American holidays. What a strange thing to ponder. Anyway, for you kiddos who are enjoying a day off of school, have a good day! Days off are sweet! We don't really have them...but that's okay!
We had another splendid and quick week! We've been visiting a lot of not so active members and teaching a LOT of lessons (I topped my record for most lessons taught in a week) and keeping generally busy. There was only one very rainy day this week but the chill kept up even when it was dry, and pobrecita Hra Harmon caught a pretty good cold on Wednesday. We've been quoting that part of Pride and Prejudice a lot lately when Mrs. Bennett says "People do not die of colds." But we are in a third world country....No, es broma. She's not going to die. We're good.
We've been going on a lot of visits this week with Jeimy, who was one of my first baptisms here. That was really cool. She's such a sweet addition to our little company and she is always ready to share her testimony in our lessons. She taught with us on Thursday night and it was so cold we were walking down the street in one big huddle, and when we had to stop and take out our planners, she would say "Ay, Hermanas, abrazenme! Tengo frio!" Very good kid, that one.
We were also practicing our talk-to-everyone skills this week, and that was fun. As much as we've heard that newly returned missionaries are really socially awkward when they get home, I can't really imagine that. It seems like we'll just start talking to everyone, all the time.
We had a pretty been heart breaker this week: we visited fam. Buh (well, just Diana) for what looks like the last time in a while. Pretty much out of nowhere she decided she doesn't want to listen to us anymore. It was really hard to think about all of the times that I have imagined her and her husband at their baptism and in the temple and hearing her say, I don't want it. The worst was at the end of our conversation, when she cited the common phrase here that when Christ comes again, He won't come for a church, but for His followers, so "We'll be together again one day forever." And while it is true that Christ won't come for people labeled with a certain sect, the eternity that I am hoping to attain is one that necessitates saving ordinances, such as baptism by one holding the authority of God to perform the ordinance. How do you explain someone that what they are picturing as heaven would be almost hellish, because we would have the knowledge that we could have attained more? I sincerely hope that they will some day change their minds and soften their hearts enough to even try the gospel (they haven't been reading the Book of Mormon. That is really the root of the problem) and we continue to pray for them, so I know the Lord will bring about His work in His own time.
But on a happier note, it's just a short walk down the street from fam. Buh to fam. Huezo, and they're doing fine! By some insane miracle Marco and Marquito are already home, so we got to see the entire family together in church yesterday. I just love seeing that family in church. They are working towards getting baptized on this Saturday, the 25th of January. Turns out Marco hasn't quite quit smoking yet...and we had no idea...but he's going to stop smoking as of last night. We set a rule with him that he has to ask permission from someone before he smokes a cigarette, and of course everyone in his family is going to say, "No, hombre!" We also told him that if no one is around, he can either ask himself or pray to ask permission. So if he actually does that, I think it will go pretty well. He's a determined guy, that Marco Huezo. I'm really not very worried about him. We were talking about eternal families with them and the bishop yesterday, and then when we were talking about him giving up his smoking habit, he said "No, I'll stop. I want to be baptized and I want to enter the temple with my family." And everybody else wants to go, too. Hra. Harmon and I told them when it's time for them to go next year, we want to come, too. I hope that's possible....we shall see!
The Lord is certainly not being stingy on blessing our work. Before my eyes I am seeing people change, and change for good. I am seeing the gospel bless families and bring happiness--in short, I am seeing every single on of the blessings that we promise daily come to pass. It's not always a fast thing. Usually it's not. One of our investigators, Carol, who Hra. Gisseman and I visited for the first time about two months ago, really came to a realization that the Atonement was for her this week, and finally found the desire and the courage to come to church with us. Vilma Sabillon told us this week when we talked about her baptismal date that she knew she had to be baptized, because for months she has known that she must come to church. She says "Everyone tells me it would be easier to just stay home, but I tell them no. I have to go to church. I wouldn't feel right if I didn't go." We asked the ward this week if they would be willing to help us pay the fee for the Sabillon wedding, and without grudging they kicked in half of the price. And Julia, whose mother hates us so much she lied and said Julia had moved away (it was absolutely hilarious how much detail she put into that particular mentira. Green house, 2nd entrance of the Gran villa, next to a woman named Suyapa--she didn't go halfway on that), but Julia told her mom she doesn't care what bad stuff she says about the church. She's going to come, and her kids are going to come, because they like how they feel when they are there, and they like reading the Book of Mormon. The Lord is hastening this work, and He is moving it along. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a part of this miracle. Last night with fam. Huezo, after Marco described how at the beginning they felt no desire to be baptized and now they are all anticipating with excitement their baptismal date, the bishop said (in reference to the previous comments that had been made about missionaries) "That's why sharing this gospel is so important. Without these sisters here, it would have been almost impossible for you to get baptized, right?" And I was just thinking about D&C 18, when the Lord promises that if our joy will be great for brining even one soul unto Him, how much greater will be our joy if we bring many?
I am so grateful for this opportunity to be in the Lord's service full-time. I love this gospel and I testify that it is true. God really is our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ really is His Son, and He really did give everything for us, so that we can choose happiness. Joseph Smith really was a prophet called of God, and the Book of Mormon really was written by prophets who might have walked this same earth that I tred now. In Alma 32, Alma asks, "And now, is this not real?" It is real. And I am so glad that I have this time, not only here in Honduras, but every day that the Lord grants me to tell everyone how true it is.
I love you all and I hope that all is well. Have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Pickett
P.S. Tomorrow makes 5 months in Campana. Crazy, right?!