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