Saturday, January 3, 2015

Last Email Home

Talon's return date got moved up to the original date of January 14th rather than the extension date of February 24th. That's just 1.5 weeks away!
He will be speaking in church at 9:00amon Sunday, January 18th. All are invited.
¡Todo está bien aquí en Perú!
These few weeks have been very eventful. We have been diving back into the normal hectic office life now that the party is over and everyone is back to work. It is nice to be back on track. I am very excited to fast this weekend.
The current circumstances confused me a little with regards to the purpose the Lord has for me in the next two weeks, however I am very grateful for the tender mercies that have led me to feel that He expects me to just keep doing what I have always been doing.
It is suddenly much harder to fall asleep at night, and when I do it is not as high quality sleep as two weeks ago. Sometimes missionaries ask me why I extended my mission, or if I feel ready to go home in a month and a half. It´s a surprise that I´m going home early, so I just keep quiet and tell them that I can´t believe it´s already over.
Despite the fact that our sector will be doubled in, which makes looking for new investigators not much more than tedious, I am finding many people to invite to come unto Christ.
Today we went to breakfast at Chili´s, as a "last time must" for Elder Casanova and I. While waiting for our food, I complained that I needed a haircut, and that I didn´t want to have to wait so long.
While walking home, Elder Martinez (secretary) saw someone inside a barbershop wave hello as we walked past. He called us back and we decided to go verify the cause of the friendly salutation (not common in these parts).
Once we walked in and explained that we were interested in the haircutting service, and not just there to share a lesson, the member who had waved called the owner, her sister, who just happens to be a member of our ward. She responded that for missionaries, haircuts are free! What a blessing, I thought, though the real blessing was that one of the workers was a less active member, and a little too proud of it.
Though I tried my best to follow the Spirit around her vulgar remarks, she was very content with staying just as far away from her Savior as she is. A rather saddening experience, completely different than the experience I had with Elder Castro´s new companion over the phone this morning.
Elder Castro called me about half past 10 to ask for advice with his struggling companion. This surprised me, not only because of the ex-assistant´s humble request for help, but because of who he was asking for! His new companion is a very strong, very positive, muy macho man. However, he too is human. Furthermore, he was much more willing than the less active hairstylist to do whatever it takes to come closer to the Lord.
After a personal conversation which edified both he and I, I thanked the Lord for providing ways to help others come unto Christ in significant ways.
So just a plan checkup. Let me know if I'm mistaken in my understanding.
With regards to getting home, Elder Schade, the Visas y Viajes secretary says I'll be landing at about 3pm on the 14th. You should be getting a full itinerary soon. Very soon. If you haven't gotten it by tomorrow night, just send a quick reminder to the mission email and he should get it right to you. We kinda hit him blindsided.
With regards to being home, Brother Kelly is expecting to hire me once I get back. Brother Pebbles has asked me to speak on my first Sunday back about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. Renen is ready to pedal to the metal in the recording studio. Dad needs someone to motivate him to get a new truck. Mom needs the dishes done so she can hang out with cousins before Tauna and Chris close on their house and move in. Sierra wants to practice her singing in spanish, particularly cool Disney soundtracks. Lily needs someone to color with. Am I missing something? If I can save up enough before starting school, I would like to spend a week with Grandpa Steimle doing family history work. After visiting several friends with the missionaries.
With regards to studying, I'll be entering BYU in the spring and therefore don't need to do anything until I get back home. Grandma Gunn has people living with her, so I need to talk around and find some future roommates between now and then, or find out more about the foreign language housing.
To Do: Let the bishop know that I´ll be coming back home, and that I´ll be there for several months, definitely long enough to have a calling. I´ll write Bishop Archer next week, since I don´t know how much I´ll be writing family or friends that day.... Also, I believe I need to schedule an appointment with the stake president. Do you think you could do that?
Thanks for all your help! I love you!
Elder Hicken
Hurrah for Israel! to the end!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Spiritual Thought this week

Here´s the spiritual thought for the week: Helping Others Find Faith in Christ

If you´re too busy to read the whole article, or just in the mood for a video, or you´re on top of things and have already read the Esign message, here´s a wonderful video that edifies my faith in God, and his prophets: Free Forever
Love, Elder Hicken

Skyping with Family on Christmas Day!

It was great being able to Skype with Talon and Kai on Friday. It was Talon's birthday so we sang to him. I especially enjoyed the time when both Kai and Talon were on Skype together and they could interact. It is wonderful having both of them serving the Lord full time at the same time.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hola de casi navidad [almost Christmas]

Well December is going by like water in a salt flat. I just don´t know where. 

Todo está bien aquí en la Oficina! 

Fun fact for the day! Kai´s trainer, Elder Hurtado, has a brother on a mission. In Peru...Lima...Central Mission. He just got here last week, and I talked to him for a while on the bus from the MTC. We just had a training meeting with him and his trainer yesterday. He has been sick for about 4 days with food poisoning. Interesting connection! Small world!

I mentioned to the President the day before yesterday that air traffic controller came up on one of the aptitude tests that I took in my career development class at BYU, and he´s been on the topic nonstop since then. He even gave me special permission to look up some information today during pday.

Today my companion is going to Las Flores (if you don´t recall, he was my zone leader there this time last year, and we lived in the same apartment) to attend a baptism. I´ll be with Elder Chatwin, and I think we´re finally going to go see a museum!

We´re working hard on getting our Christmas party ready! We´re doing several video productions that are going to turn out pretty darn Christmassy. I´m excited. I´ll get you the links to see them once they´re ready.

Ok, Christmas is coming, and that means it´s almost skype time. What does your schedule look like? We don´t have anything figured out yet, but we´ve got all day, and plenty of computers to go around, so I´m pretty flexible this year. What time would be best for you?

Yesterday we finally had some time to go out and teach, and I went with Elder Carmona, the financial secretary. I found two of the questions he asked the taxi driver particularly interesting:
  1. Why do people forget about God?
  2. What can we do to make sure we don´t forget about Him?
I would love it after pondering the first question, you would send me a short response to the second question. What are you doing, or what do you need to start doing to make sure that you "do always remember Him, that you might have His spirit to be with you."

I love covenants, and I am so grateful for the Spirit which will not cease to strive with man, as long as we give heed to it´s promptings.

Don´t forget to share the Gift through social networking! It´s super easy to set a cool facebook banner with Picasa. Or to set a new background. I was pretty picky making this one nice, and it only took me 10 minutes! Share the Gift!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Feliz Deciembre!

 I´m so happy that change day is done and over with. It was such a crazy week. But the rest of this change is going to be just as crazy. Did you have a Christmas dinner with the president? We´re trying to get all ready for ours, but we also have to organize all of the interviews as well. We just finished specialized training meetings last week! My goodness!

Well I have to admit that this week has been tough physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. What has been of greatest help has been remembering my close relationships, and trying to strengthen them. As I stopped focusing on everything that was going on, how I was feeling, what needed to be done, etc. I started to focus on how those I care about were feeling. My companion, the president and his wife, My former companions, etc. As I looked to make them happy, I´ve felt relieved of my own burdens. 

The pivot point happened as I led the mission council in reciting our missionary commission:

Soy llamado de Dios. Mi autoridad está por encima de todos los reinos de la tierra. Por revelación he sido seleccionado como un representate personal del Señor Jesucristo; él es mi maestro, y me ha escogido como su humilde siervo, para ponerme en su lugar; para decir y hacer lo que él diría o haría si él peronalmente estuviera ministrando a la gente a la cual él me ha enviado. Mi voz es su voz, mis actos son sus actos, mis palabras son sus palabras, mi doctrina es su doctrina. 

Mi comisión es hacer lo que él ha hecho, decir lo que él ha dicho para ser un testigo actual de su palabra en su grande y maravillosa obra en estos últimos días. 

¡Cuan grande es mí llamamiento!

[I am called of God.  My authority is higher than all the kingdoms of the earth.  Through revelation I have been chosen as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ; He is my master, and He has chosen me as his humble servant, to put me in His place; to say what He would say or do what He would do if He personally were ministering to those to whom He has sent me.  My voice is His voice.  My acts are His acts.  My words are His words.  My doctrine is His doctrine.  

My commission is to do what He has done, say what He has said to be an actual witness to His word in His great and marvelous work in these last days.  

How great is my calling!]
How great it truely is. I am so grateful that the Lord provides his gospel to all of his children. Today for the first time in a long time, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with people who wanted to hear. It may be Pday, but I just loved going around the park with Elder Chatwin and contacting a few people who looked at us with a desire to learn more. We gave out a bunch of Dádiva cards. I love this new phase the church is going into. It´s incredible to be so close to the Apostles and Prophets. 
 [#ShareTheGift Cards]

How great the blessings of fasting. I truly seek to be able to receive the promises from this past conference, so that I can call upon the Lord, and he will respond: "Heme, aquí."

Dive in headfirst with the church´s Christmas video program! 
What a special opportunity! Elder Evans of the 70 says that this is the best time to be involved with missionary work. Are you involved?

Elder Hicken

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Family is Sacred

Right now is kind of a sad moment in the office. As I was joying in how wonderful my family is, with a Grandpa Steimle fan club, when one of the elders found out his brother got in a pretty bad skiing accident and will be in recovery for at least several months. It´s had to watch elders suffer, especially if you know them personally. Each one has such sacred desires to be serving other families, with a sacred trust in that his will be perfectly protected. The mission makes family sacred for us, and unless you´ve been through it, it´s hard to understand just how important we come to understand it to be.

What a touching video: The Refiner´s Fire

Love, Elder Hicken

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hola del dia #623

Well after a week without a president, we´re still alive! I can´t say it was easy! 

This afternoon our touring and transportation company is going to take us out for football and lunch. Fun stuff! Office bonuses.
After football, the tour guides took us to Papa Johns!
It was very interesting to serve with non-members this past week. It was much better organized than anything I ever remember seeing, and made me miss my country, and our people. When you put together a service-loving group of professionals and let them do what they love for two weeks with people who need it, tender mercies are commonplace. It was a new experience to see people get emotional for positive experiences apart from bearing their testimony in some church activity. 
Elder Casanova and I in our OneSight shirts after the eye health campaign these past two weeks.

At the end of the whole experience, there was a closing meeting with all of the volunteers, and they gave us all shirts, and we gave as many as we could a Book of Mormon in English. There aren´t a whole lot around here. It was an interesting experience: as one of our sisters said: "It´s so awkward sharing the gospel in English, I like Spanish better!" I gave one to the head doctor, Scott. He didn´t seem like the type to be interested, but accepted it, and I believe he felt how important the book is to me. It hurt not to have one for Steve, one of the coordinators that helped train me with data entry. 

Many times it hurts to not have materials for those who need. It makes me think of the spiritual application of the same; the feeling of guilt and pain that one encounters when lacking a testimony to share in another´s time of need is a cringing experience. It is not as easy as asking a companion for an extra pamphlet, or looking for the extra you always keep inside the cover of your scriptures. 
I urge all who are within the reaching of my words to prepare themselves. There is not much time before the Lord will require your testimony. The days are accomplished that the battle front has disappeared. The enemy is within the walls, and we must sleep on our swords. There is no child too young, no soldier too wounded, no scout too lost, and not one too weak to be strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We all need it.
Thank you so much to the Kansas Steimles! I got the package, and loved it! I tried out the socks yesterday. I forgot what it felt like to have new socks! What a great feeling. 

You might not know that sister Borg has a blog. You can find it at She only updates it every once and a while, but it´s nice because it´s basically all pictures. Good to know for the home stretch.

We´re up for another week of specialized training meetings, which will be different than ever before. Sneak preview: the president wants to teach in pairs, one of the each of us with him at a time. Like companions. How would you like that? The relationship of teaching in a companionship can be stressful at times. I can´t say I´m not a little nervous.

Now it´s the afternoon, and I´m a little sunburned. It´s been a long time since I´ve been sunburned.

Here's a pic of the week:

Elder Casanova and I on the top floor of our apartment building. It´s pretty far down from the 20th floor to have open windows (no screen, no glass, nothing but wind). 

THE BEACH!  Don't ask me how hard it was to not go swimming.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hola de Buena Vista!

This week has been amazing!

I´m not actually in buena vista, but we´ve been involved with a ocular health clinic here in our mission. They´ve needed translators for these two weeks (last and next) and we´ve organized the team! It´s so much fun to mix service types!

Here´s a link to an article with a picture I took as the headline!

Can also view the article here.

Anyway, what we do ("we meaning OneSight, GOM, and us translators) is we give out free glasses to about 500 people daily, and sign them up for free surguries if they need it (cataracts, pterygium, glaucoma, etc). Out of the 40 doctors, one is a member. We are sharing a lot of the gospel, and next week we´re going to bring a box of English and Spanish materials including Book of Mormons to give away. We´ve had quite a few great experiences, such as one lady who had never ever seen in her life. She ended up with a prescription of -8.00 (which is basically unheard of, and far past legally blind) but each time the doctor bumped up the prescription with the machine, she would get super excited and tell her that that was good enough. Then Karen (that was my doctor´s name) would bump it up once more and she would excitedly yell: "¡allí, allí, allí, allí!" (meaning: this one! This one! This one!) It will be incredible for her to finally be able to see after more than 60 years of being blind. 

Helping people see physically isn´t too different from helping people see spiritually. Only that physically happens much faster, and therefore is much more instantly gratifying. However, with the two of them, we have to trust in the feedback from the patient to be able to progress. 

There was one patient who refused to look in the eyeholes correctly. She would repeatedly tell us that it was blurry in the right eye and so she wasn´t going to use it anyway. She just couldn´t understand that it was precisely for that reason that we were going to give her glasses. It was sad for the both of us when the doctor gave up and decided to just give her a common prescription. It will help her see, but it won´t be perfect 20/20. It will be something like the Telestial kingdom for those who want to live the teachings of Jesus without performing the ordinances correctly, and under the right authority. 

I learned a lot about eye health yesterday. I was put on the data entry team to start out the day, and then they were low on translators, and asked if I could do the two at a time. I obliged, and boy was it fun! 

I´ll try and get the journalist from the team to get us a link to their pictures so we can give them out to the missionaries, and so I can get them to you.

Here is a link to a blog post about one of Dr. Karen´s patients that I translated part is limited to "Final prescription writing was done in the next room by Dr. Karen from Canada. Using the dials on the phoropter, and asking “which is more clear? One? Or two?,” through the translator." Steve (from the story) trained me on the data entry and inventory system yesterday, and Xacobe to talk to. One of the few doctors who speaks spanish. (Can also view the post here)

It´s tough not being out in the field, but this week has been very satisfying to feel the instant gratitude for our hard work!

(PS: it is easy to translate from English to Spanish, but I didn´t realize how hard it was to go the other way!)

Here is a picture of our ward activity earlier today! Mistura! Basically a potluck. I´m still full!

My companion being all executive in a chifa (bien pituca éste chifa-estamos en san isidro) it has huge fish tanks in the stairway.

My tastes have changed a bit in the mission. And by a bit I mean a TON. I eat one halapeño with each piece of pizza. I´m ok with peaches, fish, pig foot, intestines... But I still can´t stomach tomatoes.

I love you all! Thank you for your efforts in the work of the Lord!

Go crazy in the work of salvation!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Hello family!

It´s so great to be able to write you! This is my first pday in over a month! 

My whole life has changed since we last talked, or so it seems. My new companion is named Elder Casanova. After months of anticipating being his companion (he was my zone leader in Las Flores, my first sector in the mission) now we are finally together, and I love him. He is teaching me how to serve missionaries with love. He is from my group, which is why I asked a while back if I could extend. So I´ll be finishing my mission in the office. Which means I´ll be taking Elder Castro and Elder Casanova and Elder Cooper (from BYU) to the airport, and I´ll be going to the airport with Elder Fankhouser, Elder Burgos, and Elder Whitton (all (except Elder Cooper) have been my companion), just to mention a few.

I got the chance to read through Kai´s blog and his farewell message. I would be honored to have link on my blog that links to Kai´s blog. We´re an international team! I´m proud of him for all he has done. Although I do not know what he has done, I can feel the spirit testify of the truths he shared. I feel what he has become.

When Tad R. Callister mentioned the importance of morning prayer, how did you feel, Dad? It made me think back and realize that I don´t remember ever missing a day of morning prayer, headed off to seminary, or morning practice, or I think even band camp, lo que fuera. I remember sometimes being annoyed by the dilligence of it all, but it´s a dilligence that has blessed me ever since then. Thank you.

Here is the article of the week [Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples by Gary Stevenson]! "The temple is the most sacred place on earth.  Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness."  I love the comment in last conference that we should do whatever possible to make our homes feel like how the temple feels. That will be a goal of mine. One day.

I love you! Thank you for your support!

The office (before transfers), President and Sister Borg, and 3 of their grandchildren, who are actually related to us as well. Their great great grandfather was Cyril Hicken through their mother´s side. (she was taking the picture)
Elder Castro and I walking to the Temple, and it looks the most like home that I´ve ever seen here.

My new companion, Elder Casanova.