Monday, June 23, 2014

Paz, Calmaos

We found this fabulous, classic "hardly standing shaky bridge over a river in the jungle"! 

 Hello! It's actually not raining today (any more). That's cool, right!?

Hermana Miller and I are still rolling happily along out here in Maya country. We had a couple of adventures and a lot of practice with keeping our heads, so that's always good news. The bad news is that [member of the ward] brought their son to church last week even though he was sick with chicken pox (Spanish=barisela), and this week that boy's little sister and poor Elder Molina are also infected with barisela, so it's pretty obviously contageous. Little sister was giving a bunch of tender love and care to two infants during church yesterday and Elder Molina was banned from church, our mission conference this week, and anything else that involves leaving the house. I already went throuh chicken pox, so none of this really bothers me. But Hermana Miller has never been blessed with barisela. Needless to say, she's a little worried. And quite turned off by the local attitude of "Well, you're going to get it at some point. You might as well get it now." So I'll keep you posted.

On Thursday morning, we were informed that Friday (as in, the following day) was Hermana Miller's appointment to visit the immigration office to do her visa work. Five hours on a bus is a very long time. But there was a kid selling pre-wrapped baleadas and a lot of Evangelical music to get us through (think the infomercials that play around midnight with songs like "I Can Only Imagine" but then put it in Spanish, turn up the tempo, and imagine people yelling with conviction. That's Evangelical music) We arrived quite early, so we hung out in the bus terminal, which is pretty much like a mall, and ate Burger King and enjoyed the pregame buzz of the game between France and Switzerland. We tried to expedite the process as much as we could, but we still didn't make it on to a bus that was going right to Copán Ruinas (the guy at the terminal told us it was going to Copán Ruinas, wasn't). We ended up stranded in La Entrada and spent the night with Hermana Gardner and Hermana Lopez. Pretty fun! And we didn't miss too much working time because there was a game going on between Honduras and Ecuador (don't ask how it went) and all of the missionaries were stuck inside anyway. But we made it home the next morning and after 1. An actual meal, 2. a shower, albeit cold, and 3. our two hours of morning study, life got a lot happier.

The work is going forth here, slowly but surely. We have been contacting some promising new investigators. We met one family by volunteering to help the father in his blacksmithing shop. Hermana Miller got to work the bellows, but we're going to have to do that again so we can take pictures. We met a kid at English class named Darlin who walked two hours to come learn English, all because Hermana Miller (like a boss) asked his sister two weeks ago if she would like to come. She couldn't, but she went home and told her family, and Darlin came. And some day (it was going to be Friday, but that didn't work) we are going to go visit them. Cool. We also met a woman in Santa Rita named Esly, who was married just long enough to have her first baby before her husband was diagnosed with Leukemia and then died about two years later. Without money, without work, and far away from her family, that would have been a moment for some to sit down and quit. But she started working, saved up money to go to school, finished her college degree, and eventually remarried to a man who is crazy about her. He has gladly taken that first little girl for his daughter and the couple now has another little girl. Esly and Jorge will be a little tricky to visit, but we really feel the Spirit in their home and we really think they are prepared for this gospel. We also had our second visit with a man named Rolando. His mother is a member and it turns out he just had about two hours worth of questions. We did our best to answer him and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. Upon trying to set another visit, he said "Thank you, but there is nothing left to explain. At this point, I either get baptized or I don't. I'll pray about it and I'll ask my mom to tell you to come back if I decide to be baptized." He's got pretty spectacular faith, that one. We're hoping for good news soon there.

More than anything else this week, we're still working with fam. Hernandez. We had thought that we made some really big progress, after having consecutive and awesome talks with Julio Cesar about eternal families, eternal marriage (the highlight of which chat was him turning to his wife in shock and saying "Wait, you want to marry me?") and the Word of Wisdom. But come Saturday night and Sunday morning, he was back to drinking and finding reasons not to come to church. We got a glimpse, finally, inside the vault of silence that is Sonia Hernandez. She has been going through this pattern of getting her hopes up and being disappointed since the two of them "got married", when she was 14 years old. I am so grateful for the power of the Atonement to heal broken hearts. It's no little thing to say that there is something in the doctrine of Christ that is applicable to any situation.

I am so grateful for this gospel. As we walked to our apartment Monday night, a woman stopped us to ask for a little money to buy food for her children. We aren't allowed to give our money away, because it isn't really ours, and it always kills us to not be able to give something to those in need. But we do have something to give them! We have the gospel of Jesus Christ! And there is nothing of more value we have to give. I love remembering Peter saying "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give unto thee." All of our blessings really do come from our Heavenly Father and we have access to them as we accept and obediently live His gospel.

President Dester sent us an email this morning, reminding us of Christ calming the winds and the waves and telling us that Christ can still do that for us and for everyone. It is such a comfort, when I am feeling a storm raging, to think of those words of the Master: "Paz, calmaos." I know that He really can calm the storms that are always arising in our lives, and that real and lasting peace in found in His teachings.

I love the Lord! I love this chance that I have to serve Him, and I love His children that I am serving here! I am so grateful for these 18 months, even though they are passing much too quickly. We are going to a conference with Elder Ochoa of the 70 this week, so look forward to spiritual nourishment next Monday!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Pickett

I found real fruit snacks in this country! I didn't think it was possible!

We found another overly large grasshopper (Grasshopper of Unusual Size, if you will)

Hanging out with our G.O.U.S. friend

Cutest family ever! We LOVE familia Hernandez! 
Fam. Hernandez invited us to fried fish dinner. Delicious!

Our landlady gifted us some of the mangos from the tree on the property. Obviously, they are delicious!

We wanted tuna sandwiches, but we don't have a can opener. Process: Open about 1/4 inch by placing a knife's point on the lid and pounding it in with a rock, and then insert a fork and tear it open until the tuna can come out. Worked great.

We performed some service for a family in the ward by carrying their firewood through the mountains..

And we ended up really dirty. Worth it. 
We found a really big bag of mayoniese and we just could not resist taking pictures

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