Monthly Archives: May 2012

Happy Memorial Day!!

Well, yesterday anyways. President told us to email today since everything was closed yesterday. But Happy Holiday anyway!

So this week. Wow. Things are picking up, which is good. Elder Gines is prepping to head back home. He’s solid, though. Elder Brown was asking him all kinds of trunky questions on their exchange, and he discovered that nothing can really make him trunky. He’s awesome. I’ll be sad to see him go. But it’ll be a good learning experience for me. I’ve spent my whole mission in one area with the same companion. I’m a little scared for what’s coming next. But it should all go well.

Baby rats we found in the shed

We were able to help the Bishop with some service this week! We were planning on painting the house, but we got there when that was being finished. So I just spraypainted around the stairs and then helped him with the next project: clearing out a MASSIVE patch of weeds. Hidden in there were all kinds of things, like year old coolers (with the food still in them), a couple bed frames, gardening tools, a washer, ninos de la tierra (I think they’re called potato bugs in english. basically they’re enormous ants that bite. hard.), and these little guys. We found these little baby rats among the weeds after cutting them out. The top one was alive and moved every so often, but the bottom was dead. There was a third, but its back was had a little slash through it, and it was gross. The weeds were about 3.5 feet tall, so all of these things could easily be hidden. Also, we (the bishop and I) took it all out with machetes. Apparently they didn’t have lawn mowers in Mexico when he grew up, so he just did it all by machete. And, man… HE is a machine. But I learned how to mow the lawn with a machete! It was cool, and I felt all manly. Which is always nice =)

Other than that, not much to report. Things are going well, but warming up. This week shouldn’t be too bad. 70s-80s. New people to teach popping up out of the woodwork. Learning to love more. And you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to love everyone unless you’ve tried… Some people… But I’m working on it. You’d all be proud of how patient I am now. Little by little, I’m learning new things everyday. Keep us missionaries in your prayers. We need your support.

Elder PICkett

P.S. Elder McDonald, I love you!!

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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in general


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Reminiscence: Looking Back

[Note: Duncan sent this email out 5/21/12. Sorry for being late.]

So this week I read over my past journal entries in my missionary journal. My purpose in doing this was to see how far I’ve come. It didn’t work out quite like I was expecting…. I started from the beginning, and read about how I was excited to leave on a mission, some frustration with other elders in the MTC, cool experiences I had there–some that I’d forgotten about, others I hadn’t–and mostly it was a general trend of “I love EVERYTHING!!!” to “things are tough, but I know I can handle it” and back. Out here it’s kinda been the same, but the process is much slower. We had a great first transfer and a half, and now we’re sliding down into the “things are rough” part. The hard part is keeping the “but I know I can handle it” still attached at the end of that phrase. But things are looking up. We’ve been taking a hard look at our companionship, our work and how we could improve things. I think it’s been paying off, but I’ve learned out here that missionary work is a bit like gambling, in the respect that ‘there’s no such thing as a sure thing.’ Ever. A balance between aspiration and realism is hard for me to find. But I’ve got a year and a half to figure it out, I guess.

But onto happier matters! We met a guy named Joseph the other day, and he told us that he saw Jesus walking the halls of the hospital he was in for a month. He also told us that he was heavily sedated when he saw the Christ walking the halls. He also told us that he believes the world will end in 2023, but he can’t tell us what day or month. He asked us for literature, and we gave him a pamphlet about the restoration of the Gospel of Christ, since he already had a Book of Mormon. We ran into Joseph again yesterday and he stopped us to waste about 40 minutes of our day, recounting all that he had told us previously, in addition to telling us that angels can be up to 60 feet tall, telling us about the War in Heaven in the premortal life, how Satan came into existence, and that the word “Bible” stands for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” (He still has to figure out what “Holy” stands for, he said.) It was probably the most enjoyable waste of 30-40 minutes I’ve ever had. Elder Gines and I had a good laugh about it afterwards. You run into the strangest people on a mission. Kinda like Moses, and one guy who came up to us and asked us if we rapped. When we replied that we, in fact, did not, he bid us a good day and promptly left. Also, the guy who walked all the way from Ciudad Juarez to El Monte, CA. (Juarez is near the border of Texas, I hear.) There are a fair number of crazy people out there. And somehow, they always seem to find the missionaries. I love it =)

Well, that’s all this week. Know that I love you and am working hard. Don’t stop believing!

Elder PICkett

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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in general


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Moses Is Back!

I’ll explain that later. Mother’s day was so cool!! To be honest, I felt like I just left home. It felt weird and a bit apostate to call home, but I figured I should since I wouldn’t get to talk with them for 7 more months, and that’d be quite a while. I got to talk to everyone who was back home, if only for a little bit. Abby’s growing up nicely, becoming a little mom and baking things left and right. Sarah’s being a boss, preparing to get her Patriarchal Blessing, which I’m STOKED about!!! Dad’s got a new job, and Mom’s all happy and, from what I gathered, had a wonderful Mother’s Day. All is well in Pickettland.

Get this: Moses has been reincarnated. He’s a rapper. And doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ. And he’s in El Monte, California. We met him on the street the other day. He told us to give up because no one is going to listen. But he still hasn’t given up, apparently. He told us that spreading the Word by word of mouth isn’t going to work; you’ve got to put a beat behind it. And, lo and behold, he’s sitting at the computer RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!! He sings little phrases every so often. He just sang, “ Mount Zion…” I feel like I’m missing part of the song. Oh well. But man… Moses has changed a LOT since the Old Testament.

Other than that, everything else is pretty normal WAIT. We taught Gospel Principles this week at church. We’re a little skeptic, thinking that the teacher just bailed because it’s a difficult lesson to teach, but it’s okay. It was chapter 47, and it’s about exaltation. Anyone who has the book (Gospel Principles) can read chapter 47 and understand what I mean. But in the end, it all went well. We did have a bit of tension at the end, and one class member publicly announced that he didn’t agree with what the other class members were saying, and that they were wrong… But Elder Gines saved the day and ended the class before anyone got offended. Also, I got to drive a car for the first time in forever today. California driving… You should try it out someday.

The pictures: I figured you guys might like to see the other Elders in my district. I may have already sent this, since that seems like something I should’ve done a long time ago. From left to right we have… Me, Elder Parker (now district leader), Elder Lerma (left to Highland Park), Elder Heward (left to Mexico), Elder Gines, Elder Thompson (zone leader), Elder Bayles (left to Covina), and Elder Brown. The other is of Elder Gines and I looking wistfully off into the distance in hopes of continued success in missionary work as we wait for some less-actives to show up for a lesson.

Love you guys. Your support is legendary. Know that you are in my prayers. Moroni 8:3. (Thanks, Maggs)

Elder PICkett

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized



Chamacos Awaaaaay!!!

So transfer calls came in this last weekend. I’m staying in El Monte with Elder Gines!! I’m glad of this. I’ll get to kill my trainer (meaning I’ll be his last companion before he goes home), and thus receive all the stuff he leaves behind. Which is a bonus. But I really just like working with Elder Gines. He’s always looking to do better. I like that.

This Sunday we were super blessed with a triple baptism! Destinie and Desirae are the two little girls, 8 and 9 years old respectively. The older woman is named Patricia; she is the one who came up to us on the street and asked us where the church is and when she could get baptized. It was a marvellous experience. The little girls’ mom has been in a bad way recently, but at the baptism Bishop Ortega told her that he brought her a message from God, and the message was that she needs to get her life in order. After the service, she told us she felt something really special. We’re excited to try and help her come unto Christ.

Also, Mother’s Day is coming up, so that means I get to call home!!!! It’s weird–I don’t feel like I’ve been gone for long at all, but I’ve been away from my family for almost 5 months now… Haven’t seen them or talked to them at all, just by letter and email every week like this. My, how quickly time passes!

So here comes the little error correction portion of the weekly post:
Firstly, one of my recent converts, Roselia, actually found my mission blog! (Hi Roselia! =D) But she pointed out to me that the baptism pictures had been labelled incorrectly. I realized that I had been incredibly vague on my description of the names of the respective baptizees. Angie is the younger girl (11) and Roselia is the young woman (older than 11). The taller one. My bad, Nate. Sorry about that.
Secondly, Tyson isn’t quite so bad anymore. But he did get sick and keep Roselia from church the other week =P
Thirdly, my mom pointed out to me that, in fact, even the great Indiana Jones needed faith. He had to make a leap of faith in order to get to the Holy Grail. (See Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. I think. My knowledge of wordly entertainment is rapidly becoming more and more outdated and forgotten.) Although I will say in my defense that he cheated a little and threw some sand on the invisible walkway, right? Maybe I’m wrong. In any case, there was a leap of faith.

The scriptures are cool. Don’t believe me? Just read them. They can help solve everyday problems as well as eternal problems, they have cool stories, they tell you what yo should do when you’ve got no clue where to go, and you can even get a good laugh out of them. Who ever said God didn’t have a sense of humor? If abody did, they’re wrong. I love the scriptures!

Choose the right!
Elder PICkett

P.S. “Chamacos” means something like “boys” in english. Elder Parker (my new district leader!) made it up in his last area. The tone of voice that the title is meant to be read is if you were saying something like, “Thundercats HO!”

P.P.S. The other picture: We were chillin in the church with Eduardo, Patricia’s little boy, and he had a Powerpuff Girls book. Elder Lerma (my old zone leader) is on the left, Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup are below, and Elder Gines is on the far right. I stinking LOVE the Powerpuff Girls. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in general


“Except for Indiana Jones”

I think the Lord wants me to develop patience. The other day, an ex-chollo member called us and asked us to do us a favor. And when I say he was an ex-chollo, I mean he was in pretty deep. But when he found the Gospel he decided it was time to get out of the gang life. But he called us the other day and asked us to deliver some money to his wife. He said he could do it “another way” but he didn’t want to have to do that. So we felt obligated to help him, even though his wife worked out of our zone and we had to get permission to go there. We called the zone leaders, who said they could give us a ride, but then bailed on us right when we needed them. The other car elders couldn’t help either. So we ended up having to bike there. We collected the money from a man named Pete, who he called his “landlord.” I don’t think he was really a landlord… In any case, we set out to deliver said undisclosed amount of money to his wife. Thanks to some recent good advice, I decided not to “turd around” and try and find the positive side of the experience. It was a good workout, and as we rode along busy California streets as fast as we could (we had to get there before 5. Time was getting short.), I hummed the Indiana Jones theme to make it seem more like an adventure, and pretended to be Harrison Ford. In fact there were some dangerous drop offs that took a pretty hefty heap o’ courage to take on, but I did it and I overcame. After a solid length of time, we arrived at the workplace of Oscar’s wife. We entered, but lo and behold, she left early!! Hence, she wasn’t there. Luckily, they happened to have a giant safe that they put it in for her when she came in the next day. Elder Gines was dismayed, but I felt like Harrison Ford. And that’s pretty much the coolest feeling in the world, second only to teaching/learning by the Spirit. So then we biked all the way back. I was still riding the last waves of being Indiana Jones, and I was also pretty proud of my ability to not let myself get frustrated. As I write this, it occurs to me that this might seem a small victory to some of you, my devoted readers. But for me it was triumph over the natural man. And for that, I am grateful.

Don’t stop believing, my friends! I love you much.

Elder PICkett

P.S. The title came from a conversation Elder Gines and I had. We were talking about faith, and how a lot of people just don’t have it. I said, “Well, everybody needs faith, elder.” Elder Gines replied, “Except for Indiana Jones.” I promptly chuckled.

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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in general