Monday, February 24, 2014

Change...and the Joy that Comes From It!

Right now, I and my companion have the Glen Lake Sisters over.  We are all writing emails and watching The Testaments.   In an hour, we are leaving to go to a zone activity.  Yeah!  This is not so much for the zone activity.  It is more for spending time with other sisters.  That is super fun! :)

I feel like I could sum up this week with a testimony.  I know the enabling power of the Atonement is real.  There is no way I could have done what I have done this week alone.   It is way more than I could handle.  With the Atonement, my "burdens" were made light. It is amazing to feel it work in my life.  I can turn to God.  He is always there.

I went on exchanges and had the chance opportunity to teach a family that I taught when I was in Agua Fria.  They have requested English missionaries.  I just happened to be on exchanges with the English sisters when they were scheduled to go by.  It has been almost a year since I had seen them! It was crazy!  I'm going to Estrella this week on exchanges!!  I'm so excited!  

So we talked to this group of friends on Saturday who were Christian.  As we rode away on our bikes,  I cried. They were so deceived and tried to convince me that I was wrong.  Juan, who said he had read the whole Book of Mormon, told me all of my doubts would be answered if I stopped reading the it.  It amazed me how sad I felt at the thought that if this group of friends never opened their hearts to the Spirit and let Him teach them what words cannot, I will not be able to be with them and with God in the end.  I never thought I could feel that away about complete strangers!  It truly made me so sad. This world is so confusing!  Satan is so good at getting people so focused on stuff that  they are lost.

Yesterday we spoke with a man that had acknowledged us and then started giving us all sorts of attitude.  Granted he was drinking and the situation in general was not great.  So, I asked him straight up why he was drinking.  (I figured if he was going to be bold so I thought I should be as well.)   He told me that we have to drink today because we only live once.  Then, he pulled out another beer. 

So, we have one new investigator this week! Tonight we have an FHE with a recent convert who is awesome! She is sooo solid! I love being able to see people change and

the joy that comes from it. It's the best!

Oh, this weekend is the temple dedication!  Dad, too bad you weren't here for this weekend!

Love you!
Hermana Pickett

Monday, February 17, 2014

Take the Challenge!

On Valentine’s, we had stopped by the church to get our car.  The Elders Quorum President and High Priest Group Leader were frantically trying to get the food ready for the ward dance that night. So, I sliced chilies for like an hour and half, no joke!  We left as people were just starting to get there.  When I got home, I went into the kitchen to throw something in the garbage and Hermana Holmes turned around to look at me! What?!?!  It seems she finished her mission just a few weeks ago.  I was super happy to see her.  It was so weird.  She was dressed in jeans!  She had her own phone!  She was not wearing a name tag!  It was awesome. She came to church with us on Sunday. It was really good to see her, super weird but good.

Zone conference this week was good. I feel so uninformed on anything now that I am no at every meeting. It's so nice, however, not be gone all the time on exchanges. There are good and bad things to everything.  I have an update on our move.  We should be moving the first weekend in March, right before transfers.

I believe most of you are studying about Noah right now in your Sunday school class.  We are also. We also talked about the Holy Ghost.  In that lesson, a light bulb went off and I realized that one of the Holy Ghost’s first roles was in comforting Adam and Eve as they were "kicked out" of the Garden of Eden. I can only imagine how hard that would have been for them to leave and yet how happy they were to feel something so familiar in a world of everything new and not familiar.  The Holy Ghost is such a huge blessing.  Sometimes, his prompting can be hard to recognize and sometimes it is hard to have the courage to follow, but it's worth it.  He will always guide us to that same feeling: familiar, comforted, loved, guided, complete, joy.  Could it be any clearer what Heaven will feel like than when we feel his influence? 

At zone conference, we talked about the doctrine of the Godhead in comparison to what we know about the doctrine of the Trinity. I honestly cannot understand the Trinity. It's so confusing.  God is my father.  Jesus is my brother and redeemer.  The Holy Ghost is my companion if I live worthy.

So our mission was given a challenge in January to re-read the Book of Mormon in 3 months focusing and noting the doctrine of Christ. Since that is what I had just finished doing for the first half of my mission I changed it.  I’m focusing on the atonement and highlighting the words that help me understand it.  Sadly, I'm super behind. Three months is fast!   I'm learning a lot in looking for descriptions of not only the cleansing but also the enabling power of the Atonement.  Please feel free to join all 250 Arizona Phoenix missionaries if you feel so inclined. It's intense.  If you can do if by the end of March I will be solely impressed! I think I've given up on finishing on time even using my language study time!

This week has been super hard. I had a break down yesterday and had to give myself a time out.  I was so frustrated and discouraged about everything here. Today is much better. This to me is a testimony of the Atonement. Honestly, I don't know how I got out last night to work. I was so down about it. We do not have any investigators.  Well, we have one.  She wants to be baptized so badly. We found her this week.  She really wants the Holy Ghost. She is so solid.  She just doesn't speak Spanish! :)  Member miscommunications, lack of communication on top of everything else has led to some discouragement. I know everything will be okay. I don't know how or when.  It will be okay because it is His work. And.. it's kind of a big deal.

Well, I have a ton I have to get done today including making more handkerchiefs.  I am making them for the temple dedication for my friends in Estrella. I love sewing.  Thank you for teaching me how!  It is a super good skill to have. I believe a lot of teaching me was just encouraging me out of laziness with patience.  Thank you.

Love you all,

Hermana Pickett

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sixty-Five Years Old!!!

I now have an Arizona driver’s license that doesn't expire till 2057!!!!!! I don't even know how old I will be! That's like after the second coming. Too bad I'll have to get a new one when I get married and my name changes. :(  It's not a bad thing.  The DMV, however, is a bad thing.

Well, let's see. This last week Hermana Palomino was sick. Today, I’m not feeling super good.  I'm hoping it's just another allergy episode. I have frequently felt sick as my body is constantly trying to get away from this dog that I love! :(  Oh well.  Hermana Palomino is also a Facebook teaching machine. I can't talk to more than two people at a time.  She does miracles.  This week has been a good one for Facebook.
 We are moving! Not sure when or where. It might be a "hey you need to move today" sort of thing. Bummer. :(   I've loved living here. :)  By the way, whenever anyone hears I'm from Chicago they always proceed to inform me of how cold it is there.  They say, “You must be loving it here instead of there."  I never have the nerve to tell them that I'm not actually from Chicago and that I actually have no idea what a Chicago winter is like. 

We have zone conference this week. And I found out I get to go back to Estrella for exchanges in March!!  I'm so excited.  We've been biking a lot recently.  In an attempt to meet all of the members, we have been eating with ward members who do not live in our area.  It uses a lot of our car mile allotment to go all the way to 25th Avenue and back.  That is why we bike.  It's been fun.  I love biking. I would do it over driving any day.

This week I've had some amazing reminders of how much God really does answer our prayers. I know He does. It might be later than you wanted, even years.  It might not be how you wanted or expected.  God is there.  He cares.  Your desires are important to Him.  As we align our desires to His through prayer and time, we live His will.  He has promised to help us.

Love you all. Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Hermana Pickett

Monday, February 3, 2014

Best Phone Call Ever!

It's February!   So... happy birthday on Saturday Dad!!!   

It was really weird this last week to not go to our transfer meeting.  It's the first one I have ever missed after being here a year.   I feel like I missed out on all of the excitement!
The good news for the week is that I was doing super well at eating healthy.  Starting Wednesday, I was eating almost just straight up vegetables, fruits and protein.  I was really hungry but appreciated my efforts every night after dinner. Then, Saturday came.  We had to leave early to visit a specific family so I bought Herman Palomino a late birthday present.  It was.... Gluten free pizza!!  So I hate a whole small pizza from Dominos by myself at 1 pm.  We had dinner at 4.   By 5, I was dying.  Going from eating very few carbs to that was a shock for my body.   Oh, speaking of food I had never had arroz con leche on my mission.  Yesterday, I had it three times.  I have now had arroz con leche.

This week I helped a member with her college math in preparation for a test. We talked about math professors, etc. for a couple of minutes.  I realized I miss it! A lot!  We also went to the library this week to use their computers and I realized that I miss that too! I miss school and working. I love the feeling on a Thursday night when you know you only have the best day of the week ahead of you.  You get to make sure you look really cute for that day.

My thought this week is about the gift of tongues.  I'm sure you have all had the question or come across people who know their church is right because they once were present when they or the person next to them stood up and started speaking or yelling in some randomness of a language. I've come across that a lot on my mission. They seem to be less impressed that a bunch of "white people" can speak Spanish.  The other day we were with the Sanon family and this went through my mind. This family is from Haiti.  They speak French. They lived in Mexico for three months and then came to the US. While in Mexico, the mom listened to the missionaries.  She could understand them  speaking Spanish because she had learned the basics in school.  She understands the language and can get her point across using it.  She would translate what the missionaries in Mexico told her to her two boys and husband in French and Creole.  They were all baptized.  Currently, they come to our Spanish ward because she understands a little Spanish.  No one in the house speaks English.

We have taught them a couple of times.  This week as I sat there, all I could think about is what a miracle it is that my companion can speak amazing French.  She can teach them and I can understand what is going on!  I have never ever even listened to a conversation in French before.  Because my companion is new, I will speak to her in Spanish and then she translates that into French for the family.  Everything about it is "edifying".  Satan is so good at confusing us with the flashing red, but it's the simplicity of feeling the Spirit that the truth is found. I am so grateful for the experiences to be an instrument in God’s hands as he blessed me with the gifts so I could do what I need to do.

Well I am proud to say that I have officially missed my last football game!  Wohoo!  I can be a part of the next football season!  

Oh, we got the best phone call ever this morning! Our ward mission leader called us to tell us Ruben, our investigator, wants to quit smoking and drinking! This is huge!  Those habits were stopping him from getting baptized.  He wants to stop now.  We have had a couple of really intense lessons with him as well as a lot of thought, practice, and prayer.  I am soooooo happy!  He hasn't told us yet but we made him a "quit smoking box".  We are going to give it to him tonight.   Pray for him!   Love ya!

Hermana Pickett