Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 29 January 26, 2015 "They feed me too well #fatboyproblems"

     Well here goes for my last email of January 2015. This week we finally had some guys come and take care of the mold problem we had in our house so now I don't have to be scared of getting some crazy mold infection anymore. They came on Monday and pretty much just tore apart our house... it was a mess! Not a single thing was in it's right spot. I guess there way of getting rid of mold in Korean is to just rip off the wall paper where there was mold and replace it with new wallpaper. They pretty much re-wallpapered our whole house because we had mold on just about every wall. Our landlord installed us a dehumidifier in the house so now all the water in the air gets sucked up. I swear that thing is magic because we have to empty it out like every night. It fills up with water so fast!! I would much rather have that thing going all the time then get mold again that's for sure though. 

       Since my companion is DL I had to go on an exchange this week to 영등포 with one of the ZL's. I had District Meeting with another district since I was on exchanges and it was a really good one. Elder 송 is district leader over there and he did a really good job. We talked about how to become a PMG missionary. This week I also went on an exchange with one of the other Elders in my house, Elder Hegewald, who is from California. We had a great time together and were able to talk with a lot of people and teach a practice lesson so that was good. It is always nice to teach practice lessons because it sure doesn't help my Korean get better that's for sure. It also is good so that when I teach an actual investigator I won't mess up and completely say something wrong that doesn't make sense. It although is fun for my companion and myself after I mess up to have a Korean look at me like huh what did he say. E. Hegewald and I came across this ping pong gym and we went inside to catch it out. The people there were so good at ping pong, it was crazy. I don't think I have ever seen a ping pong ball move that fast in real life before. Where we were proselyting most be a prime zone for a bunch of cool places I guess because we then found a Jeet Kune Do place. For those of you who know that is the art Bruce Lee practiced so I had to go in there for my dad because he loves Bruce Lee. We get down there and no one was in the GYM except for the trainer. He asked us what we were doing and we said we were just curious and what Jeet Kune Do is actually. He explained and showed us a few things then he actually handed me a pad to show me a kick and how powerful Jeet Kune Do is and man was I not expecting what happened next. The coach there wasn't that big at all but he kicked me and knocked me back a few feet. I was not expecting him to be that strong. E. Hegewald then took a kick because I did and the guy straight up light him up and he flew back onto his behind. We had a pad of course so we didn't get hurt but it was the craziest thing I have ever seen. Know if I ever get into a fight I know who to call haha. I will put a video on dropbox of it. 

          I had a very food filled weekend that is for sure. We had meal appointments Friday and Saturday for both lunch and dinner. I few of them were with potential investigators who didn't have much interest in the gospel but we were able to bare testimony and share a little bit about the gospel so that was good. Sometimes as a missionary you just have to realize some you come across just aren't quite yet prepared and that God is using you as a tool to start the faith to grow within them. I think that made sense but if not sorry I am starting to lose my English I guess haha. I have learned a lot recently about the importance of always being happy because you never now how far just a simple hello or smile can go. I have tried to be happy more often these days because I do not want to miss the opportunity of brightening someones day. We met a man named 김상집 who we have met before in the past. He is so happy and just the sweetest person. We shared Mosiah 14:16 with him and discussed how the Lord loves all His children and wants us all to be happy and that he was a good example of that. We made it brief because he kind of is already set on religion but respects us for what we do. All people have their agency and I never just want to push the gospel upon someone. All things take time and especially this gospel. Even for me sometimes it is hard to comprehend some things but I know it is true and that it is possible to discovery its truth. That is right where patience comes in. I have to adjust my time to the Lord time and patiently wait for those I teach to receive their own testimony of the truth. On Saturday I had TGI Fridays for lunch and then Vietnamese food for dinner. Once again I am getting fed really well here and for that I am really grateful. I had a good Sabbath day yesterday and am slowly seeing my Korean understanding getting better. I just want to be able to understand already and man is it hard not to get impatient haha. I couldn't be more happier anywhere else than here in Korea. Although I don't understand half the time and haven't baptized anyone I am having a great time and am learning so much. It for sure isn't easy sometimes in fact a lot of the time but this is where I need to be. Although I may not know that yet or may never know it the Lord obviously set me here for a reason so I just have to trust Him. 

Elder Picard

Having the mold cleaned by simply re-wallpapering

Jeet Kune Do gym--Had to take pics of Bruce Lee for my dadd

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 28 January 19, 2015 "Great Zone Conference & yummy Costco pizza"

     We discovered some pretty gnarly mold all over our house this week... It was by far the most mold I have ever seen. I don't know if it is the mold that made me sick a few weeks ago but that could make sense. A guy is coming to take care of it so don't worry Mom. Last P-Day I went and played basketball at the stake center. It was way fun but man am I not in basketball shape right now haha. We got a good group together and were able to play some games so that was nice. I bought a nice pillow from Costco because the pillow I had wasn't the best. So thanks to my Grandma and her Christmas money she gave me I have been sleeping like a rock. I met up with my friend Jin from High School and we had lunch. It was way cool to see him and he couldn't believe how good I was at Korean. He didn't think I would be able to learn it that fast but hey I guess I picked up a little being here in Korea for almost 5 months and all. We were also able to teach a few practice lessons this week and Koreans even are saying that my Korean is getting better! Korean is still hard to learn but I can slowly see myself picking it up faster. 

      We had Zone Conference this week and it was combined with another zone. President was there and gave us a training. The over all theme of the training was on stewardship. I learned of the importance it is that I put away all selfishness and give my mission to the Lord. After all this truly is His mission, I am just here to be a servant of Him and an instrument in His hands. The way I can do this is by submitting my will completely and letting Him take over. This will by no means be easy but I can do it. Thinking about others before ourselves can be hard sometimes too but we must do that very thing! I am especially lucky as a missionary because I get to serve others each and every day. I for sure am not perfect and still have a long way to go on not being selfish but the important thing is that I am trying. I believe that as we constantly strive to help others before ourselves God will be happy and will pour an endless amount of blessings upon us. We watched Elder Jorg Klebingat's talk from this past October conference and man was that talk amazing! It was probably one of my fav talks and everytime I watch it I learn something new. I would invite everyone to read it/ watch it again because it is awesome!! For lunch at the conference we got Costco pizza and that was pretty yummy. I even got to take a box home because they had extras! Caring a big box of pizza through the subway just adds to the fact the you are already white and tall and that many more people look at you funny. 

        We recently had a way solid member and his wife move in to our ward that have been way good at helping us out who we got to meet this week. He took us out for lunch, we taught him a practice lesson, and then gave us some mission tips. He served in Seoul like 10 or so years ago so he had some way good tips. He told us that we must always have the strongest faith because after all mostly everything comes down to faith and how hard you work. Faith is key that is for sure out here in the mission field. Later that night we got to eat dinner at a member's house and teach another practice lesson. Their 5 year old son was being way funny. He said he has 6 girlfriends and that the hardest thing in life right now is trying to figure out how he is going to get a house big enough to fit all 100 of his kids. He said all this in Korean too so it made it even more funny. Brother Olson, a lawyer from California, took us out for 삼겹살 again like he always does every 2 or so months when he comes here for business. When we finished eating and were getting ready to leave one of the older lady Korean waitresses came up to me with her arms stretched out and a smile on her face. I wasn't quite sure what was going on but just took the guess that she wanted a hug so I gave her one. It was way funny and Brother Olson couldn't stop laughing. 

         Yesterday I got the chance to bless the sacrament!! It was a miracle because usually they don't let foreigners do it. I guess it never hurts to ask. It was so cool saying the sacrament prayer in another language and to realize the Lord loves all His children and made it possible for the sacrament to be blessed in different languages all over the world! The ward gave us a bunch of food and even a cake yesterday so that was sweet!! Lastly I read in Jacob 5 last night about the olive tree analogy. What a responsible it is that I have. I am right now laboring in the Lord's vineyard here in Korea and helping Him with the gathering of Israel. The Lord wants all to come unto Him. "Heavenly Father hears your prayers, loves you, and He knows your name!" - President Henry B. Eyring. 

Elder DJ Picard

My good friend Jin from Spokane, Washington.

I LOVE Korea and the people I meet each day!
We have a bit of a mold problem but don't worry mom we are taking care of it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week 27 January 12, 2015 "Perfect love casteth out all fear"

   I have been meaning to start one of my emails with this but I keep forgetting. Everyone has a smart phone in this country it is crazy! I will legitimately be walking and see like 6 year old kids talking or playing on their smart phone. I stand there like who in the world are you talking to? Your babysitter? haha. Korea too is extremely safe. At night I will see way young kids just walking around or playing at the park by themselves. It is like where is your mom? The police here have to look for things to do sometimes so a lot of the time they will just walk around or sit in there cars just chilling. Seems like a pretty good gig. The people overall are pretty nice here but occasionally when I greet someone they will just look at me like why is this big white dude trying to talk to me in Korean go away haha. The drivers are pretty crazy and I pretty much almost get hit by a car every other day but maybe that is just me because I am big or something. The really love their horns too. Even if there is no possible way of getting through traffic they think if they honk their horn every car in front of them will just disappear. I still wake up everyday and can't fathom the fact I am in Korea. Sometimes it feels like I am in a dream but then I wake up and realize I truly am in Korea. Korea feels like home now it is kind of weird. I feel like I wouldn't belong in the United States anymore for some reason haha. It is crazy how time works and everything. Although the Lord knows all so maybe I am just supposed to become Korean for 2 years. 
    Well we started the week off with a boom and got Outback Steakhouse once again! It just gets better and better every time. I am pretty spoiled in Gangnam and lots of missionaries tell me that I don't even know Korea yet because Gangnam is a pretty westernized city. So who knows maybe when I transfer I will be once again shocked with a new way of living. The man that took us to Outback was a member that we met on the street who served in Korea way back when. He had some good mission advice and it was nice to hear from an American about his mission in Korea and get some tips. He really emphasized the importance of connecting with people in ways where they will first and foremost feel comfortable being around you. Not just springing religion on them right at first but trying to show love for them through just becoming their friend. This actually transitions into a really cool miracle that I was blessed with this week. So there is a Brother in our ward who is the only member of his family and he comes every once in a while. Recently he hasn't been able to come because he broke his ankle and also with family conflicts and all it can sometimes be hard for him to get to church. The last time I had been over to visit him was when Elder Hastriter and I had given him a blessing for his ankle. So this week I was thinking to myself that it had been a while since we had visited him and I had the thought that it was about time to go visit him again. We didn't call and just surprisingly showed up. We get there and I phone his apartment, his wife answers and asks who it is, we respond, and sure enough the sliding door to the apartment opens right up. Which was really weird at first because she usually hesitates as whether to let us in or not. We get up to his apartment and his wife is in the kitchen with the door shut so we couldn't see her. I have met the wife before but she didn't come out and talk to us this time. We sit down on the coach and ask him how he has been and stuff. Then we ask if we can teach him a practice lesson to work on our Korean and he said yes. We proceeded to begin teaching and then we hear someone come in the house. It was his daughter! I had never before seen or met here before so we were able to greet her finally. She walked into the kitchen and came out a few minutes later with a tray of oranges and juice boxes. I was shocked... they were giving us hospitality and essentially welcoming us into their home which had never before happened by anyone besides the dad, who was the member we were teaching. After we got done teaching him he said that his son was in the house too and that he was going to see if he would come out and talk to us. As he walked away I sat there praying to God to please let me meet his son. Sure enough out walks his son. I was shocked and could barely spit out the slightest Korean. We shook his hand and introduced ourselves then sat down on the couch and had a really good conversation with him. Gospel didn't come up but oh well, the important thing is I finally got to meet him after almost a year of missionaries trying! Turns out we had a lot of the same interests and we were able to connect really well. It was a miracle! I will continue to be his friend first and foremost and if gospel interest every comes up so be it. God works in mysterious ways so maybe I was just sent to be his friend who knows. If that is the case I will try and be the best friend I can be. 
    I went to Costco this week and hooked up with all the good groceries! We found some birthday decorations along with 4 of July decorations this week in our house that a previous missionary got and left. So we decided to put them up in the other Elder's room because they weren't home just to be funny. It was fun to see their reaction when they got home. We forgot about some potatoes, onions, and radishes in our cabinet and found them with an insane amount of mold on them while we were cleaning. It was pretty gross and we threw them out right away. We walked a lot this week pretty much all around our area. People in Gangnam usually don't have much gospel interest and it has been hard to find an investigator. We were able to teach 5 practice lessons to members this week so that was pretty sweet! We planned a surprise bday dinner with Claire and 은지, two of our best English class members, for E. Black's bday at On the Border. He had to wear a sombrero and they came out and sang to him. It was way funny because he was super embarrassed so we were all just laughing. 
      Church this week was pretty crazy. It was like rise of the American businessman or something. Like 4 businessman were here on business from American. We actually had Elder's Quorum in English because they were here. Elder Knapp and I taught the lesson and it went well. We taught on the first great commandment and on obedience. It is cool because as a missionary I am able to be tested on the daily with both those things. Obedience is hard but key as a missionary and the days I am more obedient the better the day goes. Also I most always show love to God through prayer and all that I do because that is what I am commanded to do. Gods love us all so very much so we must love Him back just as much. Fear can also come up out here in the field a lot but like it says in Moroni 8:16 "perfect love casteth out all fear." As long as I love I have nothing to be scared about. So my challenge I give to you all back home is to keep i loving and rely on the Lord because thanks to Him everything will work out and all be okay. Don't hate just love because "love is all you need!"

Elder Picard 

So excited to eat my favorite meal Chicken Alfredo!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 26 January 5, 2015 It was a rough week :(

  Well to start Happy New Year everyone and best birthday wishes to my mom turning 29 this Thursday!! I hope you all had a good year last year and now it is time that we hit the ground in 2015 running. It is crazy how fast time flies and I can't believe what all can be done in just a year. I mean I was in high school just last year! The year of 2014 was a big one for me. From starting my senior year in high school, to graduating, then to heading off for the MTC. Lucky for me not much thinking needs to be done on my part this year because I know what I will be doing for the 365 days of 2015. Duh duh duh...... yep, thats right! Missionary work. Woo hoo!! 2015 is the whole year I have where I will be on a mission. Pretty cool huh? It definitely won't be an easy year but I will be able to learn lots and grow so that's good. All I know is time is very important and definitely not endless. I learn more and more about this concept as a missionary on the daily. Every minute counts. We should always be trying to improve ourselves while also helping others that become discouraged or in need of comfort as Our Savior Jesus Christ would do. 

     I don't know where to start this week was probably one of the roughest weeks I have had on my mission. We had interviews with President and those went fine. I just wasn't really feeling 100% at the beginning of the week so it was hard to actually be alert. I had a really bad headache and I could feel a cold coming on. A few days later after a lot of rest and taking it easy I thought it might be a good idea to go to the doctor. I had a dentist appointment on Friday and told the dentist, who is a member, that I wasn't feeling too hot. So he took me right across the hallway to his friend's office who is a doctor. I sit down and the dentist translates what my symptoms are to the doctor and then he checked me out to see what I had. At this time I had a really bad sore throat, runny nose, and a headache. The doctor looked and told me that I had tonsillitis and that my tonsils were pretty swollen... Since in Korean words, I am big size, I am more prone to having my tonsil swell up because they are a lot bigger than most peoples'. I was pretty confused on what was going on because it was all in Korean and the doctor spoke a bit of English but was just really hard to understand. Turns out that I needed a shot. Can you guess where I needed that shot? Yep you guessed it... right smack dab on the rear. Let me tell you wasn't that quite the experience getting that shot. I go into the room and a Korean nurse comes in. She motions for me to lay down on the bed and pull down my pants. Then she spanks me, rubs some stuff on my behind, and then prick goes the needle. It was extremely hard too stop laughing because it was just weird but hey not everyone can say that they got a butt shot from a Korean lady on their mission now can they? I don't know if that is something to take pride in or what but hey I can say it now haha. I mean I can't think of a better way to celebrate 6 months on my mission than that. To top it off after we went to the first doctor we called an English class member who speaks English extremely well to see if she would suggest doing anything else. She insisted that we go to a different doctor with her and her brother, who was a specialist. The specialist stuck this camera down my throat and in my nose and stuff. They had it all on the screen so I could see everything which was kind of cool. He took a picture to show of my tonsils and the first doctor was right, they were pretty swollen. The doctor suggested that I get an IV for quick recovery purposes so I did. So yeah everyone reading this don't get too jealous of all the fun I had this week. They prescribed me to antibiotics that I am taking right now and I am getting better so don't worry Mom :) 

       On a lighter note. This week I got a Costco card so now my companion and I can get the hook ups! I bought some speakers so we can jam to church music and also a blender so I can make some yummy breakfast smoothies. Transfer calls were supposed to come Saturday night but they ended up getting moved to Sunday morning. I guess I am just destined to stay in Gangnam for at least one more transfer #GangnamRichBoy4Life #GangnamStyle. This will be my 4th transfer in Gangnam so I will have been in Gangnam for around 6 months or maybe even longer if at the end of this transfer that starts next week I don't move areas. I am still with Elder Knapp and we are doing well together so that's good. It is crazy though because this is my trainer Elder Hastriter's last transfer then he goes home. Only 6 more weeks left for me with my trainer still in Korea. Last night we went over and taught a practice lesson at a members house and did FHE with them so that was good. So yeah this week was pretty long and definitely a learning experience for me. Sometimes on your mission you just get sick and you don't have your mommy around so you just gotta figure stuff out on your own. The work in Gangnam is still pretty slow and hard but the Lord needs me here for some reason so I just have to trust Him and keep on keeping on. 

Happy New Year!!!! 

Elder Picard
(He only sent one picture, obviously he was really sick because we usually get 5 million)

​Sometimes on your mission you have to get some suspicious yellow juice injected into your blood stream!!