Monday, March 31, 2014

Staircase to Shelob's Lair from LOTR, But Way Less Green and Sound of Music-y


March 31, 2014
Monday


A missionary is never late…nor is she early. She arrives precisely when she means to! ish. It’s been a crazy p-day!

We went to Caruaru this p-day (where our district meetings are) because they have this GIGANTIC open fair market thing like in Thailand, and lots of clothes for super cheap. So we went there super early this morning and then went with the other sisters to this giant Costco like store (COSTCO!!!!) and then came back and now came and did emails. I got several plain shirts to wear underneath things, or to match with whatever, a cute shirt, a really cute skirt, and 2 football jersey shorts, one from the team from Recife, and one that said Chelsea on it! I wanted to give it to one of the kids as a souvenir, just not sure if that's something they're interested in. if they don't want it, I’ll look for something else and use the shorts myself. I didn't bring my camera, because Sister Dana warned me that there were pickpocketers, and not to bring anything you don't want stolen. But I’ll try to take pictures of what I bought. I’ll try to send other pictures in a sec. 

One does not simply walk into Mordor. They have to play a game of real life Frogger to get there! More on that in a sec. 

This week was a challenging one. We have a lot of people with potential right now, but for one reason or another, they are not progressing. Andreia's baptism fell through. She called us to her house the night before her interview and said that after talking to her boss (who is like her second mom) she decided she didn't want to get baptized right away, and wanted more time to get to know the church before she made any decisions. Sigh. So we talked with her for a while, and about some of her concerns, and hopefully we'll set another date this week. She feels that it's right, but is having trouble giving up little things like coffee. But she came to church on Sunday, and is making friends with the members, so though we were disappointed, we love Andreia, and are happy with the progress she has made already. Please pray for her!

We have another amazing investigator named Maria, who has a date set for April 13th. She is just amazing. She has 4 daughters by blood, who are all grown up, and one little 5 year old that she adopted because the parents were terrible, and she had nowhere else to go. She wants sooo much to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ. She loves it when we come because she says she feels so much peace with us that she never ever felt before. We are so excited for her. Please pray that she will be able to come to church this week! 

Our other investigators flaked out on our lessons this week, so we've been doing a lot of knocking on doors. Not much else to report. 

Oh, except for the referral we got from the other sisters. It was in a neighborhood on the other side of the highway that we never go to, called Alpes Suiço. It is a bit of a hike from our house (but then again our entire area is that way), but the sisters said this woman really wanted the sisters to visit, so we went to go try and find it. As we were walking I realized something. "How funny," I thought. "They named the neighborhood the Swiss Alps!" My chuckles turned to tears however, when we arrived at this GIGANTIC valley. We asked someone if they knew where Leide lived, and she pointed to the other side of this super steep gorge. We had to climb down the hill, and then climb up the other side. Like Swiss Alps was being kind. It was more like that super steep staircase to Shelob's lair from LOTR. Way less green and Sound of Music-y and a lot more steep and death-like (I’m exaggerating, mom). So we got up the hill and asked for Leide, and the daughter was like, "Oh yeah, she's down there on the other side," of the canyon we had just crossed. So we went back the way we came, and talked with Leide and her daughter, and they seem fantastic. The other sisters had helped her out, and she loved them and was so impressed, and wanted to come to church. She didn't end up going, not sure what happened, but we have an appointment with her this Friday. And we'll probably start teaching more people there too. Missionaries have never gone there before, so all the people wanted to talk us. It was really cool! But my legs were DYING when we got back home. 

In other news, Sister Fortes saved a kitten from becoming road pizza this week. Woohoo!!!!
 
There's a little gift store of handmade things from Gravatá that I want to pass by this week. I’m feeling like I’m going to be transferred. And Sister Fortes will train. I’m gonna have grandbabies! :D

This computer won't let me send pictures :((((   I'll have to send you a double batch next week. 

I love you all and miss you and thank you for your prayers! Hope you are all safe and happy and healthy! I love yooou! I have to sign off now! Next week I probably won't be on at the regular time because of transfers, but I will be on. Hugs and kisses to everyone! Happy April Fool's Day! 

Love, Sister Hicken






Monday, March 24, 2014

We're Crazy Chicks Here in This Coop


Legal legal que dia legal! [Editor's Note:  This means something like cool day...not exactly sure though.]

Bom dia gente!

This week was LOOOUCA [crazy].  There was a lot that happened this week, the most exciting being that we marked Andreia's baptism for the 30th! Andreia, I don't remember if I already told about her, but we talked with her on the street a while back, and went to her house and taught her. She seemed sort of interested but not a ton. We weren't able to go back for a while later, but when we went back, she was super happy, and came to church that week and loved it. She recently separated from her boyfriend, and when we visited her this week, she said she wanted to give up drinking for good. She never wanted to drink ever again). So we asked her if she would like to be able to start again, and be able to be forgiven of all her sins, and leave them in the past, and she said she would love that. So we taught her about baptism and how we can be born again and our sins can be erased, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized! She came to church this week, and we have a lesson with her tonight. She is amazing. I admire her so much. She is living alone, but she says she's not really alone because she knows God has been with her and is answering her prayers. She has so much faith. Please pray for her, that everything will work out for her to be baptized this week!

We also had Betania come to church this week, and she really liked it too. Leo and Jaqueline were supposed to meet with us on Saturday and then they called and cancelled, and we weren't able to get ahold of them on the phone. We passed by and marked with them for this Wednesday.

Wednesday we went to the temple!!!! It was so lovely. Going to the temple is like charging up your batteries. I love the temple. OH! And I was praying to be able to find Elder and Sister Paulsen in the temple and I hadn't been able to and as we were leaving, there was a lady by the door, and it was Sister Paulsen, and I was like "Hi, I think I’m related to you." She took us to Elder Paulsen, and we all talked for a few minutes and it was really cool! He said Grandpa had told them I would be coming. It was very neat. I hope at some point I can get a picture with them. When we left the temple, SISTER ROIG was waiting for us!!!!!!! She is in the area of the temple, and asked the assistants if we could stay overnight with her instead of wherever else we were going to stay :) So we got to talk and catch each other up on things, and it was soooo fun!!!!

Thursday was zone conference, and it was awesome. We got some great counsel from Pres. and Sis. Lanius, and our hymn turned out pretty good. It started off kind of rough, but it worked out. After the zone conference, we went and got mail from the mission office and I had a package from G & G Hicken!!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you! I have been enjoying the goodies all week :) I'm going to make the brownies for our district meeting tomorrow. And I have introduced my companion to m & m’s and Reese’s and Milky Way, and now she says she must marry an American because she cannot live without this candy. Thank you so much!!!! It made my week :))))

After the zone conference we headed back home, and didn't make it back until 8:30. It is not fun to ride public transit. We were exhausted.

Annnnnd yeah. That’s about it from this week. OH, I would like to close with a poetic masterpiece from Sister Dana that I found on my pillow this week:

For Sister Chicken-
Oh I am so very lucky
To have you for a pal, dear CLUCKY!
Of chicken baked, boiled, fried
You're the best one I have tried.
We're crazy chicks here in this coop
But we sure make one egg-cellent group!
Gosto muito desta galinha (I like this chicken very much)
E fico feliz ela e amiga minha! (And I’m happy she's my friend!)

That's about it from Gravatá. Hope you have a wonderful week! I love you and pray for you! Thank you for your love and support and prayers!

Love, Sister Hicken



Me and Sister Roig       




My Mission Family Tree:  My daughter (Sister Fortes), Me, My Mom (Sister Roig), My Grandma (Sister Roig's Trainer), and my Great-Grandma (Sister Roig's Trainer's Trainer!)




Me and Sister Fortes at the Brazil Recife Temple


Our district at the Brazil Recife Temple


One of our recent converts, Eduarda.  She's only 16.  I love her so much!!  She's the only member of the church in her family, but she comes to seminary and to church and she's growing so much!  She's amazing!


My visiting teaching companion, Rosilda, and her daughter, a future sister missionary, Cecilia.  I love these ladies!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gold and Leprechauns and Rainbows to You!


March 17, 2014
Monday

Ola!

Bom dia people! Hope things are starting to warm up a little wherever you are! Happy St. Patrick's Day! Hope your day is filled with gold and leprechauns and rainbows. 

ANYways, so this week was better than last week. We had several cool things happen. One was that one of the members of the other ward called to give us a reference and wanted to visit her with us that night. This member, Daline, one of the young women, works in a store, and there was a woman who would always come, and they would talk, and one day the lady, Betania, asked if she had a Bible, and Daline told her about the Book of Mormon, and offered to get one for her.   Betania accepted, but wanted someone to explain to her what it was, so Daline called the missionaries! We went there, and did what the mission calls, "oraçao de poder" or prayer of power. We ask the investigator what they would ask of Jesus Christ if he were here, (like if they have a sick family member, or are passing through some trial) and then we write it down, and pray specifically for that thing. The Spirit was very strong. We introduced the Book of Mormon to her, and invited her to read and pray about it, and she was very excited. She accepted the invitation to be baptized, and is so excited for us to come back. She said she liked the feeling and peace that we brought to her house, that it was like a light had come into her house. We'll have a lesson with her this Thursday! 

Also, we had a lesson with Leo, and Jaqueline couldn't come, but Larissa came! (Not sure if you guys remember but Larissa is the girl who is SO ready to be baptized, but her parents won't let her. She's dating Leo) We had planned something different, but gave a review of the plan of salvation for Larissa because she wasn't there the last time, and she had a bunch of really great questions.  We ended up spending the whole time answering her and Leo's questions. It was amazing. 

We tried to mark 4 baptisms this week and all of them fell through. Rayza won't be able to be baptized until she turns 18. Her parents won't let her. But she won't give up, and knows this is what the Lord wants her to do so we'll stay in contact with her, and keep inviting her to things. She has at least a year I think before she turns 18. Leo, Jaqueline, and Janaena will be out of town next week, and maybe the week after. Ggaaahhhhhhh :P

Let's see, what else happened.....oh, Sister Lanius asked me to organize a musical number for our zone for zone conference this Thursday. We sisters are going to sing More Holiness Give Me, in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and with some cool harmonies. Fingers crossed that it goes well!

OH! Ermesson is going to receive the Melchizedek (sorry forgot how to spell it) Priesthood this week!!!!!! 

We had a really cool Integration Night planned and only 6 people came :P

There’s supposed to be an apostle coming to our region in May to do training for the leaders, and we missionaries mmaaayyyy get to meet with him. Not sure who it is yet. 

Going to the temple this week! I'll keep my eyes open for President Poulsen! :)

Love you all and hope you are well! You are in my prayers! 

Love, Sister Hicken


Monday, March 10, 2014

Did You Know Brazilian Chinese Eat Rice and Beans? They Probably Don't Either.


March 10, 2014
Monday

Ola!

I can't really think of a clever title for this week's email. It was kind of a terrible week. The saddest thing was Sheila. We visited her this week hoping to mark her baptism and instead left with very little hope of baptizing her.  Ever.  She believed all the crap she found on the internet.  She didn't tell us that until we asked, but then she showed us her study journal with all her notes from stuff people had posted about the Church. We explained to her what was true and what was downright lies, but it didn't do much good. We were there for almost 2 hours, and responded to every question she had, but she had already decided that she didn't want to be baptized. She is still looking for the truth, but doesn't want to act on it. We told her that if she wanted to know if the Church was true, she had to read the Book of Mormon, pray and go to church. She refuses to go to church without first receiving a sign from God that that's what she should do. And so she will never know.

So yeah. We are SOOO sad. Because she knew it was true. She was so happy and so excited, and now she is denying everything she felt, all the answers God already gave her, and is waiting for yet ANOTHER sign. We are praying that she will receive an answer to her prayers, but honestly I don't believe that that will happen until she decides to act. It is SO sad.

Things were just rough this week. 

But there were some good things. Leo and Jaqueline are progressing. They were out of town this Sunday, but we have a lesson with them tomorrow, and hope to mark their baptism for the 23rd. Please pray for them. Also Rayza. 

I gave a talk this week on "Heavenly Father's Children Need Us".  It was the first time I gave a talk that I didn't get nervous about! 

Next week we have zone conference and temple, which means no p-day on Monday. You'll have to wait until Wednesday! Not sure what time I’ll be on because it's always crazy, but probably in the morning. 

I love you all and thank you for your prayers and support! 

Love, 
Sister Hicken



Gigantic wall of flowers on the way to our bishop's house. There are soooooo many beautiful flowers here!


   Brazilian Chinese food! Did you know that the Brazilian Chinese still eat rice and beans? Neither did I! Also probably neither did the Chinese.


Our zone! We have the coolest zone ever! Names, in no particular order, because I don't have the picture in front of me:

Sisters Patino, Butler, Seidmann, Penailillo, Dana, Rodrigues, Hicken, Fortes

Elders Benitez, Marlow, Pereira, Woodland




Finally a cute picture of me and Sister Dana. She always makes faces in my pictures. I love this woman! She's one of our trainers and she has helped me sooo much. 




Monday, March 3, 2014

Carnaval.....you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.


March 3, 2014
Monday


Carnaval.....you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. (Points to whoever gets the reference!)

Seriously. Carnaval is when all the crazies come out of the woodworks. It's like Halloween, Mardi Gras and that creepy pink elephant song from Dumbo all mixed together. The first night was cross-dressing night! Yay! Luckily (well not luckily, but sort of) Sister Fortes was sick so we were already home when the men in dresses started to come out, but the other sisters came home early and were like, "You guys, there's all sorts of weird stuff going on out there".  During the day it's been fine, but we still avoid some of our more sketchy areas. 

Let's see, updates from the week....Leo, Jaqueline, and their friend Janaena accepted invitations to be baptized on the 16th! And then we found out we would have to move the date because of Stake Conference. Curses. So we're shooting for the 22nd now. 

Sheila. Sheila, Sheila, Sheila. The enemy is doing everything he can to put a halt to her baptism. We went and visited her unplanned on Wednesday because we just had a feeling that we needed to, and she was super depressed. Her family isn't talking to her, and she lives alone, and she was just super sad. We spent some time talking with her, and she felt better, and we marked her baptism for the 8th of March. She was going out of town, but we told her we would call once a day to check in with her. The next day we called and she had only smoked 4 cigarettes!!! We were so happy! We made a goal with her to only smoke 3 the next day, but when we called she didn't answer. We weren't able to get a hold of her for 2 days. At church on Sunday, Tuane, a member who is friends with Sheila said that Sheila had come to her house all upset and said that she had been praying about the church and then found a bunch of videos about the Church online, and now she thought the Church was all lies and she would not be baptized. Tuane talked with her for a while but it didn't do much good, and we were super worried. So that Sunday we decided to go there and see if she was home, and on the way we met her in the street, and walked with her. She seemed more or less normal, but didn't say anything about the videos, so finally Sister Fortes asked her straight up and she said she had found several things in the Church that weren't in harmony with the Bible, and she had written down all her doubts and wanted to talk with us about them. So she marked with us for Friday to meet and talk openly about her doubts, which is good. But that means she will probably delay a little longer to be baptized. Sighhhh. Thank you for all your prayers concerning her. I told her that I had family and friends praying for her as well and she was very touched, and it gave her strength. 

We tried to meet with Vitoria and Rayza this week and they weren't home. They may be home this week since it's Carnaval. We're praying to be able to meet with them. 

That's it for today.  Sorry it's a short one this week. The computer house is closing in a few minutes for CARNAVAL. 

I love you all and pray for you! Thank you for all your prayers and support! Happy March! 

Love,
Sister Hicken