Allen's e-mail address

robert.pickett@myldsmail.net

Monday, December 27, 2010

Post Christmas

Dear Everyone,

Seeing as I just talked to you all two days ago, I don’t have much to say. I am so glad everyone is doing well. I really enjoyed listening to Andi. Wow, she has grown up so much. I couldn’t stop laughing when she was singing the alphabet and when she was counting. 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18, 14….. It was so funny. Sophie is just a rock star like always. Marcos, you scare me with your deep voice. Really. You freak me out. Jaja. Sara, you are just crazy like normal. Mom and Dad, I really enjoyed talking to the both of you. Abuelita y Grandpa, gracias por estar ahi. Me encanta hablar con ustedes. There was just a peace while I was talking to you guys. I have to admit, sometimes while I’m here, I worry about you guys. But talking to you all yesterday made me feel so much better.

Since Saturday, nothing has happened. Saturday we had our baptism and then yesterday he got confirmed. We have a new member of the church and we got it in right before the year ended so he will count in the number of converts for 2010 in General Conference. We are trying to see if we can have a baptism for the 1st of January but it looks like we aren’t. The 8th however, we are looking at 3 or 4 so that will be a good day. We are trying to get more people to come to church. The problem is that the church is really far away and some people are lazier than others. They don’t want to put in the effort to come to church. They like the message we teach but they don’t want to put in the effort to get to church. It’s kind of frustrating but nothing that I haven’t dealt with before. We just need to think of something or someway to get them to church. This area is a little more special so I am going to have to find out how to do it. Nothing that a little prayer can’t fix. Jaja.

So now is that time of year to make some new goals. Time to figure out what we did well and what we didn’t do so well. A time to see if we completed with our goals last year and to make new goals to help us improve. I challenge everyone to find something they can improve for the next year. Anything you think you need to improve, do it. I know there are some things that I can do and I am going to work hard on those things. This is my short little message for this week. This email is going to be a bit shorter because I just talked with you all.

Thank you for all your prayers. Hope you enjoy the pictures that I sent. I’ll try to be better and send more. That’s the thing I am going to improve on…. Jaja. Well, until next week, have a safe Happy New Year’s!!! I love you all.


Love

Elder Pickett

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! I’m going to eat ñoquis for you!! J


Mission stats for this week...


Mission Christmas Picture - Where is Allen? He is in front of President and Sister Benton, sitting down.


Christmas Day baptism with Elder Carazas




Dad note: We spoke with Allen on Christmas day and he sounds wonderful. His Spanish is very nice, except for his porteño accent, LOL! He is doing well, he is healthy and loves the mission. He is having much success in his new area and has already developed a love for the people there.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dear Everyone,

Another week has past here in Argentina. So we are in the week of Christmas and everyone is getting ready to celebrate it with the family. We, on the other hand, we are working the whole week as we should. We have one baptism coming up this Saturday and one that is iffy. We are working really hard and trying to keep focused. This holiday season doesn’t really help because everyone always talks about their family. But I then think about what a great family I have at home.

All of this past week and the week before we have been hearing about the true meaning of Christmas. Now after hearing all the messages that we have heard, have we learned anything? Have we learned to be more kind, more charitable, more loving to one another? Those have been the questions that have been in my head. We can listen all week to beautiful messages like President Monson’s for Christmas, but we need to really apply what they are teaching us. But what are they teaching us? They are teaching us to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life. He is asking us to follow his path. The least we can do is actually try. That is what I have been trying to learn here. Trying to be more charitable, kind and loving. Everyone is a child of our Heavenly Father who loves us. We need to love everyone and treat everyone the way they should be treated. And on the other hand, we need to behave ourselves like we want to be respected and loved also.

This past week was just another busy week. We just went really hard this week because everyone is willing to listen to us. A lot of Paraguayans and they have a really, really funny accent. They make me laugh every time. The bad part is, that every time I laugh, they start speaking in Guarani. And I don’t understand Guarani except “Rohiwho” and “yawappiru”. It sounds like caveman. But other than that, there hasn’t been much else.

Walking around and getting a lot of dirt in the shoes. There isn’t one paved road in my area. Ok that’s a lie, 85% of my area is dirt road. This is definitely different from my other areas. JA! So all my clothes are getting really dirty and lucky me, I get to do my own laundry. Yahoo!! It is actually very relaxing. I just clean by myself and it is nice to think to myself and figure out what we are going to be doing this next week.

The other thing that I like about this area is the fact that we have lunch every single day with a member. The members here love the missionaries. The missionaries are almost worshiped. I have already been able to form really close bonds with some of the members. They are very friendly and always looking and willing to help us. They are nuts to help us. I think that’s how all members should be with the missionaries. They need has much help as they can get. They don’t get a lot of money per month and they work all day…. Well, the one’s in the states have cars so… jajaja. But they still need help looking for people to teach. So if you all can this week, open your doors and hearts to the missionaries this time of year. Just like the people of Argentina are doing with me.

Thank you to all who emailed me, Mom and Dad, Sara, Marcos, Tio Andy, Abuelita y Grandpa. Christian, I hope you got my email. Yes, Christian and I are talking Abuelita. Jaja. I am really excited to talk to you all this coming Saturday. You guys can call me in between 7pm and 9pm my time. So that means like 3pm to 5pm for you guys. I love you all. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL…… AN ASADO!!!!

Love,
Elder Pickett

Monday, December 13, 2010

Week 1 camping

Dear Everyone,

What a week I had here. My first week in Villegas was crazy. Well, kind of crazy. So I forgot to tell you all that my area is like a Scout camping ground. This place is pure dirt. The houses are made out of whatever they can find. This place is ridiculously poor. But, there are a lot of people that accept us and listen to us. We are having a lot of success here. The members are really great also. They give us references [referrals] all the time. ALL the time. Everyone always has a friend that wants to listen. The members really are examples to me and I have only been here for one week. I can only imagine what I can learn from them in months. This last week we received I think it was 36 references [referrals] from the members. We only had time to contact half of them. And the majority of them are listening to us now. I am really excited because this has never happened to me in the mission but my comp is used to this and thinks it’s how it is everywhere. I hope he doesn’t get disappointed in other areas. But who knows, maybe he can change those areas. All I know is that I really like this area because we have a lot of success here.

This week we set 8 baptismal dates. That is a personal mission record for me. I have never had so many people ready for baptism in my life. Like I am kind of overwhelmed. We are always busy trying to help these people reach the waters of baptism.

There is also something different here than in my other wards. Here they give us lunch and dinner everyday!! EVERYDAY!! It is so great. Now I won’t ever go hungry. Now, I can’t tell you for sure what I am eating or if it is sanitary but it is food and I will eat it. I’ll just make sure to take extra vitamins.


So I have to tell a story that hopefully will tell you how it is here and not freak you out. So Thursday afternoon we were walking in the monoblocks [picture coming soon] going to the bishops house. When out of nowhere this guy comes out and asks us to buy something out of his backpack. He had little packets of bandaids and stuff and he did the whole spill that he has a family at house... etc etc. We told him that we didn’t have any money. He kept begging and begging and we kept telling him that we didn’t have anything. He then got angry and came really close to us and told us to throw everything we had in the bag and to do it quietly. He said to put our watches and cell phones in the bag and stuff. He said if we didn’t do it he would kill us. I looked at him and at his pockets and in the backpack to see if he had any weapons. Obviously I didn’t do a bag check but a visual check. I saw that he didn’t have anything and so I grabbed my comp and I told the guy to get away and to go find some help. And the guy left. We got away lucky this time but this area is really dangerous. There is a lot of poverty. This is the poorest area in the mission like I said last week. Just some crazy things that happen.

Well enough of that, don’t wanna freak you guys out too much. I will be sending all the info for the phone call next week because we might be having a baptism on Christmas so we don’t know exactly what time. I love you all. Thank you for your prayers. I really feeling them now more than ever. Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Pickett

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hello from....

Dear everyone,

A little late today for a lot of reasons. So today was transfer meeting. And I had to leave obviously. So I am now here in..... VILLEGAS [ward]!! Dangerous, no? Jaja. It is the poorest area in all of the mission but... it is the area that baptizes the most. We have a baptismal date for this weekend and one for the 25th of december. Oh, I almost forgot, my new companion is Elder Carazas from Peru. Pretty cool kid so far. So when we came driving here in a taxi, my comp didnt know how to get here. It was really embarassing and really expensive. 120 pesos!!! The driver was quite upset. I kept my mouth shut because I don't know how to get here. Well now I do but before I didnt.

So this area that I am in has some reputations. Well mainly one, it is the best area in the whole mission and it is Presidents most favorite area in all the mission. All of the "bests" have gone through here including one of my most favorite companions Elder Sabey. I am really excited because I have heard so many good things about this area. Yes, it's in a wee bit of a dangerous area but I know I'll be fine. But it is a little freaking right now because we just barely got to my new area and it is late at night and we are writing in a dark internet cafe. It is like 830 at night right now. It was a long drive from Mariló to Ciudad Evita where the apartment is.


Young man baptized in September


Young couple to be baptized soon

So Sunday night was probably one of the saddest days in the mission for me. I had to say goodbye to my family that I love so much and treasure in my heart. Isabel, Juan, Wager, Karina, Luana and Pamela. They are all my family. I feel kinda of bad because I cried more with them then I did with my own family. Sorry Mom and Dad. I never did cry when I came on the mission. Now that I'm on the mission, I have learned to cherish relaciones.... I don't know how to spell it in English. I was crying and crying like there was no tomorrow. I know that they will be alright but the separation from them is what hurts. I wish I could be with them forever and ever. I was also very sad to leave Cesar and Diana and the family. They were working on their papers to get married very soon. Diana is the only non member, o sea, the kids arent old enough to be in our care. (one is 8 years old.). She is going to get baptized once she gets married. I know that they are in good hands and that the Lord will take care of every single one of them. Now I have to get myself ready to meet new people and develop new relaciones. ( I have tried like 7 times in english and none of the ways seem right so I write in Spanish.) (que bajon!).


Kids from Marilo B


Adios Mamita...

Thank you everyone for telling me how great the First Presidency Christmas thing was. I haven't seen it yet but I am pretty sure that is was cool. I get to see it I think and I hope on the 20th of this month. We'll see. Abuelita y Grandpa, I got really excited when I heard that you two wanted to serve a mission again. I got so excited that I went and told my family down here and they were excited also. Are you going to serve down here? That would be the greatest thing ever. I am glad everything is going well at home. How much snow is there? There is none here... jaja. This week, it's supposed to get up to 38 degrees celcius. O sea, 100 degrees Ferenheit!!! With humidity. That my friends, is hot.

Well, I will leave you here because I need to get running to unpack all of my stuff. I love you all and hope you have a great week this week.

Love

Elder Pickett

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another week

Dear Everyone,

Here I am in the ciber, with the TV on in the background playing the Barcelona vs. Real Madrid game. I probably should be focusing on finishing my letter here but you all know me. I love soccer. GO BARCA!!!

This week was just another week just like any other week. To cut to the chase, we couldn't recover any of our baptismal dates this week but we will keep trying. This is my last week here in Mariló and so I will be writing next week from a different ciber. Maybe.. There are still some chances I could stay. Like I just said, this week was just like any other week. We walked and walked and walked... we sound like pioneer children.. JAJA. It is really hot now. I don't know what the exact temperature was this past week but it was really hot. I sweat a whole lot to the point where I could almost wring out a drop. Crazy but true.

We had stake conference yesterday and it was a very good one too. One of the talks I remember ( I only forget some of them because we were sitting with our investigating family and the kids were talking the whole time) was about Jesus Christ and the important role he plays for all of us. He compared it to Hide and Go Seek. There is one person that counts and tries to look for the people. That would be Satan. There are the people that hide and try not to get found. That would be us. And then there is the hero of the game that saves the people that got caught already, and they say, "oly oly oxen free".... something like that. Jesus Christ is that hero of ours. He saves us from being bound so that we can keep playing the game. I thought it was a great analogy and quite a funny one at that.

Like I just mentioned, we brought a half investigating family. It is the family where the father is a member but the mother is not and they are not married. They drove us to stake conference with their three kids and they are adorable. I love them to death. They are 8, 6, and 3 years old and are so much fun. We specifically brought my etch-n-sketch, a pad of paper and crayon for them so they can be entertained. They kept themselves busy with those things. They love stealing our name tags and putting them on and being missionaries. The mother really loves the church and knows that it is the true church. They just need to do all of the paper work to get married. We think within 2 or 3 months that she can get baptized. We are very excited for them. Also, one kid that was living with his girlfriend finally moved out and now is eligible to get baptized and we have talked to him about getting baptized. His girlfriend is a member and now is finally trying to help us with him. We challenged them to read the scriptures and prayer together to come to a decision. And we also challenged them to come to the conference. And you know what, they came. It was really great to see them fulfill their end of the deal. But I think that's everything amazing that happened this week. Pretty good week.

Thanks for the emails and prayers on behalf of all the missionaries. Thank you for your support. I love you all and talk to you next week.

Love,

Elder Pickett

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Everyone,

Just another week. A little more depressing this week because all of our baptism dates fell through. There is nothing else I can say. It just happens sometimes and you just have to keep working. It is really sad that we couldn’t hold on to a baptism date but oh well. These are the moments where we just keep working with them to commit a bit more. No one said that the mission would be success all the time. Yes, I am disappointed but I have hope that we can get them to their baptisms. We had five people(investigators) in sacrament meeting. But, the biggest success we had was bringing a WHOLE inactive family to church. The family that I am really close to is the whole family that came. We finally got every single member of the family. I am so happy. There was just a happiness that was extraordinary. Probably because they are like my second family. I really wanted everyone to come to church. On top of that, We as missionaries had to give talks so that was another motivation for them to come. To come listen to me. JA. We had to speak on the influences that helped us get on the mission. I had the part about young men. I was really nervous. I don’t like to speak in front of a lot of people. In either language, I don’t like it.

This past weekend we celebrated 3 birthdays. My comps, Luana’s, and Juan’s. Luana and Juan are my family that came to church. Luana turned 6 and Juan turned 38. It was a lot of fun to celebrate with the family. There was a lot of strawberries with cream and peaches and cream. It was really good, mmm.

Speaking of mmm, I totally forgot that this week is Thanksgiving. Since they don’t celebrate it here, I wasn’t even worried about it. Here they already have up the Christmas stuff. I am thinking in Christmas right now. Well, I am actually thinking in how I am not going to die of heat stroke. It gets so hot in street that sometimes its unbearable. Who needs a shower when you can sweat all day!? But don’t worry, we got a lot of rain last night so that means it’s going to be more humid today. Yay…. Not. I am sweating here in the chair typing. Anyway, there isn’t much that went on this week. Just hot and working. Oh, something cool, we are starting to have all the meetings of missionary work now. Before there was no meeting whatsoever of whatever organization. Now we are starting to have those meetings and they are sure helping us now. Thank heavens.

So I started the Book of Mormon again but in Spanish this time and even in the first 14 chapters there are a lot of things to learn. Nephi already sees what happens in the Great Apostasy and how all the plain and precious things were taken out of the bible. It is amazing how the Book of Mormon says the same things as the Bible and sometimes even more. I get more amazed everyday that I am out here.

Thanks for the emails everyone that sent me one. I want to ask a favor. I want to receive Christian’s emails please. Thank you very much. I love you all and talk to you next week.

Love,
Elder Pickett

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lovin' Life

Dear Everyone,

Another week has past and more things just seem to keep happening. We had a fairly normal week this week. Nothing really happened. We went by Lisa’s house to share some more with her and to try and get her motivated to come to church. She really liked the idea of coming to church. In fact, she was planning going to church. We taught her the importance of keeping the sabbath day holy. We have a problem with her. She is not married to her partner and doesn’t want to get married to him. The requirement for baptism is to be keep the law of chastity and yeah…. It’s a problem here. I have faced this problem a lot in my mission. People are afraid of commitment… I think it’s true. To make a long story short, she didn’t come to church yesterday and we are very sad. We had really high hopes for her. We are going to keep passing by because who knows what will happen this week.

We passed by another family this week that are members except for one kid. This kid’s name is Sebastian and he is really hard headed. Who would have thought that 13 year olds are so stubborn. JA! But yesterday, he came to church with us! We have really gotten to be friends with him. So yesterday also, we went to his house after church and talked to him about getting baptized. He accepted the baptismal date for the 4th of December. We are very happy for him and proud of him. His older sister said that it would be a miracle if we could baptize him. Well, God does not cease to be a God of miracles. Some people are sent to some people at the right time. We just need to know when to follow the spirit in those times. The spirit is always trying to help us when we need it but only if we are worthy and are actually listening to him.

I have had to learn that lesson in my mission. I didn’t realize before my mission how much the spirit was speaking to me. It is really amazing to finally realize the great companionship of the spirit. We have 4 baptismal dates now. We are working really hard. We had 7 investigators in sacrament meeting yesterday. We are going to have more next week we hope. We are going to work even harder to try and bring 10. I am trying to take advantage of my time left here in my area before I get transferred. We have a lot of things to do this week also. There are four very important birthdays we are celebrating this week. Three of them in the same family. It is the family that is basically like my own family. One today, one on Friday, one on Sunday. My comps birthday is on Saturday so we have a weekend full of celebrations. We are planning on having an asado. We are having a lot of fun, my comp and I. We are little by little losing our ability to speak English. I think we are speaking in English to each other but it comes out horrible. Oh well. I love it.

Thank you Mom and Dad, Abuelita and Cui for your emails. Thank you Marco Polo for your email too. I love you all. Until next week… GO RIVER!!! (tomorrow)

Love
Elder Pickett

Monday, November 8, 2010

08/11/2010 - November

Dear Everyone,

Another week passed and a lot more things have happened. Well, let’s start with last Monday. We had ourselves a nice family home evening with our investigators. The cool thing was, we didn’t teach! It was a nice change. Carmen taught about trials. She read the article in the Ensign about that Thai tour guide and his experience about the church. I can’t remember which Liahona it was in. But it was really good because after the lesson, all of them realized that they needed to go through trials to learn and grow. There was a great spirit there.

Tuesday, we had divisions and I stayed in my area. I was with Elder Weaver from Sandy. He and I have the same time in the mission so it was really cool to just chat with him. So we went and did work. We contacted a woman who was sitting with her kids outside and we taught her the first lesson, no big deal. After the lesson we asked her for the name of her neighbor. She said her name was Lisa. So we went to Lisa’s house. We clapped at her house and she came out. We told her that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ and we had a message for her and her family. She responds with, yes, I know. Ok, we receive that answer a lot because people know us pretty well. The next thing she said kinda of surprised me. She said that she was recently, like ten minutes back, was reading our book. I ask her what book. She said the book! And so I asked her to bring her book to us to show us what book it was. She goes in and comes out with…. The Book of Mormon!!! Elder Weaver and I just looked at each other in shock because that is really really rare. She then explained to us that she listened to the discussions in Paraguay with her sister. Her sister now lives here in Argentina and is a member of the church and Lisa still isn’t a member. To make things even better, she has a family! She has a “husband” and three kids. She is just perfect to receive the gospel. We couldn’t get in contact with her after Tuesday but we are going to keep passing by because obviously we can’t let this slip through our fingers. And then the rest of the week was pretty normal.

It was really hot this week. Yesterday we got up to 33 degrees Celsius [91F]. And right now, it is raining a lot. Go figure. I am doing pretty well here. Just getting freaked out because the end of the year is coming really fast.

Well, that’s everything cool that happened this week. Oh, forgot to mention we took out a wall too. That was a lot of fun also. Thank you to all that emailed me (Molly, that was a surprise, LOL). Thank you for your prayers and support. Until next week, CHAU!!

Love

Elder Pickett

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!

Dear Family of mine,

Another week has past by and I am glad to hear that everyone is alright. Here I am sitting in a little internet café, writing to you guys about my week. Well, my week was just a normal week. We just worked… and worked… That’s all we do here. We contacted a really great family this past week. One of our investigators, Alejandro and Carmen, introduced us to this family. But to be fair, this family is the brother of Carmen. He is a member but the rest of his family is not. We taught them a couple times last week and they keep every commit we give them and they are really awesome. Carmen’s brother, Cesar, has cried at every lesson because he is starting to feel the spirit. It is great to see the change he is making in his life. He wants his wife to listen too so we have been teaching her also. She likes what we are teaching. And they have made such huge progress. They even came to church yesterday! The whole family! Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how happy I am for them. The only problem with them is the same as Alejandro and Carmen. They are not married but live together. It’s a common thing to do here so it’s a bit difficult. But the great thing is that they don’t need any divorcement or anything. Cesar works for the police and so they just need to do like a million background checks and her and her family. But they want to get married in the next couple months to get baptized. All I am doing is starting all this families and hopefully other missionaries can baptize them. I am totally fine with that because they will get baptized. I am having a lot of fun right now because we just talk and talk and it’s fun to see the different reactions to what we say. We aren’t saying weird things, but just the reactions to the lessons we teach.

I am quite sad that I am going to be leaving Mariló in one month. I really wanted to stay here for the holidays but I know I need to leave. So yeah, a pretty chill week here. We had a pretty good storm pass through. Wind of like 50 mph I think and a lot of rain. Let me tell you, that was a pain to work and walk through but we did it anyway. I got really really wet. And really cold which was weird but all good. I love working in the rain. You know, they say your wife getting better looking when you tract in the rain… I hope that is true.

Thank you all for your support. Happy November to all! Hope everyone passes this November really well. This is my last November here so I will take advantage of everything. I love you and thank you for all your emails and stories. I enjoy reading them. Mom, I am fine right now. I have a second mother down here that takes care of me very well. Gives us merienda and washes our clothes, sews them too. She is the greatest. But the last package I want is one for Christmas. My next birthday I want nothing because I will be coming home the following month. I love you MOM.



Love,

Elder Pickett

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another week :)

Dear Everyone,

The week past with a lot of celebrations. One, congrats Dan and Cui with Josef. I have a new cousin!! I am so happy that I have another little tike to babysit… JA!

And I also celebrated something also. I celebrated 13 months in the mission. Hey hey! We are now starting the supposed super rapido downhill side of the mission. I’ll tell you all if it really is true. I can’t believe some days that I have been out here for this long. Kinda of crazy to think about. But anyway, the week. The week was pretty good. We just worked really hard all week. We had transfer meeting Wednesday so it was really weird. We then, as a zone, had a little book fair thing at a Catholic church where we talked about Family History. That was really boring but oh well. We weren’t allowed to preach in the church, obviously. So we just sat there at our booth and when someone came up, we just started talking to them about family history. Good thing I worked in the vaults, eh? We took 4 hour turns and it was boring, like I already said. We had 2 shifts and then we did our work. We had a pretty short week to work so we couldn’t get a lot of stuff done like we wanted.

Today we are going to help with the construction of a house. We love doing construction, my comp and I. We are just working really hard and just doing good work. Like I say every week, everything we do is repetitive. So if I sound really boring, I apologize. So recently I read again Our Search for Happiness. I forgot how good of a book it is. If you have the chance to read it, do it. If you have already read it, do it again. I am also reading Our Heritage which is really good also. Just doing work in Argentina. I am glad everyone is doing well at home. I am doing well here. Physically, Mentally, everything. I’m not getting sick por suerte. I feel great. Just tired because we walk all day in the sun. Yes, I am drinking enough water. I knew you were going to ask that. I wanna see pictures of everyone dressed up for Halloween. I will be the judge to see who has the best costume.

So with all my readings, I have gotten a stronger testimony that the church is true. With all the evidence that proves the church is true, it’s surprising that a lot don’t believe the same. That is why we are here, to try and help people understand. It sometimes is frustrating but with the spirit, all things are possible. If we look to have the spirit in our lives, we can have a strong enough testimony to convince people like Alma and Ammon in the Book of Mormon. We just need to force ourselves to do what is right. Sounds easy but as we all know, it is really hard. Learn humility. I am probably not the greatest example of that but I know the importance of humility. If we can submit ourselves to the will of the Father, he will bless us with blessing that we can’t even comprehend.

Thank you all for your letters. Dad, you can speak Portuguese??? Ha, I’m still learning so maybe when I get back I’ll be able to understand you. Good luck in Brazil and I love you.

Love,
Elder Pickett

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whistle While you Work...

Dear Everyone,

Another week has passed in the mission and I am still happy and healthy. The weather has gotten really hot and uncomfortable. Today we had ourselves a zone activity because we deserve it. Ha Jk! But we really did work really hard this past transfer so we earned ourselves an activity. We went and played ourselves a mini soccer tournament. Well, it wasn’t a tournament, it was more like first team to score two goals wins and then another team came in the try and beat them. We played that for a good two and a half hours. I am so beat. We then played some football and some rugby and when I say rugby I mean we just passed around the ball. After playing around, we had ourselves some milanesa sandwiches which were really good. We then played a little HORSE and PIG and then we finished. A good zone activity but I feel very exhausted.

This week also we did a lot. We finished 2nd in the zone when our work. We also had ourselves two confirmations to complete our two baptisms. I was so happy that they showed up to church. The two of them showed up on their own and it was a big relief. I had the grand privilege of doing one of the confirmations also so I am very happy. We also did a lot of service this week. We helped construct a roof this week. They construct roofs really funny here. They use concrete poles with Styrofoam in the middle of the poles… weird. We had to put a lot of rocks and sand on the roof and do a lot of lifting. My back hurts a lot now but that’s why they invented ibuprofen. We were building the roof of Karina, the person we baptized. She is building her house behind her mother in laws house. Everyone lives nice and close together. I really like it. I wouldn’t mind living behind my parents…. Jaja jk. We are trying to find more people now to get baptized.

Life is just chill right now. Just in my routine and everything. Wednesday we spent some time at Ysabel’s house for her birthday. She is the mother in law of Karina. We are like her sons. We love them so much. They are the greatest to us. We have merienda with them all the time but we drink malta because we can’t drink maté, which I still don’t know why but I’ll obey anyway. They are like family to me. I have become really close with a lot of people down here and I am glad. Sometimes when I need someone to talk to, they are always there… for now.


I think the concept that a lot of missionaries have trouble with is the loving the people part because they are not used to the culture and everything. I had the luck of already knowing the culture and stuff but still. I love the people of Argentina even though sometimes they are a bit frustrating to work with. They say that when you love the people, the easier it is to teach them the truth. People are willing to listen when you care about them. You listen to them, they listen to you. Easy. I think I have almost mastered that. Jaja jk.

I still have a long ways to go but that is something we can all work on. Whether it is at work, school, or at home. Especially in the home we need to love each other. We are going to be with each other forever and so you better start liking the stuff that bugs you. I challenge everyone to love each other more. Be charitable. Do what Jesus did and forget yourself. Remember the counsel of King Benjamin when he said that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God. When we serve one another, we are showing our love for God also.

Hope everyone has a great week!!

Love,

Elder Pickett

Monday, October 11, 2010

Success!

Dear Everyone,

What a week! That is how I’m going to start every e-mail now. This week was a pretty good week. I’m glad that everyone else had a great week also. So this week was pretty much normal. Until the weekend! This past weekend, we all had the grand opportunity to celebrate the great day of 10/10/10. So we, as missionaries, wanted to celebrate too this great day. So what do missionaries do to celebrate? That’s right, we had BAPTISMS!! Two to be precise. We had the opportunity to baptize Karina Dos Santos and Yesica Perez. I got to baptize Karina and my comp got to baptize Yesica.

[Elder Hart, Yesica Perez, Karina Dos Santos, Elder Pickett]

I wish I could tell you some weird story that happened like the font couldn’t get filled up or there wasn’t hot water or we didn’t have a font but I don’t have a story like that this week. Everything just went perfect. Maybe that is the miracle that happened this week. We really tried this week to be really obedient so that everything came out well in the end. We did a fast for our baptisms too so that everything turned out well and everything did turn out well. So maybe the lesson this week is trust in the Lord by doing all that you can first. That is what was said in Conference. The key is to do your part because the Lord will always complete his part. That has been a lesson that I have learned out here. When I am doing what the Lord wants, he blesses me, and the same concept with the opposite. I love baptizing people because I love seeing the change in people’s lives.

[Ysabel Dos Santos, Elder Pickett, Karina Dos Santos]

Karina didn’t believe in anyone or anything and in 4 weeks we helped her to have faith in Jesus Christ and have faith in the church. It helped a lot that she lived with members also. Yesica is the sister of a member. One day we decided to see if the rest of the family of this member wanted to listen to us and Yesica let us in and 4 weeks later we got her baptized. Just little miracles that happen that I am grateful for. We need to think of the little miracles that happen in our lives and thank our Heavenly Father.

Sorry for the short letter but nothing weird happened this week. I hope to have a new tale for you all next week.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARCOS (yesterday)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you buddy!!!

[Birthday Card for Marcos]

I love you all and thank you for all your support.

Love,

Elder Pickett

Monday, October 4, 2010

General Conference!

Dear Everyone,

WHAT A CONFERENCE!! A couple of things. First, I think I have now seen Aunt Rachel more times than I have my own parents. Second, Father, what were you doing in the casting commercial?! We were sitting eating some fiambres and such and all of a sudden I see you on the screen for a good minute getting your beard and hair put on. I was just yelling at all the elders “THAT’S MY DAD!!”. They didn’t believe me until I pulled out my photos of the family and then they believed me.

The conference was really neat. What really stayed with me were the topics of choice making and pride. The majority in my opinion were focused on making the right choices. Making the right choice is actually really easy to do but, we don’t like to make the right choices for selfish reasons. We need to put our will in line with the will of the Father. I like the quote that Elder Scott said and I paraphrase because I can’t remember it perfectly. “ We become what we want to be when we be what we want to become.” It’s pretty obvious no? But we sometimes forget that. If we want to be a good example, we need to... act like a good example. What the Prophet and Apostles said this conference were so simple and easy to understand that I think it hit everyone to the very soul. It “pricked” my heart a lot with things that I want to change in my life to be in harmony with God. This conference also helped me with my investigators too.

We had one investigator, Graciela, who didn’t attend any session until the last session. She has a problem with cigarettes. She doesn’t believe in herself that she can stop smoking and she is losing a lot of faith. But, she still came to the last session of conference. She fell asleep for the first hour and a half of the last session and then Elder Ballard got to the pulpit. He started speaking and she woke up when he said the word “ addiction”. She immediately got a piece of paper and pen and began taking notes. She came out of the conference with so much motivation to quit smoking that we are going to try and get here a baptism date and get rid of these cigs. That is just one miracle of conference.

Listening to the prophets voice does something to us. It is probably the fact the we are listening to the Lord’s voice every time we watch conference. The Prophet is the mouth piece of God and with send His message through his prophets to bless his children. He blessed Graciela with the words she needed to hear. I am sure that he blessed you all with the words you needed to hear. I feel richly blessed for the opportunity I had to listen to conference and learn some more stuff. Please follow the words of the prophet and the apostles. You will be happy by being obedient.

Everything is just Hunky Dory here in Argentina. Just enjoying life right now. OH.... ANDI! I am so sorry I forgot your birthday last week so..... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDI PANDI!!!!! I love you! I can’t believe you are so big now! Until next week, BYE!

Love

Elder Allen Pickett

Monday, September 27, 2010

OW Charlie! That Hurt!

Dear Everyone,

Well, I did it. I have completed one year on the mission. Crazy to think about. I am now more than half way through with my service to the Lord. Everything is going great here in Mariló. We are working really hard to baptize people. We have a lot of candidates who have baptismal dates. We are really working so that they keep their commitments. We have the goal in the mission of baptizing someone on Sunday the 10th of October (happy birthday Marcos) because that day is 10/10/10. Pretty cool no? If I repeat myself from my last email, act like it’s something new ok? Jaja.

So Wednesday was a pretty cool day. We got challenged by our zone leaders, who live with us, to see who could teach the most lessons in the day. So we went out and just started going crazy with finding people. While going crazy looking for people, we both got bit by dogs. My comp got bit on the hand by a rottweiler. The dog stuck his head outside the fence and bit my comp. It was so scary/weird. Then about half hour later we reached a dead end where we had to turn around. (Way to go Elder Pickett, didn’t you know you had to turn around on a dead end?) Yes, yes I know, I know. So when we turned around there was the dog. It was kinda like those movies where the terrorist dog corners the person and then tries to kill them. The dog stopped in front of us and I went to pass/kick the dog just like any other dog but no, it’s not like any other dog. As I go pass the dog, it starts attacking my pant leg and actually grabs my leg. Let’s just say that it hurt really bad and that the dog was hurting worse. JA! I kicked the dog so hard that I thought I killed it for a second, but then it got up and whimpered away. Oh the life of a missionary. Oh, anyway, the competition, so we went just teaching like crazy. We ended up with 13 lessons that day. And the zone leaders… 10! JA! We won a pizza napolitana from them. It was so good. I love pizza from here. It’s better than the states. I am very convinced that the food here is better than the food there except for Mexican food.

So the mother-in-law of one of our investigators is Paraguaya and she knows how to speak Guaraní, Portuguese and castellano. I am trying to learn Portuguese because I want to go to Brazil in 2014. I have a lot of phrases down but still a long ways to go. It is starting to get really hot. It’s like 75 degrees…. Ja ok that’s not hot but it’s hotter than it was before. I have to pull out my short sleeves again. Time for summer. YAHOO! We are really happy with the progress of our investigators and we have a lot of faith that they will reach their baptisms.

Thank you Mom and Dad, Abu y Grandpa, and Grandma and Grandpa Packard for your emails. I love hearing from you all. And for the rest of you who have sent me letters and stuff, I have no post office to send letters so just accept this for now. Thank you mom I got my package. I’m just having a blast here in Argentina. Loving everything about it. And don't forget General Conference this weekend! Until next week, SEE YA!

Love,

Elder Pickett

Monday, September 20, 2010

ONE YEAR!!!

Dear Everyone,

Here we are, another week and a new companion. My new companion is Elder Hart from Las Vegas! He is a hoot. He is so much fun. We have fun everyday and we work like crazy. He and I are very similar and we can get a lot done because we understand each other. Thank heavens for one of these companions. Well, last week, we just got to work. We went out and went sacking [note: Spanglish from the Spanish verb "sacar" or to take out] fecha happy. In the week, we sacked out 4 fechas with investigators. After the week was over, we still have three of them. We are just rocking right now. He brings the energy that we lacked in the area. We are having a lot of fun.

[Elder Pickett and Elder Hart with Luana]

Wednesday we went to Ramos Mejía for something very special. I got to eat lunch with Abuelita y Grandpa. That was a lot of fun. Abuelita was herself. JA! She was crying and was really happy and Grandpa was like “hey buckwheat!”. It was really great to talk with them and eat a lot with them. We ate some milanesas caballos and some pizza. A lot of food but it was really good. Other than that, the week was pretty normal.

[Elder Pickett's surprise visitors]

It has been getting hotter and there has been more sun so that means the brown skin is coming back. I am starting to get my watch tan line back so that definitely means its getting hotter and more sunny. So we have been helping one of our investigators try and quit smoking. Missionaries have tried for 2 years to help her quit. We are bound and determined that it is going to be us that will baptize her. So my companion had an idea that he heard in the MTC and so we are going to try it. It is where we make fake cigs and put scriptures on the fake cigs. We put five fake cigs in a pack of ten. Every time she goes to smoke, if she pulls out a cig, she can smoke. But if she pulls out a fake cig, she has to read the scripture and pray for strength to stop smoking. She said she hadn’t tried this idea before so we’ll see how it goes. I hope it works because we want to baptize her. The best of the best missionaries have past through and have not been able to baptize her.

[Elder Pickett and Little Luana]

We have this goal as a mission to have every area baptize on the 10th of October. The reason is because it is un día de diez!! The date is going to be 10/10/10 and that is the only time in our life that it is going to happen so we want everyone to be baptized on that date to remember it better. We have a lot of work ahead of us in this grand work of the Lord. I am having a great time serving the people of Argentina. For as much as it gets hard and uncomfortable to do some things, I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. I know that I am becoming a better person by serving. I hope that you all are doing your part and are sharing the gospel with your non member friends. Invite them to come to church. Be friends with them so they will want to know more.

Thanks Mom and Dad for your emails. I really appreciate that every week you guys write to me. I am starting to understand when people say that it is crazy that we talk with our family twice a year on the phone. It is crazy. But it’s all good. ONE YEAR YAHOO!!!!!! I love you all.

Love

Elder Pickett

Monday, September 13, 2010

Transfer week and Pictures

[Note: This week was transfer week so Allen didn't get much time to write. He only had 10 minutes so he downloaded some pictures and we chatted a bit. I told him that he had to share at least one small story from this week. He has a new companion, elder Christopher Allen Hart from Las Vegas, Nevada.]

OK. We had family home evening Saturday night with two families. It was great to see people doing family home evening. The topic was about the family. How to raise a good family is such a difficult world. The children down here in Argentina have a very hard time with everything. They have a lot of pressure on them with temptations and all. I see a lot of kids everyday that get caught by the lies of Satan. That is why I am so glad I was raised the way I was in the place where I lived. I told them many a story of my childhood and how Mom and Dad raised me with strict rules. They were all in awe. Then afterward we ate some really good empanadas. .... How is that for a short story lol


Capilla en Mariló - street view


Capilla en Mariló - building

Some random photos of him and companions:




Monday, September 6, 2010

Here we are in September

Dear Everyone,

Another week complete in the mission and some more great experiences. This week a lot of stuff happened. And when I say this week, I mean this past weekend. We had a so-so week but it was really busy. We had to do a lot of things in preparation for our baptisms. We didn’t have gas in the church (still) and so we had to move to the chapel in Trujui.

I’m going to talk about what happened Saturday because that was the busiest day of the week. So after situating all the talks and figuring out all the clothes and refreshments and stuff, we went to the church in Trujui to start filling up the font. We start to fill up the font and there was no water pressure. It was just dribbling water out of the spigot. And we had about 4 hour and a half hours until the baptism was to start. It takes about 3 and a half hours to fill it. So we went frantic looking for ways to fill up the font. The water pressure was just fine in the bathroom and so we became plumbers. We disconnected the water pipe below and started filling up buckets. Yes, I know, that is really slow. We did that for some time while one of the missionaries from Trujui was playing with all the water pressure valves. Finally he figured it out so that we could get the water pressure to start working.

So that was just the font. Now we had to deal with the dirty, wet clothes that we got from another area because we didn’t have any clothes. We had to wash these clothes on the spot. So my comp went into the kitchen to wash the clothes. As he was washing the clothes, he pushed down on the sink and it fell through. If you all haven’t seen my comp, he is huge. All we could do was laugh because the sink was put in very bad. We kind of fixed the sink by somewhat gluing it to the cement that was already holding it in. We hope that it didn’t fall on anyone yesterday at church. So after getting the clothes all clean and putting them up to dry, we left to go pick up our baptismal candidates. They didn’t know how to get to the other church so we had to take them. We got to the baptism a little late, but to our greatest surprise, no one was there! We start calling and asking where everyone one was, por suerte everyone was on their way. We had everyone show up that we needed to show up. By that I mean, we had the bishop, our two talks and like three other members, with six missionaries. 4 of us from Mariló and 2 from Trujui. Some great attendance no? But I played the piano and I got some great comments because I did some improvisations of some hymns and they turned out good. Never knew playing around on the piano for so long would pay off. So the baptisms went well and everyone is happy. The refreshments afterward were really good. Facturas. Mmm, I love facturas. And by the time everything was over, the day was over and we went to the apartment. Sunday was also a good day because all three of them got confirmed also. I got to confirm one of them. It was my first confirmation that I had done in my mission. And let me tell you, it is hard to speak in Tú when one is used to speaking in Usted and in Vos. And that was my week.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Abuelita y Grandpa for your emails. Also Cui, Christian, and Britney. I hope all is well with Grandpa Packard. Send my love to him. I love your pictures! Please keep sending more. I’ll try to be better and send more. I love you all and thank you for all your support. And Gracias Abuelita y Grandpa por la Corbata. Tiene colores de River!! AGUANTE!



Love,

Elder Pickett

[His computer at this internet cafe didn't have a USB port for him to hook up and send pictures but after sending his letter and me publishing it he found one that had USB port and he sent the following pictures]









Monday, August 30, 2010

Here I Am

Dear Everyone,

Another week has past and here I am sitting in an internet café with about 15 teenagers as they play Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. I, well, am writing this letter to you all so that you guys know what is happening to me. So here it goes.

This past week was ok. We had to cancel our baptisms and move them to this coming Saturday. The reason why we moved the baptism is for two reasons. One of which I will tell you. We didn’t have gas to heat up the water in the tank so the water would have been freezing. So we just decided to move the baptism for the next week. Other than that, the week was kind of boring. We just did what we normally do. We had zone conference this past week and it was amazing as normal. We learned this week on how to take out baptismal dates and how to jive with the investigators better. I loved learning about that because I love talking to investigators about whatever kind of stuff. What we also learned is that working with members is really great. That means, you all need to find someone for the missionaries. The missionaries can’t do all the looking even though that’s why we are out here. Every member a missionary! Do it! So I have been thinking a lot during sacrament meetings about sacrament meetings at home. And to be completely honest, I think I am going to go to a Spanish branch. Singing hymns in Spanish and hearing talks in Spanish just make me feel really comfortable. I want everyone who speaks Spanish to speak in Spanish to me so I feel comfortable. JAJA.

A principle that I love learning and applying is “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” All of us need to apply it in our lives a lot of times. When something goes bad, we always hear, just rub a little dirt on it. I have had to learn that lesson out here a lot. We get rejected a lot or our investigators don’t progress or what have you. We learn in Preach My Gospel that we are not to become unmotivated because when we get unmotivated, our faith decreases. So don’t become disanimoed [desanimado - anglicized] just because something isn’t going the way you like it. Buck up camper! The sun will come out tomorrow.

Thank you all for your emails. I am so glad everyone is loving school. The only advice I have for school is, ENJOY! We are almost in September!! Oh my goodness. My mission is almost gone! Someone at home is praying for time to go faster? Well stop it! Lol I love you all and pray for you everyday. I will write more next week.

Love

Elder Pickett

[Allen and I chatted for a bit and he sounds a little bit down so letters will be very appreciated]

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy 11 months!

Dear Everyone,

Another week passes by and I am another week older in the mission. To my great relief, my birthday package came so you don’t have to worry mother. I thoroughly enjoy the packages you sent. My pench is very excited to play pin the tail on the donkey. The one bad thing is that the ding dongs made a mess in the package and some hot chocolate mixed got broken open so it was a bit messy but igual it was great to receive stuff for my birthday. I especially loved the song cards. I will send the video of us dancing to them when I have a way to send pictures. The elder that has the device to send pictures isn’t with me so I’ll send pics later.

This past week has been pretty normal. We have been working everyday and finding new people to bring to church. This place is full of people that want to know more about the gospel. This place is more alive than my other areas. We have been blessed with a lot of people who want to listen. But this weekend, we had the grand opportunity to have a BAPTISM!! We got to baptize Belén. Well, I got to baptize her. I got to put on the white uniform and help someone else make covenants with the Lord. It was a great experience for everyone. The zone leaders also baptized with us because we are in the same ward.

This next weekend, we have 3 baptisms and we are looking for more to baptize the following weekends also. We have a lot of possible candidates that just need to fix some problems. We received a reference [referral] of gold this past week. It is of this couple who live in our ward boundaries and are very interested in the gospel and want to get baptized. They are so interested in the gospel and wanting to get baptized so bad that they have been going to church in San Miguel which is 45 minutes in bus from where we are. AND, it’s in the north mission. The only reason they went there is because they didn’t know where our church was and she works there so she knew where that one was. The only problem they have is, the aren’t married because the man isn’t divorced from his first wife. UGH! This country is the capital of being Juntados. As the saying goes Familias Para Siempre. Well here it’s Juntados Para Siempre.

AH! I’m running out of time so fast. Sunday we had 8 investigators come to church. And no they weren’t because of the baptisms. We literally went and looked for all of them. It was a miracle because we only found 3 in house. The other 5 came on their own. We passed by every single one of them but they had already left for church when we got the their house. I love my investigators right now. So like I said earlier, we have 3 baptisms this coming Saturday and they also came Sunday to church. I am so proud of all of them for coming to church.

Well thank you Mom and Dad for you emails. Also Andi and Sophie for your beautiful little letter. I love you and rock on Sophie and Andi!! Good luck in school this year. Well, I should actually say Do well! Abuelita y Grandpa, donde están? les amo muchísimo. Gracias por su apoyo.

Con Amor

Elder Pickett

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Really Full Week

Dear Everyone,

What another week here in Argentina! Almost a year has past by. I am a year older and hopefully wiser. So to start off my week. Tuesday was district meeting and when we get mail. I was really excited to get birthday mail and whatnot. The mail came and there was nothing there for me. I was so bummed. So then we went back to work in our area and everything was normal. Tuesday night, Elder Gibson (one of my zone leaders), made me a birthday cake. His Mom sent him some spice cake and frosting and so he made it for me that night. He is so awesome for doing that.

(Elder Gibson's cake for Elder Pickett)

We wake up the next morning like normal, even though it was my birthday, and we did our exercises. In the middle of exercising and such, we received a call. It was from President Benton. He normally calls the missionaries for their birthdays. But in his call, he said he was going to be at our pench in 20 minutes. So we went into emergency mode by cleaning everything and getting showered and dressed, every single one of us four had to shower so it was crazy. So we were all dressed when he walked through the door( I was putting my tie on in front of him) and he said, Get the fire going! He came to cook us an American breakfast for my birthday. We had pancakes, eggs, and bacon. It was really good. But as soon as he came, he left because of a meeting that he had to be at that started at 8. Our pench in like an hour away from where he needed to be so you can see the big sacrifice he made to do this breakfast for us.

(President Benton serving the breakfast)

(Allen is 20)

(President Benton cooking breakfast)

(Breakfast fit for a king)

(Elder Pickett had a happy birthday)

After we got the whole President Benton service, we went back to the normal missionary thing. Also for my birthday, a family did an asado for me. I had some vacio and some chorizo and I was really really full. I was also threatened with eggs and flour but luckily nothing happened. I had a wonderful birthday full of love from other people. We received texts from members for my birthday. It was really great to still feel loved even though I am very far from home. So other than my birthday, everything was EXCELLENT!

So we talked with Belén (18yrs old) about getting baptized and she said that she really wants to get baptized. So we talked to her about all the commandments and made sure she had no problems to get baptized. All in all, she is getting baptized this Saturday!! We are so excited for her and the decisions she had made. She also has a lot of friends in church who are active also. But what made this week even better was the fact that we took out 3 more baptismal dates. We took the fechas out with Yolanda and her two grand daughters, Laura and Ana. They came to church yesterday and they really love the church. We have their baptism set for the next Saturday the 28th of Agosto. They have also made some really great friends in the ward. The Relief Society and some hermanas are really doing their job by becoming friends with investigators. Makes our job a whole lot easier.

We had a Ward activity this past Saturday. It was just a get together kind of thing slash celebrate the holiday that is today. The Fallecimiento de San Martín. I know the holiday is actually tomorrow but they changed it so that people could have a longer weekend. Go figure, I’m in Argentina. Jaja. So for the activity, we played a little soccer, like always, and we also ate some Locro. Now if some of you remember, my last Locro experience wasn’t the greatest. This one was a whole lot better. The Locro wasn’t like water downed pig soup. This one was more like a Guiso. It tasted a lot better.

(Ward activity)
Sunday we had a good attendance at church and we had 5 investigators come. After church we went to work and we went to a house where there is a marriage problem. The man drinks and the woman doesn’t like it. She wants to get married to him so that way she can get baptized in the church but the guy doesn’t want to. So we went in and he just starts asking what the difference was between the mormons and the rest of the churches and blah blah blah. He had been drinking but not a lot. We eventually got on the topic of Alcohol and their relationship. We asked her why she doesn’t love him and she said that it was because of the alcohol and immediately he yells and says THAT’S A LIE! And so after that we had him calm down and we started talking to him about how drinking is bad and can ruin relationships. He kept saying that we were confused and stupid and we didn’t know what we were talking about. It eventually ended like this and this is almost word for word.
Me: Alcohol is bad for the body, is that right?
The man: yes
Me: Alcohol is bad for your body, right?
The man: yes
Me: In that case, Alcohol is bad and ALL bad things are not from God.

At that moment, he stood up, went to the door, opened the door and said to us, “I’m telling you the same thing I tell her right now, there is the door and get out. I am the one who mans the house and I will not be talked to like that.” So then I got up and said, “ We will pass by another day sir.” We shook his hand and we left. After that, I was shaking in my legs because that was really scary. Jaja. But I figure that we had to tell him one way or another because he said that he loved God and Jesus and so I told him that bad things don’t come from God. No more.

But that was my week. Thank you Claralina, Cui Cui, Mom and Marcos for the emails. Thanks Sara for the fotos and keep taking and sending them. I’ll try to do my best on this side. Keep smiling! I love you all.

Love,
Elder Pickett

Monday, August 9, 2010

Getting Older

Dear Everyone,

Well, I’m getting older. It’s crazy to think that I will turn 20 on Wednesday. We have an asado planned with a family here but nothing much. Everything just chill. Kinda depressing seeing as it is my birthday I should be really happy. Hence, Happy Birthday… But oh well. Well, I am in Mariló B and I am with Elder Heddy. He is from New Jersey and he is much bigger than I am so don’t worry about me getting robbed. He has 6 months on the mission and this is his first area. He is 6’ 1” and about 120 kg. That is about twice my weight. I am liking this place so far. Not like I have much choice but it’s nice to mention that I like the place.

[View from their pension on a cold winter day]

[Elder Pickett and Elder Heddy]

I live in a four man apartment with the zone leaders. And you will never guess who one of my zone leaders is… That’s right, Elder González my TIO! Jaja. We are together again for another two transfers probably. Funny how things work out.

[The four elders in the pension]

[Elder Gonzalez and Elder Pickett]

I am comp mayor still and we are doing pretty well so far. We have a lot of investigators that could get baptized within the next month or two. We have one investigator whose name is Belén. She really wants to get baptized but she is having family problems. Her father doesn’t believe in God and is angry with God. Her mother is Jehovah’s Witness and so you can just see the conflict in that one. She wants to have the support of her family and we don’t want to do anything that the parents are against so we had to move her baptism date from the 14th to the 21st to see if things will change. She has a strong testimony in prayer. She always trying to find comfort in prayer. She is really great. Just to name some other investigators that we are trying to work with: Graciela (and her 2 sons), Yolanda, Mariana(and her 2 daughters), Flia Godoy, Eva, Marina, Lidia and I think that’s it but there might be more.. I can’t remember everyone. I’m new to the area. As you can see, we have a lot of work to do. A couple of them are smoking, some are having a hard time waking up to come to church. There are just a lot of little problems that are standing in the way of our investigators. Yesterday at church, we only had Yolanda and her two granddaughters. Yolanda is the mother of Mariana but Mariana wasn’t home so those three came with us.

[Elder Pickett and some locals]

Mariló is a ward that has about 90 people show up. Our chapel is a house on a quinta. The direction is, if you wanna try and look it up, Roca y Las Americas. That is the best direction I can give. I don’t know the number or anything else. Mariló is a [lower] middle class area, for lack of better terms. A lot of dirt roads and a lot of Paraguayos.

So something funny that happened to me this morning, we decided to read a conference talk from this last conference. And we read it in English because we speak English most of the time. I started out reading the talk and I could pronounce English very well. Me cuesta HABLAR EN MI PROPIO IDIOMA!!!! So yes, I thought it was quite funny. Just gives you guys something to look forward to for Christmas. Thanks Mom, Marcos and Grandma and Grandpa Packard for your Emails this week. I hope everyone has a great week! I love you and thank you for your prayers.



With lots of love,

Elder Pickett

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quick Note

Hey just a quick note because we don't have much time because we just barely found an internet cafe to write in and we need to work in like 10 minutes. I got moved to another area again. They didn't tell me that I was just filling in the spot in Villa Celina so now I am in Mariló B.


[Mariló in Perspective - Courtesy of Google Earth]


[Mariló Ward boundaries - Courtesy of LDS Maps]


[Street in Mariló - courtesy of Panoramio]

My companion is Elder Heddy [from New Jersey]. I will tell more about him later on another day because I have to go now. And I was the senior comp of the flash thing, and yes, I was careful when I was over there. No need to worry now.

Love Elder Pickett


[Paul: I can't find it on the maps, where is it located?]
its in the Moreno stake and it is like poor campo so far lol


[Paul: Send some pics when you can]
i lost my cable to my camera so I have to find some way to send pics. Love you bye

Monday, July 26, 2010

WHOA! I Love the Mission.

Talk about crazy week! Well, the week started out very normal until Wednesday. I have the grand opportunity to be in a flash [note: a flash is an emergency transfer, I asked Allen what was the reason and he says that somebody in another area wasn't behaving]! I got put in Villa Celina. The mission had to do some changes a little early and so now I am in Villa Celina with Elder Shepherd. He is from Las Vegas and is a really cool kid. He has almost 5 months on the mission. His birthday is on August 9! So we are going to be celebrating our birthdays together. Oh, and Father, Elder Shepherd is a huge Battlefield 1942 guy and so it was crazy to meet someone else who is crazy like us.


(Villa Celina is located next to Ciudad Madero in the Aldo Bonzi Stake)

I am loving Villa Celina so far. Elder Shepherd and I get along so well so we are able to get a lot of stuff done. We have a lot of really great people that we are working with. I am glad I have this new opportunity to help people in another area. We have a lot of people that can be baptized really soon. We are just trying to take out [resolve] their doubts. Like last night, we had a lesson with a member and her non-member husband and he was asking really good questions about the Plan of Salvation and we were able to answer them. I was really happy about that.

(Aerial view of Celina and Madero)

We have a villa in our area. For those who don’t know what a villa is, a villa is like the projects in the US but more poor. Their houses are about the size of a bathroom and they have about 5 to 8 people living in that space. It is really humbling to see. Yesterday we ate with a family that lives in the villa and they gave us really good food. I could feel that they were giving a lot more than what they normally had. I felt very grateful for them. This place is changing my mission even more. The people here are very humble but sometimes we meet the people who aren’t so nice. The members here are very very nice to us. They help us out a lot with investigators and with references. Oh, another cool little thing, I am the pianist in the ward. I am so glad I can play the piano somewhat so that we don’t have to sing accapella.

In this short week here, we have seen a lot of stuff. Like Saturday was a Bolivian holiday and so we couldn’t go to that side of our area because it is just pure Bolivians and they all had a lot of alcohol. We had a lot of fun watching the parade for the holiday but we decided to leave when it looked like to be getting out of hand.

So we had a very cool experience happen to us Sunday. We went out Sunday to go look for some investigators to go to church with us. We went to four different houses and called them up also to come pick them up. Every single one of them rejected us. We were so bummed out because we didn’t have anyone to bring to church. We get to the sacrament meeting, which is first in this ward, and we just did everything as normal. After the sacrament meeting, one of the members comes up to us and says, hey this is my nephew and he wants to listen to you guys and probably get baptized. I can’t tell you how big of a smile I had on my face when he told us that. We went in the rain to go look for people and no one wanted to come but apparently the Lord already brought our investigator to church. I love the miracles that I see in the mission.

Thanks for all of your support in everything. I am getting really excited for my birthday because I am in Argentina!! I love you all. Stay safe this week.

Love
Elder Pickett

Monday, July 19, 2010

Christmas in July? Cold Enough...

Dear Everyone,

I write to you all from the very cold and very wet country of Argentina once again. This past week has been anything but warm. We have been flirting with 0 degrees celcius and a lot of humidity. Oh, how I just love Argentina in the winter. Beside the cold, this past week has been really crazy.

To start off, last Tuesday we had a surprise meeting with the whole mission. Apparently the church is going to change Preach My Gospel and add or only have (I can’t remember which it was) 8 chapters. Now I don’t know yet whether that will complicate things or make things easier. I assume it would make them easier or else they wouldn’t bring them out. They are teaching us the new system of everything now but it won’t take into effect until next May. Sounds like a long time away but mind you, I will almost be done with my mission at that time. But the new lessons that they showed us are a lot better in my opinion. The new lessons use the spirit a lot more. Kinda like how Preach My Gospel changed the recited lessons to free speaking lessons, well we are now changing it to make each lesson more of a spiritual experience for the investigators.

I don’t know if that made sense because we are supposed to do that anyway but I am losing my ability to explain things in English. Since I live in a pench of 4 English speakers, we all speak English. I think if anyone from the states heard our conversations, they would think that we were speaking another language. And we are speaking another language. It’s called spanglish or castiyankee. They are interchangeable. It is the language spoken by most missionaries from the United States and even some Latinos who know English. Jaja. That was my funny moment of the day. That is what we did Tuesday.

Wednesday, my companion and I went back to Ramos Mejía to do the paper work for my comp so he isn’t illegal. So while him and a bunch of other people his age went, I went with Elder Packer and we did some work in Ramos Mejía. Elder Packer is one of the funnest missionaries ever. He is from Rexburg and a Madison High football player. Nicest and funniest guy I have met on the mission. He is trying to convince me to go to BYU-I with him when we finish our mission. (Our branch president just came in to the ciber and just said hello to me. That was weird lol) He has the same time as me. We went into the MTC at the same time. So we did that all day Wednesday.

We are already at Thursday and we still haven’t worked in our area so we are lacking in the datos department, but we made up pretty well. We have a couple of new bolivians that we are teaching that just came from bolivia. So we are now up to 4+ bolivians that we are teaching. We are teaching Jorge, Robert, Andres, and I forgot the last one. Jorge is the closest to being baptized. He believes that everything is true but he wants to wait until he knows more. We have told him that we doesn’t have to wait to know everything and that we need to do some things on faith. And then that got me thinking, why do I do a lot of the things in the church that I do? Habit, puede ser, but I think we as members of the church have a knowledge of a lot of things the world doesn’t know. We should have the faith that we know that everything is what the Lord wants. Our way never seems to be more rewarding. The Lord is always looking to reward us for our patience and long suffering. I always remember President Uchdorf’s talk on patience during last conference whenever I am feeling a bit frustrated in my life. All of us get frustrated and a little hot tempered but that's where we need to learn autocontrol.

Sunday, it rained a whole lot. A lot more than normal. The past two Sundays we have had above 130 people in church and that is way above average for being winter. This Sunday, we had a grand total of 29 people in church. We dropped 100 people at church. Unbelievable no? And two of them were our investigators. It was a sad day. And half of the electricity in the chapel didn’t work so we didn’t have a functioning piano. So you can imagine the singing that went on for sacrament meeting. And that’s how my week was.

Thank you Mom and Dad for writing this week. Also Cui Cui and Grandpa and Abuelita for sending your love. Te amo muchísimo. Gracias por tu apoyo. Estoy divirtiéndome acá en Argentina. Estoy emocionado que ustedes van a venir próximo mes. Ustedes pueden pasar por personas que yo conozco si quieren. Bueno, Gracias a todos por sus oraciones por mi y los otros misioneros. Les amo mucho.



Elder Pickett

Monday, July 12, 2010

GO SPAIN!!!!!


Dear Everyone,
This has been a week of celebrations. This past week, we got the opportunity to celebrate 4th of July and 9 de Julio. The 4th of July, I already told you guys what we did. For 9 de Julio, we did nothing. We left the apartment and we had been walking for about 5 minutes when all of a sudden we see a lot but I mean, A LOT of horses on the loose. Well, that was a first for me in Argentina. I had seen cows on the loose, and sheep, but never horses. Then we saw gauchos and gauchitos guiding them to the town center. Then it dawned on us that it was 9 de Julio! So we went back to the apartment really fast and grabbed our cameras so we could take some fotos. We got to the town center at the end of the parade of horses so we got very few pictures and videos. I can't load them on this computer because I tried it once and my computer froze so I'll just ask a member during the week to download them.


A ver, I can't remember anything else that has been exciting or amazing. We are just trying to survive the cold here. It is freezing here. Today we have clear skies and WIND! Oh man goodness, this is the coldest I have felt here on the mission. Yesterday we had the drizzle rain all day. That was annoying and cold.

So funny story, you might not think so but I thought it was kinda funny. Yesterday was like any normal Sunday. We got through the first two hours just fine and then we got to sacrament meeting. The missionaries are the people to answer the door when it rings so the doorbell rang when we were about to start. So we go down there and answer the door and invite them to come in. It happened to be a lady not from the area and not a member but wanted to stop by. Pretty cool, no? So when we get upstairs, they already started the first hymn. It was "Master, the tempest is raging" and... it was in acapella. It. Sounded. Horrible. No one knew how to play it and I had left the room to answer the door. haha. So the other 3 hymns I was able to play at least with my right hand because the book stand is broken and so I had to hold the hymn book with my left hand. Just some of the joys of the mission.

Anyway, I don't much else to say. I am sorry for the let down in stories. It's the winter time in Argentina. Its cold. I love you all and I will try really hard to send fotos this week and if not, next Monday.

Elder Pickett

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