So. Tuesday morning, bright and early, we woke up at 3am after going to bed at 12am (yessss sleep) finished packing and weighing our bags and then walked to the front of the MTC. There was a bus waiting for us. We turned in our keys, de-activated our IDs and then loaded our bags. I was an hour drive to the airport. We checked in. The man who weighed my bags looked and my ID and goes, "Girl. I MEAN sister. I live in Gilbert Arizona too! I can't remember his name cause It was like 4:30 in the morning, but he was super nice. We then went up to our gate and... I got to call my family. OH man. I miss them. But it was just soo good to hear their voices. I really gave me the boost I needed to get on that plane and head to a different world- pretty much. After that, we got on the plane and flew to Atlanta Georgia. That plane ride was so scary. Turbulence the whole way there. But we survived!! (mom don't freak out) We get off the plane. BOOM. Instant stares. People literally looked at us like we were aliens. But man did we own it. We ate at Panda Express YES MY FAV. But it was kinda gross cause we were all sick from the plane ride. We then got on another plane and headed to NORFOLK VIRGINIA (which now I have figured out it is pronounced "Naw-fick" hahah it's so southern here guys it is ridiculous! We get off the plane and our cute little (but actually he is so tall) mission president and his wife and the AP's (assistant to the president) were standing there with smiles on their faces. They helped us get our bags and we loaded it in the trailer and headed to a chapel where they fed us chicken alfredo, salad, and garlic bread. Oh and cake for dessert. We were exhausted. Oh but wait, the night was NOT over. AP's stand up, " OK now you will all get a chance to teach one of our investigators." WHAT. Oh HECK NO. But... we were happy to. Our brains just weren't functioning very good. But we taught the sweetest lady the Restoration (which is my fav to teach btw) and it was an awesome experience. We definitely felt the strength of the Lord on our side cause.. we needed it haha. We had an interview with the president. Then an interview with his wife about medical. She was SO impressed when I told her my mom printed out doctors that took our insurance in our area. Haha I think after that she told me she loves my mom 20x . Me too Sister Baker. Me too. WE then headed over to a Hampton hotel to spend the night. Got a whole bed to myself. Yesss. when our heads hit the pillow. Boom. we gone.
Wednesday- Breakfast- BISCUITS AND GRAVY my fav. It was sooo good for hotel breakfast. Thank you Hampton. Before we left the hotel, we sang a hymn (missionary lifeeee) to the front desk lady, Shanakah. She was so happy. We went to the chapel, had orientation, and got our new trainers. My trainer is Sister Rawlings from San Antonio Texas. She is super nice and very experienced. Basically after she trains me, she goes home. So I have to carry on the Rawlings legacy pretty much. We are serving in Virginia beach. Right on the coast. Ohhhhhh ya. We are in the Bayside ward. We live in a cute little apartment that is attached to a cute little old lady's house. She likes to talk. But she's adorable. The rest of that day I unpacked. But, no the day was not over!! My trainer informed me we were teaching that night! I was so nervous but so excited! But you'll never guess it. My FIRST lesson as an official missionary was........ a 15 step Stop Smoking program. The man we taught to this day is still smoke free! SO proud of him. It was just weird cause I barely knew him, but I just shared my testimony that we were there to help him and we are now good friends!
Thursday-We woke up.. then he had to exercise for 30 min. I jumped up. And BOOM. I landed wrong and hurt my back- again. (I hurt my back a few months ago at work and it took me 2 weeks to recover.) I was devastated. Good thing the rest of that day we had to do weekly planning that take a good 6 hours - so we didn't go out much. But I still couldn't walk. I felt so helpless. how am I supposed to do missionary work when I can't walk. That night we had a meeting with the Elders in our area and the ward mission president. at the end of the meeting, I couldn't keep still anymore and I knew what I needed to do. "Elders. Could I PLEASE get a priesthood blessing?" They barely knew me, and they gave me the most beautiful blessing ever. Little did I know my trainer voice recorded the whole thing. She knew I was in so much pain I wouldn't really remember what they said, so she listened back to it when we got home and wrote it down on a cute paper and gave it to me. I can't even put into words how much that meant to me. The blessing and the written version my trainer gave me.
Friday- I woke up. Scared to stand. But I did. It was...... better......my back was...better! I could walk! I could function. Throughout the day is hurt some more. But not as much. And something that took me almost 3 weeks to recover from now has taken me only 4 days. Right now I am 100%. My testimony of the priesthood has grown 5 times bigger cause of this experience. I always loved my dad's blessings too! I love the priesthood and never again will I think anything different.
That morning we had Zone conference. Then we visited like 10 less active or potential investigators and we had a great time! Taught a few lessons too! And I made us dinner! My dad's famous potatoes and onions! My trainer loved it!!
Saturday- that morning we went and helped Ya Ling, a cute little Chinese woman who owns a motel. We helped her clean one of the rooms. She is so funny. She barely knows English and is trying to learn. So anything we said, she would repeat us. It was the funniest thing ever! Also, she had us clean some stains that were on the carpet with rubbing alcohol haha. She also made us noodles for lunch! Real authentic Chinese food is SO good!! I have yet to have seafood though...hmmmm. We then went out and then met several other people. We got a new investigator. He is so nice! his name is Lenord and he is a happy family guy! We have a return appointment with him so we will see how it goes!
Sunday- We had PEC meeting (yes, the sister missionaries go..haha) It was testimony meeting and it was the craziest one ever! People just get up and speak their mind! Welcome to Virginia! Oh! And the day I got here, my trainer informed me we had to teach Relief Society too! Yesss. Bonus blessings. That was fun. We taught about missionary work. Everyone loves that I'm from Arizona. They say, "YES! We have an Arizona Mormon! Bring the warmth sister, bring the warmth" We then went and taught anyone we could the rest of the day! And I had my first member home dinner- homemade Mac&Cheese. The first question they ask me, "Um Sister Pickett...you know in this mission.. you is gon' gain weight right?" Ummmm. Thank....you? The mac and cheese was good. But I made sure to have the veggies. No gaining weight for this sister hahahahaha. (Everyone pray for me hahaha)
Oh! Last thing- the sister that I met on Instagram that is in my same mission. We talked on email for a while.. became good friends.. and WE FINALLY MET!! she is in my district. Sister Weibye (sister if you are reading this....what's up? haha ) She is the nicest and are going to be the best future companions ever-we already called it)
I am loving it here. It's green. It's beautiful. It's fun. It's hard. But my testimony has grown SO much and I'm learning new things everyday. I have such a strong testimony of the Restoration. It has so much power behind it. Ugh, I just love it and I feel the Spirit no matter what when I talk about it. I know Thomas S. Monson is our living, true, and faithful prophet today. I know our Savior walked this earth, performed miracles, and suffered for our sins so that we could live with our Heavenly Father again. I feel God's love. I know he listen to every. single. pray we say. And he will answer if we have faith.
Love you another as Jesus loves you. Try to show kindness in all that you do. Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought. For these are the things Jesus taught.
Till next Monday, fan club!
(Per request of her Mission President to remove addresses from blogs I have removed it - if you would like to write or send Sister Pickett anything please text or call Todd or Penni Pickett.)
Love Sister Pickett:)