Monday, May 26, 2014

Hey from Cabedelo May 26, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,

So, to start off, Happy Birthday Norah! I can´t believe she turned 5 today! That´s so crazy! I hope you have a great day Norah! Love you so much! 

In other news, yesterday we had a baptism! Woohoo! His name is Audriano and he is 11 years old. His entire family are members (in-actives) but he was the only one that wasn´t baptized. So, he had already gone to church many times (because when his parents were baptized he wasn´t 8 years old yet). The baptism was great and his parents went to the baptism as well! :) 

Well, I´m glad to hear that Greg has been working later. That must be so nice to have some extra time to run errands and get everything else done, and go to the temple! Side note: I definitely miss going to the temple. Take advantage of it because you live so close and you can go. I definitely wish we had a temple in our mission.

That´s great to hear that Taylor was able to do a little bit of subbing at the schools and that´s funny that he even subbed for in-school. haha
So, since I was released as Sister Leader Trainer, I won´t go to the mission meeting but next week is zone conference so I should get the packages and letters next Wednesday! Oh, and I hope my chacos got here because one of my chacos broke, the sole was already wearing down but now the sole just completely split, haha, I´ll have to send you a picture next week. But I have the pair of gray leather sandals that we bought, so I`m going to use those until next week. :) Let´s just say that I´ve done a lot of walking in my mission, to the point that my shoes broke :) That´s got to be a good sign.

Oh, and I´m so glad you found the 4th missionary talk, it´s amazing, right? It´s such a cool talk and there´s so much packed into just one talk :) Thanks for mailing it to me :)

Aah, Kelsey, you all look so adorable in the pictures! Baby Guy is just too cute! And his eyes! They are so big and so blue! Please send lots of pictures of his blessing, I can´t wait to see them! :) 

Well, the weather lately? Hot, really hot. Everyone always tells me, "Wow, you´re sweating so much, are you ok?" I just answer, "Yes, it´s just hot." I think Brazilians have a special gene that allows them to not sweat. It really seems like Brazilians sweat way less than Americans. haha, I don´t know why but just something that I´ve noticed here. 

It has definitely been a lot easier transition here than it was when I arrived in my second area. It´s really true that you get more used to it. And, I´m glad that you´ve been able to see progress, haha, I definitely feel more comfortable talking to everyone in the street than when I arrived in the mission. 

Wish Norah a very, very happy birthday from me to her! And FELIZ ANIVERSÁRIO! Give her a big hug and a kiss from me as well :)

haha, that was such a cute story about Norah opening the presents. haha, I just love that girl :) 

Yes, the fourth missionary talk is really just so cool. I´m glad you were able to read it, it´s so cool. It took Sister Cameron almost a whole transfer to read and study the talk. 

aah, please send my love to Grandma and Grandpa. I´m sure it´s not easy for all of you to try and help them. I hope everything works out. Send them all my love :) 

Wow, I can´t believe it´s been 30 years since you received your mission call. If it makes you feel any better, when I told Sister Maciel that you were going to be 59 years old this year she was like, "What? He definitely does not look that old!" :) 

Well, this week was a good week, it was a hot week but I actually prefer to work in the hot sun than the wet rain. We´ve been working longer hours here because we don´t do language study from 10-11 (you can chose if you want to and we just go and work after companionship study). It´s been great to work more and Sister Maciel is so much fun to work with. She´s a goof ball and jokes around all the time. 

Funny story of the week: So Saturday night while Sister Sayonara was taking a shower Sister Maciel that it would be funny to tell her that President Nogueira was at the door, waiting for us. haha, she was like, "Is he really here?!" And we all just responded, "Yes! Yes! He´s here, hurry up!" haha, she ran out of the bathroom with shampoo still in her hair, changed her clothes, got to the door and we just started laughing... haha you still have to keep your humor in the mission :) 

Oh random story, when we went to eat lunch at the member´s home on Saturday, she was playing music from a cd and she just let us scroll through and pick music. Well, she had the Remember the Titans soundtrack and let´s just say I rocked out to "Ain´t No Moutain High Enough". let´s just say that if you were there Mom, it would have been a real party, haha, that song made me think of you :)

Oh, today is going to be fun, all the sisters in our zone are going to go to Manaira and we´re going to have a p-day of sisters :) Everyone´s bringing food and we´re going to hang out in the chapel :) I even heard that President Nogueira is going to let us play the exercise/sports games at a members house using the x-box :) what?! 

haha, well the work here is great. I´m so blessed to be serving here in João Pessoa. I never imagined how great the mission would be. Of course it has its highs and lows but it´s so amazing to see the change that the Gospel makes in the lives of others. I wouldn´t want to be doing anything else with my time. 

A lady a few weeks ago just couldn´t believe that we had left our studies, families, countries, everything behind. And she said, "You guys are just losing so much, what to hope to gain from this?" I just responded, "No, we´re GAINING so much." I don´t feel like I´m losing anything. It´s like that scripture says, He that loses his life for Christ shall find it. I can´t believe how fast the time flies and I don´t want to miss a single moment. 

Pray for the missionaries, go out with the missionaries to teach with them, if they stop by give them food (something that I´ve learned here, missionaries are always hungry after walking so much), pray for their investigators, call them to see if they need get the drift. Anyway, I love this work and I´m so grateful to be a missionary. 

I love you all the MOSTIEST!!!!

Sister Hicks

PS I tried to send photos but the computer wasn´t working to send photos. I promise I´ll by an adaptor to send photos next week!  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Loving Cabedelo May 19, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, Family and Friends,                                                     May 19, 2014

Well greetings here from Cabedelo! Let me just start off by saying that Cabedelo is such a cool town. Like you wrote Mom, it´s a little bit like the Outer Banks. It´s definitely a beach town and we pass by or see the beach multiple times a day. Let´s just say it´s so beautiful. Obviously we can´t step onto the sand but I´ll definitely take some pictures for you guys. 

Other random things about Cabedelo:

-The ward boundary is huge so sometimes (well quite a bit) we have to grab the train (it´s kind of like a really old metro, but slower) to go to lunch with the members. It´s so crazy, but at least the train is only 25 cents (50 centavos). But it´s not very fun when you miss the train. Saturday, we were running to the station and as we got close the train was already leaving, so we had to grab the bus which is way more expensive. Then as we were leaving lunch, we walked all the way to the bus stop but the schedule is different on Saturdays and the last train had already passed so we had to walk all the way back to the bus stop and grab another bus. Haha, let´s just say lunch on Saturday was an adventure.

-Another cool story, so there´s an island that´s really close to Cabedelo called Lucena and there´s elders there. So we have every other district meeting there...yes on the island :) So Thursday morning was district meeting and we had to grab a boat (it reminded me of that duck tour bus in Philly) to go to district meeting in Lucena. It´s just a branch there but they have a little church building. It reminded me a little bit of Queimadas. 
Unfortunately I don´t have a adaptor thing to send photos to you all today but I´ll buy one today and I´ll send photos of all this next week. 

Another random cool story, my branch mission leader from Queimadas, Tiago, received his mission call this week! So, I was actually eating lunch at the member´s house on Saturday and their son, who was there, is a bishop in Campina Grande and knows Bishop Jorge (the bishop in Jorge). He told me that Tiago had received his call and he´s going to serve in...BUENOS AIRES EAST MISSION! I´m so excited for him. And the best part...I got a call yesterday from the APs and they did a phone conference. It was Sister R. Santos who is serving in Queimadas and he passed the phone to Tiago! So, I got to talk to Tiago and he told me that he is going to serve in Buenos Aires and he leaves August 14. I am so excited for him! Tiago told me that everyone is doing great in Queimadas. Danilo is the ward secretary, Camila (Danilo´s sister) is the Relief Society President and Sinara (our last baptism in Queimadas) is the Young Womens President! Aah, I was so happy! 

Well, let´s just say it was a really cool week. 

Mom: Aah, that´s so funny about listening to the music. Every once in a while I hear Michael Jackson playing here as well. And yes, we will definitely go to another Michael Bublé concert together :)

So if you´re looking at the google maps I live close to two really big gymnasiums, close to the port to go to Lucena. I don´t know the street names. You should look up the chapel as well. It´s pretty cool, it reminds me a little bit of the Kirtland Temple. 

That´s so cool that there are 14 of us serving in Brasil from our stake! We´re going to have a Portuguese branch in the stake when we get back :)

So yes, it´s definitely starting to rain more here. The rain jacket is pretty great. I don´t use it all the time because normally it´s super sunny and hot and then all of the sudden the clouds come in and it just rains hard for 15 minutes and then stops. But, I`m going to buy a new umbrella because mine broke...

New CDs would be great, we can only listen to MoTab and EFY (EFY just on P-days). 

That´s cool about the thing they´re doing for youth conference. Yes, you can send whatever photo you want. It could be from dance, or from girls camp or youth conference, or a school picture, whatever one you think best. 

Oh Mom, random question, were you able to find the Fourth Missionary talk? It´s not very from the MTC, I found out that it was a talk to a mission by a mission president. but I don´t remember his name. Just wondering...

Dad: Haha, but really it was so embarassing breaking the bishop´s van door but like you said, he took it very well :)

That´s so cool that you went to a meeting and Elder Ballard was there! I heard that Elder Nelson was in Recife last week (which is the mission right below ours) 

I can´t even imagine how great the meeting must´ve been. I liked what you wrote about how we have to teach the simple docrine. 

That´s cool that you served by the beach as well. It´s definitely a different atmosphere, a little bit more laid back, definitely less city-like. But I`m really enjoying it. It´s cool that I´ve now served in 3 areas very different from each other. Queimadas is way farther in in the state, with lots of farms. Prossind was more in the city and Cabedelo is close to the beach. 

I liked what you wrote about 1 Nephi 3:7. It´s really true that we have to remember that it´s the Lord´s mission and not ours. And one thing that I´ve learned on the mission is that we have to work in the Lord´s vineyard according to His ways. Sometimes we think we know what is best for an area or an investigator but we have to search for revelation from Heavenly Father and teach or do what He wants us to teach or do. 

Bryan: Aah, I`m sorry to hear that your VP was changed but at least the new one admitted that he doesn´t know very much about the work that you all do. But I hope everything works out well :) 
Well, I don´t know about Computer Science but it´s definitely something that I´ll think about during exercise time like you said (haha, I´m the only sister in my house that works out so yes, I definitely have time to think when I´m just jumping rope...)

Lindsey: Wow! I absolutely loved the photos from Norah´s birthday party. They were soooo cute! I can´t believe how cute the cake turned out. That was just adorable! And the girls looked so cute riding their bikes together! 

Oh and random sidenote, your hair looks longer, it was even in a ponytail in the picture, what?! You need to include yourself in more of the photos, I want to see photos of you as well! haha, but really congrats, the party sounds like it was a big success! 

Oh another random story from this week, we did a street contact with this elderly lady that was sitting in front of her house. So we invited her to come to church and she said that maybe she would go. Then we asked her "Maybe? Or will you actually go?" Then she gave one of the most absurd responses, well she said, "If I don´t die I will." And don´t worry, she´s not super sick or anything she just definitely didn´t want to commit to going to church haha. 

Also, another random story, we were in Ward Counsel Saturday night and I always almost laugh during Ward Counsel. It doesn´t matter what ward I´m serving in, the counsel always gets so off topic. So, the Relief Society began to talk and she went on for about 15 minutes about how the RS needs a new floral arrangement and the High Priest Group leader was like "Is it really that old" and it just started a discussion that almost didn´t end. haha, it was probably funnier if you guys were there but it´s just so funny the topics that Ward Counsel gets on at times. 

haha, well anyway, I love you all sooo much! 

I love you the MOSTIEST!

Sister Hicks

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Transfers - I'm in Cabedelo now!!! May 14, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, Family and Friends,

Well, as the subject shows, I´ve been transfered to Cabedelo and Sister Cameron stayed in Prosind. It was pretty hard to leave my area but I´m excited for all the new opportunitites that I will have here. 
So Cabedelo is really cool because we live so close to the beach, our area is literally right next to the beach. As we were arriving here I was able to see the beach and it was so close. :) My companion is Sister Maciel and she is from the south of Brasil, from a state called Rio Grande do Sul. She´s really great and I´m so excited to work with her. There are two other sisters in our house, Sister Gonzales (from Peru) and Sister Saynora from Brasil as well. And it´s cool because we actually live in a house now, not an apartment. I think it´s probably the biggest house that I´ve lived in so far. 

So funny story, we get to the bus station and obviously there´s a bunch of missionaries there because that´s where everyone meets up to be transfered. So I got all of my suitcases together and I got in a van with Sister Maciel. Well, the driver (afterwards I found out that he´s our bishop) said that you have to lift the handle up card to close the door, let´s just say it´s a pretty old van, probably from the 60s or 70s. Well, let´s just say that I lifted the handle up just a little bit too hard and, nice to meet you bishop, I just broke your car door handle. haha, but literally, by accident, I lifted too hard and the handle broke. But the bishop was great, he just said, "No don´t worry about it. Looks like you really have been exercising in the morning." haha, but he´s really chill, Sister Maciel said that he just got back from his mission about 5 years ago. He looks so young. But hey, things can just get better from here, right? 

Also, they called a few sister leader trainers and released some of us. Sister Fernandes finished her mission so they called a new one to replace her and they released me and Sister Mitchell. I´m glad for the opportunity that I had to serve and I´m so excited for the new sister leader trainers that were called. oh also, Sister Johnson (remember from Queimadas) she was called as one of the new sister leader trainers and I got to see her this morning, she´s in João Pessoa now as well. She´s not in my zone but she´s in João Pessoa, it was so great to see her! 

Well, in other news, it was sooooooo great to talk and SEE you four on Sunday! I´m glad to hear that everyone is doing so well! It really was a great Mother´s Day and Jefersone said that you got the pictures she emailed :)

Thanks for sending the pictures and thanks for everything that you do for me mom :) 

haha, loved the story from Greg this week. haha, Sister Cameron absolutely loved Greg. She said, "I have to meet your family in person, especially Greg!"

haha, glad to hear that you now can listen to my music as well haha, and "you need to work", keep up the steps :)

That´s a fun story about that British lady in the post office. I´m going to miss Sister Cameron´s accent for sure...

Kelsey: I´m glad to hear that Baby Guy is doing well, give him a big hug and kiss from me. I can´t wait to receive more photos of him :) And stay safe and healthy! 

Lindsey: haha, loved the story from Norah, I know I always say this but she literally is so cute and so funny. haha, and that was funny about the houses and Barack Obama. 

Dad: Stay safe in Mississippi and it was so great to see you. President Clayton said that you are really great and that it was a pleasure to meet you. 

Well stories from this week, 
yesterday it rained the ENTIRE day. Definitely a lot harder to talk to people in the street and let´s just say that I definitely prefer the hot sun all day to rain all day. But looks like we´re really going to start winter soon. 

Another great story, yesterday night two of our recent converts, Edilson and Jeremias were interviewed by the bishop to receive the priesthood and Andre was interviewed Sunday to receive the priesthood. All three of them will receive the priesthood this week or in the following week. It is so cool to see your recent converts progressing in the Gospel.

Sister Fernandes leaves today which is just so crazy. I got to see her at the Mission Counsel on Tuesday and when I arrived in the bus station I saw her from the car window as she was walking to get into another car. She is so great and I´m definitely going to miss her. 

Well, just know that I am safe, happy, and well.

I love you all the MOSTIEST!!!

Sister Hicks

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feliz Dia das Maes (almost!) :) May 5, 2014

Hey Mom, Dad, Family, and Friends,
Ok, to start off, I think I´ll call around 5 o´clock in the afternoon your time (which would be 7 o´clock here). I don´t know what your skype address is, I think it´s still shicks100 but if there´s a problem I´ll just try to call and figure it out. So plan on me calling (or trying to skype) after church. I hope this works for you all. I am soooooo excited to talk to you all!
So, thanks Mom so much for getting the chacos, the only other things that I thought of this week that would be great would be a new loofa, goldfish (let´s just say that Sister Cameron and I LOVE goldfish, I´ve got her hooked now), bug lotion, and the tooth-cleaning pick things. (and you don´t have to wait, you can just send the box, if you´re able to this week) :)
Dad, that´s a good idea, I can just buy a USB drive here, they´re not very expensive. And maybe I´ll just hang on to the SD card until the end of my mission or I might send it (I just don´t want it to get stolen.)
Mom: Thanks again for ordering and mailing the chacos and everything else you send to me. You´re the best mom ever, but really you are :)  I would love just some 4x6 photos (just the normal size) Everyone always wants to see photos of you all so I want to have some more photos to share. :)
Don´t worry, I won´t do anything about my moles until I talk to you all, I just wanted to let you guys know that I had gone and that she had said that they might need to be removed.
Aah, that must have been fun to see Brian.  I´m glad to hear Hannah is doing better. Bummer about the Correspondents dinner as well... :(
Wow, I didn´t even know that there was a new BYU pres, that´s gonna be weird when I get back, haha
Exciting about the Schmidts as well!
Dad: Thanks for your advice about the USB drive and SD card. And don´t worry, I promise I won´t do anything about my moles until I talk to you all. I think it´s obviously because of the sun that they are getting darker and changing a little but don´t worry I´m being a diligent sunscreen user as well :)
Glad to hear that everything is going well with the stake as well. That´s super exciting about all the missionaries, how many missionaries are serving from are stake as of now? The stake here, Rangel, has 19 missionaries that are serving.
Oh and I read Alma 30, like you wrote last week. I really liked that chapter as well. It´s amazing how well Alma asks the questions and how he is truly led by the spirit.

Taylor: I´m glad to hear that you had a great birthday and that´s so cool that you were able to talk to Yara. haha, she wanted to send you all a video of me and so last night she filmed that clip. haha, it is true that I´m ALWAYS sweaty and I`m definitely tanner than before. Yara is super great, she´s 15 and has already been going to church for about two and a half months now but her parents won´t sign the baptismal form. But she is so awesome, we just have to get her parents to sign the form. And this week she gave us about 15 referrals! It was crazy! Did you understand the portuguese? It´s pretty similar to Spanish.
Bryan and Lindsey: Haha, I´m glad you won the fight with the ceiling fan. haha, I laughed out loud when I was reading your email. :)
And thanks for sending the blog post, looks like Easter was so much fun :) And I know I always write this but the girls are just soooo big!

Well, this week was great. We had a baptism yesterday. His name is Nascimento and he is Vitoria and Danilo´s dad. So he´s Hermina´s "ex-husband" (they were never officially married). Now they are just friends and Hermina is actually married with a guy who lives in Switzerland (yes, really random). But the baptism was great yesterday and we had water in the font! haha, a little bit calmer than last week :) I´ll send some photos as well. :) It truly is amazing how many elect of the Lord are here and the field truly is ready to harvest.

Oh, random story from a few weeks ago:
So we were waiting to meet up with a member and we started to talk with some men who were sitting nearby. Obviously (like almost everyone does) they asked us where we were from and then they asked if we lived by. We told them that we lived in the Bancários and one of the men´s answer was pretty funny. He just said, "Congratulations." afterward, Sister Cameron and I just looked at each other, "Yes Sister, congratulations, we live in the Bancários." Maybe it doesn´t sound too funny but in the moment it was pretty random.
So another story from yesterday,

So, two streets behind our apartment building there are a ton of inactives (especially young teenage boys). We´ve been trying to help reactivate them and there´s one teenager, Leo, and he´s 16. His father is inactive as well and drinks, a lot. So last night we were just talking casually with Leo and before we left we asked him if he needed anything. He paused for a moment. And we asked him again, "Are you sure? Do you need something?" He said that he was too embarassed to say anything and then Sister Cameron asked, "Do you need food?" And that was what it was. He said that his dad just spends almost all the money on alcohol and sometimes when he´s drunk he just throws stuff out. Leo told us that sometimes he just feels like he has no one to talk to because his mom drinks as well. It truly broke my heart when I was listening to him last night. We told him to give us 10 minutes and we went to our apartment and grabbed some food that we had. We´re going to try and visit him today again with the bishop. When we gave him the food, you could just see how grateful he was and as we were walking back I just began to cry because I just want him to have parents that love and care for him. I thought of the hymn "Have I Done Any Good?" It truly is amazing to help others and I am so grateful for the privilege I have to serve a mission.
Well, I love you all sooo much and I am so grateful for your never-ending love and support! I can´t wait to talk and see you Sunday! I love you all the MOSTIEST!
Sister Hicks