Monday, May 26, 2014

My Companion is 9-Toed Sally

May 26, 2014

Wayelll this week was an interesting one, haha. I don't have super much time because Sister Kohtz and I have to head to Recife in half an hour, but I’ll write a quick update. 

This week we worked a bunch. We are trying to have more family home evening activities during the week with members. It's been pretty cool. We set up a family home evening with a family in the ward, and it's their responsibility to invite a nonmember friend, and we also invite our investigators. It's a great way to introduce friends to the church, and members have been giving more and better referrals. Inviting a friend to an activity is so simple, but so effective! And many times it is easier for them to accept an invitation to an activity than a church meeting, though we should invite to both. I challenge you guys this week to prayerfully invite a friend to an upcoming activity, or sacrament meeting. I promise you if you pray and ask, the Lord will put someone in your mind, and will use you as an instrument in His hands. Your friends need what you have! Always invite, even if the invitation isn't accepted right away.

Sooooo Sister Kohtz almost lost a toe this week. She had an ingrown toenail, and had to go to Recife with Sister Fuoco (cuz I didn't know how to get there) to get it removed. They pretty much removed the entire toe. But it's okay because now she has the cool nickname of 9-toed Sally. Her name isn't actually Sally, but 9-toed Sally has a better ring to it than 9-toed Morgen. Okay, so they didn't really chop the toe, but it was seriously almost a surgery, and she can't walk very far now, and can't get water or dirt or anything on her foot. We have to go to Recife 3 times this week to change the dressing, and do a treatment on the toe. Poor thing. She's a trooper, she hardly complains! And Sister Perez and Sister Fuoco have helped a ton, doing mini divisions with us every other day to be able to still visit our investigators. Keep Sister Kohtz in your prayers please! Also Erick. Don't have time to write a ton, but he is so close to baptism, just has some struggles.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love, Sister Hicken

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Police Strikes in Carpina Means Interesting Week

May 19, 2014
Well this week was certainly an adventure. Where to start?
Let's seee.....Monday was transfers, like I said. My new comp is Sister Kohtz. She’s awesome! She’s 19, from Missouri, and she went to BYU. She’s been out 9 months, and is a hard worker!
Tuesday, it rained ALLL DAY. It was crazy. We met with Erick and Sandriele and Danubia, among others. Erick's cousin came too. We taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. They had some really good questions, and we can tell that Erick is really searching to understand these things, and they make sense to him, but he hasn't yet felt like God has answered his prayers. Sandriele and Danubia are fantastic as well. They love what we are teaching them and feel that it's true, but haven't been able to come to church yet, and won't be able to next week either. Please keep them in your prayers. They all have been prepared by the Lord, and just need help overcoming these obstacles to be baptized.
Wednesday we woke up suuuuper early to go to the temple! We spent the morning walking around the temple grounds, taking pictures, ate lunch in the temple, went to the temple store, and then we did a session. I love the temple. Even though there is so much I still don't fully understand, I always feel the Spirit so strongly, and I always learn something new. I read in the bible dictionary this week the definition of temple that really struck me. "Literally, the house of god. The Lord visits his temples on the earth". Which we already know, but it's just amazing to think that I can be in a place that Heavenly Father literally visits. We are closer to him in the temple. It was wonderful.
We left the temple and were getting ready to head back home, but received word that the bus system was not safe because the police had gone on strike in Recife, and people were taking advantage of that. After about an hour of discussing what we should do, and talking with Presidente, we decided to stay the night at the temple motel (a motel on the temple grounds that they have mainly for the people who come in caravans from other places and stay several days) and go back in the morning (us 6 sisters). The next morning we headed out early and it's good that we did, because we then heard that the police in the entire state of Pernambuco were on strike, and everyone was freaking out and closing things down. And on the way Sister Rocha got a call from presidente that her grandfather had passed away, and then our bus that was going to Carpina decided it didn't want to go all the way to Carpina anymore, and we had to get off a little before, and take a van the rest of the way. It was insane. But we made it home safely, and then Presidente ordered that all the missionaries stay in their apartments until he said otherwise. So we were at home all day, except that we had a lesson in our same apartment building with Maria José and her husband João that went really well :) The next day the strike ended and we were able to work until 5, the next day until 6 and Sunday until 8. Today should be just fine. Don't worry, mom, we were safe, and never were close to any craziness, just heard about it from other people.
Sunday Elder Costa of the Seventy came and spoke in our stake! It was very neat. He talked about Brasil's bright future, and 3 things we need to do:  rescue the less actives, missionary work, and be self sufficient. It was really uplifting and motivating. Also Elder Nelson was in Pernambuco too, but he went to a different stake  :(
Well I’m out of time, but I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! I know this gospel is true and that it is the only way to be truly happy in this life and for all eternity.
Love, Sister Hicken

When we went to the temple this week there was a young sister who was training to be a photographer and asked if she could take pictures of us.  Enjoy!

Sister Kohtz, Sister Clarke, Sister Rocha, Sister Fuoco, Sister Perez, Sister Hicken at the Brazil Recife Temple

Sister Kohtz, Sister Perez, Sister Rocha, Sister Fuoco, Sister Clarke, and Sister Hicken

Monday, May 12, 2014

This Week Was Awesome! We Worked Like Crazy People!

May 12, 2014

Feliz Dia das Mães!!!!! I am so grateful for my mom and all the sacrifices she has made for me and for my family. I would not be here today if it weren't for her (literally, haha, as she gave birth to me, but also here on the mission). I am also grateful for my wonderful grandmas who raised strong families, and for all the wonderful mothers and leaders that have influenced my life, and been examples to me. I love you!

I'm trying to think of all the things that happened this week. My head is kind of scrambled today because we had transfers. Sister Rocha was transferred :( I love that woman and will miss her. I learned so much from her. She is incredible. My new companion is Sister Kohtz! For the first time I have an American companion, haha. She's from Missouri and has been on the mission for 10 months. She’s super awesome and we're excited to work together! Today was a long and crazy day, with transfer meeting and buses and waking super early, and all. But we arrived all safe and sound! Wednesday we get to go to the temple! Woohoo!!!!! 

Let's seee....this week was awesome, we worked like crazy people!!! Tuesday we had a family home evening with Vilma and Marília, Camila and Carlinhos and Tais. It was cool because Vilma is inactive, but was the one who came up with the idea. We invited a family of members, Selma and her kids, and went alllllll the way out to Vilma's house. But it was worth every step because when we got there, the family was all dressed up, and the kids had invited a bunch of friends, and Vilma had made a giant heart-shaped cake. Guys, this family is living on almost nothing, and they still shared with everyone. I was very touched to see how excited they were and how much love they had for us, and for their Heavenly Father. And these 4 kids came to church this week, 9 a.m. on the dot, even though Vilma didn't come. I admire them and love them soooo much. 

We met a kid this week named Erick. He's 17, and super elect! We passed by his house, and Sister Rocha stopped and said we should knock here. So we did, and got to know him, and taught him the first lesson, invited him to be baptized, and he accepted. The next visit, he asked us about the Book of Mormon, and we explained, and bore our testimonies, and marked some parts for him to read. When we came back, he had read and STUDIED the introduction and 3 Nephi 11. I've never had an investigator study the Book of Mormon like he did. Anything he didn't understand, he wrote in the back to ask us, or to look up on We were amazed. He had about half a dozen questions for us, all really good. He came to church yesterday, and really liked it. He's marked for baptism for this Sunday, but we forgot that there's stake conference with Elder Costa of the Seventy, so we have to talk with him and the bishop to see if it's still okay, but we're praying that everything will work out! 

We saw other little miracles this week, but I’m running out of time, so I’ll share more another week. Roberto is doing great. He'll receive the priesthood soon. Rose, one of our investigators who is trying to quit smoking, is really struggling. But we have done some things to help her and remotivate her this week, and she's doing better. She wants so badly to be baptized. This is the only thing impeding her. If you could keep her in her prayers, that would mean a lot to her and me. 

Well I’m out of time, but I hope you all have a wonderful week! 

Love, Sister Hicken

Talking to Camille on Mother's Day.  Awesome Mother's Day Present!

Elder Gustavo and Elder Daniels, the assistants to the President, and my new companion Sister Kohtz.
Me and my new companion, Sister Kohtz!

Monday, May 5, 2014

May the Fourth Be With You!!

May 5, 2014

MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!!!!!!!!! Hahahaahahahaaa.....ahhh I wait all year to be able to say that. Ahhh. May 4th is also special because it marks one year since I received my call to serve in Recife Brazil!!!!! Crazy to think how fast the time has flown by. One year ago I did not know a word of Portuguese, and had never heard of Recife! Wow. 

This week was another week of miracles. don't have that much time, so I’ll tell about the biggest miracle of the week. 

So we marked Roberto's baptism for Friday. We invited all the members, had everything set. Roberto was super excited. He quit drinking coffee, we did a practice interview with him, and he passed with flying colors. He was all set and ready. He even invited several friends to his baptism. He was very excited, and we were excited for him. We scheduled his interview for Friday at 3, and the baptism was at 7. The zone leaders came, and we got to Roberto's house, and he was all nervous, and saying he wasn't ready to go through with the baptism, that he had a problem, and that it would be better another day.  We were super shocked. He had been super thrilled the day before. Elder Hanna interviewed him, and found that he was completely ready, that he had no problem with any commandment, and yet Roberto still didn't feel like he could be baptized. We all talked for about an hour. He kept saying he was having bad thoughts, but couldn't elaborate. It was the most intense lesson I think I’ve ever had with an investigator. All four of us missionaries were trying hard to listen to Roberto and listen to and follow the Spirit, to help him be able to be baptized. Because we knew he was ready, and we knew he had the desire. We knew and felt that the enemy was trying to dissuade him and throw him off the right path. We could tell there was an inner battle going on, and that he was listening to us, but still scared to go through with it. Finally we came to an agreement. He didn't want to be baptized, but agreed to come to the church at 7 anyways to announce that the baptism was cancelled. We said a prayer and left. And then we prayed like crazy that he would be able to conquer the enemy, and know that baptism was the right decision. In those two hours waiting, my faith grew because we had to make a conscious decision to trust the Lord and to have faith that against all odds, Roberto would be baptized. We went to the church at 6:30 like everything was normal, praying that he would come. (A lot of members were already there and the font was filled!) 6:45 he arrived, towel in hand, with the biggest smile on his face. We were like "ROBERTO YOU CAME!!!!!" and he was like "Of course I came!" Haha :)  He said after we left, he thought a lot about what we said, and could feel the enemy trying to bring him down. He also saw me cry during the prayer, and that really touched him. And he remembered how he felt during all the lessons, and knew that was what Heavenly Father wanted him to do. There were no words to describe our joy. It was the best moment of my entire mission. The ward was all there to welcome him, and it went perfectly, the baptism. On Sunday, he was confirmed (along with Marilia, Camila, Carlinhos, and Aninha, a girl who was baptized a few weeks ago but wasn't able to be confirmed until now).  It was testimony meeting and he went up and bore his testimony! We were so proud. We are so happy to see that he truly has a testimony of his own, and that he loves this gospel. And the kids are loving church as well. My heart is so full of love for these people, and this ward, I can't contain it all!!!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!! 

Love you all and hope you had a wonderful May the 4th :) 

Sister Hicken

Roberto's Baptism!  

The Best Hot Chocolate in the World!!!

Sister Perez, Sister Rocha, Sister Hicken, and Sister Fuoco.  Say, "CHOCOLATE!"

We dyed Easter Eggs this week. You may observe for yourself the shenanigans :) Brazilians don't dye Easter eggs, so it was really fun for my companions :) Also, when we dumped out 
the cups, my hands got dyed pink. I looked like an Oompa Loompa. 

Sister Perez

Me and Sister Perez.

 Sister Perez and Sister Fuoco

Sign that my companions made to thank my mom for sending the Easter Egg dye.

Love You!