Friday, January 24, 2014

So EVERYTHING'S new!! January 20, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

So this week was absolutely CRAZY!! I´ll explain why...

So I arrived here on Wednesday and it was P-day so after we wrote our emails, Sister Moore bought groceries and I organized my clothes. Sister Moore was pretty sick and was coughing a lot! We just worked for 3 hours because it was p-day, 6 pm to 9 pm

Then the next day was our district meeting because it was transfer week. So our entire zone was there and then we divided up into districts. It´s so weird to be in a zone with so many elders. I know this sounds weird but my zone in Liberdade has 16 sisters and just 10 elders, so I was really used to having a ton of sisters. 

The Rangel zone just has us 4 sisters and the rest are elders. I think there´s about 16 elders. I know this is how it always used to be before the age change but it´s definitely different. So one of my zone leaders, Elder Herrera was already my LZ (lider de zona) when I was serving in Queimadas and he´s just been in this zone for one more transfer than me. He´s really great and it´s cool to be in the same zone again and the other LZ is Elder Georgianna. I don´t know him really well but he seems good too. He´s from Oregon. 

So anyway, after District Meeting, Sister Moore was still feeling pretty sick and we talked to our LZs and they told her to just stay at home (she´d already been sick for a week) So Thursday, I ended up staying in our house all day (except for one hour when I went on exchanges with another sister that lives with us, Sister Cavalcanti). Let´s just say it´s not the funnest thing to stay in the house all day studying :) But I think probably every missionary has already done this. So. Friday morning she was still sick and we ended up going to the hospital and they said that she just had the flu. But, Friday, I stayed with her in our apartment the whole day too...haha and I just went on exchanges for half an hour. 

Well, it´s Friday night about 10:20 and the AP calls and another sister wanted to talk to me. She said, "Hey Sister Hicks, so you know about the emergency transfer right?" I said, "Huh?! What emergency transfer?" 

So aparently President Nogueira talked to one companionship and said that he was going to do an emergency transfer but he forgot to call us. So I had to wake Sister Moore up to tell her that she was going to be transfered the next morning. I don´t know exactly why but I think it was so that Sister Moore will be closer to a doctor and the hospital. So Saturday morning I received a new companion, Sister Cameron (super cool, she´s from AUSTRALIA! She´s the first every Australian to serve in Brasil!) But anyways, this means that Sister Cameron and I are opening this area. So we don´t know ANYTHING about this area! haha, completely white washed! But, I´m excited for this new experience: new area, new companion, new EVERYTHING! I´ve been asking for advice from everyone! And so I´ll ask advice from you guys too. Did any of you guys ever open an area and what did you do that helped or was effective? But, we´re just talking to EVERYONE in the street and we´re getting to know the members really well. 

I really like my area, it´s definitely different than my other area but I´m trying not to compare. This week was hard because I miss Queimadas A LOT, but this is the mission field and you just have to love every area and more importantly the people. 

So, any advice is welcome and every prayer would be great too :)

So yes, that´s my crazy story of the week. 

So yes, we´re definitely way closer to the mission home but it´s still not in our zone but we just have to grab a bus to get to the mission home and the mission office. I think we´ll be going to the mission office on Friday to have interviews with the mission pres. 

I don´t know if I´ll get packages faster because we only get them when our leaders go to the mission office but I think I should get that package with the shorts soon! Thanks so much Mom! You´re the best! 

I can´t think of any Mary Kay stuff that I need, really to be honest, I´m not even using make-up anymore becuase it just sweats off. For a little while I was just using mascara but now I don´t even use any make up at all haha...oh Brasil. 

The only things I can think of would be gold fish, pretzels, Peanut Butter :), oreos, any type of sweet thing! You´re the best Mom! 

That´s so cool that you got to see the Fitzgerald´s! I´m glad to hear they´re doing well. Tell them hi from me :)

Aah, I forgot that Katie was pregnant, that´s so sweet that you made a quilt for her. 

I loved what you said Mom about how we´re here to grow as missionaries, because that is soooo true. 

Umm, so about having a special needs brother, I don´t know. I think having a special needs brother just changes your perspective and your view of others. For me, I feel like it has helped me to be more opening and accepting. And it helps you to remember that truly all of us are sons and daughters of God. I don´t know if I have any suggestion, probably just to laugh at all the crazy things that happen. I feel like our family is so much funnier with Greg :)

I definitely remember the tubing trip that we went on when we were in Aruba. I don´t think I´ve ever laughed so hard and I remember how much my arms hurt afterwards. Haha, it was so fun with Kimball and I think even funnier watching Taylor and Bryan. "Taylor, you have to keep loose, well not THAT loose!" haha, oh Taylor, that was so funny :)

haha, yes Dad! You rock that wheelie briefcase just like your daughter did! No brincadeira! (joke!) haha, but it does help aleviate back problems ;)

Dad, I really liked what you said about D and C 121 and 122. I loved what you said about writing our own D and C 122. I want to do this too. It´s so true, sometimes we focus on all the hard things in life but we forget that our Savior already did everything for us. He truly knows what it feels like to be all alone and suffering. I think this is perfect Dad to talk with missionaries about. 

I´ve already D+C 121 and 122 a lot of times during my mission during the hard moments and the good moments. It´s very conforting especially during a mission. 

Bryan: Haha, that´s so funny about Norah, "you´re ruining her life!" haha, she´s gonna be fun when she grows up :) hahah oh Norah...

Lindsey: That sounds like that was a fun adventure going to the Asian grocery store. Oh and I just remembered, that´s crazy about the water! haha, yep, I definitley know what it´s like to not have water! 

So one thing that´s different here about the climate, it is sooo much hotter! I can´t believe I´m saying this but I don´t know why I thought Queimadas was hot. It is SUPER hot here! haha, The sun is just that much stronger. The other sisters´area actualy has the beach and it has the farthest eastern point in all of the Americas. I want to visit the place one day, I think you guys can probably look it up on line. 

So the apartment isn´t too bad. This morning, we cleaned a lot and I chucked a bunch of just old and dirty stuff in the trash so it´s looking a lot better. The toilet isn´t working so we fill up a bucket and dump the water down to flush it...haha yep, that´s right your germ freak niece is dumping water down the toilet every day to get it to flush but I´m going to call Sister Nogueira to get it fixed. The other sisters have already called and a guy "fixed" it but it still leaks. 

But the important thing is that I´m happy and healthy! I´m very excited to serve here and it´s great to serve in an area that has a chapel! It´s super pretty! 

Well, I hope all of you are doing well and have fun Mom and Dad!

I love you all the MOSTIEST! Love you and you guys are always in my prayers!

Love you!
Sister Hicks

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

TRANSFERS! Jan. 14, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, dear family and friends,

Well, I was transfered. I´m now in area called  Prossind which is in João Pessoa. I think  yesterday and today are the two hardest days of my life. It is soooo unbelievably hard to leave all the people I love behind and go to a new area. I cried so much yesterday and today! But I know that this is what the mission is like and I´m so excited too because Sister Stolk is training now. So my "daughter" has a "daughter" now so  it´s Grandma Hicks haha. Her companion´s name is Sister Lopes and she´s from  São Paulo. My companion´s name is Sister Moore and she´s from Colorado. haha Sister Stolk is from Colorado too. 

Oh and also good news, SINARA WAS BAPTIZED!!! So I have to tell you all about a miracle that happened. So Satuday morning Sinara called and said that she needed a little bit more time and that she wasn´t going to be baptized Sunday. She asked us to please not visit her on Saturday because she wanted time to think. So we were on our way to lunch (on a bus because lunch was out in the countryside at Thalisson´s house) and I had no idea what to do. But long story short, when we got back to our house Sister Stolk got down on our knees and just plead with the Lord to be able to know what we should do. As I was praying (and crying)   the cell phone rang but we didn´t recognize the number so I just silenced it, then it rang again but I just silenced it. I ended the prayer and  5 seconds later it rang again and Sinara´s name popped. I answered the phone and she proceeded to tell me that she decided that she was going to be baptized. Coolest moment ever! Heavenly Father literally answered our prayer in the same moment (it had been her calling from her mom´s cell phone) So Saturday afternoon she had an interview but after the interview our District leader said that she still had doubts about Jospeh Smith, President Monson, and the Book of Mormon. So Saturday night we had a family night at  her house with Danilo, Camilla, Tiago, and Julio. It was all about the Book of Mormon and it was really cool.

So, we gave her the Restoration DVD and told her to  pray again and ask if everything we taught her was true. 

So, it´s sunday morning, 5:15 in the morning, Sinara calls, Yes sister, I will be baptized today, such an amazing experience!  She had another interview during church with one of our zone leaders and everything went great. Coolest part, Danilo gave the talk at her baptism. so cool :) 

Another cool thing, yesterday Danilo and Camilla prepared a little activity for us to just thank us for the work we had done in Queimadas. Danilo, Camilla, Sinara, Thalys, Renato (5 baptisms that Siste r Stolk and I had ), Julio, Thalisson, Luiz, and Tiago were there. It was such a sweet get together and everyone shared their testimonies. Danilo gave me a letter that he wrote on the day of his baptism, in the letter he thanked us for our work and all that we had done. The last  part he wrote recently and he said that it took him forever to finish because it was so hard to write. I was crying like a baby when he was reading it and it was so hard to say goodbye to everyone last night. I will never forget the people that touched my life in Queimadas. It will always be like a second home to me. I´m so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve in Queimadas. It will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.

Mom: I´m so excited for you guys to go on your trip! It´s going to be so fun! 

Amanda said that she liked my room too. I think I want it to be a surprise so don´t send photos :)

That´s crazy about the weather, what?! 

 Mom, I loved what you  wrote about treating everyone like Christ would. I really want to improve on this especially as I  enter a new area and I´m living with new sisters. I need to serve more and think of myself less.        

Dad: Thanks so much for what you said about just taking it as a new adventure! I feel like I need to just come into this new area with a fresh perspective and just get to work!      

Sounds like your super busy with all the stuff in the stake and yes, I remember Tori! She´s great! 

I would recommend 2 Nephi 31, it´s a great chapter about baptism and we use it a lot with our investigators!  

Taylor: I´m so glad to hear that you´re doing well and thank you so much for the advice about transfers. It was exactly what I needed  to hear. You´re the best. :)

 Lindsey: Aah, I hope  Alice is feeling better and oh my goodness, Norah is just too funny! haha, especially with the bandaids, oh Norah.... I´m glad to hear that you´re feeling better too! 
Kelsey: Aah, I love the name Guy too :) Definitely approve!  I hope that everything gets better with the lady that ran into your car. It´s so true that prayer is something that we sometimes forget to do but is something that always help. I hope  you  are still happy and healthy!      

 Well, thank you so much for your prayers and support. I need a lot of prayers this week as I´m feeling very "homesick"  of Queimadas, my second home. But just have to keep going!

Well, I love you all so much!

I love you the MOSTIEST!!!

Sister Hicks                                                                                          

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Feliz Ano Novo Jan. 6, 2014

Feliz Ano Novo Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
So to start off...Mom I got the other package with the twizzlers, MINT M&MS!, pancake mix and syrup (made some this morning), chapstick, trail mix, cute earrings, and all the other goodies! Thank you soooooo much! Also, I got the package from Andy too! Thank you so much and I think it was her that added the red vines (I know you and I are twizzlers people) and peanut butter stuff :) hahah but let her know how grateful I am!
Oh and Kimball and Kelsey, I got your sweet Christmas card! I loved it! What a great photo of you guys and Kelsey you´re just soo cute pregnant :)
Oh and sorry about the whole Skype thing on Christmas day! I would have loved to talk to you guys...but you know how it is, rules are rules
Oh and Dad, thank you so much for your nice letter that your wrote me. I loved it and I´ll always treasure it :)

Also, I received a sweet bunch of notes from Sister Benfell from the Relief Society, Mom I´m going to write a card but could you let her know that I got them and thank you so much :)
Just thank you so much for all the wonderful packages, cards, letters, and never-ending support! It means so much to me! And Mom thanks for sending basketball shorts, saddle soap, and everything else! haha, oh the poor people in the Post´s the same here, there´s always us 4 mailing letters to the US and to other missionaries...Ukraine, Phillippines, Chile, almost every country haha, it´s always an adventure in the post office here!
Oh and before I forget, transfers are next week so I won´t write until next Wednesday! I really don´t know what´s going to happpen. I still want to stay here in Queimadas but I´m really not sure what will happen! :)
Mom: Hey Mom, I´m sure your lesson was just AMAZING! You don´t need to worry, your lessons are always the best! Wow, and back to 1 o´clock church, woohoo! haha

Oh my gosh, I loved reading Kimball´s 2005 Christmas list, I remember when he made that list, hahah oh Kimball, always a goof ball!
So Sister Stolk just turned to me and said there was a school shooting in Colorado. She said that she knows one of the girls that was killed. The girl swam for her school team and Sister Stolk swam during high school. So sad...
Oh and Mom, that´s so cool that you´ve been visiting the Kerns! I´m sure they just love that! And way to go for going through the house and cleaning! You go mom!
Dad: That´s crazy that there´s so much snow! Wow, I hope you made it home safely!
I loved what you said about Alma and Ammon. It truly was the coolest experience ever when Danilo was baptized. Just how grateful he was that he had made the decision was so cool. It really was such a special day.
Lindsey: I loved seeing all the pictures from Christmas from your blog! Oh my goodness, Norah and Alice are growing up so fast and I can´t even believe it! But they look so great and so happy!

I hope you´re feeling a little bit better! Has the morning sickness worn off a little? And now thanks to Norah, everyone knows that you´re pregnant :)
I think the picture you saw of us with the santa hats was from the branch Christmas party but yes we went caroling too! And Camilla Marques is Danilo´s brother who was baptized a few months ago! hahah, that´s so cool that you´re seeing pictures of me on facebook
It´s pretty humid here too and I think it´s probably the same thing in Dallas. It´s just SUPER hot so everything gets scorched here. And the name of the city is fitting, Queimadas (burned)

hahah, well yesterday was not the best day, I woke up around 4 in the morning and I threw up and then about 2 hours later I threw up again. I don´t know if it was something I ate or what but definitely wasn´t fun. I had a little bit of a fever too and an upset stomach. I ended up staying in our house and the priests, after church, brought the sacrament over. Then I ended up sleeping for almost the entire day. Today I feeling much much better! Just the normal mission stuff :)
So let me tell you about the "Festa de Reis" (Kings party). So Queimadas, every year, has a huge carnival/party called Festa de Reis. It starts on Friday and lasts until Monday. It is INSANE! So in the center of Queimadas they have an amusement park and a huge concert, for four nights straight! And it lasts until 4 in the morning every night! It´s absolutely crazy! It was especially loud Saturday night and I barely slept at all! And people are just drinking and going crazy. Sister Stolk said she woke up this morning around 4 and people were still going crazy in the streets haha!
Oh and New Years seems to be a bigger holiday here than Christmas. I went on exchanges on News Years eve so I was in João Pessoa. The next morning Sister Mitchell and I were on the bus and this guy just threw up on the bus staircase, SOOO GROSS! haha, but anyway, it´s all good, just lots and lots of drinking...
Oh random story, so on Saturday Sister Stolk and I were walking and we heard "I want it that way" by the Backstreet boys. I think that song is probably 12 years old, haha, it was super fun to here just blasting from someone´s house in Queimadas.

So we have a baptism marked for this Sunday. Her name is Sinara and she´s super great! She´s a friend of Tiago and she´s only 19 too! Her family didn´t let her go to church but we went and caroled at her house and her parents said that she could go. The elders had taught her about a year ago but her parents are super religious and didn´t let her go anymore. But their hearts totally softened and we have great lessons with them! So please pray for Sinara! She´s amazing!

Well thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers!

I hope you all had an amazing New Year!

I love you the MOSTIEST!!!!
Sister Hicks