Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just about ready to pop!

I don't really have pictures from this week, except the one I took to send to my investigators. I don't know if it's blog material, but here's proof that I'm not bruised up or anything 

Guess what happens in two day? I'm going to finish NINE MONTHS on my mission! Nine! Not only is that the required length of time to gestate human life, it's half of my mission! This is CRAZY!

Okay, so appart from that insanity, and the urge to entitle this week's email "One baby down, one more to go!" (fought that urge) this week was especially magnificent because, of course, we and the whole world had the opportunity to hear the voice of God through the mouths of His prophets and apostles. What blessing is better than that? Keep in mind, we do live in a third world country, and third world internet can be pretty sketchy. So we had some technical difficulties. And then there's the fact that, still being in a third world country, the power can arbitrarily cut out. And you can't really watch conference without power. But there was a lot of prayer power and some great leaps of faith and seven of our investigators actually came, so it was great! For some strange reason, my spanish brain works a lot better listening to people in person that listening to the translators during conference, so even the few talks that I did get to see didn't register that well. But I have successfully downloaded the audio from conference onto my MP3 player (yeah, that makes me feel pretty Mormon, I love it) so I can enjoy conference in English! Hurray! And I am pretty excited for Elder Ballard's talk, because I have heard about it from various people now and evidently it is awesome. So I'm psyched!

We had somewhat of a slow week. We have a string of bad luck with our appointments falling through, as always. And the members don't really want to come teaching with us. And people go into their houses, close the door, and crank up their music (Curse you, Prince Royce!) when they see us coming. So that's not exactly the ideal mission life situation. But no one has thrown mashed potatoes or spit on my this week, or any week in the last nine months, so we're good. Oh, bless that sister's heart: "Sometimes, it's hard to be a missionary." That's the gospel truth. But, I will once again invoke Tom Hanks and say that it's supposed to be hard--the hard is what makes it great. So we're good!

We've got a couple of people we're feeling pretty excited about lately. There's Santos and her family, which consists mostly of five straight up adorable kids, who showed up without their parents (Santos' husband was sick, so she had to stay at home with him) to the Sunday morning session of conference. We've also got Byron, who read half of Alma 18 and promptly decided that he would like to read the entire Book of Mormon. That's fine with us! Most precious to my heart this week is a woman named Glenis, who due to a long stream of  hearbreak that cumulated with the death of her sister, has lost not only her faith but her feeling as well. She told us, trying to ignore the tears slipping down her face, that she just felt empty--that she didn't even think she loved her son, that she worries that people make up their faith just so they have something to live for, and that she's sure that if God does exist, He wants nothing to do with her. I think one of the most incredible responsibilties we have as missionaries is the opportuinity we have to tell people that God loves them. It is the message that restores hope to the broken soul, that raises the head drooped for years in doubt, and that allows the light to break through the profound and seemingly inpenatrable darkness of loneliness. As we testified to her that God lives, she asked in a small voice, Do you think He sees something good in me? The Spirit opened my mouth and the words poured out, without hesitation, "I know He does." We are going back to see her tonight, and she and her sister-in-law are already excited to come with us to watch the General Women's session of conference on Wednesday (we're watching it late). Her sister-in-law is pretty cute. I realized someone was standing over my shoulder, and I looked up to see this woman's face, inches from mine, peering at the pages of the Book of Mormon. With wonder, she asked "Where are you reading from?" We're taking two copies of the Book of Mormon with us tonight.

Also, as a random note, this weekend we took a little time to ponder the wonderful, wonderful words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (because we are missionaries and that is what we do with our free time when there is an internet present). As a result, I would like to invite everyone to revisit Elder Holland's addresses from the April sessions of conference in 2013 and 2009, and also Elder Holland's first address in a session of General Conference, which he gave in a Priesthood session in 1983. That last one is entitled Within the Clasp of Your Arms. So powerful are the words of Elder Holland that, not only did I mostly cry while I listened, but Sister Cumatz mostly cried several hours later as I made a feeble attempt to translate it. I love listening to the words inspired of the Lord. I feel so much more apt to serve after this weekend of conference, like I plugged myself into the power socket of the Conference Center and recharged for the next six months.

Whoa. After the next General Conference I'll only have three more months of my mission.

Well, with that scary thought, I want to reshare my testimony of the truthfullness of this gospel. I know that it is true. I know that God is our Father, and that He loves us. I have felt pieces of that love, not only for myself but for others of His children, and it is a love far too big, too complex, and too profound for us to understand. But that does not detract from the power with which He sheds that light upon us. I love Him, and I am so honored and happy that He has trusted me to testify of that love to His children here in Copán Ruinas.

Have a magnificent week!

Hra Pickett

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