Monday, February 3, 2014

New Investigators, Floop's Fooglies, and the Staircase of Death

February 3, 2014

Hello everyone! Happy February! Hope this month will be a little warmer for everyone. Except us in Recife. We don’t need any more heat. I’ll try and send some your way :)

This week had several ups and downs. Last p-day was cool because we went up to Cruzeiro and took pictures in the morning. In the afternoon, we baptized our house of horrors. We cleaned EVERYTHING. I can’t tell you how many spiders I killed. It was tough work, but our house is so much lovelier now. It’s still very special. (Like we have to dump water in the toilet with a bucket to flush), but it’s clean. After that we had 2 lessons that night. Debora and then Sheila. Both amazing women. Debora is a single mom with two kids. She works a ton, including Sundays so that will be a challenge. But she’s fantastic. Sheila is a 60-something grandma who lives alone, and teaches elementary school. We taught her for the first time, and she accepted everything, and when we invited her to pray and read the Book of Mormon, she was really excited and said she had to do it that night! She’s only free on Mondays so we’re teaching her again tonight. We’re praying that she felt the spirit and will accept our invitation to be baptized!

We found an elect family this week. They were a reference from a family in the other ward. We tried several times to contact them but they were never home, until Thursday! We taught Rosangela and her daughter Monize and the grandma Carmen. At the end, Rosangela’s husband, Fernando arrived. And they also have another daughter who wasn’t there:  Bruna. (Bruna is 16 and Monize is 20-something)  Rosangela loved what we taught, and felt the spirit very strongly. She thanked us over and over for not giving up and finally managing to talk with them. And afterwards, when we were leaving she ran after us to ask us to pray for her daughter who is far from God right now. We were humbled that she trusted us so much to tell us that, and to have faith that we could help. We returned on Sunday, and had planned to teach the entire family, but it ended up just being her. But we taught her the Plan of Salvation, and she understood everything and asked some really good questions. It went really well. She didn’t accept the invitation to be baptized yet, but that’s okay, we’ll get there. She really wants us to help Monize, and we feel like if we can help her, the whole family will follow. Pray for them!

We had a cool experience with Rosinha this week. We talked with her again about the importance of going to church, but this time I felt the Spirit guiding me. She said several times that she just didn’t have the will to go, and she wouldn’t go until she felt it. She knows it’s important, but still didn’t want to. We talked a while, and towards the end I felt prompted to ask her what she would do if Christ were here, and extended his hand to her and invited her to follow him. The spirit was very strong, and she said, "Wow. Now it’s powerful. I would follow him". I then told her that it was the same with us inviting her, because we were called as representatives of Jesus Christ and through us he is inviting her to come back to him. I don’t remember much else of what was said, but the Spirit was definitely there. 

I think the thing I’m learning most here is how much the Lord loves his children. I could feel that love when we talked with Rosinha, and I feel it for so many of his children here. It is a unique and wonderful experience to be able to be an instrument in his hands. There have been many times when we visited with an investigator, or this week with Rosa, and they said we came at just the right time. And that’s when we can say that it wasn’t us. It was the Lord. It shows how much the Lord loves them, that he sent his servants there to lift and strengthen them. 

I love you all and hope you are having a wonderful week! I know this gospel is true and that it is the only way to find true and lasting happiness in this life and the next! :)

Sister Hicken

Finally I can send pictures! This is Cruzeiro, the highest point in Gravatá. It’s a giant hill with a Catholic church on top, and a statue of the Cristo Redentor, like Rio, except smaller. It’s beauuuutiful. We hiked up there last p-day (and almost every day of the week because we have investigators there). This photo is really cool because to the left it was all sunny and bright, but on the right you can see a storm coming in. everything in the picture is our area.

The Cristo Redentor

 [Editor's Note...look at her feet.  No.  She's not wearing shoes...those are her tan lines from her shoes.]

Eu e Sister fortes! 

This picture is kind of cool, except for the fact that Sister Rodrigues looks like one of Floop’s Fooglies. [If you look close, Sister Rodrigues has 3 eyes...panorama shots are awesome!]

A Escada de Felicidade, or the Staircase of Happiness. Not sure why it’s called that. We call it the Escada de Morte, or the Staircase of Death. Seriously,  no one arrives at the top of that thing smiling.

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