Monday, June 24, 2013

It Is Because God Loves Them!

Yesterday was crazy!!! President Taylor has still asked us to not talk about the specifics of our mission for another week.  Next week you will hear more.  Speaking of which next week is transfers!  So, I won’t write until Tuesday.  We were all so excited for the broadcast yesterday.  I knew so many people that were in the video!  That would include the stake president in Chicago!   He is the one that set me apart.  What is his name?  (President Scott)  Yeah it was good.  I was expecting the apostles to call all to repentance more but I guess love is good too.  Wasn’t the massive sea of missionaries crazy?  It’s almost like He is coming, and this is His army!  And the world has got to get ready!

This week working with the ward has been really frustrating.  Sadly, it didn’t change just because there was a broadcast.  The excuses are still the same.  It’s frustrating.  I won’t complain anymore.... I just want to teach people!  Finding the people to teach is just hard right now.  It’s like people understand "every member a missionary" but what they think it means is, "Yeah, I bear my testimony by the way I live." That is true.  "All my friends are members”, however, will not work!  When Jesus Christ comes, I don’t think you will want to use that as your excuse.  It means MAKE friends that aren’t members.  Not because you use them to share the gospel but because God loves them! And they need to know what you know so they can go home!  It’s not about you anymore.  It’s about every single one of God's children who must have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel.

We had a really good experience this week and a really bad one.  I will tell the bad first.  We went by the Breceda's one last time.  I will say that it was one of the most powerful experiences on my mission.  It’s like I couldn’t keep my mouth closed but I was surprised by what came out.  The mom denied ever feeling anything.  They aren’t getting baptized.  I feel awful about Eugenia.  She wanted to be baptized so badly.  Their change from our last visit was just sad.  The girls couldn’t even come out to greet us.  Agency, it is great.  I love mine.  Not so much everyone else’s.

The good experience from last week was our visit to the Karen’s house.  Karen is a recent convert.  Her mother had set a baptismal date but had not followed through with it.   At the end of last week, we were really bold and asked Karen’s mother to get baptized.  She said, "I just decided.   I want to be baptized."   We said, "Okay, when?"   She picked her date.  We wanted the younger daughter Alejandra, age 11, to be baptized too.  But she needed to be taught about the restoration.  We left the pamphlet and made an appointment for the following Tuesday.  When we returned, we taught the restoration.  We asked Alejandra to pray about it.  She didn’t want to pray in front of us.  Instead, she really wanted to show us her new dress.  So, Alejandra went upstairs really fast to get it.  We were all excited about the dress but returned to asking her to pray for an answer.  She said "I already did."  We were all shocked. She had prayed when she went upstairs! So we said, "What did He say?"   She told us she felt really good and she wanted to be baptized with her mom.  It was awesome! Her prayer after that was one of the most powerful prayers I have heard on my mission.  She thanked God for us because we explained what she was learning in a way she could understand.  She was grateful for her answer.  She said, "It really helped me."  What an example to all of us.  She said a really fast prayer and got an answer because she read the pamphlet and just wanted to know! We live in a world where people want the answers easy! God never just gives us answers we must want it and seek it! Otherwise he is going against our spiritual agency! That doesn’t work!
This last week we did a lot of cleaning.  We showed up at two dinner appointments early to clean their house.  We dressed in the matching t-shirts we made, bandanas, sunglasses, fireman hats, and cleaning supplies.  People actually let us clean!  When you look like that, they actually think we are serious about serving them.  I love cleaning.  It’s one of the only things you can do on a mission that is therapeutic and allowed.  Today we have a zone activity with water balloons volleyball and a piƱata!!! It’s going to be fun.  The zone leaders asked the Hermanas to plan it.  So... we had some fun.  Also, we started playing soccer in the mornings which has been really nice.  I want to buy a soccer ball badly.  I am just not sure where it would go.  And we are back to the expensive.  Whatever, it would probably be worth it.

Anyway... those were the cool experiences for this week.  Next week is transfers, missionary leadership council and the fourth of July!  It’s going to be a packed week.

Love you all and it’s great to hear about all of your missionary efforts.  Please give my grandparents a hug for me.  It was good to hear about them.

Hermana Pickett

P.S. We decided half price shakes after eight would be better if we made our own shake any time.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Half Price Shakes after 8 p.m....

It’s a problem.  Enough said.  A brutal awakening this week has been how much of my body I sacrifice on a mission.  Yeah, we are always tired.  Yeah, we are always sweating.  Still, biggest and hardest part for me here in Estrella is the food.  Members feed us every day!  Right now you are probably thinking, "Why is she complaining about this?"  Here is the thing: the food is never ending.  You show up, they serve you a plate of beans, rice, meat, etc.  These are all items you should eat sparingly!  Once you finish, they give you more!  After being out in the sun and heat all day, any sort of food is already too much food.  So after the meal, I always leave just wanting to get it out of your body!  You feel obligated to eat as they get offended if you don’t finish or eat a lot.  Somehow, still feeling like you might explode from everything that comes with all that food, you still ALWAYS want a sonic shake at 9 o clock.  Look up my address on Google Maps.  If you turn left, you turn into our parking lot.  If you turn right, you turn into Sonic= fat.  Blah. 

For example, one day this week we ate lunch with the Breceda family at noon.  Then, we randomly went to serve a member.  So from 1:30-2:00, we are outside mowing and weekwacking the lawn. Yeah, dumb.  I know.  (It was hot and we were sweating.)  So, the member comes up to Hermana Walker and asked her a question.  When I asked Hermana Walker what the member said, she responded with "I don’t know what she said... I just said yes".  As we walked in after finishing the yard we found out what the member had asked her.  She had prepared hamburgers for us, A WHOLE OTHER MEAL.  So, we ate…again!  At 5:00 that same evening, we had a dinner appointment with a member we just confirmed.  The long story short... we couldn’t cancel it.  So, we ate another meal.  Again!  Looking back I have no idea how I did it.  It disgusts me.  I am honestly surprised I kept it down.  My stomach has not been the same since.  Anyway.... onto "lighter things".

 Sad news: the Breceda family is wanting "more time".  Good News:  that family is amazing!  This last week we taught them all of the commandments in one night... THAT’S A LOT.  The mom cried because she loves the Law of Chastity! Who does that! The spirit is so strong with that family because the mom is really getting it.  When we left on Tuesday, we left with boxes of coffee, tea, and tequila!  I haven’t seen anyone change like them before.  

I had the opportunity to get a blessing this week from my zone leaders.  I am so grateful for the priesthood.  I am so grateful to see the priesthood work here on a mission. What a blessing and opportunity men have been given to bless the lives of others.  I love it!

Well, I’m going to get my hair cut today!  Wohoo!!  Hopefully we can buy fabric to get some skirts made.  I have like no clothes anymore...oops.  It’s just too hot for like... any of them.

Be at the meeting on Sunday! We got even more news this morning that the announcements are going to be huge! It’s going to be one of those things that people talk about and if you were at home taking a nap or out home teaching you will regret not being there! 

Hermana Pickett

News Flash

Is it normal for you walk on the road and it is soft?   Or, to see a coin on the ground, go to an appointment, walk back to the same place and now the coin is now part of the ground?  It's Phoenix Arizona!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

"And We Were Sweating..."

As you might guess... it’s hot!   But I’ll try to not talk about that and defer from adding "and it was hot" or "and we were sweating" to everything!!!

Last week we had 2 full days of meetings for district leaders.  They were good ones, but meetings.  At one of them, there was a sister’s panel.  Six of the Sister Training Leaders answered questions about how to work, interact with and help female missionaries without crossing the line.  It was fun to see some Elders worry so hard about crossing the line that they did’t even talk to us.  Then, there are the other Elders.  Perhaps they could use more separation. We also had an emotional health specialist from LDS Family Services come in and talk to us.  Wow, that was so good to hear.  I think every missionary in our mission needs to hear that speech.  It was really hard after the meetings to say good-bye to those leader missionaries who are in the Phoenix and South Phoenix Zones.  Those areas will no longer be in our mission after July 1st. 

After our meetings and on the rest of the days this week, we picked up Hermana Walker and went out to work.  For a long time, our area was without missionaries.  But… miracles still happened.  On Saturday, we had a full day of findings.  All day, in the heat (not to mention it was hot and we were sweating), we worked our notebook.  Our notebook lists every former investigator, less active, part member family or potential investigator arranged by area:  street north to south and number east to west.  It was incredible.  The whole day people were placed in our path.  Many times we wouldn’t even make it to the apartment or house because we would run into people, families, and they all spoke Spanish! It was miraculous! We even gave up our lunch hour to do service knowing we were going to fast that night.  
 Currently, we have only one investigator family.  But... they are so close! Our fast was for them and specifically the 17 year old daughter.  She has not yet been able to recognize her answer.  We are hoping that the whole family will be baptized on June 23.  It has been another miracle to see this family change.  I have never seen someone's countenance change like I have the mom’s.  What a blessing to be able to see that. 

Anyway... back to Saturday.  While we were finding, we happened to knock on the door of a drug deal/drug party.  It was really funny.  And when we walked up to the door, we ran into this guy.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to talk to him because he got rushed in when the person who lived there opened the door.  We ended up putting a pass along card on his car.   What we wrote on the card read, “When you want to turn your life around, call us".  Bold is not a problem with our threesome companionship.  And when we are fasting, it only gets better! 

Lastly, I am so sick of all of my clothes.  My companions and I really want to go buy fabric and make really easy elastic top skirts in different colors and prints.  We can wear them with really simple tops.  This would be great because it is so hot.   How do elders do it?! I don’t know if I could take the variety of only changing my tie. Maybe that would make getting dressed in the morning a lot easier!

Hermana Pickett

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Funny Story

The other day, I and my two companions went to visit two antiguos (older persons) that lived pretty close to each other.  We knocked on the first one’s door.  No one was home.  We walked down the street to the other home.  On our way there, we notice water running down the street from an unattended garden hose.  We knock on the door of the home from where the water was running to tell them their hose was on.  This really big lady answers the door with "WHAT!"  We said, "Well,.. we just wanted to tell you that your hose was on..." She instantly was happy and said, "Oh, thank you! Sorry... I was just fighting with my ex and... blah blah blah."  We asked if there was anything we could do and she said, "Nope. You just... keep doing what you are doing."  Then she walked briskly back into her house. 
From there, we proceeded to knock on the second antiguos house.  It was literally just across the street.  When we knocked, a 13 year old girl answered with only half of her body out the door and headphones around her neck.  She looked like we were going to kill her.  Without even having a chance to say anything, this is how the conversation went:

"Oh, my mom isn’t home right now.   Can you come back in like an hour? Cause she’s busy"
"Oh yeah, that’s fine."
"Okay yeah, cause she’s sleeping.  So, in an hour would be better because she’s busy cleaning and can’t come to the door right now."
"Yeah, okay.  We can come by later. But, what was your name?"
"Uhhhh," 5 seconds of silence, "my name?" She looked like she was searching her mind for one.
"Yeah, your name."
"Well, I don’t know cause I have a nickname.  And, sometimes I get confused."
"Oh, okay, what is your nickname?"
"Well, I don’t really remember my name because everyone calls me by my nickname."
"Oh, okay, so what do you go by?"
"Ummm.... well my nickname is.....(silence).... Freddie."
"No, Friday"
"Oh, Friday.  Cool!
"Yeah, so come back in like on hour."
"Okay we will come by later.  Good to meet you Friday"

I had to walk quickly behind the garage because I almost lost it laughing.  It was the strangest thing ever! So funny

It is getting to be soooo hot.  We had two days of over 110 and.... it’s hot. 

Love Hermana Pickett

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Go to the June 23rd Meeting!!!

I am now in the most southern area of our mission.  On July 1st, my mission will lose two zones.  That is like one half of the Hermanas and a lot of the Spanish work.  It’s sad to see missionaries go. There are more changes.... GO TO THE MEETING ON JUNE 23RD!!!!!!!!!!!!   This meeting is held every year as part of the New Mission President Seminar at the MTC.  This year it is open to the public for the first time in church history.  I know a little bit of what will be announced because a little bit was leaked us in a leadership training meeting last Friday.   You are going to want to be there!!!!! Other than that, I won’t spill out what is going on in missionary work and all of the exciting changes. I’ll let the big guys do that.  Normally they have one apostle at this meeting but there will be five.  It is being broadcasted everywhere and in 50 languages.  They have directed stake presidents to change meeting schedules so everyone can go.  This is bigger than conference!  Get there and get everyone you know there! It’s going to be good.  We NEED everyone there.  Missionary work is GETTING CRAZY! It will not be the same by the time I return.  So… be prepared for that meeting to change it all!

Our leadership meeting last week was really cool.  First off, our mission is participating in trial runs of the missionary changes.  We had big important missionary visitors who brought to us the sense of urgency from the Prophet... kind of important.   We talked and practiced teaching from the new pamphlets! It was so good! So simple!  We also talked about how important it is to invite to ordinances:  baptism, the sacrament.  We are not inviting people to socialize at church.  We are inviting them to participate in the ordinances that happen at church.  My companions and I were talking about this and then we thought:  how different would the church and missionary work be if we were as pumped to take the sacrament each week as we were to get baptized?  Or, what if we prepared each week for the sacrament like we did to be baptized?  WE WOULD ALL BE ACTIVE! Why?  It would be because we are consistently repenting and applying the doctrine of Christ.  We would feel and be closer to Christ and the Spirit.  Baptism and the sacrament are so crucial because without them, we cannot access the power of the atonement.  So.... let’s baptize everyone!  Oh wait, that was already the goal.  My challenge for this week:  prepare for the sacrament like you would to be baptized.
The funny moment of the week is...yesterday, an AP called us.  When he hung up he said, "Love ya....."  We could hear his companion in the background crack up.  We were laughing also.  It was super awkward when he hung up.  The best part came when he called back 5 seconds later to apologize!  It was funny.  Missions are funny. 

Other than that, I’m still eating way too much food and yep, still gaining weight.  We had "salad" yesterday at dinner by our request.  It was made from iceberg lettuce and broccoli with ranch dressing.  I wasn’t surprised.  I love this culture but I am excited for the day I get to eat a salad and see green on my plate that isn’t salsa!

All is good in the hood.  Love you all.  Have a great week.

Hermana Pickett