Monthly Archives: February 2012

Time Flies on Wings of Lightning. Forreal.

It seriously seems like I was just here. Man, that’s crazy. We had a SUPER productive week this week, though! We taught a bunch of good lessons, and lots of good feedback from our investigators. I’ve also been progressing rapidly, learning how to do everything, and then learning how to do it the right way.

We had an extra elder this weekend. Well, not really an elder, but he went with us everywhere. His name was Abraham, and he was from Azusa serving a mini-mission. Each day, I started out thinking something like, ‘uuuugh, he is going to be SOOO distracting… we’re not going to get anything done today =P’ but by the end of the day I’d be thinking more like, ‘he’s a good kid.’ Por ejemplo, during studies on saturday he kept talking about the Avengers movie and how excited he was to see it. Also, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. And how he was more of a Marvel fan. We barely got through the Great Apostasy. But later, we gave a tour (which was AWESOME!!! Tours are the stinkin BEST!) and he gave his testimony about his baptism, when he was 10. And yesterday we went tocaring the puertas, so he could get the full experience of missionary work. The first door we knocked went as follows:

E’ Gines: *knock knock knock*
[door opens]
E’ Gines: He–
Man: Heysorrynothanksguys.
[door slams shut]
E’ Gines: …Well, there you go! We said we’d give you the full experience.
Abraham: [laughing] Sweet, my first rejection!
[the tripanionship walks down the street a ways, door opens again]
Man: Hey, guys! [tripanionship turns around] We’re actually watching demons right now! Do you want to come watch with us?

Yup. Apparently we’d knocked into a paranormal research group in the middle of their demon study time. So we went in and proceeded to watch the creepiest, scariest video footage I have ever seen in my life. NOPE. That absolutely did not happen. We passed the offer up and went on our merry way, and made Abraham do a door approach. It made me feel SO much more adequate. Totally what happened my first door approach.

“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Uh, good.”

Elder Gines to the rescue! But the first real contact he made (meaning he got real words out having to do with the Church of Jesus Christ) we got a return appointment with!! Her name is Claudia.

I also ate out for the first time in my mission! We went to Carl’s Jr. (because there are no In-n-Outs in the area…) and it was tastysauce! I lorved it.

I’m getting used to the missionary life quickly. Seeing Abraham, I realized how much progress I’ve made in not even a full 2 weeks. It’s incredible how the Lord qualifies whom He calls. It’s seriously a miracle. I can understand Roselia almost all of the time, and most of the time with pretty much everyone else. I’ve found that the people I still have a hard time understanding are old people with less than all of their teeth. Gift of tongues, what UP? And I’ve learned SO much about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What repentance really is; what having faith entails; how the Atonement works… it’s amazing. If you can, y’all should definitely serve missions. Asi es. Amen.

Love you dearly!

Elder Pickett

Misquote — (2/27/12) Elder Gines: “It’s easy for us to be like, ‘Woohoo! We have a tree!!”

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in general



El Monte: Onett

So I’m here in California!! It’s beautiful, but surprisingly cold sometimes. My first real day it was pouring, and my area (El Monte West) is a bike area. Woohoo! We were positively SOAKed. But it was awesome! I’ve had only really one hard day where almost everything fell through, but we still got some good work done.

We stay really busy. Partly because my trainer, Elder Gines of Highland, UT, is super consciencious (sp?), but also cuz he’s a really good, straight-laced missionary. He’s the one who’s always suggesting the obedient route when the 9 elders of the El Monte ward (I know, right?) are together. He’s been out 20 months, and doesn’t want to get trunky, so we keep ourselves scheduled. Which is relatively easy to do because…

One, we’re on bike. Takes a while to get places, even though our area is small. Two, we have a TON of investigators. The problem is that half, maybe more, need to get married!! That’s the most frustrating thing about Latino culture. NObody is married to each other. They just live together for 50 years and have 6 kids. What the what? It’s weird and frustrating. In fact, one couple we have is in this situation: both need to get divorced from their spouse, and then get married to each other. UGH. And they’re some of the handful of progressing investigators we have!

But the Work is good. I really enjoy it, and I’m learning to understand. Right now my understanding capability is pretty much on par with my speaking ability. This isn’t so great. There are loads of mumblers out here, and also lots of fast-talkers. And most of them are both. In the MTC, everyone was really nice and spoke clearly and it was wonderful!

So we had a zone activity yesterday, on P-Day, and we had carne asada with arroz and guacamole on tortillas and twas deLICious! Then we played soccer, and I simultaneously created and tore off a blister about the size of a quarter on my left foot. I kept playing, cuz I’m a man like that, and proceeded to get hit between the legs with the ball. I persevered, like the manly man that I am (or am I a muppet?), and promptly scored a goal. Like a boss. Then I had to sit out and recover for the rest of the time. It was fun!

So the hardest thing aside from marriage in the Work is getting people to church. Don’t know why, but it just is. The things that keep them from church: sleeping in, machistosa and breakfast, and a dog named Tyson. Oh, how I hate that dog… Lemme asplain. Half our investigators can’t seem to wake up in time to get to church at 9. I get up at 6:15 every day of the week. QQ, bro. So we’re going to call them next week to wake them up! Next, there’s one couple, the husband isn’t interested, but the wife is. Problem: he wants her to make breakfast for her, so she can’t go to church. This superdominance of the man of the house is called ‘machistosa,’ I believe Elder Gines called it. Lastly… Tyson. Ugh, Tyson. Roselia is totally prepared for baptism, right? We only have to teach her a couple more simple commandments. But she can’t go to church because her Mom, who she lives with is a recent convert and also attends church, wouldn’t be there to watch Tyson. And he can’t be left alone. So, she could bring him in the car, right? No, she says. He’d just poop in the car, or something. So our next step is to have her bring the stupid dog, go and take him on a walk after every meeting. BAH. Flojo.

There are so many weird problems in Latino Work… namely the Virgin. Elder Gines said he’s had plenty of Virgin-smashing lessons. I have yet to participate. But yeah. It’s weird.

I’m having a rockin good time here in Cali, though, and loving it all! I’m excited for our first baptism, which should be DEFinitely by the end of March. If Roselia can get her act together, though, it should be on the 4th! Estoy animadisimo! Love you all, and help out the elders wherever you may be. Referrals are the BEST!

Elder Pickett

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in general



Address Updated

So if you missed this week’s email post and/or are too lazy to go back and find it, I’ve updated the About page to include Duncan’s mission-home mailing address where he can receive your letters and packages (and note, from this point on, Dear Elder letters will charge you the cost of the stamp to send it).

Also, since Duncan will be free of the clutches of the MTC’s no-attachments policy, he’ll be able to send more pictures.

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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in admin



Final Countdown

Surprise! I’m still in UT, but I get to email on my last day.

She didn’t bring any real food.. =(

But it’s my last day!! We’re both really stoked and don’t know quite what to do all the time because we’re the only ones left from our district and we packed everything we could this morning. I don’t really know what much to say, other than my address will be changing. I’m not sure if letters should be sent to the mission home address or the addresses of wherever I may reside. I’ve heard it both ways. But my mission address is as follows:

California Arcadia Mission
170 W. Duarte Rd.
Arcadia, CA 91007

So there’s that. Oh, I remembered something cool. Remember how I said we auditioned for to sing “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” for a special musical number in front of the enitre MTC? Well, she said to wait until Saturday, and if it wasn’t in the mailbox by then, then well… the Church is still true. Come Saturday, and… nothing was there. We were all mildly disappointed, but not too surprised. So we planned to sing it for Sacrament Meeting on our last Sunday (yesterday) instead. Then BOOM! Thalman knocks on my door and shows me the invitation to sing at the Sunday night Devotional!!! WOOHOO!! It was pretty cool, and a sweet troll/psych-out on Sister Nally’s part. We sang our piece and did well, got compliments from the speaker and Bro. and Sis. Nally and Sis. Brown, the wife of the MTC president, and some elders in our zone. It was pretty cool to look out and see all 2000-something missionaries. And to sing for them. And to see Elder Bednar’s Christmas MTC talk again after the devotional. So impressive. It’s called “Character of Christ.” I don’t know how to find it, but you all should. It is truly fantastic.

Other than that, it’s really been same old, same old. It’s gonna suck having to say goodbye to our teachers. We had a little testimony meeting the other day with Hermana De Leon, and she was nigh unto tears, it was adorable! I really love both our teachers. They’re wonderful people. Also, our branch presidency are all bosses. I shall miss them dearly. So many awesome people in the world…

Well, the next time y’all hear from me, I’ll be in California, converting ALL the heathens! But heathens can be really good people, too. I’m sure there are heathens out there better than I am. Gotta love ’em! Also, I’m probably not following the strict definition of heathen. But you get the point.

Be good. Do good. Do well in all things, or at least give it your best effort. Live true to what you know to be right. I don’t care if you have a testimony of the restored Gospel or not, just live true to what you know to be right. Well, I do care, everybody should know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and is on the earth today, and He leads and guides it even at this very moment. But what’s more important is to live it. Live according to the truth that you have, and you’ll keep getting more and more truth until you’re in heaven and hanging out with the one Person who knows it all. This is true. It’s a fact. I know it. Like Nephi says: “And thus it is. Amen.”

Elder Duncan Pickett

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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in general



Last MTC Week!

Whell, it’s been a sweet last week! We’re going over for dinner, supposedly, at Yolanda’s ‘house’ on Saturday. We’re hoping she’ll actually bring real food for us. I mean, it is our last lesson with her as a mostly complete district. It could happen. She said she’d be making chicharrones for us. I’m stoked!

Remember Gabriel? Well, we taught him our second, and last time on Wednesday. After the lesson (about the Plan of Salvation) he hugged us and thanked us for teaching him. He’s willing to learn, but forgot to read the pamphlet we left him on the Restoration. He’s a really sweet guy. We told him as we were leaving that we wouldn’t be coming back because we were being “transferred” to another area, and his face completely dropped. He said, in English, “Give me another hug!” and hugged us both for a good long while, wishing us luck and success, telling us he loved us… It seriously broke my heart. What an amazing man!

Also, with Gleury, we taught him about listening to and obeying the modern day prophets, and about reading scriptures and praying often. I felt impressed to share my testimony that God loves him, and is even more excited for his baptism than we can imagine. Elder Edwards backed me up, bearing his own testimony. We sat in silence for a moment before he looked up and quietly asked us, “Do you think… He knows me?” My smile was boundless. I told him of course He knows you, and everything that goes on in your life; all your troubles and challenges. He looked at us and smiled, and said, “I know, too.” And he went on to say that his daughter, Gleurisa, had read the Book of Mormon in full and wants to be baptized with her father! We might be teaching the both of them on Saturday! It was incredible!

I wrote in my journal that night how amazing everything was and how much love I had for these investigators–not even real investigators–and for the elders and sisters we had to say goodbye to this week. I didn’t even think it was possible. For the last 2 years, the Lord has been increasing my capacity to love, first at BYU and my family back home, then more with my family when I came back, and now all this here in the MTC. And in the next 2 years, it’s just gonna explode. I can easily see why this is “the best 2 years.” But even with all of this happy feeling and growth, think about how Christ has the same love, and even more, for every single son and daughter on the entire earth. Literally unfathomable. I cannot comprehend it. It’s unreal! But it IS real. And it is a miracle. Blows my mind.

And with that, I bid you all a very fond farewell. I’ll be going now. But I’ll talk to y’all from California next week!!!

Elder Pickett

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in general



Many Thanks, Cosmos!

What a grand week! The MTC is pretty much routine right now, same thing week after week, and I’m enjoying it. We’re still teaching our investigators, PLUS a forreal investigator from Chile named Gabriel. It was inTENSE. Like the fire at the circus, baby. Anyways, we’ve only had one lesson with him, and we taught him the Restoration. He was raised Catholic, loves the ocean, works in building maintenance to support his wife and 2 kids, Adrienne and Gabriel Jr. He’s really friendly and was willing to listen. He was asking a lot of questions, which was GREAT! Our teacher-investigators just sit there and let us talk, saying nothing unless we ask them a question specifically. So much better when they’re asking questions. I feel like they’re so much more involved and interested. Maravillosa! Right now we (E’ Edwards and I) are working on improving on getting to really know our investigators. Like, as people. I feel like we’re progressing in this aspect, and also with teaching in unity. We’re getting a lot better at switching flawlessly between the two of us. Keep moving forward!!

Also, Elder Nelson came back for the 50th anniversary of the MTC and talked about the history and legacy of missionary work in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was pretty frantastic. Oh, and Elder Holland also spoke. No big deal. We’re that cool. He spoke about our obligation to honor the history of missionary work that E’ Nelson would speak about. E’ Lundberg sat next to me and said before the meeting started, “I’m so excited for Elder Holland to start yelling at us!” Pretty fitting. Love that Apostle. He didn’t really yell at us, but he did do his signature accusatory pointing more than once =D We actually went stupid early to choir and got really rather decent seats in the auditorium. Most of the missionaries got kicked out of choir (because it was full, not because they sucked) and into overflow. Also, I was assaulted by a rather large, fit Tongan/maybe Hawaiian elder whilst anticipating the opening of the gates. Just pushed me across the walkway and right into the wall. Surprising more than anything. He apologized afterwards and we’re cool. But now I have a bodyguard whenever I need one. Just goes to show, if you act cool as a cucumber after being assaulted, you come out ahead. Don’t try that at home, though.

Another fun fact: we crafted a chessboard out of old cardboard boxes and manilla envelopes (thank you Mom and Dad!) and it’s pretty legit. I suck at chess, and my record so far is 1-2-0. I think that’s how it goes. W-L-T, right? I know SO much about sports, it’s not even funny =P

Spanish is coming along pretty well. I’m fairly certain my companion has surpassed me, but we’re almost even. I just need practice speaking. And also a bit of listening/understanding, especially with accents.

We auditioned for a special musical number today. We had an a cappella quartet, with Harris on lead, Thalman on alto (in alto range, pretty impressive), me on tenor, and Dahlberg on bass. We did well, singing a simply rearranged version of “Lord, I Would Follow Thee.” We hear tomorrow if we made the cut. Sister Nally said we avoided the mistakes that most a cappella groups do, but she’s still apprehensive because the microphones jank the balance up a bit sometimes and she was worried about that. But we made it in the ‘yes’ stack. Woothoot!

That’s about all the news I have today/this week. I’m sure I’m forgetting some cool things, but you’ll all survive. I love you all dearly, and please write!

Elder Pickett

P.S. Elder Trujillo, the one who had $50 stolen from him came out ahead $60 dollars, in case you were worried. The travel office replaced his stolen money plus a little and then an anonymous note left $50 more. Good folk. Everything always works out in the end.

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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in general


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