Monday, December 30, 2013

Feliz Ano Novo, and Yep. I Ate Liver.

December 30, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
Feliz Ano Novo, Feliz Anniversario para Laura, e Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad!  Wow! So many things to celebrate at the end of the year!
Skyping with Sister Hicken on Christmas.
It was so great to talk to you guys on Christmas :) It was hard to hang up. When I first saw your faces on the screen, I started to tear up a little bit, and I found out afterwards that the rest of the sisters were bawling behind me too. They say you guys are beautiful! I agree :) Thank you for all your love and support, and for helping me be obedient. We had a limit of 45 minutes, and I didn’t want to follow it, but I did, and you guys didn’t ask me to stay longer. Thank you for helping me with that :) Sounds like you guys had a lovely Christmas! Ours was good in some ways and sad in others.
Christmas morning was great :) I used your nativity script that you sent mom, to read the Christmas story from the Bible with the other sisters, and we sang the hymns as well. It was really neat to start off our Christmas that way, with the right spirit. We went to Amanda’s house afterwards for lunch and then to talk with our families. After that, Sister Roig and I went and visited with one of our recent converts, Rosinha, who was going to spend Christmas alone. We couldn’t let that happen! We brought a bunch of food (we had a ton of snacks from the bishops of our 2 wards haha) and did the Nativity story again with her and her 2 kids, and watched Mundo Feliz, which is basically like the Nativity DVD, also from the Church. She had also made lasagna for us. She’s awesome. It was a very lovely evening, until we got a call from our relief society president saying that Ermesson’s dad had passed away that morning. Not sure if you remember, or if I told you, but Ermesson’s parents and sister joined the church while he and Thais were waiting to get married. They are an elect family. But the dad had been an alcoholic before he got baptized, and afterwards, began to drink again. He tried many times to stop, but couldn’t.  This past week, he had been very ill but refused to go to the doctor, but he stopped drinking, and was repenting, and told Rosa, his wife he was done drinking. He had gone 8 days without drinking (which is a lot for him). He died Christmas morning from a heart attack.
We were really sad for Thais, Ermesson, Rosa and Roberta to be spending their Christmas arranging a funeral. They are like a second family to me here. We love them very much. But we are glad that they all were baptized in the church, and that they have the opportunity to be sealed in the temple in one year. Now their dad is free from addictions and pain, and he had repented, so they take comfort in that. We visited Friday when they had returned from the funeral in another city, and they’re about as you would expect. Grieving, but taking comfort in the fact that they’ll see him again. But they’re going through this and other trials right now that are really wearing them down. If you could remember their family in your prayers at this time, that would be wonderful. They need all the support and prayers possible right now.
Something happy that happened this week-BAPTISM! Bruno, that 16 year old I told you about who came to church with his friend, was baptized on Saturday! He is fantastic. He was really searching for the truth, and knew what we taught him to be true. He’s kind of quiet, but has a firm understanding of the things we taught him, and we hope he’ll choose to serve a mission in a few years!
We started teaching another investigator, Larisa, who came to church with her friend Tuany last Sunday, and loved it. Tuany gave her a Book of Mormon, and she is reading it on her own. She wants to be baptized, but her mom forbade her to join our church (any other church but ours is fine, her mom said. aghhh. people spread so many rumors and lies without bothering to find out if they’re true. Her mom heard a bunch of stuff, and that’s why she won’t let her join). But Larisa is praying for her mom’s heart to be softened (Larisa is 17 btw). And we’re going to visit with her and her mom this week, to hopefully settle any misunderstandings or doubts that she has about our church. You can add Larisa to the prayer chart, mom :)
In other news, I ate liver this week. Yep. We were at a member’s house eating and I noticed Sister Roig didn’t take any of the meat, but didn’t know why, and just as I was putting some on my plate, the member told us what it was. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but it’s not great. Now I can say I ate liver!!! Woo!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the packages and letters, again!!!! I LOVED the stocking, and have been eating and sharing candy all week. I have enough granola bars to last until the millennium now, or at least until next week. Haha ;) my companion laughed when she saw you put in a toothbrush and toothpaste, but I need it! Haha Christmas traditions. [Editor's Note:  Santa always leaves toothpaste and a toothbrush in Christmas stockings at our house.  It may have something to do with the candy in the stocking...] I’m excited to make brownies and Reese’s pie, and I love the earrings! And I know there was more stuff too, but I can’t remember. But I love love loved it thank you so soooooo much! And I loved your letters!!!!!! YOU GUYS ROCK!
Ohhh and quickly I have responses to questions from last week-
Rae- yes, I have eaten ice cream, but it’s 12 dollars here, so we never buy it, just eat it at members’ homes occasionally. And yes, the people talk very fast sometimes and it’s hard to understand them. But I’m getting better!
Em-[For Christmas] we ate lunch at Amanda’s house and dinner at Rosinha’s house. It sort of was a day off. We got to talk with family, and eat yummy food. We still worked kind of because we gave a lesson at Rosinha’s house, but it was a relaxed day.
Lar-we did the nativity story [for Christmas] (without dressing up ha-ha) and yes, I ate LIVER!!!!!.
Nate-transfers are in 2 weeks, January 13th. I may be training a new missionary! We’ll find out soon.
Bea-you asked no questions, I give you no answers. But I has questions for you! How did you do in your classes this year, and what are you taking next year? And I think Rachel totes magotes won the sword off by the way.
LOVE YOU ALL! Until next week!

Sister Hicken

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