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