Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First week in el campo! (Get comfortable, this one's gonna be long)

Hola family!
So, seeing as we last spoke on Monday, I'll just pick up from there. Hermana and I finished up everything and went to bed early so we could wake up early, though not nearly as early as our poor friends who had to leave at 1 or 2 in the morning. So we got up at 5 and left the CCM at 6, arrving at the airport probably around 7. we had a guide to get us through checking our luggage, but we had to handle security on our own. We made it, don't worry. Our gate number hadn't been assigned yet, but luckily we were traveling with Elder Duff, who skipped over the rule in the packet about not bringing any card games, so we played Phase 10 while we waited. Also, two of our sisters were in a pretty serious conversation with this man who had been attending a spiritual retreat in the mountains of Mexico (his words) and who was evidently a bible scholar, so they couldn't get a word in edgewise. So after a while, I went over and joined the conversation. Luckily I had a New Testament professor who was also well versed in the nuances of Jewish tradition, so I was kind of ready to talk to this guy, becuase said professor then showed us the evidences of these traditions in the BoM and the church today. The guy wasn't really interested in listening, he just wanted to show us how smart he was. But he did concede that it was a good point that because God doesn't change, He continues to be a god of revelation. So we told him about prophets and Hermana Marley (like a boss) placed a BoM. Plane ride was good. I filled out my customs forms and then everyone asked to see them, because it was easier to copy mine than to try and figure out the Spanish. Hermana Curtis and I played that game where you try to connect actors through movies they've been in together (Mary, you know what I'm talking about) and Elder Duff challenged us with Patrick Swayze and Freddie Prince Jr., which we didn't figure out on the plane but did manage to work out several hours later, so it's good. We landed and met President Dester and his wife. They're so great. I love them already. And they speak English. It's great. We had lunch (pizza, very cultural) and had a kind of long meeting with all of the new missionaries about mission rules, procedures, health, etc. We then went to dinner at the Dester's apartment (it's beautiful. Parents, you may live in a condo if it's a condo like the Dester's) and they split up the group so we could sleep somewhere for that night. We stayed with the mission nurses, but there were seven of us staying with them, so living arrangements got a little ghetto. But it worked.

And that was only day 1! Told you it was going to be long. We went for boleadas in the morning, which actually are a cultural dish here. It's bread that is somewhere between tortilla and naan with beans and eggs and cheese and butter. SO GOOD! There are numerous women from the ward now offering to teach me to make boleadas, so I'll wow you all with my Honduran cooking skills in 16.25 months. After that we had our cambios meeting and we all received our areas and companions. My companion is named Hermana Escalante and she is a boss (that will be expounded upon later) and we are serving in Campanas 1 (it's one ward split into 3 areas). So we ended the meeting and took a quick trip to the ATM and grocery store (they have American brands at the big stores here! I have pringles!) (and healthy things also) before getting on the bus to Campanas. The buses here kind of look like big safari style vans. They seat about 25 and you don't buy a ticket, you just get on and pay sometime before getting off. They ride was about an hour and a half and at one point our conductor (money collector) biffed it and cut up his arm falling out of the bus, so I passed up some stuff from my first aid kit and strongly encouraged him to wash the wound at his earliest convienece. We took maybe a half hour to start unpacking and eat something (by we I mean myself and Hermana Bahr, who is American but her family is latino so she fits in better here and already speaks Spanish. Both Hermana Escalante and the other hermana, Hermana Rodas, lived here during the last transfer). And then we just went to work. It's insanely hot here. Like kill me now hot. And it's more humid than PA. So you walk around for five minutes and there is sweat dripping off of you. So anyway, I couldn't understand most of what was going on and everyone was looking at me like I was going to break because the only white people here are the missionaries. And right now, it's only me. So people assume I don't speak Spanish at all, so they don't talk to me. Or they try to talk to me but they talk at a normal speed, which is fast and quiet, so it takes me five minutes to get it. That's fun. The funnest bit about that first day was that I didn't have time to dig my mosquito repellent out of my suitcase, so I went into the jungle without repellent. That is the worst idea I have ever had in my life. So my legs are covered with mosquito bites. Covered. But it doesn't look like mosquito bites, it looks like leprosy. Don't worry, I'll send pictures. It's gross.

Sometimes it's kind of hard (we're now in the not day buy day but compressing into a general blur section of the email). Sometimes when you're walking through the jungle after wading through a river (yeah, that happened) and there are great big pustules on your legs which itch and hurt and there is sweat dripping off of you and you don't understand what people are saying, but you hear white and mosquito, so you know they're talking about you, and to top it off there are fire ants (because there are always fire ants) biting your toes, it's kind of tough. But this really is the Lord's work, and the field is white here. Everyone is willing to at least listen to us. Getting people to keep their committments is a bit more challenging, but we're working on that. Getting people to come to church is a struggle, getting people into the font is a little hard, but we're working on it. The Spirit is with us all the time, and that's a crazy experience. I can have no idea what is going on in a conversation, but the Spirit will put something into my head and whisper to me Hey, when you get a chance, say this. And I have no idea if it applies or not, but when there's a second, I spit it out, and then Hermana Escalante will turn to me and tell me how perfect of a moment it was for that story or that challenge. I'm really here to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord, and I can't do anything without Him here. I am literally helpless. But it's great. People keep asking me if I'm dying of sadness to be away from my family for so long, but I'm pretty sure I can do more for all of you and for myself from here than I could if I were with you.

It's been pretty enjoyable, also. It's not just a rollercoaster of blessings amist trials. The word for bite is picada, so I get called Hermana Picada instead of Hermana Pickett. Hermana Bahr gave me so benadryl to stop the itchiness, but then then I was falling asleep during all of our lessons that afternoon. Hermana Escalante would look at me like It's your turn and I'd look back like I don't even know what you just said. We do Zumba in the morning for fitness but you get so sweaty that you slip as you kneel down to pray, because they're sweat on your knees. And when we talk about our future husbands, we refer to them as our Elder Guapo (handsome) and I'm teaching Hermana Escalante about ideas we have in English but there isn't a word for in Spanish, like clumsy and awkward. Especially awkward.

Hopefully next week I get to write you about my first baptism! One of our investigators, Candido, is getting baptized on Saturday and I'm at least 98% sure it's happening. I get to hand wash my laundry today for the first time (we have indoor plumbing, so I'm not even going to complain about cold showers because it's a miracle we have a shower and a toilet, but we don't have anything as extravagent as a washing machine). I also am blessed with the responsibility to teach English classes starting this Wednesday, and that will be an adventure, for sure. OH! And there are two deaf young men in our ward, Marco and Eric, and there is a Honduran Sign Language, but they know some ASL, so I have someone to sign with. It's extremely random and totally awesome. Marco gave me a book of HSL so I can learn to sign properly. What else...Hermana Escalante and I were talking about my cookie baking skills and she volunteered me to make cookies for our FHEs tonight, so apparently that's happening. We'll see, anyway. I had to bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting yesterday, but they taught me how to do that pretty effectively in the CCM, so I made it through. I don't understand the majority of what the Hondurans say, but I can understand my companion pretty well, so I'm surviving. It's actually surprising to me how much Spanish I am speaking, because I am still thinking in English, so I have to think back and remind myself that all of my conversations actually happened in Spanish.

I am so grateful to be here. It's hard and hot and insane, but I am so grateful that the Lord is trusting me with His children. I am learning so much and I am so excited to see where the Lord leads me as I press on in His work. I love you all and I hope everything is going well.

And somebody tell Shelly Happy Birthday! for me because I haven't heard from Bill and Rochelle yet, so I don't have her email. You guys are forwarding them my mail, right?

Also, all mail gets sent to the mission office here and then delivered by the wonderful Hermano and Hermana John, our senior couple (they are two of the most epic people I have ever met. Parents, you may serve a mission if you will be epic like the Johns (and yes, they are the same level epic that you already are)). It's the same for letters and packages (we're pretty sure) but don't send packages any other way than USPS because it's really expensive on our end if you do. Mom, if you can put this one on Facebook, it's going to be my address thorugh the entire mission (convenient, right?). So its

Hermana Emily Pickett
12 Calle Avanida Circunvalacion, S.O.
Edif. Yude Canahuati.3, Nivel. Oficina #4
APDO. Postal # 1970
San Pedro Sula, Cortez, C.A.

Love you guys so much! The Church is true, the Lord is speaking, and the gospel brings happiness beyond our imagining!
Demasiado amor, Hermana Pickett

us playing wih a (fake) lizard because we had thought it was real

The spider that moved into our house and hermana escalante after killing it like a boss.

My leper feet! They're SO cute!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hello, hello!

So I won't be in the CCM tomorrow, because I'm out of here at 6 am, which means I won't receive some of your emails for this week until next week. Sad. And I think my P-day will be Monday from now on...I think. Anyway, pretty good week! The food's been good, the company's been good, and the last couple of days have been pretty sweet. I've continued to be the go to seamstress for my district/branch, but the jobs were more manageable this week. Our branch president asked us to prepare a musical number for our last Sunday, so all of us who were leaving (2 districts) had an improptu choir that I was in charge of thorugh this last week. We were singing Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy (because it isn't written in tenor clef in the Spanish hymnal!) And it sounded really good, but our district leader doesn't sing, so he really didn't care, so he encouraged all of the other elders to also not care. And then informed me (kind of rudely) one night (Saturday night, so our last chance to practice) "Nobody else even cares, Hermana Pickett. You're the only one." Which was pretty frustrating, but I moved on and we'll get back to that. On Friday we had this thing called infield orientation, which is designed to help us transition from CCM to el campo, which is a good idea. But it was all day. I kid you not, all day. And it was kind of boring, all day. That was kind of tough. But Rachel Adams, in a marvelous act of charity, sent me a box of American junk food for my birthday which arrived the day before, so we sat with our friends from 7C (the other district in our branch of people who came the same week we did) and ate cookies and everlasting gobstoppers. One elder told me he loved me and another started chanting Pickett's Number 1. Obviously, friendships are always strengthened by food. (Rachel, you're the best). And then yesterday was our last day with the elders in our district and 7C and a bunch of our other friends because they shipped out this morning at 2 am (gross. We don't have to leave until 6 am tomorrow, and I am grateful) Our choir number ended up sounding great. We didn't do any of the cool things I had planned, but it was still pretty dang good. Turns out elders can sing when they actually try. We had quite a number of good meetings and lessons--my favorites were a relief society lesson about Nephi building a boat and when we "build boats" (do seemingly impossible things that we have no idea how to do) we need to follow the Lord's way, and a fireside recording from Elder David A. Bednar about how to study the words of living prophets (he encouraged us to develop our own method, but he looks for the doctrine taught, the invitation extended, and the blessings promised). Hermana had the idea to write letters to our elders, so we did that. What I didn't understand was that she meant cute, funny letters. Mine were more...well, mine were a little more profound. All were loving and encouraging, I promise. But there were some things I felt needed to be said, so I said them. Oh, this is what we were coming back to! So after being so terribly frustrated with Elder Long (District leader, remember) last night for assigning me to lead a choir and then being the loudest voice against it, I really didn't think that I would be able to write him a letter. I thought if I put my pen to that paper, mean, nasty, ugly things would come out and I wouldn´t be able to share them. But there was a very serious prayer last night that I could understand how God sees him and find something good enough in this Elder that I could be able to have charity for him. And then during sacrament meeting, one hermana read a really good quote about charity and part of it was "Charity is expecting the best of others" So Elder Long's letter turned out to be, not a condemnation, but my hope and expectation (which in Spanish happen to be the same word--esperanza) that he will allow his mission to make him his best. And then I wasn't angry and frustrated with him any more. The Lord changes our hearts and our eyes. And He loves every single one of His children, so He will help us love them as well. We had a party/testimony meeting last night with our branch president, his counselor, their families, and everyone who is leaving. It was really great and uplifting. And their wives made us legit Mexican enchilladas. Mom, I love you, but those things we call enchilladas are not enchilladas. They were really rich and really delicious and definitely on the spicier side of life. But apparently there isn't very much spicy food outside of Mexico. Our teacher told us the joke is Mexican women have to cover everything in chile because they can't cook (it was covered in peppers, but we disagree--they good better than OK) We very warmly shook hands with the elders from district 7C to say goodbye but somehow our elder snuck away without even a handshake. We're pretty sad and disappointed, but at least four of them will probably send emails, so it's semi-ok. So the game plan for tomorrow is that we wake up at 5, depart for the airport at 6, our flight leaves a little after 10 and we arrive in Honduras a little after 12. Here's the best part: the only international airport in Honduras is Tegucigalpa, so we fly there and then we drive 6 hours to our mission home. 6 hours. So we're going to see a lot of the country, which will be great. But my companion has a history of motion sickness, which is less great. We're praying that while we're in Tegucigalpa they'll let us go to the temple, or at least drive past it so we can snap a picture. I also found out that my official release date is Jan. 6 2015, so either 1. Parents, you hopefully can hang out in Eden post-Christmas and pick me up in Utah, which means you would get to meet Hermana Porter and Hermana Curtis and their families, and then we could just visit almost everyone on the way home or 2. They might decide to send me home two weeks early and I'd be home for Christmas. Or a transfer early and I'd be home for Thanksgiving. Whoa. Either way, please plan on brining a parka and a comforter to the airport when you pick me up. I think I'll find some needles and yarn when I get to Honduras and start knitting a sweater. Seems like if I could only knit a little, once a week, it would take me about a year and a half to finish it. I love you guys a lot, and I'm thinking of you and praying for you every day. I know that the Gospel is the true word of God and the only way to eternal happiness. I want eternity with you guys, so I'm doing my very best to live in the Lord's way. I'm so excited to get to the field and share the Lord's message. I know I can't do this alone, but I know that the Lord will use me as an instrument in His work. All my love, Hermana Pickett

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mission log: Stardate 30/07/2013 (out of order so sorry)

Emily Pickett Jul 30 Hello family! I brought my journal to write my email today so hopefully I'll have less moments of "um..." So we finished our Pday strong last week with a devotional from Elder Russell M. Nelson (via DVD) which was great. Lots of interesting food lately, mostly delicious but possibly with a dark side. Apparently some people are getting paracites (that's the rumour, anyway). Our elders are running scared. Yesterday it was this 30 minute conversation about "Don´t eat the fruit, don't drink the water! We can't even trust the water in the water coolers!" And Sister Porter and I sat there and said "Look. The Lord protects His missionaries, and there are a lot of people praying for us to be healthy and safe, so if we get sick, it's either because the Lord wanted to teach us something or because we're not being obedient." So we're not scared. Things are going really well with our two current investigators. Both are reading and praying on their own and have committed to be baptized, but we need to get the first to stop smoking and drinking. But the second said he would ask his "wife" to come to our next lesson, so we're pretty excited to see if he'll bring someone with him. I wouldn't put it past him. We also are doing a new teaching exercise on Wednesdays called TRC (it's CRE in Spanish) where we go in with teachers or actual members and get to know them and then teach them a piece of the gospel that can help invite them to come unto Christ. We liked the one last week, except our Spanish really took a turn for the worse that day. It was probably because we skipped nap time. Whoops. We had a really fun experience last week that we have since dubbed a "preach-off". Like unto a walk off, someone from the first team would teach a principle from the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, like The Gospel Blesses Families, and then someone from the other team would try to teach it better. I kind of destroyed the elder I was facing off against, but my team lost in the end. We'll do better next time. We're still struggling with our district. There are three of them who are great and focused and spiritual all the time, and then another three who are pretty good, but the two remaining are always struggling, and one of them is the district leader, so that's just super. So Hermana Porter and I spend a lot of time steering away from totally innapropriate discussions or just leaving the room (that happened last night and then we extended our walk several times--we didn't want to go back). It just blows my mind that there are people who "wanted" to serve missions and they get here and say "Just another day at the CCM" and "I can't stand one more day in prison!" (and yes, both of those were our district leader. Great example, right?) But I was officially called as the Sister Leader Trainer for our district (and in the field that's actually on level with the Zone leader) so I'm trying to be a good influence and bring people back in. There's a pretty constant desire for some harsh rebuking, but that's when sister Porter looks at me and shakes her head. She's a pretty big blessing. We went to a testimony meeting with our zone, so our district and another that been here for the same amount of time we have, but then the "Generation 1" missonaries as well, so they're a little more experienced than we are. And they gave us this super great advise about how they struggled with the same things that we struggled with and told us they had overcome that by being exactly obedient, and they clarified some things we had heard might be rules but we weren't sure. And sister Porter and I loved it. But then the next day all the Elders complained about people judging them. Problems, so many problems. We did a teaching demonstration and our teachers asked me to be the investigator, so I was my friend Meredith from high school, who was the perfect example that some people don't want the gospel. That was pretty sad. It made me miss her and Ashley and Juice and my other PA people a lot. We finally took a picture of the whole district on Sunday, and I'll send that out soon, just not in this particular email. We also took a picture with the most adorable little sisters who always end up matching by accident. And one of them is a Doctor Who fan. We love them. And I played football yesterday and enjoyed it! Haven't played fútbol yet, but I'm sure I'll get around to it. Despite the district strugglings and the constant state of tiredness, I really love it here. I really love this work and I even like waking up at 6:15. I can't wait to get to the field but I'm grateful for every second I have here to prepare. And (y'all ready for this?) yo sé que este obra es la obra de Dios, y soy Su misionaria. Estoy tan agradecio por la oportunidad a servir los hijos del Señor. Yo sé que este iglesia es la iglesia verdadera de Dios, y este evangelio es el evangelio de Jesucristo. Yo amo este evangelio, y amo mi Salvador. I love all of you! And hey, listen up: I'd really love some more mail. I've got a lot of family, so it'd be sweet to hear from you guys. And that address on my facebook totally works, so if you'd like to send things in the traditional way, that'd be great! My companion has this constant influx of mail, so a little something now and then would be nice! And packages go faster through DHL and don't get stolen if they have a picture of the Savior on them, so that's just a tip. Also, if someone could go on my facebook and 1. Remind my friends that I'd like to hear from them and 2. Find my Elder Alex Harper's mailing address, that'd be great. Also, Mom, Sister Porter would appreciate more HiChews. She sort of ate all of mine...two weeks ago. Love you guys! The last couple of weeks have flown by, so I'm sure I'll be home in what feels like no time! Love Hermana Pickett

¡La última correo electronico del CCM!

Emily Pickett August 13, 2013 Hi family! It's my last week in the MTC! How insane is that? Pretty full week, but that's how I like it! Last Tuesday night we had a really great devotional from Jeffry R. Holland (not live, unfortunately). I just love that man. He's great. I didn't bring my journal today, so we'll have to see what I can remember beyond that... Pretty much, we have really good lessons from our teachers every morning and afternoon, and we teach an investigator either once or twice a day. One of our investigators, Doug, (who I think I´ve mentioned but he's one of our teacher's friends who's really been struggling lately) we telling us at the end of a lesson that he couldn't have hope because he felt like God didn't believe in him. And I was washed over by the Spirit like a wave and it was like I could hear a voice telling me "That's not true. That's My son, and I believe in Him. You take care of him for me, Emily" And then I tried to tell Doug that, but might have started crying. I haven't ever been that intensely exposed to the profound love that God has for all of His children, and the sorrow He feels when we are not with Him. But I think the Spirit that was there communicated the message for me, so we're okay. Hermano Rockwood, who was portraying Doug, is going home tomorrow, so we finished our last lesson with him, and it seems that we've finished with our other two investigators as well. We had a new one yesterday named Jorge, and I don't think our maestro was expecting the power and testimony that we brought to that lesson, but we're skipping the "foam" on the hot chocolate and getting right to the good stuff, because that's what we've been taught to do. And it was pretty awesome. It's a pretty cool thing to have the Spirit either with you or around you all the time, but then you do something and it's like a Spiritual surge. I love that feeling. We're definitely getting along better as a district. We're definitely not as tight as some other districts here, but we're working on it. Our elders find a way to crack me up every day. Elder Mathieson's dad found this service that will deliver a box of donughts or a pizza to your missionary, so he got fresh Krispy Kremes the other day. They came with the little paper hats the workers wear, so he wore his hat through our afternoon classes. And Elder Hafen was trying to get ink out of his shirt last night, so I told him to go buy some hairspray, but he told me he already has some. And everyone looked at him incredulously, so he gestures to his hair and says "You think this happens all by itself?" It was pretty funny. They're all good kids, and I really think they'll be good men after the mission. Hermana and I like to say "They're not done baking". We're excited to see the end product. Hermana Porter continues to be my hero. She is constantly positive and she brings the Spirit with her wherever she goes. Every time someone asks if there are any companionship problems in our district or branch, I sit there and think "The only problem with my companionship is that it's too awesome, so I'll probably miss it for the rest of my mission" Seriously though, I love this girl. She is so loving and fabulous. I'd be completely lost without her. Also, still running, but it seems like my body isn't really built for it. I got this mysterious but wicked pain in my right knee on Friday and Saturday, and Hermana made me go to the doctor. He didn't feel anything abnormal, but he gave me so painkillers that worked pretty darn well. I'll have to send you the names so Mom and Casey can go all medicine on me and tell me what I ingested. Also, my achilles tendons have this habit of getting painfully tight when I run, and Hermana's trying to help me recover from that, but Meme, if you have any good ideas I'm ready for those. But I'm pushing right on through! I want to run and I'm going to! If I remember more details I can send them along with pictures later. Also, anyone wanting to send me pics, you can just attach them in an email. That works fine. We're going to the temple today, and we haven't been able to go for a long time because it's been closed. The session is kind of tough in Spanish, but I know how to pronounce sacerdocio (priesthood) now, so that will help a lot. I love you all, and I love this work. I love the Lord, I love His gospel, and I am so glad that He trusts me enough to carry His word to His children. And Mother, thank you for that package! It got to me last Wednesday, which means a package sent however you sent it only takes 6 days! That is unprecedented! It was like a miracle--thank you so much. I felt so loved :) Todo mi amor, Hermana Pickett
This is Em's battle scar from playing volley ball. This mission is bringing out all sorts of colorful things in her.

One Month Down Almost

The District She talks so much about Emily Pickett Aug 6 Hello family! Thanks SO much for all of my birthday email. I wish I had been able to read it yesterday, but it was still wonderful today. I'm going to ask for special permission to open those videos in the other computer lab because the ones in here don't have sound. But it was awesome to see everyones smiles! And Mom, I did get that sheet music, thanks so much. Sister Porter (who is also going to San Pedro Sula, I meant to mention that before) and I are so excited! So, this week was pretty full and pretty great. We watched a video last Tuesday after I emailed you of Elder Holland speaking at the MTC. We watch videos of him a lot, but that is so beyond ok. We are really getting the feel for having a lesson prepared but allowing ourselves to part with it in order to teach by the Spirit. In our lesson yesterday I literally had to lay my hand on Hermana's shoulder and tell her just a minute and then totally switch gears so I could tell our investigator what the Spirit was pressing me to say. And the look of confusion and concern on his face just melted away. It was a miracle, and I love that kind of miracle. We're still struggling a little with the district, but I'm focusing on making positive and loving comments and I only cast judgements on myself instead of others, so the struggle is a little less. Hermana's keeping me in line. Akin to an angel, that one :) We have a new investigator--we're calling him Doug. He's actually a really good friend of one of our teachers, but he's been struggling with some really hard stuff in the year after his mission, and he won't open up to us at all. But we've surrendered the need for him to tell us everything and let us in--we're just exerting all of our energy to get him close enough to the Spirit to want to change. He's getting there. Our other two investigators are progressing towards their baptisms very nicely, we're so happy and excited for them. We keep finding out fun and funny things about the elders in our district and the other missionaries in our zone, so that's fun. It's a little bit more of an adventure every day. And first fast sunday on the mission wasn't too bad at all. We played a kind of super intense game of volleyball right after we started fasting on Saturday, so the thirsty was a little hard core, but the rest wasn't too bad. I felt bad, though, because none of the elders in my district have ever fasted for 24 hours before. They thought they were going to die, but they didn't. We watched a very heartfelt talk from Elder Holland on Sunday and then the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie Sunday night, so there were a could of tears shed that day. It happens. So, birthday in the MTC was different, but still ok. I think I'll like it better in the field and I can focus on working all day instead of sitting (I love studying, don't get me wrong). Hermana got me a little cupcake and stuck a piece of candy in the middle for a candle, and she sang and I blew my imaginary candle out, and my district sang to me (though not very enthusiastically, but they're 19 year old boys, so I'll cut them a break). But the cake taker was a scheme devised between my companion and this sweet companionship that lives in our house, Hermanas Curtis and Elms. They snuck into our classroom while we were at gym time and stuck little notes everywhere that all said cute, funny, loving things. They're all in my journal so I'll have to show you when I get home. And then they orchestrated a very loud rendition of Happy Birthday at dinner, and a whole lot of people joined in, so that was cool. Also, a really funny elder from our zone presented me, thoughout the day, with a fork, a knife, and a spoon. He's coming to our mission. We're psyched about that. But enough about me! For starters, Happy Late Birthday to Annie and Addy! And Happy Early Birthday to Becca! I love you guys and I'm sad I won't be there to sing to you, but I'll be there two birthdays from now! Also, Mother, PLEASE be careful with yourself! No more falling off of ladders, ok? That's not cool at all! And Daddy, thanks for those pictures, they were so sweet. Also thanks for pics to Annie, I loved them. Oh, and a random note I forgot. We parodied One Day More into One Day More (until it´s P-day). It's pretty awesome. We like it a lot. I am so glad to be here and to be doing this work. The Lord loves His children and is calling them home. I am so grateful that He trusts me to be one of His messengers. I love you all! Can't wait to here from you next week!
Ready for the morning jog. Really Emily is jogging, who knew?

For the Kiddos

Hey niños! So we had a very special devotional on Sunday night. It was a recorded talk that President Jeffrey R. Holland gave at the MTC last February. He told us about the power of the Book of Mormon, and the power of the Spirit, and how glad he was that we were missionaries. But then he reminded us what it means to be a missionary, and what we have to live up to. He reminded us that for almost 200 years people have gone out to preach the gospel in countries and languages all over the world. He reminded us that when most people think of our church, they think of a pair of young men or young women, Book of Mormon in hand. But then he called three boys up to the podium. One was about 12, the other was 10 (just like you, Addy!) and the last was probably somewhere between 7 or 8, so around Laynie and Ella's age. He told us that we needed to be the kind of missionary that these boys could look up to. He said they needed to see us and think "I want to be a missionary just like that!" He told us to always remember these boys and the responsibility that we had to them. But I didn't think of those boys. I though about all of you. I promise that I will be the kind of missionary that you will look up to. I hope so much that you, Addy and Clay and Owen, are already looking forward to serving your missions and that you will start to prepare early. And girlies--Laynie and Ella and Hailey and Maren and Olivia and Zoey, I hope that you will live and work so that if you get to 19 and decide you want to serve a mission, you'll be ready. That would be awesome! I promise that I'll serve my mission in a way that you can follow some day, and I promise that, even though I'm not perfect, I will do everything I can to keep the perfect image of a Mormon missionary intact for when you enter the field some day. I hope you keep this letter around, to remind you of how much I am thinking of you, and I hope you'll share it with your brothers and sisters and cousins who haven't joined our family yet, because even though I don't know them, I love them already. I love all of you so much. I miss you and I think about you every day--just ask my companion, when I need to do something with my hands to stay focused I fingerspell all of your names in ASL. I can't wait to see you again, but I know that will feel like no time at all, and until then, remember that I am thinking of you and that I love you, and that every day of my mission will be for you, and for the Lord, and for all of His children in San Pedro Sula. Love, Aunt Emmy


Emily Pickett Jul 23 to me, Rodger Hi familia! So this makes two whole weeks from me waking up super early to fly to the CCM (that's the equivalent of MTC in Spanish) and you know what? It has been a fabulous two weeks! Ok, let's see what I can remember... So, my companion and I finished our lessons with our first "investigador" which had to be completely in Spanish, and we got him to stop drinking and we committed him to be baptized. That's what's up. The maestro who portrayed that investigator (Hermano Wadsworth) gave us feedback on our teaching yesterday and our only critique was to split up our BoM reading assignments into smaller, more specific segments so he could gain a testimony of the book's truthfulness and all the testimonies that come with it while still reading things that he could easily liken to himself. But he said we mostly did that pretty well (like how he was an alcoholic/drug addict, so the first thing we gave him to read was Alma 36). I really love teaching. I love that we go in with a lesson plan and then we can teach the whole thing or just focus on our first couple of ideas, just following the Spirit. It's the most incredible thing I have ever experience. We started with a new investigator yesterday and we'll get another new one tomorrow, and that first investigator accepted the baptismal challenge (on the caveat that he has a testimony by the baptismal date, and we told him that was good because we don't want him to get baptized if he doesn't have a testimony) after the first lesson. The elders in our district were pretty shock-ed and amaz-ed. Similar was the attitude of the district when one of our elders (who asks random and sometimes awkward questions) says out of the blue "Hermana Pickett, donde comprar este vestido" (which is almost the correct way to say where's you get that dress) (I would have said A dónde compró este vestido) and I told him I made it. I think I earned a little respect that day. My district is sort of hilarious. We're also sort of struggling, because we're a little contentious from time to time. And then, when we're feeling a lack of the spirit, I usually suggest (along with my companion and two of our elders, Elder Antunez and Elder Pearl) that maybe it has something to do with the fact that we make kind of mean "jokes" about each other, but the room full of 19 year olds tends to disagree. I finally snapped the other day, when they were using a dictionary to call Elder Mathieson names like retarded and gay, and someone told me it was just "chistes" (jokes) and I asked him (in spanish) How do you think the Savior spoke to His friends? That was two days ago, and if they're still telling jokes like that, they're not doing it in front of me. Hence, I have been dubbed the mom of the district. But I don't really mind. I'm going to stand up for the doctrine that I believe in and live (thanks, Dad and Mom, for imparting that knowledge so adamently during my childhood). On a lighter note, it's really beautiful here! I hope my pictures all come through, but it's gorgeous on campus and it's crazy when we drive around the city--there's just too much to look like. The cute blond girl who's in pictures with me is mi compañera, Hermana Porter, and the other two girls pictured are two sisters in our house, Hermana Curtis (dark short hair) and Hermana Elms (blonde, usually crazy hair). We LOVE them. we sit with them at the end of every day and talk about our awkward moments and/or spiritual experiences and just work on our wonderful friendships. And they're bathroom is sort of attached to ours, so when I sing in the shower, they sing along. It's pretty special. Hermana Porter and I are really dilligent about running every day. We got up really early and ran this morning, because it't P-day so we could. Well, we had slight suspicions about if we could when we had to use our flashlight to walk to the track, but then we saw the CCM president running on a path by the track, and Hermana Pratt (his wife) has said before "If the president can, the missionaries can." So then we felt fine. We were pretty impressed, actually. That man is at least in his upper 60s. Hey Mimi, got any ideas for sore hip flexors? Hermana Porter is a track runner, so she taught me to pick up my knees when I'm running, so now I am suddenly very sore. Also for Mimi, how fast should your 200 meters be in order to be on the BYU track team? I told Hermana Porter I'd ask for her. So the other day I started doodling, kind of elaborately, and one of the elders saw me, so now I "draw". And I tried to draw Elder Mathieson (who is one of our four favorite Elders) and he hated it, so last night he had me try again. It went a lot better, and it's in my journal, so I'll have to show you when I get home. I just think it's so funny that there's this sudden assumption that I have this great ability. But as I said, our district is kind of hilarious. And we're getting along better as of late, so hopefully by the time I write next week there will only be peace and love in Aula 604. I also really like our branch. The other two sisters who are in Rama 7 (who came in the same week as us, there are two more but we don't know them very well yet) are really funny and really sweet. But that's sort of a general rule for sisters here, which is awesome. I also really like our teachers. We have two white brothers, Hermanos Rockwood and Wadsworth, and one latino, Hermano Ramírez. But Hermano Ramírez was out for at least a week because he had shingles--we felt so bad for him! But he's better, so that's good. Speaking of Latinos, our latinos at the CCM only stay for 12 days, so we said goodbye to our Latina roommates on Sunday night. They were so great. Hermana Olvera spoke English and was nice enough to excuse our poor attempt at Spanish, so that was a miracle. And Hermana Garcia was the most adorable person I have ever met. Our last night she gave us pictures of her home temple with the most kind and loving notes on the back, and the four of us had a prayer together and she prayed half in English, half in Spanish. Let me tell you, I could feel the Lord listening to that prayer. It was the most spiritual experience I have had so far. I just hope that, if the Lord treasured so much her attempt to speak English, He feels the same way about my broken prayers in Spanish. I think He does. More and more, I know that I am supposed to be here. I know that God loves me and that He loves His children, and I am so happy and grateful that He is trusting me to go and bring them home to Him. I'm praying for all of you, so I am sure you are safe and happy. I love you so much! Do the work at home while I am doing it here, ok? Todo mi amor, Hermana Pickett PS Casey! Happy belated birthday! I'm sorry I'm late, I'll do better next year! Love you! PPS so it won't let me send my pictures, so I'll send them next week, I promise!

One Week and I'm Loving It!

July 9, 2013 ¡Hola Padres! I´'m in México and at the MTC. They gave me a name tag! I'm legit! It's a lovely and temperate evening, I'm struggling with a bit of a headache (I know, super Jane Austen moment) but mostly everything is great! My companion's name is Sister Porter and she's adorable, we're already getting along super well. So I don't know what day my Pday is in the MTC, so don't get scared if you don't get an email on Monday, it will come eventually! I'm so glad I'm here. I'm so excited to be a missionary. The Church is true and I want to tell everyone about it! Love you both! (and if you want to let the family know I'm alive, that might be good!) Con todo mí corazon! Emily The MTC in Mexico City or as Emily says, The CCM Emily Pickett Jul 16 !Hola familia! Let's just start by saying I love it here! I absolutely love it, and I love being a missionary-in-training, and I love learning about the gospel all day (and I mean ALL day, every day). Lo me gusta! Ok, and now the report. We dove right on in on Wednesday. Our teachers (one americano and one latino, Hermanos Rockwood and Ramírez) really try to speak in spanish all of the time, so there{s a lot of Spanish learning going on. It{s funny because every time I remember how to say a word I learned in high school, it{s a really big surprise. Unless it{s while we{re teaching a lesson (to a puesdo investigador) (and yes, I meant to spell it that way) in which case I know it's the Spirit helping me out. Oh my goodness, talk about constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. He's pushing me, but he's right there with me. It's awesome. So we're learning Spanish and learning about the gospel. My companion's name is Hermana Natalie Porter and we are the perfect companionship. I kid you not. She gets all of my movie references AND she makes just as many as I do, though we try to keep eachother in line as to what is mission appropriate and what is not :). Our district (7B) has a slight ADHD problem...especially the elders...like really a lot. But we love them all. We have two that are 18 and one that just turned 19 on Monday, and those three are precious. (Elders Mathieson, Moyes, and Hafen). And Hermana Poter and I really have a soft spot in our hearts for Elderes Dial and Pearl, because they pointed out and then played with these two adorable kids on campus, which, of course, led to an AWWWWWW moment from us. What girls we are! And then there's Elder Wallentine (Elder Hafen's companion) and Elder Antunez (Elder Long's companion--we'll get back to him) who are both kind of soft spoken and respectful, which is nice in that great big room of ADHD. And then there's our DL, Elder Long, who Hermana Porter thought I was going to have to yell out our first day here. But, turned the other cheek, and Ihe hasn't done anything worth yelling at since. I think all of them have potential to be really great missionaries, and I know that Sister Porter is a great missionary already. We're a fun group! We've been teaching an "investigator" named "Gabriel" and that's been going pretty well. He's going to stop drinking and he's seriously considering baptism, so we're doing pretty well. My only frustration is when we're sitting there on a spiritual high and we ask him how he's feeling (and there's just a WAVE of the Spirit) and he's like "Meh...bien. Feliz. Pero el mismo." (Like saying, it's fine, but it's the same as I felt before). We think the actual teacher who is portraying Gabriel is holding out on us. But we'll get there! We just need to get him to commit to baptism before any of the elders do :) The food here is really interesting, but pretty good. I couldn't handle the tamales, becuase they were too picante, but hopefully some of the blessings of the call will transfer to my tastebuds! We live in casas with 14 other sisters, half of whom are latinas. The latino missionaries who are serving in Mexico come here for 12 days, so we'll get three rounds of new roommates while we are here. But we love them, and it is great to practice Spanish with them! We went to the temple today, and it was fabulous! The session was definitely in Spanish, and I got most of it because I know it pretty well in English, but I just kept reminding myself that the sister's work I was doing could understand every word. Now, repeating things when it came time for that...different story. That was hard. She was talking very quickly. But we got around to it in the end, so it was okay. It is so beautiful here. It's not too hot and the humidity isn't too bad. Hermana Porter and I like to run for our exercise hour (9 laps of running 200 yds and walking 200 yds yesterday--we felt good about that!) and then it feels pretty warm, but other than that it's okay. I'm usually pretty tired but I'm so happy and so excited to be here. This is the Lord's work and I would give up anything to do it, so a bit of energy and the next 18 months is nothing! Specific notes: Annie: How'd Hailey like her dress? Becca: How'd you like that skirt? Bill: I am sure you will pass your test. I'm not even nervous for you! Casey: Way to pass your boards! You're that much close to writing "Casey Pickett, MD" on your diet books! Mary: The track here is gravel. Reddish gravel. Like a normal track, but they didn't glue it all together. It's weird, but it's probably great for shock absorbtion, right? I love you guys, and I miss you! They taught us how to pray for our families in Spanish on the first day, so I've been praying for you! Yo se qué la iglésia de JesuCristo de los santos de lost últimos dias solo es la verdadera iglésia en este mundo y sé qué JesuCristo vive! Se amo! Otra véz, love you all! Hope to hear from all of you! P.S. I'm two minutes over time, so I'll send pictures next week! Love you!
In front of the Temple