Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Feel Like the Wicked Witch of the West, "I'm melting!"

January 26, 2015

Hey guys! Happy January! 

Hope things are not too cold and dreary where you are. Here we are melting. I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West. But we kind of get used to it. 

These past few weeks, at the end of the day, we have been recording and sharing with each other the Tender Mercies of the day. This is something I learned from the sisters in Goiana :) It's been a great way to remember and recognize the hand of the Lord during the day, and reenergizes us. Even at the end of a long or hard day, there are still things to be grateful for. I love Nephi 1:20 and Alma 34:38. 

1 Nephi 1:20
“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

Alma 34:38
“That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”

Tender mercies of the week-

WATER! Bucket showers are no more! For now, at least. It is such a blessing to have running water.

Leadership Council in which President Bigelow gave a training on how to teach using 1 Nephi 11. WOW, I never realized how that chapter is packed with hidden treasures. It shows us exactly how we should teach. We learned soooo much and have put those things in practice in our teaching, and have seen a difference in our investigators, and an increase in our unity and sensitivity to the Spirit. The biggest thing we've done is to ask more questions, and have the investigator participate more, because this invites the Spirit to work in them, as they respond, and we know better how to help them. 

A lady who almost was baptized a few years ago, but didn't commit to make necessary changes, stopped us in the street a few weeks ago, and asked if we could come visit her one day. We taught her a couple times, and she is fantastic, very intelligent, and has a good memory of what the other sisters taught her (years ago). She came to church yesterday, and many members remembered her. She's awesome, and loved the classes, and knows what she needs to do. We are praying for her to have the courage to make the necessary changes. 

Another less active family came to church this week.  The ward is becoming so excited seeing these lost sheep return to the fold, and are having more desire to visit and rescue other families :)

Damião received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! He is looooving church, and loved the family home evening we had with him and a family in the ward. He wants to learn everything he can :)

This week, honestly was kind of rough, because a lot of appointments fell through like 3 days in a row, even with our solid investigators. But we saw it as a test of our faith. We want the Lord to know he can trust us with his sheep. And we saw tender mercies at the end of every day, and we know this week will be better. 

Well we have to go, but I send muitos abraços e apertos de mão para todo mundo onde quer que vocês estejam! :) [many hugs and handshakes for everyone wherever you are. ]  Love you all!

Sister Hicken

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Taking a Bucket Shower and Washing Dishes from a Bucket...It's Funner Than It Sounds!

January 19, 2015

This week was, as always, crazy. But it was sooooo good! 

First things first-

Damião was baptized!!!!!!!! We were sooo happy. It was a simple, short baptismal service, but it went perfectly. It was so sweet to see his expression as he came up out of the water. He was just so happy. And then on Sunday, after his confirmation, he came back and sat down next me and said "Okay, NOW I'm a Mormon!" haha :) Irmão Rinaldo, our ward mission leader gave a talk on Sunday and in the middle of his talk, he invited Damião to come up and bear his testimony (after he had asked me before sacrament meeting if he would have to talk at the pulpit and I said no, haha). It was soo sweet, his testimony. So simple and pure, like a child's. 

Other news-we invited the majority of our investigators to be baptized on a specific date. The results-One accepted to be baptized on February 7th, two others are still investigating, and need more time to feel if it's right, and one flat out refused. But it was good to "DTR" [Define The Relationship] with our investigators so that we can know how to help them, if they desire to follow Christ or not. 

Other news.....the town has been out of running water for most of this week. We have 2 big plastic barrels of water that hold 1000L, so when we don't have running water, we take bucket showers and flush toilets with buckets and wash our dishes in water from a bucket! It's funner than it sounds. 

Other is the first day of my last transfer. That is so weird to think. 

Oh, I forgot to tell about the division we did from the week before. I went to Goiana to do a division with Sister H. Silva for a day, and Sister Ruiz came here to Ouro Preto. 

I'm almost out of time, we only have an hour today because the Lan House is gonna close, but I love you all and wish you a happpppy MLK day!

Love, Sister Hicken

Sister Hicken, Jacqueline, and Sister Morales

Sister Hicken, Pedro and Gabriel.  Pedro always asks, "Do you wear Princess Dresses every day?"

Sister Hicken, Damiao, and Sister Morales

Brother Rinaldo, Damiao, Sister Hicken, and Sister Morales

View from the highest point in Ouro Preto.

A real live, well actually dead scorpion in our apartment.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Internet Crashes, Investigators, and Scorpions. Oh My!

January 12, 2015

Oi everybody! 

I don't have much time today because the internet crashed and we had to come back 2 hours later, and it was a big ole mess and yeah, but I'll try and share the highlights here. 

One of our investigators is going to be baptized this week on Saturday! Please keep him in your prayers! The adversary works hard to mess up and impede baptisms, and dissuade the investigator especially the week of the baptism, so we're praying hard that everything will go smoothly, and that he will continue to feel peace with his decision. Another investigator may be baptized this day but it is not very likely, as she has a ton of medical appointments this week. She is incredible though. In the midst of so many problems with her health and her house, she comes to church every Sunday that she can. The only thing she needs is to be taught the rest of the lessons. She feels what we're teaching is true, and is seeing the difference and we are seeing a difference in her. She is even planning to go find a modest dress this week, and we haven't even talked about the standards, but she said she would feel better that way. 

We had a lot of investigators at church this week, it was great! Two of them finally came for the first time, and they liked it a lot.  We're planning to mark their baptism tonight. ALSO, SISTER DANA AND SISTER PIZA, GABRIEL CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!! And he loved it! He also went to the movies with Rodrigo and some of the other young men this week. Wooohoo! 

Sad thing of the week-Jaqueline moved to the city :((((((((((((((((((((((( It was so sad to say goodbye to her and her kids. Me and Sister Morales wrote a letter to her, and stopped by to deliver it and say goodbye. She surprised us by giving us each a pair of earrings and a ring. Soooo sweet. I feel strongly that she was a large part of the reason I needed to come to Ouro Preto. Sister Morales and I both love her and her family soooo much. We all bawled when it was time to go :( But I'm happy that she plans to continue going to church and preparing to get married and be baptized. 

In other news, I had an encounter with a real live scorpion this week!, it's a real dead scorpion. But it's still ugly! I took pictures. I'll send them next week. I also have pictures of happier things, like Jaqueline and her cute kids that I'll try to send. 

I love this work. I have never been so happy and involved in a greater cause---building the Lord's kingdom, and helping people find true happiness. This is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know it. I know He lives. I know He is our Savior and Redeemer. Following Him is the way to find true happiness. 

I love you all, and hope you have a FANTASTIC ;) week. 

Sister Hicken

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

We're Swimming in Mangoes

January 5, 2015

Nadando em MANGAS!!! [Swimming in Mangoes!!!...which she will explain in a moment…]

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! 

This week there is not much to report on.  Things were kind of slow, because a lot of members and investigators went to the beach for the holidays. There were a couple of days where the city looked like a ghost town haha. But we kept calm and carried on :) Highlights:

One of our investigators is so ready to be baptized. He is reading and praying about everything we teach him, and he knows it's true. We taught him this week about the gospel of Jesus Christ and tithing, and no problems! The only thing is that he is easily distracted and likes to tell stories haha. But we do our best to help him stay focused during the lesson. He always asks questions, which we love. Also, every time we come, he has a bag of mangoes waiting for us. It's so sweet! But there's just two of us at home, and like 20 mangoes! And he still gives us more! We're swimming in mangoes! So we've started handing them out when we street contact, "Hi, we're missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and hey do you want a mango?" (Okay, it's not EXACTLY like that, we talk with the person first) But yeah. Lots of mangoes. I was gonna write something else just now, but I saw something shiny and forgot. Sorry. ANYways, 

Ah! I remembered. We taught a former investigator of Sister Dana and Sister Piza this week. He saw us walking one day, and called us over to the store where he was working and asked us when we could come by. Sister Piza told me about him. He had all the lessons, and had no problem with anything, except church attendance. He works on Sundays and didn't want to ask a day off because he likes working on Sundays. But he marked a day with us, so we went and visited him. He wanted to see if what we had to say was the same as what the other sisters taught him. He remembered a lot from what the sisters taught him, of Plan of Salvation especially. He is very receptive and wants to know the truth, but is a little mixed up [on gospel teachings]. He wants to know the truth, but hasn't really done his part in seeking yet. We told him straight up that our purpose as missionaries is to help people prepare to be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ, and asked if that was his desire.  We asked him if he had prayed to know if what the sisters taught him was true, and he said yes but not with much faith. We followed the Spirit during the lesson, to know what to ask him and what to say, and it went really well. We taught about the Plan of Salvation, the Book of Mormon, and testified that this was the true church of Jesus Christ, and how he could know for himSELF that it was true. He promised to read what we marked, and pray with faith and a sincere desire, and even promised to come to church next Sunday! He's going to ask to have that day off. We were excited. 

Our investigator sister is still with her son this week, but is coming back soon. Please pray for her! She was in the hospital this week.

Sister Morales quote of the week-
Me-  "Wow, look at how the moon is full."
Sister Morales- "Yeah, it's cuz she just finished eating."
Hahaha. I love this woman. 

Hope you're all doing well! I love you lots! Thank you for your prayers and letters! 

Sister Hicken