Monday, December 30, 2013

Danilo FoI Batizado!!! Dec. 30, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
So like the subject reads, Danilo was baptized! Yesterday was probably the happiest day I´ve ever had! So back story, Christmas eve we went to his house and talked to him and he said he was soooo close to feeling ready. So we talked to him about his doubts and he said he just hadn´t received that answer he was waiting for. Ok fast forward to Christmas day. So we went caroling which was the coolest experience evey (less actives crying in the doorway and just the Spirit was sooo strong) but anyways, after caroling we went to his house with Kaio (he´s a high councilman in our stake but super cool, just 23 years old) and Danilo´s whole family was there. We were talking about how important baptism is and he had watched the Restoration DVD twice (first time in English, he didn´t know how to change the language, haha) and then again in Portuguese. So long story short, I pulled out the baptismal form and he said, "Can we fill out the form now, I´m going to be baptized on sunday!!!!!!!"
Oh my gosh, I can´t explain how happy we were, his whole family was there and everyone was sooo happy. It was the best Christmas present I´ve ever received in my whole life! So we filled out the baptismal form and he had an interview on Saturday, everything went well, and he went to a Christmas party that we had on Friday (the activity went sooo well!!!)
Also, just side note, Danilo has so much swag, haha, we call him Will Smith because he just has this style about him, hahah it´s really funny. (Just to remember Danilo is Camilla´s brother who was baptized about 2 months ago).

So his baptismal service was really special and his whole family was there. His mom even cried (she´s next...) ;)
But the part that was the most special is what he said to us after his baptism. He pulled Sister Stolk and me aside and with tears in his eyes he said that he´d never forget this day and that he´s eternally grateful for the patience that we had with him. He said that when we started teaching him his heart was really hard and he thought he knew God but now he truly knows God and that he´ll never forget the love and the patience that we had  with him. He made me cry and it was truly the most special day in my mission. He said he was going to print the photo of us and his family that we took before his baptism and put it in his scriptures. He said that every day he´s going to thank Heavenly Father for putting us in his life. I wish you guys could have been there yesterday, I´ve never felt so happy in my entire life. I will print photos today and send them to you! Sooooo cool!!!
So a few answers to your questions,
We write emails in a little computer cafe thing, that has about 12 computers.
The language is coming along pretty well, it´s interesting sometimes people say, "Wow, your Portuguese is amazing!" and other times "I didn´t understand a word you just said..." haha but it´s all good.
So about the chicken in the car that one day, he was alive but he was just tied up laying on the floor of the car haha...

I would love some basket ball shorts from Target (the boys section, probably large, or xl) that would be great Mom! Thanks!
Oh and thank you soooo much for all the stuff you sent me mom! The purse (it´s great, I´m going to try it out soon!) loofa, purrell, everything!
Oh, so almost eveyone here (sisters) wears chacos, or something like chacos, and they are soooo comfortable (thanks Bryan and Lindsey)
And what?! UDF and Graeters ice cream!!!!!! So cool!
Haha, I´m glad you liked the chaco tan lines, pretty sweet and it´s just after six months, I already have some wicked arm tans and feet tans and it´s just going to get better!

I liked what you said about D and C 84. I need to study that section this week :)

I´m glad you liked the talk and I totally agree, definitely a special bond between a father and daughter :)

I also loved what you said that "You just get one shot at it." at a mission, I definitly don´t want to have any regrets at the end of my mission so we just have to work, work, work, and be EXACTLY obedient!
Bryan: I´m glad Christmas went well at Lindsey´s house and I hope that you guys are all doing well! I´m sure Norah is loving the karoke machine :)
Kimball: haha, so I guess I´m following in my brother´s footsteps (I accidently bought what I thought was sparkling apple cider but let´s just say that it was DEFINITELY not sparkling cider
So the food was pretty much the same here, Christmas eve we ate with the stake president and his family and it was rice (lots of rice), this gravy chicken thing, salad, fruit, and ICE CREAM! haha it was great

We actually work with a lot of recent converts and less actives, Sister Stolk and I were talking that the majority of our baptisms occurred because of working with recent converts and less actives!
That´s so crazy about your little "alien" haha, I can´t believe he´s punching and kicking so much! So crazy!
Oh and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Congrats Kimball and Kelsey! Wow, I can´t believe it´s already been 3 years! So cool!

Well, I love you all so much and we´re not doing anything special for New Years but I know it´s going to be CRAZY here, everyone´s buying alcohol and stuff!

Well I love you the MOSTIEST! Happy New Years and thank you for all your love and prayers!
Love you the mostiest,
Sister Hicks

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

OK Now it's Really Feliz Natal! Dec. 23, 2013

Well, Feliz Natal Mom, Dad, Greg, Bryan, Lindsey, Norah, Alice, Kimball, Kelsey, Taylor, and dear friends!
CONGRATS LINDSEY AND BRYAN!!!! WOOHOO! I´m so excited for you guys!!!

So, we got an hour to email today because Wednesday, which is actually p-day we won´t be able to, but we´ll be able to call! Woohoo! It´s still so weird to think that I´ll hear from you guys!

So, it´s starting to feel like Christmas, even though it´s DEFINITELY not anywhere close to snowing :)

Oh, to start off, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I got the Christmas packages and the article from you mom! I opened the package that you wrote that I could. Thank you so much for the decoration, little toys for the kids, OREOS, and PEANUT BUTTER! haha, it´s the little things in life :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Mom: Aah, so sorry that your sprinkler was MIA last night. haha, if I was there, I definitely would´ve been your good ol sprinkler :)
haha, that´s really funny about the fortune cookie too. Aah, I remember "Dinner and shoes" It still lives on :) haha
Oh and tell Brother Dixon that I say hi too :)
Dad: Well, I´m emailing you right now but I´m so excited to call you too! It´ll be great! And I´m so happy to hear that the Christmas program went well too!
Kelsey: Aah, so good to hear from you Kels, I´m glad to hear that things are going well and you guys are staying warm in the cold and snow!

I´m not sure if I´ve seen a difference in people being more open during the holiday season but we´ve definitely been saying "Feliz Natal" a lot :) People here are generally very open, for example, a guy yesterday told us his whole life story just during a street contact haha but I´m sure it´s a lot easier in the states during this time
Thanks so much for sending a card, I´m sure I´ll get it soon! Thank you!!! I can´t believe you´re almost 6 months along! That´s crazy! Woohoo! I´m so excited for you! Stay warm and keep healthy :)
Kimball: That´s so exciting that Kelsey´s starting to show and everyone´s mentioning that! Aah, sooo excited!
So one thing about Christmas here is they don´t have the whole go to bed early thing. No, Christmas is midnight between Christmas eve and Christmas, so tomorrow night. Everyone stays up and has a HUGE party with food and fireworks and stuff tomorrow night. haha, I think it´ll be pretty interesting. We tried to explain to people that no, you have to go to bed early or Santa won´t come but they said no, you have to have a party and eat! haha, so there´s one tradition a little different but everyone has twinkle lights in front of the houses and people have fake Christmas trees and stuff :)
About transfers, I´ve heard that our miss president, President Nogueira wants to keep missionaries in their areas for about 6 months, as kind of a standard rule, I´m not sure exactly why but I´m super happy! I love my area!
Lindsey and Bryan: So CONGRATS again! I´m so excited for you guys! I can´t wait to hear if it´s going to be a boy or girl!
Oh, and yah, I´ve heard about the Elf on the Shelf. haha, that´s so awesome that Norah totally believes in it, love that girl! hhaha, tell Norah and Alice Merry Christmas from me!

Taylor: CONGRATS! Congratulations on getting the job at the National Archives! That´s so exciting! Way to go and $13 an hour, woohoo! I hope the weather stays pretty nice there and FELIZ NATAL! I hope you have a very, merry Christmas!

So, yesterday we had a BAPTISM! Woohoo! So last week, Thalyss, Luiz´s cousin, almost got baptized but his mom wouldn´t let him. So we just kind of let things simmer and did a lot of praying. And we went to his house on Monday I think, and we talked to his mom, and she said "Ok, he can be baptized." It was such a miracle from the Lord! It was so great! Luiz baptized him yesterday and he was so excited. It was funny, after the baptismal interview, our District leader said that he asked him, if Jesus Christ visited the Americas why are there so many people that live here that don´t believe in Christ?
He is such a cool and I´m so excited that his mom let him be baptized, very cool!

Like I wrote last week, we´re working with Danilo, Camilla´s cousin. So he went to Church yesterday and we had a great lesson with him with Kaio (he´s a high councilman that is over our branch) We talked with Danilo and he said that he knows that he needs to be baptized he´s just waiting for that answer he wants. But today we´re going to fast with him and he still has a baptismal date for this Sunday. Also Kaio explained, well if God created the world in seven days don´t you believe that he can help you feel ready to be baptized in seven days and Danilo said, well of course. Super cool! So keep Danilo in your prayers!
Funny story from the week, after we walked out of church yesterday, a drunk guy was dancing with his shirt off on top of some speakers, definitely a change in atmosphere from coming out of church, haha!
Well, that´s about all for this week and of course I´ll have lots to say on Wednesday!

But for now, Feliz Natal!

I love you the MOSTIEST!
Lots of love, hugs and kisses!
Sister Hicks

Monday, December 16, 2013

Feliz (almost) Natal - But really it's super close Dec. 16, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

So this week was super great! I actually was in João Pessoa for three days. I was on exchanges with 3 sisters as part of my responsibility as a Sister Leader Trainer. It was really great to work with other sisters and try and help them to understand how to work more effectively. It was great to see how much the sisters really opened up and I tried to help them as best as I could. Also, I got to see the beach for the first time while we were on the bus. 

Mom: Loved the picture from the Nutcracker and Heather said that her family just adored you! They said, no wonder we love Courtney, her mom is so amazing :) Also, that is so sweet that you made a quilt! Oh my gosh, they absolutely loved it! So cool Mom, thanks, you´re so sweet! 

Dad: That´s crazy that it´s snowing so much! Heather said that the girls had 2 and a half snow days! Also, that´s kind of a bummer that you were just in buildings all day during your trip to Europe...

I really liked what you said about just going forward with faith from Sister Dew´s book. It´s so true that we just have to trust in the Lord and go forward with faith. 

Bryan: That´s great that Dean was able to visit and hope that you are doing well! 

Lindsey: LOVED the blog post! Looks like you guys had so much fun! That´s so funny about Norah and a rocket ship! haha, I wonder where she got that from? haha and the never-ending Christmas music. haha, good old Pandora :)

I really love being a Sister Leader Trainer. It´s hard to not be in your area for a few days but it´s so rewarding to help other sisters. 

So this week was pretty great. It´s definitely interesting to work in other areas. I was in João Pessoa which is a lot different than my area in Queimadas. There´s way more condos and it´s hard to get in because they all have gates with codes. But it was so great to see the work progressing in other areas.

So yesterday we had stake conference which was really cool. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake and Elder Ballard spoke along with other General Authorities. There were two seventies that spoke that are Brazilian. They talked about how much the work is progressing in Brasil. It seemed like almost the entire conference was about missionary work. Also, Sister Marriot, from the Primary Presidency spoke. She definitely has an accent, she just served as a mission president´s wife in Brasil. One of our investigators (he´s 10 years old) asked me if she was my mom. I think just because of the accent, haha, it was pretty great. 

Also, as we were returning to Queimadas (our branch just rented a school bus) the driver stopped and picked up a group of church goers from another congregation that were returning to Queimadas too. hahah, it was so funny to see the look on their faces as they entered a bus with a bunch of Mormons returning from church hahaha

So we had an amazing lesson with Danilo (Camilla´s (recent convert) brother). He´s investigating the church and he really wants to know. He always reads the things we leave with him and he was teaching US about how important the law of chastity is. Super cool and he has a marked baptismal date for December 29

Also, Diego, our recent convert received the Melcezidek priesthood yesterday!!! It was so cool to see him stand up during Stake Conference! Wow, he´s so great and it´s just so cool to see the progress :)

Well, I think next week, Christmas will be p-day, so don´t be worried if you don´t receive an email on Monday

I love you all and Feliz Natal!!!!

I hope you are all doing well and staying warm :)

I love you the MOSTIEST!!!

Sister Hicks

Monday, December 9, 2013

Feliz (almost) Natal! December 9, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
I hope this letter finds everyone happy and well! This week was a pretty great week and I´m so happy that I´m staying in Queimadas! Woohoo! We´re definitely in full Christmas season here and it´s pretty funny to hear Christmas music when it´s about 90 degrees outside and super sunny! But it´s definitely a fun experience! It´s also funny to see fake Christmas trees that have the fake white snow on the branches. haha, almost EVERYONE here wants to see snow. They always ask us, Does it snow where you live? haha, it´s definitely the little things that we take for granted :)

I´m glad you guys got the letters and the pictures. That´s cool that you were in Germany, I can´t believe how expensive those nativities were! Oh my goodness...but super neat too
I liked what you said about how it´s really cool that as sisters we have to involve the members from the very beginning. It´s really cool to see that the members really are part of the baptism. We had another baptism yesterday. Her name´s Severina and she´s a friend of an inative lady in our branch, Maria da Guia. They live right next to each other. Severina went to church for the first time two weeks ago with Maria and she really liked it. The next week she couldn´t go but we talked to her and she decided that she wanted to be baptized so yesterday she went to church again and we had the baptismal service after church. 

Also, another really cool thing, Diego, one of our investigators that was baptized a few weeks ago, passed the sacrament yesterday. It was so cool to see him wearing a white shirt with a tie, passing the sacrament. The young men in the branch were so kind and helpful. He did a great job and it´s so cool to see the progress that he is making. Also, his stepson Angelo, went to church yesterday too. He´s an inactive but I hope that he´ll start coming back to church :)

Also, I loved what you said about Alma 26:22. I love this scripture too and I love the two parts. What we have to do and what the Lord will do in response. It´s so cool to really start to understand our covenants and the promises from the Lord. 

I really am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a Sister Leader Trainer. This week, Wednesday and Thursday, I´m going to go to João Pessoa with my Sister Leader Trainer companion, Sister Mitchell. It really will be so cool to get to know other sisters and also President and Sister Nogueira. I hope that I´ll be able to help these sisters. Also, I can´t believe that I almost have 6 months in the mission. I can´t believe how fast the time flies and I can´t believe how much I am growing and learning. 

Dad, that is sooo cool about the experience that you had in the airport. You really did touch their lives that day and I´m definitely learning too how important it is to understand and act on the promptings from the Holy Ghost that we receive. 

Bryan: Wow, I can´t believe the crazy weather that you guys are having in Dallas! wow! I hope you guys are safe and that Lindsey and Alice feel better soon! Keep safe and keep warm! 

Oh Mom, just a random question for you, what do you think is the best way to wash my leather bag that I have? Any tips?

So we had a really great zone meeting this week. It was a little crazy because it was my first time helping out with one (the Zone Leaders and the Sister Leader Trainers are the missionaries that plan and execute the zone meetings). But we focused a lot on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I had such a powerful experience during the zone meeting. We had a time for pondering and reflection. The Spirit was so strong. We listened to music and read Mosiah 14:4-12. I love this part that talks about the power of the Atonement and what Christ suffered for each and every one of us. 

I am only beginning to understand the full magnitude of the Savior´s suffering for us. I am so grateful for the Atonement and for the gift that we have to repent. 

I am doing well and I am super happy. I hope that you all have a great week and I love you the MOSTIEST! 

Oh also, I haven´t heard anything more about how it works to call or skype on Christmas but I´ll let you know soon!

Love you all!
Sister Hicks

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Got the Packages and the Letters - THANKS!!! December 4, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
Well it sure is the Christmas season QUEIMADAS! I wasn´t transfered and I´m so happy that I get to stay here in Queimadas, and the best part, all 4 of us, Sister Johnson, Sister Shirts, and Sister Stolk, we all are still here in Quimadas together! It´s gonna be a American/Brazilian Christmas with 4 American sisters in Queimadas! haha!

Oh and also, I got the package Mom! Thank you sooooo much! Ah, lotion, purrell, the cute little London socks, head band, NORMAL deodorant (woohoo!!!), razor heads, everything! Thanks Mom! Also, I got the letters too! Thank you! I didn´t open the 2 letters that were in the red envelopes because they seemed like they´re for Christmas, or can I open them now? But, thank you so much!!! You´re the best Mom!
So, one crazy change that happened this week. I´ve been called to be a Sister Leader Trainer, which means that I´ll go on splits with other sisters and help them out. I´ll have a Sister Leader Trainer companion (that I´ll travel with) and we´ll have about 4 companionships of sisters that we´ll be responsible for. The cool thing is that I´ll be able to see a lot of the mission and that I´ll be able to learn so much from other sisters. It´s pretty crazy because I only have 3 transfers here but I´m so ready to learn and grow. Because of this, I went to João Pessoa on Monday morning for a meeting with all the Zone leaders, other Sister Leader Trainers, APs, and Pres and Sister Nogueira. We talked about the numbers and goals in our mission and then we had a training which was so great. After we had lunch in the chapel and we went to the mission office to get packages and letters. All go to Joõa Pessoa (normally) every first Tuesday of the month to have this meeting with all the mission leadership. I felt so lost and overwhelmed but I´m so grateful for this opportunity that I have too. And the cool thing is that it will be for the entire length of my mission :) Also, the training that we had was so cool. It was about redemption and the Atonement. We read in Mosiah 14:4-12. Such a great chapter, we talked about how if we really understand the Atonement we will want to share the Gospel with EVERYONE! Such a great meeting and the Spirit was so strong.
Mom: Well, I´m so glad to hear that you all made it safely to Dallas. I guess I really do mess up the travel plans in our family :) I laughed out loud when I read about what Greg said, "I hate when that happens" haahaha, all of the sisters that I live with already love Greg because of all the stories that I share, like, "Go back, go back go back go back!" haha Sister Johnson said, wow, you really do have a lot of funny stories because of Greg! :)
So, I still haven´t heard anything about how phone calls work for Christmas, I heard that you can skype but that it doesn´t work very well so I think it´d be easier to just call but I´ll ask for more information and get back to you.
I´m glad everything went well for Thanksgiving and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALICE! I´m glad to hear that she had a great horse birthday party!
Also, wow, no black Friday shopping Mom? Woah! :) haha
So I can´t really remember what we ate for Thanksgiving, obviously they don´t celebrate it hear, I can´t remember what we had for lunch (well probably rice and beans) and dinner we just grabbed some bread rolls from the local bakery haha :)
So the only other thing I can think of to send would be peanut butter, it´s wicked expensive here! 20 reais (10 bucks) and it´s super small size but I´m craving peanut butter :) Thanks Mom! Just when you get a chance!
So Ana Claudia´s baptism went really well. Her mom didn´t attend but her siblings and inactive aunt came which was cool! So happy for her and on Sunday she received the Holy Ghost!
Exciting about my room too! Can´t wait to see it! :)
 I´m glad to hear that the trip to Dallas went well and you´re sure right, it is SUPER hot here but it fun to see fake Christmas trees and garland with fake snow on it, hahah, in 90 degree weather! But you´re so right, I just want to soak everything in about the Christmas culture here! It´s going to be so cool and I just can´t wait!
Oh one funny tradition (not relating to Christmas) that I found out recently. So here in Brasil, or at least Paraíba, when you lose a tooth you don´t put it under your pillow, you throw it up on top of your roof! haha, not kidding, we were with a little kid and he showed us his tooth that fell out and then he threw it on the roof! :) just a little funny tradition in Brasil :)
I really liked what you said about faith Dad. It is such a critical aspect of our lives and especially with missionary work. This morning during companionship study Sister Stolk and I were talking about how we can help our investigator, Paula, really gain a testimony. She wants to know so bad that the Church is true and we´re trying to show her that she just needs to exercise her faith. She´s a really great young woman and she has such a desire to know! She´s always going to seminary and she´s been to church 2 times already :) Oh so Kimball, in response to your question, Paula is one of our investigators that is progressing really well!
Lindsey: I´m totally with you Linds, I love Martinelli´s and I actually saw sparkling cider in the super market this past week so we´re definitely going to buy some for Christmas! Woohoo! haha

I´m so glad to hear that the party went well for Alice and that they didn´t lose any fingers feeding the horses! :)
Kimball: Wow I can´t even imagine 6 degrees and snowing, haha it seems like a totally different world. Everyone is mesmerized when we tell them that it snows where we live. EVERYONE wants to see snow, it´s so cool. It´s crazy that we sometimes take for granted such little things like seeing snow but I can´t imagine how cold it much be up there in Chicago, brrrr! Keep warm and keep Black Bear warm! :)

So funny story from yesterday, we were talking to a lady in the street yesterday, probably about 65, 70 years old and she was about to eat a popsicle when she asked us, oh do you want some, we said no, no, we´re fine but she insisted so we Sister Stolk and I took a few bites and then she ate the rest. Haha, it was such a sweet and hilarious experience that would never happen in the US, or rarely would happen. haha, she was so sweet and cute!
So we have some new mission rules. One of them is that we can´t email people of the opposite sex (just family). So that´s a pretty big change, it´s just for our mission but I know that a lot of people aren´t going to like it, but I loved what Kimball wrote in my journal that just always obey the mission president no matter what.

Oh side note Mom: could you get a hold of Sister Schmutz, Connor Schmutz randomly wrote me last week but I can´t respond because of the new mission rule. Thanks Mom!
Oh and so cute, Julia, Heather´s daughter, sent me a Flat Stanley that I´ll take around with me and snap a few pictures! So cute! :)
Oh, so we live above a store that sells furniture and they´re always playing music, and one of my favorite songs, Home, by Jason Mraz is always playing. haha love that song and it´s funny to hear it about 10 times a day!
Also, we had another baptism this week, Vito! He´s a young man and it was really great! It was funny, he was having difficulties understanding that we don´t pray to Maria, but after a few lessons, he finally said that he understood that we don´t pray to her but we pray to God. But he´s doing well and going to seminary too!

Well my time´s almost up but it´s so good to hear from you all! Thank you again for the package and letters! I love you all so much and you all are always in my prayers!

Lots of love,
I love you the MOSTIEST!
Sister Hicks

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Congrats Kimball and Keley - Parabens!!! November 25, 2013

Wow, so exciting Kimball and Kelsey! I can´t believe you guys are having a boy! AAAh! Congrats, congrats, congrats! Parabéns! Keep me updated with everything!

So, this week went well! We had another baptism yesterday. Her name is Ana Claudia and I just love her to death. She´s 11 years old but she´s almost 12. Because she´s primary age it´s a mission rule that she has to go to church at least 4 times before her baptism if her parents aren´t members. So yesterday was her fourth time and afterwards we had her baptism. She was so excited and she´s really mature for her age. She was a little scared but it went really well. It was so cool to see little Ana Claudia being baptized and I was so happy for her. We made a cake for her and put jelly beans on top with the letters A and C for Ana Claudia. It was so cool! 

So...Mom: That´s so cool that you guys are going to Dallas for Thanksgiving! So exciting! It truly is a good thing that your "jinx" isn´t there to mess up the travel plans ;) Have so much fun and stay warm! 

So, I actually seem to like the bug spray more than the lotion. Sorry! haha, the spray is a little bit easier, I like the spray from the infectious diseases place but it could just be Off brand that has deet as well. Whatever works, just has to have deet :) Thanks Mom, you´re the best! And just any kind of good suncreen :) The sun is SUPER strong here! 

I´m so glad that you´re enjoying the notes, I thought it would be a good present for you, I love you the MOSTIEST! :)

Our teaching pool is pretty great, it was a bummer about Alessandra, but Diego our other baptism from this past week received the Holy Ghost and the Aaronic priesthood yesterday, so cool! One thing that he always says to Sister Stolk and I that´s really funny is whenever we ask him if we can mark another part in the Book of Mormon to read he always says, "diga minha joven" which means say it my teenager, haha he loves reading the Book of Mormon and he marks the parts that he loves :) haha so great! 

Thanks so much for the 5 steps about the Atonement. I really liked relating it to a GPS, thanks for sharing. 

Also, thanks for the tips from the other missionaries, I liked that too :) So cool that so many of my friends are serving missions!

Oh and just a reminder, I won´t email next Monday because next Wednesday is transfers so I´ll email next WEDNESDAY! :)

Dad: That´s so cool that you got to speak at the mission conference! I loved the 3 foundations that you said that we as missionaries are laying down: for ourselves, our investigators, and the members! It´s so true, I don´t want to just pass through an area but I want to make a difference. 

So cool to relieve your mission experience and I know the missionaries loved the talk you gave, you always give the best talks! :)

Kelsey: SOOOOO excited for you and Kimball! Congratulations! I hope everything continues to go well. How´s the morning sickness?

Stay warm too! It´s so funny to think that Thanksgiving is this week but I´m so happy to be here and it truly is full time Christmas season here! Last night we practiced the 4 Christmas hymns that we´re going to sing when we go caroling, closer to Christmas time, everyone´s really getting into the spirit of Christmas, in the 80 and 90 degree weather :)

I just about died when I read what Norah asked about, "What´s Jesus like?" hahah, so funny :) 

Also, that´s so cool that everything went so well with the BYU management society thing! And I think Judge Griffith gave a devotional at BYU this past year, the name sounds familiar, so cool! 

We also had the Primary Program in our branch yesterday and it was crazy! The majority of the kids were visitors and it was a little insane. Irmã Fatima asked Sister Stolk and I to help out so we helped our during the first 2 hours before Sacrament meeting and it was pretty insane but it went well. 

So funny story for the week, yesterday we were visiting a young man named Vito, he went to church yesterday and he accepted to be baptized this coming Sunday! So we gave him the Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and on the front it has a picture of Christ. Christ is wearing sandals and Vito asked if we wear chacos, or sandals, because that´s what Christ wore. I just about died, it was so funny how innocently he asked the question, hahaha :) But Vito is really a great kid and I hope that we can help him this week so keep him in your prayers :)

So like I said, transfers are this coming week and I really want to stay here just one more transfer in Queimadas, especially for Christmas. We´re already planning so many activities and I´m just so excited! But we´ll see in this coming week!

One thing that I´ve been doing a lot lately is reading in the Liahona from past General Conf talks. I am so much more appreciative for the words of the prophets than I ever was before. They truly are called by God. 

Well, I hope everyone is doing well and I love you all the MOSTIEST! Be safe while you are travelling and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Love and miss you the MOSTIEST! And thank you for your love and support!

Lots of love, hugs, and kisses,
Sister Hicks

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hey from Queimadas - November 18, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

Thank you sooooo much for your emails this week! It really is so fun to hear from all of you and to hear what´s going on with you guys! I´m doing great and loving life! :)

Hey Mom, before I forget, just a tip that the mission executive secretary said, the packages can´t be more than $50 US dollars or I´ll have to pay customs. Another package arrived this week but because of customs I have to pay $100 so I took money out of my personal account to pay, just so you know. The secretary said you can put whatever you want in (basically) the package but the customs sheet can´t say that the items are more than $50, but thank you soooooo much for sending more packages! They´re the best! The only thing that I can think of that would be good for Kris´ friend to send would be bug spray and suncreen, they are suupppeerr expensive here. Any kind would do but the spray bug spray is really great and the neutrogena sun screen is working great too. Thanks, you´re the best Mom!! Love you the mostiest!!

Mom: I think the only advice that I would give would be to study the Atonement as a missionary. It´s something that I´ve been trying to do and I´m learning so much. It´s amazing how much we can learn about the Atonement every single day. 

So, we had a baptism yesterday that went really well. His name is Diego and he´s 26. It´s a little interesting because he´s married to a lady who is 22 years older than him but they´re legally married so I´ll take it! 

The other baptism that we were supposed to have was Alessandra, a young woman, she´s 14 years old. So she had the interview on Friday night and everything went well and Saturday we passed by her house to walk with her to the church to go to a youth activity but when we arrived her grandpa answered the door. And then it went downhill, her grandpa, who I never met before this, is really religious and basically chewed us out. He asked me what the 4th commandment was and I don´t know off the top of my head, especially in Portuguese, and he said, Well then who do you think you are, you can´t preach the Gospel, you shouldn´t have even been baptized, you don´t know what you´re talking about. haha, it was pretty rough to take. And then, in front of Alessandra, he said that she doesn´t know anything about the Bible and she can´t be baptized because she doesn´t know anything. It was all pretty rough. And the best part, right before we left, he said to Sister Stolk that it says in the Bible that we can't wear jewelry so she was sinning. haha, oh good times good times

But, I learned from this experience that you just have to keep your head up and remember the calling that you have as a missionary. Missionaries truly are representatives of Jesus Christ. 

Thank you so much for always keeping me in your prayers and thoughts. Please know that I really am doing well and loving the time here. I can´t believe that tomorrow I´ll already have 5 months in the mission! 

So the next transfer is Dec 4 and I really hope that I´ll stay! We moved houses last P-day, our new house is sooo great! And Pres. Nogueira came to look at our new house and to finish the stuff with the old house. Pres. Jorge (branch pres) pulled him aside and I think he talked to him about Sister Johnson and I staying here but I´m not sure if that´s what they were actually talking about, I hope I´ll stay!

Please do send me that talk, I love reading anything that I can get my hands on! The last article you sent me was exactly what I needed to read! 

Dad: Wow, Dad, I can´t believe how crazy your week was! I hope that you are getting a little bit of rest and that things this week will be a little bit more relaxing! Oh wow, I just remember, Thanksgiving is this week right? Have a great week! 

Bryan: haha, that was a great story from Norah and she really is soo smart, haha, she did exactly what you said, well, in her way :)

Kimball: Thanks so much for the advice that you gave me. I definitely need to be better with exercising, but I want to improve on that! The days that we really exercise are definitely better and I just feel better! And it´s so true that it´s really on the mission that we learn so much about being self-reliant! 

I hope that everyone is ok from the crazy storm and I´m glad to hear that you all are ok. 

Kelsey: Ok, I´m going to make my guess, I think it´s a GIRL! :) haha, just a guess but I´m so excited to find out! woohoo! 

I will definitely take lots of pics of Christmas and it´s going to be so cool! We´re already singing Christmas hymns! haha :) When you don´t have Thanksgiving, Christmas starts in November! 
I don´t remember Carly but I´m glad that everyone is safe in the phillipines, I have a friend from BYU that´s serving there right now too, Lexi. 

Taylor: I´m so glad to hear that things are going well and that´s so cool that you have an interview for the Archives! What?! Nicholas Cage style :) I´m sure the landscape is really similar to what it´s like in Mexico where you served, so cool! I love it here! 

So this week was pretty cool, we had a special zone meeting with the APs on Tuesday and it was so great! I forwarded some pics too! Then we had another meeting Wednesday morning with just the sisters in my zone Liberdade and the other zone from Campina, Campina Grande Zone. It was so cool and one thing that we´re really focusing on as a mission is Alma 26:22. Read this scripture, it´s so great! We´re really trying to focus on the 4 things it says that as missionaries we need to do: Repent, exercise faith, do good works, and pray without ceasing! 

Oh another funny thing that happened this week, Sister Stolk was adament about something, I don´t remember what, but then it turned out that she was wrong. So I told her that she needed to stand corrected but she didn´t want to. Haha, oh the family traditions that we have, it was pretty great explaining, I Stand Corrected, to her and Sister Johnson, and Sister Shirts. 

Well, I have to go but please know that I love you all and I´m thinking and praying for all of you!


Lots of love, hugs, and kisses,
Sister Hicks

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Merry (almost) Christmas November 11, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,                                                         11/11/13
Well, with regards to the title of my email, it´s pretty funny, they´re already playing Christmas music and there´s fake Christmas trees and tinsel in the shops which is pretty funny, especially since it´s in the 90s and definitely is a different kind of weather for Christmas. I am so exciting to have Christmas in Brasil though! It´s going to be so cool! Yesterday during our correlation meeting with President Jorge, and one of the high councilors Kaio, we were planning an activity for Christmas, Christmas caroling. But the best part was that it took about 10 minutes to explain what we are planning on doing for President Jorge. It´s so funny because I never though in my life that I would explain what Christmas caroling is. haha, but I already emailed President Nogueira (miss pres) to stay one more transfer because I´m dying to stay here in Queimadas for one more transfer to stay for Natal (Christmas)!
Oh and I got the other package Mom, thank you soooooo much! The reason I had to pay was because it was more than $50. One thing to remember is that packages can´t be more than $50 US dollars or I´ll have to pay customs. OH and thank you for the letters and the Ensign article, they were exactly what I needed to hear and read! Thamk you thank you thank you! And Sisters Johnson, Stolk, and Shirts are very grateful for the package too!
Bryan: I really liked your advice on working with members versus tracting. It really is true that working with members is so much more effective and Sister Stolk and I really want to improve in this area. It´s sometimes a little hard because we don´t have that many members but working with the missionaries will help strengthen the members for sure!

It´s true that Sundays are a lot different in the mission field and we actually go house to house to grab our investigators to go to church with us so we end up arriving to church sweating haha! But this week was sooo much better and we ended up having 7 investigators at church with us, woohoo! And two of them have a baptism marked for this coming sunday and 4 others for other sundays!
haha, what a funny dream that Norah had and especially that greg was in it too. Oh funny story about Greg, it´s great because Greg´s funny stories are now being shared here in Queimadas, I love telling the other sisters about Greg and the crazy stories we have because of him :)
I hope the bed works out for Alice and that she stays in the bed :) that´s the key :)
That is so cool that you´re going to have a meeting with Elder Cristofferson and some of the Seventies, so cool!

Also, wow 54 missionaries from our stake! That is incredible! It´s so cool to see how much the work is improving!

That´s also really cool that you met Sister Stolk´s uncle, what?! haha :)

I am sooo excited to spend Christmas here in Brasil, it will definitely be different, and just a LITTLE bit hotter :) but I know that it´ll be so cool! I love Brasil, the culture, the people, the EVERYTHING!

So this week was sooo  much better than last week! It´s great to see the hand of the Lord in our work and how much he really is helping us!
One funny thing that happened this week was that we approached a lady in the street and we said the normal stuff, Hi, how are you? And she immediately responded "Are you two Mormons?" I responded, yes we are, and she quickly said, "I don´t like Mormons" and walked away. Haha, we just had a quick laugh afterwards and moved on.
oh and yes, the water came back and it´s all good now, I definitely will not forget that experience haha! Shower with buckets woohoo!
Oh and Mom, thanks for the earrings, love them! I wore the dangly oval ones yesterday to church! So great!
Oh, and have you guys read the talk by Elder McConkie, The Purifying Power of Gethsemane, soooo good! You have to read it or reread it! I read it this week and loved it!
Also, Alma 26 22-37 is so great too. I love the the part that talks about wanderers in a strange land because sometimes we feel like that here in Queimadas but I LOVE Queimadas and I really don´t want to leave!

Mom: I hope everything is ok and really I´m truly grateful for the package, I can´t wait to hear from you soon and I love you the MOSTIEST! I hope you know how much I love and miss you Mom, you really are the best!
Lots of love, hugs, and kisses from beautiful and hot Queimadas,
Sister Hicks

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ola' from Queimadas November 4, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,                                                            Nov. 4, 2013
Hello all, I´m so glad to hear that everything is going well with you guys and that everyone is safe, happy, and healthy! It´s so fun to get your emails and especially the blog posts Linds!

Oh and first off: Feliz Aniversario Kelsey! I hope you have a great birthday this week and that you do something special!
Mom: That´s so cool that they started reading the letters in YW. haha, it´s good to hear that you always knew that I was cool haha ;)
That sounds really cool to have the chance to eat dinner with the Mission President, his wife, and the other stake presidents. I can´t imagine 250 missionaries, I think we only have a 100 something but we´re going to keep receiving more!
Aah, tell Sister Sweeny that I say hi too and I hope she´s doing well!

So, for a lot of reasons, our baptisms fell through this week. Lucas didn´t progress at all and he lied to us and a bunch of other stuff. Also, Solange and her daughter Ingrid that we found while we were going to church last week weren´t baptized also. So we talked about the Law of Chastity on Tuesday and there wasn´t a problem and then on Thursday she decided to tell us that she actually has a guy in Rio de Janeiro that she´s had a thing with for a long time and they´re husband and wife, practically, but not married. But he´s going to visit in two weeks and we´re going to see if we can help him be baptized too.
That´s really cool about Sandra and doing the family history work for your side of the family. I´m sure this will really open up conversations about the church with her.
I don´t know what the deal was with the package but I´m sure everything will be just fine. Also, Heather Kern said that she sent a package about a month ago so maybe it was the package that she sent. I don´t know.
Yah, I can´t believe Christmas is just around the corner and its 90 degrees haha. Oh and thanks for sending the new package, you´re the best! So, we asked yesterday where to buy a mosquito net so you don´t have to worry about buying one and they´re really cheap here. One thing that I was thinking of for christmas is that I would love an English copy of the Ensign from the Oct conference. Also, probably just more candy (Reese´s cups, the peel type twizzlers, umm really any type of candy haha) we really love that, oh and PRETZELS! haha, i really miss pretzels for some reason with nutella :) But really anything is great! thank you thank you thank you!
So, I don´t really know where I would get my hair colored and really the sun is doing that just fine. haha, my hair is a little bit lighter because of the sun and I should probably get my hair cut soon but I don´t think it would be that expensive. But I´m not too worried about, I usually wear it in a ponytail everyday anyways.
Dad: That sounds like a really cool meeting with the other mission presidents especially in the visitors center. And you´re not the new guy anymore, parabéns! Congratulations! haha :)
That´s cool that you go to talk to a guy who served in Rio. There are a lot of people here that were born in Rio or lived there, kind of interesting.
Bryan and Lindsey: LOVED the blog posts and all the pictures, wow Norah and Alice are growing up so fast! So cool to see pictures of them! And the rice cooker and the planets, HILARIOUS! haha, Oh Norah, little Norah!
haha, well intersting news of the day, we don´t have water in our house. There was a huge thunder and lightning storm last night (water all over the ground in our kitchen) and I didn´t understand exactly why but basically everyone here doesn´t have water because of the way the energy works. I don´t know exactly but last night we took a shower with buckets with the water that was coming out of the sink but this morning we woke up and we don´t have water in the sinks either.haha, soo it´s little bit like girls camp...hahah but the water should return sometime today...we hope :)
This week was pretty hard, it seemed like almost no one wanted to talk to us and the contacts that we did make, the addresses were wrong or we got to the house for the first visit and they didn´t want to hear anything more, I don´t know, it was pretty hard, and the same thing happened for Sister Johnson and Sister Shirts. But something that a lot of people said this week that I really liked was, lift up your head, and just keep going.
A lot of times in life, we have trials or difficulties, but we just have to keep going, work hard, and have faith!
I love you all and I hope that you all have a great week! Share the Gospel with everyone!
I love you the MOSTIEST!
Lots of love and prayers!
Sister Hicks

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Getting Pretty Warm Here! October 28, 2013

Bom Dia Mãe, Pãe, Família, e Amigos,
So as the subject of this email refers to, it´s getting pretty warm here in Queimadas. The main thing is that the sun is just so strong but it´s funny because now I´m just so used to sweating it doesn´t even bother me. I just remember that I´m going to be hot no matter what and I´m going to sweat no matter what so it doesn´t really make a difference either way haha! But I´m definitely using sun screen everyday! Because of my chacos, I have some wicked tan lines on my feet! haha, I´ll take a picture and send it to you guys soon! I just mailed a whole bunch of pictures on Friday so you guys should get them fairly soon.
Oh about the other package, so the secretaries from the mission office called and said the other package is stuck in the post office because of customs or something but basically I have to pay 60 us dollars to get it out or they can send it back to you guys. I just chose to pay the 60 dollars and then I´ll get it. They said there was something in there that had more worth. I don´t know what but I should get it next week when the Zone leaders go to João Pessoa.  I can´t think of anything else that I need right now! You´re the best Mom!
LOVED the picture of Greg! So cute and so LL Bean model haha! And also the tree in front of the house! Wow, so cool!
Nossa! (Nossa is short for Nossa Senhora Maria something, basically people say Nossa when something is surprising or crazy) So, "nossa!" the dinner party that you had! I can´t believe all the things that went wrong! But I´m glad to hear that it turned out well in the end!

hahah, FINALLY your prayers were answered with regards to the heat in the RS room. haha, that´s funny that everyone was blaming you.
So, it really is such a blessing that almost everyone is willing to talk to us. I know that in bigger cities in our mission, the missionaries have a harder time and I can´t even imagine in the States or in Europe. We really are blessed.
And don´t worry, I´m definitely keeping a journal, haven´t missed a day yet!
Thanks for the scripture from 2 Chronicles and the short quote, The Lord wants you to succeed. So true!

That´s so cool that you got to talk to so many Brazilians when you were in NYC! You´re exactly right, in Portuguese and especially where I am you kind of draw out the words and what you described is exactly what it´s like here.

I´m glad to hear that you finally returned to our ward and I hope the ward is helping to reactivate you ;)
 It really is so true that Heavenly Father will true help us to improve and our weaknesses can become strengths. I remember when Sister Johnson and I arrived together in Queimadas it was really hard. Especially for Sister Johnson because she served in the Rochester Mission for 3 months while she was waiting for her visa. I remember that one day during personal study I was reading in Ether 12 and we were talking about how it´s hard for us but how much harder it was for Joseph Smith. She gave me a leaf from the Sacred Grove that she had picked while she was there. I still have it and I always am reminded of Joseph Smith when I read those scriptures.
I always liked what you said "Be safe, be smart, and work hard." It really is true that we just need to get to work. :)
Taylor: It really is true that here in Brasil there are a lot of religions. Just in Queimadas there are a lot of churches. The Catholic church is definitely the main church, it´s right in the center of town but there are a lot of other churches as well.
Oh and we have 1 hour to email :)
That´s really cool about how important the temple is with regards to retention rates in the church. It really is true that the temple makes all the difference!
Also, things are GREAT with my companion! I love Sister Stolk! I think the best quality about her is that she loves to laugh! She really has such a gift for finding the funny moments and just taking time to laugh! haha :)
And I really am glad that I´m staying here in Queimadas! It´s so great! I tell everyone that I don´t want to leave!

So Lucas wasn´t baptized this week. He needs to work on not lying and we just didn´t feel like he was ready but yesterday during Church he was crying because he wanted to be baptized. We talked to him and explained why he couldn´t and that he need to make some changes this week but that he could the following week so it should be a great week!
Also, it really is true that the Atonement is so powerful and my testimony is growing so much. I truly want to share the message of the Atonement (Expiacão) with everyone!
haha, how cute, Norah and her question about the planets, haha good idea to defer to Bryan, I´d do the same thing :)
So this week was pretty great! We had a lot of great lessons and it is so amazing how willing people are to listen. It really is so true that we are so lucky to be serving in an area, mission, and country that is so warm and welcoming. Also, the people are so willing to help. I am always amazed by how warm and friendly everyone is.
Yesterday was a little hard. Yesterday morning before church as we were going around and getting all of our investigators to go to church a young woman that we´re teaching Mika, she said that she didn´t feel like going to church. It was really sad because we had the coolest lesson with her on Saturday. I finished reciting the first vision and she had goosebumps on her arms. She asked what it was and we told her that it was the Spirit. It was SUCH a spiritual lesson. And then it was so heartbreaking that the next day she didn´t feel like going to church. Big bummer...
But another blessing happened just a few minutes later, there was a little girl (9 years old) and she was standing in the street. We were so frustrated because no one was saying that they would go to church, but we asked her if she wanted to and she said yes. Then we went and talked to her mom and the mom said she didn´t want to but then just a few seconds later she decided to go and she loved Church! And the coolest part is that her younger sister was already baptized about 2 years ago. The mom (Solanja) and her daughter (Ingridi) are so great. Solanja said that the elders that taught her sister Angelica barely spoke Portuguese but Angelica decided to be baptized. And Solanja and Ingridi accepted to be baptized this Sunday. Solanja is feeling a little confused because she was already baptized in the Catholic church but she said that if she really feels like she should she´ll be baptized :)
Well, I have to go but thank you so much for the emails and the support and the prayers! I really do appreciate and I am strengthened by your prayers!

Thank you for everything and know that I love and miss you all the MOSTIEST!
Lots of love, hugs, and kisses!

Sister Hicks
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ola' from Queimedas October 23, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, dear family, and friends!

So I´m happy to report that I´m still in Queimadas! Woohoo! I really didn´t want to leave so I have at least 6 more weeks here! The only thing that happened is that Sister Fernandes left and she´s training a new sister in a different area. So now Sister Johnson is finishing training Sister Shirts and I´m still training Sister Stolk. It´s a little crazy though because it´s just us 4 Americans in our house! haha, but it´s a lot of funny! We rarely speak in English which is good and we have so much fun together!
Mom: First off, I got your package!!!! Thank you so much! I was so excited when I got it and thank you so much for the candy, baking mixes (great idea) and the Purrell!!!!! :) haha, so much better than the hand sanitizer they have here! thank you thank you thank you!
That it so funny about the Gold Cup. I definitely remember when we went. I can only imagine how much Greg liked it. And, oh my goodness, I can´t believe that the number 2 horse actually won! hahah, that is hilarious.
I´m glad to hear that you liked the letters and picures I sent. haha, I didn´t think about Greg and the thumbs up but I can definitely imagine him doing the thumbs up with us in the pictures haha
Dad: Thanks for the talks that you sent! I can´t wait to read them today! I was so excited when I got them and it totally made my day! I love reading anything I can get my hands on, and especially your talks! :)
Thanks for the advice about seeing the good. Sister Stolk and I were just talking a few days ago about how important it is to laugh at the funny and ridiculous things that happen.
I still feel so blessed that I got my visa when I did. It truly was a blessing from Heavenly Father.

I really like what you wrote about charity. Moroni 7 really is such a great chapter!
I haven´t done that activity in Chap 6 yet. I´m going to do it this week. I agree that it´s a really good way to see your progress and development.
It is definitely getting hotter here! Really hot, in November, December, and January it´s going to get up into the 100s. Also, the real reason it´s so hot is because the sun is so strong here!
I like all the names that you wrote, maybe not Bristol but all the other ones I like (haha not like it´s my choice :)
So this week waqs really great, we had another baptism! Woohoo! His name is José and he´s 13 years old. We ran into him as we were walking to church two weeks ago and he ended up coming with us. Then we talked about baptism with him and agreed to be baptized. But throughout the week he was kind of indecisive about baptism and on Friday he said that he didn´t want to. But Saturday morning, in Campina, the youth had a huge activity and the LZs (Zone leaders) were there and were doing baptism interviews so they just ended up doing the interview and the elders talked to him and he changed his mind! haha, it was a real surprise but really cool!
So, I don´t know if I already wrote about this but the branch missionaries in our branch are AMAZING! There all youth and they are so excited about working with us. There are four young men and 2 young woman. The young woman were just barely called but the young men are amazing. It´s Renato (our baptism), Luiz, Thalisson, and Julio. Yesterday they made name tags that say "Missionarios do Ramo" Branch missionaries, and they look like ours. It was so cool to see them and they definitely looked like Elders, I´ll send a pic. They´re so cool!
Also, Sister Stolk and I are trying to do what the APs do during contacts in the street. So, we just talk to them and we don´t "invite" them to church we just say, So, you´ll come to church with us this Sunday! haha it really works because you can really tell who will actually go and who won´t. Also, then we tell them that we´re going to have a baptismal service the following week and we ask them if they´ll be baptized. We only ask for the address if they accept baptism! It´s so cool because there are so many people here that are so willing and accepting. Of course we talk to a ton of people but there really are the elect of our Heavenly Father here that are just waiting to be asked. It´s so cool!
Also, Lucas, one of our investigators (young man) that´s going to be baptized this Sunday, his mom was talking to us and she said that she was talking to one of her friends. This friend said that earlier in the day she talked to two American young girls and that she barely understood anything of what they said. hahah, it was soooo funny because we knew it was us. haha, we definitely find things to laugh about. :)
Also, we tried this juice this week made from the fruit of graviola. It is soooo good! You should look it up in the internet!
Also, we had a really funny visit with an inactive lady Gracileite, and her mom whose not a member. Her mom was a little crazy and she said that she didn´t like the church when she went because she just needs to pray and God always gives her everything she needs, this is her religion, but it was just so funny how she was so adamant and the way she was talking, Sister Stolk almost lost it laughing and me too! haha, I barely held myself together, ahahaha
Well, I love you all so much and the field is soooo white and already to harvest here in Queimadas! I´m going to send more photos today! Woohoo!

Thank you so much for your love and support! I love you the MOSTIEST!

With  much love, hugs, and kisses,
Sister Hicks

Monday, October 14, 2013

Greetings from Queimadas October 14, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
Thank you so much for your continual love and support, you guys are the best! I really do appreciate and look forward to reading your emails!
Dad: Wow, you´re still just as busy as always! Wow! Paris, ward conferences, NYC soon! That would be so cool Mom if you could spend a few days in the Big Apple too :)

I really loved Elder Holland´s talk too! It was so inspirational and moving. I thought he did such a great job with such a delicate subject. I really loved the talk he gave. It was so personal and inspiring.
That is sooo cool about the service mission video that the Church is making and how cool that they interviewed you! What?! haha, I don´t know if I´ll get a chance to see it but you´ll have to keep me updated!
That´s cool that BYU was winning haha, I hope they won in the end. :)
That´s still so cool that you guys are such good friends with Elder Porter and his wife. I always tell people about Elder Carlson too and how his calling was to watch Greg so that you guys could enjoy church!
I´m glad that Sister Smith enjoyed the dress and that the activity went well. How cute of Mikelle to say that :)

Wow, that´s so funny, I didn´t even realize I wrote pesquisador (investigator). I really I´m thinking a lot in Portuguese so I guess that is a good sign and it´s getting a little bit harder to write in English, not hard, but I have to think a little more than usual.

Wow, Greg is so awesome, what a dude, haha. And that´s so funny about the flu shot too :)
I´m glad to hear Em´s doing well and that the water on the bathroom sink isn´t a problem anymore haha :)
You should really go to NYC, you deserve a break! :)
Oh and transfers are next week so I´ll write on Wednesday, just so you know :)

Lindsey: It´s spring now but it´s definitely getting hotter. It is weird to think that it´s October and it´s so hot but it will get even hotter (100s) in December and January.

Thanks for giving me so much praise for killing the roaches haha, yah you could say there are quite a few here ;)
So we still help a lot with the recent converts but the Branch missionaries and the members help a lot too which is great.
Bryan: I loved the blog post and it looked like you guys had a lot of fun at the State Fair. I hope things start to improve with Alice...haha :)
I felt the same way about conference too. It really seemed to be focused on exactly what I needed to hear. haha, that´s so cute about your sunbeams, it really is true that we need to remember to love ALL of God´s creatures :)
We really don´t look like each other (Sister Stolk and I) I think it´s just that we´re white and have an American accent haha
I´m glad to hear that Kimball and Blackbear are doing well even though Kimball´s really busy.

I don´t have any ideas right now but I´ll start thinking haha :) I hope you keep staying healthy!

So this week was really great! To answer your questions Mom:
What is something interesting or unexpected about the culture there?  So, one thing that is interesting is that people always say "If God wants it," like when we invite them to go to church, a lot of people answer, "If God wants, I will." I always respond, "Of course He wants you too, it´s one of His commandments to go to church." haha

What new thing have you learned about yourself ?  I really have learned a lot about myself. I´ve learned that I need to have more patience and put my trust in Heavenly Father. I was worried on Saturday night that our investigators wouldn´t go to church for a lot of reasons, but Sister Fernandes and Sister Johnson reminded me that we did our part and He´ll do His part.
About the gospel? I´ve really learned the importance of baptism. I always knew that it´s important but it really is essential for salvation. I´m still learning more and more each day.
 What are the things that really connect with the people you teach? I think knowing that Heavenly Father really has a plan for each and every one of us and that we really have two purposes for living here on earth: To be happy and to prepare to return to live with Heavenly Father.

I love to hear about day to day things - doing laundry, shopping, cooking, things you guys joke about: Wow, we really joke around a lot. Sister Fernandes always jokes about the "pains" of living with 4 American sisters, haha, she´s hilarious. Umm, I really love how we have a little place to buy fresh bread every day, I love the bread here!
So, yesterday Camila was baptized. She is 18 years old and she´s been investigating the church for a while. We didn´t really teach her that much. She´s really good friends with the branch president´s wife and another young woman but she finally decided that she was ready. It was such a great baptism and her whole family came too. They´re not members so we´re going to start working with them too! It was so great to have so many visitors at the baptism!

Well, I promise to write more but I never seem to have enough time! Thank you for all your love and support! I love you the mostiest!

Sister Hicks

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lots of Love Coming Your Way September 30, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, dear family, and friends,
How are you all? I am doing just great! This week went a lot better and I´m starting to notice that the weeks are going by a lot faster.
Mom: We actually didn´t get to see the RS conference but I´m glad to hear that it went so well!

That´s so cool about Becca and her call! Wow, SLC! She´ll be great!
Thanks for your advice about the stress, I really do need to remember that it truly is a marathon and not a sprint.

That´s really cool about the RS lesson that that lady gave. I´m not surprised that she said that you always say hi to her.

I love that you emailed me to tell me about the sweater that you wore! Haha, I still can´t believe that I picked that out when I was three.
Dad: That´s cool about Brother Thomas being bishop! I definitely remember him! So cool!
Thank you so much for all the scriptures you sent me about faith. I really love studying faith too! I´m going to study the scriptures you sent me. I´m so glad to hear that Paris went so well and that´s so funny that they put you in such a big room. I really did love that trip we took to Paris :)

Taylor: I´m so glad to hear that things are going so well with the subbing oportunities and thanks for the advice about the stress. The other sisters have told me that too, that I just need to take it up with Heavenly Father. Thank you for your advice.

Bryan: Congrats on scout master! Thanks also for the advice about the stress. I will definitely remember that!
I think Sister Stolk and I have a pretty good relationship and I´ll remember that about the relationship first and then language.

I do definitely look forward to P-days still. But this week was the first week that I felt went by way faster than normal!
Kelsey: I´ll definitely try to write more to you guys this week :) I hope you´re feeling well!

So this week went really well!
Oh first questions from Mom:

Tell me where you go to send the emails? We go to an internet cafe place. What is your shopping like? Pretty normal, the shops are smaller here but they have normal sized grocery foods. What foods do you crave that you can't get there? Umm, really the only thing is peanut butter but we can buy that in Campina Grande.

How is the language coming and what is Sis. Stolk like? The language is coming along really well and Sister Stolk is great. She is really motivated and is such a great support.  Can you describe a typical day? So we have personal study for an hour, comp study an hour, training for an hour, language study for an hour, lunch, then we work from 2-9. We usually make contacts and just go to our investigators. I´ll explain more next week because I don´t have much time today! Aah!  How much walking do you do?  We do a LOT of walking and I actually brought a pedometer but I dont wear it. Maybe I should start wearing it! Want a pedometer?  I actually got over 10,000 steps three days in a row!  I've been taking walks again - yay! Congrats Mom! You´re the best!
So this week we had a really cool lesson with Luana. She was a contact that we made and during the contact she accepted to go to church and to be baptized in two weeks.
We went to her house and we were just getting to know her a little bit. She has three sons that are 5, 3, and 1. I thought she said that another son died but I wasn´t sure if that was really what she said. But then a little bit later in the lesson she said it again. So then we talked about the plan of salvation and the Spirit was so strong. Even though I never met her son I definitely felt his presence and she cried, I cried, and Sister Stolk cried. It was one of the coolest experiences ever! She didn´t go to church this week because she had to go to the hospital all of Sunday morning because she wasn´t feeling well but she still wants to get baptized in two weeks! It really was one of the most powerful lessons I´ve ever taught!

Well I don´t have much time and I really will try to write more next week! Please know that I´m doing great and loving this work! I love you the mostiest and miss you all!
Love you lots!
Sister Hicks

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We Had A Baptism! - September 23, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and dear friends,
Hey everyone, thank you soooo much for your emails this week! I really love getting them and they make my week so much better!
Dad: I´m so glad that you guys finally got the letters and pictures this week. My Portuguese is definitely improving a lot because I have to speak more, I have definitely noticed that this week. I can´t really relax as much during the lessons because I have to be really paying attention to what they´re saying and I have to help Sister Stolk out too.
Our branch is pretty small so we don´t have a ton of sisters but they are great. We are trying to work with them in order to have more lunches with them but I think things will improve soon. The branch missionaries and branch missionary leader will take care of us and help us out a lot.
That is so exciting about our stake being number 2 in the mission for baptisms! Wow Dad, that is really exciting! And that´s exciting that there´s  going to be a new bishop in the Algonkian ward.
I loved the pics of Mom from the Wolf Trap ball! Gorgeous dress Mom! I´m glad you guys had fun and be safe in Paris and Munich this week!

I really liked what you said about how every good thing that has happened in your life can be traced to the Gospel. I really believe that too.
Mom: Wow, that electric machine thing sounds intense. I´m sure it´s helping and good for you that you´re able to go to Pump, are all the usual people still going?

That´s cool that they´re doing a modest ball gown shoot in the ward! I´m glad that my dress is being put to good use!
Bummer about BYU losing but hopefully they´ll get better soon...
Are you guys really going to General Conf?! That´s so cool! I am so excited for conf, I don´t know exactly how we´re going to watch it but I´m sure excited!
That´s so exciting about Greg and Special Olympics, I´m glad that he enjoyed the letter :) What is bocce ball?
That is so sweet that you sent packages to Emma, Hannah, Julia and the other stateside missionaries, I know that they really appreciated that. I was thinking a little this week about some things that maybe you could send me. If you get a chance could you send, Reese´s peanut butter cups (minis), some more of that bug lotion that we bought at the infectious disease place (maybe 3 tubes), some Costco trail mix individual bags, some more post-it flags, Starbursts and purrell (the Purrell here smells horrible, and you thought the other hand santizer smelled bad, haha) If you  could send some of this stuff, that would be great, you´re the best Mom! Thank you thank you thank you!
Lindsey: Sorry I didn´t get your first email in time to respond last week. I can´t believe it´s "cooling off" when it´s still in the mid-90s, wow! I´m glad to hear that Norah and Alice are playing more and that´s so funny about Norah changing Alice´s diapers! haha, good for her! That is sooo funny about Norah going to the bathroom on the side of the road and saying that she was so happy that she didn´t have to flush! hahaha! That also seems like a good idea to not let them watch TV too, I´m sure it´s tough but good for you!
I really love my companion and it´s funny that we have a few mutual friends too! She is really working so hard and she is so dedicated! We don´t really have any inside jokes yet but I really do love her and I´m so grateful for her hard-working attitude!
Bryan: The training is going pretty well. I can´t believe the crazy training experience you had! Wow! I am definitely feeling a lot more stressed. Almost every morning I wake up around 5:45/6ish and I just lay in bed worrying about all the stuff we have to do. I think I need to relax a little bit more because I´m feeling really stressed. But I know that everyone is probably feeling stressed, including you all! The meals are really normal actually. We really just eat rice, beans, noodles, chicken. We had a really good meal with Irmã Fatima this week and we had this interesting baked squash but it was really good. I definitely feel like my Portuguese is improving which is a good things but we definitely have moments where we can´t understand our investigators but thankfully we are able to go out with members a lot too. I don´t know if I´ve already written about them but the branch missionaries are all between 16 to 19 years old and they are soooo amazing! I´ve never met such great youth that are working so hard!

So this week Rinato was baptized. It´s kind of an interesting story with him. He was an investigator that Sister Marschall and I worked a lot with but he already had 2 baptismal interviews and he just didn´t feel ready but the branch missionaries worked a lot with him and he finally came to the conclusion that he was going to be baptized, it was really great! And the best part is that Luis, another young man in the branch, baptized him. And when I arrived Luis was inactive but the branch missionaries and us worked a lot with him and now he has the Aaronic priesthood and he baptized Rinato (they´re best friends). I will send pictures soon! Sorry that it takes so long to get them but it´s just so hard to email them and takes so much time!
Our other baptism João Assis fell through this week. He was all ready but when he had the interview he said that his wife doesn´t want him to get baptized. He said last week that he prayed and he got an answer that he should be baptized but now we just need to work with his wife in order to help him.
Like I said in the part to Bryan, I´m feeling a little stressed but I´m sure this is probably normal. I just feel a lot of responsiblity and the Zone Leaders and the District Leader call every night to hear about your progress and how many baptisms you´re going to have. I know that this stress is normal but I just feel like I have a lot to do! But I know that we´re all stressed and my stress is nowhere near all of your guys´ stress. But any advice?
Yesterday we had Branch Conference and it went so well! It was great to have the Stake leadership there and I was truly edified by the Spirit. I am truly grateful for the Spirit and the answers that we receive from the Spirit, especially at church.

Well, I love you all and I truly am so thankful for your love and support! You don´t know how much it means to me! You are always in my thoughts and prayers! I love you the mostiest!!!
Love, with lots of hugs and kisses,
Sister Hicks

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ola' September 16, 2013

Olá Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
I just want to start off by thanking each and every one of you for your lovely emails. They are such a boost for me and I truly appreciate them. I´m sorry if I don´t respond that much but I really do love your emails!

I got another card that you sent me too! Thanks so much! You´re the best! Also, the Zone leaders brought the package from João Pessoa. It was in perfect shape! And me and the other sisters have DEFINITELY been enjoying the treats! Thank you sooooo much! I can´t think of too many things at the moment that I need but I´ll think some more this week, maybe some Reese´s peanut butter cups :) some more post-it note flags (I use a lot of them to mark scriptures). I´m good on jewelry, for now, but I´m definitely open for a little surprise :) haha but thanks so much mom, I´ll get back to you for sure, you´re the best!
That´s so interestin, I still remember that book sale when you came and told me. I can´t even imagine what it would have been like to be a missionary when that happened.
It´s really great to have an American sister but I´m really trying to only speak in Portuguese but it´s definitely hard with 4 americans, and 1 brazilian in our house.
That´s so exciting for Cailey and Heather, yay!
I can´t believe the ward mission leader is doing Nate´s laundry! haha!
I think the pics that I sent should get to you maybe in 2 weeks but the one thing about Queimadas is that there are huge boulders everywhere, very cool!
That´s so exciting about becca and Anne! How cool! Keep me updated!
Dad: I can´t even imagine how busy you are! We have branch conf this Sunday and we´re working really hard to get a lot of people there!
That´s so cool about the temple video and about Bishop lewis´ son, armor of God is real.
Our teaching pool is pretty big but we need some more progressing investigators. But one miracle that happened this week is that Rinato, an investigator that we´ve had for a while is going to be baptized! yah!
Bryan: There are definititely times where Sister Stolk and I don´t understand but it´s all good, haha! We just keep on working and that would be great if Norah could add me in to her prayers haha :)
Kimball: I´m so glad that work is going well even though it´s busy, and that´s so cool about missionary month! I´m so glad that you still like the binder that I kept of your letters :) We normally do a lot of contacts and I enjoy that even though it´s hard!
Taylor: I´m so glad to hear that things are going well and that´s cool about subbing, hopefully the next opportunity you´ll be able to! One expression that a lot of people use is "com força" like with force, so if you want to say something like "a lot" like it was difficult "with strength"
Kelsey: I´m so glad to hear that things are going well and it´s so true that the Lord definitely knows the needsof each and every mission and missionary!
I´m so sorry, my time is about to run about but things are going great even though there are challenes every day too! I love this work and I love and pray for you each and every day!
I love you the mostiest!

Love, with lots of hugs and kisses,
Sister Hicks

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I GOT THE PACKAGE!!! Sept. 11, 2013

Hey Mom, Dad, family, and friends,
First off...the big news: I got the package! Mom, you have no idea how excited I was to get the package! Sister Marschall and I got a call from our Zone Leader (LZ) while we were out working and I was literally jumping up and down in the middle of the street!Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you the mostiest Mom! And it got there so fast and no problem with customs!
And now for the other huge news... I am already training. Yep, I found out on Monday night that I had to pack an overnight bag because I was going to João Pessoa and was going to get "minha filha" my daughter. I am so overwhelmed and the craziest part...she´s American too. I don´t really feel like I have a handle on the language and now I have to train an American that also doesn´t know. Her name is Sister Stolk and she´s so cute. Do you remember me saying that in my BoM class at BYU there was a girl that was going to João Pessoa but I never talked to her, yeah well it´s her. The same girl that was in my BoM class and she knows Emma and Carly that lived on the same floor as me at BYU. Such a small world. But yah, I´m training and Sister Marschall is training too in a different area. So now in our house we have Sister Fernandes, Sister Johnson, and a new sister, Sister Shirts. And they´re a trio, and me and Sister Stolk. It´s going to be pretty interesting and I will definitely need a lot of prayers. But it´s really cool, I can already tell that the Lord is blessing me because I feel like my Portuguese has gotten a lot better these last two weeks. I definitely believe in the gift of tongues. But, I am pretty nervous but I know that President Nogueira was called by God and so he receives revelation and I´m supposed to be training now, after six weeks...
Mom, I´m so glad that your knees are doing so much better! What a blessing! That´s funky too with the whole electrodes thing!
So happy that Cailey got her visa. We got 7 American sisters this transfer and they all came from Sao Paulo which is cool. My companion was in Provo for a week then got her visa to the Sao Paulo CTM.
Those standard nights quotes were pretty funny, haha :)  That´s so cool that it was mission themed and the map of all of us. haha, good for you for following the rules :) That´s so cool. And it´s so true that it´s all of us from the 4th year hike. I hope Sister Francis gets her visa soon!
So, I think it would be easier if I bought a mosquito net here but thanks for offering to send it with Cailey. I´m going to do some asking around but for now we just use bug spray and it works really well.

That´s so cool that you guys might go to conference. I was just thinking a few days ago about how conference is coming up.

I´m glad to hear that Peter is in good hands. I´m sure that Kimball will take good care of him. :)
Sounds like Dad is sure busy, just know Dad that I pray every day for you that you will have the strength and energy to get all the many things done that you need to. :)
Sundays are a little bit crazy in the mornings. We go and get the people that we really want to go to church and we definitely work up a sweat going around but it´s all good. Then after that we have church which is great, lunch, work for a few hours, have correlation meeting and then work some more. We´re really working hard to get our branch to grow into a ward.
So exciting about Sister Tedesci´s husband! And FOMO in the dictionary :)
It´s weird to think that today is 9/11. I am proudly wearing my red, white, and blue. So strange to think that it was 12 years ago. Sister Johnson is wearing red, white, and blue also. Her dad is in the military.

What was a meal that you cooked this week? Umm, this week we didn´t have any lunches which was hard so we cook chicken, saute meat, beans, rice, eggs, stuff like that.  Any strange foods at members houses? I actually haven´t eaten anything stranget yet. Just noodles, rice, beans, the usual. What is the most unusual thing you have seen on the street? This isn´t unusual but there are dogs everywhere! Just like in Mexico, just lots of stray dogs. I can´t think of anything particularly unusual. Umm, people riding horses and carts pulled by donkeys is pretty normal to see. 
Also, what a cute note from Heather! Wow, I had no idea those pointe shoes were so special!

Dad: I am sure the ward conferences are going great and I´m glad to hear that Standards night went well too! I love you and am always thinking of you!

Lindsey: How exciting for Norah! I´m sure she´ll be great! Keep me updated and I hope that that dad comes back to church too! Actually, you´ll be glad to hear that President Nogueira changed the rule and now we just need 10 new investigators. The only rule about men is we just have to have at least 1 man baptized per month.I have really seen a change for the better because now we feel like we can really talk to everyone!
So our investigators are progressing really well. Zefina, Paulo´s sister in-law, came to church this week and I really think she could get baptized this week. She already heard all the lessons with Paulo but I feel like now she might be more inclined to get baptized. Also, during church, she cried when we sang I Stand all Amazed.
Well, I don´t have much time but just know that I love you all and I pray for you each and every day. Please pray for me. Being a trainer is such a sacred responsiblity because you really affect generations of missionaries. I hope that I will be a good influence for her and that after me she´ll be an even better trainer than I was.
Lots of love,
I love you the mostiest,
Sister Hicks

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 2, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends:
Thank you so much for the emails. They really mean the world to me! I am so thankful for the support that you all have for me.
Mom: That is so sad to hear about Brother Morgan. I had to read it again because I thought I had read it wrong. That is so so sad. That is cool about Jake cutting his hair and how many people were there. He was such an incredible Priesthood holder. He is sorely missed. Give my condolances to Sister Morgan if you get the chance.
Also, I am so sorry to hear that your other knee is acting up. Oh my goodness, what a roller coaster this summer has been. I can´t believe what a trooper you have been. Mom you are my ultimate example. I don´t know how you do all that you do. I continually pray for your recovery and I´m glad that they were able to drain it. Please, keep asking for help and don´t try to do everything.
I´m so glad that Amanda enjoyed the concert. That´s so funny that she brought a picture of us. I´m sure it was pretty crazy. And that´s so sweet that you finished the t-shirt quilt. I´m sure she LOVED it! Aah, so cool! That´s also funny about the YouTube video with the cheerleaders and soldiers.
Bummer about the BYU-UVA game but it was definitely for the best that you didn´t go. I´m bummed my Cougars didn´t win but that was a crazy game with the delays and everything. That´s cool that the whole ward practically went!
I´m glad that you got the post card and the letter from mission pres. The mail actually doesn´t take too long to get here but it takes a while to get to you guys. Regarding pics, it is a lot easier for me to just mail printed pics to you all because it takes forever through email. So I´m going to send a lot today through the mail. I´ll try to be better about emailing pictures but it takes forever!
Oh also before I forget, I won´t write next Monday because next week is transfer week so we write Wednesday (maybe Thursday) so don´t worry! And email Monday is my favorite day too!
I´m glad to hear that you guys were able to get Stephen moved and I hope things improve with that situation.
Interesting about seminary, that should be interesting to see how that turns out.
I saw Bro. Bruton´s email and that´s funny that I made it in there, haha!
Dad: I´m glad your trip to UT went well but I´m sorry it got cut short for such a sad event. I am sure that everyone was glad to have you there and Mom said you did a great job. My heart goes out to the Morgan family. I really liked how you wrote about the process of the Lord. We have to ask in faith, then seek and ponder for the answer. I have been learning about that a lot this week. Thank you for that help and I´m going to study that this week. Also, I just wanted to let you know that I am doing what you suggested. I write 10 things that I liked about the day in my journal, 1 thing that is different and 1 thing that was funny. This has really helped me to focus on the positive and the things that went well.
Lindsey: I loved looking at the pictures from blog post. I figured out a way to see them. They were so great! Norah and Alice are getting so big!!! Thank you so much for emailing me those pics!

In regard to your questions: We do have to drop a lot of investigators or just visit them less. The mission is really focused on only teaching people that are basically 100% certain for baptism. We definitely have to discern which ones are serious. In the contact on the street we commit them to be baptized so we can see if they´re serious or not through that. Sorry 8 have to men not mn. We normally find most of our investigators through contacts on the street. The members aren´t super great about referrals. Eduardo is doing pretty well. He didn´t go to Church on Sunday which was a bummer but we had a young man named Vinicios whose aunt is an inactive come to church and his cousin Elen come too. We´re hoping they´ll be baptized next week.
We have a small washing machine in our appt and then we use a clothesline to dry them.The ward building is in kind of a strip mall because it´s just a branch. They just opened the first floor as the chapel which is great and then the second and third floor are just classrooms. It definitely doesn´t look like your average chapel.
Congratulations to Ashley and Matt! That´s so exciting! Please tell them that I am so happy for them!
haha, that´s so funny about Norah and her boyfriends.Oh Norah, love that girl!
Bryan: haha I might go back to TV time instead of dishes post-mish but for now I´ll stick to dishes:) That´s great that you guys are hanging out with so many non-members :) Also, thanks for the advice that things get better and the time goes by faster. I can already tell this in my mission and I´m sure it will go even faster.
Kelsey: Aah, I am so excited for you, I pray for your health everyday.That´s also super funny about eating in the corner of the hallway at church. Hahah, I hope that your morning sickness goes away soon. You guys are going to be crazy AWESOME parents! I am so excited for you all! And, I promise I will buy a mosquito net soon :)
So to answer some questions from Mom and others:
  Did you have any investigators come to church on Sunday? So we had Vincios (16 years old) and Elen (14 years old) They are really great. I hope that they´ll continue to progress. We also had Rinato that we´ve been working with but he just needs more time.His sister Lorrane didn´t come. :( Who have you been working with this week? This week we´ve been working with a ton of people! We always have appointments which is good but sometimes the hardest thing is finding the houses because the address is wrong or doesn´t exist.
  What is the craziest experience of the week? Craziest experience was during personal study we heard this high pitched noise and we couldn´t figure out what it was. Then Sis Marschall said that it was pig and Sis Johnson and I looked out and saw a pig being stuffed into a bag (the pig had just been killed and bought) craziest thing I´ve ever seen. Also, we were in a house and this random pet goat just walked over and the kid was just treating him like his pet.  

Send some pictures if you can of your apt. or the church or investigators - whatever!  Tell me about your P-day schedule - how is the language coming - any weird expressions they use a lot?  What was the hardest part of your week and the best experience this week?
I´m going to send pics of my appt today. So P-day we have our  normal study until 11. 11 we write you guys.Then we have until 6 to get groceries, print photos, go to the post office, write letters, etc. Sometimes we go to Campina Grande, city where the rest of our zone is (about 30 minutes by bus) and we do stuff with them. But not very often. Then 6-9 is back to wor.
This week the hardest part was realizing the power of Satan. I knew that Satan is real but especially yesterday he was working really hard on me. I got really down on myself and felt like I wasn´t a good missionary. I talked to Sis Johnson, Fernandes, and Marschall and they helped me a lot. Sis Marschall said that the more we can feel the Spirit the harder Satan will try to bring us down. And also, we have to go through our own Gethsemane to feel, in part, how our Savior felt. I´m doing so much better today but I definitely have a testimony that Satan is real.
The best experience was teaching Jucileide (an investigator) the Restoration. I felt the Spirit so strongly.When Tiago (Ward Missionary leader) shared the words of the Prophet and the First Vision I felt the Spiritso strongly. It was amazing.
Well, I just want to let you know that I love you all so much. I know that this is where I am supposed to be and I am so grateful for your continual love and support. I pray for you daily and I know that you pray for me as well. Thank you so much for this! I love you all and will write next Wednesday (maybe Thursday)!
I love you the mostiest,
Sister Hicks