 days before Christmas.  Also, it is really cold here! We are talking 50s and I feel like I’m going to die.  I really feel for those of our family who live in Chicago and Boston.

This week my testimony of the Book of Mormon was strengthened.  That Book is THE BEST.  I love it.  I received a gift from an 11 year old friend this week.  It was a crazy colored stretch book cover that I put on my scriptures.  When I showed her I was using it, she was SOOOO happy.   She has one just like it and wanted to give me one too.  I love her!  

We had a really intense lesson with Anahi.  You could help me, her and others this Thanksgiving by praying for her and all my investigators.  Okay, now I have made your list really long, thank you.

Everyone enjoy the holiday weekend! I am grateful for all of you.  

Love, Hermana Pickett

Monday, November 18, 2013

Promptings and Epiphanies

So this upcoming week is going to be nuts.  We have four exchanges in pairs of back to back days.  I will be gone till Wednesday night.  Then, I will figure out the “conference call/Skype” access with dad so we can teach Peter in Canada.  Dad, I am really excited to teach with you!

Yesterday we had a test Skype lesson with a friend and it was crazy! I had followed a prompting to ask this specific friend for her help.  Come to find out, she is going to Hawaii next week to see her boyfriend and his family.  They are not members.  The moment I told her what we were doing she said, "This is so perfect!!! You can teach them when I go over there next week!"  Yeah!   I’ve never been to Hawaii but I’m going to teach a lesson there. We were guided to where we were needed even online.

My companion and I have decided that it really would save everyone time and headaches if they just called us as ward secretaries until we finish updating the area book on our iPads.  We have so many new investigators that are actually less actives but whose records have not or will not be requested.  We could do so much good if we could just change address or request records.

Another idea came to me yesterday during church. I feel like I spent a lot of time during the last two lessons that I and my companion taught distracting kids so parents and everyone else could listen.  During one of these moments, I passed a Word of Wisdom pamphlet to the mother for her one year old to play with.  The child immediately put it in his mouth.  The mother said, "No" and pulled it out.  I consoled to the mother by saying, "It’s totally fine if he eats it."  So, I gave a one year old permission to eat a word of wisdom pamphlet.  It seemed funny at the moment.
 
We went to the temple on Saturday but with Anahi!!  Again, I got to see Hermana Duffin! It was the best! It was an answer to so many prayers that we got a ride.

My thought for the week comes from thinking about comments made by Elder Teh during his tour of our mission.  He talked about agency and Satan.  I had an epiphany!  Satan is miserable because he cannot repent. He opted out.  He chose the route that does not allow him to repent.  It helps me see how glorious repentance really is.  Without repentance, we would be like him.  Repentance is the best!  Repentance is not the backup plan, it is the plan.

Alright, I hope all it well with everyone.  I hope you all know I love you. Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? What?   Can that be real?  Maybe it’s hard to believe because it’s still warm.  Oh, and the Christmas light are up! 

Hermana Pickett

Monday, November 11, 2013

Transfer Meetings, Faith, and the Brown Recluse

Normally during the week, I would bullet point events in my planner on the Monday page to write home about in my weekly letter. Now that I have an iPad and am without a planner, I have forgotten everything worth writing home about!  So, please bear with me!

Transfers were crazy! A new zone was created.  There are so many new Spanish missionaries that they are now covering English wards and trying to start other Spanish groups.  I love transfer meetings.  I have not missed one since I came on my mission.  

Anahi is still going strong this week! I don’t know what has helped her have the faith she has but she has taught me so much.  She is so brave. I love being blessed to be able to teach her and be here when she wants to be baptized. 

The thought that came this week was about faith.  Faith is not willing something or willing something to be different than it is.  Faith is not inconsistent with Heavenly Father’s plan, the Plan of Salvation, Jesus Christ, the Atonement, happiness etc.  Faith will never interfere with mine or anyone else’s agency.   If you are struggling with dressing modestly or staying for all three hours of church, your problem will not be solved by having more faith that those things will help you.  Rather, faith MUST be based on true principles, the Savior, in order to have the desired result of obedience.  More faith in our Savior leads to a belief that He and His commandments are perfect.  This belief leads to understanding why we should be modest or stay for all of church.  That is the power of faith.

I bought boots! Wohoo!! No one believes me when I say it gets cold here.  They will all want boots here too!

Male Brown Recluse spider has 3 eyes
On Thursday, we were at the library using the computers for Facebook.   It’s easier on a computer than on our tablets with a borrowed and failing internet connection.  Anyway, my leg started to itch.  As we left, it really itched.  By the end of the day, the back side of my upper left leg was completely red and swollen.  Seriously, it was the size of...(I can’t think of anything) half a loaf of bread!  It was hard and hot and huge.  I’m like whoa, what bit me?  The next morning, I started feeling sick like a cold. Then, the next day it gets worse.  I’m nauseous and just not feeling good.  It was stake conference that night.  So I’m just trying to make it to that where I can sit and not talk to anyone.  I hadn’t really eaten that day because I didn’t want to not keep it down.  Conveniently, President and Sister Taylor spoke at the meeting.  I got to talk to her afterward.  She told me to take Benadryl and text her in the morning if it got worse.   I warned Hermana Dayton that Benadryl does not do good things to my brain. I took a dose on Saturday night after the adult session and then again Sunday morning.  That was it.  I seriously was like a walking Zombie.   I got so annoyed so easily.  It was scary!  I tried studying but couldn’t stay awake so I napped.  I don’t really remember yesterday morning, like at all.  A day later,  I’m feeling a lot better. Not feeling really really good but better than I did.  And the bites look... really weird.  Sister Taylor said it was probably a Brown Recluse bite.  I feel like that sounds a lot more intense than I think, right?! I feel like I’ve heard that name before and associate it with the ER.  Anyway... thought you would enjoy that.

We are trying to go to the temple with Anahi and five other less active families. Me encanta el templo!  (I love the temple!)

Hermana Pickett 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What? An Ostrich? A Cousin?

So, I’m not transfering! What?! That means that by the time I leave this area, I will have spent almost exactly half of my time in this area! I love this because I am also still companions with Hermana Dayton. :)  We have countless miracles happening and being her companion has changed my mission.  She’s awesome.

Our iPads are good in lots of ways, frustrating in others.  Our neighbors are allowing us to use their Wi-Fi.  That has changed everything.  Before that, it almost seemed like a waste of time.   In all, my highlight of the iPad is using it for language study.  This morning we downloaded the accompaniment on LDS Hymns and we sang Christmas hymns in Spanish.  It was soooo fun. It’s weird to see all the missionaries with iPads.  They have saved our lives sometimes.  Still, I’m worried it will begin to look tacky when we have them out a lot.  

We have mission tour this week.  I am not really sure what that means.  Next, for the first time on my mission, we had an investigator who we have never talked to before say she wanted to talk to us.  Then, she said "so, I want to know how I can get baptized into this church".   WHAT?!! I’m pretty sure that I didn’t do a very good job at hiding my shock even though I tried.  Another miracle of this week was Edith.  I am not sure I mentioned her before.  Edith has strengthened my testimony and understanding of how the gospel changes lives.  I love her.  It’s her son that calls me Superwoman.  (Even Superwoman has sidewalk casualties...dog poop.)  I think I told that story.  Because of her, I will forever remember Halloween.  We taught her on that day and it was a very sacred experience.  It was the best. :) I am so excited for her to be baptized.  She knows it involves marriage and to quit smoking.  Still, she is up for it in 3 weeks!

Okay now for my crazy sister missionary story.  On Saturday, we were on our way home when I saw this truck almost take out another car at a stop sign.  I was behind the truck and it was all over the place.  So, we assumed the driver was really drunk.  We didn’t have the non-emergency phone number for the cops so we called our district leader.  I don’t know why that seemed like such a good idea.  Anyway, they tell us to call 911.  We did.  At the same time, I’m following this truck so I can tell the dispatcher the license number and location.  It was bad.  The driver was going the wrong way on a divided street.  He even went into a round about the wrong way.  It was really scary.  We lost him and then found him again.  He had pulled over so we did too.  The dispatcher was on the car speakerphone.  I read him the license plate and was giving him a description of the car and driver when the driver came over and knocked on our window.  We were both nervous! We asked the officer what he wanted us to do.  The officer said whatever we felt safe with.  We ended up getting out of our car and talking with him.  He was REALLY REALLY drunk.  We couldn’t understand him except for some words.  He was coming from the casino and had lost.  He had a separate fake conversation with his girlfriend while talking to us.  I remember understanding "here with two beautiful ladies".  We got him to stay till the cop showed up.  He didn’t even think it was a bad thing that the police were there.  So, it was 9:20, we were a little outside our area, but I am so glad we didn’t just let him go.  I would have felt sick thinking of what could have happened.

Also, we went to go see a referral yesterday and no one was home.  No worries, their ostrich was! WHAT?!  Yes, it was the coolest referral of my mission.  This transfer could not have gotten any better.

This is the last story of the week.  I went to the temple on Saturday. :)  I love the temple.  Sergio and Evelyn come with us.  We came to talk about what it is going to take for them to get sealed in the temple.  The best part is that guess who was our visitor’s center missionary, Hermana Duffin!!!  I got to spend Saturday with my cousin!!! Wohoo!!!! It was the best.  It was one of the unexpected occasions.  Man, I love that girl.

Alright I think that is it.  Have a great week!

Hermana Pickett