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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.

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


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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Here...

Dear Everyone,

Well, this week was a very sad week. This country is a wreck after the game. We received permission to watch the game and it was very frustrating to watch. Well enough of that because it just makes me even more sad. One more thing about it, I can’t even tell you how many people I saw crying that day. Anyway, just another week here in Argentina. We had a baptism Saturday. It was of a girl who turned 9 years old last week and so we were placed in charge of her. It was a very nice baptism. There was also a baptism of the branch so it was a primary baptism. So at least we have one baptism now. It is going to be a little bit harder finding another baptism but I’m sure we can find one. We had one of our investigators come to church for the first time yesterday. He is a 19 year old from Bolivia. I think on my side of [the city of] Grl. Rodriguez we have the whole country of Bolivia. Chiste. But we are hoping to get him to come to church more. He said he is going to come next Sunday also so we’ll see what’s up. I think an easier way of telling you what I do every week is to just video everything I do and then you can see what I do. But the computers down here load too slow and so it takes a long time to load videos, like 45 mins for one, and that’s if I am not doing anything on the computer. Anyway, enough quejaring.

My hijito is still struggling. He is still struggling with the language but talks to everyone igual. I have to translate sometimes after he is done talking with them but he is progressing nevertheless. We are getting better. We have had funny moments where he mixed up his wording. For example, instead of asking a woman if we can compartir un mensaje with her, he said, queremos compartir una familia con usted. Que día podemos pasar? It was the funniest thing to translate afterward because we did get her address and so it made things just a tad bit funnier. He was embarrassed after and so was I because apparently we are both going to be sharing a family with her. Jaja. It’s just a process that all missionaries go through. Yesterday for the 4th of July, we cooked ourselves an asado, well we took meat over to a members house and they helped us cook it. We had a cut of meat called tapa and it was really good. We cooked about two and a half kilos of that and two whole chickens. Yes, we were really stuffed afterward. You can imagine all the meat, salad, bread, and sprite we consumed. A ridiculous amount of food. We all wore our red white and blue tie to church. I wore the Argentina USA pin that Dad gave me. Happy 9 de Julio. I really wanted to be in 9 de Julio for 9 de Julio. That would have been a cool celebration.

Well thank you Mom and Dad, Abuelita y Grandpa, and Grandma and Grandpa Packard for your letters. We are almost at the half way mark. Only like what two and a half months until that point. Jaja. Sara, happy birthday. I hope you’re not too drugged up to celebrate. If you are, I will celebrate for you. Oh and there are going to be some people calling you for your birthday on Thursday from down here. I think.... well they said they would. We have lunch with them on Wednesday so I’ll talk to them and averiguar todo. Well nothing else exciting is going on. I hope everyone has a Wonderful 9 de Julio without me. We all know that it’s not the same without me. Jaja.

I love you.

Elder Pickett

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