Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas in Guatemala

I hope everyone could enjoy a good Christmas. It was awesome talking to the fam who happens to be in the Dominican Republic. How cool is that? We laughed a lot. I love my family.

Christmas was great! Christmas Eve is a big deal here. Everyone celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. The family gets togther at night, has dinner, eats tamales and shoots off fireworks at midnight. We spent time with some kind member families who had invited us over. All of them gave us food! By the end of the day, my companion and I were stuffed. It was great. On Christmas day, we opened up the gifts mom had sent. 

I especially liked the bad tasting jelly beans. It was fun trying them with my comp. We also made a gingerbread ¨church¨. See if you can spot the church logo in the picture! 

Apart from the gifts and time with members, the best part was that we were able to teach a lot of people. We found a lot of new investigators using the Christmas initiative. I think that`s why it was such a great Christmas. Serving others and sharing the gospel sure brings the Christmas spirit!

One Christmas miracle happened on Christmas Eve. My companion and I had just finished eating lunch and were about to head out to the aldea San Lorenzo. But the bus never came. We decided to knock some doors as we waited. We arrived at a house where the lady who answered didn`t want anything. As she shut the door, another man opened the side door and rode off in his motorcycle. It wasn`t more than 20 seconds before this same man comes riding by and stops in front of us on his motorcycle. He asked who we were and said he would be willing to meet with us. He told us he had prayed that very morning, asking God to send someone to help him with something going on in his life. We set up an appointment for later today. The small, everyday miracles perhaps don`t seem like much at times but to this man, it was exactly what he needed. I know God answers prayers and uses those ready and worthy to help those in need.

Before Christmas, we went to an appointment but the investigator wasn`t home. We decided to get to know the neighbors. Nobody was home so we decided to contact the person working at a small store. She said she was Catholic but allowed us to enter and share a short message. The truth is she really didn`t want anything. But she did give us a reference to some of her friends that lived a few blocks away. We went to contact them and soon realized that it was the same house of a family that had recently been baptized, however the mom and one daughter weren`t. We taught the Restoration and they both accepted a baptismal date for the month of January. It was amazing to see how the Lord lead my companion and I to these two family members.

Anyways, hope everyone has a great week! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I know Jesus is the Christ.

Elder Hicken

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Sorry for not writing yesterday. An elder in the zone had his appendix taken out so we did divisions with his comp. and went back to his area and got his stuff. He’s fine. (more later)  Anyways, love hearing about what’s going on at home. So great everyone was able to make gingerbread houses. Thanks for sending me a simple one to make mom. Hope it turns out ok. There will be pictures. Congrats to Taryn on her baptism! That`s such an important step in her life and I know God is so proud of her. I really liked how y`all could go caroling and play instruments together. Music and Christmas just go together! Can’t believe it`s already Christmas! The year`s gone by so fast!

To answer your questions mom:
1.      How is Huehuetenango going? (fun name!)
Huehue is awesome!
2.      What are your living conditions like? 
We`re living in a small apartment. Today there wasn`t water in the house. Apparently it happens pretty often. But nothing that I`m not used to. After being in Xela for so long, it was weird going back to showering with a bucket but I`m gettin` the hang of it again jaja. So blessed to even live in a house. Also, there`s a supermarket called Paiz, which is kinda like a Guatemalan Costco. There are a lot of clothing stores as well. I guess fashion is a big deal here.
3.      How do you like the ward? 
The ward is great. The attendance right now is about 115. Before it used to be a lot more, but there was a change in the bishop and many stopped coming. The bishop is great! He prefers to have 100 faithful, obedient members than 250 inicous [wicked] members.
4.      What is the most different?  Anything the same?
We have a small part of the city as our area, so that’s different.  We shop in a supermarket. It`s kinda like Cub Foods back home. There are so many clothing stores! It`s insane...
Everybody has motorcycles here! I think for every man, woman and child there is at least a moto or mopad.
The people are the same.

This week was great! The Lord helped us to find Robert. We had received the reference from the elders in Zaculeu, another zone in Huehue, and went to find him. Eventually we found him as he was getting out of his car and entering his house. He said he would wait for us Saturday morning. When we stopped by again, he was there, ready to hear us and our message! He had looked up a few things on the Internet and so had some weird questions but we focused on our message, the Restoration of the gospel. As we invited him to be baptized, he said he was willing! We invited him to church and he came! We`ll be visiting him later tonight so we’ll be sure to let y’all know how it goes.

Yamilet got baptized! She is the girlfriend of Fernando who was baptized last week. And Fernando had the honor to baptize her! It was great. 
There were a lot more members who came this week to the baptismal service. The only thing is that Fernando will not be living here anymore. He`ll be moving back to Guatemala City. We`ll sure miss him.

Unfortuantely, We`ve lost contact with Edgar and his wife because they went back to Honduras for the holidays. But the good news is they should be coming back in January.

The Christmas devotional was today! Sister Smith put me in charge of assigning all the special musical numbers. Everything was just fine and dandy until Elder Silva, an elder in the zone, went down with appendicitis. He had to get his appendix removed and so was unable to play. That`s when Sister Smith asked me Monday night to play for the devotional. Of course I had nothing planned and I felt so unprepared. But I prayed, pulled together some music, and tried my best. It was great. The devotional really was a spiritual experience for me. We got to here from Pte. Smith and Sist. Smith. We also got to watch Ephraim`s Rescue. It was great to see it again. Been a while. And in the end we had lunch and got to take home a bag of goodies. It was nice.

¨Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy, for unto you, in the city of David, is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord¨ What greater message than to hear that the Savior of the world had been born! It really is ¨good tidings of great joy¨. I know that Christ lives, that he is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. He lead an exemplary life, a service oriented life, a perfect life. I know that he performed the Atonement, allowing each of us the opportunity to live in His and God`s presence again. Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!

Hope all is well back home! Nos vemos!

Elder Hicken

p.s. We were seeing Santa everywhere so for fun we decided to try and pull it off be the judge

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sharing Christ in Christmas

Thank you mom for sending not one but two packages to celebrate this jolly time of the year.
Elder Cevallos and I with our stockings - Thanks, Mom!

Christmas is such a special time to share the gospel with everyone in a variety of ways. I was really impressed to hear that everyone in 3rd hour at church went to visit someone and invite them to church this Sunday. So cool to hear about the youth orchestra as well. I will say, when I first got to the new area, my companion said I had a good voice. Next thing I know, I`m programmed to sing in Sacrament meeting on Sunday.  I ended up singing Hark the Harold Angels Sing with a member.

I had changes! After being in Xela for 9 months, I was sent to Huehuetenango.

I`m in the center of the city, and my comp. and I share the area with sister missionaries. Even though we live in the city, we mostly work on the outskirts in a small town about 15 mins. away in bus. It`s called San Lorenzo. We definitely walk a lot but I`m gettin` the hang of it.

My companion`s name is Elder Cevallos. He is from Ecuador. He`s been out in the mission now 1 year and 3 months. He has 2 younger siblings, and they`re twins. He is a very hard worker, funny and a strong leader.

We already had a baptism! His name is Fernando.

He was baptized last Saturday and confirmed Sunday at church. Not a lot of people came to the actual baptismal service but there was a nice spirit there. I`m so grateful for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for the priesthood and for all the people who sacrificed so much so as to build the kingdom of God.
Me, Fernando, Yamilet his girlfriend, and Elder Cevallos

Sunday night, my comp. and I were contacting really far away, hoping for a miracle. We wanted to find a new family to teach. At about 8:30pm we find a woman named Ilda. She lives with her husband and daughter. As we were talking to her, her brother-in-law and his wife came walking down the street. We began talking with all three of them and in the end they allowed us to share a short message. We showed the video from the Christmas initiative and they were really touched.  
 They accepted another visit and committed to read the Restoration pamphlet! An answer to our prayers.

Hope everyone has a great week! Chao!

Elder Hicken

Monday, December 7, 2015

Have faith in Christ - Share the gospel

Thanksgiving sounds like it was great! The turkey cheeseball was an awesome idea. Way to go Jonathan for being a star at the Saturday tourney.

The mission was very fortunate to have Elder Ochoa, a member of the second quorum of the seventy, come to speak with us. 

It was an amazing experience, almost impossible to describe! The general theme was faith. We need to have faith in Jesus Christ, that this is His work and that He will lead us to the prepared families. We need to lose the fear to talk to everyone.

One of the many miracles, that happened in that very meeting, was when Elder Ochoa got up out of his seat and left. He came back 30 mins. later and told us what had happened. He had gone outside, taken one of the maintenance workers (a returned missionary) with him and they went to find someone prepared. He had sensed by the Spirit that someone nearby was in need. So Elder Ochoa and his companion knocked on the first door but the people said they didn’t want anything. The person said to knock on the door across the street. Elder Ochoa and the maintenance worker knocked the door and an old lady answered. She said she was very ill, that she wasn´t to be out of bed but had felt the need to answer the door. She let Elder Ochoa and his companion in. They gave her a blessing and she was healed! She said that that very morning she had prayed for God to send her help. She accepted an invitation to listen to the missionaries, even though many times before she had told them no. What a miracle!

I hope we can all be close to the Spirit and share the gospel.  If you haven’t already done so, go check out! Share the video and website with others. Share your testimony with others. Christ will help us.
[Happiness is born]

Anyways, we´ve been visiting a family that we found a really long time ago,  (they had recently moved to Xela from the coast) They were already members of the church., but we were trying to help them come to church here in Xela. They weren´t able to go to church, but they did go to the Christmas devotional with us. 
It was awesome! Btw the devotional was great! I especially liked Elder Bednar´s talk about the first Christmas in America. Christ IS the light of the world.

We´ve also been teaching the Miranda family. It is a dad and mom with their two little kids. They continue to read the Book of Mormon and they came to church this past Sunday! They are excited every time we come because they know our message is important. A funny side note--Church here is at 8am. It was funny to see the poor, little kids, so early for them, sleeping during the whole sacrament meeting.

A few other random things:
1.      Shout out to Elder Grant Doty for being one of the greats! He goes home this Thursday. Sure going to miss that guy. He gave the Lord his all, and I know the Lord will bless Him.

2.      Thanksgiving week was a pretty normal week. But my comp. and I were really happy because we reached almost all the goals we set for ourselves. There was no turkey, mashed potatoes or stuffing. But there was lots of gratitude! -plus pizza and apple pie! jaja

3.      Changes are tomorrow and I´m going! After nine months here in the city life, it’s time to go. I feel so blessed to have been here, -for all the people that impacted my life, to see so many people change, and to have come closer to Christ. Gonna miss it. And Elder Flores. He´s made a huge impact in my life and I´ll be forever grateful. Who knows where the Lord will send me next!

Feliz Navidad. Hope y´all have a great week!

Elder Hicken