Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hastening Device

Well familia, I hope all is well.  Can you believe it’s almost November?  This week’s about: "Hastening the Work".  It is something almost everyone has mentioned in their letters to me.  So, I thought I would tell you what it is like from the mission field today.

First, I now have what Brother Donaldson calls the “Hastening Device" or rather and iPad  yeah.  I LOVE IT.  It is crazy how much the gospel library helps.  I think I might need an iPad when I get home to adjust to life just for studying my scriptures.  We are currently transferring our paper reporting system to digital and then sync that with our area book.  This takes time as we can only use the church’s Wi-Fi.  Until this is done, we are stuck with reporting zeros.  It is really really cool though.  It has completely revamped the work so its tons more effective.

Secondly, I think I need to clarify my possible role in helping you with all of your individual efforts.  If you have someone you would like to introduce to the missionaries, less active, non-member, whomever... I can help.  Obviously, if it is best for your person to go with your missionaries, do that.    But, in cases where it would be less uncomfortable for them to meet your daughter/sister/friend than two random missionaries, I can help.  I have Skype.  I have face time.  I have Facebook.  I also have a different proselyting email I can check regularly that you can use to communicate with me about these individuals and setting up lessons.  It is 7592709@mormon.org.  This email is area specific so when I am transferred, it will change.  Please only use it to set up or communicate with me about discussion over the internet.  All personal email, even notes of encouragement should be sent to my regular missionary email.  Please remember that my companion and I are ready to help.  Just let us know what we can do.  Brother Donaldson tells us that we are to preach to literally the whole earth.  That is our mission call online.

Thirdly, we are trying to get the members to use the ward buildings for EVERYTHING.  If they have neighborhood get-togethers, moms and tots, friend cooking classes, exercise classes, English classes, etc., do them in the church building.  We are trying to make our church buildings “mini welcoming centers” with missionaries ready to give tours and answer questions.  While we are at the church, we can use the internet at the same time for our iPads, etc.!  So, that’s what the missionaries are working with.  Hopefully, it helps.

This last week has been full of miracles.  Besides all the surprises with the iPad planners which everyone gets by the end of the week, we go to the temple on Saturday.  Actually, our ride just fell through.  Hopefully we get someone else to take us.  We really want to go.

Thursday night we were biking home.  It was 9.  I warned Hermana Dayton to pull her skirt out of the brake because it was in-between the break and the tire.  She stops to do so.  I go around her and pull off to the side of the road.  This was at 80th and Van Buren.  We were by a field without any light.  We live on 96th and Van Buren.  As I start up again after her I hear a really bad noise and my pedals lock.  I pull over and there is wire all up and in my gears, my chain, and my tire. So, we start walking home, two bikes, no sidewalk, no lights, in Tolleson where missionaries are not supposed to be after dark, with people in cars yelling at us to get off of the road.  I thought to myself, “If my parents knew what I was doing right now, what would they do?”   It was fun to think about, because they wouldn’t know till after.   We did make it home, in one piece.  It was late.  Then, I spent all of my free time fixing my bike! I definitely did not know as much about how to fix a bike before my mission as I do now.  Trial and error works.

Having access to the internet, it’s been really hard to watch people I love choose to let go in little ways of the iron rod, to not grasp it tightly.  I am feeling the consequences.  It breaks my heart to watch them turn away from what they know they need. 

The last thing I would like to share with everyone is the energy and Spirit that I could felt as Brother Donaldson spoke to the missionaries when we started with our iPads.  As he quotes the apostles, the things they tell him to tell us, and the new things coming, there is a feeling that I know would change the way everyone looks at missionary work if they could feel it.  Imagine it; every single iPad given to every single missionary has the same password, dc8873.   Can you figure out what it means? (Don’t think to hard... it’s not that complex)

“Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.”  D&C 88:73

I love you all and I hope you have a great Halloween!

Hermana Pickett

Thursday, October 24, 2013

FaceBook Suggestions for Missionaries

These are my suggestions for missionaries using FaceBook:
  1. Its really hard. 
  2. I would say focused on the "one" like Christ did.  
  3. Posts on your own wall are not very effective.  Focusing on individual messages and quotes/pictures work better.  
  4. Focus on your geographical area.  
  5. Set up boundaries for yourself otherwise you get distracted.  
  6. Avoid scrolling through your news-feed
  7. Be creative.  Think outside the box.  It is all trial and error.  
  8. Use your companion to bounce ideas off of.  
  9. Always plan before you get on.  

Those are my suggestions. :)

Hermana Pickett

Monday, October 21, 2013

Prayer and Sunshine

I can’t say it’s cold because the temperature is in the 80s. I don’t think 80s count as cold but it feels really cold.

This last week, a couple of things stood out.  First, we keep finding young men to teach!  It’s weird.  Everyone we talk to is a young man.  Second, we have started this new thing as a companionship.  We are eating healthy and waking up earlier every other day to exercise longer.  It’s been really good.  My shin splints are killing me and I feel like I am always hungry.  I’m hoping my body will get used to it.  It feels good to not always feel... so ... fat.  Proof is in the picture!

Thirdly, we had interviews with our mission president.  It was weird to think that I and Hermana Dayton only have 2 interviews left while on our missions. Mine was literally 4 minutes if that including both prayers.  Three months of anticipation for, "Good... Good... Yeah its good."  We all wore pink to our interviews because an Elder's mom was having breast cancer surgery that day.

Fourth, I have never been asked to speak in church.  I was this week while on exchanges!  Nine months on my mission and then I get to speak in church…in Buckeye...in English.  It rang very familiar with my farewell talk.   "So... none of you know me and I’m actually leaving (insert time here), but I want to talk about (insert topic here)."  It was good though.  Nine months without speaking and I go on exchanges and they get me.  It was crazy how I read through my topic and flipped through my New Testament to find some scriptures I love while in a ward council meeting.  All of this happened right before sacrament meeting.  As I stood, I tried to connect them.  It was fun and also crazy how easy it came. I guess when that is all you do 24/7, relating scriptures and gospel topics, it can become a.. hobbie?

We are currently teaching Diana who has been "expelled" from being a Jehovah Witness.  We are also helping a less active whose husband is a Jehovah Witness too.  We talk about that religion a lot right now.  I’m finding I didn’t know as much about it as I wish I did.  They should create a hand out for missionaries that can prepare you to teach others whose religious backgrounds we are unfamiliar with. Anyway, it was a cool experience to be there with her as she prayed for the first time out loud in 15 years.  She isn’t that much older than I am but has done a lot of different things in her life.  
I know it doesn’t matter what we have done, God still loves us.  We can ALWAYS pray to Him and He ALWAYS listens.  I am so grateful for prayer.    Why would it be any different now?  Our sacrifices are not lambs as before.  Thank goodness. 

Well, other than I love biking in AZ when it is not 120 degree, I think that is about it.  Love ya’ll

Hermana Pickett

Monday, October 14, 2013

iPad and Panza

It’s been 9 months since I left on my mission! Crazy!  Speaking of scheduling, I want to tell you all that we have schedule changes during the next month.  For the record, I think it’s because we get iPads.  That means that I will have two Tuesday p-days in a row.  So, don’t let it throw you off when I don’t write on Monday for two weeks
We went to the dentist this morning for Hermana Dayton so I don’t have a lot of time left to be on the computer.  This week I have been more tired than I have ever felt on my mission.  It’s amazing how much you are expected to do even when on overdrive. 

We have a new investigator. Her name is Christi and she is nine.  It has been really fun to teach her.  We get to really teach simply and make it really fun.  We have had some really creative lessons that have been really fun to teach.

On exchanges this week, I met a Southern Baptist Church security guy.  He did not recognize the full name of the church so I asked him if he had heard of Mormons.  He said, "Please Honey, a Southern Baptist who hasn’t heard of a Mormon!"  Then he gave me a HUGE hug.   I haven’t had a hug like that from a man in a really long time.

I got to go back with Hermana Dayton to a baptism of someone we taught in Agua Fria this weekend. They have been waiting 13 years to be baptized.  It was such about a special experience to be there.  It was also good to see members who were really excited to see me!  It seems like I didn’t do a lot there during those 6 weeks.  Still, it was nice to be reminded that I had done enough that they remembered me.

Last story for the week, I ate panza.  I don’t have time to tell the full story.  It was the hardest thing I have EVER had to eat.  My heart was racing.  I had to say many a prayers as I continued to shove it down my throat.  It smelled and looked like rotten, slimy, chewy, long threaded carpet rolled into a tube.  Then, the idea that I was digesting a digestive system was not good.  I have made it so long without eating menudo because I would tell members not to make it for us.  Then, we got hit with even worse than menudo! Anyway long story short, I am glad it is over.

To end with a spiritual thought, I connected the dots this week in my study of faith combined with our district focus of "revelation through prayer".  It states specifically in the scriptures that miracles are a confirmation of a person’s faith  and that we must pray in faith.  As we pray in faith, we are exercising our faith.  As we receive the promised answers, we are actually receiving the confirmation to our faith, or in other words miracles.  So... we are promised miracles as we pray.  There was a lot more to that thought but that is what I really wanted to share.  I love prayer.  What a blessing to be able to go to the source of truth and peace…personally.  Love you all!

Hermana Pickett

PS  Look at the pictures to see who I had dinner with this last week…my first companion.  It was crazy!  I felt like I had gone home for 2 minutes.  It was so weird! I t was really good to see her

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Week of Miracles!

Apparently the government is shut down?!  I honestly don’t even know.  It is amazing to be a native and currently living in your own country and have no idea that the government shuts down.   I live in a bubble…but a very good bubble.

So…NONE of our investigators or contacts came to general conference.  That was a really big bummer. Especially as you are sitting there listening to a talks that are the answer to so many of the issues our investigators are struggling with.   Earlier in the we had PROMISED them that they would find their answer at general conference.  Man, agency is so precious! I am so grateful it is protected in the gospel.  I really wanted them to find the answers they have been looking for and they didn’t :(

General Conference, I love general conference.  It was really hard to not have the people come who needed to hear some of those talks.  But! I encourage you to really pray about "the one" that you can help to invite to the gospel by Christmas.  And the best part is you can use me! I’m a missionary.  So if you need that to be your way, do it.  I am also praying about who I can help (besides everyone here).

It was truly a week of miracles! I think this past week I have found more people to go back and teach than I have ever before.  We had absolutely no time before the hours of six to proselyte most days of this last week.  Saturday and Sunday we had time from 4-5, but other than that none.  It seemed as if everywhere we went we found those who really want to know.  It was amazing! Person after person, every single interaction we had was so natural even with a new companion.  It was fun, real and amazing!  I’m not sure why we were blessed with such a great week but hey!  Keep the bonus blessings coming! Timing, situations, people, members, everything was just miracle filled. I am so grateful to have experienced this week. 

This week we had an extra meeting for leadership to become familiar with a booklet the church has just given out to missionaries after they enter the mission field.  Its title is "adjusting to missionary life".  Basically this book is... the best!  I wish I had it when I first came on my mission, but really it applies to EVERYONE here.  It is so needed for missionaries.  It goes over almost everything I can think of with emotional/mental health.

On the highlight: I bought a superman onezie today, WITH a HOOD. Yeah, SO excited!  Don’t worry, pictures will come.  I had to buy a bike pump anyway, so... wohoo!

I will wrap up with a funny story.  Yesterday we had to stop to fill up our car tires.  They apparently were all REALLY LOW.  So here we are at a gas station, two young women in skirts trying to figure this whole thing out.  This guy, who also had to fill up his tire, helped us!  So I am talking to him and he just straight up asked me where he could go to hear the prophet speak.  So, I get a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet out to give him and I am writing websites and marking scriptures for him while holding down the tube so he can continue filling up all the tires.  Hermana Dayton is also talking to him.  When he asks her name, she says "Hermana Dayton.  Hermana is Spanish for sister, blah blah blah." He interrupts her and asks, "Wait, what did you say?" She said "Siste  He ask again, "No, before that?"  Basically, he thought she had said something like "I want to date you".  So, they clarified and then laughed about it.  I was in my own world marking scriptures.  I gave him the marked book and then we drove away.  That is when Hermana Dayton said, "I think I just had one of the most uncomfortable situations on my mission."  It was so funny!

Hermana Pickett

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Really, Really Fast

Okay, I do not have any time to do this email so it is going to be really, really fast.  We had a zone activity.  We cleaned a lot!  Now, the computers are really busy.  So, happy p-day!  P-days are the most stressful of any day.

I have news; Hermana Dayton is my new companion!!! Wohoo!!!! It’s been awesome!  This transfer is going to fly by.  I watched the relief society broadcast.  It was the best.  We had ice cream after.  It got our Fast Sunday started on a good foot.  Our key indicators for last week were really, really low.  We have spent a lot of time with less actives and inviting EVERYONE to General Conference.  This week is full of meetings.  That means we will not have a lot of time to proselyte.  It is okay because it’s my favorite week ever… general conference! Seriously, think of Moses?  It is like him talking to you.  Cool!

This week Marco Polo, a young man in our area, got his mission call!! Wohoo!! It was really cool to have him read to us his call letter and to listen to the blessings promised in it.  To confess, I don’t think I have read my letter on my mission.  It is really cool to see how those blessings ARE happening.  I am receiving them in different ways than I thought I would.  So, that is my invitation for this week:  ask God to show you how you are receiving the blessings you have been promised.  I had not seen them until the Spirit taught me as this young man read his call letter.

So... many of you have asked how online proselyting is.  It’s great.  It’s also crazy.  It sure is stressful!  Let me tell you about the new type of stress involved with, "I just got a member in on this lesson and my computer session times out in 3 minutes".  This is real pressure.  This can happen with spur of the moment "member present lessons" on Facebook.  At 0.0, the computer locks and you are out.  So at 8.32, your investigator gets online.  You start asking them what they think of Joseph Smith.  At 6.14 you have a member online as well and ask them to join.  They say "Hermanas, I’m in class." We say, "It’s okay! So is she!" We add her in with about 4.07 left.  As the time ticks down you type out as fast as you can your testimony of Joseph Smith, the commitment, and then as you go to have your companion check what you want to say (a rule of Facebook) the time is .01.   You press enter and say, “I promise it was about Joseph Smith!"  It’s like a time warp that will immediately suck you out of the lesson as the time gets to 0.0 seconds left.  It is sooo intense.  Currently Herman Dayton and I are starting to work with our friends from BYU.  The objective is to find something that they can use with their singles wards to get better online testifying.  It’s really weird to talk to friends at BYU. 

I hope everyone loves conference weekend.  We have special breakfasts planned for Saturday and Sunday in our apartment.  Also, Hermana Dayton and I will hit our half way marks together... cool huh?  I met her in the MTC and we will go home together.  We will be spending our last night in the mission home together, have been companions twice, and spent our half way day together as well.  Fun! She’s the best.  I love her.  Love you too!

Hermana Pickett