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!