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!

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