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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nathan gets his VISA

Hola otra vez!
This week has been full of great experiences.
General Conference was amazing! Elder Gollege and I hooked up the TV in a separate room so we could watch it in English. There were so many talks that stood out to me. One in particular was President Deiter F. Ucthdorf’s Priesthood Session talk, with the theme being, "Lord, is it I?" How can we worry about the mole in another's eye without first seeing the beam in our own. Between then and now I have found myself asking more and more the question, "Lord, is it I?" This has truly helped me as I've quickly judged or gotten frustrated. It's humbling. Let us first recognize our own weaknesses before another's.
Earlier this week, Elder Gollege and I were trying to contact a referral (Cesar) we received from our president. We met his mom and left her with a pamphlet. We decided to knock doors around his house before our next appointment. One door we knocked, a man answered and invited us in. We met his wife's sister who was a member! She had been baptized 23 years ago but had not attended church for the past 4 years because of problems with some member families. Although she hadn't been to church in a long time, she had a strong belief of the gospel and of the Book of Mormon. We taught Bryan (the man who opened the door) a lesson and he invited us back. Since then, we've taught him once more and we are going back for dinner tomorrow. As we interact with their family more and more, we will continue to teach Bryan and invite the family to church. Truly a miracle we found them!
Tuesday night, we received a call from the zone leaders that we needed to be in Xela the next day for me to get my VISA. The next morning, we stopped by our investigators houses to move appointments and encourage them on the commitments we'd left. Then it was off to Xela! We passed through Chichi where Elder Galbraith and Elder Hohman hopped on. When we reached Xela, we met up with a lot of elders from my district in the CCM. It was an awesome reunion seeing all of them and hearing the crazy stories they had to share. 
 CCM District Reunion

Elder Gollege stayed in Xela to go to the temple while I headed with Elder Hohman and the other elders from the CCM to the capital. We stayed in a hotel for the night. One missionary, who was ending his mission, stayed in the same room as us. He had served in the Coban mission in Guatemala. He knew Ketchi and Spanish. He'd lived his whole mission in the mountains with no electricity or running water. It was amazing to hear of his experiences. Long story short, we got up the next morning and got our visas. It was actually really fast. All we had to do was make sure our information was correct and then sign the paper. All of us took a bus back to Xela. Half way, Elder Hohman and I hopped off and took a microbus to Chichi. He showed me around his area until Elder Gollege and Elder Galbraith got back from their time in Xela. 
Cathedral in Chichi
 I just can't stop looking at his cheeks
From the Plaza
While in Xela and the capital, I truly missed my area. I missed the people, the buildings, the familiar chapel and members. I wanted to get back to Santa Cruz to teach. I hope we can all find the desire to share the gospel and the things we know to be true.
Quick update on Jesus and Abraham. Both attended every session of General Conference. It was great to see Jesus walk out in a suit coat. Neither have ties though. Elder Gollege and I will be sure to get them some. They are preparing to enter the temple as well. Their faith to follow this gospel is inspiring. Everything is so new but they are willing and hungry to learn. I know this church is true. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Joseph Smith was a prophet and we have a living prophet and apostles in these Latter Days.
Thanks Mom!

Thanks for all the Birthday wishes, cards and letters. Miss you all! Stay strong, remember who you are and who you represent. Nos vemos!
Elder Hicken