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

Monday, May 9, 2016

Feliz Dia de la Madre! [Happy Mother's Day]

¡Feliz Día de la Madre, mamá [Happy Mother's Day, Mom!] ! Also, as I am ending the training of Élder Martinez, the second trainer is called the madre [mother] and so it´s also my day, as I have finished the training of two kiddos.

Joan Ramirez is going well, has a couple doubts or worries, but came to church yesterday, but to the Stake Center. Andrés Ramirez is having much more difficulties, he believes in God, but finds it difficult to believe in books like the Bible or Book of Mormon. Also, his work´s been stressing him out and so it´s harder to concentrate in the lessons. The family Furque is great, but only Geraldine comes to church, her dad Julian and brother Yeison still haven´t come. Over Puerta is patiently waiting the approval for his baptism, meanwhile, he´s paying tithing and coming to church every week. Family Uzcátegui is amazing, they are less actives, Nerio de Venezuela and his wife Martha from Colombia. They want to be active so they do everything of their own account to be awesome members.

We went out with Nerio for a couple hours yesterday to visit people and touch (knock) doors. They're so great that they gave us a super bomb reference this week of Martha´s friend, Patricia Patiño. She´s super awesome. She has had an empty spot in her heart for a very long time and has been on the search for truth. When she prays, it´s obvious that God listens, the spirit comes strong. She told us that our message fills the emptiness in her heart, and that´s why she keeps searching more, and yesterday committed to baptism in June, and committed to come to church on Sunday. 

Always Great,
Élder Hicken

Monday, May 2, 2016

Cool Cats

So I've been using a sweater basically all the time. (suéter o chumpa, the jackets they say chaqueta and sometimes buzo). The Bolivians have a weird accent that they don´t roll their ´r´ but they put a 'z' and I´m trying to change Élder Martinez´ accent to talk normal. It´s rained constantly pretty much, and now that my shoes don´t have any traction on the bottom I´m slipping around everywhere.

Over Puerta has his baptismal interview this week, so we´re just waiting for the approval from Pte Calderón and he´s good to go.

We met two cool cats this week. Joan Ramirez has a bit more than 20 years [a little older than 20], and he´s an honest searcher for the truth. He wants to do the things right, and already came to church (but to the stake center) with his friend who  gave the reference. He´s really cool too that he prays with real intent and when I say real I mean real.

We also met Andrés Ramirez of about the same age that is real sincere. He recognized the necesity to read the Book of Mormon. We also started teaching the familia Furque who are less-actives except for the grandma, who is super old but really great. She lives with 4 sons and 2 grandkids and they are all less-active but she told us that her greatest wish is that her family comes back to church. The other day we were teaching them and entered some friends of the dad of the grandkids. The friends started asking questions about the Church and about missionaries and I say we like didn´t even talk, the grandkids (Geraldine (20) and Yeison (19)) got excited and answered all the questions and it was great. The Dad didn´t want to listen but Geraldine convinced him and then he got excited and showed us a million pictures about his conversion and people he´s baptized. 

One mistake that many people make here is the requisites for read the Book of Mormon. They often say they don´t have time, but it´s because they try to take out 15-20 minutes at least. It´s better to read the Book of Mormon for 2 minutes everyday than 20 minutes every week. It isn´t a textbook, it isn´t just to obtain knowledge and memorize. It´s the key to our spiritual progress, the key to our religion and if everyday there are temptations and confusions and spots from the world, how can we think that we are alright not strengthening us as equally frequent or more frequently? Read the Book of Mormon EVERYDAY if it be for few minutes or for more. The Liahona isn´t a worthy replacement, and #GenConf either. It´s not funny, I mean it.

Hey so I may not be sending many pictures soon, it seems as if I may have lost my camara and a couple other things in cambios in someplace, just heads up.
Always Great,
Élder Hicken