Tuesday, November 26, 2013

¡Feliz acción de gracias!

Hra Escalante and I waiting for the bus to take us to cambios meeting. I miss that Mexican mamá of mine!


So this is one of those times that an American holiday (which is one the bigger deal side of American holidays) is coming up and, because I'm in central America, it's like that holiday doesn't actually exist. Fun, right?

There isn't too terribly much to report, as our week was a bit shorter than usual. On Friday we had a multi-zone conference (which was awesome) for most of the day and then we didn't go out to work this last weekend, as it was election weekend and there wasn't really a point. (Mind you, we didn't make that decision in our individual companionships. Those were our instructions. But don't worry about it). Anyway, all is well! Hra. Gisseman and I are doing the work and loving it! I really am enjoying living with three other sisters and there is a very good vibe in the Campana house right now, so that's cool.

So here's Hra Gisseman! That first one is Hra Escalante and I with our new companions (hers is Hra Tolliver and they are Sister Leader Trainers!) and the second is Hra Gisseman and I at our P'day fútbol activity

This is pretty disappointing but I really can't remember very much to write about this week. Victor and Angie are both sailing smoothly and confidently toward their baptisms and beyond. It really is wonderful to see the confidence that comes from faith and repentance. Fam. Buh is doing great and they were our only two investigators to come to church on Sunday, so we were PSYCHED to see them! (Sunday was the day of the elections, so church attendance was pretty sparce). And we are finding new people every day, which is crazy. One of the sisters at church came up to us with this little boy and said, He is my neighbor and he would like you to come teach his family. (To which we responded, OK!) We also have a new investigator who we thought was just hitting on us° but it turns out he's willing to hear the Gospel. And Senia, a woman who we met on Hra Gisseman's first day, is blowing our minds she is SO prepared! I love doing the work here. There are miracles every day--I've got the best job ever!

(°So, brief explaination of Honduran men (Hra. Behan, this is going to sound familiar). The kind of wolf whistling, cat calling, lip smacking behavior that would be kind of objectifying in the States is totally fair game here, so whenever we walk past males over the age of 15ish, we expect that sort of behavior. Also, in the case of gringas, it is a common occurance to hear a small, slightly nonsensical slew of English. So when our new investigator called out "Where are you coming from?" we just kept walking, because that's what we do. And when he continued to yell "Hello! Hello!" we still continued to walk. But there was a little prompting that said "Hey Emily, humor this one." So I said hello, but I spoke in Spanish. Which started the conversation which explained the fact that he learned English in the States, so he was actually asking us seriously where we were coming from. And that conversation is going to be continued tomorrow when we go teach him and his family. Boo-yah)

I also learned this week that I will have incredibly impressive grades when I return to BYU, because I can't just spend free time anymore. Our three days in the house were fun because we were all together but whenever we weren't actively doing something I was dying! How did I used to pass entire Saturdays like that every week?! So yeah, parents, prepare for a very active daughter when I get home, because doing nothing will no longer be my forté.

I love being here. I love this work and I love the Lord. He continues to amaze me with His love and patience for me and all of His children, and I am so beyond grateful for this opportunity to serve. This acción de gracias is going to be a pretty astonishing one for me, because while I won't be feasting on food, I have SO MANY blessings to feast upon! I love you all and I hope that everything is going great!

Les amo muchísimo! Hra Pickett

 And Hra Bahr put up a Honduran flag in our front room and we took lots of pictures!
Hra Gardner and I took a fun picture with the flag

Hra Gardner and I took a fun picture with the flag and here is our celebretory feast of the end of our días encárceladas! Pizza Hut delivers!

We found this set of stairs that go on forever, and we didn't climb them but we did take a picture! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

I´m a ''MOM''!

Hello from Honduras! Pretty crazy week! Why, you ask? Well, in the training booklet for missionaries there is a little sentence that says "The goal of your training is that you can become the kind of missionary in twelve weeks who, if called upon, could train another missionary". AND IT´S HAPPENING! And it´s insane! 

So last monday after writing we found out that Hra. Escalante was being transfered and then a few hours later that I was going to be a trainer. And the Elder telling says " Are you excited, Hermana?!" And I´m like "...Yes?" He didn´t think that was a very convincing response. But let´s break this down. I was TERRIFIED! I kid you not, I was scared to pieces. I didn´t feel qualified for that at all. I still don´t understand Spanish perfectly (we´re at a solid 80% ish), I have a lot of stuff that I need to work on in my teaching, and all of the people here clearly love Hra Escalante a lot more than they like me. To their credit, it might be because I don´t know what they´re saying 20%ish of the time. So I was really freaking out. But then we went and had a lesson with Maria Lusia de Urquia, who was just called to be a teacher in the Sunday School. And she was really scared, because she was feeling inadequate, as a recent convert, to teach people who had been members of the church for a lot longer than she had. But we were bearing our testimonies and I said, "Hra, the Lord calls us in our weakness, and He will give us everything we need to fulfill our callings." And then I thought (or, more likely, the Spirit gently rebuked) if I can make that promise to someone else, I have to believe it for myself. So I started trying my best not to freak out, to trust in God, and to prepare to be a good mamá (that´s what we call trainers here). 

So on Tuesday we taught super short lessons so Hra Escalante could spend a few minutes with as many people as possible (we did get stuck at a house for an hour and a half helping a sister make dinner. Hra. Escalante was kind of upset to use so much time there but I am now a boss at making tajadas. Get excited). And then on Wednesday we took the bus at 6 am to get to San Pedro Sula for my training meeting at 8:30 (well, a little earlier than that so we could get breakfast). But our training meeting was really, really good. President Dester talked about the kind of missionaries we need to be in order to be trainers and how the Lord has confidence in all of us to fulfill this calling. After that we went to la reunión de cambios and I got to hang out with my friend Hra Curtis from the MTC (who isn´t training but had a transfer). Before the cambios are announced we listened to the testimonies of all the missionaries leaving, and there were 14 so it took forever! They were really good testimonies, but I just couldn´t handle the suspense! Por fin President Dester announced the cambios, and I´m watching the sisters up on the stand and counting down until I had to say to Hra Escalante "Wait, are there any more Latinas up there?" And she said no, and we´re both like "I´m training a gringa? Whose idea was this??" But we know whose idea it was, so it´s all okay. And I am training a gringa! Her name is Hra. Gisseman, she´s 19 and from Georgia and she´s great! I love her already! I feel a little more comfortable with the idea of being a trainer every day and I think we´re going to be fine. Better than fine! We´ll be great! 

So the last couple of days have been work as usual. There isn´t really the concept of easing into the water on a mission. Hra Gisseman is kind of psyching herself out about Spanish and the work and having things to say, but there is a certain amount of expected shock upon entering the mission field, so I think after the next week or so she´ll be feeling a lot better. We were supposed to have two baptisms this week, but one, Heydi, is moving to Santa Barbara and won´t be anywhere near a church, so she doesn´t want to get baptized with the full knowledge that she won´t be able to fulfill her baptismal covenant (they take their promises very seriously here, which is cool) so that´s sad but I´m proud of her for making the tough decision. Our other baptism, Angi, is waiting until next week. I can't say why--she´d be mad at me if I did. But it´s kind of funny and it´s no question of worthiness, so she´s good to go on her baptism this week. 

It´s pretty weird to live in a whole house of gringas in Honduras, but we´re all getting along just fine and life is good. I love our ward, and our district and zone are great. Today we went and played soccer for P-day, and while I am seriously uncoordinated (Becca, we need to work on that) it was really fun. 

I love this work. I love the Lord and I am so grateful that He has given me this time to serve His children! We´ve been talking a lot this week about the power of positivity and gratitude, and that is such a powerful principle. Seriously. I feel so much happier here, and I know it is because we really take time to notice our blessings. And in the moments that I am annoyed or frustrated, I take a second to ask myself if I am feeling grateful, and the answer is always no. But I count my blessings and then I can´t keep from feeling happy! We were hanging out with fam. Urquia last night and Hra Maria Luisa said to me, Hra Pickett, siempre anda con alegría. (Which literally means you are always walking with joy, but the feeling is more like you always have an attitude of joy). And I realized that that´s exactly the kind of person I want to be for all of my life--the one who is always joyful. And really, that´s who we should be as followers of Jesus Christ--full of joy! And then people will see that, they´ll notice it just like Maria Luisa did, and they´ll think "What has she got? I want it. I want that happiness." And then we have missionary experiences and we help other people walk with joy also! The Lord is changing my life and my perspective and my heart mightily, and I am so glad that I have this time for Him to do that. 

I love and miss all of you. It´s crazy how fast the time passes here, so I know it will feel like no time at all before I can share my mission adventures in person! 

Les quiero mas que nada! 
Hermana Pickett

the computer is being really dumb, so I´ll send pictures next week. Sorry

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

addition to family email

And I made cinnamon rolls today! And they were delicious! Can you forward that piece of news to the family? Because I'm gonna send pictures soon!
So Hra Gardner helped me make the dough and then helped the elders make the frosting, and here she's being my emotion support while I rolled out my dough with an empty pill bottle (what's that saying about necessity and invention and genius?). The other missionaries all reported that the cinnamon rolls were delicious! Victory!

Happy Veteran's Day!

Tortillas de harina! I'm gonna be a pro!

The love and fun in the Campana House!

More sister silliness! Hra Gardner tried on Hra Bahr's glasses and said "This is my natural reaction" and Hra Escalante put on her headband as a "corona" (crown)

Again, points to Becca for my knowledge of American holidays. But also as a title for this week, I finished four months in the mission! That was pretty quick, right? It feels pretty quick here, anyway.

So this week was magical, of course. All of our weeks are magical. The rain has continued (YAY!). Someone asked me if I can handle this kind of weather and I said, "I'm from Seattle. This is how I live my life." And when it's not raining, usually it's quite a bit cooler. I've been using my raincoat and some scarves and one day (get ready for this) I even wore my sweater. Wow.

Last Monday I had another bread attempt. It went a lot better. Turns out eliminating the 5 hours in the refrigerator really helped. And I rolled out one of the loaves and put cinnamon and sugar in the middle, so we had cinnamon sugar bread. I need to experiment with that more, but it turned out pretty delicious. We demolished it in about 5 minutes. Especially because the grocery store was having a blowout sale on Nutella (one of the normal sized jars for 45 Lempira! That's hardly more than $2!) And EVERYTHING tastes good with Nutella on it. I think that jar of nutella might have been a bad idea, but I just won't buy another one, so we're good. We had another Noche de Hogar that involved making baleadas, and my tortillas are starting to be circular more often than not, so I feel pretty accomplished about that.

We were blessed to see two of our investigators be baptized this week! Denia from the fam. Mancia Garcia and Leyser, Heydi's younger brother, were both baptized on Friday. Leyser had really started reading his BoM on Tuesday and just like that he said, Hras, I want to be baptized. And then he stopped drinking coffee and started being nicer to his older sister and by the time he had his interview on Friday morning, that kid was crazy ready to be baptized. Talk about a mighty (and fast) change of heart. And Denia realized pretty early in the week that her husband would be working during her baptism, but she was determined to be baptized anyway. We went to visit her on Thursday night and we sang Abide With Me, 'Tis Eventide (still my favorite, though the following hymn, Abide with me, is a close second) and talked about how the Lord doesn't abandon us in the night times of our lives. And she said that she knew she needed to be baptized, and had prayed that her husband would be able to come, so she was just going to keep moving forward. So then on Friday, when we were leaving for the baptism and he still wasn't home, she was kind of down (we were all kind of down. Friday was grey and miserable all day long--I had to sing The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow more than once). But we got to the church and who was waiting at the gate? Denia's husband! It was a miracle of the Lord and true love! The baptisms themselves were kind of tough, because the kid who was baptizing hadn't had very much of a warning, so the words took a few tries, and Denia's first time in the water was no good. But the real trouble was with Leyser, because no one told him (or so he says) that he had to put his head under the water. So that took about seven tries. And I wish I was exaggerating. But he went in eventually, and both of them were confirmed yesterday (Leyser was blessed to serve a full time mission) so it all turned out well.

Diana and Jose Buh came to the baptism too! Their son is David and their little girl is Cesia

 Heydi and Leyser. They aren't really good enough friends to hug in pictures yet, but we're working on that!

CUTE picture of Denia and Jose--Jose loves having his picture taken! 

We found a goldmine of investigators this week: Last week we contacted a girl in the street (we kind of got in her way when she was trying to cross a bridge and shared the message of the Restored Gospel...we do that) and she invited us to come back and meet her family. There are SIX people in that family. Six! And all of them wanted to listen to us! Unfortunately, only two could come to church. But they are super ready to hear this Gospel. They have lots of questions, but they ask because they really want to know, not because they want to prove us wrong. And they were really receptive about the First Vision (although the mom, Maria, asked in the middle if we wanted baleadas, so we had to ask her to focus) and they were really excited for us to bring them a copy of the BoM. So we're pretty excited about them. But the dad, Marco Tulio, has some sort of problem with his left eye, so we're never really sure who he's looking at. It's led to some kind of funny awkward moments.

Also on the topic of great investigators, Angi and Heydi are planning to be baptized this Saturday. Angi is helping us to start teaching her mom, Maria, and we think being involved in the conversion process will be really good for Angi as she starts out her membership in the church. We've been spending a lot of quality time with fam. Buh, and we got a little scared for a minute, because they really were not pleased with the baptism on Friday. It was the first baptism they've ever seen, and the fact that there was so much of a struggle for the baptisms to get done and that the members present were kind of giggling at the sheer number of times that Leyser almost was baptized didn't sit very well with them. But we had a talk about how the Church is perfect but the members aren't and apparently the ward mission council (most of which are teenaged ward missionaries, and they're the ones who come to baptisms) got a stern talking to about reverence and setting an example yesterday. So hopefully that doesn't happen again. That's a kind of tough thing about the mission: you can work really hard with your investigators and do everything possible for them, but eventually you have to entrust them to the members...and you never know what's going to happen next. But we're all in this together, and it's fine! And Diana blew our minds yesterday, because we were started to talk about Word of Wisdom and we said, "So can you guess what sort of things God would tell us about how to care for our bodies?" And she pretty much hit on every point of the WoW. Talk about pilas!

We had splits with the Sister Leader Trainers on Wednesday and Sister Lopez told me she thinks I'll be a sister leader trainer (which is kind of like a female ZL but different) very soon. Terrifying! I asked her to take things one step at a time.

 Exchanges! I love Hra Lopez! (Mom, the first one is really just for you so you can see the skirt I bought. Pretty cute for an Honduran thrift store, huh? I think it's very Maddi Raleigh)

Mary, this one is for you and Jordan: we were teaching one of our investigators about the Word of Wisdom and he had a very casual attitude about throwing away his cigarettes, making a plan to avoid buying them, etc. He said he could just stop and that having them around wouldn't be hard for him. So I told him Coach Gelwix's story about Don't Play With Snakes. So now Coach Gelwix's wisdom has been imparted in Spanish/ in Central America. I thought you two might like to know.

I really love it here. We don't know what our cambios are yet, but Hra. Escalante thinks she's going to leave and I'll get a little Latina to train. I think that would be really scary but I'm ready to accept whatever job the Lord wants to give me! I love this gospel, I love this work, I love these people, and I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so blessed to be a fellow laborer in the vineyard (I read Jacob 5 in like 20 minutes the other day and it all made sense. I can liken it now!) and to have this time to be molded by the Lord. I miss you all but I'm so glad to be here and I know it's only going to be all the sweeter when we see each other again!

So much love!
Hra. Pickett

And I haven't had much use for my hat, because I'm not allowed to wear it proselyting, but it's pretty good for washing clothes in the rain.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Emily's weekly update, no catchy title this week

So this week, I had another one of those moments like "Wait a second. I'm in Honduras, in Central America, as a missionary. I'm really on a mission. And I'm gonna be here for kind of a long time. Whoa." Those moments are always special.

Anyway, pretty great week! I feel like the vast majority of our planned lessons fell through, but we just found other people to teach and kept on keeping on. The fam. Mancia Garcia family had their baptimal date set for this last Saturday (there's a really handy word in Spanish, anteayer, for moments like that--it means the day before yesterday), so we visited them a lot. We have this sort of machine gun, rapid fire teaching habit for people coming up on their baptisms--they see us everyday. Sometimes they see us more than once everyday. It's great. We also went for a lot of lessons with Angi and Heydi (Maria Lusia's nieces--see last week's letter if confused on family connections here). Their baptisms are programmed for this Friday. But Angi didn't  come to church this week. And Heydi's feeling kind of timid on the whole "Have you received an answer to your prayers about the gospel?" topic, so...we'll see what happens there. But things happen in the Lord's own time, so it's fine! And we seriously love the family Buh (Diana and Jose--they gave us hot chocolate, remember?) They are golden. They didn't come to church yesterday because he didn't get home from work until really early Sunday morning and she can't drive their car, so that's pretty sad. But again, the Lord's own time! It's happening!

Also, for the record, not everyone couldn't come to church. We had a lot of people at church. And we're really stoked about that. Sorry for the moment of negativity.

So, let's talk about fam. Mancia Garcia. Like I said, their baptismal date was set for anteayer. And they both really have received strong testimonies about the Gospel. And we went through the baptismal interview questions with them and they have a crazy unshakeable knowledge of the principles and doctrines therein. But Jose smoked, so he wasn't ready to be baptized. And Denia passed her interview with flying colors, but she wanted to wait for her husband, so they didn't get baptized on Saturday. So we're really sad. Not that they didn't get baptized, because we know that that's going to happen (at this point, Denia says she's getting baptized this week, no matter what, because she knows it's what she has to do). But we're sad for Jose. He really wants to change. He really wants to stop. But he can't just shake his addiction, it's got too good a grip. But we are so proud of him, because he knows that he could stop for a week and be baptized and start smoking again, but he won't do it. He says if he's going to make a promise to be obedient, he's going to be baptized when he's confident that he can live up to his promise. Pretty pilas.

On the homefront, we the Sisters of Campana are doing great. Poor Hra. Bahr felt really sick this week, but I think it's sick season in Honduras. Angi's daughter and Gladis Ardon and one of Hra. Escalante's convert's sons (that's a mouthful) are sick also, so maybe it's just that time of year. Hra. Bahr and Hra. Gardner cleaned our pila, and that was nothing short of a miracle. Because a pila should look kind of like a pool or a bathtub on the inside, but ours looked more like a garden pond. Or a swamp. Whichever of those makes you think ew more vehemently, it looked like that. Hra. Escalante is doing great, and continues to be a blessing and a friend. We're coming up on cambios soon and we've been pondering about who is going to be transferred. She's been here in Campana for six months, so she thinks it's gonna be her. But if I stay here it is highly likely that I'll be a trainer (scream of terror!) and I really don't feel prepared for that blessing yet. If the Lord gives me someone to train, I'm sure He will also bless me with the necessary faculties (and the gift of tongues) to fulfill that calling. All the same, I'm a little scared. Guess I need more faith!

Our investigators are all really great and really loving. We had a family night with Denia and her son (Jose was working) and with Fam. Buh and it was ridiculously fun. We played this game called I've Got Mail that involves chair switching and being the one left without a chair, and we decided that after your second time in the middle, you have to have a castiga (punishment). So Denia had to sing the Honduras national anthem and Hra Escalante acted like a frog and Jose (Diana's husband, that Jose) acted like a chicken and Diana spoke like the commentator in a soccer match (GOAL!!! GOAL TO HONDURAS, SEÑORES!) and I had to sing Brittney Spears. For the record, try to sing Hit Me Baby One More Time without dancing sometime. It's really difficult.

Quick note about Diana's Jose. We watched the Restoration film with them at the beginning of the week because he just started the lessons, so Diana really has a head start and we needed to catch him up. And after the movie, he's got this smile on his face that people usually have when they're thinking "Yeah. Ok, sure. That totally happened" (sarcastically). But we started asking him questions and we realized, little by little, that he wasn't thinking that at all. I felt like saying "Wait, are you smiling because you're happy? Because you can feel the Spirit!? Oh my gosh, you're actually feeling this right now?!!" So yeah, that family is awesome. Diana told us she always knew she needed to be baptized and she's always felt like church is good, but she has never felt the urge to be baptized or believed so vehemently in the word of God like she does now. So yeah, that family is awesome.

I found a spot to put my hammock, and we all made it through our fast without achieving unconsciousness. I can see the blessings of the Lord so strongly in the people here and in my own life. I know that I am where the Lord wants me to be, and I know I'm doing what He wants me to be doing. And knowing that it great! I love being a missionary, I love this work, and I love these people.

And oh! Here's a funny story. When we teach about the Word of Wisdom, we include a kind of vague closing statement (it's kind of like that vague 10th ammendment to the Bill of Rights) that the WoW discourages us from anything that harms our bodies. And Hra. Escalante usually says "So if I know that eating spicy food is going to make my stomach hurt, even though it doesn't say Don't eat spicy food in the WoW, I shouldn't eat it. Taking care of your body like that is part of the WoW." So ion Saturday we had dinner with the sisters and the two sisters in charge bought Coke for drinking and I had a glass of that, and I was up almost the entire night from a combination of caffine and serious stomach pain. I will now abstain from Coke and other caffinated soda on the grounds of keeping the Word of Wisdom. (Unless, Mom, we are driving at night and our lives depend upon me staying awake. That would be a reasonable moment for Coke.)

I love you all! I hope you are all doing great! Can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love, Hermana Pickett

P.S. Katalyn! Have the happiest of birthdays this week! I'm sorry I can't be there to celebrate with you but know that you are receiving good wishes from Honduras! Love you!

honduras friendly

Hi. You asked me to expound on this particular term. I can do that.

The first part of Honduras friendly is that you say hello to everyone. So when you're passing someone on the street, you can't avoid eye contact and walk past them. You look at them and you acknowledge their presence by saying something (usually we say ¡Buenos! which could be short for buenos dias, buenas tardes, or buenas noches. It's general like that.) So you could say hello or goodbye or good afternoon or whatever, but you say something and you smile. Or you're an introvert. (Yes, they have that word in Spanish)

Next, when you see someone that you know and neither of you is in a terrible hurry, you can't just say hello. You say hello with some form of physical contact. So we shake hands with the men and we kiss cheeks with women. Usually, with cheek kissing (which is actually more like pressing the left sides of faces together and making a kissing noise) there is a possibility for a hug or a hand clasping or something, whatever feels necessary. The verb for this is saludar. And if you don't saludar a person, you hate them. Like, really. The time that someone I knew intentionally didn't saludar me, I apologized to her later that day if I had done anything to offend her. And she told me there had been a misunderstanding, but that now I was forgiven. You don't not saludar people unless you want them to know you are really, really angry with them. (Also, this isn't a matter of convenience. If you have to wade through people and saludar them over a couple of children, you do it. It's serious) 

But the most important part of Honduras friendly is that you are genuinely and seriously interested in other people's lives. You ask them lots of questions, you listen intently, and you remember the things that they told you. Someone says that they aren't feeling well? You make a point of asking them how they are doing every time you see them until they tell you they are feeling better. Someone mentions their birthday? We write it down so that we can congratulate them on their birthday. And if you have to ask questions to work on your memory, like Where do you work again? Remind me your name? Could you repeat that for me? That's not rude. Because maybe you're admitting that you forgot, but you are showing a genuine interest in knowing about their lives. And that's what's important. 

Also, there is Honduras hospitality, which I can't really do because we can't invite people into our home. But if someone comes to see you, you find them a chair and invite them to sit down. If they look like they are dying of heat, you offer them something to drink. If you're already drinking something, you now have the option to just give them something to drink without offering. And depending on how much you like someone, if you're eating dinner, you just feed them, too. Actually, pretty much any time you're eating, you verify if your guests have eaten or not, and if they haven't you probably feed them. (We usually feel really bad when people feed us unexpectedly, because they hadn't really bought food to feed us with. But you can only protest until the act is done, and once the food is in your hands, you eat it and you're grateful. Because not accepting things is rude) 

Do you remember when you told me that I probably wouldn't eat with the members a lot, because they don't have a lot of extra? Well they definitely don't have extra, but they share it anyway. That continues to amaze me. The people here are a spectacular example of selflessness and I really have a lot to learn from them. So, yeah, I don't know how you can translate all of this to incorporate it in the States, but Honduras friendly is pretty much having no restraint to show people that they matter and you care about them. Frankly, I think you and Dad are pretty good at that already. Love you, longer letter in a minute