|Fun times with the sister leader trainers!|
|Soup of the day in San Vicente: Crab with potato and platano. Pretty yummy! (not quite lobster bisque...)|
|Our shower has a bad habit of not turning the water all the way off, so I had to plunge in fully clothed to take care of the problem later one. It was kind of like a rainstorm inside.|
|Lunch with the district--grilled ham and cheese. Yum!|
I hope you are passing a lovely Monday. When my alarm rang at 6:30 this morning, I victorious raised my hands over my head (eyes still closed, head still on pillow) and said with a sigh of joy, "It's Monday!" I sincerely hope I can retain this kind of excitement for Mondays when I get home.
This week was fun! After our glorious time of relaxation on Monday and a great district meeting Tuesday morning (during which I taught a mini lesson on patience. I got to choose that theme. Parents, are you surprised that I have arrived at inspiring others to be patient? Because you better believe it shocked me), we got a phone call from the Sister Leader Trainers saying that they would be coming the next day. Usually they let us know a few weeks ahead of time, but they left it for a surprise this time. But it was a good surprise! We had a great lesson on Tuesday night with Bayron and Mari. She was talking a lot about coffee, because people here have a tough time with quitting coffee, and I mentioned how I came to give up my horrible habit of biting my nails. Someone with authority told me it was bad for my teeth, so every time I put my hand to my mouth, I starting thinking, No, I'm not going to damage myself anymore. Hermana Cumatz laughed a little and said she needed to start doing that, and thus was born the deal: Mari was going to go a week without drinking coffee, and Hna Cumatz a week without biting her nails. And as of last night, Mari hasn't had a drop. She doesn't even miss it that bad. She's a boss, that one. I guess it runs in the family.
Divisions were a blast. I was with Hermana Lopez, who is my "niece" as far as mission family terms go (her trainer/mother was Hermana McCuistion, who, like me, was trained/born of Hermana Escalante, making us sisters. Legit.) So she lovingly calls me Tía. It's pretty funny. I told her I wanted to work on talking to everyone, so we talked to everyone. And we invited everyone to be baptized. And one little mother, Juana, took us up on that invitation. Here is a woman who cooks all morning and sells all afternoon (mind you, one of her food items only costs about 25 cents) to support herself and two small children, and she came with both of those children and her niece to church this Sunday. Look forward to more news about Juana.
Best story of divisions: Hermana Lopez is working really hard on learning English, and when she wanted to tell me something without others hearing, she'd go for it in English. So at one random point, she says, in her thick and lovely Dominican accent "Sister, I saw your picture in the apartment, and you looked, like, fat (at which point I busted up laughing because of her vocal inflection) but now you don't. I mean, you looked good then, too, but now you look really, really better." So prepare yourselves for January, because evidently I look really, really better.
On Thursday we had some syncing up to do, because I needed to go with Hermana Cumatz to follow up on contacts she had made without me the previous day. We were in front of one house, trying to get the attention of the occupants, and there was a funny little man sitting next door, making commentary while eating dinner. Things like "Yes, you have the right house. Yell a little louder." and when the woman inside told us we had the wrong house, "Lies. They're lying. Lying is of the devil. They're all witches there." Good times. I'm going to miss old man commentary in Spanish someday.
We also recontacted some of Hermana Bahr and Hermana Davila's old investigators, starting with a man named Chilo. He is down with being baptized, but he needs our help to rescue his wife from the clutches of her very religious and very anti'mormon mother. Rescue missions are good. We visited a few other old investigators the following morning, but not from the Bahr/Davila days. This poor sister is really living in tough times, but is in an even worse situation because a prior missionary gave her money (that's really not allowed) and so now she doesn't want to listen to the message, she just wants more money. Problems. Luckily, we had packed our lunches that day, so we gave her our sandwiches. She looked a little disappointed, but now we know the kids had something to eat.
Yesterday was a special Sunday. It was funny, because I was completing 16 months (SCARY!) and Johnny, a young man from the branch, was giving his farewell to go on the mission. I thought back to sixteen months ago, when I had no idea what the mission had in store, and I was excited and nervous and terrified and calm all at the same time. Johnny had the same look on his face that I had on my face 16 months ago. But I know what the mission has in store now, and I am so psyched for him to be able to find out. He was such a great help to Bayron, so I know he'll be an even greater help to the people waiting for him in Quetzaltanango (Guatamalans have weird names for stuff).
Someone mentioned yesterday that Johnny was going to the people that he promised in the premortal existance to find. That sunk deeply into my soul, so to speak. I thought about Bairon, about fam. Huezo and fam. Hernandez, and the countless other people that I have met and the fifteen others I have seen baptized over the course of these 16 months (and those I am yet to meet and see baptized) and I thought about the moment that we learned that I would be born into the gospel while they would not. I hope that I, as my father taught once in a start of seminary fireside, looked into their eyes and said, "Don't worry. I will come and find you, and we will have the gospel together." There is a saying here that goes, Dios sabe que hace (God knows what He is doing), and that is true. All things have a purpose, and assignments from the Lord are never an accident or a whim.
I love so dearly being a missionary. I hope you can all find a way to participate in this glorious work this week, because it's the best there is. I know that God lives and loves us and that this is His true church.
Have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Pickett
PS One more funny story: during clean up after Johnny's going away party last night, our branch president and his wife were discussing my cooking ability, and President Lopez said. "Hermana Pickett, the man who marries you is not going to walk, he's going to roll." So I answered confidently, "Don't worry, President, I'll just tell him, Amor, te estás poniendo gordo (Babe, you're getting fat)". Nothing like 16 months in Honduras to make you blunt about people's weight.
PPS Happiest of birthdays to Katalyn, Kera, and Uncle Mike! Love you guys!