Monday, February 23, 2015

New Companion

Hola familiares y amigos!
It´s always great to hear Jonathan´s basketball updates. Ranked #1! That’s great! Keep working hard buddy. I really liked reading Elder Scott´s talk ¨Make the Excercise of Faith Your First Priority¨. 
Scripture Study,
Family Home Evening
and Temple Attendance.
I printed it out and will be giving it to a recent convert family later tonight.
So I have a new companion, Elder Andy. He´s a hard worker, laughs at the most random things, loves pancakes and French toast and comes from Ecuador. He is constantly trying to follow the promptings of the Spirit and at every opportune moment is reading his Scriptures. He´s been a really big example to me and we´ve worked hard this week trying to find new investigators. Unfortunately, we had to drop a lot of our previous potential investigators because of our absence in Quiche last week.

We did feel prompted to fast to help us find new investigators. Saturday came around and we started our fast after lunch. That night we were contacting in Zone 2. We felt an impression to look in La Coloñia Primero de Mayo. We tried for one hour, knocking doors and contacting in the street. Finally when we were pretty worn out and about ready to head home, we felt to knock one last door. This woman opened the door and invited us in with a smile. We got to know her whole family of 11 people. We taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel, gave them 2 books of Mormon to read and set up a return appointment for this Tuesday. It was a miracle! We know it was an answer to our prayers.
As a district, we set a goal to have 15 investigators at church this past Sunday. We reached our goal having 18 investigators attend! That was really exciting.
We´ve been working with a sister named Lidia. She is living with a member, but they aren´t married. She wants to be baptized but we explained that she needs to get married first. We hope to help her set a wedding date this week so she can be baptized and receive the full blessings of the Lord. Feliciano and Cristina are another non-member couple we are working with. They need to be married as well before they can be baptized. To finish the week, my companion and I put a fecha meta [date goal] with a man named Jose-Luis. He is really smart, willing to read the Book of Mormon, and wants to have God in his life. His baptismal date goal is for March 27th.
I just finished reading the war chapters in Alma. In Alma 62:41, it tells of the different ways the people responded to the wars. Some were hardened and others humbled themselves. Same trial, but different responses. The work of Salvation is not easy, and we have to decide how we will respond. I know that this is the Lord´s work. I know the fullness of the eternal gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Lord continues to reveal His will to his living prophet. I love this gospel.
All the best this week!
Love, Elder Hicken

Monday, February 16, 2015

On the Move

Hola amigos y familiares!

I got the Family Calendar! I love it. Looks like there´s a lot going on this year. I also got the Valentine´s package. Thanks mom! I shared the Guiardelli´s chocolates with one of the Latino Zone Leaders and he about died. He loved it so much!  (I was with the Zone Leaders because I ended up staying a night in San Jaun with them, but I’ll get to that)   Happy Valentine´s day to you!

Unfortunately, my comp. decided to go home this week. After an interview with President on Monday, he packed his bags the next morning. We talked for a long time but basically he misses his family and he doesn´t agree with the way the church leaders are leading the church. It was sad to see him go. I had emergency changes and ended up staying the night with the Assistants. Then went to another area in Xela and stayed the day and night with the zone leaders. Me and my new companion met up there. His name is Elder Andy! He´s from Ecuador. 
I´m so excited to start working again. A lot of work to do having not been home for a consecutive 4 days.

With all the changes we did not have our English Class this week, but looking forward to doing that again this upcoming week.

Such a cool experience this week. So, the Chichi elders had been struggling to put a baptismal date on the calendar with one of their investigators. While on divisions, Elder Rojas and I were able to teach this investigator. We explained the way that Christ was baptized and the importance of baptism. We asked her a lot of inspired questions. Then this sister ended up sharing a neat experience with us. One night she was praying and reading the Book of Mormon, asking God if she needed to be baptized. As she went to bed, she heard a voice say ¨What are you waiting for?¨ She knew no one else was there and that it was a sign from God. We told her that was the Spirit. Then we asked her ¨What ARE you waiting for?¨ She will be baptized the 28th of March! So exciting!

I know the Lord is pouring out His blessings as we follow Him and His commandments. Have a great week!
Does this tie into Nathan's letter's title: On the MOOve?  
Or is he trying to preach the gospel to every creature?
Or is he tapping into the Dairy Farmer side of Hicken?

Love, Elder Hicken

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Accelerating the Work of Salvation- 2015 Plan

Hola amigos y familiares!

Ahh-the Winter Retreat.  I have good memories of going to those. I remember one year I tried taking down President VanWagenen while playing Ultimate Frisbee. That was a mistake. He pinned me so hard I felt it for the next 3 days. But hey, we learn from our mistakes right? In this case, don't mess with the VanWagenen. Glad Jonathan had a good time and that he is trying to magnify his calling as Deacon's Quorum President.

So we had zone meeting this week on Wednesday. At the start of the meeting I had put our phone on silent. When I looked at it afterwards I saw 5 missed calls from the secretaries. Yikes! I quickly called them back and found out that my comp. had to be in Xela that afternoon. Ahh! Apparently he had to sign some papers for his VISA. Originally we had thought to do divisions after the zone meeting by having me go back to Cunen and Elder Loayza stay in Quiché.  Well, Elder Cruz, one of the Cunen elders, ended up going to Xela with my comp. and I stayed in Quché with Elder Workman. We worked hard, learned a lot from one another and I was able to show Elder Workman the inspired idea revealed to the leaders by President Smith. Realizing the elders wouldn’t get back to Quiché until really late Thursday, Elder Workman and I went to Cunen. We did an activity with a member as well as got Elder Cruz's stuff to spend the night. Good divisions! Just really hectic.

Interviews with President Smith also happened this past Friday. We were asked to bring 3 things: our area book, pictures of our apartment, and something to share from our Book of Mormon reading. President smith has asked our mission to read the BOM in 3 months, ending at the beginning of April. Right now I'm reading in Alma 34. Amulek is preaching to the poor people of the Zoramites. I shared with President verses 8-10 where Amulek bears his testimony of the Savior and his infinite Atonement. Amulek’s conversion was interesting to me. He was called many times but he would not hear. Then when he finally did hear, it was hard. He was thrown in jail, suffered hunger and thirst, his family wasn't supportive, but in the end he gained the greatest gift of all. Eternal Life.

It was also District Conference this weekend. The Sunday session consisted of 2 parts: general meeting and priesthood meeting. I really liked the Saturday session because it was interactive and required participation.  One of President Smith's counselors showed a video sent from Elder Duncan, a member of the Seventy presiding over Central America. It was about tithing. Then his other counselor showed another video about family history work and talked about the importance of family history work. To finish, President Smith showed a video about the plan for central America 2015 ¨Accelerating the Work of Salvation¨. It pumped me up so much! This plan, as well as the plan for the District, has become our new focus. I know it comes from the Lord.

 Hastening the Work of Salvation in  Central America

Individuals and Families
Individually and as a family,  we will strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ through prayer and daily scripture study, paying an honest tithe, fasting and contributing generous fast offerings, finding ancestor's names and doing their temple work.

1. Prayer and Daily Scripture Study
2. Pay an honest tithe and fast offering
3. Find the names of our ancestors and take them to the temple.

Hastening the Work of Salvation in Central America

Ward Council 
We will work in ward council helping the work of God "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life" of the individuals and families, helping them to become self-sufficient both spiritually as well as temporally, as they receive their own saving ordinances.

1.  Conversion, retention, and reactivation
2. Family History and Temple Work
3. Spiritually and Temporally Self-sufficiency

Another great week gone by! Someone asked me how long I have had in the mission, and it took me a while to think about it. I guess 7 and a half months this change. Time goes by so fast! It makes me appreciate even more every second I get to totally dedicate myself to preaching the gospel. Love you all!

Elder Hicken

Monday, February 2, 2015

What do YOU want to learn?

Hola amigos y familiares!                                           2-2-15

Sounds like all is well in Minnesota, as well as Florida. Thanks for sending the pictures. Time with grandma and grandpa...what better way to spend the week? Glad you guys had a great time! 

Again, we’ve been working with recent converts and less-active members. Elder Duncan at the last multi-zone conference shared this new idea- to show investigators, recent converts or less-active members the teaching record, and to have them circle what they want to learn. My companion and I started doing that this week and it´s worked so well! We have about 6 less-active families that we´re working with. For example, Marvin and Veronica have a little daughter and they have attended church on and off for a while since they were baptized a little more than a year ago. We showed them the teaching record and they circled the Spirit World. When we came back for a family home evening, we taught them about the Spirit World. Then we tied it in with the temple, emphasizing eternal families. Since then their desire to be sealed in the temple has increased. They´ve come to church, interviewed with President and have begun their journey to be sealed as a family in the temple. It’s so exciting.

My comp and I had the neatest experience. About two weeks ago we contacted a man in the street. He showed us his house around the corner and we set up a time when we could come back. When we arrived his whole family was waiting! We taught the Restoration and set up a time to return the next week. My comp and I passed by periodically throughout the week, doing service here and there. We ended up going on divisions with the zone leaders the day we had the next appointment with this family. When we arrived all the family was waiting again. We reviewed the Restoration bore testimony of Joseph Smith and the priesthood. When we asked if they would be baptized, they all said yes! I’m so happy for them.

We started an English class this last Saturday. Of course being the first lesson my comp. and I show up early to get set up. The class was supposed to begin at 2 o´clock, however, being Guatemala, we didn´t actually start till 2:45. It was a blast! Nobody could pronounce the ¨y¨ haha Cool story! My comp. and I were walking back from correlation meeting Saturday and again we met this man in the street. He showed a really big interest in English so we invited him to the English class that afternoon. He came! At the end he gave an awesome prayer to close the class. We talked afterwards and he´s interested in learning more about the church! We set up a time this week we´re going to go to his house. Our hope with this English class was to find a new investigator. Heavenly Father continues to answer our prayers and poor out miracles.

Continuing to work hard and trying to lead according to the Spirit. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Hicken