Monday, October 3, 2016

Por la sombrita

Hey pops,

Well, you have my itinerary and so you know my hour of llegada. A couple favours, to bring like wool or cotton gloves and I would love to listen to MoTab on the way home. I don´t know if Renen and Talon are going to be there? The bus to Medellín was last night, we got here at 0230 in the morning and didn´t sleep none. I´m still waiting my interview with the Pte. Thursday dinner doesn´t need to be much, remember that I´ll be accostumbed to small dinners and big lunches, but also I won´t have eaten much that day, but igual after being traveling so much, I don´t imagine I´ll be very hungry. But, it´d be bomb a grill or something like Friday because I like things like that.

See you Thursday, I´ll be leaving Medellín at 3am to go to the airport in Rionegro to leave at 7am here. 
Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, September 26, 2016

Oigan a este - Listen to this!

Another week, the familia Alzate Gañan should be baptized this week tomorrow, All`s well. I got sick this week but got better due to a priesthood blessing. I don´t even know what to write anymore, thanks for everything.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hágale pues

Happy Birthday Dad! I think, although I was intending to, I didn´t include that in last week´s email. 

To make up for it, Jhonathan Alzate was baptized this week. That was satisfying because when I got here to the area we were teaching him but he was so drug addict that he wasn´t able to complete with any commitment. With time, we stopped visiting. 

A month ago, he got to church clean from all the drugs and wanting to get baptized. Then the next three weeks, he left smoking and amidst sometimes doubts and another church that was trying to baptize him, he made the right choice. It was an interesting week, and rather stressful, but it`s alright.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bien, o ¿qué?

  • Henry Bermudez was baptized on Saturday! 
  • The Family Rincón was interviewed on Sunday and should be baptized on Saturday. 
  • Jhonathan Alzate will be interviewed on Wednesday and should be baptized on Saturday. 
  • The Marlon and Miriam Alzate familia didn´t come to church because Marlon couldn´t change turns but worked it out to come next week, so their baptism should be the following week. 
  • Good news also, our person from "another well-known church that has a strong reputation in South America and part of the reputation is the amount of knowledge and ability to explain that they have" has a baptismal date now, though it´s still costing her to go to church. 

I forgot to mention last week that we extracted a viper from the church during ward council. Good experiences. Hey, also we did do a service this week, to answer mom´s question from last week. We went to a finca [farm]and picked café [coffee beans]. It was fun.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, September 5, 2016

¿Qué mas, bien?

Basically I don´t have an idea what to call my letters now so I just put something they always say in paisalandia.

So, we´re here working, achieving goals, getting better...we´ve been having a couple good weeks. Last May when I had just gotten to the area we were teaching Jhonathan Alzate, a drug addict that was the son of a member. He had so many addictions to different things. But, he wouldn´t come to church so we told him that he´d have to start coming to church or we wouldn´t be able to spend so much time with him. But, the things that we taught stuck. He went to rehab and we´ve been visiting him this last week and he´s coming to church now and should get baptized in two weeks. Honestly, I had thought that he was almost a lost cause back then. But, God obviously doesn´t think like that. God prepared him, and at the same time me cortó la cabeza ["He cut my head off"...similar to our saying "don't bite my head off".] saying I shouldn´t do that.   [God doesn't give up on people.  We shouldn't either.]

We´re fighting for our baptisms these weeks, it doesn´t come easy. There´s always other challenges and while these people want to get baptized, they´re going to get baptized. Allí vamos.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, August 29, 2016


I put the "x" at the end of "metas" because there are some kids in our ward that always say "elderex!" and se nos pegó [it stuck].

Right now there was some guy in the next computer over in this internet that it sounds like was listening to metal because he was doing those pig squeals over and over again and we were just dying of laughter.

The leaders of the mission have been stressing alot in the past weeks how to make and acheive goals. I´ve been taking thier advice and we´ve had a good last two weeks. We´ve met loads of fantastic kids.

One, Dayana Meza, was member of another well-known church that has a strong reputation in South America and part of the reputation is the amount of knowledge and ability to explain that they have. She´s the daughter of a sister less-active since 32 years, and in reality neither of them knows anything about the church now. Dayana and her mom, Irma had gone to loads and loads of churches before ending up in the most recent. But, they had found things in every church that les desagradaban [they didn't agree with]. We got to their house just at the moment in which she was in an emotional and religious dilema, about to return to her most recent afiliation. But, listening to the Restored Gospel, she´s been able to answer questions, calm doubts, and after much time, returned to pray last night.

I have strengthened my testimony loads in the last month or two, maybe more than all the mission and I am sure the church is true, the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is. It´s based on that time I asked God and He answered. The mission´s real pailas without that testimony, and real powerful with it. 

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cambios!...No Cambios

Happy Anniversary Talon and Maddy!

So it's cambios[transfers], but probably the cambios least exciting of my entire mission because no one has cambio, not I, not my comp, not the other companionship. So, 6 weeks of the same kids.

We've been having challenges with the Flia [family] Rincón. It´s Mario with his three kids Dora, Juan, and Xiomara and only two will be baptized because Xiomara only has 6 years. Mario was interviewed for baptism on Saturday, but the new esposo [husband] of his ex-wife doesn´t like Mario much and the kids spend the half week with the mom and weekends with the dad and for problems with the stepdad, we had to postpone the baptism. 

But, the Flia Alzate Gañan is going well. Marlon said that he decided to quit his job that makes him work Sundays. And yesterday, as he had to start at 10, he came for the Sacrament. They aren´t even baptized, but they recognize the importance of the Sacrament. 

Miriam has now come 5 times and is just waiting her baptism. 

Henry Bermudez had a change in his work that they made him work Sundays and we, being worried about that, were praying. Turns out this week they fired him. Answers come in many ways. He already found a new job, and he has Sundays off.

Now that I've got 6 more weeks here, It´s just put everything I´ve got into the area and see what happens.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

President L. Whitney Clayton

The reason for which I didn´t write on Monday is that Pte L. Whitney Clayton, the leader of the presidencia of the Seventy came to visit. Basically the person with most authority after the 12 Apostles. 

It was cool, a good motivating visit although short. We had to travel the 6 hours to Medellín and we traveled leaving a little before midnight Sunday and got there at 4:30 in the morning (a bit faster because there isn´t much traffic that that hour). In Medellín where all the missionaries stay in cambios and things like that is called the Casa Hotel and it fits about 30 elders with every inch of floor covered by a mattress and a sleeping missionary. 

We had 4 zones there: Manizales, Pereira, Pereira Lago, and Armenia. Every zone has an average of 15 missionaries, 11 elderes. We got there and Manizales was sleeping. My zone is only 10 elderes, but entering and moving about we woke up the 16 from Manizales. At about 5:00, the 14 from Armenia got there and at 5:30 the 14 from Pereira Lago. Super packed was this place and in the end, we all slept like 3 hours total before the conference with Pte Clayton. I hope the next week come pictures of the conference. He asked me a picture apart because he recognized my last name and realized the connection to Joe Hicken from Chicago, or Grandpa Hicken with whom he had done various assignments. It was also a blast seeing loads of companions and buddies from the last 21 months. 

We´re fighting for our baptisms, they never come too easy, but the people are excited and want to be baptized. Cambios are next week so we´ll see if I´ll still be here for the baptisms. I talked with Élder Velázquez about that yesterday, as he´ll be with the Pte doing cambios today and tomorrow.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, August 8, 2016

Alli Vamos

Stuff is getting better, we have new investigators, a couple baptismal dates for the 27, and my comp is trying to be sociable, which seems difficult for him. He´s starting to say "it´s not a joke, why are you laughing" and we aren´t sure if it´s a joke or not because when something´s funny he doesn´t laugh and when it isn´t funny he laughs and so allí vamos [there we go].

Marlon Alzate finally found a way to get to church, changing turns (shifts) with other coworkers. They´re really pumped for their baptisms, and already said to their family that they are going to get baptized there.

I got to Matthew this week (trying to finish the Bible before the mission, let´s see if I beat Sierra) and I noted that there a loads of prophecies completed. It was prophesied that Christ would come from Bethlehem, from Egypt, and from Nazareth, and I´m sure no one understood how that would work until it happened. He was born in Bethlehem, they flew (fled) to Egypt and Christ was raised in Nazareth. Although they had the same prophecies, the people didn't understand without a prophet. Not even the Pharisees or Scribes or Sadducees understood although they were really studied. Today, people study and study, but as Nephi said, you need the Spirit of Revelation to get it down. 

Hey Happy anniversary MyD! We heard/saw little bits of olympics over the days, bomb that the Colombians entered with sombreros volteados (those white and black hats). I think Talon also mentioned having dreams swimming laps, but I saw a little bit of swimming in a service we did on Saturday and I almost died.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, August 1, 2016


Well, the good news is that we have now lots of baptismal dates. Flia Rincón is still preparing for the 13 of August, but couldn´t come to church yesterday because Dora was sick and they went to the clinic and found out that she was born missing a kidney. Interesting, she has 12 years and just now they found out. Flia Alzate Gañan is going great, to be baptized the 27 of August. Marlon already arranged to change turns to be able to come to church. They came to a big Noche de Hogar -Family Home Evening] at Over´s house last night which was a big success and they really liked it. Henry Bermudez is the boyfriend of a young woman and will be baptized the 27 of August. He´s just now growing a testimony that God lives, after passing a couple years as an atheist. He´s been lost, but is being found.

In lunch yesterday we were talking with Elismar, who is from Brasil and was a missionary there, but now is over here getting married. He said that in his last area there were 4 in the house and the companionship that got home first would try and scare the other. So, when Élder Valenzuela and I get home after that Noche de Hogar and find the lights out, I say to Élder Valenzuela that either they are really late or are trying to scare us. We enter and find that all the lightbulbs are unsocketed. I said to Élder Valenzuela that they were trying to scare us. I said it and right them we heard Élder Pavez start to laugh from the stairwell. It was their intention to scare us but this Élder Pavez is a clown and can´t do anything with a straight face. I´m trying to find pictures from the last few months to send home.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, July 25, 2016

Letter home

The good news is that the Familia Alzate and the Familia Rincón are with fecha in Agosto and are excited to be baptized, and se we are happy with that. The Lord promises blessings for obedience and for disobedience no blessings. If I am obediente and do everything I can to deserve blessings, I´ll recieve them.

In Ezequiel 20 the ancianos of Israel come to Ezequiel to consult Jehova. In short, God tells them that he´s not going to say them anything because of the idolatries. Then, by Ezequiel he tells them "Cada uno eche de sí las abominaciones de delante de sus ojos, y no os contaminéis con los ídolos de Egipto. Yo soy Jehová vuestro Dios." [Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Ezekiel 20:7]or if that they would repent and leave their idols, he´d respond them. "Pero ellos se rebelaron contra mí y no quisieron obedecerme; no echó de sí cada uno las abominaciones de delante de sus ojos, ni dejaron los ídolos de Egipto; y dije que derramaría mi ira sobre ellos, para consumar mi enojo contra ellos en medio de la tierra de Egipto." [But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.Ezekiel 20:8]or that they brought upon themselves an effectual curse for not wanting to leave their idols. If they would have concentrated themselves in God, they could have received a response. But, as they didn´t want to , they received the promise of destruction.

It´s rough but true. Don´t be destroyed, repent.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hey Party

I have very little time to write. On Tuesday we knew our new companions and I was talking to another elder about our new companions and I told him that I was happy with anywhere except Peru because I had already had 4 peruvian companions. Not anything against peruvians, but I´ve been with them much. I said especially not from Arequipa because they are famously prideful and serious. 

When I finally asked my companion from where he is from, he´s from the "Independent Republic" of Arequipa, o sea Arequipa, Perú. the cambios are revelation, people. For many reasons, just that that´s another evidence. He´s named Élder Valenzuela and comes from a pueblito. It must be real pueblito because i had to teach him how to use a microwave with other very basic things. But, he´s learning well and last night put two baptismal dates. I´ll write more next week.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th

Well, this week was much better, and Mirian came to church! We´ve been teaching her and her (legally married) hubby and they`ve had their list of challenges to come to church and they still have but Mirian came this week and loved it. I found myself thinking in the sacrament meeting. I analyzed everything that was happening, trying to see everything from the eyes of an investigator. Things improvised, the old lady starting to sing a hymn in the middle of her testimony, the bishop announcing that only two people came to clean the capilla, and thinking pailas. But, I realized something, well maybe not realized but reminded myself. The Church is true. Here is the Priesthood, we have the Profet, the Bishop is set apart and called by revelacion, and here is the Holy Ghost. If the person is prepared, they´re going to notice all the good, and they´ll love it. In the end, she loved it and her 4 year old daughter also.

Élder Velázquez, as he´s AP now, came to Zona Pereira for accompany people! It looks like the mission has their sights on Élder Martinez for a couple of commentaries from him and the LZ, and it was great spending a day in trio wirking with my old comp from Armenia. It was a day of laughs. Two stories cuento.

1. In companionship study Élder Martinez and I were practicing teaching to Élder Velázquez. In the middle of the practice, the vecina [neighbor] started blasting a champeta (genre of music popular in the coast that isn´t very virtuous) and we paused the practice. When she turned it down, we continued, thinking the bit had passed. It was funny becasue Élder Velázquez and I have both passed alot of time in the costa. After a couple seconds she blared it again and I started dancing and we started laughing harder. The best part was when she turned it way down that we couldn´t hear it and we had just calmed down started the practice again when she sings the song yelling "¡¡AGÁRRALA!!" and that killed us.

2. Singing the hymn 50 Más cerca Dios, de ti [Nearer My God, To thee]  with the familia Valencia (see foto 4935 for to see the corner of their house) the kid Miguel only remembers the lines "más cerca Dios, de ti quiero estar" which is the first line of the first verse and "y angeles habrá" which is the third line of the third verse. The funny is that he thinks the two lines are right after eachother and gets confused when we end up singing something else. He literally begins every line with "y angeles habrá" and looks around confused because we´`re singing something else. About the 10th time, Élder Velazquez and I couldn´t contain it and laughter filled the rests.

It was a good day.
Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hello World!

Another one of those weeks, little eventful, loads of cancelled appointments, But, it gave us time to search a couple less-actives. The truth is, although we don´t have loads of investigators in the moment, we´ve got loads of great less-actives that want to come back to church. And, we´ve got Over and Patricia who are the greatest recent converts in the world.

Last night, Élder Limos made us jugo de papaya [papaya juice]and I think it was out of charity because he never shares his jugo with us, but it was so awful. I think he just put tons and tons of sugar or something because we were like dying just trying to drink it to accept the gift.

Saturday was a Noche Blanca. It wasn´t my idea, Talon. But Naranjos 2 had a baptism there, and there was total 8 from the zone.

So, Mom, you want to hear about my birthday. Well, for some reason, I didn´t want people to say much. I didn´t mention my birthday for the leading days, and in the end just Patricia Patiño and Pte and Hna Calderón called, which is how I liked. I didn´t want any fuss, it felt weird that it should be a special day and not just another day in the mission. I know it sounds boring, but I wanted it that way. Ya my next birthday I´ll do something like grill steaks again.

¡¡¡¡¡¡¡Congrats to Lily on her BAPTISM!!!!!!!

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, June 20, 2016

Feliz Día del Padre [Happy Father's Day]

I don´t know when Father´s Day is in the USA, but here it was yesterday. So Feliz Día, papa.

Rough week, not much success. The biggest success was meeting a kid Dylan Garzon that, although he´s got a rough past, wants to change and accepted the doctrinal truths easily.

The fun part of the week is that Pte and Hna Calderon came to visit Pereira and invited the zone leaders and Élder Martinez and I to dinner in their hotel and I kid you not it was the restaurant más pinchado I have been in. A bit expensive, but a great experience. The next day Hna Calderon invited us to a mexican restaurant in a mall food court in Pereira and the atmosphere was all different.

I'm bit on [by] bit learning a lesson of diligence. You RMs know why. The more diligent, the more success we have. If we depend on God for that success, it´s exponential, and not just an inclined slope.

Shout out to Mackenzie aka Sister Macfarlane who goes to the MTC this week and to Lily who gets baptized on Saturday!

In Pereira, all the Stake we are doing a "Noche Blanca" where there are many baptisms. Élder Martinez and I don´t have anyone who gets baptized Saturday, but the other companionship should have two.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, June 13, 2016


¡¡Sí!! Patricia and Over were baptized this weekend. It was a great service and we had assigned members to prayers and messages and everything, those members were there, but almost no one more. 

At 6 USA played against Paraguay and at 8:30 Colombia against Costa Rica, so that was a bit tricky. Here, if there´s a futbol [soccer] game, the world stops almost literally. The good part is that USA and Colombia are continuing from the group, with the USA out ahead.

Congrats, Mom on the new calling!

Last Sunday, after problems for not having a Lider Misional [ward mission leader] for a month, the Bishop told me I was the Lider Misional. Luckily, they called a real Lider Misional yesterday, in the picture it´s the tall guy on the left. He´s in white because he baptized Patricia.

Also, the Hna Calderón sent out the pictures of our house as examples to the rest of the mission so we're a bit happy for that. But, I think it´s more because we actually sent all the pictures, not for being so clean....

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, June 6, 2016

Copa America

Hey anyone know that the Copa America started on friday and the final is to be played in the USA? They´ve been talking about it for months here, and I swear I didn´t even know the US had a team before the mission, but they lost against Colombia 2-1 on friday. Either way USA won against Bolivia 4-0 the other week but it was amistoso [friendly].

Patricia Patiño passed her baptismal interview on Friday, and Élder De La Cruz, the LZ (he´s from my CCM group) told me that she had a problem with the interview and I had to tell her that we would talk to the mission presidente so that someone with more experience would continue the interview. I explained her the whole dang thing before they told me it was a joke. So, we waited for Élder Martinez to get there and we did the same prank but he didn´t understand anything -- he's so new, this kid.

I realized this week (with help) that I was being impatient with that -- he´s new -- that I wanted him to ya [already] know the things, but like he didn´t know them yet, it was stressing him out. It made me think in the relation between God and us, thankful for his patience because we are effectuate dunces and he´s got enough patience to help us learn bit by bit.

Of the four that live in the house, Élder Limos is the most prankster. The other day he took out a piece of the shower knob making it so that the shower wouldn´t turn on. Although the knob turned and turned, it was missing the piece to open the tap and let the water out. No matter how much we turned or pressed or tried without the knob, the tap could not be opened. It wasn´t until he finished his prank putting the piece again like nothing had happened that the tap would open.

Much of the world thinks they can praise God, do good things, and other principles along those lines and they´ll get to God. But, until the power of the Priesthood is applied with it´s saving ordenances and the effects of the Atonement, the "tap won´t open". Now that the Priesthood has been restored, the "tap opens" and the eternal blessings or "water" is available, letting us be spiritually or in this case physically clean.

This Saturday is the baptisms of Patricia and Over, hoping to send pictures next week. I´m sure Ëlder Martinez has a couple pictures of me, I´ll see if I can get my digital hands on them.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, May 30, 2016


It´s cambios! Either way, I don´t have cambio, Élder Martinez and I stay together, bomb for him, he´s going to have his first two baptisms (or more) this next cambio. In our little District, only Élder Rodo is leaving, going to the coast (jealous I am).

This week was Stake Conference, and Pte Calderón came and could know Patricia Patiño, and also the Familia Uzcátegui which was good. Also, we got the approval to baptize Over Puerta, so he´s getting baptized the 11 of June.

Yesterday, we did a Desembarco in Naranjos. [Naranjos is a region in Colombia] (funny story, one day in Cereté the four of us are walking together leaving lunch and talking about ways to find more people and we suggested a desembarco. Élder Pezo pointed to an upside-down boat and said "¿quieren un desem"barco"? ¡allí está!" and we just about died) We had a couple members (didn´t come many, but they came the good ones) and the two zones of missionaries. We just sent them all out over our area and of Naranjos 2 and gave them an hour. When they came back to the capilla, they had loads of smiles and were like fighting to tell us about their super cool person that they met, and it was great.

We had much work to do this week, and Patricia Patiño`s baptismal interview is this week also. 

And hey Talon, I got your advice on dating after the mission and thanks for the pointers.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hello World!

To answer questions from Mom: 

How was your investigator attendance for church yesterday? 
 Patricia could come to church yesterday, and Gloria had to go after the first hour. Only Over came to the three hours yesterday.

Did you have to teach anything?
 We don´t have líder misional [a ward mission leader] now, and we don´t have a teacher for Principios del Evangelio either, so I´m teaching every week now. 

Do you ever lead/accompany the music? 
Here no, there isn´t a piano. They have a CD of the hymns and have than on but no one follows it anyway. 

I imagine they sing about the same as in Cajamarca. 
They do. 
Do they have those pre-programmed pianos with all the church music on it?
They did in Zenú, but here no. 
What are you trying to get done during your P-day today?
 House cleaning, I have enough clothes for two weeks so I only wash every 15 days, so this week no. We are going to buy another pair of shoes for Élder Martinez, and at 3 we are going to play futbol with all the missionaries in the stake. 
Do you always have your laundry done for you by some lady in the ward for a couple of bucks?
 Nope, never done it and never want to. 
What did you have for breakfast?
 Today, Palitos de pan de queso [essentially, cheese sticks] with milk and chocolisto (chocolate milk mix).
Palitos o Deditos de Queso (Cheese Sticks) 
We often fry eggs and eat it with bread, sometimes yogurt with oreos, I made a jugo de [juice] papaya, manzanas [apples], good stuff. 
How often do you eat with the members? 
All almuerzo [lunch] is with members except pday. In our citas [appointments] in the night, they almost always give food also. 
What do you want to learn to cook that you've had there?
Here, almost everything is fried. So, basically everything I know how to cook is fried. Salchipapas [Latin French Fries], huevos fritos [Fried Eggs], jugos frutales [fruit juices], limonada de coco [coconut lemonade], arroz [rice]. I want to learn arepa [a type of food made of ground maize dough or cooked flour ]. I´ll find out someday to make sancocho [a traditional soup]. It´s not like Peru with all your [list of Peruvian foods:] papas a la huancaina, aji de gallina, milanesa de pollo, lomo saltado, ceviche...the foods are more simple here.

About investigators, Patricia and Over are going well, but everyone else is shaky. We´ve been meeting a lot of people and having success with references, but I hope to give a better update next week.

Story not for the faint of heart. Just kidding -- it´s funny. I'll tell it in Spanish, someone can translate. 

Entonces estamos bajando una loma en el área y un man nos acompaña y nos preguntó si eramos evangelicos, y dijimos que no. Preguntó si eramos cristianos, dijimos que creemos en Cristo pero no creemos lo mismo que muchos cristianos. Dijimos que eramos mormones y él no había escuchado de mormones pero igual no le importaba. Siguió contando que algo de policias, que era el hombre más buscado del barrio, y en fin dijo que en esa esquina mataron a su hermano pero no sé porque nos dijo eso. Después nos dijo que le diéramos nuestros celulares o nos "explotara" poniendo su mano en su chaqueta finjiendo una arma. Por no tener conflicto, dije a Élder Martinez que sacara el celular y dije al man que iba a sacar la tarjeta SIM (para que fuese más fácil conseguir reemplazo) y dijo que sí. Cuando le dimos el celular y cuando vio qué celular era, nos dijo que tranquilo que no lo quería. Casi sentí mal que ni los ladrones quieren nuestro celular sencillo. Siguió pidiendo nuestros tables, portátiles, y otras cosas, que oviamente no teníamos. En fin, nos saludó (con la mano que supestamente tenía la pistola) diciendo que Dios nos bendijiera. Al irnos, se acordó y pidió nuestro dinero. Élder Martinez le dijo que como era Domingo, no cargamos dinero porque no compramos nada. Al inspeccionar nuestros bolos y solo ver libros, nos saludó de nuevo (con la misma mano) y se fue. Nos fuimos riéndonos por la bobada que fue.

[So we were going down a hill in the area and a guy was with us and asked us if we were Evangelicals, and we said no. He asked if we were Christians; we said we believe in Christ but do not believe the same way as many Christians do. We said that we were Mormons and he had not heard of Mormons but it didn't really matter to him. He kept telling us something about cops, that he was the most wanted man in the neighborhood, and finally said that in that particular corner they killed his brother but I don't know why he told us that. Then he told us to give him our phones or he would "blow us up" putting his hand in his jacket pretending it was a handgun. To avoid a conflict, I told Elder Martinez to take out the phone and I told the man we would remove the SIM card (so it would be easier to get a replacement phone) and he said OK. When we gave him the phone and he saw what kind of phone it was, he told us calmly that he did not want it. I almost felt bad that not even thieves want our simple cell phone. He kept on asking for our tablets, laptops, and other things that we obviously did not have. Anyway, he waved goodbye (with the hand that supposedly had the gun) wishing God's blessings on us. When he was leaving, he remembered and asked for our money. Elder Martinez told him that as it was Sunday, we do not carry money because we do not buy anything. Upon inspecting our bags and seeing only books, he waved goodbye again (with the same hand) and left. We left laughing about the nonsense of it all.]

I was reading in 2 Crónicas this week and was thinking about this. When the kings of Judah depended in Jehovah, they prospered and won the wars and all. After a couple years of success, they started following other gods. Doing so, their success ended but refused to return to Jehovah. A probable reason is pride. Often it says that they lifted themselves up and then went after other gods. With all the success, they saw themselves and the powerful ones, the one responsible for the success. With their pride growing, they couldn´t admit that it was God and not them. To make it worse, when they started believing more in themselves, the success ended. We often to the same thing. I´ve seen it in my mission, that the area grows and grows but when I start thinking that I´m so great for having a great area, people start not progressing, people aren´t home, we lose investigators, and we have an empty area again. It´s a danger for everyone, and the only way to avoid it is just always depend and trust in God, and be humble, always giving thanks. 

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, May 16, 2016

Another Letter

Well, it´s been a week. Joan Ramirez disappeared this week, hasn't answered or been home, and we've been worried. Andrés Ramirez told us this week  that he isn't interested in getting baptized. The family Furque didn't come to church yesterday, Geraldine was sick but we don´t know about the others. We have a cita [an appointmenttonight, so we´ll find out then. Over Puerta is in the same as last week, just waiting for his baptism. Actually, he left early from church yesterday that worries us. Family Uzcátegui goes great, and Martha was set apart as Sec of the SocSoc yesterday. Patricia Patiño is excited to get baptized and came to church yesterday and loved it. She often doesn't get around to reading the Libro de Mormón [Book of Mormon] but committed to read when we visited last night.

We met and started teaching the Family Angarita Rivera this week. Kely (40) is the mom and the kids Yojan (19) and Jasmine (16). Their Dad is member, but many years ago left. They want the gospel and are great, just really shy around new people and so they get real nervous coming to church. Kely asks tons of questions that aren´t always efficient, but at least she´s searching to know.

Also, we are teaching Melissa Gomez (32) and her son Jacobo (11). She wants to get baptized and wants to know if the Church is true but it´s real rough finding time in the day and so often doesn´t read. But, she committed to read every day this week. Then Sundays she´s normally involved in Scouts, and they do service all the Sundays and that´s why she doesn´t come to Church. But, she´s the regional president and has the power to change the schedule to be able to come to church.

It was also great calling to the family Monday!

The President Calderón came to the Eje this week and the pictures are here: they changed the mission blog because they forgot the password to the other one. They actually do actualize [actualizar = update] this one.

Always Great,
Élder Hicken