Monday, January 26, 2015

Collecting the Lost Sheep

Hola amigos y familiares! 

Dad´s off to his Angel Meeting again? Those were some of my favorite memories, going to a few of those meetings together. I´m so happy Jonathan is working hard with basketball and it´s paying off. I hope he ends up joining this special travel team. Sounds like dad is doing an awesome job helping with Journey for Joseph! How is Jonathan liking it?

This week has been somewhat of a difficult one health wise. I came down with some sort of cold towards the beginning of the week and it still hasn´t gone away. It just happened to be the week the Assistants went on divisions with the zone leaders as well. During district meeting I was struggling to talk and coughing a lot, but Heavenly Father blessed me. A little cold never stopped me! I’ll be fine mom.

We´ve been trying to track down references and names in the area book. President Smith has received an inspired idea to double and triple results. It requires asking for references from members, less-actives, and recent convert families. We are to ask them which families they know that don´t know God, and then to write down their names. Each family member takes a copy of the collective list of names in hand, then we pray, together and individually, inviting the Spirit. Once done, we circle which names we feel are ready to hear the gospel now and compare the lists. It has happened a couple times where everyone has one or two similar names that are circled. The spirit is so strong when that happens. And so that´s where we start. We then make plans and set up activities to fellowship the future investigator families. 

It´s been helping us branch out as well. My comp. and I have found names not in central Santa Cruz. We are beginning to find people prepared on the outskirts of the city and beyond, another indicator to me that the work is expanding.

My companion and I have met with a lot of less active members and recent converts this week, collecting the lost sheep. We’ve seen so many miracles. For example, we found Oscar Chavez as a less active member on a list. We asked around and found out he worked in the market selling corte. We went and checked it out. When we stopped by his wife was the only one working at the time. We got their phone number and address and she said we could stop by later that week. No one was home on Tuesday, but being persistent we stopped back again the next day. They were there and invited us in! We got to know the whole family! They are so neat. Oscar and his wife have 4 kids, two of whom were baptized just last year. We got to meet Oscar´s mom who is also living with him. We planned a family home evening before leaving and promised to help Oscar´s mom dehusk corn later that week. We ended up doing all of that and invited them to church. They didn´t come but my comp. and I are determined to keep working with this family. 

I´m so grateful for this gospel and for all the blessings it has brought in my life as well as the lives of those my comp. and I are teaching. The work moves forward! The gospel is true.

Love, Elder Hicken

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Estefany's Baptism

Hola amigos y familiares!
Estefany's baptism on Saturday turned out great! She and her dad arrived at the baptismal service 20 mins. early. When the actual baptismal ordinance took place it was an amazing experience. To see Jesus and Estefany enter the font together, as father and daughter, it was very special, especially since Jesus recently received the priesthood. The Spirit was so strong and I couldn't help but smile. The branch mission leader mentioned that Estefany was the first of the sisters in her family to be baptized (she has 3 others). I know anything is possible with the Lord!

 Estefany with her dad, Jesus, prior to her baptism.
 Elder Loayza, Estefany, Jesus, and me

The Rosales Gómez family is so awesome! Not only was Estefany baptized and confirmed this week, but her brother, Walter, gave a talk in Sacrament meeting as well as her other brother, Abraham. What's more, Abraham gave the lesson in Priesthood meeting. And the whole family is planning on going to the temple this Saturday! I know miracles really happen! Elder Loayza and I are trying to get Estefany's baptismal form turned into the mission office so she can attend as well.
We had divisions this week with the Chichi elders. I went to Chichi and Elder Loayza stayed here in Quiché. One of the reasons I went to Chichi was to interview a husband and wife who were to be baptized. Elder Rojas and I hiked a good 20 mins. and took a mini taxi to take us the rest of the way to their house. It was incredible to finally see the couple after hearing about them for so long. They were baptized/confirmed this weekend! What a blessing! Also, I learned a lot from Elder Rojas, specifically how to plan and organize better. And lastly, I got really sick while on division with the Chichi elders. Broke out in hives and was throwing up. But I'm all better now! Still working hard.
Sounds like it was a great Martin Luther King Jr. Day! So fun all the missionaries were able to come over for a District party. New rule as part of the Guatemala, Quetzaltenango mission: districts/zones can no longer meet together for activities, meaning we have to stay in our areas. At first, I was a little bummed but it’s o.k. I know President Smith is called of the Lord and receives divine inspiration to guide this mission.
I love the Lord. Elder Loayza and I will continue working hard. The work goes on!

The Quiché Zone!
Love, Elder Hicken

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Hola amigos y familiares!
It´s gotten really cold! Everyday my comp and I have worn our sweaters. It´s especially cold in our study room. My comp and I ended up putting our electric stove in there to heat the place up. First to use the stove in the morning for breakfast then to our study room. Now it´s toasty warm. It sure looked warm in Mexico. Thanks for sending those pictures as well. Scuba-diving, horse-back riding, four-wheeling. Glad to hear Joseph and Jonathan were able to find a basketball court and shoot some hoops. There´s always a basketball court right?? Nice job Jonathan on winning your b-ball tourney, carrying the team. Keep practicing buddy!
So my new comp and I have had an awesome first week. His name is Elder Loayza. He´s from Bolivia and speaks REALLY fast. He uses a lot of words and phrases unique to Bolivia as well as South America. He loves to dance. He´s made that clear. Never really played sports. Kind of funny to see him play soccer today. He is really enthusiastic about the work and has a strong testimony. We´re both learning together as part of training. We started following the ¨First 12 Weeks¨ booklet. It´s the same booklet that Elder Golledge used to train me. Even though I´ve gone through it, I feel like I´m learning so much! Elder Loayza´s a fast learner as well which helps. We´ve already had a lot of success in accomplishing our goals and working together.
Last Tuesday, after changes, Elder Loayza and I had a 3 hour bus ride back to Santa Cruz del Quiché. Once we got back we went straight to work. We stopped by the church and had my new comp meet the branch presidency. We also met the ward mission leader on the way to visit the Rosales Gómez family. Since then we have continued working hard. We´ve spcifically been trying to find new investigators. We just sat down one day and came up with a bunch of ideas. For example, starting an English class. setting up a stand in the park passing out Book of Mormons and other church materials, contacting A LOT more, etc. Already we´ve seen the miracles and blessings from the Lord and have found a lot of new investigators.
We also stopped by a lot of already progressing investigators. Estefany will be baptized this Saturday, 17th of January. She is still deciding who will baptize her but we´re hoping she will choose her dad or one of her brothers who have recently been baptized and received the priesthood. She´s awesome! We weren´t able to meet with Jonathan cuz he was out of town this week but he came to soccer today and he said he would be here this week. We´re hoping to put a baptismal date. Lisangela will not be baptized this week but the other Saturday, 24th of January. Her parents want the service just to be family.
Anyways all in all a great week! Working hard and the Lord is pouring out his blessings. Have a fantastic week!
Elder Hicken