Monday, March 31, 2014

A Blessing Handed to Me!

Let me fill you in on our week. It involved 3 day food poisoning starting during interviews on Wednesday, catching bedbugs at 2:30 in the morning, allergic reactions to bites, and the affects of Benadryl.  I have an emergency appointment with the doctor about my bites this afternoon.  They are very swollen and painful.  I will let you know.

Let me tell you the miracles that I have seen this week.  This week we received a referral.   Unfortunately, referrals are generally jokes.  Of the 10 referrals we have recently received, they have all been wrong or incomplete addresses,  or people who really don't want to talk to us. We do follow up on them but never hold out much hope for them.  It was 8:20 pm.  This referral had an incomplete address.  So, we called the number.  They answered!  I was shocked.  We asked if we could come over.  The gentleman on the phone talked to his wife and then agreed.  I was even more shocked!  We ended up walking right in.  We talked to him and his wife.  Then, I handed them my iPad and encouraged them to pick what day they wanted to be baptized.  (I had never done this before!)  I was shocked even more!  They picked this weekend.  I asked if we could change it to next weekend because of general conference.  They agreed.   The long story is that they have cousins that are members.   They had attended the Gilbert Temple open house over two months ago.  Why the referral took so long to get to us, I do not know.  The family thought it was never going to happen. 

Why I was allowed to be here to literally just hand this family the blessings of an eternal life, I have no idea.  I am so grateful that God let me participate.  This family is so special.  I have never felt or seen Satan working harder on a family than I have this week.  So, your prayers on their behalf would be greatly appreciated.   Their names are Jorge, Maria, Andrea, Jorge, Merissa and Angelica.   I love them!  
My testimony this week:   God is in the very details of our life to help us succeed.  I have no idea why I get this opportunity but I do know my heart is full every time I am with this family.  The spirit I feel when we are in their home is not describable.  The thought that runs through my head all day everyday is that the father will be able to give his wife and children priesthood blessings when they become warn out caring for their special needs daughter.  Then, in a year from now, they can be sealed as a family.

It's amazing!  My journal is full describing every lesson in detail with them.  They are experiences I will never forget.  

It was a pretty good week. My body is really struggling but God needs us. This family needs us to bring them what they cannot get alone, access to the atonement of Jesus Christ.  God let me be here.  How great is my God.

Con mucho amor,  Hermana Pickett

Monday, March 24, 2014

Brute and Benji

The best part of this week is that Wednesday is my birthday!   Additionally, we have interviews that day.  That means I get to see President Taylor!  

The first story I have to tell you is something I totally forgot last week.  I was eating dinner when I saw a cockroach with antennas and all in my rice! 

We saved two dogs this week!  As we were backing out one morning, we saw two huge labs running down the street.  Everyone was yelling at them.  So, I turned the car around and parked. We got out and whistled to them. One came and then we got the other.  We walked them back to our house by their collars. I found Annie's leash.  Annie is the dog of the members we live with.  We put the leash on one dog and then looped it to the other dog.  The dogs didn't have any info on their collars so we walked with them on one leash.  Actually they pulled us!  Eventually, we walked back to our garage, got the dogs water, and waited on hold with animal control.  We were on hold for 45 minutes!   Finally they answered, we gave them the information and they thanked us for calling and said they would come and get the animals.  Then, they said it would be six hours before they could arrive.  " WHAT?!  

We decided to use Facebook so fulfill our duty to find people. The dogs slept the whole time we were on Facebook. They were tuckered out.   Later, we found a note on our front door that said "return my dogs" with a phone number.   We called the number. They came to get them and we got to call animal control back.  Another 30 minutes on hold.  But! We named the dogs.  We named them after the office elders: Brute and Benji.

Wednesday was Sister’s Specialized Training. Hermana Welch and I sang.  It went well. That night I got to see and talk to Breanna.  (Breanna is the daughter of the mission president and was also a lifeguard in Provo with me.)  That was so nice.   To be in the mission home was so refreshing.

Yesterday, church was crazy. Behind us in sacrament meeting was this couple that was snuggled up taking a nap.  It was not a  “I feel asleep" but... they made themselves comfortable.  It was so uncomfortable.   In Relief Society, two men walked in and sat down during the lesson. One of them looked around, realizing it wasn't Sunday school, smiled and quickly left. The other man didn't notice till the lesson was almost finished. It was soooo funny.

Well... It's been a rough week too.  I had a really good thought this afternoon. Everything in this gospel and church is so intertwined.   It one falls so does the other.  In those moments of doubt, I start to get scared about maybe being blinded.  I love that there is one thing that makes it right, prayer.  I do what I do because of the feeling I have when I pray.  God is there as I have felt Him.  God is not here to confuse me but to bring me peace. What I feel is real and so opposite to what Satan and the world teach.  I am so grateful for prayer, for truth, and for God.  If you have doubts, I invite you to dig deeper.   God wants to teach you and show you more.

Well, I'm going to go eat something sweet my companion bought me for my birthday!  General Conference starts this week.  At home, we would normally make something good to eat on Saturday.  I'm making carrot cake to share!  I'm so excited!  

Love you all,  Hermana Pickett

Monday, March 17, 2014

It Feels Hope!

 Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  It's been a good one.  I'm wearing green.  We bought those super gross but delicious sugar cookies that are green from Walmart.  I love those frosted things!  Unfortunately, we no longer have internet in our new house.  We are at the stake center emailing.  Earlier today, we played chair soccer.  I got hit so many times that my body hurts.  Still, it's all good.

This last week was amazing.  Hermana Welch is my new companion.   I was the Sister Training Leader with her on her first exchange last year.  It's amazing to see how she has changed. We have so many things in common it's crazy.  It's been really really fun to just laugh and work super hard together.   We both miss Estrella.  Speaking of which, however, I am going to Estrella with Hermana Dayton for exchanges this transfer.  What?!?!   I'm so excited!  Hermana Walker is now my sister training leader.  Crazy how good it feels to see my companions working so hard and doing so much good.

This week we also have Sisters Specialized Training. Sister Taylor asked us to sing the song I translated.  We came up with a harmony this weekend and are working on putting it together.  I think it's going to sound really good. :)  Still, I'm a bit nervous. I really don't like singing in front of people.

Sister Davis and Ali, the members we live with, moved into the new house this weekend.   They are leaving this week to go to Idaho.  We are dog sitting! We had some amazing lessons this week.  They were lessons where we did not have a lesson plan prepared but we were both following one the Spirit provided.  I love moments like that when you know you must be doing something right.

At our transfer meeting, every single Hermana was there!  Crazy!  We took a picture because that never happens.  I had a really weird thought on Thursday. The chances of me finishing my mission as Hermana Welch's companion are totally plausible.  If so, it is unfortunate as I did not think about that before this last transfer meeting.  I might have missed out on crying… "because it's my last one!"  I'm going to be really sad I missed out on the good cry.:(  Our district, ward, area/companionship has completely done a 180.  It feels so good to feel like there is hope!   

This week is going to be good, busy.   You should check my Facebook this week.   I've asked friends to participate and feel free to join in!

Love you all and thank you for your prayers in my behalf,

Hermana Pickett

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

And I'm Staying

The title of this email tells you that I'm not being transferred.  On the other hand, my companion is. The address for the new apartment we moved to last week is:

6708 North 73rd Ave
Glendale, AZ  85303

I realized his week how long it has been since I have had homemade cinnamon rolls.  It has been like 2 years.   As much as I want those cinnamon rolls, I also realized how long it has been since I've had Mom’s carrot cake.  Can you send me the recipe?   I have decided I'm going to make one around my birthday.  It won’t be on my birthday as I just found out we have interviews that day.  I will have to do it before because I want some carrot cake.  Please include the recipe for the frosting too.  Thank you Mom!

I finished the Book of Mormon!!!  I finished it this morning!  I had to read it for most of my personal and all of my language study time for a couple of weeks but I did it!  It never ceases to amaze me how sad Ether is.  It's so graphic, real and depressing.   Still... I do love the book.  I cannot deny how peaceful and happy and guided I feel as I read it. It's true!

This week I had the awesome opportunity to teach Fanny.  Fanny is from Peru but lives in Madrid. I honestly have no idea why anyone would want to Skype about religion at 1 o'clock in the morning (her time).  She is awesome! She is friends with Hermana Palomino’s friend.   The point of THIS story is... your friends need the gospel.   Sometimes it takes a lot of work for them to admit or see it but they so need it.  As missionaries, we are the angels that will bring it to them.  Putting this into practice on my end, I have been messaging friends on Facebook when I felt inspired around their birthdays. It has been really fun!  The message I send goes something like this, "Happy Birthday! I don't know if you even remember who I am but I still hope you have a Happy Birthday".   A lot of times, the message will start a conversation.  When they ask, "What are you up to?"   It’s pretty easy for me to let me know!  Unfortunately after I answer, they frequently never respond.   The point of this story can do it too!  When they ask you what you are up to, is it easy to include something about the church because... the Gospel is a big deal in your life!   Being a good friend is missionary work. :)  It’s scary sometimes but... it's worth it.

Because our washer is not working, we returned to the Davis house to email and wash. I don't know if I will get to finish this letter.  The advantage of being at the Davis's is that we have internet again!  And… I'm eating a piece of Mexican cheesecake.  This is impressive because I have not wanted to even think about food since last night. ( comes my food and health rant.)  I don't know about weight because I don't own a scale, but I have been feeling sooooooo much better!  As a result of better food choices, junk food just isn't as appealing.  I literally don't feel good after I eat it.  Last night we had THE BEST DINNER EVER…enchiladas and a salad, cheesecake and ice cream! I ate 5 enchiladas, yikes.  I was starving.  We followed that with three FHEs (Family Home Evenings) back to back.  We had treats at each one.  Blah!  At the third, the treat was a donut and milk.  I just couldn't.  I ended up breaking up the donut and giving it to some of the kids.

My thought this week comes from our zone meeting on Friday.  I am amazed by the heroes in the Book of Mormon and how they never fail to give.  They give to God in obedience and to others in charity.  I have noticed in my own life that when solely focus on others, I feel He, Jesus Christ, focuses on me.  Christ completed the atonement because he was focused on us, constantly.  It really is all about me! Haha, I am kidding but I think you know what I mean.  

This Sunday in church the missionaries sang my translated version of the new song "Come Unto Christ".  (Remind me to never again work with 5 elders to sing in church.)  Most of my district is changing which is probably a good thing since this last transfer was really....dramatic.  We are still moving in at the new house.  It echoes because it's so empty.  It's weird but it's also nice to again have time to myself at night and in the morning.

Oh, to answer the question about the dedication of the Phoenix Temple.  They told me when I first got here it would be finished the spring or summer of 2014.  Unfortunately that is not so.  I'll just have to come back.  It's small but beautiful like the valley is sits in. There is a hike you can take that enables you to look out over it.  Very cool! :)

Love, Hermana Pickett

Monday, March 3, 2014

March, March, March!

Hola familia!   Can you believe it's already March? 

Every week, someone writes me  saying, "I hope you are enjoying your nice weather because here it's (fill in the blank with some extreme weather)."   You can enjoy the fact that this weekend Phoenix had extreme weather.   It rained like I have never seen!!!  Apparently, it was a "once in a hundred years" kind of storm.  Me being the "rain never lasts long around here" missionary, I suggested we ride bikes.  Well, let me just tell you... the rain did not stop.  From the moment we left after dinner untill 9:30 when we got home, it was pouring.  I borrowed a sort of rain jacket from a member.  Still, it was like I had been walking in a pool.  I was completely wet from my waist down out preaching the Gospel.   It was soooooooo fun!! I loved it.   When we arrived to visit the family from Haiti, the mother tried to get us to change. I refused because EVERYTHING was wet.  Changing my skirt would make things worse when the dry skirt became wet know.  So, all settled with keeping our wet clothes on and wrapping ourselves in a towel.  I sat on the floor for the lesson, in my towel, (over my skirt).  

At one moment during the lesson, the father, who I do not understand because I do not speak French, stood up pointing at me and yelling something.  He started walking towards me.  Everyone else started trying to tell me what to do. I had no idea what was going on.  It ends up that a cockroach had run underneath me. I did this super awkward leg lift as the father killed the bug.  Awkward!  We biked home.  The rain got worse!  We were in water up to my knees, on my bike.  I'm pretty sure my companion will never trust me again when I say things like, "Oh, the rain won't last long..."   It's like hiking with mom when she says,  "It's just around that bend."

So... in other news... Going back to Estrella was amazing!! I couldn't sleep the night I got there I was so excited. :)   It is kind of pathetic but real.  It was also really hard to hear and see everything that has happened or is happening and not be able to stay and help.  I was soooo happy that day.  That night we closed exchanges with a Sonic shake... naturally.  I realized something, I don't like Sonic shakes that much!   What?!  Yeah, it broke my heart but I think it's because they kill my stomach.   I just don't like eating them anymore.
I have another funny story.  Last p-day, I put on my skirt to leave and as I adjusted it with my belt, the zipper broke.  It started opening below the zipper head. So, I tried to move the zipper head down to take the skirt off and fix it. I couldn’t.  I had Sister Davis try…no luck. My skirt was stuck on my body with a huge hole where the zipper should be holding it together.  So, I took out scissors and cut my skirt off of me!  Then Ali and Sister Davis were all teasing, “Didn't you say just last night that you thought you were losing weight?"  

The Gilbert temple dedication was good.  I ended up giving all of my "home made" handkerchiefs away.  In as much as I was left without one, another sister let me borrow one her grandma sent her.  It was beautiful.  I wanted to keep it so badly.  One day I'll get one like that. :)  

Today I'm getting my hair cut!  I found a less active that we can never get to talk to us.  She cuts hair!  How convenient that I have such thick hair!  It always takes such a long time for anyone to cut it. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Pickett for this opportunity!   I read the talk by Elder Tad R. Callister which is highlighted in the article Grandma Pickett sent.  It was amazing!!!  All should read Elder Callister’s talk from the CES fireside this last January.  Elder Callister's Talk  It is SO GOOD!  I wish everyone I meet could read it.  We could then talk about baptism.  It so good! It made me even more firm in my desire to finish reading the Gospels before I leave the mission.  I have to finish the Book of Mormon again first.  This is the true church.  It's fantastic!!

Alright, I'm starving and I think I decently covered this week.  Oh, next week we have transfers so I won't email until Tuesday.  We are also moving.  Please do not send anything to this address anymore.

Love you all!
Hermana Pickett