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Monday, February 22, 2010

All in favor, please do so with the uplifted hand...

Dear Everyone,

Oh man, this week has been so crazy. So I got my assignment on Monday to be here in 9(nueve) de Julio. I am 1st counselor in the branch presidency. Fun stuff. Well anyway, Monday I got assigned and we stayed the night in Ramos because it was too late to travel and plus my new companion had to go to the hospital the next day to remove an ingrown toenail…. Gross. So we did that on Tuesday. We left for 9 de Julio at about 5 pm on Tuesday and got there at I think 10 pm. A 5-hour bus ride that was OK. I got to get to know my new companion better and he is a KAPO! He was the secretary to the president before my other companion, Elder Palacios. So it is really cool how I have had two secretaries for companions.

(Bus station in 9 de Julio)

So I slept really well Tuesday night and then we had to wake up early Wednesday because we had interviews with the president in Chivilcoy. That is a two hour bus ride and these bus rides start to get a little expensive if you have to travel all the time. We were there from 10 in the morning to about 7 in the afternoon. So we lost a lot of time working just from traveling to different places. Thursday we got out to working and didn’t get a lot done because we had planning session that we have to do every week for the next week. Ahhh! So much to do! Friday we did a lot of things, at least it felt like a lot of things. We visited a lot of inactive people in the branch. I’ll give branch info after the weekly summary.

Saturday, the counselor of president Benton came to check up on the branch and he is kinda of a strict one but very very good. We went with him to make some visits all afternoon to some inactive members. Then after that, we had a meeting with all the leaders of the organizations and we were there for two hours talking about how we can get more members reactivated in the church. Oh and I had to prepare a Sunday school lesson for the next day because I am the teacher for the youth for Sunday school. And as everyone knows, it is the old testament this year. And I don’t know a whole lot about the Old Testament. This past Sunday was about Lot and his wife and Sodom and Gomorrah and all that good stuff. I taught it with all these great principles that we shouldn’t put our tents toward Sodom and we should put our tents towards the temple like the people of King Benjamin. They gave me the blank stare like I didn’t know what I was talking about and then they started yelling and talking and punching and I was like, "WHOA Whoa Whoa. That is not how we act in church." And then they said, "that’s what the last teacher" or in others words, the other comp "let us do." And I said, "no no no. In this class you will be respectful to what I say." And from that point on they listened, but there was five minutes anyway so I don’t know what they caught but this week I am going to prepare much better. Maybe some fun activity. If someone who wants to help me come up with some lesson ideas for the following lesson. Not this Sundays but the next one, that would be great. I am going to be teaching lesson 9 this week and so I need ideas for lesson 10 if someone would love to be a sweetheart and do that. Jaja.

So now on to branch information. This branch in 9 de Julio has about 200 members. But, 30-35 that are active and that go to church every Sunday. This past Sunday, yesterday, we had 46 people in the sacrament meeting. Our goal as a companionship is to have an average of about 50 every week. It is hard because this branch has only had 50 three times in the past four years. So we are working on doing the impossible because I am Elder Pickett and he is Elder Sabey and we the missionaries who do the impossible. Kinda like Superman but there are two of us. The old folk here are so friendly, it’s actually kinda funny. They will let you teach whatever to them and they are really great about accepting opinions. Not like in capital where if your opinion is different, it is not welcome at all. Here, everything is tranquilo and quiet and just very Idaho-like. That’s how it is. This place is like Idaho. Just go like in Idaho and it is exactly how 9 de Julio is. And I love it! I could live here forever! Ok that’s not true. But I really do love it here. The people are very receptive and very respectful.

(Aerial view of 9 de Julio)

So I got to reading the lesson that I have to give this next week and it talks about the almost sacrifice of Issac and the obedience of Abraham. And I got to thinking. Abraham was almost sacrificed and he got saved by the Lord. And after that experience he had a lot of faith in the Lord. In fact, He had so much faith that when the Lord told him to go sacrifice his only son, he did it, without complaint. He was willing to sacrifice his only son just so he could stay faithful to the Lord. What a great example of faith! At times the Lord asks us to make a sacrifice for him and sometimes we aren’t willing to make that sacrifice. To do that I say, Have more faith. There is no reason not to do what the Lord wants us to do. It is a lame excuse saying that you don’t to be a better person from this sacrifice or you don’t want the blessings that come from it. Have faith. If we don’t have faith, we can’t do anything in the Lord. Being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are the ones that need to show examples of unfailing faith. I know it is hard and you will be tried but there are great rewards in the end. If everyone has the book True to the Faith, Read the section on Sacrifice and Faith. It will help you understand next week's lesson better.

Thank you for all the support from everyone. I would love to receive more pictures from people via email. I would love to see how everyone is growing and what is going on in the world without me. Mom, I get mail twice a month. Maybe if I am lucky, three but that is rare. Sometimes even once a month. But that should answer your question. I love you.

Elder Pickett

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