Friday, November 28, 2014

Last Letter of the CCM

The thing about writing ten days since the last p-day is I remember not much. Elder Lauritzen went home this morning. We are very proud of his courage and he shared his testimony with us for about 45 minutes last night and we all woke up at 4am to see him and another sister off. 
Elder Romeu and me

I guess I also haven't had the chance to say much about my companion. Elder Romeu is great and is very ready to learn how to teach and also ready to learn English. But, he has not much regard to rules and is basically completely enamorada [in love] with a gringa sister and I think it's hilarious and I've told her but he doesn't know and it'll stay that way. But, she gave him a fist bump the other day and he didn't want to wash his hand and so maybe that'll give you an example with how it's been for the last two weeks. 

Tuesday morning around 3am we will leave to Medellin. Also we go proselyting tomorrow morning. The other night, I had an experience in which I felt the Spirit extremely strong and it filled me with confidence and I know the Holy Ghost is a real thing/ person. Also, I know the Church is true and the Book of Mormon is true, and that I want to devote the next 23 months solely to bring people back or to the full knowledge and happiness of the Gospel. I've never understood really why people reject or fall away from the Church, but to use words of Bednar, a person who consistently prays and reads the Book of Mormon will never fall away. 

So, yesterday was actually Thanksgiving. Most of the Americans here thought that it was last week but apparently not. But, since Presidente Dyer is American, we had Thanksgiving. Morning had the MTC Thanksgiving devotional which was a Q&A with David A Bednar that was using certain knew technologies that no one but I care much about. But, it was cool and it ended when no one wanted it to. The cooks actually cooked turkey with a whole lot of guidance of Hermana Dyer and they cooked 7 of them and then they also made mashed potates and gravy and vegetables and we were so happy. Then Presidente gave a big prayer and we went around saying things we're thankful for. Then all the big kids had a mission field orientation meeting which was really entertaining and it included alot of making fun of Chileans and then we ate dinner and watched Meet the Mormons. Still a fantastic movie. And then after that we had a bunch of time to talk to Elder Lauritzen and the other sister that is going home. They both have great desires to be back in a bit and they will be. This morning I went to the Temple for likely the last time in two years and Elder Romeu was just disappointed we didn't have Hermana Newbie (his love) in our session like last time because she didn't even come because she has two weeks left. Her name isn't actually Newbie.

Basically in the last two weeks, I've just done everything we did in the first 4 weeks but with more Spanish, no language study, and with a latino companion. It's been a bit boring for me but I'll be like an actual missionary come Wednesday when I get a trainer in the field. I've been told that the CCM feels as long as the rest of your mission. Also I've heard that the CCM is the worst part. I won't complain about the CCM because I couldn't argue with it and it's shorter than it used to be, but I'm glad to be leaving.

I've been telling the Purple Feather joke and no one really seems to enjoy it as much as I do but I'll keep trying. Also the same with the 'Tis Bottle joke.  [We're not surprised, as these aren't the laughing type jokes -- more the groaning type.  These are the types of jokes that can be told for like 10 minutes that try to build interest -- like "what is this purple feather that everyone is talking about in the story?" -- and then in the end it was a total waste of time and you wished Kai hadn't just stolen that time from you.]
There's probably more that has happened but I can't remember them.
Our CCM Christmas Tree

Élder Hicken

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Letter, (and Q&A with Mom)

Hey Kai!!! ... It sounds like some of the elders around you have a lot to learn.  Hopefully they will have the experiences and people in their lives to help them through it.  Heavenly Father does a pretty good job of putting that learning experience together for us, but it’s not usually very pleasant, it seems.  But He does give us some gems along the way.
Hey Mom, sure all the Elders have a lot to learn also me but we finally got working well together this week and I started praying for that and all, but now we are no longer companions. 

 I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know: what stupid thing did you do and what kind of sick were you?  You probably didn’t want to say, but now you’re older and wiser (by a week or so) and might not mind sharing follies from your youth.

If Sierra really wants to know, I got sick by eating candy off the floor and if you remember Peru, it's no wonder I got sick.  

What is your normal day schedule?

Normal day:up at 6:30, study at 7, breakfast at 8, class at 8:45, lunch at 12:30, class at 1:40, Gym at 3, class at 4:30, dinner at 5:30, class at 6:30, planning at 9, bed at 10:30

Do you get to play piano?

I play piano maybe twice a week if I'm lucky but the only piano is in the chapel so they only want us to play hymns. 

I have been looking at the weather app on my cool new phone.  It looks rainy and chilly there (thunderstorms).  Is it?  What is the weather like?  Does it affect you much, or are you inside anyway?  Will you be able to buy the raincoat you actually need?  By the way, on the app, Medellín looks about 20 degrees warmer than Bogotá generally, but still cloudy with thunderstorms.  

Weather really is bipolar from really sunny to cold and pouring rain. It does a cool thing around 1700 hours when the sun is setting and it looks like it's raining gold. We are consistently inside except Gym and there's really not much room at all around the CCM it's a really small place with a like 100 person capacity. 

Is there someplace to take a picture of you pointing to your mission on a map?
Yes, there's a place and people usually do that their last p-day.  

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

This morning we had some mediocre scrambled eggs, MILO hot chocolate, a banana (we normally have 2-3 granadillas a day but this morning there weren't any) and some random juice. Also rolls, but you have to put the eggs in the rolls or else it gets really bad. About half the elders associate diarrhea with most of the food we eat. 

Do you do your own laundry each P-day?  If so, everyone regularly goes 10 days before getting to wash?

We don't do our own laundry. There's few of us enough that we have workers do our laundry twice a week.

Do they have a CCM choir?  Are you in it?

There's no CCM choir but we are putting together a musical number and I'm accompanying two gringa Hermanas for a musical number. 

What is your Sunday schedule?

Sunday: up at 6:30, study at 7:00, breakfast at 8:00 (we fast every other week so this week is fast sunday {lunch to lunch}), sacrament at 9:00, district meeting after until 11:00 (oh also I was called as district leader but I'll be released this week), priesthood at 11:10, district leader meeting after, lunch at 12:30, meeting at 1:40, study the language after, meeting at 3:00, district study after, dinner at 5:30, BoM lecture after, church video usually for a devotional at 6:30, planning at 8:00, then at 8:30 President Dyer dumps his vast knowledge of the Plan of Salvation on us for like two hours as we ask every question we can think of and it's actually the coolest thing. 

Do they have lettuce and strawberries, or are missionaries not allowed to eat them?

We have lettuce but no strawberries but I'd eat them both. 

Do you know anyone in the CCM that has gotten a package from the U.S.?  Snail mail?
  I know of one person that has gotten a real big package from his mom but that's the only one. People get letters, but they take forever and often get here after the person has left and if they're gone they only sometimes forward them. Often, I think they just send packages straight to the mission office. 

Do you read scriptures in Spanish?  What is your scripture study like?

Yes we read scriptures in spanish but not for personal study. For personal study they challenged us all to finish the BoM so I'm in about 3 Nephi 5 but we have a ton of different studies and tactics of studying different things. 

 If I sent a small package, is there anything you would particularly like to find in it?

If you sent a package, one thing I find myself lacking is a camera cord to plug into the computer. I just need a microUSB to USB cord. Not nanoUSB. That's all I can think of needing. 

Hey we went on tour yesterday after going to the Temple. We went to some catholic church way up on a mountain and we took a cable car all the way up. There's a ton of cable cars in Medellin, says Hno Mendoza ... (If I haven't talked about my teachers I need to--tell me if I have or not)...
Cable Cars in Medellin
Thank you, Google images -- coolest public transport EVER!
 The  bottom of the Cable Car, starting the journey up the mountain.
 Close to the top of the mountain, overlooking Bogota
 In the Cable car, L to R: Anderson, Hicken, Hno Mendoza, Tolman, Nae'ole
 By the Catholic Church L to R: Nae'ole, Lauritzen, Tolman, Hicken, Anderson, Mendoza
 In the church
 View of the mountains from the church
 There was a path around the church with pictures of the Crucifixion

 ...and then we went to a Gold Museum of old indigenous civilizations' gold and Elder Nae'ole was talking about, like, "that's probably from a Lamanite...that's Nephite for sure."

Something cool made out of gold
Then we went and bought soccer jerseys and i bought sweats and my card worked so it was all smooth. One is Ronaldo #7 and the other is Hicken #99 and they be cool.

I moved my room upstairs and now I no longer have the best showers in the building --I have the worst showers in the building. It's weird that now we are the big kids here receiving Latino companions because we have literally been here like two seconds and we have two weeks left.  It's crazy.  My companion, Elder Romeu, still hasn't arrived but he is from Argentina. 

When we go to the Temple (20 minute drive) we pass a homeless camp and we always point out our homeless investigator. Did I mention that one time we taught someone through the fence? 

Also a latino elder, Elder Gomez from Venezuela almost stabbed me during lunch - we don't get along and no one could get along with him; he's just super hard to work with and he doesn't compromise on anything and he is just the most mean and mainly annoying kid.  But this was unprovoked, too, but he's gone so that's good. 

One North American sister came late and she's real cute, but a latino elder, Elder Conde really fell and his intentions are to go to America to learn English and marry her after his mission and all the Elders knew and then I told Hermana Newbie. Actually, I want it to happen because it's fantastic. Hermana Newbie is pretty feminine and she would still wear the pants in the relationship. Hno Mendoza and Hna Rangel [both teachers] are both single and we aren't having much luck getting them on a date but they are spending more alone time together so that's good. 
Hermana Rangel y yo

Happy Birthday to Sierra today! Also happy birthday to Angel Rocke and Matthew Cheney from 8 days ago. I think there are more but since I'm not actually thinking about birthdays I haven't put any brain power to thinking of them so if there is send me candy. 

Élder Hicken

(have i mentioned that the Colombia CCM is the only MTC in the world that puts the accent above the E on the nametags? So I think it's a thing that Talon will email without the tilde and I'll use it. Typing "the young Elder Hicken" is just long.

Friday, November 14, 2014

There's so much time between P-days!

Seriously, when they put 10 days in between p-days that's a little much -- we start going crazy. 

Andres came by and got us 80 JetBars and we were so happy and we got some really good stickers and it's way awesome.  Tuesday, the 5 of us leave the CCM and go on 'tour' for a couple hours and I'll buy more JetBars then too. [Andrés is our family's friend from Peru that we are working to bring up here as a (high school) foreign exchange student next fall (donations are welcome).  He is Colombian and moved back to Bogota with his family this past spring.]

My bag got repaired so now it doesn't have a massive hole, but along with my glasses I don't know how long it'll last.

We are getting better at teaching "investigatores", but still we need practice with the commitmetns that we need to do. 

My companions are better at Spanish but have a long way to go. 

I've learned that even though I may not enter their bromance and all, I can just not say anything and slowly hide their socks and everything will be fine. I haven't actually hid their socks but that is a new idea. 

Elder David A. Evans came and talked to us and it was a really big deal because General Authorities hardly ever come to this CCM and so we basically all got trained how to act around him and it was a really big deal. We all thought he'd talk in Spanish, but he got here and we learned he didn't say more than two words of Spanish and all the teachers freaked out getting headsets and a translator for all the Latinos and I was laughing. 

We have an elder here named Elder Vernales and he's a pro soccer player from Peru and he's played a game in that big circle stadium in Cajamarca that we always drove past. We talk alot and make fun of his companion because he speaks nearly none Spanish. 

Also I got sick this week from doing something dumb but it only lasted like 12 hours and so I only missed like 3 hours of class. And I was totally fine for Proselyting.

In actuality, half the missionaries in the CCM are held together by temple visits, p-day, and proselyting because the CCM is honestly so boring and other missionaries say that the CCM seems as long as your entire rest of the mission. So, yesterday we went our first proselyting and it was in some town I can't remember the name but it starts with an F and it looked like a big version of Cajamarca and less cramped. Not only was it nice to not look at the same little piece of land and volleyball courts that we spend all our time on, but it was so great to do really missionary work. We got 8 contacts and handed out 3 Books of Mormons -- I put two s's on that just for those of you who belive it should be 'Books of Mormon' or 'Book of Mormons' and no one cares -- and they were good hand outs too. They seem really interested in investigating the church. One didn't have religion but believed in God and wanted to see what the church was like and seemed actually interested in what we had to say, and the other kept complaining about the Catholic church and was like 'I think we should be able to speak to God and he should respond instead of giving a prayer to a priest for him to pray for me' and a bunch of other stuff and I was like you really need to go to our church. And then we tried talking to some Jehova's Witness lady and she tried to just shoot down the Church but she didn't actually know enough about the Church to do so which ended up being annoying and slightly entertaining. She told us it was bad that we didn't try to talk to everyone and that JW include even poor and rich and we were like we are literally talking to everyone we pass I'm sorry if the people we pass aren't rich or poor enough for you and then she got after us saying the Bible says to send people forth two by two and since we are a trio, we were disobeying the Bible and so I asked her what to do when you have 5 and she said you go in two, and then in three and I just said goodbye and we left. 

But, honestly, it was really rough understanding what people were saying. I guess people talk really slow in the CCM no matter who you are because I literally got like one word yesterday.

Elder Tolman is now making it really difficult for Elder Lauritzen to have, like, a good experience at all. He's very difficult for the entire district including our teachers because he just doesn't work well with others and doesn't take advice and doesn't learn Spanish. I'll try to get a picture with Elder Vernales because we have almost matching ties and he's also a cool kid. 

Hey Dad, make sure my card is ready to work with any ATM down here because when we go on tour on Tuesday I'll need to take out around $150,000 and the less trouble that is the better mission I'll have.  [approx. $150 US]

I've learned a lot about faith here. Before, I'd kinda only ask for things that would basically be happening anyway or assume that if it didn't happen it was just that God didn't want it to happen or that it was a learning experience. That was faithless. Here, I learn that what happens around us depends on faith and that they really are in control. My prayers are consistently answered and it's in obvious ways so that I can recognize them -- like me being healed quickly or finding lost items: once one person brought it to me, and another time I asked the laundry lady because I left it in my shirt and she said she hadn't seen it, but later called me over and gave it to me again and I lost it promptly 10 minutes later and then found it again and now it's locked safe and I'll never lose it again. These things and more are not things that were happening before i used faith as like a real thing.

There could be more, but time moves in a fashion here and so I literally do not remember details that aren't in my journal and I don't have the time to read my journal to remember the details so this is from a glance. 

the Young Elder Hicken

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Today, all the missionaries that have been here for six weeks are gone and also all the latinos and the 4-weekers are out on 'tour' around the city so it's only the 5 of us in the CCM. It's weird actually. 

Also we went to the Temple again this morning. 

Elder Alvarado and I did a tie swap so I've got an Alvarado memorial tie. 
Elder Alvarado (peru flag), Colombian Flag, me (USA flag)

Also I smashed him in basketball but he can break dance. 

Elder Lauritzen is doing way better but there are still issues but not with him, but with Elder Tolman and he doesn't seem to actually get that he's a missionary yet. 

One thing with me having my camera is that these computers are just tiny little things and don't have an SD card slot so as of yet I have no way of putting pictures on these computers. 

My district and I are learning Spanish faster than the other districts have and it's very obvious why.  The amount of prayer, fasting, and faith that's gone into our gift of tongues is more than a little.  Hermana Rangel won't be our teacher after Wednesday. Everyone thinks we're sad about that because she's attractive but she's actually a super good teacher. We've been told who she thinks our next teacher is and he's not a fun guy. 

Also, my glasses are struggling. I'm still counting on them to last two years, but if I get hit in the face with another volleyball, those chances will drop. 

Also, that bag we got from our closet? Decent size hole in it already. I guess it might have been a good idea to pay for one. I'm sending it to the place the CCM uses to repair luggage, and I'm hoping that will solve my life problems. 

Last night, the leaving gringo elders had a testimony meeting in their room and, though we may have not been meant to, we went. 

My companions wanted to leave after the first prayer, but I convinced them so stay a little longer and they thanked me afterwards for that. It really was great. My prayer that night was like 20 minutes long and I felt the love of God super strong afterwards and then the Temple was all that more great this morning. 

I don't know if I mentioned that Elder Coronel (native roommate) snored like a malfunctioning train in a narrow tunnel, but he's gone to Barranquilla now. 

A couple Elders sang hymns in sacrament meeting on Sunday, and they were super great and they ended up recording it all and i believe sending it to their parents. 

Oh, guess what we did for Halloween! I think we said "Feliz Haloween" once and that was it; nobody cares. 

The Young Elder Hicken