Monday, July 29, 2013

CRAZY!!!!!!! (7)

Happy Pioneer Day last week! On Pioneer Day we biked.  I got a flat.  We still had to make to the church on time so Hermana Baumgartner ran next to me pushing my bike as I rode her bike.  I have no idea how she did it but we made it to the church! When our meeting was over, we had to get a ride home because it would have taken us at least one and a half to 2 hours to walk the bikes.  I love biking! I look like a mess after a biking day but it’s so fun.  Anyway, it was a crazy (1) day.  Also, my bag broke this week and my backpack is ripping, it means more money to spend!

Another crazy (2) day this last week was Friday.  I got piano music that morning to accompany Karen to sing "We Believe" at a YSA baptism that night.  Karen is a recent convert whose mom and sister just got baptized.  It was a great idea because she could meet the YSA people so she could date good people!  Long story short, we left the church after district meeting at about 4p.m.  We left early so I could have time to review the piano part.  Then, I had to deal with the tacos we got for Elder Arave's birthday.  Basically, it was a crazy (3) afternoon with last minute changes to plans all night. We showed up late to a 4:45 dinner because we had to burn a cd with an EFY song on it.  We needed the CD to give to the zone leaders that we would see on exchanges the next day.   After being late to our dinner appointment, we tried to be polite by saying an extra 30 minutes.  That took away from the hoped for practice time for the song.  After arriving at the baptism, we quickly went to another room to run through the piece two times.  Then we went into the baptism.  Karen and I performed the song.  The moment it was over I put my head down in my arms on the piano and breathed.  I was so grateful I could get through that song. It was a miracle.  We had so many different stressors that day.  We had the zone leaders calling us about exchanges, other set of zone leaders calling about a musical number for MLS this week, Sergio not showing up to the baptism.  After the baptism, we scrambled to go see Sergio but just missed him.  We then hurried home for exchanges that night. 

Sergio is awesome.  When we taught him the law of chastity he was so excited to marry his girlfriend.  His biggest obstacle is that he literally has 8 cents in his bank account.  He doesn’t even eat lunch anymore.  He sends all his money home for his family and girlfriend.  He found out on Friday that his girlfriend lost their baby.  She was 3 months along.  He was so torn up about it.  Sunday at church he was struggling so we went into a different classroom and taught him the Plan of Salvation.  I remember just feeling the need to say "This means that this life isn’t the end, Sergio!"  So, I did.  At that moment, he just changed.  He felt the Spirit.  I could see it.  He looked like he was about to cry but he kept it in.  After church, I asked him if he believed the Plan of Salvation could be true.   He said he did.  I asked how.  He said, "I just feel like it is".   The Plan of Salvation is familiar to us! Why?  Because we all knew of it before!  We just need to be reminded.  It’s so true.  It’s the only plan that brings hope to everyone no matter where you are in life.  I feel like God would think that “hope” is  really important for us. 

Something has got to change about our crazy (4) “Sister Trainers” schedule!  Most nights we barely brush our teeth as we run to bed.  Thank goodness Hermana Walker is always willing to update the area book while we are always dealing with other stuff on the phone.  It’s been crazy (5).  And, I really want to nap.  But... we have a zone activity today so I doubt that will happen. 

This next week we have meetings all day tomorrow and Wednesday.  Thursday morning we are going to go to the temple to do a session!! Wohoo!!  Friday we are going with Adelina and other recent converts to do baptisms for the dead.  Saturday is exchanges again!  Basically this week is crazy! (6)  We got a young woman to be Hermana Walker's companion for a whole day so we will have one day this week when we will have missionary power in our area!

I don’t have pictures this week.  I left my camera at the apartment this morning.  It was crazy (7).  I hope everyone is well, and go August!

Hermana Pickett

Monday, July 22, 2013

I refrained!

After a crazy p-day morning we are finally at the library for emailing! I hope everyone's week has been good. Ours has been pretty crazy.  We have had super stormy skies all week but nothing ever happens.  Actually, it poured yesterday for like 60 seconds.  We all ran outside the church building to stand in the rain.   It felt sooo good!  This is the first time it has rained on my mission.

Because we see the "Work of Salvation" fireside at many of our exchanges, I have now seen it three times.  It’s really good and with the repetition, I am noticing all of the parts that are just, well... funny.  We had a fireside for our ward to better implement the ideas presented in the fireside.  It was THE BEST.  We taught the doctrine of Christ and how we all took the name of Christ upon us in our baptismal covenant.  That led into a discussion on our different roles.  The difference is we represent the Savior by teaching others as he would and members are to love listen and serve others as the Savior would.  Then we practice taught.  We used movie clips from the “Work of Salvation” fireside and Preach My Gospel DVDs.   It was so good!!   The bishop might let us continue to train the members like this.  We don’t know.  We asked him and he said it would depend on how things went last night.  So... hopefully!  Afterward our whole district just broke down.  We were laughing sooo hard. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed that hard on my mission.  (Actually, there was the time when we were all in the library during third hour one Sunday.  It’s getting progressively harder to sit through all of church..)

One day this week Hermana Baumgartner and I were sitting in our district meeting and she looked at me and said 'Oh no."   I said, "What?"  Then she said, "Look at us.  We are matching."  It was true.  We were both wearing floral pink skirts!  That was a rough day.

This week we had a really cool experience with Sergio.  I have never wanted to give a guy a hug so badly while on my mission.  I refrained!   We were present when he received a blessing.  He returns to Phoenix from Mexico today.  (Why is everyone always in Mexico?)  His baptism is still set for the 11th.  We have A LOT to teach him by then.   Please pray for him!

This week I was reading in Heleman 5.  It was a crazy realizing exactly what that scripture meant to me a year ago when I was at EFY in Kansas.  I had used it to help a specific group of girls.  I wonder what they are doing now.  It was cool to re-read it now and see something different because I am reading for different people.  Good times.

Next week I will be at and in the temple two days in a row!! On Thursday we have permission to go do a session and on Friday we are taking the Barron's to do baptisms for the dead. 

Well, I think that is it.  That pretty much describes the work here.  I love the clouds.  They are amazing.  Every night we have a lightning show without thunder or rain.  I am not sure how that works.  But it’s good to be doing the work, His work.  Everyone needs to feel His love.

Hermana Pickett

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's a Brother Thing

Did you know a year from today I will be home?! Crazy... huh. 

There are three “bright side” events.  The first Adelina and Alejandra were confirmed yesterday.  Second, we met Martin Perez…finally.  He is a referral we have been hunting down since I arrived in this area.  Third, Sergio is going to be baptized on the 11th of August!  So... things are going pretty fast here.
We had interviews with President on Thursday and for part of that we watched a movie! What?! The 5000 Days Project:  Two Brothers.  I recommend it! (You can view and stream in on BYUTV.org)  It was so cool to watch a movie but amazing how much that movie taught me.  I was a wreck on Thursday with the movie, the interview, everything.  I cried so much.  When we came home, I got an Amber Alert text on our phone and I just started to cry.  It is crazy how when you get a couple hours to focus on yourself on a mission... well that happens.  Good thing I am normally helping others because that was ridiculous.  It did feel good to feel again.

What I really wanted to share from that experience was a quote from the movie that really hit me.  When one brother was serving his mission in Chile, there was an earthquake.  His family did not hear from him for 2 weeks. They asked the younger brother about the missing missionary and he responded that he knew his older brother was okay.  When they asked him how he knew he said, "I don’t know.  I think it’s just a brother thing."  That is what I have learned.  I don’t know or even begin to understand how the atonement works.  I can’t tell you how getting on my knees and praying to God through His name heals all wounds, and brings the comfort I so desperately need when "other sources cease to make me whole".  I don’t know how he can perfectly know what is hard for me and what will hurt me and still be there when it happens to help lift me.  I don’t know how He knows. I guess "it’s just a brother thing."  I testify that it is.  It really is.

The clouds recently have been really cool.   I have included a picture of them.  This picture really does not do their beautify justice. 

The other night we taught a couple about the restoration standing around their truck.  At the end of a very long discussion, the woman proceeded to say (in a raised voice) "Hermanas, les amo pero estan equivocadas.  Nunca voy a leer este libro ni ir a una iglesia creiada por un hombre.  Les prometo en el nombre de Dios que manana cuando estan en mi iglesia alabando a mi Dios recordaran de mi."  (Sisters, I love you but you are wrong.  I will never read this book nor go to a church created by a man.  I promise you in the name of God that when I am worshiping God tomorrow in my church…) I have never had anyone promise me in the name of God that I was wrong.  So, when I went to church yesterday, it was cool to have the thought go through my head, “Was I wrong?  Do I actually know?”  Then, I had a simple calm feeling that it’s all okay.  THAT is what truth feels like.  It wasn’t overpowering, but it was right.  This is the truth.  I really do thank God that I know it.

Well, my eyes are burning.  I am so tired so I’m going to try and get everyone off the computers.  I would love to take a nap.... maybe?  I don’t know we still have a lot left to do.  I hope you are all having a great summer day and remember…when you feel alone and something guides you to your knees.  It’s just a brother thing.

Hermana Pickett

Monday, July 8, 2013

That was Awesome!


Yesterday was Alejandra and Adelina's baptism! The first baptisms I have been involved in as a missionary! Wohoo!! It was a really good experience.  President and Sister Taylor came because Sister Taylor came with us to teach them once.  The ward was shocked and really excited that the Taylors were there.  Dad, do you want to feel like a celebrity?  If so, be a mission president and go to baptisms.  We showed a clip of "Finding Faith in Christ" and sang "Where can I turn for Peace" a cappella.  It was gorgeous.  We then had everyone write their testimony of sheets of paper that we will give to Ale and Adelina tonight.  We invited everyone who had made the baptismal covenant to take of the sacrament next week and anyone who hadn’t to get baptized. After the baptismal service, 2 investigators went up to their missionaries and asked for an interview.  That was awesome.

Transfers this week were really fun because…we have 70 new missionaries to the Phoenix Mission.  We lost 35 missionaries to Tempe mission so that leaves us with 210 missionaries.  One third our current missionaries have been in our mission for 6 weeks or less.  Adding the 70 new missionaries with the missionaries who have been here for 6 months or less, it is a whopping 120 missionaries!  Eighty-one percent of our missionaries have been out for less than a year.  That’s crazy.  President Taylor told me that the number of Spanish missionaries, currently at 34, will be at 67 by the end of September.  We lost half of our Spanish work to the Tempe Mission so President has no idea where to put the new Spanish missionaries.  Can you imagine 67 Spanish missionaries in 5 wards and I think 4 branches?   I don’t know when we will bike because we start exchanges again this week! We will find a way.  I like biking even though it really drains you.  I have not yet taken a nap on my mission.  Oh wait, I did once when I was really sick.  Oh man, I want one today.

I had an old guy tell me that Mormons aren’t good because they have lots of wives and that I need to go home and study Spanish more so I can actually talk to people.

I will end by saying I just love the Book of Mormon.  Moroni, he is the boss! He is soooo funny!  But reading the war chapters in Spanish makes them really hard to follow!  I was amazed by how many Nephite haters there were.  I just want to shake them and say, "You ARE one!"  So many people fell away.  It’s the same today... so many people have fallen away.  Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching are so important.  We are trying to work with our ward right now to strengthen Visiting Teaching.  The Relief Society President does not need Visiting Teachers like the lady that no one knows if she still lives in that one apartment.  That unknown lady is the one that needs the rescuing.  Inviting others to come back to Christ by helping them return to the restored gospel is part of the covenant made at baptism!  So... KEEP IT. :)  A year from now, I will go back to my Chicago ward for my homecoming talk and the ward members will think, "Ooo, she’s that one missionary that told me to do my Visiting Teaching".  Alright, love you!

Hermana Pickett

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

122 Degrees!

It’s crazy! I’ve lived in hot, but I’ve never had that feeling of opening an oven all over your body that never goes away.  It’s the strangest thing ever.  I drink so much water.  I don’t know where it all goes! It’s incredible!

Today is transfer week and guess what?  I’m not leaving! Wohoo!! I am excited.  I get to be here for Adelina's and Alejandra's baptism on Sunday.  It’s almost too good to be true.  The trend has been that baptisms occur after I leave.  It looks like I’m breaking the trend!  I am excited for them.  And… my trio is staying together! This will be the longest I have had a companion and an area! It’s exciting.  Here we go with another round of transfers and exchanges.  I honestly don’t always know how to help the sisters.  But I know God does.  I just get to be the means.

Oh hello!!! I forgot I can tell you of the changes!  There are 3 or 4 test missions in the US now where they have given iPads and iPhones.  Our mission is one.  So, with the announcement on June 23, we are really excited to get our iPads! We can do EVERYTHING from them.  It’s frustrating knowing they are coming and not having them!  The entire gospel library is on them.  The area book is accessible through it.  That means no more binders.  Every person in the area book and ward is geocoded so when you are in an area everyone shows up on the map by location.  The iPhone is the new planner.  Ward mission leaders and President Taylor have access.  They know where we are and what we are doing all the time.  They can even add things to our schedule.  We can use it to show videos, digital pamphlets with clips in them and of course,  Facebook,  Skype and email to teach.  It all gets synced up to Salt Lake every 15 seconds.  You can have a member present on-line while they are all at work! It’s awesome! We are really excited.  Just waiting for our tools now!  It’s going to cut down on so much wasted time.  We are waiting for clearance from Salt Lake to start everything now.

Alright...I've got some good stories to share.  I’ll start from a week ago today.  That would be last Tuesday.  We decided to bike.  I don’t have a bike so I borrowed Hermana Esplin’s bike.  We put Hermana Walkers brand new bike together that morning.  We had exchanges scheduled in the evening so we were going to work really hard to make sure we were back on time for them.  We had a lunch appointment with a less active.  We left the apartment at 12 to bike to this appointment in the southern corner of our area. This ride included biking on the side of a corn field in the dirt, very hard.  Next, we spent our day biking from appointment to appointment in the southern part of our area.  When we arrived for lunch, we are drenched in sweat.  We ate.   For dessert, we are surprised with chocoflan.  It is not my favorite, but okay.  The problem was that I got a sixth of the whole thing on my plate! That is A LOT of chocoflan.  We left and got back on the bikes.  By the way, I have learned to text while riding a bike with no hands! I’ve waited my whole life to be able to do it... who knew that all you needed was a skirt and a name tag and then you could do it?!  Anyway... so we spend our day biking.  It was really hot.  We hit record temperatures last week and yeah, we looked disgusting.  Don’t worry, it gets better. 

I don’t remember everything that happened during the day but I know it involved getting 2 referrals and the English elders bringing us water which I drank so fast I felt sick.  (I learned my lesson from that.)    So, we went to a member’s house.  We put our three bikes literally a yard away from the door and went inside.  We saw there was a party.  We didn’t even take time to pray before leaving.  It was seriously not over 2 minutes.  In 2 minutes, 2 bikes where GONE.  The one I was riding, Hermana Esplin’s was still there but Hermana Baumgartner's and Walker's bikes were gone.  Hermana Walker’s bike was put together that morning! Hermana Baumgartner's was like 500 dollars!  So, two guys from the house sped off looking for who could have them.  The neighbors were not much help so we called the police.  The two guys from the house did not find anyone and the police were taking forever.  The elders came to find us and they started searching.  When we got home, it was 10 pm.  We were not on time for exchanges.  At 10:20, there was a knock at the door.  The Elders had found Hermana Baumgartner's bike!! In a ditch in a park! Creepy! But they found it!  Anyway, I love biking!  Yeah, it was miserably hot! But I loved loved it.  We want to bike more!
We had a little bit of time left before we needed to head back for the exchanges that night.

That was my Tuesday.  The best stuff always happens right after P-Day. I think it’s a security device so that when we write home a week later... the drama is minimized.  Besides that, I got really sick stomach wise this week.  Not sure what happened.  I wished I would have thrown up so many times.  It never happened.  Oh! We got our skirts! So nice to have light skirts to wear! I’m not going to lie, they look really cute! Now we just need some light tops. 

Alright I think that is mostly it.  It was weird to get mom's email about what everyone has been doing this week.  I hope everyone is having fun together!  I can’t imagine Park City in the summer.  Also, Hermana Jenson (she lives with us) goes to Park City every Christmas to the same hotel.  Remember those annoying teenage boys this last year?  Yeah we think they were her cousins... crazy huh?!!!

Hey, this week is the fourth of July!!! Have fun everyone! We have mission leadership counsel all day and then have to be in at 6 so... not sure what I will do. I might go crazy with a whole day not doing missionary work.  Love you guys.

Hermana Pickett