Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two More Missions in Phoenix!

Okay, I know that it’s crazy but Arizona is getting two more missions, Arizona Gilbert and Arizona Scottsdale! The new boundaries are up and my area is out of my mission starting July! Crazy! They aren’t telling us much other than the changes will be made in July.  Who knows what will happen.  At our next transfer in two weeks, we are almost doubling the number of Sisters in the Phoenix Mission.  This means that all female companionships, except for a half of one, will be training.  It’s exciting. 

We are preparing our ward for a ward blitz. On the 20th of April, the ward members and missionaries will go to an area chosen through prayer and fasting to knock doors.  The members will go in families and offer a prayer in the home and then see if they can get an appointment or referral.  I think it is awesome how involved the ward is!  I’m really excited for it

Jesus’s baptism is being postponed further.  We have some specific principles that need to be addressed.  He is really struggling with tithing.  So, we are praying a lot for him right now.  He is 82 years old and wants to be baptized.  He is funny.  During a conversation he had with a member we brought with us, Jesus spoke about being robbed a couple of weeks ago at gun point outside a casino. This was after the conversation about winning “cien mil” ($100,000) a couple of years ago.  Last week, we were going to eat with him on Monday.  When we arrived, he said he had to go help someone and tried to give us $100 bill to buy dinner.  What?!  Hopefully, today he can stay and eat and talk about Tithing.

Fixing Ruben’s baptismal date has been a comedy of errors which included our ward mission leader's phone being swallowed by a pig.  So, Ruben baptism is now scheduled for Saturday and his confirmation on Sunday.  Ruben went with us to the Pastorela.  He really liked it.  The Madruenos drove us all.  Hermanas from the ward made burritos for during the show.  It was so fun and so nice to be entertained!  Saturday, my companion and I went back to work at the Pastorela.  Our job was to walk around and talk to people inviting them to go to the visitor’s center.  It was honestly really fun.  I met a lot of crazy people! I think being a visitor’s center sister would be easier for me because of the reasons a mission has been hard for me.  As much as it would be fun to do for my whole mission, I’m grateful for the placement in the field.  Having a break room with food and lots of other missionaries to talk to would be too much fun for me.  Additionally, there were so many people saying “Hi” to us.  We got attention for sacrificing and serving a mission! Being a missionary was a cool thing to do! Wow, if I had that support every day, I think I’d try harder to look better.  Heads up for Allison!! I will see her in Mesa next year!
Thursday’s temple session was good.  I got to see Hermana Holmes!!  It was so good to see her.  If I was that happy to see a sister that was nice to me for 3 weeks, I can only imagine what it will be like to see y'all. 

Lastly, I am moved by how much my trials, that are so heavy for me to carry, are helping me to testify that "He lives".  God has taught me.  I can’t imagine my life without it.  So, I encourage all of you to think about it.  What does it mean to you personally that "He lives"?  Find out for yourself and if you want to share, tell me! I’d love to know!

Anyway, I know there is more but time does not permit.  Know I love you.  Oh, tomorrow is my birthday!! I seriously forgot till now.  Woo! Happy Birthday to me!! I think maybe I’ll go preach the gospel tomorrow.

Hermana Pickett

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Answers to Questions?

To answer the many questions that Tara sent me, for exercise, I run.  Back and forth so I can stay close to my companion who walks.  I will never complain about running on a track again!  Then, I "stretch".  Sometimes, I do it lying down.  I do not do cartwheels to get around.  We have a car.  We have limited miles but we drive everywhere.  A car is not so good when it is hotter than outside.  I teach in Spanish…Español.  We get lots of contact in English that we pass on to the English Elders or Sisters.  Bummer!  We have a trio of Elders in our ward and are looking forward to more.  My area has a lot of "South Phoenix" parts.  That is where most of our investigators are.  Also in our area are some new housing developments.  It is impossible to find anyone in these areas without the members.  Missionary work is changing.  I think another reason why so many women are going on missions is because the Lord needs them later to raise families that do missionary work.  It’s real.  Missionary work goes hand in hand with members.  We eat with members but not consistently.  When we do, it is Mexican food made by  people that live in the US.  I hope that helps answer your question as to what the food is like.  It is not the poor Mexican food we had in Mexico. 

To report on the happenings of last week, intercambios are AMAZING!!!!! So many miracles happened that day.  Companionship study went by quickly and we had a powerful lesson with Eva, an investigator.  I am focusing on the Book of Mormon this week.  We have investigators that we have failed to teach the significance of that book.  It is true or it isn’t. We taught Eva about it and invited her to be baptized.  She said no because she wants God to tell her what to do.  At that point, we testified to her as representatives of Jesus Christ of the power of the book  and that if she reads it specifically praying to know if it is true, she will get her answer.  She just has to do it.  That is the hard part.  The Spirit was so strong.  The whole day just went by fast.  We didn’t even have time to really eat dinner.   This Hermana I was on exchanges with knows Kendall Lackey! And her fiancé! 

Another investigator, Ruben is so prepared.  He passed his interview last night!!! The problem is that a member of the Seventies is coming to speak in Spanish on Sunday.  So, there will not be any Sunday baptisms.  Saturday night we are gone to the Easter pageant.  That left Saturday afternoon as the only option.  Ruben works Saturday afternoon.  He is asking his boss to get off.  That would be nice but the miracle we are looking for is for Ruben to have Saturday and Sunday afternoon off to he can be baptized and then come to church and be confirmed.  We are praying a lot for that right now.  After his interview he was glowing! Then he said "Y ahora, quien va a traer la tequila para despues del bautismo para celebrar?!" He laughed so hard.
We are pushing back Jesus’s date.  He doesn’t understand the need for a Redeemer.  Everything we have to share isn’t really important if you don’t understand that.  So, hopefully on the 30th?  He wants to be baptized.  Also, there is member that came out with us last week.  She is so funny.  She gets so distracted but loves the church.  She is very hard to teach with but makes really good tortillas that she shares with us.  This last week, she fell asleep during a lesson. Does a member present count if... the member wasn’t really present?!

So this is the weather update.  Last week driving away from zone meeting it hailed so hard we had to stop driving.  This week driving away from district meeting it was 93 degrees and I was sweating.  Bring it on!
Why have I never noticed that only at this time in my life will my initials be HP?!  That is the SAME AS HARRY POTTER!

One last funny story from last Monday, we were teaching an investigator Maria when her friend Ramon entered.  He used to be a pastor.  He deviated and asked me what faith is.  So I’m thinking scriptures bring the spirit and testify better than me... I’ll use Ether 12:6.   So I asked him, "Puedo usar una escritura para contestar su pregunta?" He said no! He said I want to know what YOU think faith is.   I said, "Yo creo que la fe es las cosas que se esperan y no se ven." BAM!!! Mormon told him anyway what faith was!  Ramon had no idea what hit him.  I didn’t read a scripture, I quoted it! That will be a fun heaven moment for him.

Anyway lots of miracles, lots of really hard moments, but it keeps going.  I love you all.  Hope you had a good St. Patrick’s Day. 

Hermana Pickett

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Love...

Thanks for your letters familia! I love getting them.  Your letters and prayers mean the world to me.

El barrio:  I LOVE the ward! This Sunday the members responded so positively when we asked for a member to go with us for 3 hours each night for more member presence.  They CAN do the work and they want to.  They just need the faith that it is possible.  I really think that Elder Cardoso and I are working hard to create the spirit of the work that they need.  It’s amazing how willing they are to help when we ask them.   Santos, he is still so great! The other day we got to go by and see him and he answered the door with his Book of Mormon in hand! Ah! He seriously inspires me to love the people like God does.  Also the other day a member fed us dinner and it was....drumroll please.....Stouffer’s Lasagna! It took me back! Good old days…very Sunday.  Lastly on this part, I felt inspired to ask the Bishop about starting English classes.  He said yes.  They will start on Tuesday.  Someone else was listening to the Spirit! But for real, English classes have helped the members and brought at least 8 investigators/future investigators.  So good.  The Spirit will prompt who it needs to to get things done.  Will you be the one that listens?  Or will God have to tell someone else to do what you ignored?

Los Investigadores:  AHHHHH!!! I am so excited.  After months and months and months of famine in our ward and area, Jesus and Ruben have a baptismal date of the 24th of March.  They both came to church yesterday and a baptism.  I had never had an investigator at church before! It was awesome! Such a good feeling! And it was cool to watch the ward react to missionary work they can see.  These are miracles.  By them, God has taught me to never give up on His work.  It must be done. 

Jesus, the aforementioned investigator, disappeared for 4 days.  So, his baptism might get pushed back another week.  He is so funny! He is 85 years old.  When I asked him how he keeps the commandments, he said "en la mente".  This last week when we were talking about what he needs to do to keep the Spirit and prepare for his baptism he said, "Satan and I don’t go well together".  He got robbed at gunpoint this week at a casino in South Phoenix.  He came to church for the first time yesterday and also attended a baptism.  Afterwards, he was concerned about what he would wear when he was baptized.  I really care about him and his progression to God. 

The other huge miracle I get to feel of every day is Ruben.  Ruben is so prepared for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the last lesson we had with him, the Spirit was so strong that I was overwhelmed with this indescribable love for him.  He has so much faith and is so willing to act.  He actually read the Book of Mormon.  And... yes, he is  actually married to his wife who lives in Mexico.  So, there are no hold ups there! I feel so blessed to be an instrument to show him where to go to find joy.  God didn’t need me to push him to be baptism.  He has been prepared and I was given this gift to be a part of it.  I teared up as I listened to him pray, to hear and feel of his faith as he continues forward on this path. 

Now the random other things you NEED to know about this thing they call a mission.

    1. Thank you sooooooooo much for the iPod and speakers.  I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to have music! And the adapter thing is possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life. 
    2. Weekly planning has a new name in my agenda.  It’s my fat day.  I seriously almost go crazy every Thursday.   I eat away my anxiety.  I buy the rolls of cookie dough and just keep making them.
    3. I have exchanges tonight!! I am so excited to work with different missionaries, to learn and ask questions about missionary work.  I am SO EXCITED.  Also, we got news that we have been asked to work one of the Easter pageant nights in Spanish.  Additionally, we have a sister missionary conference where we are going to the temple.   So next week will hopefully go like this: Thursday= go to the Mesa Temple all day and do things with sister missionaries; Friday= go to the Easter Pageant with Ruben and ward members and bring burritos we will make; Saturday= work at the Easter Pageant; and Sunday= baptisms! It’s going to be a crazy week preparing our investigators and SO MANY DAYS AT THE TEMPLE.  I am really excited. 
    4. I took a picture of the “Breastplate of Righteousness.”  Did you know that it is located in a trailer park in South Phoenix?  No worries, I found it.  You will get the picture soon.  It happened to be on a day when I looked like I worked at Wal-Mart! It was bad. I put on a tan skirt and was like, oh, blue is a good contrast!  Negative.  I should have just changed... oh well.  Picture to prove it.  
    5. I had a dream come true as I cleaned the chapel on Saturday.  Igot to use one of those vacuum backpacks! Ah! So cool! Dream checked off of my list.
    6. Today’s zone activity involves pizza.  I LOVE PIZZA.  So I’m really excited to bask in good attitudes today.  Happiness is a choice.  Sometimes it’s a lot harder to choose, but I’m doing better.  It’s still REALLY REALLY hard.  I had a dream this last week that brought a lot of peace and has really helped me focus.  Its effects were too strong to just say it was just a dream.  "I dreamed a dream in time gone by" ahh I honestly love it when cars drive by with rap music on real loud... sinning? IDK but I like it.  It gives me 2.5 seconds to feel like a human.  Anyway, this dream really helped me want to take this time on my mission to come to know my Savior and His atonement as much as possible before I have to take my nametag off. 

    Love you!
    Hermana Pickett

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Jesus Has A Baptismal Date!

    First off, can you guess by the subject what the exciting news is this week? Yeah!  Jesus has a baptismal date!!  It is the 24th of March.  So... our big concern is the word of wisdom.  We just taught him about it.  He said the only thing he will have to change is coffee... and yet his house smells of tobacco.  So I’m not sure what to do there.  I’ll ask other missionaries.  We have a lot to do between now and then for him to be ready, mostly church.  It’s been cool to watch my teaching and commandment enforcing come from love for Jesus even though I don’t really know him.  It’s not my love.  It’s God's.
    So I’ve starting writing scriptures on notecards in Spanish.  Then, whenever I feel like things are dragging, I start memorizing it. Also, when we are with the members, I just work to love them to death.  I taught the beehives yesterday.  It was fun.  Thank you EFY for preparing me better to on the spot teach a class about the Atonement. 

    We had a ward service project on Saturday.  That was really fun to just be IN JEANS and working with the ward.  Doing the same thing as they were doing was really cool.  I found in all the trash that we picked up a Mormon.org card.  As missionaries, we thought it was funny.  One of the members found an unopened bag of AA hats.  We all started wearing them for the rest of our service time.  I really like service.  It was so nice to be in jeans too.  I think that is the first time I’ve worn jeans since... like before I went to Chicago.

    So, Elder Cardoso is my district leader and he is from Brazil.  We speak Portuguese sometimes.  Elder Cardoso arrived here 2 weeks before I did.  He is emphasizing working with the members.  At coordination meeting this last week, he laid it down…straight up use Preach My Gospel to change 180 degrees the way the ward does missionary work! It was awesome! The meeting lasted so long that we had to leave before it ended!  After the meeting, we actually had a member go with us the next day to teach a new investigator, Ruben.  We would never have been able to get this hermano to go with us (long story...) but he did.  The next day he not only came, but he was on time! And!!! He helped in the lesson! The lesson went from being something we were worried about being able to teach to a lesson in which the hermano beat us to the baptismal invite!! It was AWESOME!!  Preach My Gospel speaks doctrine.  Member work is 100% necessary.  And Aguila is rolling like a stone cut out! It is the place to be! I was telling another Hermana this and she was really happy because Aguila has not been like this... I am so happy that my work here is doing SOMETHING.   

    Finally a funny story.  Yesterday between our meetings and church, we were studying in a room located by a single room bathroom.  I heard TONS of knocking.  Finally, we open our door but did not see anyone knocking on the bathroom door.  Then we realized... it’s coming from inside the single room bathroom.  There was someone stuck in there!! So I was talking to him from outside and told him we would be back.  We came and left various times trying keys, paper clips and cards trying to get the handle to actually turn the mechanics inside.  We ended up with at least six men from different wards all working on trying to get the door to open.  Finally, Hermana Madrueno comes with a massive knife.  I’m not sure where he got it from. I don’t know if the kitchen would keep a knife this big.  Finally with this huge knife and hammer in hand, Hermano Madrueno opens the door!! Out comes the guy.  He didn’t say anything.  He just walked away.  I was little concerned that he might be an investigator.  (He was!)  But.. the church is still true! Even if investigators get stuck in the bathroom for 15 minutes while being entertain by members in broken Spanish and English saying, "Where did you get that knife from?!" or "Is someone stuck in there?"   Afterwards, we taped the handle and I made a sign that said:  “Do not use.”  Haha, oh boy.

    Alright I got to go.  I love you! Have a good week and I’ll talk to you later!

    Hermana Pickett