Monday, July 27, 2015

The work is progressing

It’s been a great week! The 3 Gomar kids were baptized! Such a miracle! It was really special cuz they wanted each one of us to baptize one of them. Being in a trio, it worked out perfectly. The actual baptismal service was good. The Gomar family made sure to get there plenty early. While they were waiting, we were running around making sure everything was ok. The baptism started and the chapel was half way filled. By the end it was full, about 60 people. The oldest, Fernanda, was baptized first. Then came Julio. And last was Cerjio. As the leaders were giving a welcome to the Gomar familiy, it was incredible to see the entire family hugging and crying. Baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost are so important and truly a doorway to more opportunities and blessings our Heavenly Father wants to give us.

Another miracle, one day we were knocking doors and found this crazy guy who let us share a message. At first, he didn´t seem very positive. Many times he would interupt us, ask off topic questions or just ignore us. By the end of the lesson, however, he told us of a drinking and drug problem he´s had for a while and said he wants our help. His wife was very receptive and was more than happy to listen to us as well. By the second visit, the whole family had a baptismal date to work for. They were excited to hear of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the church. They have a hard time coming to church cuz of work on Sundays, but poco a poco [little by little].

We were also able to meet a man named Luis. He let us in his house and was happy to hear us. He was renting the room and had left his wife and little girl in the coast to work here in Xela. We bore testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that there was one real church. At the end he just stared at us and said. ¨I didn´t know there was just one true church. Now I know the church has been restored on the earth.¨ Isn’t it great to know this? He accepted a baptismal date as well. Another miracle.

We´ve been working a lot with Isaias and Floridalma. There kids were baptized just a little bit ago but Isaias and Floridalma have been having trouble commiting to a baptismal date. Plus they aren´t married yet. When we went to visit them this past Saturday with the bishop, Isaias said out of the blue that he and his wife are ready to be married. He put the date himself. If everything goes right, there should be a wedding soon, hopefully followed by a baptism. We´ve been pushing hard that they read and ask God if these things are true. I know that if they do, they´ll receive an answer!

In my personal studies this week, I read a part in Elder Ucthdorf´s talk entitled ¨On Being Genuine¨

¨Here in the Church of Jesus Christ you can mature spiritually and draw closer to the Savior by applying gospel principles day by day.

With patience and persistence, even the smallest act of discipleship or the tiniest ember of belief can become a blazing bonfire of a consecrated life. In fact, that’s how most bonfires begin—as a simple spark.¨

It starts with a small beginning that can spark into something much greater with patience, persistence and daily effort.

Have a great week!

Elder Hicken

P.S. Oh, last Monday, I forgot to mention we were able to go to a Mayan history museum. Got to see all the different types of traditional apparel common to each region in Guatemala. There is so much symbolism I didn´t know before. Now every time I see corte, it seems to stick out a bit more.
Corte comes from the verb cortar, meaning "to cut".  The fabric is a cut (or length) of cloth which is typically handwoven on a foot powered treadle loom.  This cloth is produced in bolts (or rolls) and a section of fabric which forms the skirt, usually many yards in length, is cut from them.  This fabric isn't sold by the yard, but rather the length or "corte".  Much of the fabric is woven in Salcaja and Totonicapan.  Not all villages produce this corte fabric by the bolts, for instance many of the villages in Huehuetenango weave their skirts individually, reflecting their village identity.  Though the styles vary, most commonly the corte is sewn in a tube-like fashion and it's worn by stepping inside of the tube, wrapping the balance of the fabric around the hips in a very tight manner.  The corte is then secured with a sash tied at the waist.  These skirts are usually mid-calf to floor length. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

No time

So cool the Petrie family was able to go to MN! Sounds like all had a blast. Really short on time today, but I love being a missionary. Hopefully I´ll have more time for a letter next week. Thanks mom for always writing.  Love you. 

Elder Hicken

Monday, July 13, 2015

Future Vision of Quetaltenango

Sounds like fun times with the Moores.

It was a great week here! My comp. and I were able to learn a lot from President in training meetings. 

The vision for the mission Quetzaltenango is that in 3 years, we can double the number of stakes. Pretty bold, right? But with the Lord, nothing is impossible! It´s a lot more simple if you break it down. President Smith showed the mission the family plan. This plan invites every member family to bring another family to church. Wouldn’t that be cool if every member did that? The point is if every family were to bring another family to church in the next 3 years, the stakes would double. It really helped put things into perspective. The mission is more than getting a baptism before the next change, but really working to build the kingdom of God with the members. It´s amazing to have leaders inspired of God.

President Smith also talked a lot about the standard of excellence. My comp. and I have really tried to push ourselves this week to get our standard up, and we saw amazing results. It was incredible to see how the Lord blessed us in our efforts to achieve His standard.

Went on divisions with the assistants, Elder Bryan and Elder Pérez. I was with Elder Bryan in Garbaldi, whereas my comp. went to Cauvario. We ended up contacting a really positive family. So we were walking in the street and just started talking to this lady. She told us her dad and mom were really sick and took us to her house. The funny thing was the sister of this lady had rejected Elder Doty and I just 3 days before. haha. This time, however, she was a lot more receptive. We came to find that the mom has brain damage and the dad can´t get out of bed. The woman´s sister, Norma, had received missionaries a long time ago but had never progressed. Elder Bryan and I taught of the Restoration and left a pamphlet with her. On Sunday, Elder Doty, Elder Rivera and I passed by again but this time the daughter was there. We boldly taught about the Book of Mormon and challenged them to be baptized. They said they would! They want us to keep coming to help them know our message is true. The Lord has blessed us SO much!

There are so many dogs in the street! The buses are always super crowded! There is garbage everywhere! I love this country. Really I do.

What does Christ expect of me?
In the Book of Mormon, we find the answer,

 23  Y él manda a todos los hombres que se arrepientan y se bauticen en su nombre, teniendo perfecta fe en el Santo de Israel, o no pueden ser salvos en el reino de Dios.

 24  Y si no se arrepienten, ni creen en su nombre, ni se bautizan en su nombre, ni perseveran hasta el fin, deben ser condenados; pues el Señor Dios, el Santo de Israel, lo ha dicho.

[23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.

 24 And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.]
 2 Nephi 9:23-24

I know that Christ has suffered for our sins and paid the price to allow us to return to live with God. What he asks is really a small price to pay. He asks for everything.

All the best!

Elder Hicken

Monday, July 6, 2015

Seeing Miracles


It´s been quite a big change. There are now a lot of forms and papers to fill out and turn in. We call A LOT of people. But it´s a good change. My comp. is awesome! Also, a new elder, Elder Rivera, was sent to be with Elder Doty and I this past week. We´ve been working as a trio since Wednesday and it´s been so fun! We´ve been working hard and seeing miracles.

Isais and Floridalma have been our priority. We visited them three times last week. The third time we went over, a miracle had happened. Floridalma told us she wants to be baptized! She has been a little skeptical, but she has felt it´s the right thing to do. Her husband even told us that the day before, Floridalma just would´t stop saying, ¨I wanna be baptized!¨ ¨I wanna be baptized!¨ Such an answer to prayer. She´s ready to go. However, her husband is a little slower. He says he knows it´s all true, but he wants to take everything ¨poco a poco¨. And the thing is, they aren´t married either. But we´ve made HUGE progress and the Lord is on our side. We have faith in miracles. We know they can do it!

Quick thought! What are our goals? Our plans? Our vision? It is so important to have SPECIFIC goals and to have a plan to work towards them to accomplish the bigger picture.

Sorry gotta run! Have a great week! All the best!

Elder Hicken

 Barbecue to celebrate the 4th of July
 Bishop, Luis, and Kevin
 Mmm...(?) Cow Foot Soup