Allen's e-mail address

Monday, May 31, 2010

All Good Things Come to an End

Dear Everyone,

What a week! That phrase is getting really redundant but it’s the truth. Last Tuesday we(our branch and this country) had a celebration for the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 25 de Mayo. We had a lot of fun. There were almost 200 people at the branch activity. There was a lot of people playing soccer. In fact, we elders got to play a little. We ended up playing against all the old people who might I add are still pretty good. One of the old guys was decked out in his Boca uniform. Shirt, shorts, socks and court shoes. I wish I had taken a picture of it. It was hilarious. We ate a dish that is called Locro. It wasn’t too bad, but let me tell you what is in it. There is pig skin, cow stomach, tail and I am not sure but I think I saw an eyeball. HAHA. Just kidding but it is an interesting dish. I ate it and I didn’t die so I think it is pretty good.

There was a program with songs and dancing. Our branch president sang La Luna de Tucuman song. I don’t know if that is the title but I recorded it on my camera so don’t worry. He did a couple songs. We all sang the national anthem of course. I only knew the Libertad, Libertad, Libertad! part so it was kind of funny. The bolivians did a dance from bolivia that was pretty cool. We were there from 9 in the morning until 7 at night. So much fun. Why can’t parties be like that in the US? But I definitely have some nice memories of this Holiday. Who knows, maybe I’ll celebrate 201 next year just the same.

So then Thursday came and we had Zone Conference. Zone Conference is just a full day of just listening to our leaders speak to us. It is really long but I guess it’s OK. But the best thing is that I got the package! Thank you so much. I have been drinking hot chocolate everyday. After drinking malta for a long time, you kinda get sick of it so hot chocolate was really good. But I have one thing relating to the package, you forgot to put my soccer pictures in there like I wanted. But it’s OK. It’s like it was a life or death situation. But the fact that there is a cake mix in there and putter butter like stuff makes up for all of it. Thank you Mom. I love you.

Saturday rained like no ones business. BUT, we still had our 4 baptisms. I sent a picture of them. It was great. I got to baptize the kids. They also got confirmed on Sunday so the church now has four new members in General Rodriguez, Argentina. Changing topics, I am starting to learn another language. Since we have a lot of Bolivians, they know Imará (Aymara). It is one of the many languages they speak in Bolivia. I have learned how to say how are you, I am good, Brother, Sister, Goodbye, and I can count 1-10. This is one of the hardest languages I have ever tried to learn (seeing as I have tried to learn so many). They laugh at me when I say something wrong because to be honest, it sounds hilarious. I laugh when I try to speak.

Anyway, this coming week, Elder Aidukaitis of the Area Presidency is going to be speaking to the mission Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I am really excited to listen to him. Hopefully I can take something out of it to apply to me. We got number one in the zone this past week and hopefully we can keep working diligently. My comp and I get along just fine. We work well together.

Thank you Abuelita y Grandpa, Cui, Sophia, Mom and Dad for your emails this week. I really appreciate how you guys take time out of your day to write me. I think I get as excited about Mondays as you guys do. Sara, congrats on graduating from Seminary. I am really proud of you. Marcos, Sophie, and Andi, Be good and listen to Mom and Dad. Well, Hope you enjoy your week. I love you.


Elder Pickett

Monday, May 24, 2010

Once in a Lifetime

Dear Everyone,

So the past week was pretty crazy, like always. There weren’t a lot of highlights. So again, this may be kind of short. So we went to BA this past week to go to the hospital for my companion. He has an allergic reaction to something on his hand and so he has to see the doctor for that. We waited for like an hour for the doctor and we were in his office for like 5 minutes. The doctor just said he has eczema and gave him some pills and a cream. It was really quick and dumb but it had to be done.

Catedral en Lujan

Elder Pickett in front of Catedral

The biggest highlight of the week was that we had four investigators in the sacrament meeting, AND they are going to get baptized this Saturday. It is a complete family. I think I have already told you guys. But this Saturday is their baptism. This is a Bolivian family. There is a whole neighborhood/barrio of just Bolivians. Out of the 90 people in church, 40 of them come from this family/neighborhood/barrio. They can make their own branch they are so many. But yesterday we went to visit them and to go over what we have taught them and they knew all the answers to everything. They have been reading The Gospel Principles book and every pamphlet we have given them. They know who Joseph Smith is and the necessity for a restoration. The Father’s name is Miguel, Mother is Teodora, then Alina(15), and Gabriel(9). They are really cool. Miguel’s sister just got baptized a couple weeks ago so this whole family is just going to get baptized.

Bolivian food called Lagua with dehydrated potatoes called "chuña"

Enjoying Bolivian food

Elder Pickett really digging his work...

The work is contagious...

Now for the other big news down here. This grand country of Argentina is going to be turning 200 years old this year. Now as you all know, this only comes once in a normal lifetime. So I am very grateful for this opportunity that I have to celebrate being an Argentine. I have bought myself a Messi Jersey for the celebrations and also for world cup. I have also bought myself one of those flag capes. The flag says VAMOS ARGENTINA. I would say it is pretty cool. And just to top things off, I have bought myself some River Plate socks. I am going to be showing all of it off at our Branch Activity where there will be a soccer tournament and our companionship is on a team. Watch out! We are going to win it all.

What a sense of fashion!

So as I have been trying to get used to my area and companion and new responsibilities, I have been reading in D&C. This past week, I read section 122 where the Lord told Joseph Smith that all the stuff that he is going through is for his good and benefit. And since I am a missionary, of course I am going to apply that to me. All the stuff that we go through in this life, whether they are good or bad, is for our benefit. We can learn something from everything in this life. There are times in our life where we don’t think we can endure something but remember that the Lord doesn’t give us trials above that which we are capable of having. The Lord knows our needs. He knows us individually and that is why we have the trials that we have. They are specific to us and what our Heavenly Father thinks we need in order to be like him. Sometimes we lose focus of that sometimes but I hope you all can keep that in mind this week.

Thank you Chris, Claralina, Abuelita y Grandpa, Mom and Dad for your Emails this past week. Chris, come to me. You know you want to. I hope you get sent down here because it is really great being here in Argentina. But I know that wherever you get called, the Lord needs you and your skills there. Thank you everyone for you support and constant love. Remember who you are and what your parents taught you. Lol And Happy 200th Anniversary!!!


Elder Pickett

Monday, May 17, 2010

Starting Over... Again

Dear Everyone,

This week was very interesting for me. First off, getting to a new area was really hard. I have to start all over getting to know people. It’s not bad getting to know new people but I really liked the people in 9 de Julio. So I don’t even know where to start but I guess we’ll start off with the beginning of the week.

Monday, I got to General Rodriguez and I just unpacked. Tuesday, we went to district meeting in Lujan. Now, we are going to take a pause here and I am going to explain what Lujan is for those who don’t know. Lujan is the home of the biggest cathedral I have ever seen in my life. Yes I have a picture of it but I forgot my camera to send it to you guys. The place is huge. There is a HUGE plaza and a lot of Virgin of Lujans. The Virgin of Lujan is basically the base of the catholic religion here. We are going to take a tour of the cathedral next P-day.

Catedral en Lujan - courtesy of

Anyway, that is Lujan. Wednesday, we just worked, actually we just worked the rest of the week. On Thursday we continued to dig a pozo for a family. A pozo is a hole about 4-5 meters that is used to put human waste in. I know, really gross. Friday, I got really sick. I finally got the cold. But this sickness just hit me really hard. My nose was completely clogged, head pounding, horrible cough with no voice. Just a great sickness to have as a missionary. My voice is still very froggy but I can speak a little better now. We got 4 baptism dates with a family! An entire family! I am so happy. The fecha is for the 29th of May.

We will just skip to Sunday now because we just worked those days even though I was sick. Sunday was weird for me because now I was a normal missionary. I am not in the branch presidency anymore. So I just did what normal missionaries do. My companion and I were in charge of the door greeting. We greeted everyone at the door and all of them saying to me, are you new? I would only think it was obvious but I guess not. In sacrament meeting, there were about 90 people. And this a branch mind you. I had to give my testimony because it was my first Sunday and I had a froggy voice so it was kinda funny. I also had to play the piano for sacrament meeting. Marcos, learn how to play the piano because you will need it. I promise you. And so we did some more getting to know people things after church ended. There is a family in our branch/ward from Tucuman. They are from Villa Lujan, they said. I told them you, Dad, were from Villa Guillermina. Is that right? I don’t know but I hope it is. They were really happy that there was someone now who knows a bit about the north.

Capilla de la Rama General Rodriguez - courtesy of

Nothing really happened this week. I’ll make sure to take some pictures for next week of everything so you guys know what kind of area I am in. It is half campo half city. This city can’t decide between the two. Oh well. I don’t have anything else.

Happy birthday Grandma Packard. I hope your birthday was really great. Thank you so much Mom, Dad, Marcos, Sara, and Gma and Gpa Packard for your Emails. I really did enjoy them. Good luck Eric. Enjoy the MTC because the fun only begins there. Next Sunday I will be completing 8 months on the mission and boy does it just go. Being comp mayor is nothing special just a little more responsibility. Anyway, hope to hear from everyone next week.


Elder Pickett

Monday, May 10, 2010

This could be the start of something new...

Dear Everyone,

So it was very nice to hear from the family. It is really crazy how much everyone has changed. I guess I don’t have much to say because we just spoke yesterday but for everyone else, I will fill them in. This past week was a really crazy one. We were starting to plan for the next transfer for the branch and everything. We had a fairly normal week. Saturday we had an activity for the youth of the branch. We had the young woman leaders teach them how to make chicken milanesas. And also we played ping pong and a little soccer. We had like 12-13 youth there. A couple of them aren’t members so it was really great.

After the activity, we got a call from our district leader saying that I was leaving 9 de Julio. I had only been there for three months so this was really strange. I felt really sad that I had to leave there. I felt really comfortable there. I knew the people and everyone was getting comfortable with me there. So we immediately went out to go start saying goodbye to everyone. Sunday I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting and I took some pictures with some people. Then Elder Sabey and I left right after church to go to BA.

The Silva Family

Juan Cruz y Gonzalo

Borges girls (these are your FB friends Sara)

Crazy Susana


So we are going to fast forward to Today (Monday). We are at transfer meeting listening to the changes. Well, my change came. I am in General Rodriguez AND I am Comp Mayor. OH BOY. I am so scared, nervous, you name it, I am. I don’t even know what to do. I am with a Chileno who has one month less than me. Elder Flores is his name. He is kind of a gordito. So I go straight from the meeting to my area. I am in a four man pench and oh my. The pench is a pigsty. Horrible. I am kind of scared to live in there but oh well. I will do my part to make sure that I don’t dirty it anymore. I feel very out of my comfort zone being out here and this is definitely going to be a stretch for me. But President said that this is only the beginning for me so who knows what is going to happen next. I am definitely supposed to learn something from this experience. Sorry there isn’t much to write, I just talked to you guys last night. Please accept this short letter and I’ll be sure to write a longer one next week.

Sunset in 9 de Julio


Map showing location of General Rodriguez in relation to the mission

Thank you to Claralina and Eryn for writing to me. I really appreciate it. Thank you Mom, Dad, Marcos and Abuelita y Grandpa for your letters also. And thank you miss Erica for another letter. I really do apologize for not writing back. I am just so busy. I hope you accept my apology of peace. Lol. Well, I look forward to hearing from you guys next week.


Elder Pickett

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's May Already

Dear Everyone,

Yup, you guessed it, another crazy week. I guess I will just go through the week and if you get lost, I am sorry. So last Monday we just did the P day thing and we played ping pong again. This time, I lost pretty bad but I think I am getting better. Then Tuesday we had District meeting in Bragado. It was cool but just like any other District meeting. After the meeting, we had divisions with the elders of Bragado because that is where our district leader is. So I stay in Bragado while the district leader went to 9 de Julio.

I was with an elder named Elder Freidbaum. He is a great missionary but has the worst Spanish accent in the world. So when he would teach, the investigator would look at him kind of funny, then he would look at me and ask to translate. So I was the translator during our divisions. We had divisions from Tuesday after District meeting until Thursday midday. Usually they are not that long but since we are out in campo, we don’t want to change then travel the next day to change so we stay together an extra day. So while I was in Bragado, the DL was in my area, like I already said. While he was there, he ate all my food! Drank all my juice! I was so looking forward to eat all the food when I came back. But no, it was all gone. I was so upset. I didn’t eat a lot of his food because I felt bad for taking something that wasn’t mine. Next time, I won’t buy a lot of food so that way he won’t eat everything.

So I got back to my area Thursday afternoon just in time to have a member of the district presidency/ senior missionaries come do a visit in 9 de Julio. We had a meeting with him and our elder’s quorum president and we talked about how we needed to start really pushing and focusing on the home teaching because no one does it. Then right after that we went to the house of Tomás Juarez and his family. He is the one that got sustained to be an Elder. So we ordained him to be an Elder in the Priesthood. It was really a great moment because they have been struggling for the past two years with jobs and attending church. But these last four or five months, they have attended every Sunday except for one or two. They both have callings now and they are looking forward to the day to get sealed in the temple and the whole family. They are really great. This is the same family that I sent a picture of the dad baptizing his son. Do you still have it? Well, it’s that family and that guy that got the priesthood.

Then Friday, we had ourselves a branch activity. We watched a movie and had snacks. We watched the movie, “The Other Side of Heaven”. Great missionary movie. My companion had never seen it and he thought it was awesome and so did the people who were there to watch. We had a total of 9 members then us two missionaries. And we bought a lot of food so now we have extra. Go figure. Then Saturday we did a lot of work. We did all the work that we lacked thus far. And I think that’s all for Saturday.

Sunday, we did the church thing but with some excitement. We had a member of the Mission presidency come out with a patriarch. We had two members who received their Patriarchal Blessings. Since it was fast and testimony meeting, we had people go and bear their testimony. The last testimony was the patriarch. Oh man. He is so awesome. Let’s just say, he spoke with some power and authority that it left everyone silent. Even the little children were silent. Afterward, I had the grand opportunity to speak with him a little because he was waiting for the counselor in the mission presidency to finish with an interview he had to do. He gave me some great council on what to do with the branch. He reminded of Grandpa Packard I think only because Grandpa Packard is a patriarch and always has good advice.

Then after church, we went to the house of a member to eat. We had arroz con pollo, the yellow kind… I know what you guys are thinking. “How did he eat it?” Well, for those who don’t know, that is my least favorite meal of all of history and time. But for some reason or another, I ate it. And it was good too. To make it more interesting, there was chicken stomach in it. Hmmm. I had never eaten chicken stomach before and my comp just gave me the I don’t think you should eat that look. So when the hermana asked if I wanted to try, I said Sure. So I tried it and the first couple bites weren’t bad, until I ran out of sauce to eat it with. To describe to you what was going through my head: the meat was bluish purple and very thick, kinda rubbery and takes a long time to masticate. So when she served me more stomach, I had to eat it. So I did. Eating that stomach reminded me of eating morcilla. Good to start and it just goes downhill from there. With this same family, we have eaten cow tail and cow throat. The throat wasn’t bad but the tail kinda freaked me out. Just some of the weird stuff we eat out here. Oh, I have also eaten pig the still had the skin and hair on it and the fat and stuff. Yeah, I was speechless too. And that was the week. Crazy week.

So I would love to thank My mother and father for writing. And Grandpa Pickett. I always love to hear from you because you were a missionary also down here. Happy Birthday to Grandpa Packard and Christian this week. I didn’t forget.

So this coming Sunday I will be calling home. Now, I only have 40-45 minutes this call. The last one we kinda talked a bit too long. So only 40-45 minutes this time. I will be calling at 5 pm your time. 8 pm my time. Deal? So 5 o’clock mountain standard time I will be calling. So family, get ready because I am going to be rocking the Spanish. Anyway, I love you and I’ll talk to you Sunday.


Elder Pickett

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