Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 42 April 27, 2015 "Happy 20th Burtday Elder Picard!"

   It's my happy burtday!!!  I love my family sooo much and am so glad I was born to the 2 greatest parents and family ever!! For those of you who don't know I was a big baby and weighed 10 lbs. 2 oz, I was born at 7:42a.m., and I didn't get the brown skin from my dad but still got his good looks ;) Just some fun facts for you all. Oh yeah and I was born in Moscow, Idaho at Gritman Medical Center. Today is my birthday here in Korea but Sunday in America because of the time change so that is kind of funny but hey I get 2 birthdays then woo hoo! I am not sure if I will be able to get a birthday cake because they are way expensive here but maybe I will get a cookie or something cheap, throw a candle in it, and call it good. I will be opening the rest of my box from you guys today and read all the lovely letters from you all so I am pretty stoked about that. I really liked the pokemon book and basketball cards so who ever came up with that idea good job. It is super weird to think that I am 20 now. I am a big boy now and not a teenager anymore, that is crazy! It is making me homesick thinking about all the wonderful things you do for my birthday every year mom, you are the best. I would do anything right now to eat some yummy chicken alfredo and either apple crisp or strawberry shortcake for desert. Oh man my mouth is watering right now, I love that stuff. I also am kind of disappointed I can't go through the spanking machine either :( I guess it is okay though because I get to spend my bday here in Korea! I think today I decided I wanted to go bowling because they have this deal where you can bowl for 3 hours and it is only 10 bucks. Then after we are going to go to dinner somewhere with two of my less active buddies so that should be good. In all honesty because time on the mish just all blends together it doesn't even feel like my bday, it's weird. Well that is enough on my birthday I guess I will talk about some other things I did this week. 

    This week was one busy week for sure. We ate at a members house Monday night and while we were there I was just being the smiley happy Elder Picard having a good time and I surprised the members because they said at church I usually am just quiet and don't talk much. Which made me think and realize that really is the case a lot of the time because I am so tired. They said they liked the talkative happy me so I think I may just have to keep that up from here on out even if I am tired. While we were out tracting this week we saved the day! We saw this lady standing with a bunch of kids looking into a little stream so we walked over to see what was the matter. When we got over there we came to find out that one of the little kids had dropped his phone in the stream. There was a tree close by so I held on to the tree and lowered E. Willy down with his shoe off to get the phone and save the day! I felt like a superhero haha. It was nothing too big that we did but it was cool that something as simple as that was put in our path and we were able to help them out. We played ball this week with the other Elders and their investigator. While we were playing with them I was able to pick up a really good contact with a guy there who ended up playing with us. I dont know what it is but when I am doing something I love like basketball I just do missionary work so much better and it flows so much easier. So sounds to me like I have to start playing more basketball and use my talents to convert but it could be hard with the rules and all because I can't just play ball all day. I just got to figure something out. Maybe I just have to think that ordinary missionary work is just as fun as playing ball. Not that I don't like missionary work but I just have to get in the mindset of enjoying it that much more it seems like. 

    We taught Alex and Kevin again this week and that meeting went really well. After teaching them English we were able to teach about God to their whole family and talk about prayer. I feel like the lesson went really well but I still don't know if they are a family just in it for English or not. I guess we will see. We have been meeting a lot of people from the middle east on the streets lately so that is kind of fun. We have like 10 middle eastern dudes' numbers in our phone that we are texting and trying to meet. Must of them are either Islam or Muslim so if we do end up teaching them I am interested to see what happens. This weekend was crazy because of the stakes combining. Incheon and Gangseo combined so there were a lot of activities this past weekend. They just finished a brand new building which is my new church building I will be going to and let me tell you it is soooo nice! It may even be better and definitely bigger than one of our churches in America, it's sweet. I forgot my camera so I haven't took any pics of it yet but I did of my old Siheung building so next week I will send pics of our new upgraded church. 

    Friday night there was a concert thing at the new stake center in Mansu and they showed a video on Korea's church history. During the video I felt the spirit so strong and it was cool to realize that I am here trying to build the church even more and find those lost sheep here in Korea! Then on Saturday they had the Open House and that was really cool. They had a ribbon cutting ceremony and Elder Ringwood was here all weekend so that was cool. Our church made donations to churches and local businesses by our new church so at the open house there was a Buddhist lady, a nun, and some other people who spoke in front of all of us so that was interesting but yet cool to see. It just made me realize how awesome our church is and how we really do care and serve all no matter beliefs and what not. I sure am lucky to be a part of this church and need to do all the things I should and also love and care for everyone no matter beliefs or whatever because it is what Christ would do if He were here. On Sunday we had the combination stake conference and man was it packed. Our new building has 3 floors with the capability to build a forth if needed. The chapel is on the second floor and it was filled all the way back through the gym and on to the stage. Then they had like 3 overflows all full on the third floor! It was by far the most people I have ever seen at church before here. Elder Ringwood spoke at conference in Korean so that was cool. 

     Korean still isn't the easiest but I was reading in PMG and realized I am trying hard but I could be trying harder. I don't speak Korean too much with my companion and in PMG it really emphasizes speaking your language as much as possible. It is way hard to do but I think I just need to do it already. I am already almost at my year mark and not the best at Korean so I got to get working. I just have to give up my will and do the Lord's no matter how hard it is I gotta do it. Lucky for me and for all of us the Lord promises us that He will help us through our hard times and make our burdens light. I love you all so much!!! 

Elder Picard

Bowling on P-day

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 41 April 20, 2015 "I'm a missionary, not a golfer"

    Only 7 more days and I turn 20.... that's weird. I guess I just have to say goodbye to my teenage years and be a BIG boy now. My week was pretty good and all. Last Pday we went and played screen golf and man do I stink at golf. We still had a lot of fun and instead of seeing who could get the least points it turned into a game with the score of a basketball game. So yeah if you ever want to destroy someone at golf, after my mission just call me up. One of the Elders even broke a club so that just proves how bad all of us were. This past week I did I pretty good job at getting up on time and working out so that was good. I managed to get up every morning but one and run to the gym and lift. Having a free gym is awesome but in order to go we have to wake up 30 min early so sometimes it is hard to roll out of bed. Our investigator who owns the gym is Mr. Kim and we are doing the 30/30 program with him and his daughter. We met him this week and taught him a bit but are still trying to figure out how to better teach. He sometimes is busy so it just turns into us teaching Lucy English. So we just gotta find a way to get him to find time to let us teach him. 

    We had District meeting this week and it was on how we can see the Lord's hand more in our missionary work. Then when we see His hand in our work that we need to thank him and always be expressing gratitude to Him for all He does. The training came down to relying on 3 things: asking, seeking, and knocking. God truly does know all of us individually and will help us. It is our job to do the majority of the work. When we put forth effort, then God will bless us because He sees us working our best to achieve the blessings. Don't get me wrong doing all of these things is HARD. Sometimes our human gets the best of us and we just have no desire to put forth work. I don't know if I am making any sense but I hope you get what I mean. In PMG I read that the key to missionary work is to work, work, and work some more. I believe that is true in life too. We won't just be blessed or receive anything good without working for it. Also another thing I read in PMG that really hit me this week is that I need to keep working even when I am tired. I literally am tired all of the time so man has that been difficult. As we work when we are tired we are just showing God our diligence. I am going to try and work on that so that by the end of this mission I can come close to mastering this diligence thing. 

    My best buddy Tom hurt his ankle in a game so we weren't able to ball with him this week so that was a bummer. We had our service project again this week at the old people place washing dishes and that was fun. After that we met a PI named Dave who is a Korean Australian who spoke English way good. We met him for lunch and then got smoothies. We weren't able to teach much but we for sure I think built a pretty good relationship with him in just one visit. He said that he used to be religious and came to believe God a while ago. We asked him how he came to believe God but he said it was a long story and was pretty iffy on sharing it with us. He was a way nice guy and sure hope we can get him to open up soon so we can do our best to help him. At the old people place they always have a bunch of old ladies playing drums and singing so this time I decided to ask to see if I could join. It reminded my a lot of a Pow Wow and Dad singing and playing the drums. It was way cool and just made me realize that when I get home I need to start searching my roots and performing at Pow Wows. I danced at Pow Wows when I was a little guy so it can't be too hard trying to get the dancing Native out of me again. I also want to learn how to play the drums and sing like a "true" Native. So Dad you might wanna start getting ready to train me in those arts when I get home. 

    It was my last Sunday in the old Siheung building and our last meeting as just the Siheung ward because next week we combine and move to the huge new building. I am pretty stoked about the new building and can't wait to play basketball even more than I already do haha. Koreans are all about big churches so I am excited to see what comes out of having a huge building. Our ward had a party on Saturday for our last hoorah together. We had a BBQ outside the church and it was way fun. We ate a bunch of tasty meat and had a good time. The thing I want to end on is something I learned during Personal Study. I read a line in PMG that went a little something like this "I need to be a Christlike missionary instead of just doing missionary things." That really made me think and I realized how often I can just fall into doing the motions. I am going to strive this next week and the rest of my mission to become that Christlike missionary. I know that as we step out of just doing the motions that is when God will start pouring blessings upon us. I love you all so much. 

Love and Prayers,

Elder Daniel Jackson Picard

Golf.... definitely not my best sport.
My buddy
Another buddy 
And another buddy 
Last picture of the Siheung ward before they combine. 
A sister we take the sacrament to each week. 
 And one more buddy picture to end with.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 40 April 13, 2015 "Better late than never, Conference is the BEST!"

I finally got to watch conference. Woo hoo!! I watched it after everyone else but it was still great. Conference is the best. I love that stuff! Especially as a missionary when you watch conference it makes it that much better. I just learned so much good stuff and was able to get some questions I had answered. I would encourage anyone who hasn't watched conference to watch it because it was great (got to! I could go on for days talking about all the cool things I learned but it would take too long and I don't have enough time :( The crazy thing is I only have 2 conferences left as a missionary! I was kind of in shock when those people opposed because I had never seen that before. It just made me think for a bit and of course I know with no doubt that Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet of God and that he really does receive revelation from God on how to direct the church. 

    This past week I got to do some farming!! It for sure was a lot more tiring than I expected. I will send some pics farming to post on my blog. We tilled a bunch of land with super short shovels so my back was killing me haha. After that we did some sweet potato row things which I don't really know how to describe. We ate some ramen just out in the middle of the field farming so that was kind of interesting and fun. This week I got to go on an exchange with Elder Han and that went well. It was cool to serve with a Korean for a day. I lost my Book of Mormon this week so that was a bummer. I couldn't find it for a few days but then found it! I said a prayer to find it and sure enough God answered my prayer and found it. It just made me think about how God really does answer our prayers. Even a simple prayer to find something lost, He will answer. God really does love all His children and wants to hear from them all and we do that by praying to Him. Faith too I have learned is an amazing thing. When we have faith we have nothing to worry about. So don't stop having faith! With faith we can do all things and God will never stop blessing us as we exercise it. 

    We had zone training this week and I past off the third lesson for TIP, a program our mission has to learn Korean and become a better teacher. I got some letters from my dad and my bday package so I was pretty excited about that. My dad told me in the letter that the Savior loves us all unconditionally and I sure know that to be true. All people are so different but in all reality we are all the same in the eyes of Jesus Christ and God. I am trying to do a better job and love as Jesus did but man is it hard to love that much! It honestly is incredible and breath taking to think how much Jesus really does love all of us. He suffered and died for us, what an act of love! I hope throughout my life I can continue to improve and love a little more each day so that when I return to my Father in Heaven He will not be disappointed in me for not loving enough. We all can love, it is easy. A simple smile or a compliment is an act of love and that is not hard at all. I opened my bday package a little early because I could wait haha. It was everything I wanted and more so thanks family! I just open a few things and am saving the cards and stuff for my actual bday. My family truly is the best and I love you all so much. It just comforts me that I can be with my awesome family for time and all eternity! 

    I have been doing a better job of waking up and exercising in the morning but man is it still hard to roll out of bed in the mornings. I have got up at like5:45 the last few days because my body just automatically wakes up at that time and it is easier to get up then. We did our service down at the old folks place again. I got to be a lunch lady and serve the old people food so that was fun. Then after everything we just washed a bunch of dishes. We met Tom this week and got to ball again with him. He won the first time we played 21 but then I beat him the second time we played. We talked a bit after we played and just tried to get to know him a little more. We still aren't sure on how we could best help him but we are trying to figure that out. Our investigator Mr Kim pretty much just set us up a brand new English class with all those kids we taught last week at the pizza place so that was pretty cool. Now we have two English classes but may have to stop doing both of them with the wards combining. They built a brand new big building that we will be going to and we also will be combining with another ward. The ward will get bigger so I am excited about that. I think we will still live and work in Siheung but we aren't for sure yet. 

    Well I will finish with some stuff from conference. I am not sure whose talk this was but I really liked the one about the Atonement and the quote "Twas I, but tis not I." When I heard this quote it really made me think that sure I have made some bad decisions in my past but that is not who I am now. With the Atonement I was able to change from who I was and I am still changing but it is just amazing to me how powerful the Atonement really is. The past is hard to drop sometimes but as I have not remembered the past I have been able to live so much more happily. So no matter who you are and what you have done, just repent and forget. That is the power of the Atonement. The other one which was probably my favorite was the apostle who used the story of the Native American medicine man. It is so easy to fall into just doing the motions and not hearing the music but we can't let that happen. So just listen a little harder sometimes and hear that music! I love you all so much and remember we can't just hear the music.... we gotta dance too!! So never stop dancing!! 

Elder Picard

A couple of Korean farm boys.
Working the soil.
Elder Han
Making ramen noodles in the middle of a field.
Korean frog. 
Sweet potatoes row things? 
Short shovel = Tall man major back pain

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week 39 April 4, 2015 #BecauseHeLives

     What a wonderful Easter week I had over here in Korea!! Oh yeah and before I forget, Happy Restoration day!! I am so glad I am part of this church and that Joseph Smith did what he did 185 years ago and established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! I can't imagine myself in any other religion because I know without a doubt I am in the RIGHT one. I haven't got to watch conference yet because Korea gets it a week late so that's a bummer but I know it will be worth the wait. My last conference in October was awesome. Conference as a missionary is just the best. I am also really excited that I get to watch it in English because trust me if I watched it in Korean man would I be lost and not understand much. This week we had a lot of opportunities to use the initiate, #BecauseHeLives, and share the video with a lot of people. That video is amazing and everytime we watched it with someone no matter where it was the spirit was always super strong and I got chills from head to toe. I just know Christ lives and that He is there to help us always! He is our GOOD Shepard and man is He GOOD. He will never let one go astray but if it does He will always go out looking for that lost sheep. We will never feel down in the dumps if Jesus Christ is on our minds. Christ brings the greatest happiness into our lives and will always be there to cheer us up. 

    This past week was a good one. We went down to 눈곡동 to do some proselyting and catch back up on some houses that we knocked a while back but none of them were home. Then we went to this old people place to find some service because the other service we have is pretty far from our house. We may have found some service the lady just needs to get back to us so that is pretty exciting. While we were at the place I noticed that they had a game room and a bunch of old people were playing ping pong so we went in to watch them for a bit. They were all pretty good and when they noticed two foreigners were watching they asked us if we wanted to play. Of course I said yes and I played. The guy I was playing with was pretty good but I was able to keep up and all the old people there were impressed with my ping pong skills haha. After playing for a while one of the worker ladies came in and said we couldn't play because it was for the old people but the old guys backed us up and said they invited us to play. I felt pretty cool to have a bunch of old Korean dudes back me up haha. We started walking to the bus stop and as we were almost to the bus stop out in the middle of no where we both realized we didn't have any money on our bus cards or any money at all. I don't know why but we just kept walking. I noticed out of the corner of my eye this guy just pulled over then I hear "you guys need a lift" from someone with an English accent and sure enough we turn and this foreign dude from Whales was like get in. He asked us why we were walking out in the middle of nowhere and we said we were going to the bus stop but also said that he saved us because neither of us had money. It was a super cool experience and we were able to talk a lot about our church, why we were on missions, etc. He wasn't religious but said we were doing a good thing. He had a really sweet spirit and I hope we will get to meet him again. As we got out of his car, I gave him my card and said to call us sometime and we will buy him dinner. 

    I got the straight hook up with ties this week. We have a single adult in our ward who was getting rid of a bunch of ties so I was able to score like 10 or so free ties!! It was awesome! We played ball with Tom this week and had a good time with him again. He is just the coolest dude ever!! The rain was pretty crazy this week and we got straight up soaked one night. I dont know why we didn't bring an umbrella but oh well I like rain. We met Mr, Kim and Lucy this week. Mr. Kim told us there were some of Lucy's friends that wanted to learn English too so we said okay. We show up to his office for the appointment and then walked to this pizza place and to our surprise 10 kids and there moms were sitting in the party room rented for us... We all ate together and then the parents just bounced to a different part of the restaurant haha. We were left trying to teach 10 screaming crazy kids English and man was it a party!! We actually didn't do too bad and afterwards gave all the moms a #BecauseHeLives card. This week our LA 백향준 came to church so that was way good. We didn't have any investigators show up but having a LA was just as good. We had to pretty much go to his house and drag him to church but the important part was he came and he was even smiling after church and having a good time! I love that guy he is super funny and just awesome. I had a really cool personal study this week and it is what I will end on. I read in Alma about the stripling warriors and man were they just some righteous dudes. They never lost faith and always continued to push on. They knew their mothers knew it and I too know my mother knows it. Sure the mission and life might be hard but if my mom knows it to be true and my family likewise does should I doubt? No I shouldn't. So all you back home don't doubt and instead have faith and push on leaning on the Lord for strength and guidance. 

Elder Picard

Always a great day when I can play basketball. 

Coming home soaked from the rain.