Monday, December 29, 2014

Feliz Navidad y un prospero ano

Hola amigos y familiares!
Wow nice to see you all back home! Sounds like you´re all doing well. Next time less questions about me and the mission, and more questions about you guys. I realized how much I miss you all, and especially going to Jonathan´s basketball games and seeing him own everybody. Keep practicing buddy! I really have an amazing family.
Merry Christmas! On the 24th we spent the night passing from house to house. Everyone offered us tamales. By the end of the night I had eaten 4 and had taken home a ton as well. The last family we visited was Jesus and Abraham. They had invited us 3 weeks earlier and were waiting in anticipation when we arrived. They had prepared...yep...tamales! But more then that, they had prepared a meal with chicken, chips, and salsa. We ate, and ate, and ate, and had fun and shared a message. I wouldn´t have wanted to have the night anywhere else.

Our zone wasn´t able to do a zone Christmas party. To make up for it, the zone leaders spent the night with us.
They have a tradition here to shoot off fireworks at 12 o´clock the night of the 24th. So at midnight we woke up for the display of fireworks that would appear. Sure enough, at the stroke of midnight the sky was bright with light. Not long after the sky was filled with smoke from all the fireworks. It was amazing.

Christmas morning we woke up and got to open the packages our family´s sent us. (thanks for always sending my companion a package as well) One very specially wrapped box from my parents to me was saved to be opened last. When I unwrapped it we couldn´t believe what we saw. Bacon scented products!
What a great joke. We were so excited. But you got us. We were disappointed to find it was a prank box and not what was actually inside. Thanks guys! Still I loved all the gifts and Christmas cards. You guys are the best! Hope you all had a merry merry Christmas. 
This Christmas season has given Elder Golledge and I many opportunities to serve and share the gospel. We love it. The ¨He is the Gift¨ initiative has been especially helpful. For example, this past Friday we were asked to stop by a potential investigator´s house. We had met him and his family many times through another investigator but never had taught them. They gladly accepted our invitation and invited us in with open arms when we arrived. After talking for a little bit we felt we should share the He is the Gift video even though Christmas had passed a few days earlier. When we were done we asked everyone to share their feelings about the video. The mother of the family had listened to the missionaries previously when she had lived in the capital. She said they had confused her a little but after seeing the video it became clear that we believe and worship Jesus Christ. All asked more questions about the church and about the Book of Mormon. They accepted an invitation to come to church as well. We were overjoyed to see their whole family come to church yesterday. This is truly a special time of year to see miracles and to remember the gift our Heavenly Father has given us. Let us give Him a gift by remembering and following His son Jesus Christ, this year and all the following years.
Estefany and Lisangela are set to be baptized the 10th of January.
Best wishes to all and a have a happy new year!
Elder Hicken

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Talking to Nathan on Christmas Day

We had a fabulous conversation with Nathan around noon-definitely the highlight of the day! It was sooo… good to Skype with Elder Nathan, something we’ve anticipated for a long time. He sounded awesome, and looked great! He is just really HAPPY—he loves what he is doing! His Spanish is amazing. We all chuckled that he couldn’t remember the English word for “parents,” or “basketball court.” ha ha J Sounded like there are quite a lot of Christmas Eve festivities, with the actual Christmas day being low key. He is teaching the Mayan people. Up North there is another group of Guatemalan people but that is out of his mission. He will always teach the Mayan people. He talked about the new change of teaching Lesson 5 in Preach My Gospel BEFORE  a convert is baptized—Laws and Ordinances: Priesthood, Eternal Marriage, Temples & Family history, etc. Great idea! What blessings the Lord continues to give to Nathan 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Deck the Halls with Tamales

Hola amigos y familiares!
This Christmas has been one of giving, service, peace, joy, and love. Perhaps I'm not back home for the holidays but the feeling of Christmas is here. Merry Christmas everyone!
Wednesday night, all the elders in our zone came to Quiché and stayed the night. Bright and early the next morning we headed out to Huehuetenango for a multi-zone conference with Elder Duncan from the Seventy. We cleaned our suits, shined our shoes, and got there with plenty of time to spare. When Elder Duncan walked in, all the elderes y hermanas stood. Shortly after we had the opportunity to shake Elder Duncan´s hand and talk with him for a few seconds. After a short message from Hermana Smith as well as a few words from Presidente Smith, we got to hear Elder Duncan. He started by reading off statistics, the point being that the majority of the members are in North America, the other largest portion in Central/South America and the rest in the other continents of the world. He also read off numbers of the people baptized and the people attending Sacrament meeting every Sunday. The difference in numbers was startling. There is a hastening of the work and LOTS of work to do. The churches efforts in the past have been good, but now with the expectations higher there needs to be a change. Over many hours he talked about the need to find to teach. And then after we find, what is our message? Faith in Jesus Christ and true repentance. In turn, this will lead to baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Already we've applied the things we learned at the conference. We have been able to see the difference and the fruits from following the leaders of the church. I know they are called of God and receive revelation.
Other random happenings of the week
1) Elder Golledge and I have been going to the ward choir practices this past week. He sings and I play the piano. Saturday, there was a ward activity where the choir performed a Christmas presentation of Christ's birth. The narrators read a few lines then the choir sang a Christmas hymn. Like we practiced, Elder Golledge sang and I played the piano. It turned out really well! It was nice to focus on Jesus Christ.
2) We celebrated Hna. Blanca's birthday. We frosted a few muffins and sang. Like the tradition here, she took the first bite and then her face ended up in the cake. Afterwards she kissed all her kids with her frosted face. It was really funny. We also gave her a small gift. Guess what it was? PEANUT BUTTER! (thanks mom for sending those little packets) She loved it.


3) At the branch activity, they served tamales. Apparently that's a big thing down here during this time of year. Can't wait to have that every day this week!

I hope you all feel the Spirit of Christmas this season. I know Jesus Christ lives. Les felicito una buena Navidad y prospero año!
Elder Hicken

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Holly Jolly Week in Quiche

Hola familiares y amigos!
Jesus, Santiaga, Abraham and Walter all went to the temple this past Saturday!  I was so happy!  They said they had a great experience. Elder Golledge and I had tried to help them find family names to take but it was very difficult. Then just one day before they went, Jesus found the names and dates for his parents. Abraham was able to be baptized for his grandpa and Sanitaga for Jesus’s mother. What a miracle.  I was just so happy!
Unfortunately, Estefanie, the daughter of Jesus and Santiaga, has been struggling. She is finding it hard to leave behind her old life and friends. She truly has the desire to be baptized but feels unworthy to do so. But yesterday, we visited her and began teaching the Plan of Salvation. We helped her understand that the Atonement could help her with her desire to change. She really got it and said she would use the cleansing power of the Atonement in her life. Then she said she wanted to move up her baptismal date. I almost screamed! It has been incredible to see the change in Estefanie in her efforts to become better. I know the Lord is routing for us to follow Him.
Elder Golledge and I are still meeting with Lisbeth and Silvia. They are still looking for an answer that they should be baptized. We are really trying to work out their challenges and help them read the Book of Mormon. My love for them has grown so much. They know we carry something special and appreciate when we come over. In our last visit with them, Lisbeth told us she had heard a voice in the night, The voice told her that Elder Golledge and I had a special message for her. I hope this experience can help her in the right direction to find her testimony in all that we´ve taught.
Lisangela will be baptized in January. She has been such a great example for her family. Almost all of them are re-activated. They have come to church for the past 3 Sundays, Biron is preparing to receive the priesthood and Roxana re-new her temple recommend. Very exciting!
It´s been fun seeing the decorations go up this Christmas season. There is a huge Christmas tree in the park along with many dazzling lights and decorations. Every store is selling Christmas decorations, treats, lights, trees and fireworks. Fireworks seem to be a big thing down here, no matter what holiday it is.
This was Elder Jerez´s last week. He bore his testimony in church as his send off and left this morning. Out of all the missionaries he has been the greatest example to me. He has been a great leader, selfless, humble, hard-working and continually looking for spiritual experiences. It was sad to see him go. Funny thing though, he´s coming back in roughly 2 weeks. He is going to come back to visit with his family, and to baptize an investigator family. I guess I´ll say good-bye a second time.
Overall it was a great week! A few more fun experiences...
1. Our district planned an activity in the park for this past Friday. We had a lot to do and weren´t able to get everything pulled together in time. We ended up singing and passing out cookies along with the ¨Él es la Dádiva¨ pass-along cards. It was a great time and we received a few references. We plan on doing the activity again in the park next week.
2. Elder Galbraith went on splits with us last Saturday. His companions had gone to the temple in the morning. I´ll have to admit, it was interesting teaching in a trio. But I learned a lot and we were able to teach by the Spirit.
3. We were passing by Jesus´s house when we saw Walter and his friend fixing their bike. We helped them repair a flat tire (with a paint brush and tape) and made friends with Walter´s buddy. He came to church!
4. Elder Golledge and I were looking through Elder Jerez´s pictures and saw one of an hermana holding a gun. We were all over that! When we went over to her house this week for lunch, we asked her about her gun. With pride she pulled out an airsoft gun as well as two pistols. ha ha.

It is amazing to see all the blessings the Lord has given me, especially this Christmas season. The difference is startling when the attitude is of service. Remember this holiday the true meaning of Christmas and the greatest gift our Heavenly Father has given us, His son Jesus Christ. I know this gospel is true. Love you all!

Elder Hicken

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Hola hermanos!
This week I'd had the feeling to talk to Estefanie, the daughter of Jesus and Santiaga. . The week before she had gone to the baptismal service of her mom and brother. Every time we went over she was always working. We decided to go to her work. We stopped by and just talked for a little. A few days later, we passed by the house and got another chance to talk to her. We asked her how she liked the baptismal service and asked if she'd thought about being baptized. She said she had and that she had the desire to be baptized. We planned to stop by later that day to talk with her. When we arrived later that day she told us she wants to read to know for herself if the Book of Mormon is true. It was a miracle.
Lizangela is ten years old and wants to be baptized! Her family hasn't been active in the church for 4 years. After many visits and support from their other active family members, they came to church! Roxana was able to interview with Presidente Wilder and received a lot of help. Also, Lizangela's brother, Biron, really liked the service and wants to receive the priesthood. I'm so grateful for Lizangela's desire to follow what she knows to be right. Her example has helped her whole family to come back to church.
1) Celebrated Thanksgiving with a bonfire and some smores. The other elders and us invited our investigators and shared what we were thankful for. 

2) Hno. Emilio and Hna. Luz Adriana were married and sealed in the temple this past Saturday. They invited us to the reception. My first Guatemalan wedding! It was really fun. We took along Jesus, Santiaga and Walter. They loved it as well. We had a good time playing tic-tac-toe and other games. They told us about all their best fishing stories. 

3) Went to a volleyball game to support some of our investigators. I was lost the whole time. I guess I don't know how volleyball is scored. It was still fun to watch. Two gringos at a volleyball game! At times it seemed like people were more watching us than the game.
4) Mercedies asked us to plan an activity with all her family, so we did. We shared a short spiritual message then played a game. Everyone ties a balloon around their ankle, then when the game starts, tries to stomp on the other persons balloons. Last one standing wins. The husband of Mercedies was laughing so hard! It was fun.
5) Had a family history activity at the church with Jesus, Abraham and Walter. We set up an account for them on Couldn't do much after that though. None of them could remember the date of births of their parents or grandparents. They couldn't even remember the birthday of Santiaga! That's just how it is down here.
And then elder Galbraith and Elder Espina (from the capital same as Elder Jerez) came to join us in Quiché. They're awesome! Already they've had great success and are helping us a lot. Elder Hohman's new companion is pilas as well. He is from Panama and can speak English. He's really enthusiastic about the work and has a strong testimony.
Check out this website:
Èl es la Dádiva [He is the Gift]

Elder Hicken

Monday, December 8, 2014

Nath' "brings light" to someone's life

Hola amigos!
We have been working with Silvia and Lisbeth nearly everyday before their baptismal date. We read the Book of Mormon a lot and testify of the Restoration of the gospel. We are also helping Lisbeth start up her new internet café.
We had a lesson with Lisangela and her family last Friday. We shared the video of ´´El es la Dádiva´´ [He is the Gift] and encouraged her about her baptismal date. We figured out that their bathroom light didn´t work. The next day, Elder Golledge and I stopped by with a screwdriver, lightbulb and some other supplies to fix the light. Thanks dad for teaching me how to do that.  Side note- at one point Elder Golledge got shocked pretty bad. He wasn´t too happy.
Elder Golledge got called as district leader. Because of his new calling, we went to Huehuetenango last week along with half of the other leaders in the mission (the other half went to Xela because there´s so many). Even though I´m not a leader, I got to listen and I learned so much! President Smith talked about working together as one, setting realistic and reachable goals, and how to find new investigators. The Assistants chose volunteers to role play certain situations to share the gospel- Passing in the street, on the bus, knocking a door, etc. It was great!
Sorry lots to do today!  Thanks for all you do! I have a testimony that this is the Lord´s work. Hasta la otra semana [until next week] !
Elder Hicken

Monday, November 24, 2014

Contacts, Investigators, & Baptisms

Hola hola hola! 
Congratulations to Ruth and Tommy on their wedding.  And Happy Thanksgiving this week everyone.  I'm so grateful for such great friends and family.
We found out today who will be changing tomorrow. Elder Pinchi (zone leader) is the only change in our area. I guess Elder Galbraith is changing but he's coming here to Santa Cruz del Quiché to be one of the new zone leaders. Two zone leaders will be coming to take the place of Elder Pinchi and Elder Jerez. Elder Jerez finishes his mission the 16th of December so he and the two new missionaries will be a trio until he leaves. Another 6 weeks together with Elder Golledge!
These was a great week! We found a new investigator by knocking doors. His name is Marco-Antonio. He is about 55 years old, works at the terminal, lives alone and has a strong Christian background. He's always excited when we come over. The first time we knocked his door we were headed to another appointment so we just set up a time we could come back. When we showed up he was waiting. Elder Golledge and I walked into the one room house and were shocked to see some pretty graphic pictures on all walls. But we sat down and kept focused on Marco-Antonio's face. It didn't smell too good either with beer cans all over the place but his willingness to listen to our message made the smell go away. I'm excited to help him.
Elder Golledge, Jesus-Antonio and I stopped by Odelia's house and gave her a short lesson. We came to find out very quickly that her niece, whose parents have been less-actives for 4 years, had the desire to be baptized. We talked to her niece about baptism and asked her to be baptized. She said she would and so we made a goal for her to be baptized the 20th of December. All we need is permission from her parents. It was a miracle. 
To finish the week, Walter and Santiaga were baptized! One of the zone leaders investigators, Oscar, also was to be baptized on the same day so we did all three at the same time. 

To set up for the baptismal service, Elder Golledge and I, as well as the other elders, got to the chapel early. We cleaned then decorated with the snowflakes, balloons and other Christmas supplies mom sent me. THANK YOU mom! 

Elder Jerez, a really good cook, baked and frosted more than 80 cupcakes for after the service. They were so good! We had made invitations to invite the ward members and investigators to the baptismal service.  We were happy to see a lot show up when the actual service came around. 

Walter, Santiaga and Oscar got there early then changed into their white clothes. I had the privilege to bapitze Santiaga and Walter. An hermano in the ward who had worked really close with Oscar baptized him. 

As part of the program, the elders and I performed a short musical number, "When I am Baptized". The Spirit was very strong. After, we performed the actual baptism ordinance. Before the service, Santiaga had told me she was a little nervous about the water. I tried my best to comfort her and to make her feel calm. She went first to be baptized. She was shaking but I could feel she wanted to be baptized. I had to baptize her twice cuz the first time I said her name wrong. I felt bad cuz I knew how scared she had been about the water. I was comforted afterwards when she was laughing and smiling and told me she loved it. Same with Walter, her son. I'm so happy for their decisions to be baptized. This is their first big step on their path to following our Heavenly Father.
Thanks for all the support. A few other random happenings of the week: we celebrated Dulce's birthday with chocolate frosted muffins, we ran out of saldo (minutes) so we've been walking A LOT lately cuz that's all we can do, found a family of the parents and their 3 kids who are interested in the gospel. 
I've loved hearing all the personal stories of those with whom your sharing the gospel and how it's blessing their lives. Never give up! Keep pushing forward. Adios!
Elder Hicken

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hola A Todo!

Mucho gusto saludarles. Otra vez era una semana maravillosa. [Gladly I greet you.  Again, it's been another marvelous week].
Walter and Santi are getting baptized this Saturday, the 22nd of November at 4 PM! You're all invited of course. Their attitudes have been one of "Why wait? I'm ready." We are meeting with them everyday this week to prepare them for their baptismal interviews on Thursday. Jesus and Abraham have been amazing as well. They've answered all the questions from Santi and Walter. Sometimes I'm a little sad cuz we get to an appointment expecting them to have questions and Jesus and Abraham have already answered them all! haha -- but seriously I'm very grateful for them and their help.
Jesus-Antonio has such a strong desire to serve a mission. He came teaching with us everyday this week. He studies his scriptures and Preach My Gospel. He has come to love our investigators and is always asking for us to visit various families. One woman whom Jesus-Antonio came to visit with us was Mercedes. She lives with her husband and her 5 kids. She has been having a lot of financial problems as well as problems within her family. We have visited her for a while and have really built a strong relationship with her and her family. She hasn't gone to church in many years. This last Saturday, I was able to call Mercedes and ask her to come to church. She said she had the desire to come and when she came even brought along her grand-son. His name is Wili. He is 7 years old but turns 8 in April. When I showed him the baptismal font on Sunday, he said he wanted to be baptized. I'm so grateful for Jesus-Antonio and for his help. He interviewed with President Wilder and has to finish institute as well as half of the Book of Mormon before he can go. He was so excited! 
Also, as Elder Golledge and I were heading to visit a less active member, Jesus-Antonio, as well as another member, Hermano Fermin, tagged along to help. As we were walking, Hermano Fermin told me his amazing conversion story. Before he was baptized, he drank, smoked and lived in a cardboard shack. He provided little to nothing for his family. One day, a dramatic experience occurred where he cut 2 of his fingers hospitalizing himself. While in the hospital, he had time to think about his life. Eventually he got released and started working in a tienda [store]. That's when the missionaries came along. They started teaching Hermano Fermin about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Poco a poco [little by little], Hermano Fermin began to change. Using the cleansing power of the Atonement he quit drinking, smoking and got baptized. He started going back to school. Next year he will attend a university in the capital to become a lawyer. His story, as well as the change I have seen in Jeus-Antonio and Jesus & Abraham have strengthened my testimony bastantemente [significantly]. The changing power through the infinite sacrifice of Jesus Christ is real. He lives. I know that we can change from whatever has happened in our past through his grace and mercy. Use the Atonement in your lives.
We had a great lesson of the Plan of Salvation with Silvia and Lisbeth. They came to a baptism this last Saturday. This is the second baptism they have come to. They continue to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if they should be baptized. I have come to love them so much.
Anyways, that's it for this week. Quick happenings of the week: Elder Gollege is directing and I'm playing piano to help the kids for the primary program in 2 weeks. Last Saturday, it seemed like the entire city congregated at la Parque Central for the lighting of the Christmas tree. It was amazing! They had fireworks, a concert and lots and lots of food. 

We celebrated Jesus-Antonio's birthday with a frosted muffin and sang to him. I guess that's all! Gracias! Trust in the Lord!
 Just a picture

 After a baptism (not theirs)

 Hermana Eva and Me

 The boys after soccer
Elder Hicken

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Elder Hicken and Elder Gollege

Hola mis amigos!
Cómo les va? Este semana pasaba bien rápido. Siento como yo estaba escribiendo esta carta semenal ayer. Sin embargo fue chilera!
[How's it going?  This week went by so fast.  I feel like I just wrote this email yesterday.  But it's all good!]
Sorry about no letter last week. I sent one but I guess i must've forgotten to press send. Puchika!  THANK YOU SO MUCH for sending homemade goodies!!! All the packages got here. Elder Gollege and I went crazy for everything!!  So good!  And thanks for the peanut butter. Yum! Tell the Pattersons thank you so much! And yes, I feel tall everywhere I go -- haha.
In my personal study this week, I've focused on studying the Plan of Salvation. We've used that a lot lately. For example, we had a lesson with Mercedes where she asked the question if there's hope for her father who died without being baptized. It was exciting to see her reaction as we taught about the Plan of Salvation, specifically about life after death and baptisms for the dead through temples and the priesthood. I've also specifically praying for the Spirit to guide me to find new investigators who will progress. It's been amazing to see the people the Lord has put in our path who are willing to listen. Pray for what you need then do all you can to make it happen and the Lord will make up the rest.
Jesus-Antonio is a less active member we bumped into about 2 weeks ago. Since then, he has attended church both times and come teaching with us many times. What's more is that he knows where everything is! Less-actives, members, friends, references, etc. It's great! His desire to serve a mission has grown as well as he's come teaching with us. He told us a ton of reasons he wants to serve, one of which was so that his kids have an example to follow. He also told us he might have to get baptized again because the church can't find his papers. Whatever happens I'm so happy he is making this change in his life.
We passed by Lisbeth and Silvia's house many times this week. Remember how we missionaries can buy corte and then make it into ties? Well when we last passed by, Elder Gollege and I were wearing our ties.  She REALLY liked them. To help her financially we came up with a business plan, that she could learn to make these corte ties here and then send them to the States for us to sell after we got home from our missions. Genius! Sunday night we invited them to the chapel for dinner with the ward mission leader. We were there for 2 hours eating and talking about a commitment to baptism. The only doubt they had was that they'd already been baptized in another church. We explained about the need for authority. We set a date for the 6th of December. So excited!
For pday we played soccer today, Elder Gollege and I and 6 other elders from our area. We invited a few of our investigators as well. Walter ended up coming. He had an awesome time! After we bought him lunch at a Chinese restaurant we planned for the next time we'd come over. Just 3 days before, we had visited with Walter, his mom and his two family members (Jesus and Abraham) who were baptized less than 2 months ago. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and at the end asked both to be baptized. They said they would and we set a date for the 29th of November. Anyways, earlier today when we were talking with Walter he asked if he could be baptized earlier. I smiled so big! Yeah of course! He was thinking more the 20th or 22nd. We'll talk more about in our next visit. Can't wait!
Well that's all for this week. Changes are on the 25th so we'll see what ends up happening. Also a couple in the ward is getting married in 2 weeks. Not sure if I'll be here to see it pero vamos a ver [but we'll see...]! So grateful for such great ward members and people willing to come teaching with us. 
Odd experience: Elder Gollege and I carried a metal pole half way across town to have it cut and welded for an investigator. We got some great looks from the locals!
Also forgot my sweater twice so I was really cold. It gets chilly at night.
Thank you again for the packages and letters! Tan exquisito! [So exciting] For all those who made that happen ustedes son los mejores [you're the best]! Gracias! Hasta el próximo semana [until next week]!
Elder Hicken
My Dad (my trainer) and GrandDad (his trainer)


Our typical Breakfast

"Popel Woj"

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Couch Game and the Blessings of our lives.

Buenas a todo! 
This week we did some more painting with Silvia and Lisbeth, but this time with clothes to paint in. We've stopped by several other times as well. We shared a lesson about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, about the role it plays in the Plan of Salvation and about the cleansing power of repentance. Lisbeth, in tears, shared an experience of when she had repented. The spirit was so strong. We were half way through the question to ask them to be baptized when Rolando, Silvia's husband and Lisbeth's dad, broke us off and started talking about something else. We plan to ask them this week to be baptized and set up a baptismal date.

We met with an awesome new investigator named Esly. He works as a carpenter. We met him while we were passing by his shop. We stopped in to say hi. We stopped by almost everyday after that. Eventually he invited us to talk to him at his house. One time, he even made us crepes and some juice. Que sabroso! We had left him a pamphlet of the Restoration and he had read the first few pages. Right there we taught him the full lesson of the Restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. We plan to stop by this week and continue teaching him, as well as try to get him to church.

Fernando and Mercedes are another positive family. We have recently passed by there a lot too. The most recent visit was to celebrate Mercedes birthday. Elder Hohman was with me because we were on divisions with the Chichi elders. 

Two members came with us as well. It worked out really well because the members and Fernando had previously known each other so they hit it off right away. cool. To celebrate, we decided to play the couch game. I explained the rules and after many practice rounds everyone got it. It was great because it involved Fernando, Mercedes and their 5 kids as well as some of their friends. Fernando couldn't stop laughing! So far we’ve taught half of the Restoration and we plan to continue to keep teaching them and inviting them to church.

I had my first interview with President Smith this past Thursday. He let me decide what we would talk about and then he asked me questions to dig deeper. He gave great guidance. He truly receives inspiration for the mission. Afterwards I talked to Sister Smith. She shared her stories of when she lived in Minnesota and we talked about who we both knew. She then asked me to share a scripture. I gave Mosiah 2:20-24. It's one that's been on my mind recently. I'd encourage you to read it.
Last p-day, Elder Gollege and I forgot our cell phone at a fenced in soccer field. We had played there earlier with the other missionaries and Latinos. When we went back,  it was all wet because of the rain that day. Sadly, it didn't work. Luckily an hermana close by let us use her phone to call the zone leaders. We ended up leaving our phone out overnight and in the morning it worked!  What a blessing!

I know it’s important to always remember the blessings in our lives. Thank you for all you do! Until next week!
Elder Hicken

Monday, October 20, 2014

Elder Nathan in Quiche

Hola del Quiché! (Hello from Quiche)

Elder Gollege and I met Silvia and Lisbeth the first week we arrived in Quiché. They are great. We have had one or two lessons every week for the past 6 weeks. Last week we went over to paint. Didn't have time to run back to our apartment so we just painted in our shirt, tie and slacks. Teníamos cuidarnos [We were very careful]!
 Tengo Miedo!
[I'm Scared!]

 We met with them Friday too. We had left a challenge to read Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon in our previous visit. Lisbeth had read and Silvia a little bit. So we read a few verses together which related faith to a seed, when the seed is good to nurture it. We asked her how she had felt when we had come over. She said she had definitely felt something, that every time we had come over she felt better. It was just this last Sunday that Silvia and Lisbeth came to church. They continue to read the Book of Mormon and meet with us.
Me and Elder Golledge with Lisbeth and Silvia

We have been getting to know Amilkar little by little over the past few weeks. El es bien calidad! [He is awesome!]  He is a firefighter. He is ALWAYS smiling. We've mostly visited him at work. It was a miracle we found his house. Elder Gollege and I were walking down la calle principal and saw a women washing the outside of her house so we stopped to help. After scrubbing, brushing, and talking, who would show up but Amilkar! Turns out he lives there with 3 sisters and other various family members. This last week, he drove us to this fresh water pool out in the countryside. We had told him before that it was prohibited for missionaries to swim. I guess he just wanted us to see it. It was awesome! We'll continue meeting with him and inviting him to church activities.

Elder Golledge, Amilkar, and I seeing the freshwater pool

Lucy, whom we had set a fecha meta for, was unable to attend church. She is really involved in the Catholic church and feels bad missing her church which starts at the same time. She's incredible though! Every time we have asked her to read or do something she has done it. She is reading the Book of Mormon and has read all the folletos [brochures] we have left her. She said she will continue to pray about attending church and if the Book of Mormon is true. I know that anyone can know the Book of Mormon is true for themselves. First, read it. Second, meditate over it's teachings. Third, ask God, with a sincere heart, with real intention, having faith in Christ. And for those who do this, I know the Holy Ghost will manifest the truth of it unto you (Moroni 10:3-5). I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Like the Bible, it is a Testament of Jesus Christ, His life, teachings and Atonement. Read it and know for yourself!

Jesus and Abraham have been preparing to go to the temple. We had a bit of a problem when they went in for their temple interviews. They weren't able to receive their recommends because their membership records aren't in the system yet. Yikes! It's a little frustrating because they want to do family history work but can't use without their records. I really hope the records will be here before this Saturday so Jesus and Abraham can join the branch in entering the temple. I testify missionary work reaches much farther then just this life but also in the life to come.

The common material used here for clothing is called ''corte''. It is used as skirts, blouses, belts, blankets, etc. And missionaries can use it to make ties. Missionaries buy the corte in Quiché then send it with the Elders that live in Chichi to have it made into ties. Usually you buy it in yards squared o barras. A barra can make around 2-3 ties. Two weeks ago, we bought some corte and the Elders from Chichi brought the finished product to us today. Kinda fun. Take a look! Pictures below!
Ties made of "Corte"

 Corte Skirt

Thanks again and again for all the birthday wishes! Still getting some but that's just how the mail is here. Sounds like all is well back home. Congratulations Cheri! Number six! Hasta la próxima semana!
Un poco de futbol [A little soccer]

Monday, October 13, 2014

Birthday Week

Hola hola hola!

Changes are tomorrow but I'm staying in Santa Cruz del Quiché with Elder Gollege as my companion. Elder Hohman is staying in his area as well. I'm so grateful I get a little more time with the great members and humble people that are here.
We've been teaching Lucy for the past 3 weeks. She has read everytime we've come back and understands what we teach. Heremana Luz Adriana, a recently returned missionary from Peru, has been helping us out and coming to every lesson. In our last lesson, we taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ, specifically baptism. We set a baptismal date for the 8th of november. Can't wait to continue helping her progress towards her baptismal date. Also to continue to hear her spiritual experiences as she reads the Book of Mormon.
Jesus and Abraham bore their testimonies yesterday in church. They are so ready for the temple. We have been teaching them about the temple and the blessings it brings to our families. To compliment what we have been teaching them, at chuch, Hma. Luz taught the gospel doctrine class about family history work. We are having family home evening with them tonight and will continue to talk about the temple. Their temple interviews are this Thursday. Their conversion to this gospel is inspiring. By at first just believing the restored gospel is true and then allowing that belief to be nurtured through prayer and reading the Book of Mormon. They are now preparing to enter the Lord's house.
My birthday was awesome! Elder Gollege and I opened the package you sent on Monday and hung up the giant HAPPY BIRTHDAY mural. We blew up all the balloons too and used the birthday plates. 

 On the day of my birthday, in the morning, we opened the presents and sang happy birthday. Then it was back to work. It wasn't till that night that Elder Gollege, Pinchi, Jerez and I went to celebrate at Pollo Campero. They got me a small piece of cake. They told me I had to take the first bite. I rememberd a warning from Aunt Kerri that she'd sent me saying it was a tradition that Guatemalans will push your face into the cake. I knew it was going to happen but I did it anyways. A la gran! Frosting everywhere!

 That would happen one more time the next day at zone meeting. Elder Jerez baked me a cake and had me do the same thing. Super good though!

 An hermana we would visit later that day also baked me a cake. A lot of cake! Overall, fantastic birthday!

Birthday Cake in the Face

 Rubbing it in!

Thanks for all the birthday cards, e-mails, letters and packages. This is the Lord's work. I know it’s true.
Elder Hicken