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.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

RE: Letro Numero Uno

Well last week this got left in my drafts, sorry!

I thought Kai would like at least something [referring to the package that Talon sent to Kai at the Colombia CCM]! He won´t be getting packages like I did in the MTC. I sent the package with a young man in my last sector who is going to Bogotá. His name is Elder Gonzalo Alvarado. Super great young man.

Could you send me a copy of the letter that got sent home when my companion and I acheived excelence at the beginning of my mission while I was in the WVCM? That would be awesome; we want to copy it here.

I got the bank card! Thanks for sending it! Just in time!

The article for the week is about family home evening, called 8 Tips for Successful, Effective Family Home Evenings! What great advice! Find it here!

I love you all!

Elder Hicken