Monday, March 3, 2014

¿Está Tortillando?

All of the guys on the monolinths have this same expression. We're not sure why, but I think every single one of us took a turn trying to imitate it

I found out that, even though this is marked as off limits from the front, there is a way to get within picture taking range of this statue from the back. But we had to be quick, because as I was smiling for the shot I could see one of the guards coming to tell us off. 

I climbed that pyramid. It was cool. 


I liked his guy's face. To me, it says, "White girl, what are you doing?"

Happy March! Here's something crazy: Next time it's a new month, I'll be days away from being HALF WAY THROUGH my mission! How insane is that? But we shall discuss this insanity further when I actually hit month nine, because I won't even be to month eight officially until Sunday. Baby steps.

Anyway, we had another full week here in Copán. Maybe it was a little more full of looking for appointments than teaching them, but that is alright! We have a couple of investigators that I am rather fond of at present, but most of them are very new, so I'll include more details as we get to know them better. There's a pattern of teaching here in Copán Ruinas wherein about 3/4 of our lessons fall through...every day. And at first I was thinking, "Oh, well isn't that just rotten luck! But that's okay, it will be better tomorrow!" But now it's more like, "Oh. Okay. That's okay, who needs planned lessons anyway? Let's go lesson hunting!" And hunting we go. If there was a missionary version of a Fishing and Game department (Like the Fishing of Men and Game department), the headquarters would be here in Copán. But as a proud member of the FMGD, I am all for pressing on!

Mostly, we use our unexpected free time to search out service activities. The people here generally respond a lot better to an invitation to serve than an invitation to teach. We wash dishes and clothes (one women laughed at me when I offered to wash her laundry and said, But Hermana, you can't wash clothes! You don't know how! I washed her clothes.) and we carry heavy stuff in the street, but mostly, we make tortillas. Lots and lots of tortillas. Pretty much every time we hear the hand clapping that accompanies tortilla making (because people here in Copán are super legit and they make tortillas with their bare hands) we yell ¿Está tortillando? (Are you making tortillas?) And then we go help. Imagine this with me: you've got your masa, which is ground corn mixed with water until it is in a playdough-ish consistancy, and there's probably about 2-3 pounds of that. There's a little bowl of water which looks and feels pretty grainy from the masa that's floating around in it. You wet down you hands, pinch of a walnut sized chunk of masa, roll it into a ball, and then start clapping your hands together. And that little ball of corn flour dough magically turns into a circle. The first time I did that (or witnessed it, rather) it was pretty much the most amazing and inexplicable thing I had ever seen. But now I've done it probably hundreds of times, so it's less incomprehensible. Still really epic, though.

The four of us as missionaries here in Copán Ruinas are enjoying the blessing of having other missionaries working in exactly the same area. In about three cases this week, we met up and taught investigators as a four person team. In two cases it was an investigator that technically belongs to the elders but we all visit, and in the third it was a family that we teach but is precious to all because the husband is our branch president's younger brother. We set a baptismal date with one of the aforementioned "team investigators" this week, before realizing that the elders had been struggling to put a date with her for weeks, if not months. The bad part is that, after going over all of the baptismal interview questions, she called us up on Sunday night and said "I can't get baptized. I, uh, just got married." That wasn't true, but we told her it's okay if she needs to postpone her baptism, and she destressed a lot. We're not sure if she's had this talk with the elders yet, but that's what teams are for!

We also had a pretty classic mission finding opportiunity this week: one of our investigators said that she had given our pamphlet to her dad, and we asked if we could go meet him and her mom. She gave us some semi-vague instructions, and we set out to see them two days later. But we took a right when we should have gone left and ended up in the wrong house, but what happened there? The woman we encountered told us to come back to teach her son and his family. So we did. Five new investigators, and a super pilas 7 year old who's turning 8 in July. Word up. We did get a little overly excited for a minute, because we thought that this new little hideaway of houses was going to be a min promised land, but after offering to help make tortillas with one of the neighbors (she gave us three to eat, but only because they were too ugly to give to her family, and told us we make tortillas like niñas), we realized that preparation to hear the gospel happens person by person, and sometimes family by family, but not necessarily neighborhood by neighborhood.

I attended a branch mission correllation for the first time in Copán this last Saturday, and it was pretty lacking. The icing on the cake was that we didn't have the keys to the church, so we had our meeting on the sidewalk in front of the church. Cool. We've all got our collection of changes we're planning for the Copán Ruinas branch, so we shall see what comes to pass here in our little corner of the vineyard. The most important steps right now are strengthening the members, building up church attendance, and making the branch more autodependant (for example, having a member and not a missionary teaching primary, even though my lesson on the First Vision this week was boss). If there is room on your prayer list for la Rama Copán Ruinas, we could use some prayer power and faith down here. But the Lord has a great and marvelous work to fill up every bit of the earth, and this little town in Honduras is included, so I'm sure we'll see miracles.

I know that God lives and loves us, and that I am serving as a missionary for His true church. I know He hears and answers prayers, even if we don't see results immediately or just the way we wanted them. The things that we need in our lives come in the way the Lord wants them, and His will is better and wiser than ours. I am so grateful for the trust He has placed in me as one of His servants and I love His precious children that I am able to serve.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Keep calm and carry on!

Love, Hermana Pickett

PS Happy birthday, Aunt Debby!

PPS Totally forgot! We were taking a taxi (which is like a drivers seat and a back seat built around a motorcycle and covered--I'll take a picture) on Saturday and the guy was a little bit short on my change. But we said, Here's what you can do to recompense the extra, and we gave him a pamphlet about the restoration. As we walked away, we had a total Legacy moment and said, Well, a man's soul is worth 5 lempira (which is probably just about that one penny that David Walker was short on). Legacy is one of the seven movies that we can watch now it is definitely the one that we watch most often--I just can't wait until the day I can watch that wonderful film in English.

I really wanted to be able to put my face next to these guys, but 1. I'm too short and 2. It's roped off
I really wanted to climb this staircase, but it's off limits in order to preserve the hiroglyphics that are carved into it. There are 2,200 carvings. How cool is that?
That field down there used to be where they played ball. The drawing is what they think it must have looked like. It made me wonder, will we get to the point that people have to draw and imagine what football stadiums were used for? 

  For my primary class on Sunday, we had a coloring activity to draw Jospeh Smith in the Sacred Grove. My kids' drawings looked like this:
 And then my drawing just felt embarrassingly elaborate, so I gave it to Hra Cumatz as a present. We will definitely be drawing more in primary. 
While the elders also make their fair share of tortillas, this week Elder Wing served a family in the ward by killing one of their chickens, all of which are afflicted with summer fever (it's a chicken thing). Elder Wing finally got his desire to use a machete out of his system, and we all learned two important lessons: Hermana Cumatz is evidently an animal rights activist, and chickens do a lot more than just run around after their heads have been cut off.

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