Had to say goodbye to Hra Harmon. Love this sister!
New compas: Hra Neibar, Hra Harmon, Hra Pickett, and Hra Cumatz
But after the run of saying goodbye to people, which was tough, we woke up early on Wednesday and headed to yet another cambios meeting in San Pedro Sula. I knew I wasn't training, and one of the APs made an offhand comment to me that I had an awesome area, but other than that I had no idea what was waiting for me. And for some horrible reason, my name finds its way to almost the very bottom of the cambios list every time we do this, so that's always difficult, but a fin de cuentas I was assigned to Copan Ruinas with (the most ADORABLE chapina in the world) Hra Cumatz. Let me tell you: this is probably the most highly coveted area in the mission. Another sister jokingly (mostly) said "Hra, I'm going to kill you! Why are you going to Copan and not me?" It was half joking in the same way that in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding the brother and cousin are always saying "Hey Ian! We're gonna kill ya!" Pretty much like that....But we took last pictures and hugged goodbye (Hra Harmon's new compa is named Hra Neibar and she seems pretty legit, so I'm trusting her with my area/hijastra/fam. Huezo) and loaded up on a bus out to Zona Copan. Because it is very far away from everything. It's like Honduran Timbuktu. We stopped at a mall in San Pedro to eat mall at the food court before heading out there. That was SO WEIRD! I was going up an escalator and thinking "What country am I in?" We ate at KFC because, even though Hra Cumatz always forgets how to say that, she loves the food there. And I got a pretzel from Auntie Annes for dessert, and I broke of a piece for Hra Cumatz and as she's chewing she said the equivalent of "Okay, wow, I love this." Too bad there definitely is not an Auntie Anne's in Copan. The bus ride out here has two parts: three hours to the stake center in La Entrada, and then another 1.5-2 hours in a different bus to Copan Ruinas. That's a really long time in a bus. But I successfully did not get sick (most people get sick) and I just kept looking out the window in shock and awe because it is GORGEOUS here.
Chapina de fuego! I love this Guatemalan girl!
Run-down on las Ruinas: The town is called Copan Ruinas because there is a huge Mayan ruins site here. It makes this one of the more famous places in all of Honduras, and I now see at least one white person every day. That's weird. But I officially speak enough of Spanish and English to be an effective translator/peace keeper (we had a tough time with a Canadian on a bus from La Entrada the other day) so that's pretty cool. The city is built into the mountain, so we walk up really, really big hills between every appointment. Turns out my "totally out of breath" face is a smile, so Hra. Cumatz says if I die, I'll die happy. Let me tell you, if I die in Copan, I'll die happy and I'll die skinny, because the hills here are kicking me into shape. We have four missionaries here: yo, Hra Cumatz, Elder Pace (who is the same Elder Pace who was my district leader for 3/4 of my time in Campana and is now my DL in Copan, it's pretty funny) and Elder Wing. We have a branch of about 40 people, and around 120 inactive members. It is incredibly beautiful, and the work is incredibly difficult. No one wants to listen to us. The people here are actively set against the LDS church. Awesome, right? But the four missionaries thing is pretty recent, and I feel pretty sure that the Lord has some big plans for this area. So it's chill. Something's coming. Vamos a ver.
The good news is that, if this area is going to be difficult, living with Hra Cumatz definitely will not be! She is seriously one of the sweetest, most adorable people I have ever met. She's from Guatemala, she's probably right around 5 feet tall (maybe a little shorter), and when she teaches, she teaches with the power and authority of the Spirit of God. The funny part is that her nickname is Chapina de fuego (Guatemalan of Fire) and when something makes her mad, like creeper guys whistling at us in the street, she gets pretty mad. But a pretty mad, 5 foot 90 lb Chapina is kind of like a really small dog barking: You get it that they're annoyed, but it's kind of adorable at the same time. She made me a really cute card yesterday for my cumplemeses (I've got 7 whole months on the mission!) and I am really excited for our next six weeks.
I still love being a missionary. Even if the people here don't want it right now, I know that we are bringing the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that our Heavenly Father has done everything and given everything and continues to do all for our happiness, and we have the gospel as the instructions to living joyfully. I know that families can be forever, that God loves us, and that if we follow in His way, we can be happy forever. I know it. I taught it to the primary class yesterday.
If anybody is praying for the mission force down here, now is a perfect time to start praying a little harder. I'll keep you posted on the Copan adventures. Next stop eternity!
Love, Hra Pickett
PS Somebody tell Graham happy birthday for me!