Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 55 July 27, 2015 "Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love."

  Another transfer is yet almost underway we get transfer calls Saturday and then will transfer Wednesday if I do. I am not sure what will happen because we have 3 missionaries already going home in our ward so I don't know how much more will change. I think I most likely will get a new comp because I have been with Elder Ely for 2 but I could also just stay with Elder Huffman because I have only been his comp for 1. The weather was pretty rainy this week with a breeze here and there so it was nice to get a break from the heat. Although it is impossible to escape the humidity even when it is raining I can manage to get a break from the heat produced by the sun :) I pretty much just sweat all of the time and am almost used to it so that's good. I hope all you guys had a crazy fun pioneer day in Utah because they didn't even mention it here haha. 

      We didn't have pday on Monday because we got to go to the temple on Thursday but with all the appointments we had Monday was pretty much still a pday. We went and helped a lady in the ward move a super heavy old school piano and a bunch of other stuff. They were throwing out some cabinets and her sons wanted to go outside and smash them all up so we went out and helped them. We then proceeded to see who could throw the cabinet the farthest which may or may not of made a lot of noise... We were under the impression that what we were doing was okay because the lady in our ward said we could but then the apartment guard guy came out and started having a fit because we were being loud. We apologized, cleaned up our mess, and went back inside. I guess you can't have as much fun destroying stuff and being loud in Korea as you can in America. The lady in our ward made us lunch and it was super tasty. They had a pull up bar in their house and I got on it thinking it was strong enough but right around the 5th pull up I broke and I fell on my bum. The whole family and my comps had a good laugh so it was worth it I guess. Later that night as we were traveling to our next appointment I met this really cool guy who works in China and knows some Mormons there so we were able to have a really good talk. I am not sure if I will able to meet him again since he works in China but oh well I did what I could. We had ribs for dinner at Brother Lee's house and they were super tasty. His wife made them in this big pot roast kind of thing which made it really good. 

       We had Zone conference this week and this guy named PJ Rogers came and talked to us. He was awesome! He served in Korea many years ago and gave us a bunch of really good pointers. He taught us culture, how to learn Korean better, how to build better relations with members, and more stuff like that. I learned a ton and lucky for me I have a little under a year to go apply all that I learned. Some of the relief society from one of the wards made us lunch and it was bomb. I went up to get 2nds and man is that not a good idea when there is a bunch of Korean ladies by the food because you go back to your table with way more than you expected haha. I met another really cool guy at a grocery store called Homeplus and had a really good talk with him about families. I got his business card and will have to follow up and see if we can start meeting him. 

        After the temple this week I went with Elder Dewey and Elder Corona to a buffet in Yeong Deung Po because my comps were going to Gangnam and I couldn't go back because I would of got way too trunky. Man did our day turn out to be not what I expected... I ended up having to jump into a fight and protect this little old lady from some crazy drunk old guy. We also met this super cool lady who wanted to take us out to eat then and there but we had already ate. She also said anytime I am back in that area to call and that she would buy me food haha. She really wanted to get us something so we said that we could drink smoothies but it was raining outside and she had to go. As she was leaving she pulled 30 bucks out of her purse and insisted on giving it to us. We said we couldn't take it but she just threw it at us and ran off. Good thing we got her number so that we can contact her and give her money back. We helped at an English School this weekend that was hosting a summer camp. We have a LA in our ward that works there and said they needed help so of course we said yeah we will help. It was way funny since it was an English School you couldn't speak Korean all of the kids had to speak English to me. If any of them spoke Korean they would all point fingers and say teacher he or she spoke Korean haha. We got put on teams with kids and one of the other teachers and my team was the Cool Kids. We ended up winning! We got the most points after all the games and just destroyed everyone else. After the camp on Saturday we went out with James and all the teachers to lunch and ate a lot of meat! James' mom loved us all so she offered all us a job and told us to come back after our missions haha. She also said to stop by her school anytime and she would buy us food. People just love to give us food, it's great!!! :) 

        I started reading this book called "The Infinite Atonement" by Tad R. Callister and man is it an amazing book! I usually hate books but definitely not this one. I was reading about why Christ will be the gatekeeper of Heaven and why He doesn't assign someone else to do it. The obvious reason is because He loves each and every one of us so much and wants to be the one to welcome us in to His presence. Reading this just reassured me, Christ is there and we can experience the blessing of being encircled in His arms of love by doing just this, "Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and will encircle thee in the arms of my love." (D&C 6:20)

Elder Picard
P.S. Go read The Infinite Atonement. The book is amazing!!!

My team "The Cool Kids" at the camp! 
My boy Harry who was one of the teachers at the English Academy 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 54 July 20, 2015 "Watermelon!"

     Well overall this past week was a good one. We started off the week last pday by going down to Pyeongtek to visit one of Elder Huffman's friends that just got baptized. She was super cool and spoke English way good. She was probably in her 40s and actually has American citizenship but is Korean haha. We went to this way good meat buffet down there right by the US military base and straight pounded food. With the 5 missionaries we probably ate like 3 whole watermelons and that is not even counting the meat haha. It was so weird being down there I literally felt like I was in America! So many foreigners. After living around Koreans for a year whenever I see foreigners it is like "what the? where did you come from" you know the you don't belong here kind of thing. I bought this fake Lebron jersey for 5 bucks that actually looks pretty authentic. Koreans are smart they put a bunch of fake sports merchandise stores right next to an American Army base and probably make bank haha. I will for sure go back and get a few more before I go home because some of them are pretty sweet. I can also custom make them so I might get one with my name in Korean on the back.
        We also started this new English Class and it is doing pretty well. The ward is continuing to help us out and come out to class so that is awesome. We have been handing out business cards for the class like crazy so that it can continue to grow with new students. We went on splits with the Elder's Quorum and that was a really good experience. We visited a LA and on the spot I came up with something to teach because we didn't think she was actually gonna be there. Turns out what I chose was just what she needed to hear. I shared a message on prayer and she shared with us her really sweet testimony on prayer and how much it helps her family. She is one of those LAs that reads her scriptures and prays everyday but yet only every now and then comes out to church. Kind of unique but I just hope we can continue to help her out. That night we were doing splits my comp lost our phone on the bus haha. Lucky a kid found it and took it to a 7-11 right by our house. Since I am in a 3 some right now we had to go to a members house to pick up Elder Huffman who was with another member. We ended up being home way late that night but were blessed with a service opportunity. At that members appartment complex there is this LA family who was moving a bunch of books from their house to their car. There was only a few people there helping so we were able to jump in and help. The member Hwang Jae Shik gave us a ride home and even bought us ice cream and a watermelon on the way home! Maybe we should be late more often? ;) haha. We didn't get home till 11...
          This week we are going to help a LA active member with her English Academy and help at this party thing so it should be pretty fun. We met her this week with 2 of her coworkers and they took us out to eat. We ate at a meat house and they ordered so much haha. We didn't know that we were going to eat with them so we ate before we went too... Both of her coworkers spoke English super good and were way cool. Dinner was awesome because we could speak English, crack jokes, and have a good time. I played baseball with some kids when we were out tracting and that was pretty fun. They were all super funny. For some reason Korean little kids just love to hate on each other. So while I was planning baseball with them they were just teasing each other. Like when one was batting the other was saying oh he cant bat he is terrible at baseball. You know stuff like that. I told them I was a misisonary and talked about church a bit too. Then as we were leaving we gave them all English class cards and told them to come. I had a lot of really cool missionary experiences this past week but don't have enough time to explain them all. I wil explain one though. So one day when we were out tracting we past this huge protest against our church and we just smiled trying to look as happy as possible ha. Sure enough they saw us but didn't approach us. I saw this guy kind of standing off in the distance watching the crowd and felt impressed to go up and talk to him so I did. Turns out the dude spoke pretty good English and was confused while all those people were being so mean because he said in the Bible it says we should love everyone. We then were able to talk a bit about our church and give him our name card. Hopefully he calls. He was kind of in a hurry so we only had a litlte bit of time to talk with him.
             One of our investigators, Bae Seong Ho, came out to church so that was awesome. The teacher of gospel principles, Kim Nam Hyeon, did a great job teaching the class so the spirit was way strong. Well I have been studying a lot recently out of the religion course books they use in college and man are they great! I have learned so much. To end I just want to share a scripture that is one of my Dad's favs and now is one of mine too! It is Isaiah 40:31 I would encourage you to all look it up and read it because it is a good one. I would paste it but the computer I am on is being lame and wont let me. It is a hard concept to grasp but the Lord honestly will renew everyone of His children with strength in their time of trial. All that He requires of us is to wait upon Him. It may be longer than we would like to wait but I promise it is worth it.
Elder Picard

Watermelon is its own food group in the Picard household.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 53 July 13, 2015 "Happy Birthday Big Chief Picard!!!!!!"

Happy Birthday Big Chief Picard!!!!!! You is an old fart now haha. How does it feel to be 53? I love you so much Dad, you are the best Dad a poor little Indian boy like me could ask for :) Make sure and have Mom make you a yummy treat or something then eat my share of it too!! Maybe you could even convince her to take you to Red Robin for some bottomless fries because that place is your jam. I am not sure if you all got to move into our new house yet but I sure hope so. I can't wait to see pictures of our cool new house. Well I am past my year mark now so it is cool to look back and read my journal entries from the MTC this time last year. I can't believe it has already been a year! I wish I would have took more time in the MTC and wrote better journal entries though haha. My entries now are way better and I make sure to write every day but I stinkin missed a few days in the MTC. Now I know to keep that journal going because writing and reading your journal on the mission is super helpful. It is cool to look back and see how much I have grown. I maybe haven't changed day and night but I am trying and little by little I think I can change into the missionary but even more important the person the Lord knows me to be. 

      I have been reading in Matthew and man do you learn a lot from the parables Jesus told. They of course sometimes are super hard to understand but when you understand them it is really cool. Jesus really does know everything and put the Pharisees in their place a lot and truly made them think. When I read the parables Jesus told to the Pharisees it really made me realize how much I try and justify. Justify meaning that I sometimes think I know what is best for me and do things my way. The problem I ran into was that I was putting "my" into whatever I was saying too much. I definitely still have a long ways to go on it for sure and definitely don't have it down but I am trying. I think it is best to realize that God knows all and so does His son, Jesus Christ, I have my name on my badge but I also more importantly have Christ's name as well. This for sure isn't my work and it never will be my way. I wish it was but it wont be. I just hope by the end of my mission I can truly realize and master that submitting my will to the Lord. 

        We went to Costco this week and I got some Mexican blend cheese so that has been really yummy but it is also making me miss Nacho Sunday :( My companions had a party with all the people they came to country with so we went and played basketball last Monday and it was really fun. We had Zone Training this week and there are 4 missionaries going home in our zone at the end of this transfer so they gave their farewell speaks and they were all super good!! Elder Dewey from my house gave a really good one and he related what he said to the movie Kung Fu Panda. He said missionaries spend there whole mission trying to find something that will make things easier or just the answer to missionary work but he said honestly "There is no secret ingredient." God has given us all we need to succeed. Sometimes we just gotta believe in ourselves and of course trust in God because He will always have our back! When it is hard Christ is right there pushing us along we may not notice it but He is! President Morrise called and wanted to meet and just talk so I met him last night. We had a really good talk about my struggles and my mission. President Morrise is the man! I just hope someday I can be like him. My comp and I were kind of butting heads for a while but we had a talk and we are doing great now so that's good. It really does just help to talk it out sometime. We had a ward party this week that was super fun and we got lots of food as prizes. After the party we played basketball for a while. Then later that night we played basketball again with a LA. We played ball for like 5 hours Saturday so man did I sleep like a rock that night. 

          Missions definitely are a roller coaster and sometimes one you want to get off of but you can't haha. Just gotta push on that's all I can do. Time to shock the world and become the real Elder Picard who never gets angry and is patient 100% of the time and who loves everyone no matter what. 

Love and Prayers!!!

Elder Picard 
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 52 July 5, 2015 "On the down side"

     Well folks I have officially been on a mission for a year!!! It is crazy to think that this time last year I was in the MTC and this time 2 years ago I was entering my senior year of high school! I am getting old... oh no! The first year of my mission now that I look back went really fast and I can't even imagine how fast this 2nd year will fly by. I took some time this past week to write some goals for the last year of my mission so that I can make the most out of it. I just finished my upward mission climb and it is all down hill from here. I can't grab my brakes to stop time so I just gotta work as hard as I can and live in the moment. Missions are just great and I have learned so much being out here. I feel like it was forever ago when I was getting trained in Gangnam by Elder Hastriter! Time is so weird out here haha. I also got this really cool journal with 365 pages I can use as my last year journal from an investigator we had in Gangnam so I am pretty excited to start that. 

       This week was a fat kid week for sure. We ate 3 buffets!! haha. From going to a really expensive Korean wedding to taking down huge posters opposing our church we did it all this week. Monday after email we were able to go get my camera fixed and they fixed it right then and there so that was nice. We met with a referral that we got at a coffee shop and were able to pick him up as an investigator so that was cool! We didn't know he was coming to church but he just showed up. Definitely a miracle. We met one of our other investigators 이증원 and the lesson we had with him went really good too. He is just a great kid and sure loves God. He goes to church like 3 times a week and said he wants to dedicate his life to God. I really think we will be able to help him so I am pretty excited. We met our last active recent convert buddy 이동준 or Dan and taught him along with his non member bro again so that was sweet. We may just have to start teaching his bro, Dean, and pick him up as an investigator because he is awesome. Throughout the week we played ball with a bunch of kids and people from the neighborhood at the park. For exercise we usually go out during lunch and play to help me not get so tired throughout the day. It has been really good and we have been able to meet and play ball with a bunch of people. One day we were playing basketball with a bunch of these little kids and they noticed our football so of course they were curious as to what it was. We then taught them this football game and before we played I was thinking to myself "hey maybe we should say a prayer" so we did. We told all of the kids that we pray for safety before we play sports so they said it was okay. After playing we shared a quick message with them on love and how important it is to love each other. We connected the love Christ has for all of us to the love we should have for each other as simply as we could. We then told them to go home and tell their parents they love them and ask them if there is something they can do to help around the house. It was a really cool experience and man do I love when we can do missionary work while playing basketball it is the best!! 

         We met a member this week who used to be the ward mission leader and is super funny for dinner at his house. After dinner there is this last active lady in the ward with 2 sick little girls who wanted us to give them blessings. So after dinner we drove down to her house with the member and blessed the 2 girls. I think they have had some sort of sickness ever since birth and need blessings every now and then. I was able to do one of the annointings in Korean of course and man was that so cool!! I don't have it memorized so I had to read it but it was still awesome. Elder Ely gave one of the blessings and the member gave the other. I hope before I go home and when my Korean is a bit better I can give a blessing in Korean because that would be really cool. Our investigator 배성호 didn't come out to church but came out to a young single adults activity so it is good the members our building a relationship with him. We have these 2 new members that just got married a month or so ago and had their wedding reception this week. It was AWESOME!!! I can't even explain how cool it was. They had like a runway and they both did cool entrances. The bride descended down from a balcony and the groom came from backstage. Curtains opened and he gets up off the white couch and just walks down the isle with Bruno Mars "Marry You" playing. Man it was boss!! It was also apparently not the usual Korean wedding reception but a really experience one so we were pretty much living it. Then afterwards we ate at this amazing buffet! Easily like the coolest wedding ever. They didn't have a dance party but it was still way awesome. We went and watched this water show last night with Dan that was super cool too and we were able to talk with a lot of people there so we might have to start going there more often. 

         I finished the Miracle of Forgiveness finally and man is that an amazing book. I also read the talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf "Pride and the Priesthood" again because my mission President is the man and recommended it. I have read it before but reading it again was really good. It pretty much just hits on the fact that pride is a gateway sin and we should strive not to be prideful. What I really liked though is the little story he tells about his pen that would do everything he wanted it to without complaining or anything. We likewise should do this especially me as a missionary I need to give up my will and let the Lord take over. I need to be the tool in His hands that just works instead of complaining. It is going to be hard to do but I feel it is something I gotta do so I am going to give it a shot!!! 

Elder Picard
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My camera is FINALLY fixed!