Allen's e-mail address

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Dear Everyone,

Another week passes in Paraiso Terrenal. There were a lot of things that happened but it’s going to be a little bit hard to explain. Hopefully it all makes sense. Keep track of names and who they are because I am just going to start throwing names out left and right.

So last Monday I was feeling a little but under the weather. I got a sore throat and I didn’t think anything of it because I went and played ping pong with my comp and I didn’t feel much. But it got really bad when we went out to work that night. We went working igual. I worked through it. We went to District meeting like always. We have now changed it so it is now in Chivilcoy every Tuesday. Then the rest of the week went pretty normal. Saturday we got the opportunity to meet an ex elder that was Branch President also out here. He served four years ago there and he was just visiting with his wife.

Sunday, oh yeah, Sunday. So the past week has just been FREEZING! And Sunday morning wasn’t any different. It probably wasn’t that cold but the humidity just killed us. I had my gloves and sweater and a shirt under my white shirt and a jacket. And I had my long johns on! And two pairs of socks. Wow, I was wearing a lot. So we did the whole church thing. I taught my lesson on Balac and Balaam. Cool little story that I don’t think I have heard about. It was hard to teach it in Spanish to the youth. I don’t think any of them got it. Well, I tried. I told them that basically we need to do what the Lord says or else. That got through their heads better.

One of our investigators, Victoria, didn’t show up and we were really hoping she would show up. We are afraid that she is getting “cold”. Cold meaning that she is distancing herself from the church. We are going to be working frantically this week to do a NDH [Family Home Evening] with her and some of her friends in the church. Her Mother is inactive and that doesn’t help us much either so it’s been a struggle to try and get them both to church. So Victoria and Julia (Mother) is project #1.

Project #2 is a bit more difficult. We have an investigator who is golden. She comes to church every week. She doesn’t go to gospel principles but to gospel doctrine and participates. She is just golden. But the problem is she is not married and she is living with a guy. The guy is the excommunicated member that I think I have talked about before. His name is Ruben and her name is Virginia. Virginia is ready to get baptized once they get married. So this Sunday, my comp had a conversation with her and asked her what the progress is on making the decision. She said that this is a really difficult decision for them to make because of stuff that has already happened. She would be the third woman that Ruben has been with and second married with if they get married. He has six kids, three from each of the previous. She has one from a relationship she was in before. Both of their last relationships ended pretty bad. There is saying here and I will do it in English for everyone. It goes like this: “When one is burned by milk, they cry when they see the cow.” So it is in this situation. But when my companion was talking to her yesterday she said something that surprised us both. She said that she doesn’t have a commitment with anyone else but with God. And that in order to be good with God, if she had to leave Ruben, she would do it. Our jaws dropped. So we are now in a situation where if Ruben and Virginia don’t get married, It is only going to be Virginia going to church with her daughter Sofi (7 yrs old). To make things even more exciting, the oldest daughter of Ruben from the second, we’ll say, wife, is attending church and all the activities and she wants to get baptized too. Her name is Milagros and she is 12 years old. So we are working with her so that she can get permission from Ruben, her dad (easy), and her mother who is against the church (not as easy). So we have our work cut out for us.

We had 32 people at church yesterday which is an average day. And then to make the day better, we had District Priesthood meeting in Bragado and 4 [came?] in the afternoon. It was such a good meeting. We had one person from our branch receive the Melquisedec Priesthood. Well, not received, but got sustained and he will be getting it on Thursday. In the Priesthood Meeting they talked about always having a current temple recommend even though we cannot go for another year. They also talked about the blessings of being full tithe payers. And the last one I liked the most. The last speaker, President Abrea, talked on the importance of the priesthood and each of the responsibilities that each office has. It was so awesome and I am sure that it helped out some members of our Elders quorum. We had five men from our branch go which is the most ever they said that had gone to a meeting like this. We went in a convey [combi?]. It was fun. So that was Sunday. And now it is P-day. We are probably going to play ping pong right after we write these letters. Anyway, nothing too exciting but enough to keep me occupied.

I received a card from Miss Erica, thank you very much for being very consistent even though I am very, very inconsistent. I very much appreciate your letters. Mother’s day is coming up so you know what that means family… I’m calling! I don’t know any plans yet or what is going to be happening that day because it is also the last day of the transfer so we don’t know if we are going to be traveling to BA or not. We probably won’t because we will probably stay together for a third transfer. That is unheard of. So who knows. I’ll let you know with more details next week. So anyway, Talk to you all next week.

Elder Pickett

Monday, April 19, 2010

Elder Pickett wins the Green Jacket

Dear Everyone,

What a week! I always say that but it is always true. There happens to be at least one thing interesting every week. I will start with what happened last P-day. After I sent last weeks letter, we went and did our compras and ate some lunch. We then sat and wondered what to do the rest of P- Day. P- Day is a very special day for all missionaries. It is a day where you can rest for a bit and do some fun things in your area if there are any fun things to do.

Well, we had heard a rumor that there was a golf course in our area. So what do we do? We went searching for the golf course! We found it and we ask ourselves, golf now or next week? It didn’t take very long for us to make a decision. We got inside the club house and ask about all the prices and stuff. It was going to be 30 pesos each person for as many holes of golf as we wanted. WHAT! To make things even better, they GAVE us clubs to use. No rental fee. We did have to buy some golf balls but those cost 2 pesos each ball. Oh man did we hit the jackpot! So we went golfing for P- Day, in Argentina! We just did 9 holes because of time but that was so much fun. My companion and I tied. The score was 61 to 61. I know that is a horrible score for you golf people but for us being missionaries who don’t go golfing all the time, that was amazing!

Then came Tuesday and it was normal for the most part. Wednesday was a half day because we had to travel to BA for a Zone conference in Moreno. We did the whole zone conference thing which was OK. The topic was use the Book of Mormon as much as possible. And so, this week we are going to try and use the Book of Mormon as much as possible. We then went back to 9 de Julio Thursday night. We didn’t get back home until midnight. We were so tired. When we got home, we went straight to bed.

Skipping now to Saturday because Friday was normal also. Saturday was a half day also because we had a service project in the afternoon/evening. Our service project was to clean the back patio of the church which was just a huge mess. Branches and vines everywhere. We found a huge frog but it escaped somehow. But we started working at like 5 and didn’t finish until 715 or so. By that time, it was really dark. As you can see, it is starting to become winter here. So it was a tad bit chilly for my liking. But we got a whole lot cleaned up. Now we have a huge pile of branches and weeds and stuff that we need to take out this week. And then after that we are going to repaint the back of the capilla. This place is just rocking with service opportunities and I love it! Doing some good work out here is fun. I know that sounds weird seeing as I would hate to do work at home. But work out here seems more fun.

After we were done working, one of the hermanos cook us some homemade pizzas. They were really really good. He used to work at a pizzeria and so he knows the tricks. But I can’t tell you how good it was because it was just that good.

Now yesterday, Sunday, Día de Reposo, and boy did I need a reposo. I was asked by the Primary Presidency to teach in primary the first hour on the Restoration of the Gospel. That was fun because I made the kids draw! Ha ha. Then I went and taught my classes, the youth, about Moses raising up a serpent and how it was a symbol of Christ being lifted up on the cross and how we need to have faith to look unto Him and be healed. Great.

Then sacrament meeting I had to give a talk. We had a speaker who spoke for 5 or 7 minutes, something like that, then the intermediate hymn, then I had to speak. I had literally 35 minutes or so. For those of you who were at the sacrament meeting where I gave my “farewell” talk, know that I spoke there for 10 to 12 minutes. So here I am, I get up and I tell people that I have 35 minutes to speak, and that it was going to be the longest talk I have ever given in my life. They laugh of course because I am Elder Pickett and everything is funny. So I ended up talking for 30 minutes and Elder Sabey had to get up and say a couple of words. I literally ran out of material and was rambling about cualquier cosa about the church for a good 5 to 10 minutes after all my material ran out. It was kind of embarrassing but it turned out good according to some people. I think they were just trying to be nice. I talked about Unity in the branch. I talked about if we are not one, we are not of God and this topic has been a bit of a problem here so I think what I said in my talk should help this branch a little. Other than that, I have survived another week in the mission. I haven’t passed out from exhaustion, yet.

Thank you everyone for you support. I didn’t receive any snail mail from anyone so I am assuming everything is great. I did receive a letter from one of my converts who is now attending seminary so I am very proud of him. He is 14 yrs old and waking up at 5:30 in the morning to go to seminary at 6. What a KPO! Anyway, thank you for the pictures. I love you all and keep doing the thing you do.


Elder Pickett

Monday, April 12, 2010


Here are the pictures Allen sent this week. They were too many to include inside the body of the mail without being distracting. A special thanks to Rob Kelsey for teaching Allen how to paint!

Casita + Capilla

Detail painting

Working hands!

Look at that nice form!

Hermano Borges, the homeowner and branch member.

Second wall painted

Elder Sabey working


Front of the house

This guy's painted before!

Having fun with paint

Group effort

Elder Sabey

Elder Sabey



The last wall to paint

The reward at the end of the hard work: Empanadas Jujeñas!


Dear Everyone,

This week has been what they call here a LIO!! It has been so crazy. Well, I say that every week but I guess that’s what this calling brings. This week my companion and I watched the Priesthood session in English and WOW! That seriously was one of the best Priesthood sessions I had ever seen in my short Priesthood life. Well it would have to be the best one I have ever seen because it was the best one President Monson had ever attended. I loved hearing Elder Rasband tell about how we receive our mission calls and stuff. And I absolutely loved the talks from the First Presidency. President Uchdorf with his talk on patience and President Eyring on diligence. President Monson’s talk to the youth about staying on the path and keeping the commandments was also really great. I hope we can all reread those talks and live by the instructions that they gave us. And also, being in the branch presidency, we had the opportunity to watch with the young women, their leaders and some mothers, the young women’s conference. That was really great. The one thing that stuck our in my mind is that we are never alone. Though we may be the only member in our school, group of friends, work or what have you, we are never alone.

We also had the opportunity to do some service. Besides the service of helping the youth with their English homework and me teaching some piano classes, we went on Saturday and painted the exterior of a member’s house. It was just Elder Sabey, Hermano Borges, and me. We started at 10 in the morning and finished at about 230. It was a lot of fun. I was the only person there who had any painting experience and so I had to take the lead and teach the other two how and where to paint. We did a very good job in my opinion. There weren’t blotchy spots so I guess it was good. We finished off this service project eating empanadas. They were made in the style from Jujuy. They are very similar in the way that Mom and Abuelita make them. She put ground beef instead of chicken, no olives, and she baked them. They were really good. She made about 5 dozen and I think I ate one of those dozens. SO GOOD!

As winter has been coming closer, working in the afternoon is starting to be a little harder. The sun now goes down at about 715 which leaves us two more hours to work but everyone is already inside. Trying to set some citas at night is looking like our best option to overcome this problem. These past couple of weeks have been really humbling for me because we have not been able to find anyone to teach and progress. The missionaries before us have already been everywhere in this town. When we talk to someone, they almost always say that they have talked to us before. We teach them anyway but to no avail. Just have to keep Luchando in this Lucha.

Sunday we had 32 people in sacrament meeting. That’s kind of the average so not really a big deal. We had three investigators there. Victoria, Milagro, and Virginia were all there. They are doing really well. They are basically members but minus the baptisms. We are trying really hard to resolve everything so that they can get baptized. Just crazy stuff.

Zone Conference this week. We are going to be traveling to Buenos Aires to stay with the office elders then the actual conference is in Moreno. In the capilla of Paso del Rey again. It’s going to be fun fun fun! Not much else to contar because the rest is just the normal missionary stuff.

OH! I forgot to say, FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS ABUELITA last week. I did remember your birthday but I forgot to send an email. And one more thing. Marcos, I love you man. You are just too funny. Next time, get out of the car! Haha I love you. Anyways, I hope to tell more things next week.

Elder Pickett

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dear Everyone,

What an incredible week! Being able to listen to the Prophets voice and hear inspired council was amazing. I will start off by telling how my week went. CRAZY! Monday we had normal P-day where we just chilled and I took a siesta. I always take a siesta on P-days because I am so exhausted. My companion hates the siesta. I think all Americans hate the siesta… Oh well, their loss. Tuesday we just worked like normal. We didn’t have district meeting because we were going to have interviews with the President in Chivilcoy on Thursday. But we had Elder and Hermana Henderson come and do some visits. They are Senior Missionaries who work in Chivilcoy. If you haven’t noticed, Chivilcoy is the district center. Elder Henderson is a counselor in the District Presidency. He came down and he did some visits. He also gave us his laptop to borrow for conference. That’s another thing.

The pension needs some TLC

The pension looks nice now

We spent our whole P-day last week looking for an internet provider that we only had to sign up monthly. That took the whole day because we had to get documents and blah blah a lot of stuff went down. We eventually got it all worked out and they installed the internet on Tuesday. So everything was working so we could watch conference. Wednesday was just a normal day. We went to the casita of a church that we have to try and see if we could connect the computer to the tv. This turned out to be harder than we thought. We had our S-video cable and everything and everything fit, but we lack just one step and I’ll get to it later. Thursday we went to Chivilcoy at 8 in the morning and got there at about 10. We had ourselves a mini zone conference and I met the new Elder that just came in last week. He is from Rigby…And when he saw my name, he said “Pickett’s Bambino, right?” And I was really surprised obviously. Come to find out, he has never had a bambino but just knows that place. Elder Hull is his name. Then I had my interview with President. I have been told that the more to the middle of your mission you get, the less President talks to you about stuff. Well, that turned out to be true. My interview went for about 7 minutes and I came out with one thing. I came out with a knowledge of the base of the Atonement. Love. But my companion had his trunky interview. They talked about schooling and life after the mission. I just laughed at him but I know that I’ll have to do that one day. Just not today. In fact, he is doing his registration for BYU right now as I’m typing this.

Once all the interviews were done, we all left for our different areas again. When we got to the bus terminal, the bus we wanted to take was full. We then realized and completely forgot that Thursday was the start of Semana Santa. Everyone was leaving. That bus was at 410. We then asked for the next bus and that one left at 630 and there were only two seats left. One on top and one on bottom. These buses are double-deckers. So we were in a funny situation. So we waited for the bus to come and 630 came around and no bus came. 645…. No bus. No bus at 7 either. 735 is when the bus finally came and there were a lot of people that got on that bus. Luckily for us, there was no one sitting in the seat next to me the whole way so my companion sat next to me. Whew! We got home at 1030 that night. A whole day doing nothing basically.

Friday we got to work on getting the TV and computer hooked together but to no avail. But to make matters worse, we couldn’t get any video feed. We worked all Friday morning on it and we didn’t get anywhere. We then had to hurry the rest of the day Friday and tell everyone that conference was going to be in the capilla and we had to tell everyone the times and tell them not to come on Sunday at nine in the morning. That was Friday. Saturday came. Yes. Conference day. The day we have all been waiting for. So we got to the church and we get on the broadcast page and there is a little note that says “If you are using Mozilla Firefox 3.6, you may encounter some technical difficulties. We suggest you downgrade to the most up to date Mozilla Firefox 3.5 (which in our case was 3.5.9)” Well, THERE was the answer to everything. With three hours to go, we got connected. Now the Computer to TV problem. We got ourselves a new adapter for the S-video cable and we plugged everything in and still the same result. Nothing. So we had to restart the computer to downgrade the internet and when the computer fired up again, something amazing happened. The computer screen appeared on the TV! AH! That’s when the mo-tab would come in with Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Something like that. But we finally got everything to work. We hooked up the sound to our sound system that we already have for the microphone and it sounded marvelous. And then the moment we had all been waiting for… CONFERENCE!! YAHOO!

This is how we watched general conference
Conference starts here at one o’clock. So we started the transmission in Spanish and after half hour, no one showed up. So we switched to English. No one showed up for that session of conference. Wow. It was really sad. The afternoon session started at 5 if you do your math right and we had us and three other people. Pathetic. One of them was Virginia who is an investigator that is practically a member. She is awesome. And we didn’t watch Priesthood session because we didn’t think that they broadcast that on the internet. So everything went well as far as the technical stuff. My companion and I were really happy that we got to listen to conference.

There was a lot of great counsel to the members as far as responsibilities. President Packer talked about a priesthood holder in the home. Elder Ballard talked about Mothers and Daughters and the relationship they must have. I don’t have my notes with me but there were a lot of stellar talks. And hearing it translated in Spanish was pretty cool. Some of the apostles translated their own talk and I could understand their Spanish a little better. I understood a lot so don’t worry. I know what each of them said. Sunday we had 14 people show up for conference both sessions. A very small amount of the branch showed up which is very disappointing. But you do all that you can to get everyone there and then it’s up to them.

Thank you Big Mark and Rosie for your email. Thank you Marcos and Sophia for your wonderful letters. I really do appreciate your letters. I love hearing from my brother and sisters. Andi and Sara still have time to make up for the letters they have not written. TIA CUI: SÍ. I would love to get more letters. Thank you for your letter also. I love hearing from family. It is a great comfort to know that one has support at home. As was the theme in my opinion for conference, stay strong in the home and stay close as a family. I love you all and thank you for prayers for me and other missionaries.

Elder Pickett

General Conference Highlights