Monday, March 23, 2015

New Week

Well, it seems like this past week was a bit out of the ordinary for many people. Feeling sentimental a bit seeing pictures of the Newman Center, where we performed with YVC. Also I started laughing at that letter Lily wrote to "Jacob R." I forwarded that to Mackenzie. 

So, apparently there´s another initiative like Él es la Dádiva starting up called Gracias a que Él Vive [Because He Lives] and I´m really looking forward to it. Also, first one who tells me who Angela Carmack is in the church wins. Talon would probably know. All I know is that all the stuff with initiatives like these comes from her. 

So, fun fact...Elder Pino (the financiero of the mission) didn´t pay our utilities last month, and because they cut off the lines after 60 days of no pay, we have no utilities. Light is separate so we have electricity, and some guy outside did something with the water line, so we have water, but we don´t have any gas. We can´t cook anything and we don´t have hot water. It was really great having an intercambio [exchange] with the LZ [Zone Leaders] and not having utilities and then have every stinking cita [appointment] fall through. It was just a massive learning opportunity basically. But, I came out of this week with a lot of goals to do a lot of things better. 

We met a new family in Sabaneta and the mom and Daughter, Elizabeth and Juanita, are really interested and really want to know the truth, while the son (there´s 5 kids but only 2 live at home still) Geoffrey (or maybe Yeffrey, don´t know) is a pothead and doesn´t want anything to do with us. That´s where a special member of the church comes in. This guy lives in Itagüi, but gave us this reference and will be basically the only way that Geoffrey will progress and recover and that the family can progress towards eternity. 

I have a massive testimony of the importance of the members in the obra misional [missionary work]. This week, we started a ´club´ in the ward of the 6 families that we think have the most enthusiasm towards the obra misional. Basically, we will use these families to help us, and we will focus more time in helping these families contact and teach their friends and families. I think this has a lot of potential to expand until the entire ward has this enthusiasm to the obra misional and I really hope it works. 

Also, Libardo came to church! He loved it, and though we weren´t able to visit with him Sunday afternoon, that will happen in the next couple days. Elizabeth and Juanita didn´t come because they woke up late, but it´ll be better next week. I basically asked Bleazard to say something to the APs to leave me in this area for another cambio with a different companion, and I promised him that there would be baptisms por fin [at last]. End of paragraph.
I love hearing about missionary experiences that people are having, especially with the ways that Mackenzie and Nate are helping the missionaries in their wards. Also, the Lamb of God sounds like one of the coolest things that´s ever happened. 

One really cool step in the obra misional that happened in the ward this week is that yesterday the Bishop announced that the ward would be doing a 40 day fast. The ward started to laugh and then the bishop was like "No, I´m serious." The ward is doing a 40 day fast to build unity, and enthusiasm to the obra misional, and also for divine help with the obra misional. Here´s the plan: the ward will be divided into 40 groups, and every group will fast one day. It´s actually brilliant and I´m excited for when it will be put into effect. Feel free to use this idea. 

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, March 16, 2015


Well, this week Elder Ríos and I got along, and I won´t spend space in this letter complaining. We´re being better missionaries, progressing alot in the area, and this week we could see some accion. Hey, great news with Luz Mary! Saturday, we were walking along the street, and I wanted to go to a tienda and buy a pony malta (the malt drink here) and as we stepped on the sidewalk, Luz Mary walked up behind us and was like hi, and my companion (who has never met her) was like hi, are you a member of Envigado or something? And then I said this is Luz Mary and he was like oh gosh and then we taught her there practically in the street and she explained the situation why she hasn´t had time these last couple weeks and basically we set up to begin teaching again and it was basically a miracle. 

Also, we have a count of, I believe, 7 addicts we are teaching currently, and one of them has a baptismal date for the 11th of April.  Although we have people to teach and we are making massive differences in the lives of people, it´s very difficult to progress. For example, we are teaching the less active sister of a member named Sami and her boyfriend Julian and they live together with a 5 year old daughter Dulce Maria who is from a different father. They are addicted to smoking, and for a couple reasons, it´s very difficult to put a baptismal date and get them to church, and it´s also more difficult because literally every single person in the ward has absolutely no faith in Sami that she can get back, including her very active brother Hugo (who was ward mission leader but now isn´t). 

Basically, with this pareja we have no support from the members. It´s also good because I can use my skills of really straight talk with them because not only do they need it, but they handle it. Just basically, you guys know what you need to do and you aren´t doing it, and you really have no excuse. I keep going through these phases when I want to leave Envigado, and then I don´t want to leave. I´ve fallen into the stage where I really love the people here, but there just isn´t success, but I have so much faith in the potential of the area, that I want to bring it out, but it´s just so slow. 

Oh hey, with the earthquake. So, I should start by saying that in Antioquia (this region) earthquakes (even really small ones) almost never happen. Well, we were visiting a less-active with Hno Correa on the 11th floor of an apartment builing in Sabaneta. As we were done and waiting for the elevator, Hno Correa pointed at the nearby door and said look, it´s shaking. Ríos and I were like yeah, that just means someone´s in there moving about, and then we felt the whole building shaking and we decided to bajar [go down] by stair. As we were bajando[going down], people were like opening their doors and being scared and people have been talking about it for days. People were in the streets like praying and stuff. It wasn´t even that bad, nothing fell down, it´s just that it never happens. It was a 6.6 in Bucaramanga, they say, and that´s pretty far. 

Also, so far, I won´t be sending pictures this week. Last week, the LZ and we went to this rock climbing gym and it was awesome, but I left my camera there. The upside is that this place is super pinchado, and so they are keeping it for me, and no one is stealing it. So, there´s a perk to living in the rich part of the city. This week, I should be able to do 6 baptismal interviews for the district and so basically the first baptismal interview after mine that I´ll be involved with will be me interviewing. 

Hna Gajardo is sick and has been on mandatory rest for a while but they´ve still managed to prepare 4 people completely for baptism this Saturday and it´s actually a bit impressive. 

Hey, to answer Mom´s questions, today it looks like we´re going to go to stores to buy new white shirts and I need to buy a jacket (I´m starting to feel chilly here sometimes in the morning) and then also we want to to a zone activity which may or may not be bowling, but it has yet to be confirmed. Hugo lives across the street from us, and we just go there to wash the laundry, so it´s free. Yes, I´ve gotten haircuts here, and barbershops are crazy. They play ghetto rap always, and there´s a style of hair here with the teenagers that is just really strange. Basically,  though it´s unique with every person, think of mullet, but more shaved, and then all the variations. Eating is pretty good, I´ve started buying a bunch of fruit to make jugos and also to just eat. It´s normal to give us a jugo and some type of salad with lunch.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Letter to the Mission President

Parece que cada semana progresamos en la obra, pero toda vía es duro. Estamos ensañando a como 7 adictos, y todos son referencias. Hasta ahora, hemos estado trabajando mucho con los miembros por recibir referencias, y hemos visto muchas frutas de eso. Ahora, tenemos miembros esforzando por tener una noche de hogar con nosotros con sus amigos, y están poniendo tiempo y esfuerza en la exaltación de sus vecinos y amigos. Siento que ahora, siento mas como un misionero que en toda la misión hasta ahora, porque estamos poniendo nuestros pensamientos y tiempo todo en la obra, y se hace el tiempo mejor también. También hice un intercambio con Itagüi 1, y lo pasé con Elder Escribano. Trabajamos con enseñando igualmente, en unidad, y fue un día poderoso. El Espíritu fue super fuerte en las lecciones, y personas eran comprometiendo a leer, orar, bautizarse, asistir, y todo. Y los dos aprendimos maneras en las cuales podemos llegar a ser mejores misioneros y humanos. En tiempo así, jamás quiero cambiar mi área. También, todo va mucho mejor con mi compañero, y hay mucha potencial en la area que podemos aprovechar, y tenemos los planes necesarios por hacerlo. 

[It seems every week we progress in the work, but it is still hard. We are teaching like 7 addicts, and all are references. So far, we have been working hard with members to receive referrals, and we have seen many fruits from that. Now, we have members working to have a family home evening with us and with friends, and are putting time and effort in the exaltation of their neighbors and friends. 

I feel that now I feel more like a missionary than I have in the mission until now because we are putting all our thoughts and time in the work and it makes my time be better too. 

I also did an exchange with Itagüi 1, and went with Elder Escribano. We worked with teaching in unity, and it was a powerful day. The Spirit was super strong in the lessons, and people were committing to read, pray, be baptized, attend church, and everything. And we both learned ways in which we can become better missionaries and humans. In times like this, I never want to change my area. Also everything is going much better with my companion, and there is a lot of potential in the area that we can take advantage of, and we have the  plans necessary to do so.]

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Letter

Hey yeah, so here´s the update. 

I´ll start with the companion situation, and end with the area situation. Elder Ríos is still the same. I started praying a lot this week that I could have the patience and everything I need to get along with him, and there´s been a difference. Still it maintains that basically as long as everything goes perfect, we get along. Basically, he wants everyone to contribute to his perfect mission. Everything went pretty well this week with him, and I´ve been learning a new type of patience that I wasn´t completely conscious that existed, and also have been made conscious of the strategy of prayer. I´ve learned to make prayers specific. With Hurtado, I was praying for a more obedient companion and an opportunity to do the things I think need to be done in the area. So, I got put with an oddly obedient companion and companion mayor, but then a whole bunch of other stuff got thrown in to teach me a lesson. I say oddly obedient because he´s mainly just concentrated on the small things. Like he gets really worked up if we only read 2.5 pages of the handbook and not 3, or if we spend an hour and a half with a struggling family in lunch instead of the normal hour, or that you can´t ever do a 1.8 hour weekly planning, because if it doesn´t reach 2 hours you´re a failure as a missionary. He treats missionaries and investigators and members in a way that makes them feel like tools in his mission, and there´s a massive lack of love. So, I´ve been working with God on that. It was pretty good until Sunday and then he started calling me names and so I just walked 10 paces away and starting calling people setting appointments. 

In the area, basically everything that we had before the cambio [transfer] is gone, and we´ve had to start from scratch. We have a drug addict Libardo with a baptisimal date and his alcoholic brother Hubmerto as well, but that´s been really difficult with Libardo because he commits to go to church and is super excited, he even got a haircut and everything for it, and then he disappeared Saturday night. Apparently he´s got some friend that´s a super bad influence. But, we´re looking for a solution because we can´t be with him so late. We´ve got a bunch of pending things this week, but the zone leaders are on my back because we won´t be able to reach our goal of baptisms this month. 

This last week we met a cool cat named Ruen Colorado, who actually seems to have a lot of interest. But, this weekend he went to Manizales and couldn´t go to church and we couldn´t visit with him, but hopeful he can begin to progress this week. 

Hey, something that was really exciting this past week was that we went to PriceSmart, basically Sam´s Club. It´s all bulk, memberships, and way cheap. But, it´s all American imports! I caved and bought a whole bunch of whipped cream and all these latinos who have never had it are amazed at its glory. Also, I bought some tomates del arbol for jugos and made a jugo this week and I thought it tasted fine and asked my comp to taste it to make sure it had sufficient sugar, and he was like this is the most disgusting jugo it needs a lot more sugar and apparently it needed more sugar. 

One of the Hermanas in my district from Chile, Hna Gajardo, has some tendon thing in her leg, but the doctors have put her on mandatory rest. Actually, they did it a week ago and she was like heck no I gonna work and now her legs hurts too bad and the sisters haven´t worked for two days. Hopefully, there´ll be a good update with Ruen next week!

This member (Hugo Giraldo) served his mission in Peru, and learned how to cook various peruvian dishes and we´ve eaten Ají de Gallina, Lomo Saltado, Chicha Morada, Lomo Saltado, y Tallerín Verde there. It´s the best. 
Lomo Saltado!

 On exchanges with Elder Crispin, visiting a new convert that is awesome!

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, March 2, 2015

Everything is Different

Well, being district leader is sure different than junior companion being trained. But, it´s pretty cool. I´ve been learning to love the other missionaries in my district. The thing is that one hermana in the district is pretty sick and can´t work for 7 days, and the zone leaders say that it looks like my elders aren´t working much. So, there´s a bit of stress in the district. Some of the responsibilities are that I verify all their work every night, do the baptismal interviews, do district meeting every week, when they have a problem or question they call me, and also am responsable for having the example area of the district. 

So, the update on how the example area is doing. Basically, everything we had is gone. Regina said she doesn´t want to talk about religion with us anymore because she didn´t enjoy the meeting in church (she thought we´d be clapping and singing, and reading passages from the Bible and yelling Halleluia) and also problems with her husband.   Luz Mary has been pretty resistant to us too, avoiding our citas [appointments] and being a bit odd. 

But, we were able to meet a couple potential investigators this week, one being a 23 year old named Ruen. He´s curious, Catholic, and willing to listen. It really seems like he has a lot of potential to progress and we´ll looking forward to helping him. Also, a drug addict named Libardo who has a very strange situation. He committed to come to church, Stake Conference on Sunday, and Hno Torres was going to come with him, but Libardo (like 50 years old but lives with his mom) never ever got home, and so we weren´t able to meet with him. 

Also, with my companion, it´ll be a rougher cambio. He is a lot more boring, and though he´s obedient, he´s obedient in a way that it´s obvious to almost everyone that he just wants them to see his obedience. But, in this I can see the humour. Before, I was praying to receive a more obedient companion, and so they send m Elder Ríos who has just about never gotten along with companions. 

Elder Routson, who was one of my zone leaders but now left the zone, was companions with him before and calls that time "the Gethsemane of his mission" and would often mention to his comps how much he hated Ríos. But, it´s not like it´s all that awful. Whenever I´m being absolutely perfect, we get along fine. He just sucks a bit of the fun out of being a missionary and has a lack of respect for all leadership, except the President. 

Think of it this way: he's been out 18 months and has continued as junior companion for almost his whole mission with almost no leadership. He has had two cambios as senior companion, and the President put him back down right after them both. But, don´t think that it´s all miserable with him, it´s just that today he´s been bugging me (and Elder Bleazard, one of my zone leaders) a lot (Bleazard has been complaining about him all day) so it´s just more on my mind that way. 

Hey, super cool about Sister Flinders! Also about the snow! Also that Gma&Gpa are there! 

Hey mom, about the Spanish, en corto, nunca o casi nunca tengo pena hablando, o mejor dicho, yo siempre puedo decir que necesito decir. Leyendo esta todo bien, hablando todo bien, la mas difícil es hablar por teléfono porque nuestro celular no es muy claro. 

[In short, I never or almost never have trouble speaking, or better said, I can always say what I need to say.  Reading is going well, talking is good, and the most difficult part is talking on the phone because our cell isn't very clear.]
Also, for some reason this computer doesn´t recognize my card reader so no pictures again this week.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken