Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 51 June 29, 2015 "Hump week, gotta make this last year count"

  My weekly emails probably are going to start getting a little shorter..sorry :( I just don't have too much time and need to do better at getting done with email on time. I sent a surprise bday card to Dad so don't tell him ;) I haven't sent home the package yet because I buying some presents for all of my lovely family to send in it. I am going to get my camera looked at today so hopefully they can fix it, if not I will send it home as fast as I can so that you can send it in Mom. The weather here in Korea is just getting harder and harder to handle. Humidity stinks!! I am not such a huge fan of the heat but I am going to have to figure out how to deal with it. So that I can push on and be a happy missionary boy instead of being an overheated angry one haha. 

       Last Pday we went to this huge underground shopping center and we all got custom rings. Of course the ring I got says "Catch Me I'm Ballin" because that is my motto and I know all of my family would appreciate that haha. I will send a pic of it, it is pretty sweet. I got my name in Korean on it too so that makes it that much cooler. I had a lot of really good personal studies this week so that was good. On Monday I learned that any increase in knowledge of the Atonement brings us closer to Christ. The human mind can't fully understand the Atonement because it is just too infinite but increases our knowledge in it is always good. Also there are some people that question the Plan of Salvation and whether or not it is a perfect plan and complete. I can testify that it is because I learned this week that the Plan of Salvation is constantly underway NOT constantly under construction. God knows all so we have nothing to worry about. 걱정하지마세요! One day this week I was riding the bus and I saw this lady looking on her phone at and other sites about our church. Of course when that happens you get a little excited and have to talk to the person so I did. I leaned over and asked if she had a question. She said that she wanted to learn English so I gave her all of the English class information. Then a few days later I saw that same lady on the bus and there was a seat open next to her so I sat down and had a really good talk with her. We talked about English again and I was even able to bring up gospel and she asked when church was. She didn't end up coming to church but man was that a cool miracle. 

         My DL's name is Elder Dewey and he goes home after this transfer so it is fun and really helpful to take a few minutes every now and then to ask about his mission and get some advice. It definitely has helped me a lot. The mission is a struggle sometimes and it is nice to have an experienced missionary to talk it out with. This week we were talking about something and he said a mission in a way could kind of be our Gethsemane. Obviously not in a sacrilegious manner because none of us will ever suffer as much as Christ did but in a manner so I could understand. It really hit me hard because he was right this 2 years may be the hardest 2 years of my life and the time where I learn and progress the most. The only difference for me is that I have the most extraordinary being helping me along in my journey every second of every day. That person obviously being Christ. The way He can do this and help me out is because He knows what it feels like to be forgotten, to suffer, and to go through afflictions. I read this really good talk this week that Elder Huffman gave me and it compared all of a missionaries struggles to what Christ had to deal with. One of them being who cares I sweat and that it is hot, Jesus sweat blood from every pore! People reject my message and don't want to listen, Jesus was betrayed by one of His best friends! My back could hurt from carrying my bag all day, He bore a cross on His back! The talk continued to go on and man did it hit me hard. This mission and my struggles are nothing compared to that. So pretty much I gotta stop complaining and think of Christ and what He had to go through when I am going through tough times. 

           We taught the Law of Chastity to our investigator this week and man is that one always a bit awkward to teach... haha. He took it pretty good but couldn't stop laughing while we were teaching. We have a really good relationship so we both started laughing a few times. At the very beginning he said "Too late" and "I already lost it." We tried to keep it as serious as possible and were able to bring it back together at the end. We played ball Saturday night with some kids and I did some Harlem Globetrotters dribbling/crazy basketball and they loved it. I even dunked it off Elder Huffman's back during the game! I felt black for a second, it was awesome! After we were done playing we told them we were missionaries and why we were here. They said they wanted to play again sometime so we gave them our number. Well yep that was my week. I know I still got a lot to improve on and that I am not perfect but lucky for me I have Jesus Christ on my team and we can do this together!!! 

Elder Picard 

My cool new ring I had made. This is my name in Korean.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 50 June 22, 2015 "Everytime we increase our knowledge of the Atonement we are growing closer to Christ."

  I would first like to start off by saying Happy Father's Day to the greatest dad in the world, my dad!!! His name is Daniel Clarence Picard and him is great!! He is brown so that's cool. He can do nun chucks and even in his late years could still probably ball me up in basketball!! He may not be able to drive without his knee going out of place but man does he still got that trey ball!! Dad you are the best. Thanks for raising me so well and ever since day one for getting me excited and ready to serve a mission. My dad is a convert to the church and if it weren't for him reading the Book of Mormon those 3 consecutive nights in the U of I's library I would not exist on the earth right now and would not be on a mission. If that were the case I don't think I would be happy and would probably be lost. Lucky for me I have the family I do and it all started with my dad's decision to read the Book of Mormon and for that decision I am forever grateful. This church is true and I am so happy and lucky to be serving a mission right now sharing the joy I have received from this church with as much of Korea as I possibly can.   

I just must be the king of food because this week we managed to get 7 meal appointments with members! Now I don't serve in America so that is pretty impressive. I have to work to get fed I am not just handed meals like all of the missionaries in America with their meal calendars that get passed around church every Sunday haha. Along with all those meals we were able to teach a lot of practice lessons. It is good when you get to teach a lot of practice lessons and definitely tests and helps your Korean. I definitely am grateful for all that the members do here in my ward. They help us out so much, they are awesome!! Well we got transfer calls but I am not going anywhere so woo hoo I don't have to pack. Elder Ely and I are going another transfer together but with a new buddy too!! Our new comp's name is Elder Huffman and he is a big boy but a nice one. He originally was in our house last transfer but a Korean elder in our district went home early because he hurt his ankle so Elder Huffman's comp E. Smith got switched over to another house to be with Elder Lee. So now in our big house we just have 5 so it's great and there is lots of space! I look forward to going this next transfer in a 3 some it should be fun. We all get along really well and have a great time so that definitely is a plus. The whole house all has really good relationships with each other so we all great along great. We have one Elder, E. Dewey, who goes home after this transfer so we all always tease him about running out of time and going back home. He is a good sport about it and just laughs so that's good. 

       Last P-Day we went to a bathhouse. It was the second one I have been to because for the longest time  I didn't care to go again but my house convinced me this time. It was a lot better than the one I went to as a greenie that's for sure. It had monkey bars!! So cool. They were over a cold pool and we did relay races on them so it was really fun. Once we started doing them everyone else started laughing, clapping, cheering, etc. haha I am guessing they first were just confused because we were all foreigners plus we didn't have clothes on so... and then we started being crazy monkeys so yeah haha. This bathhouse had roof access so we could go outside and get some sun on our white missionary bodies except for the fact the sun really wasn't out so that was a bummer. It definitely is cool being in one of the only missions in the world where we can swim and tan. Korea is the best!! Maybe it was all the pull ups and monkey bars I did but after going to the bathhouse man was I pooped. Lucky for us right after we had an appointment and some members took us out to eat!! I pounded because the bathhouse made me hungry too somehow. Yeah so last Pday was a good day. 

        The heat and humidity is still killing me so it is pretty rough some days and hard to stay smiley. I sweat like crazy here! My face is constantly dripping with sweat. So I pretty much just have to get used to sweating all of the time I guess. I haven't been as tired but the humidity and sweating doesn't help. I guess this is just one of the trials I gotta get through on my mission. It might take a while to not be tired all of the time but whatever it takes I gotta do it. 

        We met this old guy who had met missionaries a while ago and had a lot of questions. It was kind of hard to teach him because he couldn't really understand us. Plus everytime we tried to answer his question he wouldn't wait and ask another. He told us to refer him to the Korean missionaries so they can teach him. He was a super nice guy and I would love to meet him again but I think the Koreans will do a better job probably haha. 

         Well to end this morning I was studying about the Atonement and read one thing I really liked. It said "Everytime we increase our knowledge of the Atonement we are growing closer to Christ." You all have probably thought about this before but it really hit me this morning. The crazy thing is the mortal brain can't even come close to understanding the power of the Atonement. It literally is infinite!! I am so grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and for His Atonement. I know Christ lives and will help us in all our times of struggle!!

Elder Picard
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 49 June 15, 2015 "I believe that God loves broken me."

      When you get out of the shower dry but then 5 seconds later you are sweating again you know you are in Korea!! The humidity here is rough... My face is always sweating, even in the house! It doesn't help that I already normally sweat like crazy either. The hot weather is coming and I am predicting it will be one rough summer. I bought these super thin super pants that have been good so far so hopefully they help. I guess one good thing about humidity and sweating is that I should be able to lose all the weight I put on during the winter pretty fast haha. I wasn't as tired this week with being able to exercise in the afternoon so that was good. Either way I just have to realize and figure how to put up with being tired because that is just the life of a missionary. Hot weather does help either so man do I pound water! My comp and I are getting along really well so that's great! We have really good talks every week and if anything thing comes up we do good at figuring it out together. We get transfer calls Saturday again so there is a possibility for a new comp but I hope not because Elder Ely and I are doing great! He has been here for 4 transfers so he could leave and maybe go ZL or something. If he leaves this will be my first one and done with a companion. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens. 

        For Sister Kelly's birthday in my district we went to this Burger place in 청라 that pretty much is like In and Out in America. Our thinking is that a Korean went to America and stole the idea to bring it back too Korea. It even tasted American but man did it destroy my tummy. It tasted good but I am starting to think American food will blow me up when I get home because it is so fatty haha. Elder Ely and I went to this super good buffet called Miss Grill by Bennigan's this past week. While we were eating there I heard this little Korean boy close by our table speak English so it really caught me by surprise. I was looking over in that direction and his mom looked over at me so to make it not awkward I asked if they speak English in Korean. They responded in English and said they were from America. It was super weird because they spoke with no accent really at all and I probably spoke better Korean then their kids did haha. We were then able to talk to that family about missionaries, our church, why we are here, etc. It was just a super good talk and we told them to if they ever saw missionaries in America to say hi. Our area doctor called me about my exhaustion lately and gave me some good ideas. He was just a super happy dude and said a really good quote that I am trying to put in play more. So as you all know I have struggled with anger pretty much all of my life but it has significantly improved during my mish. He said that I need "to act instead of react." So instead of anger being my reaction I need to make happy be my action. That doesn't really make any sense but oh well haha. Cut me some slack I am learning Korean over here haha. 

         We taught a few really good practice lessons this week. During one of the lessons I asked our member acting as an investigator if he could ask one question to God what would it be. He said that it would be about the Lotto and how to win. Then I responded of course all in Korean in a way it didn't even think I could. I said money can disappear but the eternal blessings of this gospel can't. After the lesson he said that was really good what I said. Now that I think about it, it is true. A lot of times us as humans get too distracted on things of this world when we really should be focusing on things that will last eternally. I read a DearElder from my mom that really hit me and was nice too read just looking through old mail. She said that I need to find joy in serving and taking care of the Lord's sheep even if at times I have to pick up their poop. Seems kind of funny but is totally true. Sometimes we don't like doing the hard things people need from us and our selfishness holds us back from helping people. I sure hope that through my mission I can become that person. The one who no matter what wants to serve even if that means picking up poop! My mom sure does love me and always has such great advice. I just have the greatest mom and better yet the BEST family! 

          I finished TIP with the Assistants!! Woo hoo!!!!! I am done with TIP! TIP is the program President Morrise made for us to better our teaching in Korean just in case you all forgot what it was. It was good and all but I sure am glad to be done with it. It was a lot of memorizing scriptures in Korean and vocab. So now I can really hit it on my language study. We fasted a few times this week for different things but with the humidity you have to drink water while you fast or else you will die haha. Fasting truly is a powerful thing and works.There is a song that comes on every once and a while in our house when we are listening to music and it says "I believe that God loves broken me." Now that I have been thinking about it man is that true!! God does love all of His children no matter are short comings or imperfections are!! There really is no reason to feel discouraged ever because He is there and knows what we are going through! I love this gospel and I love being out here teaching people about God, the nature of Him, and letting people know that God does exist and loves all His children. It sure can be hard sometimes don't get me wrong but EVERY one of God's children needs to be found and guided back to the restored gospel and to the blessing it brings and that is what I am doing!! So cool!!! 

Elder Picard 
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No pictures this week so I took the liberty to post one from almost a year ago when we went to Silverwood.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 48 June 8, 2015 "The Holy Ghost is my bud"

     This week was good but the heat is coming more and more so that part is rough. It isn't that the heat itself is killer but the humidity is no fun. I am going to have to try and find some new super thin slacks so that I don't die this summer haha. Last Pday my comp and I were going to go to the gym and lift but when we got there the lady wouldn't let us in because we didn't care our exercise clothes in a bag and change there. It was pretty frustrating because we were in nice exercise clothes and she still wouldn't let us in. So instead of lifting we decided to go down to the river and run because as a missionaries you just need as much exercise as you can get. We pretty much were like Forrest Gump and just kept running. For not running a long distance in a while we did pretty good. We ran like 8 or so miles. I was so pooped afterwards but I didn't die so its all good. After running we went to a members house for dinner so that was nice because we were both starving and didn't have to cook anything! 

      It was kind of a hard week too because my body just isn't liking this mission schedule thing. I have just been getting crazy tired and sometimes even fall asleep when we are teaching people :( I interviewed with President and let him know. The area doctor is supposed to be calling me soon to try and help in figuring it out. As for now I got permission to exercise in the afternoon to see if getting my body moving more helps. Of course we walk and all but obviously that hasn't helped yet with being so tired. So to like wake me up during the middle of the day we are going to see if running or some other hard exercise works. I have also had a cough for a few weeks now that comes only at night. It is weird that it only comes at night but also is way annoying. I just want to get back to full health and not have anything wrong with me. The heat plus being crazy tired doesn't help my attitude too much either. I can just get angry that much quicker when my body is uncomfortable. I am trying to cope with it as best as I can but man is it hard. Hopefully Elder Hansen, the doctor, is magically and will be able to get me fixed up quick. I just want to be able to work hard and have the energy to do so. I want to be an energetic happy boy not a tired angry missionary haha. Whatever is wrong with me or whatever trial I am going through God knows I needed it so I just have to have faith that whatever is happening right now is what I need and that is for the good. I just thought I would let you know but don't worry mom I will be fine. I just hope I don't have MERS or else I might die haha. 

       We had Zone training this week and it was really good. We are doing a Zone fast to help us in finding more investigators and in being blessed with more opportunities to teach lessons. With extraordinary faith we can do extraordinary things is one thing they mentioned. The Holy Ghost also helps in accomplishing tasks we can't do on our own. With the Holy Ghost we can do anything and impossible is nothing. We are so blessed to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost to be our bud and always help us out. We taught a recent convert this week at his house. We taught him through showing the Bible videos and then the Because of Him video. We taught the first part of the second lesson and a lot about our purpose her on the earth. We showed a video on the Good Samaritan and man is that just a great lesson for us all. Christ was always willing to help others so why aren't we? So what it can be hard, we are promised that if we serve others and care more for others than ourselves that we will constantly receive countless blessings. That sounds like a good gig to me. The recent convert we met lives with his older bro who is not a member and at the beginning of the lesson I said that I wanted to say hi to his bro. He was busy at first but actually came out to the living room and we able to teach both of them! It was awesome such a miracle. We watched the videos on their huge big screen TV so that was really cool too. His bro said that he looked forward to seeing me at church. He didn't come yesterday but we are going to keep in touch and maybe even try and pick him up as an investigator. 

         We taught our investigator, 배성호, with a member this week and that lesson went extremely well. We showed the Mormon message called "The Hope of God's Light" and man is that video clutch. The spirit was definitely there helping us teach and also having a Korean there was super helpful too. He came out to church again this week so that was sweet. We are going to try and give him a baptismal date this week but I guess we will just have to wait and see. We had a sports day with a member and one of the other Elder's investigators named Denny and that was really fun. We played basketball and football. Then ate Dominoes pizza!! 

          One night this week we all just started telling stories and talking about Christ. We talked a lot about the church to and just all our beliefs, the Second Coming, etc. Some of the other elders told stories about people nowadays who have seen Jesus Christ. I was laying in my bed, listening, and couldn't help but get the chills from the spirit. Our church is just amazing and is true!!! I know it! I know Jesus Christ lives and I know He has the power to visit people today's day. I know that we have a Prophet who receives direct revelation from God and Jesus Christ on how to direct this church. Christ will come again. Our church just makes sense. We don't have to see Christ to know He is there. I have never seen Him but that doesn't mean I don't know He is there. We are on the earth right now to prepare to enter into His presence again. Our main focus should be to do just that. We obviously will make mistakes but we can't let those hold us back. We can't let Satan win us over. He won't win us over! Christ has all power, He lives, and for that reason we have nothing to worry about!! Life will be hard but I can testify Christ will always help us no matter what because we are His children and He loves us more than we can imagine. I am so lucky to be able to be on a mission sharing that very joy that Jesus Christ has given me. I may not be the best missionary but I am trying. I love you all so much! Thanks for all the love and prayers!!!

Elder Picard

He didn't send a picture so I thought I would post this one from right before he left. We love our boat and lake time as a family and will be sending "cool & refreshing" thoughts to him as he sweats it out in Korea this summer!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 47 June 1, 2015 "The Lord truly does watch over and is constantly preparing people!!!

 It is June... What the??? A month from tomorrow I hit my year weird...haha. Time just flies for sure. I think I am making the most of my mission but maybe I will have to sit down and think about what more I can change. There is always something we as people can change because we aren't perfect and are constantly in need of change. The language will probably forever be a struggle but I am getting there and my conversations with people and fluency of speech is getting better so that's good. Korean has so many grammar forms and crazy rules that sure make it dang hard. My comp keeps saying that I am a lot better than I think and that I don't give myself enough credit so I don't know maybe I just need to be easier on myself. I had a stinking cough/sore throat all week long and it is finally starting to go away so that's nice. My body lately is just trying to get me to stop doing missionary work or something but I wont let it haha. Missionary work and talking to people is too much fun to give up.

     Last P-Day it was happy birthday buddha so of course we had to go to a buddhist temple. We did not know what we were getting ourselves into... The temple was really cool and it was interesting to see the buddhist beliefs and practices up close. So we get there and go up to like the 5th floor because it was a pretty big one. When we got up there we went into this worship room thing to look around and some ladies of course came up and started talking to us. People were like paying buddha, giving him food, and other kinds of worship. Then these guys come up to us who were loading like over 700 kilos of rice into bags that we originally paid to buddha for respect or something and they asked us to carry the bags. So yep we were blessed with a service opportunity when we weren't even looking for one. We had to carry the bags from the 5th floor to the 3rd floor but luckily there was an elevator or else we probably would of died. We had 6 missionaries there and a kid who was visiting from BYUI came with us. So my guess is that when all the buddhist people saw us they were like "hey we should just make all these Americans carry the rice for us" then the others said something like "good idea they probably won't even see it coming" haha. After we were their work horses they took us down to the cafeteria and fed us lunch! We had a bunch of watermelon and a Korean rice dish called bibimbap. So weren't expecting the meal so that was a pretty good deal I will say. After that we went to the members house that the kid from BYUI, Tyler, was staying at. They are members of our ward and had a really nice place. The dinner they made for us was yummy and we taught on the Book of Mormon as our message. I shared Dad's conversion story again and the members loved it. I followed that with my testimony and it was just a spirit filled meeting. It is cool to have a parent who is a convert because it helps in teaching a lot. Plus having a Mom that is just awesome and raised me so well and was so true to the faith and her religion all of her life really helps too. 

     We met this lady on the street who thought she knew us but we both had no clue who she was. She said she had a missionary friend and then walked us into a mart close by to meet her friend. When we got in there she asked her friend if she knew who we were and without hesitation in command form Korean told her not to talk to us. The lady was confused because she thought we were good people and her friend said we weren't. As we walked and my comp talked to her you could tell she was hesitant and worried about her friends' comment. My comp talked about the Book of Mormon and a bunch of other things with her. Afterwards we were just talking and man is it hard to take comments like that. Some people rely so heavily on others opinions and they won't give us a chance. I don't let stuff like that beat me up but it is just interesting. 

     The day of the conference literally everywhere we went there was someone prepared that we were supposed       to talk to. It was crazy we had so many miracles that day!!! Then the other day we saw these guys playing             ball so of course we had to jump in and play. Turns out that two of the guys  we played with have met                   missionaries before and one of them even has a Book of Mormon! Crazy huh? The same guys' grandfather           has a Book  of Mormon and believes it to be God's word. Super cool right? We are playing ball again this week     and are going to try and pick him up as investigator.  The Lord truly does watch over and is constantly                   preparing people!!!  

     We got a lot of practice lessons with members this week so that was good. This week we had a combined mission conference with the Seoul mission where Elder Maynes from the Quorum of the 70 spoke. It was way cool to see all of my buddies from the MTC that went to the Seoul mission. I got to see all of my favorite Koreans from the MTC so that was fun to talk with and see them again. President Ringwood was also at the conference and he gave a great talk! I learned too much at the conference and it would take me forever to write it all so I will end on something I really liked from Elder Maynes' talk. He talked about goals and the importance of them along with a bunch of other things. Life is hard and we are constantly learning new things and being blessed with more and more trials. We can't give up and have to keep growing and bettering ourselves. If you look at it from the aspect of sports particularly basketball. When you are done playing for the day you can't end on a miss right? You gotta end on a make!! You gotta get buckets and when you do then you can take a break. 

Elder Picard
Buddhist Temple
All the rice bags I carried. 
Happy Birthday Buddha! 
Our study/planning area 
The kitchen I keep clean 
Sleeping area, guess which area is mine?
Laundry/closet area