Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 60 August 31, 2015 "Nummy in My Tummy"

      Well this will be my last email in the month of August because it is time for September! This week I hit my year mark in country so that was pretty crazy. I cant believe I have been here in Korea for a whole year! It feels like just yesterday I was being trained by Elder Hastriter in Gangnam. It has been really fun to read back in my journal from last year and reflect on the progress I have made. Back when I was a greenie I couldn't speak Korean to save my life and now I can speak a lot better so woo hoo!!! Since you have to study a lot as a missionary I have been forced to read a lot of things haha. I used to hate reading and would never read at all back home but now I am starting to like it. It isn't so much of being forced anymore now I just like reading and learning new things about cool church stuff. I have been reading a book by Henry B. Eyring "To Draw Closer to God" and it is super good. There is just so much to learn in this life you just gotta read so you can learn more. So everyone join the cool kid club and read a lot of good churchy books. 

       We got a referral from a member this week so that was a miracle. It is not too often that we get referrals so it was super cool to get one. The guy that got referred to us is a Sister's younger brother in our ward. We met him last week at his sister's house and he was super cool. He seems to have a lot of potential and we will be meeting him again tomorrow. We are going to take him to lunch at our tab and then go to the church and teach him there. He doesn't just seem to have only English interest and seems to have a bit of gospel interest too! The brother in our ward who pays for the tab randomly showed up at our house with a bunch of meet and fruit for us so it was like an early thanksgiving haha. He is the man and always hooks us up with food. I am really blessed here and my belly is never hungry so that is a huge blessing. We went on exchanges with the ZLs and I got to go with Elder Swanson. It was really cool because he was trained by the same trainer as me! When I went over to his area their house had a bunch of random food so I got creative and made us some yummy dinner. Along with reading I am also starting to like cooking. I will probably just become Chef Picard and open a restaurant called "Nummy in My Tummy" or something like that. I still am not sure what I will call my restaurant that is just an idea haha. 

        We have an older lady investigator who has been coming out to church and doing really good. We have been really trying to find new investigators and are doing alright. Most of the time people just have English interest so we are just trying to figure out how to spark that gospel interest too. We played basketball with some kids at the park who went to an international school and spoke English perfectly. It is always super weird being around Koreans that speak English just as good as we do. After we played with them I told them that we were missionaries and that if they ever wanted to learn English or to learn about Jesus Christ to give me a call. We were going to get all of their numbers but we had to hurry to an appointment. They have this little store with a bunch of imported snacks and I managed to find a sweet deal where I got 18 reeses bars for like 3 bucks! Of course I had to get them because I couldn't turn down that good of a price. We ate Thai food this week with a member and man is that kind of food tasty!! It may be my new favorite. We met this kid playing soccer with the young men a few weeks ago and we met him yesterday after church. We met him at a subway station by our church and then walked up to the church. The kid is in high school and he speaks pretty good English for never studying abroad or anything. He is a super cool kid and we had a good time with them. We told him to talk to his mom about our English program to see if we can get rolling on that. He said his mom already goes to church so I guess we will see what happens. 

            They had a conference thing up in the Seoul mission for all the deaf members and the Korean sign language missionaries from our mission got to go up there. They called last night and said the kid that we helped with his bike in the subway station was at church and that he is meeting with the missionaries up there!! It was way cool to hear that. I just realized that you can never pass an opportunity to serve someone because you never know what will happen in the end. I didn't necessarily know why I should of helped that kid in the subway station that one day I just did. It was for sure a prompting from the Spirit to help him. What a miracle! If he doesn't get baptized oh well at least now he knows that he has a Father in Heaven that loves Him and that He shows that love by sending His servants (missionaries) to help him. 

Elder Picard

I am still your pancake boy
Just some fountains haha 

Love my Reeses, especially when they are cheap!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 59 August 24, 2015 "The Jesus."

      My new favorite restaurant is CPK, it is so yummy!!!! They have one in Gangnam and I finally got to go. It was the first time I have ever ate there and man was it tasty. It is kind of funny that the first time I ate it was in Korea of all places haha. Our recent convert Femme took us (she was baptized my first week here). In Seocho they have a French town and there is even a French school there too. This week we went over there and saw a ton of French people. It was cool, I like French people they are nice haha. There is this park over in French town we went to with a lot of bunnies. I tried to catch um but only managed to get a pic feeding one because they were way too fast to catch. When we talked to the French people I greeted them in French and man was that not a good idea because then they thought I spoke French... My one year of taking it in high school did me no good haha. I for sure am thinking now that I want to go home and study a bunch of languages because languages are just cool. Maybe I could even become a linguist and do something with that who knows? I for sure want to learn Spanish and French when I get home. I guess we will see if there are any other languages I would like to learn. Maybe Japanese too because I heard after you know Korean, Japanese isn't too tough. We got to go to Yoyoma's Kitchen again for lunch and man is that place the bomb. Last week I was doing some calls and managed to schedule an appointment with this random guy named Mr. Seong that missionaries probably met a long time ago. We met him this past week and he took us to dinner. He didn't have a ton of interest and said he hadn't even met the missionaries before so I dont know how we had his number haha. He did although have English interest and came out to our English class the next day so that was cool!! 

       We met a lady named Lisa on the street a few weeks ago and got to meet her this week so that was way cool. We ate lunch with her and her Finnish friend in Gangnam meaning we got a referral from a random lady off the street. How cool is that? Lisa said that he wanted to learn about "The Jesus." So when we met them we talked all in English which was a surprise. Lisa was alright at English but the Finnish guy was incredible. After lunch we went to their art gallery thing and taught them there. I was able to teach Yan, the Finnish guy, like the whole Restoration while my comp taught Lisa and answered her questions. We are hoping to meet them again so that we can give Yan an English Book of Mormon because we didn't have one on us then. I went on an exchange with Elder Monterrozo this week and that was fun. We went to the Nike store on Gangnam Daero and got into a convo with a guy that was working there about shoes and stuff because as you all know I worked at Champs so I love that stuff. The guy had me try on the Hyperdunks 2015 and they had this little court where I could dribble around and shoot the ball to see how the shoes felt. Well anyways I got the guys number and hopefully this week we can go play ball with him. I didn't start with too much gospel but hey sometimes you just got to have a friendly patient approach to get someone to talk with you. 

         We met with our Bishop and he is the man. He lived in America so his whole family speaks English perfectly. He was able to answer some of our Korean questions so that was cool. We ate Quiznos and chicken with them. I just keep eating all this American food, it is great haha. I just gotta exercise super hard now because I don't want to be a chubby boy when I go home haha. For lunch I am still on that breakfast burrito grind so I ate a lot of breakfast burritos this week. Cooking is fun, I like cooking! Well this email is all over the place sorry haha. We found a place with a ton of basketball courts and played with some guys in our missionary clothes. We are going to try and hit it up this week in pday clothes and proselyte over there. We helped this girl carry stuff up a hill so that was a cool service opportunity we were blessed with. 

          Well to end last night we ate at a members house and the message we shared was on the importance of parents and listening to their council. The mom was a little worried about her son growing up with all the temptations we have in this ward so we talked about from experience how to avoid those things and make it through middle and high school way out of reach of Satan's grasp. I guess simply what we hit on was trusting your parents enough to talk with them about anything and everything. Also instead of having just a good relationship with them having a GREAT one. As I was teaching I was reflecting a lot back on my life and my relationship with my parents. It was a great experience for me because while I taught I truly realized how awesome my parents are and how much they cared about me growing up and how much they still continue to care about me. I may not have been the best at listening to them but for sure when I did I was able to stay far away from temptation. Parents know they have all been in our shoes before so we just gotta trust what they say. So I will just end by saying that I have the greatest parents and God gave us parents to protect us from this evil world and all the temptations within because He loves us. I am blessed to have such amazing parents and I hope to be as good of parents as they are someday!!! 

Love and Prayers, 
Elder Picard

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 58 August 17, 2015 Man I am spoiled here in Korea. My life is too good :)

      I have my fingers crossed that summer is almost over because this humidity is killing me haha. I will never ever move so where it is humid that is for sure. It rained quite a bit this week so that was nice. Whenever it rains here you never know it just kind of comes and starts raining at the most random times. Seems like it always starts raining when I don't have an umbrella too but its alright because I like that rain. Last pday deep cleaning our house was fun but man was it nasty. Some missionaries just dont know how to clean whatsoever haha. Our walls pretty much are all stained but we couldn't do much about that because our house is just stinkin old. It looks a lot better now and it is nice living in a cleaner house. That night after cleaning we went to one of our member's restaurants called Yoyoma's Kitchen and it was super tasty. We got steak and pasta so that was a super nice why to finish off a stinky day of cleaning. 

       Recently in our mission we have been emphasizing the importance of the Book of Mormon and how we need to use it all the time when we proselyte. So at our zone training this week we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and how to better our proselyting. The Book of Mormon is just awesome and since sometimes you can forget the true power of it you gotta always be studying it. Of course I use it while I proselyte but it can be easy to get side tracked and not be bold while I proselyte because I am scared of how people will react so I just resort to saying we teach free English. I am going to really try and use the Book of Mormon from here on out in all of my conversations because I need to. Our church is blessed to have the Book of Mormon and I need to always be sharing those blessings I have received with others. We weekly planned at one of our tabs so I think we will make that a tradition from here on out because they have air conditioning and it is a lot better planning there then at our hot house. 

        This week my comp and I were blessed with a super cool service opportunity. We were coming home and in one of the subways we stopped at we saw these 2 guys that looked to be deaf and in their 20s who were struggling to carry their bikes down the stairs so we helped them. My comp learned a bit of Korean sign language in his last area so that really helped. Luckily one of the guys could hear and speak a bit but we still had to write down a bunch of stuff on a paper in order to communicate. While we helped them get on the train one of them didn't get on somehow and disappeared. The one that didn't get on was completely deaf so it was incredibly hard to find him. We got off at the next stop and went back to the previous stop to see if he was there but he wasn't. The one we were with had a phone but it died so he used ours to txt his friend. After a while of carrying his bike, running all over the place, and even going into the other mission we finally found his friend. I will probably never forget that experience because man I was blessed to have received it. 

         We played soccer and basketball with the Young Men's and the YM's leaders this week so that was really fun. After playing we had Korean breakfast food for lunch so that was really weird and I will probably never do that again haha. I still need American breakfast foods in the morning haha. An English class member named Yeong took us out to eat this week. We went to Subway for my first time in Korean and man do I miss Subway, it was so good!!! He was still hungry afterwards so then he took us to a Brazilian grill and we got steak! Man I am spoiled here in Korea. My life is too good :) haha. Yesterday some lady at church said my forehead was wrinkly so that was kind of weird to hear. Korean people are just a lot more blunt than Americans so I just kind of took it haha. I like my forehead so its whatever if it is wrinkly. Last night while walking to our dinner appointment we got soaked because we gave away our umbrellas to people that needed them more than we did. When we got to the members house we were drenched head to toe and they just kind of looked at us like huh? haha. The wife of the family we met last night made tacos! They were so good. She made like a taco bar and there was even guacamole. She just looked online and gave some Mexican recipes a shot. I was in heaven. I love tacos!!! The members gave us umbrellas to take home but we ended up giving those out too so we were just wet yesterday. 

          Well today I want to end on this quote I found that is super good. "If you ever need a helping hand, look at the end of your arm." When I read this I just kind of laughed to myself because usually I dont look at the end of my arm. I will now try my best to look at the end of my arm. I know from experience that service brings blessings and that when we serve God is happy. So lets just go out and serve somebody I need this week!!! 

Elder Picard

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Week 57 August 10, 2015 "God guides us, His children, with that still small voice"

     So maybe I didn't invent it but this week I made a sandwich that is sooooo yummy! So this nummy sandwich is a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich. So good!!! You all for sure need to try it sometime. Well this past week involved a lot of packing and moving all my heavy luggage. I said a lot of goodbyes to my last ward and will for sure miss them because they are great. We met Will and BJ at the airport for dinner. Will is Korean and BJ is American they were really cool members that always hooked us up with food and stuff. Anyways being out at the airport was super crazy. The last time I was there was about a year ago and my mind was all over the place because I recognized everything. My new area is awesome. I love it here, Seocho is great!! 

      My new comp is Elder Smith and he is from Arizona. He goes home in two transfers so he will probably be the first comp I kill. By kill I mean like I will be he last comp before he goes home. My new house is alright. It is kind of old but it is okay. The whole mission will be cleaning their houses today because missionaries don't know how to clean and a lot of the houses are trashed. I am pretty excited to clean so that I don't have to live in a mess anymore. I will be cleaning all day today so that should be pretty fun. This area is literally right next to Gangnam so I have already walked on a lot of the streets in this area. So I am pretty much already familiar with it. Our church building is up on top of a pretty decently big hill so that stinks but after all it is exercise I need haha. My district leader in my last area Elder Dewey went home this past week and I just wanted to give him a shout out and just say that he is the best district leader I have ever had. He taught me so much and I will miss him. He was such a good missionary and I will continue to look up to him. He truly was always so happy and loved being a missionary. I hope by the end of my mission I will develop the attitude he had and become a solid consecrated missionary like he was. 

      My new area of course since it is right next to Gangnam is super rich maybe even richer than Gangnam! We have two tabs here. We have a member in our ward who pays for us to eat at these 2 restaurants once a week. We just go and after we are done eating we sign our name and then the member comes and pays for it later. It is so awesome!! I for sure am so grateful because man it is nice to eat out for free. We went and proselyted on Gangnam Daero this past week and that was super weird. Gangnam Daero is the road I would tract on all the time back in Gangnam and since Seocho is right next to Gangnam that road is our area too! This time tracting there I wasn't a greenie so it was super weird. I love that road you can talk to so many people it is great! We went into a bookstore called Kyobo and while we were in there I was talking to this guy and I saw this thing out of the corner of my eyes. At first I thought it was a dog but turns out it was a squirrel!! I saw a squirrel. Then it started running all over the store and everyone was freaking out trying to catch it. Some of the workers finally caught it but it was super funny and way weird to experience that. 

       Yesterday at church we had a baptism. My comp Elder Smith baptized her. Her name is Femme and she is just the sweetest lady you'd ever meet. She has met with the missionaries for a while and finally got baptized so it was super cool. She has such a strong testimony it is incredible. The first time I met her was this past week right before her baptism and I just got the warmest feeling of the Spirit being around her. Her testimony may even be stronger than some of our members haha. She is awesome!! I had to introduce myself in sacrament meeting and my talk went really well. A lot of the ward came up and talked to me after sacrament meeting like we were already best friends. I don't know what I did but this ward I think already loves me. I just gotta keep working hard and not disappoint them. A guy even came up after sacrament meeting wanting to give me a referral, that never happens! Pres and Sister Morrise came to our ward yesterday. After President heard me speak Korean he was amazed and said next time I say I am not good he will just be like ah shut up haha. Now that I think about it I have progressed a lot and am doing really well with the language. I just gotta speak because yesterday speaking with everyone at church I proved to myself that I can do it. 

         Well anyways I will end with something I read this morning in a book by Henry B. Eyring called "Draw Closer to God." I was reading about the Spirit and how it communicates with us and the way it does is with a still small voice. A lot of times nowadays we and I myself are too loud or too focused on things of this world to hear the Spirit. The Spirit will not yell but instead whispers so we really gotta listen. Then when we hear we got to act on promptings. The more we act on promptings the more the Spirit will prompt us. If we don't act on promptings why would the Spirit want to keep prompting us? I am going to try really hard to from here on out do the best I can to listen to the Spirit and to act on all promptings. God guides us, His children, with that still small voice. So we gotta listen to it. I know Christ lives and I know God hears all of His children's prayers and I know He WILL answer them in their due time. 

Elder Picard

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 56 August 3, 2015 "Have faith and let him help you push on and become superb!!!!"

      This Lamanite is headed back to Seoul to live the city life again. Woo hoo!!! We got transfer calls and I will be going to Seocho and my new companion will be Elder Smith. The crazy thing is I am going to the area right next to Gangnam where I was last year at this same time. So I will be riding a lot of the same subways even walking some of the same streets the only difference is this time I am not a greenie!!! I was super excited when I heard I was going to Seocho. Seocho is the second richest area behind Gangnam and ever since I served in Gangnam I called that I would serve in Seocho to because I knew I was met to live the city rich missionary boy life haha. When we got transfer calls yesterday morning I started dancing around because I was so happy :) I even met some investigators and potentials when I was in Gangnam in Seocho so now I will be able to go back and try and meet those people again! Seoul has so much people to talk to and it's the best so I am stoked to go back. Incheon is alright but I for sure like Seoul more. My new comp will go home in 2 transfers so I may end up being in Seocho for a long time which would not bother me at all! I it crazy to think during this next transfer I will hit my year mark in country. I am just becoming an old missionary by the second haha. I guess I just gotta buckle down and do the very best I can because it is show time now. 

      Our English class coordinator took us to the Pizza Hut buffet last pday and it was so good. I guess accept for the fact he knew I could eat a lot so he made me keep eating until I physically couldn't anymore haha. The way it worked was they walk around with the pizzas and you have a sign that you turn to either say you are full or you can still eat more. Every time the lady came around with the pizza the English coordinator, Bro June, always made sure my plate had pizza on it haha. I am not kidding I probably eat like 2 maybe 2 and a half full pizzas... I was stuffed. I just enjoy impressing people with my food eating skills too much and it doesn't help when they wont let me stop eating haha. Elder Dewey goes home this week and he gave a really good last district meeting last week. Everyone in the district picked there favorite hymn, we sang them, and then the person who picked that hymn bore their testimony on it. It was a really spiritual meeting and super cool. I couldn't decide what hymn to narrow it down to so I just bore my testimony on a few of them. 

       Since I have been so exhausted and tired lately I went to the hospital to get a blood test and see if anything was wrong with me. I found out that my iron count is pretty low but not low enough to get prescribed medicine for it. The doctor just said I need to tell my boss I need more sleep and that I work too hard. I guess I will just have to suck it up and fight through being tired. Just being a missionary beats you up and by the time you lay down for bed at night you are out. I met an old guy on the bus who called me like 10 min after I got off the bus saying he wanted to buy me food because I was a cool guy. Definitely a miracle but the sad thing is I am leaving so I won't be able to meet him again. I had to give my last words to the ward during Sacrament meeting at church yesterday since I am leaving and that went alright. I swear it seems like everytime I get up in front of a ward to speak my Korean disappears and I dont know what to say haha. I manage to get some words out so that was good. I will miss this ward they are awesome and help with missionary work so much!! Last night we had a fireside and all the missionaries sang at it. Our ward's missionaries did a song and I sang a duet with the Korean Elder in our ward who also goes home this week. It was a lot more scarier than I thought getting up in front of a stake to sing... while I was singing my leg wouldn't stop shaking. Doing anything in front of Koreans makes me way more nervous than usual haha. People said I did good singing so that was nice to hear I didn't blow anyone's ear drums. 

       Well I have learned a lot these past two transfers and am thankful to have learned so much. Elder Ely and I had some hard times but it was good because I learned a lot from those times. One thing I have come to realize is that not just on mission but in life we are given hard times for a reason. Everything is for some sort of reason. It may stink in the moment and you may wonder why in the world is this happening to me but I can assure you that things happen for a reason. If this life were just fun and games we would never learn anything and wouldn't be able to become the people we were sent here to become. We are in the refiners fire during this life but we have no need to worry. The reason why is because the Lord knows what we need to improve and He give us just that. He loves us so much and can see our potential so that is why He pushes us. Have faith and let him help you push on and become superb!!!! 

Elder Picard