Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm not dead yet!

my glorious mama, Hermana Escalante
Hi all!
So we're coming up on two weeks in the field and next week will be two months on the mission! Crazy, right?
So last week after writing we went to lunch at Pizza Hut (we have to take a bus to Puerto Cortez to write and it's kinda touristy (not white tourists, just tourists) because apparently there's a beach around here somewhere, but it's got some bigger chain restaurants, of which Pizza Hut is the favorite) and grocery shopping and home, and I kind of got into this hard couple of hours because I was really struggling to speak any Spanish at all and two of the sisters with us would laugh when I tried to speak Spanish, so that was kind of rough. And then when we were at the store I couldn't find any of the stuff I wanted because it's all in Spanish and I couldn't explain what I was looking for to my companion and I just wanted something familiar, something from home, and there wasn't anything. Until I purchased a Hershey's bar. That helped a little. We came home and I did my laundry (pilas are super good for taking out your frustration) and then we went back out to work, and that helped. That always helped. If I've learned anything so far, it's that when you're feeling down, you go out and help someone and fill yourself and others with the gospel, and you just can't feel bad anymore. There isn't room. (Bill and Rochelle, whenever I think that all I can think is "When I feel sad, I stop being sad and start being aweome instead. True story" and by being awesome, of course, I mean being a missionary) So it turned out to be a pretty good day.
Speaking of laundry, let's talk about this. I do not have a laundry machine, nor do I have access to one. I'm pretty sure most of the people in my area have only ever seen a laundry machine on television. (because everyone has a TV...not kidding, everyone) I have a pila. It's a large stone structure, one side of which is a deep basin and a tap and the other side comes up to about my hips and is ridged like a washboard and slants down slightly to a drain. That's my washing machine. you've got a plastic container for dumping water on your clothes (because dirty/soapy things do not go in that large water basin) and a cylindrical bar of soap, which fits in your hand and rolls over your clothing. And then you scrub them, so I'm gonna have muscly arms when I get home, and you rinse and rinse and rinse. It is a deluge of rinsing. Because if you don't deluge, you end up with uncomfortably stiff clothes. I learned that the hard way. And after the deluge, you wring (ring) whatever it is out as much as you can and hang it up to dry. For this reason, only one person can do laundry per day and it takes a long time. Like when I washed my sheets this morning. Long time.
Lots of good lessons and new investigators this week. We've got two women we're currently teaching (one with her family, one alone) who are 19 and "married" (not legally) and the first has two small children. And I know the culture is different, but sometimes when we're with them and we say something about "In your life" and they're thinking about their lives, they just look like scared kids. But it's incredible to be in those moments and feel the overwhelming love that God has for His children, and the prompting to take care of them. I love both of those investigators. The family is the Family Sabion and they're really receptive--they do all of the reading. No one does all of the reading, so the fact that they do the reading is akin to a miracle. The other woman is named Lesli, and we haven't met her husband yet, but we love her. In both of our lessons she's been crying and saying "I don't know why I'm crying, I don't know why I feel like this." And then we tell her it's the Spirit and she smiles and nods. It's so great.
Also, fun story: we went to teach the fam. Sabion and Bilma (the 19 year old woman with two small children) was shelling snails, and missionaries are always ready to help, so I learned how to do that. It was gross and dirty but sort of really fun. And I now am a pro at smail anatomy, so there you go.
Tuesday was our district meeting and on Thursday we met with half of the mission for a rather long day of teaching (but still good) from our area 70, Elder Duncan. It was all really good stuff, but the AC was on full blast in the chapel and that AC is really not kidding around, so after three hours he noticed that the sisters were all turning blue and asked the elders to lend us their suit coats. That was good, but those three hours were a little tough. But he gave us really great counsel about having vision to our goals and being more efficient to achieve our vision.
We have an investigator with a baptism this coming Sunday, and we're so excited! His name is Candido and his daughter and her family are members, so she's pretty glad that her father is being baptized. The plan is he'll get baptized by his son in law and at the same meeting as his granddaughter, so that'll be pretty sweet. Hardly any of our investigators actually want to keep their committments, so it's great that Candido is so determined to follow Christ.
I am feeling so blessed to be here. The work is wonderful. We get fed by members a lot, and the food here is really good, so that's a major blessing. Everyone is willing to listen to us, so we're never short on lessons. The hard part is just getting people do follow up. We're teaching a family now that is driving us crazy because the father knows that he needs to be baptized, but he doesn't want to pay 1000 limpira (about $50) to get married, and everyone else in the family will get baptized when he gets baptized, but he's just stalling. I need a Alma the Younger miracle for this one. Hopefully there will be some heart changing one way or the other.
I am thankful every day for my "mama" Hermana Escalante. She's pushing me pretty hard, but I'm learning really fast. My teaching and my Spanish are already leaps and bounds better, so I'm glad I've got her. I am also really grateful for the other sisters in our house, Hermana Rodas and Hermana Bahr. We've got a great community happening. I like it.
It's weird that classes at BYU started and I'm not there, but that's okay. This is better. I love and miss you guys a lot, and I hope everybody's lives are going great. I'm praying for all of you, so I know the Lord will take care of you for me.
I am so grateful for this gospel. I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His amazing love for us and His incredible sacrifice. I know that He wants us to be happy, and that He has given us His gospel for our happiness. I am so grateful that He trusts me enough to be one of His missionaries.
Mucho amor! --Hermana Pickett

more snails (no, I did not put that in my mouth)
the cute little lizard who evidently spent the night in my bag (this one is real)
another picture of my lovely area, Campana

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