Monday, February 16, 2015

Where is Your Umbrella?

February 16, 2015

Hello everyone! Happy Valentines Day! Happy February and everything :)

So this week, during Carnaval, we have been going out at 9 a.m. because we have to be indoors by 5 p.m. And I have been getting double tanned. Even Sister Morales, who is brown, got super burnt when she forgot to put on sunscreen this week. The sun has been scooorching. And I got chewed out this week 2 different times by 2 different little old ladies who we had never met before. "Where is your umbrella? You’re so white, you need to always carry an umbrella to protect you from the sun! You could get cancer!" And one said, "I know you're doing good things, and God protects you but God doesn't do what we ourselves can and should do!" I decided they were 2 of the 3 Nephites. And I heeded their counsel. 

Other than that, Carnaval has been really calm. 

Events of the week...some investigators, and their son came to church this week again, and also Damião, and another investigator! We are working with the members to reactivate, and rescue less actives. (Sidenote-Alma 17 is really interesting to study with the perspective of bringing back less actives). Unfortunately, none of our investigators were able to come to church this week :( Gabriel had to work. Thank you for your prayers for him. He is struggling with some things right now, and has been the focus of our prayers this week.  

We are finding new people to teach this week as well, despite Carnaval.  We met one man on the street this week that said he had already talked several times with the missionaries, and wasn’t all that interested in marking a day to meet with us, but then he started talking about how there are so many religions in the world, and asked the question, “Why are there so many churches?” and we said, “We have the answer to that!” and gave a summary of the Restoration, and showed him the Book of Mormon.  Though he said he had met several times with the missionaries, this seemed to be news to him.  He asked how much it costed, and we told him it was free if he wanted to read it, and he accepted, and marked a day to meet with us.  We are excited to return and meet with him again this week.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!  I will see you again next Wednesday [not Monday], we’re going to the temple!

Sister Hicken  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Too Much Fat Tuesday!

February 9, 2015

Never in my life have I seen such celebration of Fat Tuesday. It is just this year that it is dawning on me that Carnaval is actually the celebration of Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Those are the roots of the holiday, but no one knows. But yeah a week of partying and craziness all for Fat Tuesday. I mean......I liked Fat Tuesday before, like getting pazckis (or however you spell it) [For those of you who haven't heard of pazckis, they're Polish jelly-filled doughnuts sold for Fat Tuesday] in school....but a week long party seems like a liiiiittle overkill to me....

Excerpt of letter to president
“This week has gone much better. We have been working more with the members, and we have been able to teach more, and we have an awesome family that is being reactivated. We also marked the baptism of one of our investigators for this Sunday, but then he didn't come to church and we don't know why. But we haven't given up. We were able to meet his mom, and we took with us our ward mission leader, and he talked with her for a long time, about the church, about her family, and she was able to tirar algumas dúvidas [ take some questions ], and we saw that she relaxed over the course of the conversation, and by the end she accepted a visit, and an invitation to come to our ward cultural night on Wednesday (along with her other son who almost NEVER leaves the house because he has depression). We, our ward mission leader, and some other members who have also met our investigator, feel strongly that the Lord wants him, and needs him to join the church. We feel that he will be a powerful missionary. He took us to visit a friend of his this week so we could teach her about the plan of salvation, and he asks questions about serving a mission, frequently. Sister Morales and I are praying and fasting and working to prepare him for baptism. We are doing all we can.”

So that is the biggest highlight of the week, our investigator. He is one of the most incredible investigators I've ever had. He asks such good questions, and has such a desire to do what's right. Please keep him in your prayers! 

Other highlights....we had a neat experience with a less active daughter of an active member. We shared 3 Nephi 5:13, and talked about how we're all disciples of Jesus Christ once we are baptized. We asked her what it means to her to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and she shared an experience that she hadn’t even shared with her mom. She has a friend that was atheist, and last week he messaged her and told her that he is no longer atheist, and she asked him what happened, how he came to believe in God, and he said it was because of her, and she was super surprised. But her example as a member of the church had a big influence on him. And she was super touched by that, and by the scripture we shared, and felt that God was using us to tell her how much He loved her. She is not ready to return right now, but she felt God's love for her, and we just felt so much love for her, and have hope that she will come back in the future. 

Another family, who have been inactive for a few years, and we have been visiting, came to church this week! Everyone was sooo happy to see them, and they are now preparing to enter the temple! :D

Also, Irmão Damião is doing great. He is also preparing to enter the temple and to receive the Melchizedek priesthood. We just love him so much :) 

I have to go now, but love and hugs from me and until next week!

Sister Hicken

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Missionary Work is an Exercise in Patience...and More Patience

February 2, 2015

Howdy from sunny and sweaty Ouro Preto! (as my mom would say)

This week has been an exercise in patience, I’ve decided.  Mosiah 24.  A few of our investigators who we have been teaching for a few weeks and were preparing them for baptism have not been able to meet with us this week, or have flat out marked with us and then didn’t show up.  Just when you think you’ve learned patience…

But we’ve also had some great experiences this week.  Our 15 year old investigator who comes to church EVERY week (albeit veeeery late) but hasn’t accepted to be baptized, is progressing.  We were talking about prophets in the Bible this week, and I don’t remember how it led up to this but he said “God should call a prophet today.  He called prophets in the past, so it should be the same today.  If the Church had a prophet, I would believe”  I have never had such pleasure in announcing that God has indeed called a living prophet to guide us in these days.  (Note—we AND the other sisters already taught the Restoration, and talked about modern day prophets, so not sure how this was news to him, but we were happy that it clicked now)  We showed him a picture of Pres. Monson and the 12 apostles, and on the back it had a picture of the Salt Lake Temple, and he asked about that, and we explained a little about temples.  He expressed to us his desire to know which of aaaaalll the churches is true, and we told him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  Cuz if the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith and the Church and everything is also true.  He promised he would.

We had zone conference as well this week, which was AWESOME.  President gave a training on the Book of Mormon, and also how to improve our teaching, using 1 Nephi 11 as a model.  We have seen such a difference in our teaching since then.

One experience we had with the Book of Mormon was on Thursday, when we went to visit our recent convert, Damião.  We had planned to teach him again about the priesthood, but after the zone conference, we both felt we needed to follow up on his study of the Book of Mormon.  He told us that he has been reading, and hasn’t gotten very far, but what he has read has changed his life.  He said before, he didn’t have any motive or direction, but as he reads the Book of Mormon, he sees the direction he needs to go.  He has a thirst to read and learn more, and is excited to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover.  We asked him what he most wanted in his life, and he talked about his family, and how he wanted them to have peace and make good decisions, and we felt inspired to share a passage of the introduction with him and a passage in 3 Nephi 12, which talk about how the Book of Mormon will help people find peace in this life and salvation in the next life, and we all discussed together what he can do to help his family, by being an example, continuing to live the gospel, inviting them to church, and to meet the missionaries.  We hadn’t planned to talk about any of these things, but as we talked with him, questions came to our minds, and as awe listened to what he said, we realized what we needed to share.  It was fantastic!

There is more I would love to write, but I need to respond to individual emails now.  I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week!  :)

Sister Hicken

Zone Conference with President and Sister Bigelow