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.....

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 15 October 20, 2014

   Twas a good week over here in Gangnam! I reread through a few of the conference talks and man how much farther do I need to go before this next 20 some months is up. I am really trying to give it my all and do the very best I can but sometimes as a missionary you just get tired. I have been trying to really focus on my time here in the mission field but man have I been struggling. After reading the talk on self-doubt this past conference it really stuck out to me how much better I can do along those lines. As a missionary, I get thoughts of unworthiness that can bite at my faith and make me really feel down. Who would of guessed a mission would be as hard as it is? Satan is real and he never stops trying to get us down. Especially as a missionary. So my advice to everyone in preparation for a mission is to start now in building up your spiritual strength and faith. I have came a long way since I have been out and have changed quite a bit. There is no stopping now though I just have to keep chugging for the next 20 months. Lucky for me with help from the Lord and the enabling power of the Atonement I can do it!! I mean all I really have to do is have faith as strong as the brother of Jared and I wouldn't have anything to worry about. 

    We placed a few Books of Mormon this week and had a pretty successful week. Our 1 investigator is progressing but said he will probably get baptized in 10 years or so but who knows maybe I with the help of the spirit can change that. As long as I am planting seeds for the next missionaries who teach him and know I did the best I could that is really all I can do. Getting a lot of baptisms in Korea is tough and I have come to find out that it is not about all the baptisms you get but about all the people you help and aid in their later on conversion and realization of the truth. We went to a really good pasta place with a potential investigator that we met at KFC a few weeks ago. We had a good talk with him over dinner about life and everything. He didn't seem to interested in the gospel but sometimes as a missionary you just have to think baby steps and just be a friend. 

    So my thing I started up with my companion is that I randomly go through the phone and call people who we can try and meet. I start off the conversation but then hand it to my companion when I get confused. Well this week we succeeded in doing that and ended up going to lunch with a man name Rodry Kho. To our astonishment this man happened to have gotten baptized in the 80's out of curiosity in the church. Since then he has been less active :( He was really reliant on the bible and said he hasn't really read the Book of Mormon.  He had a lot of questions about life and why certain things happen that were really hard to answer. Then he asked us a question that blew our minds. He asked us if we knew about the grasshopper story in the Book of Mormon, me nor my companion knew what he was talking about. So if there is such thing please let me know family. After we met him he called us and wants us to meet with his daughters and get them to believe in the doctrines we teach. He said he liked our life style and respected us a lot and that he wanted that kind of lifestyle for his family. 

    Our English class treats us well and it is really fun teaching English to Koreans every week. They bring us treats and take us out to eat is their way of saying that we deserve pay so it is always like a thank you kind of thing. We explain to them that we don't need treats and we just like to serve but they insist on getting us stuff.  Like on Saturday they took us out to a really good Chinese restaurant and then out for dessert!
     I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time on my mission this week!! The Book of Mormon is great and every time I read it I learn something new. I haven't received a huge confirmation that it is true but I don't really need to because in all reality we don't need something BIG to confirm a belief for it to be true. That is where faith comes in and the power of the Holy Ghost. It is as simple as if you feel good and happy when you are doing something then it has to be right. So in that case if you read the Book of Mormon and feel happy what more do you need to know it is true (Ether 4:12).

     We encountered a church that had a bunch of people out of the street in bright orange vests who were protesting another church. They were yelling some chant and were quite angry with this one church. In Korea a protest that you don't call to set up before hand are illegally so the cops chased them off. We encountered these 2 women who were part of the protest and they said that only the NIV bible was true and that we weren't sanctified and are going to hell... We left without a fight or a bible bash but man can it be frustrating sometimes. 

      We taught our 1 investigator about the sacrament and the role of Jesus Christ. I used the parable of the 100 sheep and the 1 sheep that goes missing and how Christ cares so much for his sheep that He will leave the flock to go get the one lost sheep. I related it to how much Christ loved him and would never let him get lost. We then took him up to the chapel and explained the sacrament to him. That went very good and the spirit was definitely there helping us teach. 

      My stomach almost blew up on Saturday, we had so much food!! We went out for a late lunch with those English class members and to dessert where I ate a ton. Then after that we had another dinner appointment with a man that we randomly called who took us out for the super thick Korean bacon. He talked 100 miles per hour in English with chopped up words and was really hard to understand. He was probably the happiest man I had every met and was super excited that we brought him a present. That present was the Book of Mormon. He was hesitant to take it at first but we said that God wanted him to read it so he took it and said he would. We hope to meet him again but he lives in a different area so we will see what happens. 

       Ether 12:27 is starting to become my favorite scripture and I look to it pretty much everyday. I really appreciate all of the inspirational quotes all of you send me and I hang them up around my desk so I am always reading them. This gospel is great and I am happy to be here in Korea right now. I haven't found out why I am here yet and sometimes question why Korea but I just have to keep pushing on. If The Lord knows I will be able to master Korean then I guess I just have to trust him. Korea is me for the next 20 months so I just have to embrace it as much as possible. Like my dad always says I just have to be an eagle and rely on the Lord to renew me with strength. Thank you everyone for being so awesome and for supporting me along the way. I love you all so much!!

Elder Picard

​I had to take a picture with a panda for my little sister. Sorry it is not real but it was all I could find. 

The guy I drew for english class to describe body parts

Selfie at a very fancy chinese restaurant

​Korean desserts are the BEST! I had to take a picture for you mom :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 14 October 13, 2014 "Conference is the BEST!"

   Conference as a missionary is the BEST!! I don't think I have ever got so much out of conference as I did this past weekend! I took the advice of a lot of people and went into conference with questions written down on a piece of paper. I can literally say they weren't all answered directly, but I did write down an answer for every single one of my questions after watching it. Conference was absolutely all I needed to hear and more! We are so blessed to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and hear from a living prophet and all of his apostles. If I wrote everything I learned during conference my email would be forever long and I don't have that much time sadly enough. Most importantly what I got out of conference was that although we may have trials and times may be hard sometimes we have a loving Father in Heaven that knows us by name and will always be there to help us. It all just depends on how faithful we are of Him and His plan for us. We have been given so much and having the ability to use the enabling power of the Atonement and become clean after we sin is amazing and it is something that should never be taken for granted. I know Jesus Christ lives and He has done His part so know it is time for us to do ours!

   Your weeks as a missionary just get better and better. Monday night our less active that teaches us Korean took us to Baskin Robbins and man was it yummy! Tuesday we got to go do service for a lady and clean out her new health and wellness place she just bought. I got put on windows and wasn't given the best supplies to clean them with just newspaper and some windex haha. Those windows were so dirty that it didn't do much but I felt good serving and tried my best so that is all that matters. To get all the windows washed I ended up having to climb out on the roof and did some pretty hardcore parkour window cleaning. It was way fun but then all the Korean ladies started getting scared I was going to fall so they made me come down from off the roof. I had an able enough body to climb up there and be safe so I was determined to clean all the windows I could they were just concerned for my safety :) I ended up having two lunches that day so my stomach felt like it was going to explode. After we were done cleaning they took us to lunch and then right after a guy we met that just likes to take us out to eat and be around us took us to a steakhouse buffet! He is the CEO of 2 companies and we try and bring up gospel every time we meet with him but he mainly just likes to be around us and buy us meals so I guess that is a start. Then since we didn't have time to finish all of our studies because of service, we did that. After that we had another meal appointment with an international lawyer from California who comes here quite a bit and takes out all the missionaries whenever he comes. He took us to a place and we had that super thick 3 layer bacon I have talked about before. If you happened to come pick me up at the end of my mission we are definitely going to go get some because I know Dad would love that stuff. One of the old lady waitresses kept calling me handsome and checking me out haha. Just something I have to get used to I guess here in Korean. Elder Woltjen told me I wasn't man enough to eat a whole pepper so I had to prove him wrong and little did I know that the pepper was a super hot pepper that you are only supposed to eat with really small bites. So yeah I proved him wrong but then had a hot mouth for quite sometime but I got ice cream out of it so its all good. 

   On Wednesday our meeting with our investigator 강세용 went great!! He thinks everything we teach him is good and very interesting. I can tell he is starting to think a lot about what we teach him and is progressing well. Our ward mission leader came to our lesson and then took us out for dinner. We had zone meeting this week and that went good. We talked a lot about the importance of always having the Spirit with you as a missionary because honestly you won't be successful if you don't have the Spirits help. I always knew this to be true but know I am going to do an even better job of always doing things that will bring the Spirit and stop doing things that don't allow the Spirit to be present. I finally had dog meat soup after 6 weeks of being in country a member took us there for dinner. I am a born Sioux so eating dog is in my blood like my dad said haha. It was pretty good and just tastes like really tender roast beef. We were the other ones in the restaurant and actually were able to teach the lady a lesson when we were eating so that was pretty cool. 
   At the start Friday was a rough day but man did it flip around for the better. I woke up and just didn't feel good at all and just was really doubting myself and didn't know what to do. I told my companion I needed a minute and went into the other room of our house, fell down to my knees, and just started crying in prayer asking the Lord for help. After praying I had the impression to read my patriarchal blessing with a prayer in my heart to find the guidance I needed so I did. As I read it I felt so at peace and found the answer to my question. It is so cool to have something like that you can always turn to. Every time I read it I think to myself, "Man aren't I lucky to have a blessing straight from God!" What hit me the most is that I need to do a better job of just being 100% obedient and everything will just start to fall in place. I just need to be the Elder Picard my Mom raised me to be. After I went to my companion for advice and said that I just want to become the best I can, he said to me that President told him I would come to him for advice when I was ready to change and become the best I can. President also told my companion it was his job to be an example to me and train me well because he had big things in store for me. So that just made me think of the divine revelation Mission Presidents receive for their missionaries and how cool it was.  Now I just have to do my part and be the missionary the Lord wants me to be. Our lesson with 강세용 was amazing and I had an experience I will never forget. He wanted more English practice after we taught him so we both shared with him our favorite scriptures in English and then he read them. We even talked about baptism and I think he wants to get baptized but thinks that he has to know everything before he does so we are going to teach him next time that he doesn't. We taught him the Plan of Salvation again and he thought it was so cool that he could live with all of his family again and he said he wants to go to the Celestial Kingdom. After we taught, my companion wanted to sing a hymn and we ended up singing 4 different ones because he felt so at peace and was loving every moment of it. We sang 2 to him and asked him to join with us for the 3 but you could tell he was kind of hesitant so we started to sing the 3 and see if he would join in. The spirit was so strong in the room and as I was singing the third hymn I heard his voice jump in and start singing with us and at that moment I almost lost it and could barely even sing because I was overjoyed to the point of tears because of the happiness of our investigator. To close he offered the most amazing prayer. I will never forget this experience. God loves me so much!

   I watched conference on a computer at the church with all the other missionaries and the sisters made treats so it was a good time. Most of all, I learned that self-doubt only chissels away our faith so if we don't doubt and push on with our eye single to the glory of God we will have nothing to worry about. I will start now to think more and not be the one to betray God and be able to say it is not me Lord! I want to live up to my name and have the strength of Daniel of old and have the utmost faith in my Lord and Savior! I was sent here to bring the Korean people happiness and help the Lord in finding all of His lost sheep. It is my job and my quest to be the Savior on Mt. Zion that the Korean people are looking for so I will do whatever it takes to do just that! I love this gospel so much and am grateful for the never ending joy it brings to me everyday. Lastly I am so grateful for my parents and for all they do for me because I wouldn't be here if it weren't for them!

Hurrah for Israel!!

Elder Picard

My two cute little Korean Grandmothers!
Three layer bacon is the best, it is pretty much bacon on steroids!!
Just some "puppy" soup
 Watching conference finally

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 13 October 6, 2014 "My dad's story helping me in Korea"

    This past week over here in Gangnam was a great one! I continue to learn more and more each week. Studies keep getting better and better as well. The Book of Mormon is such a great book! I have been learning so much while reading it. One of the biggest things that has came up a lot recently is of the importance to trust in God and have faith in His plan for all of us. Also that we shouldn't need something severe to happen to us like the Lamanites and Nephites of old in times of hardship to be able to believe and have faith in Christ. We will all make mistakes but it is important for us to always use the Atonement and to not procrastinate the day of our repentance. I've learned that as I humble myself more and more everything starts to fall in place and I stop worrying about myself as much. I am still learning and hope to be able to say that I have 100% forgot myself and gave my mission to the Lord!
     Tuesday night we met Max for dinner and he took us to Doni Burger. After dinner we decided we wanted some dessert. On our way to Cafe Bene to get 팥빙수(the really delicious Korean shaved iced that I love) we ran into a man on the street who only spoke a little bit of English like a lot of the people here in Korea. He was standing out in front of a chicken restaurant and asked where we were from so we told him and then he asked if we liked chicken. You all know I love chicken so I responded with a big smile on my face and said yes. Then he points to his table where he has this big plate of chicken and asks us to eat with him so we did. We finished the first plate and then he ordered us another huge plate with a ton of chicken and some fries. We told him that we were missionaries and I think it was at the moment we realized the man was drunk... He was a really nice guy and we shared our purpose of why we are here as missionaries and were able to teach him a street lesson. I even committed him to baptism because my companion told me it is worth a shot and hey it worked!! He said yes but he was also drunk... He thought I was 25 and my companion was 15 so that was pretty funny. Apparently this man was the CEO of the chicken place we ate at and owned quite a few of them in Korea. We didn't believe him at first because of course he was drunk and then we asked the workers and found out he really was. 
    At district meeting this week we talked about how important prayer is. Prayer is amazing and I have really seen it work its magic more and more each day. It also requires a lot of faith on our part to know the Lord will help us. After English Class that night Arnold and his mom invited us to go get  팥빙수 Arnold is the only kid in our English class and he is awesome. His mom wants us to start teaching him English and she wants to do the 30/30 program where we teach 30 min English and 30 min gospel so hopefully that will go well when we get it set up. 
    It started pouring down rain on Thursday when we were street boarding so we went down into the subway station to get out of the rain. Being tall and not Korean is continuing to attract way too much attention. Like 10 girls took pictures of me and one in particular started calling me handsome boy trying to get my attention and when I looked she took a picture. Then the subway station cops that have no authority to kick us out because we have a license to proselyte came over and told us to leave so we did. We taught the Zone Leader's a lesson for my 6 week follow up and that went good. Then we had Burger King for dinner. In studies that day I learned to hold tight to the Word of God and build my foundation upon the rock of my Redeemer, Christ the Lord! Sorry if this email is all over the place it is really hard to make it flow haha. 
    We played basketball with a less active, 햔호, and we had a great time. We played with some kids that were already there and they all thought I was going to play in the NBA haha. This less active is a few years older than us and his family really wants him to serve a mission so we are trying we befriend him best we can so that we can get him out on a mission because I know he would be a great missionary. He took us to KFC for lunch after we played and that was way good. We met with our progressing investigator 강세용 who we are teaching the 30/30 program and our lesson went really good. We taught him the restoration and he thought most of it made sense so that is good. He always points out to us that he loves how happy we always are and wants to be that happy. We gave him a Book of Mormon and we committed him to read it and pray about. He also wants a big size Book of Mormon in English so that he can read them side by side to help with his English. 
    The good shall have everlasting life, so be good! This is one of my new motto's, it is a good one. All we need to do is be good and we receive everlasting life that sounds like a pretty good deal to me! Saturday was an amazing day and I had a really cool experience. I was teaching the advanced class and when we split off into groups to do the role play activity I was with Mr. Chan and Mr. Yong. They both spoke English very well and after our role play they both just started asking questions about the Church and what Mormons believe. I was all by myself because my companion was across the room so I had to think and answer fast. Lucky for me the spirit definitely was there and helped me answer their questions. After class Mr. Yong still had questions so my companion and I took him into the other room where it was more quiet to answer his questions. First off, it was a miracle that Mr. Yong even showed up! It was the first time he had been to English class and found out about it online! The question came up as to whether or not I was born into the Mormon church because he felt like most Mormons were. Then he asked if both my parents were born Mormon and I said no. At that time I had the amazing opportunity to share with him Dad's conversion story. The spirit was so strong in the room and Mr. Yong had to of felt it!!  I got choked up at the end because if it weren't for my mom and her example to my Dad of the joy the gospel can bring to your life and my Dad's desire to find out for himself if the Book of Mormon were true. He would of probably not married my mom or  got converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I wouldn't have the amazing family I do now or even be on a mission right now. At that very moment I realized how important it was that I make them proud and be the great missionary they raised me to be. For dinner a member, Takiyama, took us to a Japanese restaurant after we practice taught him a lesson. 
    Sunday night we got invited over to the 최's house for dinner and FHE, the less active we played basketball with earlier in the week and his family. How it works in Korea is the mom and daughters cook while the men eat until the men are done eating then they come in and eat what is left. The mom came in and squated down next to me and started to put a whole bunch of different foods on my plate even some food I didn't want to eat. She said "I am your mom and you are my baby ok?" Then she started feeding me! haha. My companion hasn't even been fed before and he said it was crazy how fast the family adjusted to me. Yep so now I can say I was fed by a Korean women on my mission haha. They said that I am now their son and that I have to come over every Sunday for FHE now. During dinner I noticed peanut butter in the kitchen and said I love peanut and they ended up making me PB&J toast and bringing it out to me haha. The message we shared with them was about Moroni's promise and my companion had me share the story about my Dad again so that was cool. When we left they loaded us up with food and even gave me the rest of the peanut butter. The whole family kept telling me I was handsome and thought it was so cool that I am half Lamanite. One of the daughters said she would get a Costco card and get me more peanut butter whenever I need haha. 
     Not being able to speak Korean and understand as much as people around has been extremely hard on me. It is hard not to lose patience and to not give up. I just keep remembering how amazing the gift of tongues is and keep working as hard as I can because that is all I can do at this point. I just have to trust in the Lord and He will loosen my tongue when the time is right :) Sorry if my grammar and all is off and if my email doesn't make sense. I mean you have to cut me some slack because there is a little bit of Korean in my brain now throwing my English off haha. 

Elder Picard

Japanese restaurant with Takiyama. 

My best bud, 햔호
My Korean family, the 최 family
Just a selfie in front of the really cool Louis Vuitton building at night.