Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 1

The new elder in the ward is Elder Muñoz from Mexico. He´s a quiet kid and awful at soccer, but seems like a good missionary. Hernandez left Monday, and since then our lessons have doubled. Apparently he was discreetly suppressing our energy or animo to work or something ;)  

But, this week was awesome. Pezo and I finished everyday happy, exhausted but energized, and although getting up at 6:30 still sucks, I do it happily. I´m technically actually the only one who ever wakes up at 6:30. Well, Pezo wakes up for like 30 seconds to say our companionship prayer in the morning. But I can´t say enough how much better everything is without Hernandez. Cool kid, though.

We've been doing a lot more work with the members, and they´ve begun to search out references for us, and ask us when they can get to salir [go] with us. It´s actually great. So, this awesome week ended in a fat 0 in our asistencia [attendance in church] yesterday and I was like What are all these people doing on Sunday morning that they can´t keep a commitment and come to church? You know, typical missionary thoughts.

Last night, a member gave us dinner and her puppy (named Chicken, named after me) bit me and sacó sangre [drew blood], and so it´s good we bought that triple antibiotic, Mom.

In our ward, there´s two of what people here call "diablitos" [little devils]; basically that they have absolutely no sense of control, and that there´s basically nothing to be done. They just destroy everything and all happiness and have no conscience. One of them, Ivan, came with us to a cita [a teaching appointment] the other day. Well, he has like 5 years [5 years old], it was really the jovencita [young woman] living there, Ana Karina, that accompanied us to visit with her neighbor, but Ivan had to come because there was no one in the house. 

We were teaching Eva, the neighbor, and Ivan was being such a massive distraction as he was attacking my Bible, her Libro de Mormón and folleto [pamphlet], and our futures and dreams. Eventually I was thinking There is no way we are going to put a fecha with this woman if this kid is here yelling swear words. Finally, another person came home and Ana Karina could send Ivan back home, and we could all breathe normally. So, we put a fecha with that woman and talked about the importance of attending Church. And then she didn´t come on Sunday and we were like What is this.

It's funny to see Muñoz suffering from the heat because that was me 6 weeks ago, but now I´m completely used to it, even though I sweat like a dog because it´s super hot, just that I don´t notice as much. Normal ice actually steams like dry ice here. You know how in Colorado, an ice cube can last you like 4 cups of water? No, here you need new ice every cup.

Saturday, the Priesthood had an activity of rescate [Rescue], where the Priesthood went out in companionships and visited less actives in the ward. Us missionaries did divisions and went out with other Hnos and it was awesome and a bunch of less actives came to church the next day and there was much more excitement with mission work and it was a success. I went out with Hno Sandón, and the last visit we did was actually really close to his house, super super far from normal civilization, and we finished when it was dark, and he told me afterwards Well, my leg hurts a bit and we´re already close to my house--do you know how to get back to the chapel? and I was like Hello sir, you can´t leave me alone; that´s against the law and he was like Ok fine I´ll go back with you but he actually came all the way, just until the door of the chapel, so I went in the room with all the Priesthood without him and everyone thought I came back along and I was like No, he came with me, and it was funny.

The other week, we did a service for a Hno in the ward and we moved bricks the latino way, by throwing them around. Well, Hernandez is awful at throwing bricks and they do like a billion flips in the air and so he threw me one and it cut up my arm, and there´s a video to prove it. Also I tried this weird fruit called Mamón. You actually just suck on it and spit it out. It doesn´t even taste that good. Also I found a starfruit tree and so now we have free starfruit (if we want to walk half an hour to get there). I sent fotos of the massive cup of water a Hna gave me when I asked for water (even though apparently she had a jug of Guayaba juice) and the other of a mamón.
 A BIG drink of water

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wacky Week

 Baptizing a kid the other missionaries in our ward taught

So, this was just kind of a weird week overall. These last two weeks I basically got sick of people not progressing se we've been on the hunt for people who will actually come to church and progress. Probably the biggest problem for us is the overall lack of education wanting to say that there's a lot of people who don't know how to read, or just don't understand anything we say. So, it's a bit hard to find people who get what's going on. 

On Friday, we had a talent show and it turned out great. Actually, more people came to the talent show than come to Sacrament Meeting. Through the activity, we met some potential investigators who aren't bobos and partially fulfilling prayers, there's still yet to see if they will progress. 

Saturday night there was a massive lightning show with really heavy rain and we went out on the balcony to watch and take video and get wet (stayed up a bit late, don't worry, we repented) and wrote our talks for Sunday that the Bishop asked of us, and it was worth the tiredness we experienced yesterday. 

So, also cambios are this week. Hernandez is leaving to Chocó, the black colony, and everyone else is the same. This will be my first cambio as a normal missionary and I'm going to miss it. At this point in the email, the power died here due to a sudden storm.

Friday morning, we did a service for a hno [a brother] in the ward helping him build a new bathroom and it was great, even though the pile of dirt we moved was filled with mini killer ants and I can testify that they hurt. I hired the daughter of the hno Carlos to take pictures, and basically she took a bunch of pictures, and like 10 minutes of video so we've got a bunch of video of us working and me singing Disney for two seconds and then saying "ah! tenas!" when an ant bites me and everyone was like "hah"! Rough. 

The three of us left in Cereté have made a new goal, like a contract to be really consecrated missionaries for the next cambio, because it's needed. Basically, I went to them both and said we need to be a lot better for the next cambio, because there's a lot of things that can happen good in the ward and we can do them, we just need to be really on top of it all and so we are going to change everything. Starting with that I'm writing on a Tuesday.....actually I have permission. We have a mountain of new people, Pezo and I, just that we need to take more radical acción, and we need them to commit. 

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Bradley Gunnell, that happened this week. 

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, May 11, 2015

To the Beach!

Yeah so, we went to the beach today. We got permission from a counselor of the mission and so we went with him to the beach and a military museum. It was an awesome day. we spent the day in the blaring sun and 40 degree weather and playing futbol, volleyball, and taking pictures. A whole bunch of us were like "gosh I just want to get in the ocean; we are dying" but yay for obedience. One time, the soccer ball went into the ocean and floated like 100ft away and we had to ask some guy to go out and get it.
 Elder Pezo and me

me in front of the beach (Cabañas I believe)

 Elder Smith and Me

Our Zone's nametags in the sand.
Mision Colombia
May 11 2015
Zone  Monteria

At the War Museum
with army backpack and rifle in the museum

 Driving a super old Amphibian

 Elder Pacaya and Elder Hicken
taking a selfie of people taking pictures Hicken, Hernandez, Pezo

So, the other two missionaries in the ward have been teaching a kid and he´s getting baptized soon, and they asked him who he wants to baptize him and he said he wants me to baptize him and I´m like "What?" So, we put attention this week in having those nuevos and it paid off, and we have a good count for this week and it looks like we´ll have a good count for the next week as well.

These past weeks, I´ve had a steadily growing testimony in that God isn´t going to do stuff for us if we aren´t even willing to do them for ourselves. That is to say that asking for stuff isn´t the trick. That´s why the Bible says that "faith without works is dead", that you pray and pray, and then you go out and do it! This is a massive thing on the sides of the investigators and people we teach, and also for us. If we want nuevos or baptisms, and we aren´t putting everything into that, pailas.

Hey, make sure Sierra knows how great her song was that she played on harp! That was awesome to skype, it´s always great, Happy Mother´s Day, Mom! 
Skyping with the family on Mother's Day
Also that I Am thing from Lily is stellar as well. Also that song Talon and Renen and Melissa did. 

A couple more photos of randomness:
A LOT of Arroz con Leche we did with an Hermana

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mayo (what?)

So, it´s May, and I definitely did not see that coming. I have literally been here for like two seconds. Alain was confirmed yesterday, so he now actually counts as a baptism. This week, our success can´t be shown in the numbers, because we don´t send in the less-actives that come to church, but only Nuvia came as an investigator, but we had two less-actives, Claudia and Luis, who hadn´t come to church for a really long time, and it was a silent victory. We´ve been working long and hard with them both, especially with Claudia, also trying to convert her parents and other sister (Claudia and two sisters, Rosa and Marisol are members, the parents and sister Leo aren´t) but that´s a long and slow process due to the drunken nature of the father, unmarried status of them both and the general uneducated state of the society here. Slowly but surely, as I remember Talon always saying ("slowly but surely your stuff is disappearing until you give me back my _____").

In my letter to the president, I talked mainly about the success that comes when you put your attention on something, and don´t loose focus. I spent a bunch of energy on having nuevos this week (as Spanish speaking missionaries, we are incapable of speaking English normally, and when gringo leaders ask me about my nuevos, they ask me about my "news" and it still trips me up) and it´s paid off. I contact everyone I interact with basically, and I ask every member and potential member if they know anyone who needs our message, or if they have familiares [relatives] that are members that we can help with. It works, and even though it was something I was doing also in Envigado, I lost the habit when I came here to the coast and had so much more work to do. I basically just decided that I wasn´t satisfied at all with what was happening in the ward, and decided to be the deciding factor. It isn´t the first time I´ve done that, but it feels like the first time every time (name the song. I can´t remember which song, but I know it´s in a song) [ "Amazed" by Lonestar, thank you Kerri..., and google].

Grandpa Hicken sent me a discourse on prayer from like 10 years ago that I really enjoyed because it´s something that I´ve been focusing on for the last while, putting my heart in my prayers for what I need, and then putting in my energy and esfuerzos so God will help me out. ["Did You Think to Pray?" by Bruce D. Porter BYU Speeches].

 Did You Think to Pray by Bruce D Porter

Every time I hear about people and things with missions, it gets me excited, so congrats to Bradley Gunnel as well for his mission call.

Every letter needs something with relation to the heat here, so one day, going to lunch after a cita [appointment], (the 4 of us were eating together in the house of some recent conversos[converts]) I got there and took off my backpack and Sanchez pointed out that every place that the backpack touched me was completely drenched with sweat. It´s been another week of nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Farenheit) everyday, and it finally rained a tiny bit after like two weeks. There´s usually massive puddles in the streets, but they´ve now dried up. Also, I´ve seen so much frog roadkill.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken