Monday, May 26, 2014

I Love Music

It's Hermana Welch's birthday on Thursday!   So, today we bought some treats.  It's getting hotter.... But since we aren't biking anymore it's been easier on us.

Martin.... I love him!!!  Yesterday we went to see him and his aunt who had been in the hospital all week.  We ended up just listening to him tell us about his life.  I understand him so much more now. He is super cool. He has diligence like no one else I've met. It's crazy. We had some good lessons with him this week. Teaching him on Facebook has completely changed the experience. Now when we see him in person, he is so much more open to telling us what he really feels and thinks.  That is helpful.  He owns coming to church.  He shows up just beaming.  It's really funny because he will not sit with us.  He will either sit by himself or we force the Elders on him.  He's awesome.

Speaking of church yesterday, it was horrible.   Relief Society turned into an argument where my companion and I left crying.  Yeah, it was bad.  Our ward mission leader spoke to all the women after Relief Society but before sacrament meeting.  The experience made me grateful for those who stand up against false doctrine and adhere to the church handbook.   It was not a good experience for the Elder’s investigator who had been sitting with us. It was their first time at church.

This last week, my companion and I were invited to a special musical training. It was so cool. The sister in charge of the musical production for the Phoenix Cultural Celebration (PCC) taught a workshop.  She instructed us on how to conduct music in meetings.  We also sang our mission song for her.  Now, she wants to get all of the missionaries involved in the PCC. Too bad I won't be here. :(  Another speaker at the training was William Joseph.  He played for us and talked about how music is appropriate when it helps us "receive the Holy Ghost".  It was sooo cool.  You should YouTube him.  He is so good.  He played Battle Hymn of the Republic.  His mix of God Be with You Till We Meet Again and He Is Risen are so good.  I love music.

We had exchanges this week.  Hermana Jenson came here.  We go home together.  She wants to come back in August and asked if I would come with her.  I was like... Yeah!!   The Alarcon’s made it to the temple.  Allison was there!  I swear it is never planned but I almost always see her!  It was probably the last time so that is sad.  The temple experience was not the best this time.

This week we had a blessing needed and no consecrated oil.  By the time we got some, we decided to keep the left overs and we are getting our own containers.  It will save a lot of time in the future. I love the priesthood!  That's all I can think of for this week.

Love,


Hermana Pickett

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Bridge Builder

I’m going to try and make this email super informative and super-fast.  We are going bowling as a zone but I have so much to do this morning.  I hope you all are doing great!

Nothing happened this week.  Literally!  Almost every single lesson fell through either because of the investigator or the member.  Everyone was out of town or just fell off the planet for church on Sunday.  Even the Alarcon’s temple trip fell through.  Thank goodness it was rescheduled for this Saturday.  This is week six of them being baptized. We want to get them to the temple in the first 6 weeks.  It’s been a pretty weird week, especially after the week we had just had!  On the bright side, I have learned again that God is in control!  No matter how much or how little I do, He is just in control. :)  It is kind of a good feeling.  I just have to give it my all and do my best.

Well, I could honestly end my email there and say that wraps up last week.  Instead, I will take up some more room to summarize some of what I have learned while serving my mission.  
  • God is a glorified man.  It is so hard to pray to "something" unseen.  When I understand that I am praying to a man that has gone through life and understands me perfectly, it becomes a lot more natural to talk with Him.
  • Mighty prayer is a Spirit guided prayer.  My best prayers are not made when they are long, wordy or even the deepest most powerful spiritual experiences.  Rather, my most powerful prayers are sincere, guided, communication involving all members of the Godhead.
  • I have a sticky note pad where I take notes during my evening prayer.  Sometimes I write down things I need to remember or do.  Sometimes I will jotting down things I need to write about in my journal.  A lot of times, however, I am noting subtle answers that come and that I will forget about when I wake up in the morning.  Making these notes has changed my prayers significantly.  Once these pieces of inspiration are noted on paper, I can move on to other concerns in my prayer.
  • Have gratitude, for blessings and also for trials!   I love expressing gratitude for Him.  I can assume that we all want validation every now and then.  It strengthens my testimony of God and my relationship with Him as I validate it in prayer.
 These are some things that have helped me to understand prayer better and use it more effectively as a way to communicate with a LOVING Heavenly Father.

I also found this poem this week and I love it.  Please read it and think of Jesus Christ as "The Master Bridge Builder."

The Bridge Builder

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

I hope you love this poem as much as I did.  What bridges has He built for you?  Because of Christ, what bridges are you building for others?

I hope you all have a great week!  Love you!

Hermana Pickett

Monday, May 12, 2014

Standards of Excellence

The big news for the week is that as a companionship, we got Standards of Excellence!!!!  So exciting!  Let me explain.  Every mission has a set standard of key indicators for a week that are designated "Standards of Excellence".  They are set very high to motivate missionaries to work hard. Missionaries very rarely meet them.  I have never heard of a Spanish area meeting them.  The standards for my mission are:
  • 2 baptized and confirmed (these last for four weeks after the baptism)
  • 5 investigators at church
  • 5 new investigators
  • 10 members present for discussions
  • 4 investigators on date
  • 20 total lessons
We had:
  •  4 baptized and confirmed (the Alarcons from exactly four weeks ago)
  • 7 investigators at church
  • 5 new investigators
  • 11 members present or discussions
  • 6 investigators on date
I’m exhausted.  It was sooo fun! It was amazing to see the hand of God in everything.  When Hermana Welch arrived last transfer, I told her that I felt impressed to set the “Standards of Excellence” as a goal.  I was super hesitant to do so because, well, I feel like the curse of the mission.  I keep working but it is not until I leave an area that everything picks up.  Not this time!!! I was so excited all week and super happy to watch the miracles just happen.

Having 7 people at church was nuts!  It helps me appreciate more when members really do take investigators under their wing and become their friend. Otherwise, you get missionaries like us yesterday.  Missionaries who look like they are going crazy running around with their heads cut off!  On Saturday we took Martin, our investigator to a baptism. It was in English.  He didn’t understand a thing.  Still, it was good because we sat in the car with him, the bishop and the bishop’s wife for 20 minutes helping him understand his main two questions.  Martin asks everyone we bring the same questions.  He seems sincere in his question like he really wants to know.

The Ramirez family is awesome too! Mom and dad, they are the ones who want to go to Chicago soon.  I said I would see them there! She bought us a flower for Mother’s Day on Saturday.  She, her sister Perla, and her family all have a baptism date for the same day in June.  It is so cool because by just looking at them, you would not think they would be interested in the church!  It is amazing to watch them change as they feel the Spirit and grasp the gospel! It’s beautiful!  I am loving it.

Today we learned how to make quesadillas el Salvadorenos.  The woman who taught us told us her life story while they were baking.  I am not joking.  It was her life story.  But, it felt so familiar.   It was like I was with my own grandparents.  I loved it and the quesadillas tasted so good!

We are going to the temple this Saturday with the Alarcons!  Brother Alarcon will be baptized for his father and his wife will be baptized for his mother :)  I’m super excited.

Well, I got to get going. We still haven’t been grocery shopping.  Love you,

 Hermana Pickett

Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm Addicted to...FamilySearch.org

Happy Mother's Day on Sunday to Mom, Tara and Natalie!

To summarize last week.... Martin!  For someone who doesn't believe in the Book of Mormon, he sure is happy to see us and come to church!  He is right at home at church. That's so awesome!  My area is really picking up.  We have a lot of miracles happening.   For instance, we went to teach a less active for which we had received a referral.  When we met with her, we discovered she wasn't baptized and wants to be!  It's great to be a part of it.  It's also very tiring but I wouldn't have it any other way.  It's nice to not feel cursed. 

We taught Relief Society yesterday.  Our Relief Society President had call on Saturday night.  She asked us to call them all to repentance. We said, "Gladly!"  Actually, it went really well.  I've been more attentive to the spiritual gifts of the members recently as we have focused on loving them even more and making sure they know they are loved. It's been powerful to focus on the gifts and talents of those we so easily get frustrated with or even people we barely know.

We got a new ward mission leader yesterday.  It was one of those “thatmomentwhentheyreleasethem” shockers.  Your heart is racing because you know you are going to be working a lot with this person.  Then, it is over!  You know.  Come to find out, our new mission leader just got back from his mission a month ago.  He is younger than I am! Crazy!

Tomorrow we have zone conference.  We are singing the EFY medley for our zone's musical number. It's sounding good.  This week, I have been focusing my studies on the roles of mothers and fathers as well as the priesthood. It's been really refreshing to read the apostles’ addresses on the subject of marriage and family.  I feel I better understand what principles they must be based off of to truly be Christ centered.

Also, Elder Bednar has asked every missionary to become pros at family history.  So, we were all given the "My Family Books" and asked to complete them and our work online.  My invitation is for you to go in and fix it up by adding pictures and memories.  It is super cool!  I'm addicted.  The website is FamilySearch.org and it should take you to the new one.   Honestly, the more memories the cooler.  It's so fun to see the pictures that are up!

That's pretty much it.  Love you all!

Hermana Pickett