April 28, 2014
I don't quite know how to describe this week. Fantastic, crazy, miraculous, exhausting, humbling would be a start. I learned some lessons this week. And saw a lot of miracles :)
So last week I told how the first counselor in the bishopric cancelled the baptism of Marilia, Carlinhos and Camila on the hour. Sister Rocha and I were pretty devastated. I was feeling angry, hurt, offended and frustrated and sad. And I knew the Spirit was not with me. I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me forgive him, and take away the anger that I was feeling, through the power of the Atonement. Sister Rocha did the same. We felt better by the end of Sunday, but still not completely whole.
Tuesday we had marked with him to go visit the family, and we were both feeling a little apprehensive. We didn't really want to go, but we knew it was necessary. We arrived, and greeted him, and I was surprised to find that I wasn't feeling angry or resentful. I felt completely calm. We all walked to Vilma's house together, and we talked about the ward, and he was very nice and helpful. We visited with Vilma. Her kids weren't home, but we talked with her. She said her kids were really sad and she wasn't sure if they would still want to be baptized. Irmao Smith (names have been changed, haha) talked with her, and offered all the help and support and love of the ward, and was very kind. When we left, she was feeling much better. The Spirit was strong. It was amazing. We left that day with the feeling that we were all fighting on the same team, and not against one another. It was amazing. I have never felt so strongly the power of the Atonement in my life. I know that it would not have been possible for me to forgive so quickly and completely on my own. It was truly a miracle of the Atonement. In place of hurt and resentment was love and understanding. That week we were able to remark their baptism for Sunday evening, and we asked Irmao Smith if he would baptize them. He accepted. Other things happened this week that made the baptism almost not happen (for example: the first time the district leaders came to do the interview, only one kid was there, so the next day the zone leaders had to come and do the other two, AN HOUR before the baptism. And then the parents said they weren't going to be able to come, but then changed their minds, thankfully. The stress was UP TO MY EYEBALLS!!!!) but everything worked out. Marilia and Camila and Carlinhos were so excited. It was one of the happiest moments of my mission walking with them and their little sister Thais, and Vilma and Junior, and Sister Rocha and the elders to the church for the baptism. They were so happy and excited, and full of love. I LOVE this family so so so much. The baptism was beautiful. The Spirit was strong, and a lot of members came to support them, and the kids were so happy, my heart just about burst :)
Other cool things that happened this week: Roberto, who surprised us by coming to church last week, is really progressing. He stopped gambling (before we even talked about it!), and is studying the scriptures and praying, and making changes in his life. He is very excited to follow Christ. He came to stake conference this week, which was a sacrifice for him because he had to close his store, and we all had to travel an hour by omnibus to get there. But he had faith that the Lord would bless him for his sacrifice. His amazing example of faith strengthens my testimony. He will be baptized this Friday (if the scheduling works out. Pray that it does!).
In other news, Fernanda the demon lizard returned again. But we're too tired to chase her out, so she just lives in our house now. We established some rules (like no sneaking up on us in the shower, etc.), and she's housetrained, and willing to pay rent, so it's all good now.
I got a package from the Easter Bunny!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I laughed at the Easter grass hahaha, and already ate all the Reese’s pieces eggs with my companions. Thank you thank you for the socks. I am always needing socks. I shared my spoils with the family we baptized, and the elders and my companions. It brought much joy to many :) and THANK YOU FOR THE PICTURES!!!!! I loved loved loved the pictures :))))) I had not seen those pictures of my setting apart. So cute all the pictures! We’re going to dye Easter eggs today. We’re all very excited :))) I’ll send pictures!!!
I love you guys and thank you for your love and prayers and support and letters! I know this gospel is true, and I know the Atonement is real, and we need it in our lives every day.
Love, Sister Hicken
Baptism!!!! Vilma, the mom, is on the left with Sister Rocha. Marilia is the tallest, and then Camila and then Carlinhos, and Thais is the youngest. Elder Kirk on the left, and Elder Hanna on the right. Our awesome zone leaders from the Shire haha. Oh, and Irmao Smith, who performed the baptism.
My Brazilian siblings :) Sister Rocha, Carlinhos, Marilia, Me, and Camila.