Monday, October 26, 2015

Año - my year mark

Although I remembered to put that I finished an año  this week, doesn't mean it's been on my mind. Actually, I nearly forgot. I was reminded 3 times this week. But, it made me think about how I'm spending my time, and more about how I've spent my time in the mission in the past. It really is shorter than it seems.

With respect to how the area is doing, we've got a couple fechas and we've got a couple progresando. One thing I've really learned is that an area is only as pailas as the missionaries in the area. Just like Centennial was pailas [Pailas would mean something like maybe hopeless or a lost cause] until Elder Mazankowski got there, I've seen the same thing here. Envigado was pailas until my last cambio and when I left there was baptism almost every month. Here in Álamos we haven't had a convert baptism since November, but before the end of the year we are hoping for 2-5. The prejuicios [prejudices] of people really messes stuff up.

Yesterday was the elections in Colombia. Not for the President, but for governor and consejos [councils] and all that. But, we couldn't be in the streets starting after lunch and so you could say we didn't have a very productive afternoon.

Hey so update on my toe, it's the same as last week. Last Monday, the APs came to give (another) capacitación [training] about Como Apresurar la Obra de Salvación [Hastening the Work of Salvation] and found that Zona Armenia is already pro at Como Apresurar la Obe de Salvación because Elder Velazquez and I are the best, basically. But, Elder Opheikins mentioned that he had had something similar with his foot and suggested that with the next Consejo in Medellín I hightail it to Doctor Scholl's to get it checked out.
My chancleados feet

Hey, funny thing with the elections yesterday. So in our house the roof in the bedroom leaks so we have the beds in the salon [living room]. So, being bored, we were people watching for a bit and there were a group of people who got really worked up when the elections ended because they weren't able to vote and were left outside. It just made me laugh because there wasn't anything anyone could do about it, but they just wanted everyone to know they were upset. Also there was un man y una gamín (Gamín is like a hobo, but it's used more to say someone who doesn't do anything, but more often just to say like some guy, or whatever like that. I think I'm going to put more and more stuff we say in the mission because I'm getting used to it. Also 'man' is something they say here. Este man, esa man, dos manes...) on a moped pitando [whistling] and blowing some plastic trumpet for like an hour riding around the streets when elections ended and Elder Velazquez thought it was a bunch of people, but it was only two.

Hey so I lost my USB this week and it's kinda sad knowing the stuff that was on there, with the pictures and music and stuff. The spiritual side is that the week before losing it, I had the idea that I should send all the best fotos home and videos just to be sure and so I didn't lose the stuff like that. It was just following the Spirit without being very conscious of it, which is how it normally happens. 

There's actually tons of horses here, you get used to walking down the street and a horse passes you. Normally with someone and a cart, but sometimes just strolling. This park is el Parque de los Sueños and the horses just walk around trotting or running and playing. One time Elder Velazquez and I were with Alejandro Oliveros (Pte de los Elderes) And Velazquez thought he was going to get trampled and the horse almost kicked a gamín.

 Me with some horses we were walking past Friday night. 

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

And another tidbit from Kai in a separate email exchange asking for more contact lenses.  I learned that since his prescription has expired he needs to get an exam in Colombia before we can get new contacts.  Here is his response:

I expect I'll make a scare with my eyesight there in an exam like I did in Sam's Club the other time. When people here complain about their eyesight, I normally lend them my glasses and when they pull their head back and exclaim that I'm super blind, I use the opportunity to essentially tell them not to complain and get to reading the Libro de Mormón.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rescate! Rescate! Rescate! [Rescue]

So, with the theme of the title, Rescate [Rescue]!! Not sure what the missionary term is in English, or if it works the same in other missions, but this week in the zone we got 10 to cross the line from less-active to active and that´s a massive accomplishment for us. The APs nearly fainted when we passed the dato and they´re traveling here for a training and they are going to congratulate us tonight.

This week, Elder Velazquez and I had a lot of success with references. We received and contacted a total of 7 references in the week and that´s massive. And it looks like 4-5 of them have real desires to learn and be baptized. It should be a good next couple of weeks. The families we were teaching before aren´t progressing and it might be that we need to dejarles [let them go], but we´re going to give them another last chance.

Also, I am still in flippy floppies. I´m pretty sure my dedo [toe] is a lot better, and I almost made it through a whole day without dying yesterday before changing my shoes for flip flops again.

I hiked up my spirituality this week and I feel super good. I concentrated more in my prayers and study and testimony and all that and I feel more energized to do things well. I´m super tired and super exhausted, but I can tell it´s just physical. My spirit wants to keep going forward, and that´s like the only thing that keeps me going. It´s kind of a cool feeling.

Tuesday, Elder Velazquez and I did a meeting with the LDs and we send their greenie companions to contact until we finished. They came back after an hour with like 9 people and it was awesome because one of them still doesn´t speak Spanish, and the other hasn´t finished his training either, but it was just showing the energy they still show towards the work. It kinda made me feel bad because sometime I feel like I´ve gotten used to being a missionary, but they showed me that I should live everyday like I were just barely starting the mission.

Also, I´m finding it difficult to talk English because I never talk English anymore, not even to other gringos. Writing still seems fine, but I can hardly read out loud either.

Elder Velazquez is super good and I´m really blessed to have him as an example as my first LZ comp.

I'm sure there was more that I wanted to say but I already forgot.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, October 12, 2015


This past week, we had the monthly Consejo de Líderes de Zona in Medellín where the Pte and the APs basically help us out and it´s super great. They said a bunch of cool things about running the zone, (Dad, I don´t know if over there there´s the equivalent of Como Apresurar la Obra de Salvación [Hastening the Work of Salvation) but a new version of the document came out from the area the 7.4 and we are really starting to use it in our daily work habits. I keep noticing more and more how God really does provide the way for us, but many times He even makes it obvious. If we use the tools we´ve got, I don´t know why so many people wonder how to fulfill their callings.
Velazquez sleeping on the ride to Medellín
Pte Calderon also spoke a bunch about the importance of Seminary and Institute, of the necessity that all the youth and JAS[young single adults] go, but used it in a greater example, of when we have our own kids. Basically, how are we going to hope that our kids are going to do something we neglected to do? It´s basically just saying to them that it wasn´t important to us, and it doesn´t need to matter to them either. The greatest way to teach is through example.

Proselyting has been a bit rough in Álamos because of the consejo and other errands for the zone, but we´ve got two families that we´re working really closely with right now. But, neither family came to church last week. One was traveling and the other was sick, but we´re trying to get them there. They´re both reading stuff, but only the familia Llanos Ruiz is reading the Book of Mormon, and neither of them are praying, so we´ve got a ways to go. The good news is that the reactivation in the zone is going strong.

It was cool in the Consejo to see a number of missionaries from my group there as either secretaries, zone leaders, or sister´s leaders. Of the 19 of us still in the mission, 6 of us were there, and 2 of them were my comps in the MTC (Elder Nae´ole and Elder Romeu). Elder Velazquez and I came back with a whole truckload of missionary revelations. 

The Montería crowd in the Consejo, Hna Vallejo, Hna some brazilian that was never in Monteria actually, Hna Ballesteros, E´Eno, E´Guzmán, E´Crandall, E´Hicken, E´Velazquez, E´Bagley
The Three of us from Armenia, Hna Cañas, Elder Velazquez, Elder Hicken
Those from my group in the Consejo, E´Nae´ole, E´Cruz, E´Hicken, E´Romeu, E´Peña, Hna Muñoz

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, October 5, 2015


Conference was great, but it just isn't the same in Spanish. We tried watching it in English, but we were only able to for the Priesthood session because of interenet cositas [issues] with the other 4 sessions. But, we did see the 5 sessions. It was super cool, of course hearing things I can improve upon, but also teaching and concepts to implement in lecciones [lessons] with less-actives or investigadores [investigators].

I liked what Ronald A. Rasband said Sunday Morning that aunque Dios no condena ni ama al pecado, ama al pecador igual [even though God does not condone nor love the sin, He loves the sinner just the same]
I’m confident that there is no choice, sin, or mistake that you or anyone else can make that will change His love for you or for them. That does not mean He excuses or condones sinful conduct—I’m sure He does not—but it does mean we are to reach out to our fellowman in love to invite, persuade, serve, and rescue.
Also the words of Sister Neill F.Mariott que Dios no dice 'todo saldrá bien ahora'.  [that God does not say "it will all work out now"]  
President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God. … The Lord will not forsake us.”  Our family motto doesn’t say, “It will all work out now.” It speaks of our hope in the eternal outcome—not necessarily of present results.
 Also Francisco J. Viñas' words about examining yourselves before the sacrament to repent. It was all good. Hey Mom, "ponderize" in Spanish is "meditizar".

I lied last week, there are only 16 missionaries in the zone, 4 of which are hermanas. The hermanas here are great and not so problematic. Elder Velazquez and I are really trying to motivate the zone and also the Armenia District to get this vision of a Stake here, and to double all the work we're doing.

We're focusing a lot on the 15 families list and the list of the 24 months of conversos recientes [recent converts] and directions desconocidas [unknown]. It's a bit rough here in Álamos because of all the prep and vueltas [rounds] that we've got to do, and the last cambio they kind of just left the area to die. Velazquez feels really bad about that but is really motivated to give it new life. We're putting a ton of work into it, and it's coming back to life, but there just isn't a lot of time that we have as zone leaders.

There are a couple interesting people we've met in the last bit. One is the familia Llanos Ruiz. They are actually MARRIED which is totally crazy and their names are Kerith and Ambrosio, though everyone calls him Moncho. They've got a 7 year old daughter named Valeria. They're really receptive and willing to keep commitments, that is until it comes to coming to Church. They read stuff and they pray, they just don't get to church. Moncho works every other day, So every other Sunday he works, but we're going to work on that. Also they've got this super hyper pit bull named Athena. The familia is super cool, they just aren't getting to church.

The other guy is Daniel, who's got a massive criminal background, but has a lot of desires to turn his life around (well, he already started the last time he was in jail) but he wants to do it right to help his two little daughters who are 8 and 6 years old.

Hey, how tall is Sierra in meters? There's a 10 year old daughter of the Pta of the SocSoc and she's way taller than the other girls her age, but looking at the pictures from the wedding, it seems like Sierra is pretty tall also.

And hey mom, Elder Velazquez también te manda saludos [also sends you greetings, basically saying "He says Hi"].

I would attach fotos of something, but my camera ran out of battery and I only have a cable to connect it because my adaptor broke, so it's a bit rough for the time being.

Juiciositos [which translated is like being wise and putting judgment into your decisions],

Always Great,
Élder Hicken