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