Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Blue Vase

My beautiful hijas! I'm so proud of them! 

Baptisms, I LOVE baptisms! Blessings all around!

I thought these were toys from a distance, but they turned out to be dessert! 

We celebrated the birthdays of one of our elders and a very soon to be elder this week...

Turns out birthday cakes are a lot more fun in Honduras than they are in the States

This is the moutain I climbed from the inside. It was pretty coool 

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Companionship adventures in cave exploring!
I can't even count the number of times I though "Oh man, my dad would hate this." :)

Our wonderful guides, the Trochez family. We made a fire (girl's camp skills!) and then they made a spit, on which they roasted pork, grilled corn, and reheated tortillas. Pretty impressive. 

Buenas tardes from Santa Barbara! Today has been nothing short of exasting, but exauted is what I live for! 

This week was great--how could being in the service of the one true God be anything less? We were so highly blessed to see the baptisms of Walquidia and Axel. As they entered the font, I was remembering the day that Hna Davila and I were contacting in the street and asked a well-to-do looking woman "Have you ever heard of the Mormon church?" and our shock to hear her reply that she was already a member. Add to that our joy to find that one of her children was of an accountable age and wanted to hear the gospel, our surprise to find that she remembered very little of the doctrine she had learned fifteen years earlier, and our excitement to find that both mother and son needed the ordinance of baptism and were ready to accept it. I love seeing the miracle of conversion unfold. It really is spectacular. 

Speaking of spectacular conversions, we have had some incredible lessons with Byron this week. When we called to set up an appointment on Friday, we were met with the news that Byron's grandfather had passed away. We were able to attend the viewing, where we were aquainted with Byron's grandmother. We briefly shared with her a message that we have repeated a lot this week--through this gospel, marriage does not have an expiration date. Not even death will keep us apart for long. We were able to share that same message in more detail with Byron, his parents, and his sisters the next evening. The plan of salvation is one of my favorite lessons to teach--people hear it and they just know it is true. The divine in each of us raises its head and whispers, I think I remember that. The family had a special mass in the name of their grandfather (Byron's family is super Catholic, PS), but Byron came to Sacrament meeting anyway. He said he felt like he needed to come. On Sunday night, we went over three key events of the Restoration: Joseph saw God the Father and His Son, the Book of Mormon was brought forth by the power of God, and the priesthood was restored. We then asked, one by one, if Byron believed those had actually happened. Here's how he responded. 1. At first, I had a lot of doubts about how the church was established, but seeing how it was given to someone so humble, I know it is true. 2. Of course it is true, hermanas! You only have to read it to know that it is the word of God. (And this one might be my favorite) 3. Well, hermanas, it's just like Nephi says (he's been reading 1 Nephi 13) it was necessary that we had a restoration of all things. So yeah, I believe that God gave that power to Joseph. And then we're like (but in an artiulate way) Byron! So get baptized already, man! But with the help of Kristy and the Holy Ghost, we found out that a lot of the problem is that he feels weird moving away from his family's catholosism. We can work on that. He's got a baptismal date for the 4th. I'll keep you posted. 

As part of a leadership training this week, we watched a film called A Quest for a Go Getter. In said film (which is wonderful), a young man cheerfully and unrelentlessly pursues his goal, obtaining a certain blue vase, even though it is a purposefully impossible task and he only has one of his arms. He doesn't take no for an answer, he doesn't quit, and he doesn't allow himself to be discouraged for long. And even though the task was pretty much impossible, he made whatever sacrifice necessary and in the end, he accomplished the impossible. Time after time, he said with a smile, It shall be done. Our branch president encouraged us to identify our "blue vase" and ask ourselves what we were willing to do to achieve it. I asked during the mission coordination meeting how many baptisms we are missing this year, and now I've got a blue vase: 50 baptisms, 3 months. It shall be done! 

My good friend Hermana Behan (shout out to Nicaragua!) recieved an epic promise from Elder Alonso when he visited her mission, and a part of the plan she was given to fulfill that promise was to have a vision and pray with faith to achieve it. I've got my eye on a goal, and I know that it is possible. There is nothing impossible for God. The last three months of this year are my last three months on this mission, and I will certainly have plenty to keep me busy! 

I love this work. I love my Savior, and I am so glad to serve Him. I love this gospel and I know that it is true. The Spirit reminds me of that every single day. 

Oh! I forgot to mention why I am so tired today. We woke up at 5 to hike up to some caves--turns out it's called La Cueva Montuca--and that hike took a long time. Being in a cave was one of the stranger experiences of my life. We walked on and on through the darkness, maybe a mile or a mile and a half, into endless black. Everything was damp and cold, the bats squealed and the water dripped endlessly, and it smelled strangly like orange sticks. Minus the orange sticks smell and the flashlights, I think outer darkness might be a lot like living a mile deep in a cave. I have never been so glad to see the sun as I was after the two hours we spent in the darkness. We all fell down a lot (this was not a smooth path in the dark, I basically climbed a mountain from the inside) and I realized when we got out that the sharp pain in my leg was owing to the large goose egg growing there. But I am now well fed and clean and I'll take some ibuprofen, so it's fine. 

Have a wonderful week, and I wish the happiest of birthdays to both of my grandfathers! I love you! 

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Pickett

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