Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Worry :) August 26, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
First off, thank you for all your care and concern. I really am doing soooo much better now. So first off with the urine and stool samples...we weren´t able to deliver them on Friday and then we went to go on Saturday and it was closed so I ended up not turning them in because they would have been bad anyway. But, I think I´m ok now and I think they just wanted to do the samples if I kept being sick. I´m not too worried. And don´t worry...the mission president and his wife knew all about it this entire week. We had to call them everytime we got news.
I am very careful with the food and water, as you would expect, and I will stay vigilant with this. Also, I don´t have a mosquito net (I don´t know where to find them) but I will try to buy one this week. I ALWAYS use bug spray, even when I sleep and also sunscreen because the sun is super bright and super strong.
Sister Marschall and Sister Johnson are feeling a lot better now too.
So the mission conference was super cool. I got to see friends from the CTM and it was all in Portuguese. Elder Costa is really cool and he did such a great job. I felt super re-encouraged about the work and we got a lot of great advice. He really focused on working with the members.
Mom: I´m so glad to hear that you are walking more and more. That is so great. I hope that your recovery continues to go well and keep up the amazing work!
That´s interesting about Brenton. I hope he gets better soon, tell him I hope he feels better soon! And congratulations to Sarah too! That´s great!
The branch is really great. Last night we had branch counsel and we talked about how we can become a ward. The plan is to become a ward by next year. We have a lot of work to do but I think we can do it. I really like the branch!
The clothes are holding up great. It´s hard because there´s four of us and we always are doing laundry and waiting for the clothes to dry on the line but it´s great. I think I have everything I need :)
The cooking is going well too. We normally eat lunch with members and we usually work through dinner so we just pack a snack. It´s the custom here to have a big lunch and just a snack for dinner.

Tell me about any investigators you are teaching or working with, anyone we should keep in our prayers.  Are you mostly tracting, how many lessons do you teach a week ? So, we have never tracted yet. We have quite a few investigators which is great. We are working a lot with a young man named Eduardo. He is really great. He is 20 and he is so studious. He came to a lesson with a page and a half of questions ad research that he had done. He really wants to learn. Lorrane is another investigator that we have. She´s 14 and we´re really trying to teach her that she is receiving answers to her prayers. Her brother is investigating the church too but he doesn´t feel ready for baptism still. We have to teach at least 10 lessons with a member and 15 other lessons throughout the week. This is pretty easy to accomplish. And we have to have 10 new investigators, 8 of which have to be mn.
 Do you only get your mail when you go to Joao Pessoa - or will they forward it to you?  I think we only get mail when someone goes or comes from Joao Pessoa. So usually zone conference or other times when our leaders have gone to a conference in Joao Pessoa. I really do love getting letters! Thank you!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pretty Crazy Week

So, the reason why I´m just writing today...
So Sunday, Sister Johnson didn´t feel really well and I didn´t feel so great either but we just rested a little. Then on Monday we both had fevers and stayed home. Later in the day I got a lot worse and actually had a fever of 103. So...we went to the hospital. And when I write hospital, let´s just say it´s not the best hospital in the world. I was so scared to go and didn´t really want to go. You have to drive on a dirt road to get to yah. anyways, we got there and it was actually really fast. It´s a public hospital and they took me right back. They ended up taking my blood, while I was crying cause I was so nervous....Mom I really wanted you there :( Then we had to walk back to the other side and as I stood up to get onto the bed I passed out for a second. Sister Marschall said my lips were blue and I was completely white. hahah, then they put an IV in and I stayed there for about two hours. I have never missed you guys so much. I was in a dirty hospital, where evryone was speaking Portuguese, I passed out, and I just wanted you Mom. But, long story short, they thought it was dengue fever but it wasn´t. I have to send urine and stool samples in to see what it is.

So that´s that. Then tuesday, Sister Marschall was sick all day and we couldn´t use the computer. Wednesday, was actually really cool. We went to Joao Pessoa and we had a MISSION-wide conference with Elder Costa, Area Authority over Brasil. It was sooo cool. It was great to see everyone and to be with the whole mission. So then on Thursday Sister Johnson was super super sick. So we went to the hospital again and she had a stomach infection. So we couldn´t email that day. Then, Sister Fernandes cut her leg super bad shaving, I don´t know how she did it so badly. Also, yesterday we had weekly planning so we didn´t have time to write so I´m writing today!

So, it was a pretty crazy week...

But to answer some questions:
More questions - do you have cell phones?
Yes we have cellphones, but right now we only have one for the two companionships and we´re waiting to get another.  Sister Mason is concerned you don't have your own mattress yet - any news on that ?
Yes we have mattresses finally! Much better.
Are the owners of the Beauty Salon members?  The owners aren´t members but they´re really nice. And we don´t get a discount, at least I don´t think we do.
You don't have bikes do you?
No we don´t have bikes either.

What is the best part of your day?  The best part of the day is when we teach a lesson that goes really well. Sometimes I feel like it´s not going so well but when an investigator really seems to understand and is keeping committments, it´s great.
What is your favorite thing about each of your housemates?
Sister Johnson is so great. We really supported each other a lot this week when we were so sick. I love how sometimes we just have to talk in English togther to get our feelings out.
Sister Fernandes is really great, she has so much wisdom and gives the best advice.
 What is the strangest meal you've had? Gratefully we haven´t had any really weird food. It´s normally just rice, chicken, pasta, beans. Pretty normal. But the weird thing is, is that the people here, and especially the missionaries don´t eat very healthy. sister Fernandes and Sister Marschall mainly eat cookies, crackers, etc. Sister Johnson and I are the only ones that eat fruit and vegetables.  What food have you eaten for the first time? I had goiaba for the first time. It´s a fruit here, it´s not so bad but I don´t love it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Greetings fronm Queimadas!

Greetings from Queimadas! This past week went a lot better than the week before. Every week I feel more and more comfortable with the environment, culture, food, language, everything! It is a hard adjustment but it´s getting better.
I don´t have very much time to write today but I´ll try to answer some basic questions:

Tell me what a typical day is like.  How are your clothes/shoes etc. holding up.: My shoes are holding up great. I really like to wear the gray sandals and I´m starting to wear the chacos more too.
  What is your P-day schedule? P-day we have normal study til 11 and then we can shop, do laundry, write family until 6 and then we go back to work from 6-9.
 Do you exercise each day and what do you do? Sister Marschall doesn´t really exercise but I try and do abs, jump rope, and other stuff and I am going to start running with Sister Johnson.
 Do you grocery shop and it is a supermarket or outdoor market? We shop at a supermarket and get produce from a local stand.
 How is doing the laundry - do you hang clothes up outside? The laundry is pretty easy, we have a machine and then hang dry.
 How many apartments are in your building? We live above a beauty salon so it´s just our apartment.
I don´t have time to send pictures this week, it takes forever! But I promise I´ll send more next week!
Typical day:
6:30 Wake up
8: Personal study
9-11:30: Comp study and language study.
Lunch (big meal here)
Then 2-9, working.
Bed at 10:30.
I have to go for real now but I love you all and thank you for your support!

love you so much,
Sister Hicks

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

Well this week was probably one of the hardest weeks of my mission. I know I sound like a baby but there were so many times that I felt alone, frustrated, or just homesick. I know that I´m not alone but this week I really missed you all a lot. I am so grateful for your prayers. I pray for you all everyday, multiple times a day, and I need all your prayers. I´m thankful to be a missionary but it definitely is a lot of work and a lot of tears but everything is good.

To answer Mom´s questions and everyone else´s questions:

 Does queimadas mean fire or do you know what the connection would be? Quemar means to burn, I think, so maybe it has something to do with that but I don´t know. It´s not a very big town. 
   What is the area like?  Is it more rural - is there a town/city here that would be about the same size? Queimadas is pretty small. It has a small urban area but around that it´s a lot of dirt roads and small shacks/houses. I definitely have never seen anything like this before. We were walking to an appointment and we had to walk on this bumpy, muddy road and people were riding horses and stuff.Pretty different. I would say that the city is just like a small town but other than that it´s pretty rural.

My apartment: Well the first few days was pretty interesting. It used to be just the apartment of Sister Marschall and Sister Fernandes. But now there´s four of us so we got another dresser and two more beds but we only have three mattresses. So this week we put two beds together and slept horizontally, Sister Johnson, Sister Marschall and myself and Sister Fernandes slept on the other bed because she´s a little taller.I don´t know when we´ll get a mattress. Also, another thing, the toilet. You can´t put toilet paper in the toilet so we have a trash can where we have to put all the paper products. Also, our toilet doesn´t flush very well so sometimes we have to use a bucket and pour water down it. This entire week I kept saying, if only my mom could see me right now. I think the whole germ/bathroom thing has been the hardest for me. But, I´m a missionary and we have to make sacrifices. We have a area to study, a room with our dressers, our bedroom, and then the kitchen with the bathroom. It´s also gross because there´s ants all over the kitchen counter where the sink is but it´s getting a little better. What an adventure!

  How is the weather? The weather isn´t horrible. It´s probably about 80 something. It´s not too hot. But I don´t know what I will do when it´s summer because I´m already sweating now! haha, it will be interesting.
 Is there anything I can send you? I don´t really know if I need anything but I´ll get back to you. I know my companion wants those post-it note flags that you can mark books with that are small transparent flags.She likes mine and they don´t have them here. Thanks Mom, and I´ll get back to you.

So...the big news:
Sister Marschall and I had a baptism yesterday! It was really awesome! His name is Paulo and he´s such a great guy. We taught him everyday this week.I don´t know exactly how Sis Marschall and Sis Fernandes met him but I know it´s been pretty fast. He´s so great, every committment every commandment he was so willing to accept. I´ll attach a picture. 

Sister Johnson is from Olympia, Washington. She is having a hard time to, especially since she went to the Provo MTC and then 3 months in Rochester and now she´s here. I´m really thankful to have her.

Sister Marschall is from Santa Catarina which is in the south. She´s so great. She speaks a little english which is helpful.

Sister Fernandes is from Sao Paulo and she has been out for 8 months. She knows very little English so it can be hard for Sister Johnson.

The food isn´t too bad. I haven´t eaten at a member´s house yet because normally we eat out somewhere but since it´s a branch we don´t always get lunch. Here, the members serve us lunch because that´s the big meal and we don´t normally eat that much for dinner.

If only you could see me mom, for lunch on Saturday we only had rice and eggs to eat so I just heated up the rice on the stove and scrambled some eggs and there´s lunch! haha

Fast Sunday was really great.The testimonies that were borne were so powerful and exactly what I needed to hear. Our Branch president, Presidente Jorge is really great too! He gave Sister Johnson a blessing because she´s really struggling.But, I  think she´s a little better now.

Mom:That´s cool about Austin! Elder Lee in my district in the CTM went to Porto Alegre North. 

what was wrong with Brenton? I didn´t remember that he was sick...

I´ve heard about the Errand of Angels but I haven´t seen it. Also, the District is really great too!

I´m glad that Taylor and Dad are going to Spain, fun! I´ll definitely miss you guys when you´re at the beach too! I´ll be thinking of you!

Bryan and Lindsey: The circus sounds like it was a lot of fun. And I´m so proud of my lil Norah! What a good girl! Give her a big hug from me! And Alice too! How exciting! And yes, Joao Pessoa is the capital of Paraíba. It´s pretty big area but not so big now that Joao Pessoa and Natal are two different missions. 

Kimball and Kelsey: I´m so glad to hear that things are going well. I´m sure the Sisters will love coming to your house. How fun that you guys are going to the gym and dog park and going downtown! Fun! Church was definitely different, there wasn´t a teacher for the primary so we stepped in.

Other stuff I remembered:
We don´t knock, well really clap, doors...yes you clap at the door. We usually have appointments with investigators or we try and make contacts. We commit people to go to church and be baptized with every contact. It´s the mission rule. 

Well, everything is going well.Today we had a meeting with the stake president and the other missionaries in our stake. It definitely gives me hope to talk to other Americans that are out here and have learned Portuguese.It definitely is not easy to be a missionary but I´m trying my best and I know that prayer works.I definitely have a testimony of that. 

I love and miss you all so much. I will send another email with pictures!

Love you,
Sister Hicks

First Week in the Field