Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 25 December 29, 2014 "Christmas was the best!!! Happy Birthday & Baby to Hanna!"

 I am an UNCLE Woo Whoo!!!!!
 I can't believe it is almost 2105!! Time flies when you are having fun out here during mission life I guess. In 4 days I will have been on my mission for 6 months! It is crazy to think I have been here for that long. I had a great week this week. Probably one of the best weeks of my mission so far. Christmas as a missionary is great!! You wake up in the morning and it just feels like another day but then you get to call your parents and man is that the best Christmas present I have ever gotten!! It was so nice talking to my family and definitely uplifted me for the rest of the week. I mean it was definitely a hard Christmas being away from my family for the first time and all but I had my mission family and all these Koreans to celebrate with so it was great! We had a mission Christmas conference that was really fun this week. For lunch we got a turkey dinner from the base out here and man was that delicious!!! I even got my favorite, apple pie :) The conference overall theme was that EVERY missionary serves a purpose and that we all need to work together in uplifting each other. It definitely was exactly what I needed to hear because recently I have been wondering why in the world the Lord needed me here in Korea! I still don't know and may never find out but what my mission president shared really hit me. I just got to continue to do my part and rely on the Lord to make up for my shortcomings. We all can be missionaries in all that we do. As a missionary I learned this week from a training we watched President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave to the new mission presidents that we all have to be fearless missionaries. We must fear no man. All of His sheep must be found and taught of the gospel. God gave us this gospel and knowledge we have so that ALL of His children can be saved through His only Begotten son Jesus Christ. This very message needs to be spread to all. Lucky for me right now, that is what I am here in Korea trying to do. We all can be disciples of Christ even if we don't have a tag on our chest. All need to know about Jesus Christ and His significance. We are all just so happy with the knowledge we have so why don't we just spread it and make others happy? I may not have reached my full potential as a missionary yet and at times can be more lazy than I should be but as long as I keep moving forward that is all that matters. We should never let Satan or the adversary get us down. Like it says in the New Testament we need to just pluck out our sin, cast it into the fire, and keep going!! Christ wants us to be happy and with His atonement we can constantly be moving forward. At the Christmas conference they showed some slide shows of everyone in the mission as missionaries and then as babies so that was pretty fun to watch. You could feel such a sweet spirit there it was great! 

    On Christmas we woke up and opened our packages from our families the whole house all together so that was fun. After that we went to the church and had a little party where we made pancakes and watched "The Best Two Years." It is crazy how accurate that movie is!! It really is right on the money of how a mission is haha. One of our English class members brought a Baskin Robbins cake that was way tasty. Christmas night we went caroling first to a members house in the English Branch then we went and sang on Gangnam Daero, the main street of Gangnam. We got a lot of weird looks and it was kind of scary singing in front of all those people but who knows maybe some felt the spirit as they walked by. Some foreigners walked by and were like what in the world are these two white dudes doing singing in Korean on the street haha. 

      On Saturday we went to Dino Golgi, a meat buffet, with our friend Ranee from the English Branch. He is a pretty funny dude. We also went to Costco and I got some muffins!! Not just muffins but that was the best thing I bought haha. I had a good conversation with the taxi driver on the way home and was able to talk to him a bit of why I was here. He was Christian too and a really nice man so we had a nice talk. He said I was handsome and then to make him laugh I responded in Korean of course and said "No. I am uglier than a pig" haha. That poor taxi driver was laughing his head off, he thought I was so funny. Yesterday was rough... I woke up with a terrible head ache and could barely walk without falling over haha. I just had to fight through it all day though with church and all. Last night they had a family history thing at the Stake Center that was pretty cool  and everybody kept asking why my dad is brown and I'm white. So that was pretty funny. They had an end of the year music festival afterwards that a lot of the English branch came too. There are a lot more American members in Korea then I thought. It was crazy being around people that weren't missionaries that spoke English as good as I did. Transfer calls are this Saturday so who knows maybe I will go to an English branch or something? I have a feeling I will leave Gangnam since I have been here for 3 transfers but idk. I will go whenever the Lord needs me to be. I love you all and hope you have a Happy New Year!! 

Lets make 2015 a good one!!!! :)

Elder Picard

Christmas stockings from home.
At the Gogi Buffet with my companion!
Enjoying pies at our Christmas conference.
Peacing with Hulk, didn't know he had a femine side.
Christmas package from home and the perfect tree from my best Saltese Ward!
Always get jerky in my stocking!
Love Baskin Robbins!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 24 December 22, 2014 "Just call me Santa!"

    3 days till Christmas!! It is really weird though because as a missionary it doesn't feel like a normal Christmas because I will not be with my wonderful family and am not doing what I did all growing up preparing for Christmas. Time just kind of all blends together out here in the mission field. I had a lot of opportunities to pass out the "He is the gift" pass along cards they gave us to hand out before Christmas. We still have a lot more to pass out but that's okay because I love any chance I get to use my Korean skills, which aren't great, to talk about Jesus and Christmas!! I learned a lot of vital lessons this week that have made me really think hard. There have been some gifts I have took for granted and have really realized the importance of them till just now... You just learn so much being a missionary, it is awesome! One point I really liked yesterday when I watched the annual Christmas Devotional that was broadcast from SLC was the fact that God didn't send tornadoes, earthquakes, or strike us with lightning to get us to straighten up but He sent a tender little baby. That just shocked me when I heard that because I realized that God really did know and had the utmost patient in the world that He didn't strike the world with His almighty power but instead sent a baby boy. A baby boy that would soon become the Redeemer of the world! Through and because of Him we are able to be happy and have the opportunity to live for time and all eternity with our families. This plan just makes sense! God knows all of His children and wants us all to return to live with Him again. From here on out I will be able to view Christmas in a way I have never been able to before view it. Christmas has a whole new meaning to me now... I may not be the best person or missionary I can be right now but thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I can always be forgiven of my sins and become who He wants me to become. Hurrah for Israel! Hurrah for Christmas time! Because it truly is "the most wonderful time of the year!" We watched the devotional in Korean but lucky for me there was a man at church that let me use his Ipad so I could read along and actually understand haha. I wouldn't of got as much out of it as I did if it weren't for that man and his Ipad. That may not seem like a miracle but man was it one. I felt the spirit so strongly yesterday and couldn't help but smile. 

      I got to go to the temple this week! My companion and I did initiatories because they needed 2 elders to do them. We get in there and it was all in Korean and the men performing the ordinances were speaking really fast so I didn't understand a thing accept for "amen." Then as I sat there with my eyes closed I heard fluent English. For a second I thought I had just experienced the gift of tongues but then realized the man was actually speaking English... Although that man made my experience at the temple so much more meaningful and because he was there and that point and time to do that, that in itself is a miracle! I got my Christmas package but haven't opened it yet. So thanks family for sending that. You are the best. I also got some other mail. Thanks to everyone who sends me mail. I love getting mail, it's the best!

        Since I get to Skype with my family this week this email will be a little shorter than usual. The last thing I am going to talk about is our ward Christmas party we had on Saturday. There was a pretty good turn out and I got to be Santa!! Being Santa was really fun and all of the kids in the ward knew it was me so that was pretty funny. One of them when I came in actually said "That's not the real Santa" so that was pretty funny. They had lots of food and some investigators came so that was really good. We actually have 2 sisters that have been coming to church and want to get baptized so that is pretty cool. Not sure when they want to but hey it's a start! Well anyways I love you all so much and thanks for your support while I am over here in Korea, you are the best! 


Elder Picard

Santa and his companion
They like there Santas tall and thin in Korea, a bit different than America.
Santa in action at the ward Christmas party, too much fun!
Public transportation, easy to find the tall white guy.
So crowded.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 23 December 15, 2014 "Korean Santa was a surprise!"

   10 days till Christmas!!!!! I can't wait. Christmas time is the best time of the year and especially as a missionary because you get to talk to people about the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus Christ! I have really learned how to take rejection being here in Korea that's for sure because sometimes people just don't want to talk or listen to you. I know I am here because the Lord needs me here so I just do my very best to always have a smile on my face. Luckily for me during this cold windy winter in Korea once you smile your face is kind of just stuck smiling until you go into a building with heaters and your face can unfreeze haha. I am so lucky to get personal study time every morning and I have learned a lot lately during that time. I would encourage everyone to set aside some time each day to just read your scriptures and have some alone time in thinking what can I do better each day to make my Savior proud? I know as I have done this and really thought about myself and what more I could be doing that the Lord has blessed me significantly. 

     We taught a few practice lessons this week so that was good. I can slowly see my Korean picking up so that's pretty cool. I have really noticed a difference as I try and just simply pick out words I know from what people say. With just words and can usually make a good guess of what people are trying to tell me but the grammar on the other hand is the hard part. I will get it someday though hopefully. We met with a potential investigator this week but no luck. He didn't believe in God and said he only took us out to eat so he could practice his English. That seems to be the case a lot here so I have just kind of got used to it. We had District meeting this week and my companion gave training on how we can more effectively study the Korean language so that really helped me think about what more I can do to improve. I know for a fact that if I just keep doing my best that the Lord will put words into my mouth when I need them most like it promises in Doctrine & Covenants. I just have to keep relying on the Lord and He will help me out. 

      This week we went to COEX and saw Santa Claus! The crazy thing is the Santa wasn't Korean, he was white so we got a picture with him. My comp and I both thought it was hilarious that even in Korean Santa is white haha. Later on that night we stumbled upon a K-Pop concert which was a rather interesting experience. We didn't stay long just took a few pictures and then left. We had an appointment with a former investigator who talks a million miles per hour in not very good English and is hard to understand. The appointment went okay but he didn't have much gospel interest just the simple interest of wanting to know about America. We ran into these two old crazy drunk Korean dudes that wouldn't stop laughing at each other and keep telling me that I was so tall. It was pretty funny. On Sunday I had a good day and learned a lot. I learned more on the importance it is that I always have a serious attitude and act as a representative of Jesus Christ himself. I have always been a silly dude but I have been trying to save my jokes for the right times. In Korea, it is really important to always know how you act because the Korean people observe how others act very well. So I must always being doing the right thing. Korean has still been continuing to frustrate me in the fact that I can't express myself as I would like to. It is Christmas though so how can I be sad!! Lucky for me I have my best friend Jesus Christ who will help me through it all!! Hard times really are nothing when we let the Lord help us out and work through us. As a missionary I need that. I need to always have the spirit working through me touching all the hearts it can here in Korean. Once again I apologize for my bad English if this email doesn't make sense I am starting to lose my ability to use good grammar with Korean flying through my head. I love you all so much!! Thanks for all the love and support! "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!" 

Merry Christmas from Korea!! 
Elder Picard
We found Santa in Korea and to my surprise he is white, hope I make the nice list.
Had to take a picture as much as my family loves "Wallace & Gromit"
They even play the song "Gangnam Style" here we just watched little kids dance to the song, too cute.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 22 December 8, 2014 "Thanks so much Saltese ward family, you are the best!"

  I can't believe there is only 17 more days till my first Christmas in Korea, that's crazy!! I am really excited for my first Christmas here in country and can't wait to Skype my family. It is going to be the best! Time flies over here in the mission field when you are having fun and even when you are not it's crazy haha. There are hard times and not so hard times here in Gangnam. Lucky for me I get to learn from the hard times and do my best to make all times fun ones!! I am all about having fun and you sure can have a lot of fun on your mission. We are still trying to find more investigators and people to teach because we only have one right now. It has been really hard not having a lot of investigators and people to teach so I have had to be really patient. Which you all know is hard for me sometimes haha. Patience is everything out here. I have to be patient to do just about everything. I mean especially with Korean because it doesn't just come. I wish it did but I just have to keep working for it. I am slowly progressing and can see my Korean getting better and better each day so that's good. 

     This week wasn't too exciting and pretty uneventful but that's okay because I mean sometimes you just have those weeks. We did a lot of proselyting this week and a few practice lessons to help with my Korean so that was good. After email this week we did meet this crazy guy who wanted to take us to get coffee and we said that we didn't drink coffee so we went and got hot chocolate with him. I was really confused with what was going on and at first I thought it was a miracle we found someone but turned out not so good. The man spoke English but not very well. He said it was the first time he met Mormons and wanted to know all about our church. He was full of questions and wouldn't really give us time to answer. It got to the point where he was just trying to prove us wrong and wasn't even listening. It was really hard to not get frustrated but somehow I managed to do so. I gave him a Book of Mormon and my card then bore my testimony of its truth and left it at that because that was really all I could do at that point. 

      My Korean mother who calls me her son told me to set the goal of baptizing 100 people but by the look of things right now that would be extremely difficult. I guess she has more faith in me than I do of myself haha. I also am not in South America so I think 100 might be a little too high. We will see though maybe I can do it? I bought a basketball this week from the Nike store because I am crazy and can't wait till I can play some basketball. The youth in the church in Korea isn't to strong so I am hoping that when spring comes around I can use my basketball skills to pick up some youth investigators and get them interested in the church :) This week I actually went to a high school to see if I could play with their team and do a little coaching but they turned me down. The team was doing really weird warm up drills and at first I thought they were some sort of Karate team because they were doing a variety of different somersaults. It was kind of entertaining to watch but weird. Our ward mission leader took us out for dinner and is starting to try and help us out more so that's good. We had Zone training this week and were trained on using time wisely, how to use our area books, and how to find people that are prepared to hear the gospel. I also went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders since my companion is District Leader. The exchange went good but the Zone Leader I went with and I do not have a single thing in common so it was kind of hard but I learned a lot. I had eggs for breakfast on the exchange and turns out my body is starting to reject eggs. So I had a big tummy ache and had to go to the bathroom. Turns out the toilet was already kind of broken but then I made it worse... We spent like 2 hours trying to fix the thing and couldn't get it to flush. So yeah there is a funny story for you. I got to play basketball with a bunch of little Filipinos who were non members so that was way fun. The Zone Leaders live in the area where our Stake Center is and it is where the English branch also meets so it is a good sized building for Korea. They get to have a lot of fun activities over there with a gym and all so I for sure had a good time getting to run around and all. 

     Well yesterday was my 4th fast Sunday in country! My companion and Elder Hegewald had to do a little introduction of themselves because they are new to the ward. Since Elder Knapp bore his testimony he told me I had to go up too so I did. I did pretty good but then got caught up on a sentence towards the end and just had to close my testimony because I didn't know how to say it in Korean. It is really hard not being able to express myself in Korean but I am kind of getting used to it. That night we went to the 최's for family night, dinner, and to teach a practice lesson. We taught the Plan of Salvation. The lesson went well and my companion had me teach most of it so that was tough but with help from my 12 week study packet I got during training I managed to do it. They had me sing a Christmas song solo in English for the closing song so that was kind of funny. After family night we helped my Korean mom, 최선옥, insulate one of the rooms in their house so their house wouldn't get cold. Korea sure is pretty cold during the winter that's for sure. I am doing my best to keep myself warm though.

      I got the advent calendar last week and I was so excited when I saw what it was!! Thanks so much Saltese ward family, you are the best! I hung it up in our house so now we have a Christmas tree :) I had a good personal study this morning and one of the biggest things I learned was that Christ is with us every step of the way throughout our lives. When we our weak, He will make us strong. When we are sad, He will cheer us up. When we are lost and don't know what to do, He will show us the way and bring us unto the greatest possible happiness we can ever imagine!!! All of this made me come again to the realization that although it will take time I will learn Korean and as I am obedient he will help me and guide to those who are ready to hear the gospel!! I would challenge you all back home to look for opportunities to share the gospel any chance you get. When you do so I can testify that the Lord will always bless you. He wants all His lost sheep to be found. Time to keep working and pushing on!! Hurrah for Israel!!

Elder Picard

Thank you so much Saltese Ward family, you are the best! Now we have a Christmas tree and I LOVE IT!

They got really fancy and decorated a pillar in the subway station by my house so I had to take a picture with it because I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
At Olympic park in SEOUL

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 21 December 1, 2014 "Korean primary program was the best one yet!"

    I can't believe I am already in my third transfer and it's December!! Christmas is right around the corner! I love Christmas and will miss being able to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies and partying with my family. I get to have a Christmas in Gangnam which I guess is pretty cool. It will be my first Christmas in the field and I will only have 1 more! My Korean is slowly getting better and the more I push myself and force myself to think of what I want to say in Korean before I say it in English I can usually do a lot better than I give myself credit for. I still can't understand very well but that will come soon hopefully. Since I am done being a greenie my greenie breaker, new companion, is Elder Knapp. He is from Provo, Utah and has 8 siblings. His dad also looks like he could be in Duck Dynasty so that's pretty cool. He is way chill and we get along well. It is crazy how the Lord knows who exactly needs to be my companion and with the Holy Ghost influences my mission president to put me with the right person. He is way funny and we are constantly laughing so it is really hard not to smile. Which is good because I would rather be happy than angry. 

    For our last hurrah dinner with Elder Hastriter and the other missionaries that left two of our English class students took us to On the Border and we got Mexican food!!! It was way good and the whole time being there I couldn't help but think of my crazy both who served Spanish speaking. It honestly felt like I was in Mexico with all the Mexican music they were playing. It was way fun and I even ordered in Spanish but the waitress was Korean so she didn't understand. I guess I just thought since I was at a Mexican restaurant people knew Spanish but that was definitely not the case haha. She looked at me like I was crazy then I just ordered in Korean and she was like ohhh and understood me. 

    So one night this week we were out looking for less actives and we had no luck in finding them. I saw lights up this hill and was curious as to what was up there so we walked up the hill. When we got to the top I saw the biggest workout park I have seen in Korean it was crazy. They even had bench presses with bars and everything! We then met this guy there who was like 69 but in way good shape who we started talking to then he wanted us to follow him around so he could show us some of his exercises. He had some pretty crazy exercises and it was hard not to laugh. He was a super nice man and we ended up being able to give him a Book of Mormon so that was pretty awesome. We were supposed to go and work out with him the next day in shorts because we were wearing suits the first time but it was raining and he canceled on us but who knows maybe we will go with him later sometime. After that I noticed they had some badminton courts so we went up there. I asked these 2 old ladies if I could play and at first they turned me down because of what I was wearing and thought I was crazy to play in a suit but then one of them ended up playing with me. It was way fun and I never thought badminton was that fun haha. While I played my companion was talking to the other lady about our church and just being friendly. Everyone at those badminton courts was staring at me like they had never seen a big white dude play badminton before so that was funny. I finished playing and as we were trying to leave one of the old ladies start playing this Korean polka music and started dancing so I decided to jump in and dance next to her. It was way fun. They were both Christian so we had a good talk about what we believe which was good. They wouldn't stop talking to us but finally we managed to leave by saying we had another appointment haha. 

     Yesterday was the Primary Program and man was that entertaining!! The 6 primary kids we have are so cute and hilarious. It was by far the best primary program I have ever seen, sooo funny. Korea definitely just lets their kids have fun for the primary program and doesn't make it too serious. They sang, recited stuff, and even did a skit!! Afterwards they went around the congregation and gave us all treats! It was awesome America needs to take some notes and start handing out treats. We had a member bring a coworker to church as a referral which was a miracle! We finally got an actual investigator to teach. We taught her with 2 ward members and the lesson went really well. We are going to teach her again next week after church and now we finally have an investigator again!! Gangnam has been way slow and finding an investigator doesn't happen to much so that was a huge miracle. Later that night we went over to the Cho's for a late Thanksgiving dinner party with a bunch of their English branch friends and the 2 English branch sisters. They didn't have turkey but I am not complaining because they had chicken! Everything was really good. I got to share the spiritual message and I shared it on Elder Wong's talk from this past general conference. I really highlighted on what he said at the end of his talk when he said, "When we assist Him in His mission of saving souls, we too will be rescued in the process." Which is absolutely right. We should constantly be looking to serve and help others. Lucky for me I get to do that every day. When we show our love for others Jesus Christ will be happy and bless our lives. So in this case always be willing to help others because in the long run you too will be helped/rescued by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! You never know what a simple hi can do or how far a single Book of Mormon can travel. Chain reactions are real and we as members of this church should look for all the ways we can to share the gospel with everyone. Even if you don't have a badge on your chest you can still be a missionary!

   Elder Black and I were the only ones to stay in Gangnam. Now we have two new elders in our house that are both pretty cool!! They are my new companion, Elder Knapp, and Elder Hegewald. We all get along really well so that's good and I look forward to serving with all of them. We will see what happens next transfer but who knows maybe there is a lot more I need to do in Gangnam. Yep so that was my week. 

Elder Picard

The Christmas of Love Tree
My new companion, Elder Knapp from Provo, Utah.
"On The Border" the waitresses don't speak Spanish. 
I dedicate this MJ move to all those who love watching me dance!
This leave is almost as big as me :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 20 November 24, 2014 "End of my 2nd transfer and done with TRAINING!"

     Training is over and Elder Hastriter and I are going are separate ways... It is bitter sweet and I sure will miss my trainer! He is the best and has taught me so much. For in Gangnam I shall stay and my companion will go. It will be sad to see him go but he gets to train again for his last two transfers so that's cool! My new companion's name is Elder Knapp and he will become my companion on Wednesday. It is crazy that I am already done being trained and have been in country for 2 transfers. Time flies when you are having fun I guess :) Elder Black and I are the only ones staying in my district and everyone else is going. I guess Elder Black and I are meant to be friends like our parents haha. 

      Well this was a good last week with Elder Hastriter. We started the week off with a BOOM! It was a literal boom too haha. We got to go work out with our ward mission leader at his GYM. It has been too long since I lifted last so man did I have a good time!! They had some pretty funny workout machines there. There was one that you stand on and put a band around your waist then it just shakes your fat like crazy. The other weird one was like this mechanical bull that you sit on and it just shakes you back and forth. They were both pretty fun but I couldn't stop laughing while I was using them. A lot of people working out were wondering what I big white dude was doing at their gym so I got to tell them I was a missionary and why I was there which was pretty cool. We taught a practice lesson with the elders quorum president and then he took us to Japanese and Burger King because I told him I liked burgers so he wanted to take us there too. I was stuffed after that! 

       I went on an exchange with Elder Woltjen and that went well. I bought myself a winter coat so that my mom wouldn't be worried about me freezing. It is a pretty nice coat and it will definitely keep me warm through this cold winter that is coming. I had a really crazy experience this week and how I reacted will make my mom proud. This man on the street was dragging around his girlfriend and treating her not the best so I kind of just looked at him like why are you doing that. To my surprise he looked at me and said in straight English and said "what in the world are you looking at?" but he didn't say it that nicely. I was so shocked of what just happened that I didn't even respond I just smiled. Elder Woltjen luckily jumped in and told the man that he speaks English very well and asked where he learned. He claimed to not know English but I was just proud of myself for not getting frustrated and reacting with anger! I am growing to learn that anger doesn't help any situation and it is better that we just keep ourselves happy because being happy is fun! We met a man on the street later who thanked us and said we were doing good work here in Korea teaching people about Jesus Christ so that put a smile on my face. We got his name card and haven't been able to contact him but maybe someday. 

      I had another wonderful opportunity to give a blessing to a man in our ward who broke his foot. This man's family are not members and he really wants us to baptize them but we still haven't been able to meet him. While I gave him the blessing I was filled with the Spirit and the words that needed to be said just came out. It is crazy how the Spirit works so strongly and can guide a blessing like it did. As a missionary I need the Spirit each and every day. The man thanked me for the blessing and he said that afterwards he was already feeling better. It is crazy how sometimes the Spirit can work through you in ways that you don't even know. That's why we should always keep ourselves worthy so that the Spirit can do that very thing and work through you. 

      We got to help a family in the English branch remodel one of their rooms and that was fun. We painted and then came back a few days later to move everything back into their room. I love having the opportunity to serve others so much on my mission and it has brought me so much joy! My mom was right, service is the best! Don't ever turn down the opportunity to serve someone in need, look for chances to do so! :) I look forward to meeting my new companion this week and can't wait to find those people I was sent here to teach. I must be exactly obedient and have the Spirit with me to do so. In this case I will do just that because that is what my Lord needs me to do!! I know without a doubt in my mind that this gospel is true and that when we serve others and forget ourselves that God will bless us more than we can imagine. 

Elder Picard

Dinner Sunday night with our whole district, a family in the ward, and 3 investigators
Just doing some painting, I love serving others!
They were going to throw out this wardrobe after we got done painting and buy a new one so I asked and then punched a hole in it for fun haha
Our two favorite English class members who always bring us goodies and take us out to eat

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 19 November 17, 2014 "Hard week, learned lots, suggestions please"

    Well another week in Gangnam is in the books! This was definitely one of my harder weeks and we didn't have to much success but I have learned a lot this week. We had pretty much all of our appointments cancel on us and still don't have a single investigator. So yeah lately it has been extremely hard not to lose faith. I still have a long ways to go out here so maybe God just wants me to start now in working the very hardest I can in taking every single minute as seriously as I should be. It is really exhausting and tiring to work like that out here but this week I am going to try hard and do the very thing which the Lord whats me to do and WORK without complaining. If anyone has suggestions on how to lose myself in the work I would love to hear all of your thoughts. I have also learned a lot this week on obedience and am continuing to get better and better at it so thats good. It definitely isn't easy sometimes and you honestly have to tell yourself who cares if I want to do something one way, The Lord has a certain way He wants all things to be done so I must do it His way! Rules are rules out here in the field and they are put there to keep my safe. Missions are tough and my advice to everyone in preparation for your mission is to start now in following all the rules you can. If you discipline yourself now when you get out into the field it will be a lot easier for you. Always remember to stay in bounds because the Lord needs you on His team and he is counting on all of us to do our part! Lucky for us we have the Atonement which can save us in times where we happen to go out of bounds. From all of my life experiences, at my old age of 19, I would just advise everyone to stay as far in bounds as you possibly can because when you check out of the game it is hard to get back in. The Lord loves all of us so much and He deserves our very best. Sorry if that didn't make sense I am typing fast and also have Korean in my head haha. One more thing I would like the Saltese Ward youth to know, actually all youth, make sure and PAY ATTENTION in seminary!! I didn't do it as much as I should of and I regret not taking it seriously. Listen and focus in class, read the scriptures, doing everything you are assigned to do. Even if it takes time and hard work, DO IT! I promise it will pay off and it will help you a lot in your life and immensely when you get out here in the mission field. 

      One of Elder Hastriter's old friends from a previous ward he served in was in Gangnam and he took us and bought us snacks then got us dinner so that was nice. I taught a few practices lessons this week and I can slowly see my Korean progress so that is pretty sweet. I called every single one of our potential investigators in our phone and didn't get a single appointment out of it but got a lot of Korean practice in so that was nice. I read a talk Elder Hastriter gave me on how to become a consecrated missionary which was really good. It talked on how you have to make it so you are anxious to obey and make obedience your nature. This week during personal study I read a lot of conference talks and man aren't conference talks the best!! From learning how to shallow up my pride to becoming humble, submissive, and meek for the themes of the talks I read. They were all really good and I learn so much when I read them. I found out this week that in my ward right now we have the oldest priesthood holder living in Korea in our ward and also the first person baptized in Korea in our ward so that was pretty cool to find out. 

       We met this man and a woman at a coffee shop this week to talk about the Book of Mormon and our beliefs. Our discussion went well but then started to feel weird when we found out that the lady was a fortune teller and also apparently a high priest haha. We did how to begin teaching with them and then left. Lucky for us she didn't try to tell our fortune or do anything weird haha. We went to a members house for dinner and had a great time. We taught the dad a practice lesson and then had ice cream which was really good. 

       I went on an exchange with the ZLs because my companion is DL. The exchange went well and I was trained on humility and charity and I learned a lot of good stuff. I must become fully converted and when I do the Lord will bless me with strength! I can't expect the people I teach to become converted if I am not so I must be. On Saturday I went to this Music Festival at the Stake Center where the Relief Society sang songs and did dances and stuff. It was super funny to watch and I had a great time. Koreans are crazy and definitely party in a unique way. Afterwards they fed us and then we headed home. Yesterday we had a ward lunch after church which was really yummy. Then later that night we went to the 최's for FHE and dinner. My companion shared the message and it was on service then I was asked to bare my testimony. As I started I hit a wall and was at a loss of words. The Spirit was really strong and as I fought back tears I tried to share a meaningful testimony with the very little Korean vocab I have. They thanked me for it and I said sorry my Korean isn't better haha. That day will come though and I can't wait when I can speak Korean well. I showed them our family's cruise video which they loved and then I also showed them the video of when Billy Mills won the Olympics because they wanted to see after they look through my photo album and saw the picture of him. My familly is great and I sure do miss you all. Transfer calls are this Saturday so we will see where I go next or if I stay in Gangnam. Whenever I go is where the Lord needs me to be so I will be happy with whatever happens. Serving in Korea is great and I love sharing the happiness I receive through this gospel to all the Korean people!!

Elder Picard

My cool shades I found at the 최's
My buddy 김기범 
You know you are in Korean when you eat a ward dinner on a ping pong table

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 18 November 10, 2014 "I am in Korea, that's crazy!"

    It is starting to cool up quick over here in Korea so I probably should get a coat soon before the snow flies so my mom isn't worried about her little guy freezing all winter. I will get one so don't worry mom. Well you know you are in Korea when you are walking down the street and all of the sudden get hit in the face with the stinkiest cloud pocket of fart smell. I am starting to adjust to the smell more and everything so that's good. It honestly still is just so crazy to be walking around and think to myself that man I am in Korea, that's crazy! It makes me happy when I get to talk to people in English because Korean hasn't clicked yet and I can speak English well enough to hold a conversation haha. Korean sure is difficult and I don't know what it is with me, I can speak pretty well but can't understand worth beans. So I essentially know what I can say but not when to say it. I guess I just have to be patient and keep practicing. Then also the most important thing I have to do is trust in the Lord and let the gift of tongues work through me. 

     Last Monday after we emailed, my companion and I weren't sure what we wanted to do. So I requested that we could go for a run and my companion agreed. What I didn't know was that he didn't want to run and it just turned into him personal training me haha. I would run up and down hills while he yelled at me to go faster. Then he would have me do push ups, wall sits, tricep dips, and pretty much whatever he wanted me to do. He was definitely having a good time watching me struggle towards the end and was like man you have to let me do this more often. So I think I probably will let him keep doing it so I can get back into shape. After that we met a member for dinner and he took us to Chinese. 

     We met with a potential for dinner one night this week. After dinner he told us one sec and went and took a quick smoke break... Then we taught him a quick lesson. I went ok but I don't think he was interested. I went on an exchange with Elder Black that went really well and we had a lot of cool things happen. Our appointment that night cancelled so I started calling people to try and get another one. I felt impressed to call this one guy and we ended up being able to meet him and he wanted to take us to dinner. He apparently has met with the missionaries a few times and loves Mormons. His son lived with an LDS family in the states and that LDS family happened to be related to one of the missionaries that used to serve here so that's pretty crazy. He said that he wants to go hiking with us so hopefully that will work out and we can continue to teach him. The next day of our exchange Elder Black and I met with a member for lunch and he took us to Outback Steakhouse. He said we could get whatever we want so I got ribs and then he kind of got mad at Elder Black when he just ordered a burger instead of getting a steak haha. The member had a really cool conversion story and advised us to not be pushy with our investigators and to just befriend them first. Later on that day we went to COEX which is like this huge convention/shopping place and happened to walk into this shop that I am sure glad we walked into. The man in the shop just blew up in excitement that we were Mormons who could speak Korean and he said that he has been to the temple in San Diego and thinks it is the most beautiful building ever! We proceed to go him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read it. He then had us sign our signatures in the Boof of Mormon and write our phone number. We went back and tried to teach him later on in the week but turns out that he isn't to interested in the gospel and just liked the fact that we were two white dudes who spoke Korean. It's all good though because he has a Book of Mormon so hopefully he keeps reading it. 

     At Zone meeting this week we got trained on the importance it is that we help our investigators every step of the way like Christ helps us. This part is sadly missed a lot when missionaries are so focused on just getting an investigator baptized then not helping them after. So I am going to learn from this and always be there for my investigators even after they get baptized to help them continue on their path to eternal life!! 

     Yesterday we went to Brother 조's house and taught him a practice lesson and that went well. Except for the fact I messed up and said in Korean "That we take the sacrament every day on Wednesdays" luckily for me it was just a practice lesson haha. We ate lunch with them, played a board game, then shared a message. The message we left with them is that we have to rely on Christ as our source of hope. For lunch he made this eggplant lasagna that he has never made before he just loves to feed us new creations and always tries to make something new. So yeah that was my week. Korea just gets better and better. I love you all so much!! Serving the Lord is wonderful and I am loving every last minute of it! 


Elder Picard
I love being in Korea!
How Elder Hastriter and I weekly plan.
​My cool Book of Mormon case showing my Native Pride!
Elder Black and I with our potential investigator.
My yummy ribs at Outback Steakhouse.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 17 November 3, 2014 "Missions are FUN!"

   What a fun filled week!! Looking back to Monday of this week seems like it was forever ago! When you have a week full of appointments and fun it feels like it was forever ago but then you realize it flew by. You always have ups and downs on your mission but this week luckily was filled with a lot of ups!! I have some funny stories that I think you all will get a kick out of that I will share later. Here in Korea, man is it hard to get investigators and baptisms! It is really just a game of planting seeds in the people's lives and just testifying that you know what you teach is true and will make them happy. I think I will get really good at it before the end of my mission for sure with all the practice I get. It has been hard to get the fact that I probably won't have many baptisms through my head, but I am starting to slowly get it. Although lucky for me Korea has one of the highest less active rates so I can work hard to reactivate all the members I possibly can. When I start picking up on the language better I can also start working through members and do all the things that a lot of missionaries forget they need to do when they are focused so heavily on baptisms. There really is tons to do here so I think I will try my best and do a little bit of everything. I got mail this week so thanks to everyone that keep sending me mail! It is the best to receive a little encouragement through letters during the week. 

   My week started off with a really cool experience. There is this girl who is here modeling from California who called the Sisters on Monday and asked if she could get a blessing from the Elders, so of course the Sisters said yes the Elders can. They then called us and Elder Hastriter told me that I got it and I ended up with the wonderful opportunity of giving a blessing. We gave it to her at the church and it went really well. I felt really nervous before the blessing and wasn't sure I could do it. Little did I know that when I was giving it the spirit was working through me in ways I didn't even know! After the blessing the girl thanked me and said that everything I said was exactly what she needed to hear! My faith has been continuing to grow and it is really cool to see it grow. That night we had an appointment with a potential investigator who took us to Outback Steakhouse!! It was sooo delicious and of course like a Picard, I got lots of the free bread  :) He wants to meet again so we are hoping to meet him again soon. 

   My companion came down with illness so we were in the house a few days this week because he didn't have the strength to go out. It was good because we both got lots of rest and were ready to go when he was feeling better! I also had the chance to study a lot this week and man is it crazy how much you can learn from studying the scriptures and church materials every day of the week!! I learned a lot of really cool things about the temple and came to an understanding on a lot of things I had questions on. Every single time I read on the Plan of Redemption and how God knew every little thing to make His plan work really reassures me how this Gospel is the only one that makes 100% complete sense! He loves us all so much, man aren't we lucky!? 

   We had a lunch appointment this week with another one of our potentials. Which was kind of weird because we ended up picking up the man's son as an investigator haha. So it went a little something like this. We show up at the man's office and he sits us down. We then talk for a bit and his son shows up. The man then gets up and leaves with his business partner and his son ends up taking us to lunch. His son was really cool and took us to this Chinese restaurant. When we got there they took us to our own little separate room. I was like what? But then turns out we were VIPs at the restaurant and were treated like Kings. It was way cool!! The owner of the restaurant loved us and had never taken a picture with two white guys so he took one with us. Later that night we had our Halloween party for English class that was really fun and went over well. 

   I got to go to the temple this week!! The temple is great and every time I go I learn more and more. I needed a little extra strength this time before I went so I fasted and man did it work. I felt more at peace and could focus a little better. I still have a ways to go and need to keep working on finding ways to have absolute focus in the temple and not think of anything else but every time I go it gets better and better. The adversary tries to get you so hard as a missionary.  I have really been trying to figure out a way to overcome it and let it have NO part anywhere in me! The most important  thing you need as a missionary is the Spirit and you can't have it if the adversary is working through you as well. I most definitely want the Spirit and will continue to work to have just that! 

   On Saturday we came across a man from Canada who called at us and said "you are LDS right?" we said yes and had a really good conversation with him on missions and how they work. It was a really cool experience and hopefully when he goes home some missionaries in Canada will find him. 

   Yesterday was my third fast Sunday in country! It was funny because I fell asleep during sacrament meeting and when I woke up one of the teachers who I passed the sacrament with, was sitting next to me and had fallen asleep on my shoulder haha. I looked back at my companion and he was laughing. That night we came across a man who asked if I was Mormon and I said yes. Then he started speaking Korean that I didn't know and my companion was in front of me walking so I was all alone and did my very best to communicate with him. I gave him my card and he said he would call later. It is really hard/ frustrating not being able to understand Korean but it will get there. 

Elder Picard

My best buddy Arnold at the Halloween party. 
2nd Halloween party for our english class, FUN!
Of course I got lots of bread to bring home from Outback, Yummy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 16 October 27, 2014 "Happy 29th Birthday Grandma Peggy!"

  Just want to give a shout out to the best grandma ever "HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA PEGGY!!!" I love you a ton and appreciate all the fun we always have together, you are the coolest grandma ever.
  Well it is almost a Happy Halloween but too bad Halloween really isn't a thing here in Korea. I was really sad to hear that people don't trick or treat here because I was looking forward to knocking doors on Halloween and then being so generously gifted yummy sweets after we were to share our wonderful message about Jesus Christ's restored gospel. Who knows maybe I will get lucky :) In all reality though I don't need candy because I am already happy enough to be here sharing the gospel 24/7! The line of Nacho Libre for me has now changed to "I love my duties so maybe it is time to get some more duties!" Being a missionary can be hard sometimes but after receiving all of my wonderful mail this past week I have been really trying to always be happy. It is hard to focus all of your attention on the present and not let your mind wonder but it is something that I just have to figure out how to do. I loved all of my letters so thank you to everyone that sent me mail. I really liked how Dad said the thing about me always wanting to shoot the buzzer beater to win the game and how a mission can be compared to that. It can, in the way of the gospel being the ball, and the Lord has just passed it to me and is relying on me to finish it and win the game. So in this case, it is my job not to let Him down and do whatever it takes to not take my ball and give up but to finish. Sorry if that didn't make any sense haha. That really hit me hard when I read it so Dad thanks for sending that. Getting letters is great so if anyone ever wants to send me some I would be a really happy missionary boy! :)

   We had Zone Conference this week and it was really good. The overall theme was how lucky we are to have the Holy Ghost and how important it is. The Holy Ghost is super cool and can help me a lot especially as a missionary in where to go, what to say, and what to do. So it is my job to stop and listen to the still small voice and only do things that invite the spirit. I still have a long way to go on my mission and still have to change a lot about myself so that I can come home a completely different person. Change doesn't come without work so I guess I just have to have faith and get to work. 
    On Wednesday a member took us out to an American buffet which I think will be the last one of my mission because every time afterwards I feel like I am going to explode haha. After English class that night we had cake and it was pretty yummy. My favorite little guy in our English class made his mom get us cake to celebrate his birthday that was last week. On our way home that night we encountered a man that we were able to talk to and give a family history card to. He was really happy and interested in family history so we will see if he calls us. 

     On Thursday we had a good amount of appointments, for a mission in Asia that is haha. Around lunch we met a man who we called and had interest. Turns out he was more in it for the free English teaching and was already meeting with missionaries in a different area. Then one of our English class members took us to lunch and I was offered a job to be a celebrity and be in K Dramas that show all over Korea. It was really funny, we were sitting there and I hear these two guys start talking about BYU so I jump into their conversation with the very little Korean I know and turns out one of them was the CEO of a television station and owns a lot of the celebrities in Korea. Then he asked me if I had a working visa and I said I didn't, so he said he couldn't hire me to be on his shows. It was super funny and afterwards I thought maybe in 2 years I will give him a call and come back to Korea to be a celebrity haha. Around dinner time we met with a cop that wants us to teach his daughter English. So yeah if you haven't thought it yet, that is pretty much the case over here in Korea. We get a lot of people that want to learn English from us for free and don't have any gospel interest. It is incredibly hard to find people that are interested in hearing about the gospel. It can be kind of hard sometimes but man am I learning how to be more and more patient as I go about my mission. 
     There was a sale and Krispy Kremes and you know me I am all about deals like my Mom so I got some. It was buy a dozen get one free. One day this week for breakfast I wasn't really thinking and got challenged to eat a whole dozen donuts so I did and I will probably never do that again haha. It was easy but you just feel like a fat kid afterwards. 

     During weekly planning we decided that we were going to try and work really hard next week and set our goals high. Also we set a transfer goal to find all 100 less actives that are on our map! It is going to be hard but I think we can do it. I just have to start being more and more faithful and obedient and everything will start falling into place. One member in our ward wants us to baptize his family really bad and we were able to meet with him this week. We still haven't been able to meet his family because they are hesitate to meet us. He has a son that he really wants us to meet so we are going to try really hard to meet and befriend his son so that he feels comfortable around missionaries. If it takes a while so be it, but I will work as hard as I can to try and get his family baptized because who knows maybe they are the reason why I was sent to Gangnam. 

     I fell asleep yesterday after eating lunch and woke up to find out that our 1 investigator called and dropped us. My companion said that he called and said he was too busy to meet and didn't want to meet anymore. I was in shock and it was really hard to take at first because I thought he was progressing so well. After I thought about it for a while and my companion talked to me about how much it happens and that you just have to keep working I began to understand why it happened. Maybe we were just supposed to plant a seed and missionaries in a few years will pick him up when he is ready. It is hard not to doubt and hold tight to your faith when stuff like this happens but there is no reason to just lay there sad on the ground you just have to get up and keep working!

     This Thursday is temple day so I am super excited for that. Temples are the best and we are so lucky to have them. I am where I should be and wouldn't want to be anywhere else! This gospel is true! I know without a doubt in my mind that Christ has a plan for all of us and that we must never lose hope. Thanks for all the support it means a lot! Sorry for the bad grammar if there is any it is hard when you have multiple languages flying through your head haha.


Elder Picard

Happy Birthday Grandma Peggy! Thanks for always being there for me and making life so fun! You are the best Grandma EVER!!!
Had to take a picture with Pikachu since I am Elder Pikachu in Korea :)

Mosquitoes just love me here.
Elder Black and I in our new soccer get up!
My future awaits.....