Monday, May 25, 2015

Rain, rain,rain

Hola amigos y familiares!

Glad to hear grandma Midgley has a treatment plan. And wow, great to see all those awesome photos. So fun that the fam. got to spend the weekend together with the Moores, and grandma and grandpa Hicken. The fact that aunt Cheri had the blessing dress made for Alena months ago blew me away, but of course she did. That’s aunt Cheri. I love my family!

It rains every day! It´s kind of expected. Made the mistake to not take my umbrella or rain jacket with me one day. Got back to the house pretty soaked. My backpack too but luckily nothing got wet. My comp. doesn´t have an umbrella and there’s no way to get one until we go to Walmart next week. We´ve been sharing mine haha but it works out!

Some new updates as far as my companion goes. He is more specifically from Juayua, El Salvador. He gets along with people really well. He loves pupusas! It´s a special dish where he´s from. Consists of maza and cheese and beans and sausage or whatever else you want to throw in. He keeps saying that the ones made here in Guatemala don´t even compare to real thing.

We´ve been teaching a mom and her son but haven´t had the opportunity to talk to the husband yet. He works a lot but the wife and son are pretty easy to find. This past week we finally got to see the husband and he seems pretty excited about everything. We´re going to go do a tour of the temple next week with the whole family! We’re excited.

The members here are super supportive. I think we´ve gotten more rides this past week from the members than I have my whole mission! It makes such a difference to have supportive members. My comp. and I are super pumped to start the new week. Always trying to improve, always trying to be better, always trying to be more productive.

Just a quick thought-This week I came across a great quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard
¨We can become the masters of our own destinies by practicing self-discipline and by setting worthy goals that will lead to higher ground so that we can become what our heavenly father wants us to become.¨ 

Goal setting gives one a clear direction and something to work for. The Lord offers great promises to those who set worthy goals and do all they can to accomplish them. I’m excited to set more goals. 

All the best! Have a great week! I know this gospel is true.

Elder Hicken

Monday, May 18, 2015

Family Week Celebration

Hola familiares y amigos!

Thanks for sending pictures mom. Awesome that Mark and his dad were able to stop by. And that fence...looks amazing. Hope it keeps the deer out for good.

So, my new companion is Elder Salazar. He is from El Salvador. He has 3 months in the mission, just finishing his training. He is really positive which is good. He is one of 7 brothers and sisters. He plays basketball, or at least he’s willing to play. He loves to eat, as do I. Somehow we both got sick last Saturday but we’re fine now. We are working hard trying to find those people who are prepared to hear us. I know they are out there. Elder Salazar has adjusted to the ├írea really well. He says it´s a lot different from his other area. He was in an Aldea (really small town).
Elder Salazar and me

So about our investigator Andres, to be honest, he has disappeared on us. He left to the capital and hasn´t been heard of since. Not even his family knows where he is.

That’s o.k.  We were able to find 4 other really positive investigators. Two are sisters (Shanon and Jennifer) going to college here in Xela. And the other two are a mom (Gabriela) who has 3 children, and Juan, one of her children who is eligible for baptism. It´s great to see their progression! They teach me.

We’ve been taking this teenager to church for the past 3 weeks. On Sunday he said he wants to be baptized, and he wants to be baptized this Thursday. What was a miracle! I love miracles. We´ll do all we can to make that happen.

This week was a special church celebration called “Family Week.” Cool, huh. Every night there was an activity in the church. For example, Tuesday was a role play family home evening as well as cooking. Thursday was game night. Everyone formed a group with their family and went around to the various stations, collecting large pieces of paper forming a puzzle. At the end they all put it together and it wrote title of liberty. SUPER fun. Saturday finished with a cultural night. Both the Americas and Garibaldi wards did some skits, singing and dancing. As missionaries we got to do a skit as well. It was great. Any way to strengthen families is good. I know strong families are important.
 Elder Caseres and me

 Family Week Skit

Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple

 Preaching the gospel to every creature

I love this work. The gospel is true.
All the best! Have a great week

Elder Hicken

Monday, May 11, 2015

One standard, one message, one mission!

Hola amigos y familiares!

Got a chance to talk to the fam on mother’s day. It was so great to Skype with them! I love our family.

 Skyping on the Big Screen for Mother's Day

From Susan about Skyping:
Our conversation with Elder Nathan in Guatemala was awesome!  Joseph Face Timed in, while Shaun, Jonathan, and I skyped.  (see photo attached)  It was so good to see Nath and hear his voice!   Hard to sum it up—he shared some really neat stories that have strengthened his faith. (and now ours)  Two in particular about tithing.

•          There was a lady who owned a restaurant.  She was trying to decide if she should buy a stove or pay her tithing.  She really needed a stove but she decided to pay her tithing.  A few days later one of the customers finished eating and then came up and said to her, “I feel like I should give you a stove.”  She did!  The restaurant owner went to this customer’s house and got a stove.  Wow!
•          Then, there was this poor farmer.  After paying his tithing he bought a cheaper seed than his neighbor and went ahead and planted.  It didn’t rain very much.  Yet, somehow the farmer had a great crop, while his neighbor did not.  The farmer knew he had been blessed for paying his tithing. So neat!
Nathan talked about realizing that the Lord pours out blessings even with a small effort!  It has made him want to give even more effort.  Love that boy..
Let’s see, a few other “housekeeping” type things we learned from Nathan:
1.       Nath is in a very wealthy area with plenty of food.  Everyone feeds him all the time. There are tons of stores with almost everything we have here in the states.
2.       His Spanish is amazing.  Native companions really help with that.
3.       It was cute--he couldn’t remember certain words in English—like “teenager”
4.       Natives don’t like to exercise or work out at all.  No more morning runs.  But he is doing lots of walking—on dirt roads and up steep hills. 
5.       Basketball P-days are awesome, even though Natives don’t really know how to play.  Nath likes being the tallest!
6.       He LOVES his mission president, who follows the Lord through the spirit, and really sets high goals for the mission.  President Smith has helped the missionaries see that now is the time for the work in Guatemala to grow!   President Smith is strict and organized and Nathan loves it!
7.       There are 4 sister missionaries in his District right now.  Nath isn’t quite sure what to do with struggling sisters.  But Joseph gave some great advice… So glad he could be on the call with us.
8.       Yikes—a little scary.  When I asked if Nath felt safe he said he’d share those stories for after the mission.  I told him that we pray for his safety every day.  Nath said he knows the Lord blesses and protects the missionaries.  I guess they’ve been in some sketchy situations and they’ve felt the Lord helping them get home safely..
9.       Nath skyped from his Bishop’s house, and the Bishop and his wife LOVE Elder Hicken!  They said he is a hard worker.  Shaun was able to speak Spanish to them-which was neat.
10.      Guess what?  Nathan is done with fans!  Shockingly he no longer sleeps with a fan!  Guess it’s actually quite chilly there.  (not that MN was balmy—ahem!)
It was sooo…wonderful to talk to Nathan.
 My companion is going this change, meaning tomorrow. He has been an awesome comp. We found this groove that worked really well. Gonna miss all the joking around. You can have fun and still obey the mission rules -  haha - He says he’s going to Momostenango but I think he´s going to Totonikapan. We´ll see what goes down. Sad to see him go but pumped for what this new change will bring.

We haven´t been able to meet with Andres. He went out of town with his aunt to Guatemala City, the capital. But we´re going to have the Zone leaders interview him this week, one week before his baptism. I think it´ll help him a lot.

We’ve worked really hard this week. We did A LOT of contacting. It was helpful because we literally did a loop of our entire area, some parts in which I´d never gone before. We found two new positive investigators. They both excepted baptismal dates! The Lord has blessed us so much as we´ve done our very best.

President Smith is amazing. He had all the district leaders come together for a meeting last Wednesday that really pumped me up. It was very helpful. He talked about many things. Just to mention a few; what we have done in the past has been good but we can do better-one standard, one message, one mission! He told us to look at missionaries as to what they can become- a good leader, etc. Our greatest example is our Savior Jesus Christ. Now is the time to keep the rhythm of the Lord and reach the mission standard. Great stuff.

Anyways time to go! I think my companion wants to go say goodbye to a few families.

I know this work is true. All the best!

Love, Elder Hicken

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Hola familiares y amigos!

Great to see all the pictures. So, Joseph got to spend a few days in MN, and then mom got to be in Utah. Cool.   
Quick update! I finished “Jesus the Christ” on disc and now starting to read it. It was amazing! Definitely strengthened my testimony of Jesus as the Christ. A lot of things I had never known, and never thought about. And that´s an awesome story about Janthon and the importance of keeping the Sabbath day Holy.

Kind of rushed today! It´s rained nearly every day since the start of the week. It is really good for all the farmers here and it’s a joy for missionary work haha. Started carrying around my umbrella everywhere I go. Even though this is the city, there are still a lot of dirt roads, which means mud. It was actually kinda fun walking on this one dirt path. It turned into a small river and it was like walking upstream.

Apparently there is such a thing as labor day here. Andres, who we´ve been working with a lot this month, went out of town for the holiday, as did many other of our investigators. However, we weren´t discouraged. We did a lot of contacting and found some other positive investigators. The Lord is preparing people!

Interviews with President Smith were this week as well. My comp. and I were first up. It was a very powerful spiritual experience. It strengthened my testimony in following the brethren, those the Lord calls and appoints in various positions in the church.

HAPPY MOTHER´S DAY! Shout out to all those wonderful moms out there, and one in particular. Love you mom!  Can’t wait to talk to you on Sunday.

All the best! Have a great week! 

Love, Elder Hicken

P.S.  Pictures--cleaning a member´s ¨pila¨. He eats the fish.