Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

I LOVE my companion! 

This little boy decorated my hair. It was pretty cool.

This morning, Sister Miller and I said, "It's Memorial Day! Well, the pool's open, let's go!" How funny we are. Missionaries don't swim, and public pools don't exist here! But I hope that everyone is enjoying the first day of United States summer season!

We had a really great week! Dark cloud moment: last Sunday, I woke up feeling kind of sick to my stomach, and ended up slightly sick to my stomach, and then thought, "Well, that was weird and uncomfortable. Glad that's over!" Yeah, that definitely didn't end on Sunday and I stayed slightly stomach sick all week. Bummer. But other than living under a temporary ban from milkshakes (ouch) I am a-ok!

We found a TON of new investigators this week, which is always really exciting. I like it a lot that when new people are introduced to a situation, we don't have to do that awkward "Oh...well, we're talking to them right now, so..." thing. We just share the gospel with EVERYONE! And it turns out that most people are willing to let us come back. Crazy! Especially note worthy this week is a young man named Eric, who had been taking the discussions before but had fallen out of contact with the missionaries. He came to church, he accepted a baptismal date in the first visit, and he already loves the gospel! We love him! I'll keep you all posted on Kevin watch, but here's a spoiler--I'm pretty sure it ends well.

This week we had the blessing of having exchanges with the Sister Leader Trainers, Hermana McCuistion and Hermana Rodas. Not only were our respective hours with them great (I was with Hra Rodas and Hra Miller was with Mac Daddy) but that wonderful, wonderful group of gringos from last Sunday took all six of us missionaries (four sisters, two elders) out to dinner. WE LOVE THEM! Next time you think of me in the mission and think, Poor Sister Pickett, roughing it out there in Hondras. What can we do for her? I'll tell you: love your missionaries. They are far away from home and they're doing their best to carry on a marvelous work and a wonder, and sometimes it's hard. So just love them! It makes a world of difference!

On Wednesday (aside from the awesome conversation with an inactive member about how Mormons are not Catholics, thank you very much) we had a branch activity...which only four people came to. That was less than what we were hoping for. But on the up side, two of those people were a less active (Gelvin) and his "wife" (Alma), who up utill recently have had absolutely no interest in the church but are definitely experiencing a mighty change of heart. I think by the time we can actually have a lesson with them (his schedule is nuts) she'll already want to be baptized.

We had a marked improvement in the effectiveness of our english class this week, in our mission coordination meeting (side story: when I took Hra Miller to meet the 1st counselor in the branch presidency, she asked him what his calling was and he said "I was the 1st counselor, but they've probably released me by now." But he came to the meeting and then totally came to church on Sunday! Word up!), our church attendance from members--there are good things happening in Copán. Thanks for everyone's combined prayer power, because it's working.

I love my mission, and I so love my life right now! I love Hra Miller: we go running every morning, we have the same sense of humor, and she is building my testimony every day, just to name a few reasons. I love that I am a missionary, and I love that I have this miraculous opportunity to serve the Lord. Life is so good!

¡Felíz semana a todos!
Hermana Picke
We found this little guy in our bathroom. We sadly reached the decision that he would be happier outside

Hra Harmon found me at zone conference--love this girl!

We passed a kid in the street who had his pet grasshopper on a string. We did a double take and had to take a picture

We climbed a MOUNTAIN on Sunday, but we found some inactive members and there was an awesome view! Worth it! 

one more from the ruins--I thought Dad would have loved these stairs in the jungle! They were cool!

We discussed the need for a bulletin board at our coordination meeting, and then Hra Miller and I made one. Hurray for relief society skills! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

As Clear as a Jeff

We found PIGLETS! They were so cute! But they do not like to be touched and Mama Pig does not like people touching her babies...
Baleada night with some members and investigators! Fun!
Mayan swimming pool! 
Reunited with Hermana Gisseman! We love each other a lot better now! 
"With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty [sister missionaries] all in a row!"

So I took this picture sitting behind this guy...

And then I had to take one launching over him, but I got in trouble because sitting on the statues is "prohibido"

I didn't touch it, promise.

I found bushes that look almost like rhodies! Yay, Washington!

We had each taken an individual shot here when an elder from the district said, Do you want one of all of you? And we replied, Yes, Elder, thanks for offering! He hadn't really meant to offer, but he took it for us anyway

Happy Monday! Aren't Mondays great?! I just love them.

We had a fantastic week out here in Copán! For starters, I'm officially serving my mission with my best friend. Seriously, I just love Hermana Miller! She is the greatest! And just as Elder Shuga told us all just before these last changes, if you love your companion, you will love your mission. It doesn't matter if the area is bad or the work is at a stand still. If you can be friends with your companion, you can be happy. It's the truth.

Aside from being with the awesome Hermana Miller, we really have seen a lot of wonderful happenings this week. On Monday (after a disaster involving microwave brownies--making a bunch of brownies in the microwave should never be that difficult!) we had a very sweet family home evening with a girl in our ward, Livis, and her brothers. Livis is currently considering serving a mission, but her parents don't really want her to go. On a spark of inspiration, Hermana Miller and I thought, "Well, our parents know why having a daughter serve a mission is a blessing--let's ask them!" I came prepared, then, with down right beautiful letters from my parents about the blessings that have come to them because my siblings and I served missions. Well, Hermana Miller and I might have cried a little, but I can firmly say that right now, I'd rather be serving this mission more than be doing anything else.

That sweet assurance of mission life love was put to the test Tuesday morning--those kinds of tests usually pop up real quick. Anyhow, we went to visit a family that is almost inactive and definitely has a strange sense of humor. When we arrived, we offered to help them with their laundry. Honduran culture lesson: Usually, there is very much persuasion involved before one would allow someone else, especially a pair of white sister missionaries, to do their laundry. It's actually a kind of embarrassing question, almost, and people usually respond with "Oh no, Hermanas, we could never allow you to do that" and then we persuade for five minutes and about 50% of the time, they let us help. This family not only put us right to work, but they watched with some amount of contempt and said "She can't wash. She's white. Look, look right there! She stained it!" Like that. So Hermana Miller and I sang primary songs and hymns served with a smile until it was time for our next appointment, and had to think "Okay. When I'm not in a perfect missionary moment, when I am washing really dirty clothes, when one little boy is splashing me and pulling my hair and lifting up my skirt, when little kids are yelling 'What does Jeff mean in English? It means sí, duh!' (Yes is difficult to pronounce, apparently) do I still love my mission more than anything else?" And you know what? Yes, yes I do.

On Wednesday we had the huge blessing to be able to have a zone conference with President and Sister Desters and the Assistants. It was spectacular. As soon as Hermana Miller and I got off of our bus in Copán (which was the last one leaving La Entrada, so it's really good we found it) we had this new inspiration to raise the bar. Parents, I literally have the best Mission President and President's wife ever. Don't ever worry about me being not taken care of--I'm fine! We were looking for a new contact on Wednesday night (who had been hard enough to find in the first place "Hi, we're looking for two teenagers with an aunt named Ruth who owns a shop in Santa Rita--Do you know them?") and we ended up at the wrong house, but they happily let us in and are now taking the discussions, so yeah, that's cool. Miracles are cool.

We really are seeing progression here. We are finally seeing some amount of interest from members in being involved in the teaching process (we had 10 lessons with a member present this week, which is still less than half of what we had my last week in Campana but it's a lot for Copán!) and we are really seeing a jump in church attendance. We had 58 people at church this week! A few of them, to be fair, were white people who are here visiting or doing humanitarian work (which was AWESOME!) but still, that's a lot of people! We had to keep setting out more chairs as people kept coming! I am so glad to see that by small and simple things, great things really are coming to pass in Copán.

PMG update: I've been studying Ch. 5 of Preach My Gospel, which is all about the Book of Mormon. Base line: if the BoM is true, everything else is. It doesn't get much clearer than that. And just to say, I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and a book of true scripture. And everythiing else follows.

I love this mission so much. I love this incredible chance to serve the Lord. I love my area, I triple love my companion, and I love these wonderful children of God who have been placed under my stewardship. I just love my life! (I even loved it yesterday afternoon, when I thought I had a 24 hour stomach flu. It only lasted 9 hours, so we're good.) I hope you all have a week as wonderful as mine are!

Hermana Pickett

Monday, May 12, 2014

Springtime for Hermana Pickett and Honduras

Here's what keeps me so busy: we had 20 kids in primary this week, locked in a small room for two hours! It's insane!
Sharon snapped a pic of me in primary this week. If you can't tell, I'm sweating! Primary is hard work!
Waiting for a taxi at 7:55, in order to get home at 8. Livin' that missionary life

It is such a shame that missionaries can't keep pets, because we are so in love!
This is our home (check out my hammock) Isn't it lovely?

My pink dress got too baggy in the bodice, so I turned it into a skirt. Handsewing. On the bus. No big deal. 

Fun fact about this country I'm serving in: the winter, the spring, and the summer all happen at the same time. O sea, right now. I think it's like this: the impressive heat during the day is summer, the rainstorm that happens at least once a day is the spring, and the cold front that hits once the sun goes down is winter. Cool, right? 

Well, Hermana Miller and I had another FANTASTIC week here in Copán. We decided that we would try to contact a family that Hermana Cumatz and I used to teach, but stopped teaching because they weren't very interested. We also wanted to contact the family that lives next door, because they seemed interested at one point but we could never find all of them at home. Well, first family wasn't around. But second family is golden! The parents, Julio Cesar and Soñia, are some of the sweetest parents I have ever seen to their five little children, and we just love them already. From the get go they have listened so intently and shown real faith, and on Sunday (Mother's day, which all of our investigators used as a get out of church free card), we called Julio Cesar to ask if they were coming and he said "My wife has to go and see her mom, but I'm bringing the girls, don't worry!" Three of his little girls were in primary with me and they all participated. It was great! Also, Santos (who has been slipping off of our radar lately) came with all of her kids, so that was wonderful! And SO MANY of our members showed up! We had 55 people in church yesterday! That is 20 more than we have had in my 14 weeks here! 

Other exciting missionary moments: We met a woman named Concepción (because they have a beautiful flower arch infront of their house and we had to take pictures) who we think is going to be reluctantly awesome. She would really like to be obedient and follow God, but she honestly feels no desire to get married, and she knows she can't be baptized in any church until she marries her husband. We like her. We're seeing good things to come. 

One more: we met this really sweet girl named Carmen who is friends with a family in the ward. I'll keep you posted on her. She's great. The family that she is friends with includes Livis (the YW president who is finally getting excited about her calling), her brother Yerlin (who is totally going to be an awesome missionary), their brother Erikson (who used to be really lazy about coming to church but just was ordained a teacher and finally passed the sacrament this week!), their brother Gelvin (who hasn't come to church in a really long time but FINALLY came this week!) and their cousin Soraia (who has not come to church in years and told us profusely that she did not want to come but SHE CAME!) I love this family. They are great. 

Despite the fact that the area is still a bit tough, and there are still a lot of people (some of whom have already been baptized in this church) who have no desire to listen to us, I would say that Hermana Miller and I are certainly living after the manner of happiness. We have made a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon in Spanish in our time as companions, but often have problems finding sufficient time to this week we read for an hour and 15 minutes on the bus to district meeting. Cool. We go running every morning, which I love, despite the slight amount of pain in my knees and arches (Dad, Mary, anybody--ideas?) At least twice a day, we find ocassion to say "You're my best friend." And as the rainstorms and power outtages increase, we are having more and more funny moments, like when we walked home down a street illuminated only by the frequent flashes of lightning, and Hermana Miller almost had a panic attack when we didn't realize there was a man passing us until he was a foot away (Conversation: M: He looked creepy! P: He's just walking, Hermana. M: Why does he have his hood up like that? P: It's raining, Hermana) Hot chocolate on the stove, huddling under the emergency poncho (thanks, Mom), lighting candles only to have the lights come back on 30 seconds later--It's the life! 

And here's a funny Hermana Pickett moment for the week: This morning, as I was doing my laundry, I dropped my soap in the pila. We have a big pila, and it is way too deep for me to just stick my hand in there and find it, not to mention that the rain makes the pila water dirty, so I couldn't even see where my soap was. But I just bought this soap. So, handling it, I took off my shoes and jumped into the pila. My feet had just touched the cement bottom when I had a revelation--I am in Honduras! I never EVER take off my shoes! So I hopped back out of the pila, put my shoes back on, hopped back in the pila, felt around for the drain, and let the water out until I could find my soap. Long story short, I did eventually finish my laundry, and I would appriciate any and all prayers that I don't get a parasite. Especially not the kind that make my feet swell up like elephant ankles. 

I love this work! I love the Lord, I love my mission, I love my family (I got to see them this week!) and I love my life! 

Have a wonderful week! 

Love, Hermana Pickett  
We got caught in a "springtime" rainstorm. Fun!

So upon returning home from the rain, we made dinner. Appriciate this: this is pasta in a sauce of real veggies, including large tomato chuncks, and green beans. And we run every morning. We are the picture of health.

flower arch, new investigator, that's what's up.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pickett and Miller--We mean, You're Welcome


I hope that everyone has had just as wonderful of a week as I have had! And I know what you're thinking: But Sister Pickett, you live in Honduras and you're serving in one of the hardest areas of your mission! How wonderful could your week have possibly been? Let me tell you--it was WONDERFUL! 

So on Monday, we did have to go around so that Hra Cumatz could say goodbye to people. That wasn't that wondeful because it was kind of sad. But I got to hear that marvelous little Chapina's testimony lots of times and that was definitely a spiritual lift, so I loved it. We left rather early on Tuesday, suitcases in tow (transfers are a three day process here in Copán) to go to our zone meeting, and then spent the day with Hra Robertson and Hra Cardona in La Entrada. It was kind of awkward, because we just hung out with them in a large group of missionaries while Hra Robertson said goodbye to people...but it's okay! There was a massive rainstorm and Hras Rodas and Andrade from La Florida (they came later in the afternoon--slumber party with the sisters!) made something that was kind of like hot chocolate, but corn and cinnamon flavored, to warm us all up. Delicious! Corn--it's still what's for dinner! 
last pic before transfers--we had to get on a bus at 5:15! Gross!

We went to our cambios meeting at 5:15 on Wednesday morning, with twenty people in an 18 passenger bus, so that was various types of uncomfortable, but this cambios meeting held in store what I can now safely say is the most incredible blessing of my mission. Her name is Hra Miller and she is THE BEST COMPANION IN THE WORLD! (yes, those capital letters were very necessary). She was actually serving in a different part of Copán (Santa Rosa) and totally did not feel ready to leave this zone. Good thing she didn't! She is exactly what this area needs and who I was praying for to come, and she says this area is exactly what she wanted when she came on the mission. We're getting along so well we are scared every time the phone rings that our ZL is going to tell us we have emergency changes. If that ever happens, we're just going to hang up and disconnect the phone. We're staying together for 12 weeks minimum! (feel free to add that to your prayer list for Hra Pickett--that she and Hra Miller can stay together for a long time). But Hra Miller is perfectly lovely, she comes from a family of 5 girls in Boise, ID, and I just love her more and more every day. I am very excited about this companionship. 

The area is still hard, but that's okay. We move slowly but steadily forward in the Lord's work, and we see little victories all the time. I love this work so much, and I love these people that I am able to serve. Missions are the best! At cambios meeting, one of the elders who was heading home said to start "I don't know quite what to do, because the thing that I love best is ending." And I decided that that's how much I want to love my mission. I want to love it best, because my mission is my time to serve my Savior, and I love Him best. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and that this is His true church. My life is the best! 

Con tanto amor, 
Hermana Pickett

Beautiful new baby born to the ward! Hra Cumatz was present for five months of this pregnancy and got to meet this little guy in our last cita before transfers! Blessings!

 The bird park has this great bridge for picture taking. But it was pretty funny, Hra Cumatz could have gotten a better shot if she climbed up on this wall, but she's not as committed to "the picture" as Dad is!

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Birds! So many beautiful birds! Last Week Emily and her companion visited a bird park.  I think she was overwhelmed by the color and beauty.  Thus the many bird pics.