Allen's e-mail address

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.


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.

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

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