Monday, September 30, 2013

Ho...(hola, pero cortito [hola, but very short]

It´s going to be short this week! My computer got shut off and I lost everything... sorry!

Well Elder Walstrohm is doing great! Yesterday he told me as we walked to an appointment: 
     "Me encanta éste barrio...pero, ¡no puedo decirlo!" [I love this ward, but I can't say it]
     "¿Porque no puede decirlo?" [Why can't you say it?]
     "Porque sí lo digo bastante, ¡me van a cambiar!" [Because if I say it too much, I'll get transferred!/

I´m so glad that he is learning to love the work, and especially that he is learning to love my ward. I do think of it as my ward, as I´ve seen it grow so much. 

This past week has been full of the Spirit of Elijah. We´ve been teaching everyone we meet about family history, and our ward deemed September índexing month. Yesterday I fasted to receive revelation for my sector, and I realized that the Lord had answered my fast through my own actions while I was fasting. I am sure that the Lord wants his ward San Silvestre to focus on the Spirit of Elijah. At first my understanding was that we needed to focus on family history and indexing. But after eating dinner in the home of the second counselor in the bishopric, I came to understand that the spirit of Elijah is more than the living worrying about the dead; it also includes the young ones taking care of the elders. Our ward is focusing on helping the seminary students come to seminary. In order to do so, the primary kids are going to visit them and share their testimonies and sing hymns. What an inspired idea. Also, our ward recently was reorganized to have a new bishopric, all of which are young members. Our stake president as well is young. Our ward mission leader was baptized less than a year ago. The spirit of Elijahis what is making our ward work. 

The Lord is preparing for the second coming of our Savior.

Today we had a strict training on making better goals; goals that we can and WILL acheive. We have a goal to baptize Claudia and Francisco this coming month. This goal is a covenant with the Lord to do all we can to bring them to the waters of baptism. We are determined to be faithful to the salvation of those the Lord has given us.

Family history is the best! Work on it for me while I can´t! The new is the bomb! I don´t know who is doing the next family reunion, but make family history a big part of it! With how complete our family history is, we´ve got to start training the little ones now, so they´ll be talented enough to find the ancestors that we can´t, once they grow up! I promise that the blessings that will come will be so widespread and plenteous that you will not be able to keep track of them all, but when you make the attempt, you will be overcome with the love that our savior has for each and every one of us. You will be filled with the desire, energy, and ability to continue his work, and you will come to understand more plainly how important you are to your Father in Heaven.

Until next week!

Love, Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Photos from Elder Hicken

...with captions to come hopefully next week (?) ...
or make up your own...that can be really fun.
Such as...
 "Tracting all day...Must escape the stinky feet"
"Our new apartment"
 "So much for No Food in the Library"
 "Feed the Birds, Toppins a bag..."
 "So, if I touch the pole here, I'll be translated?...riiight."
 "Olive...the other reidneer"
(I wish we could zoom in to see that dog!)
 "It's not caffeinated, I swear!"
 Preaching the gospel to all creatures of our God and King
 (I got this a volcano shot?)
 "I'll trade you a sandwich for that camera!"
 "YES!  I way out (notice the Salida sign).  These little people have been keeping us for days (notice the kid clutching his leg)"
 "Just a friendly game of rock, paper, scissors"
 "The Peruvian solution to Road Rage...use your inside voice"
"Studying Lehi's dream"
 "It's called Petro there a reason it's so vacant?"
 "Eeny Meeny Miny Moe"
 "So Booth was standing where?"
 "My closest thing to Peanut Butter"
"Excuse Me, Excuse Me, Excuse Me, WILL YOU LET ME OUT OF HERE!"
"I found this letter, signed with my name and everything.  What a coincidence."

...or something like that.  You can add your ideas in the comments.

Hola de Hoy

"Sometimes God needs to chastize His servants the Missionaries" - Elder Whitton

Todo está bien aquí en San Silvestre!

We didn´t have any of our investigators in church today, which was a little bit of a let down, and we´re having trouble applying what we´re learning when we can´t get into the houses of our investigators to teach them! But we´re working on applying what we can and trusting in the Lord to do the rest. Personally, I´m confused on why he keeps giving us work to do, when we can´t handle what we´ve got! 

After our Cornelius a few weeks ago (who works from 8am-11pm in his internet, which is always full, so it is very difficult to teach him), we haven´t stopped getting references from Elders, members and investigators, even though we haven´t been asking like we should, and yesterday E´Lopez told us that a family came to their ward asking to meet our bishop and get a priesthood blessing and be baptized. And they live in our sector. We must be doing something right, but as of now, I´m still trying to figure out what it is.

We plan to refocus on a few investigators to teach in a way that looks forward to attending church on Sunday, and makes it a more important part of teaching them. One way we are going to do so is having more lessons with members, utilizing our new ward mission leader, and by preparing the investigators to receive revelation in church classes by teaching them the basics of that week´s Gospel Principles lesson as part of the missionary lessons. That way in the class they will be full of more ´how?´ questions and not ´why?´ questions.

Just to clarify, this isn´t normal, even for ´south american missionaries´. Our sector is the best one in the whole mission, which is the best in the world, so natually our sector is the best in the world. But really, we are so blessed that there is not room enough to recieve it. And I don´t even have tithing to pay...

We´ve been formally asked by our Bishop to teach the missionary lessons to the less active members of our ward, focusing on the kids who are of seminary age. I know our Bishop has the power to recieve revelation in order to take care of our ward, and I am appreciative to be a part of fulfilling his needs. 

This morning I got a letter from Josh and Brynn! Super cool to see and hear a little bit about Hong Kong! So crazy how spead out our family is! 

This month we´ve been super focused on working with members, specifically the leaders. We´ve been instituting the Obra de Salvación, instead of the Obra misional. Let us know when you start talking about that!

Love, Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hola de 5 minutos

Todo está bien aquí en San Silvestre!

This week we had an intercambio [exchange] with our district leader, Elder Condori. He is great. We can feel that he really loves us and is worried about how we are doing. I went to Zarate, and Elder Condori came to San Silvestre. Their desafío [challenge] in Zarate II is that they don´t have investigators. I love finding investigators, and we did a pretty good job! E´Leon is quite nervous speaking to people he doesn´t already know, but he is conscious of his weaknesses, and he is working on turning them into strengths. (Ether 12:27). He is a great missionary with a lot of potential.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
This week we didn´t complete a whole lot of our goals. I think I personally got distracted with the work, and forgot to focus on specifics. For example, we visited more than usual of our investigators, but we didn´t set anyone on date, and we didn´t meet our goal of investigators, or less actives in church on Sunday, even though we had our stake conference.

Right now we are working with Alida and her husband Ruben, but we are having bastante desafios [quite a challenge] with getting to actually teach them. Alida just gave birth to her first child, and is having complications. We have an appointment today to talk about a priesthood blessing.

Sorry it's short this week! I´m honestly not sure what happened with the time!

Elder Hicken
P.S.  I remembered what happened to the time, I have been talking with the mission president about doctrine, and I had to look up a few scriptures. Sorry! More next week!

Love, Elder Hicken

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hola de Sunburn City!

Hola! Sorry to fake you out like that, but we´re writing on Tuesday this week because we got back late yesterday from Cañete! We had a blast! 
All of us in the bus on the way to Cañete:
 E´Claros, E´Thorup, E´Isaguirre, E´Oroscco (I think?), E´Reed. 
Next row, E´Condori, E´Leon, the isle, E´Walstrohm (behind my head), E´Whitton. 
Next row, E´Burgos (not pictured), E´Warren, me, E´Urrutia.


A cheap lunch in an expensive restauraunt. 

We ordered portions of everything instead of ordering a main dish, then went to the market and bought palta and bananas. It was soooo good. I have a better picutre on another elder´s camera... for me, portion of rice+portion of yuca+portion of salad+avocado+banana=an amazing lunch for only 14 soles! (the cheapest main dish, chicken and rice, was 16 soles)

Todo está bien aquí en San Silvestre!

This week was a little rough for me right at the beginning. I was pretty heavily stressed out, though I´m not exactly sure why. I think I felt a lot of pressure with helping our investigators progress, while teaching E´Walstrohm, while worrying about being more obedient in our dormitory, and trying to work with our ward to work in the Obra de Salvación. I´m doing great now, but it was a rough Monday and Tuesday, as I was trying to make some time on Monday to write a letter home that I´ve been procrastinating for too long, and it didn´t end up happening.

We´re getting to know our sector, as well as the new elders in our zone a little bit better! Today we went on a big Pday trip to Cañete and had a great day in the sun, playing fútbol and spending time together.

So we just had the person running our internet café ask us how he can ´pertanecer a la iglesia´ [belong to a church] and if we had an invitation to give him. Luckily for us, our Stake Conference is this week, and with General Conference close as well, our stake made flyers, and I had one to give him! So we´re going to meet withVladimir on Wednesday at 8pm. We also invited him to check out, since he has plenty of time in front of a computer each day.

We love the new way of reporting our work with less actives! I have been working as much as possible with less actives during my time here, and it has been our main source of success. Personally, I feel that I have been prepared by the Lord more to reactivate than to baptize. But as I have made sure to explain to E´Walstrohm, the more we work with less actives, the more we baptize. We just seem to run into miracles when we are focused more on being a blessing to our ward, than being able to baptize someone new.

E´Walstrohm and I are progressing in the First 12 Weeks, and he is doing wonderful. He has memorized the Missionary Purpose, our Comission, the key points of Lesson 1, the process of commitment, and the baptisimal invitaition in PMG. I made a web chart of everything I feel is the most important that a new missionary should know, and I am curious to know what you might think of it; if I should add anything, or revise it in any way. It has 4 main points, and right now we are focusing on two: PMG is everything, and things to memorize.

This past week we introduced Edith to a member across the street, which belongs to the other ward. It was an idea from E´Eklof, and it worked wonderfully. Even though they are in different wards, I believe that they will end up being great friends, and a great strength in standing firmly in the Gospel of Christ.

Right now we are working on Francisco, who is a little confused on how he can be baptized again with the authority of the Preisthood, even though he was baptized before, and the bible says ´one baptism´. He is 62, and loves to talk, and has a great testimony of the Lord, but we have to explain really well for him to learn. We´ve recently discovered this iceberg, and hope to ´melt´it this week, in order to help him set a goal date for his baptism.

Ok, just to share a spiritual thought, have you ever studied the Hymnal? Usually we don´t really think about the Hymns being scripture you can study, but they are! And they´re powerful! And once you study a Hymn, you come to love it, and it makes it even more powerful in terms of the spirit when you sing it, or listen to it. All of the Hymns have a scripture reference in the bottom corner to explain why we sing the hymn, or in other words, in which doctrines we should focus our thoughts when we sing. The Hymns bring the scriptures to life on a whole other level.

Well that´s all there is time for!

Cuídense! Love, Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!
breakfast this morning! I made one of the boxes of Mac and Cheese, but I couldn´t resist experimenting, so I made it Mac´n´cheese a lo peruano. Yum.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hola de un Papá

Weekly summary in spanish:
 Éste semana bautizamos a Edith! Yo estoy capacitando a un hijo, y el va a tomar el sector al fin de su capacitación. E´Eklof se fue éste cambio. Yo amo al Señor! Hoy dia vamos a ir a jugar bowling en Larcomar! [This week we baptized Edith!  I'm training a son {they create a “family” line with trainers so if you train someone he becomes your “son” and you become his “father” and apparently this grows to having grandpas and uncles and brothers.  This did not exist in my mission.  There is a corollary when sister missionaries train, too, of course.  But this is why his subject line says “Hello from a father”} and he is going to take over our area at the end of his training.  Elder Eklof left this transfer.  I love the Lord!  Today we are going to go bowling in Larcomar!]

Elder Walstrohm is doing great! He is learning and progressing, and we get along great! Right now our great weakness is el horario [the schedule]. Mostly getting to bed on time. But we´re working on it. 
My Companions, Elder Walstrohm and Elder Witton

Elder Walstrohm has a great talent of following the Spirit in lessons. He doesn´t talk a whole lot, but when he talks, it´s simple, presice, spiritual, and always seems to fix their ´duda´ [doubt]

Edith´s baptism went great, and even more important, she was confirmed yesterday morning! She felt the spirit, and expressed her testimony, and seems to be filled with a new light and a new peace. We look forward to our appointment with her this week to talk a little more about the life of Joseph Smith.
Baptism Pic with Edith

We have been fighting to figure out and repair the water heater for the baptisimal font, and we finally have everything worked out! Now the last thing is to help our Bishop get a copy of each of the 7 keys we need to have a baptism. 

I was companions with E´Whitton for a week and a half, and it was super cool having a companion from the states! I love Latinos, but we are different people. I can learn spanish, but I can´t learn el ser latino [to be a Latino]
Elder Witton and the security guard's box

I got the package! Thank you so much! This morning I finally had the chance to read the letters (we can only read and write letters on Monday, even though I have them all on my shelf! Self control anyone?) That´s super sad that they took out the honey, root beer, and PB. Mostly the honey. Thank you Kai for sacrificing! I have heard that you can find PB in the supermarkets here, but probably not so much there in CM. 

Sierra! Your blog post made me so incredibly happy. You are the bomb. I love you so much and I hope you take lots of pictures, and make lots of blog posts so I can read them! 

Lily! I love you so much, and I hope you are loving your new world in spanish! Every time I see books for kids in spanish, I think of you and I wish that I could send you them so you can learn to speak spanish in a fun way!

Renen! Shoot, I can´t imagine what your brain could be doing if you´ve let it loose here in Perú. You´re so intelligent, especially in an engineering sort of way, I can only imagine what you´ve taken to in your new playground! Just don´t forget to learn spanish while you´re at it! You´ve only got 4 months! You're the bomb and I love you, and I hope you are having tons of fun in CM!

Kai! I´m glad you are looking forward to talking to me in spanish! Or in other words, me alegre que tiene ganas a aprender castellano! I love your letters that you send me, and the ones that I got in the package! I love you, and I hope you are finding tons of spanish speaking friends in CM! Does everyone there ask you to take them back to the US? Haha. 

Familia entera: You have such a great responsibility in the ward there! It makes me so happy to think that you are going to result in the transformation of a ward into a stake of zion. Not a stake as in a group of wards, but a stake in the sense of the scripture that commands us to strengthen our stakes.

An exerpt from a letter to the president that I think you would like to read:

I just wanted to add really quickly my experience with reading the Book of Mormon. When you challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in 2 months, I felt a strong impression that I needed to heed your invitation with vigor. As I kept thinking, I realized that the Spirit was telling me I needed to read faster. After a simple prayer, I promised that if the Lord would help me, I would finish the whole Book of Mormon in that change, or in a month and a half.   After promising with nothing more than Faith that the Lord would provide a way, I figured out that to finish in a cambio [transfer], I needed to read about 19 pages every day, not including Sundays (we have church at 8:30 so we don´t have personal study time). I also figured out from experience that I can read 20 pages in an hour. So I read like my life depended on it. And more or less it did, because I promised I would finish in a month and a half. And the Lord provided. In various ways, he provided the means by which I finished the Book of Mormon exactly at 9:00 the morning of the change. 

I can´t describe the miracles of how I came to finish, and even less of the many times that my reading blessed me and my investigators. Several times, I used the chapters that I had read that very morning in the lessons with our investigators that evening.

Through reading the Book of Mormon according to your invitation, and the personal modification I made with the Lord, I have been overcome with the Spirit, and have experienced, yet again, another change of heart. I love the Lord. I love my Savior. I understand Him better now. I feel a little more of what he felt. I know He knows me. I am grateful for the details, which He places in my way to guide me closer to Him. I love you, as a servant of the Lord, and as an instrument through the which he has blessed and guided me. 

I´m so different, and it´s so wonderful. I´m trying my best to change, and it´s hard, and it´s worth it. 

Well life is great, and I´m enjoying the blessings that the Lords blesses us with daily. I´ve learned a whole lot this past week, this past month, and I´m looking forward to learning even more! I´m falling in love with the work, which is something I have really been wanting to do for the past few months! I have been filled continually with the light and love of Christ and I love sharing it. 

E´Sagostume and I. Lo maximo, él... (my old ZL that left two changes ago)