Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And So Carnaval begins February 26, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
So just so you know, I am still here in Prossind and everyone in our house stayed the same. Sister Cameron, Sister De Paula, Sister Cavalcanti, and me! :)
So this week was super great. We had two baptisms on Sunday. Wellington was baptized. He´s 22 years old and it was pretty hard for him this past week to stop smoking and drinking coffee but he was able to stop and he was baptized! It was interesting because he kept asking, "Is it really true that all of my sins will be forgiven when I´m baptized?" And the greatest part was able to say yes, you really will be clean.
Our other baptism was Aparecida. And her story is a little bit funnier. So we talked to her sister in the street who lives in another neighborhood and her sister said, "Hey I think my sister, Aparecida, has already gone to this church." So we wrote down her address and we went to visit her, so ends up that Aparecida´s husband was baptized about 8 or 9 years ago but has since passed away. Aparecida said that she´d already gone to church as well but wasn´t baptized (this was Wednesday). So we invited her in the contact to be baptized Sunday and she said, ok, I will. So then we went to her house this next day, taught the Restoration and asked her the baptismal questions and she was completely ready. We started to fill out the baptismal form when she said, "Wait, I think maybe I was baptized with my husband." We were like, what? Are you sure? So we ended up calling the mission office and they called Salt Lake but Salt Lake doesn´t have a record of her being baptized so "Só batiza!" Just baptize!
So it´s Sunday morning and Aparecida isn´t at home, she was at the hospital with her mom who´s sick. But we passed by Sunday afternoon and told her, "Hey, you still have your baptism today, are you ready to go?!" haha, she took a shower really fast, I called our Zone Leaders and they did the baptismal interview and she was baptized. haha, it was super crazy but it was a great baptism!
So, why the subject line? Well, Carnaval, the crazy party/holiday that they have here every year (especially big in Rio) starts this weekend. And let´s just say it´s going to be a little crazy. They already had a "pre-Carnaval party" and the streets were a little crazy. But it´s all good because the crazy drunk parties are by the beach and my area doesn´t even have a part of the beach. It´s interesting Young Women and Young Men camp is always the same weekend as Carnaval so that the youth have something good to do and because it´s a holiday here.
But anywho...
Mom: I loved your facebook post that you emailed me. haha, I´m so thankful that you guys didn´t give upon your baby girl :)
So, it´s Tori Thomas (my friend from BYU that lives in New Jersey) that is in Ukraine right now. I hope that she´s ok. I´ll be sure to keep her in my prayers.
That was so sweet to see the photo of Mrs. Russo and Em. Aah, I´m so glad to hear they´re doing well and Chester too! Aah, that´s so sweet that Mrs. Russo read my letters. I´ll have to write them a letter soon. Im so glad to hear that Em is doing well too. I love that girl :)
Oh, and what?! They changed the name of the Exton Diner, haha, and I totally remember Ron´s Schoolhouse Grille. Haha, oh the memories...but I´m glad you were able to get some fabric shopping in too!
That´s cool that it was Elder Nielson that you guys sat with. haha, oh and the Greg stories too, haha, they always make my day! :)
So, it has been super hot here but I don´t think it´s breaking records, it´s just normal here, haha, I don´t even sleep with a sheet or anything, I just sleep on top of my flat sheet with the fan on high!
Thanks so much for the packages, I´m sure I´ll get them soon!
Wow, that´s so cool to hear that Brother Brown is the new bishop. He´s going to be great and Sister Brown is so incredible as well! Power couple!
I really liked what you wrote about having to remember the spiritual moments that we´ve already had and that we really have to search for the Spirit. I know that, like you wrote, there are definitely times when I have to search for the Spirit and it´s something that we have to keep on working for.
Lindsey: I hope Bryan and the girls are feeling better. I absolutely loved the pics that you sent! Looks like it was a great birthday! I can´t believe we have another 30 year old in our family! haha, and the girls look so great!
Bryan: Love the Sonic story, haha, oh little kids, and I hope your feeling better! You looked great in the pics from your birthday! You go Bry Bry :)

So funny story from the week...
So Sister Cameron, André (a returned missionary from our ward) and I were going to visit Asicleia (this was Monday night) because she can be baptized this week (it´s just super hard to find her at home) and as we were knocking on our door there were about 8 Jehovah Witnesses that showed up in the same street...doing the same thing as us....well kind of...they were knocking doors and sharing messages, haha it was so funny to see them doing exactly what we do, but you know what I did, I just stayed in front of Asicleia´s house (even though she wasn´t answering the door) because I didn´t want them talking to our baptism! haha, it was so funny and just comical. I remembered Kimball´s stories from his mission. Here they´re called the TJs because in Portuguese it´s Testemunhos de Jeová.
Oh another funny story, this crazy drugged lady came up to us asking for money but we told her sorry, and then she asked us what our names were about 50 times, she kept saying "No, in Portuguese, what is your name in Portuguese?!" And we kept telling her, "This IS my name in Portuguese, haha it was soo funny...a little crazy...but super funny

Oh, I ate jaka for the first time this week. It´s actually super good. I think Mom, you already asked me about it, but it´s a crazy big fruit, bigger than the size of a football. Oh talking of "futbol" people are already talking about the World Cup, it´s gonna be CRAZY!
Oh other random story, yesterday we walking in the street and there was a ledge and I wasn´t paying attention and I tripped, I didn´t end up falling but I banged my big toe pretty bad, but I just kept on going, then Romualdo (a member that we were with) told me that I should check and see if it was bleeding, turns out that it was actually bleeding and was cut up. We went to a member´s house that lives close by and cleaned it up, wrapped a tissue around it with some masking tape and kept on going, haha, but it´s totally fine, just a funny, clumsy story of the week.
Oh, random question, How are grandma and grandpa, I haven´t heard much from them lately. I hope they´re doing well. Send my love to them. :)
Well, I´m doing well and I´m super happy here! It´s amazing how fast the time flies. One of my zone leaders, Elder Herrera, and an AP Elder James are leaving today. Elder Herrera was my ZL in Queimadas for 2 transfers and here in Rangel for 1 transfer. So 3 out of my 5 transfers here, he´s been my ZL and Elder James has been an AP for 3 transfers, it´s so crazy how fast the time flies and that so many missionaries that I know are leaving soon! But I´m so grateful to be here!

I love you all the MOSTIEST!

Sister Hicks

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fatima and Luzinete were baptized!! February 17, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
So yesterday was super great. Fatima was baptized and has still been able to quit smoking! She´s such a rock! Saturday morning when we were walking with her to the baptismal interview she said that she woke up and really wanted to smoke. She said that the temptation was super big. But she said, "No, I´m not going to give in!" She just put a piece of candy in her mouth and kept on going. She´s super awesome! And Luzinete, she´s so great. She has gotten to know the Church for a while because she works with the wife of a bishop in another ward and she just decided that she wanted to be baptized and just stayed strong. Her husband doesn´t support her much but she just keeps on going!
Oh, also, we had a mission-wide conference that was sooo great! Elder Fernandes (he was the mission president here before President Hall-the most recent mission president) and his wife spoke to us. It was such a great conference and the best part was that I got to see all my buds! When Sister Stolk and I saw each other we just started to cry! haha, it was so good to see her and catch up. It´s only been a month but it was so fun to see her and talk to her! We´re definitely going to be friends for a while.
Hey Mom, David Lewis emailed me saying that he lives with Sister Cameron´s "friend" but I can´t respond back to him because of the new rule. His email address is Could you email him for me and say that I got the email and that that´s so cool! Thanks!
Also, just a reminder, it´s already transfers! So, I´ll be emailing next Wednesday, not monday.
Oh, other super exciting news, Queimadas was officially turned into a ward yesterday! so now it´s the Queimadas ward, not Queimadas branch! I am so happy! Also, Danilo (recent-convert) was called to be the ward executive clerk and he´s going to receive the Melcezidek (spelling is completely off) priesthood really soon!!!
I´m so proud that you´re still my strong Olympic fan, just know that I´m here cheering on Team USA with pride!
Oh and I´m sooooo happy that Jason got his visa! That is sooo exciting! I am so happy for him! Definitely an answer to prayers!
haha, sounds like the Valentine´s dance was fun! haha, you go Mom! I wish I could have seen you and Dad during the dance instruction :)
Oh, thanks for the Ensign, I finally got it this week! You´re the best! Also, I´m going to write her but I got a package from Sister Holtom, it was Christmas cards from the Cub Scouts, tell her thanks from me!
I definitely know the feeling when you see people come back to the church. That´s another rewarding part of missionary work is helping to bring back the lost sheep.
I can´t believe the snow storm that you guys had! That´s crazy! The picture of the grill, what?! haha, and I´m not even surprised that Greg still went to work! "He needs to work!"
Send all my love to Mrs. Russo, Em, and Chester! I hope that you´re able to meet up with them and tell them all how much I love and miss them!
So, I haven´t eaten too many weird foods yet. One thing that I learned yesterday was that it´s bad manners to so eat one helping of food. It´s a sign that you didn´t like the food so you ALWAYS have to do the Greg-style and eat two helpings :) haha, oh something that I had yesterday was passion fruit ice cream! It´s sooo good here! passion fruit is called maracujá here.
My bishop is super cool and is sooo willing to help. We had a meeting with him yesterday and he said, you guys are doing a great job it´s us that need to help out more!
The language is improving a lot too, it helps to live with two Brazilian sisters!
First off, thanks for including that talk from Elder Hugh B. Brown. It was exactly what I needed to hear this week. Thanks Dad. You always know exactly what to write.
haha, I hope you get back into your Olympics mojo soon! haha, but Mom said you´re doing a great job commentating so keep up the good work! :)
That´s heart breaking about Sister Gregory, I hope the doctors are able to help her soon and that she´ll start feeling better quickly. I´ll definitely keep her in my prayers. I don´t remember her, what ward is she from?
That´s super exciting about Sister Brown too! Wow!
Haha, I´m glad to hear that you didn´t forget your birthday and that you had a nice dinner and cake (with the girls´ help)
haha, I laughed when I read that the ward nursery was like a "Ukranian nursery" haha, that was really nice of you guys to buy all of those new toys for them!
I´m so glad to hear that Valentine´s day went so well and that Norah was able to give out valentines, those were the days :)
I can´t believe Norah is going to Elementary school next year! That´s so crazy! She´s growing up way too fast!
Sounds great too, all the volunteering that you guys are going to do!
Keep enjoying the warm weather! :)
So about a week or so ago, I was reading in the Ensign and I came across a talk that is really great about missionary work. Elder Nielsen, of the Seventy, gave a talk entitled, Accelerating the Lord´s Game Plan (something like this) It´s a super great talk and the part that I liked the most was that he said that as members, we need to pray for the missionaries in our ward and for their investigators by name. So, just a challenge for you all to go up to the missionaries in your ward and ask for the names of their investigators. We´re doing this in our ward now and it seems to be helping a lot!
Well, I´ve got to go but thank you so much for all the love and support! I love you and miss you the MOSTIEST!
Sister Hicks

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Just Gotta Keep Going :) February 3, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
Hey, so first off, thank you soooo much for the card from everyone! I absolutely loved it! We had interviews with the mission president this past week so we got mail! Thank you so much everyone! It made my day!  I loved it! Also, thanks Mom for the other encouraging card that you send me too! You guys are the best!
Oh Mom, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I know it´s not until Thursday but FELIZ ANIVERSÁRIO!!!
So this week was a little rough, just appointments falling through, people not wanting to talk to us and just the normal mission stuff but if learned anything so far in the mission field it´s that we have to keep on working and keep your head up.
Oh random funny story, so I was looking on the list of less actives and there´s someone whose name is Kevin Costner Silva (or something like this) I feel like it´s a joke from some American elder but I´m sure it must be a real name. hahah, I almost died when I saw it.
Mom: First off thanks for sending more packages! You´re the best! I hope I´ll get them soon because the post office is striking :/
Oh and Mom and Dad, what were you guys thinking? Watching a movie about two missionaries getting kidnapped in Russia! haha, you guys are crazy, but just so that you guys know, I´m just fine :)
haha, aaah, I miss all of Greg´s phrases :) haha, I´m going to have to learn so many of his new ones! Like "oh yeah..."
Oh I totally forgot that the Olympics started this week! Go Team USA!
Hey Mom, parabéns! That´s so cool that you gave a pass along card in the UPS store. You go Mom!
That´s so cool that Austin got his visa!

Oh random story, David Lewis is companions with Sister Cameron´s "friend" in Germany!
Dad: Yes, I definitely know what it feels like to have no one come to church...definitely not the best feeling in the world. But, we just have to keep on going and keep our heads up :)
Hey Dad, congrats on the new job position! Sounds like it will be a great new experience! You´re going to be a great and that´s so interesting how much EADS is changing.
Dad, I loved what you wrote about your ideas for the temple day. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I think you should focus on what you wrote. It´s so true that sometimes we don´t understand how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us.
haha, well I didn´t have anymore dogs peeing on me this week :)
My heart goes out to your friends that are passing through hard times, I will definitely keep them in my prayers. It really is true that our Heavenly Father blesses us when we pass through difficult experiences and we grow so much.
That is so sweet about visiting Lucy. You truly are teaching them what it means to be a disciple of Christ. And, they are just sweet spirits, Norah and Alice, that they would bring joy to anyone and everyone they meet.

So this week was not the best week ever but just means that this coming week can only improve :)

We had a baptism planned, her name is Imanoeli. She was a former investigator and we talked to her and everything was planned and she was feeling more and more ready but starting Thursday she was working a lot and we weren´t able to find her in her house for 4 days. Then Sunday morning, we went again and this woman came to the door and said that she is in Campina Grande visiting her dad and she might stay there for up to 20 days...sometimes it feels like you just have the worst luck in the world, haha but it´s all good!
I´ve been studying the Chrst-like atributes a lot this week. (Chapter 6 in PMG) I love this chapter and I would recommend it to anyone. I was stuyding about diligence. It really is true that we have to keep on trying. I´m learning too that Heavenly Father wants us to work in a different way and we just have to learn what will work best in this area. We´re trying to work a lot more with the members as well. We´ve planned lots of Family Nights and we´re going to work more with less actives.
Well, I hope you guys are all doing well and I love and miss you guys!

Keep on sharing the wonderful Gospel message with everyone!

I love you the MOSTIEST!

Sister Hicks