Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in July--At Least That's What It Felt Like


December 29, 2014
Monday

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope it was a wonderful day for you all, and that everyone is safe and sound and healthy and happy :) Christmas here isn't really a big holiday sadly, just a couple days off of work and a bunch of lights and things for most people. On Christmas Day, we had a district meeting in the morning, studied after almoço [lunch], got to talk with family :) (You're a good lookin bunch! It was so fun to see you! <3) and then we street contacted until a lesson with an investigator, and her sister-in-law, who is also a member. It went super well, and our investigator is seeing the change and feeling a peace that she has never had before. Sister Morales and I just love her so much, and are hope hope hoping that she and her boyfriend will be able to get married soon. She told us this week that they will probably be moving to Jaboatão, another part of Recife (NOOOOO!!!! :''''''''(((() But there are 2 wards there as well, and if it turns out that they move, I hope and pray that they will be in good hands there. They are amazing. Also, their son,  who is 4, is my new best friend. He calls me "tia" which is aunt. During sacrament meeting, I drew pictures for him to color, and he sat there coloring so quietly the whole time. He also says I look like a princess. I want to bring this kid home with me!!!! 

We visited one of our investigators this week, and she is feeling better ever since the blessing, and is feeling a peace she's never felt before. She loves church, and though she can't remember things very well, she is keeping commitments and is going to be baptized! 

Excerpt from letter to President:
"This week was a great week.  We have a good group of progressing investigators, and we are so excited to see them changing, and the members embracing them. But our investigator that we had marked for January 3rd will be gone all week, because of medical problems, and will be with her son in another city. She is an older lady, and has problems remembering things, and yesterday when we reminded her of her baptism date, she remembered that she was going to be staying with her son this next week. Sigh. But she is coming to church consistently and has no problem with the commandments so far, and we hope to remark her baptism for the 10th. We are working hard and the members are becoming more and more excited, and we are too. We are so grateful for the Lord's guidance, and the wonderful members here in Ouro Preto. 

We also visited our other investigator marked for baptism. He is the coolest old man ever. We just love him, and the members love him and we're so excited with his progress. He always asks questions, which I love, and he says he feels at home at church, and is excited for his baptism. Keep them in your prayers!"

Ooooother newsworthy events...........................................................................ummm I can't remember anything else. I'll remember 829,029,800,000 things afterwards, but for now I can't remember.

I love you all, and hope you have a lovely rest of 2014, and a fantastic 2015!!!!!!! Love yoooou!

Sister Hicken



 
Sunset on Christmas.  The view in front of our house.



District Meeting Christmas Morning.



P-Day in Olinda a few weeks ago.  Sister Hicken, Sister Damian, Sister Morales, and Sister Piza


Sister Hicken and Sister Morales (and the Atlantic Ocean out there!  The beach is a 30 minute walk from their house, but out of their district so they don't get to go.)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas From Sister Hicken


December 22, 2014
Monday


....La grippe, la post nasal drip. With the wheezes, and the sneezes, and a sinus that's really a PIP! (or bip, I can't remember which.) But I caught the cold that's been circulating through Ouro Preto this month, and it's been fun times. But I've been able to work still, I just sound more like a deacon than a Sister (Bethany---my voice is chaAaanging ). 

This week was pretty darn fantastic! Wednesday we had Conferência de Natal, of the whole entire mission!!!! It was sooo fun to see everybody, and spiritually uplifting as well. We watched a talk by Pres. Uchtdorf called "Fear not, I am with thee" from the mission president training this year, that has really motivated me and Sister Morales to talk with EVERYONE. We are disciples of Christ! We fear no man! Including the drunk guy who Sister Piza always called "Orc", who we contacted on the street this week. It wasn't a very productive conversation, and I'm pretty sure he called Mary Magdalene a word that probably isn't heard in polite conversation, but we tried all the same, haha. 

Our investigators are progressing well this week. One agreed to give up coffee, and is excited for her baptism, which will actually be on January 3rd, due to the craziness of the holidays and her many medical appointments. She also received a blessing of health this week, and it really touched her. She is loving church, along with her grandson. 

Another investigator told Bishop last week that he feels his place is here in the church. We committed him to baptism on January 17th! He is incredible, has been well prepared to receive the gospel because of his experiences in life. We are excited to see him so happy!

Another couple are working on the wedding deal. The government here in Brasil makes it hard for people to get married, a bunch of stupid hoops to jump through that aren't necessary, just bring in more money for them. The sister said she wants me and Sister Morales to be able to be at her wedding and I told her I want to be there too! Keep them in your prayers. 

The ward Christmas party was this Saturday. Here instead of Christmas party, they use the word "Cofraternização" or cofraternization. I don't even know if that's a word in English, but if it was, I would imagine the stiffest, stuffiest party on the face of the planet. Why we don't just use the word festa, I don't know, haha. But it was sooooo good. The youth and primary did a Nativity presentation, and Valeria asked us 2 to sing as part of it. The day of, I came down with a cold, and sounded like a teenage boy, but it turned out well, cuz Sister Morales has a voice like Celtic Woman. There were a lot of visitors there, and some less-actives that came too! One lady we had visited a couple days before with her visiting teacher, and she said, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe I’ll come, but don't count on it! But on Saturday she showed up, and laughed when she saw my look of complete and utter shock, surprise and thrilledness! We were sooo happy she came. Unfortunately she didn't come to church, but this was a big step for her. 

Excerpt from my letter to President-

“It has week has been so wonderful, the highlight being the Conferencia de Natal da missao. Thank you so much for all the time and effort and thought put into the preparation of the conference. It was fantastic. I especially loved the talk from President Uchtdorf. It was exactly what I needed, and those words have echoed in my mind as I approach every person on the street- "You are a disciple of Jesus Christ. You fear no man!" That has been so motivating for me and Sister Morales, and we have strived to put that in practice this week. The work is progressing here, and we are so thrilled to see the progress of our dear investigators. We marked the baptisms of 2 of them, and hope to mark others soon as well. We are trying harder to work more with the members as well, and it has been making a big difference. It's a challenge but our ward mission leader is determined to change their frame of mind and we are starting with the ward missionaries. They are catching the missionary spirit, and we're planning a sacrament meeting about missionary work, where they'll share their experiences teaching with the missionaries, sharing the gospel, seeing the change in the investigators, and we hope this will ignite a desire in the other members to do the same. We are so thankful for the wonderful members, who really make the difference in the work.”


I love you all and hope this week is filled with Christmas magic and miracles and snow! Don't forget to love and serve one another, as Jesus would do this Christmas season. BIG HUG FROM ME! (afterwards wash your hands cuz I don't want you to get sick)

LOVE YOU! FELIZ NATAL!!!!!

Sister Hicken

DETAILS on the Christmas Skype call. I have 45 minutes, and am shooting for 4 p.m. my time. I’m not sure if this is like 3 in the morning for you guys. I hope not. If it is I'm sorry! [It is 2 a.m. for her family in Bangkok.]

Christmas phone call!  Skype was pretty fuzzy this year, but she still sounded great!

It's 2:30 a.m. for Sister Hicken's family in Bangkok.  Ahhh, the wonders of modern technology.  We Skyped with Sister Hicken, and Facetimed with her sister back in Utah. 

Making sure Bethany gets to see her sister too!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cockroach Pudding


December 15, 2014

Mundo feliz, nasceu Jesus! [Happy world, the Lord!]

Excerpt from letter to President:

“This week has been super super busy, with Ouro Preto becoming one area again, and trying to follow up with all of our investigators and the other sisters’ investigators.  We have been working hard, and combining with the ward to reactivate and teach investigators, and have started to see the growth!  It’s so exciting!  We are preparing a couple to get married and her to be baptized, and are planning the baptisms of at least 2 other investigators as well.  We have many progressing or potentially progressing investigators, and are bringing back the lost sheep as well.  This is a new era for Ouro Preto!  Our ward mission leader is fantastic, and is on the same page as us, and the First Presidency.  We know the Lord has his hand over Ouro Preto right now, and miracles are happening.  We feel so very blessed to work here right now.”


So yeah this week has been fantastic! We are so excited with all the growth that is happening  here. One investigator came to church with her grandson and loved church. We have felt that she needs a little more time to prepare for baptism, due to some illnesses and medical appointments, but she'll get there. Also, an investigator of the other sisters, Damião came to church and told the bishop that he feels his place is here. Woohoo! Jaqueline came again, and she and Eduardo are excited as well. 

Funny/horror story of the week--My companion is deathly afraid of cockroaches. She can handle spiders, rats, mosquitos, whatever, but haaaaates cockroaches, and can't kill them. I used to have a cockroach phobia too, but after a while, got used to (ish) seeing and killing them without a problem. I don't like them, but I could smash one without a problem. I thought I was over my cucaracha-phobia, and laughed at my companion when she screamed because of a cockroach, and thought "I remember when I used to do that. But I’m so much more mature now...." weeeellll I should have known I had it coming to me. Saturday morning as I went to empty out sand from my shoe, I saw there was something else inside, which I thought was a piece of trash or something, and reached in with my hand and the trash started to MOVE, and crawl and Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagghhh!! It was a nasty giant COCKROACH!!!!!!!! 

The screaming was so loud, the neighbor kids came to see what happened. 

And AFTER being expulsed from my property, the critter had the nerve to run BACK into my shoe, as if it were his own house!!!! And he escaped too! The little nasty. But later I found him trying to sneak into our house again and I made pudding out of him. (Not literally). But he no longer resembles cockroach in any form.

I don't laugh at my companion anymore. 

Well that took more time to tell than I thought it would. Sorry I have to go. I’ll try to send pictures next week. 2 weeks ago we went to a reallllly beautiful place in Olinda. You can Google it. Alto da Sé. I have some cool pictures! 

Love you all and hope your Christmas is very merry! Good luck with finals! 

 Love,
Sister Hicken

A Preview from Google Images of Alto da Se...hopefully next week's picture of it will actually have Sister Hicken in it!
 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's Not Christmas Without David Archuleta


December 8, 2014
Hello world! Hope you are all well and enjoying the Christmas season. Here we are listening to Motab and David Archuleta Christmas music nonstop. To tell the truth, it's been that way since mid-November, but now it's legal. Also, if you guys haven't seen the video "He is the Gift" on YouTube yet, go watch it now, (or mom is there any way you can put the link on my blog?) It is the best. We have been showing it to members and investigators all week, and I never get sick of it. It's soooo cool.
This week has been so good, for many reasons. For one, Elder Claudio R. M. Costa came to speak to our mission this week. He is fantastic. We came with questions and concerns on our mind, and left with answers to all of them. We have lots of new ideas to try in our area, and as we put them in practice, we have started to see the difference. He talked about the Book of Mormon, working with members, following the Spirit, being bold. That last one has always been a struggle for me, but I have been praying and striving this last week to be more bold. It's fun.
Our 7th day Adventist friend is doing well. And by doing well, I mean he respects what we taught him this last lesson, but doesn't believe it. But we gave him a Book of Mormon, and invited him to read and pray, and he committed to do both. If he reads with an open heart, really desiring to know the truth and not looking to criticize, he will come to know for himself that it's true. And his doubts will be resolved. As Pres. Costa said, the Book of Mormon is the best missionary.

Jefferson is reading the Book of Mormon, and he came to church! Unfortunately he couldn't stay the whole time, but he liked it. Also, Gabí, a less active girl we visited, and her little brother came to church. We had visited them with the YW president. Also, we are super excited about a couple with 2 kids who showed up at church basically ready to be married and her to be baptized. She is super elect!!!! Also, not sure if we talked about Luzinete last time, but she is a lady we visited last week, and taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and a little about the Plan of Salvation. She has lost many family members, and has many medical problems, and is suffering a lot right now. We taught her this time the full plan of salvation and invited her to be baptized. And she accepted! She's going to be baptized on the 27th and come to church next Sunday, with her grandson and with us. It was amazing to watch the Spirit work with her as we taught, and she was able to understand and comprehend the need to be baptized in the same way as Christ, to be able to return to live with God, and her family. The Spirit touched her, and she was noticeably happier and lighter when we left than when we first met her. We love her so much and are so excited to see her progressing.

Excerpt from my letter to president-
This week has been fantastic! We witnessed many miracles. The Lord is truly blessing the Ouro Preto ward. Also, putting in practice things that we learned from Elder Costa have helped a lot. He promised that if we reactivate, we will find, teach and baptize. Also, we marked the baptism of one of our investigators (and will hopefully mark her grandson as well) for baptism on the 27th. There is a lot of work to do! And we are so happy to be able to stay here in Ouro Preto, but sad to say good-bye to Sister Piza and Sister Damián.
 
Yes, today was transfers, and both Sis. Piza and Sis. Damián were transferred, so it's back down to 2 sisters in Ouro Preto again. It's weird to be the only two missionaries in the house/area.
Love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week! Thank you for your love and prayers. Never forget who you are :)
Love,
Sister Hicken


Picture with Elder Costa, President and Sister Bigelow, and missionaries.  Sister Hicken is in the green dress on the right.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

He is the Gift


December 1, 2014

Hello All!


or

www.mormon.org/Christmas

(I hope that's really the actual website cuz I actually only have the Portuguese version) [Yes…that’s the right website.] but anyways, 

Go there, after you finish reading this letter, and watch the video, He is the Gift. It is so good :) We are sharing it with everyone we know this month, and on December 7th, next Sunday, it will be the masthead video on YouTube. Share it with everyone! I am so excited to be entering in the Christmas season again, because it seems like people's hearts are more open to the Spirit at this time of year. 

So this week:  The work with the ward is progressing this week.  We were able to have more lessons with members, and also bishop called 2 ward missionaries this week, and is going to call more.  We had a meeting with them and our ward mission leader and also ward council, and are working with the ward to reactivate 5 families this month.  We are working hard and our grupo de ensino [google translate says education group but teaching group makes more sense…] is slowly building.

We invited our ward mission leader, Irmao Rinaldo to come with us to our lesson with a man we had met a few weeks ago, but this week asked us to mark a day to come and talk with him to resolve some questions and doubts he has.  He has been a member of the 7th Day Adventist church for 21 years.  22 years ago he met with the missionaries, but, evidently, didn’t join the church.  We had talked with him a few weeks ago, and he was very friendly, but wasn’t interested…but this time he asked us to come.  We went with Ir. Rinaldo, and it was soooooo good that we did because when we got there, we could tell he was ready to debate, but after the prayer, before we started to talk, Ir. Rinaldo said a few words, about how we wanted the Spirit to be there, and were not by any means going to debate, and I don’t even remember what else he said, but brought such a spirit of peace to the room, that Jorge visibly relaxed, and during our discussion, the Spirit was there.  He had doubts about agency and sin, and 2 Nephi 2, and we were actually able to resolve them.  It was D & C 50 coming to life.  There were some things that he didn’t agree with or  accept, but when this happened, we just testified of what we knew and invited him to pray and ask God, and ponder on these things.  He wants us to come back this week.  He has a list of doubts.  And he LOVED Ir. Rinaldo.

Another investigator couldn’t come this week, but said he would skip his church one week to come visit ours, next week!

We visited an inactive couple this week, we had received as a referral from a member. They were very receptive, even though they’ve been inactive for years and years.  The husband said last week he ran into the sisters close to the temple, and that last night he had a dream about the Book of Mormon.  He told his wife about it and she said, “How funny that he told me about his dream this afternoon, and then just now you two showed up!”  Coincidence?  I think NOT!  We are working with them to come back.

Guys, I know the gospel is true.  I know Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, and that He knows each one of us personally.  He is our constant Friend.  I love Him, and know that because of Him, my family will be together forever.

I love you all, and wish you a merry December 1st!  It has begun!!! :D  THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEEEEAR!

Love,
Sister Hicken


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Howdy from Tatooine


November 24, 2014
Howdy from Tatooine!
Not that Recife has two suns, but it sure feels that way! I bathe myself every day in sunscreen. And the locals say that summer hasn't even begun yet. Don't tell me that! Nooononononono! So.... count your blessings over there in winter wonderland, and I’ll try to count mine here in Tatooine.
Sister Morales and I commented yesterday as we were going home, "What a weird week".  Just weird little experiences every day. Lots of people who wanted to debate with us this week. Trying to enlighten us so that we wouldn't be "enganado" (I can't remember the word in English). [The word she is looking for in English is…wrong according to Google translate.] Excerpt from my letter to president because I’m running short on time:

We nicknamed this week "a semana de apostasia" [the week of apostasy] because we found several people this week that wanted to debate with us, and didn't want to listen to our message, but did want to give us a lecture in false doctrine. It was really weird that they all came in the same week, at least four cases of Zeezroms, Nehors and Korihors. In each case, we listened and were respectful, and tried to teach or bear testimony if possible, and leave when the Spirit told us to. I had never been full out yelled at before on my mission until this week. While these experiences were not exactly delightful, we both felt peace, and we both felt our testimonies strengthened, and we knew the Lord was with us. We didn't get discouraged, on the contrary. We felt strengthened. What was disheartening was the compromissos [commitments] and members that had marked to teach with us that fell through this week. It was really rough. But we are thrilled because a brother moved back into the ward this week (who is a former bishop and stake president) and the bishop called him yesterday to be our ward mission leader. We are very excited to start working with him and have several ideas already.
Cool experiences this week--
With Juvita, a lady that we met knocking on doors. We started to talk and she said she was looking to come closer to God, and that she wasn't perfect, but wanted to follow his commandments. I can't remember all that happened, but as we talked, I felt prompted to share John 3:5 with her and share how baptism is one of the commandments of God, and how we can be clean and free, and one day return to live with God if we follow Jesus Christ and are baptized. And then I invited her to be baptized, and her eyes got misty and she said "that is all I want, to be closer to God". The spirit was so strong. Unfortunately, she just works at this house, and lives in another city (nooooooooooo!!!!) but she accepted to hear the missionaries at her house.
Another experience with Francisco and Alsira, his wife, who were very firm in their religion, and made this clear from the beginning, but accepted to hear a message, and at the end, accepted the invitation to pray to know if the church is true and come to church on Sunday, and sincerely told us they wanted to learn more, and maybe even become part of the church.
Ahhhh I wanted to share another few experiences, but my time is up. But this week, despite the difficulties, was full of little miracles. And we are looking forward, not back. I love you all and bye!
Love,
Sister Hicken

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Planting Seeds in Ouro Preto


November 17, 2014

Hello everyone! 

First things first, the mission address zip code thing changed. Now, instead of 50070-050 it's 50070-055. Letters/packages sent to the original will still be routed to the new address for a time, but all future things should be sent to this new one. 

So second things second, this week was my first week with my new companion! Sister Morales. She is from Merida, Mexico, and is 19 years old. She loves to sing, and was studying chemistry and physics and a lot of sciency stuff before the mission. She LOVES the heat. You will notice in this picture that she is wearing a blazer. Yeah, I was melting, and she was chilly. Haha so she feels right at home here in Recife. I love this woman already! She is so excited to work and LOVES Ouro Preto (didn't even complain about taking a bucket shower on her first night on the field. She's a trooper. P.S. water returned after that, it was just a day or two.) Tuesday President and Sister Bigelow picked me up and we went straight to the airport to pick up Sis. Morales. One of the first things she asked me was, "Are we going to get to proselyte tonight?" Hahaha she is the best. Still learning Portuguese, but already speaks very well. 

Wednesday we had a training meeting for all the new missionaries and the trainers, and it was the best thing ever, because I came away with new ideas to work with in the ward, and in opening the area.   We ended up not really dividing the area by a line, because there isn’t a great way to divide Ouro Preto, and it turns out the area isn’t all that big.  So we’re working us four in the same area for now. It is likely that the division of the area will be temporary, but we won't know for sure until transfers of course. But President told me not to worry too much about how we divide the area. 

It's been a long week of planting. We planted a lot of seeds this week, and talked with a loooooot of people. I don't think I've ever talked with so many people in one week before. We have already started to see some miracles. The first night, everything fell through, so we said a prayer to know where the Lord would have us go, and started walking and a woman was passing and saw us and said, "Hey what church are you guys from, because I just moved here and I'm looking for a church to go to, but haven't found one yet. Can you help me?" My mouth dropped open. We told her about our church, and marked a visit with her for the next day. Unfortunately, she had to take someone to the hospital and couldn't meet with us, but asked us to mark another day this week. More updates on events unfold. We met another young woman in a similar situation, that we went in the direction we felt we should go, and she came to us, and asked us to pray for her, and I asked if we could share a message with her, and she wrote down all her information, and said we would be very welcome because she was really needing help from God. So we met a lot of people this week through contacts, but also felt strongly that we should work more with less actives, to strengthen the ward, and also find new people to teach. We've got several ideas that are going to help strengthen the ward, from Presidente Bigelow, and also we're excited because the bishop is going to call a ward mission leader this next week, most likely. So things are not easy here in Ouro Preto, but they're looking up. Sister Morales has the best most upbeat attitude I've ever seen. She already told me she wants to stay in Ouro Preto at least 2 transfers. She loves the area and the people already. 

President Bigelow gave two challenges mission wide this last week. One is to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover as a mission between last Monday and December 17th (our Christmas zone conference), and the other is to find and baptize a family before the end of the year. We are working hard to accomplish these goals! If anyone wants to join me in reading the Book of Mormon (maybe not before the 17th of December, but before the end of the year), you are welcome! Especially if you have never read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, I invite you to start now, and read it in its entirety, and then ask God to know if it really is true. I promise you that He will answer. He answered my prayer, and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. And it has changed my life. 

I love you all and wish you a merry Thanksgiving, if that's this week, and if not then next week haha :) 
Love you all!
Sister Hicken


Camille and her new companion, Sister Morales



The New Ouro Preto Missionary Force:  Sister Hicken (celebrating 14 months in the field on November 11), Sister Morales, Sister Piza and Sister Damian

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I'm a Momma Again!


November 10, 2014
Monday
I got a call from President today officially announcing what we were thinking these past few weeks---that I will be training, and that we will be dividing Ouro Preto! Aiaiai! The new sister's name is Sister Morales, and she's from Mexico, and is arriving straight from the CTM. I'm excited to meet her tomorrow! Pres. and Sister Bigelow are going to come pick me up and we'll go straight to the airport to get her, and then on Wednesday we'll have a training for all the new missionaries, and yeah! I have a ton of questions, and I have no idea how it's gonna all work out, but it will. I'm excited!

Here is an excerpt of my letter to President-
"We were excited to receive your call this morning. We were expecting to get another missionary here in Ouro Preto. I am excited to train Sister Morales, and know the Lord has a work for us to do here together!

This week was pretty difficult, for various reasons. Sister Piza was sick several days, so that was a challenge, but thankfully it was nothing serious, and she's feeling better. We had to drop several investigators that had seemed to have potential, but afterwards ran away from us and weren't home when we marked. We knocked on a lot of doors, and talked with a lot of people, but almost no one was interested. BUT, we set a goal in faith that we will have a baptism on November 22nd. We made some mini-goals to help us get there, and are fasting today as well. It's funny, about 10 minutes after we made this goal, we discovered that the house was out of water, and then later that day Sister Piza got sick, and it just seemed like everything combined all at once to ruin our progress. But that's what always happens when you're on the right track. It's what happens to every investigator on the path to baptism, every missionary that decides to serve a mission, or any person who wants to make changes in their life to follow Jesus Christ. I know the Lord has people prepared for us here in Ouro Preto, and we're close to finding them. We are trying something new in our messages nos almoços [in lunches], and are receiving more referrals from members. This week we hope to contact them all. I've never felt so challenged on my mission by the area, but I'm growing more than I ever have, and know that the Lord will bless us for our diligence and patience. I know we will be able to find, and teach, and baptize His elect here."
This week was a test of my faith. I was reading this week in Alma about the stripling warriors, and how after they won their battle, the war still wasn't over, and they waited for months with almost no provisions, and having to fight off the Lamanites with no outside help. They didn't know what was happening or why no help was coming, but they had faith that the Lord would deliver them, and they prayed and prayed for Him to help them and comfort them. And the Lord responded by sending peace, and comfort and giving them faith that He would deliver them. And that gave them the strength to fight the battles, and in the end, win the war. I know the Lord has a plan for His children in Ouro Preto, and there are things He needs me and my companions to accomplish. I may not understand right now, but I know He will bless my efforts with miracles. It is by faith (in action) that the Lord accomplishes miracles, through his humble and diligent servants. I am trying every day to be a better instrument in the hands of my Heavenly Father.
Thank you for all your prayers and love! It means the world to me to have the support of such awesome family and friends. I love you! :)

Have a wonderful week! Don't forget who's in charge.
Love, Sister Hicken

Monday, November 3, 2014

3 Musketeers/Charlie's Angels/Harry, Ron, and Hermione get to work in Ouro Preto


November 3, 2014
Monday

A galinha vai botar o ovo, e vai falar até a validade. 

Overheard quote from a guy at a gym that we passed this week. The translation is mais ou menos [more or less]---"The chicken will lay the egg and even tell you the expiration date!" Food for thought.

So I've officially completed one week in Ouro Preto! I'm starting to learn the area and get to know the members better. The ward is very small, about 30 members, even though the chapel is bigger than Carpina. We three are establishing a teaching and contacting pattern for 3 people. It's been challenging at times adjusting to teaching in a trio, it's the first time for everyone. (True, I was in a trio for 3 weeks in the CTM but that doesn't count because back then we didn't know how to teach or even speak Portuguese.) But we've been working on it, so it's flowing better. A little more about my companions- Sister Piza is 20, and is from São Paulo. She loves Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, so naturally, we're pals already. She's been out for 7 months and was the one that opened Ouro Preto (for sisters. Before it was elders.) with Sister Dana. Sister Damián is from Lima, Peru, is 22, and has 5 months on the mission. She is sooooo super sweet. She loves to sing, and is learning how to conduct as well. We practice together.  :) I love both of these ladies. We decided we are the 3 Musketeers, or Peter, James, and John, or the Powerpuff Girls, or Faith, Hope, and Charity, or Harry, Ron, and Hermione, or Charlie's Angels. It's going well. :)

This week was a planting week. We planted a lot of seeds, taught a lot of new investigators, and hopefully this week we will start to see the growth. No one was able to come to church this week for various reasons. One lady got all ready to go to church, and we arrived with a member to pick her up, and at the last minute her son showed up to visit or something, and she couldn't come. Sigh :( But we will try again next week. 

Excerpt from my letter to President this week.

"These week was exhausting, but in a good way. We have been in search of new people to teach. We are trying some new methods to obtain references from members, and get them more involved with missionary work. We feel that by working with the members, and especially reactivating less-actives, we will be able to find and complete families. But we are working hard to rekindle the Spirit that those members afastados [away] felt when they were baptized, and have started to teach members of their families that aren't members of the church (yet!). There's a lot to do!"

We taught a less-active, Margarida, and her grandson, João Vitor yesterday, and for the first time (the sisters said), she felt the desire and need to return to church. She felt the Spirit, and João Vitor too. We are excited to return and teach them. :)

Not sure if I said this last week, but it is likely that we will be getting a new sister this next week, and we will divide the area. Will keep you updated!

Well, that's about it! Hope you had a Happy Halloween! Oh, I forgot, for Halloween, we (accidentally) shared a quick message and said a prayer with a witch. She said she was Espírita (Spiritist?) [Spiritualist], but that we could say a prayer with her, and it wasn't till after we left the house that Sister Piza realized she was really a macomba practicer. I can't remember how to say macomba in English, but it's like voodoo or something. So that was our Halloween!

Love you all, and Happy November!

Love, Sister Hicken

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Goodbye Carpina...Hello Ouro Preto!



October 29, 2014                                 Wednesday
Hello everyone! I'm still alive! Worry not! It has been a caaaraaaaaaazy week. I am on today, and not Monday because I got transferred, and our zone gets to go to the temple today! Yippee!!!!! Sooo first things first.
This week was my last week in Carpina. As always, we didn't get the call until Sunday night, but I was expecting it, because I served here for 5 transfers. I was feeling that my time was up. Me and Sister Evans were transferred. Sister Kohtz and Sister Muñoz stayed (and Sister Evans is going to Boa Vista, my first area! Also, Sister Roig says that Rosa is going to the temple to be sealed on December 15th! We're going to try to go :) ANYways, it was reeeeally hard to say good-bye to everyone in Carpina. I came to love so many people SO much, and I just have to promise myself that I'll go back to visit one day, because I can't stand to think that I would never see them again. But backing up, I'll give a quick run-down of the highlights this week-
Let's see.....we marked Dalva and Aninha for baptism on November 9th. They just have to come to church!!! Farias and Veronica came to church on Sunday :DDD They really liked it. We're going to (or Sister Muñoz and her new comp Sister Venegas) are going to mark their baptisms this week. Also Waleska came to church. She's progressing. We'll help her get there.

Friday we did a service project with Mó and Cicero, cleaning their new house. We scrubbed paint stains off the floor. Thanks to my years of training from a world-class floor scrubber (thanks Dad!) we got that house sparkling clean. Sunday we went to Lagoa do Carro, (literally means Car Lake), a neighboring city to visit a media referral, with our Ward Mission Leader, Erick. We found her, and 2 other new investigators there and I think the work may really start to grow there. It was exciting! 

Service Project at Mo and Cicero's with their grandson, Joao.

Me and Zenaide, my Brazilian grandma.  This lady is HILARIOUS! We LOOOOVE her!

Had a great lesson with Silvânia and Juliana and Andreza this week. They made lunch for us. It was sooo delicious and they were sooo sweet. They committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and next week are going to come to church with Cicero!

Teaching Silvania, Juliana, and Andreza with Sister Munoz
Sunday we got the transfer call, and then had a missionary correlation meeting, and then I said good-bye to everyone. I wasn't able to keep it together. Also I was starting to feel sick, but still wanted to visit some people. We ran into Erick, my old investigator at the church, and he came with us to visit Dominik and Daiane. I love those girls so much. We hugged and cried, and they asked me to give a prayer before I left. Then I said good-bye to Erick. I wasn't able to say good-bye to Rose or Marcelo, they didn't pick up the phone :(((( I got all packed up after that and then the next morning, we headed to the transfer meeting.
I got transferred to Ouro Preto! I'm in a trio, but in two weeks may be training a new sister who will arrive. I'll give more details on the area next week, but I am super excited to be working here and I loooove my new companions! Sister Piza is from Sao Paulo and Sister Damian is from Peru. Sorry I am running out of time I have to go but I love you all and talk to you later!!!
Love,
Sister Hicken

P.S.  Erick almost got run over by a REAL LIVE ARMADILLO last week! I saw a real live armadillo. And it ran in between Erick's feet hahahahaha. It was so funny. It was running away from its owner, and everyone was screaming. But it was sooo cute! I wanted to pet it.  That’s all. I just remembered and thought you would enjoy. :)

3 Marias Neighborhood

Sister Evans, Sister Kohtz, Amaro and Alcina (1st counselor in the bishopric and his wife, the Relief Society President), and Pamela and Fernando, a recent convert and spouse, Me, and Sister Munoz.

Our ward "district".  They are like our elders.  Erick--the taller one is--is our ward mission leader, and Nininho, the shorter one is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric.  They are both RMs and drive the missionary force in our Carpina ward.

Me, Daiane, and Sister Munoz

That is a real live dead cockroach on the knife.  I had to drown it and then scoop it out of the sink and then dump it in the trash.  Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!

Me and a mural in Carpina that made me think of Emma.



Me and Sister Fuoco


Me and my new mission companions.  Sister Damian, Me, and Sister Piza...#windblowinginourhair=supermodels


New Ouro Preto Power Trio:  Sister Piza, Sister Hicken, and Sister Damian.