Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My testimony of Missionary Work

Talon received the following request to share his feelings about missionary work.  His response is recorded below :)

I hope all is well for you and your mission is going well. 
I have a request:  I am teaching a gospel doctrine class a week from Sunday, August 4th on Missionary work. I would love to have you answer 3 questions I can share with the ward in Sunday School. 
        1. What led you to make a decision to serve a mission?
        2. What sacrifices did you need to make to serve a full time mission?        3. How have you overcome adversity in your missionary work?
Please share your testimony of missionary work and how, as members, we can reach out to our friends and neighbors!
Thank you and may God bless you in your missionary service :-)
Love,Julie Meyers
Sister Meyers I would love to help!

1. I decided to serve a mission because I knew there is nothing better I could ever do to show my gratitude to the Lord for the blessings I have received through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony of the Book of Mormon, and most of all of the peace and joy that we find within it´s pages, is to big not to share with others. As Preach My Gospel promised me, the more I studied the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the greater the desire within me grew to share my love for Jesus Christ with my brothers and sisters full time. 

2. Serving a mission never really seemed like a sacrifice to me. Always an easy way to qualify for a whole lot of blessings, and learn and grow in the gospel. Now that I'm serving, I understand that the sacrifices we need to make to serve a mission are really opportunities to gain even more blessings. We need to study the scriptures until we obtain, not only understand, the gospel. To share the gospel, we must first obtain it. Obtaining the gospel involves a thorough study of the standard works, as well as a forwards and backwards familiarity with Preach My Gospel, and a deep testimony founded in the power of the Holy Ghost, and the knowledge of how to recognize his promptings. 

3. Adversity in missionary work is just like adversity in the ´real world´, just that I am a little more focused in the gospel. The key is still the same: the Atonement. Just like in the process of repentance, the first steps to overcoming adversity is recognizing, making a decision, and calling on the grace of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to strengthen us, and complete our efforts with the things that we can´t do by ourselves. For me, I find it easiest to receive this strength according to the promise of Jacob, in Jacob 4:6: studying the scriptures. In particular, I find strength in the covenants and promises of the Lord with us, his Covenant People, as did Nephi in his final years as ruler over the Nephites. 

I know that ´missionary work´ is a code word for ´perfecting of the saints´ and that as we share our testimonies, we create our testimonies. As we feel the spirit testify of our words, we testify to ourselves as we testify to our friends, family, and associates that the things we believe really are true. That we don´t just believe, but we know they are true. The principal of missionary work is based on charity, the pure love of Christ, and that as we study the Atonement and partake of the white fruit of the tree of life, we can´t help but to look back at the iron rod and search for others to bring unto the light. As we ourselves become converted through the power of the Holy Ghost, we take upon ourselves the same commandment that Christ gave to Peter: ´Strengthen thy brethren.´ (Luke 22:31–32) Just as he did for Peter, Christ prays to the Father for us that we might be strong in the faith. That we might fulfill the requirements in Moroni 7 to be children of God for all eternity. That we too might have the privilege of sharing the gospel with others, and gaining the blessings promised in Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-19. Because of all this, he has blessed us with Preach My Gospel. Our own set of scripture written exclusively to help us convert. Convert ourselves, convert our children, convert our friends, convert anyone. Preach my Gospel is the key. Specifically, on pages 160 and 170 are very helpful in respect to members´s efforts. Although most of the time we think Preach my Gospel is for full time missionaries, full time missionaries are only mentioned 28 times, while members are mentioned 437 times. Preach my Gospel is the key to developing the faith we need to trust that our relationships with our friends are in the hands of the Lord. The Lord is counting on us to share the gospel with our friends who aren´t members, otherwise we wouldn´t have them. Our greatest fear should be the thought of the confrontation of one of our friends in the Spirit world:¨You were my friend--why didn´t you tell me about the truth?¨ 

I know Christ lives. I know he knows me. I know he knows each and every one of the people I meet each day, and he knows their needs. He knows each person with whom I share His gospel, and He has promised me that not even the smallest of efforts will be wasted. The Spirit has testified to my soul that the words of Moroni are true: Let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. 

Hurrah for Israel, thank you for spreading the faith, and the courage, and the blessings of sharing the gospel.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hola de Feriado

Toda está bien aqui en las flores! We had a great week with lessons with members, and we improved with invitations to baptism. We also made substantial progress with a few new investigators that we contacted, both randomly as well as part of our weekly planning. We hope to start giving more Libros de Mormon [Books of Mormon] as we ask members for references according to the specific steps outlined in PmE pg. 128 [Preach My Gospel pg 176] , and through diligent work, as we were instructed by our Zone Leaders this morning.

The trainings we have had this past month focusing on our planning sessions have helped us immensley, although we have struggled to endure to the end with the changes we had made. We will continue to strive to apply Preach My Gospel principles during our planning sessions, and expect to continue seeing the blessings of doing such. 

This week we had a coordination meeting with our 2nd counselor in the Bishopric, which was really good because we´ve gone the past 4 weeks without meeting with anyone from the ward. We hope to support the Bishop in his efforts through supporting the organization of home teaching and visiting teaching companionships. 

Yesterday we went out to teach with a Priest in our ward named Roberto. He is the bomb. He was kicked out of his house because of the church, and now lives with his aunt and uncle who are members of our ward. He just got a job downtown, so he can only help us out on Sundays, because he keeps the Sabbath day holy. He doesn´t have any friends here because he´s new, so us missionaries are his only friends. But anyway, when we started to go out on visits with him, he wouldn´t really talk, although he would listen. But yesterday was different.  I´m not sure if it´s because I just barely noticed, or if something changed all of the sudden, but he was testifying, and teaching, and using the spirit to help our investigators and everything. It was amazing. He is growing in leaps and bounds.

We taught an investigator yesterday that told us she was ready to prepare to be baptized about two months ago, but didn´t make her goal, and hasn´t been back to church since. I think we might have broken through a big wall with Roberto there to help. I´ll let you know when she is baptized. 

Wow, it´s crazy that you are COMING TO PERU in a WEEK! Could you bring a CD case? Just a cheap one that can hold 10-20 CDs or something. I´m burning my pictures to disk just to be safe. I just had my jump drive of music get erased because of a virus on one of the computers I used one Pday. Thank you!

I spent quite a bit of time responding to Sister Meyers´ email, so if you could include that as part of this week´s email-blog post, that would be awesome!

Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hola de un semana de agua

All is well here in San Silvestre II! We had a baptism this week, and everything went wonderfully!
We had a wonderful Zone Meeting and training this morning, where Elder Claros (our new zone leader) taught us about planning efficiently to help our investigators keep commitments. It must have been inspired, because it´s exactly what E´Gaete and I needed. We hope to see great progression in these next few weeks with our investigators progressing and keeping commitments as we apply what we have learned from Elder Claros.

The assistants to the President called today and asked for me to train them in Excel. I immediately thought about the part in my Patriarchal Blessing that says that the Lord is mindful of me, I will have the opportunity to serve my leaders in the mission, because as far as I know, they had no idea that I had computer background, but they called and asked for me somehow. The Lord surely is mindful.
[Brent asked Talon for input as he was asked to give a small report on Talon's mission thus far in their home ward's sacrament meeting.  Among relaying experiences already shared in his letters, Talon included this:]  I would like to advise all families that Preach my Gospel is a guide to conversion. If you want conversion, its got the instructions. Conversion for yourself, conversion for your children, friends, coworkers, whoever. We should be using it much more than I think any of us are, missionaries, leaders, families, everyone. Especially for FHE.
       I didn´t realize that in the mission there is absolutely no spare study time. I have lists of hours and hours of things to study that I´ve encountered in the mission, and I havent had a chance to study anything I wanted to study before my mission. Before serving a mission, study everything you can possibly think of, because there just isn´t time in the field. Or in the MTC either.
       Living with a companion 24-7...I don´t really know. All its taught me is that I am really grateful that I get to choose my wife. Unlike my companions. The key is communication. Especially open communication about things. Just things. The ability to talk about whatever is bastante importante. [extremely important].
        Member missionary involvement, ask the missionaries who they are teaching nearby, and offer your houses to meet in, or offer to bring them to church, or something specific that you can find in preach my gospel. The key is that missionaries are great and everything, but they are a temporary fix until Christ comes, when all members are missionaries. We are shooting for Zion, so why not start now? Take over the missionaries' job! Do it! They wont mind!
A picture is worth a thousand words!
Map of the Mission


Ashley, before her baptism.
Yes, before her baptism which is why she isn't smiling yet.
Just Kidding.

That's the path??
Yep, that's the path!

Object lesson in District Meeting
[can you guess the object lesson?]

New cover photo for FaceBook!

It's my trainer's last exchange.
I won't see him until I go to Santiago!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hola del semana de cambios!

This week was wonderful, we made significant progress in our logros [acheivements]

We now have two with baptismal dates, one for this Saturday: Ashley. Ashley is amazing and is learning as fast as we can teach. She keeps all of her compromisos [commitments]and is bien hermanada [well-fellowshipped] by the JAS [young single adults] in our ward. We hope to invite all her family to her baptism, and start teaching them the lessons as well. 

We encountered a futuro familia sellada [future sealed family] recently, and we are looking forward to teaching them. If I understand correctly, an FFS is a family with one parent member, one parent investigator.

We had 12 lessons with members this week, which was wonderful. We are planning to maintain this level of activity with our members through working with maestros orientadores y maestras visitantes [home teachers and visiting teachers], as well as a weekly schedule of all the youth que puedan acompañarnos [that can accompany us], and the times they are available.

Everything is just dandy here in The Flowers, and we are looking forward to cambios [transfers] tomorrow! Elder Sagostume, one of our Zone Leaders is leaving us. He only has 2 cambios mas [2 more transfers]. He is awesome, and lives next to us. I´m going to miss his example a ton, but I´ve learned a lot from him. He lives in Dad´s mission! We might just have to go visit your mission, Dad, when we come visit mine! (Yours too, Mom!)

We decided last minute to entrar en internet hoy [get on the internet today] instead of tomorrow, so I don´t have anything but the pictures from this week, so I can´t respond to previous letters, sorry!

I think my USB might have slipped through a tear in my backpack, and I may or may not have lost a whole bunch of pictures and music and whatnot. But let´s hope not.

Here are a few pictures that I´ve still got!

The bag exploded...
This is what I eat every morning for breakfast.
With Yogurt.

 Any guesses?
It's tasty, but I can't stand more than a few.

 They were filming a music video outside our dorm room...interesting!

Mission Map before the change!
Well everything is wonderful here in Peru! I´ll talk to you in a week!

'Elder Hicken

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hola de la ultima semana

Wow, these past 6 weeks have FLOWN by. Volado. Realmente.
We had interviews with the President this week. We also always have a training by the APs while we aren´t being interviewed. Los lideres de zona [zone leaders] this morning also trained us for a few hours on the same subject: goals and planning. Elder Gaete and I have reworked the way we will be planning from here on and so forth during our missions.

Right now we are low on baptisms, baptisimal dates, and investigators attending on sunday (i.e. progresando) [progressing]. We have decided to focus on acheiving a smaller goal, rather than overloading while shooting for excellence and accomplishing less.

We have improved dramatically with new investigators, with 10 nuevos this week. All from less active members, which shows that our hard work with less actives is really paying off.

Well everything is going great! We´re learning from our mistakes and doing our best not to make them again! Thank you for your support and inspiration!
A few more things to bring to Peru! Could you bring my work gloves? Even if they´re beat up, that would be wonderful. And batteries! They´re super expensive here! 3 or 6 AAAs would be wonderful!
A quick thought:
Proverbs 3:5
-¨Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.¨
-¨if ye love me, keep my commandments¨
-¨love the lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.¨
just a quick, rather digital thought, but hopefully you can chew on it for a while until the spirit can teach the principal for me.
Sorry another short letter! But at least there´s pictures this time! Haha
Thank you for everything!

We bought Zone Jerseys!

Billboards here are just great!
This one is for John Mulhern.
I don´t really know how to explain it, but please, pasa la voz por favor.
[looks creepier to me...uh, crepier, I guess]

 A member that always comes with us to investigators, who we buy fruit from all the time-Roberto

Scout and I. His name is scout because he sits at the very end of a dead end and watches over the neighborhood with ears as sharp as razors, and when a stranger comes in he runs off to go investigate. He always comes to me when I whistle to him. My fingers are black because I pet the dogs, who get super dirty super quick because the air is so poluted. Gross, but worth it for all the friends I have! 
Elder Gaete, Elder Sagostume, and Elder Gomez
made me think of Grandpa Steimle, so I took the picture
 in chorillos! (with the granny-bikes)

climbing up to the Cristus with the bike

Monday, July 1, 2013

¡Hola de un semana de Bautismo!

Life is wonderful here in San Silvestre, and we are recognizing it. We baptized and confirmed Camila this weekend, and are looking forward to several more investigators with whom we have planned to set a date for baptism. 

Our biggest challenge right now is that we don´t have a ward mission leader. Our ward has a lot of potential, but we can´t adaquatly tap into that great resource without a ward mission leader. We have been working with the bishop, and expect to receive a new leader soon.

Another challenge is encountering our investigators and members. We´ve had quite a few appointments fall through this past week, and almost all of our members we had scheduled to come with us fell through as well. However, we are pressing forward with faith, and good expectations. Our bishop is amazing, and he is leading a growing, improving, transforming ward to the Celestial Kingdom. We are striving to support him in his endeavors. 

We have an investigator, Francisco, who is about as prepared as it gets. He has an incredible knowlege of the gospel, even though, or maybe because, he has relied on personal study and experience to teach him the way to Christ. When we read the Book of Mormon together and pause mid-chapter to review, in our conversation he explains to us the next few verses without having read them! Certainly prepared by the Lord, and taught by the spirit. We hope to be instruments in the Lords hands to lead him through the door of baptism on the 20th of July.

Well, if I had to guess, I would say that I weigh almost 200lbs now. I´m running about every other day with Elder Eklof, and every other day dryland. The swimmer in me doesn´t know what else to call it than dryland. But we eat like kings, and my companion is tiny, so I eat what he can´t. And I´m huge compared to the people here, so they think I need a mountain of food. I also eat a lot faster, becasue I´m used to eating being a chore, not a hobby. I´m not complaining, but it sure is hard to say no when they ask if I want more...

Ok, so about my companion. I can´t remember what I´ve told you. His name is Elder Gaete (like galleta) and he is from SantiagoChile, but he lived on Easter Island until 4 years ago. He is 21 years old and was inactive until he moved to the mainland because their branch on the island consisted of his family, 2 missionaries, and 2 other members. He is super cool, and we get along great because we really work. He is one day younger than I am in the mission, so I´m senior companion! haha. But really we´re eaqual because we balance each other out in everything. 

Yesterday I did something hard for maybe the first time in my life. I don´t want to share a whole lot of details, but I want to share the testimony that was strengthened. Sorry enlish speakers, but I´m not sure I can do it justice in english. 

Yo sé que Dios me ama, que Él me conoce, tanto que pone detalles en mi dia que Él sabe solo yo reconocería. Yo sé que Dios escucha a mis pensamientos tanto como mis oraciones, y que está ayudándome a desarrollar un voluntad semejante suyo. Alegramos a Dios cuando ayudamos a otros de sus hijos acercarles a Jesucristo, pero nuestro converso más importante es nosotros mismos. Dios está preocupando para mi todos los dias, en un manera que no puedo entender. Yo sé que Jesucristo pensó en mi nombre, nuestro amistad, cuando estaba orando en el Jardín de Getsemaní, y que tengo su esfuerza por un apoya cuando mio está débil. Yo amo a mi salvador. Yo amo a mi Dios. Yo tengo su amor para ustedes y quiero ayudar a ustedes tanto como mis vecinos acá a conocer a Cristo.  Creed en Dios; creed que él existe, creed que él tiene toda sabiduría y todo poder, creed que el hombre no comprende todas las cosas que el Señor puede comprender. Sabed que yo lo creo, yo lo sé, y yo lo quiero vivir.

I know that God loves me, that He knows me, such that He puts details in my day that He knows only I would recognize.  I know that God listens to my thoughts as well as my prayers, and that He is helping me develop a will similar to His.  We please God when we help His children come closer to Jesus Christ, but our most important conversion is ourselves.  God takes care of me every day, in a way I cannot understand.  I know that Jesus Christ thought of my name, our friendship, when He was praying in theGarden of Gethsemane, and that I have his strength as a support when mine is weak.  I love my Savior.  I love my God.  I have His love for you and I want to help you just like my neighbors here to know Christ.  Believe in God; believe that He exists, believe that He has all wisdom and all power, believe that man does not understand everything that the Lord can understand.  Know that I believe it, I know it, and I want to live it.

Cuidense--con los mandamientos.

Con amor, Elder Hicken
Pictures! Sorry there aren´t very many, we just played soccer last week, so I don´t have a lot of pictures.

Running with Elder Eklof

Still running!

Happy Birthday, Kai!

My Zone!