Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! Sounds like it went well, with more creativity than normal with Mom's question thingymajig. Apparently, in South America they celebrate Father's Day a week early. It isn't all that surprising, considering they celebrate Christmas a day early as well. I guess I should just be relieved they don't celebrate New Years a year early or something.

So, here's what happened with Cambios [transfers]. Pezo and I are still together, and it'll be 18 weeks at the end of the cambio, Sanchez went the the southernmost point of the mission, Cevilla Valle, a grand almost 24 hours of travel. His new comp is Elder Flores, who I met as part of my first district in the field. I replaced Sanchez as LD [District Leader], and the new kid here is Elder León, another Peruvian. There's a pocotón [ton] of Peruvians in the mission. There's actually more Peruvians than anything else.

On Saturday, Valentina, the daughter of a previously less-active, was baptized. It was great, and even Ingrid came. If you remember my letter from last week, she's super difficult to even get out of her house, let alone to church. Also, through this family, we met another family who lives next door, and we are planning on visiting them this week.

Elder Pezo, Valentina, and me

Outside of that, this week ended a bit rough. A couple investigators who were going strong are now not going strong, and we aren't sure why. That's our goal for the week: find out why.

The other night, Pezo and I were ending our day walking back to the house, and we saw a less active on the other side of the street. We said hi and went to the other side of the street to talk to him. He stopped attending church when Pezo got to the area. He asked me if I knew the area already, and I was like yes, I've got 3 months here, so yes. He didn't believe that I already had 3 months and asked Pezo how much time he had here. Pezo said he had over 4 months  already. The less active was like oh shoot, I'm inactive ,and we laughed and said yes you are. He's a cool guy, with 19 years, and we put him on our priority list to rescue.

Yesterday, Colombia played against Peru in the Copa America [South American Soccer championship].  Here, that was a massively huge game because it was for elimination. The [Mission] President sent out an order that we wouldn't be out in the streets because of the danger of hardcore partying and advantaging ladrones. The game ended 0-0, and it so happened that both teams were continued, and so there was a good bit of celebrating yesterday. The day before the game (León has an excess of Peruvian Pride and a lack of judgement) León started waving a peruvian flag outside the apartment and got a couple of joking cheers. Then, wanting more cheers, he put on the Colombian seleccion jersey and a traditional colombian Cordobaño hat and waved a big Colombian flag and the people outside started cheering for real.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, June 15, 2015


So, the only one leaving [this transfer] is Elder Tronky. It's spelled that way, but pronounced "Sanchez". The LZ don't want to give us any details, so we only know that he's going to Armenia. Not the country, there's a city called that. It's the most south city in the mission (Proof on wikipedia) .

Hey, to start, Happy Birthday Lily!! Sounds like your party went great, and I hope you have a blast with your new roller skates!

Cereté has gone through a dark point, with the area of Muñoz and Sanchez with essentially nothing, and although Pezo and I have a bunch of stuff, we had a rough time getting people to church. Oh, fun fact. It's pretty rare that comps spend more than 12 weeks together, but Pezo and I are going to be together for 18.

We use the same internet every week because it's really close and has air conditioning, but I decided the other week that the dueña [owner], Ingrid, can't be such friends with the missionaries (she gives us food, hats, and other things, and sometimes does us favors) and not get baptized, or that we don't even give it a good shot. So, we started putting the team effort into assimilating her into an investigator, and she finally even came to church yesterday! We were hoping on good results, she's a bit atheist/catholic (if you want details, I've got them) and is pretty against churches. She told us afterwards that she had had a "revelation" and we were hoping it would be a "I need to be baptized" or "the Church is true" type of thing, but we were way off. We passed by her house to eat last night, and she told us "I've decided I need to form my own church" and we were like no, Ingrid, no. At least she's open to churches now, but we're going to see what's going to happen within the next 14 weeks I think I'll have here.

The Hna Erika invited us over for lunch today, and they gave me the honor of killing the chicken for the soup. That's all the details I'm going to give.

I remember someone (i think Mom) saying sometime that in the mission the taste buds change and you like a lot more things; it's like a little blessing God gives the missionaries. I now love Avocado, like cucumber, tolerate lentils, and after 7 months of eating about a pound of rice a day, I'm still able to eat it. It's great because the people really like me here, and when they like you, they give you more food.

Time's super short, so I'll get to the pictures next week. There aren't many anyway.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, June 8, 2015

President Pitrach se va

Remember how I complain a lot about the disobedience of certain missionaries? Well, it's gotten worse. Elder Sanchez is now super trunky and has spent more than one day this week just sleeping or whatever and not working. The worse part is that Pezo, the only other missionary here that seems to be fine not working, is the one that spends the time as Sanchez' companion. I've been working with Muñoz a lot this week, and it's getting rough, and also to see my kid being so influenced by the district leader that they spend their time in the house not working. It's been a struggle on that end for the week.

But, the bright side is that we're working with some super awesome people. For example, well there's the people of whom I talked about last week, and there's not any big news on them -  Gisel and Valentina are still on their path to baptism, but it's been really cool working with Yerika this week. Pezo went with Sanchez on Tuesday to teach Yerika, and Yerika brought a friend named Angelica. Apparently it went really well, and they put a return appointment for Thursday. I guess they forgot that we had a conference with the President on Thursday, but Thursday night Pezo told me "oh, we had a cita with Yerika this morning that we missed" and I was like what are you doing? So, I went with Muñoz to arreglar [fix] the situation and we did, although we didn't get them to church (we arreglamos [fixed] the situation Sunday night), we got them to the ward activity today because today is festivo (for those unacquainted with South America, they have continental festivos all the time, and no one even knows what for) and so we had a ward activity and they both came and were having a great time. It's awesome too, because they are studying the Book of Mormon together, and always tell us details from what they read, and always have a question or two.

Today this ward activity was great. Although it was super hot and super humid, we played soccer and everyone was like dying from the heat and we were drenched in sweat but it was fun. We had a grill and rice and everything, and someone brought a cheap frisbee which was awesome, and I got all these people playing frisbee and people were like what is this and I was like I am improving your quality of life

So, I kinda skipped over Thursday, with the Conference with the Pte Pitarch and the Hna. They are ending their mission at the end of the month, and are giving all their goodbyes. So, they were here and we did a multizone conference and they did a question and answer thing and shared their testimonies, and the President talked for like two hours trying to share all the advice possible before leaving us. It was great, and we had a last moment to say goodbye.  Of course, the Hna Pitarch gave every elder a hug and we were like bueno, I'm pretty certain this doesn't count as disobedience, and the Pte told everyone they had more potential, and they let me play piano, and it was a great day.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, June 1, 2015

Step Forward

The past two weeks combined have been awesome. We have been putting many more fechas, meeting more new people, members give us more food, and the asistencia [attendance] in church is much higher. We broke 100 for the first time this week. Sometimes, I feel like I finally got the stuff here under control, and then people don't come to church.

I'll give an update on the people progressing towards baptism. 
  • Gisel, the sister of a member, is doing great, reading what we give her, and praying. She's serious about this, and it really seems like she understands that we don't want to be wasting our time. Her tarea [homework] for the next visit is finding the Book of Mormon that missionaries gave her a couple of years ago. 
  • Eva has 16 years [is 16 years old], and reads everything we give her, and fell in love with our manner of prayer, quickly replacing her Catholic prayers. She's really trying to do everything we ask of her, and is ready to sacrifice. 
  • Julian and Valentina are two kids of a less active, with 9 and 11 years. The less Active, Viviana, is all concentrated and ready to come back to church, and was in church on Sunday. Her kids are awesome, and Valentina is definitely awesome, and feels the Spirit in a way that she straight up cries, and was crying all during sacrament meeting, when we are there teaching, and when she said the prayer the other day.

We went to visit a less active family (in reality, the two oldest kids are fully active, just that the parents and younger sister have basically forgotten every reason behind going to church), and there was a lady named Yerika there talking with the mom, and we contacted her, and apparently missionaries had taught her grandma years ago until her death, and Yerika remembers liking the message, but has since forgotten what it was. She consented to visit with us, and is very receptive.

Sometimes, I look at what happens in the obra misional [missionary work] here in Cereté, and then at the obedience and dedication of the other missionaries in Cereté, and think Well, at least I'm trying to keep everything in line. Seriously, if there's anything I've learned: The results of spiritual things are directly related to the obedience.

I'll send pictures next week; I'm on a slow laptop and so I'm not going to risk anything with pictures.

I love hearing about all the progress happening in Centennial! Sounds like Dad is being a bomb Mission Leader, and that Sierra and Lily are being awesome. Congrats Renen on signing that contract, and the backyard is starting to look awesome.

Oh hey, I think I forgot to mention when I got hit by a car the other week. It wasn't tenas, just that they clipped my arm with the side mirror but we were like, You had so much room on the road, but you had to drive that close to us.

The other night, a member Erika brought us to meet a neighbor who is super Catholic and isn't open to other religions. I believe it was, in part, testing us. We weren't told any of this, we were just presented and invited inside and we talked with the lady a bit, just casually. Later, Erika asked us if we were going to return to visit her and teach her, and we told her we aren't. I told her that the lady isn't open to other religions, or basically that it seems like she doesn't want to change, and only wants to talk to us because we are nice young men. Erika was like Tenas! You are real missionaries; You are exactly right! and I was like We are amazing.

I'm trying to think of the funny things that happen each week to write, but I never remember them in the hour I'm here writing. They're usually in my journal though.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken