Monday, November 30, 2015

Locura [madness]

Happy Thanksgiving pues (hay que leerlo con acento Paisa) [you have to read that with a country accent]. Our Thanksgiving celebration was a Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] Thursday that fell through while we were there in the casa del miembro [member's house] waiting for the other family. Basically, the Pte of the Elderes just said "ah, feliz día de acción de gracias" ["Happy Thanksgiving Day"] and we ate sandwiches. It´s alright because we´ve been pretty busy hasta que también me olvidé [so much that I forgot]. 

I know that every week I keep saying this week has been super crazy but it´s because the locura [madness] isn´t ending or even slowing down, sino [rather] aumenting. Tuesday was normal, but Wednesday  we didn´t even have the opportunity to sit down and teach except for taxis because we got swamped with vueltas [rounds]. Thursday I don´t even remember, but I remember the cancelled Noche de Hogar, and the crazy coordinating to get baptismal interviews done.

Friday the Pte came for interviews but got here late and didn´t know how to get to the capilla [chapel], and the APs also got here late because their bus was under repair for a while. We didn´t even get to be there in the interviews to regulate anything ni [neither] the APs because we went  visiting every house in the zone (7) to inspeccionarlas [inspect them] and clean them (super deap cleaning) and so we did it in divisiones [splits]. I went with Elder Rojas from Bogotá. We made the hour and a half travel to Sevilla and while he interviewed the four elders there, I went with the other three inspecting and cleaning the house.  Then we made the hour and a half travel back to Armenia and there was some little kid who threw up during the ride and the bus didn´t smell so good and the window next to us didn´t open. And then the Hna [Sister Missionary] decided to not interview sino [but rather] go to the  casas de los misioneros para inspeccionarlas [missionary appartments to inspect them] and apparently she´s a perfecionista  ( not even a word) and was cleaning everything imaginable haste [even] in the nevera [fridge's] the rubber seal, how it´s got that crack? Yeah, when she went to Calarcá with Elder velazquez y Elder Opheikens the hnas there are nearly perfect and everything was 100% clean and they are also really obediente and humble, but when Hna Calderón opened the fridge and pointed out the hardly dirty seal, Hna Cañas nearly threw her out the window.

Saturday, we had two baptisms and the mom of one called us like 3 hours before that she wanted to change the location of the baptism to a different capilla [chapel], and that made tons of complications with special music numbers and that there were going to be two baptisms at the same time, and that they would happened at the same time, and stuff like that, that we barely got it worked out by the time it happened, while going to a training meeting for SEI and also citas medicas [medical appointments] for a hna en la zona.

Today, we need to go to every house in the zone and paint them and also plan a couple things for Christmas, but it still feels like relaxing in contrast to last week. I hope that kind of week is normal in other zones and missions, but that´s what happened here this week. 

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Elder Velazquez and I with David and Natali Niño

Hnos Viveros Lopez then Estefhanía and Daira with us two in baptism of Estefhanía. She´s got a bathrobe and all because it´s after the baptism and she´s super skinny and so get cold and sick easily after getting wet

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bobada de Bomberos [Silly Fire]

So this week has been interesting, but in an intercambio [exchange] that we did I was with Élder Vergara from Chile (Antofagasta) and there´s a funny story to tell, hence the title. So we´re going to a cita [an appointment] and pass by the house of the family Buitrago just to say hi and ask for water. While we´re there, Alejandro notices the smell of burning and that the street and everywhere was filled with smoke. We all went outside to see what was up and saw a large amount of smoke coming from the house behind theirs. Alejandro asked for our phone to call the firemen and we went on our way to the cita. As we were subiendo the loma [coming out the chimney], we saw that all the smoke was coming out of a chimney (a small one, but still was coming out tons of smoke) and learned later that someone was just making tomales. Either way, the firemen came. We heard them from blocks away. They came with two of the big green firetrucks, two ambulances, another police car, and the local news van. The tomale lady, when she heard the sirens, turned off the oven and when they got there there was no smoke. It turned into a penosa [painful] story and also funny. The next morning when the hermana Armi Buitrago went out to buy empanadas or arepas, the lady was saying that she was making tomales last night and the neighbors called the firemen and that "sus vecinos son unos envidiosos" [her neighbors are just jealous].  We were basically dying of laughter, so short story long, she doesn´t know that the call came from our phone, and we hope it stays that way. Alejandro didn´t even pass us the reference of the firemen. 

Elder Velazquez and I have been seeing a cantidad of milagros [ton of miracles] lately that we believe are basically compensation for the time that we take out of the area to attend to the zone. Every Domingo [Sunday] for like 4 weeks, a different less-active or two has just showed up at the capilla [chapel] like, "Teach me" and we´re like "where did you come from".  Half of them we didn´t even know existed until they showed up. It´s been super crazy for the last couple weeks for that reason. It´s been really comforting to see the area growing so much, and also great to see how the animo [energy] of the people is changing as they see the difference in what is happening. The lesson this week has been: worry about where I am first and if I´m certain that I´m where I should be, everything else will be following, I´ve just got to be the example. It´s like the peak of a mountain. The peak doesn´t get to be a 14er while the rest of the mountain stays at sea level, it all grows and ningún [not a single] part can grow at a different rate as other parts.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, November 16, 2015


Hey sorry guys for not being able to write much this week. It`s been a crazy week and a crazy pday. This week was consejo and we went to Medellin and I got my toe operated on and so now I`m using shoes and everything is awesome. Also Elder Velazquez vomited a couple times on the bus. Everything is crazy. 

I just depend on spiritual experiences because theymotivate me to do anything. After spiritual meetings, trainings, and things like that, I always feel really ready for anything. So, my invitacion this week is that you can all search spiritual experiences and be good.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, November 9, 2015


Hey so I finished my study on the caridad [charity], and typed up my summary and attached it. It took me a bit to do, so that means that the letter won´t be very long.

This week has been way crazy though. 5 new kids came from the CCM [Missionary Training Center] and the good news is that there aren´t many problems with their llegada [arrival] still. They opened an area in the zone, which meant creating a new district, so there´s three districts now. One of the LD just got here, and he was LZ in Sincelejo, so that´s cool. Also, Élder Zuchel, who was in my district in Montería, came and is in the zone and that´s also cool.

This week, Élder Velázquez and I are traveling to Medellín for Consejo. While I´m there, I´m going to get my toe checked out. The super cool is that this month there´s a capacitacion [training] for the LDs and Hermanas Líderes the next day after our consejo. The good is that we´re going to have bomb lideres in the zone, and the bad is that the zone is going to be practically empty this week because it´s 8 hours to Medellín and so that´s two days of pure travel for each thing in Medellín. But it´ll be cool to see a couple kids who are LD in Medellín like Élder Hurtado my Padre who is LD in Montería.

Hey fam, I´ve decided with Elder Velazquez to start taking more advantage of the piano (super untuned, but piano) here in our capilla. Could you scan and send me some of my music? Like the first 16 pages of Rhapsody in Blue, my John Schmidt songs, and maybe just some others. I´m starting to forget how to play a couple of them.

Just to put something here, it cracks Velazquez and I up how the people say "ciao" here. They say it more like a question. ¿ciao?  If you want an example, ask me in the llamada in Diciembre [phone call in December].

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, November 2, 2015


Hey, party!

So Elder Velazquez and I are super pumped po'que aja [oh yeah]. So cambios are this week and we'll be sticking together which is super awesome. I think all the bad luck with my anterior [previous] companions flipped and was good luck with this one. It's been a super great cambio [transfer] and the next will be better. In the zone, they're opening another area and subsequently another district. So, we've got a new LD [district leader], Elder Canavese is from Uruguay (Montevideo) and he's going to be super great, and also Elder Menjivar from Salvador is leaving, but he's going to be LZ [Zone Leader] in Poblado, where I started my mission.

Hey, I don't know if I've mentioned it, but in my first area Envigado, there were a couple cositas [little things] (more with the oficina que mi area [office than with my area]) and now the missionaries there are sisters. Oh, also here in Armenia we're going to have 5 new missionaries from the CCM!! This next cambio is going to be the best of the best.

So last night we are teaching Estefanía, and a 13 year old girl that is now living with her member parents and really wants to get baptized. She's a riot and it's always interesting any interaction with her. But in their  house they only have two light bulbs and where we were teaching was not one of the parts with a bulb. So, we taught with the light of a flashlight. It was awesome because we're teaching Evangelio de Jesucristo [Jesus Christ's Gospel] and Velazquez used the flashlight to demonstrate the Holy Ghost and dignidad [dignity] and all that.

Oh hey, so also yesterday we're teaching some less actives and I started annoying the cat. Those who have pets know that's, like, the point of pets: bother them. This is after the prayer and so I'm bothering it and all and then it attacks my hand. I'm attaching a picture. 

Hey, to respond to your email, mom.
Halloween is más o menos [so-so] en Armenia. They do it and all, and the disfrases [costumes]  are ridiculous, way too many mice, but they do the disfrases well. But, the trick or treating isn't very strong. It was to the point we were still out visiting and the people were there. Día de los Muertos I think would be bigger in Cereté, but we don't even have a cemeterio en our area, so it's basically nothing.

Hey, but cool with that man in the ward that served in Cajamarca! Also, the humanitarian aid trips of Renen seem super cool, I would have liked to do that during high school. I'm pumped to talk to all these Spanish speaking manes when I get back. Not that I'm thinking of when I get back, just that it'll be bomb. Oh hey, and Josh is super delgado [thin] now!

It's interesting to hear your words from your aprendizaje [learning] from that book Mindset, mom. I read your consejos [advice] and then see how it ties in to the Gospel and when we teach the missionaries. 

In my personal study, I've been taking it by theme, studying one by one an atributo de Cristo [Christ's Attributes]. Since the 22nd, I've been studying Charity, and it's been awesome. To finish up, I write basically an essay on everything I've learned and right now I've written part of it. I've spent two days of study on the essay, and there's a lot left. But, I think next week I'll be able to type it up and send it out, maybe if there's anyone who wants to see it. 

To finish up, a small resumen [summary] of my studies this week:

Algo de que  me he dado cuenta es que todos los atributos de Cristo de basan sobre la caridad. Con razón Nefi y Mormón enseñan que "sin la caridad, no sois nada." Analizamos la vida del  Señor y vemos que cada acto se efectuó por la caridad. Aún si hacemos las buenas cosas, no vale nada si las hacemos faltando la caridad. Sería como yendo al cine, entrando, escogiendo bien el asiento, y dando cuenta que no hay ninguna película. Continuando a hacer las cosas sin caridad sería como ni poner la película y quedarse allí viendo la pantalla blanca. En una lección con una familia hablamos de la caridad y la hermana dijo que si hacemos algo bueno pero sin caridad, mejor dejar la cosa. Pensamiento así es equivocado y perezoso. Lo que el Señor nos pide y lo que hizo posible por la Expiación es que si hacemos cosas sin caridad, no dejamos de hacer la cosa sino nos cambiamos a nosotros para poder efectuar el acto con caridad y por medio de ello aumentar la caridad y los otros atributos. Al quejar por hacer favores pequeños o hacerlos con malas ganas e incumplidos, negamos el punto de negamos la oportunidad de crecer y aprender. Debemos buscar maneras en todas nuestras vidas en las cuales podemos mejor mostrar caridad. Si sea por unas palabras o por actos pequeños, la meta es mejorar.

[Something I have realized is that all of Christ's attributes are based upon charity.  As Nephi and Mormon taught, "Without charity, you are nothing."
Moroni 7:46-48
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.                   
As we analyze the life of the Savior, we see that each of His acts was put into effect because of charity.  Even if we do really good things, it is worth nothing if we do them without charity.  It would  be like going to the movie theater, entering, choosing the best seat, and realizing that there isn't even a movie to watch.  Continuing to do these things without charity would be like putting on the movie but still watching the blank screen.  In a lesson we had with a family we talked about charity and the hermana said that if we do something good without charity, it is better that we didn't do it at all.  Thinking this way is wrong and dangerous.  What the Savior is asking of us and what He has made possible through the Atonement is that if we do things without charity, we don't have to stop doing them all together, but rather we work to change ourselves so that we may be able to do the act with charity, and through that charity we can grow in other attributes.  To complain about doing small favors or to do them grudgingly and without feeling, we miss the point and the opportunity to learn and grow.  We should look for ways in all our lives that we can show more charity.  While it may be through simple words or small acts, the goal is to improve.
Always Great,
Élder Hicken