Monday, January 27, 2014

We've Been Knocking on a Lot of Doors

January 27, 2014

Hello all! This will have to be a quick one today. I’ll write more next week. 

Vitoria and Rayza are going out of town this week, and will have to be baptized the week after :( But they’re doing well. Please continue to pray for them! They are almost ready!

We’ve been knocking on a lot of doors this week, trying to find new people to teach. It’s weird how many times we’ll teach someone new and find out they already know someone from the church or went to church a few years ago. When we do our part, the Lord helps us find those who are prepared. 

Sister Fortes is fantastic. It’s been kind of a rough week, but she’s super enthusiastic and focused, and also she’s hilarious. I’m teaching her English, and she’s teaching me Portuguese. It’s great!

Love you all and talk to you soon! Sorry this was so short! :( I’ll write more next week. 

Sister Hicken

P.S. Mom and Dad, if you’ve never heard the soundtrack to the Lamb of God, look it up. It is fantastic. Especially the song Here is Hope

Answers to Questions From Sister Hicken's Siblings

Hola Familia!

Nate- Here they don’t celebrate St. Patricks Day or Independence Day or Thanksgiving. But they have Carnival, which is a weeklong party, and Sao Joao which is another celebration in June.

Emma- They have Valentines Day I think, but it’s just for couples. We’ll work like normal!

Laura- The funny t-shirts I got mostly from Delia’s, a store that they only have in Twelve Oaks Mall :) You can look it up online and see all the fun t-shirts.

Rachel- There is just the Recife temple in my mission. We’re really lucky because many missions don’t have a temple. The mission office is in Recife.

Love you all and I am so proud of you! :)
Sister Hicken

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Ride on the Knight Bus with Sister Strong

January 20, 2014

Hola Familia!!!!

Sounds like you are all doing well despite the snowy snowy weather! Happy Belated Birthday to Grandpa Hicken! I hope his ear is healing well. Sounds like he’s doing great for 100 years old :)

So last time I wrote I told you I would be training! We received our new companions on Wednesday! My companion is Sister Fortes (Sister Strong).  :)  She’s from Sao Paulo, is 19, and is awesome! She is so excited to be here, and trained super well in the CTM. And I found out she had my same instructor, Irmao Barros!!!! When she was in the CTM, the president’s wife told her that she felt strongly that Sister Fortes needed to learn English, so she began learning English in the CTM, and already speaks really well. We help each other a lot learning English and Portuguese. Our first day was crazy. We managed to navigate the bus systems (side note-the buses here are all driven by that crazy old guy from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban who drives the Knight Bus. So picture the Knight Bus. Now picture riding the Knight Bus standing up. Now picture riding the Knight Bus standing up, with 2 large suitcases. Now picture riding the Knight Bus standing up with two large suitcases with 50 people packed in like sardines for ONE HOUR. It was fun.) Long story short, we made it home, and got all her bank stuff set up and everything, and then went to teach our weekly English class with the other sisters. Oh Sister Rodrigues’ new companion is Sister Dana. She’s from Arizona and has 10 months on the mission. She has a beautiful voice, and we’ve been having fun singing harmony on a bunch of songs.

Thursday we had a district meeting, and the elders brought CARTAS E CAIXAS!!! I got a package from you guys!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!! It was the one you sent in December with socks and a stocking and make up and granola bars and peanut butter and brownies and lots of other goodies :) I was in dire need of socks so that was greatly appreciated.  I’ve also been enjoying the Mormon memes you send haha. In addition to the package I received a mountain of letters haha. I felt a little bad because about half the letters were for me, but it was because the whole ward had sent letters.  Let’s see there were 2 from Sister Donnelly, one from Gines, Mauchs, Sister Dallaire, the Walker girls, Sister Ward, Aunt Heather, Aunt Anna, Emma, Rachel, Mom and Dad, annnnndddd I think that’s it.  I hope I didn’t forget anyone. But I loved loved loved all your letters!!!! Tell everyone thank you so much from Sister Hicken!!!!!!!!!! It made my week!!!!!!

This week we worked, knocked on doors, and visited pesquisadores [investigators], normal stuff. Sister Fortes has no fear, is ready to work, and already teaches really well. We work really well together. Also she likes Star Wars.  But seriously, she’s incredible, and I’m so thankful for the chance I have to be her companion! She’s teaching me so much. I love my little Padawan!!!  Training is stressful, but I’m learning a lot.

We are hoping to have 2 baptisms this week! Vitoria and Rayza. We had marked this Sunday for their baptism, but there’s some meeting this Sunday, so we’re going to try for Saturday. Pray that everything works out for the baptism to happen this week!

We trained our ward missionaries yesterday, and it went really well.

Oh something I just remembered. This week at our district meeting our leader asked us to bring photos of our family. So I brought our family pictures from this summer.  They said you are so cute!  They commented on the color coordination, mom haha.  And I love you love you love you and miss you oodles.

I have to go now, but hugs and kisses from me! Until next week!

Love you,
Sister Hicken

Obi-Wan Kenobi and her new Padawan, Sister Fortes

Monday, January 13, 2014

When Last We Met, I Was But the Learner, But Now I Am the Master!

January 13, 2014

When last we met, I was but the learner,

Yes, I have been called to train a new Padawan. I’m excited and more than a little nervous. (In truth, I was praying to not have to train yet). But I know that whom the Lord calls the Lord qualifies. I have received this call because the Lord trusts me. I am humbled at this opportunity He has given me to teach a new missionary and take care of His children in Gravatá.
So this week was slowwww. We have a small teaching group right now (group of investigators), around 14 or 15. We need to find new people. That will mean a lot of knocking on doors. We have several really great investigators right now, but their progress is slow. We finally set a date with Vitoria for baptism-the 26th of January, and also her niece for the same date. We hadn’t thought Rayza was very interested, because she doesn’t come to church. We’ve taught her many times, and she’s praying and reading the Book of Mormon, but never came to church with Vitoria so we thought she wasn’t interested.  But she stayed for our lesson with Vitoria, and we invited them both to be baptized, and they accepted! What we found out is that her parents are Catholic and discourage her from attending our church. But they’re great people, and we’re going to have a Family Home evening with them this week. Pray for Vitoria and Rayza, that everything will go smoothly leading up to their baptisms, and that they will continue reading and praying.
Larisa’s parents still won’t let her come to church, but we met with her and her mom, with the YW president and her husband, who is the Elders Quorum President. She explained the youth program to Rita, Larisa’s mom, and they both bore their testimonies about the gospel, and families, and how the Church only supports and strengthens families, and helps the youth come closer to God and their families. It was perfect. Afterwards Susana, the YW president invited Larisa to the YW activity that night, but her mom said she’d have to talk to her dad first. Gahhhhh....So this Sunday we’re going to try to meet with the dad as well, and go with Bishop. He’s already met Larisa, and we’re hoping if we can settle any doubts that the dad has, meet with him in person, that he will feel more at ease with the Church, and let her go. Pray for Larisa’s family too!
Thank you for your prayers and fasts for the Rodrigues family. They are doing better. Ermesson taught our weekly English class last Wednesday, and it was really awesome. Rosa is still very very sad, but it is incredible the amount of faith she has. It astounds me every time. We go to their house to teach them, offer some words of comfort, and every time she ends up teaching us something. She is amazing! Roberta is doing better too, and Thais is fantastic as always.
This Sunday we received the call that Sister Roig is being transferred and I am going to train! Sister Remy was transferred too. So last night we packed everyone’s bags and this morning headed to Recife. We had the transfer meeting, and Sister Roig is now in the area of the temple. I will miss her! She made me promise I would visit her in Buenos Aires haha. Sister Rodrigues got Sister Dana, another American sister, and I will stay here another 2 days to pick up my new companion. Tomorrow the new sisters will arrive, but Presidente won’t assign companionships until Wednesday. So today I am with Sister Gomes, another sister who will be training, and we are doing p-day here in her area. And then tomorrow we’ll go and meet the new sisters, receive another temporary companion, stay another night in a different house in Recife, and then Wednesday we’ll receive our new "daughter" and head back to our areas. It’s gonna be a fun couple of days. Sooo by this time next week I’ll have a report on my new greenie! I’m almost positive she’ll be Brasilera, but not 100%. Oh, Mom, I met Sister Clarke! It was just quick, but she remembered you, and it was cool to finally meet her.
Welllllll....... I think that’s it. That’s all that I can think of for now. Thank you for all your prayers and love and support!  I hope you are all staying warm! All the crazy snow and -50 temperatures has made the news here in Brazil. Everyone keeps telling me it’s super cold in your country! Aaaahh.....boy did I pick a good year to come to sunny, warm Brazil. ANYways, I love you and miss you and pray for you!  Until next week!

Sister Hicken

Picture with President Lanius, Sister Remy, Sister Rodrigues, Sister Roig, and Me at Christmas.

Merry Christmas from Elf Sister Hicken and Elf Sister Roig.

Sister Roig and me with Rosinha and Erick on Christmas.

Bruno's Baptism

This is where we live!

Sister Rodrigues, Sister Remy, Irmao Lemos, his wife Je, Sister Roig, and me.  Irmao Lemos was a translator for general authorities for many, many years.  He knows a TON about the gospel!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fireworks Are Not Necessarily More Beautiful Up Close, But They Are More Annoying!

January 6, 2014

Ola from 6 degrees from the equator!
It was hotter than Hades this week. I think I’ve already used that expression, but it’s the best description I can think of so I'll keep using it. But even though we’re melting here, every time I see pictures of the snow you guys are getting, I repent of all complaints and enjoy the heat, haha.
Our New Year wasn’t too exciting. We worked during the day as much as we could on New Year’s Eve. Almost everyone was out of town, or celebrating, or drunk. But we visited with Rosa and Roberta, the mom and daughter who lost their husband/father last week. We talked with them for a while. Rosa is amazing. When we arrived, she was reading D&C 137 (I think?) the vision of Joseph Smith about eternal families. She had highlighted the entire section. She is grieving, but is so glad to be a member of the church and know that because of this gospel, she will see her husband again. We brought with us the ingredients to something we call Bananas do Ceu, or Bananas of Heaven. If you want I can send you the recipe, it’s super duper easy. But we made Bananas do Ceu with her, and talked some more, and also brought photos to show her of our families and mission and such. And by the time we left, she was laughing and smiling, and Roberta too. Words cannot describe how much I love that family.
After that we had to be back home before 6 p.m., (rule from Presidente for New Year’s Eve for safety reasons). There’s not much to do as a missionary stuck in your apartment. I wrote in my journal, we made goals, played a couple games, and then went to bed at 10:30, but I woke up again at midnight because of 8 bajiliion fireworks. The Sea World kind. From the next street over. Fireworks are not necessarily more beautiful up close, but they are more annoying! I gave up trying to sleep and watched the fireworks for a few minutes until they stopped.
New Years Day, Gravatá was a ghost town. Seriously. NO one was in the streets. All it was missing was a tumbleweed and the theme from The Good The Bad and The Ugly. The whole world was dead. All of our appointments fell through. Bleahh.
After that it got better though. Our investigator, Larisa is amazing!!!! She already knows the church is true and is reading the Book of Mormon, and wants to serve a mission! She’s 17. She loves church, but her mom won’t let her go. We thought it was because of some false things she heard from neighbors or something, and we visited with her to see if we could clear up any misunderstandings she had. But it wasn’t just a neighbor; it was one of our members. He said some stupid false things about our church and ripped her Bible and threw it on the ground. We were shocked when we heard. We told her we were very very sorry that had happened, and cleared up all misunderstandings about our church (number one being we love the Bible!!!!) and some other questions she had, and she was much better when we left. But still, the whole family won’t let Larisa go to church. So we met with her and told her to keep praying, and show her family the difference the gospel is making in her life, and that it’s important to her. We hope her mom will at least allow us to keep meeting with her. We’re praying and fasting for her to have strength, and for her family’s hearts to be softened. She’s amazing!
I have much more to write but don't have time, but real quick, Mom and Dad, we had an activity in the church to integrate members and investigators and we were in charge of the games, and I taught them the Thimble Game. They loved it. Hahaha! The Thimble Game is now being passed around in Brazil.  [Editor's Explanation.  The Thimble Game:  Get a thimble, or bottlecap, or squirt bottle set on Spray.  One person is It.  They think of a Category, like Colors for example.  And then the person thinks of a specific thing from that category, like Pink if Colors was their category.  Then they go around the room standing in front of each person one at a time and each person has to guess something in that category.  If they guess what It was thinking of, they get a thimble/bottlecap/squirt of water on them.  Some families insist that It writes down what they're thinking of to insure no cheating.  Our family has the No Water in the Face Rule--it's followed most of the time. Then whoever guessed the right word is now It and a new category is chosen by the new It.  Our Stake President in San Diego taught us this game.]
Love you all and hope you’re staying warm!

Sister Hicken

P.S.  Next Monday is transfers, so I won’t be able to write until Tuesday I think. Or maybe still Monday, but not at the regular time.  We’re expecting that Sister Roig will be transferred, and that I will be training, but we won’t find out until Sunday night. Monday we have to travel to Recife for the transfer meeting. So if you don’t hear from me, that’s why.  We won’t have time for the temple [in Recife], but I will pick up packages. Sister Remy will probably be transferred too.  She has been here 7 months and Sister Roig has been here 5 months.  Sis. Rodrigues arrived with me in this area.

Alrighty I have to go now.  Sorry I didn’t have time to send pictures again. I’ll try to send some next week. I love you! Stay warm!!!! Hugs and kisses to everyone!!!!