Monday, October 28, 2013

Hola de fin de mes....already?

Todo está bien aquí en San Silvestre!

This morning we set goals as a zone, and I feel really good about the progress here in Las Flores. We´re coming together to fortify one another and motivate ourselves together to be better missionaries. Unfortunately, we were not able to meet our goal this past month, but in our ward council yesterday, we suggested setting a common goal between us (the missionaries) and the ward. That way we can have the same ¨vista¨ just like us in the mission! In our transfer meeting this past transfer, President and Sister Borg and about 30 missionaries showed up with huge glasses. During the meeting, President explained that it was because we need to focus on having ´la misma vista´. 

We´ve set a goal of 5 baptisms for October. it´s high, considering our accomplishments these past months, but it´s what the ward wants, and it´s what they´re willing to help us acheive. 

We´ve done everything we can to put into effect home and visiting teaching, coordination misional, and ward activities, and we plan to focus on creating a ward mission plan in the following weeks. It´s been a long prosess here in San Silvestre. From a ´ward´without a bishop, without activities, with almost half the ward recent converts, and almost 80% of the members inactive, to what we´ve got now. I know Preach my Gospel says that more than anything we should make sure our sector is stronger than when we left it, but now that I am 100% sure that I have complied with that requirement, I am excited to work with our ´baby barrio´ to bring new sheep into the fold. 

Out of the 5 baptisms for October, only one has a date set, but we hope to put the rest on date this week! The ward wants to baptize 3 of the 5 people on the 9th. We´ll see what kinds of miracles we can put together in these few days! 

My district is fantastic. E´Burgos and E´Warren were one of the two companionships who acheived their goal for the month of October, and they baptized 4 new members. It was a little crazy helping them with interviews and baptisms, but I´m getting used to the hang of it, or so I belive. Each time I feel like I´m getting close to comfortable, the Lord makes a big change in one way or another. Honestly, I know he is working to change and prepare me, but I´d really like to work calmly in his obra for a little! But just like the prophet in Alma 29:3 ¨I do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.¨ I´m ready for whatever he has prepared.

The President came to a fireside in our stake last night! We had two investigators present, and the two progressed immensely yesterday. The first, Daniel, is visiting for this month from Españia. He referred to himself after the fireside as un ´futuro bautizado´. The other, Claudia, sent us a text later that night thanking us for inviting her, and looking to set up a time to answer questions. The members expressed the powerful spirit that the two of you posess and the inspiration they gained from attending. 

Hno. Henrry, our young men´s president, was asking the President last night about the promises to the Tribe of Judah when I came up to the President to say goodbye, when the President says ¨you know who knows a lot about the Tribes of Israel? Elder Hicken! Why don´t you see if you can set up a time to ask him your question?¨ Shoot! Thanks, President! I´m studying to be able to properly respond to his questions. Anybody out there have any references that might help me? So far I´ve read Genesis 49:8-12 and Deuteronomy 33:7. Thanks!

Today we´re going to play soccer against the Rimac stake! Should be fun! Pray that we win! 

Here in the Peru Lima Central Mission we listen to music a LOT. Unfortunately, I only have so many songs, and we listen to all of them at least once a day. Also unfortunately, I don´t have time to go look for spiritual songs on to download. SO.....if you´re feeling like sharing spiritual music, I would love it if you could send me mp3s of hymns or songs shared in conference, or songs that invite the spirit so we can study. Thank you so much!

I love you all, thank you for your prayers and your support. I feel them more than you know. 

Love, Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hola de una semana dura

Todo está bien aquí en San Silvestre, but this week has been especially hard. We strived to do everything we could to honor our fast, focus in our investigators that could be baptized in the coming weeks and months, and applying all of the principles of Preach my Gospel, but we just got packed with problems. At the end of the week, we didn´t have even one key indicator of excellence. I know that as a leader, I need to have a sector that can be used as an example for the members of my district, but their sector is doing better than mine is! I feel like I am helping them in their trials, but I can´t seem to overcome my own. This week I reminded myself that I need to focus more in praying always. I´ll strive to be even more prayerful in this coming week.

Right now we are working tooth and nail to meet our zone goal for October, and E´Walstrohm and I plan to teach an especially prepared reference tonight in a FHE, and set him on date for this Saturday, if the spirit is right. 

One question: My parents and friends have been sending me their talks that they give in sacrament meeting. In the Mission Rules, it says that we can only read and write letters on Monday. Is it ok to read their talks during the week, since they are with the intention to instruct in the gospel, and not specifically to communicate back and forth?

I´m super excited for this week, as we have our multi-zone meeting tomorrow, and we are going to the Temple on Wednesday. But at the same time, I´m a little nervous because we had a lot of appointments in the mornings those two days that now we won´t be able to get to until this coming week. But maybe it will help us focus on the people that really need our focus to be baptized this month.

I´ve been thinking a lot about the process of faith, thanks to E´Claros, and I can tell that it´s going to be a major changing point in my mission. I´m determined to keep track of where we are in the process of faith with each investigator from now on. What I really need is a dashboard for each investigator. My mind is basically programmed to think about how technology can help us in our needs, and can I just say that I am so excited for technological privilegios to aid us in the work.

Well since you should be sufficiently submerged in the spanish language, here´s a little bit more to go along.

Yo sé que la oración es la comunicación con nuestro Padre Celestial, y que siempre nos escucha, y siempre nos contesta. Sé que cuando vivimos de acuerdo con las leyes y principios eternos, tales leemos en las escrituras y aprendemos de los profetas, recibiremos bendiciones in-nombradas. Sé realmente que no hay ningún obra más importante que la obra de salvación, y que un enfoque en ésto nos ayudará edificarnos sobre la roca de Cristo. Yo amo ser misionero, aún que es sumamente difícil. Nunca he tenido desafíos tan grandes, y tan numerosos. Por la primera vez en mi vida, no sé cómo hacer lo que tengo que hacer, pero sé que mi Salvador sabe, y que me ayudará, me guiará, y me fortalecerá. Él me conoce, y he sentido sus ángeles a mi lado, y sosteniendo mis ánimos, mi espíritu, y mi esperanza. Testifico que las escrituras son nuestro guía en todo, y que por escudriñarlas, ganaremos una esperanza, y tal esperanza se volverá en una fe tal grande que verdaderamente podemos mandar en el nombre de Cristo. Estoy en la obra, y les invito que me puedan juntar, con el fin de predicar el evangelio, perfeccionar a los santos, y redimir a nuestros muertos. Testifico que Cristo vive, y está dando prisa a su obra. En el nombre de nuestro Jefe y Salvador, Jesucristo. Amen.
[I know that prayer is communication with our Heavenly Father, and that he always listens to us, and he always answers us.  I know that when we live according to the eternal laws and principles, such as reading the scriptures and learning from the prophets, we will receive unnamed blessings.  I know really that there is no other work that is more important than the work of salvation, and that a focus in it will help us build upon the rock of Christ.  I love being a missionary, even though it is extremely difficult.  Never have I had challenges so large and so numerous.  For the first time in my life, I don’t know how to do what I have to do, but I know that my Savior knows, and that he will help me, will guide me, and will strengthen me.  He knows me, and I have felt his angels at my side sustaining my excitement, my spirit, and my hope.  I testify that the scriptures are our guide in everything, and that by searching them, we will gain a hope, that that hope will turn into a faith so large that truly we can command in the name of Christ.  I am in the work, and I invite you to join me with the purpose to preach the gospel, perfect the saints and redeem the dead.  I testify that Christ lives and He is hastening his work.  In the name of our Leader and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.]

Love, Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hola cortita plus Eagle Condor Blog

Dear Mother,

Honestly the most important thing to me are pictures and feelings. I´m so happy to talk to Kai about how much better he is than I was in regards to his relationship with you and with the Lord at this point in his life. He definately has many of the same charicteristics as I do, and I am happy to tell him what I wish somebody had told me. 

I´m glad you understand that my number one priority is your wellbeing, and that I hope not to increase your stress level, as you have said. 

I´m not sure if I´ve already told you this or not, but you are in a different world. The one and only thing that is exactly the same here as in the world we came from is your divine potential, and that relationship between you and your Father in Heaven. I testify that he listens to and answers your prayers, just as he listens to and answers the prayers of our Savior on your behalf. I testify that just as our church leaders mention our names; the Hicken Family (o la familia Hicken) in their presidency meetings, ward councils, stake meetings, etc., our Father in Heaven and His Son, converse in union of our needs, prayers, and how they can bless us on an individual basis. Look for the time each day the Lord gives you to rest, and use it. It´s a gift from God, and he gives it to you because he knows you need it, not because he knows you have something else to get done. Read the scriptures for fun sometimes. Forget about any goal or need you have, and just open somewhere and read. The Lord has control, but only if you let him. Sometimes we want to do so much good, that we don´t let our Savior do anything--sometimes we want to help our investigators so much, that we don´t let our companions do anything. But not in either situation does it turn out for our good. 

Thank you for the blogs! I´m going to print them out, mainly to have the pictures, and also to save reading-writing time right now.

I´m so glad you´re sharing the gospel! See what you can do to help out the missionaries! I don´t know if you can offer to have a lesson in your house, but it´s always more spiritual in a memeber´s home. 

[Excerpts from his letter to the mission president]:

Todo está bien aquí en San Silvestre!

Thank you so much for giving me another transfer here in Las Flores. I love it here, and I am loving it more and more every day. All the members tell me to request that I stay here until I finish my mission. I told them it´s up to the Lord, but they should feel free to contact you to put in requests. Let me know how that goes. But really, I love this ward. Things seem to progress slowly when they only have time to work in the work of Salvation at night and one day out of the week, but slow and steady wins the race. We are helping our ward become worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The day before yesterday Elder Walstrohm and I were looking over our logros [acheivements] for the week, and looking at our metas [goals], and there was a gap that didn´t reflect our efforts during the week. I sought the spirit, and suggested that we spend an hour and a half on Sunday practicing inviting to baptism using the Book of Mormon, to strangers. We ended up with less time than expected, so we found two priests and did splits. In a little over an hour, we taught 12 lessons, gave away 6 Books of Mormon, found 19 new people to teach, and invited 8 of them to Baptism. Two of them accepted a date as well! The Spirit directed our thoughts, and confirmed our plans, and then aided us in our work to achieve a goal according to the will of the Father.

Elder Walstrohm is progessing! I have to admit that I am completely confused by who he is, how he thinks, how he acts, and most of all why, but I feel that the Spirit is beginning to develop his talents and fortify his abilities to bring to pass the work of the Lord. I am learning so much in regards to helping him learn, giving him opportunities without leaving him out to dry, and preparing an environment in which the Spirit can help him invite people to come unto Christ. 

I´ve finally been given the opportunity to receive blessings for being a leader. In all honesty, the last six and a half months have been the only months in my life without a leadership responsibility since I was 11 years old. I have grown dependent on the blessings we are given to help us lead, teach, and inspire, while magnifying our calling. I am learning more than I can believe, and E´Casanova is right there with me, to inspire me, help me when I need it, and to understand me, as he was called as a district leader only one transfer ago.

I can feel the promises in my Patriarchal blessing, and I am fortifying my understanding, experience, and ability in the work of Salvation.

Well time´s up! See you next week!

Love, Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hola de Cambios

Todo está bien aquí en San Silvestre!

I´ve been thinking a lot these past few days about logros, and I took out all my agendas from my sector here, and I´ve decided that I need to make a potent change, and that potent change is a forward-progressing viewpoint. I´m not sure exactly how I´m going to change as of right now, but it´s a work in progress. I spent some time on my knees late last night, and I feel good about narrowing down the number of ´conocidos´ by putting them in the ´futuros investigadores´ category. It´s going to be a long process, as I estimate I know and have taught more than 150 investigators in this sector over the past 6 months. It seems like a large number, but really we should be contacting 10 nuevos each week, and baptizing 10%.

More than anything, this week I´ve come to realize that I´ve got no hope except obedience with exactness. I believe that shadow of decreasing logros is cast by an increasing tolerance for disobedience. But I remember how good it feels, not only to be obedient, but to lead others to obedience, and I am determined to make a potent change, now.

Elder Walstrohm is doing great! He is learning fast, and took a huge leap for better this week. I´m not sure why, but he´s started talking! I´ve always struggled with letting him talk, but he´s begun to talk before I can! It´s such a great feeling that it´s going to help me let him speak even more. Sometimes miracles are so small, but so crucial.

We´ve had lots of miracles in these past weeks, and we´re looking forward to working with what the Lord gives us, and letting the people excercise their free agency to follow, or to be left behind. Those who come to church, will be prepared. Those who don´t, are part of the 9 investigators we should be dropping each week.

Ok, I want you to think about three things, and if you would like, I would love to hear your repsonses. How do you feel about your personal efforts in:
1. Using your prayers as tools to change your will into that of the Father?
2. Reading the scriptures in order to invite the Holy Spirit to change your thoughts, words, and accions?
3. Attending church meetings, and focusing more on fortifying the testimonies of investigators, less actives, and recent converts, than on passively recieving blessings of the Spirit found in the church.

Conference was wonderful! I hope you feel how important it is to be involved actively in the work of the Lord. 

Moroni 9:6

 And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor adiligently; for if we should cease to blabor, 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.

The work is not yet finished. Carry on, my beloved bretheren, the prize is yet to be won.

Love, Elder Hicken

Hurrah for Israel!