So this week was especially wonderful because, as you know, we were blessed to hear the words of the prophet of God on the earth, along with the twelve apostles and other righteous men and women called by revelation to the Lord's service. How awesome is that? Like seriously, how awesome! After three months (you heard me,is 3 whole months!) of learning about and teaching a gospel that is lead by a true and living prophet of God, hearing the prophet speak was pretty much the best way I can imagine spending 8 hours. And we had a whole plethura of miracles this week!
So, miracles 1 and 2: The Urquia family was married and baptized this week! As you may recall, about a month and a half ago (on my second day in the field) I was complaining about a family that couldn´t progress because the dad was convinced that he didn´t want to marry his wife. And then the miracle happened, and he received a witness that the church is true. And then another miracle happened, and his heart was softened and he grew a desire to be married. And then ANOTHER miracle happened and they raised the money to get married in two weeks. And the last two miracles went down: we all got beautiful, took a bus to Puerto aton a morning, and they got married by the laws of Honduras. And then later that day, the beautiful family of four all entered the waters of baptism and were later confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Spirit was so strong in that room I thought I was going to burst. Especially when their daughter and son, Cinthia and Joslyn, were blessed in their confirmations that they would serve full time missions for the Lord. WOW! (And then another miracle happened, and their friend who is a member of the ward (friendshipping is awesome!) made a cake for their wedding and we got to have some. It tasted like a miracle) Life lesson from the fam. Urquia--We have to take our first steps with faith. But when we follow the Lord, right away He sends us blessings, and with time, He makes a way for us to complete all of our righteous desires. I am so excited for this time next year, when hopefully this beautiful family will have the means to travel to Tegucigalpa and be sealed in the temple. I am so grateful that I could be here for this outpouring of miracles in their lives.
okay so this is the whole family at the baptism with Marvin, who baptized them, and some more family members. But Marvin closed his eyes in the first one and Maria Luisa closed her eyes in the second one. Can Dad cheat someone's eyes open please?
Maria Luisa's "bridal" shot and the novios! (and yes, I was called upon to do the pretty making and I enjoyed it)
more fam. Urquia wedding! Happy day!
Also, there was a swarm of miracles surrounding General conference.morning some of the Relief Society came to the church early to watch the RS broadcast, because only a few sisters were able to attend on the actual night of the broadcast. We received two very cute gringa greenies to the ward this week, Hras. Gardner and Johnson, and the three of us didn´t feel very comfortable watching in Spanish. And by that I mean we couldn´t understand it at all. So we asked the bishop if we could watch on the family history computer in the secretary's office (also called the bunker, because it has a normal door and then a bank vault style door. Not kidding) and he said we could but we wouldn´t be able to hear it, because their aren´t speakers. But then I could say, Oh, I've got speakers! So we got to hear the actual voice of the prophet. And it was awesome. That whole meeting was so great. Men of the family, I know you've got priesthood session, but the RS broadcast was awesome.
So we were feeling pretty good about our set up for conference watching in the bunker and starting the firstsession when the seminary teacher, Cynthia (who is a wonderful sister of the ward but is one of those people who really likes to be in control) came and told us a little unsympathetically that we needed to turn off the broadcast, because suddenly we were taking up all the bandwidth and it wasn´t working in the chapel. So we went to watch in the chapel. And we understood nothing. Now, as I've previously stated, I was pretty excited to watch conference. I'd been making a lot of promises about the power of the prophet's words to answer our prayers and give us the answers and comfort we're seeking, and I was pretty enthused to enjoy those blessings for myself. So when it appeared that I would only be looking at General Conference for eight hours and picking out words instead of understanding the profound messages of the talks, I was a little disheartened. So, doing what I have learned to do as a missionary, I said a prayer. I explained to the Father why I was so excited for the conference and begged that there could be a way for me to understand it, and to understand it as well as I would if it were English. And I did not experience a sudden burst of Spanish comprehension. But I did get an idea, and that little idea bugged be until I saw it out: feeling a little embarrased about causing a change on the projected screen, I brought up the video bar to check for subtitles. And they had them. And they were in English. So while the audio continued in Spanish, we the gringas could read along in English. And that was a miracle not only for me and Hra Gardner and Hra Johnson, but the following day for a deaf boy named Erick in the ward who reads English, and hence had come to conference expecting only to watch in silence but was delighted to find that he could enjoy the talks with everyone else. And even just reading along, General Conference was awesome.
Furthermore on the miracles, 10 of our investigators came to at least one session of conference and were blessed to hear the prophet's voice (or the voice of his translator). And at least three times in the conference, I felt like the speaker on the screen was looking right at me and saying "You've been praying for this, Hermana Pickett. Here is what the Lord would like you to know about it." That was pretty spectacular. Though I think my investigator who I was sitting next to was a little concerned at one point, because I was starting to cry.
So favorites from conference: I loved Elder Bednar's talk about tithing, and his explaination that sometimes we are granted the ability and attitude to perservere through our physical trials instead of being healed. Amen to that, I've been experiencing that a lot personally. Also, I of course loved President Uchtdorf's loving invitation to all to come to the church or come back to church because there is room for everyone here. And I loved Elder Holland's talk. For someone who can be so powerful in his talks condemning wickedness, that man has never ceased to amaze me with his talks of gentleness and kindness. And I loved hearing from President Monson, though every time he mentioned Sister Monson I just wanted to jump through the screen and give him a hug. But I think that my favorite was Elder Richard G. Scott, in that wonderful talk about the fathers of the strippling warriors. First, Presidet Scott speaks spanish, so he translated his own talk. Like a boss. Seriously, that was legit. And then to hear that beautiful talk was wonderful. We always talk about the purity and faith of the strippling warriors and the wonderful influence of their mothers, but I have never considered the sacrifice of their fathers, and that even though they had repented, their sins were still causing them pain in that they could not defend their families because of previous guilt. But it gave new meaning to me that the scripture says "They cared more for the liberty of their fathers than for their own lives" and that those righteous sons would sacrifice all not only for the physical freedom of their fathers, but to keep their spirits safe from being dragged back to the captivity of their old sins. Pretty awesome. Also, I loved the positive and loving messages to the women of the church. If anyone is protecting womanhood these days, it is the prophets and apostles! The next time someone tries to suggest to me that the church limits women's rights, I'm just going to lovingly refer them to this October's conference talks.
So, other fun things from this week: There's this fun thing that they only do in Honduras that I'm going to call the Honduras snap. It's a sound produced by joining the thumb and middle finger and flicking the wrist so that the index finger snaps the joint of the thumb and middle finger. And it's kind of really hard, because it should make a sound a lot louder than snapping your fingers normally. But I finally started doing it right this week, and the members who are teaching me have a lot of hope for my potential. The two new sisters in the ward are very sweet and they are having a lot of the same difficulties I had when I first got here, so I can give them my sage advice about always being tired and not understanding anyone and having five million bug bites. Last week we had permission to watch a movie that isn´t about the gospel (gasp!) so as a zone we watched a movie called Epic that was pretty good. Although I have a feeling that I might like the voices better in spanish that in english. And it was our turn to make dinner for the Campana sister missionaries(we have dinner every night) so we made French toast with powdered sugar (it took a lot of faith to purchase that powdered sugar) and bananas. Oh gosh, that was so good. And rather inexpensive.
the sisters of campana (Escalante, Bahr, Cifuentes, Johnson, Gardner, Pickett and the playa municipal!
Also, today as a zone we went to the beach, and it was pretty fun and I took a lot of pictures so those are coming! But apparently one hour on the beach was way too much for this gringa, because I already look like a lobster. One of the elders was talking about the laughable redness of my skin and said "It's not even sunny! How did this happen?" And I said "UV rays penetrate clouds. You can still get burnt on a cloudy day." And our ZL says "Well, apparently some people can, anyway." So yes, that is my special talent. Pretty great, right? But I promise I'm putting sunscreen on, at least on my face, and I'm trying not to get skin cancer.
I love you all. The church is true. Please stay firm in the faith. If you're all strong in the church, I won't have to worry about you, because I'll be confident that the Lord is taking care of you. So stay strong!
All my love,